The Northeastern Region
of the

presents a

Cave Rescue Operations and Management Seminar

June 11 - 19, 2021

Camp Pinnacle, Voorheesville, NY

Registration for a Regional Level 1 2021 seminar is now open!

NYS has relaxed its travel restrictions, so this seminar is open to anyone in the US. However, we are particularly encouraging folks in the NY/New England and surrounding states to participate.

We do encourage ALL participants to get their Covid vaccine if medically eligible.
In addition, be aware we reserve the right to require protocols we feel appropriate to reduce the risk due to Covid.
Students who complete the Regional Level 1 are welcome and encouraged to take Level 2 at the National: August 27th-Sept 4th.

Contact with any questions.
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About Seminar

The seminar consists of extensive classroom instruction and fieldwork in all phases of cave rescue including the underground environment, search problems, extrication techniques, patient evaluation and care, patient packaging, horizontal and vertical patient movement, rigging, hauling and lowering systems, communication systems, and the organization and management of cave rescue operations. Students typically include cavers, emergency services personnel, and emergency managers. The Seminar is physically demanding and participants must be in good physical health. Students should be prepared to work in difficult situations, both above and below ground.

Seminar Costs

Seminar Registration:
Now until April 30th, 2021$750.00
May 1st, 2021 till June 4th, 2021$780.00
After June 4th, 2021Closed

Seminar Registration:
Now until April 30th, 2021$750.00
May 1st, 2021 till June 4th, 2021$780.00
After June 4th, 2021Closed

June 1st, 2020 until April 30th, 2021$25.00
May 1st, 2021 till June 4th, 202125%
After June 4th, 2021No Refunds

Additional Options:
Additional meal/lodging plan$450.00
Manual of US Cave Rescue Techniques 3rd Edition$40.00
Event Shirt (XXL + $2.00)$20.00

Seminar Scholarships

The NCRC awards scholarships to help provide financial assistance for those students otherwise unable to attend. For this year, there are 4 scholarships available for $375 each. To be considered, you must submit a scholarship request that includes completing the scholarship application, a caving resume, two letters of support from NSS members, and a cover letter describing your financial need and how training would benefit the caving community in your area. Letters from Grotto Officers and leaders in the caving community will be given the most weight.
Please click here to download the application. You can email for more details.

If you were already awarded a scholarship from your 2020 scholarship application, it will be honored at this seminar.

Available Courses

Space is limited and registration is first come first served.

LEVEL 1 teaches current cave rescue and emergency management techniques, and provides instruction in cave environment, medical considerations, basic rope work, litter rigging and transport, and the Incident Command System (ICS). It is specifically designed to meet the various needs of agency personnel with little or no cave-related experience, and cavers with little or no rescue or medical experience. Level 1 prepares students to function as cave rescue task force members.

OPTIONAL VERTICAL WORKSHOP is an optional opportunity for students to practice personal single rope technique (SRT) skills prior to entry testing, and to prepare for a more productive NCRC experience. Build and adjust a safe, functional climbing system; fit and fine-tune an existing system; work on ascending techniques; and practice changeovers. This optional session is open to all registered students. It will be held the evening of Friday, June 12, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Any student not absolutely confident in their personal SRT skills should plan to participate in this workshop.

Pending Courses

None at this time.

Course Prerequisites

Seminar Prerequisites apply to all students along with the applicable course specific prerequisites. Students must review both sets of prerequisites carefully.

Seminar Prerequisites

NSS Membership: All students must be active members of the National Speleological Society (join online at

NCRC Manual: All students are required to have a copy of the Manual of US Cave Rescue Techniques, 3rd Edition (either 2.0 or 2.1).

Liability Waiver All students must complete a liability waiver prior to particiating in the Seminar.

Personal Equipment All students must attend with all required personal equipment in safe, usable condition and marked to identify the owner. Equipment deemed unsafe or unacceptable during check-in must be replaced prior to the student’s continued participation in the course. (More details are available in the Student Preparation Guide under the course-specific prerequisites.)

Climbing HelmetThree Sources of LightBoots
Rugged ClothingSix Locking CarabinersDescent Device
Sewn Seat HarnessAscending SystemGloves
Water BottlesSmall, Heavy-Duty PackWatch, Paper, Pencil
2 - 20ft Pieces of WebbingOptional First Aid Kit

Age Restriction: Any prospective student under the age of 18 may be permitted to participate in the seminar, but must contact the registrar prior to registration concerning specific rules and restrictions.

Level 1 Prerequisites

Student Preparation Guide: The Level 1 Student Preparation Guide contains comprehensive information on the requirements for personal equipment, vertical systems, knots, and SRT. The guide also contains the testing/scoring criteria used in the entrance exams and is a must-read resource.

Knots and Hitches: Level 1 students must pass an entrance exam which includes demonstrating proficiency in the following basic knots and hitches commonly used in cave rescue:

Figure Eight on a BightFigure Eight Follow ThroughDouble Figure Eight
Bowline with safetyMunter HitchButterfly Knot
Clove Hitch with safetyTrucker's HitchRing Bend (water knot)
Double Overhand BendPrusik Hitch (3 wrap)Square Knot

SRT Skills: Level 1 students must pass an entrance exam which includes demonstrating proficiency in using single rope techniques to ascend and descend rope:

  • Ascend 10 meters
  • Change over to rappel
  • Desend roughly 7 meters
  • Demonstrate a hard lock off
  • Changeover to ascending
  • Downclimb to the ground

Retesting: Level 1 students who fail entry skills testing will be offered retraining and are allowed repeated tests per skill within the timeframe allotted to entry testing.

Course Certifications

NCRC certification is provided for students passing the written and skills tests for Level 1. NCRC certification is in accordance with NIMS Cave Search and Rescue Technician training requirements.

