Caves of Sequoia-Kings Canyon

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bobby49
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Caves of Sequoia-Kings Canyon

Post by bobby49 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:33 pm

Most people know about the two tourist caves in SEKI. How many know about the two hundred others?

I grew up in the Midwest, and I was caving while I was still in grade school. I had to teach myself land navigation by map and compass in order to find some of the remote entrances. All of the caves back there were in limestone. Then when I moved to California, I discovered that there aren't many limestone caves. The few that I've learned about are in marble. Then I did some reading and found out that some of these marble caves in SEKI were fairly recently discovered, like within the last fifty years, and many even more recent than that. Then I read about L*I*L*B*U*R*N, and I was quite impressed by its size. Of course we are not going to publish any location details.

Do any of you guys go searching for caves in SEKI?








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Re: Caves of Sequoia-Kings Canyon

Post by maverick » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:13 pm

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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Caves of Sequoia-Kings Canyon

Post by bobby49 » Sun Mar 25, 2018 2:36 am

It took me about one week of web-surfing to figure out where L*I*L*B*U*R*N is located. The information is thin, but once assembled, it makes sense.

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Re: Caves of Sequoia-Kings Canyon

Post by bobby49 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 9:41 am

Apparently there aren't any cavers in this crowd.

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Re: Caves of Sequoia-Kings Canyon

Post by maverick » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:52 pm

Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Caves of Sequoia-Kings Canyon

Post by limpingcrab » Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:13 pm

I missed this thread the first time around, yay for a cave thread!

Short answer, YES, I love searching for caves in SEKI. In February we discovered and named our 10th cave, Collapse Cave! Looked like it used to be huge but the ceiling fell in, hence the name. Most of the one's we have found aren't anything special, but two were pretty cool.

You're right that caves in SEKI are in marble, but that's just metamorphosed limestone so the process is similar to what you saw back east. The main difference being that marble caves tend to be very tight and complex, but not as large as the ones in limestone.

You can find USGS bedrock maps for free online, look for areas with marble, and walk around until you find something.
collapse.jpeg
Part of collapse cave where helmets don't fit.
palmer.jpeg
Palmer Cave last month during that low elevation snow storm, if you look closely you can see snow falling on and around my friend as he jugged out.
reid.jpeg
What cave hunting usually looks like: exhausted, covered in poison oak and yucca, and unsuccessful. That's why you'll have a hard time finding many people interested in it.

PS. I'm not part of a grotto, but many of them (mostly the Fresno chapter) take trips to Lilburn Cave. Not likely to get a hold of that key unless you go with a group. But you can walk to the very bottom of Redwood Canyon and the giant spring is actually the water coming out of Lilburn. There's a bioluminescent little bug that lives in that spring and nowhere else in the world (that they know of).
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Re: Caves of Sequoia-Kings Canyon

Post by maverick » Mon Apr 09, 2018 1:43 pm

Thanks for chiming in on this LC. :nod:
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Caves of Sequoia-Kings Canyon

Post by bobby49 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:30 pm

I was aware of those online information sources, but nobody tells the locations of their caves in SEKI, at least not openly. I've figured out a few. However, then there is the issue of the gates and keys. The cave manager has keys, so if you can develop some good kharma, then maybe a group will form.

Before anybody goes looking for their own cave there, first study the geological map of the area, typically Giant Forest, and figure out where the marble stripe is, then figure out where the caves _ought_ to be.

The last time that I was a grotto member was several decades ago. I'm getting my hardware ready right now. It's something to do before summer backpacking season arrives.

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Re: Caves of Sequoia-Kings Canyon

Post by limpingcrab » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:59 pm

Yup, that and the Tehipite map are covered with marble to explore!

Currently, the hydrologist/cave manager position is open so it's hit or miss for getting into gated caves. For a while all requests were denied but now they're getting more relaxed. On a good note, only about seven of the 300+ caves are gated, it's just a matter of finding them.

I miss the former manager, I did some cave invertebrate research with him and he started telling me about places where caves should be but nobody has looked because it sucks to get there. That's pretty much the only reason my friends' and I were able to discover so many. Then we just report them and they check it against the database to make sure they're not already known.

Have you ever been to the caves in White Chief up out of Mineral King?

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Re: Caves of Sequoia-Kings Canyon

Post by bobby49 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:14 pm

The former manager, Joel?

No, I've never been in the White Chief caves at all, but I know where they are on a map. Again there is the marble stripe.

Hell, I've only been to Mineral King and backpacked out of there once. I hate that road. I assume that the marmots still patrol the backpacker parking lot.

I haven't done any cave photography in decades, so I need to practice my rusty skills. Put it this way, I attended the NSS convention on the year when they demonstrated the first motorized ascender. That sure beat the hell out of prusik knots tied out of manila rope (at the time).

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