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Thread: Duo Pit Caves
10-20-2011, 12:38 AM #1
- Join Date
- May 2008
Duo Pit Caves
On Monday, I received an email with an invite to meet up with some of the OHDG members for a trip near Sheridan Mountain for Tuesday. The goal was to descend down into one of the caves dubbed duo pits. The entrance was "unusual" quoted the invite from Brent. You will be lowered through two constrictions because the diameter of the constrictions are too tight to rap through. Also only one person has been down through the constriction to check out the logistics and noone has been further into the cave to check it out. Shoot, I thought. One day notice on a weekday? I didn't want to miss a fun trip like that. What could be more fun? Darkness, mud, unknown terrain and tight squeezes... The worst thing my boss can say is No, so I might as well just ask her and see what happens. So after some negotiations with my boss to promise to return to work in one piece I was all set to go.
I was mildly worried that my butt might not make it down in through the constrictions and it was a little too late to take back all that chocolate I ate this summer. I put on my CRW pants. The ones with the compression bands that are supposed to make you a fabulous runner or something. I modelled them for my husband asking him if it looked like my butt was the same size as my helmet. I had been told that they had lowered a helmet through the constriction and there wasn't much for extra space outside of that. Being the good man that my husband is, he told me that yes, my butt looked quite small in fact. He was sure I would fit. In the morning, I did all the flushing the system tricks I knew, put on the compression tights and headed north to Deschutes County.
Brent and Kara decided to meet me on the highway near Bend. One time I missed an entire trip and spent two hours driving around trying to find the intended cave, so now they are cautious to make sure I make it to the right location. When we got there, Eddy from the SO was already there with his buddy and bags of rigging gear. 10 of us total were there, 6 planning to be lowered into the hole, with four for support and to haul everyone back out. After a short hike, gear was spilled out around the splatter cone and the entrance looked like a garage sale.
I watched carefully as the first guy was lowered into the funnel. The entrance is hard to explain. It is sort of like an inverted pop bottle with a little hole entrance to the bottle part. The tight part is right at the opening then again at the bottle opening at the bottom of the funnel. The whole descent is only about 60 feet. Brent went down into the area between the two constrictions hoping to get some interesting video.
Then the guys say - Errin - hey its your turn. Okay.... well if I don't fit, then I guess I am stuck top side. Not really any consequence. I had put my harness on under my suit so that it wouldn't get hung up on anything. I arranged myself under the rack and over the hole, held my arms up over my head and was lowered into the funnel. All my worrying was for nothing, I slid down the first part and then down through the next part without incidence. I didn't even have to 'squish'. After an hour, we were all lowered down. While I was waiting, I worked a few rocks around and we looked around for more leads, waiting to save the main passage until everyone was down. Our support crew had time constraints but we were able to wander through all the parts of the passages that were readily accessible and get back to the funnel after about two hours. Not too bad for a lava tube.
To get out, each person jugged the line to the constriction. You had to jug into the hole high enough for the haul team to be able to pull you through before the pulley system collapsed. The system was set up without space for a reset since space was limited topside. Once you were dragged through the tight spot, you could again jug up to the entrance hole which was the last tight part. There, you put your hands up through the hole and the guys up above would manhandle you up and out into the sun. Some very comical video was taken, but I don't yet have copies. I was the last one up, so I didn't get to see everyone else. I discovered that I am quite useless and a dead weight with my arms held up over my head. The foot loop on my ascender got hung up on something and they weren't able to lift me up out of the hole. After some digging around between me and the inside of the funnel, they were able to shove me back down and free my ascender so that I could be dragged out too. Fun, trip. Can't wait til the next one.
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10-20-2011, 06:03 AM #2
- Join Date
- Mar 2006
- Above you and looking down
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10-21-2011, 07:59 AM #3
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- Dec 2005
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