Forum Index > Trip Reports > Exploring Newton Cave near Snoqualmie Mountain 10-11-09
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Gimpilator
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Joined: 12 Oct 2006
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Gimpilator
infinity/21M
PostMon Oct 12, 2009 2:12 pm 
Sunday EastKing and I, with our friends from OSAT Bill and Nancy, went out to explore Newton Cave on Cave Ridge.  Part of the deal in Bill and Nancy's revelation of the location of the cave was that Greg and I would not share the information with others.  The combination of deep shafts and slippery down-sloping slabs can make spelunking on Cave Ridge extremely hazardous.  But I am told that there is a book in the Seattle Library system that can help determined people find the way.


After several hours of hiking we found the entrance and made our first slippery scramble and short rappel into the entrance chamber.  The caves of Cave Ridge were formed by the erosion of a large vein of white marble.  Inside the first chamber we found remaining portions of this vein which looking sort of like snow in late spring which has melted and refrozen many times.  There was an old plaque on the wall and a sign-in register which was really just soggy tatters.


Proceeding on we navigated a series of confusing diagonal slanted passage ways leading up and down and around.  Many of the vertical shafts were running with water from above increasing the difficulty.  Thankfully there were plenty of good hand holds and footholds.  My helmet saved me from braining myself several times and I now have a new appreciation for skull protection.


There were a few very small passages that we had to crawl through and I quickly became aware of my skeletal limitations in range of movement in a small space.  Being tall was an advantage in scrambling the larger open shafts but in the crawl spaces it was a limitation.  Not once in my life previously, have I spend so much time groveling in the mud.  We next came to a ledge parallel to a dark void.  There were several solid looking rappel bolts.  I took off the rope I had carried and Bill was the first to drop into the hole.  I followed suite and found that the 40 foot drop was actually fun after clearing the overhang.


When we were all down we continued on into continually decreasing spaces.  I felt that I was gaining a new idea of what life would be like as a contortionist.  At 3:15pm we called it turnaround time after reaching a depth of 25 stories according to the altimeter.  We used a set of ascenders to scale the rappel rope rather than fighting with wet prussik knots.  Making it past the overhang section proved to be very challenging for everyone.


Above the ledge, there were only a few hair-raising wrong turns and retraced steps before we found our way back to the entrance.  After seven hours underground, we emerged into the freedom of wide-open spaces and fresh breezes, just as dusk was setting in.

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Huron
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Huron
Heartless
PostMon Oct 12, 2009 2:24 pm 
Very cool. Thanks for posting. How many ropes did you use to get that far down?

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bobbi
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bobbi
stillaGUAMish
PostMon Oct 12, 2009 2:24 pm 
i can feel claustrophobia setting in.....my problems will be my weight and height biggrin.gif  small spaces are a challenge!  rappelling looks fun though.

fun outing....

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bobbi ૐ

"Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting.  So…get on your way!" - Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss
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Gimpilator
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Gimpilator
infinity/21M
PostMon Oct 12, 2009 2:40 pm 
Magnum wrote:
Very cool. Thanks for posting. How many ropes did you use to get that far down?

Thanks.  We only used one full length rope.  There are several short ropes tied to a log inside the entrance for the first rappel.  Just don't use the red rope because it is badly frayed.

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Dayhike Mike
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Dayhike Mike
Bad MFKer
PostMon Oct 12, 2009 3:25 pm 
Wow! Very cool... Love the variety of activities that get posted here. Hoping for much more spelunking in the future! smile.gif

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"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke
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The Angry Hiker
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The Angry Hiker
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PostMon Oct 12, 2009 3:48 pm 
I did not know there were actually caves on Cave Ridge. Thanks for the TR. And thanks to EastKing for sparing us an upside down summit pose.

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yukon222
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PostMon Oct 12, 2009 3:58 pm 
Interesting TR!!  And the pics of the rock formations!  up.gif   I think I'll stay above ground - 250' below the surface is intense. eek.gif

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detekt
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detekt
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PostMon Oct 12, 2009 4:11 pm 
Thanks for this TR.

