Archives for: March 2005

03/17/05

Permalink 11:46:19 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 668 words   English (US)

ladder installation

I'm way late getting this up, but last Sunday I met up with Sertile and Atron back at the Hall of Fame caves.

This time we weren't really there to explore, although we did plan to check out the second cave again. I'd welded together a metal ladder from some scrap steel to replace the existing ladder. The one that was there was made out of wood and was rotting badly. We'd already managed to break two of the rungs out of it, and I had visions of some kid breaking their neck.

I went down first and moved the old ladder, then had them hand the new one down to me. I'd drilled out some holes in the bottom of the ladder, and I had ten inch nails with me to stake it down into the ground. I positioned the ladder where we wanted it and started driving the nails it. Unfortunately, it became apparent pretty quickly that the ground just wasn't firm enough for the ladder to stay staked down forever, but it would work for the time being.

Atron came down while I broke apart the old ladder with a sledge hammer and handed it up to Sertile. Then he came down, too, and we used some twine to take some measurements around the rock. I figured I'd buy some cable and permanently attach the ladder to the wall since I couldn't attach it to the ground. Either that, or I'd just make a whole new cable ladder for that cave like I was doing for the other one.

After that, we headed over to the second cave. Atron tied his rope to a boulder outside the cave, I tied some twine beside it, and we threw both down inside. We were going to use the twine to measure the depth so that I could make a rope ladder out of metal cable. We were also going to make a second ladder for a pit we'd found inside the cave the last time, which meant we had to go down inside and measure that as well.

I slid down the rope into the cave with Atron right behind me, while Sertile stayed up top to communicate with us via walkie talkie. He untied the rope for us and tossed it and the twine down. Atron and I then went over to the other pit, tied the rope and twine to another boulder inside, and tossed them both down again.

This time Atron stayed up top while I went down the rope into the pit. At the bottom, I found that the ground sloped down yet again into another chamber. Luckily, this one sloped down gently enough that I could walk down inside it. I had the walkie talkie with me, and I was already deep enough that Sertile couldn't hear me anymore, so I sent it back up the rope to Atron.

The third chamber turned out to be insane. It was two stories high in places and the walls and ceiling were covered in stalagtites and other formations. It looked like something out of a commercial cave, completely pristine. Except for two names scrawled on a blank wall at the bottom, both from the early sixties, it didn't seem like anyone had ever been to this part of the cave. I ended up spending quite a while inside the chamber taking pictures of the formations before I finally hauled myself back up the rope.

Back up in the main part of the cave, we had Sertile, who was good and bored by this point, pull our rope back up and tie it to the boulder. I struggled up the rope first, then sat down and enjoyed watching Atron do the same thing. Once we were out and had our gear put up, we decided to call it a day.

Be on the lookout for a future entry where we install our new cable ladders in the cave with tags saying "Courtesy of Underground Ozarks."

03/09/05

Permalink 03:11:51 pm, Categories: Urban Exploration, 345 words   English (US)

hotels and a tunnel

So, the day before yesterday I met up with David Keetz to do some exploring. We were checking out something fairly sensitive, so I can't go into too many details about it. Basically, we'd been told about a sealed up tunnel, and we went and temporarily unsealed it to take a peek. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out to be anything. It was just a mechanical room with some equipment. After that, we decided to hit a couple hotels in town, so we went back to David's house so he could put on clean clothes.

We weren't sure how to proceed when we got to the first hotel. The windows were tinted, so we couldn't tell if you could just walk by the front desk without looking conspicuous. We wandered behind the hotel, then up and down the street a few times, before finally deciding to just waltz in. We headed in the front door, said hello the desk clerk when he saw us, and headed up the stairs.

Inside, we wanted to find the basement, but, if there was one, we couldn't locate it. We settled for checking out all the floors, including the top floor which was used for special events. There really wasn't much to see, though, so we headed out to the next hotel.

The second one turned out to be much easier, especially because David was familiar with it. We wanted to slip in through a side door, but workers taking a break outside were blocking the way. We went inside and wandered around for a bit instead. There didn't seem to be a way to the basement from inside that wasn't blocked by employees, although we did spend some time on an upper floor balcony enjoying the view.

Again, there just wasn't a lot to see. The floors were all basically the same, and all the interesting places were inaccessible at the moment. We both agreed we should come back after dark sometime when we could slip around the hotel easier, but we went ahead and called it a day.

03/05/05

Permalink 11:01:53 am, Categories: Urban Exploration, 1095 words   English (US)

caving down a rope

I met up with Sertile and Atron on Thursday to check out the caves near the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.

The two caves were located along the highway near the Hall of Fame. I'd checked out one of them by myself before, but I hadn't known about the second until someone on the forum had pointed it out. The fun thing about the caves was that even though they were directly beside the highway, they were invisible from the road. The people on the road would see us standing there one minute and gone the next.

We checked out the cave I'd explored before first. The only way down into the cave was via a wooden ladder that someone had installed a while back. Unfortunately, the ladder was rotting, and two of the rungs were already broken, but Atron had brought a rope to help us get down easier. I went down the ladder first, then Sertile started down and fell at my feet as he came up on the missing last rung, tearing a huge hole in his pants and shirt. It was pretty funny, and Atron caught the audio of Sertile falling on his video camera.

We spent a little while checking out that cave. It wasn't too big, just one large room with a few small tunnels off to the sides that didn't go anywhere. There were plenty of awesome formations, though, including one gigantic column in the center of the room. The ceiling was also covered with bubbly formations and soda straws in places.

