CAMPING / CAVING WEEKEND ......N.R.O.!!!!!!!!­!!!!!

  • May 17, 2013 · 3:00 PM










Spring 2013 NRO: Berkshirian Cavapalooza

Greetings, Cavers!

A hootin’ awesome, rollicking great time chock full o’ mud n’ caves n’ eats n’ auctions n’ people n’ music n’ more! Be there… or have a great excuse!


The Spring 2013 NRO will be held in Massachusetts this May 17, 18 and 19, 2013. Boston Grotto, with strong assistance from the Berkshire Cavers & Diggers, are putting on the show. We are currently planning events, trips, music and more.

Location: The Spring 2013 NRO will be held at Camp St. Michael’s, home of Great Radium Springs Cave and a really awesome Berkshire location. Note: We have cleared significant additional parking area with the owners, and will have simple ingress/egress pathways marked!

Please contact the Grotto if you have any questions.

Caving & Hiking Trips:

Trip info to be added in March/April. We’re exploring access to Caves you Haven’t Ever Never Seen; new/recently-opened area caves that may be open to visitation! Please stay tuned for details.

Other trips:

Race Brook Falls: Multi-drop “cayoneering” rappel: Race Brook Falls has a series of drops; several lower and, beyond toward the top of Mt. Everett, two upper. Rappel with pull-downs; wetsuit not required, but helpful depending on temperature and water levels.


NNJG has  generously offered to host both breakfasts: Saturday and Sunday! Menu forthcoming – get ready for some awesome eats!

Boston Grotto will be providing Saturday dinner – menu forthcoming (but may include tortilla soup!).

If you are a brewer and would like to help provide homebrew beer, please get in touch with someone from the Boston Grotto!

Saturday Daytime Events:

Vertical Ropes Course: We’re looking into setting up a vertical ropes course complete with multiple rebelay points and a tyrolean traverse between trees. Use your wit and rope skills to scamper up, over and across the traverse!

Squeeze Box: Everyone needs a good squeeze now and then, right? The question is, how much squeeze can you handle? Give the squeeze box a try… and find out!

For those not interested in caving, there are a number of tremendous local spots to check out. These include:

Saturday Evening Events

Grand Auctioneering - TBD

Music by Beware the Dangers of a Ghost Scorpion: Check ‘em out! (Well) described as Punk-Surf-Rock, it’s awesome cavin’ music and hey, they’ll be caving’ with us Saturday before they play.

Sunday Morning Events

Keep the flame alight! A fundraiser to benefit Schoharie County Flood Relief will pit you and your candle against the highways and byways in Great Radium Spring Cave. The owner has generously offered to open access for the fundraiser.

For $10, each participant receives a candle, holder (and a light) at the entrance to the cave. Using candlelight (with spare electric lights as backup), the challenge: can you exit the cave while holding the candle alight?  (Note: honesty will prevail; no lighters, matches or re-lighting of candles is permitted!).

Promotional Photographs

Our cavers sent the following images from the field. Some or all of these caves may be open for the NRO. Note: objects in images may be much smaller than they appear.


(Apparently Not) Fearless Northeast Caver as he encounters a sleeping Myotis Grandes hibernating near the entrance drop to Porque Pineden Cave
Fearless Northeast Caver (FNC) on the 200m pitch into Porque Pineden Cave
Fearless Northeast Caver (FNC) on the 200m pitch into Porque Pineden Cave
Beginner Caver Gear List]


As a beginner caver, the idea is to spend as little as possible on clothing and gear while balancing safety and comfort underground. If you get into caving more seriously, you will of course refine your gear, but almost anybody can put together the necessary items for a first cave trip without going to extraordinary measures. Keep it simple and use common sense. Cavers are more than happy to share their opinions, so don't hesitate to post questions to the group or contact people individually with questions. Caving is supposed to be fun — don't let the list below get in the way of having a good time!



In the northeast there is a good chance that you will get damp if not wet. Cotton is a terrible insulator once it is wet, so in general it's a good idea to try to wear as little cotton as possible. Choose synthetic fabrics or wool if it is feasible to do so. Also note that you're going to get dirty. Most of the mud will come out during a wash, but not completely. Your clothes can also take a good beating crawling around, so make sure you don't bring anything that you mind getting ripped or torn.


Underwear/Base Layer

The caves in the northeast tend to be rather cool in comparison to others throughout the US: air temperature is in the low 50s. It is highly recommended that you wear synthetic or wool base layers, both top and bottom (you may hear cavers refer to this kind of underwear generally as "polypro", i.e. polypropylene; some synthetic underwear is indeed made of polypro). Do not wear cotton long johns. You can find synthetic base layers in many different stores, including outdoor shops like EMS, REI, and Paragon Sports, as well as general sporting goods stores, Wal-Mart, etc. Don't go crazy if this is your first time — it's not necessary to invest $120 in brand new Patagonia base layers.



Wear loose-fitting jeans or any pants of a similar durable nature. Try to avoid pants with tool loops, extra pockets, zippers, or anything else that can get caught on protrusions in the cave.


Long Sleeve Shirt

Wear a long sleeve shirt over your base layer.


Outer Layer

Bring an old wool sweater or thin jacket (no cotton!) into the cave as your outer layer. Try to avoid outer layers with extra pockets, mesh panels, buckles, tabs, or anything else that can get caught on protrusions in the cave. Where possible, opt for multiple thin layers over one big bulky layer. If you have loose-fitting coveralls (i.e., able to stretch your arms over your head with no problems), bring them. Many cavers wear special caving coveralls that are reinforced in key areas and are made of durable nylon, but it's not necessary to invest in anything like this until you fall in love with the sport, which will be about 5 minutes after your first trip.



Wear wool or synthetic hiking socks. Another option is to wear neoprene wetsuit socks; many cavers wear these even in dry caves. You can usually find neoprene socks at Wal-Mart, dive shops, or sporting goods stores.



Ankle support and traction are important, so you need to wear boots. Avoid wearing expensive hiking boots because they will get muddy, scratched, and wet. If you don't have a pair of old boots, look for something cheap at Payless, Wal-Mart, or an army/navy store. Steel toes are unnecessary and just add to the weight that you have to drag around on the ends of your legs. Another option is to wear rubber boots with good treads, aka wellies (but don't wear your expensive Hunter boots, because you will be very sad when they get wrecked).


Wool Cap/Hat

Bring a wool or synthetic stretch cap if you have one. If you get cold, you can put it on under your helmet.



Wear cheap gardening gloves (but try to avoid cotton!) or rubber gloves of the type usually sold for a few dollars in most convenience stores. In addition to providing you with some protection from the cold, these gloves will help you to maintain good traction as you use your hands to move over slippery surfaces.


Knee Pads

Northeast caves feature a lot of crawling. A cheap pair of knee pads is a great addition to your cave gear. Different people prefer different style knee pads (soft, hard, sports, construction, etc.), so pick something inexpensive and see if it works for you.




You must wear a helmet when caving: no exceptions, ever. If you have a rock climbing helmet, that is perfect. You can also get away with cycling or paddling helmets, though they are less than ideal. Met Grotto has helmets available for beginners to borrow, so please talk to your trip leader.




Every caver needs a headlamp on his or her helmet. If you have one for hiking or camping, that will probably work. Met Grotto has headlamps available for beginners to borrow, to please talk to your trip leader.


Spare Lights

Each person must have 3 independent light sources. If you have made arrangements to borrow a grotto headlamp, you still need to bring two additional flashlights or headlamps into the cave just in case something goes wrong with your primary light source.


Spare Batteries

In addition to the batteries in your lights, bring spare batteries, especially a full extra set for your headlamp.