I stumbled on the entrance a few years ago totally by accident.  I didn't know that there are actually caves on Cave Ridge!  For a brief moment I considered going in and checking it out.  Common sense prevailed- I was by myself, no one knew I'd be in a cave, and I know NOTHING about spelunking and this particular cave.  I'm so glad I didn't go in!

Looks fun though.

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EastKing
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PostMon Oct 12, 2009 11:18 pm 
This was the ultimate cavng experience. Bill and Nancy were great leaders here and did very well getting into the cave. Adam kicked serious butt here. The rappells were total fun.  biggrin.gif  up.gif  biggrin.gif I felt on the major rappell (which was a free rappell with the rock being too far to touch with the feet) I was floating above the ground. This memory I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It was quiet exciting and a great change from many of the hike and climbs I was doing yet it involved a beautiful hike to get to.

For me it was only my fourth, non-commercial cave I had ever been to and by far the most exciting. I have quiet a bit more experience with rappells but rappelling in a cave was actually quiet the experience.  The other three were in West Virginia. This though by far was the most technical. It was interesting how coming up was actually harder than going down.

What a rush. I can't wait to see what next weekend brings. up.gif  up.gif

The Cave
The Cave
The Cave
The Cave
More shots from the cave
More shots from the cave
Another cave shot
Another cave shot
The big wall
The big wall
Thompson in the distance; a little distance from the cave
Thompson in the distance; a little distance from the cave
Fall in the mountains
Fall in the mountains
Is that where we are going???
Is that where we are going???
Da Cave
Da Cave
Heading up to the cave
Heading up to the cave
Fall Photos
Fall Photos
Bill checking out the colors
Bill checking out the colors
Fall and Newton Cave 013
Fall and Newton Cave 013
Fall colors
Fall colors

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puzzlr
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks
PostMon Oct 12, 2009 11:33 pm 
Very interesting and I'm glad to finally get a clue about what these caves are like, but you won't find me there. I did some caving in WV in college. It was cool but my interest gradually faded, just like it did for rock climbing -- too much time spent fiddling with technology.

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Redwic
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Redwic
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PostTue Oct 13, 2009 5:54 am 
There are multiple caves found on Cave Ridge, including: Newton Cave, Cascade Cave, Lookout Cave, Hellhole Cave, Prospectors Cave, Clarks Cave, and Red Cave.

A helpful NWH report about Cave Ridge...
https://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2734

According to the forum linked above, Newton Cave was noted as the 13th deepest cave in the United States. However, one website shows Newton Cave as actually the 59th deepest cave in the United States, with a depth of 600' below the surface.

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Magellan
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Magellan
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PostTue Oct 13, 2009 6:24 am 
The only reason I would not have been scared is that I would not have done that!  You guys are brave.

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Redwic
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Redwic
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PostTue Oct 13, 2009 7:23 am 
EastKing wrote:

For me it was only my fourth, non-commercial cave I had ever been to and by far the most exciting. I have quiet a bit more experience with rappells but rappelling in a cave was actually quiet the experience.  The other three were in West Virginia. This though by far was the most technical. It was interesting how coming up was actually harder than going down.

West Virginia, huh? Did you see any crawlers in those caves, like in the movie "The Descent"?

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Stefan-K
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Stefan-K
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PostTue Oct 13, 2009 8:06 am 
Cool! I've stumbled across the plane wreckage back around those parts, but I had no idea the Snoqualmie underbelly could be crawled into... Thanks for the pics!

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wolfs
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wolfs
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PostTue Oct 13, 2009 11:25 am 
For those inspired to head up there: there are two caves up there to be particularly beware of. Hellhole Cave has a long vertical drop almost immediately past entrance crawls of its two tiny entrances, such that you need to be roped in while you crawl backwards. Danger Cave has a rubbly slick entrance slope that leads right to a pit edge. I don't know how many of the caves still have the Cascade Grotto / NSS signs (like Newton does) to ID the named caves if you are scouting sinkholes and entrances. The caves on the ridge each have climbs or ropework except for Red and the two small caves in the valley.

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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Exploring Newton Cave near Snoqualmie Mountain 10-11-09
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