March 19, 2014

Chris Climbing out of Jager Pit Cave Indiana
Chris was talking about going caving for a bit now and after our survey trip got moved over to the following weekend, we decided to go to the Lost Valley area where Jaeger Pit cave, Raymond Bliss cave, Lost Valley Pit cave, Haas Cave, Buzzard cave, and moonshine pit are located.  We headed out early in the morning to get down to the Lost Valley area so we could spend a full day in the caves.  We got to the landowners house where we were greeted by the landowner and his friendly dogs.  After getting to know the landowner and talking to him a bit about what we are going to do, he pointed us in the direction where the caves are located.  We geared up, hiked up the hill, and traversed to the first cave called Jaeger Pit cave.  This cave has a 45ft. drop and some tight squeezes that lead into two 60ft waterfall domes.  The cave continued into a crawling stream passage that would keep going for over 1000 ft. The cave continued into some standing passage until it sumped out.  This was Kristina’s first pit so a 40 footer was a good drop to start off with. 
 I rig the drop and rig a re-direct so that everyone can get on rope safely.  We all drop down and get to the bottom of the cave with no issues.  I get into the squeeze passage..... dam this is pretty tight, thats what he said.  Chris will be able to negotiate their way through this but apart of learning is going to be learning by doing.  I dropped down into the slot and as soon as I looked ahead of me, I saw dog bones with the dog collar.  Poor Hound!... must have got stuck in this pit and decided to keep going to see if he could get out.  Chris attempted to fit through the passage but ended up turning around.  She was able to make it and climb down without any issues.   We made it to the last small 8ft drop so we wiggled our way down into a room with two 60ft. domes and two waterfalls.  This was rather interesting as these domes were connected by a natural platform bridge of sorts that had a stream passage flowing below it.   One of the falls is fed by the nearby Haas cave. 
Kristina in the 60ft Dome Room
We decided to come back out of the cave since Chris was waiting for us and we wanted to make sure we had time to get over to the other caves as we had planned.  We made our ascent out of the cave and went to search for Haas cave just to see the entrance. 
Haas Cave
This was a cave that a landowner was getting his water supply  from so we did not enter the cave but it was tempting because we were not suppose to go in.  We continued down the hill to the dry river bed that was leading into lost valley cave.  This is a wash that takes surface drainage from rain storms and directs it right into lost valley pit cave.  I was told that we might have to go around some hot fences so when we came to one we went under the first fence we saw.  Eventually, we got to the entrance and there were boulders the size of…well boulders...BIG ONES.... in the way .....along with large logs you could build a house with, maybe a tree house, but yea.... a house.  The mud and clay was thick and deep by the foot that cemented this all together.  We started to dig with our hands and quickly found many obstacles in our way including new boulders 100s of pounds, more large logs wedged into the thick clay mud, and various other pieces of debris that made us work to find the entrance.  A hole appeared to open where we were digging and I could feel a slight draft from the cave below.  It smelled like the entrance so we dug more and more and more. We were rolling logs digging with our hands and attempting to lift boulders with pulleys and rope but after an hour and a half we stopped burning day light and decided to stop.  Below us, we had more boulders, more thick clay by the foot left, along with more logs wedged in lace that just wouldn’t allow us to slip through the entrance.  We decided to leave and come back another time with trenching tools so we could get these obstacles out of the way and enter this great cave system.    We also decided to leave Raymond Bliss cave for another time as we knew we would be coming back here anyway and Raymond Bliss will be a nice second cave to do.   We ended up leaving the cave and going pitting elsewhere which was a lot of fun.  We dropped an 80 footer and it had a nice room to the side for a couple nice pictures. 
Chris Ascending the Pit
There were some nice formations in this pit.  The hike out in the dark was interesting but thankfully it wasn’t like the hike at Moses Tomb that we encountered a few weeks back. 

Chris ascending a pit


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