Picture this: You rappel 300 ft. down a small hole in the top of a mountain in the deserts of Israel in complete darkness save a small headlamp. Once you reach the bottom, you have to navigate your way through caverns and spaces only big enough to army-crawl through to get out!
This will either sound like your nightmare or a total blast. Luckily for me and my dad- it was the latter. Read on for an inside look at our experience and everything you need to know before partaking of your own salt cave rappelling adventure!
Your guide should provide most of the necessary gear and rappelling equipment for you, but here’s an overview.
- All rappelling equipment (from guides hopefully)
- Small backpack (water, emergency snack, bandana or pashmina to cover your mouth/face)
What to Wear
Full disclosure: I was covered in dirt from head to toe by the end of this experience. The dirt in this location was light and sandy, so it washed out fairly well, but I wouldn’t suggest wearing your favorite outfit. It’ll get dirty, and there’s the risk of wear and tear from crawling on the rocks.
I wore a black tank top, black sports bra, black yoga pants, and sneakers. It’s really important to wear pants for an experience like this to protect your legs and soften the pressure on your knees when crawling. You are exerting effort as you navigate the caves though, so lightweight is best so you don’t get too uncomfortably warm.
If I were to do this experience again, I would wear thicker pants (like cargo material) and wear boots that went above my ankles. The yoga pants were very comfortable and easy to move in but didn’t provide quite as much support as I would’ve liked. My sneakers did just fine as well, but I had shoes full of sand by the time we crawled out of the caves! Boots would hopefully prevent some of this.
- Comfortable and cool top (tank or t-shirt)
- Very comfortable sports bra for women
- Pants that are easy to move in and offer leg protection (cargo pants or exercise pants)
- Lightweight boots
What to Expect
Rappelling into the cave is a little disorienting because it’s so dark you can’t see anything around you. It’s difficult to tell where the sheer rock wall is in front of you, and there’s just a seemingly empty abyss below and behind you. I was surprised when my feet finally hit the ground- I felt as though I could’ve descended forever.
Once all the group members reach the bottom of the 300 ft. drop, It’s cave exploring time! These salt caverns are so salty you can almost taste it on the air! There are stalactites and stalagmites of pure salt all over the place. I highly recommend carefully touching one with the tip of your tongue to see just how salty everything is! I’ve never experienced anything like it.
As you progress through the caves, headspace becomes increasingly limited. Certain areas you have to duck, other areas are narrow so you have to turn sideways to pass through. Near the end is where things get really interesting. You have to army crawl your way out. This is why it’s so important to wear a helmet, because your head will bop the top of the rock shelf multiple times during this crawl. All backpacks must be pushed ahead of you, because there’s no way you’d fit with it on your back! This section took us about 10-15 minutes to work our way through. Once you’re out, you pop back out into the open from a little hole and straight into the sand. The contrast of sunlight from the dark of the caves is pretty drastic, so mentally prepare for that ahead of time. Not going to lie, I felt like Indiana Jones or Lara Croft after accomplishing our trek through the caves!