Employees participated in technical rope training on Thursday, December 20th, inside the visitor center at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Tom Bemis, an experienced caver of 42 years and also one of the park’s cave specialists, conducted the training.
Staff were encouraged to participate in the training to gain the skills they might one day need to do more technical cave exploration. Cave tours where park guides lead the general public do not require highly technical rope skills, but knowing the techniques could be very useful for research, search and rescue, and vertical caving opportunities.
Employees are first familiarized with the equipment they will use before they ever step into the harness. Once they are secured in the climbing harness they are told to lift their feet off the ground and are “on rope” for the very first time. As they practice their ascent and get a feel for the equipment and stability of the rope, they find themselves climbing higher than they ever thought they would.
“It was a lot of fun, I just need more practice,” said Aimee Snider, a park guide pictured here on the rope. Also pictured is trainer Tom Bemis and park guide Allan Jaworski, who is observing after his training.