LCMLA Level 2 Award

The Level 2 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 There is no additional geological or historical content at this level, you can think of the Level 2 as a technical bolt on to the Level 1 award.

Why 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). With additional Modules, it can be expanded to include SRT skills for the Leader and Tyrolean crossings. The technical skills covered at Level 2 Training are an excellent skills update to cavers, climbers and canyoners. The technical knowledge from this training can be easily transferred to other disciplines. Any candidate can attend a Level 2 Training once they are registered on the LCMLA scheme and have completed their Level 1 Training. You do not have to be Level 1 assessed to attent a Level 2 training.

Personal SRT skills (Single Rope Technique) are also covered on Level 2 training courses, giving a skills boost for all cavers and climbers. 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.

How to gain a Level 2 award

To achieve a Level 2 Award a candidate must do the following:

  1. Undertake an approved L2 training course. This can be extended to include the Tyrolean Module training or done seperately.
  2. Have already been assessed for their Level 1 Award before booking Level 2 assessment
  3. Gain experience and present this via a logbook
  4. Complete a Module 3 Vertical Core Skills assessment.
    Optional inclusion of the Tyrolean Module and/or Module 5 SRT Skills is possible at this stage.
  5. Complete a Module 4 Vertical Group Day assessment
  6. Choose to complete the optional Module 5 SRT for Leader and/or the Tyrolean Module technical bolt-on
  7. Hold a valid 1st Aid certificate (16hr + course) to keep your award valid


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. You can book onto any registered training course or organise your own private one with any Trainer/Assessor (T/A). The course will be advertised in one of the following formats:
Level 2 Training (2 or 3 days depending on the Trainer)
Level 2 Training including the Tyrolean Module (3 days)

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.

Be Level 1 Assessed

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).

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 you Level 1 Award
  • Gained 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
  • Have personal SRT competence if undertaking Module 5
  • Logged experience of running Tyroleans if undertaking the Tyrolean Module

Module 3 Assessment

This is your Vertical Core Skills assessment and will be a check over of your personal and group ropework skills.
Module 3 assessments may involve 1 or 2 candidates. 1 candidate can combine the Module 3 assessment with the Module 5 SRT Leader and/or Tyrolean Modules if required. 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 or the Tyrolean Module.

If booking your assessment with me, I will provide you with a home paper 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 underground kit and vertical equipment (including rescue kit) but I can provide all ropes.

The assessment syllabus can be seen on the Downloads page.

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.

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 after the assessment. You cannot use the same T/A for Mod 3 & 4 but can use the T/A who did your Level 2 training.

If booking a Module 2 assessment with me, 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 I will need to see a full 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 to visit one of the harder venues on your intended list. You will need to organise the entire session/day including equipment, insurance, transport etc.
If you do not have access to kit then please speak to me as I may be able to help.

The assessment syllabus can be 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.

Module 5 SRT for Leader

If not assessed at the same time as Module 3, your full Level 2 award can be upgraded to include the Module 5 SRT for Leader at any time. The training element of this module is delivered as a standard part of the Level 2 training course.
Without this module you are not permitted to use SRT skills whilst working with a group and must only progress via ladder and abseil. The module only covers SRT for you, not the clients. To lead SRT trips you will need to be CIC qualified.
Standalone Module 5 assessments typically take place over a part day.

The assessment syllabus can be seen on the Downloads page.

Tyrolean Module

If not assessed at the same time as Module 3, your full Level 2 award can be upgraded to include the Tyrolean Module at any time. You are required to have completed the Tyrolean Module training as part of your Level 2 training or as a standalone training course at another time.
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.

The assessment syllabus can be seen on the Downloads page.

Converting your Level 2 Cave award 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.

The assessment syllabus can be seen on the Downloads page.

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