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Stephens Gap - A caving journey

 
Old 08-24-2013, 11:00 PM
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Default Stephens Gap - A caving journey

Finally got out there today. Aside from the heat and humidity, it was a perfect day for dropping a pit. Pictures do the place no justice. It is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. And of course I brought the wrong gear. I desperately needed a wide lens, but all I had was my 50mm. I misjudged the room I'd have to work with.

The skylight we are traversing. It's hard to get a bad shot with that kind of sight. The actual hole we rappelled through was on the wall closest to the camera, which can't be seen. It was an opening about 2'x4', and drops straight down onto the pedestal ~120' below. If you miss the pedestal, the floor of the room is another ~40' or so. So it's a pretty large hole in the earth.





My friend going back up first. We both came down too fast for his girlfriend to get any decent shots in such low light.











My turn!












Other random shots

















I'm not religious, and not at all spiritual, but I have to say times like today are the closest I ever get to feeling spirituality. Seeing some of the greatest sights nature has to offer, and getting lost in deep thought about the scale of time and geological processes that created some of these features. It's just incredible.
Attached Thumbnails Stephens Gap - A caving journey-drkdrv2.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-nn7z4yc.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-djnkbs9.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-k5nbb9x.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-c3yragj.jpg  

Stephens Gap - A caving journey-rszykoi.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-1qtsjrg.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-xuvozoe.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-ocdkxhz.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-ajuagck.jpg  

Stephens Gap - A caving journey-0qzwk1s.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-5mnyjw4.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-ooeh5g6.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-cljfekv.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-wcvlwv8.jpg  

Stephens Gap - A caving journey-ycqbfww.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-0hnqbdy.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-xepmvxz.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-vxfqghp.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-66nbn5p.jpg  

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Old 08-24-2013, 11:40 PM
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Cool pics man, looks awesome. I'd love to do that. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 08-25-2013, 01:58 AM
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I just looked up this place and it is definitely close enough to go see. It looks awesome. Apparently there is a small cave on the property my parents are getting out here. Haven't seen it yet. MT.net cave and booze meet?
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:41 AM
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I have to say, that is pretty bad ***.
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:49 AM
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Spelunking. How did that term come about?
Looks like a good time! What did you guys anchor the repelling rope to?
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Fireindc View Post
Cool pics man, looks awesome. I'd love to do that. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks. It's an awesome and adrenaline pumping experience. No amount of experience makes you use to climbing out over the edge. Just doesn't feel natural. But damn what a ride.

Originally Posted by TorqueZombie View Post
I just looked up this place and it is definitely close enough to go see. It looks awesome. Apparently there is a small cave on the property my parents are getting out here. Haven't seen it yet. MT.net cave and booze meet?
Worth seeing. The hike to get to it is a bit rough, and it's not exactly marked. It's about ~2 miles off of the road. MT cave meet would be pretty cool, but I'm not sure booze would be a good factor at or around a cave.

Originally Posted by miata2fast View Post
I have to say, that is pretty bad ***.
Thank you.

Originally Posted by thirdgen View Post
Spelunking. How did that term come about?
Looks like a good time! What did you guys anchor the repelling rope to?
No idea. Barely any cavers use that term. Only pretentious people who go into caves wearing their best clothes, and are scared to get dirty. We used a large tree about 30 feet up the hill from the opening. We wrapped the end around the tree about 4 times for friction, then tied a figure 8 loop at the end with a backup knot, and clipped the rope back into itself. Almost no pressure on the knot. Then made sure the rope wasn't rubbing on any sharp rocks and set up a rope pad at the edge to keep it from cutting.
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Old 08-25-2013, 12:09 PM
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So no pre-setup rigging or touristy pay to play? My rappelling experience is limited, so will need to find someone prepped and ready. Mostly need gear. Hike isn't a big deal, but would need a GPS location.
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Old 08-25-2013, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by TorqueZombie View Post
So no pre-setup rigging or touristy pay to play? My rappelling experience is limited, so will need to find someone prepped and ready. Mostly need gear. Hike isn't a big deal, but would need a GPS location.
What do you mean pre-setup rigging? No, it's not not a pay to play place. Anyone is free to go at any hour of any day. It's best go go after recent rain, so the waterfalls are at full force. You for sure want to go with someone who has been before. There are tricks to getting set up safely, and finding it. There is also a second pit on the trail on the way to the main attraction, off to the left, it is about 80' if I recall correctly. Not much to see really though. Can't help with GPS location, but I'm sure a google search for Stephens Gap would come up with some coordinated.
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Old 08-25-2013, 04:36 PM
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A few more.

One of the falls that flow down into the big opening.







Another guy that was there with a few people. We let him use my rope, and didn't notice until after he was already half down that he was not wearing a helmet, and he was planking on rope. I was scared he was going to invert and lose control. Not an ideal form for rappelling on a rack. You can also see the keyhole in the roof that we actually rappel through.



Attached Thumbnails Stephens Gap - A caving journey-c6bo05z.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-w6zr3ag.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-amccaww.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-zcqvpdn.jpg   Stephens Gap - A caving journey-jwym6mw.jpg  

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