Surprise Question

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Surprise Question

Postby DawgsgoCaving » Feb 3, 2015 8:05 pm

I have a trip to Fern coming up in a few weeks to bounce Surprise pit. We're going to do the traverse to the dry rappel. I've never been but my friend who is leading the trip has been through a lot of the cave as well as Surprise pit. I'm curious, how does the wet rappel (404') compare to Incredible Pit, or other deep, wet free fall pits? Most people I talk to only do the dry rig. Is there another reason, besides the possibility of the waterfall surging, that people avoid it? I've been down Incredible, I'm also curious if it is comparable to that.

Thanks.
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Re: Surprise Question

Postby caver.adam » Feb 5, 2015 9:37 pm

Based on the description I imaging the other reason might be hypothermia.
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Re: Surprise Question

Postby spider » Feb 6, 2015 8:52 am

When I was there, as the last two folks climbed out we heard the crash of something falling, and when we pulled up the rope we found it had been nearly severed (near the end, thankfully) by a rock dislodged by the waterfall. It's been a few years and maybe all that stuff has washed away, but I would be *very* reluctant to rig a waterfall, especially if there was another place to rig that would avoid it.
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Re: Surprise Question

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 6, 2015 10:04 am

The dry rig point is 404'

The 438' rig point, or whatever the number is, 432, 436, I forget, is rigged from a natural bridge on the traverse to the dry rig point. While the lip at the dry point is a bit tricky, its an easier rig, and more comfortable area to sit and wait while others rappel and climb. The area where the bridge is located is small and by the looks of it, much more dangerous to rig than the dry rig point.

I think the major issue is, you have a choice at surprise to stay dry. You don't have a choice at incredible, unless you rig to the bolts further out on the ledge that I saw the one time I was at incredible 5 years ago.
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Re: Surprise Question

Postby Phil Winkler » Feb 6, 2015 1:35 pm

That is correct about the depths. The dry rig is much more scenic, too. That is where most of the Fern pictures have been taken. It is an awesome drop.
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Re: Surprise Question

Postby trogman » Feb 6, 2015 1:52 pm

Chads93GT wrote:The dry rig point is 404'

The 438' rig point, or whatever the number is, 432, 436, I forget, is rigged from a natural bridge on the traverse to the dry rig point. While the lip at the dry point is a bit tricky, its an easier rig, and more comfortable area to sit and wait while others rappel and climb. The area where the bridge is located is small and by the looks of it, much more dangerous to rig than the dry rig point.

I think the major issue is, you have a choice at surprise to stay dry. You don't have a choice at incredible, unless you rig to the bolts further out on the ledge that I saw the one time I was at incredible 5 years ago.


Yes, but Dawgs LOVES wet caves- the wetter the better! Josh, I think you'd probably love it. But I am not speaking from personal experience. I have only done the 404' dry rig. When I was there, the waterfall was pretty tame, and I believe the rappel would have been pretty dry. Right now it is probably wet though.

Some cavers just have a strange fascination with very wet multi-drops, and rappelling in waterfalls. Not my cup of tea, but whatever floats your boat.

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Re: Surprise Question

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 6, 2015 2:28 pm

lot of cobble in the stream above the lip. no thanks. ill do 404' every day lol
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Re: Surprise Question

Postby CaverScott » Feb 6, 2015 2:54 pm

Like the others have mentioned:

Dry rig is easy.
Dry rig is VERY scenic.
Dry rig staging area is very comfortable for waiting.
Dry rig is (probably) safer...

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Re: Surprise Question

Postby DawgsgoCaving » Feb 6, 2015 3:10 pm

[/quote] Yes, but Dawgs LOVES wet caves- the wetter the better! Josh, I think you'd probably love it. But I am not speaking from personal experience. I have only done the 404' dry rig. When I was there, the waterfall was pretty tame, and I believe the rappel would have been pretty dry. Right now it is probably wet though.
Trogman :helmet:[/quote]

Trog knows me too well...I probably would love it! I had a blast climbing out of AJK 655 the other day. I live for it -the deep, dark, wet ones have grown on me.

Cobbles in the stream above the lip can be dangerous, though. A scenic rappel will be nice. Just curious if it was particularly thrashing I suppose...
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Re: Surprise Question

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 6, 2015 4:06 pm

I would probably do the water drop just to see the breakdown bridge fromo the other side for a change. The chamber dropping in from the dry side is stupid huge. TAG hall is not even close to the size of surprise pit in volume.

Its like rapplling into a few baseball stadiums stacked on each other.
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Re: Surprise Question

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 6, 2015 4:16 pm

FYI the "wet" rig point in surprise pit is not in the waterfall like incredible pit is. Its still 15-20' away. By time you get to the bottom you would be in the spray. Unlike in incredible where the most you can get out of the waterfall is what, 2 feet? 3 feet? by jamming the rope all the way into the other corner of the lip from the water spill point. Unless you went in during a rip roaring downpour, of course, if you did that, you would risk drowning in the passage just getting to the lip, and of course be in danger of being washed right over the drop to a 438' fall to your death..........if you weren't already drowned ;)
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Re: Surprise Question

Postby DawgsgoCaving » Feb 6, 2015 4:55 pm

Chads93GT wrote:FYI the "wet" rig point in surprise pit is not in the waterfall like incredible pit is. Its still 15-20' away. By time you get to the bottom you would be in the spray. Unlike in incredible where the most you can get out of the waterfall is what, 2 feet? 3 feet? by jamming the rope all the way into the other corner of the lip from the water spill point. Unless you went in during a rip roaring downpour, of course, if you did that, you would risk drowning in the passage just getting to the lip, and of course be in danger of being washed right over the drop to a 438' fall to your death..........if you weren't already drowned ;)


Thanks for the description and comparison, Chad. I'm excited to see the pit, I've seen the ACS surveys, but wow I have no idea that's how it compared to TAG Hall. I'll let you all know how it goes
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Re: Surprise Question

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 6, 2015 5:10 pm

Photos don't do it justice but my friends and I took this on Thursday morning before the TAG Fall Cave in opened last year. I had a blowtorch in my hands down below, lol.


Image
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Re: Surprise Question

Postby DawgsgoCaving » Feb 6, 2015 6:01 pm

Ahhh Ok I remember hearing about your trip. I think I saw another photo y'all took on Facebook as well. Good picture! You guys used "light painting", right? It does wonders. Here's one we took in War Eagle a week or so after TAG
Image
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Re: Surprise Question

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 6, 2015 6:44 pm

DawgsgoCaving wrote:Ahhh Ok I remember hearing about your trip. I think I saw another photo y'all took on Facebook as well. Good picture! You guys used "light painting", right? It does wonders. Here's one we took in War Eagle a week or so after TAG
Image


Yeah, light painting. We don't have powerful stuff and DLSR cameras lol. I need to get into War Eagle sometime. I hear good things about it. awesome.
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