Trip #13 September 29, 1995 A Contuning Story on Exploring A Tenessee Cave
Doug Dewitt drove down from West Virginia for two days of caving, spending the night at my cousins. The two of us returned to the Upper Room to explore and map the side lead that Jack and Buddy check out in 1987 and that Buddy, Doug and Rob looked for on the previous trip.
We climbed down about 30 feet to some white soda straws and formations and then the passage split with a lead going straight down and one going along the side of the wall to the left. We mapped about 50 feet to the end and then returned to the down climb. This downward passage continued down to a tight duck under, I pushed under and down, Doug called me “LOOPY" and the name was given to the passage.
Loopy Passage reached a small drop to a lower level passage but was blocked with two large rocks. Doug managed to dislodge them and let fall into the passage below. The passage looked very familiar and after finding foot prints I realized it was the Cobble Stone Alley. We completed the map from the Upper Room down to the Cobble Stone Alley. I was thankful that I did not have to climb back up that passage. We have never repeated that route. We exited the cave through Johns Grotto.
Trip #14 September 30, 1995
The next day Doug Dewitt, Stacy Danniel and I mapped Stacy Passage (64 feet) going north from the Fish Pond. We then mapped Blood Passage lower level (410 feet). Checked out the left passage at the Junction Room and Discovered Crystal Crawl. Doug got very excited about the Crystals on the ledge near the end so Stacy and I climbed up to check it out. The Crystals were large, up to four inches in length and 1/2 inch across. Doug continued up the passage to the end of the previous survey and named the passage Crystal Crawl, this was a low crawl that Doug pushed through with some difficulty. He started digging and moving rocks to the side, after 12 feet he found, Doug's Room and the Root Cellar (150 feet).
The Root Cellar reminded me of the bottom of a cellar or septic tank? There was water dripping everywhere with roots hanging about 20 feet with water running down them. The ends of the roots were about 4 feet from the floor. I was not to sure about the place as I knew that there was a house located on the surface nearby on this side of the hill. While Doug was setting a survey station at the end of the Root Cellar, Stacy found a low crawl at the base of the pit with loose gravel that lead to another dome about 8 by 10. We did not dig into it but left it for Stacy and another day. On this trip we reached 10,292 feet of cave passage mapped, 1.9 miles.
Trip #15 January 25, 1996
Buddy Davis, Jan Poler, Doug Dewitt, Donna Oliverson, Stacy Danniel, Jason Johnson and I returned to the junction room just after Blood Passage and climbed up to the third level of Blood Passage. We discovered Jason's Attic and Jason Squeeze.
Trip #16 April 20, 1996
During the Clark family reunion at the Dubose conference center ant Monteagle, Tennessee, Gene Zeigler, Jon Zeigler, Stacy Danniel, Jason Johnson and I took a four hour sight seeing tour to show Gene, Jerry's brother the cave, more Clark cousins.
We made a large loop through the front section of the cave visiting Clark Columns, the Soda Straw room, Hope Room, Upper Room, then down through Loopy Passage to the Cobble Stone Alley and out.
At Clark Columns Gene explored a grotto that went up, near the Soda Straw room and found a long root about the size of your small finger. We named the room the Rope Root Room. The Soda Straw room was mapped on the first trip. This almost makes a loop, after going about 100 feet through a room full of soda straws, hollow water filled formations hanging from the ceiling, the passage drops down to a walking passage for about 50 feet. Near the end you can climb up through a hole and across a nice pool into a 3 foot high room about 50 feet long. At the end there is a small opening that you can shake hands with someone who has gone down a side passage to the left of the columns.
After leaving Hope Room and at the edge of the large pit, Jon Zeigler explored a new formation room for about 20 feet with very nice red and white formations. We named it Zeigler's Grotto.
Although we did not survey, we have some new areas to map later and we did pick up some old survey markers left on the last trip.
Trip #17 August 2, 1998
T. John and I, after the 1998 NSS convention, which was again held in Sewanee, Tennessee, stopped by for a photo trip to the upper formation room. T. John is his real name, just the letter T.
Trip #18 April 28, 2001
Buddy Davis , Jason Johnson, and I mapped the upper level, which is the third level, over Blood Passage. (427.18 feet). Level survey is now 10,856.93 Feet and the total survey length is 11,296.52 feet. We have passed the 2 mile mark!
Our thanks to Billy and Bonnie Philpott for letting us explore their cave.
I started caving in the 1970's and joined the National Speleological Society, local caving clubs and several survey clubs in the southeastern United States. I am also the autrur of a cave mapping software called CAPS, which is available on my web site.
For more information on caves and caving in the southeast, and the complete article with pictures, Please visit my web site at: