how to get started

What is caving and how do I do it? As the name suggests, caving is the past time of exploring wild caves. The reasons to do so are endless; and cavers come from all walks of life. Our community includes professional scientists studying caves, expert diggers driven by curiosity to find new passages, map makers striving to interpret and record the complex world underground, educators who teach the public about the importance of caves, and people like you who just stopped by one day and decided they just wanted to be a part of the diverse, strange community that this activity fosters. One thing we all share in common is the love of caves. No matter your motivation, your first step is the same: join your local grotto! Follow these links to find out how to attend your first meetingbeginner trip, or training to see if caving is right for you. If you're interested, become a member and see where caving can take you. Our calendar stays up to date with what we've got going on, but it's nest to attend meetings and learn about trips that way.
Below you will find information about the caving trips that are open to all members of the grotto, as well as some of the possible trips once you get some experience under your belt. 

Beginners

It's time to go caving! Whirlpool Cave is one of several caves owned and managed by the Texas Cave Management Association. It's a cave owned by cavers, for cavers. It's also collaboratively managed by the Wildlands department of the City of Austin. As more and more land is sold for development, this non-profit cave conservancy is preserving the ability for cavers to go caving right here in central Texas. So, what do I need to know about Whirlpool? This is a beginner cave trip with a mildly challenging route that kids and adults enjoy, alike. 

Intermediate

You've been to Whirlpool, you're shopping for your own kneepads, and you're already scoffing at noobs as they gleefully proffer trip reports about their first time underground—I mean, have they even been to Maple Run, yet? Or, you probably just want to build your skills and experience more caves! 

Tsk tsk, you've already gone astray. Do not pass go, return to Whirlpool! Don't discount "beginner" cave trips, no matter how any times you go, you can always learn something. We use Whirlpool for survey practice, trip leader training, rescue practice, cave restoration, and more. 

JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH

The world is your oyster now. Keep your ears perked for trips to Mexico, TAG, The Guads, The Black Hills, or the shining limestone belt from Indiana to Kentucky. It's time to lead your own trips, advance your rope skills until you dream in knot theory, find your own caves, hone your rescue techniques, guide the development of new cavers, polish your sketching prowess, get sponsored by CLIF, take over (under?) the world!

See you underground