If you think "spelunking" is the
properpreferred term for exploring caves, think again. Those who explore caves with proper safety equipment and precautions refer to themselves as "cavers." To a caver, a spelunker is someone who thinks proper caving gear is a six-pack and a handheld flashlightventures into caves without being adequately prepared. Cavers rescue spelunkers.
PeterFJohnson wrote:We have been saying the same thing for years, but I for one vote we give it a rest.
For one thing, the word spelunker is fun to say. And the non-caving general public seems genuinely glad to show that they know the word when you tell them you spend your weekends underground. I tend to cringe a little on the inside everytime I have to pedantically explain to an outsider that we prefer "cavers" instead of engaging their enthusiasm.
And yes, of course there are people who are heading underground with nothing but a $10 flashlight and a case of beer. But despite their sins I think they probably are sticking their head in dark places for the same reasons I am. Which are probably the same reasons people did it 1,000's of years ago - and they had nothing but bare feet and a cane torch. So rather than ostracize non-cavers by using some special code word I would rather engage them with the hopes that maybe they can realize that heading into a cave unprepared and running amok like a bull in a china shop is a bad idea. The alternative, telling them they aren't "real" cavers, is only going to alienate them and make them look at me like some sort of elitist stick in the mud.
So while I certainly can't tell others what to do, I think caving has more shibboleths than it needs. The world can have the word spelunker back.
your skillful spelunker,
Ernie Coffman wrote:Geeezzz, Peter, I don't recall anyone saying we had to address the differences between "spelunker" and "caver," for yours truly used to be called a "spelunker," also. Then, when we started--don't rightly know when it started--saying that "cavers rescue spelunkers," for that's about what happened in a number of different situations, I guess I must have gotten caught up in that hype, also! No big deal, as you seem to have made it in your thoughts.
Ernie Coffman wrote:You're in a great grotto and in a fantastic part of the U.S. for caving, so...call yourself anything you want to.
Ernie Coffman wrote:We had a caver's restaurant guide going for several years, but it finally went by the wayside, sad to say. It was really pretty cool and definitely worth the $$$ that we put out for one.
NZCaver wrote:Of course many of us hashed out all the caver/spelunker stuff previously in this topic
That previous thread seems to cover it pretty well so I will go back underground now, if you need me, I will be with my clink-dinkers waiting for the Oompa Loompas(Previous thread reference). Be honest, if I continue to follow your "previous thread" links will I end up in some sort of endless loop paradox? It seems as though every time a topic comes up you post a link to a relevant previous thread and within that previous thread you have a link to a relevant previous thread. I am scared to click too far...
Chads93GT wrote:I think the difference may be that spelunkers dont sit around on the internet, arguing in 10941924 threads, about how stupid cavers are.
Jon wrote:Hey as long as some are taking offense, so will I. I take offense that commercial cave guide wisdom is that tites hold tight to the ceiling and mites "might reach the ceiling" . You could say that mites might reach the floor. so that is not a valid explanation. The only thing worse is the spelling lesson about "c" for ceiling and "G" for ground. "Mites might trip you" is far easier to remember and makes more sense.
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