Caving is a kind of recreation when people are fond of investigating wild caves. The synonym of caving in the United States is spelunking and in the United Kingdom it is known as potholing. The scientific term of cave research is known as speleology.

The problems connected with this kind of activity depend on the type of the cave. But as the rule hardships may occur with water, squeezes, pitches. In this aspect we can separate cave diving as a subtype of caving, which is considered to be more dangerous and that’s why needs perfect training of cavers. Nowadays caving has become more available for common people due to the appearance of modern equipment and protective clothes.

          Some skills useful in caving can be transferred to such activities as urban exploration and mine exploration.

          Caving is an outdoor activity and it gives you a perfect opportunity to train your physical skills as you can do in mountaineering or diving. Some people are fond of caving, because this kind of activity helps them to discover physical or biological phenomena, others prefer cave photography. Virgin cave is considered to be the last unexplored place on the planet which comprises a great number of unsolved questions. The majority of other caves have already been explored, that’s why only cave diving and cave digging can give access to new places.

          Caving is considered to be a team sport as it’s too dangerous to have a trip without immediate help from others if it’s necessary. Many people are sure that caving transcends the term of sport as it combines such notions as photography, mapping, management of cave resources, cave science.

          Equipment for caving

          If you are a new caver the first thing you must possess is a hard hat in order to protect your head from falling rocks. Besides light source is also embedded in the hard hat so that the caver can keep his hands free. Electric lights with halogen lamps are also rather common. It’s worth to say that cavers have to carry several light sources in the case when one of them fail. Some of the cavers are still using carbide lamps which are widely spread in mining. The peculiarities of clothes depend upon the environment and the temperature of the cave. A waterproof material, fleece, polypropylene underwear are worn in the cold cave as they possess retaining insulating property. Thin polypropylene materials are worn by cavers in the dry tropical cave in order to protect the body from abrasions. Wetsuits are worn by cavers in wet conditions with stream passages. Boots are obviously rubber in wet caves, socks are neoprene, knee-pads are always used to protect joints while crawling. Gloves are worn to protect abrasion or when it’s too cold in the cave.

          To descend or to ascend pitches cavers use ropes rigged with the use of carabiners, slings, bolts. Food, emergency equipment, first-aid kit must be taken in any case. Containers for transporting urine are worth to be carried.

          While travelling cavers can stay underground even for weeks trying to explore extended caves and it’s impractical in such circumstances to return back to the surface. Cooking and sleeping equipment, provision must be carried by cavers in such long trips.

          It’s worth to know that countries with well-organized caving don’t possess undiscovered caves any more. So, cavers have to search for new openings in the rocks, sinkholes, in the areas covered by limestone or by lava flowers. The presence of sucking or blowing air shows all the signs of large cave not far away

          Cave digging is a kind of caving when it’s necessary to enlarge undiscovered caves in order to search them. As the rule passages of undiscovered caves are filled up with silt or closed with boulders. Usually explosives or chisels are used in order to widen the construction. Cavers have to note that digging takes place in the unstable part of the cave, which can collapse. That’s why it’s necessary to shore it up with scaffolding. In any way cave digging is rather dangerous activity that depends greatly on circumstances.

          Sometimes digging can be accomplished with bare hands and it doesn’t require any special techniques. But in most cases it requires a great amount of instruments for e.x. shovels, hammers, huge buckets, crowbars, ropes to pull the bucket downwards if the hole is enlarged. In some cases the usage of following instruments isn’t enough for gaining the entrance to the cave. So, cavers involve timber shoring, backhoes and start using methods of well drilling. Explosive materials can also be used to make the entrance larger. Cavers practice rock shaving while drilling little halls in the rock and spalling the rock off in small layers with the help of a detonated gunpowder charge. After the usage of explosives further cave investigation must be suspended for a few days because of the dirty air which must be cleared. Capping is a kind of technique where battery powered drills are used to drill a huge hole in the rock with the help of an explosive charge.

          Cave diving is a type of diving where special equipment is used to explore caves partially or fully filled with water. In the United Kingdom cave diving is considered to be the part of caving, in the USA it’s the extension of SCUBA diving. You can notice that only a small part of practitioners are fond of cave diving comparing with those who are fond of caving or SCUBA diving. This fact can be explained by the high risk people are faced with during cave diving. Nevertheless many cavers, speleologists, scuba divers are attracted by water-filled unexplored caves, which are full of mystery and contain fauna or unknown physical features.

          River climbing (mountain steam climbing or river trekking) is a kind of outdoor activity which is very popular in such countries as Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong. River trekking combines the features of climbing, trekking and sometimes even swimming. People, who wish to get acquainted with river climbing must possess particular skills in rock climbing, understand geographical peculiarities of valleys and rivers, act immediately in bad weather conditions on the river.

          Mountaineering (mountain climbing) is a kind of sport or hobby which combines climbing mountains, skiing, hiking. Mountaineering has been branched into several specializations depending on the chosen route: snow, rock, ice. So mountaineering may be separated into snow-craft, rock-craft, skiing. All these types of activity are rather extreme and require good experience, technical knowledge and, of course, athletic ability.