Saturday, April 21, 2007

[trip] Bennett Cave Survey Part 2

Tucker County Speleological Survey headed back into Bennett Cave this month. Our team - Dave Riggs, Brian Masney, John Harman, and Josh Flaugher - headed in to survey above the waterfall. I scaled the questionably-old rope first, getting soaked in the process. One bye one, everyone climbed the 20ft waterfall, each being drenched with cold water in the process. At the top, we found a small chamber with a sketchy 15ft chimney rigged with a length of webbing. Brian scaled up it and examined the passage above - another waterfall climb. Already chilled, we decided to abort the waterfall survey until next month (with wetsuits and extra dry polypro).

We then headed downstream and surveyed about 150ft of muddy passage, (almost) killing the left side lead. Doug McCarty's team surveyed from the big room into the waterfall room, then under and towards the left.

Bennett Cave lineplot as of April, 2007.

After exiting the cave, a local took us to a "hole" which had recently opened on the property. We walked over with him, and I went in to check out this new virgin cave. It consists of a single 40ft gothic-shaped passage, with nice vertical fluting. The ceiling is between 10 and 20ft tall, but the cave is never more than 4ft wide. With a bit of digging in the floor, it may be pushed further - but no air movement was noted.

Dave Riggs exiting the small new Tucker County cave. Photo by Brian Masney.

Finally, John, Josh, and I did a surface survey from the trash-filled FRO to an insurgance point where the stream drops 10ft down enlarged joints, to the Bennett Cave entrance.

Bennett Cave is now just over 800ft long. Remaining leads are the downstream main passage, under waterfall right passage (low and wide), and whatever wet passage exists above the waterfall.

Bennett Cave is located on private property and is CLOSED for recreational caving. The Tucker County Speleological Survey has been granted permission explicitly to survey this cave.

See also: Brian Masney's photos

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