How many trips do cavers make annually?

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How many trips do cavers make annually?

Postby ohiocaver » Dec 19, 2019 10:09 am

Does anyone have a figure, based on some solid information, on how many trips underground cavers make in a year? Did NSS ever do a study or survey of same?
Or does anyone have figures that could be used to estimate that number? It could be:
1- Reported trips per caver?
2- Reported trips per grotto?
3- Total estimated trips by all NSS members
4- Total estimated trips by all cavers
5- Other figure.
If someone has a realistic figure based on their grotto’s trips and participation, that would be a great start (i.e., something akin to: Our 50-member grotto had 450 person-trips underground last year).
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Re: How many trips do cavers make annually?

Postby artsmarse » Feb 3, 2020 6:57 am

Compiling any sort of summary figures seems unlikely to be feasible.

Even a solid information source like the records from my (European) caving log are at best potentially misleading. Conclusions drawn from picking any of these years in isolation won't apply to a number of other years and even counting trip numbers tells a different story to looking at trip hours - a few of these years include longer camping trips, which brings the hours up, but most don't. And even if you pick my most regular caving buddies, they won't share more than maybe 20% of trips across the period, so my figures will vary hugely to theirs.

You can export and paste these somewhere and split by the commas to see them in a columnar format.

Year, Count Of Trips, Total Trip Hours, Average Hours Per Trip
2002, 18, 58.5, 3.3
2003, 30, 113, 3.8
2004, 28, 170, 6.1
2005, 32, 135.5, 4.2
2006, 20, 74.5, 3.7
2007, 28, 152.5, 5.4
2008, 25, 109.5, 4.4
2009, 44, 162.25, 3.7
2010, 45, 157.33, 3.5
2011, 43, 161.83, 3.8
2012, 43, 301.16, 7.0
2013, 41, 231.75, 5.7
2014, 41, 157.5, 3.8
2015, 50, 200.08, 4.0
2016, 39, 157, 4.0
2017, 29, 172.5, 5.9
2018, 36, 104.5, 2.9
2019, 53, 235.25, 4.4
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Re: How many trips do cavers make annually?

Postby ohiocaver » Feb 4, 2020 4:16 pm

Thanks - it gives me a great start, some data to add to my findings, and a good baseline. See you underground soon! :clap:
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Re: How many trips do cavers make annually?

Postby artsmarse » Feb 4, 2020 4:36 pm

You are welcome - moral of the story is that you can never start to keep a trip log too early.

Is there something in particular you are looking to achieve with this exercise? I also have access to a handful of different datasets for cavers visiting different project sites, though the only real conclusion they give is that the more cavers that are involved, the more varied the attendance rates appear to be.
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Re: How many trips do cavers make annually?

Postby trogman » Feb 5, 2020 6:15 am

artsmarse wrote:
Year, Count Of Trips, Total Trip Hours, Average Hours Per Trip
2002, 18, 58.5, 3.3
2003, 30, 113, 3.8
2004, 28, 170, 6.1
2005, 32, 135.5, 4.2
2006, 20, 74.5, 3.7
2007, 28, 152.5, 5.4
2008, 25, 109.5, 4.4
2009, 44, 162.25, 3.7
2010, 45, 157.33, 3.5
2011, 43, 161.83, 3.8
2012, 43, 301.16, 7.0
2013, 41, 231.75, 5.7
2014, 41, 157.5, 3.8
2015, 50, 200.08, 4.0
2016, 39, 157, 4.0
2017, 29, 172.5, 5.9
2018, 36, 104.5, 2.9
2019, 53, 235.25, 4.4


I think I see a trend here. :big grin: You have certainly increased your caving with the passage of time. As have I as well.

The other factor for me is that there is actual caving vs. caving-related activities. A lot of days I go ridgewalking, but don't actually find anything that could rightly be called a cave. With the use of LIDAR in the last couple of years, those trips are becoming fewer and fewer, however.

The nature of my cave trips has also changed. I used to do a lot of "tourist" trips into known caves, which would often last anywhere from 3 - 10 hours or more. Nowadays, I mostly explore and survey new caves that I have discovered, most of which (unfortunately) are small and/or short caves. There is an occasional longer and more significant project cave, but those are rare.

If I had to put a number on it for myself in recent years, I'd say that I am doing a caving or caving-related trip ~45 to 50 times a year.

Trogman :helmet:
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