Oh No!! ...Not Another Howards Waterfall Thread!

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Oh No!! ...Not Another Howards Waterfall Thread!

Postby PazMan » Apr 4, 2012 12:23 am

My favorite shot with daylight coming through the main entrance.
Image



So here it is, yet another thread for the infamous Howard's Waterfall. All you elite posters have worn your fingers to the nub answering question after question on this cave year after year. When does it end? ...not now. Not ever. :doh:

I'll start off with this... this was my first trip to Howard's, and of course all I've ever heard about this cave, besides the tragic scout accident in the 60's, is how kid friendly this cave is. Makes you go... "hmmm". I'm not sure how the cave got this distinction, but I can tell you this, we got to some places in there that I wouldn't take any kid!! Not even if I didn't like the kid. I would say it's kid friendly for the first 150 feet or so when crawling in, right up to the point where you get to the first hole in the floor that drops about 15 feet or so through the rocks. There is a hyper-active 5 year old just waiting to trip and fall right into that drop. :yikes:

Anyways, we had a blast in Howard's. I wasn't expecting such a spectacular cave, but it was! Of course got lost for just a bit in the first turn to the left, like every other first timer, but eventually found the 4x4 plank that basically tells you that you have found the right way to the rest of the cave. Yes, the 4x4 is still there. Not sure why, but there it lies. So we went the way of the disaster room and got to the junction where the first canyon drops off to the left about 20 feet or so. This is where we didn't have a clue. There was a ledge to the right that you see lit up in the picture below. We searched and searched for a safe way down, and found a few ways down, but none that we felt good about without having at least a handline to get back up, which we didn't have.

There was a couple of tight squeezes that we tested out, one of which was a worm hole style slot in the left wall just before you get to the drop off area. I squirmed in feet first about 8 to 10 feet down at an angle and it then it took a hard 90 degree right turn which I couldn't even get my foot around. Almost got stuck there. The 2nd squeeze was the hole in the ledge area to the right that goes straight down, with the bull horn hand hold at the mouth of the hole. We almost tried it, but couldn't figure out if it dropped out below. We then decided to try the belly crawl through the opening on the right side of the ledge that was about 2 feet high or so. I got about 20 feet in and came to a very tight choke point that was no more than 10 inches wide. I stopped here and looked further down the crawl and all the sudden saw some light in the distance down the tunnel. I told my buddy that I thought I saw some head lamps up ahead. Then the light disappeared for a minute, then it came back. I was confused at this point. So I squeezed through and told my buddy lets go! The crawl went about another 40 feet, and when I finally got to the end, I stood up and the next thing I saw was one of the most awe inspiring sights I've ever seen!! :shocked:

We were standing on a ledge at the top of a cliff overhanging a canyon that was anywhere from 80 to 100 feet down, with the sunlight shining through one of the other entrances about 400 feet across the canyon. My friend and I sat there for a minute with our mouths hanging wide open, just astonished by the sight before us. There is a pic below of the daylight shining in across the top of the canyon. I truly never expected to see this in Howards. Never saw a pic of it anywhere. Never heard anyone talk about it. It definitely was the highlight of our trip. :woohoo:

So if your still reading, I have some questions -

Which way is the safest way to get down into that first 20' drop into the canyon without any rope? and how do you climb out?

Once you get onto the floor of the first section of the canyon and go around the far corner to the right, does it drop again? because it would seem it would have to drop another 40 to 60 feet to the section we were above when we got to the really high ledge.

Is there a way to climb up from the main canyon area to the entrance where the daylight was coming from? I believe this is the 4th entrance according to the map. How big is that entrance? it looks like it would be huge from the amount of daylight we could see from that far away.

Overall the trip was awesome and it definitely kicked our butts crawling in and out of every hole we found. We were disappointed that we couldn't get down to that lower level to get to the disaster room, but we are eager to get back in there with more knowledge and hopefully someone that knows where in the hell to go!


The ledge to the right above the first drop of 20 feet.
Image


On top of the canyon cliff looking at daylight coming through the 4th entrance. Amazing!
Image


Another shot of direct sunlight through the main entrance.
Image
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Re: Oh No!! ...Not Another Howards Waterfall Thread!

Postby agosnell » Apr 4, 2012 8:20 am

There are 4 different ways to drop to the canyon floor from that general area, that I know of. I will tell you 3 of them.

1:The hole to the far left that goes into the floor, it is very tight with the 90degree angle.

2:The open face climb down that is not so obvious but is the least furthest to fall roughly 10 feet from the hole with the right angle. And we always do it without hand line....but its not a bad idea if you are uncertain.

3: Rappel.

