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Sites Cave
Rappel Trip
Joedy Klimas, Rita Klimas, Pat Minney and Betsy Simmers
July 12, 2003
by Joedy Klimas

The front cover shows Sites Cave as best as I can draw it.  On Friday, July 11, Rita and I drove up to Brandywine, WV and Pat drove his pickup truck and followed us there.  We got an early start so we ended up pitching camp in the National Forrest campground around 3:00 p.m.   That gave us plenty of time to rig a rappel line in a tree and get Pat set up with his Frog system.  We had great fun practice rappelling.  The next morning we met Betsy at Thorn Spring Park where we rented a cabin.  Betsy had been given a Mitchell climbing system by Tom White and we modified rope lengths and bungee from foot and knee to fit her height.  Betsy then got a chance to practice climb from a tree with the new setup.  As usual, she made rappelling look easy.

Around 10:30 a.m.,  we drove the mile and a half to the roadside pull off where we would unload all our gear and begin the arduous climb to the cave.  You first have to go through a dry stream and then walk one half mile up a vehicle path.  Pat thought he could cross the stream and drive up, but after creating clouds of burnt rubber from the rear wheels had to admit defeat and go park the pickup back on the shoulder of the road.  We then unloaded my deer hauler (two wheeled cart) off the back of my suburban and loaded the 100 plus pounds of rappel gear and cave packs onto it.  At this point, I realized that Rita had forgotten all of her rappel gear and had to drive back to Thorn Spring Park to retrieve it.  Upon arriving back, Pat asked, “Did you get her helmet too?”  That stopped me in my tracks!  “Ah, come on,” I exclaimed.  Pat was just kidding.  


Note:  Click on the photos with your mouse for a larger image.

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Hauling the deer hauler up the inclined vehicle path was exhausting.  We parked the deer hauler at the top of the path and backpacked all of our gear minus the tarp and wool blankets bag, extra water, etc.  At about 11:15 a.m., we were at the cave entrance.  I tied off two new 300' ropes with backups and a safety lines.  I put out rope protectors, etc.  One 300' rope was a Sterling HTP 11mm and the other a Blue Water II Plus 11mm rope.  Both were in rope bags.  The first two people down hole would have to take the rope and rope bags down with them.  Throwing the rope down hole doesn't work in this cave.


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