Ask Cavers: What are Your Tips for Inexperienced Cavers?

November 7, 2012
Shining a Bright Light into Someone's Eyes isn't Nice

Shining a Bright Light into Someone’s Eyes isn’t Nice.

Going caving with new people can be a rewarding experience, however the prospect of heading underground with inexperienced people can present challenges.

Knowledge and skills that may seem common knowledge to veterans may be a totally new way of thinking for folks new to the experience of being underground.

This week we want to know what tips you would give to inexperienced cavers who have little or no experience underground?

Tell us your tips in the comments below.

Last Week’s Ask Caver Results

Mountain biking, canoeing, climbing and hiking appeared to be the most popular outdoor activities mentioned in the responses to last week’s poll.

Thanks for all responses!

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Comments (10)

  1. David
    November 8, 2012 at 10:30 am

    If you feel you are about to lose your balance, do not reach out with your arms for something to grab onto. This will likely result in either a broken formation or a broken wrist. Instead, immediately bend your knees and crouch as low as you can. Bring your butt right down behind your heels. This lowers your center of gravity, making it easier to regain your balance. Also, if you do fall, you don’t have a far to fall from the crouch position.

  2. Steve S
    November 8, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I lead a lot of trips with first time cavers through a meetup i belong to. And besides the standard 3 sources of light, warm clothes, dont touch formations, never go alone etc, I really stress WNS education and decon protocol.

  3. November 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    The first rule of caving is to know your limitations. You learn them only by trial and error, so push yourself hard when you have the protection of accompanying, experienced cavers to protect and mentor you. Once you know your limitations, then work to lessen them by pushing harder still. Don’t ever stop pushing your envelope!

  4. November 8, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Cave with somebody fatter than you are, that way if they fit you know that you’ll have no problem!

    • Caving News
      November 8, 2012 at 9:46 pm

      That’s a really great idea.

  5. Dave Brumbaugh
    November 9, 2012 at 12:21 am

    Don’t touch anything that looks like it’d be nice to touch.

  6. Paul
    November 11, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Keep cave locations secret. Don’t share them with anyone but me.

  7. gregorio
    November 13, 2012 at 3:59 am

    If someone starts having a panic attack in a cave, giving them a hard open-fisted smack in the face only seems to make it worse.

  8. raz ben-yair
    November 13, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    If someone shouts “rocks!” don’t look up

  9. Zena
    June 26, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Walking and climbing are 2-D experiences, caving is 3-D, the best hold might be behind you! Also the rock is there to help, the more of you that is touching it, the less you’re likely to slip. Getting nervous people to spot others and help each other can bring them out of their fear by helping them concentrate on someone/something else. Often just seeing the inside of a cave for the first time and sitting with lights out can be more than enough for a nervous first-time caver! Having flexible and low objectives helps them not feel pressured to do more than they can cope with – save the sumps til later!

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