Thursday, March 12, 2009

Caving vs Spelunking

So what is it? Caving or spelunking?

Well really it depends on who you ask.

First where did the term spelunking come from?

Clay Perry, a "caver" of the 1940s — wrote about a group of men and boys who explored and studied caves throughout New England. This group referred to themselves as spelunkers. This is regarded as the first use of the word in America. Throughout the 1950s, spelunking was the general term used for exploring caves is US English. It was used freely, without any positive or negative connotations, although only rarely outside the US.

In the 1960s, the terms "spelunking" and "spelunker" began to be considered a negative among experienced enthusiasts. They began to convey the idea of inexperienced cavers, using unreliable light sources and cotton clothing. In 1985, Steve Knutson (editor of American Caving Accidents) made the following distinction:

...Note that I use the term 'spelunker' to denote someone untrained and unknowledgeable in current exploration techniques, and 'caver' for those who are.

By the way "unknowledgaeable" is not a word, kinda ironic.

This thought is exemplified by bumper stickers and t-shirts displayed by many cavers: "Cavers rescue spelunkers".

Potholing refers to the act of exploring potholes, a word originating in the north of England for predominantly vertical caves. The term is often used as a synonym for caving, and outside the caving world there is a general impression that potholing is a more "extreme" version of caving.

So there you have it, you can call it whatever you want. But it will be easy to see if you are a real enthusiast or just talking out your butt!

So another words Caving vs Spelunking?

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