Once we were done there, we all climbed out and moved over to the next cave. None of us had ever been in this one. The opening to the cave was pretty much a verticle shaft with smooth walls that you couldn't possibly climb. It looked like there was a decent-sized chamber at the bottom, though.

Atron tied his rope to a boulder and tossed it down the shaft. I volunteered to go first and slid about fifteen feet down the rope into the cave. Then, I had Atron pull the rope up, tie my spotlight to it, and lower it down to me. After watching how awkward it had been to get down the rope, Atron and Sertile decided to wait and see if I could actually get back out of the cave.

The second cave wasn't as fancy as the first one. It was just one big chamber set on an incline. There weren't even any formations to speak of, but people had obviously been there before, because there were two gigantic names spraypainted on the wall.

At the far end of the chamber, though, I did find something interesting. Around a corner, there was a huge pit in the ground. It was even deeper than where I'd slid down the rope. There appeared to be another large chamber at the bottom, but I couldn't see if it went anywhere. The walls were just as slick, and I could't climb down. I thought about having Atron throw the rope down to me, but then I figured I'd never get it back up to him and I'd be stuck. We'd have to come back with another rope or ladder if we wanted to see the second pit.

After that, I had Atron pull my spotlight up, then I climbed about halfway up the crack. I tied my camera onto the rope and had him pull it up, too. I knew it was going to be a lot harder getting out, so I didn't want to risk breaking my camera. And I was right about it being hard. I ended up doing a weird combination of pulling myself up the rope and mashing my body in between the walls of the shaft to shove myself up. It wasn't graceful, but I eventually got out.

It turned out, while I was down in the cave, Sertile and Atron had found a third cave right next to that one. It wasn't actually a completely separate cave, because both started from the same little hollow area in the rock, but it didn't appear to connect to the other one. To get into it, you had to duck through a small opening into a room that was just big enough to crawl around inside. Then, at the back of that area, there was another large pit that dropped down into two large chambers, although the pit wasn't as steep as the other one.

This time Sertile went down the rope into the pit. He crawled around out of sight in the chamber for a bit, then came back. There was a rock partially blocking the way to the second chamber and he squeezed around it and disappeared into that one for a bit. When he'd checked them out completely, Atron and I got to enjoy him flopping out of the pit the way I had done.

Once were done there, Atron headed out because he had to be somewhere. Sertile and I were going to stick around and check out the other building at the MFA mill that we hadn't explored yet. We split up to kill some time and get some dinner, then we met back up at a nearby parking lot.

Since it still wasn't dark enough, Sertile and I ended up wandering around downtown a bit. We checked out a couple vacant buildings, but that didn't kill enough time. So, we drove down to where they were opening up the Jordan Creek tunnel and poked around there. Then we headed to another part of town to check out some vacant buildings near the railroad tracks.

When it finally got dark, we went back to the mill. We tried all the doors at first, but they all seemed to be locked. As we were talking about whether or not I should try to climb the outside ladder to the roof, two cars pulled up in the parking lot. We ducked into the shadows to wait for the cars to pass, not thinking anything of them. Then someone got out of one of the vehicles and started walking directly toward us.

We took off down a dark space between the buildings and ran back to Sertile's truck. We were confused as hell about what had just happened. It was either a huge coincidence that the guy showed up at the building right then, or we'd set off a silent alarm and hadn't realized it.

Either way, we figured that was a good sign we should call it a night.

03/03/05

Permalink 05:53:43 am, Categories: Urban Exploration, 99 words   English (US)

grave digger pt. 2

Well, yesterday morning I finally got around to going back to my father's land and digging up those mounds. And what did I find?

Nothing.

Yeah, I know. It was very anticlimactic, and I'm as disappointed as you guys that were following this story probably are. I dug up two different mounds to about three feet deep, and there was nothing there but more dirt and rocks. I was really hoping for a body or maybe buried treasure, but no such luck. I still think the mounds may be man-made, but I guess they'll have to remain a mystery.

03/01/05

Permalink 12:06:51 am, Categories: Urban Exploration, 368 words   English (US)

barry county sinkhole

I saw a link on KY3 this morning about how a field in Barry County had collapsed into a huge sinkhole about a week ago. Of course, yours truly had to go see this thing for himself.

I had no idea where the sinkhole was, but I knew it was near Exeter, Missouri. I figured as small as the town was, someone would surely be able to tell me how to get there, especially considering all the publicity it was getting. Sure enough, someone at a gas station was able to give me directions. In fact, that person gave me bad directions, which had me looking in the wrong area for over half an hour. Finally, a helpful couple I passed by pointed out the right way for me.

They had a sign at the beginning of the road the sinkhole was on that said there was no through traffic, but I headed on down it anyway. At the end of the road, when I was just able to see the sinkhole, a huge pile of dirt in the road blocked my way. They'd put the mound there because they were afraid the sinkhole was going to swallow up the road, and with good reason. Even from a distance I could see that the edge of the sinkhole was only a few feet away from the road.

The sinkhole itself was awesome. A huge chunk of the field, about the size of a basketball court or bigger, had just sunk into the earth. You couldn't see any of the ground that had sunk away, either, because the hole had completely filled with water. It was like someone had taken a giant oval cookie cutter and cut out a piece of the field, leaving water in its place. It was amazing.

I wanted to walk out into the field and get a better look at it, but I could see that someone up the road at what I thought was the owner's house was watching me. Plus, they had the area surrounded in police tape and fresh new "No Trespassing" signs. I figured it probably wasn't a good idea. Still, it was highly cool and well worth the drive.

Underground Ozarks Blog

Here you can read about White Rabbit's day-to-day explorations and adventures.

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