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STARTERS GUIDE TO CAVING

STARTERS GUIDE TO CAVING

One of the simplest and easiest ways to try caving is to get out on an organised event alongside trained and qualified professionals. In addition, indoor climbing walls should give a clear indication about a person’s suitability for caving. Whilst this will be more physically intense than a beginner’s caving trip, it should sufficiently highlight participants’ overall strength and fitness levels, as well as their tolerance of heights and harnesses.

Physically, as with most outdoor activities, the better shape you are in the more you will get out of caving. But, you do not have to be ready to scale the Matterhorn to begin enjoying underground exploration. A typical cave trip will consist of walking on uneven terrain, crawling (and squeezing) through low passageways or tunnels, and climbing up or down into whatever rooms the cave may feature.

Equipment

Light – You should bring at least two lights with extra sets of batteries.

Backpack – Small backpack that can be easily removed

Helmet – One of the most important safety gear you can take with you in a cave. Because cave passageways are sharp and strong, you can harm yourself easily, this is why you should always wear a helmet.

Clothing – Make sure to dress appropriately for muddy and wet conditions. We recommend hiking boots, durable clothing, protective gloves and high quality climbing gear.

Water and food – Do not forget to take plenty of water. You should pack some nutrition bars, because they are calorie dense.

Safety

It is generally safe if you are caving, but there are still many threats to be aware of. You should never cave alone. Always be in a group of 4 to 6 people.

In case you get stuck in a crawl, do not panic, because your lungs will get filled with air and it will get impossible to move. Control your breathing and eventually you will gain some space to release yourself from the squeeze. Never take unnecessary risks!

Always make sure someone outside of the cave knows your plans. Leave him a mapped cave write out with your planned route and destination.

Tips

You should never cave alone, always have someone who is an experienced caver with yourself. Caving can be quite a social event, so having a group gives you power when it comes to safety.

Before you start caving, always prepare yourself mentally for caving environment, because it can get tight in there. You should ask yourself if you are okay with tight and dark spaces?

There are always two different paths. When you are exploring, it is recommended to turn around every now and then, because a cave always looks very different on the way back out of the cave.

Conservation

Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, and kill nothing but time.”

It may seem strange that cave networks that date back hundreds of thousands of years – with white water rushing through – could be damaged by something as seemingly inconsequential as breath, but that is exactly the case. The carbon dioxide in breath can – by increasing the calcium content in water – cause dissolution of cave features. Most formations found in a cave have taken hundreds of years to develop and even a careless nudge can destroy them. Remember to carry out your thrash outside and leave the wildlife alone.

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