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Route Severity Diagram

By S.J. Collins


Getting down to detail, it is possible to have many different types of constriction – as the tile of this part suggests.  Since all are forms of constriction, we use the basic sign for this throughout, but vary it as follows: -

If the passage is a RIFT, we use the basic constriction sign.  This will be a rift which is sufficiently narrow that you can’t quite travel down it without moving your shoulders sideways a bit.   If the rift gets very narrow and you have to squeeze sideways through it, it is shown with the constriction signs TOUCHING the other side of the passage.  Thus we have: -



Beds are shown with the basic constriction sign in BLACK.  Thus a bed which involves hands and knees crawling, or heavy stooping would be shown thus: -

………………while a flat out crawl type bed would be shown as a narrow bed like this: -

A DRAINPIPE is a passage which is constricted in both directions, so we draw both signs alternatively like this: -

…………and, of course, a tight drainpipe becomes…………

If we want to, we can show a passage which is very tight vertically and moderately tight horizontally like this: -

………….and equally well, the opposite……………

Localised squeezes are shown like this, for a vertical squeeze (rift type)…….

and similar signs for a short horizontal squeeze (bed type) and for a hole.

Bed type squeeze  

Tight hole   



Continuing our look at detail possible with the signs of the R.S.D., we saw at an earlier stage that we could combine the sign for tightness with that for a pitch to produce a tight pitch. A chimney is a vertical drainpipe, so we can show a chimney like this, if we need tackle (it might be fairly tight but still need tackle owing to smooth walls, widening drop underneath it etc.).

…………..or a climb up or down a tight chimney like this: -

If a pitch is only constricted in one dimension, we show it as a rift pitch – like the entrance pitch to Cuthbert’s and the sign is show below left, or for a tight rift pitch the sign is show below right.

to be continued.