Surpise Ledge-sounds of caving Cd

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Surpise Ledge-sounds of caving Cd

Postby bill fish » Aug 20, 2007 9:34 am

Hi all

Just listend to sounds of caving at the DCG website...the NEW one at:

http://dogwoodcitygrotto.com/hosting/dc ... .asp?id=12

And by the way...for the NSS website big wigs...the NSS org link for the DCG still takes you to the OLD website...

Anyhow...I loved it all...but the part about Suprise Pit really got me...because for me as well that ledge around the pit truelly was TERRIFYING...

The first time I hung from the backyard tree I was scared....

The first time I hung against an 80 foot cliff I was scared...

The first time I was hanging in FREE space I was scared...

The first ( and pretty much every time since) I did Stephans Gap, Mystery Falls, Surprise, Fantastic, Incredible....I was scared...

The first time I got lost in virgin cave....ALONE...i got fairly worried....

The time I about fell down boulder falls caused my heart to race....

The time a fair sized rock went wizzing by my head in a newly discovered deep virgin pit took my breath away...

But for shear ENDURING TERROR ...that ledge in Surpise tops them all....I literally felt like that thing was trying to spit me out and toss me down the pit...and I think anything over about 50 feet woulda been pretty much as unfun as 400 plus feet....

I felt like only a bit of tacky cave mud was the only thing holding me (halfway in!) that crack/ledge....and ONLY that....

If I had even slipped an inch at any point....I think I would have died of shear fright before I even stopped...

I also remember something else...I sure as heck did NOT have my pack or that 500 foot pig of a rope attached to me in any fashion whatsoever....and if "they" decided to "drop" the pit...I sure as heck wasnt gonna make any move to stop "them".....hasta la vista baby!

The fact that it was 3 of us newbies that had never been to cave and it was our deepest cave at the time probably didnt help matters any either...

But man just thinking about that ledge is giving me a major case of sweaty palms right now...

Any other Surpise ledge haters or other things/places that give you guys and gals the hebee jeebies?

Blll
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Postby Cheryl Jones » Aug 20, 2007 10:32 am

And by the way...for the NSS website big wigs...the NSS org link for the DCG still takes you to the OLD website...


Ummmm.....you need to be more specific. Bigwigs can't read minds. :waving: The link on which page (url)?

Has the grotto updated the Web site address with the IO Committee? If not, then it won't have been updated on this page http://www.caves.org/io/iolookup.php?state=GA

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Postby bill fish » Aug 20, 2007 10:38 am

Hi Cheryl

Yes....its the link you listed that takes you to the old website...I thought my description was good enough....sorry about that...and I would have PMed you but that didnt work either...I have to log in multiple times to just get here....anyhow...guess the IO committee hasnt been notified yet....

thanks!

Blll
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Postby Cheryl Jones » Aug 20, 2007 11:20 am

We try to make updating the information easy.

At the bottom of the page listing the grottos and contact information (for GA and all states) is a link "How do I update this information for my organization?" Click and do! :eyecrazy:

We don't know nuthin' until the grottos tell us!

(You might suggest to DCG Webmaster that a note and link is put on the old page to the new one, or an auto-redirect.)

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Postby ljthawk » Aug 20, 2007 3:58 pm

I think I was concentrating on the butt of the person in front of me too much to think about it.

There are many things Tarode has done that I can’t fathom. I learned that if a Tarode map said “down climb”, you may want to ask around and bring a rope just in case.

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Postby graveleye » Aug 20, 2007 4:36 pm

Cheryl Jones wrote:We try to make updating the information easy.

At the bottom of the page listing the grottos and contact information (for GA and all states) is a link "How do I update this information for my organization?" Click and do! :eyecrazy:

We don't know nuthin' until the grottos tell us!

(You might suggest to DCG Webmaster that a note and link is put on the old page to the new one, or an auto-redirect.)

Cheryl
:off topic:


Cheryl the website is very new - I haven't even updated it in my tag line yet.
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Postby wendy » Aug 21, 2007 9:18 am

I have contacted the DCG about the link and they are on it, as the new website hasn't been 'officially' announced yet.
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Re: Surpise Ledge-sounds of caving Cd

Postby CaverScott » Aug 22, 2007 7:51 am

bill fish wrote:But for shear ENDURING TERROR ...that ledge in Surpise tops them all....I literally felt like that thing was trying to spit me out and toss me down the pit...and I think anything over about 50 feet woulda been pretty much as unfun as 400 plus feet....

I felt like only a bit of tacky cave mud was the only thing holding me (halfway in!) that crack/ledge....and ONLY that....

If I had even slipped an inch at any point....I think I would have died of shear fright before I even stopped...

I also remember something else...I sure as heck did NOT have my pack or that 500 foot pig of a rope attached to me in any fashion whatsoever....and if "they" decided to "drop" the pit...I sure as heck wasnt gonna make any move to stop "them".....hasta la vista baby!

