Your State's Toughest Cave

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Re: Your State's Toughest Cave

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Jan 10, 2008 9:04 am

ian mckenzie wrote:I'm not in a 'state', but our region's toughest vertical cave is undoubtedly Close To The Edge, a 470m deep cave with an initial pitch of 254m that's usually overhung by a giant icicle.
Sounds like that'd make a neat picture... speaking of which... is there one?
Without the possibility of death, adventure is not possible. ~ Reinhold Messner
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Re: Your State's Toughest Cave

Postby ian mckenzie » Jan 10, 2008 7:45 pm

Yes of course, I have a few crappy ones myself. Problem is, the pitch is so big it's hard to get a decent, meaningful shot without alot of work. I think the trick would be to descend it with a helmet-cam and do a video, to get the full effect. It's been talked about, but the cave is so seldom visited that no one has done anything about it yet.
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Postby Mike Warshauer » Jan 13, 2008 8:27 pm

cob wrote:Hmmmm.... tuff one.


For deep in cave waist deep mud and chest deep water? Hard to beat Carroll.

For cold? A little known cave called "Grin and Bear it"... 300' feet into it one does a total submersion and at the end, come face to face with a bear skull.... The cave "ends" after 2000+ ft at a 2 inch air space with wind HOWLING out of it... still need to go back and map it. But it takes 45 mins. on a 95 degree gravel bar to warm back up.

For pure physicality with best pay off? The "Love Cave"... 2300 feet of hands and knees crawl after which it busts open with 60' foot ceilings and 100 ft wide passage and goes like that for another 2500+'....


I can't say.


Arkansas: Chilly Bowl Cave. A non consequential 2 step entrance drop totalling 70 ft, then squeeezes and crawls, chimneys and canyons in a three dimensional snarl of passages. Some breathtaker squeezes. I heard there's some walking passage back in there, for a ways. Went once, in the 1980s, had abdomenal muscle cramps on emerging. I ached for a week after.
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Postby Caving Guru » May 3, 2015 9:37 pm

Ralph E. Powers wrote:
What I am looking for is the toughest cave YOU'VE (the reader) done so far in the state that you live (or frequent for your caving trips) ... personally... both Horizontally and Vertically (meaning you had to put on a harness and use vert gear to get in and out of the cave).

Like I said some caves are easy for some others are just plain kick butt (physically). Just want to know what's yours for the sake of ... well whatever!


The toughest cave I have done is probably Hamilton Cave (the Airblower and beyond to the Bowl Room). The Airblower is a pretty long tight crawl. Beyond the Airblower, there are several more crawls (they aren't as tight as the Airblower though). And then there is a long chimney/slot canyon where it is too narrow at the bottom to stand so you have to chimney with your legs and arms on either side of the wall kind of like you are doing elbows and knees crawling except chimneying (the sides of my lower legs got pretty bruised and beaten up after this and it took a while to heal so I still had bruises on my lower legs several days afterward). These two sections are probably the toughest/most brutal parts of the cave. The Airblower isn't too bad coming in but coming back out is the toughest because there is a 10 foot drop that you have to climb up to get back in the Airblower and squeeze yourself back into (that happens to also be the tightest portion of the Airblower). You are already tired enough from all the crawling to and from the Bowl Room (the largest room in the cave).

P.S. Don't wear a cave suit for the Airblower (we weren't wearing cave suits on our trip but I'll include a portion of a trip report below from someone who did wear a cave suit to show you why you shouldn't wear one).

"On the way into the Airblower, I tore out the sides of the coveralls which gave me some movement. On the way back out, I got stuck with my arm pinned to my side. The tightness of the sleeve kept me from moving my arm, and I lost feeling in it. I was stuck for about 45 minutes, I think. I could have backed out any moment but I would have had to start all over again. In the end, my wife rescued me by going behind me and pushing on my feet. This allowed me to release the tension of my cave suit and give me some movement. That's the hardest experience I have ever had in a cave."
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