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Caving

Luray Caverns, VA


Going on a caving trip?

Summary of what to bring:

  • Clothes to cave in and caving gear (see notes below on clothing, lights and helmets and other gear),
  • Clean clothes to change into (including footwear)
  • Garbage bag to put wet/muddy caving gear in
  • Small flashlight/headlight if you have one
  • Snacks/drink (include a candy or granola bar for in cave)
  • If camping or staying at the cabin you'll also need a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, perhaps a tent, more food/drink/money and anything else you require for an overnight.

Clothing:

There are two key messages about caving clothes:

  • Don't wear anything you care about -- it will get muddy, the mud will not come out.
  • Avoid cotton -- especially next to the skin, you will get cold.

Caves in NY are typically cold, muddy and damp (some are very wet and a wetsuit may be appropriate). You will enjoy the trip more and the party will be safer if you are warm. Polypropylene long underwear is very good if you have it. Wool or woolblend pants, shirts, and sweaters are also good. Remember to bring a FULL change of clothing including footwear and underwear for when you get out.

Lights and helmets:

Everyone must wear a helmet and the standard rule is "3 sources of light" for each person. Each person should plan on bringing two headlamps and backup batteries for each, as well as any third source of light you like. The club can provide helmets and both headlamps, as well as some little mag-lites for use as backup lights which require 2 "AA" batteries. If you have a suitable backup flashlight, please bring that (preferably on a cord which you can dangle around you neck). If you have a headlamp feel free to bring your own, along with a full set of backup batteries. If you are intending to use a club lights then you should bring 16 AA batteries (4 four the main headlamp, 4 for the backup headlamp, and a second set of batteries for each).

Other gear:

The club has a few kneepads (optional and highly recommended) and a few pairs of gloves (optional). If you particularly want gloves then I suggest getting a pair of inexpensive plastic-coated gardening gloves. We also have 3 sets of vertical gear.

Resources:

Gear:

The Cornell outing club has a huge amount of gear to equip outdoor trips. All of this gear is located in the basement of Carpenter Hall. To borrow any of our gear, please contact our caving chair(s) or our gear managerA descriptive list (with brands and ratings) can be found here. Below is a brief summary of our gear:

  • Knee and elbow pads
  • Helmets attached with headlamps
  • Ropes
  • Steel ladders
  • Anchor-rigging equipment
  • Harnesses, carabiners, belay devices
  • Ascenders, BASICs
  • Wetsuits

Restricted Use Gear:

Caving activities with COC require that trip leaders become certified in order to lead trips.  In order to become certified, one must be approved by two certified individuals.  Contact the caving chair(s) for more information about specific requirements.