Once you are down in the canyon it is easy to get into the main passage to the 4th exit, and there are several caving choices. With lots of caving in either direction.
The exit you seen pops out in what used to be someones garbage dumping hole in their backyard and would be trespassing.

When in the valley floor, it stays at that level until you go out the 4th exit. Then it is a climb up, gnarly to free climb, not recommended.
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Re: Oh No!! ...Not Another Howards Waterfall Thread!

Postby mabercrombie » Apr 4, 2012 9:36 am

Those are some great pictures! I am going to assume that your buddy on the ledge is not wearing a helmet because hes back lighting the picture with it. :grin:
The climbdown is probably the easiest to find and get up/down. You can free climb it no problem with out a rope but a hand line is useful if you've never done it before.
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Re: Oh No!! ...Not Another Howards Waterfall Thread!

Postby graveleye » Apr 4, 2012 1:46 pm

the worst I have ever been hurt while caving was right there at the climb down.
That's a lot easier to free climb up than it is to free climb down.
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Re: Oh No!! ...Not Another Howards Waterfall Thread!

Postby PazMan » Apr 4, 2012 9:55 pm

Alvin!! How did I know you were gonna be the first to respond to my topic.

agosnell wrote:There are 4 different ways to drop to the canyon floor from that general area, that I know of. I will tell you 3 of them.

1:The hole to the far left that goes into the floor, it is very tight with the 90degree angle.


I was 8 feet down in this tight squeeze and couldn't go any further to get around the corner. I almost got stuck there! I'm not that big either, so i don't see how any adult goes through there.

What about the other hole I talked about above? The one on the ledge to the right that goes straight down and has a rock horn that sticks out that looks like a bull horn. We almost went down this way because it looked so worn.


agosnell wrote:2:The open face climb down that is not so obvious but is the least furthest to fall roughly 10 feet from the hole with the right angle. And we always do it without hand line....but its not a bad idea if you are uncertain.


Is this the climb down in the smaller side canyon to the left of the larger lower passage, directly across from a christmas tree style formation on the other side? I think I'm standing at the top of it when I took this pic. Is that where you are talking about?

Image

agosnell wrote:3: Rappel.


Do you know if anyone has rappelled off the 80 foot cliff we were on top of overlooking the main canyon? That would be awesome!!

agosnell wrote:Once you are down in the canyon it is easy to get into the main passage to the 4th exit, and there are several caving choices. With lots of caving in either direction.
The exit you seen pops out in what used to be someones garbage dumping hole in their backyard and would be trespassing.

When in the valley floor, it stays at that level until you go out the 4th exit. Then it is a climb up, gnarly to free climb, not recommended.

Dude, you have to go with us on the next trip and get us down there so we can light up that canyon for some killer shots! :camera:


mabercrombie wrote:Those are some great pictures! I am going to assume that your buddy on the ledge is not wearing a helmet because hes back lighting the picture with it. :grin:


Thanks! I really enjoy cave photography... even though I am only shooting with a "point and click" panansonic. I do bring a tripod though. That is the key. That is actually me on the ledge without my helmet, and yes both our helmets were on the ground pointing up at the ceiling for lighting. I knew someone would ask about that. :big grin:


graveleye wrote:the worst I have ever been hurt while caving was right there at the climb down.


Graveleye, How did you fall and what did you injure?
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Re: Oh No!! ...Not Another Howards Waterfall Thread!

Postby agosnell » Apr 4, 2012 11:05 pm

I was 8 feet down in this tight squeeze and couldn't go any further to get around the corner. I almost got stuck there! I'm not that big either, so i don't see how any adult goes through there.

What about the other hole I talked about above? The one on the ledge to the right that goes straight down and has a rock horn that sticks out that looks like a bull horn. We almost went down this way because it looked so worn.


In 2003 I was going in and out of that hole. I have pics.

The hole on the ledge dont go, if I remember correctly.


Is this the climb down in the smaller side canyon to the left of the larger lower passage, directly across from a christmas tree style formation on the other side? I think I'm standing at the top of it when I took this pic. Is that where you are talking about?


Yes

Do you know if anyone has rappelled off the 80 foot cliff we were on top of overlooking the main canyon? That would be awesome!!


I dont know.

Dude, you have to go with us on the next trip and get us down there so we can light up that canyon for some killer shots!


Wish I could but it will be awhile before I head back home to Suwanee.

Did you guys go through any of the NE passage?
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Re: Oh No!! ...Not Another Howards Waterfall Thread!

Postby graveleye » Apr 5, 2012 7:47 am

PazMan wrote:
Graveleye, How did you fall and what did you injure?


Just slipped. There is a natural handle sticking out of the wall in the climbdown. I slipped and grabbed ahold of that handle and almost yanked my shoulder out of place. Took a year to quit hurting.

