Cave & Mine Instructor
Pete Knight
LCMLA Level 2 Award

The Level 2 L2 is a technical award and covers all aspects of the underground vertical environment, from abseils, to rope rescue scenarios. There is no additional geological or historical content at this level, you can think of the L2 as the technical bolt on to the L1 award. The full syllabus and example itinerary's for my courses can be found on the Downloads page of this site.

Why and when to undertake the LCMLA Level 2 Award?
The Level 2 Award allows the holder to undertake underground ladder climbs, group abseils, lower-offs and rock climbs on pitches up to 18m high (60ft in old money). The award also covers climbing traverses, pull through descents and can include tyrolean traverses + the skills to rescue from any of those vertical elements.
The technical skills covered at Level 2 Training are an excellent skills update to cavers, climbers and canyoners. The technical knowledge from caving/mining can be easily transferred to other areas like canyoning or MIA style tyrolean traverses. Any candidate can attend a Level 2 Training once they are registered and have completed their Level 1
Training. Personal SRT (Single Rope Technique) is also trained for at L2, giving a skills boost for all cavers and climbers as you improve at not only going down a single line, but up one efficiently as well. Although a useful set of kit, it is not essential to have a full caver’s style SRT set up for training, your own harness set up can be used and you’ll receive coaching in efficient manoeuvres. Perfect for MIA’s with Jumars and GriGri skills already.

The LCMLA Level 2 award can only be fully gained by candidates that have completed their full Level 1 award in cave or mine. The L2 is free from cave or mine restriction in itself but the candidate can only operate in named sites as per their L1, and they will only receive cave sites if cave qualified and mine if mine qualified. SRT skills are only assessed if the candidate requires it, it is not compulsory.

Much like the Level 1 awards, the demand for vertical cave and mine leaders is increasing as more centres and clients look for ever more challenging and rewarding activities to take part in.  Most venues used at L1 contain some form of vertical element and the L2 award allows for the addition of these to sites already on your certificate as well as the addition of purely vertical venues not awarded at L1. Passing your Level 2 assessment also resets your clock on revalidation of your LCMLA award by another 5 years, removing the need to attend an update workshop. In short, the L2 is a technical up-skilling that opens the doors to the more adventurous end of underground leadership as well as equipping the candidate with additional personal skills to transfer across his or her practice.

How to gain a Level 2 award
To achieve a Level 2 Award a candidate must do the following:
Undertake an approved L2 training course (may include Improvised Tyroleans)
Have already gained a Level 1 Award before booking Level 2 assessment
Gain experience and present this via a logbook
Complete a Module 3 Vertical Core Skills assessment. Optional inclusion of tyroleans and Mod 5 SRT skills possible.
Complete a Module 4 Vertical Group Day assessment
Choose to complete the optional Module 5 SRT for Leader and/or Module 7 Improvised Tyrolean technical bolt-on
Hold a valid 1st Aid certificate (16hr + course) to keep your award valid

1. Training
A Level 2 Training course can take place in any region and be based in cave or mine or occasionally both. The venue does not effect the award of the candidate as the training is standardised across the UK and is not cave or mine specific. The optional tyrolean module is currently only trained as standard in North Wales. You can book onto a registered training course or organise your own private one with any Trainer/Assessor (T/A). The course will be advertised similar to this:
Level 2 Training [region] (cave/mine)
The course will be run over a minimum of 2 days with possible evenings or can be extended to longer for more in depth SRT and tyrolean training. I do occasionally run split courses spread out for those that have little time off in blocks.
There are no quantitative prerequisites for attending a L2 training course but a candidate is required to have ‘considerable’ vertical experience (as evidenced by logbook or other vertical awards) and the ability to ascend a descend a single rope (or even better, be SRT competent). Minimum experience levels allow for the trainer to concentrate on the more advanced skills of a vertical leader as opposed to using up the course time teaching the basics of personal progression and knot tying. The more you know in advance of the course, the more can be taught to you. Speak to a T/A if you are unsure if you are ready for L2 training.
Remember, you only need to be L1 trained to do your L2 training. Progress through the scheme is perhaps easier for those who concentrate on gaining L1 before L2 but the L2 training can be seen as a course in it’s own right for those simply wishing to update their personal skills for personal trips or club activities. Your training course never expires.

