MAIN DRAIN CAVE DIVE EXPEDITION 2016, DIVE GEAR HAUL-IN

July 18, 2016

Fernando at the Top of Frayed Knot Falls Pit in Main Drain, Utah
Main Drain Cave is one of the most formidable and environmentally hostile cave systems for human exploration in the United States.  Extreme care and consideration must be taken when entering this system. The very nature of this cave is extremely demanding with regard to the environment and one wrong move ( break a bone, hypothermia, or a similar trauma... ) and this cave can kill you.  Please get training from the local grottos and ask them about the cave so you can learn about the geology and specific gear that is required as well as the training that is involved to safely enter this cave. You have been warned.  
.
Fernando at the Top of Frayed Knot Falls Pit in Main Drain, Utah
Until last week, the cave sits right at around 1227ft. of total vertical extent with many opportunities to continue down deeper and now recently, opportunities have presented themselves to extend the cave higher in elevation and possibly have a opportunity to have another entrance!


Fernando working up Leaky Faucet in Main Drain, Utah
temps are right around 34 degrees with with blowing wind in places as well as a similar temp in the water that not only flows through the cave and the sumps, but out the resurgence at Wood Camp Spring. There are many re-belays to negotiate including a J hang out into the abyss at the top of frayed knot.
Fernando at the Top of Frayed Knot Falls Pit in Main Drain, Utah

AGAIN, DO NOT UNDER ESTIMATE THIS CAVE! contact me directly if you have questions or will like to be introduced to the right people that are qualified to visit this cave.
Fernando Ascending out of Leaky Faucet, Main Drain Cave, Utah
The main objective of this expedition is for Jean Kreja and David Moore to dive the main insurgence in the main conduit at the bottom of main drain as well as check out the other two sumps in the sand flats section and the Deeper Than Neffs section.
Fernando at the Top of Frayed Knot Falls Pit in Main Drain, Utah
Cavers from Texas, Colorado, and Utah came to help with the Haul in of hundreds of pounds of in diving gear, warming stations, and other materials to keep everyone safe and efficient.
Fernando working up Leaky Faucet in Main Drain, Utah
A follow up to the previous trip into Main Drain with dive gear going to the sump,
I showed up just as the team of 14 was taking off to go to the entrance of the cave and haul in gear in the various stage drops in the cave.  I packed my camera gear and hiked up to the cave to catch up with everyone else which was not too difficult but at 9000ft up, everyone can feel the burn just a bit with the hike.

Fernando working up Leaky Faucet in Main Drain, Utah
I made it up to the entrance of the cave and everyone was getting ready in stages to go in. The first team was going to the sump and that team was already full.  The teams are broken up into groups of three of four so people are not waiting at the bottom of the pits to ascend due to the extreme cold conditions. I joined Fernando's team in the assistance of setting up tents at the bottom of Frayed Knot and Leaky faucet.
Fernando at the Top of Frayed Knot Falls Pit in Main Drain, Utah
Swede mentioned that he was able to reach out to Laura regarding her not being able to make it and I asked if he could send a message to her to let her know I made it up there and I am going in, since my phone was not working at the cave. Fernando and I went down into the cave carrying 25lbs. each and I carried an additional 20lb. pack of camera gear so I could get some photos of the drops.
Graveyard Pit, utah
I was wearing a dry suit undergarment which is made for cold water diving and that suit turned out to be the worst decision I made in cave clothing choice.  I was so hot in this thing that I was sweating so much I was dehydrating and going hyperthermic. It was not good and made every move difficult because of this super massive layer of synthetic material filled up with sweat and weighed me down even more.  It was pretty bad, so I ended up staying at the top of Frayed Knot and set up the camera to photo Fernando at the top of Frayed Knot.  Fernando went down and set up the tent and came back up.
Graveyard Pit, Utah
I got some photos of him coming up Leaky Faucet and at the top of Frayed knot which turned out to be pretty good. We exited the cave and headed over to Graveyard Pit which overlays a couple hundred feet from the top of the Deeper than Neffs Inlet. I dropped in while Fernando waited at the top to see what was going on in there and the cave went down 60ft with air blowing out and break down blocking a continued approach with more passage apparently under the breakdown. This might actually connect to Main Drain and make this cave a system!  I will be coming back here really shortly to find out if a connection can be made. We headed back to basecamp to eat and get to sleep for the next day.  
Bear Mountain Monster Pit, Utah
The next day a team of three went to the sump and I attempted to catch up with them to help with the haul down to the sump without success but instead, I retrieved my flash that I left at the top of a pit in Main Drain and headed over to Lucifers Lair. Lucifer's Lair was sucking in air like a golf ball through a straw and this cave drops almost 300 feet in a multi drop sequence into a unknown section.  I got about 10ft into the cave and lit smoke bombs to see if the other team could smell them on their way out but they were not able to smell any smoke.
Bear Mountain Monster Pit, Utah

I left this cave and headed over to Bear lake Moster Pit which is right near this cave and it drops around 70ft into a dead end snow cone. Not much to see in here at all as it was more of a karst feature than a cave.   I checked out some other caves in the area and they all turned out to be duds and not worth looking at closer other than just a peak.   I headed back to camp and grabbed some dinner with the folks and went to bed.
Lucifer's Lair, Utah
The Following day, I hung out for a bit for breakfast and than headed down to Wood Camp Spring which is where a dye trace in main drain ended in the resurgence spring of Wood Camp Spring. This Spring is a decent size resurgence and was expelling a lot of really cold and clear water as I got to the entrance of this resurgence.
Lucifer's Lair, Utah
It reminded me of Swamp Springs in Tennessee where the Rumbling Falls Resurgence is located. This resurgence is the Main Drain Resurgence and it was worth a good look to see if a similar hole in the ground can be found like the one that was found in Ricks spring up the road.
Lucifer's lair, Utah
After an hour of moving rocks around and influencing some others I concluded that this will be a considerable effort but might be something that is worth doing since it will give us another entrance to dive into main drain and might also unlock the secrets under this region as to if Main Drain is truly the "Main Drain" or if there is an even bigger system just waiting to be discovered which some experts believe.
Wood Camp Resurgence, Utah
UPDATE: The Dive was successful and the Divers were able to push the sump which was around 375ft of length and 79ft of depth to a dry passage that extended another 500ft. to another sump.  This cave just got more interesting and more diving will be happening in the near future. Every member of the Haul team mechanized in a well oiled and enduring Valkyrie that set the stage for a successful dive that Jean Kreja and David Moore performed with prestige.  This is what makes American cave dive exploration so thrive and it is an honor to be apart of the few who endeavor the worst environments for the essence of exploration and wonder. The big question is, what is beyond the next sump?!?! 
Wood Camp Resurgence, Utah

Here is a video of the actual dive with Jean and David breaking through into new passage in Main Drain.

You Might Also Like

0 comments

TRANSLATE

VIEWS