Jefferson county, NY caverns

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Jefferson county, NY caverns

Postby jhartz » Nov 25, 2007 10:44 pm

Hi all i was wondering if anybody knows of some nice caverns and caves worth exploring in Jefferson county I have herd of quite a few in and around the black river near watertown but have yet to find a good one. I have herd of crayfish labyrinth but i don't have an exact location it sounds interesting supposedly over 1 mile long. I would really appreciate it if i could get a list of general locations for long caves and i always believe in preservation and conservation, and have gone caving before many times so i have a good idea of what i am doing and peak season is coming up here in NY winter where all the water freezes and it is easier to get to caves without the worry of flooding lol. and i hope to join the NSS soon i have to find a local grotto too lol transportation is the only thing. Happy caving to all and always be safe.
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Postby ek » Nov 26, 2007 12:49 am

Not being in the NSS, you may not be familiar with some of the measures that are taken to protect caves from people who might not be ready for them (and such people from caves). I am *not* saying that this is you. Rather, a generally accepted rule in the United States is to avoid posting cave locations or directions for public access on the Internet, or over the Internet to people one doesn't know. This idea is embodied in one of the forum rules (though I am by no means a moderator and my understanding of the rules might not be the right understanding).

NSS Discussion Board Terms Of Service wrote:You agree that you will not to use this forum to post specific cave locations, including GPS coordinates, latitude and longitude, travel directions, or indications on maps.

I understand that you are asking for general locations but the purpose of this rule is to prevent this forum from containing information on cave locations.

There is a range of beliefs about to what degree "cave secrecy" is warranted and acceptable. I read in *American Caving Accidents* (one of the worthwhile publications you are subscribed to when you join the NSS) about how the secrecy regarding one Arizona cave led people to conceal even the fact that there were killer bees at the entrance. Which caused problems. I am totally willing to publicly discuss specific details about caves, except for the locations. I think this is similar to the philosophy held by most cavers in the northeastern US. For example, the Northeastern Cave Conservancy has cave maps on their website (http://necaveconservancy.org).

Your idea of finding an NSS grotto is a good one. An NSS grotto can hook you up with more people to go caving with, including possibly people who have been to the caves you're interested in visiting. They can also hook you up with information that you can use yourself, but don't be surprised if grotto folks are reluctant to do that when they first meet you. That doesn't reflect their opinion of you personally. And of course some grottoes are more free with information than others. Variation is natural among humans, as in most things.

Do you live in Watertown? If so, Syracuse is about an hour and fifteen minutes south of you, and is home of the Syracuse University Outing Club, which is an NSS grotto. I don't know what kind of transportation you have access to or if that would be too far, but if you are able you would be totally welcome to come to our meetings. There are many other fine grottoes in New York, but I think we are probably the closest one to you. We meet on the Syracuse University campus in 214 Hall of Languages every Tuesday night at 7:30. We don't have official regular meetings during SU's winter break, and the room we meet in will be changing next semester. I recommend coming to some of our meetings, but if you are unable to do so, you can still be involved. There are several folks who don't live in Syracuse but who go caving with us frequently. As an NSS grotto, we do lots of caving, but as we are an Outing Club, we do a wide range of activities.

Several of us have been talking about checking out some of the caves in the Watertown area, and are hoping maybe to go sometime in the next couple weeks, so your post is quite timely!

The only problem is that I think that a lot of the caves around there, or at least the bigger ones, are closed during this season to protect hibernating bats. But I think there should be some which are ecologically sound[*] and legal to visit. We have some literature with information on some caves in Jefferson County. I have referred to it only cursorily thus far.

How much caving experience do you have? Are you vertical, or horizontal-only? I know there's at least one vertical cave in Jefferson County, but from what I know of it, it might not be the best first vertical experience.

When it comes to joining the NSS...why wait?
http://caves.org/info/member.shtml

As an aside, I have heard of some 30-someodd foot deep pits in Jefferson County that end in water, necessitating a changeover. While this would probably seem unworthwhile to 90% of cavers, I and a couple other folks from my grotto would like to bounce them (should the landowners permit it). If any of the few people on this forum who know me have any idea how to get to these and who owns them, and feel cool with sharing the info, please drop me a PM.

