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Clover Hollow

PostPosted: Jul 16, 2019 12:19 pm
by FreightTrain

Good afternoon. Three days ago, I went to Clover Hollow cave in SW Virginia, near Blacksburg (not far from where I live). I was with two veteran cavers who had done this cave several times, although it had been a few decades since they'd done it. This was intended to be their final trip to this cave before they retired from the sport. We checked in at the Bat Ranch and went on down to the cave.

We did the initial drop, wandered around until we found the correct passage, and then navigated the straddle pit. After that, there was a short climb-down of about 8 feet, and then we rigged and then rappelled down a 20/25 ft "nuisance drop" that had bolts above it. Shortly after, the trip came to a halt.

Almost immediately after this "nuisance drop", we encountered a section that looked a little bit treacherous. There was about 30 feet of exposure down to to a stream below. We did not feel comfortable navigating this. We had a long rope for the Grand Canyon, but did not have any more rope to handle this particular spot. The two veteran cavers did not recall having to do another rappel here - but again, it had been decades since they'd done the cave. They seemed to think that they handled this spot without rope in the past, but that looked to be out of the question. We also looked around for an alternate passage but found none.

My question to the group is - how many rappels should we expect to do before the Grand Canyon drop? Initial drop, nuisance drop, - and then what?

Thanks guys.