we'd explored the caves thoroughly, it was time to get back up.
atmosphere in the caves was perfect for the waiting involved when
you have to send eight people up a 60-foot rope one at a time.
I sat and enjoyed being in the caves, relishing how damned cool
it was that I was there looking at them.
didn't matter that they were not really extensive, or that they
did not contain anything amazing. It was more than enough to realize
just how amazing our journey had been. We'd traveled through five
separate tunnel systems, twice using connections we'd created
ourselves. We'd followed a route so unlikely, so convoluted, and
so difficult that it seemed impossible to believe that anyone
could would ever replicate it on their own.
explored our way there, through the Labyrinth, without the benefit
of maps, rumors, or any idea of what, if anything, we might find
around the next corner. We'd hauled over a hundred pounds of gear
deep into the earth, into the guts of a building that has not
existed for decades, in order to drop down into an old manmade
cave system that had lain buried, undisturbed, and almost totally
forgotten for god knows how many years.
you can understand why I more pleased to have explored the Cobb
Caves than I had been in the past after exploring more extensive
eventually it was my turn to ascend. Martian strapped me into
a harness, and Holy Christ instructed me in the use of the etrier,
ascender, and self-belay device that I'd be using to get to the
top. This basically involved going up step by step by pushing
down on a canvas strap looped around my foot. It looked easy,
but I've got to admit that I flailed around largely ineffectually
for the first 50 feet or so of the shaft, before really getting
the hang of the technique.
the top of the elevator shaft, the climbers packed up their gear,
and Jim and I led the gang back out through the Labyrinth to the
surface. It was midnight or so when we finally emerged out under
the stark winter sky; a perfect hour to celebrate our success
with some boozin'.
that, friends and neighbors, ladies and germs, is the tale of
how Action Squad conquered Cobb Caves. Hope that you enjoyed reading
about it even a tiny fraction as much as we enjoyed living it!