worst crawl

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Re: worst crawl

Postby Roppelcaver » May 12, 2014 2:10 pm

Clap Canyon in Roppel Cave ranks pretty high in my book. Starts at a point about 3 hours from the entrance, and with minor exception is crawling for about 2500 feet. At its furthest reaches, it is a partially washed out tube with sticky, tacky mud and tight squeezes. It does not end, but we turned around in a clean-washed elliptical tube blowing strong air. On the map, the lead is pointing to a blank portion of ridge, but it could also just end in a couple hundred more feet. An average party take about 4-5 hours to traverse this crawl, but it has been done in just 3 hours. There is no water, so you have to lug a bunch, which adds to the burden. No one has been back in 22 years.

One of Roppel's satellite caves is called Wildcat Hollow. it is pretty terrible too. It is in the bottom of a valley and is a tight crawl in cow shit and water to a small room. Beyond, it is just a crawlway, but overall is about 1700 feet long. The fear of flooding weighs heavily on all trips, and it is long enough that no one has returned in several years also, despite several leads and a hoped for connection to Roppel just a few hundred feet away.
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Re: worst crawl

Postby Phil Winkler » May 12, 2014 7:04 pm

Ok, certainly the Regal Wiggle in Glory Hole in Georgia at least rates an honorable mention. I don't think it is even passable nowadays. Likely silted in, but back in the day it was a bear.
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Re: worst crawl

Postby DawgsgoCaving » May 12, 2014 9:45 pm

trogman wrote: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:


Hahaha hopefully she'll come around. I like to think crawls like that build character in the long run :grin:

I almost go my Mom to go with me. She is not a caver, but I figured she would enjoy the majority of the cave. She was very close to coming with me until the day before the trip. I said to her, "Just come with us. This isn't a physically demanding trip. I wouldn't even consider inviting you if it were otherwise."

I pointed to the survey given to me by another caver and said, "See, before I head towards the Blue Crab Crawl, I will go with you and A***a towards the breakdown that leads to Suicide Passage, then we can meet right on the other side. It's real simple."

The look on her face went from :roll: to :down: . The second I dropped "Suicide Passage" she completely lost interest. I still joke about it with her every time I go practice or when I get ready for a trip. "Where are you going, Josh?" "Just getting ready for Suicide Passage, Mom." :big grin:
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Re: worst crawl

Postby LukeM » May 13, 2014 8:28 am

trogman wrote: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.


Bummer! I can definitely see how that would psych out a new caver. I remember the first long, tight crawl I ever went through and while it definitely was not as tight as the Blue Crawl I remember there were some mental hurdles to clear.
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Re: worst crawl

Postby Oddball » May 15, 2014 4:31 am

My worse is when people usually turn around in Sheldon's and do do not attempt that lead. It does go. The last 75 foot before any relief is filled with water 3 inches high and ceiling only 6 inches high. All you can do in close one eye turn your head and go for it. Trust me the burden is worth it. have only gotten 2 other people to do it. It would be 3 but he was honestly too big. And also glad I found the way to bypass it via the surface. Not that there are not many more difficult crawls further on, but it is a relief to be able to bypass that one.
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Re: worst crawl

Postby HKalnitz » May 16, 2014 6:21 am

One of Roppel's satellite caves is called Wildcat Hollow. it is pretty terrible too. It is in the bottom of a valley and is a tight crawl in cow shit and water to a small room. Beyond, it is just a crawlway, but overall is about 1700 feet long. The fear of flooding weighs heavily on all trips, and it is long enough that no one has returned in several years

Isn't this the cave you tried to foist off on me a few years ago, Jim?

Anyway, my worst remembered crawl is the entrance to Sides cave - just around the corner from Wildcat hollow. It has a 3000ft wet-suit water crawl, that only gets 3 feet tall for a short section. But the true horror is going back out through the Pigf**ker section of the crawl(I think James Wells gave it that name). You don't notice it going in, but all the rocks are cleverly overlapped. On the way in, you slide right over, on the way out (2X the 3000 ft crawl, plus any survey inside) each and every one of those overlapped rocks are pointing right at you and rotate upwards to stick you in the gut, and pin you against the ceiling. Makes for a very long and curse filled exit. Totally deserves its name.

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Re: worst crawl

Postby Roppelcaver » May 16, 2014 6:07 pm

Howard, yes WH is probably the one...

Wildcat Hollow is MUCH worse than Sides. I would do Sides entrance 4 times before WH.
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Re: worst crawl

Postby Caving Guru » May 22, 2014 5:00 am

DawgsgoCaving wrote:
trogman wrote: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:


Hahaha hopefully she'll come around. I like to think crawls like that build character in the long run :grin:

I almost go my Mom to go with me. She is not a caver, but I figured she would enjoy the majority of the cave. She was very close to coming with me until the day before the trip. I said to her, "Just come with us. This isn't a physically demanding trip. I wouldn't even consider inviting you if it were otherwise."

I pointed to the survey given to me by another caver and said, "See, before I head towards the Blue Crab Crawl, I will go with you and A***a towards the breakdown that leads to Suicide Passage, then we can meet right on the other side. It's real simple."

