Unit of competency details

SISOCVE304A - Apply laddering skills (Release 3)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by SISOCVE002 - Descend and ascend ladders in cavesNot equivalent. Title changed. Significant changes to performance criteria and knowledge evidence. 10/Sep/2019
Supersedes and is equivalent to SROCVE006A - Apply laddering skillsE Updated and equivalent to SROCVE006A Apply laddering skills 06/Jun/2011

ReleaseRelease date
3 (this release) 06/Mar/2013
(View details for release 2) 28/Nov/2011
(View details for release 1) 07/Jun/2011


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 092101 Sport And Recreation Activities  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 092101 Sport And Recreation Activities  18/Nov/2011 
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Modification History

The release details of this unit are in the table below. The latest information is at the top.




Editorial update.

Unit Descriptor

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to apply specific laddering skills for use in caving situations. Other related competencies, such as navigation, are defined in other units.

Application of the Unit

This unit applies to those working as caving guides or instructors either autonomously or as part of a team, in familiar and unfamiliar situations within a range of natural cave locations with simple obstacles and vertical single pitches that may require the use of a ladder.

This unit also applies to outdoor recreation leaders working for outdoor education or adventure providers, volunteer groups, not-for-profit organisations or government agencies.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

No licensing, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.



Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements and Performance Criteria



Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

1. Select, fit and use laddering equipment.

1.1. Identify and fit personal equipment  to ensure comfort and safety.

1.2. Tie knots  suitable to the belay system.

1.3. Check all equipment to ensure satisfactory working order according to manufacturer's specifications, relevant legislation  and organisational policies and procedures .

2. Demonstrate laddering technique.

2.1. Apply correct posture and technique for descending and ascending a ladder.

2.2. Negotiate vertical laddering obstacles  and avoid or remove pitch hazards  using a range of laddering techniques in a controlled and safe manner.

2.3. Apply techniques for resting on a ladder pitch.

2.4. Use communication systems to implement safety systems.

2.5. Identify and apply strategies  to reduce risk and environmental damage while laddering according to relevant legislation.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • problem-solving skills to:
  • identify and safely negotiate cave features, obstacles and hazards while laddering
  • safely descend and ascend single pitch vertical drops
  • minimise damage to the environment during laddering
  • planning and organising skills to source and allocate equipment to enable safe laddering
  • communication skills to use established communication system while laddering to ensure safe descent and ascent
  • first aid and emergency response skills appropriate to the location to enable initial response to emergencies and personal health care.

Required knowledge 

  • legislation and organisational policies and procedures to enable the safe conduct and minimal impact of all laddering activities
  • equipment characteristics and technology used for single pitch laddering in caves, and factors affecting appropriate care, selection, use and maintenance of equipment
  • different types of caves and associated features, obstacles, hazards, risks, and how to apply minimal impact techniques
  • safety procedures, such as communication and belay systems used by participants
  • laddering techniques and procedures, such as descending and ascending a ladder and resting on a ladder pitch
  • emergency procedures and potential hazards relevant to the location to ensure risk minimisation to self and others.

Evidence Guide

The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the following is essential:

  • selects and fits personal equipment and carries out safety checks to ensure effective working order
  • uses a range of equipment and knots to negotiate ladder pitches with a variety of obstacles and hazards
  • communicates with other participants to monitor safety and progress throughout the laddering activity.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure application of multiple laddering techniques for descending and ascending a ladder pitch in caving environments that reflect local conditions to demonstrate competency and consistency of performance.

Assessment must also ensure access to:

  • laddering and belaying equipment
  • a suitable caving environment with the potential for rigging ladders and belays.

Method of assessment 

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

  • observation of descending and ascending a ladder in a single pitch caving context
  • oral or written questioning to assess knowledge of legislation and organisational policies to ensure minimal environmental impact and appropriate use of equipment
  • observation of negotiating hazards and obstacles
  • observation of using suitable communication system during laddering and or belaying
  • third-party reports from a supervisor detailing performance.

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

  • SISOCVE303A Rig a ladder pitch.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Personal equipment  may include:

  • helmet
  • harness
  • caving ladders
  • cow tails and safety lines
  • prussic cords
  • caving lights
  • ropes
  • rigging
  • karabiners
  • maillons
  • mechanical ascenders
  • belay devices
  • clothing and footwear.

Knots  may include:

  • end-of-rope knots
  • mid-rope knots
  • friction knots
  • stopper knots
  • rope joining knots

Relevant legislation  may include:

  • occupational health and safety
  • permits or permission for access
  • environmental regulations.

Organisational policies and procedures  may include:

  • occupational health and safety
  • use, maintenance and storage of equipment
  • communication protocols
  • minimal impact environmental and caving codes
  • Australian Speleological Federation Codes and Guidelines
  • code of ethics.

Obstacles  may include:

  • rope and ladder tangles
  • ladder caught on rock projections
  • broken or damaged rungs
  • vertical squeezes and overhangs.

Hazards  may include:

  • water pools and streamways
  • falling rocks, water, debris and or gear
  • abrasion points
  • sharp edges
  • loose clothing and hair
  • strong cave breezes

Strategies  may include:

  • top and bottom belays
  • self belays
  • use of cows tails and other safety connectors to the safety rope or belay anchors.

Unit Sector(s)

Outdoor Recreation

Competency Field