Wednesday, June 20, 2007

[trip] Deckers Creek Pits

This evening, Brian Masney and I headed to Deckers Creek to "survey" a few pits. Real pits are rare in Northern WV, and even more so in Monongalia County. Several are clustered along Deckers Creek where water manages to enlarge limestone joints and then fall far enough to start cutting down into the rock.

We started with a pit that I discovered last year, called Jumbo Shrimp Pit. Brian rappelled down first, and we taped the pit at 27.1 feet from the lip, 28.5 feet from the bottom of the small sink. The floor has a pile of leaves and debris several feet high. The cave is essentially a single solutionally-widened joint which bells out to 4 feet wide at the bottom. I took a couple survey shots and we both sketched the inside of the cave before ascending out.

Dave Riggs rappels into the (new) deepest known pit in Monongalia County. Photo by Brian Masney.

Next we hiked over to Nuttinbuttawett Pit, which Garton published as 25 feet deep. We dropped the pit and taped it at 19.3 feet from the lip. This cave appears to have formed where two fractures intersect, and an old floor and drain are visible about halfway down. While not as deep or long as the new pit, at least this pit bells out wide enough to form a real room. One thin layer of shaley-limestone had lots of very large crinoid fossils. Luckily the pit was only taking a small amount of water today, so we didn't get soaked. I did a rough sketch of the pit and we climbed back out.

Dave Riggs ascends out of Nuttinbuttawett Pit, after stripping it of its coveted first-place title. Photo by Brian Masney.

Now nearing dark, we spent a few minutes trying to find the pit that Greg Springer described as Itsatightone Pit. Brian found a very small but steeply-walled sinkhole and within minutes had exposed a limestone joint about 8 inches wide in the bottom. We were able to peer at least 6 feet down into it, and could hear rocks bouncing down even further, but it'd take some work and a very skinny caver to push it.

Brian Masney digs open a small sinkhole along Deckers Creek which may be Itsatightone Pit.

See also: Deckers Creek cave photos by Brian Masney

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