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Adventure under Mountains

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Caving (Adventure under Mountains)

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Upload By: Kabir Ansari on Jan 11, 2023
Adventure Sport,

Overview: Caving


Caving is a somewhat quirky adventure activity that involves discovering cave systems – the more virgin (and the wilder!), the better. It’s sometimes known as spelunking (in the USA) and potholing (in the UK and Ireland). It’s an often dark and murky world inside caves, with only rocks and mud for company, but it’s one that many thrill-seekers have made a universe of. Caving is usually done in groups, giving it a profile of a team activity/sport. Caving also has its extreme side. But at its simplest, it is like any outdoor activity, practiced for enjoyment, physical exercise or exploration. Many cavers today focus on finding new caves, having already exhausted the possibilities of existing ones. And for more than a few, interest in caving goes beyond the buzz of discovery – their motivations take in scientific study as well as photography and conservation.

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Know more about popular sites for Caving in India.

Caving, A Quirky Adventure Activity

Caving History:

Édouard-Alfred Martel is the chap to whom credit can be given for the provenance of caving. Using ropes and ladders, this adventurous Frenchman completed the descent of caves in Lot, southwest France, and Yorkshire, England, at the end of the 19th century. With the French at the forefront, the popularity of caving started to grow in the 1930s; it was seen both as a recreational as well as a scientific activity. Much of the equipment that is associated with the activity can be traced to the 1940s, a decade when a group of French caving teams were active in exploration. There were also caving enthusiasts on the other side of the Atlantic. Bill Cuddington (“Vertical Bill”) pioneered the single-rope technique (SRT) in the late 1950s (for bypassing vertical obstacles). Around the same time, a couple of Swiss gentlemen, Juesi and Marti, developed the “Jumar”, the first ever rope ascender. Since then, further advances in caving technology and technique have led to cave exploration becoming a safer and (consequently) more popular pursuit.

Caving, A Quirky Adventure Activity

Caving In India:

Despite the preponderance of caves in India – many of them undiscovered – the sport of caving has still to take roots here. However, the northeastern state of Meghalaya, home to some of the longest and deepest caves in India, offers the best caving potential in the country – it has been described among the top 10 caving destinations in the world. The Jaintia hills are home to the Krem Kotsati-Umlawan cave, at 21km (approx.) the longest such in mainland Asia. The Shnong Rim section in the Jaintia Hills, in particular, is a caver’s paradise (to navigate these grottos, you would have to wade through waist-deep water, or even swim – so come well prepared!). With Meghalaya dotted with caves (well upwards of a 1000 – totalling over 350km in length – a fair number of them inaccessible, and still lying unexplored), it is a magnet for cavers, and caving has become a popular adventure hobby in this corner of India. The Meghalaya Adventurers Association is the best contact for those interested in indulging in a spot of cave-tripping and cave exploration. (Less well known are the caves of Mizoram, also in the Northeast).

Caving, A Quirky Adventure Activity

Know more about popular locations for Caving in India.

Caving, A Quirky Adventure Activity

Best season for Caving in India:

The winter months, from November to March – this is the time when water levels in the caves of Meghalaya are at their lowest.

Caving, A Quirky Adventure Activity

Caving sites in India:

NORTH INDIA:

Dehradun

WEST INDIA:

Maharashtra

NORTH EAST INDIA:

Meghalaya – East Khasi Hills, South Garo Hills, Jaintia Hills

Caving, A Quirky Adventure Activity

Caving TIPS:

As long as one isn’t attempting any overtly difficult ascents or descents, caving does not have to be a dangerous activity. It can be quite low-risk, in fact. But the rough surfaces and trails, along with pits and low ceilings, mean that you’ll often be required to crawl and wriggle. The main risks attached to caving include hypothermia, dehydration, physical fatigue, flooding, tripping and falling, threat of falling rocks, and also getting lost (more common in long cave systems). When going caving, always bring a first-aid kit, along with emergency gear and food supplies.

