Cave Exploration (Ranger Award elective)

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This is the Cave Exploration elective for the Venturing Ranger Award.
Boy Scouts can earn the Climbing merit badge.
Venturers can earn the Mountaineering and Cave Exploration Ranger Award electives

The Ranger Award medal
The Ranger Award medal

Cave Exploration is one of the electives for the Venturing Ranger Award.


Cave Exploration (Ranger Award elective) requirements

Requirement 1. Learn about caving
a. Write the National Speleological Society (NSS) to request information about caving and information about caves and cavers near you.
b. Learn about the different types of caves.
c. Learn about caving courtesy, caving dos and don'ts, and what the BSA policy is on cave exploring.
d. Read at least one book about caving.
Requirement 2. Knots
a. Learn the following knots used in caving:
b. Teach these knots to your crew, another crew, a Cub Scout or Boy Scout group, or another group.
Requirement 3. Ropes
a. Learn about the different types of ropes available for climbing and caving and explain the uses of each and the characteristics of each.
b. Learn proper climbing rope care. Know and practice proper coding and storage.
c. Know how to keep proper records on climbing rope and how to inspect it for wear and damage. Know when to retire a rope.
d. Using the knowledge acquired above, make a tabletop display or a presentation for your crew, another crew, a Cub Scout or Boy Scout group, or another group.
Requirement 4. Rappelling and belaying
a. Demonstrate that you know how to properly and safely rappel a distance of at least 30 feet.
b. Demonstrate that you know how to ascend a rope using mechanical ascenders or Prusik or other ascending knots. Ascend at least 30 feet.
c. Know and explain the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of single rope (SRT) and double rope (DRT) for rappelling and belaying.
Requirement 5. Outfitting
a. Visit a sporting goods store or NSS-affiliated organization or have them make a presentation to your crew so you can learn about personal caving gear, including helmets, light sources, backup lighting sources, clothing, boots, cave packs, etc.
b. Find out what the American National Standards Institute requirements are for helmets.
Requirement 6. First aid
a. Make a list of what you need in your personal cave pack. Include your personal first-aid kit and cave survival gear.
b. Learn what crew equipment is, including a first-aid kit, caving ropes, and ascending equipment.
c. Help make a first-aid kit for your crew or group and demonstrate that you can keep it up.
d. Demonstrate to your crew, another crew, a Cub Scout or Boy Scout group, or another group how to construct both a personal and crew first-aid kit.
Requirement 7. Caves
a. Learn about the many types of cave formations.
b. Make a tabletop display or presentation on cave formations and caving conservation for your crew, another crew, a Cub Scout or Boy Scout group, or another group. Include practices such as proper carbide removal; care of walls, ceiling, and formations; and principles of Leave No Trace.
Requirement 8. Find a cave you would like to visit; get permission to enter it; make a trip plan including cave location, a list of participants, expected time in the cave, expected date and time of return, and an emergency contact; and then go in the cave, led by a qualified caver.
Requirement 9. From a cave expert, learn about natural and fabricated hazards such as mudslides, loose rocks, pits, deep water, critters, complex routes, wooden ladders, and flooding.
Requirement 10. Maps
a. Using a three-dimensional cave map, learn what the standard map symbols represent.
b. Using the knowledge above, make a tabletop display or presentation for your crew, another crew, a Cub Scout or Boy Scout group, or another group.

Cave Safety

Caves can be dangerous if you are not properly trained or equipped. Here are some cave safety tips:

  1. Join an experienced group for proper training and safe caving.
  2. Never go caving alone. At least four cavers are a minimum.
  3. Always carry three sources of light.
  4. Don't attempt caves beyond your ability.
  5. Use proper gear, including a properly fitted helmet and suitable clothes.
  6. Leave word with family or friends about your trip plan, including cave location and expected return time.
  7. Always use the safer alternative when you have an option.

The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Venturer Handbook, 2006 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #N/A)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
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Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Typographical errors

Requirement 2a. Endline knots: is actually written as: "bowline figure six, figure eight on a bight". However, as there is no known "bowline figure six" knot, we can safely assume there are two typographical errors in this line... there should be a comma after bowline and six should be eight. As such, "endline knots" for this requirement should instead be written, read and interpreted as: "bowline, figure eight, [and] figure eight on a bight". (Once the official requirements changes, this note will be obsolete, but may still be retained here for those who may have older requirements books.)

Requirement resources

3d, 5a, 7b, & 10b. Presentation resources:

2-3 Knot Links
6 First Aid Links

Related awards

6 Emergency Preparedness Award Links
Emergency Preparedness-related awards
Sports-related awards
Hobby-related awards

See also

Venturing portal

External links

Personal tools