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By Matt Nelson
From Pueblo, CO
Jun 23, 2009
Me rappin...
One more!!!!

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By Jason Kaplan
From Glenwood ,Co
Jun 23, 2009
avitar pic <br />
Thanks a ton guys! I will reward thee with jewels! TR in progress! (Holy crap, I got logged off when I was over 1/2 way through! F***! 3 hours down the drain...)Sorry guys might be midnight by the time I finish, I guess I will shorten the dialog up a bit to try to get more sleep tonight.

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By Jason Kaplan
From Glenwood ,Co
Jun 23, 2009
avitar pic <br />
TR: Fixin'-To-Die! (Part 1)
Went up Saturday afternoon and got to camp just before dark to find people already in the camp spot. 4 of the 6 of us camped out with the others cavers, and Nathan and I went over and rapped right next to Wednesday Afternoon and found that the entrance was flat enough to sleep in. Nate rolled out his bed and we grabbed our caving gear. Next thing we are cruising through tight passages which were mostly crawling between pods, until we encounter some water in one of the crawls. We got back around midnight after exploring around 6-800ft of passage(no pics sorry).

I had a snack and we went to bed(I brought my wrapper back in the cave with me so I didn't have to worry about it blowing off or some critter dragging it into the woods. I was woken up by Nate at some point as I heard some rustling. Turns out it wasn't Nate rustling, but rather 2 field mice after my wrapper! they were only a few feet from my head, so I was slightly startled but eventually we scared them off. I noticed it was raining pretty hard at certain times through the night, and on several occasions saw lightening and heard thunder. I wondered how the others were doing as we were practically in a house! It was cool as when it wasn't raining the night sky actually lit up the entrance of the cave!

We woke up and shortly after the other members of our group had joined up with us. We dropped into fixin to die shortly there after. The other cavers said they did not recommend doing Wednesday and then Fixin as you will be too wet. They also said they didn't think we would find our goal (the hanging lake), but if we did it would probably take all day. Apparently if we knew the way it would only take an hour or 2.
It started going down almost immediately:

I distinctly remember a passageway that was like a mae west slot canyon passing over the occasional pit.
We saw some cool things on the way to the 100' pit:








This was at the bottom of the pit:

After the pit we went up a hand line and came to an intersection at a large hallway. The right hand variation looked like it crossed 2-3 deep and wide pits, not crossable with out ropes in our opinion. We decided to go left (in hindsight I think we were supposed to go right somewhere between the 100' pit and here) We were trying to get to the hanging lake but made a wrong turn somewhere about this point in time.
I think these photo's were before that intersection, however I'm not sure as this cave was large and confusing:




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By Matt Nelson
From Pueblo, CO
Jun 23, 2009
Me rappin...
Looks freakin sweet man. Thanks for the TR!!!!

FLAG
By Jason Kaplan
From Glenwood ,Co
Jun 23, 2009
avitar pic <br />
PART 2:
I'm going to let you all know now, that I sat in the back seat most of the time this trip letting Adam and Nathan do most of the leading and navigating. I found it kind of nice to just sit back and take pictures while someone else had the pressure of trying to find the right passage (which I'm pretty sure wasn't possible at this point in time).

We went back really far, into what we are assuming is the octopus room maze. Lot's of splits to check out! We used 1,200' of string in the cave to make sure we didn't forget which splits to take back out.




It's interesting that I've heard that the walls of fixin to die are quite barren compared to groaning, I saw a lot of cool things on the wall that I had never seen in any other cave I've been into. you really might want to click on some of these to check out the larger version.

The inside of the cave was often like what you see in a geode around the octopus room (I'm assuming). In some places there really were pockets filled with crystal growth. In one place there was a band of crystal growth about 2 feet wide by about 5 feet long as part of the wall. I believe they were a black locality of calcite crystals. I didn't get a picture of them however I did get a lot of the clear locality as well as the purple locality and even some, yellowish possibly mini sulfur crystals? The black ones formed much larger then the others from what I remember.

















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By Jason Kaplan
From Glenwood ,Co
Jun 29, 2009
avitar pic <br />
Well Nathan, Steve, and I were aching to get back to FTD this weekend. Turns out Steven can't make it because he has to move, but his brother David is on board since he just got back from New Zealand. He tried to find the fault caves the other day and we were telling him "man what a waste of time". He had heard about what he had missed since our first caving experience at fulford last winter, and he was really psyched to get out and check it out. My friend Darwin was also joining us, he came along for my second fulford trip and has been through all the clear creek canyon fault caves with me.

