Many words have been introduced into the
English language over the last hundred years. Some because there
is a need to describe a new item or process which has been
discovered. Some examples are Karabiner, Piton and Wetsuit. On
other occasions a new word or group of words may be used to
describe an action or new sport. Examples which spring to mind
are Chimneying, Cave Diving, Prusiking and Abseiling. There are
the words which are spelt differently, depending which school you
went to. A classic example would be Karabiner or Carabiner. The
need to formalise the spelling and exact definition was
recognized many years ago when the ASF first published in 1968
the Speleo Handbook, edited by P. Matthews.
The 1985 Australian Karst Index added to this
on-going process with an excellent glossary of terms listed in
section 14. The authors must be commended on such a comprehensive
list of definitions for words in use up to that period.
Currently there are a number of slang and
colloquial caving terms which have been used widely for many
years. The exact definition of these words remain open for
interpretation, as there appears to be no recent listing of their
correct meaning. Hopefully this following list will be thought
provoking and set the wheels in motion toward having some
additional words officially recognized in the Speleological
ARMCHAIR CAVER An experienced caver who
is now incapable of caving or a person still able to, but has
lost the urge to actually go caving. On the other hand they may
spend much of their time writing or reading caving books and
hours may be spent reminiscing over photographs from past trips.
BOOBTUBE A clear flexible tube about one
metre long. Used like a straw to drink water from small crevices
or inaccessible pools. The original name was the Super Syphon
Sucker, first utilised widely around 1973-74 by Jeffory Smith a
Venturer Scout in the Kotara Unit (N.S.W). Jeffory used it
extensively on bushwalking, caving and cross-country skiing trips
and the use of such a tube spread widely among outdoor
enthusiasts from there. Several name changes occurred over the
next few years, however during the last 10 to 15 years the name
Boob Tube has been most widely used.
BOULDER CHOKE A collapse of rock from
floor to roof which makes further progress difficult or dangerous.
FOUL AIR Cave atmosphere containing a
high concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) which affects a cavers
respiration and metabolism. This term usually refers to air which
contains 1% CO2 (by volume) or greater. Simple test:- A lighted
match will go out if foul air is present.
GROT-HOLE A small insignificant cave
with no possible leads, often tight and difficult to manoeuvre
GROUND-TROG The systematic search of the
surface ground for cave entrances.
JUG-HANDLE A small loop of rock shaped
like a handle, used as an anchor point or hand hold to aid
KRAB Short for Karabiner. A steel or
aluminium alloy snap-link used in rope work.
MICROBOD A term used to describe a child
or an adult caver of small build - able to fit through narrow
passages and seemingly able to dislocate their joints to
negotiate tight corners.
OVERHANG A ledge or shelf of rock which
projects past the rest of the rock face below. Also referred to
as part of an abseil (either above or below ground), where the
abseiler is hanging free of the rock face. This occurs once an
abseiler has passed a projection of rock which makes it
impossible for the abseiler's feet to touch the rock face without
swinging on the rope.
ROOF-SNIFFING The act of edging oneself
along a small water-filled passage, on your back with only
sufficient airspace for eyes and nose. It should be pointed out
that this practice can be very dangerous for inexperienced
SCROGGIN An edible random mixture of
nuts, dried fruit, rice crisps, unwrapped lollies, chocolate and
edible seeds. The mixture is consumed by cavers, bushwalkers and
other outdoor enthusiasts as a source of high energy food. It is
made up to suit an individuals taste and requirements.
TOURI A group of tourists at a
commercially developed caving area. In other words those people
who go on guided or self guided tours where fixed lighting is
provided to view the caves. "Stay out of sight of the
tourists (touri)", is often one of the conditions attached
to a caving permit, where the permit cave is in the close
vicinity of a commercial tour cave.
TROG-UP Attiring oneself in suitable
clothing and necessary equipment in readiness to go underground.
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