What Skills Do I need to Learn?

This section will give you a simple checklist of skills you should develop for each major type of caving. You will develop most of these skills by actively participating in cave trips with more experienced cavers and watching how they move. Of course, you will also learn what not to do by making mistakes and suffering a few bumps and bruises along the way. The book Cave Exploring provides some step-by-step advice for moving past obstacles. Other books can be found in the links section.

Basic Caving

First, we need to cover the basic rules of all caving:

  • Never explore alone; a team of three should be the minimum
  • Always carry at least three sources of light
  • Always let someone on the surface know where you are going and when you plan to be back
  • Always double-check your gear before going into a cave
  • Never go caving under the influence of alcohol or any substance which may impair your judgment

For most caving, you will be using a combination of climbing and hiking techniques to move. You will also be re-learning how to crawl and will be figuring out how to move your body through spaces of varying sizes and shapes. Skills you should know.

  • Proper stoopway techniques
  • Basic hands-and-knees crawl
  • Belly crawling
  • How to move through a squeeze
  • Chimneying; climbing up a vertical crack or a passage whose walls are close together
  • How to read a cave map

Vertical Caving

Vertical caving is any type of caving that requires ropes and climbing gear to explore. >> More

Wet Caving

Many caves contain streams, rivers and waterfalls. In order to explore them safely, you need specialized gear and skills. >>More

Cave Diving

Cave diving involves using scuba equipment to explore caves that are completely filled with water. There are several advanced certifications required before you should attempt to explore underwater caves. Never explore water-filled caves or passages without proper advanced training. >>More

The Online Guide to Cave Exploring