We (Nate and I) wanted to get back and check a passage where we thought we missed our turn off the trip prior to get to hanging lake.

I had been thinking about this passage almost all week, it seemed almost mystic. the start was a large pit and the passage went back long enough we couldn't see the end. I figured there were a few pits behind the first but I wasn't sure as I couldn't see much past the first pit. I hoped that canyoneering and climbing techniques and cleaver rigging could get the job done but I had so much anticipation. I really wanted to see if we could get through this passage and hopefully on to hanging lake.

We took off Saturday afternoon and got to the campsite suprised to see no one was there, as the group from the weekend prior said they would be.

It didn't matter, we weren't planning on using the campsite anyway. David really wanted to sleep in a cave so we went back to WA like the weekend prior.

This time we took the downclimb which was a bit fun because it was dark. Nate and I knew the how big the looming monster below us was so we were super cautious getting the other 2 down since they had never Seen or been up it. None of us had acutally ever been down it anyway.



Going this way required a bit of a dicey slick traverse before getting to where we were going.



Eventually we all arrived safely and passed out at the entrance of WA.
The next morning we woke up pretty early, mostly because of me. I couldn't sleep anymore, and I could see sunlight at the entrance of the cave. I was in the back so everyone needed to wake up for me to get out.

We dropped into the cave at about 7:30am, and promptly raced to the 100' pit without stopping for anything.



We crossed and proceeded in the same manner untill reaching the passage with the monster pits. We stopped quickly!

I rigged up an anchor off the largest rock possible near the pit, and tied a 100' rope to it (to tie my pack to). Back further we set up another anchor on a larger rock to belay off of with my 60m climbing rope.

This was freaking crazy, I have never done anything like this before in my entire life. I have however read about it because of being into canyoneering. To cross pot holes canyoneers sometimes will do a pack toss. I've never been in a slot canyon which was mostly of the pot hole variety, but I wanted to be ready for them so I read up on escaping these monsters. Turns out you can use the techniques in caves too!

I worked my way out on the points sticking out the sides of the pit. Standing on the most solid points on them and trying to stand as high above them as possible. I managed to swing my pack below me and between my legs. I got enough force and let the sucker fly. I didn't get it high enough the first time so I had to climb up higher. Mind you I'm on belay but there is a good enough drop to the angleing pit below me that I could be injured. To get more distance I had the belay keep tension and I was leaning out at an angle above the yawning pit! On the second try I gave it more juice and I got it up and stuck enough to feel assured enough to proceede. It was WILD!








I made it safely and I was relieved to find out that there was not another giant pit waiting just on the other side of the lip. Instead I had passage for maybe 40' then another pit. While I started to look for something to anchor off to bring someone over to me, 2 other members of our group used the 100'rope to descend the pit I had just crossed. The pit continued 20' deeper then the rope. We waited to see where it went. There was some cool stuff we saw between crossing the 2 pits.









It took a little bit but eventually they found their way into the pit on the other side, but I couldn't see them. I took more of my climbing rope and had David tie it off and I threw it down to them as they couldn't climb up safely without it. Darwin came up the hand line and comfirmed a connection. David went down as I rapped down to join them aswell after having scoped our options to get through this next pit. We searched for passage below but didn't find anything that actually lead further. We all came back up the climbing rope.



Nate figured a way to climb up the opposite side of the pit. We grabbed the extra slack from the climbing rope that was trailed down the previous pit and trailed it with us to the next pit...

That's right there is another pit! We get my rope to just before the lip of the pit. There is also a passage below us that dead ends in the pit. It looks like it keeps going strait ahead of us but we actually want to be headed to our left and it just so happens that there is a tunnel leading that way. It doesn't looke easy to get to however. If it were outside in the light and you had no height restrictions it would be a possible leap. Not here though.



