Just returned from northeast Alabama where my friends and I checked out Stephen's Gap. What a gorgeous sight! The weather in mid-March was perfect too! On the way to our destination we stumbled upon a smaller pit along the trail, and I'm wondering why no one has mentioned this pit in any of the forums I've read. Stephen's Gap itself was a 140+ ft vertical drop with a couple of waterfalls spilling over the rim. About 20 ft away from the pit was a walk-in entrance, which was perfect for our group because some of our members lacked rappelling experience. Some of us did rappel down, however, and anyone planning to do this should be aware that the last 30 ft of the vertical drop requires ascension gear to escape. Communication between those at the top and bottom of the drop, even between the bottom and the 30 ft pedestal, is severely impaired by the waterfall. We had walkie talkies, but even those we drowned out by the hum of the falling sheets of water. Has anyone developed a good communication method for scenarios like this?
Here is a brief video of our trip. We put quite a bit of effort into making it, so we hope you enjoy it. We're hoping to do this for every cave owned by the SCCi because of all their great conservation efforts. Happy caving you all!
Very nicely done video, and great narration! Made me want to go, even though I've been to both places many times before.
The smaller pit along the way is named Pipeside Pit. In order to land directly on the Pedestal, you should rig and drop down through what we call "The Keyhole." It is a small hole on the upper side of the main pit.