This thread is kind of making me want to go back. I haven't been there in a few years.
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Re: Oh No!! ...Not Another Howards Waterfall Thread!

Postby PazMan » Apr 5, 2012 10:08 am

agosnell wrote:In 2003 I was going in and out of that hole. I have pics.

The hole on the ledge dont go, if I remember correctly.


Lets see those pics bro! As for the hole in the ledge, we threw rocks down into it, and definitely heard them down to the floor below.

agosnell wrote:Did you guys go through any of the NE passage?


Yeah, we finally gave up on our search for a way down into the lower passage, and went back past the main entrance. We only went about 1/2 mile or so because it was getting late and we were worn out from all the exploring at the other end.



graveleye wrote:Just slipped. There is a natural handle sticking out of the wall in the climbdown. I slipped and grabbed ahold of that handle and almost yanked my shoulder out of place. Took a year to quit hurting.

This thread is kind of making me want to go back. I haven't been there in a few years.


You probably tore your rotator cuff.

Let's hook up and go. My buddy and I are going caving about once a month and a return trip to Howards is on the list. Not getting onto that canyon floor is driving me crazy. I want to go back with someone who knows where to go.
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Re: Oh No!! ...Not Another Howards Waterfall Thread!

Postby graveleye » Apr 5, 2012 11:00 am

we're talking about the Disaster Room here correct? The way down is impossible to miss. When you first come up on the big cliff, keep walking past it around a corner and there is a smaller 10' ledge with a large stal on the right side that people tie a hand line to. Climb down there, then head to your right to another ledge.. you are now looking down into the Disaster Room. From there, go around the left and just work your way down a big mud bank and your on the bottom. I recall it wasn't a super big deal.

here is looking up at the climbdown... sorry I don't have a pic from the top that would be more useful.

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a325/graveleye/HW%20and%20CR%207-21-07/IMG_1894.jpg
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Re: Oh No!! ...Not Another Howards Waterfall Thread!

Postby agosnell » Apr 5, 2012 12:01 pm

This is the hole in the floor that comes out on the bottom near the climb down.


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Re: Oh No!! ...Not Another Howards Waterfall Thread!

Postby PazMan » Apr 5, 2012 10:46 pm

Graveleye, To be honest I couldn't tell by the map which room exactly was the disaster room. Now I know. Yeah, that picture helps alot. We were on top of that climb down considering it, but it looked too slick to climb back up, and we did not have a hand line and did not want to get stuck in there. The last pic I posted above is standing on top of that area. Thanks for the info.

Our next cave trip might be on Sunday the 29th, and considering going back to Howards. Wanna go?


Alvin, nice shot man! That was a long time ago wasn't it? LOL!
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Re: Oh No!! ...Not Another Howards Waterfall Thread!

Postby agosnell » Apr 6, 2012 9:47 am

Anywhere from 1999 to 2003 is when that was taken.
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Re: Oh No!! ...Not Another Howards Waterfall Thread!

Postby Mudduck » Apr 6, 2012 1:05 pm

Last time I was i Howards when we exited a Ringnecked snake slithered across my hand in the crawl way. Read up on them and they tend to live in dens with many many others. at any rate, I've never attempted the climbdown but after seeing that photo from the bottom I may try it next time I'm able to head up that way. I do believe I'll take a hand line I'm a bit top heavy. Oh and you can never have enough threads on Howards can you :tonguecheek:
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Re: Oh No!! ...Not Another Howards Waterfall Thread!

Postby PazMan » Apr 15, 2012 9:07 pm

Mudduck wrote:Last time I was i Howards when we exited a Ringnecked snake slithered across my hand in the crawl way. Read up on them and they tend to live in dens with many many others


Didn't see any snakes thank goodness! However, saw a ton of big spiders all over, even deep in the cave. Also saw a couple of salamanders, and of course lots of bats. I checked one of the bats out upclose, and no sign of WNS. :bananabat:
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Re: Oh No!! ...Not Another Howards Waterfall Thread!

Postby BrianFrank » May 6, 2013 9:32 am

Eleven of us did Howard's yesterday with Joel Silverman, his oldest daughter and two new younger cavers. My least favorite cave, but we knew it was a good cave that stays mostly dry even in the worst storms. We were able to do the entire cave. We popped out of the 2nd or 4th (not sure) entrance right behind a trailer to see a beautiful ravine full of trash. It looks like the trailer must be sitting right on top of the Disaster Room?

Anyway, almost no trash in the cave but dozens of areas with spray paint. We saw some salamanders and a ring neck snake. Our group added 4 or 5 new models to the Sculpture Room.
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