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  1. #1
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    Santa Cruz Caves - Empire Grade

    I've known about these bad boys for a while but stopped by yesterday to show Dirtvert. The first cave is pretty manageable, descending some iron stairs to a big old cavern. The second is a bit nuttier with some tight squeezes for the first 20 feet or so. Big D says it got really tight down under but thinks it opens up into a bigger room. Anyone been to these? Know of the other two?

    The caves are about 1 mile south of the School (Old Red Mailbox).
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Santa Cruz Caves - Empire Grade-cave-1.jpg  

    Santa Cruz Caves - Empire Grade-cave-2.jpg  

    Peanut butter Tuesday, if you know what I mean!

  2. #2
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    I've been in the first back in the day while I attended UCSC. I know of another cave is on the west side of empire grade. It goes down pretty deep and requires rope in some sections. I never went down, it sounded sketch. Plus, most of the time the access is barred off.

  3. #3
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    ^^ Yeah, I found that one--Hell Hole--on the interwebz. The 90 foot pit drop with the rope looks really sketchy. But I'm down to try it if anybody's interested!

    Thanks for showing them to me, Squash. It was a filthy good time.









    (God is on a diet)
    Last edited by dirtvert; 05-04-2013 at 05:27 PM.
    Why?

    Because we like the taste of freedom; because we like the smell of danger. ~ E. Abbey

  4. #4
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    I hate to be "that person"' but if you feel you have to go inside, please be careful. There are some species of spiders and other critters in those caves that are found nowhere else. They're a really special ecosystem.
    Quote Originally Posted by jbt56
    Are you a whiny Marin liberal, or a hand-wringing Berkeley liberal?

  5. #5
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    Santa Cruz Caves - Empire Grade

    I think just saying, "there are spiders in the caves" is enough to keep 98% of us out. Worked on me anyhow.
    Peanut butter Tuesday, if you know what I mean!

  6. #6
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    Piranha- Thanks for the concern. I get it! I grew up caving in Kentucky, and I realize how fragile cave systems are. I've read about all the endemic species in those caves. Unfortunately, they are getting worked over by locals and students bringing in garbage, starting fires, etc. And when the local conservationists try to put gates on the entrances they get ripped out. Caves and populated areas is a bad combo. I would be very gentle...
    Why?

    Because we like the taste of freedom; because we like the smell of danger. ~ E. Abbey

  7. #7
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    I heard chum lurks in caves. He is one hell of an ankle biter. Even gollum would fear his wrath.

    Caves near UCSC? That's about as truthful as trails up near there.

  8. #8
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    I know, it's super sad how so many have gotten all messed up. That's awesome that you grew up caving in KY. I've heard there are some huuuge systems there. Have you ever been to the caves/caverns along Highway 4 up in the foothills?
    Quote Originally Posted by jbt56
    Are you a whiny Marin liberal, or a hand-wringing Berkeley liberal?

  9. #9
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    Spiders and caves...

    Santa Cruz Caves - Empire Grade-01-how-about-no-bear.jpg

    When I was at UCSC someone told me some of the caverns are connected to the ocean and one can hear seals barking if conditions are right.

  10. #10
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    ^^ That's funny. You can hear lots of things in caves if the "conditions" are right!

    Piranha- I've heard about those, but I haven't been. I usually don't do commercial caves, except for the exceptional ones like Mammoth, Carlsbad Caverns, Wind Cave, etc. The only caving I've done on the West Coast is lava tubes, which is like caving but different.
    Why?

    Because we like the taste of freedom; because we like the smell of danger. ~ E. Abbey

  11. #11
    Medium?
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    I've seen a cave spider right under the ladder in the main cave.

    I've been inside hell hole cave and lived to post about it. We didn't go all the way down. There's a thread around here somewhere.

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