Hamilton Cave Trip Report Or: Fourteen Sweaty Cavers and 100 Feet of Pink Tape
Sept. 19, 2000
by Brad Ricks
It was Tuesday night, when I showed up behind Buruss Hall for a trip to Hamilton Cave. I’d tell you who all was there, but I really have no idea….I think some of the people caving with me, I never even saw. There were hordes of people. This was great to see, knowing that we were about to visit Hamilton Cave, which consists mostly of passage sizes ranging from 2 feet high to a comfortable maximum of 4 feet high, by 4 feet wide.
With 14 people ready to go caving, Doug decides to invite his Roommate Austin along for the trip, and Kendall decided to invite her roommate Brandy along for the trip. This would bring our grand total to SIXTEEN PEOPLE in Hamilton cave. Naturally though, we didn’t have but so many helmets, so the invitees chose to stay at home instead of suffering massive head injury.
After waiting at Buruss for 20 minutes, going to Kendall’s house for her gear, and stopping for gas, we were on the road by Ten. Come 11:00, we were climbing the path up Trout Rocks in search for Hamilton Cave. When I say “In Search” I’m not kidding. I had no clue where this cave was. I went there once upon a time (see Hamilton Cave October 1999 Trip Report) but that was a long time ago..and it was light outside then! So by 11:00, we found the cave.
Once inside, something occurred to me, and didn’t set well with the other 13 cavers. This fact being that I had no clue where I was. Relying on a bad map of the cave, and a roll of Pink flagging tape, we made our way through intersection after intersection until I decided to stop turning around and to just shoot towards the rear end of the cave. When I say “Intersection” I mean Intersection. It made me feel like if we were Mice and the cave was a Mouse Maze, even the Cheese would get lost.
One more thing. Maybe it was the pressure of getting a dozen people out of this cave before sunup, but the cave was Hot. As Brycen said, “I’m pissed, the pamphlets told me its supposed to be 55 degrees in here!” it wasn’t fifty-five. It was hot. It was the kind of hot that would make an Arabian take off his clothes and spread-eagle in front of a box fan.
We got as far as I had ever been in this cave, so I figured since we weren’t lost yet, we should just keep trying. We made it down some narrow passage where you are either crawling on the floor or chimneying 15 feet above it. After half an hour of that, the passage ended. I told everybody behind me that it got real tight, and it would be pretty hard to get through….but that was a lie. It would have been “real tight” if you were snake.
Again, I tried a different way to get lost. We made it pretty far here, and the passage got considerably large for once, closely resembling Trout cave, but we hit a point that actually was passable, but as I and Brysen learned after climbing down it that it would be REAL HARD to get back up. With time, we made it up, and with a lot more time, we made it out.
To quote Doug Woodhouse’s away message, I’ll relay the popular opinion of all everybody else regarding my Hamilton Cave Leadership Abilities… Last night, Bradford Ricks told us a story about men in New Mexico who spend weeks in caves with 40 lbs of urine strapped to their backs. It’s funny, because I really didn’t think Brad knew how to get us out of that cave. I was prepared for my first ever 24-hour trip.