Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Ridge Walking in the Cheat Canyon

Kyle McMillan, Gayle Suppa, and myself -- Dave Riggs -- did some ridge walking down in the Cheat Canyon on Election Day. We met at 10am at Coopers Rock, then hiked the trail out to Raven Rock. From there, we followed the power line cutaway straight down into the gorge. This canyon is incredibly steep! Though the forecast called for rain all day, we had a beautiful day with nothing more than a few sprinkles.

After somehow passing right over the limestone outcrop, we continued down to a sheer vertical drop just a few hundred feet from the river itself. We'd gone too far, and started hiking over to a stream falling over a sandstone shelter cave.

Gayle under the shelter cave. The stream flows down from Beaverhole Lower Cave.

We followed this stream straight up the hill and, as expected, found it to be the stream resurgence of Beaverhole Lower Cave. We spent about 45 minutes in Beaverhole Lower, traveling back in it's single straight-line passage until we were sufficiently bored. Some of the walls are polished smooth from all the caver traffic back in the 60's and 70's, as evidenced by the old signatures back there. Hard to believe that so many people made this brutal hike down for such a boring cave. If nothing else, the cave is interesting in that there are no side leads or tributaries, it's just a single passage extending at least 1300' straight into the mountain.

Kyle and Gayle at the entrance to Beaverhole Lower Cave

Then we followed the limestone outcrop, hoping to find something new and exciting. Travel was very slow as the terrain was extremely steep and slippery, at some points bordering on dangerous. We found a 40' high limestone cliff with a 2' - 4' diameter cave passage up in the cliff, but weren't able to safely get close enough to check it out. Vert gear will be required to investigate it.

Limestone cliff with small cave passage visible up towards the top/middle

We traveled a bit farther, just enough to spot a very large valley and an 80' tall waterfall over a limestone cliff in the distance. It's enough to make me want to brave the brutal hike through the canyon again to check it out. We were back to Morgantown by just after 4pm and had a well-deserved meal at IHOP. We then met the WVUSG at 5pm and I went with them to Beaverhole Upper.

See: My Photos

1 comment:

cavinbenm said...

Somewhere in that neck of the woods there is spring cave with some potential. I think its more towards Beaverhole upper, though