worst crawl

Caves and caving, beginning caving, joining the NSS, etc.

Moderator: Moderators

worst crawl

Postby gindling » May 9, 2014 1:36 pm

Someone recently asked me what was the crappiest crawl in an American cave I have ever seen. From the Historic entrance of DKSH with the evil chains to Bynum Cave's endless variety of crawls, I could think of so many. This got me to wondering, is there a crawl that is famous for being the crappiest in the states? Is there one that fills even the most foolhardy of cavers with fear when spoken of in hushed tones around a campfire?
User avatar
gindling
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 227
Joined: Nov 17, 2008 3:40 pm
Location: Montana
NSS #: 53629
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto
  

Re: worst crawl

Postby Caving Guru » May 9, 2014 2:35 pm

The Hole (Boggs Cave) in Greenbrier County, West Virginia is known for its crawling I believe although I have never been in this cave myself.
Caving Guru
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 350
Joined: Jun 21, 2012 2:57 pm
  

Re: worst crawl

Postby caver.adam » May 9, 2014 2:47 pm

The (bad) things I've heard about Hell's Hole Pit in Indiana make me want to try it out, but I haven't had a chance to go explore it. I think this is a great timelapse video project to compare the contenders.
User avatar
caver.adam
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 345
Joined: Feb 8, 2012 12:26 pm
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Louisville Grotto
  

Re: worst crawl

Postby trogman » May 9, 2014 3:06 pm

The infamous "Blue Crawl" in Tumbling Rock. If you read the description in the convention guidebook Journeys through TAG, it'll make you never want to attempt it. It's not that long, but it is certainly difficult. Most people heading back into that part of the cave take the alternative, the Suicide Passage.

Trogman :helmet:
User avatar
trogman
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 911
Joined: May 2, 2008 8:35 am
Location: North Alabama
Name: Stephen Brewer
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Gadsden Grotto
  

Re: worst crawl

Postby Bumbalawski » May 9, 2014 6:51 pm

Tanglefoot Cave in Western Maryland. It has many really long, wide and tight muddy crawls. Perhaps Corey or Ryan will will chime in about them. I know Terry McClanathan remembers them well.
User avatar
Bumbalawski
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 122
Joined: Apr 21, 2010 7:05 pm
Location: Bedford County Pa.
Name: Don Carns Jr.
NSS #: 54725
  

Re: worst crawl

Postby GroundquestMSA » May 9, 2014 8:44 pm

This reminds me of the earlier topic, Your State's Toughest Cave

The crawls in Reif's Cave, Ohio are tough. I speak of them in weary tones, mostly because I know I'll be going back... someday. There's a tight 40' slop trough that we dug through to find about 1800' of new cave, and 1100' of that is a belly-crawl through the stream. About 2000' of the 2300' is a crawl of some sort.

I'm not much of a caver, and I can't comment on the truly notable crawls in good caving states, but I'm sure that almost anyone would be challenged by a trip to the end of Reif's.
User avatar
GroundquestMSA
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 1343
Joined: May 5, 2011 1:32 pm
  

Re: worst crawl

Postby BrianFrank » May 9, 2014 9:24 pm

My son (19) and his friend (18) did Blue Crab Crawl (Tumbling Rock) to the back of the cave and we went the the normal way. My son is very fit, thin and nothing usually phases him. When he met up with us he was scratched, bleeding and exhausted. He said it was brutal and at one point crawling (only wide enough to go sideways on your elbow) he lost his boot and it took him 20 minutes to inch backward and put it back on with just the aid of his other foot. It was too tight to reach back, turnaround or even see behind yourself. Not something he wants to do again.
.
All TAG cavers join http://www.SCCI.org. A small price for a GREAT resource.
User avatar
BrianFrank
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 447
Joined: Apr 5, 2011 11:25 am
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Name: Brian
NSS #: 52121
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Dogwood City Grotto
  

Re: worst crawl

Postby PatB » May 10, 2014 9:24 pm

Hamilton cave, Franklin, WV has a place called the blower tube. You've got to strip down to your undies, and inch sideways on your ribs, one arm in front of you, the other straight back. You "feel" cave all around you and have to really relax your breathing and not go into panic state. It's probably a 20 or so foot of this that ends in a small dome pit like room about 10 feet off the floor. The worst thing about going through it is once you're done, you've got to go back through it to get out.
PatB
Infrequent Poster
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Dec 27, 2013 9:45 pm
NSS #: 45###RL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Western Maryland Grotto
  

Re: worst crawl

Postby Caving Guru » May 10, 2014 10:04 pm

Yes, I have done what is known as the "Airblower" in Hamilton Cave, West Virginia. I didn't have to "strip to my undies" though. I didn't even have to take off my helmet.But it is true that you must inch sideways with one arm in front and one arm by your side. At least for me, getting through the Airblower was the easy part. But after making a long trip to the Bowl Room and back to the Airblower I was a little tired. It is also a little tricky getting yourself back in the Airblower because all you have is your arms to pull you back in. Your legs are just flailing in the 10 foot dome room. On the way back I did do a lot of relaxing and staying calm going back through the Airblower. You just can't panic.
Caving Guru
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 350
Joined: Jun 21, 2012 2:57 pm
  

Re: worst crawl

Postby l lambert » May 11, 2014 11:17 am

Bingo cave, pigeon mountain
l lambert
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 140
Joined: Jan 21, 2007 11:10 pm
Location: Heaven
  

Re: worst crawl

Postby LukeM » May 11, 2014 7:45 pm

trogman wrote:The infamous "Blue Crawl" in Tumbling Rock. If you read the description in the convention guidebook Journeys through TAG, it'll make you never want to attempt it. It's not that long, but it is certainly difficult. Most people heading back into that part of the cave take the alternative, the Suicide Passage.


