Showing posts from 2011

Caving With Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania Council 11-18-18

Yes, they were at it again. This time there were two new Troops to introduce to caving. Eastern PA Council set this one up at the same time as the one in October. This trip originally had sixteen people, but one Troop backed out at the last minute. It’s a shame because they missed a very good time with these girls. Maybe they’ll come out again when they can. We have been having a tremendous amount of rain and unprecedented snowfall for this time of year. As a result the cave actually had a good bit of water in it.

I like to use this cave for beginner trips because it is stable. But I’ve never seen this much water in this cave. Parts that usually have a little sticky mud had water over the top of my thigh. I choose to avoid the lower parts of the cave. For most of the girls this was their first wild caving trip. I didn’t want to take any chances with them and I didn’t want anyone cold and miserable. But they all got very muddy, and had a blast. How could I tell? Watch the video. L…

Caving with Venturing Crew 23 from Downingtown, PA

This trip was being planned since the summer. It seemed like the best time was "Black Friday". Everyone would be home from college and we'll some of us would rather be underground that fighting the crowds.

Intro to BSA Caving

Debbie Spoon is the Chair for the Caving Committee of the Utah Parks Council, BSA. She is also the Vice Chairman of the Timpanogos Grotto as well as a member of Utah County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue. She was tasked by the Utah Parks Council with devising a way to introduce Boy Scouts of America Volunteer Leaders to safe and ethical caving. Following the current BSA training platforms this was approached as a web instruction that the individual leader would view.

This was not intended to teach the leaders to be qualified cave guides, but introduce them to the issues and suggestions to planning a safe, ethical, and fun caving activity for their Troop, Team, or Crew. After they view this and decide that they would still like to take their BSA Unit caving they must go through some more training that is being devised by the Utah Parks Council Caving Committee.

While it’s only required for BSA leaders in Utah, I think it would be helpful to all BSA leaders. It is also good for cave…

Caving with Brandywine Valley Association Summer Camp Adventures High and Low

Brandywine Valley Association has a very good summer camp program for kids of all ages. Each week is a different theme for different age groups. This was the “Adventures High and Low” week and we took them caving for one of those days. We don’t usually take this age group caving, but BVA always seems to attract kids that are exceptional when it comes to a sense of adventure and curiosity. They did visit a commercial cave earlier in the week. It gave them an understanding of the basics of caves and caving. But they were eager to try a little wild caving.
Amos, Keri, and I met them at their campsite early on Friday morning. They were all dressed and in the van and ready to go. When we got there we got all the helmets and lights out and distributed. We talked a little about what to expect and the basic safety rules of caving. We walked up the trail to the main entrance and they enjoyed the cool air breathing out of the cave. After one more helmet and light check they divided themselves in…

DBG Does the Ps

It started off as a good idea. We hadn’t been to the P Caves in over 2 years and wanted to get back there. The idea was a good beginner cave to invite a few new people on. As it turned out a few people had to back out at the last minute but we had enough to make it a Dragon Breath Grotto trip.
Steve has been there a few times before and knew the place real well. Amos has been there a few times as well. I was only there once before. Mindy, Andy, and other Andy have not been there and were excited about checking it out. Three youths along for the day were Alex, Jayden, and Will. Alex and Jayden were newbies and this was Will’s 4th caving trip. Steve thought it would be good to do Python Pit first. It’s a physical and sporty cave with a lot to see. There is a bit of climbing. Everyone did really well with the climbing, at least better than I did. It was real wet in the back and muddy everywhere else. We were in there at lease two hours poking around and trying to see as much as we could. Ne…

Westtown School Caving Trip

I went and did a “cave talk” at Westtown School. They were very receptive to what I had to tell them and the idea of an adventure underground. There were probably 11 people at the cave talk. That's a good indication of how many people are going to show up for the trip. They said they had 15 people in all sign up. In my experience usually only 60% of the sign ups actually show up for the trip.
We met them the morning of the trip at a rest stop along the way. Watching the kids at the rest stop I mentioned to the schools leaders that it looked like a good turn out. That's when they told me a last minute change in numbers. Instead of 15 people they had 16. WOW. Ok, so we did a little scramble and made sure everyone had their head covered and enough lights.
After we were suited up and in the cave we divided into 3 groups of varying levels of abilities. Even though I had the group that was suppose to be the lower end, they did every squeeze and crawl we came across without a blink o…

Caving with Friends

There are some great benefits from doing what I do. One is I get to meet some great people who I get to share my passion for caves and caving with. Another is with the pictures and videos I take I get relive it over again and share my fun with other friends. The last trip was no exception. But I’m starting to have to make tough decisions. How do you edit 4 hours of fun into a few minutes of video? So, OK, here are 2 videos from that last trip. The first was a spontaneous light saber battle in the cave.

The other is a squeeze in this cave we call the “Wishing Well”. When you get into it you’re wishing you weren’t.

DBG caving with Troop 76 4-2-11

Saturday morning Linsey met me, Amos, and Steve at our normal McDonald’s meeting place with 2 new people. Emerson and Keri were going on their first caving trip with Dragon Breath Grotto. We’re going to meet Troop 76 at the rest stop before we get off the interstate to collect everybody.
I stopped by one of their Troop meeting and talked to the kids and adults about gear, caves, bats, and answered a few questions. They seemed ready to go. The Troop had 7 boys and 5 adults caving that day. We got to the property, suited up, got everybody helmets and lights and headed into the cave. Inside the entrance we had our review of the rules and double checked all the gear. Then we headed to the first big room where we divided into groups to go exploring. Steve took Linsey, Emerson, and Keri in one group. We wanted to see how the new guys will do underground. Then the adults for Troop 76 divided their guys up according to age and ability. Amos took the more ambitious group and I took the younger g…

Changes to BSA Caving Document

There have been some changes to the caving policies document that all Units of the Boy Scouts of America use. The document in it's entirety can be found on the NSS web sites at Just to highlight the major changes (but these may not be all the changes). If you are a BSA Leader or taking some Scouts caving, please read and understand this document. It's important to the caves, the caving community, and the image that BSA portrays as responsible cavers.

Old Version New Version NA Important Things to Know Cavers live by this creed: Take nothing but pictures, Leave nothing but footprints, Kill nothing but time. Safety-conscious cavers always: • Wear a helmet with a chinstrap • Have a headlamp on the helmet • Have two other working lights in their pack as backups • Wear protective clothing and gloves General Caving Policy 5. All Scout groups are required to have an approved tour permit for trips of all kinds. Cave activities are included under that plan. Nati…

Caving with Troop 106

December is a tough time of the year to organize a caving trip. Holiday parties and family gatherings take precedence. But it does make a nice brake and distraction from finals, school, and work.

Steve, Amos, and I were there from Dragon Breath Grotto to take members of Troop 106 from Paoli caving. We meet them at a rest stop in central Pennsylvania. They had originally predicted 16 members going but had dwindled down to eight hardy souls to brave the cold weather today.
When we arrived at the cave we suited up and distributed the helmets and headlamps. We entered the gate and talked a little about the cave and what to expect. They divided themselves into two groups. Amos lead one group and Steve lead the other as they headed into different parts of the cave.
It also happened that there was a group from Franklin County Grotto there that day as well. They were taking a couple new cavers in as well. We crossed paths every once in a while, but for the most part the groups were separated…