New deepest pit in Tennessee!!!!

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Postby Ralph E. Powers » Aug 22, 2007 11:11 am

ACENTHAHOLE wrote:The ACES are obligated to DCG to give a presentation and write an article in their publication when the project is finished in repayment of grant moneys received. For this reason I can only disclose so much information. In addition I am not the only member of our organization, therefore I cannot speak on behalf of them without their consent. As for your waiting to post something about Main Drain, I sincerely hope that you don't have the habit of posting information about other peoples finds without their permission. In my opinion it is a caving sin to disclose information about other peoples leads and speleo projects in this manner.
I was using the Main Drain as an example. One of the principal surveyors/lead-pusher told me about it and asked to keep it quiet, which I did. I was in no way even thinking about posting the information.
If something is given to me in confidence it's kept that way and I leave it up to them to break the news. Not my place, never has been, never will unless permission is given by ALL of the participants.
I agree that it's bad form to break the news of someone else's discoveries before they've had a chance. I wouldn't appreciate it and I know not very many people would.

ACENTHAHOLE wrote:The project we have been speaking of is well known about in the TAG caving community, and not because we spilled the beans, someone else took that liberty upon themselves, otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation. This project, in the beginning, was meant to be kept secret. No one knew that wasn't involved until the wrong person became involved. We don't know who that person is and we don't care anymore. That was nearly a year ago. Since then we've been hounded for this information and subsequently released it. In the process we have received a lot of support from our fellow cavers. It feels great when someone you respect and admire in the caving community comes up to you, a next generation caver, and shakes your hand, expressing their admiration for a young group of cavers willing to pick up where their generation left off. Were it not for them we would never have had the opportunities that we have to make history in the caving world. Therefore they deserve even more credit than I care to take.

Well you got my Kudos either way. You and your group put in the work and the effort and took the risks.
I think most of the "previous" generation would hope that you would be as willing to pass it on to the next generation after yours and so on.
Without the possibility of death, adventure is not possible. ~ Reinhold Messner


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Postby Tim White » Aug 22, 2007 12:27 pm

:yeah that: :exactly:
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Postby tncaver » Aug 22, 2007 12:43 pm

ACENTHAHOLE stated:
"A cave's depth is always measured from the highest point to the lowest point. Why shouldn't a pit's depth be measured in the same way? "

I agree. Why don't you bring that up at the next Tennessee Cave Survey
meeting. I've always wondered why Tennessee's pit depths were listed
from the lowest rigging point. If they were listed from the highest
accessible rigging point Tennessee would probably have many more
pits in the 100 footer and 200 footer class.
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Information and Clarification

Postby Fro » Aug 22, 2007 10:21 pm

For your information. The previous deepest pit in TN was Mystery Falls. From the high rig side, and from just above floor level (the beginning of the drop) the pit was measured to 273 ft with a 300 ft tape and a person holding the end to the bottom of the puddle beneath the drop.
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Re: Information and Clarification

Postby cavemanjonny » Aug 24, 2007 1:38 pm

Fro wrote:For your information. The previous deepest pit in TN was Mystery Falls. From the high rig side, and from just above floor level (the beginning of the drop) the pit was measured to 273 ft with a 300 ft tape and a person holding the end to the bottom of the puddle beneath the drop.


Mystery Falls could be made as much as 30 or so feet deeper too, if you go by highest rig point to the bottom. If you had a rig point near the cement pad, directly above where the 273' was measured, that would add quite a chunk.

Obviously, this would be pretty artificial, but it could theoretically be done, all you would have to do is climb above the current high rig point and put in a new one (Which I am NOT suggesting should be done, btw).
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Not the deepest pit after all...

Postby Bill Putnam » Aug 24, 2007 3:13 pm

I hate to burst your bubble, Ace, but by your own logic, Mystery Falls is still the deepest pit in Tennessee.

Mystery measures 316 feet from the surface, and was done that way many times, including by winch in the early 1900's, by cable ladder (Bill Cuddington is My Hero!) and on manila rope with a rappel spool and prusik knots in the 1950's. You could still do it that way if you cut a hole in the cap (but then Buddy Lane would have your a** for vandalizing the Buddy Park). And don't give me any crap about that entrance not being natural, unless you are going to disqualify all caves with excavated entrances or passages. At least they didn't have to bolt up from the bottom... :nana:

Plus, your 273' measurement at Mystery was taken "just above floor level (the beginning of the drop)" while your "new pit" was measured "from the bolts down to the pit floor." You've got to compare apples to apples here, so you need to add at least 5 feet to the 273-foot Mystery figure to account for the distance fro the bolts to the floor at the lip. And why "just above" floor level, rather than *at* floor level? Gerald would beg to differ with your technique, I suspect.

Also, did you measure the drop from Kent's rig point out at the end of his bolt traverse? That may be longer (or shorter) than the normal rappel by 10 or 20 feet. I don't know - I haven't been out there.

And finally, Mystery has been previously and carefully measured during the survey as 286 feet from the lip of the waterfall, and 291 feet from the floor level on the high side. Are you certain of your measurements?

