OUCC Proceedings 9 (1979)


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by W Anchor, MA. (St Urbates)

Readers of the preceding paper may recall the selective breeding experiments reported by Checkley(1972). Here in the city of dreamy spires 'gedrunken' experiments are frequently indulged in, although the club does still go caving as well. Despite the gritty sediments found in baths after trips, many acquaintances can understand SRT gear only in terms of its potential as bondage equipment, and wetsuits as indicative of rubber fetishism: indeed single grope techniques interest them far more than any Freudian theories. So why do some people need to go caving? The idea of a desire to return to the womb does not apply: whoever heard of a cave that rumbled like that, although I suppose that it would be an appropriately bloody mess if it did. Mammary and phallic symbolism showed itself to be a potent factor for some visitors to Pozu del Cantu del Hombre, but this can't satisfy everyone.

A new approach to the problem surfaced in the collective expedition consciousness through the medium of the logbook. If a mutation causes the brain to replace the concept of sex by that of a cave, we should obtain the SRT man (Selectively Retarded Troglophile). A few examples will suffice to illustrate the principle:

A '****' is virgin until discovered, surveyed and entered.

Some like their '*****' wet and tight, others like them warm and large.

It is best to obtain permission to enter '*****'.

Some '*****' charge for entry

You must be aware of Weil (pronounced 'vile') diseases.


It does appear that the process is reversible, as shown by the following letter :

Biblioll College*

Dear Sir,

On having Dave Checkley's article on Solo Caving in Descent No. 41 read to me, I was interested to hear that for some time his friends "weary of the same old hard trips", "caving has little left". If Mr Checkley will allow me to summarise, they resorted to soloing for several reasons:

  1. A natural progression from once large parties to small groups and thence to the one man team;
  2. Improvements have eroded the difficulties and risks that in part make it worthwhile. Viz:
    1. Certain items of equipment have been specifically designed and not borrowed from some other activity;
    2. Greater comfort makes it more enjoyable and enables a finer appreciation of the environment.

They did, however, appreciate the increased risks:

  1. The soloist submits himself to great risks not only because, solo, he can dispense with certain safety precautions but also because rescue could be delayed;
  2. A minor injury is likely to result in a full scale operation.

Any call for assistance would be rather embarrassing, especially as "many among the public consider it a totally unacceptable risk for themselves".

I and many of my friends feel much the same about sex.


PS On the subject of injury, I know of no case in which anyone's sense of hearing or vision has been affected by soloing.


Checkley, D. (1972) A New Approach to Cave Exploration in Britain. Lancs. Uni. Spel. Journ. 1, 2, 29-31

 * (This is a rather obscure literary joke)