How did you get started caving?

Caves and caving, beginning caving, joining the NSS, etc.

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Re: How did you get started caving?

Postby BrianFrank » Oct 28, 2016 11:35 pm

From Atlanta and live in Atlanta, but went to college in a town called Collegedale, TN, just outside of Chattanooga. This was in the late 80's. Classmates invited me to cave with them and I instantly fell in love with the sport. On the college property were two caves we wore out, one called the Potato cave and another about 100 yards away next to Little Debbie factory that we never heard the name of. The third cave that I was introduced to was in the Grindstone Mountain through a trailer park a few miles away. Next cave was Howard's Waterfall cave and we thought that one was huge (ha ha). The fourth during that time we explored was Wonder Cave on Hwy. 24. We paid the son or nephew of the owner to take us on a wild tour. It was notable because we actually came out the back of Wonder through a short (3 to 4 feet) sump. Pretty scary at the time, but in reality, it was not even a swim. It was dunk your head and go under water a few seconds and your out. I was hooked after that.
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Re: How did you get started caving?

Postby BrianFrank » Oct 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Forgot to mention, read the book The Longest Cave by Roger W. Brucker after my first caving trip and that book sealed my passion.
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Re: How did you get started caving?

Postby Phil Winkler » Nov 16, 2016 11:53 am

For my 14th birthday my father took me to Chrystal Cave near Kutztown PA due to my interest in geology and mineralogy. But, living on the Eastern Shore of MD meant no local caves. When I was assigned to Ft Leonard Wood in the Army in 1969 I went to the Rolla School of Mines bookstore and bought a copy of J. Harlan Bretz' "Caves of Missouri", went tot eh Pep Boys in Waynesville and bought 2 carbide lamps and helmets, talked an Army buddy in going with me and off I went exploring MO caves. Being assigned 3 times to Alabama didn't hurt either.
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Re: How did you get started caving?

Postby CaverScott » Nov 16, 2016 1:42 pm

Phil Winkler wrote:.... Being assigned 3 times to Alabama didn't hurt either.
:big grin: :big grin:
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Re: How did you get started caving?

Postby captnemo » Dec 19, 2016 2:43 pm

I may have mentioned this before but I didn't see a post about it so here it is;
While going through some slides my Dad gave me to scan in I found a pic of my Mom holding a bundle in Timpanogos, my first cave trip at two months old!
Ric and I managed to visit the same spot on our way to Convention in 2011and he took a picture of me.
https://captnemo.smugmug.com/Caving/Caving/NSS-convention-2011-Colorado/i-bmLwKSKImage
When I was around ten or so my Friends and I began exploring caves in Malawi using candles. During one such trip I found a pile of bones, looked like something had fallen in and then a rock fall partially covered it. I grabbed a long bone and we walked home while I swung it around. My Mother spotted me and ran out and took it away. Turned out it was a human femur! Folks at the University determined it was too old to be of any interest to police but not old enough to be of archeological interest so I imagine it's in a drawer somewhere.
Fast forward a couple of decades and I ran into the strange group called the Mother Lode Grotto https://captnemo.smugmug.com/search#q=MLG&i=0 the rest as they say is history :)
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How did you get started caving?

Postby Ernie Coffman » Dec 19, 2016 11:37 pm

Well, Scott opened up a can of worms...and a good can they are! Great stories. My first part of caving was when I was a little guy, digging our own cave, above Temescal Creek, which was a pretty deep creek, near Grove and 47th Street in Oakland, CA. I'm not sure whether that "cave" fell in on us or not, but for some reason I started doing other things. Probably had something to do with girls. :laughing:

Long story short, my next episode with caving was brought on by a "ham" operator who invited me to go caving, since he learned about "caving" from one of the other ham operators, who explained all about what caving was all about. Next thing I know I was riding in their car and eventually being blindfolded, as they told me they didn't want me to know where this area was that they were taking me to, since caves were precious, so they said. And, from here, I learned all about caving/spelunking and started reading Haliday's book and then other books that I could learn more about caves, etc. I had basic background in rock climbing, so everything seemed to go into focus with me.

Next thing I know I was going down into the bowels of the earth on a rope ladder wit h a safety around my chest. Made friends with the caretaker and one thing led to another, so we learned where more caves were and more, so the next thing I remember is that I joined a grotto--Same as what Scott was involved with, SFBC. Met George Moore, the president of the NSS; and, from him, I gained a lot of knowledge on caving. At the '76 Convention, I learned about SRT and how easy it was vs. climbing on a rope ladder. The people that got me into caving weren't interested in SRT, so eventually I formed a grotto--Diablo--and caving continued to blossom more and more. Those who got me into caving disappeared out of caving, totally! :shrug:

And, then to bring this to closure, there was Ron from CT and Scott from AL and I jawing on food and drinking beer at one of the restaurants in Ely, NV this past summer. :kewl:
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Re: How did you get started caving?

Postby CaverScott » Dec 20, 2016 7:27 pm

Ernie Coffman wrote:

And, then to bring this to closure, there was Ron from CT and Scott from AL and I jawing on food and drinking beer at one of the restaurants in Ely, NV this past summer. :kewl:


All by accident too! Thanks for letting me join your table!
:popcorn:
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Re: How did you get started caving?

Postby Steven Johnson » Dec 20, 2016 8:27 pm

Ernie Coffman wrote:Next thing I know I was riding in their car and eventually being blindfolded, as they told me they didn't want me to know where this area was that they were taking me to, since caves were precious, so they said... Next thing I know I was going down into the bowels of the earth on a rope ladder wit h a safety around my chest. Made friends with the caretaker and one thing led to another


Which cave was this? Trying to think of likely Northern CA suspects that require rope ladder and have/had caretakers...
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Re: How did you get started caving?

Postby ohiocaver » Dec 22, 2016 1:34 pm

Although primarily a rock climber, I got started when a climbing weekend got rained out and a friend suggested we go caving. Although I'd been in commercial caves like Luray and MCNP (I fondly recall the boat trip and dinner in the Snowball Room; and I'm still amazed every time I go down there and the little old locomotive still is on display), I had no idea what to expect from wild caving. At some point, the grotto members decided my climbing skills were valuable in pushing high leads...and I was hooked. Now, I'm that old guy who tells the young pups, "Go check out where that lead ends up." :cavingrocks:
[url=http://postimg.org/image/lex35gcbv/][img]http://s9.postimg.org/lex35gcbv/curt_Bryants_Cave_Indiana.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=http://postimg.org/image/eta4ctvar/][img]http://s21.postimg.org/eta4ctvar/cn_oh_isl_coils_cave_curt_sketch.jpg[/img][/url]
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