Any Groups That Just Do Horizontal Caves?

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Any Groups That Just Do Horizontal Caves?

Postby PoplarHill » Aug 8, 2014 5:57 pm

I've been thinking of seeking out some type of grotto that does easy horizontal trips in North Alabama. I'm going to be honest, going on 20 years ago, I took some guys from a local Grotto to Newsome Sinks because I had permission from the landowner at the time to hike and explore. I won't get into exact details but it left a pretty bad taste in my mouth and I haven't considered taking grotto/NSS members to caves I have access to or joining a grotto since.

I'm honestly more into the hiking, picture taking and the exploring sense of the trips. I'm terrified of heights so any climbing or repeling are out for me. Most of my old "adventure" buddies have families or have moved away so I don't get to go as often as I would like since I don't wander into caves alone. I'd love to find someone to check out Adcock and Horse Cave with me in Blount County just so I could check out the old Civil War era saltpeter operations there. I'd have to check to see if the same people own the land but I also used to have permission to caves in and around Newsome Sinks and Cotaco Valley.
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Re: Any Groups That Just Do Horizontal Caves?

Postby trogman » Aug 9, 2014 12:35 pm

The problem with being "only horizontal" cavers in north AL is that there are so so many caves that you would be unable to get into. About 40% of AL cave entrances require a rope to get into. Most vertical cavers I know of have a healthy fear of heights.That's why we use rope and tried and proven gear, to ensure our safety.
For a number of years I was a "horizontal only" caver, mainly because I couldn't afford vertical gear. Being vertical opens up a lot of doors underground that you would otherwise never get into. Also, the more easily accessible horizontal caves are usually the most vandalized.
I wish you luck with your quest. One more comment- please don't lump together all NSS cavers and grotto members based on a negative impression you had many years ago. In other words, you shouldn't throw out the baby with the bath water. :waving:

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Re: Any Groups That Just Do Horizontal Caves?

Postby DawgsgoCaving » Aug 10, 2014 8:51 am

^Live and let live. I took a new caver with some friends to Rusty's yesterday. When he was nervous about getting over the ledge into the pit I yelled to him, "Go on look down if you won't see anything regardless" haha. Have you been to Iron Hoop? Go to a grotto meeting or to Cave Fest in a couple weeks and talk to people who don't do much vertical stuff any more. Facebook isn't a bad resource for this kind of stuff either.
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Re: Any Groups That Just Do Horizontal Caves?

Postby PoplarHill » Aug 11, 2014 2:41 pm

Where and when is the Cave Fest?
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Re: Any Groups That Just Do Horizontal Caves?

Postby trogman » Aug 11, 2014 5:27 pm

PoplarHill wrote:Where and when is the Cave Fest?


If you mean the TAG Fall Cave-In, it is Oct. 9-12 this year. The location is up on Lookout Mountain near Rising Fawn, GA.

http://www.tagfallcavein.org/

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Re: Any Groups That Just Do Horizontal Caves?

Postby Caving Guru » Aug 11, 2014 7:40 pm

PoplarHill wrote:Where and when is the Cave Fest?


The Sewanee Mountain Cave Fest is Friday, August 29th to Wednesday, September 3rd and it is being held at Caver's Paradise, which according to two different sources is located at either 484 Wild Heart Lane or 900 Old Sewanee Road. The easiest way to get to the campground is to go down Old Sewanee Road and turn onto Deerwood Drive and then when you reach the end of the road you turn right onto Wild Heart Lane and you will run into the campground which is known as Caver's Paradise. The other option is to go down Paradise Street which is off of Old Sewanee Road near the address of 900 Old Sewanee Road and follow Paradise Street until you reach the campground from the other direction. The campground area has a pavilion and a sign with arrows pointing to how far caves are in different directions. 484 Wild Heart Lane will take you down Deerwood Drive but then your GPS will tell you to turn left on Wild Heart Lane and it will say that you have arrived at you destination at the end of the road. And 900 Old Sewanee Lane will put you at these two mailboxes on Old Sewanee Road with one being labeled "900" and the other being labeled "890" with a street sign right above labeled "Paradise St" where Paradise Street begins. So in other words, neither of these addresses supposedly for Caver's Paradise actually are the pinpoint location for Caver's Paradise.

And if you are looking for horizontal caves to do in Northern Alabama then there is Guffey's Cave, Kennamer Cave, Bluff River Cave, Tumbling Rock Cave, and Limrock Blowing Cave just to name a few.

And I don't know if there are any caving organizations in Northern Alabama that do exclusively horizontal cave trips. The caving organizations in Northern Alabama that I know of are the Huntsville Grotto (based in Huntsville), the Birmingham Grotto (based in Birmingham), the Cullman Grotto (based in Cullman), the Gadsden Grotto (based in Gadsden), the Jackson County Grotto (based in Scottsboro), the Central Alabama Grotto (based in Morris), and the Druid City Cavers (based in Bessemer). None of these groups do exclusively horizontal caving that I know of. But most of these groups do at least some horizontal caving in addition to vertical caving.

Of all the states in the United States, Alabama is near, if not at, the very top of the list for being known for vertical caving. If you are interested in horizontal caving then I would suggest caving in West Virginia, where I do most of my caving. The majority of caves in West Virginia you can do with no vertical gear required. Out of the top 10 longest caves in West Virginia, 9 out of 10 of them you can do without vertical gear (at least all or part of the cave).

1. Friars Hole is the longest cave system in West Virginia with 46 miles of passage which can be accessed horizontally in its entirety to my knowledge by the Snedegar's Entrance.
2. Hellhole is the 2nd longest in West Virginia and requires vertical gear at 42 miles of passage.
3. Organ Cave is the 3rd longest in West Virginia with 38 miles of passage and does not require vertical gear.
4. Scott Hollow is the 4th longest in West Virginia and has 30 miles of passage and does not require vertical gear.
5. Memorial Day Cave is the 5th longest in West Virginia and has 24 miles of passage and has a lot of vertical in it but this vertical can be bypassed if you go in the Ruddle Entrance instead of the Memorial Day Entrance.
6. The Hole (Boggs Cave) is the 6th longest in West Virginia with 23 miles of passage and does not require vertical gear.
7. Culverson Creek Cave is the 7th longest in West Virginia with 20 miles of passage and does not require vertical gear for the most part unless you want to reach the very deepest point in the cave which is around a 12 hour trip.
8. Windy Mouth Cave is the 8th longest in West Virginia with 18 miles of passage and does not require vertical gear.
9. McClung's Cave is the 9th longest in West Virginia with 16 miles of passage and has a horizontal and vertical entrance.
10. Benedict's Cave is the 10th longest in West Virginia with 15 miles of passage and does not require vertical gear.

7 out of 10 of these are located in Greenbrier County, West Virginia with the exception of Hellhole, Memorial Day Cave, and Scott Hollow. Greenbrier County, West Virginia currently has 11 caves with 10 miles or more of passage and 36 caves that have 1 mile or more of passage. If you are interested in caving in Greenbrier County, West Virginia then I suggest that you come to the WVACS Fieldstation in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. We meet up once a month at the WVACS Fieldstation on the 2nd weekend of each month except for October when we are meeting on the 3rd weekend of the month. This past weekend we had someone drive up from Tuscaloosa, Alabama in addition to people driving up from Tennessee, Ohio, Virginia, and Maryland for the event.

Greenbrier County, West Virginia is essentially horizontal caving heaven.
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