Largest percentage of Mammoth by any single person?

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Largest percentage of Mammoth by any single person?

Postby Steven Johnson » Feb 24, 2013 5:15 pm

With the news of Mammoth hitting 400 miles in length, I'm wondering: what's the largest percentage of that 400 miles that any single person can reasonably claim to have visited at least once?

(This is not intended to set off a contest. I'm legitimately curious.)
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Re: Largest percentage of Mammoth by any single person?

Postby Roppelcaver » Feb 25, 2013 12:37 pm

Hard to prove, in any event.

Years ago, we were trying to figure out who had caved through every entrance of Mammoth Cave. This included only legitimate caving trips -- not just sticking you head beyond the dripline. Turns out that the answer is none, and this is now because the Echo River Spring Entrance to Mammoth was connected. Only divers need apply to that one.

But, if you excluded that entrance, what would the answer be? Albeit an artificial statistic now, we could only think of two people at the time (prior to the diving connection): Tom Brucker and me. Now, with the connection of Donkey Cave this last year (or was it the year before?), I know I have not been to that entrance, so the answer is one or none. I don't know, but guess Tom Brucker has been to that entrance, too. There is one other entrance I had been to the inside of and the outside of, but not crossed the drip line. But at the time, it was not traverseable. It did not count (then), but does now.

It was not too hard to figure this out. It had to be someone who had transcended all the entrances to the cave, and had also been involved in lots of the different exploration initiatives. Tom Brucker worked very hard in Roppel over the years, and of course has been caving with CRF forever. For me, I had the good fortune to also be involved in CRF for a number of years, and been (of course) involved in Roppel.

Now, to the question at hand -- who has seen the most or Mammoth Cave? That is very hard to say, but I would have to guess Tom Brucker, again, for the same reasons stated above. He has been active forever, and been involved in most/all stages of exploration, and that includes trampsing through all parts of th cave to get to where the surveys were. Personally, I have had the privledge to cave with Tom for many of these miles, but I suspect he has seen the most. Another reason is that Tom has had an incredibly long run of hard-core caving and strong leadership that has put in the forefront for the leading edge work.
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Re: Largest percentage of Mammoth by any single person?

Postby KWW » Feb 25, 2013 10:59 pm

Is it still possible to see wild cave at Mammoth or is only the commercial areas open to the public?
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Re: Largest percentage of Mammoth by any single person?

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 25, 2013 11:15 pm

Join the crf and you can survey all the wild cave you can find ;)
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Re: Largest percentage of Mammoth by any single person?

Postby ON_ROPE » Mar 21, 2013 5:37 pm

Way back when, I think in the 80's NSS members Mike Fischesser and Larry Caldwell made a multi day (I believe 5 days) traverse of a huge amount of the cave. They pioneered underground minimalist backpacking. Check the NSS news archives for a trip report.
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Re: Largest percentage of Mammoth by any single person?

Postby KENTO » May 16, 2013 10:47 pm

You might have said , they were guided through a large amount of underground miles testing some light weight underground camping techniques. If you had remembered it was Don Coons who had the prior experience and knowledge of this audacious/ambitious traverse.
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Re: Largest percentage of Mammoth by any single person?

Postby KENTO » May 16, 2013 10:54 pm

I think the CRF newsletter back issues might reveal the statistics of several of the huge tallies of underground hours spent surveying by many of the most faithful veterans of that worthy organization. I wonder if I am remembering possibly a Roger Brucker noting of when he thought his son Tom had surpassed his record at the time.
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