Getting lost in a cave in minecraft

I I just started playing and was overjoyed to find a cave system full of iron and coal. Problem was I didn’t mark how I got down and couldn’t find the way out. I eventually died when I was mining and released a lava spill that killed me.

How do people escape caves? Next time I will mark my way so I can trace my steps back. Can you just start building a staircase in the wall and keep climbing up until you hit the surface? What do you do if you hit water or lava doing that?

I leave a trail of torches behind me, but I’ve also just dug my way out.

Often, people will place torches always on one side. If you always put torches on the right side of the cave wall going down, then to get back up you follow them on the left side.

Alternately, just dig straight up. Put a torch on the block you’re standing on (to prevent gravel suffocation), dig up as high as you can go, then pillar up and repeat until you get to the surface.

Lava and water “drip” when you’re below them, so you can tell if you’re about to dig up into them.

Yeah, lines of torches are always helpful.

My default strategy is to stairstep my way down and then strip mine until I hit an underground cave system or ravine, then I light it up to make pathways back to the entrance of my stairs. I also often carry signs so if I run into a cave fork, I can stick a sign in front that labels each route.

What really fries my flipflops is when I get lost in the nether. Which is why I never play anymore without cheats and writing down the x and y coordinates of the portal.

You dig your way up. And you dig cautiously. When you are mining make sure there is a path behind you. Lava moves slowly so unless it falls from above your head you usually have time to dart backwards. Then you put stone or something between you and the lava. I’ve learned never to dig directly above me or directly below me unless I am sure.

Water isn’t as big a deal. You can drown but if you are quick and calm you can usually plug up the hole the water is coming from.

Signs are good too.

I’ve taken to putting multiple torches on major routes out, like the entrance to a cave, it gets 3 torches next to each other. Especially helpful if the way out is not completely obvious from the ground.

If I have a major path, I’ll also put torches on the floor of the major route, and on the walls of branches. That way if I stumble onto a torch on the floor, I know I have a clear route to an exit.

Now, getting lost underground when you have no torches, that’s a treat. My son did that one to me “Daaaaad?? Can you help here?”

Carry a bucket of water with you so you can use it to put out lava. Never dig straight up or straight down.

Digging sideways Lava is pretty slow so you can easily back up if you need to.

Don’t run out of torches. :wink:

I like the suggestions in this thread. I’ll start using the torch on the floor idea

I am the expert at getting lost underground. also in the weird houses my kids build. They think it’s hilarious. Moooomm - come see this one. It’s fine. we promise. snicker

I love Minecraft. really.

I always write down the X/Y coordinates once I made new base. And I also build I giant tower on top of it that can be (sometimes) seen from a good distance. I build it next to water, so I can just jump off after building it.

If I get lost in a cave system, I just dig up to the surface then go in the direction that takes me to the coordinates of my home base.

Unfortunately, the torches-on-one-side method tends to break down inside gigantic swiss-cheese caves, or in abandoned mineshafts, which are the places you’re most likely to get lost. :smack: My strategy is to use redstone torches to mark the pathway out – usually placed next to a regular torch, with the redstone torch on the side pointing towards the exit.

I’ll also mark dead-end passageways with a line of three torches on the floor, which creates a nice visual indication of the side passage being “blocked” and leading nowhere.

Crafting a compass (4 iron + 1 redstone) will always point towards your original spawn, though it will NOT change if you reset your spawn point by sleeping in a bed. Compasses don’t work in the Nether or The End, though.

If you’re trapped underwater, you can refill your breath meter by placing a torch on a wall next to you at head-height. The water will break the torch of course, but not before creating an air pocket which lasts a split second, long enough to refill your breath meter to max. Digging up into water isn’t all that dangerous, though, unless you’re stuck under ice. :eek:

Signs are good for underwater. They don’t get broken by water so there is a permanent air pocket.

I went down into a cave system today and even though I did the trick of putting the torches on the right side of the walls, I decided to just tunnel my way out. It worked, it took about 30 vertical blocks to get out but I was proud of myself for that one.

Along with the bucket of water BrianJ recommends (v important), you should carry a crafting table and a few stacks of wood. This way, you’ve got torches on tap as you’ll always find coal in the caves. You can then lay down torches left right and centre, necessary to stop the mobs spawning.
I used to play the game with the coordinates up on the screen (is it F2?), so you’ll never get properly lost. As already mentioned, a pattern of torches (say 2 right next to one another) can be v helpful as a waymarker if you lose your bearings.

If you’re mining in straight lines, digging through solid rock rather than exploring caves, then you can go easier on the torches. Space them out a long way if you like. Just need to beware of breaking into lava, but if you mine whilst standing a few paces back from the rock you’ll always see it in time.

F3. F2 takes a screenshot.

For tunnels, I think every 5 blocks is the most efficient use of torches for mob spawn prevention. Less useful while mining, unless you want to retile your caves, but mobs won’t spawn on slabs that are on the bottom half of the block.

5 blocks? Every 8, 10 blocks in a mineshaft will prevent mob spawning. I do every 8 blocks or so and have never had a mob spawn in an enclosed mineshaft.

As dangerous as it can be to dig straight up or down, you CAN, if you’re careful, dig up and see danger before it hits you - water drips, and lava makes sound and moves slowly. Going down’s more dangerous but early in the game, when you’ve got a shelter built but don’t have a lot to lose, digging straight down (gather a lot of wood to outfit your vertical shaft with ladders and torches) is a quick way to get to the really good stuff at bedrock level. If you’re unlucky, you won’t lose much, so who cares. If you aren’t unlucky you’ll either be right down to diamond level or will find a cool cave or mine system.

I put torches on the right wall on my way in. I don’t think I’ve gotten lost yet.

I do like the three torches in a row to mark dead ends idea. I’ll have to steal that.

When starting out, I’ll dig a 5x5 spiral staircase to level 11 (F3 is your friend) and start branch mining from there. Level 11 is “sea level” for lava, ans your less likely to run into a block of it. I can usually find plenty of diamonds and redstone on that level.

Hostile mobs spawn at light level 7 and below. Torches give off a light level of 14, so each spawnable floor block should be within seven blocks of a torch. You can also check F3 to see the light level of the block you are standing on.

If you must dig straight down, dig a hole two blocks wide while standing on the seam between the blocks – that way you’re never digging precisely below your feet, and you can stop if the hole opens up into a cave or a lava pool. But it’s usually better to dig a staircase, so you have an easy way out.

Fuck my goddamn fucking life. I just spend an hour and a half in a mine. I did everything right, I put torches on the right side. When I got lost I just dug up. A couple times I hit water (the mine was near a lake) but with planning I eventually hit dirt.

I had 150+ pieces of iron, 300+ pieces of coal, 20+ pieces of gold, several emeralds, about 30 redstones when I got back to the surface. It was great.

And I got cornered by a couple of fucking creepers and died when I got to the surface. I lost everything since I didn’t get a chance to get back to my house, put all the stuff in a trunk and sleep in my bed. I am new to the game but it is fucking frustrating. I need to change the difficulty level.

I play on peaceful. I have no shame about it :slight_smile:

That truly does suck though. I’ve taken to building the entrance to my mine in my base, so when I leave I’m returning to where my chests are. Also, build a chest at the bottom of the stairs. That way you can dump stuff there while mining, less chance of losing it all.

If you can get back to the spot where you died within 5 minutes - all your stuff will be there. If that spot is in a different chunk from where you spawn - it might still be there.