Tuesday, October 09, 2007

[trip] WVUSG Does Pendleton County

The WVU Student Grotto recently spent a great weekend in Pendleton County. We stayed at John Harman's WV Underground fieldhouse in Germany Valley, had an excellent time and even managed to do a bit of caving while we were there.

On Saturday morning, we took a trip to Sinnett-Thorn. Since we had a fairly large group, including many "green" cavers, we moved rather slowly. We headed back in through the main canyon passage, went up The Silo, and checked out the big room while we ate lunch. We examined the Thorn connection, but the passage had 6 inches of water in it - the wind howled through the passage so forcefully that the water had continuous waves on the surface! Opting to stay dry, we headed back down The Silo and went upstream to the waterfall. A few people poked around up top and did the squeeze, finding borehole passage beyond, while everyone else monkeyed around near the waterfall. We spent about 5 hours in the cave.

The group at the Sinnett entrance, after a tiring but enjoyable trip. Amanda Summy's photo, snapped by me.

While we were in Sinnett-Thorn, Kyle McMillan led a group of beginners from Alderson-Broaddus into Trout Cave, on the John Guilday Caves Nature Preserve.

After eating some dinner in Franklin, we headed to Harper's Pit, a 70' deep pit located in the middle of a Germany Valley field. Kyle and I belayed people from below; Tom Lilly, Jataya Taylor, Dave Mason, Gayle Suppa, and Thad Martin did their first in-cave rappels - everyone did a great job!

On Saturday morning, we all had a serious hunger for some pie, so we headed to the restaurant at Seneca Caverns. Unfortunately Thad's car died on the way there, so he and a few other people spent the remainder of the day trying to fix it. Meanwhile, the rest of us headed to nearby Mystic Cave. We first went down the right-hand (downstream) branch of the cave, did the handline climb down and went to what seemed like the end, then came back out to warm up and have a bite to eat. After narrowly avoiding a territorial bull, we headed back in and went upstream, getting thoroughly soaked in the waist-deep pools, but enjoying the amazing formations. For such a frequently-visited cave, Mystic is very well decorated, and is a great horizontal (but wet) trip. We probably spent a total of 4.5 hours in the cave.

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