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Traditional Geocache

Cavers Plunge (an extreme cache)

A cache by Moonsovrbend
Hidden : 1/2/2006
In Kentucky, United States
Difficulty:
3.5 out of 5
Terrain:
5 out of 5

Size: Size: small (small)

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Geocache Description:


A HISTORY OF THE CAVE The Cavers Plunge Geocache has been up and running for over six years now (February, 2012). There have been many “finders”, many photos shared and some great logs and stories written regarding personal experiences in pursuit of this geocache. As such, I thought a little history about the cave and the area would be a nice addition to the cache post. In so far as I know, the first human beings to reach the bottom of this cave were a group of cave explorers from the Philadelphia, PA area who called themselves “The Dirty Dozen”. In about 1962, this group of explorers ventured into the wilds of Kentucky, perhaps seeking the next Mammoth Cave. How they came to know of the cave and its location remain a mystery. Once on the bottom, this group, bent on exploring the cave entirely, scaled the wall where the log latter now resides. They placed pitons to protect their climb, some of which may still be visible. But as luck would have it, the cave did not go anywhere as “The Dirty Dozen” had hoped. Because the 1950’s and 1960’s were peak times in Kentucky cave exploration, I suspect this group was hoping to link several caves together by navigating from “Cavers Plunge” to caves both east and west of the pit. That did not pan out. The next group to actively explore this pit was the Dayton Area Speleological Society (DASS) in about 1972. I believe DASS became aware of the pit from one of the Philadelphia group. DASS was actively mapping and researching caves in the immediate area, and had a scientific interest in the cave itself. DASS exploration of the cave confirmed “The Dirty Dozen’s” findings that the cave didn’t extend much further than the bottom of the pit itself. By the late 1970’s and early 1980’s the pit was declared a dead-end by the caving establishment, and relegated to extreme sports enthusiasts. In the early 1980’s, the Lake Cumberland Speleological Society (LCSS) took up an interest in the cave as training and adventure (this is the point where I first dropped the cave). Since it had been established that the cave itself had no value in terms of expanding other know caves in the area, individuals who explored this cave became known as “yo-yo’s” or yo-yo cavers; people who just wanted to go down, pause for a time, then come back up. After serious scientific interest in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the cave was probably not visited at all until the geocache was established by a former LCSS member in 2006. At this time, the land owner was logging the ridge. When approached about placing a geocache at the bottom of the cave, the land owner expressed both curiosity and great concern regarding the deadly opening on his land. Earlier, he had placed barbed wire and surveyors tape around the entrance in an attempt to warn hunters and hikers of the hazardous opening. Still, the owner expressed a deep curiosity about the void below the deadfall opening. He wanted to know what it looked like down there, and now, because of the Veterans of this cache, he knows. The general area of this geocache is intensely cavernous. The cave opening, a wonderful example of a karst window at the parking co-ordinates is not Wind Cave, but Hamm Cave. Hamm cave has been mapped by DASS and LCSS and is comprised of about 1,200 feet of passageways. Some low and wet crawlways have not been extensively explored. Wind Cave itself is located at 37 3 30.31N, 84 31 16.93 W was mapped by DASS (1974) and LCSS (1982) and contains over two miles of passageways. It is believed by both caving organizations to extend much further as much of the cavern has been left unexplored. A truly gigantic cave system is located less than a mile to the east of Wind Cave, Hamm Cave and Cavers Plunge. This cave was mapped by DASS (1972-1985) and contains well over 30 miles of passageways. Publication of this speleological research does not exist since DASS desired to preserve the pristine condition of the cave system. To this day, it is believed that Wind Cave, Hamm Cave and the pit at Cavers Plunge tie in or are linked to the larger cave system to the east. But the researchers who worked on this project are now all old men, entirely incapable of pursuing a physical linkage of all of these caves. It was once and still is believed by some, caves in this region, if linked physically together by exploration and mapping, could rival Mammoth Cave in length as the longest cave in the world. Whether all of these caves are physically linked is not known, and anybody who once desired to explore the idea have grown too old to pursue this idea. Be that as it may, this idea was what led “The Dirty Dozen”, DASS and LCSS to first explore the pit at Cavers Plunge. For now, please enjoy the cave at Cavers Plunge for what it is: an experience in geocaching. Any aspirations to map and link all of the area caves together would require an effort of hundreds of experienced cave explorers, every weekend for at least a decade. And there is nobody on the radar screen interested in pursing it. __________________ THE CACHE!!! DUE TO THE EXTREME NATURE OF THIS CACHE, SUPPORT OR TEAM MEMBERS NOT ACTUALLY MAKING THE DROP ARE ENCOURAGED TO SIGN THE LOGS. BUT PLEASE INDICATE YOUR ROLE ON THE PHYSICAL AND ONLINE LOGS. This is an EXTREMELY DANGEROUS cache and should be attempted only by very serious minded and well trained individuals. This is a cache for experienced cavers who are well versed in vertical work. This cache will require highly specialized skills (repelling and ascending) and will require special equipment. The cache is located at the bottom of a 100-foot + deep vertical cave (a pit) and the coordinates listed is the location of the entrance. The cave - called Wind Cave Pit - is not widely known and to my knowledge, has not been explored since the mid 1980s.

