Neffs Cave: America’s Deepest Cave . . .
Wow! Our expedition was an adventure, nothing like the original exploration, but just the same, we all came back with a deep respect for it. When I reached the bottom; there was a flowing stream, just as clear and pretty and any on the surface. The only difference was there were no trees, grass, or moss; just rocks of different colors, mostly brown, tan and black and the water sparkled from our headlamps moved across the surface, as the stream travel deeper down into the cave system.
We had final reached the bottom, and so far our expedition was going well. Maybe we were like the guy who jumped off a 100 story building. As he passed each floor he would yell to the people staring at him, “So far so good . . .” Now, we had to begin a technical climb back to the surface that was almost a quarter of a mile above us. Unlike climbing, we must go up to get home.
A cave like this is much different than climbing a mountain in several important ways. The obvious one is that it is a mountain in reverse. Instead, hard climbing up to the summit, and a long “downhill” trek home, we had a long uphill climb, through overhanging roofs, tight cracks, and muddy walls. It was an underground obstacle course awaiting our go at it. Of course, it was the only choice “succeed or die.”
There were slippery wet cracks of all sizes, shapes and angles. Some were so small we had to exhale to move. We had several overhangs we had to negotiate. Goodro’s pit the most formable with technical gear we had; but to read the story about John Lyon, back in the 1950’s is incredible. They were climbing hand over hand up a rope with knots in it, to get up vertical walls. To give an idea of how deep underground it is deeper Carlsbad Cravens.