Guided caving?

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Guided caving?

Postby dep » Oct 15, 2012 8:09 pm

I'm looking to find a cave system that is very dark and involves climbing/repelling and belaying to navigate. The more it resembles the film "The Descent" the better (as far as geology). I'm also looking for this to be guided. Any information would be much appreciated! Also if there is anything like this in the Mideast US.
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Re: Guided caving?

Postby Squirrel Girl » Oct 15, 2012 8:24 pm

Welcome to CaveChat, dep.

I'm not sure I understand your quest. Virtually any cave that's more than a few 10s of feet long will be completely dark (commercial caves aside). It's not uncommon to have climb where you might rappel/prussik. It's very unusual to do belaying for free climbing in caves.

What is that you're looking for, geologically speaking? Most caves are formed in limestone, and except for a few sandstone shelter caves, pretty much all the caves in the midwest are limestone.

The typical way that newbies learn about caving is for them to join their local "grotto" (caving club). Here's a link to these clubs (chapters of the NSS).
http://www.nssio.org/Find_Grotto.cfm
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Re: Guided caving?

Postby NZcaver » Oct 15, 2012 8:36 pm

I'd suggest doing an online search for commercial caves in your region that offer guided adventure tours (sometimes called "wild caving" or "spelunker" tours).
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Re: Guided caving?

Postby UnderGroundEarth » Oct 16, 2012 7:30 am

If you are interested in being guided by real cavers go to:

http://cavenow.com/
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Re: Guided caving?

Postby submassabielle » Oct 16, 2012 2:49 pm

If you are totally new to caving, I would second the suggestion to find a "wild caving tour." It would not likely have the vertical elements that you are looking for, but it is a very easy way to get a taste of real caving. I am not sure what is available in the mid-east, but the one at Jewel Cave in SD is great and I have heard that the one at Mammoth Cave is really good too.
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Re: Guided caving?

Postby Phil Winkler » Oct 16, 2012 3:17 pm

Where is the mideast? That's not a term I've heard before.
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Re: Guided caving?

Postby dep » Oct 16, 2012 6:23 pm

Thanks for the welcome!

I guess what I'm use to is cave diving and I'm looking to branch out into a cave system that is not submerged in water. I'd like to explore a cave that would involve climbing once inside to get to a new level, or descend, to a new level and continue forward. Maybe a portion would require dive gear to get to a new area due to water. As far as layout is concerned; movies that depict what I'm talking about are "The Cave", "The Descent", or "Sanctum".

You say that it's unusual to belay in caves, but you said that it's not uncommon to climb to where you might rappel. I guess I thought you'd belay to climb??

Any info on finding a cave resembling what I mentioned would be very helpful... I guess anywhere would help!
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Re: Guided caving?

Postby NZcaver » Oct 16, 2012 8:42 pm

It seems like you're looking for a specific experience. Are you planning to film or write about this? Just wondering.

FYI, traditional belaying of a climber is not so common in most caves but it does happen. Climbing in caves commonly means using mechanical ascenders to climb back up the rope(s) you used to rappel into the cave. Occasional free climbing (with no aid) and climbing with the aid of handlines and/or a safety ascender are also common in many caves.
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Re: Guided caving?

Postby Squirrel Girl » Oct 16, 2012 9:27 pm

dep wrote:Thanks for the welcome!

I guess what I'm use to is cave diving and I'm looking to branch out into a cave system that is not submerged in water. I'd like to explore a cave that would involve climbing once inside to get to a new level, or descend, to a new level and continue forward. Maybe a portion would require dive gear to get to a new area due to water. As far as layout is concerned; movies that depict what I'm talking about are "The Cave", "The Descent", or "Sanctum".

You say that it's unusual to belay in caves, but you said that it's not uncommon to climb to where you might rappel. I guess I thought you'd belay to climb??

Any info on finding a cave resembling what I mentioned would be very helpful... I guess anywhere would help!


No kidding? You're a cave diver? Me, too! I'm a moderator, also, on the Cave Diver's Forum ( http://www.cavediver.net/forum/forum.php ). Come on over and join us there, too!

So where are you located? I completely misread your "mideast US" as "midwest," I guess because I grew up in Iowa.

The others who made suggestions such as taking the wild/spelunking tour at a commercial cave had good points. They're a good place to start. They often have enough challenge to make them interesting, but then not too overwhelming for the general public. Some of them have rappelling, too, though probably not ascending. Depending on where you're located, Laurel Caverns, PA has a some good wild trips. I know the lady who works there and she's terrific. I first caught the cave bug by taking the wild tour at Mammoth Cave National Park, KY. Oh, yeah, I went on a wild trip at Jewel once, but it was at an NSS Convention, led by a geologist and not the park staff, but I'm pretty certain we took their wild tour route. It was a lot of fun. No vertical, though.

I wouldn't worry about achieving your perfect cave goal right away. Start with what's available to you. See what you think and keep working towards that goal. You can have a lot of fun along your way.
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Re: Guided caving?

Postby gindling » Oct 17, 2012 11:15 am

I would second the recommendation to contact http://cavenow.com/ Experienced guides that are experienced cavers.
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Re: Guided caving?

Postby dep » Oct 17, 2012 7:10 pm

I like that cave diving site! There is just too much to do and too much to see that's out there!

I'm going over all the recommendations that were given.

Has anyone ever seen the movies I listed, The Descent or The Cave? Just because that's what I'm really looking for...
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Re: Guided caving?

Postby UnderGroundEarth » Oct 18, 2012 7:37 am

dep wrote:Has anyone ever seen the movies I listed, The Descent or The Cave? Just because that's what I'm really looking for...


You might want to consider getting into acting then because what you are seeking is a fictional Hollywood movie set. The caves in those films are not real caves and were created just for those movies.
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Re: Guided caving?

Postby BenS » Oct 18, 2012 11:09 am

Or are they... :yikes: but seriously some of the locals that go into Pettyjohn's resemble the creatures on The Descent!
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Re: Guided caving?

Postby Squirrel Girl » Oct 18, 2012 12:11 pm

UnderGroundEarth wrote:
dep wrote:Has anyone ever seen the movies I listed, The Descent or The Cave? Just because that's what I'm really looking for...


You might want to consider getting into acting then because what you are seeking is a fictional Hollywood movie set. The caves in those films are not real caves and were created just for those movies.


I can't speak to "The Descent" but some friends of mine filmed "The Cave." Yes, a lot of the scenes were filmed in a fiberglass tank. They sandwiched in some beautiful U/W scenes from Mexico, too.
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Re: Guided caving?

Postby KENTO » Oct 23, 2012 2:56 pm

Hoping you are looking to find interesting rock layers and descents like in those movies, can't say you are likely to find one with weird little blood sucking Bat monsters and gnomes.
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