Ceiling anchor

Going Caving?

Caving in Alberta can be a fun, educational and safe sport to take in, provided that you are using the old Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. Caving can require some special precautions that you must consider if you wish to have a safe, successful and rewarding trip. First and foremost is that you should be physically fit and have the necessary clothing and equipment. Alberta's caves are often at a high elevation and in difficult terrain, and sometimes just getting to them can be a challenge. It is important to have proper supplies for the trip to and from the cave, as well as the caving trip itself. Proper exposure clothing, food and water, first aid kit and at least two other people are the minimum that you should be taking on a hike. For the caving itself, you require a special additional set of supplies and clothing to ensure that you are prepared for the cave's unique environment. The guy you see here on the left is all too common in Alberta, and it is the wrong and unsafe example that no one should follow. He is caving alone, he has no protective head gear, no proper hand or foot wear, inappropriate clothing for caving, poor choices in lighting, and no food, water or first aid supplies. Do not even consider caving in Alberta if you resemble this guy. You are only asking for trouble.

This handsome fellow has the bare minimum equipment needed to go caving. He is a novice caver or a horizontal caver, easily recognizable as someone who has the knowledge and smarts to have a safe and enjoyable caving trip. He has informed someone about his trip, what it involves, and when he and his three friends expect to return. Next, he has brought everything he needs to safely and comfortably do some basic caving. If you are considering going caving, or are a parent who is thinking of allowing your child to go caving with a group, please follow the three links at the bottom of this page and read them carefully. Another good, concise rereference is the original Cadomin Cave interpretive signage (although this specific cave is now closed to protect the bat hibernaculum). You can view the trail information before you go caving, and also view the entrance information on how to conduct yourself when caving. Remember, as with all outdoor and wilderness activities, participants must accept personal responsibility for their own safety. Injuries requiring assistance are coordinated through the responsible agency (usually the RCMP, although possibly Parks Canada or other agencies depending on location) and may result in costs being charged to the victim or caving partners.

If you find caving is the most interesting experience you've had and you want to pursue it further, you can join a club. Going further and deeper in the cave requires a little more equipment, training and skill. Instead of just climbing, stooping and crawling, you'll need to learn prussiking and abseiling, Single Rope Technique and advanced safety. Specific training is required before you embark on this type of caving; there is no substitute for proper equipment and usage. Without this, vertical activities are dangerous and may lead to severe injury or even death. Gaining proper instruction in appropriate techniques and methods of safety is your own responsibility. A club may instruct you on proper protocol and type of equipment and may even loan some as part of the membership. There may also be training courses available such as the verical caving course offered by Canmore Caverns.  In any case, this is hard core caving: if it is going up or down and it doesn't look easy, get the proper training and equipment first.