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Dry Caving

A hump to a sump: Exploration of the Elk River streamway

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Agnes Milowka_cave diving Elk River

There are strong differences between a cave diver and a sump diver and how they relate to the cave environment, how they configure their gear and what they try to achieve. A sump diver is more than just a cave diver and more than just a dry caver. A sump diver combines dry caving and cave diving techniques in a unique way in order to achieve a very specific goal - negotiating water filled passages in order to explore dry cave on the other side. While cave divers enjoy swimming around in water filled passages as an end in of itself, to the sump diver the wet stuff is an obstacle that must be negotiated, not the final reward. To the dry caver the sumps are impenetrable and represent an end of the journey, the sump diver on the other hand is virtually unstoppable.

It is not all beer and skittles however, more often than not actually getting to a sump in a dry cave requires not only dragging your own sorry ass several kilometers in, but also carrying a mountain of dive gear to boot.  For those of us who enjoy driving up to a dive site, chucking on the tanks and taking a leisurely stroll down carpeted stairs to the water, this might seem a little, well… keen.