Ceiling anchor

Bring a Friend Caving

Outside Rat's Nest Cave After a Fun Day

The one or two-day Bring-A-Friend event has been occurring in late winter or early spring for many  years. It is a chance for members of the Alberta Speleological Society to invite a less experienced friend or two to go caving with the club’s trip leaders. This is a great way for new or less experienced cavers to get introduced to the Alberta Speleological Society.  Bring-a-Friend trips are usually organized close to Calgary, either at Rat’s Nest Cave near Canmore or another cave within easy travelling distance, such as Canyon Creek.

For reasons of safety, cave conservation and liability, it is necessary for Bring-a-Friend guests to purchase an A.S.S.  Membership and complete the associated Code of Conduct and liability waiver. (See Membership.)  In addition, for those entering Rat’s Nest Cave there are separate waiver and acknowledgement forms to be completed for Canmore Caverns Ltd. at least 3 days in advance.

Hosting club members are responsible for ensuring their guests are properly equipped and physically prepared for caving. (Equipment may  be rented from the U of C outdoors program, outdoor supply shops, or Canmore Caverns).  Trip leaders are responsible for obtaining any required permits, checking that all group members are sufficiently equipped and have caving experience suitable to the level of the intended trip goals, and ensuring that all participants  complete all necessary documents in advance.

Canmore Caverns Ltd. is the only entity legally allowed to guide non-cavers in Rats Nest Cave, so in order to join an A.S.S.  Bring-a-Friend trip in this cave, you must have some prior caving experience – at the very least have been through a “wild” cave before (i.e. not one with stand-up walkways, lights, elevators, etc.)  If you have no prior caving experience we suggest you first take a commercial tour of a wild cave such as those offered by Canmore Caverns (Canmore),  or Cody Caves (Ainsworth / Nelson BC) before signing up for Bring –a – Friend Day. For real solid preparation, try one of the horizontal caving courses on offer periodically through Canmore Caverns.   

Most Bring-a-Friend trips at Rat’s Nest go to the same scenic “tour side” of Rat’s Nest Cave as the Canmore Caverns commercial tours, but there may be a bit more time and flexibility to poke around and explore. Alternatively, intermediate-level cavers with sufficient prior experience in rappelling and abseiling on rope may be permitted to accompany an experienced trip leader from the club to visit the much more extensive and challenging "wild side" of the cave.

If the requirements sound a bit onerous, please remember that they are for the protection of all concerned – and it will be worth it as you will almost certainly “have a blast”.  A great way to get further into caving and see what A.S.S. membership can do to expand your horizons.

You will find some photos of previous Bring A Friend events in our Gallery.