More trickery ensued success. I didn't want to do it but I was the only one that knew how so I had to. Another doubious pack toss, this time with 2 packs since the toss was shorter and there was no lip to snag on the other passage and I wanted more weight. Instead the lip gently rolled into the pit so I needed more weight to counter balance my weight. I'm not sure how deep the pit was but I wasn't going to find out. Nate brought another 40'stretch of rope we used to cross this next section. It was one of the scariest things I've ever done. The packs would not hold full body weight, they would only be used for quick assistance. I had to do a super scary tension traverse with my feet at the lip of the pit on our side. Below me was the opening to the dead end passage that lead into the pit looming like a black overhang below. I had to lean out and try to work my feet and hands for balance on what seemed like nothing to and the belay held tension and very slowly inched out till I told them to stop. I ran out of holds so I had to hold my possition while they fed me 3 feet of slack and I made the leap for the passage pulling on the packs for assistance!



I rigged up an anchor which mainly consisted of me wedged between the walls past a constriction and brought the rest of the group over.



From there things got really cool. Although we never found the passage we were looking for that goes to the hanging lake spur we checked out all of the leads over there. We never did drop strait into the last pit but Darwin actually managed to get across it and found out it dead ended beyond that.

Here is the rest of the shots from beyond the pit:









































This was one of the tightest squeezes to avoid the features




As you can tell we had alot of fun playing with the lighting! We raced back out at around 4:30 and got back out by 6:45! What a trip.
We got back up the up climb back to camp and were greeted with an awesome view of the canyon with a nice rainbow and storm clouds in the distance! Near I-70 again we had a great sunset and we went home.




FLAG
By Matt Nelson
From Pueblo, CO
Jun 30, 2009
Me rappin...
Damn! Looks like a nice hole to explore. Again thanks for the awesome TR. I cave vicariously through you... ;)

FLAG
By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From Vegas
Jun 30, 2009
Growing a winter coat in Red Rock Canyon- December 2013.
I could look at your caving photos all day long! It'll be interesting to see what you guys are up to, or down to 10 years from now. As bottle diggers say, "You got the fever!" Be safe.

FLAG
 
By Jason Kaplan
From Glenwood ,Co
Jun 30, 2009
avitar pic <br />
Hey Matt why don't you go check out some of those wicked lava tubes over there? Sounds like there are some huge ones! I'll send you a link of some lists of longest and deepest caves in the US.

GiGi, I'm glad you like the photos. We enjoy shooting them alot too. Hopefully I will still be climbing in 10 years! Maybe I will just change my venue like Brian Becker did. Climb new routes to get to new cave passages for the USGS. That would sure be pretty wicked!
I think next weekend is my last untill the weather goes to shit again, I need to keep my climbing skillz up.

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By Allen Hill
From FIve Points, Colorado and Pine
Jun 30, 2009
Slick Rock put in
You weren't kidding about the photography. It's fun to see your exploits.

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By Jason Kaplan
From Glenwood ,Co
Jul 2, 2009
avitar pic <br />
Enjoy it while you can! Sounds like the caving community is pretty worked up over it.

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By Jason Kaplan
From Glenwood ,Co
Jul 7, 2009
avitar pic <br />
Well this is supposed to be my last caving trip for a little while, I'm hoping the weather will cooperate with my climbing life.

We were thinking about going back out to deep creek to check out premonition or buffalo. I had talked to another caver and he swayed my plans a bit. He said he knew of a cave that's supposed to be really good, and he had a really good idea where it was. Once I got the name of the cave I started to do my research. My main source was excited as he said it's got a reputation for being nice and he wanted to see it. He mentioned that he had mentioned it while talking amongst some groups of cavers and the room fell silent.

After more research I found out the cave was discovered July 4th 1986 by Tom Sherrill and Ron Ryan (this trip is 23 years and 1 day exactly after). Apparently they had to turn back before long on their first trip due to worries of hypothermia because of a wet rap. They went back properly equipped and found world class formations apparently.

It was a well cherished secret to a small group amongst the caving community for a while. However the origional team went back some time later to find the cave damaged and had a talk with the forest service. They got the cave closed, it was gated for a while into the 90's apparently. Then the gate was removed and a sign was placed stating anyone who enters is subject to a $5000 fine by the forest service. However not long ago some one sparked a discussion about the status of the closure, and it turns out the closure has expired and not been renewed since in ended in the late 90's (based on a post made by Richard Rhinehart who is a big member of the caving community and should be trusted to use credible information).

