"Leave Nothing but Footprints, Take Nothing but Pictures, Kill Nothing but Time."

Equipment Borrowing Program

Our gear borrowing program is for those cavers who are caving in addition to official UCG trips, but have yet to obtain gear of their own. (Note that gear is provided free of charge for participants on Grotto trips.) The program is simple and inexpensive: for grotto members, we require a $5 refundable deposit, plus a donation of $1 per item per day until the items are returned to a grotto officer. For example, if you wanted to borrow a helmet and a carbide lamp for a weekend, you would have to pay a $5 deposit the day you pick the gear up (say, Thursday night). If you did not return the helmet and lamp until Monday night, you would owe us a donation of $3, in addition to the $5 already paid ($1 X 2 items X 4 nights = $8). If, however, you returned the gear by Saturday morning, you would be due a $3 refund.

If you are not a current grotto member, the rental costs are higher. If you will be borrowing several items, we require a $50 refundable deposit in advance. We also ask you to donate $2.50 per item ($5 for a helmet/light combo) which covers 2 days. After that, we ask for an additional $2.50 per item per day to cover wear and tear.

Since each of our lights cost us between $50 and $60, and since each helmet cost an additional $30 or so on top of that, we feel the deposits we require are extremely reasonable. Most grottos do not rent out gear at all because of the high replacement costs for gear that goes missing or is broken.

All gear must be reasonably clean and in proper working order when returned. The officer accepting the gear has the responsibility of checking the gear to make sure it has been cleaned and has not been abused beyond the normal wear and tear expected on a caving trip. If gear has been damaged, the renter is expected to tell the officer when the gear is returned. The officer will then decide whether the damage was caused by improper or abusive usage or not. In all but the most extreme cases, the officer will not hold the renter responsible, since cave gear typically endures a great deal of abuse during the course of normal cave trip.

Fuel for all lamps (i.e., batteries or carbide) are the responsibility of the renter. However, carbide can be purchased very reasonably from local vendors or from the Grotto itself, which has a stockpile of carbide set aside for its members.

If you have any questions about this policy or the borrowing program, please contact a Grotto officer.

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via email to your friendly, neighborhood speleoweb hostess,
April Hannah, NSS #35012.

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