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Thread: TR: Thursday Morning

  1. #1
    Trail Master
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    TR: Thursday Morning

    Well we decided to head to DCC once again, this time with the hopes of maybe seeing something new to us. We decided to check out a hole in the cliff down canyon from the overlook that is orange/redish in color. I had talked to a few people and realized it most likely wouldn't be much.

    Well Saturday morning we woke up and headed over to the hole. It was a bummer, when we got there we found a large nest of sorts. Steve cleared the veggitation and I went in. It was tight to begin with and very shortly went down into a very narrow slot like crack. I worked my way down to my groin and waited for Steve to arrive. When he did we talked about it, and I felt around with my feet to get an idea for the size and shape of the hole below. Just incase there could be passage hiding out of view. I couldn't feel jack and figured it wasn't worth my time but I guess I just had to see so I squeezed my way in.

    It was really tight through my groin area, I had tight carhartts with tight fleece long underwear even. I had to work my way up or down through the constriction to pass that region. Then came my helmate, which was in no way going to fit through. I had to take it off and turn it sideways to get it into the small pocket I had ended up in. I had heard it was a dig but it looked miserable to do so. I saw holes drilled and spots where it looked like beside the highway where they drill and blast. I figure the hole was near the same as for a climbing bolt.

    They probably drilled and filled the hole with something, maybe bullets (explosives in general), or maybe they put in bolts and bring a small slide hammer to clean jerk the chunk out? Made enough impact to fracture a small chunk out. That was before the squeeze. Once inside the small pod I was sitting on smaller sized break down. There wasn't really much digging to be had IMO, more like breakdown/ rock removal. Very slow the process would be, passing out chunk at a time, sometimes having to pry things or chip or blast? Low impact I see.

    So what's the deal with that, what's the view on bolting or drilling hook holes? They drilled and placed climbing bolts for the previous gate on Thursday Morning. I've heard about an un-chased lead in a cave that is rumored to need bolts to go. I like hard aid, but if there isn't something to hook, lasso or free climb on then a bat hook hole might be needed. Depending on height and features to work with I would strive to leave no bolts and as little to no trace as possible.

    Anyway back to the story. We came back out and debated what to do as the rest of our group was supposed to meet up with us on Sunday morning. We wanted to save most of our energy for the next day so we decided against digging in honkey and driving to another location and doing more hiking and rope work once we got there. We had already walked to this cliff band, we heard/ though there might be something else along it. We decided to just hike where we already were chasing down holes to no avail.

    It was wierd we stumbled across someones wierd dig project, where there was a rocky rubble pile exiting a short hole where you could find chunks of formations broken off. Some were about a square foot by 6 inches of flow stone type stuff.

    We came back to the car and talked to some people who were older then we are. Atleast one of them grew up in the state and never knew there was even caving in Colorado! That's messed up! I bet they knew there was: climbing, snowboarding, mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, skiing and many other various activitys.

    It seems like caving should be known also considering the fact that most all of them are on public land and there is atleast over 500 caves in the state I hear. They were photographers so naturally I showed them my pictures from premonition last weekend and they were impressed it seemed and possibly envyous. They seemed interest in trying to go caving to shoot pictures, I'm all about trying to help them do that in a low impact manner. It seems to me that IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO! Helping people is better and a much more pure motive then being greedy and keeping things to yourself.

    We took off to the FTD block camp and found it already occupied. We figured there was room for 2 more so we walked up and talked to the 2 people in camp. They weren't sure if we could share the site with them as some other members of their group had reserved the site, and they were still in/ on their way out of Fixin'. They said they expected them in about an hour or two but that we could wait and talk to them when they arrived at camp. We said alright and weren't too sure what to think, but we figured we would wait and see what happens.

    We decided to hang out in Steve's truck and listen to music while we waited. Plus we weren't too sure exactly how these people felt about us trying to invite ourselves into their camp site. While we waited we discussed just hiking off to some other site around the rim on the block. We figured we would wait and see first though.

    Eventually Rick came up and invited us to come and hang out by their nice fire while we waited. We liked the thought of that and joined him and his daughter Alex. We enjoyed the warm well kept fire for a while and walked down to the rim to enjoy the last bit of the lack of a sunset.

