Spring Break 04', TAG, "Plan Craziness"

Our Spring Break 2004 trip had been code named, "Plan Craziness". The idea was to go deeper, wetter, and crazier than ever before. Trip participants were Nate, Brian, Ryan, Brandon, Molly and Angela. I had made several signs for the drive down, "Show Us Your Boobs", "You Are Sexy", "Please Moon Us", etc. Brian and I had fun holding them up to various cars full of girls.

We arrived in the TAG area around 6:30 p.m. The plan was to do a pit before bed. We only had a GPS point on it and drove around for hours trying to find the right roads to take. The closest we got to it was 3.5 miles. Brian and I decided to treat ourselves to the Chattanooga "Gentlemen's Club".

We met up with Ryan and Angela in the morning. Ryan was going to lead us through a deep multi-drop cave system. It was called Hang'em High and involved 7 rope drops @ over 500 feet deep. When ever Ryan even hints that the walk to the cave is going to be "long", "not bad", "wouldn't want to do it twice", you know you are in for a death march. It wasn't too bad however. We walked too far and too high on the ridge and missed the cave. I'm glad we did though because we got to see some neat springs that quickly turned into impressive waterfalls, which then disappeared back into the ground. We found Hang'em High entrance which was pretty neat. The cave was pretty cool too. I had never done 7 rope drops before in a cave. When we exited the cave, Brian and I wanted to go play in the nearby waterfalls. Ryan secretly "rocked" our packs while we were gone. Neither of us found out about the extra weight in our packs until later that night. Pay backs are a bitch Ryan Moran!

That night we ate at the all you can eat buffet, mmmmmmmm. After dinner we were going to do a roadside pit. We got split up and only Brian and I ended up bouncing it. It was a quick 90 footer. Cave by day, Cave by night.

The next morning we did the all time classic, Neversink. It is a large diameter open air pit, 160 feet deep. After doing that we headed to do Stoned Well. It was another deep multi-drop cave system @ 500 feet deep. It ended up being another "death march" up the mountain with full cave gear and multiple ropes. We couldn't find the entrance when we got near. Finally, we found the impressive entrance. There were at least 4 different pits all within 10 to 100 feet apart. We picked the one we thought was the right one and it was. The cave is very neat. We exited the cave to find ourselves in a dark thunder storm.

Fern Cave, Surprise Pit was the last cave to do on Sunday. It was another "death march" up the mountain. But this time we had to carry "The Beast" also. The Beast is a single coil of 800 foot static line. Surprise Pit is an extremely impressive 450 foot deep free fall in cave pit. You can hear the entrance to Fern Cave before you even see it. There was a lot of water pouring into the cave. You follow the water for about 5 minutes and you get to Surprise Pit. Rigging in the waterfall can be deadly as the waterfall can "surge" without warning. Instead, you have to do a "sketchy" horizontal traverse around the pit. It was extremely slick and finely polished limestone. The ledge can be as narrow as 1-2 feet wide. There is no fixed line here. The first person has to do the whole 30 foot long traverse on belay. We elected Brandon for the job. The pit was so awesome. When you get on rope and get to the lip, you can't see the bottom, it just looks like you are going into a bottomless hole. It's all free fall, so you are hanging on the rope the whole way down (not against any walls). When you get about 300 feet down you start to get into the waterfall spray. Touching bottom feels like you are in a hurricane. That much water falling 450 feet creates an incredible amount of airflow and wind. You have to squint your eyes to see anything at the bottom. You get totally soaked climbing back out. We tandem climbed out. Arrival time back to Purdue was 4:30 a.m.

Pictures from this trip

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