Need help picking a good first cave.

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Need help picking a good first cave.

Postby frbarton » Sep 19, 2015 9:11 am

Hey all,

After years of discussion, I have finally convinced my wife to come caving with me and I am looking for a good introduction. My first choice is Rusty's Cave but we're located in Coastal VA, so it's about a ten hour drive. Ideally, I'd like to find something which doesn't require any tight squeezes, has some excellent formations, and has a small (read 30 foot or less) vertical component. If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them. Otherwise, we'll be heading to Rusty's and Tumbling Rock when we've got a long weekend.
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Re: Need help picking a good first cave.

Postby graveleye » Sep 19, 2015 2:42 pm

Rusty's is a great cave if you and your wife know vertical. It's not a hard vertical challenge, but you need to know what you're doing though. I've heard stories of guys who climbed down no problem but couldn't get out.
TR is a great cave for any skill level.
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Re: Need help picking a good first cave.

Postby Caving Guru » Sep 19, 2015 5:43 pm

Since you live in Coastal Virginia, I would suggest Norman Cave in Greenbrier County, West Virginia which doesn't have any squeezes if you go in the Norman Entrance and it has some excellent formations around the Great White Way including a calcite covered passage, helectites, and several other types of formations. It is open access and has no vertical component that requires ropes but there is some climbing and crawling but none of it is that difficult. It is a pretty good beginner cave and one of my all time favorite caves.
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Re: Need help picking a good first cave.

Postby CaverScott » Sep 19, 2015 9:35 pm

I would suggest you do one closer to home to get your fet wet, er muddy, :bananabat:

:cavingrocks:
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Re: Need help picking a good first cave.

Postby GroundquestMSA » Sep 20, 2015 7:21 pm

I agree with Guru's Norman suggestion. Greenbrier County is maybe five hours from you instead of 10. Norman has a reputation as a beginner's cave since there are few obstacles, but it's worth seeing for everyone. Besides the "Great White Way" are other pretty areas in the upper levels nearer the entrance. If you want more info on Norman I'm sure that Mr. Guru or myself will be glad to help.
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Re: Need help picking a good first cave.

Postby frbarton » Sep 21, 2015 8:41 am

Thanks for the advice, guys. I have pretty extensive vertical experience and have dropped rustys and cemetery previously. My wife has never been in a cave before but is comfortable with smaller vertical work. I'm going to hit you guys up about Greenbriar as I'm not at all familiar with the area. Most of my caving is in tag. Are there any small vertical pits in Greenbriar as I'm hoping to introduce her to both vertical and horizontal. Thanks much.
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Re: Need help picking a good first cave.

Postby Caving Guru » Sep 21, 2015 10:54 am

Yeah, there is Friars Hole. The Friars Hole Entrance to Friars Hole is open access and has two 30 or 40 foot entrance rappels. It is pretty close to Norman also.
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Re: Need help picking a good first cave.

Postby CaverScott » Sep 21, 2015 12:15 pm

Caving Guru wrote:Yeah, there is Friars Hole. The Friars Hole Entrance to Friars Hole is open access and has two 30 or 40 foot entrance rappels. It is pretty close to Norman also.

I urge you to consider this. Warning: you might get seriously hooked on Friars Hole. :kewl: :cave softly:
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Re: Need help picking a good first cave.

Postby frbarton » Sep 21, 2015 2:23 pm

That sounds -like that might be an excellent plan, then. It would have been really hard for me to go down to TAG and not drop some bigger stuff, haha. Are you saying it has two separate entrances or that the entrance requires dropping both a 30 foot and a 40 foot? Is the cave itself very tight or mostly open? Any good features? I really don't want to turn her off by doing anything too technical for her first time.
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Re: Need help picking a good first cave.

Postby Caving Guru » Sep 22, 2015 7:14 am

The cave has about 7 entrances. The Friars Hole Entrance has 2 successive drops that you rappel one after the other. The cave is pretty open with walking passage below the 2 drops. After you go down the 2 drops you reach this large room and have the option of going downstream or upstream. In Friars Hole, you are unlikely to find the features that you can find in Norman but it is still a cool cave.
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Re: Need help picking a good first cave.

Postby GroundquestMSA » Sep 22, 2015 7:38 pm

And, I believe the Friars Hole drops are each less than 30 feet.
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Re: Need help picking a good first cave.

Postby frbarton » Dec 31, 2015 10:26 am

Hey,

Going to Norman cave next week for a little exploration and was wondering if anyone could pm me the coordinates to friars pit to check out too. Also wondering if there's any larger vertical pits in the area. Thanks!
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Re: Need help picking a good first cave.

Postby GroundquestMSA » Dec 31, 2015 10:52 pm

I can get you close, but have misplaced my bulletin with the coordinates. Let me know before Saturday night if you haven't gotten it yet and I'll keep looking.
Only pits I know are short, yucky ones. I'm sure there are lots, but I've not done 'em.
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Re: Need help picking a good first cave.

Postby Bob Thrun » Jan 1, 2016 4:28 am

frbarton wrote: Any good features? I really don't want to turn her off by doing anything too technical for her first time.

Since the Friars Hole System is the longest cave in West Virginia, you should be able to find something interesting. The 100-foot Crookshank Pit is part of the system.
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Re: Need help picking a good first cave.

Postby ohiocaver » Jan 1, 2016 12:18 pm

If this is her first cave, I'd go for something easy like the two open Higginbotham Caves where she can experience the underground world in a very simple, non-athletic way. The caves are big and non-threatening. The one is really just a 15 minute proposition, the other maybe an hour.
Then go for Norman (which I agree is a good beginner cave as long as she's not afraid to walk in calf-deep water for a while).
Then, if she's got the bug, try the vertical stuff.
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