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Cave Explore, AZ
mini location map2014-11-22
34 by photographer avatarGrottoGirl
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Cave Explore, AZ 
Cave Explore, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 22 2014
Hiking3.50 Miles 1,456 AEG
Hiking3.50 Miles
1,456 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Normally, one's goal is to go up! Up the ladder, up the mountain, up and up! For this project we had the goal to go down and to 'reach the bottom'! In May, we did this cave and rappelled 4 pitches to find a crack with a squeeze that was very skinny. Notes we had read mentioned returning after losing weight. We decided we'd have to return with more rope plus a haul system and that's just what we did!

We did the hiking/bushwhacking quickly and immediately started to get dressed in our harnesses and rig a couple ropes for the first drop. We had fun doing tandem rappels in which we had to go at the same rate to make sure we didn't knock rocks on top of each other. We found ourselves slightly swinging into each other which was fun! It also made our descent more efficient.

One of the ropes was a 200 ft which we then tied to the bolt for the next drop. We knew it would reach.

From there we traversed a few feet over to the next drop which requires a slight squeeze. We attached a 150 foot rope which got us down that pitch and then next. The next one was a nice overhang into a small room. This room had a couple nice piles of bat guano. Down a short hall was the crack.

I had been selected as the smallest of the group. I was going to be lowered down the crack and then once I figured everything out they'd raise me via the haul system. Since I knew the squeeze was going to be unusually tight I wore spandex. As the haul system and ropes were put in place I readied myself for my adventure. I'm a control freak and the thought if being lowered and hauled without being able to do it myself bothered me some. I decided to eat my snack and not dwell on what was going to happen.

Finally it was time. I tied in to the rope, then I climbed up to the bolt, and positioned myself in what looked like the widest part of the crack. Then I indicated I was ready to be lowered. I'd have them let out a bit of rope then I would have them stop so I could rearrange myself for the next contortion. The tight spot was tight! I was definitely scrapping on both sides. At one point my helmet scraped which always bothers me. I was through the squeeze pretty quickly. We were going to test the haul but midway through the squeeze I figured there was no way I wanted to 'hang out' while contorted into strange unconfortable positions while my insides are being pressed on both sides like a tube of tooth paste. Nope! Instead we tested below the squeeze. Everything worked as planned so then I continued down another short hallway to find another bolt. This one was very questionable looking but we decided I could at least add a pulley as a redirect since I was no longer heading straight down from the original bolt.

Next up was another squeeze. It was no way as tight as the other. From there I could tell there was a big drop. I looked and my light did not seem to light up a bottom. All I could tell was that I was at the top of a black, bottomless pit. It was a bit nerve-wracking. I yelled up that I couldn't tell if there would be enough rope. I was told that we hadn't used much of our 150 foot rope which gave me some assurance so and I told them to start lowering me again. The drop was a free hang and it was nice not having to worry about fitting down a crack.

Soon my feet hit ground! Wonderful, I made it to the bottom! That in itself was awesome but the room I was in was pretty cool looking and I saw bats that were a bit bigger than ones I normally see. I signed the log and made sure to thank my crew who were hauling my pumpkin down and up!

Just like getting to the top, getting to the bottom didn't mean I was done. I still had to get up to the light of day. And this first part meant I was being hauled. The first part was easy for me but not for my crew who had to lift me. Once I got to the tight spots, I had to work. I had them stop right before so I could position myself. For each crack we did this 3-4 times. Luck had it and each time I got through without much trouble. It seemed like I was off that pitch in no time! We rejoiced in our team skills: excellent communication and rope work!

After regrouping, Joel and Josh had their turns. They didn't have it as easy as I did. In fact, Joel was thinking he was going to break a rib when he was hauled up. Lucky for us all, neither one of them truly got stuck.

After our fun, we ascended each pitch and retraced our way back to the top! The glow of success was with us all!
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