Escabrosa Grotto Activities

EQUIPMENT YOU'LL NEED: Caving is a potentially dangerous activity, so in order to protect both yourself and the caves, the following equipment is required for each person: helmet with mounted light and chinstrap, boots, gloves, two additional sources of light, water, extra batteries and a pee bottle. On most trips, you will want the following: lunch protected in containers, knee and elbow pads, first aid kit (one per party), clean clothes and jacket to wear after trip. Southern Arizona caves are warm 60-70 degrees and quite humid, so warm clothing is not needed unless you stop and sit on the cold rocks. Coveralls are usually too warm for comfort.

TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF AND THE CAVE: Never cave alone. A group of four or five is ideal, three is minimum. One of the group should have been in the cave before and be able to lead the trip. The maximum allowed on most trips is six or eight.

In order to prevent an unnecessary rescue call-out, tell someone back home the name and general location of the cave you are going to, what section of the cave you plan to explore and when you will be home. Give yourself a couple of extra hours for delays. Then be home on time or make a phone call. Cell phones don't work in caves and outside you may need to climb a hill for reception. Always have every member of your party sign in and out at the cave register, (a notebook near the entrance) so rescuers can tell if you're still in there, or not.

"Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but carefully placed footprints, and kill nothing but time."

Don't leave anything in the cave or the forest around it. Your used batteries, food wrappers and crumbs, and even bodily wastes must be carried out of the cave and disposed of at home. This means your pack never gets lighter. The only place to leave your signature is in the register. Don't take anything from the cave! Don't break, jostle, or even touch cave formations. They can easily be stained or destroyed forever. Leave broken formations where they lie. They are still part of the cave. Caves are not for rock hounds. Nor are they sturdy enough to be used for rock-climbing practice.

Please travel through the cave single file, and on the trail -- that smooth, muddy path. Do not cross clean areas; look or photograph from the trail. Look up before standing up so you don't accidentally break delicate 'soda straws' on the ceilings. Look where you're putting your hands for balance - use the muddy spots, not clean or fragile areas.

The bats need us to leave them alone. They won't hurt us, but lights and group noise disturbs them. If you come across a group of bats, move quietly to another section of the cave. Bats are beneficial: they pollinate cactus, eat insects, and are often endangered. If there is a closure of a cave to protect maternity colonies of bats, respect it. The bats were there first.


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