The fact that it was 3 of us newbies that had never been to cave and it was our deepest cave at the time probably didnt help matters any either...

But man just thinking about that ledge is giving me a major case of sweaty palms right now...

Any other Surpise ledge haters or other things/places that give you guys and gals the hebee jeebies?

Blll


I am not a Surprise ledge "hater" per se, but that place sure commands respect. I didn't think much about it when I first visited around '85 but I can tell you that I moved much slower when I visited it around 2001. It is such a neat place. :kewl: I recall seeing one mud sculpture done so well that I recognized the caver it was portraying! (sitting in a hot tub no less!)
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Postby graveleye » Aug 22, 2007 8:09 am

um... where is this surprise ledge so I will know to avoid it :shock:
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Postby bill fish » Aug 22, 2007 8:47 am

"um... where is this surprise ledge so I will know to avoid it"


Well....the most insideous feature about it...besides the shear terror....is that it MOVES.....

Just like Scott said.....one year it didnt seem to bad...years later much more so ....thats because the first time...the ledge was in some other cave at that moment terrify other cavers!....

We've all had those moments....coming back outa a cave....where we look at something and think "did I do THAT!? coming in?".....surprise ledge at work.....

Ive seen it in Cemetary Pit...but apparently that cave is pretty cold because the ledge seems to suffer from "shrinkage" there.....I've seen it in Pettijohns.....trying to camaflouge itself with both excess mud and spraypaint.....a few times I've thought I've caught a glimpse of it in Ellisons cave....and once in a great while it will really pretty and clean itself up and go on vacation...because I've seen it the Guads....in particular (but not only) in Sentinel and Lechuguilla cave...it was trying to pretend it was something else....but it wasnt fooling me!

That thing is sneaky...and why do you think its called SURPRISE ledge?

My theory is it lives off of caver adrenaline and hodags on thier last leg....kinda like how eskimos used to put the old/sick/feeble out on the ice floes....hodags and the ledge...same sorta thing...never seen a hodag old folks home now have ya? QED

And from this we can also surmise that where it lives there are LOTS of hodags....otherwise how did it get so darn big and mean?

Fortunately, for most cavers....it seems to live in northern alabama surrounded by ferns most of the time...but I am just praying that it cant asexually reproduce and hasnt found out about match.com yet.....wait, that reminds me of me for some odd reason....

Well, now you know!

beware

Blll
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Postby Tim White » Aug 22, 2007 8:52 am

Fern Cave, AL. Unless you are going to do 404 ft. Surprise Pit (or just take a look) you will not have to deal with the ledge. Although there are other pits and passage that you can get to beyond “Surprise Ledge” that most will never see if the ledge freaks you out. :hairpull:

When I first started going to Surprise Pit in the early 80’s you had to do the a kind of step-across from ledge to the land bridge over the pit, and in places the ledge was only body wide. Now there is no step-across and the ledge is wide as a highway. :woohoo:

A Torode story from early Fern days.... Legend has it that Bill was on a solo trip in Fern in an attempt to get to the land bridge that could be seen from the original Surprise rig point. After making it around the ledge he found that it narrowed in such a manner that he could not reverse his moves. He was stuck! So he pulled out his handy tales spoon (yes, table spoon) and dug out the ledge enough that he could get back across.

So think about all of this the next time you are at Surprise. The ledge has been widened almost an extra body with in 20 years simply due to caver traffic eroding away the clay/mud. Torode dug out the original ledge with a spoon and you are standing on a land bridge over 400+ feet of black air.

What a great place! I lover Fern Cave and Surprise Pit! :banana:
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Here is a photo of "the ledge"

Postby CaverScott » Aug 22, 2007 9:13 am

Fern Cave, Jackson County, Alabama.

In this photo, Richard is coming back from the Land Bridge. To the right is over 400 feet of blackness. :shock: :shock: If the stream is up, the roar of it plunging to the depths is nerve wracking enough. :hairpull: This photo was taken around 2000 or 2001 by Julie Morgan (Fee).


Image
Last edited by CaverScott on Aug 22, 2007 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Tim White » Aug 22, 2007 9:19 am

:yeah that:
See...a highway. A very slick highway, when wet. :driving:

:kewl:
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Postby CaverScott » Aug 22, 2007 9:25 am

Tim White wrote::yeah that:
See...a highway. A very slick highway, when wet. :driving:

:kewl:


Funny. :laughing: The photographer was at one of the "wider" spots. I believe Richard's elbow is barely off the edge of the ledge. Note - This is still a wide spot per se. The worse (narrowest) place is probably just behind Richard.
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Postby graveleye » Aug 22, 2007 9:32 am

y'all can keep that!! Now that I have seen a picture, I don't have to go there!!
I mean... if I was hooked onto something, maybe...nah.
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