We decided to go camp out around lime creek again as it was in a similar area to the other cave, with hopes of getting to see the inside of herbies deli. Last time we didn't get inside because of ice. When we arrived we found there was already alot of other people camped out in the area around herbies so we decided to keep driving to the powerline cave. Lucky for us it was still empty so we packed up and headed towards the cave. We set up camp at dusk and dropped into the cave. Nathan and I had already seen the cave but our other member Eric had not seen it yet. Also we thought there was a possibility of another passage we hadn't explored from the entrance pit. Eric rapped into this new hole and found it didn't seem to go so he came back up.

Nate and I were ok with that as we thought that the powerline was our favorite cave so far (although after fixin we weren't 100% sure about that anymore). We went down and I remembered there was another lead I wanted to check out also. We encountered a bat flying around in a tall room above us and we kept moving to my possible lead. Soon we were there and it looked promising. Up I went as cafefully as possible as I was working up some clean stone.



I made it through the squeeze hole above and noticed 2 possibilities. I carefully slighered into the first and found it dead ended. I worked over to the other option and found it kept going a bit so I kept going. I found it opened into a cool room with a bunch of dam's and a hidden pool!







It looks like this fills up quite a bit sometimes, I'd imagine it over flows into the dam's and passages below.



After shooting pics of this cool stuff we noticed a furry little guy hanging out in the ceiling:



We showed Eric the rest of the cave and went back up and out of the cave back to the tent.

We woke up pretty early to meet the other guy who knew where the cave was at around 8. Next thing we are off on an old log road hiking and eventually the road turns into a walking path mixed with overgrowth through sections and then eventually all out bush whacking. Eventually we climb us a ways into this higher alpine meadow. You would think the water flowing from the meadow would feed the gully system we had come up. However the drainage remained free of running water and mostly water in general. Well a little further up the meadow we find out why.

The creek disappears into an enormous pit!


This is a known cave and the drop is atleast 160' and upto 210'. Supposedly there is not much if any passage at the bottom despite the decent sized stream flowing into it. It's a really large pit and when you think of the spring run off you must think there has to be passage. When you get near the edge you can find 2 bolts which really makes you wonder. I mean there is natural anchors around for one to use to check it out once, it's alot of effort to hand drill 3/8 bolts. I would check it out first before placing bolts, if it was nothing then I wouldn't wast my time and effort hand drilling 2 3/8" by over 1.5" bolts. HMMM.


I took a photo to remember how nicely green and lush everything around us was:


Anyway this isn't what we were looking for so we kept going up the valley and eventually connected with a real maintained trail. After a while hiking up hill again through the tree's, we eventually came to another high alpine meadow and we were really close. It was time to spread out and start looking. We wandered for a good while finding some hopeful leads but they all turned out to be nothing. We re-grouped and decided to give it another good effort before going to check out a different cave in the area. This time we ended spreading out as 2 groups of 2 in close but different areas. Eric saved the day by finding the pit that dropped into the cave. I ran over to find the other group and let them know while Eric held down the location. Next thing we were rigging rope and having lunch as it was noon already and we had hiked close to 3 miles.

The pit consisted of 3 or 4 drops, which weren't in a strait line but meandering rather. Once at the bottom we crawled through a little hole and found passage heading 2 directions. We also found 2 old ropes left behind nicely coiled. after taking a quick look and a few pictures we decided to head the direction the ropes were in.





We rigged one of their ropes to save ours for lower and we dropped into another more canyon like section 20-30' below. From there we continued on down the cave which was often more like a slot canyon.
We saw some cool curtiains on the way down to the next challange:





Eventually we came to another drop that was about 20-40'. I looked to see if we could down climb around it but we decided it was better to be safe. Not to mention the down climb I had scoped was right where the cave began to get wet! I shot a nice photo of Nathan rapping from this point however:


I also saw a cool rock that was glistening like a large hematite pearl looking rock plastered to the wall, I don't think the pic does it justice but I think it's cool as I caught multiple free floating drops of water:



I'm pretty sure almost all these pictures are from below this section but I could be wrong (they might be below the next rap) the thin crazy random hair looking features area call helectites :















A huge TITE!




