Caving, or spelunking, is an exhilarating sport for anyone with an interest in exploring the depths of the hidden underworld below the Earth’s surface. Caving pushes your limits and is the adventure of a lifetime.
Of course, like most adventurous activities, caving comes with plenty of dangers. It involves steep descents into the unknown, slippery surfaces to navigate and the risk of flooding.
If you are new to caving or want to give it a shot, make sure to take note of these safety tips before trying it out. They may save your life.
There is safety in numbers
Never, ever go caving alone. No matter how precautious you are, the risk of injury is always present, and no one will be able to assist you if you’re alone. There will be no one to climb up to surface to look for help.
The National Speleological Society recommends that you should have a group of four or five when caving. In the event of an injury, a team of two can head to the surface while another stays behind with the hurt party.
Know your own limits
Caves can be unforgiving, and small mistakes frequently have serious consequences. Beginners can still take up spelunking, as long as you keep within the limits of your skill set. You can train and learn new techniques above ground. Hundreds of feet underground is not the ideal place to try something new.
Have the proper equipment
Wear a helmet. You will not want to deal with a concussion when you are inside of a cave. It’s also a good idea to wear knee and elbow pads. Wear gloves to protect the cave formations, as oil from your skin can damage them.
Other essentials include flashlights with extra batteries, food and water, a first aid kit, and a bottle for urinating.
Stay warm down there
The cold and damp conditions in caves are a recipe for hypothermia. Wear synthetic materials instead of cotton, as they are more water resistant. Wear plenty of layers and make sure that your outer layer of clothing is abrasion-resistant.