Winter Break Caving Camp at The Cave at CityROCK Climbing Center

Campers ages 8-16 learned rappelling and ascending in our CaveSim system at CityROCK climbing gym. The campers made the most of their winter break, and had a great time — our quote of the week: “Mom, this was the best camp ever. I want to come back and do it again,” James, age 8.

Ellen learns to rappel using a rack in the 40′ pit entrance of CaveSim at CityROCK. Photo: Dave Jackson

James learns to rappel on the climbing walls before rappelling in CaveSim.  Photo: Gill Gilliland.


On June 25th, 2016 we opened this amazing new cave to the public. Come explore over 225′ of highly realistic water-carved passage, including a 40′ rappel / ascent. Try not to bump into any of the 50+ beautiful cave formations, and compete with friends using the computer system.  More cave passage coming soon!

Carson Middle School STEM Night

Many middle school students explored CaveSim (some as many as 7 times!) despite freezing temperatures and snow (this was definitely our coldest program on record).  A big thanks to Lydia and James for helping us with this event, which ran from 4-6PM.

Pikes Peak Council Boy Scout Family Campout

This completely free event was made possible by our generous sponsors Barb Bentzin and Bob Montgomery.  Hundreds of Scouts and their families explored CaveSim and did our many other activities.


Left: Dave teaches about gypsum flowers. Right: Waiting to explore.

CoolScience Festival

Over 300 people visited our mobile CaveSim system at this great free public event. This was our sixth year in a row attending CoolScience!  Please visit us next year on the UCCS West Lawn (WL).

Parents watch their kids on the night-vision cameras. Photo: Dave Jackson.

Dave talks with participants about our new cave simulator at CityROCK. Photo: Jim Taylor.

Dave teaches cave conservation as kids and adults wait to try CaveSim. The cave model was by 4th and 5th grade students in a Catamount Institute YES Club. Photo: Jim Taylor.

CaveSim awarded second patent

We are excited to report that CaveSim is now covered by a second patent, US 9,399,178 B1.  We’re always innovating and working hard to bring novel solutions to the problem of cave conservation education.

NSS Convention, Ely, NV

Local kids learn about cave conservation while waiting to explore CaveSim at a free event in Ely, NV before the 2016 NSS Convention. Photo by Chris Hanefeld, BLM.

A child finishes exploring CaveSim during the free public event in Ely before the 2016 NSS Convention. Photo by Chris Hanefeld, BLM.

CaveSim at the 75th Anniversary NSS Convention is funded by grants from Nevada Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Great Basin Heritage Area Partnership.


Additional sponsorship is provided by:


Girl Scout Troop 1983

About a dozen girls got to explore the new cave that we built at CityROCK climbing center.  They also experienced all of our traditional program activities: cave rescue stretcher, carbide-on-ice demo, cave rescue phones, and Bat And Moth (the echolocation game).

Atlas Preparatory School REACH Beyond summer program

29 5th-7th grade students explored CaveSim today from 11:45AM-1:45PM, and enjoyed bat games, carbide demonstrations, and practiced their cave rescue skills.  Many Atlas Prep students qualify for free or reduced price lunch, so our program was completely free, thanks to donations from Barbara Bentzin, Bob Montomery, and Dick Blenz.

Colorado Springs School REACH summer program

As you can see on the Colorado Springs School website, “The Mission of REACH is to provide middle school students who typically don’t have access to a college preparatory experience with a challenging summer program emphasizing 21st-century learning that will increase their ability to enter and succeed in college.”
For fourth year in a row, REACH students explored CaveSim, learned about many STEM concepts (hands-on electronics demos, carbide demos, measuring and using the squeezebox, bat biology, speleology, teamwork, etc.) all while having a great time from 9:30-11:30AM.
Dave shows a student how to adjust his helmet before exploring CaveSim. Photo by Rachel Sagahon.
Almost to the surface again, and having a great time. “Can I go through again?” Photo by Rachel Sagahon.
Students carry a classmate in the cave rescue stretcher (Sked). A big thanks to Joe Kirkendall (at left) for running many of the stations at today’s event. Photo by Rachel Sagahon.
Getting ready to try the CaveSim squeezebox set at 6.25″. Yes, she did make it through. Photo by Rachel Sagahon.

Falcon Middle School 6th grade

120 6th grade students explored CaveSim, learned geology from caver Jesse Rochette, practiced cave rescue with our Sked, learned electronics with our cave rescue phones (and an HP oscilloscope!), and played in the squeezebox.  A huge thank-you to Pat Malone for helping kids put on helmets and knee pads, and another huge thank-you to Margaret Browne, 6th grade teacher, for helping us set up and for working with us throughout the day.

Students getting suited up to explore CaveSim.  Photo by Dave Jackson.

Many things happen at once at CaveSim. At left, several boys watch the computer monitors to see how well their classmates are doing in the cave (the monitors show “damage” points for each cave formation, and also show live night-vision camera feeds of the inside of the cave).  At right, students use the squeezebox to see how tight a space they can fit through.  Photo by Dave Jackson.

Orientation to Cave Rescue, El Paso County SAR

About 50 cavers, SAR personnel, firefighters and others converged on the El Paso County SAR facility for an Orientation to Cave Rescue (OCR).  This two-day course was organized by the Colorado Cave Rescue Network (CCRN), with instruction provided by CCRN and National Cave Rescue Commission instructors.  The course had three parts: lectures, hands-on practice above ground, and a mock rescue in a real cave.  CaveSim was used during the hands-on practice to give participants a sense of what real caving is like.  This gave participants the chance to learn just how fragile the cave environment is prior to entering a real cave for the mock rescue.  Some participants had never been in a cave before, and learned a lot about what kind of gear is appropriate for the cave environment.

Above, participants practice packaging a patient in a Sked stretcher. Below, the CaveSim trailer fit well in the El Paso County Search and Rescue building. We had a late snowstorm which explains the water below the trailer.  Photos by Dave Jackson.