Caving is the accepted term for safe, well-equipped underground
exploration. "Cavers rescue spelunkers," as the saying goes! The
Pitt Outdoors Club has been caving on and off since the early 1960s and still
drag as many people as are willing through the mud and muck to visit the totally
alien world that exists beneath the earth. We are proud to have cave
leaders who are members of the
The National Speleological Society's local chapters, known as grottoes.
The Pittsburgh Grotto and The Loyalhanna Grotto
are both highly active organizations in the area and are great groups to become involved with if you are interested in ca6ing.
Caving is an all-year sport, since the ambient temperature inside a cave runs
about 54 degrees regardless of outside air temperature. When it is too
cold to climb rocks, we head underground in force! It is tough to get
bored caving in Pittsburgh, as there are a wide variety of caves in the
area. Within a day's drive of Pittsburgh lie some of the largest, most
interesting caves on the East Coast. Underground you are likely to see
blind insects, bats, underground streams, lots of mud, bats, speleothems (a
fancy word for cave formations), and a host of really dirty caver-friends.
We cave mostly in horizontal caves, so all that is required is good clothing and
protective equipment (see below), and a sense of adventure!
While the majority of POC
caving trips are horizontal caves, we have the ability to run vertical caving
trips whenever we get enough experience cavers! Vertical caves involve
rappelling into a deep, dark hole in the ground, exploring the cave below, then
climbing that rope to return to the world of sun. Vertical caves are
generally much less impacted than horizontal caves because of the difficult
access, so it is possible to see AMAZING formations in these caves. If you
are interested in vertical caving, cave with us, cave with the grottoes, do some
climbing to become familiar with ropework, and get ready to see some really cool
If you plan on going caving with the POC, we suggest you check out the
caving check list of gear required to enter a cave with us.