The VPI Cave Club maintains a membership program in order to ensure safety and competency underground. Membership is not required to simply go caving. Perks of full membership include the ability to run for a cave club office, to use club gear on your trips, and to lead trips with the blessing of the club, among others.

Types of Members

The club is student-run, but Virginia Tech alumni and Blacksburg-area locals may also join the club and obtain associate membership. There are three different types of memberships, explained below:

  1. Prospective Member (Trainee): A dues-paying trainee working towards their membership. Cannot lead trips, run for club office, or vote in club elections, but may be on committees.
  2. Full Member: A dues-paying student, faculty, or staff member at Virginia Tech who has completed the membership requirements. Can lead trips, vote in club elections, run for club office, and be on committees.
  3. Associate Member: A dues-paying member who has completed the membership requirements but is not currently affiliated with Virginia Tech. Cannot vote in club elections or run for office, but is still permitted to lead trips and be on committees.


Prospective members, associate members, and full members are required to pay dues of $10 per semester (or $20 per year), or a one-time payment of $130.

Membership Requirements

To gain your membership, you must pass certain requirements. These may seem like a lot, but they ensure that members are safe and competent underground, especially when they are leading trips with others in their care. These requirements can be completed gradually over time by going on cave trips and learning from others in the club.

  1. Read and understand the constitution and bylaws of The VPI Cave Club.
  2. Remain a prospective member (trainee) for at least 10 weeks during which time you have been on at least 6 club trips and spent at least 40 hours total underground
  3. Demonstrate elementary climbing skills.
  4. Show a working knowledge of belay methods.
  5. Demonstrate a working knowledge of rappelling and climbing in a cave.
  6. Be able to tie a seat harness using webbing.
  7. Demonstrate how to rig and pad a rope correctly.
  8. Be able to switch from ascending to descending and vice versa on their preferred climbing and rappelling devices.
  9. Write an article for The Tech Troglodyte (our yearly club magazine) that meets the editor’s standards.
  10. Be able to tie and explain the appropriate uses of certain knots.
  11. Pass a comprehensive general quiz.
  12. Be endorsed by an active member in good standing.
  13. Be approved by a two-thirds vote of the active membership.

Membership Resources

In your quest to become a member, you will need current members to sign off your completion of the requirements listed above. You will also need to keep track of your cave trips and be signed off on those as well. Please print off the files below and keep the skills requirement sheet and trip sheet handy so that you can get them signed off after trips.

Please print these pages:

As an additional learning resource, you may wish to look at the the prospective member guide (also referred to as the “Trainee Trog”) from a few years ago. This guide will have most of the required information for attaining membership.