2. Level 1 Qualified
Before you can progress to Level 2 assessment, you must be fully qualified as either a Level 1 Cave Leader or Level 1 Mine Leader (or both).

3. Gaining Experience
Fill in your logbook after every underground trip. Gain experience at and beyond the level of the award. Enjoy your caving and expand your skill set. You should not present yourself for assessment until you have a minimum of:
1 year or more of caving/mining experience
Completed Level 1 Award
An additional 30 logged trips in vertical environments beyond the L1 prerequisites
5 of which should be defined as Quality Trips
Some should be as a leader under supervision
Some can be beyond the level of the Level 2 award
Personal SRT competence if undertaking Module 5

4. Module 3 Assessment
This is your Vertical Core Skills assessment and will be a check over of your personal and group ropework skills.
Mod 3 assessments can involve 1 or 2 candidates and can be combined with the Module 5 SRT Leader bolt on if required. Most Mod 3 & 5 assessments will be 1:1 or involve very long days out with 2 candidates.
The T/A who did your Level 2 training cannot assess this module. Once complete, you have 12 months to undertake the Module 4 assessment. There is no time restriction for adding Module 5.
If you want tyroleans or group abseiling on your final award, you must notify the assessor when you book.

I will provide you with a homepaper once you have booked your assessment and I will require that back a minimum of 1 week before your assessment date.
I will set the venue and agenda for the day. You will require all your own personal caving kit and vertical equipment but I can provide all ropes.
Pass – move on to Module 4.
Defer – a small amount of written or verbal reassessment required at no additional cost if completed with myself within 30 days of original assessment.
Fail – a number of areas below par or a need to see you underground again. You will need to go away and consolidate before presenting for assessment again after an advised time. Can use another assessor.

5. Module 4 Assessment
This is your Vertical Group Day assessment with a real client group. I will be a shadow to you running a trip.
Assessments are 1:1 at this module. Your work schedule must allow for approx. 1 hour of debrief time if required after the assessment. You cannot use the same T/A for Mod 3 & 4 but can use the T/A who trained you.
I will require an annotated survey for each of the venues you wish to have listed on your certificate. The notes are only to involve vertical details for sites you already posses on your Level 1 certificate but will need a complete write up if a completely new venue is added. You are trying to demonstrate a deep knowledge of the venues you wish to lead in. List rope length, rigging diagrams and rescue options. Guidance is available on Downloads page.

You will need to organise an appropriate group (min 4 persons) to visit one of the harder venues on your intended list. You will need to organise the entire session/day including equipment. If you do not have access to kit then please speak to me as I may be able to help. A guidance document can seen on the Downloads page.
Pass – LCMLA award issued.
Defer – Some verbal or written task required to complete assessment.
Fail – Any cause for assessor to step in during day or need to see candidate underground with a group again. Can use another assessor.

6. Module 5 SRT for Leader
An L2 award can be upgraded at any time to include SRT for Leader. The SRT skills component of the L2 award is completely optional. Without this module you are not permitted to use SRT skills with a group but must progress via ladder and abseil also. The module only covers SRT for you, not the clients. To lead SRT trips you will need to be CIC qualified.
Module 5 can be assessed at the same time as Module 3 or on its own anytime after Mod 3 is assessed. You may not use SRT skills on your Module 4 Vertical Group Day unless already Mod 5 assessed.
Stand alone Mod 5 assessments typically take place over a part day.

7. Improvised Tyrolean Module
Your L2 or CIC award can be upgraded to include this module and it can be assessed at the same time as Mod 3 and 5. This module on it’s own would take a part day to complete. Combining Mod 3, 5 & this module is possible, but will be a long day + evening.

Converting awards from Cave to Mine or vice versa
A Level 2 Cave award can be converted to include Mines (or a L2 Mine award to include Cave) by undertaking a Module 6 transfer day. You do not need to re-complete the L2 assessment process in cave and mine. It is simply a 1 day remit transfer.