Forum Index > Trip Reports > Newton Cave in February
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
christensent
Member
Member


Joined: 05 Nov 2011
Posts: 654 | TRs

christensent
  Top

Member
PostSun Feb 23, 2020 10:31 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Always wondered how the caves on Cave Ridge are on access through the winter. Decided to find out this weekend.

Left Summit West at 6:30am and skinned up to Cave Ridge. Got to the sink hole where the cave starts, except there was no sink hole, entire hole blows over with snow. I stuck a pole in right where I thought it must be and said "We start digging here. If you had ever seen this in the summer, you'd just leave right now without even trying."

The three of us dug essentially continuously for 3.5 hours. We hit a patch of grass after digging down a bit over 12 feet. We setup three shoveling stations with each person lifting snow around 4 feet up. We then tunneled all around trying to probe and search for rock formations that might remind me of the entrance location. At about the 2.5 hour mark, our hopes were starting to sink when I probed some rock in the side of the hole that I liked the location of. I over-confidently said "we got this" and kept digging. At the 3 hour mark, I had worked down to about 15 feet below the surface and picked a direction I was confident in. Finally I got a probe through to the cave opening about another 6 feet down.

In total, the cave entrance rap station was 22 feet below the snow surface.

I continue to find it remarkable that we dug a hole this deep. I honestly would have said it'd be impossible for a team of three people to dig a hole 15 feet deep in a flat snowfield in anything less than at least a full day.

We rappelled in and went a little ways down the cave but did very little actual caving as the point was really just to do a silly digging trip.

I was curious to see how wet it would be in here, seeing that the snowpack is frozen and not really melting right now (although I'm unsure to what extent the snowpack is constantly melting from below?). Turns out, there's little water flowing through the cave in the winter. It's not the driest I've seen it, but I've been in there when it's wetter even in July or August.

Why did we do this? If you have to ask, this trip isn't for you.

Upon arrival, there wasn't even evidence of a sinkhole. The entrance is more than 20 feet deep at this point.
Upon arrival, there wasn't even evidence of a sinkhole. The entrance is more than 20 feet deep at this point.
Just starting the great dig
Just starting the great dig
This shows about the first 12 feet of the 22 foot hole
This shows about the first 12 feet of the 22 foot hole
Exit staircase, we would fling snow up as many stairs as we could with people stationed every two stairs to continue the flow.
Exit staircase, we would fling snow up as many stairs as we could with people stationed every two stairs to continue the flow.
Probing for rock features
Probing for rock features
Finishing off exposing the snow shaft into the cave
Finishing off exposing the snow shaft into the cave
The entrance is about 10 feet further down
The entrance is about 10 feet further down
Looking up from the cave entrance, Matt is already about 12 feet deep from above in this picture
Looking up from the cave entrance, Matt is already about 12 feet deep from above in this picture

--------------
Learning mountaineering: 10% technical knowledge, 90% learning how to eat
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Brushwork
Food truck



Joined: 18 Aug 2018
Posts: 505 | TRs
Location: Washington
Brushwork
  Top

Food truck
PostSun Feb 23, 2020 11:08 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Wow!  What an extraordinary effort.   This is hard for me to wrap my head around.    You guys must have been consumed with something.....
I wouldn’t have known the snow was so deep.    And, it’s amazing you could find the entrance.    Wow!

--------------
When I grow up I wanna play.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
cascadeclimber
Member
Member


Joined: 04 Sep 2006
Posts: 1325 | TRs

cascadeclimber
  Top

Member
PostMon Feb 24, 2020 8:42 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
This is awesome. I love the enthusiasm to try something different.

Solid work.

--------------
If not now, when?
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Brushbuffalo
Member
Member


Joined: 17 Sep 2015
Posts: 1478 | TRs
Location: there earlier, here now, somewhere later... Bellingham in between
Brushbuffalo
  Top

Member
PostMon Feb 24, 2020 8:50 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Just amazing....amazingly silly, but who among us hasn't  done pointless things just because we can and the thought occurs to do them.

Really, an admirable effort of physical stamina to keep digging and digging down, all the while having to transfer snow UP instead of merely OUT as when excavating a typical snowcave.
Wow!

