What is caving?
Caving is the exploration of caves. In the US, it is generally called spelunking based on the word “speleology”, which means the scientific study of caves and the cave environment. The activity may include walking, crawling, rappelling and climbing. Caving usually involves being part of a group of cavers who get as much adventure and fun out of being together in the cave. It is also a time of sharing the wondrous beauty of a cave, tackling many obstacles together during a trip or simply having a good outing.
Is caving dangerous?
Like any activity, if you are not careful, it can be dangerous. That is why at Gua Tempurung, all tours are guided. Only trained and knowledgeable people lead the trips. It is advisable not to go caving alone. Join groups or caving trips which are held regularly as people enjoy a safe and fun time together. Joining others facilitate giving assistance to each other. If an injury occurs, at least one caver can stay with the injured person while the others can go out for help. It is important that before you enter a cave, you notify people outside of your intended return time. If you don’t return within a reasonable time frame, the outside people will organise a search party usually made up by cavers trained in cave rescues. Underground accidents are however relatively infrequent occurrences. Apply common sense as it can go a long way. Avoid caving during extreme weather condition, like heavy rain. Rainwater funnelled underground can flood a cave very quickly, trapping people in cut-off passages and may drown them. At Gua Tempurung, you are not allowed to enter the wet passage during rainy day.
Should you get proper training?
If you are serious about caving, it is a good idea to get training as there are many aspects of caving that you should know. Training also involves learning to conserve and treat the cave environment properly. You can get pointers from experienced cavers, caving clubs and nature societies.
Do you need any special equipment?
Serious cavers may want to get the basics, such as an oversuit (made of tough material like PVC) and an undersuit for warmth. Hiking boots, a caving helmet, lighting system and belt are essentials. You may also get pads to protect your knees and elbows. In wet caves, wear a wetsuit that protects against cold water effectively. Items such as ropes and tools can be used to tackle particular obstacles within certain caves.
What else can you do besides visiting a cave?
You can develop specialities in caving, such as:
- Cave Photography : Immortalise the natural architecture of caves and the beauty of the world of caving in pictures.
- Cave Art : Dabble in cave art – draw and paint pictures of caves you have visited.
- Cave Exploration : Discover new caves, open up the passages and carry out research.
- Cave Conservation : Help to conserve caves as their environments are very fragile. Many speleothems including stalactites and stalagmites can be damaged by even the slightest touch.
- Cave Ascend and Descend : Use Single Rope Technique for ascending and descending pitches in caves.
- Cave Dive : Diving is a method for passing sections of cave that are full to the roof with water. You can free dive at short flooded sections by holding your breath for a few seconds and ducking through. But for long submerged passage, you need full diving equipment Cave diving is regarded as the most extreme aspect of caving and is only done by a very small number of cavers.