NIMS Typing:
Cave SAR Technician, Type 3NCRC Level 1

Seminar Location

The seminar is being held at Camp Pinnacle in Voorheesville, New York, located at 621 Pinnacle Rd, Voorheesville, NY 12186. The Camp is 30 minutes from Albany International Airport, the Albany Amtrak station, and the largest Walmart SuperCenter in the US (2 stories!). There are also plenty of other shopping and dining opportunities in the region all within 30 minutes, and 15 minutes to all locations in Vorheesville. See the Nearby Resources section for more information.

The weather in June in the Capital District area of New York is quite pleasant. The average highs are near 82F and lows around 60F with a daily chance of rain, so bring your rain gear! The camp is on top of the Helderburg Plateau which tends to be a bit cooler. Be prepared to hike to caves and above-ground training sites through vegetated areas with poison-ivy, ticks and mosquitoes. Long pants, short sleeve shirts, hats, sunscreen, bug repellent, sturdy boots, and plenty of water are recommended for comfort and safety.

The caves in the area range from dry and dusty to river passage and everything in between. The average cave temperature is approximately 50F with 100% humidity.

Meals and Lodging

Meals are included in the seminar registration and are provided from Saturday morning breakfast on June 12th through Saturday morning breakfast on June 19th. For those with specific dietary preference, special meal plans include: Vegetarian, Vegetarian Ovo Lacto, Vegan and Gluten Free (when medically-necessary). Additional medically-necessitated requests, such as food allergies, will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and accommodated if possible. They can be submitted during registration or confirmed in advance by contacting

Bunkhouse lodging is also included in the seminar registration and is available from Friday afternoon on June 11th through Saturday afternoon on June 19th. No on-site camping is available, and students preferring private rooms or other accommodations must make their own off-site arrangements. Linens are not included, but are available at an additional charge and can be selected at the time of registration. Linens include sheet, blanket, pillow, and towel.

With camp staff catering hearty meals, bunk-house sleeping arrangements, and hot running water for showers, Camp Pinnacle is a comfortable environment for training.

Additional meal/lodging plans are available for spouses and/or partners traveling with a student who are not participating in the training.

On-site Vendor

The local vendor Speleobooks may be onsite at the start of the seminar to help with your equipment and caving needs. While stock should be available to assist with most required equipment and other vertical system adjustments, significant orders should be placed in advanced to be picked up on-site. Please see for more information.

White Nose Policy

New York is a WNS positive region and all caves are contaminated with WNS. Decontamination is not required before or during the seminar, but decontamination stations will be available at the end of the seminar for those traveling outside the region. Gear used in caves during the seminar should not be used in any areas outside the WNS endemic area, even after decontamination. Decontamination will be pursuant to the National Protocol: National White-Nose Syndrome Decontamination Protocol - Version 09.13.2018

Arrival and Check-in

Students must arrive and register prior to the start of the seminar at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 12, 2021. On-site registration will be open on Friday evening and Saturday morning. Lodging, but not meals, is available starting Friday evening to facilitate arrival, check-in, the vertical workshop, and a full night sleep before the Seminar begins.

Nearby Resources

All locations that are within 15 minutes are close together in or around Vorheesville. All locations that are around 25-30 minutes are located in close proximity on the Western edge of Albany. Driving to/from Albany will pass directly through Vorheesville. Driving to/from the Albany International Airport will pass through both the Albany and Vorheesville locations. The list below is only a sampling; google is your friend.





New York City is less than 3 hours away by either car or train, and you can still get underground even though they might not be caves. If you can make it there...

The Gunks (Shawangunk Mountains) are 1.5 hours away and are one of the major rock climbing areas in North America. It is also known for beautiful hikes, including day hikes at the Mohonk Mountain House

The Catskills (Catskill Mountains) are 1.5 hours away and are known for beautiful hikes on its thirty-five peaks over 3500'. Also home to the Devil's Path

The Dacks (Adirondack Mountains) are 2.5 hours away and have fourty-six peaks over 4000' and some very rewarding hikes and more committed backcountry style climbing.

The 1000 Islands are 3.5 hours away and are home to lighthouses, historic castles, maritime museums, fishing, diving, quant shopping, dining, and other family-friendly attractions.

Niagara Falls is 4.75 hours away, and you can go on the Cave of the Winds tour to see a cave which no longer exists, although the falls still do.

Seminar Registration:

  • Intensive initial training (or refresher) of core fundamentals to operate as a team member at a cave rescue. Price includes Room and Board.

    Please note you are registering for the REGIONAL seminar in June.

  • Additional meal/lodging plan for any non-student traveling with a registered student.

    Please note you are registering for the REGIONAL seminar in June.

  • Workshop is held the Friday Evening prior to the beginning of the seminar. Normally begins at 7:00 pm The workshop is recommended for all participants.

Registration Prerequisites:

Each student is required to attend training with a copy of the Manual of US Cave Rescue Techniques, 3rd Edition (either 2.0 or 2.1)

I agree that I will follow protocols that may be put in place to keep all participants safe. This may include the wearing of masks, daily health interviews, or other protocols that New York State, Albany County, Camp Pinnacle, the NSS (National Speleological Society) or others having jurisdiction may require.

Student Information:

Emergency/Medical Information:

Additional Purchases:

  • Event shirt

    Event shirt

  • Manual of US Cave Rescue Techniques 3rd Edition

    Manual of US Cave Rescue Techniques 3rd Edition

    You will pick up the manual at the time of your check-in at the Seminar. If you want the Manual shipped, it is available for $50 + shipping from the NSS bookstore.

    $40.00 ea.

  • Linens


    Linens include a sheet, blanket, pillow, and towel.

    $25.00 ea.


Release of Liability:

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