What we’re all about
Welcome to LUUCaS: Leeds University Union Caving Society
We are an active club that’s underground regularly, running trips all over the UK and beyond. From the Mendips in the south to the Dales in the north, we travel all over in search of adventure; including European jaunts to France, Spain, Austria. If you're looking to widen your travel experience in a unique and fun way, this is the society for you.
We've created a fresher's webpage on our club website with all the info you need!
Training for our vertical trips starts Tue 1st Oct 8pm at the Edge climbing wall (and membership is not required for this 1st Oct session!) Our Give-it-a-Go is Sun 13th Oct and doesn't require any prior experience - keep an eye on our social media for more info on this trip and many other trips throughout the year!
Caving is a cooperative sport where a group of people traverse the exciting and varied environments caves offer; we scramble over boulders, climb up walls, ascent/descend rope and crawl through streams to explore these often forgotten piece of natural landscape. These combine to make caving a challenging and compelling sport; with the rewards of exploring places rarely (if ever) seen and having experiences you’ll never forget.
Thanks to being a branch of ULSA (University of Leeds Speleological Association) we also have access to a wealth of caving equipment and expertise from a variety of experienced members. So whether you’re a new or seasoned caver there’s no better way to cave than with us.
Read on if you want to learn about our trips, gear and training, trips abroad, socials, membership or see some FAQs.
We run three types of trips...
- Day Trips - Generally run once a week, usually on a Saturday. We drive out, spend the day adventuring underground and drive back: hopefully followed by a visit to the pub or a curry house!
- Weekend Trips – Our most infamous and popular trips! Generally ran 4 times a term, leaving Friday evening and returning Sunday evening. We all head to cave-heavy region of the UK and spend the weekend doing as much caving as we can, while spending the nights partying together at a caving hut (think a more chaotic hostel!). We even include breakfasts and dinners so there’s no excuse to miss these events!
- Expeditions and holidays – Once uni ends for the year, it’s time to think about caving further afield. For those keen enough, thanks to the great links LUUCaS members have created over the years, there are opportunities to adventure into Europe and beyond. These trips promise more exotic climates, different activities (like via ferrata, climbing, hiking and canyoning) and, in the case of expeditions, discovering uncharted caves. Over the years we've invaded Spain, France, Austria and cannot wait to get elsewhere!
Gear and Training
We are well equipped to help cater to new cavers with a large store of equipment; from ropes and metal work to clothing and wellies. We’ll make sure you dress to cave practically and safely and make sure the equipment you’re caving in is in top condition.
We also offer regular training sessions at the Edge climbing wall at the following times...
- Tuesdays 8pm-10pm
- Fridays 8pm-10pm
- when we are not on weekend trips - check the calendar on our website!
We’ll cover the basics of safe rope ascent and descent, general caving advice and even teach you how to rig up ropes for cave exploration. These sessions are quite informal so come to learn or just to hang out. The first few training sessions of the year do not require membership to attend so feel free to show up and say hello!
Caving and Canyoning abroad
We're really keen to get our members abroad for adventuring that cannot be done in the UK! At the beginning of last summer, we spent two weeks in Vercors, France, exploring and enjoying the caves, canyons and hikes that they had to offer. This included trips to an underground ad-hoc sculpture park, some huge 5 meter plus plunge pool jumps and some great hiking to cap off visits to exciting and scenic areas. We had great fun on this trip and look forward to running another next year!
On the other side of foreign caving excursions is the aspect of caving some people feel is the most exciting: Expedition caving! This is where a group of cavers head to a part of the world filled with uncharted cave and go where no one's gone before. Ever! These trips are one of the few ways to discover parts of the world untouched by humanity; and by using compasses, tape and even lazer distance measurers we can record these caves in history for years to come.
Thanks to some of the great links LUUCaS and ULSA members have made over the years we are lucky to be able to join many expeditions around the globe, to places like Austria, Spain and Serbia. While these trips are grueling, week-to-month long excursions to remote and unfavorable climates; the great people you'll meet and new, pristine, caves you'll see will give you one of the most enjoyable experiences of your life.
Some of us are considered ‘social cavers’. And why wouldn’t you be? Every training session precedes a pub session, and we’ll often be found drunk and jovial long into the night... and of course, a venture further into town for dancing is usually a popular option!
Beyond this we are an active and adventurous bunch, many of us frequenting climbing & bouldering walls during the week. We also have been known to go paintballing, go karting, jumping on trampolines - the list goes on! We’re always looking for fun things to do, so let us know and it’ll probably happen! It’s always worth keeping up with us on our facebook for our more spontaneous meet-ups.
So now you’ve been sold on caving, how do you join us?
As of September 2019, it is £18 for the year and £12 for a semester. This gives you...
- Equipment use from our gear store, including ropes and appropriate caving clothing.
- Access to our training sessions for Uni of Leeds Students at the EDGE climbing wall, featuring a bunch of experienced and helpful members that will teach you everything they can about caving. Access is currently £5.50 per session for non-University of Leeds students but we are currently working on a better access arrangement so our non-Uni of Leeds members.
- BCA (British Caving Association) Insurance, which covers your access to caves on private land and public liability in case something goes wrong.
It’s a steal for some of the best times you will have throughout the year!
If you are not a student at the University of Leeds, you are still very welcome to come caving with us! We've had students from other universities and non-students alike join us in the past, so just get in contact with us via our website or our facebook page.
Thanks for reading, and see you underground!
Yes! We'll teach you everything you need to know about cave exploration and the techniques that we use from scratch.
We cater our trips to your skill level, with beginners trips typically being run at the start of the semester.
Additionally, our training sessions allow you to learn single rope technique (SRT, basically how to get up and down rope vertically) in a controlled environment.
Non-UoL students (Leeds Arts, Leeds Beckett etc) can still join and get access to the club equipment, trips and socials. Unfortunately, non-UoL students cannot get access to our training session at the Edge for free even with membership (it's out of our hands!) - But get in contact and we can try sorting something out.
Non-students can still join us as part of our ULSA (University of Leeds Speleology Association) branch - the non-student side of the club.
Of course not - it's never too late to join!
If you're joining in the middle of a semester, we recommend coming to a few training sessions to learn SRT as we tend to require it in caves by this point.
We're a really active club, with day trips or full weekend trips typically being offered every weekend during term-time. On weekends when we aren't caving, you may find us climbing or hiking.
Nope - the club provides essential caving equipment (oversuits, wellies, helmets, SRT kits) and only requires you to bring some cheap/old suitable underlayers (synthetic joggers, a nylon fleece, thermals). A kit list is normally posted alongside each post announcing beginners trips.
Documentation and other bits
2019/19 copies of our kit list, Caving without Tears handbook, Code of Conduct, Constitution and Risk Assessments are all available on our website.
Membership will provide BCA (British Caving Association) Insurance which covers your access to caves on private land and public liability in case something goes wrong. More details can be found here.
The club does not recommend any personal liability insurer for caving in the UK, where there are well organised free rescue systems in place. Many members use Snowcard for foreign expeditions. If members wish to have Personal Liability Cover, it is available starting at about £10 a weekend.
If you have any questions please contact the committee either by email, Facebook or at any training session.