NSS Convention ~ July 25-30, 2021


In addition to our regular sessions, several exciting workshops are planned for the 2021 convention. Some of these are free, while some require registration. Dates and times will be announced on this page in the coming weeks.

We may be adding workshops in the near future. Be sure to check back in a few weeks. Here's what we're working on so far...

Volcanology for Cavers

Instructor: Lee Florea, PhD, Indiana University

Volcanology for Cavers

Photo: USGS

The understanding of caves is an art learned on one part by direct exploration and observations, and a second part through pulling together the multidisciplinary threads that link the dynamic equilibrium of surface processes and their record in the subsurface. The movement of water and carbon is central to that understanding. In the Pacific Northwest, fire and ice are intimately involved with the movement of carbon and water, guided by the dynamic nature of the earth's crust-plate tectonics and volcanism. The classical framework of caves will be outlined and historic and modern interpretation of caves and their role the developing landscape will be explored. Specific to the Cordilleran of the western U.S., themes of volcano- and glacio-speleology will be included.

  • The classic "ingredients" for cave formation
  • Plateau
  • The shape of caves in plan view, profile view, and cross section
  • Cave levels and the changing climate and tectonics
  • The hydrochemistry of caves as an active part of groundwater aquifers
  • Our changing view of cave evolution
    - Sulfuric acid speleogenesis
    - Thermal karst evolution
    - Lava tubes
    - Subglacial cave evolution
  • The fumarole caves in Cascade volcanoes

Vertical Techniques

Instructors: NSS Vertical Section

Vertical Workshop

Photo: Bill Frantz

This workshop will provide the beginner vertical caver with a basic overview on American-style Single Rope Techniques (SRT) in a controlled environment. There will be hands-on sessions on knot tying, belaying, cable ladder work, rapelling with a rack and with Petzl Stop descenders. Attendance numbers will be limited and advance registration is required.


Instructor: John Norman, Desert Dogs Troglodytes, NSS

Microshaving Workshop

Photo: John Norman

This workshop will provide an overview of how to safely break and remove solid rock using micro-blasting and mechanical techniques. Attendees will have the opportunity to get hands-on with the Sierra Blaster and EZ-Break systems and learn how to actually split boulders. Materials will be provided. Please bring your helmet, closed-toed shoes and safety glasses.

Self Rescue Techniques for Cavers

Instructor: Gretchen Baker, NCRC Western Region

Fire Academy Training Tower

Fire Academy Training Tower, College of the Siskiyous. Photo: Matt Bowers

This will be an intensive four-hour training workshop that will introduce participants to cave rescue techniques that can be performed by a party of six or less persons, using minimal gear normally carried on caving trips.

Bring your helmets and personal climbing gear. This exercise will be conducted on the college's fire training tower. There is a maximum limit of 16 participants for this workshop and advance registration is required.

Disto-X2 Calibration

Instructor: Carol Vesely, NSS Survey & Cartography Section

Disto X2

Disto X2 survey. Photo: Carol Vesely, SoCal Grotto

Like many precise devices, Disto-X2s need calibration to ensure long term accuracy. Since these devices work in all three dimensions and at any orientation, their calibration has many steps and can be a bit confusing. Join this workshop to get your disto dialed-in for your next cave survey!

Lava Beds National Monument
Lava Beds National Monument