But in any event, the number to beat is still 316. Good luck! :boxing:
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Re: Not the deepest pit after all...

Postby cavemanjonny » Aug 24, 2007 3:21 pm

Bill Putnam wrote:And finally, Mystery has been previously measured as 286 feet from the lip of the waterfall, and 291 feet from the floor level on the high side. Are you certain of your measurements?


I can corroborate the 273' measurement, I was the one who read that particular number off the tape. I believe it was taken from about where the rope breaks over the edge on the high side. Somewhere around there, at any rate. Brian has the exact location in his survey notes, I believe.

As I recall, we were surprised at the disparity between the official measurement and the one we obtained. Do you know what methods were used to obtain the previous measurements?

I'm not doubting their validity, I'm just curious. The difference between the two is minimal, really. Depending on the accuracy of the particular methods used, they may well both be correct measurements, within error.
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measuring Mystery

Postby Bill Putnam » Aug 24, 2007 3:24 pm

I think they used a wire & plumb bob. That was the standard technique at the time. But I will have to ask Buddy or Mark to be sure. How did you account for tape stretch and angle?
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Re: measuring Mystery

Postby cavemanjonny » Aug 24, 2007 3:32 pm

Bill Putnam wrote:How did you account for tape stretch and angle?


I'm not sure about that one, I was at the top of the drop. Brian will have to answer that. Even if the tape wasn't perfectly vertical though, tape stretch and angle would only serve to increase our measurements, not decrease. So, if our technique was indeed flawed (which of course it could have been), that would mean that the true depth is even less than 273', which I highly doubt.

Also, I edited my last comment in the time that you replied, just so you know. I'm not trying to change posts out from underneath you :-).
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Re: Not the deepest pit after all...

Postby cavemanjonny » Aug 24, 2007 3:45 pm

jprouty wrote:I'm not doubting their validity, I'm just curious. The difference between the two is minimal, really. Depending on the accuracy of the particular methods used, they may well both be correct measurements, within error.


Using 286' as the "true" depth:

(286-273)/286 = 0.045 or 4.5%. 273' is a correct measurement then, if you allow a 10% error threshold, -5% and +5%.

Using 273' as the "true" depth:

(273-286)/273 = -0.048 or -4.8%. 286' is a correct measurement then, using the same assumptions as before.

I'm not suggesting that this treatment of the numbers is necessarily valid, just demonstrating that they really aren't that different from one another.

Unfortunately, the tape method is certainly more accurate than +- 5%, it should be accurate to within +- 0.05 ft (if you're measuring in tenths of feet), which is 0.02% error for both 273' and 286' (rounded).
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Re: Not the deepest pit after all...

Postby ACENTHAHOLE » Aug 24, 2007 4:01 pm

Bill Putnam wrote:I hate to burst your bubble, Ace, but by your own logic, Mystery Falls is still the deepest pit in Tennessee.

Mystery measures 316 feet from the surface, and was done that way many times, including by winch in the early 1900's, by cable ladder (Bill Cuddington is My Hero!) and on manila rope with a rappel spool and prusik knots in the 1950's. You could still do it that way if you cut a hole in the cap (but then Buddy Lane would have your a** for vandalizing the Buddy Park). And don't give me any crap about that entrance not being natural, unless you are going to disqualify all caves with excavated entrances or passages. At least they didn't have to bolt up from the bottom... :nana:

Plus, your 273' measurement at Mystery was taken "just above floor level (the beginning of the drop)" while your "new pit" was measured "from the bolts down to the pit floor." You've got to compare apples to apples here, so you need to add at least 5 feet to the 273-foot Mystery figure to account for the distance fro the bolts to the floor at the lip. And why "just above" floor level, rather than *at* floor level? Gerald would beg to differ with your technique, I suspect.

Also, did you measure the drop from Kent's rig point out at the end of his bolt traverse? That may be longer (or shorter) than the normal rappel by 10 or 20 feet. I don't know - I haven't been out there.

And finally, Mystery has been previously and carefully measured during the survey as 286 feet from the lip of the waterfall, and 291 feet from the floor level on the high side. Are you certain of your measurements?

But in any event, the number to beat is still 316. Good luck! :boxing:


I know I already said this but, WE DID NOT BOLT UP AT ALL. If you want to compare this apple to another, compare it to Fantastic, it is exactly the same situation. Oh no, don't you dare say that fantastic is not 600' or anywhere near it. I just did. According to you, Fantastic is not the second deepest pit in the U.S. So, as long as Fantastic is the second deepest in the US, then #@%#$ Well will be the deepest in TN. Let this be your intervention.

Now, how many arm chair cavers does it take to figure this one out :?: Hmm....... Is this a trick question :?: :frymyhide:
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Re: Not the deepest pit after all...

Postby ACENTHAHOLE » Aug 24, 2007 4:23 pm

:bat2:
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Re: Not the deepest pit after all...

