New, from Wyoming.

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New, from Wyoming.

Postby Jswand7 » Jun 30, 2010 12:15 pm

I am extraordinarily new at this whole caving ordeal, I have been to a few caves in my life but until yesterday had not entered any of them. I was out swimming the Big Horn River near Sheep Mountain, Wyoming with some friends from the area when one of them suggested we go up to an old cave he knew of. I have always been interested in caves but haven't had the opportunity to explore any before this. We did not have any headlamps, flashlights or even glow sticks to bring with us into the cave but we all had Bic lighters, so we got dressed and started our 30 minute walk. By this time it was getting late so we decided we would just explore what we could once we got up to the entrance of the cave, and come back this weekend to explore more if we could. As I returned home last night I found myself looking through all of the different Wyoming maps I could find for a hint as to what the name of this cave was, and thanks to the many pictures that other cavers had taken of the entrance and surrounding area I have been able to place it as being at least locally called Spence Cave. I wanted to look into the history of the cave but was unable to find much information on it at all, and was hoping that by signing up here and getting my story out there that I may be able to get more information on it by this Saturday, July 3rd as that is the day my friends and I want to go explore it. The information that I have so far is that in order to get to the very end of the cave you must do some rappelling, which I have minimal experience in, and "some" was the only description I could find, which is, uncomfortably vague. I also know that the cave is gated, but as we got up to the entrance the gate was open and the padlock was hanging on the side of the gate, locked. One of the friends with me tugged on the gate and couldn't get it to move very far, which suggested it had been open for a while and not moved. We will be bringing some packs with water and some extra food in case anything happens, several flashlights with spare batteries, a couple hundred yards of rope, and some gloves. If anyone has any additional tips for us or any extra information on Spence Cave please notify me. Contacting me by email would be more likely to get my attention, this can be done at
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Re: New, from Wyoming.

Postby JR-Orion » Jun 30, 2010 3:34 pm

Welcome aboard. Wyoming is such a pretty state. Spent plenty of time at Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons in my younger days.

I don't know about Spence Cave, but maybe someone else will chime in. I mainly stopped by to say be very careful with the pits. Safe vertical caving requires all sorts of training and specialized equipment.

Here's a list of cave clubs in and around your area-
Letting the days go by / water flowing underground
Into the blue again / in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones / there is water underground.
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Re: New, from Wyoming.

Postby Evan G » Jun 30, 2010 9:34 pm

JR-Orion wrote:Here's a list of cave clubs in and around your area-

Sorry but Hole in the wall is barely existing with a meeting a year ago and Armpit is a grotto that from my knowledge has not held a meeting in more than decade. Otherwise there is no NSS grotto in Wyoming, I'm sorry to say............................. I really wish I could say different :-(. Get a hold of the Madrats in CO for WY cave trips or MT Grotto. I have not heard of any activity out of Idaho. Utah guys seem up to caving.
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Re: New, from Wyoming.

Postby Tlaloc » Jul 1, 2010 8:21 am

Flashlights are useless for descending the drops in a vertical cave. You need both hands for rappelling. You don't mention how you plan to ascend back up the drops. Do you have any ascending gear? Trying to explore a technical cave without the right equipment and training is a bad idea. Each year he NSS sends its members a publication called Accidents in American Caving. It's full of accidents involving people who don't know what they're doing who try to explore vertical caves. Accidents involving people with flashlights are so common that totally unprepared spelunkers are sometimes referred to as "flashlight cavers".

Maybe you shouldn't try to do this cave.
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Re: New, from Wyoming.

Postby Caverdale » Jul 1, 2010 10:05 am

Don't attempt the pit at the back of Spence Cave without a proper headlamp mounted on a good hard hat with a chin strap. A few extra lights in your cave pack are recommended. To the best of my recollection, no part of the drop is actually overhung, but don't try hand over hand ascending. Use Jumars or other good ascenders to grip the rope. I couldn't find my photos but this link will take you to a shot of me coming out of the pit: (2nd photo down) Click on the button in the upper left corner. I was nearly 70 years old in this photo, so the pit can't be all that tough. The room at the pit's bottom is not terribly interesting. Someone has carried about a half mile of rubberized machine belt into the cave. Don't use this for anything!

Have fun.
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