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If you are new to caving as sport, this section should help your initial caving experiences be safer and more enjoyable. Information is provided on:

Icon: Caving helmet and light

Caving Organizations. Caving is not a solo sport. Connections with other cavers are important for getting the training needed for safe caving, finding companions for trips, and learning where caves are located. For more information on how (and why) to get involved with other cavers visit the organized caving groups page.

Icon: Caving helmet and light

Caving Technique. Most non-technical caving techniques are learned from other, experienced cavers underground, but there are a few basics to keep in mind when starting out. Peruse the basic caving technique page for a few tips.

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Caving Equipment. doesn't have to be very fancy -- in fact old jeans and a sweatshirt will probably do quite well for your first few trips. There are, however, a few basic pieces of equipment (a helmet and three sources of light) that every caver should have. Check out recommendations for these and other optional equipment on the caving equipment page.

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Safety & Cave Conservation. Safe caving not only keeps you in one piece but also helps keep caves available for the rest of us. Conservation likewise preserves caves for future generations (and may keep you out of jail as well). Visit the cave safety and conservation pages in the Before You Go section for more information on why these issues should be important to you.


Spelunker or Caver?

The popular term for a person who explores caves as a sport or hobby in the United States is Spelunker, but you will find that experienced cavers will seldom refer to themselves as spelunkers, often reserving the term for inexperienced “flashlight” cavers. Like most other activities in life, caving has its own unique jargon to be learned and we will try to introduce some of the more common as we we come across them here (there are of course international variations as well, but we’ll leave that to your own exploration).

For another, more elaborate viewpoint check out Jo Schaper's discussion on the difference between a spelunker, a speleologist, and a caver .

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  Copyright 2002-2004, Bob Robins
  Last Updated: August 9, 2005