WALK-THROUGH CAVES - UNDERGROUND STREAMS - CRAZY KARST FORMATIONS - MUD ROOMS - MULTILEVEL PIT DROPS
Sewanee is home to a number of spectacular caves. On campus alone, there are more than 10 caves with traversable passageways, and many others are just a short drive away! SOP Trips go out weekly to explore this exotic underground world.
The Tennessee-Alabama-Georgia (TAG) region within which Sewanee is nestled is world-renowned for its beautiful and extensive cave systems. 13,000 known caves within this region! Luckily for Sewanee cavers, the limestone that comprises the lower portions of the Cumberland Plateau make the Domain an ideal environment for the karst processes that form underground passageways.
The SOP leads both horizontal caving trips, on which no technical equipment is needed, and vertical caving expeditions, which call for rope-climbing gear and a solid grasp of technical ropes management. Interested students are encouraged to prepare themselves for vertical cave exploration at the SOP's several monthly training sessions, open to learners of all levels.
Helmets are a must when caving. Loose rock falling from above could cause an untimely accident, but most importantly, helmets protect your head from unexpected attacks by low ceilings!
Closed Toe Shoes
Caves, as a rule, are not nice places on the feet. Sharp rock and uneven ground conspire to tear through thin clothes and shred the feet of any unsuspecting sandal-clad cavers.
Caves here in Tennessee are a constant temperature year round at roughly 55°. It's a nice, cool break in the summer and in the winter a warm retreat. Regardless of season, we recommend wearing long pants and a long-sleeved shirt to keep from shivering.
With wet caves (any cave with water), mud tends to be the norm. Thankfully, cave mud washes out of most things!