South Madhouse Cave

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South Madhouse Cave – Utah County – Starting From the start of the cave, rappel  into the cave about 15 ft or so. After that follow that room downhill through several cracks. Be careful, You will come across  a little pit you drop into. This pit is about 6ft deep. From there you can slip and crawl through another crack that is quite tight. This is where you might come across some popcorn formations. The cave continues beside another crack until it dead-ends.This is a fun cave to start a little vertical work with. Please practice before you go, as it is a little harder in dark places.

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Between Life and Death

Do you trust your rope?

There are many different types of ropes out there, but only a few pass the test for the extreme conditions that caves have to offer.  The rope I will talk about is the New England KM III Static line.

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“A superior handling rescue lifeline, New England Ropes KM III static, kernmantle rope features a composite construction of nylon and polyester fibers. KM III has a weight-balanced construction with the sheath and the core each representing 50% of the total weight. The rope is torque-balanced to eliminate any spin during a rappel. The continuous filament polyester sheath is braided over a continuous nylon fiber core. This provides excellent handling and knot-holding characteristics, as well as rugged protection from abrasion and cutting. The polyester sheath provides added protection for ultraviolet light and from chemicals that are harmful to nylon. The polyester sheath also reduces the strength loss and weight gain that occurs when nylon absorbs water.” 

The price of the right rope is a lot cheaper than the price of a nice casket and funeral.  I would always advise those wanting to cave to spend the little extra.  Cave On!

 

The Tabernacle Hill Lava Tubes

lava tubes boyThe Tabernacle Hill Lava Tubes – Fillmore, Utah – The Tabernacle Hill Lava Tubes near Fillmore, UT can be amazingly fun to explore . The entire area is littered with collapsed lava tubes,tunnels and pits. This has been a pretty popular destination for scouts and family outings.

Hey! I am talking to you!

What is the purpose of this blog?

My Hope is to educate and inspire those that might not know or have only caved a little bit to get out and enjoy the wonders of Utah. Specifically caves in Utah. Also to the cavers that have experience and are looking for new caves and techniques to expound their skills and knowledge of caving and caves in Utah.

Why help you?

I have experienced the joy of caving and seeing and learning and would want everyone I meet to experience the same. This is one of my passions and seeing someone experience it for the first time is a small way for me to experience the excitement and joy all over again. Some cavers enjoy being the only ones knowing the location or being the only person to have entered the cave. As for me, I think true joy can only be experienced with those you love and share the happiness it brings. Happiness shared is happiness received. (That’s confusing)

Photo taken by Brandon Kawallis at 1,230 vertical feet deep.

Photo taken by Brandon Kawallis at 1,230 vertical feet deep in Main Drain Cave

The main point is, I love caves so much I want to share the happiness I have found in them to others. By educating and inspiring others is a great way to protect and conserve these amazing places.

Why I Cave

In 1999 in Arizona I had a coach that invited a few of the boys to go caving down by Tucson. He explained that it would require certain gear and a bit of courage. He did not say much and I was a little young to inquire more about what the cave would have in story for us. As we got there I was shocked by the little passages that we explored and how many options there was at any given location. He challenged us to lead and to see what formations we could find. After a few hours he took the lead and took us to a certain room that before we entered he told us to not talk to much and we could not send too much time inside.
When we entered this small room he pulled out a lighter and proceeded to lift it to the ceiling and lit it so the flame was visible for our group to see clearly. As we sat there very still focused on the flame he slowly lowered the lighter. About 1/3 of the way down, the flame started to detach from the original origin of the lighter. The flame stayed in the top of this small room and the lighter continued to expand the gap. As the flame grew dimmer as the distance increased I was completely frozen in amazement. The flame distinguished and he motioned for us to leave the room. When we got out to another passage he began to explain that in that room there is so little oxygen that the flame will only stay where the oxygen is present.
From that day forward I have been exploring and surveying caves around the United States. There are only a few things in my life that I have been dumbfounded by witnessing, and that was one of them. Most of my caving has taken place in Ohio and Kentucky. Which consisted of mostly horizontal caves formed in horizontal limestone plates. When I moved to Utah I soon discovered that the limestone plates have been pushed into the vertical position to create amazing vertical caves. I have been continuing my education in vertical rope work and vertical caving since moving here.
Utah holds some of the deepest cave in the U.S and is only as the past few years being discovered and has many secrets she is slowly telling and showing us. This is why I cave here and hope to share the wonderful experience of caving to others.
Cave ON!

Pink Lime Pit

Pink Lime Pit Cave – Utah County – The Pink Lime Pit has been a popular location to practice vertical rope work.  I have loved using this location to teach, practice and learn new rope work. The place is perfect because it has several bolts and natural anchors that can be used simultaneously.  I have personally used up to 10 ropes rigged all at the same time. Ropes can be set up and rigged for:

Static rappelling

Traditional rappelling

There’s even an anchor high on one of the walls where you can practice passing a bolt while descending or ascending. I have found passing a bolt or anchor very important to caving in Utah caves.

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Springville Cave (Gold Bar Cave)

Springville Cave – Springville, Utah – This cave is mostly horizontal for about 300 feet, at which point the only direction to go is up. Chimney up for about 20-30 feet then there is another horizontal passage. There’s a really tight spot that blocks most cavers, but continuing through opens up to a room that splits off into a few different passages. All of them dead end relatively quickly except for one that goes straight up. Unfortunately the walls are too far apart for chimney-ing, and the rock is too slick to climb, so there may be more we don’t know about.  This could be pushed if there was a small well experienced leader willing to try.  I would not recommend trying if you don’t have many caving leads under your belt.  The fall could potentially be deadly.

Rocky Bottom Cave3