News & Links : Ricks Cave Update 3

First off we have an announcement to make- Matt has officially named the second waterfall “Vestal Falls.” Very fitting being as the word “vestal” means pure, or virgin.

Now for the exploration update…

Oct 6th 2009
Update and Photos by Josh Thornton

I feel like I am always learning new skills while exploring Ricks – like underground waterfall climbing.

Matt and I went up to Ricks for another exciting adventure. Our goal was to get some pictures that might be usable for an article I am trying to write. Well, as you can see, we took some pictures, but they didn’t turn out quite like planned.

I won’t bore you with another description of the cave leading up to the second dry section. Matt and I went around the second dry section taking pictures and taking in the beauty.

It wasn’t long before we decided to lay some line starting from the Smash Pool (the little, pool, just past Vestal Falls that we think is the way to go…). Matt led the way while I attempted to take some photos. You may recall from an earlier post that this passageway starts with a restriction and opens into a bedding plane type room that is maybe 5-6 ft tall and 30-40 ft wide. Matt hit a restriction that he could not fit through with his 98s and let me squeeze through with my 85s (I know what you are thinking, how could Josh fit through with his muscular build, right?). I made it about another 8-10 feet and hit a no-mount restriction. Although we both had plenty of gas, we didn’t feel up to it today, so we turned.

On our way out, Matt and I stopped to look at Vestal Falls for a few minutes. As we both looked up at it, I said “I bet we could almost climb that!” Matt quickly responded, “You wanna try?” Of course, I did. I scampered up the falls (scampered is most definitely the wrong word, it was pretty intense and quite difficult). I figured I would look around a bit to make sure it was worth Matt coming up too. See the pictures ☺

Matt “scampered” up the falls also and we spent a good 30 min exploring what turned out to be another 200-300 ft dry section filled with beautiful cave formations and another “waterfall” similar to Wayne’s Waterfall, but a scaled down version. We have decided to name this upper dry section (above Vestal Falls) “The Elysium.”

At the end of The Elysium the water flows heavily out of a pile of boulders and breakdown. We wonder if there is a passageway of any size behind them. Perhaps if the no-mount section past the Smash Pool turns out to be too small, we may have to find out… to be continued.

Matt Mimnaugh, Michael Thornton & Josh Thornton