--------------
Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
-
Member
Member


Joined: 10 Aug 2008
Posts: 6138 | TRs

-
  Top

Member
PostMon Feb 24, 2020 9:32 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
is the entrance to the cave vertical or horizontal at first? if the former, yikes! i'd hate to be digging down then suddenly disappear.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Schroder
Member
Member


Joined: 26 Oct 2007
Posts: 5728 | TRs
Location: on the beach
Schroder
  Top

Member
PostMon Feb 24, 2020 11:51 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
christensent wrote:
Just starting the great dig
Just starting the great dig

What struck me most here is the size of the trees around the entrance.  I explored Newton Cave in 1967 and all of those trees near the opening were under 6 ft in an alpine meadow.  I'll have to see if I can find photos for comparison.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
GaliWalker
Have camera will use



Joined: 10 Dec 2007
Posts: 4218 | TRs
Location: Pittsburgh
GaliWalker
  Top

Have camera will use
PostMon Feb 24, 2020 12:02 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
How cool!  up.gif

christensent wrote:
Why did we do this? If you have to ask, this trip isn't for you.

I don't have to ask - plenty of people do 'nutty' things that I don't understand their motivation for, just like I probably do (!), but that doesn't mean it isn't fun for them, as mine are for me - but it's still really cool to see the amount of effort and dedication you guys put in! I'd have joined in the shoveling with you guys, not because this trip is for me, but because I'd probably have been swept up in your enthusiasm.  smile.gif

--------------
'Gali'Walker => 'Mountain-pass' walker
bobbi: "...don't you ever forget your camera!"
Photography: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shahiddurrani/albums
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Bramble_Scramble
Member
Member


Joined: 28 Dec 2012
Posts: 101 | TRs

Bramble_Scramble
  Top

Member
PostMon Feb 24, 2020 1:00 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Very cool trip! I've always wanted to go into one of those caves (preferably an easy walk in one, not a technical one). Iron- I don't think there would be much danger of accidentally falling into a vertical shaft. The entrance heads in horizontally before it drops off if I remember right.

Here is a picture of the entrance in summer. Sorry I didn't get a good picture of the whole scene. The entrance is in kind of a sinkhole so it makes sense that you would have to dig down crazy deep to find it.

Newton Cave
Newton Cave

Here is gimpilator's report from ten years ago. http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?p=552844
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
christensent
Member
Member


Joined: 05 Nov 2011
Posts: 654 | TRs

christensent
  Top

Member
PostMon Feb 24, 2020 8:21 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
The entrance is indeed vertical, but it does have an entrance platform where you start rappel from in the summer that'd most likely stop you. My assessment of the final snow entrance is it'd be possible, but pretty unlikely, to slip through the opening and fall all the way down.

I dug the final snow hole while on belay.

Bramble_Scramble wrote:

Here is a picture of the entrance in summer. Sorry I didn't get a good picture of the whole scene. The entrance is in kind of a sinkhole so it makes sense that you would have to dig down crazy deep to find it.

Newton Cave
Newton Cave

That is not Newton Cave. Newton Cave's entrance is a fair bit more dangerous than that one, although it'd still be somewhat unlucky to literally fall in.

--------------
Learning mountaineering: 10% technical knowledge, 90% learning how to eat
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Stefan
Member
Member


Joined: 17 Dec 2001
Posts: 4553 | TRs

Stefan
  Top

Member
PostTue Feb 25, 2020 1:28 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
OSHA would not approve!  Good on you that the snow did not cave in on you!

--------------
Art is an adventure.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
OdinPNW
Odin



Joined: 23 Feb 2020
Posts: 12 | TRs
Location: Tacoma
OdinPNW
  Top

Odin
PostTue Feb 25, 2020 4:46 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Way too scary for me
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Bramble_Scramble
Member
Member


Joined: 28 Dec 2012
Posts: 101 | TRs

Bramble_Scramble
  Top

Member
PostTue Feb 25, 2020 5:24 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
christensent wrote:
That is not Newton Cave. Newton Cave's entrance is a fair bit more dangerous than that one, although it'd still be somewhat unlucky to literally fall in.

Whoops you're right. For some reason I thought I saw a sign at the cave saying Newton Cave. I wonder which cave that is then. I looked at the 1963 Caves of Washington and realized I've been to the entrance of Newton several times. It is in an even deeper trench than the cave I had pictured and the entrance is at quite a slope. My friend ventured down the slope to peak inside but even in summer it was wet and slippery and I didn't want to risk falling in.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Trip Reports > Newton Cave in February
  Happy Birthday Rob Jordan, trad_guy, rasbo!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy