Trudging in hollow and mystic caverns as uncertain adventures await; thrill seekers call this extreme adventure sport ‘Caving’. Commonly referred to as potholing or spelunking, caving is an outdoor recreational activity of exploring wild cave systems.
A Complete absence of light past the entrance, a maze–like interior and unknown terrains inside a cave make it a dangerous yet thrilling sport. Caving is considered an extreme adventure because dangers like falling rocks, physical exertion, flooding or even animals lurk in caves. These underground chambers in hills or mountains are like the natural versions of houses with rocks which serve as walls, tunnels and hollow pockets which are similar to rooms. An expedition into caves is sure to leave you fascinated and in awe as these alluring structures unveil the secrets hidden deep in them. Here is the beginners guide to caving.
Every adventure sport has its set of gears and it is highly essential to be armed and equipped with it. Caving gear include
- Hard hats or helmets shield the head from bumps and falling rocks.
- Flashlight which is usually attached to the helmet is a perfect choice as they leave the hands free for a better grip.
- Wellington boots or hiking boots, ideal to the nature of the cave must be chosen.
- Depending on the environment of the cave, clothing is selected.
- Over suits are generally worn on the clothes, similar to suits used for mining.
- Ropes for descending and ascending
- Caving may require climbing equipment like belays, slings and carabiners or even picks.
- Gloves and mittens are optional and suit only certain type of caves.
- Knee pads in case the ceiling is low and crawling are necessary.
Safety & Precaution
It is important to follow few guidelines while caving especially in the case of unfamiliarity of the terrain inside a cave. Certain ‘Must Dos’ are:
- Always go caving in groups and with experienced people.
- Thoroughly research about the terrain of the caves before setting out
- Invest time in learning the basics of caving.
- Training and skill is highly necessary to adapt one’s body to caving.
- Stick to your group and avoid wandering away as the cave can be tricky.
- Light backups and extra batteries are necessary as caves are pitch-dark.
- While camping in a cave, carry provisions for cooking and sleeping.
- First Aid Kit for snake bites and fungal infections might be handy.
- Notify people outside the cave about the approximate return time.
- Backpack with medicine, water and food.
Best Places in the World to go Caving
Many locations around the world offer this unusual yet fascinating sport. Some of the best–caving destinations are
- Werfen Ice Caves, Salzburg, Austria
- Caverns of Sonora, Texas
- Oregon Caves National Monument, Oregon
- Lehman Caves, Nevada
- Harrison’s Cave, Barbados, Caribbean Islands
- Phong Nha Cave, Vietnam
- Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
- Carlsbad Caverns, Guadeloupe Mountains, Mexicol Congo Caves, South Africa
- Waitomo Glowworm Cave, New Zealand