More features, one is a cool straw collum with a helectite growing off the side in the middle:











There was another rap that was about 50' that could soak you if you didn't rig it in the right spot, we found a way to rig it out of the main flow so you only got some splash instead of the whole stream:







A bit beyond all this we ran out of time before the cave died so we had to turn around and head back. We will have to come back and see the rest as we didn't really think we saw anything that unusual or world class or even extremely fragile for that matter. We must not have gone far enough I guess. I managed to hand line all the ropes except the big one near the waterfall coming back out (plus I figured out we couuld up-climbed the down climb I had scoped before taking the photo of Nathan). It wasn't exactly easy but it was quick and not too bad. This was mostly like a river cave so almost all of it was tight slot with sections you had to crawl below to avoid features like helectites or it just pinched out too tight above to walk.

Alot of fun and pretty damn deep!

On the walk out we discovered another pit in a pretty random area, it looked promising, maybe even virgin! We'll be back.
Enjoy!

FLAG
By Matt Nelson
From Pueblo, CO
Jul 7, 2009
Me rappin...
Looks awesome man!!!

FLAG
By Jason Kaplan
From Glenwood ,Co
Aug 10, 2009
avitar pic <br />
Sorry for being a slacker, I've got 2 TR's to put up for you all.
The first is 3-4 weeks old.

TR:Deep Creek Canyon Part 4
Well 3-4 weekends ago we decided to head out friday night to go caving again. We set up camp at the overlook of deep creek canyon and when we awoke we drove over to buffalo which is actually not on the rim of DCC un-like alot of the other caves in the area. However it isn't very far really. We drove to a dead end in the road (Trail head access for some trail) and headed off with the compass and printed out sat photo with gps marker point. You always have to wonder how involved finding the hole will be without a GPS but if your good enough you can get it down pretty well. Once we all knew the general direction of the cave we spread out as there was 4 of us with 3 photos (different zoom levels). I ended up walking right to it, no back tracking or confusion at all! Awesome. I should also mention we got my friends subaru down to buffalo just as a consideration for what can be done as far as that road and passability are concerned.

Buffalo was pretty amazing, of the 2 caves we visited I felt it was the crown jewel. Although we got kinda screwed on our second cave.

Anyway you can walk down or take the fun way down, I'm sure you can guess what way we chose...
(excuse my dirty lens, damn caves mess'n my expensive camera up)







We then dropped into the south pit where we saw this:

We cruised around for a bit but never found the passages we were looking for on the map, so we came back up and as the first few members of our group ascended the others froze! Really cold air...

Anyway on the way back up the other 2 figured a way to get up with out having to ascend via mechanical resources. On the way up they spied a passage we had missed and so we ate lunch and went for a look at the other passage.

We found the Iceberg Room and made our way back to Buffalo Falls where we saw these amazing features:




We then went back to a split along the way and explored it as it ran paralell to the path to "BF".

We ended up crawling through a bunch of rat $#*^ but it payed off with these images IMO:













We came back to the "IBR" and we ended up finding this awesome little family of Ice tites and mites on far from the berg!





We took off very satisfied at that point but not before Nate could pop his head in and check out the the north pit a little. We then decided we had a long drive ahead of us and we should take off asap to get the rough part of the drive out of the way before it got dark. Well we talked about leaving the subaru when it got too nasty and we lead the way with Steve in his truck behind us. Ended up that Nate didn't need to ditch the subie as it made it all the way to Premonition!

It was very exciting at times as we drove on thin spines above large ruts, zig zagged through steep rocky terrain, and crossed a memorable side hill with a rut on the down hill side that had seemed too deep for the subie. We ended up staying above it most of the time except once when the rear passange tire dropped into it. That was really exciting as it was twilight and it seemed like the road dropped steeply off a shelf! We got to camp just after dark, talk about timing!

3 other people were supposed to meet up with us that night but they were having trouble pin pointing our location. Some time around or just after midnight they found camp with some assistance (Steve and Nate found them and lead them into camp).

We woke up and had an omnious premonition about the clouds impeeding the view of our clear sunny Coloradical sky. We persevered and told those premonitions to take a hike, with us to the cave and see just what lies inside. It took a bit more effort then I thought it would but we found it and promptly rigged up a hand line (the easy way, as we were short on time).

I also found a cool antler along the path searching for the right hole on the right point...

The entrance was pretty cool, and if you walked through to the other side you could see an arch!

