August 06, 2013

Mystery Falls
We drove an hour and a half from Conley Hole to Chattanooga TN so we could check in, grab the key and proceed to one of the biggest waterfall pit caves in the world, Mystery Falls!!!  Mystery Falls use to be a commercial cave back in the day and they had a system that would lower people, one at a time, down this pit cave to the bottom where they would be able to view the falls from above.  Someone fell and died on this mechanical system so they closed the cave and placed concrete at the 295 ft drop from the surface.  There was another entrance made which has a small water walking passage to the drop at 270 ft.  There was a large rock and bolts in the wall which we rigged to everything which gave us redundancy for tandem climbing this pit but took some more time to build. 
Another interesting feature about this place is that you can plug the water fall so the water stops flowing and allow a reservoir of water to build up.  Why would you want to do this?  because when you are at the bottom and the water is released you get this MASSIVE surge of water that comes crashing down which was absolutely amazing to see!!!! AMMAAZING!!!!!!!!!!
Waterfall at Mystery Falls from the bottom
The pictures I got were not the best because my Canon G12 only works for smaller rooms and this room has just massive! I used all my lights and I still could not get the right shot for this cave. At the bottom was the old carriage system they used which they seemed to have left at the bottom along with some small passage that choked out on either side.

At the bottom were some interesting clay formations that the water has made as well as a small waterfall that leads to a sump which washes out into the river in town.

One by one people descended this waterfall pit and the only thing you could see at times was their headlamps lighting up the walls as they dropped deeper to the center of the mountain.
Mystery Falls
Most of us climbed in tandem which made for a quicker trip but we still ended up getting out of Mystery Falls at around 10 PM.
Ascending out of Mystery Fall's

 It was one hell of an experience for me climbing out of Mystery Falls.  I was using a frog system and I was able to stop to view the massive flowstone formations along the way as I ascended on rope. It is still fascinating to see the stratified rock slabs that the water has carved away in this mountain creating this massive hole. As I ascended to the surface level, I was thinking to myself that this is just incredible to see how water can form some of the most amazing places and also made me wonder how many more swiss cheese mountains are in the TAG region yet to be discovered..
Mystery Fall's Tandem Climbing


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