[*] There has been substantial discussion on this forum and elsewhere about whether or not caving is an ecologically sound activity at all. My intention is not to insert myself into that debate. Rather in this context, by ecologically sound, I mean not risking the welfare of large numbers of hibernating bats.
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good advice

Postby jhartz » Dec 24, 2007 10:26 pm

well i hope to join the NSS soon but i don't know if i would make it into your Syracuse grotto in time for when you guys come to watertown and yes i do live here in the city and have explored afew of the local caves and i agree with you about posting the locations of some of the caves people are so ignorant when it comes to nature sometimes and would just like to deface the cave and trash it i have herd of plenty of the easy-access caves here being messed with and it makes me mad to see what these people have done. i have no vertical caving experience as of now but some horizontal experience and i find that it is a dangerous hobby sometimes but i always have been interested in caves since i was little and have always packed a backpack, helmet with light, some rope, and good boots to go and here in watertown it literally is like swiss cheese under here i have found 1 new cave being carved out not yet able to fit into it but it is cool to see it forming, and explored 3 others. All this limestone makes this a great area for caving and i wish someone would form a grotto up here for the northeast NY area or for the city to open up some of the caverns to the public like in the old days. Anyway i might IM you on aim sometime to discuss this further as i currently only cave with close friends and want to experience more. Merry X-mas!!
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Postby ek » Dec 25, 2007 1:38 am

Actually, we never got around to going to Watertown to check out the caves near there, and a big trip is heading down to TAG in a couple days. Ten days after that, we'll be coming back and may renew our interest in Jefferson County caves.

Just to make this clear: you should definitely join the NSS--and as soon as possible!--but you don't have to do so before coming to our meetings or caving with us. However, there are no meetings for a bit, since it's Winter Break. But that doesn't stop us from caving and needn't stop you from caving with us!

And the close friends you mention that you cave with--they are also welcome. (Separately from that, they should of course also join the NSS!)

jhartz wrote:i have no vertical caving experience as of now

We'd be pleased to introduce you vertical caving. Single Rope Technique is not hard to learn, but it is the sort of thing you should learn in practice in a controlled environment (e.g. not in a cave). Also, I am not aware of any vertical caves in Jefferson County that would be suitable for a first-time vertical caver.

jhartz wrote:have always packed a backpack, helmet with light, some rope

:kewl: A bit of rope, cord, or webbing (usually 20' I would say) is always good to have one hand when caving. I would go so far as to say that it's an essential item for most caves, even horizontal ones. A lot of people think this is not important for horizontal caving but I can recall a few times when horizontal caving where I would have needed the assistance of professional rescuers if I hadn't had my webbing to help myself or someone else through something, many cases where without my webbing I wouldn't have been able to access significant parts of caves, and many cases similar to these recounted to me by others.

Some recommendations:

You should always have a backup light that is entirely independent from your primary. After all, however reliable it is, it is certainly possible for your primary light to fail. If the chances are 1/1000 that your primary will fail, and you have a totally equivalent backup, then the odds of you being without light (even if those are your only light sources) are one in a million. In order for your backup light to provide you with that kind of significant additional assurance of light availability, it has to be totally independent of your primary--for instance, it must not share a power source with your primary. Realistically, the chances of light failure tend to be greater than one in a thousand--at least in my experience. Therefore it is a real good idea--and considered important by most cavers, at least in the US--to carry a third light as well. I've never had two lights fail on me, but I was saw it happen to a friend.

Each of your lights should be sufficient to get you out of the cave, at least two of them should be readily helmet-mountable (with one of those already being on your helmet), and you should carry spare batteries or carbide for each one of your lights. It's a real good idea to carry spare bulbs for electric lights that have bulbs that are likely to fail--e.g. anything but LEDs--and it's essential to carry a basic repair kit for carbide.

In my opinion, a trusty flashlight and a small roll of duct tape is an acceptable second light, provided that you are able to tape it onto your helmet in such a way that you can change its batteries with it on your helmet, or have enough tape to reattach it. While some would say that this requires too much futzing with, I'd say that ripping off some tape and putting some new tape on is a lot faster and simpler than servicing a carbide cap lamp. That said, if you can get one, I'd recommend a second, bright, long-running, water-resistant (or waterproof) headlamp.

While the best way to ward off hypothermia is to keep moving, in some situations that's not possible (e.g., you have broken your leg; you are lost or need to take time to figure out where to go; you are entrapped by passage collapse, flood, or the wedging of your body down into something; you are tending an immobilized buddy; you are waiting at a vertical pitch to get on rope, or for others to get across an obstacle). And sometimes you'll be cold enough that you'll want something to help you keep warm even when you're on the move. Therefore it's important to have a vapor barrier with you, such as a trash bag (you make a head hole and sometimes arm holes) or "space blanket." This keeps the moisture on you and your clothing from evaporating quickly and taking your body heat with it. It's good to have this on you in your helmet or boot. Only put it in a sturdy pocket that is very unlikely to rip out, such as the kind in a cave suit. This shouldn't be in your pack because it might be out of reach when you end up needing it.

