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Cave digs?

 
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jasonbx



Joined: 07 Feb 2006
Posts: 60
Location: SLC, Utah

PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2007 11:44 am    Post subject: Cave digs? Reply with quote

After a successful first dig trip to a cave in eastern Utah this October, I have a couple people interested in trying digging again. Anyone have suggestions on caves(large or small) with some potential? It looks like if you are interested enough to show a good place to dig, we can come up with some help.

Somebody help me out with the "Why dig" portion of this thread. I'm just starting, and seeing the reactions of those who have recently tried digging as well.

For those that have been caving for a while, digging can be a great way to discover brand new cave. And you can do it without ridgewalking for days, weeks, months... I also know of several digs within an hour or two of the Wasatch front--so it can be a single day trip as well. You also look at caves differently when you visit them for the first time--you aren't just looking at what is there now, but you are also looking for what should be there, and where the cave may continue.
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jasonbx



Joined: 07 Feb 2006
Posts: 60
Location: SLC, Utah

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Several responses on UTCAVERS group--I will consolidate them here:



I've got lots of place where I would like to go digging, and where help
would be needed. Right now, however, the best dig to work on is probably
the one we already started in Toothbrush Cave. That dig has lots of
potential, is going through soft easy sediment, and has a good draft. All
we need to do is get some sleds and sandbags, to deal with the sediment,
find a good crew, and pick a good day to go. The easy part of the dig has
been done, and it's certainly getting harder to continue forward, but it
already looks a lot more promising than when we started. Pick a day, find
some sleds and bags, and let's go.

If you are looking for OTHER promising places to dig, then there are
various hopeful dig spots all over the state. For the Uintas, there are
hopeful dig locations in Pole Creek Cave, Massey Cave, North Fork Cave, and
in a breathing sinkhole near Heller Lake.

In the Bear River Range, there are several dig locations, that have
enormous potential for finding monster caves. Some of those would be
difficult long-term projects, straight down through drafting collapse
boulders, and some of those are stagnant horizontal dirt plugs, waiting to
be tested.

Near Provo, there are several hopeful dig locations in Rock Canyon and
Little Rock Canyon. I started working in some of these years ago, and
didn't find much to brag about, but many more digs remain. Keep in mind
that both Spanish Moss Cave and Red Baron Cave were first entered by
digging. Those caves were certainly worth finding, and digging into. Who
knows what other comparable caves remain to be found in the Provo area?

Certainly others here have digging leads of their own.

If you are looking for an easy dig near the Wasatch Front, I would
recommend you take a look at the lower end of Herrons Hope Cave, near Orem.
If interested, but don't know how to get there, just e-mail me for
directions. I dug there for a single day, years ago, but didn't get very
far. The dig is through easy angular gravel, straight down against the
back wall, at the end of a 20-foot horizontal crawl. Continuing that dig
would require 2 people, some dust masks, short folding shovels or hoes, and
a sled with ropes. If the dig continues downward, one or more buckets
might also be helpful. The digging is fairly easy, but the excavated
sediments need to be sledded out of the crawl, through 20 feet of smooth
straight horizontal passage. Access to the cave requires some bravery on a
steep cliffy ledge, and probably also a short (30-foot) handline to safely
drop down into the lower section of the cave.

David Herron
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jasonbx



Joined: 07 Feb 2006
Posts: 60
Location: SLC, Utah

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since digging in the Uintas has been mentioned, PLEASE, PLEASE,
everyone, don't forget the two most significant possible digs in Utah
and maybe the entire western U.S.

Water that sinks in the Lost Creek Sink on the northern slope comes
out out Sheep Creek Cave 14.4 miles distant and 2,100 feet lower in as
low as 7 days. I have been in the previous cave in the sink about 50
feet over a pile of logs. Unfortunately, logging and building of a dam
has clogged it with silt. In the spring, a lake sometimes backs up in
the sink over 1700 feet long, 200-300 feet wide and up to 60 feet
deep. It disappears in less than a month. We've had a lot of big
digs here, but nature has a way of alternately filling things back up
or making excavations that put us to shame. It should be checked
annually and it wouldn't hurt to have a few digs a year to help the
process along.

At Mosby Sink, north of LaPoint, water that sinks there causes a
spring 6 miles away and 2,000 feet lower to increase its flow in only
3 hours! This indicates a very direct path to the water table below.
There have been big digs here also, but for the past decade or more
the only action has been to keep the stream channel free of sticks.
This seems to be working because the hole get deeper every year.
Still, it wouldn't hurt to help the process along. This could
instantly become the deepest limestone cave in the U.S. It always
amazes me that Utah cavers ignore this dig.

Give these some consideration. Each dig can be an easy day trip from
the Wasatch Front.

Dale Green
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jasonbx



Joined: 07 Feb 2006
Posts: 60
Location: SLC, Utah

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did someone say dig?

