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Vertical Caving Course:
Want to learn how to drop pits or climb up subterranean waterfalls and having a hard time
finding someone to teach you? Learning to explore vertical caves can be intimidating and
difficult, but Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides happens to be located in the heart of West Virginia
cave country and is here to help. This course is designed for beginner and intermediate cavers or
aspiring rescue technicians looking to learn-the-ropes of safely navigating vertical terrain
underground. Our guides work with you first in our indoor training center to give you the big
picture of the vertical caving world, and then work to teach and practice knots, anchoring,
climbing a fixed rope, changing over to rappel, passing rebelays, down-climbing, passing knots,
negotiating J-hangs, and other skills that will prepare you for whatever you might find
underground, and to also prepare you for the National Cave Rescue Commission Level One
S.R.T. vertical competencies test. Once you practice in the training center and are familiar with
the basics, we will move to the real thing and go on a multidrop vertical caving trip in a nearby
cave. If you already know how to vertical cave and want to learn the finer points of bolt
climbing, contact SRMG and we can discuss a custom course for you.
You'll Learn:
 Knots and hitches
 Equipment for vertical caving
 Alpine cave rigging
 Ascending static ropes
 Rappelling with a rack and/or bobbin
 Changing over from rappelling to ascending, passing knots, and rebelays
 Basic self-rescue skills​
Group Caving:
If you are a leader or member of a scouting group, outing club, or just a have a large,
adventurous group of friends that want to see what lies hidden underneath the Mountain State
this experience is for you! Caves are notoriously mysterious places—famous for tight, wet,
muddy spaces—but don’t worry, you’ll find these are the best parts! Our expert guides will
instruct the group on outfitting yourself with basic caving gear and the fundamentals of safe and
responsible caving. We will focus on safety measures and techniques that take care of both the
caving party and the sensitive environment of the cave. Think of this as an underground hiking
trip where you’ll walk, crawl, wiggle, and splash through hidden passageways and rooms and get
to see beautiful places where the sun never shines.
Climbing and Caving:
We call this the Over-Under Course, because that’s what you’ll be doing! Half of the day will be
spent at Seneca Rocks (or another local crag like Nelson Rocks) top-rope climbing with our
guides and getting a bird’s eye view of the Allegheny Mountains. The other half of the day will
be spent under the mountains checking out a local cave and learning about safe and responsible
caving techniques and the cave environment. This is an action-packed day like no other!
Bio Kyle Mills
Kyle is a life-long West Virginian who was too young to remember the first time he saw Seneca
Rocks. In 2007 he started his trad climbing life at Seneca, and this is also when he became active

in the local caving scene. From 2012-2016 he was a wild cave guide at Lost World Caverns and
member of the West Virginia Association for Cave Studies—where he played a very active role
(mostly through aid climbing domes) in discovering new passages in the Friars Hole Cave
System that eventually led the cave system to having over 50 miles of mapped passages—the
first cave in West Virginia to do so. Since 2016 he has been leading backpacking, climbing,
caving, canoeing, and outdoor education trips for the Spruce Knob Mountain Center and
participating in the Germany Valley Karst Survey through exploring the Hellhole Cave System.
In 2021, Kyle met up with Tom and began a mountain guide/ fishing mentorship that has proved
the intricacies of guiding and instructing multipitch climbing courses might just be easier to do
than regularly catching large fish. Kyle is the author of Field Notes from the Alleghenies and is
working on his second book.

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