Saturday, May 4, 2013

Caving

April 2nd, 2013
Staff geared up for caving
This week up on Spruce stared with a cold snap of such bone-chilling levels it was only appropriate to have a staff Cave Training Day. The original plan of heading out to the Sinks of Gandy was nixed on account of the road being blocked by snow and ice, so instead these slightly masochistic adventurers turned to an old favorite, Back Ridge. Back Ridge is a small cave within TMI property that gets relatively little use these days, but remains the stuff of legend nonetheless. Many of my favorite Spruce stories come from the rather rambunctious Oak Werner, who used the Back Ridge and its neighboring sink hole to hide everything from moonshine stills to the body of an indebted gambling partner. After an entertaining and enlightening conversation about cave strategies and safety with Matt Tate (an experienced caver and former co-director of SKMC), staff trekked the short hike to Back Ridge through deep snow not knowing what to expect from this icy crack in the mountain. The cave is well known by previous TMI'ers for its sump, (or, where the water rises high enough to meet the ceiling) which necessitates total submersion in order to pass through. Unfortunately for us, the other end of the sump was too iced over to continue. Many thanks to Matt for being the one to dunk under multiple times and make the call for us to high-tail it back the woodstove, and for just being oh-so fun and informative.  -Shannon Gaffey

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