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CAVING

CAVING describes the exploration of wild underground caves. While visiting the cave, various obstacles might occur in your way. Steep slopes, narrow or vertical sections, water hazards and much more need to be overcome. The main idea is to move through the cave with your own equipment and explore whatever is of interest to you.

Clearly, “caving” needs to be differentiated from speleology, which describes the scientific study of caves and their environment, whereas caving is purely for recreational purposes. Being physical and mental challenging, caving can prove to be a real adventure.

The routes leading through the caves are usually very complex, there is almost a complete lack of natural light, very high humidity and low temperatures. Most passages require special equipment (like ropes, carabiners, and sometimes diving equipment). Depending on the geological structure of the cave, caving can be divided into three different types: horizontal, vertical and combined caving.

Horizontal caves, without steep slopes, can usually be explored without special equipment or tools.

Vertical caves usually prove to be most difficult to pass through. Steep slopes and steeply inclined passages require special abilities and equipment to be overcome.

Some caves combine vertical and horizontal elements, mixing easy passages with very hard ones. Those caves offer a good terrain for combined caving.

Exploring wild caves is an extremely different experience than visiting caves open to the public. Electric light and handrails make their exploration very ordinary. Venturing into wild caves requires physical dexterity, high attention and caution. During the passage you need to constantly adapt to new terrain and find solutions to overcome all kinds of unexpected obstacles.

While exploring the cave, all participants have to move in a row after the guide, keeping a safe distance from each other. At the same time, it is important to support and help each other. You should especially take care of your head, since rock or crystal formations might unexpectedly appear out of the darkness. The exploration of wild caves will in any case be made under the supervision of a professional guide and speleologist, who knows how to safely navigate within caves, since it can be quite easy to get lost within a cave.

The underground world of caves developed hundreds of thousands of years ago, and is very unique. It needs special protection and respect. The crystals which can be found underground are growing at a rate of only 1 mm over 100 years, and the slightest touch might stop their growth. Stalactites grow at a rate of only a few microns per year, but nothing can be compared to their beauty and charm in their natural environment of the cave. Your cave visit should therefore be guided by the following rule: "Leave only footprints in the cave, and take from it only pictures."

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