How to get started spelunking in Huntsville

Spelunking In Hsv
Incredible. Photo via Huntsville Cave Rescue Unit, Inc. Facebook

So, you want to go spelunking in Huntsville? Here’s what you need to know to get your cave on. Keep reading for all the details.

What IS spelunking?

Spelunking In Hsv
My interest is peaked! Photo via Huntsville Cave Rescue Unit, Inc. Facebook

I am glad you asked. Spelunking is the exploration of caves. Does it get dirty? Yes. Is it dark? Very. Will you get wet? Don’t rule it out. Is it amazing inside the caves? Absolutely.

You can expect crawling, climbing, tight spaces and anything else these caves might throw at you. Check out the cave formations and keep an eye out for any living things that may call the cave “home.” You never know what might be going on inside a cave…

This is different from a trip to any commercialized cave. The National Speleological Society reminded us that there are no lighted walkways; this is wild caving.

What gear do you need?

Spelunking In Huntsville
Be over prepared. Photo via Huntsville Cave Rescue Unit, Inc. Facebook

If you’re still reading, which I hope you are, you might be interested in checking out the dangerous (and exciting) world of spelunking.

Here are some items to add to your shopping list to prepare for spelunking:

  • First aid kit
  • Comfortable shoes with grip
  • Helmet
  • Headlamp
  • Camera
  • Food and water
  • Quick-dry clothing
  • Flashlights
  • Waterproof backpack

A rule of thumb in the spelunking community—bring three sources of light and plenty of backup batteries.

Personally, I love an excuse to head to Mountain High Outfitters and gear shopping is the perfect one.

While you’re preparing, visit the Huntsville Cave Rescue Unit for safety pointers and classes. You can never be too careful!

How can you respect the caves?

Spelunking In Huntsville
You might even run into a bat. Photo via Huntsville Cave Rescue Unit, Inc. Facebook

While spelunking is a great way to explore the caves, it is also a way to study and protect. Many speleogical organizations are conservation-minded and work to preserve the caves. For this reason, cavers do not disclose the location of the caves they explore.

If you plan on seeing the caves for yourself, follow the Huntsville Grotto‘s motto:

“Take Nothing But Pictures, Leave Nothing But Footprints, Kill Nothing But Time.”

Huntsville Grotto, National Speleological Society

You can thank the National Speleological Society for a great resource—they’ve put together a Guide to Responsible Caving. Be sure to check it out.

Getting connected in Huntsville

Spelunking In Huntsville
Meet other cavers in your area. Photo via Huntsville Cave Rescue Unit, Inc. Facebook

Huntsville is home to the National Speleological Society headquarters. To get involved, you’ll want to become a member and join the local chapter. The Huntsville Grotto plans two trips per year. Sign up for any upcoming trips at a meeting:

You can even join the unofficial Huntsville Grotto Facebook group.

Let’s start exploring!

What did we miss? Tag us on social @thebamabuzz or email and let us know!

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Emily Kent
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