AY Honors/Caving - Advanced/Answer Key

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Caving - Advanced

Skill Level






Approval authority

General Conference

Caving Advanced AY Honor.png
Caving - Advanced
Skill Level
Approval authority
General Conference
Year of Introduction


Have the Caving honor.

For tips and instruction see Caving.


Obtain geological survey maps of the area where you go caving. Map out on them the location of all known caves you have explored.

Maps of your local area may be bought at an outdoor sporting goods store, and in some cases, at book store. You can also order them from the USGS if the area you want a map of is in the United States. The USGS also provides free downloads of digitally scanned topographical maps.

(Never post exact cave locations, (i.e. GPS coordinates) or directions to caves in public places, such as the internet.)


Be able to give an explanation for how these caves were formed; what they have in common; what can be expected in them in the way of physical characteristics such as types and extent of formations, effects of prior water activity, presence and nature of fossils, presence and nature of life forms including bats.

This is a very broad question which we will break down into sections.

How caves are formed

What do caves have in common

Types of formations

Effects of water activity


Life forms


Obtain proper rappelling equipment and learn how to use it either by studying a book on mountain climbing techniques or locating a person or club group already experienced who are willing to instruct you. Plan and execute a cave trip where it is necessary to rappel at least forty feet (12 meters) and climb back out.

Rappelling Equipment

Learning to Use Rappelling Equipment

Joining a club or going with experienced cavers is going to be the best idea, although reading up on theory is a great idea.

Planning and taking your trip


Conduct a biological survey of a cave entrance, the cave twilight zone, the deep cave floor, the deep cave wall and the deep cave ceiling. Photograph single specimens of, and identify every form of plant and animal life in each of these troglodytic zones. Compare pictures with nearest natural history museum for help in identification. Publications on cave flora and fauna of the National Speleological Society will help also. Remember slogan, "Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints."

"Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints" is pretty self-explanatory. It means you do not disturb nature while you are out enjoying it. If you see a pretty rock, leave it there for someone else to enjoy. If you eat a piece of candy on the trail, don't toss the wrapper — take it with you.

There are a few exception to both these rules. If you see trash, by all means, take it. Throw it in the trash when you get to a proper trash receptacle. Also be aware that footprints are not always harmless. Many tundra plants that take years to grow can be destroyed by a single footprint. Stay on the trail.

One of the most important ways people leave their mark on the land is by building a campfire. For "no trace" camping, bring a camp stove. Unfortunately, the campfire is one of the primary attractions for many people, so it is not easy to follow this advice. If your campsite has a fire ring or an existing fire pit, use that. If it does not and you must have a campfire, lay a small tarp on the ground and cover it with six to eight inches of mineral sand. Mineral sand is sand containing no organic material, and can be found on a beach or where a large tree has fallen over and raised a rootwad. The sand must be piled deep so the heat does not affect the tarp beneath. Stop putting new fuel on the fire well before you are ready to put it out, and push in the ends of sticks that have not yet burned. Allow them to burn down to white ash. When you are ready to leave, douse the fire well, and spread the ashes over a wide area. Return the sand to the place where you found it and pack up your tarp.

"Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints" is a good summary of the more common Leave No Trace 7 Principles. Memorize and practice these:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare.
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces.
  3. Dispose of waste properly.
  4. Leave what you find.
  5. Minimize campfire impacts (be careful with fire).
  6. Respect wildlife.
  7. Be considerate of other visitors.

© 1999 by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics


Log 100 hours of caving experience. Keep accurate records of each caving trip.

A good cave log will contain
  • Cave Name
  • Type of Cave (Horizontal or Vertical)
  • Group Size
  • Hours Spent in the Cave
  • Comments about the Cave

The ten hours required in the Caving Honor are a good start, now get underground again.


Conduct a caving course, to be climaxed by several field trips for a group of young people in your community or church.

Teaching the Caving Honor would be a great way to fulfill this requirement. That will also earn you an instructor diamond for your Caving Honor patch.


Make friends with at least one cave owner. Determine what he expects of cavers exploring his cave, and do more than he expects you to do in following these directions.

Develop a good relationship by respecting his cave and his property. Also try to give them a gift each time you go to their cave, if you give them the same thing each time, they will remember you better and give you more access to their cave.