|maw of stygian darkness (getting scared
yet?) requires multiple parallel rappels with brand new gear through a
waterfall onto the dry floor below. Once in the cave, the leader’s
Zippo lighter flame points the way.
When the screaming quarrels quiet enough, the party follows the leader.
“Are we there yet? Why the f___ not!!!. Oh mygod! We’re in
cave!!!!” When the party hits the first big room the leader pops
highway fuse. The party moves on before the smoke creates a mass
coughing fit. Their many biners and ice axes clank and bang.
What is that rumbling noise that is shaking the camera?
You may have guessed, as the leader does, that a cave-in has blocked
the way back. No need to investigate, press on. The screamers
upon a ledge where one of the cavers nearly falls in because her light
has a pencil-thin beam. The music tells us this is no time to
One impatient Class VI climber launches herself across a roof, forcing
in $537 worth of climbing cams and etriers. Her dangle and thrash
maneuvers impress everyone and probably break a fingernail. The
come over on a Tyrolian traverse. This is a crux point: “I’m
clean the route – we may need this stuff later,” says one climber as
she removes all the protection, leaving no means of retreat.
You may think that is bad practice, but until you have lost $537 worth
of new hardware in a cave, you will not understand the wisdom of her
ethical decision. Chopping the pitons and bolts is a cool moral
regardless of what the next guy thinks.
Guess what – we are not alone! Without spoiling the story, there
other life forms beyond the shadows. It is a damned good thing
brought ice axes, but a little sad that they have forgotten “The
Directive.” Because you have been so
emotionally involved in the gripping
story, you probably did not see all the instances where Ergor’s new
rules of caving are applied at every turn. The survivor has
all the new rules, not once, but many times over.
How is it that the Brit cavers stay so thin? Is it that when they
to eat they whip out an apple? And how do they wriggle through a
sump without ending up in muddy wet clothes? Oh, I know, they
use high tech Teflon spray on their clothes. After all, this is a
movie and these cavers are really actors. They may not all emerge
friends, or even alive, but think of the adventure they have given us!
I cannot wait to apply my new rules. Think of how my stories of
upcoming adventures will liven these pages. Think of the
Imagine the terror of unmitigated doom!!! Can’t you just hear
grotto members trembling in fear, wretching in horror, when they read
my next trip report? I urge you to apply these rules, too.
editor will thank you. Which brings me to say, I’m seeking companions
for a trip to Doom Cave in Skull County, KY. Please meet at the
Chew Restaurant in Somerset at 6:00 am next Saturday. Oh, and
wear a red shirt.
Cave Visits: Cub Run Cave, KY and Bluespring Caverns, IN
I took the time, and paid the money, to go on a couple of commercial
cave tours recently. One was astonishing and exciting, with a very
weird conservation ethos; and the other was just plain distressing.
Cub Run Cave
crossroads village on the north side on