Plastic Garbage Bags

Bring at least 2 large plastic garbage bags. Take one into the cave since it can be used as an emergency heat tent (tip: fold it into a small square and keep it inside the top of your helmet). Leave the others outside the cave and use them to store your damp/wet gear for the ride home. Garbage bags can also be used as mats to stand on while changing clothes.


Fluids and Food

Bring a small bottle (not glass) of water or some other fluid in order to prevent dehydration. On your first few cave trips, Gatorade or something containing electrolytes is a good idea. As you cave more often, you'll be able to judge whether just a bottle of water is enough. One or two candy bars or Power Bars is also a good idea. Power Bars will give you a quick source of energy should you become tired and/or cold.



You may want to take photos so all of your normal friends can look at you on Facebook and wonder why you thought caving was a good idea. You can bring a camera, but make sure it's in a protective carrying case if it's not waterproof and shockproof.


Container for Small Items

A wide-mouth Nalgene bottle (available at outdoor shops) is a great container for snacks, batteries, backup flashlights, and more. It's watertight and crushproof, and will protect small items inside your pack. A small Tupperware container will also work, but you may want to duct tape it closed to keep the lid from popping off. A more durable option is a small Pelican case or Otter box if you have one.


Day Pack

Bring a small over the shoulder day pack to carry the above equipment and supplies. A fanny pack also seems to work for some. The important thing is that your hands should be free when moving in a cave.


Join or login to comment.

  • avra c.

    Always great to see old friends and meet new ones. Fine weather, good caves and great company. Special thanks to John Dunham for the superbly guided trip to Merlin's. Kudos to Boston Grotto for producing a first class guide book of the area's many caves w/ great info and maps. Best of all, Met grotto kicked butt in the tug of war! Mostly.

    2 · May 20, 2013

  • Steven S.

    Another great time with an awesome group of people!!!!

    3 · May 18, 2013


      Dam you Steve...I seen you for like a total of 5 minutes...

      May 19, 2013

    • Steven S.

      I know, I was totally bummed out that I couldn't stay. It looks like I missed a really good time!!! Next year I'm definitely staying for the weekend.

      May 19, 2013


    What a great weekend @ the N.R.O. ,.....Nice to see some faces I have not seen in a while...and new ones alike...had fun...

    1 · May 19, 2013

  • Steven S. Here is a link to the video of the trip to Merlins cave.

    May 19, 2013

  • Mimi

    Kay - please say you're leading a trip this evening :) I'll be over on the early side as well. Leaving early Sunday. I've got a spare cell this week so my usual phone number won't work - will text the other one. Beautiful weekend in store!!

    May 17, 2013

    • Kay R.

      I am! See ya tonight chick !

      May 17, 2013

  • Kay R.

    does everybody have the minimum of two headlamps and a helmet...gloves and knee pads?

    May 15, 2013

    • Thomas. A.

      No I don't have headlamps hat knees pads caving suit wet suit but I can crawl on my knees

      1 · May 16, 2013

  • Lina N.

    Sorry I have to cancel. Have to work late Friday and I won't have transportation.

    May 16, 2013

  • Kay R.

    Beginner Caver Gear List]

    As a beginner caver, the idea is to spend as little as possible on clothing and gear while balancing safety and comfort underground. If you get into caving more seriously, you will of course refine your gear, but almost anybody can put together the necessary items for a first cave trip without going to extraordinary measures. Keep it simple and use common sense. Cavers are more than happy to share their opinions, so don't hesitate to post questions to the group or contact people individually with questions. Caving is supposed to be fun — don't let the list IN THE LINK get in the way of having a good time!


    May 15, 2013

  • lauren r.

    1st timer, but very excited!

    May 15, 2013

  • Kay R.

    is anyone coming from CT. and needs a ride share? contact me or Ana

    May 14, 2013


    Leaving around 9:30 am....getting there early to give Dave and the Boston Grotto a hand setting up....Its all about Muscles and Lumens.....

    1 · May 13, 2013

    • Kay R.

      I'm right behind ya brotha! Be there at 3 to lend a hand. 6 of em actually!

      May 13, 2013

  • Kay R.