The look on her face went from :roll: to :down: . The second I dropped "Suicide Passage" she completely lost interest. I still joke about it with her every time I go practice or when I get ready for a trip. "Where are you going, Josh?" "Just getting ready for Suicide Passage, Mom." :big grin:


I would say that the original explorers of the Blue Crawl gave a great description of it: "The Blue Crawl is a little difficult to describe, but if you can imagine a cowboy captured by Commanches, stripped nude, with his eyelids pinned open with cactus needles, and staked out on an ant hill, face up to the sun, and a three-inch diameter cedar post hammered through his abdomen, after about five hours, you have the idea."
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Re: worst crawl

Postby driggs » May 22, 2014 7:25 am

I don't know about the worst crawl, but the best crawl is undoubtedly the Proctor Crawl that connects Proctor Cave to Mammoth. One thousand feet of cheek-to-the-ground butt-to-the-ceiling slithering through the cushiest sand you could ask for. It's so pleasant that I typically fall asleep mid-crawl on the way out. The only thing better than doing the Proctor Crawl once is doing it twice... it's the only route in and out.

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Re: worst crawl

Postby trogman » May 22, 2014 11:08 am

DawgsgoCaving wrote:

I almost go my Mom to go with me. She is not a caver, but I figured she would enjoy the majority of the cave. She was very close to coming with me until the day before the trip. I said to her, "Just come with us. This isn't a physically demanding trip. I wouldn't even consider inviting you if it were otherwise."

I pointed to the survey given to me by another caver and said, "See, before I head towards the Blue Crab Crawl, I will go with you and A***a towards the breakdown that leads to Suicide Passage, then we can meet right on the other side. It's real simple."

The look on her face went from :roll: to :down: . The second I dropped "Suicide Passage" she completely lost interest. I still joke about it with her every time I go practice or when I get ready for a trip. "Where are you going, Josh?" "Just getting ready for Suicide Passage, Mom." :big grin:


Yea, Suicide Passage always sounds worse than what it is. It go its name from the first explorers, who had to deal with a lot of very scary loose breakdown. It is now very stable and much less suicidal.

Roppelcaver wrote:I would say that the original explorers of the Blue Crawl gave a great description of it: "The Blue Crawl is a little difficult to describe, but if you can imagine a cowboy captured by Commanches, stripped nude, with his eyelids pinned open with cactus needles, and staked out on an ant hill, face up to the sun, and a three-inch diameter cedar post hammered through his abdomen, after about five hours, you have the idea."


Yes, that's the description I referenced in an earlier post. Maybe a little exaggerated, but it gives you the idea. Even getting to the Blue Crawl requires a contortionist move to get through Johnson's Junction. But the nice thing is that you get to see the Emperor's Room, which not that many people see. I believe it's the largest room in the cave.

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Re: worst crawl

Postby DawgsgoCaving » May 22, 2014 5:39 pm

trogman wrote:
DawgsgoCaving wrote:
But the nice thing is that you get to see the Emperor's Room, which not that many people see. I believe it's the largest room in the cave.

Trogman :helmet:


The Emperor's Room was definitely worth it. I love any room or formation that takes particularly more work to get to. Another tough crawl, although shorter and not as contorted, the worm tube in PettyJohn's kind of reminded me of it. Very tight, one foot high (although more wet) crawl that leads to a climb which opens up at the Echo Room which is massive and quite the sight.

I guess I'm somewhat of an all-or-nothing person anyways, so I enjoy stuff like that- if not during the trip I will a day or two afterwards haha. All of my friends and I leave the cave sick of each other and ready to get back to our homes and later on in the week we all make phone calls to each other that go something like, "Dude, you're the man." And they continue like, "No, you're the man. Where are we going next?" Hahaha :grin:
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Re: worst crawl

Postby rlboyce » May 22, 2014 6:13 pm

Bumbalawski wrote: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.

I am sure there are much worse crawls in existence, but Maryland certainly has more than its fair share of miserable crawls. Many who participate in pushing Maryland's underground frontier choose not to make a return visit. Here is a little taste of one of the many nasty crawls in Tanglefoot:

Happiness can be measured in mud/in².
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Re: worst crawl

Postby trogman » May 23, 2014 3:24 pm

:yeah that: Now that's a nasty-looking crawl! I hope there is something worth seeing beyond that slimy squeeze.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned that long gypsum crawl in Blue Springs Cave, TN. (I forget the name of it) I haven't been through it myself, but I've heard it's almost impossible to keep the gypsum sand from getting behind your kneepads. Once that happens, it'l rub your knees raw!

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Re: worst crawl

Postby nathanroser » May 23, 2014 3:34 pm

Never been to it but someone told me there's a long crawl in Fisher Ridge in Kentucky called Penny Lane. The whole way is over sharp potholes in the floor so you're constantly getting part of your body or pack stuck in something & putting your weight on sharp edges.
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Re: worst crawl

Postby gindling » May 24, 2014 9:16 am

Ron Adams (Rasta Ron the Grateful Dad to my friends and I), took me down to Penny Lane in the early 2000's. It looks as bad as people describe it, though the name is misleading! If I remember right, it and a sister crawl called the Cheesegrater are the only two passages that connect the two large boreholes in Fischer Ridge. Please correct me if I am wrong Kentucky cavers.
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