I also found the taliban!


Some more of our crew of 7:

The arch:


The tunnel that was the main path of the cave was deep 'n' thickly laiden with rat crap at first. Luckily it was tall and wide walking passage so it made no differance. Soon enough we were rock walking and it was all gone. We were trying to find the passages our map depicted that lead to the helectite passage and the pandimonium passage. Well we found alot of dead ends. We also found a passage that looked like it was filled in with dirt just barely 4-6 inches high to squeeze through(for maybe 10'), I'm guessing some Grade A(hole) Eleiteist cavers filled it in but I could be wrong.

Anyways came back out for lunch and to see what the weather was doing and decided we had some more time to explore. We all split into 2-3 groups depending on the leads available. Nathan, Darwin and I were assigned to check any possible up passages. This involved some antics for sure. Nate looped a horn 15-20' up and hand over handed ther rope to the horn and continues to free climb another 5-10 feet of moderately steep slabby terrain. Above he fixes the rope on an archway or bridge type feature above his head in the narrow slot like constriction. We have him tie a couple knots for us and we follow up. Darwin and I are assigned to check any possible leads up in this new area since Nate got us up here. We didn't find anything but I had a really fun exposed vertical squeeze tube lead that I got to chimney up and check out for the group.

After chasing nothing but dead end leads and seeing nothing but barren walls; we decide to give up on the helectite and pandimonium passages, from the angle we were trying based on the map. We chased down some other passages that mostly were dead ends as we worked our way back to the start. trying to only check leads on our right side as that depicted a possible passage we might have missed or be able to use to get back to the goods. Well very near the day light we found a hole with a log leading up the 7' to it. We all (4 of the 7) went in and found a down climb over an exposed rolling slab, but if you stayed left, looked for holds and took your time it was not bad.

We found an great wealth of new leads alot of which did or will most likely dead end, however atleast 1 or 2 seemed like it could go for a ways like a main passage.

We ran out of time and drove home just before getting clobbered by a storm which would most likely make the road impassable for at least the subaru if not all of us. It was fun but a let down to not see anything worth mentioning or taking pictures of in Premonition. Next time we'll come back with a fleet of ATV's to speed up the approach. We'll also have small shovles and pales to dig out burried passages, and the option to check out the other promising leads we discovered.

Enjoy!

FLAG
By Matt Nelson
From Pueblo, CO
Aug 10, 2009
Me rappin...
Thats sweet man!! I will finally be coming back to the big CO in November. Cant wait to hit the caves again... Cant wait for your next TR!!

FLAG
By Jason Kaplan
From Glenwood ,Co
Aug 10, 2009
avitar pic <br />
Right on Matt,
the next TR is even better I think. How long will you be back? We'll have to go caving for sure!
I'll try to get the other one up tonight.

FLAG
 
By Matt Nelson
From Pueblo, CO
Aug 10, 2009
Me rappin...
I will be in Colorado for forever. I am moving back there, got orders with the Air Force to the Springs. I would definitely love to go caving! Awesome I look forward to it!!

FLAG
By Jason Kaplan
From Glenwood ,Co
Aug 11, 2009
avitar pic <br />
TR: Lime Creek Area Part 4!
Nathan somehow talked me into going back to the cave we visited last time we were in the area. I was slightly reluctant but willing, mainly because I was told we would go to fixin next weekend. Come to find I'm leaving for Ohio next weekend after all was said and done. Oh well, I'm glad I got talked into it anyway.

This cave is pretty hardcore in our opinions. That is one thing we both agree on, we aren't going back again with out atleast 3-4 days and proper gear/apperal. We want wet suits, and thick neoprene booties and gloves super slim packs and possibly coveralls made for caving that are waterproof! It could be a while considering all of our economic sittuations, we're saying a year but who knows.

Anyway, we decided to take off Friday evening after work. We drove out, and started hiking at about midnight. Our friend was supposed to come meet us on Saturday evening or Sunday morning, and he had never been to the cave before. This meant that Nate and I would need to mark the way for him as it's not a regular trail that we take. I could not even put it into words how to find it at this point in time. So off we go in the dark flagging the path as we wandered. We got I'm guessing 1/3 to 1/2 way there by 3:45 in the morning and decided we needed to sleep. We tossed our pads and sleeping bags on the ground and passed out once inside them.