Postby ACENTHAHOLE » Aug 24, 2007 4:51 pm

Bill Putnam wrote:I hate to burst your bubble, Ace, but by your own logic, Mystery Falls is still the deepest pit in Tennessee.
:boxing:


I'm just not with it today. Okay, so by my own logic, blah blah blah. I guess you are referring to measuring a pit from top to bottom. Well then, if we measured this pit from top to bottom it would spray fart on Mystery Falls and possibly even Incredible, as you can't see the top of the pit with any light, not even an HID. Blackness. And the pit is located on a major fault. We are surveying right now and will have access to a disto at some point, then we'll measure the pit from top to bottom at some 400'+ just to keep ya'll happy.
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Postby tncaver » Aug 24, 2007 5:25 pm

ACENTHAHOLE stated:
"And the pit is located on a major fault. We are surveying right now and will have access to a disto at some point, then we'll measure the pit from top to bottom at some 400'+ just to keep ya'll happy."

A disto may prove the height of this domepit but not pit depth.
I think the confusion here is not about depth so much as it is about
the meaning of the words pit, dome and dome pit.
A pit is basically a natural shaft measured from an entrance point downward.
A dome is a natural shaft or room that goes up from a floor in a cave and may or may not have entrances at higher locations. A domepit is a natural shaft that goes both up and down from an entrance point.
Therefore if the shaft being referred to is a dome pit, it's depth (for
pitting purposes) can only be counted from the entrance into it, downward to the deepest point under the entry point.
Another example of this is the pit in Ace Point Cave. The dome pit is
entered from a window in the side of the pit. The pit depth is measured
from that window down to the floor below. The pit also goes upward
but that portion of it is not considered part of the pit depth since it is inaccessible without bolting upward and has no known opening higher up.
I don't know what the current TCS rules are for a pit that has multiple
entry locations. I don't think there IS an official TCS rule for that
actually. I've not seen one in the bylaws or any where else.
Therefore the pit this topic is discussing (probably located in Cumberland
County, TN btw) should only be measured from the newest access point
down to the floor directly below the entry point. And if there is a lower
entry point, which is the official TCS depth? Technically it should be
the lowest rigging point according to TCS rules, but I'm sure that rule
is not always followed. Seems like there should be discussion about
these technicalities at the next TCS meeting, but I won't be surprised
if there is none. I think the current chairman likes having the authority
to make his own decisions without having to follow rules.
As for Mystery Falls, it was over 300 feet deep before the concrete
slab was installed over the open air entrance. Thet TCS still lists it
at 286 feet I think. Who measured it and where from I do not know.
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Who's got the biggest?

Postby Bill Putnam » Aug 24, 2007 9:38 pm

tncaver wrote:I think the confusion here is not about depth so much as it is about the meaning of the words pit, dome and dome pit.
A pit is basically a natural shaft measured from an entrance point downward.
A dome is a natural shaft or room that goes up from a floor in a cave and may or may not have entrances at higher locations. A domepit is a natural shaft that goes both up and down from an entrance point.
Therefore if the shaft being referred to is a dome pit, it's depth (for
pitting purposes) can only be counted from the entrance into it, downward to the deepest point under the entry point.

:yeah that: :exactly:

Frankly. it makes no difference whatsoever to me (and probably not to most other cavers as well) which cave in which state has the deepest pit. These contests over who has the biggest :bleep: are pretty boring. :yawn:

Claiming the deepest pit in a particular state seems a bit like claiming to have the biggest turtle in the pond behind your house. There's always a bigger turtle in another pond somewhere, if you look hard enough.

I guess I missed Ace's explanation about not bolting up to the top - my bad. I was just making a joke. :kidding:

Actually I respect the effort and the accomplishment, just as I respect Don and Cheryl's work and accomplishments in Ellisons and Tumbling Rock. [for those of you born after 1976 - Don Davison and Cheryl Jones bolt climbed the Topless Dome in Tumbling Rock and discovered the Attic in Ellisons by way of a bolt climb from the Balcony - two remarkable achievements in TAG caving, done long before the days of battery-powered motorized hammer drills.]

:nannabooboo:
It's the bragging and chest-beating that I find mildly annoying and rather silly, along with the faux secrecy.
:hitsfan:

Ace's comparison with Ellisons seems a bit off the mark, though, since the cave passage leads naturally to the Attic and the 586 if you follow the geology rather than the current water route. The bolt climb gained access, but was only used a couple of times because other cavers (Buddy Lane and Brad Neff, if I recall correctly, who were not involved in the bolt climb) found the walk-up route with little difficulty after hearing of the discovery of passage at the top of the pit. And it makes no difference to me whether you call Fantastic a 586-foot pit with a lower rig point or a 510-foot pit with a higher rig point. Either way it's a 600-foot dome-pit. Della and Richard and company made a nice find.

Like tncaver says:
Caving before most of you were born
and still doing it.


:exactly:

p.s. Ace - you are starting to sound an awful lot like my good buddy Kent. You either are Kent in disguise, or you're spending waaay too much time with the boy. Ask him why he's My Hero! This Bud's for you, Kent! :beer30:
Last edited by Bill Putnam on Aug 24, 2007 10:30 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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