Showing posts from February, 2013

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…

JSS at NSS Convention 2013

I’m going to be helping with the Junior Speleological Society program during the NSS Convention this year. In addition to all the great caving trips there have been a lot of good activities over the years. The themed trips like “Caving with the President” have been popular. The “Early Bird Science” programs and “Vertical Instruction and Practice” were also popular. There were also non-caving events like the JSS BBQ, the Swim Party, Movie Night, and an assortment of day hikes and trips. 

I would like to hear from those who have participated in any of these programs. I would like to know what your one favorite activity was. Just pick one, if you can. The one activity you are really looking forward to doing again. If your kids are not on the list, please ask them and reply here for them. What was it that made it your favorite activity? Even if they are no longer a kid but had a great experience at JSS years ago. What did you get out of it…

A Bright Idea For Caving

Cavers' Headlamps
Philip Rykwalder wrote an excellent review on caver headlamps on his blog post for Cave Now ( I’d like to invite you to read this before you read my post here. I’ll wait…..

You Get What You Pay For
Philip does cover a wide range of lamps in his article. The high end ones are generally for cavers who do cave a lot. Yes they are expensive, but they do last. In the long run they are not that much more expensive than other cheaper lights by the time you start replacing them. There is this notion that light is important while in the cave. It is considered necessary life support of equipment. If it fails you have a big problem. Reliability is very important. You do want a light that will not fail for the duration of your trip. You want to be able to see well for the whole of the trip.

What Can You Afford to Pay For?
If you are a first time caver or supplying a dozen lights to a youth group for a trip are you going to be able or willing to spend t…

The Young Cavers’ Challenge

What To Do With Kids That Outgrow Thier Sandbox
Dragon Breath Grotto Venturing Crew 9 is a caving focused Venturing Crew. I’ve been taking these kids caving for a while now. We’ve hit just about every beginner cave with them that we can get into. They have been very helpful when we take other Boy Scout Troops and Venturing Crews underground. But I think they are capable of doing so much more. I want to challenge them to stretch their caving skills and see what more will open up to them if they push themselves. I needed to find a cave that we would enjoy and test them. Frankly, they’re flexibility, endurance, ability to climb and squeeze was surpassing my own. I needed to make sure they were with experienced cavers that were far better than I am and can push them further than I can.

Calling Out the Big Dogs
I consulted with my friends from Philly Grotto, Amos Mincin and Andy Field. There is a cave out near Lewistown, PA that might fit the bill. They both have been throughout this cave. Th…

What Would You Ask??

This past week I tweeted (@YOUCave) “If you could ask a panel of experts anything about taking kids caving, what you would ask?” I had a couple really good replies.

@A1TopCatDesign asked, “Any one thing would be, what is my liability?” This question I hear all the time. I would like this to be an easy answer, but it all depends. There are a lot of “ifs” and variables to consider and no one answer, much less a tweet, can answer this question.
@silvermanphoto asked, “What age is appropriate to start vertical training for a kid that’s been caving since a young age?” I’ve been pondering this myself. Even the question of what age to start kids caving is a common question. I’m going to fall back on my all inclusive answer, it all depends. There are a lot of things to consider other than just the age of the child. I’m assuming we’re talking about our own kids. But this question comes up with youth groups too. And again that question of liability comes into play again.
I’m going to hold onto the…