The Huntsville Grotto sponsors one horizontal trip and one vertical caving trip each month for Grotto members. Horizontal trips are to caves that do not require any technical rope skills such as rappelling. Generally the horizontal trip is on the first Saturday after the regular monthly meeting and the vertical trip is on the third Saturday following the regular monthly meeting. There may be exceptions, so see the calendar for exact dates and trip locations.
For when and where to meet, email the trip leader. This information is also announced during regular monthly meetings
Advance notice indicating you wish to attend a trip must to be provided to the trip leader. Further the trip leader must agree to you attending before you participate on any grotto sponsored cave trip. Giving notice lets the trip leader know how many will be on the trip. It also reserves you a spot if the group size needs to be limited. This notice can be by signing up for the trip at the grotto meetings or by email, click here. In the form say what trip you plan on attending, who you are and if anyone will be with you. Emails must be received no later than the Thursday prior to the trip.
NOTE TO VISITORS OR NON MEMBERS:
Visitors/non-members wanting to participate in a sponsored grotto trip will need to make verbal arrangements with the trip leader at a grotto meeting prior to the scheduled cave trip. Members are allowed to bring guests as long as the trip leader is notified in advance. NSS members/members of other grottos are welcome but must contact the trip leader to make arrangements.
The Huntsville Grotto policy requires that everyone participating in a grotto-sponsored cave trip sign a Release From Liability form. This form can be given to the trip leader, given to any grotto officer or mailed to:
P.O. Box 1702
Huntsville, AL 35807
For vertical trips, you must have either successfully completed a Single Rope Technique(SRT) course or already be proficient in single rope technique before going on a vertical trip. You must also have all your own gear and be comfortable using it.
For all trips, the individual trip leader has the authority to disallow you from attending the trip if he or she does not think your skills or judgment are sufficient for the trip in question. They may also limit the number on the trip to limit impact on cave or insure they can safely lead the group. See above for Notice Requirements.
You must have a hardhat and a hardhat-mounted light to attend a horizontal caving trip. If you do not have a hardhat or light, you can borrow them from the Huntsville Grotto. Wear sturdy boots and clothing that you do not mind ruining (once you wear clothing into a cave, it usually is good for nothing else but caving). Leather gloves are very handy, and for many caves, kneepads are recommended (we also have a few cheap kneepads you can borrow). You must have at least three sources of light, so bring extra flashlights (mini-maglites and LED flashlights make great emergency lights) and plenty of extra batteries. Also, don’t forget food and water. Although the relative difficulty of each cave is listed below, if you have any questions please talk to the trip leader for that trip. If you have never been caving before, we highly recommend reading our Information for New Cavers booklet (note: it is 23 pages long, so it might take a while to download).
Vertical trips are for people who have experience with single rope technique (this is rappelling and climbing the rope itself). While rock-climbing experience is helpful for learning single rope technique, it is not the same. If you are new to vertical caving and would like to learn, we periodically offer a basic vertical orientation (which we encourage new and experienced cavers to take, as there is always something new to learn). Some information about each trip is provided in the schedule below, but if you have any questions please ask the trip leader for that trip.