SOP - Caving


Sewanee is home to many amazing caves. On campus there are at least 10 caves with traversible passage. Many more are just a short drive away. The Tennessee-Alabama-Georgia (TAG) region is world-renowned for its beautiful and extensive cave systems.  There are 13,000 known caves within this region.  Trips go out weekly to explore this exotic underground world.‌‌  The SOP leads both horizontal and vertical caving trips.

Sick SOP Caving Vids

Earth from Below: Vertical Caving on Sewanee's Campus

Earth from Below, Flooded cave from Stephen Alvarez on Vimeo.

"SOP does Vert" from Luke Padgett and Eric Keen.

This time-lapse video was shot on campus during an SOP vertical cave training session.‌

Student going into cave

Caving Safety


Helmets are a must when caving. Loose rock falling from above could cause an untimely accident, but most importantly, helmets protect your head from unexpected attacks by low ceilings.

Closed Toe Shoes

As you can see, caves are not nice places on the feet. Sharp rock and uneaven ground conspire to tear at clothes and unfoot any would-be caver.


Caves here in Tennessee are a constant temperature year round at roughly 55°. In the summer it is a nice cool break and in the winter a warm retreat. We do, however, recommend wearing long pants and a long sleeved shirt to keep from shivering. 

Wet Caves

With wet caves (any cave with water) mud tends to be a rule. This caver's shoes have seen better days. Thankfully, cave mud washes out of most things.

Student caving in Wet Caves

Vertical Caves

Neversink is one of the most beautiful places around. It is repeatedly pictured in cave journals as the cover picture. Located a simple hour from Sewanee, this 163ft pit has more colors than you would imagine. This picture of Neversink was taken on a Student Leader trip. The SOP relies on the students to lead trips for other students within their specialty. Without knowledgeable students leading hundreds of trips every year the SOP could not be the fantastic program it is today. In order to honor their dedication, trips like this to Neversink are limited to leaders.

Student climbing rope in cave