BOATBOX CAVE, UTAH

September 13, 2016


Laura preparing to drop into Boat Box Cave, Utah
The charm of the high Utah mountains have never let up on amazement for us, especially when it comes to the alpine karst regions that hold a tight belt around the peaks.  One cave in particular called Boat Box Cave, is a vertical drop with two pitches and a very unique feature at the bottom of the pit.  Elevation at the entrance of this cave sits at around 9400ft. which makes this cave one of the highest in Utah.
Entrance to Boat Box Cave, Utah
The entrance to the cave has a 35ft. vertical entrance with a log lodges in at an angle to the drop.  There is a 15ft sloping passage at a 45degree angle that takes you to another 30ft drop into water, lots of water!!!!  There was some moon milk on the walls but there was mainly limestone that harnessed the foundation to this system. I dropped down and Laura came down shortly afterwards to the second pitch where I got ready for a rap into water that I assumed was going to be in the 30s.
Laura descending Boat Box Cave, Utah
I threw some rocks down the pit and I could hear deep splashes with a low tone suggesting that the water rap will be deep. I got on rope and rigged some rope pads for the drop and made my descent to a small ledge where I could see the water itself. 
Boat Box Cave, Utah
At first I was thinking that this would be a small lake but it appeared to me that this is now a fissure looking water feature rather than a circular shaped water feature that I had in mind. What was even more interesting is that the water was surprisingly clear with a measured depth and viz of at least 25ft from the left over rope that I used for the descent. The water was static in nature but it was deep, really deep. 
Boat Box Cave, Utah
I disconnected from the rope and dropped into the water wearing shorts and a horse collar life vest that I realized looked like I just got done eating at all you can eat crab buffet.

The water was cold enough to make my ears disoriented which tells me that the water must have been in the low 40s or upper 30s. 
Boat Box Cave, Utah
I took a few quick free dives to around a depth of 10ft and shined my 1000 lumen light into the blue with no sign of the bottom and a under cut looking feature in the submerged wall. 
Boat Box Cave, Utah

I am confused as to why all of the other caves relieve the water from their depths in this region, but this cave.   there must be around 15ft of snow that gets dumped on this region, so there is significant water flow, but this particular cave holds water. 
Laura Descending down Boat Box Cave, Utah
A dive has been planned in the near future which will render more answers as to why this cave has so much water, could there be more dry passage behind a duck under, could it be a off set sinkhole to a underwater system, or could it be just a unusual "bowl" that seeps water at a rate that the snow melt recharges the cave after the snow dissipates?
Boat Box Cave, Utah

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