It was once thought possible that Wind Cave Pit could connect to Wind Cave itself but extensive exploration by several caving groups concluded that it basically goes nowhere. Once on the bottom- the explorer will find no leads - unless of course - those who have explored it in the past (including myself) overlooked something. Expect this to be a simple "repel and ascend" expedition and not one of genuine exploration (unless you find more "cave" than everyone else did - which is very possible).

WARNING: Do not attempt to find this cache if you are not an expert in rope work. It will require rigging the pit, repelling to the bottom (93-foot single pitch), signing the cache log book and then ascending a free-hanging rope. Not only will repelling gear be necessary but mechanical ascenders will be 100 percent necessary to climb back out.

WARNING: If you are not an absolutely competent vertical caver - DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS CACHE!! If you do not know exactly what you are doing when it comes to repelling, ascending (not rock climbing) and caving - there is a very good possibility you could get yourself killed. Do not make the mistake that you could repel to the bottom then rock-climb back out - IT CAN NOT BE DONE.

WARNING: No not take children or pets near the entrance to this cave! It is dangerous to even be near it. The entrance to this pit is a rather small unremarkable hole in the forest floor that goes straight down. At the entrance, the hole is approximately four feet in diameter. Approximately 15 feet below the entrance, the cavern opens in to an impressive chasm. If you attempt this cache, you will repel through the narrow entrance chute and down in to the very impressive chamber directly under the entrance. As you continue your repel deeper, your rope will be dangling in the darkness below you and several feet from the nearest wall. Once through the entrance chute - the remainder of the drop is considered "free". At about 93 feet below the entrance, you will land on a fairly high mound of rocks and forest debris. This "mound" is stable and you may "un-rope" here. Even though the area around the entrance was logged two years ago, there is still plenty on which to rig the pit for the descent. There is a good approach to the entrance and a gentle break-over - it is not awkward getting vertical - it is a nice drop in almost every aspect - however - if it has been rainy - a bit of a shower forms and in worst case conditions - may be drenching for the repel and ascend.

Like i said above - the area at and near the entrance has been logged recently and there is a considerable amount of logging debris around and near the entrance. This includes numerous limbs and unwanted or unused logging waste (timber). Also as a result of recent logging - with the thinning of the canopy, some thick undergrowth and briars have grown and may make for a mildly unpleasant or, at the very least, unremarkable journey to the entrance itself. Also note that the current owner of the land had placed a barbed wire fence around the entrance in order to protect hunters and others from venturing too close to the pit by mistake. This barbed wire fence is no longer intact and the wire is laying near the cave entrance. In short - with the logging and wire fencing - this is a rather unimpressive cache when viewed from the surface. However, even though the entrance itself is unremarkable - once you see what lies just underfoot - a magnificent - gigantic cavern - i think you will be impressed! If i am not mistaken - this is the deepest pit-cave in Pulaski County - and the county is very cavernous.

Directions: From Somerset Kentucky - drive east on Kentucky Highway 192 to Pitman Creek. Just on the east side of the creek - turn Right onto Clay Hill Road. Go past Clay Hill Church a few hundred yards and take a right on to Strawberry Road - follow the creek around about a mile and park at 37 03.316 , 84 31.750. From there - use your GPS to navigate to the entrance of the cave - the cache will be located 93 feet directly underneath the listed coordinates for this cache. This cache is small and is composed of a log book only. To avoid most of the logging debris - go straight up and over the ridge line. Again - for the untrained - this should be considered an extremely DANGEROUS cache. Do not attempt this cache alone or if you are not a completely competent and expert caver.

This cache will require planning and organization - please feel free to email me if you have any questions

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Current Time:
Last Updated: on 11/17/2014 4:40:33 PM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (12:40 AM GMT)
Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum