Adventure Crew 999

Whitings Neck Cave.
The adventures of Kaelan, Madelynn, Shannon, Robert, Noy, Shelly and Kevin.
Article written for the Area Scouter by Kevin Archer

Pancake Room
Pancake Room.

On 27 March 2010, Venture Crew 999 from Forest Hill went on their second caving trip with Mr. Buddy Hihn of Hi Ventures, Inc. to Whitings Neck cave in West Virginia.    It is a challenging adventure since it also includes a 40 foot drop and ascent with ropes and cable ladders in the cave to get to another major area for exploration.

We started with a one mile walk to the cave.    Along the way, Mr. Hihn discussed a variety of interesting topics such as water action and aquifers in the production of cave systems and the current precautions needed due to the WNS (White Nose Syndrome) that has been destroying the bat populations.    The caves are privately owned, and Mr. Hihn emphasizes the requirements to protect the caves and their fauna. Pride Rock
Madelynn on Pride Rock.
About 10 am, we entered the cave.    The cave begins with a muddy slope with openings that lead off in all directions.    We investigated several dead ends and some surprisingly twisty passages that lead back to the start.    We crawled through holes, sloshed through puddles, chimneyed over pools and drops, and slithered through tubes to get to the various areas.    The formations in the cave are all formed by water, and include some beautiful ones like the Wedding Cake.
After exploring the upper cave region, Mr. Hihn set up the equipment for the descent.    Imagine a 6 inch wire contraption vaguely resembling a narrow ladder curling over the edge of a rock into absolute blackness.    Then, when you finally work up enough guts to lower yourself over the edge on the the ladder, it begins begins swinging and twisting in mid-air with you on it. Kaelan
Robert and Noy
Robert and Noy
The first member of the crew down the pit was a positive, encouraging and most of all, brave young lady.    Everywhere we went, she approached the cave with a sense of adventure, and this drop was no exception.    Laughing and singing, she dropped over the edge of the ledge and into space. As she descended into the dark, she kept the crew smiling on her whole way down with comments like, "Oh look!    There's a ledge!"    "Oh cool!"    and    "Oh wow... this is really neat!" One by one, the rest of the crew were lowered into the pit.    Once everyone else was down, Mr. Hihn lowered himself, and the crew explored the two main offshoots.
Returning up the drop took a couple hours or so for the seven crew members, as it is a somewhat more difficult and slow process for novices because of muddy slopes, limited hand and foot holds, with a swinging ladder and a belay rope as the only supports above a sheer drop, not to mention already having had a full day of cave exploring. Return from the depths
Return from the depths
Muddy Finish
Muddy Finish.
Once the gear was collected up, it was a 45 minute walk, climb, crawl and slither to the exit section where a couple of ladders lead to the surface, and exited the cave about 8 pm.    Due to the time and difficulty involved, we had spent between 9 and 10 hours underground.    Muddy and tired, but thoroughly exhilarated by meeting the challenges of the day, we walked back to the campsite to clean up and have a late dinner about 9 pm.
It was a great trip, and is highly recommended as a challenge to all crews.

Please see Mr. Hihn's website at for further information on caving trips, White Nose Syndrome, and additional pictures from our trip.

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