You should also bring water with you. This is good for drinking and for cleaning wounds. It's a good idea to have an empty water bottle on hand--this makes a good container for urine, and in an emergency, other wastes (e.g. feces, hypodermic needles). When it's empty it makes your pack float. You'll almost always want to bring food. And it's useful to have a small kit in your pack with something you can use to bandage a wound, tape (preferably duct tape), a compass, a whistle, a knife and/or small scissors, a candle for warmth (and light) for if you have to sit tight for a while, something reliable with which to light the candle (and, if applicable, your carbide lamp should its flint or piezo-starter crap out), a rechargeable heat pack (put it under an armpit when you're in your vapor barrier and make sure not to burn your skin), and any other items you wanna have.

Of course, everyone has different ideas about what should be packed into a cave. Check out this thread for some of them.

Some of these items can be carried by just one person for use by a whole group. But each person should have three lights and a vapor barrier (and of course a helmet).

Other items like gloves and knee pads can be very beneficial.

While I do strongly recommend that you have at least the items that I, uh, strongly recommend above (e.g. three lights), please don't think that you need to have them in time to go caving with SUOC. We're lucky enough to have a budget from the university and can supply you with gear to supplement what you have while you're caving with us, so long as you give it right back.

jhartz wrote:i have found 1 new cave being carved out not yet able to fit into it but it is cool to see it forming

Do you happen to have pictures?

jhartz wrote:All this limestone makes this a great area for caving and i wish someone would form a grotto up here for the northeast NY area

That's probably what all those other people who didn't form grottoes there said. :-)

jhartz wrote:or for the city to open up some of the caverns to the public like in the old days.

I'm not sure what you mean--can you explain how it was (and how it has changed) in more detail?
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Syracuse University Outing Club

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Re: Jefferson county, NY caverns

Postby jhartz » Jul 5, 2014 5:36 pm

I'm Back been quite awhile life has been a roller coaster over the last few years lol. I'm now a new member of the NSS and have not yet joined a grotto but am considering it just funds are tight right now. I have acquired plenty of first aid/ caving gear I have been using over the past few months. I have been in about 5-6 local caves now and some are pretty big here in Jefferson County, however I don't understand why these limestone caves do not have any speleothems or if they do they are very small. I've been to Howe cavern and that cave has plenty of interesting formations. I am presently looking for local people who i could get acquainted with to join me caving sometime. I have afew friends i go with now but most people don't find interest in caving as I do. None of these local caves are mapped as far as I know and the only one that has been explored by a grotto was reopened by the City with a locked steel door to gain access to it. The Niagra Fronteer Grotto was the one who obtained permission to come here and explore that cave. I have always been curious to see what that one looks like but the city isn't going to just give anyone access due to liability and all that good stuff.
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Re: Jefferson county, NY caverns

Postby starsea » Jul 6, 2014 1:19 pm

Have you been to the one by the river on Morton St. Below where the old plant was. That was my first cave.
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Re: Jefferson county, NY caverns

Postby nathanroser » Jul 6, 2014 6:52 pm

Niagara Frontier Grotto and SUOC have been surveying a cave in the city. Talk to Ben Brown from Niagara Frontier about when the next survey trip will be, I haven't been since May and want to go back. I relocated Wagon Wheel Cave up there but the entrance is filled with trash. Need to track down the owner and do a cleanup and get into the cave.
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Re: Jefferson county, NY caverns

Postby jhartz » Jul 7, 2014 10:50 am

yeah i messaged NFG about the surveying they are doing on the caverns under public square it was on the news i want to get in there bad but city has it locked up tight due to liability lol.
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Re: Jefferson county, NY caverns

Postby jhartz » Jul 7, 2014 10:53 am

and yes ive been to moulton street cave its not that interesting lol it was my first too its only a straight passage of about 400 ft but it was cool to check out the glen park caves are pretty big but there are two others i know of i havent yet been able to gain access to.
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Re: Jefferson county, NY caverns

Postby Moto » Jul 14, 2014 10:41 pm

Did you get a hold of NFG? They are usually up here once a month or so if they can get enough people together. I believe they are planning on another survey trip this weekend. I'm sure they would be interested in any information you have on other caves in the area.
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Re: Jefferson county, NY caverns

Postby jhartz » Jul 17, 2014 8:39 pm

yes im doing some survey work with them and SUOC this sunday and would like to show them another cave in the city as well
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