What on earth is caving (i.e. what have I gotten myself into)? What are the caves like?
Caving (known in some countries as spelunking, potholing or caverneering) is the exploration of underground passages, tunnels, caverns and shafts. There is high diversity in the caves and caving areas visited by SUSS around Sydney. Some caves are warm, some cooler. Some caves are dusty, some muddy. Some caves consist of large passages you can walk through, others are more suited to crawling.
Isn’t caving dangerous?
Accidents and injuries are uncommon in SUSS. By far the most dangerous part of any caving trip is the drive there and back! All SUSS trips will have an approved Trip Supervisor who is an experienced caver with a current first aid certificate. Your Trip Leader will always carry a full first aid kit and a complete rope rescue kit (on trips where abseiling is required). Safety is never compromised on any SUSS trip.
Do I have to be a university student to join SUSS?
No you don’t. Everyone can join SUSS! All you need is an access card, which provides you all kind of discounts and ensures we get club funds to run events for you, this can be easily applied for here.
Will the caves have paths and hand rails?
No! These are wild, natural caves rather than tourist caves.
Can I take my camera?
Yes if you want to. Our trip leaders regularly take photos they will be happy to share with you.
What trips are on? How do I sign up for trips?
You can find a list of trips and events on our online trip list. If you want to come on a trip, MAKE SURE YOU LET THE TRIP LEADER KNOW so that they can make arrangements. It is helpful to let the Trip Leader know the following in your email:
- Full name
- Member or non-member (include Next of Kin contact details if you are a nonmember)
- Your telephone numbe
- Which trip you want to join AND which days you’ll be there
- If you need a lift OR if you can offer others a lift (including how many people you can take, the suburb you’re leaving from and what time you’ll be leaving)
- Any club gear you will need to borrow for the trip (e.g. helmet, headlamp, camping gear) How much caving experience you have
- Any injuries/medical conditions (e.g. asthma, dodgy knee, allergic to bees - this information is private and only used to choose the best caves to visit)
Can I come on a trip without being a member and then decide whether I want to join?
Sure! There is a $30 trip fee from non-members to cover your insurance and gear. This can be handed to the trip supervisor at the end of your trip, and if you come for anymore than 3 trips, you will be automatically registered as a member for free.
I missed the O-Week/Beginner trips!!!!
Many new members fear that they will miss out on special beginner orientation or training at the start of the year, but fear not! Beginners are welcome on all trips at any time of the year and we welcome new faces at any time. Don’t be scared of signing up – on most trips we have people with little or no caving experience. Our Trip Leaders will arrange for you to do activities that should be within your level of ability. So unless the trip list says that experience is required, just sign up for any trip and let the Trip Leader know you haven’t done much caving before. Bring a friend and have a ball together!
What do I need to bring? What gear do I need?
Clothes that can get muddy or damaged, knee pads and batteries for the headlights. A helpful checklist of basic caving equipment and camping equipment can be found under “What to pack” here.
How do I get to caves if I don’t have a car?
Trip Organisers arrange carpooling for all trips.
How much will it cost?
Generally the only costs for members are your share of the petrol and whatever groceries you bring! At some caving areas, such as Jenolan, there is a small fee for accommodation. Non-members are usually welcome on trips, however are asked to pay a $30 non-member fee to cover insurance and gear usage.
Where will we stay?
It depends on the caving area you are visiting. Mostly we will be camping. Check out the caving areas section of the website for specific information.
Do I need special training?
SUSS trips require no previous training and are beginner-friendly unless the trip list specifies otherwise.
How can I get involved?
Besides coming along to any of our awesome trips, throughout the year we have monthly general meetings (GMs), which members and non-members alike are invited to attend. GMs are held on the first Thursday of every month (except January) at 7pm for a 7.30pm start to the formal part of the evening. They are generally in the Holme Building, but always watch the email notifications sent out beforehand for more information. These meetings are a great time to meet your fellow SUSSlings, find out what trips SUSS has been on, and ask any burning questions you have about caving. We also have a presentation of special trips that SUSS members have recently been on (awesome slideshow included). After the GM we generally head to the pub, which is a great time to chat to the other members and be regaled with yarns caving and non-caving related. There are also exciting opportunities for you to learn and practise your technical skills (e.g. abseiling) on our field days, or to meet fellow members at our other get-togethers. And if you have an idea for a great trip or training day, let one of the committee members know (email email@example.com)!