Cleversburg Sink
Cleversburg Sink

On June 26, 2005 a small group of folks from Philly Grotto decided to see if the summped caves, Cleversburg Sink and Carnegie Cave were dry enough to pass through and explore. This was Amos's big idea, and we all went along. Amos, Mike, John, Steve, and Crystal had gone to Frustration Pit and Corker Hill the day before. Amos, Mike, and John camped over at Caledonia State Park and were well rested (???) for this trip. I met Hans and Naoko at their house and rode with them out to Cleversbug Pit where we all met.

Cleversburg Pit is a good-sized cave that's managed by Franklin Grotto. Its hydraulic nature is unpredictable so there's no telling if it's going to be flooded or passable. Amos just received a copy of the key for Philly Grotto to have and we were curious. There has been no appreciable rain for the months of May and June, so we decided to try our luck.

Gearing up was interesting. Not knowing what expect, no one could say with out a doubt what we were going to need. A plethora of gear, depending on individual determinations, was used. A couple people donned wetsuits, most of us didn't. Amos brought a raft and pump in case there was water.

Wearing a wet suit in 90-degree weather and hiking to the cave didn't look like much fun to me. By the time we arrived at the cave entrance and unlocked the gate, Naoko looked borderline heatstroke. She was the first to enter to try in order to get her cooled off.
After we all got in and the equipment was passed in, we took turns sliding down to the first big room. The 56-degree air in there felt good.

Those of us who entered this first room had never been to this cave before and didn't know what to expect, except what we could determine from the map. The room was big with water on each side of the passage. On the other side of this room was a passage that lead to where the 20 foot ladder was.

According to Amos, he's never seen water in the first room we were in. The passageway that contained the ladder he expected to have some water in, but, the water was all the way over the ladder. That's 20 feet of clear, cold water. Well, at least we had the raft.

Hans and Amos got the raft inflated and through the passage. Naoko was the first, after Amos and Hans, to give the raft a try. She was not happy with the set up and came back to the room I was waiting patently in. Mike and John went and looked at the set-up next. Mike's not a strong swimmer, so they also opted to not go for a boat ride. When I finally looked at how the set-up was, I understood better why they all backed out. Getting into the raft was awkward, at the least. You had to chimney down to lower yourself into the boat, and the walls angled away as you went down. One slip and your in the water. Nice, cold, 40 degree water. I'm not a bad swimmer, but, loaded down with caving gear in 20 foot deep 40-degree water didn't sit warm and fuzzy with me, either. I agreed with the others and bagged this one for now.

Amos and Hans, being the well equipped, brave souls they are, Took the raft for a ride and took pictures for the rest of us to enjoy later on. They felt with the right equipment, there was more passage to travel and see.

As we talked about how to approach this again, we decided that among other things, wet suits, PDF, dry bags, and fins would be very useful. Probably even an inflated inner tube or two would be good.

Someday we'll be back with the gear and even, hopefully, the cave will have emptied out a bit. We'll check the water level from time to time to see if it changes.

Look at the complete photo album.

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