    We came back and Rick had some Avenged Sevenfold playing in his car which was a suprise that was quite welcome. At this point I remember feeling like we had started to talk alot more and there was less tension.
    These people were actually quite friendly and kind as we had found out through the night. Eventually it got dark and their friends were running just a little late, we were relaxing in their camp chairs in the mean time.

    Hershel, Jen, and Rick (#2) showed up and didn't seem to mind us at all. They said they didn't mind if we shared the camp site. We talked lightly for a while getting a feel for who was who. Hershel and Rick(2) had spent the most time there, I think about 15 years or close to each. It sounded like they had primarily mostly explored Fixin' this entire time while in this area. WOW! Rick,Rick(2) and Alex are all from the Denver region I'm pretty sure and Hershel and Jen are from Washington. Rick mostly spent his time climbing instead of caving, so I asked him about his climbing career a little. Also I'm pretty sure it was his, Jen's, and Alex's first time caving and for sure ever in this area if not.

    They cooked and we all moved about socializing and what not. Steve and I had eaten 2 PB&J's each and a loaf of bread between the two of us when we got back from the hike. They wondered if we would eat what ever was extra. we figured that where we were planning to go in the morning we couldn't bring alot and so lunch might be down sized to snacks. So we said we could do that as we figured we should load up before the big day.

    We had no idea how good this night was going to be. We ate a bunch of well cooked nicely marinated chicken breasts, and corn on the cob. and even a little debbie snack. We talked about caves and played some camp fire style games that I didn't really know about. Then we sacked out in our favorite sub site of the community area which was miracilously still vacant. We awoke to a threat of rain in the morning as it drizzled we raced to get our stuff packed up and in the truck to keep it dry and wait for Steven's brother David to show up (I originaly thought there might be 3 others).

    Eventually Dave shows up after the drizzle has stopped and we had moved back down to the fire. We eat a quick bite and suit up for business, making sure to pack light and efficiently. Suprising to Steven and I neither Rick(2) or Hershel had seen Thursday Morning which wasn't any further away then fixin and just as good. We offered to show Rick the entrance so that they can explore it in the future and he accepts. We say good bye to most of the friendly campers and excitedly race off for the objective with Rick in tow.

    Once we get there Steve and I don't say anything to see if they walk right past the entrance like we did the first time with out noting it's existence. Of course they do, as it's pretty small and covered in bushes (like cosmic banana but a bit different). We point it out to them and Rick is shortly on his way back home after saying goodbye. I had given them my information so they can contact me about other caves as well. We excitedly entered the cave and I wanted to get a picture of the first canyon section this time with a different set up.

    A friend of mine gave me a nice Canon external flash just a few days prior. Problem was I only knew the basic way to use it which was firing it manually remotely as I hadn't done any research. The odds were against us as I had no way to sync the camera and external flash. I had it on auto mode with the flash on as I wanted to light the fore ground and I had hoped to have Steve visible in this region. I had David perched up at the top of the canyon before it starts to drop facing away and making sure to fire the flash towards me but shielding the blinding bulb with his body (I figured he would be a blackish silohete). Turns out I was wrong. The light bounced all around him off the walls and totally light him and alot of the area around him, even out towards me up like the sun!

    I took over 30 shot's trying to get the timing right and somehow got lucky some where in the middle, and only once (we kept trying for another one from a different perspective).

    We continued down the cave and eventually decided to check out the AB survey area where we saw these:











    Eventually we got to an area which splits and there is a passage that heads back up and slightly off the the side of the main passage. This feature marks that area.

    Steve decided to push up back that way further this time then we went last time and shortly ended up in an upward section that was kinda tube. It ended crossing this wierd colored purple, black,brown, greenish globby flowstone like stuff. Then after that we saw all this cool stuff:











    I found another lead going down but it looked somewhat percarious with out a rope. The mentality with caving is push it untill it dies or you can't or you don't have the means to safely do so at the time. I decide to keep going untill I felt it was starting to feel unsafe and I was worried about the up climb to get back out. Fortunately for me I took my time and worked my way all the way to the bottom with some cleaver movement above air. I had seen something cool on the way down that was good enough to warrant calling the others down regaurdless if there was not another lead (which I saw a tricky possible up off chute near the bottom of the down climb anyway). Once they were in transit and I was on the ground, I started to look for the next lead which would be a down hole that I spotted. While I waited for them I looked around the pit we were in and I noticed something I have never before seen!

