    :-) I am leaving at noon. I'm driving vince and bob. I have room for two more.. contact me for a ride.

    May 13, 2013

  • Kay R.

    shungu julianna avra and jason... ive got a ride share for you.. 2 train goes to gun hill road in bronx... get there and anurag (or someone else)can give you a ride

    May 11, 2013

    • avra c.

      Who should I contact? Thanks...

      May 13, 2013

    • Kay R.

      +1732 seven one zero 2910. A.J. he can take three of you I can take one. My number 631 two one three 7397.

      May 13, 2013

  • Ana


    March 22, 2013

    • Kay R.

      ana i have another from ct who needs a ride share. email me your number if you can offer ride or want to jump in on hers

      May 11, 2013

    • Ana


      May 12, 2013

  • Dave

    Howdy all, Glad to see the Meetup is excited to attend the NRO! We'll be updating the Boston Grotto's NRO web page w/ fees and other info over the next few weeks. If you haven't yet pre-registered, PLEASE DO SO! No payment, but it helps us plan && helps you 'cuz you're entered to win a Petzl Croll! Cheers & see ya there,
    --Dave / Boston Grotto

    1 · April 13, 2013

  • Kay R.

    did sheryl get back to anyone who emailed a requested ride from her?

    May 11, 2013

  • Memo

    Doing the AIDS Walk.

    May 11, 2013


    Remember "ALL".....We are a fun group as you can see.....Lets have fun....and be safe ...and make it one hell of a weekend......I am leaving very early on Friday....So I will try to get prime realestate for all of us....My goal is to get in 3-4 caves by Sunday if possible...

    1 · May 10, 2013

  • jason

    any carpool available?? Thank

    May 3, 2013

    • Kay R.


      May 3, 2013

    • Kay R.

      i have several who are driving...still getting exact details of who is offering. stay tuned

      May 9, 2013

  • Sheryl

    Have a car- drivng from NYC

    March 22, 2013

    • Kay R.

      are you offering carpool to anyone? several have tried to contact you for a ride.

      1 · May 9, 2013

  • Kay R.

    julianna dave and avra all three of you are coming from nyc if Cheryl wont take you I have another who can... call me

    April 20, 2013

    • avra c.

      I just emailed Sheryl to ask for confirmation of a ride up. Thanks.

      1 · April 20, 2013

    • Kay R.

      Keep me apprised.

      1 · April 20, 2013

  • Kay R.

    I would like everyone to call or text me so that I have your number ..516 two zero five 5966 ... contact me..especially if you have or need a ride share

    April 20, 2013

  • Kay R.

    I can take three from long island..Cheryl is driving from nyc.. email us for ride

    April 20, 2013

  • lauren r.

    1st timer, but very excited!

    April 20, 2013

  • Kay R.

    Address is 1074 cascade street pittsfield mass

    April 19, 2013

  • Kay R.


    This NRO, held in Pittsfield Massachusetts, places you to right in the middle of the Berkshire Mountain’s finest caves. The campsite is within a 10 minutes drive of Lanesborough, the heart of Berkshire caving. It is also within a 30 minutes drive of the caves in West Stockbridge, Sheffield, and Alford.  Berkshire cave diggers have worked very hard over the past couple of years trying to find caves within a two hours drive of Hartford and have finally succeeded.  This year we will be holding all events at Camp St. Michael in Pittsfield Ma. Campground features include a children’s playground, basketball courts, a small pond for swimming and kayaking, and a cave. Yes, there is cave on the property and you may set up your tent directly above it. Known as Great Radium Springs Cave, this cave drains a swamp to the north and feeds Hawthorne pond

    April 19, 2013

  • Kay R.

    I will be arranging carpools this Saturday make surenyour rsvp state if you need or can offer a ride and from where

    April 18, 2013

  • Julianna

    need a ride from NYC

    April 17, 2013

  • avra c.

    Need a ride... share gas, driving and any other expenses.

    March 20, 2013

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