Those of us who constantly go exploring are sometimes faced with questions
or observe some generally bad form from new people just getting into the
hobby. There’s zero wrong with this (so long as no one gets hurt), but
mistakes are meant to be learned from. We here at LTV have more experience
than anyone else in NYC when it comes to exploring (be it old buildings, tunnels, etc) so it’s only fitting that we provide some public education. I figured a simple Dos and Don’ts format would be fun, so here goes our first installment:
There’s no point in say, wandering into a tunnel without a flashlight, and a backup flashlight, and perhaps a third source of light while you’re at it. It all really depends on the parameters of the location you’re attempting to check out. If you’re going into a sewer pipe that is miles long, multiple light sources, a O2 meter, and rubber boots or waders will make your trip all the safer, whereas a trip into say, freedom tunnel (where oxygen and light are robust, few little water hazards), all you really need is a flashlight.
The absolute best tactic is to, where possible, learn all you can about the location. You can find a huge amount of information on the internet. In many cases you can find out more by asking other explorers – though this can be tricky, and we’ll get to that in an upcoming installment.
Being unprepared can lead to epic fail. Not enough food, not enough light, not enough gear can all be problems. Recently, some of us had to muster on a Tuesday night to go help retrieve someone basically from a cave in the middle of the woods. The victim in this situation was able to get himself out, but only after hours in the dark and cold, and with the knowledge that if he tried and failed the final part of his climb, there were people on the scene prepare to get the right first responders involved.
Always Prepare. Safety and Zero fail are the name of the game.