Vertical Section

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The Vertical Section is an Internal Organization (I/O) of the National Speleological Society. Most vertical caves require rope work, and the Vertical Section convenes cavers with an interest in vertical caving. The purpose of the Section is to educate and train cavers in safe, efficient vertical caving techniques. Specific Vertical Section goals are to:

  • Educate NSS members about vertical caving theory and practice.
  • Promote interest in the study of vertical caving techniques.
  • Encourage development of safe vertical caving techniques and their application in cave exploration.

Raymond Sira (1961 - 2022)

      The Vertical Section Executive Committee is saddened to announce that Ray Sira (age 60) passed away in an accident at his home on September 25, 2022.
      Ray served as our Secretary-Treasurer for the last 10 years.
Click Here for Details.

Bill Cuddington (1933 - 2022)

      The Vertical Section Executive Committee is saddened to announce that Vertical Bill Cuddington (age 88) passed away at his home at approximately 7:30 PM Central Daylight Time on Friday evening, August 5, 2022 after a long illness.
      Bill was a founding father of the NSS Vertical Section and its first President, serving from 1972 to 1976. He continued serving on the VSEC until his death.
Click Here for Details and Photos.

The Vertical Section is one of the largest I/Os of the NSS, and the Nylon Highway is the section's publication. The Section also develops training programs to help grottos conduct vertical classes involving consistent and current techniques.

Vertical cavers use techniques similar to those of mountaineers, but those techniques are adapted to the cave environment. Rope work can be hazardous and even deadly when rules are violated. The Vertical Section teaches those rules and helps cavers avoid disasters. Safe rope work cannot be learned by self-study or from a book alone. Only practice under the supervision of a competent, experienced instructor offers adequate training for the novice climber.

Be safe and get proper training before attempting rope work. Contact the Vertical Section's Education Coordinator for more information about training seminars, demonstrations, and practice sessions.

Additional information and/or Discussions can be found on the Vertical Section's forum on the NSS website forums at: The name of the forum is "On Rope!".

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions for this site,
e-mail Gary Bush at

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Pages Last Updated on October 21, 2022