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April 6, 2009

About 400,000 people die exploring caves each year. This is a very rough estimate off the top of my head, but you get the idea.

To shed some light on this hazardous hobby, we covered an international competition on the subject.

What we saw amazed us. That picture down below on the left shows a caver building a tower with beer crates. I can tell them right away, if they’ve emptied that many crates of beer they have no business climbing that high.

Now look at the photo below on the right. Did I call that one right, or not?

Apart from that, I would point out that every cave I’ve ever been in has been below ground, or at least ground level, so what they’re doing stacking beer crates and calling it a cave is way beyond me.

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Above:international competition among speleologists in Raubichi, east of Minsk, Belarus, April 4, 2009. The competition is held every year to practice skills needed when exploring caves.

Below left: Cave explorer, secured by a rope, builds a tower with beer crates.

Below right: Cave explorer, secured by a rope, falls off the tower of beer crates.

REUTERS photos by Vasily Fedosenko

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Mr Bob,Yeah, what you said.And what is the big thing people made over flour power, anyway?

Posted by tim | Report as abusive

It is clear you aren’t used to seeing earth-scientists in action. Essentially geologists run for, on, and with beer. So climbing their vestiges is not uncommon.

Posted by Rob | Report as abusive

@Rob, I thought that characteristic was far from being exclusive to earth scientists. I was thinking it also applies to some other professions, such as financial overseers, TV script writers, movie critiquers and other of the kind… including, of course, economists!

Posted by M | Report as abusive

In fact, statisticians also qualify… you may remember that old standard of american wisdom, Mark Twain, and his thoughts on statistics and lies…

Posted by M | Report as abusive

A few years ago I explored a cave, then I immediately explored the inside of an emergency room. (14 stitches).

Posted by some guy with a scar on his forehead | Report as abusive

400,000 people a year?! Really… is that a typo? Any sport that kills near 1/2 million people a year is not a sport. It’s on the line of a death wish. “Hey everybody look a cave let’s see can kill themselves first!” Beer cratestacking looks fun. It would be more fun to empty the crate first.. Best of luck cave dwellers…

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive