Warren Cave, FL

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Warren Cave, FL

Postby msm0711 » Mar 1, 2014 10:28 pm

Today, members of our caving group were blessed with the good fortune of being able to spend some time exploring Warren Cave, in Central Florida. After contacting the FSS, we were hooked up with Erik A., a long time member of the FSS and NSS. After meeting us at the parking lot of the Warren Cave Preserve, we talked a little about the history and geology of the area as we suited up. As I was throwing on my outer layers, Erik was kind enough to remind me that I wasn't in TAG anymore, and the temperature of the cave was above or around 70 degrees!
After gearing up, we entered the cave via the main entrance in the bottom of the entrance sink. The gate, though ancient, was in decent condition and was doing the job it was supposed to. The first drop is only a few dozen feet into the cave, and after rigging it, we dropped to the bottom. Immediately I noticed a contradiction to what I had read about Warren Cave, there were indeed bats there. Erik noted that this was the most bats he has seen in his many years of exploring the cave. However, a number of the bats seemed to be in poor health. Many of them had severe hair loss along their backs, and what appeared to be scabs on their skin. After a short walk around at the bottom of the drop, we ascended to the main level and pushed back into the cave. We went through the wind tunnel, checked out the dig area and saw Broward Peeple's Hole. The plant life (roots) growing into this area was an amazing testament to how close we were to the surface. Numerous mice ran by in this area. We then pushed the second crawl to the Sand Room where we paused for water and a break.
At this point I was amazed at the total lack of moisture in the cave. The geology is amazing, and though water is functionally the cause of the cave itself, absolutely none is present in the cave. We then entered some tight crawls and made our way back into the mud section. Amazed again, I noted that Florida "mud" is not Georgia Mud. More like dry clay with sand in it!
We rode the 40 foot short cut across to the drop down, at which point my size became a serious issue. Though everyone else slid on through the undercrawl, I encountered by far the tightest squeeze I've ever pushed. Being 6'1" and 210 pounds is not great in some caves. After wedging myself in to where my shoulder blades were pressed into the top, and my chest into the floor, I was able to exhale and push all my air out enough to move about 1 to 2 inches with each breath. After a few moments I popped out on the other side and was able to catch up on my breathing. We stopped at "The Pit" and checked our time, and it was about time to turn around. We were able to check out the registry there, and I was amazed to see NSS numbers and names from back in the 80s.
The press back was not fun, as the sandy nature of the cave wore on all of us by this time. Despite pads and protection, both my knees and both elbows have severe sand burn. That tight squeeze took about 5 minutes for me on the way back, and I'm pretty sure that time I left some skin on the ceiling.
Over all we spent 6 hours in Warren. Many thanks to Erik and the FSS for being so considerate of our group, and a million thanks to Erik for his knowledge and time.
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msm0711
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Re: Warren Cave, FL

Postby trogman » Mar 2, 2014 7:28 am

Thanks for the great trip report, Michael! I would like to go there someday, but just haven't made it yet.

You mentioned a drop of a "couple of dozen feet." Does that require vertical gear? Or just a handline?

Trogman :helmet:
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Re: Warren Cave, FL

Postby msm0711 » Mar 2, 2014 9:33 am

The drops are done on vertical gear, but they are easily chimneyed, so a handline would probably suffice. I used a Kong Hydrobot on the down, and had a hand ascender on line going up, but with no foot loops needed.
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Re: Warren Cave, FL

Postby msm0711 » Mar 2, 2014 5:03 pm

Just some pics:

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