The Thundershower Cave
is one of the larger tectonic caves in the Allegheny National Forest area. Most of our trips through this cave have taken 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours. Not that the cave is that large in lateral passage, but there is passage on several different levels, and it just takes that long to tie everybody on (climbing harnesses) and lower them down into the main, lower passage. It's also time consuming to hook on and to belay everybody while they, one by one climb up out of the lower passage.
There is also an upper passage that once you make the short climb up to the level passage, there's a long hallway-type flat walk. It goes, turns ninety degrees, then goes a way and turns ninety degrees again.
As you enter the cave, through a moderate "squeeze" through the entrance hole, you are standing at the top of a sloping, but tall hall way. It slopes downward at a pretty steep angle, but it's narrow enough for you to use the cave walls as "traction" to stop from sliding forward. It goes down to a small, three by three foot, "Square Door". The "Square Door" is a natural split in the rock, but looks to be man-made. Just as you are at the entrance of the Square Door, there is a split in the rock (cave) that goes to the left and the right. The left "pinches off", and is not passable for a human. To the right of the Square Door, it drops down, two levels about eight or ten feet apart. These are actually two large, flat-topped "pin boulders" wedged into the narrow main passage that heads east-west. The lower passages are down there, but it's a narrow, slick, wet straight shot sixty feet straight down. We seldom go down that way, but we have pulled several cavers up this way.
Once through the Square Door, there is a flat, low crawlway. It's a very short belly squeeze to get to the rest of the cave. A real head-banger. Just past the crawl-way, is another "main room". It's a hall way, on different levels, with a cat walk on both walls. Toward the back it goes to one side, and you straddle a crack that goes down fifty or sixty feet. This hallway also has the flat upper passage mentioned earlier. If you stand in this hallway and turn back toward the crawlway, there is a passage below the crawlway ( the crawlway is also a pile of "pin boulders" and mud suspended in the cave walls... 100' up!). But the best route to the lower passages is below the crawlway, where it goes down in a couple of thirty or forty foot drops (all too narrow for ascenders), that are wet, muddy and slippery. Then after you go around a corner you are in stand up walkable passage. At the lowest point you are about two hundred and fifty feet below the surface.
Just beyond the "Square Door" there is a spot where the ceiling is about 100 to 150 feet up (through narrow passage), and the cave bottom is about 100 to 150 feet below (some passage too narrow for human passage).
This cave was never fully explored. It looks like there is a lot of virgin passage that is in the upper reaches.
What else can I say .... well it's real wet inside with water constantly dripping on you from above. On wet years, the walls are constantly "bleeding" water. It's muddy, but the inside temp is about fifty-two degrees year round.
NOTE: In 2006 we discovered new passage in the upper section that added another couple hundred feet of cave.
Our Groups 2005 winter trip
Group from a summer trip into Thundershower