I love trying new adventure sports, so when I got the opportunity to join some former co-workers spelunking, or caving, last year, I jumped on the opportunity. From my experience as a rock climber the movements came quite naturally.
It’s just a matter of going down instead of going up, and managing a different set of rules. While the gear is different the same basic concepts apply. There are ropes, harnesses, and safety devices. And of course a detailed process to guide you safely.
Learning the caving techniques
We started out in on the ground learning the the proper technique to get down into the cave. The first space that we went to was not an actually cave, but a large open sink hole where we could practice with ease.
Getting the hang of going down was a breeze, but coming back up requires a lot more strength and coordination. You need to use your legs properly so that won’t have to rely too much on your arm strength.
The foot strap can become easily up hooked and cause you to twirl a bit. You won’t fall because the gear keeps you in place.
Getting to the real cave
Once we all got our bearings, we moved on to an actual cave a short drive away in Vallirana. Inside we would not need powerful headlamps and a bit more nerve as the space was quite dark and unknow to us. It made all the different having a brighter light when we were in the confines of the narrow cave.
I love the thrill of the adrenaline rush as you being your exploration. It was great to have two experts with us keeping us calm and collected.
Going deeper into the cave
They didn’t tell us but the cave walls near the entrance, where we first touched down, were covered with spiders.
They stay near the entrance of the cave to catch easy prey that might fall accidentally into the cave. They’re both quite smart and lazy.
I’m not the most squeamish person, but I different made for a eerie feeling. As we got further into the cave the spiders disappeared.
As the experience climber of the group, I got the chance to go further into the cave than anyone else. But, there was a point where I felt a bit stuck.
You have to move your weight forward when moving up to disengage the device on your chest, we used the Stop Descender from Petzl.
It was really thrilling to go to deep into the cave and struggle with overcoming fears in a different way. And of course, to try a new advernture sport.
You have to stay alert to stay safe, especially when there are some muddy and more precarious portion of the pathway. But it was quite easy for us all to manage well.
I had such a great experience, and great teachers, that I would absolutely do it again. Have you ever tries caving? What was your experience like?