Workshops and Field Trips on Speleology related topics:


Geology and Hydrology Field Trips:

The Geology/Hydrogeology Field Trip will travel south from the convention site to explore the Cumberland Plateau landscape and its caves. The entire party will first travel to St. Marys’ Conference Center for an overview of local geology and introduction to the karst hydrogeology of the Cumberland Plateau province. The trip will then split into two groups for separate special stops throughout the morning. The “Geology” group will visit a caprock spring, a natural bridge, and a fossil outcrop. The “Hydrogeology” group will visit hydrologic sites of interest in Sinking Cove. The two groups will reconvene for lunch at Russell Cave National Monument before visiting Jasper Blue Spring and Sequatchie Cave Natural Area in the afternoon. The final stop will be Sequatchie Cove Farm, where light refreshments will be provided in a scenic “cove” of the Cumberland Plateau. The trip will begin around 8:00 am and return to the convention site around 6:30 pm. Lunch and water will be provided. Bring a water bottle and wear comfortable boots or walking shoes; no helmets or headlamps are required.

Discover Vertical Caving Workshop:

What this workshop is... 
* ...a beginner-level introduction to the functions of vertical gear (ascenders, descenders, etc.) and how it works on rope. 
 * ...on rope demonstrations of the various vertical caving systems (frog, Texas, ropewalker, etc) 
 * opportunity for students to try different vertical systems and climb rope using each type. 
* ...a welcoming space to ask questions about all-things-vertical-caving: gear, safety, concepts/rational, "What does ___ mean anyway?", etc. 
 * ...your first steps toward becoming a vertical caver!
What this workshop does NOT do...
 * ...train or certify students for vertical caving. 
 * ...teach the ropework maneuvers necessary for vertical caving (i.e., changeovers, passing obstacles on rope, etc.).
 * ...cover rescue-related topics.
This workshop will divide the attendees into small learning groups and rotate through stations, at which they will be introduced to a different vertical system. The leaders guiding this workshop are active and reputable vertical cavers from diverse backgrounds. They are knowledgeable about the pros/cons of each system, the current options for gear available on the market, and -- most importantly -- major safety considerations for specific types of gear. Multiple female leaders will be involved with the workshop and leading stations. All learners will be gearing-up in various vertical caving systems and climbing ropes, so please wear suitable clothes and footwear. Participants must provide their own helmet-- caving, rock climbing, or bicycle helmets are all acceptable. 
Attendance: this is a pay-to-attend workshop and it typically sells out before the start of Convention. Please sign-up through the Convention registration page (course fee will be added at check-out). If the event does not sell out during pre-registration, prospective attendees may register for the workshop in-person at the main Convention Registration Desk. The workshop is approximately 8-hrs long, including a break for lunch. 

The Fine Arts Salon late entry form is: HERE

Other Workshops and Field Trips to be announced are among but not limited to the following topics:






Surveying and sketching




Cave Trips

Held Daily

Cave Trips are held throughout the week and will be posted here as they are announced.

Listed here are some of the other planned activities for the Convention

Jon Zetterberg exploring lead. Photo by Chris Hudson
Jon Zetterberg exploring lead. Photo by Chris Hudson

Caver Story Telling Contest

A Caver Storytelling Contest will be held again as was so popular in Rapid City and Elkins. It will take place at the stage at the campground following the Photo Salons on Thursday evening. The rules are simple: true stories only and there will be a timed five-minute limit. One entry per contestant. A nice prize for the winner.


There are fantastic rivers for local paddling. There are numerous waterfall hikes. The South Cumberland State Park is in Monteagle and offers incredible hiking. Sewanee is locate a few miles west of the convention site. The University of the South Domain also offers multiple hiking and bike riding opportunities. The area is rich in Civil War history, the Cherokee Trail of Tears and biodiversity. Nashville is 2 hours west, Huntsville is 1.5 hours south and Chattanooga is 1 hour east. Some of the area's natural points of interest are listed below.