Thursday, April 20, 2017

Flowingstone Cave, Georgia

Deirdre Conroy (bottom) and Eric Lee Hahn (top) in the pit during heavy flow
conditions in March 2017.

           Located north of the famous Ellison's Cave, and on the same mountain, is Flowingstone Cave.  Flowingstone was found during a systematic ridge walk in an attempt to find something of interest to keep the mountain from being mined away by a nearby quarry.  A small hole in a sink was dug open to find the 235ft pit below.   

         Two nearby trees allow easy rigging, the entrance is small - about 2x2ft.  It drops about 6ft to a ledge which offsets to the final 229ft.  The lips is very rocky, and kind of loose.  Take care with padding and kicking rocks down.  The final ledge opens to a 10ft diameter shaft for about 20ft and then 220ft of beautiful, large, flowstone lined free-fall.  In the spring, when water is high, the huge flowstone chanedlier on the ceiling pours water.  The 220ft of in the middle is a whole lot of black, flowstone, and water silently falling about twenty feet away.  It really is one of the best pits I have ever seen.  The drop is all on the wall, and in wet conditions the rope will eventually get wet and really bouncy.  Communication is very difficult if water is up.  

Deirdre Conroy and large salamanders in high flow.  March 2017.

           The bottom of the pit is gorgeous.  The waterfalls land on a big rimstone mound filled with pearls and is on the edge of a 30ft diameter lake.  The lake is filled with large salamanders.  Downstream is about fifty feet of cream colored flowstone hummocks.  In high water ripples and waves cascade down the flowstone.  The whole pit, especially when wet, is really a sensory overload.  Be sure to wear poly pro or wet suits in wet weather. 

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