We woke up after catching maybe 4 hours of sleep, knowing very well that there was a very long day ahead of us. We ate quickly and took off. We were moving a little faster because we could see, but flagging the trail and wearing extra heavy packs still made us move like slugs.

We easily found our way up to the cave. I walked right to it this time, but it was still 12:00 when we arrived. Which is pretty close to the same time we arrived last time starting the hike around 8 am and wasting time wandering lost in the woods trying to find the hole. There is not much of an advantage to starting at midnight I guess. The only thing that was different this time was that we had a camp right at the entrance and we could pop out as late as we wanted and not have to drive home and go to work the next/ same day(depending on what time you popped out, as last time we camped near the road on Saturday night and went caving Sunday).

We set up the tent and ate lunch and passed out for about an hour or 2, dropping in at around 2:30 or so.
Looking down the first drop:

Looking back up it from below:

Looking towards the seccond drop:

Hanging out on the second drop looking down:


The 1 or 2 other drops were less significant then this last one so I didn't bother shooting them. I think it's probably around 100' of vertical relief from the start of the pit to the floor. We decided to shoot some pictures of this feature just up hill of the bottom of the pit, despite already having 3 shots of it that I really like. Well now I have 3 more:




We decided it would be best to check out the passage that continued in this direction as we didn't check it out much before and it was something new to see closer then we would have to go in the other direction. I had a feeling it wouldn't be much and sure enough it just squeezed out before going more then 1-200'.

So down we went, and we came across this long steel bar diagonally crossing a passage to the left. I decided I wanted to check the bar out more this time and tried to move it to find it's cemented in place! I find it ironical that eleitest cavers preach leave no trace so much but yet they break shit on accident, leave flagging tape everywhere(litter IMO since they are the only ones who know what significance a specific marker might have), and modify the cave environment by bringing metal and concrete in to be left permanently! The strange part is that both Nate and I thought we could still squeeze through but we didn' bother.

I left my backpack after a little while when it seemed it was becoming too much effort to carry.
We continued down just carrying the rope and wearing our descent and ascent gear untill we arrived at the waterfall rap. Up to this point we could hand line a fixed line or down climb the first 2 drops beyond the entrance pit. That was not an option for this stretch as the rope was hanging out in space so to speak.
So we descended the rope with our gear this time:



There are some cool preserved animal bones down below the rap:

We continued down to the point where the creek flows under the large damn flowstone formation and you have to go over it and squeeze through a hole on the back side. I got a picture of the cool drapery formations under the damn:

Also the hole you squeeze through on the back side of the damn:


We continued down stream for a while seeing alot of what we had already seen on our last trip.
I know we saw this last time but I couldn't help myself:



We continued down a little further and came to the point where we turned around the previous trip.

It required you to crawl in the trickeling stream of water for who knew how long at that point. So on we went crawling in the water, most times it was really un-avoidable. You get pretty soaked army crawling in water.

I'm not 100% sure if these shots were before or during the creek crawl but they fall in line in the order of things right in that area:





I know for sure these were in some stretch of the creek crawl as I can see the water:








The crawling seemed to last a while I would guess maybe around 500' with different ceiling heights through out. I would estimate that the ceiling pinches down so low you have to army crawl for about atleast 1-200' of the passage.

Eventually you see these and a way to pinch through beneath them:



After that you encounter a drop that's about 6' into an open chamber which is probably best to jump down into as your right above the soda shop and a false swing of a limb during trying to down climb could be devistating!
The soda shop with magnificent straws reaching around 4' and connecting to the floor in a few places:




We continued down the stream some more and saw more cool stuff:


These were just a part of a much bigger feature, which was like a clearish white flowstone waterfall!



I caught a view of some awesome crystals growing in a shallow pool of water. The first image is cool as I caught 2 different very clear sets of ripples in the water:



We continue on down stream and the stream meanders for a little bit so we get to take the path that is dry for once. We see some more cool stuff along the way to a junction:




We had passed survey markers into the A 90's up to this junction.
There was a passage up to the left and a passage continueing down to the right where the water continued to flow. At this junction the passages seemed to become a little bit more spacious more frequently which was nice.

