C All the Pits!

This past weekend was the weekend of C-named pits!

It started off with the grotto trip to Cagles Chasm. An originally small trip grew to include people as far as from Atlanta! When we arrived, Tim and Brian started rigging E1 and Mark went up to Jeepsides, I followed. As people got vertical gear on, Brandon and Brandi joined me at Jeepsides as Mark completed rigging the first rebelay.

Jeepsides is a beautiful entrance. Cagles as a whole has various domes and pits within it’s 3-D layout. It is a fun place to play around.

Everyone did something different. With so much to explore, some climbed up to bridges to check adjoining pits and domes, others bounced E1, the main entrance, and some of us tried to get as deep into the cave as possible, completing the last drop into the lowest levels.

Brandi and I started to get a bit chilled so we went on rope to climb up E1 while we waited the final drops to be rigged. The view was lovely! In the photo below take note of Brian, rappelling the second drop from the Jeepsides entrance.

Brandi and I had some fun on the rope…as we approached the lip, I saw that the rope wasn’t fully on the pad. Oh well, the rock there is smooth and well worn, the rope was fine. As I switched to a pigtail as we were climbing tandom, I saw something worse…the pigtail line was crossed underneath the main line, which was still weighted by Brandi. It was in a location that couldn’t be seen from below, and due to the “stepwise” lip of E1 it was out of reach for me to cross as a knot. Tim didn’t even see an easy way, but luckily, Brandi and I were going to rappel right away again anyway, so she changed over and rappelled. When she was off rope, I switched back to the main line and fixed the rope pad and the twisted ropes, then followed her down.

The day ended with Tim and Michelle still trying to see who could get the most cycles of rappelling/climbing in. I hear Michelle ended up winning with 5 cycles.

~*~*~

The next day I had a trip planned to Conley Hole. Being near the summer solstice, it was prime time for the amazing sunbeam many enjoy in it. Nathaniel was very kind and not only allowed access via his land but he also lead us to the pit, and hung out with us all day! The hike is loooooong and uphill quite a bit, but worth it! We caught the light. =)

I truly hope everyone who goes to the pit is careful of their step, there are many pretty things on the ground.

There were pretties on the wall as well!

There was a lot of moisture in the pit, and although it made for a very clear sunbeam, it also meant there was a cloud layer at the top of the pit making photographs difficult for me. So instead of trying for a clear shot all the way up the pit, I let it blow out and attempted to use it to my advantage.

It was my first real cave trip with Nathan and Sabrina, who got some lovely photos of the pit and formations within it. If you aren’t familiar with their work, you should check out their flickr photostreams, Realms of Reality and Brina Bat

It was one of the best cave weekends in a long time. Lovely people, lovely caves, and great fun all around!

Batyak

bat·yak
\ˈbatˈyak\
noun
Definition: Kayaking to watch a bat flight.
tr.v. bat·yak·ing, bat·yaked, bat·yaks
Origin: Best known origin is in the caving region of TAG (Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, USA) where there are a couple locations of bat hibernation caves close to bodies of water. In the warm summer months when they fly out to eat at dusk, they are visible from a boat on the water in such locations. As many cavers are interested in other outdoor sports such as kayaking, doing night kayaks to view bat flights became a natural merge of the two.