Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Recreation/Caving

General Conference
See also Caving - Advanced
Skill Level 2
Year of Introduction: 1973

1. Know at least three light sources for caving and the importance of having extra light supplies and backup lights. Have an experienced person in caving show you how a carbide light works.


All primary light sources should be head-mounted so that hands are free to be used.

  • LED Headlamp
  • Flashlight (Helmet mounted)
  • Candle (Emergency Heat and Light Source)
  • Acetylene Gas Headlamp (Carbide)
  • Light Stick (Emergency Use)
  • Incandescent Headlamp

It is extremely important to have at least three sources of light in case a light fails. Your primary and secondary light should be able to be head mounted, but it is best if all three light sources can be head mounted.

If you do not know an experienced caver, see requirement 3 for a link to a list of local caving clubs.

2. List all equipment needed for a successful caving trip excluding vertical equipment and start putting together your own set of equipment.


Horizontal Caving

  • Helmet
  • Headlamp
  • Gloves
  • Pack for Extra Supplies and Equipment
    • Candle
    • Lighter or Matches
    • 20 ft of Tubular Webbing
    • 50 Gallon Trash Bag
    • Extra Lights
    • Extra Batteries for all lights
  • Proper Clothing (Caves are approx. 13°C )
    • Long Sleeves
    • Long Pants
    • Sturdy Shoes

Vertical Caving

  • All of the above equipment, with the addition of:
  • Proper Descending Equipment (Rappel Rack)
  • Proper Harness
  • Proper Ascending Equipment (Ascenders - varies by climbing system)
  • Backup Ascenscion Equipment (Prusik Cords, etc.)
  • Proper Training and Knowledge of Vertical Techniques

3. Locate an experienced caver and join that person in exploring at least three relatively easy caves accumulating a total of ten hours of actual caving time.


Contact the local chapter of the National Speleological Society to find a smart, experienced caver.

4. Keep a log of these explorations, noting date, cave locations, conditions, features, hours spent in each, names of other members in your party and trip leader's name.


It is best to write down information about your trip as soon after the trip as you can. Otherwise, you might forget some of the details. Compare notes with others who went on the trip. If everyone agrees with your data, it is likely to be more accurate.

5. Learn, know well and practice caving safety rules.


Never cave alone. A group of 3 or 4 is small enough to move quickly, yet big enough to allow flexibility in emergencies. If someone is injured, at least one person should stay with them while others go for help.

Make sure someone knows where you are going and when you are expected to return. Allow some leeway on return times since trips often take longer than expected, but having someone ready to call for help if your group is overdue is a wise precaution.

Move carefully in the cave. Uneven ground, low ceilings and pits make running and jumping dangerous. Climbs, crawls and rough terrain can make even a sprain a big problem for getting out of the cave.

Be aware of the nature of the caves you are visiting. For example, caves with streams may be prone to flooding and a sharp eye may need to be kept on the weather. Other caves require climbing skills or vertical equipment that you or others in your party may not have.

If you run out of light or become hopelessly lost get into a safe position and wait for help (you did tell someone where you were going didn't you?).

Know and practice the 7 Leave No Trace Principles

1. Plan ahead and prepare. 2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces. 3. Dispose of waste properly. 4. Leave what you find. 5. Minimize campfire impacts (absolutely NO fires inside a cave). 6. Respect wildlife. 7. Be considerate of other visitors.

6. Practice walking yourself up a steep slope by pulling yourself along a rope.


Pull yourself up a steep slope by using a rope with knots placed at intervals along the climb. Climb hand-over-hand moving your feet as you move your hands until you reach the top!

File:Assisted Rope Climb.gif

7. Describe several ways caves were used in Bible times.

  • Genesis 19:29-30
  • Genesis 23:17-19
  • Genesis 25:8-10
  • Genesis 49:29-33
  • Exodus 33:21-34:2
  • Joshua 10:15-19
  • Judges 6:2
  • 1 Samuel 22:1-2
  • 1 Kings 18:1-4
  • Psalm 142
  • John 11:38-40
  • Hebrews 11:36-38
  • Isaiah 2:19-21
  • Revelation 6:15-17

8. Participate in the mapping process of a small cave you have explored.


The mapping process is described in detail at

9. Know the names of at least five different speleothems and three cave-dwelling animals. Include in your report those you have observed while caving.



  • Dripstone is calcium carbonate in the form of stalactites or stalagmites
  • Stalactites are pointed pendants hanging from the cave ceiling, from which they grow;
  • Soda straws are very thin but long stalactites having an elongated cylindrical shape rather than the usual more conical shape of stalactites;
  • Helictites are stalactites that have a central canal with twig-like or spiral projections that appear to defy gravity;
  • Chandeliers are complex clusters of ceiling decorations;
  • Stalagmites are bluntly pointed mounds, often beneath stalactites;
  • Columns result when stalactites and stalagmites meet or when stalactites reach the floor of the cave;
  • Flowstone is sheetlike and found on cave floors and walls;
  • Draperies or curtains are thin, wavy sheets of calcite hanging downward;
  • Bacon is a drapery with variously colored bands within the sheet;
  • Rimstone dams, or gours, occur at stream ripples and form barriers that may contain water;
  • Stone waterfall formations simulate frozen cascades
  • Popcorn is small, knobby clusters of calcite;
  • Cave pearls are the result of water dripping from high above, causing small "seed" crystals to turn over so often that they form into near-perfect spheres of calcium carbonate;
  • Dogtooth spar are large calcite crystals often found near seasonal pools;
  • Frostwork is needle-like growths of calcite or aragonite;
  • Moonmilk is white and cheese-like;
  • Snottites have the consistency of "snot", or mucous;
  • ... and many more.

Cave Dwelling Animals

  • Troglobites, which are restricted to caves
Flatworms, Isopods, Amphipods, Eyeless cave shrimp, cave crayfish, bristletails, collembola, eyeless fish, cave beetles
  • Troglophiles, which live in caves and on the surface
Segmented worms, snails, copepods, spiders, phalangids, mites, pseudoscorpions, millipedes, cave crickets(Hadenoecus)
  • Trogloxenes, which regularly visit caves but can not complete their life cycles in subterranean environments.
Crickets, bats, pack rats, flies and gnats

10. Write a report of at least 500 words on ten or more hours of your caving experience and include all you have learned while carrying out the previous nine requirements.


Important items to note are cave ecology and cave conservation techniques. A 500 word report is not that long (about one page), so don't let that intimidate you. If you can survive the exploration of a cave, you can survive writing a 500-word report!



National Speleological Society

On Rope 1, Inc. - Caving Equipment and Techniques

Southeastern Cave Conservancy, Inc. - Southeastern Caving Group

Introduction to Caves & Caving