    We headed back out and decided to go a little deeper to show David a couple cool features. Then we took off very happy to have seen what we did. Not to mention pretty damn tired even though we clocked in at only 7 hours this trip compared to the last couple. Still pleanty of leads to chase, we've not seen it all yet.

    Enjoy!

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  3. #2
    Excellent trip report......keep them coming.

    Any and all digging and blasting is illegal without the proper permits from the forest service or BLM. Anyone caught digging, blasting or bolting without one should suffer the concequences of fines and being forced to reclaim their damage and distruction.

    The chain gate in TMC was put there illegally and thus you do not see a lock on it. If you want to do something positive for the cave......take a cordless gringer with you next time and remove the chains and hangers.

  4. #3
    Cool Trip report and awesome pictures. That first one you took with the remote flash is out of this world. It looks like somebody blasted a new entrance to the cave cause there is so much light.

    I am going to have to get up to Thursday morning again. That really is a cool cave. I will add it to the groawing list of caves I have to get back and revisit.

    You mentioned in an earlier trip report that after a certain point in Thursday that the cave was starting to look more and more like Fixin. Did you get to that point this time or did you take another passage?

  5. #4
    Trail Master
    Join Date
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    Thanks guys!
    Caverdan, how does one go about getting these permits? I heard about a group of people who dug a passage in honkey around the time of our first trip to FTD. I wonder if that or any of these others were legit? Thanks for telling me about that as I wouldn't want to do something illegal. Screw the grinder, they are climbing bolts! all you need is a wrench I'm pretty sure, plus you get a free hanger! I have a climbing hammer, I can buy a clean jerk loosen the bolt and if it doesn't come right out I can try to clean jerk it. Chissels and tuning forks work well.

    Vader, I posted that picture from the last trip(which I forgot to mention) as a landmark to mark the point at which we broke off. We ended up going back in the opposite direction then we were headed originally(we did a 180). This was not very similar to FTD in the area we were in this time(from what little I've seen I'm sure).

  6. #5

  7. #6
    Those climbing hangers are over 30 years old. Use your best judgement before placing them again.

    As far as digs go......you must apply to the proper land manager. The most common reason would be to stake claim for mining purposes. I don't know of any cavers ever applying in this state....but that doesn't mean it hasn't happened. Some of the cave digs in New Mexico have taken literally years to get approved and past all the red tape. Big Manhole comes to mind as an example. Since your not taking anything and the passage just needs a little enlarging to continue exploration.......no money is being made to justify all the filing fees and such.......I think you get the picture. Once you ask for permission you awake the sleeping giant......some think it's better to ask forgiveness if caught.

    Personally.....I stick to the private property of Williams Canyon for my digging pleasures. I have yet to find a law against putting dirt back in the hole though.......it's called reclamation and all miners should do it to their digs that don't profit.

  8. #7
    Just my .02 on digs--
    Get to know your local BLM guy
    Get to know your local forest service guy
    Better yet, get to know your local fish and game guy ( more likely to see him/her in the field)

    Then-- learn to contour a dig and scatter, distribute your diggings like landscaping and cover your hole well when you leave it.
    Use a camo tarp over an open dig while you are digging.
    Paint buckets forest green or sand or dull brown if you are carrying them around in the open, and dress yourself accordingly.

    In our most recent cave we have the entrance buried under about 5 feet of fill, logs, rocks, some grating reinforcement and topped with a couple of big logs and a ton of pine needles with area landscaping and cleaning of footprints.
    If others find it, more power to them

    The above are just ideas, I deny personally knowing about any of it
    You can rest when you're dead

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by RedRoxx
    In our most recent cave we have the entrance buried under about 5 feet of fill, logs, rocks, some grating reinforcement and topped with a couple of big logs and a ton of pine needles with area landscaping and cleaning of footprints.
    I'm not saying your wrong, I'm just curious. What is your reason for covering up this cave. Was it covered in the first place?

  10. #9
    It's in a sink, water will filter through the protection, and still enter the cave, but not a massive amount of silt and debris. Also to prevent animals from falling in. It was covered, au natural, until it was dug open.
    A couple of winters ago we camped in the area and witnessed a rain/snow event that overnight filled the sink with about 15 feet of water, when it whirlpooled in we knew what was there. Water ran all day into the depression, then later we dug it open.
    You can rest when you're dead

  11. #10
    Sounds like a good dig.

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