This is probably the number one question on all of your minds. When I first started caving I remember being very disappointed that no one would give me a list of all the caves in Utah and their locations. I was excited to go caving and those who knew where the caves were seemed less than excited to take me.
First, let me assure you that you can find out where they are. It takes time and willingness to learn and comply with certain rules and ideals but it can be done. Let me start with the reasons you don’t just get a list and start going caving.
1. Caves are rare in Utah and are very fragile environments. They are easily and permanently damaged by those who carelessly enter without scruples and training.
2. Caves can be very dangerous, even life threatening to the unknowing and untrained. The one thing that has caused caves in Utah to be closed permanently is a death in the cave. Our aim is to prevent this from happening.
3. Caves are often thought to be a place to find gems, gold and buried treasure. This is not true, but we cannot convence those who just know we are keeping all the wealth to ourselves. These kind of people are forever destroying the cave only to find out that nothing of value is in the cave except the unique nature of that cave which they have just destroyed. We often find the results of their hammering and gathering at the entrance where it became readily apparent that nothing they brought out is of value outside the cave.
4. Many people are only entering caves for the thrill and excitement of conquest. I want to do all the deepest pits they will say. I want to explore where no one else dares to go. They enter, hammer in bolts that they leave to rust, destroy formations that took thousands of years to form, drop garbage all over the cave, leave behind environment and species destroying contaminants, urinate and deficate where ever they happen to be and in general perform unsafe practices of every description and use equipment and ropes that are unsafe. Without proper teaching and guidance, these people destroy in hours what took nature eons to create.
So, how can you find the caves in Utah? The answer is simple. Be patient. Join with the Grottos and the NSS and listen and learn. Find out how to safely enter caves. Get the proper equipment. Learn the methods of navigation and how to keep from getting lost. Learn how to stay warm, how to carry out your waste, how to stay hydrated, how to safely push tight places, how to photograph dark beauty, how to deal with emergencies, when not to break or even touch formations, learn the reasons why we are so careful. We will take you to a few caves and observe your actions and see your desires. If you are one who can learn to love caves safely and softly, we will take you to more caves and let you see more beautiful caves. You can join projects and learn the science of caving. You can learn to give back to caving by surveying and mapping caves. Eventually, you will be the one beginners are coming to wanting a list of caves and you will then complete the cycle by teaching them the right way to cave Utah.
There may be faster ways to reach your particular goals, but you will never truly understand caving and all it’s aspects unless you do it right. Ask us how to begin caving without spending your whole paycheck. We have many starving students who join our ranks. You are welcome here.