I was with a group that went through the Blue Crawl and found it to be tight, but not particularly difficult. Just short enough to be a fun challenge and not a drawn out PITA. Definitely not a place for big cavers though. One person did end up pushing their boots ahead of them because they kept getting pulled off. :laughing: The sketchy climbs on either end were the most difficult thing. On the way back we decided to try the Suicide Passage and comically got lost in breakdown because we kept following arrows that pointed upward instead of staying low. Eventually we just headed back and did the Crawl again.
User avatar
LukeM
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 705
Joined: Jan 30, 2008 2:53 pm
Location: Albany, NY
Name: Luke Mazza
NSS #: 59317
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Syracuse University Outing Club
  

Re: worst crawl

Postby DStud » May 11, 2014 8:07 pm

l lambert wrote:Bingo cave, pigeon mountain


Does the bingo crawl lead to anything worth while? We stopped by on our way to a little pit over there and didn't feel like pushing the crawl... verns in that same general area also looked like someone had done a bunch of digging.
DStud
Frequent Poster
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Sep 15, 2010 8:42 pm
NSS #: 62534
Primary Grotto Affiliation: River City Grotto
  

Re: worst crawl

Postby DawgsgoCaving » May 11, 2014 9:30 pm

DStud wrote:
l lambert wrote:Bingo cave, pigeon mountain


Does the bingo crawl lead to anything worth while? We stopped by on our way to a little pit over there and didn't feel like pushing the crawl... verns in that same general area also looked like someone had done a bunch of digging.


There's a small pit inside (maybe 15') we didn't go much further than that. Apparently the back is pretty dangerous, at least according to the GSS survey, we didn't go all the way back to check out why though.

Blue Crawl at Tumbling Rock is another good one. I couldn't believe a crawl of that caliber was there based on the rest of the cave we saw. My shoulder got pretty cut up pretty bad at one poi t going through it. Definitely a good place to take someone if they "really, really wants to go caving again." haha
DawgsgoCaving
Prolific Poster
 
Posts: 165
Joined: Jan 8, 2014 6:59 pm
Name: Josh Schultz
NSS #: 65630RE
Primary Grotto Affiliation: CTG SCCi 3501
  

Re: worst crawl

Postby trogman » May 12, 2014 10:15 am

Last time I went through the Blue Crawl was with my 3 children, probably about 10 or 12 years ago. I remember it well because I had told my youngest daughter that we would not be going that way. Then, when we got to the Christmas Tree, I had a change of heart, and decided to put it up for a vote. Her two older siblings sided with me, and we went that way instead of Suicide Passage. We had all been through the Blue Crawl before, and I'm not sure what possessed us to want to do it again. Anyway, my youngest daughter has never quite forgiven me, and hasn't gone caving with me again since. :sad: It was totally my fault, of course, as I should have kept my word and not gone that way.

Trogman :helmet:
User avatar
trogman
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 911
Joined: May 2, 2008 8:35 am
Location: North Alabama
Name: Stephen Brewer
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Gadsden Grotto
  

Re: worst crawl

Postby gindling » May 12, 2014 10:22 am

Somehow, around the early 2000's, we were approached by Ken Ballew and his dreams of a 800ft pit inside of Lookout Mountain overlooking Chattanooga. He said that Bynum's Cave had SOME crawling, but that the last explorers in the late 80's had turned around in "subway sized borehole". We should have questioned things right there, like why hadn't anyone gone back if there was virgin borehole to be had, but Kent was very persuasive and we were hooked. So the night before the trip we called M.O.S. to see what it was really like seeing how he was one of the last people in there and what we should expect. He just sat there laughing and laughing, being vague, and told us to have fun and to come over and tell him about the trip when/if we returned, that was the second time that we should have questioned what we were about to undertake.

We met Ken and headed to the cave. He first handed out a good chunk of fresh 'sang for us to chew, for the energy he said, and we began our trip. I went first, through a crawl/squeeze of gravel and trash and broken glass and then I heard some exasperated grunting from behind and noticed the next in line was stuck. Luckily I had a shovel with me and by sliding the shovel under his chest I could slowly take out scoops of gravel until he dropped a few inches and made it through. There were many crawls after that in water, mud, sand, round cobble, sharp cobble, etc. After a few hours of this I come around a corner and find Ken, munching 'sang, and getting ready to take a nap. I start looking around at leads, wondering where the "borehole" is. Ken snaps out of his pre-nap, barks at me about how I'm climbing up the branches of the cave instead of scaling the trunk, and lays back down. I ask where the borehole is and he opens an eye and says "yer standing in it!". Funny idea of a borehole I think to myself and then realize we were swindled! He was just trying to get some foolhardy youths to push the grim leads, you could hardly drive a Tonka truck through here let alone a subway!

We pushed and pushed but never came out on top of Lookout Mountain like Ken said we were going to. And as we were heading back, into the horror, I look at my friends face, contorted in terror, as he whispers that he left his kneepads at the entrance!!! He apparently did't believe Ken about the crawling and said to himself, how bad could it be? The way out was long, and epic, and a full story in itself.
User avatar
gindling
NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
 
Posts: 227
Joined: Nov 17, 2008 3:40 pm
Location: Montana
NSS #: 53629
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto
  

Next

Return to Caving General Discussion and Questions Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users