Do keep the following suggestions in mind:

  • Never go caving alone. It is always better to go in teams of three or four (or more). In that way, if anything should befall one of the cavers, there’s always someone who can go in search for help
  • Remember to intimate people outside on your anticipated time of return (they can arrange for a search party if the team doesn’t return)
  • Keep an eye out on the weather. Before heading into the cave, make sure that there is no danger of flooding. Caves can fill up with water pretty quickly
  • Carry back-up lights
  • Check, and double check, that you’re well attired – and well protected – and that your gear is in order
  • Make sure you’re up to speed on single-rope technique (SRT), because you might have to negotiate passages that involve tricky ascents and descents
  • Stick to established trails
And before you head into a cave, it is important to know your limitations. And remember the three basic rules of caving:
  • Take nothing but pictures
  • Leave nothing but footprints
  • Kill nothing but time


Caving, A Quirky Adventure Activity

Medical Concerns:

Although caving is far from a strenuous activity, you do require a certain level of stamina (and your wits about you) to negotiate the vertical and horizontal passageways. To avoid dehydration and hypothermia, make sure you bring enough water and food provisions with you, along with extra layers of clothing.


Caving, A Quirky Adventure Activity

Equipments:

Nylon ropes (for ascent, descent and for protection), climbing harness, ascenders (for climbing up rope), descenders (for rappelling down rope), ladder, scaling pole, hard hat/helmet with chinstrap (mounted with halogen lamp/white LED), backup light, spare batteries and light bulbs, bolting (also carry a knife and a whistle) Knots that are familiar in caving include loop, figure-of-eight (or figure-of-nine), alpine butterfly, Italian hitch and bowline. The securing of ropes is done with carabiners, bolts or slings.

Caving, A Quirky Adventure Activity

Ecological concerns:

The environment within caves and cave systems is very delicate. The slightest touch of the hand, or the softest tread of feet, can destroy features and formations inside the cave that have been existent for thousands of years. And increased carbon dioxide levels – the result of cavers breathing – can irretrievably damage the cave interiors. Because of the unique micro-climate in caves, there are species and organisms found here that are not found in any other ecosystem; the smallest change in the climate can lead to a major imbalance in the life-cycles of these species. Do not litter or deface the surfaces of the cave, and carry back any human and biodegradable waste with you.

Caving, A Quirky Adventure Activity

What's to Carry when you go for Caving?

Must carry some water with you
Must Carry some cash because there are limited network and Banking Facility
Carry some food items
Carry extra warm cloths
Not to travel alone



Popular Caving Sites






Best Time for Caving
  JAN     FEB     MAR     APR     MAY     JUN  
  JUL     AUG     SEP     OCT     NOV     DEC  





Ideal Conditions for Caving

 No Rain
 Dry season





What Should Wear

 Fleece suit with another layer outside
 Thin polypropylene clothing for warm caves
 Waterproofs
 Wetsuits and Neoprene socks for caves with high moisture content;
 Sturdy hiking-type boots for dry caves
 Rubber boots (wellingtons) for wet caves
 Gloves
 Elbow and knee pads
 Balaclava and light polypropylene underwear

Activity's Location

Caving, Activity Location

FAQs about
Caving

Is caving dangerous?

Caving is an adventurous activity and caves can be a challenging environment where danger exists. However by exploring caves as part of an organised group and using the appropriate equipment it.s possible to explore caves safely.

Am I fit enough to go caving?

Caving is a physical sport. If you are averagely fit then you will have no problems at all enjoying caving. You don’t need to be a super thin runner. You will need to be able to crawl, scramble up rocks and twist and turn.

What do I need to wear?

You will need to bring different clothes for the different caves.

Is it dark in caves?

Yes, it is totally dark inside a cave. You cannot see your hand in front of your face. If your lights malfunctioned, you would likely die of dehydration or hypothermia unless someone came looking for you. Negotiating a cave without lights, with all of its obstacles, is nearly impossible in the dark.

What do you need to go caving?

The absolute essentials are three sources of light, one of which is helmet-mounted to keep your hands free, and a helmet. The helmet protects your head when you bang it into the ceiling. A construction-type hardhat will work, but a rock-climbing helmet is the best, since it will protect your head in a fall. A biking helmet will also work in a pinch. A decent pair of boots with good traction is essential as well. You will also need a small pack to hold water, snacks, and extra lights and batteries.


Viewers/Readers Comments:
    
Mnaju Sing
08-06-2023 18:14:59
Reply to this Comment

Hi I am looking for Delhi around caving tour can you help me
    



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