May 28, 2015

Walter Stech in McBrides Cave Alabama
Our last day in North Alabama and what a day it was as we headed out towards Stevenson to visit the world famous McBrides cave.  This is a classic pull down thru trip that is quite popular with cavers but the cave has also got some international attention with the rescue that occurred here 10 years ago where cavers had to be pulled from the bottom of the cave which took the team a couple of days to perform. We met up with Troy Fuqua, Jennifer Denton, and Derek Reneer. 

Entrance to MhcBrides Cave

The hole was rather small in size but it sure was a pull drown trip!! The first three drops were right next to each other and were between 20 and 40 ft in length. 
Troy Fugua at the top of the 2nd drop in McBrides Cave

 We fixed a traditional clove hitch to the rope and worked our way down and through some small water crawling passage until we got to the forth drop which was another 30ft.  
3rd drop McBrides Cave

 This took us to a small room where we could either go up or go down to follow the water to the fifth drop.
Derek at the top of the 4th drop McBrides Cave

We went high and followed a dry canyon passage to a breakdown borehole passage that took us to the "lunch room", which is a standing and walking room where we could rest up for the water portion. This is where we suited up and prepared for lots of water!!! !!
in the lunch room of McBrides Cave
After getting turned around a bit, we made our way down a breakdown passage to the waterlevel and to the next drop. This was a really nice section of the cave! 
McBrides Cave

The ceiling was decorated with formations and the floor had an “S” cut scalloped passage that worked over a 10ft waterfall and to the main 90ft big room drop. 
Walter in McBrides Cave

Ok this was awesome, I was able to perch myself on a ledge to get some shots of walter going over the edge and we were also able to enjoy a healthy dose of water pressure as we went over the falls, what a great rappel!!

McBrides Cave

The there was a pool of water at the bottom and a breakdown pile which took us to the 6th drop where the water was pouring over us but in a way that kept us out of the water.
Walter going over the 5th drop in McBrides Cave

 This was another beautiful rappel!!!
Walter, Jennifer, and Derek, at the bottom of the 5th drop in McBrides Cave
We get down to the bottom and follow the passage 50ft to the 7th rappel which is a series of a few table top drops and a re-direct that we put into the rope to keep it from sawing on the sharp rock.
McBrides Cave

  We made our way down into this pool and started planning for the 8th drop. 
McBrides Cave
The 8th drop is particularly interesting as it has a lot of water in a small confined area.  We have been told that we will have to rig our racks with water pouring over our shoulders which woudl have been a unique rappel nobody has done before.
Walter Stech in McBrides Cave

 It turned out that was not the case when we actually made it over there. The water was quite low but Troy rigged to lower us as we made it over the edge which worked out well but I think we could have rappelled this 40ft drop without too much difficulty. 
Large fossil in McBrides Cave

Once we got to the bottom we warmed up in this room where the wind was not blowing and crawled our way over to the 9th drop which was the last 20footer in a waterfall.
Walter Stech going over the 6th drop in McBrides Cave Alabama
Wooohoooo!!!   We finally made it down the last drop and it is a walk out of the….well not so much of a walk more like a stoop walking crawling and some walking passage for a few thousand feet before we were able to exit the cave. 
Chert Ball Crawl McBrides Cave

  There was one section that had impressive chert ball formations in a watercut canyon so we continued down and made our way to the exit!!!   Lucky, the owners dog was waiting for us at the exit of the cave which was a nice site to see. 
Lucky realizing its Troy at the exit

The warm weather smacked into our faces and we enjoyed lounging in lawn chairs while troy pulled out some of his amazing deals he picked out of thrift stores including a tent you throw up in the air and constructs itself as it hits the ground…
Troy and Lucky at the exit of the cave

It was a blast caving with Derek, Jennifer, and Troy and I am grateful I was able to see Troy once again and to get a chance to go caving with him in McBrides!! What a great cave and great friends to cave with.   We headed north to the Fall Creek falls Region to stay at Alfreds campsite and get ready for one last day of TAG hospitality!!

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