The A survey continued down I beleive to A 104 and after that I think another stream came in from the right. The left up stream trending passage broke off into a new "B" survey.
If I remember correctly Nate and I went down the right passage to just beyond where the other stream ran into the cave. At that point Nate was exhausted but I wanted to see more so I kept going. Another stream ran in from the right side down below I'm pretty sure (I think that's where the C survey started), and the water was starting to get very much deeper in places. I had crossed 4 largish ponds around knee to waist deep and say 5-7' in diameter. I kept going and so did the cave and the stream. It didn't seem like it was going to end and I knew I had to get back to Nate so I stopped around survey marker C 19.

Infact it just seems like it's going to get bigger with the extra water volume being added the deeper I got. It reminds me of main drain in Utah in the sense that it seems like it drains many high alpine meadows into lime creek canyon most likely. It seems like it could be one of the biggest caves in the state.

We came back up and checked out the B survey.
The B survey area was remarkable, like nothing I've ever seen for sure I'll let the photo's do the talking I'm pretty sure these all came from the B survey area even though we only went upto around B8 or B9. Also notice how many are shot with the flash as they were so colorful we didn't really need to play with the lighting to make the shot's less dull. Red, orange, yellow, blue, black, brown, tan, white and clear were all out and even some of them co-mingeling. I'm pretty sure most all of these came from the B Survey or junction vicinity however there is a chance some could be from the Lower A survey or even less likely the C survey.












@IMG-i177.photobucket.com/albums/w2...





I know for sure this shot is just beyond where we stopped in the B survey, the B survey seems to keep going also, maybe upto the passage with the cemented steel bar as they are both on the same side of the main flow passage.
More awesome photos from near the junction most likely:




















I'm pretty sure from here on is formations I passed and didn't shoot on my way down from the soda shop. So they are from on our way out comming back up to the soda shop from the ABC junction area:










Back to crawling up through the creek again:

It was messed up I kept crawling in the water even after it was capable to stand up and squirm sideways. I don't know why it just seemed easier then contorting sidways throught the narrow slot above me.
Back up the waterfall I ascend the rope:




Nearing the end of the climb back up the waterfall:


Looking back down:


We raced for back for the entrance which still took a while. We hand lined all the ropes up and out of the cave from that point and popped out at the tent around 10:30PM. We took off our wet clothes and brought everything that needed to stay dry in the tent and put on some nice warm clothes to sleep in. We passed out but were rudely awaken by a menacing storm above our heads I'm guessing around midnight or 2 am.
I was thinking we were going to get struck by lightening considering how close it seemed to be striking (above our heads). Not to mention we are most likely the only living creature around and being just off the side of a meadow in some scattered trees around tree line made the odds stack up against us. I decided there wasn't a damn thing I could do to improve my chances of surviving the possible strike so I might as well just go back to sleep and get some rest. No use stressing over something you can't change.

We woke up to a gloomy morning but tried to get moving. No sign of our friend that was supposed to be meeting us. We were actually thankful however as we had our asses kicked and you couldn't pay us to go back in a hole in the ground at this point in time. We had patchy sunshine for a few hours so we ate and lounged and let things try to dry out a little before we packed up and headed back down the way we came up so we could clear all the flagging we had left for our friend. We got back to the car around noon in perfect timing before a storm let loose on us. We were happy that we were going to be home early for once, only to be dissappointed. We sat in traffic for 6 hours on the way home when it should only take 3.

All in all it was an awesome trip considering it was kinda a mixed bag. We saw some amazing features, and I can now see why some people consider it to be world class. I was also quite humbled, and came to realize that this cave is not for everyone (alot of cavers included I'm sure). There is an extremely high risk associated with this cave considering the skills and equipment required to travel through vertical terrain aswell as wet crawls. The risk for hypothermia is a serious one as your 3 miles from your car and no one could help you in time even if they could find you or by chance you had the cell service to make the call in the first place. Not to mention it's high alpine and cold already, you also have a good chance of getting clobbered by a high intensity storm. You will be soaked apon exiting the cave most likely so bring pleanty of extra dry clothes and rain gear / tarpage to keep everything extra and crucial dry.

You've been warned, if you somehow find this cave and decide to enter with out the proper skills or equipment then you just might die. Please be responsible and let's fight to keep this cave open for future generations of non grotto members or even just cavers in general!

I hope you enjoy the read and pictures, post us some comments!

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