Give me first time suggestions - Fulford Cave Colorado

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Re: Give me first time suggestions - Fulford Cave Colorado

Postby caseynshan » May 20, 2014 9:11 pm

First 4 rungs were covered in packed snow.. so couldn't see them. Then about 4 good rungs.
Then it seemed like there was a gap between the two ladders or there was a section of ladder missing and then a broken rung. But at least equivalent of 2 rungs missing, and kind of sharp.
about 3 from the bottom there was also a rung that was missing the middle part of the rung.

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Re: Give me first time suggestions - Fulford Cave Colorado

Postby GLC3102 » Jul 24, 2014 6:18 pm

My kids said their favorite thing they did all summer! I have girls (15,12,8) and do not consider our family particularly outdoorsy. We had a great time. I took them myself (mom) and probably should have had another adult with me. There was no one else inside or outside the cave to help me if I had encountered a problem.

We went end of July 2014. You need a free permit. Easy to get with a few days notice. Ours was good for a week. They do not respond over the weekend so plan ahead. Cave was cool, but not unpleasant (you definitely need long pants and a jacket). It was dirty, but did not ruin any clothing. Damp, but not we did not get particularly wet. You must have a helmet because the ceiling is very low in places and rocky. We wore bike helmets and they were fine. Gloves are very important. You will climb inside the cave and you need to protect your hands. We had rubber garden gloves from Home Depot.
It was VERY dark. The cave is rocky so you really need two hands. A headlamp is a must. I wish our flashlights had had lanyards so we so could let go when needed. I also wish they were brighter. I took a handful of change to mark our way (in lieu of breadcrumbs). There were several places where I was glad to see our penny! There are painted red marks (kinda) marking the path. Definitely look for them. Print out the cave description (about 5 pages) from http://www.coloradocaving.com/fulfordcave.html. It gives a detailed tour and makes you feel less lost once inside. For those afraid of wildlife, we saw zero animals/bugs inside the cave.

The ladder down is in very very bad shape. I took pictures and submitted it to the White River Natl Forest. I suppose they already know though.
Many rungs are missing. It was quite difficult to get my 8 year old down the ladder b/c she was not tall enough to reach between the biggest gap on the ladder. The first person down should be tall and able to help the shorter people from below (as well as potentially break their fall). If I had had a rope, I would have knotted it every few feet and used it as backup.

You lose cell coverage about halfway to the cave parking lot so don't wait until arrival to send a text to a buddy saying you are going in.
The drive to the cave parking lot is also a mile or two further than the directions I had. Just keep going. It is marked. Dirt road is only bad the last mile or so.

Hike up to cave site seems longer than 3/4 mile. Just keep going up. You will see it.
There is a bathroom in the parking lot. There are no trashcans, anywhere.
You definitely need a change of clothes at the end or your car will get very dirty. Bring large trash bags.

We had a great time!!!!!!
We will definitely go again.
Highly recommend
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Re: Give me first time suggestions - Fulford Cave Colorado

Postby caverdan » Jul 28, 2014 9:03 am

Due to your complaint the WRNF, the culvert entrance to the cave is closed, starting today. The forest service is willing to help with supplies and costs for a replacement ladder, but they can't do the install, due to insurance reasons. Denver area cavers are working on a replacement plan with the forest service. Hopefully the new ladder will be replaced soon and the cave will be reopened at that time. If I hear any news that the work has been completed, I'll post it here. :cave softly:
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Re: Give me first time suggestions - Fulford Cave Colorado

Postby Extremeophile » Jul 28, 2014 9:27 am

I think reporting the issue with the ladder was the right thing to do, and you can't blame the messenger for closing the cave. There's an unfortunate Catch-23 situation since:
1. The FS put in place a written authorization cave access system.
2. They have now been notified of an unsafe condition at one of the authorized caves.
3. They don't want responsibility for fixing the unsafe condition.

Cavers are rallying to provide a solution :kewl:
Perhaps the lesson is that it's generally better to fix problems ourselves rather than notify the authorities. We've known about the ladder problem for many years but it wasn't a priority until now.
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Re: Give me first time suggestions - Fulford Cave Colorado

Postby caverdan » Jul 28, 2014 10:22 am

Extremeophile wrote:I think reporting the issue with the ladder was the right thing to do, and you can't blame the messenger for closing the cave.

I hope my post didn't come across that way. That was not my intention. It is a problem that has needed fixing for quite some time. Glad to see....FRG....on top of the situation.
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