Safety While Exploring Caves

What happens when you mix hiking and rock climbing? You get cave hiking and a lot of fun! Cave hiking is considered by some to be an extreme sport. For those athletes who do it, it’s an amazing physical challenge and a great rush! It combines regular hiking with rock scrambling and climbing and allows you to explore exciting underground and in-ground environments. As with any sport, there are dangers associated with it. There are, however, things that you can do to minimize those dangers.

The most important thing to remember when cave hiking, or doing any other outdoor sport; is to notify someone of your location. If you are in a national park, there is generally a place to sign in where you can put your intended route and the day and time that you left. Even if there is no such book, you should always let a friend or family member know where you are going and when you plan to be back. This week, in the event of an emergency, they will know where to send help and how long you have been missing for.

Along with notifying someone of your plans, being well prepared can help ensure your safety during your excursion. There are quite a few things that the well-stocked cave hiker should have in their bag of tricks. One of these things is a survival knife. You may come across vines or ropes that you will need to cut to get through, it can also be used to mark your way when you move along your route. It is helpful to have a sturdy pair of hiking boots with good soles and ankle protection. This will allow you to grip the rocks better and protect your ankles from sprains and breaks. Depending on where you hike, you may need ropes and carabineers and will benefit from having a well-constructed helmet to protect you in case of falling debris or accidents. You can check with the local parks office to see if any other materials are necessary or useful along your hike.

As during any sport, make sure you have adequate water with you to prevent dehydration. It’s also a good idea to have a snack with you to keep you strong during the trip.

Possibly the most important safety gear during cave hiking is your light. The best source is a LED headlamp, which allows you to move about hands-free. It should not, however, be your only light source. It is important to carry a flashlight as well for small crevices and in case your headlamp malfunctions. LED lights have the longest battery life so they are the preferred lamps of hikers.

By having all of your gear and letting people know where you will be, cave hiking can be an awesome experience!

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