Yes, there are plenty of digs. There are good digs in the Gilson Mountains west of Nephi. There are digs in the Uinta Mountains (ask Dave Herron) as well as in the Hoit Peek area where I have personally dug open several caves. There are digs in LBCC cave and BBCC aplenty. There are digs all over in Tony Grove which often yield vertical cave. Jim Peck Ice cave has a great dig. If you like bucking the establishment you could dig in Silly Putty Cave and have potential. We recently dug open two springs and have yielded cave in both. One has cave dive potential for thousands of feet of significant cave. I know of dozens of sink holes to dig in in good areas. There is a good dig above Ogden in Jimminy Cricket cave near Garners Cave. There is a blowing crack up above that on the ridge that would have to be blasted open but you can see formations in that one already. The bottom of Lucifers Lair needs dug and could connect into Main Drain and yield an 800 foot vertical pit as well as increase
the depth of MD 100 feet. I have recently been digging in Mosby Sink which has great potential (ask Dale Green). There is also another hugh dig in the Uintas that is a lake sink. American Fork Canyon has several caves with potential digs in them. Dave Herron has tons of digs up Little Rock Canyon near Provo and would be ecstatic if someone were crazy enough to dig in them. There are lots of digs!!!!

--
Cave Dave Shurtz
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jasonbx



Joined: 07 Feb 2006
Posts: 60
Location: SLC, Utah

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was in the Timp Grotto years ago, but now I am just a net-caver... ;o)

That is, I just keep up with the group on the net these days.

However years ago I did some digging in 'Mouse Trap' cave (location description deleted, refers to several other caves in the area.... --BX)

As far as I dug down there was soft dirt and no sign of rock stopping the dig. If you want to try that (even just for fun and exercise as a nice 'classroom' for potential cave diggers) then it may be an ideal place.


Anyways, best of luck to you and your friends.

Bruce
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jasonbx



Joined: 07 Feb 2006
Posts: 60
Location: SLC, Utah

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave Herron's response----

On Oct 19, 2007, at 9:54 PM, Dale Green wrote:

> Since digging in the Uintas has been mentioned, PLEASE, PLEASE,
> everyone, don't forget the two most significant possible digs in Utah
> and maybe the entire western U.S.

While BOTH of these digs certainly have a lot of potential, I'm not
sure I would classify them as the most significant digs in the Western
United States. There are certainly other digs with similar length and
depth potential, and certainly easier places to dig as well.

> Water that sinks in the Lost Creek Sink on the northern slope comes
> out out Sheep Creek Cave 14.4 miles distant and 2,100 feet lower in as
> low as 7 days. I have been in the previous cave in the sink about 50
> feet over a pile of logs. Unfortunately, logging and building of a dam
> has clogged it with silt. In the spring, a lake sometimes backs up in
> the sink over 1700 feet long, 200-300 feet wide and up to 60 feet
> deep. It disappears in less than a month. We've had a lot of big
> digs here, but nature has a way of alternately filling things back up
> or making excavations that put us to shame. It should be checked
> annually and it wouldn't hurt to have a few digs a year to help the
> process along.

Lost Creek has a very long dye trace, and lots of depth potential, but
the overall system has a fairly low drainage angle. That suggests to
me that the intervening cave passages are likely to contain a lot of
sumps and deep muddy sediment floors and plugs. Leaves and sticks can
get through the system, at full flood, but it still might be a very wet
and very tedious cave for humans to traverse. I'm not saying it
doesn't have lots of potential, or that we shouldn't dig at Lost Creek
Sink, to try to open it up. I'm just saying that for me, it is
probably not the most significant dig in the western US. I've seen
other similar digs elsewhere, that might be a lot easier to dig open,
or might connect into a more open and easily explored cave system, and
yet have similar length or depth potential. Good and promising dig,
yes. Best dig in the state, probably not

> At Mosby Sink, north of LaPoint, water that sinks there causes a
> spring 6 miles away and 2,000 feet lower to increase its flow in only
> 3 hours! This indicates a very direct path to the water table below.
> There have been big digs here also, but for the past decade or more
> the only action has been to keep the stream channel free of sticks.
> This seems to be working because the hole get deeper every year.
> Still, it wouldn't hurt to help the process along. This could
> instantly become the deepest limestone cave in the U.S. It always
> amazes me that Utah cavers ignore this dig.

