Gargantua Cave

What to Bring
* Hard hat or rock helmet ( bike helmets have been used but are not as safe as a rock helmet)
* Headlamp or flash light, extra batteries, bulb, candle, matches
* Coveralls or old clothes (Whatever you wear will get wet, muddy and torn)
* Leather gloves for rappelling
* Harness if you can get one, otherwise we will lend and share. (I will have some extras)
* Figure 8 and carabiner if you can get them. (I will have some extras)
* Sweater or jacket as it gets chilly in the cave
* Sturdy footwear that can take a beating. Some people like to take an extra pair of water shoes for the creek crossings. This time of year the creek should be fairly low and you could probably get there without getting your feet wet.
* Water bottle, as there is no water after the mountain biking until we exit the cave at the waterfall.
* Non cook food for the entire day. We never actually stop for meals. You will eat as you go.
* Rain gear? I doubt that you will need it but you never can tell. I believe we can hike in shorts and then cover up through the cave. Then whatever you want to wear down the trail in the evening.

Mountain bike for 1.5 - 2 hours and cross the creek 12  times. You will push your bike several times on rough or steep places. Then ditch the bikes in the trees at the trail head. Then hike up a steep trail for about an hour. You will be ready for a short rest at the meadow campsite. Then it is another very tiring climb for another hour to the saddle. After another little rest climb again to the cave entrance. At the mouth of the cave harness up and put on coveralls, helmets, etc. Then into the cave. 15 minutes in we hit the first rappel which is the highest, darkest and most intimidating. Here you lose some time as you wait for others to rappell, but the talk will be enjoyable as we watch people descend into the darkness to the sound of an unseen waterfall. This drop is spectacular to watch from below. Rappellers seem to come out of nowhere. Then it is down through a passage where you scoot on your butt or fall into a pit. Make a right and avoid the "bold step" and reach the second drop which is at such an awkward angle that your usual comfortable rappelling technique will not work. Everyone finds there own unique way to get started down this short pitch. Once over the goofy edge it is a very easy drop. Then right away you will have to remove your pack to squeeze through the firs tight spot in the cave. You will think you are stuck, but everyone finds a way through. Then we go through a couple of large chambers and come to the Window pitch. Here the wall feels greasy with mud and if you are not careful you will rappell too far into a hole that we're not sure how you would ever get out. The right thing to do is to swing out and drop onto an out-cropped rock that make a kind of landing pad.  If the first one down makes it okay, he or she can pull the rest safely onto the landing. Now it is just a long fun treck to the 4th and 5th rappels which are very similar and not difficult. We could go another route and catch a 6th rappel but a large group we will probably not have time.  You have to exit under a waterfall and you always get wet. Fortunately, this time of year the waterfall will be at its lowest point and so it might not give us the thrill that most people get as they crawl out into the daylight.

Target Schedule
5:30 meet at the 7 Eleven in Coleman
6:00 start mountain biking from the first creek crossing
8:00 at the trail head
9:00 at the meadow campsite
10:00 at the saddle near York Shire Pot
10:30 at Gargantua Upper Entrance
6-8 hours in the cave (see map below)
This is our margin time. If we are late reaching the entrance, we must make up time in the cave by sending parties ahead to fix ropes and begin to rappel.
6:30 exit the cave at the waterfall
7:00 back at the saddle
9:00 back down to the vehicles