Crews Trying to Save Person Trapped in Cave

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Postby Stridergdm » Jul 12, 2006 6:55 am

Teresa wrote:I'm not part of the crowd that thinks secrecy (especially in the case of cave rescues) saves caves. I seriously doubt most people search cave rescue news for places to go. Quite the opposite--if people know a particular cave is dangerous, or has a 'history' they will tend to avoid it.


Problem is, evidence seems to indicate the opposite. There have been numerous examples of caves where there are no rescues for years and then after a single incident there are incidents soon after, generally with newbies who sought out the cave as a result of the media coverage.

I believe Nutty Putty Cave suffered from this phenomenon last year.
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Postby George Dasher » Jul 12, 2006 2:51 pm

I've been keeping a list of all VAR rescues, and--off the top of my head--I can't think of a single case where Rescue A has led to people going into the cave and causing Rescue B.

Nutty Putty (that's that reoccuring cave rescue cave in Utah, isn't it?) may be an exception. But I suspect it is a rare exception. J4 in Pennsylvania--is that another one?

What usually happens is the same old caves get pretty much the same old accidents and rescues. Bowden is the worst in West Virginia, and its claim to infamy is that is is right along side of the road. It collects a lot of spelunkers. Hellhole and Organ used to be other big rescue caves. Hellhole's claim, when it was open, was that people can rappel and not ascend. Organ's claim, when it was more open, was that the landowner let a lot of people in who couldn't find their way back to daylight. It is a pretty complicated cave.

But even Organ and Hellhole really haven't had a lot of documented accidents or incidents. Cass used to have a lot, but the invention of the kernamantle rope brought that to an end--all that spinning and tangling of the ropes.

I think Bowden has had about 20 rescues in 60? years worth of time. The other "big" rescue caves have A LOT less.
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Postby hewhocaves » Jul 12, 2006 3:53 pm

I can't think of anyplace where info about rescues caused other rescues (J-4 is so well known, I doubt you could argue causal relationships).

However, you can find cases of *negative impact* ranging from deteriorated landowner raletionships to formation removal. There's a few Jersey caves which fall into that category - mostly within the past 20 years.

I think we can argue an extrapolation into a future where this sort of thing (negative impact) increases over time.

My point is that as a community we have been more or less successful in mitigating a lot of the problems through smart management. Take Bowden, for example. (apologies to those who have never been). it's realtively harmless - moreso now that it's been split off. It'd be difficult to really screw up in that cave. Hellhole, on the other hand is gated and fenced and (i haven't been there recently, so I'm not sure) there may be a moat and land mines.
And then sometimes I can't explain spelunkers' luck. Leigh Cave in NJ has a 20' pit right inside the entrance. You would think that when the cave was not gated there would be rescues every week from the kids drinking in the cave. But I think the only rescue we had at Leigh was during an NCRC class (and what better time!)

The point is that while rescues tend to punctuate bad relations, what really does them in are the unwashed masses visiting at all hours, parking ewverywhere, leaving litter and farm gates open and what not. A lot of that comes from publicity and one of the great places for publicity is the newspaper. And it's all been raised an order of magnitude by the internet.

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