Yes, Mosby Sink has a very impressive dye trace, with a very rapid
pressure pulse to the outlet. But I note that several people have
already tried digging there, on more than 1 occasion, and have little
to show for it. It that entrance opened up, it might indeed give
access to a very deep cave system. Dye tracing from Mosby Sink to Deep
Creek Spring shows a vertical relief of 1,950 feet. However, the
outlet spring is in sandstone, so the realistic depth potential would
be somewhat less than that. Digs in LBCC and BBCC have similar depth
potential, to a similar surface spring in sandstone. There are
breathing digs in the Tony Grove area (Bear River Range) and Blind
Stream area (Uinta Mountains) with much greater depth potential. I
have a breathing collapse sink on Blind Stream with 3,600 feet of depth
potential to the resurgence. I haven't tried digging there, as it
doesn't look like a friendly or easy dig, but the depth potential is
far greater than at Mosby. Again, I'm not saying Mosby Sink doesn't
have lots of potential, or that we shouldn't consider additional
digging there, but I wouldn't call it the most significant in the
Western US. There are several other places, with similar or greater
potential.

> Give these some consideration. Each dig can be an easy day trip from
> the Wasatch Front.

By all means, consider digging in either of the large and promising
digs Dale mentions. But just because those are good digs doesn't mean
there are not other comparable or even superior digs elsewhere. Both
of those are serious digs, have already been tried several times, and
may require considerable additional effort to get them open. Some good
digs have not even been tested yet. To Dale's list of large
sediment-plugged stream-sink digs, with huge length and depth
potential, I would add Dry Fork Sink (above Vernal). Oh yeah, and what
about Kaler Pit and Capture Cave, in the Brush Creek Drainage? Those
have similar overall potential as well. If I am supposed to be overly
excited about Mosby and Lost Creek, then why not be similarly excited
about Kaler and Capture?

> Dale

Thanks for your comments Dale. There are LOTS of other good places to
dig for more caves.

David Herron
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jasonbx



Joined: 07 Feb 2006
Posts: 60
Location: SLC, Utah

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as a couple of digs go, I have done something almost every year at
many of the digs mentioned.

On Mosby sink, I have done several things there. The first year, I took my
chainsaw down there and cut up all the large trees in the entrance, and
removed them to the top (along with the smaller ones that did not need to be
cut up). That simple act had the biggest influence, since the next year
after that, the entrance dropped considerably. Subsequent years, I have dug
actual dirt/rocks in the back end. This also seems to help it along. My
problem has been getting people to help, so one man can only dig so much.
Unfortunately I believe it is too late to get up there. The road to that
gets quite muddy and sloppy. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a bit of
snow now as well.

On Kaler pit, I have also dug there pretty much every single year. This has
also had an effect, in that access to a lower tunnel/room was opened up.
Mostly I moved quite a few large rocks to improve water flow. I have also
dug in the mud plug at the end, but again progress is slow.

Al Hinman, and myself, have dug quite a bit over the years on lost creek.
The potential there is high, and things have changed there over the years.
The most recent efforts included crawling into a small and low passage that
opened up one year. Again, it has been mostly moving rock, in the hopes
that the water will help us out without all of the rock to block things up.

So I've done a fair bit on these, and some others, over the years. If you
are interested in helping out on these, let me know. I think we are
probably done for the year, given the weather. Next year, however, I will
be visiting these caves again, and would definitely appreciate some help.

Jim Olsen
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jasonbx



Joined: 07 Feb 2006
Posts: 60
Location: SLC, Utah

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

James Henry should know where one dig is up on Hoyts Peak area where he,
Mike Mimbach and I found something just before I left to TAG country. A
large sink with a smaller depression just up the hill and a rock outcropping
with a small very tight lead (that went into blackness) that had a mild
air-flow... (kinda like someone blowing softly on your cheek). Am suspecting
the depression and sink is indicative of a collapsed ceiling. It was a good
30 feet across.
That's one OTHER possibility added to the half-dozen plus already mentioned.

Be safe whilst digging. It's fun and can be very exciting but it can be
dangerous as well.

Ralph
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jasonbx



Joined: 07 Feb 2006
Posts: 60
Location: SLC, Utah

PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a sink in grass valley as well that is getting larger every year. I ran into a guy who had a good indian friend who said there was another entrance to the Lost Creek Sink. In fact he took him on the side of the mountain and showed him where it was. Unfortunately I didn't get good enough information to be able to find it. I can tell you it took the indian who had been there several times before a long time to find it. And they never left a rather small area in looking for it. So it's certainly not obvious. The last guy who had been in the other entrance died in the late 1980's of a heart attack. So it's probably somewhat covered by now. I received this information from the heart attack victim's best friend. So I think it's fairly trustworthy. But there are parts of his story that I'm suspicious of. I think they didn't want me know know exactly where this entrance was. But because of some of the information I was able to gather I think I might be able to find it. Oh
and if this information is correct there are several levels to the cave inside. And it goes up a long ways. And it has been used before by both Indians and Spanish. The upper levels are supposed to still have artifacts. This is part of why I think the entrance might be locatable. There's a chance he was pulling my leg. But he sure had a lot of real info mixed in if he was.
Don't forget the dig on Loafer mountain as well. Which may have another entrance. I believe Neves may have additional information on that one. Lech was found at the end of a dig, keep the faith.

Lewis Ruckman
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