In August of 2013, a group of Louisville Grotto members traveled to Frenchman Knob cave in central Kentucky. At 180 feet deep, the entrance pit of this cave is one of the deepest in the state. Exploring a vertical pit cave like this requires specialized climbing and rigging gear, much of which we can find at Quest Outdoors.
Our first sight of the huge pit entrance brought on a sense of excitement. The air outside was hot and humid, making us all the more anxious to escape down into the cool cave temperature. We carefully rigged a tree with webbing and Black Diamond carabiners from Quest Outdoors and secured a 200 foot static rope to the rig. The five of us took turns rappelling into the pit and then we spent hours exploring the passages below. After we walked and crawled and climbed into almost every place we could fit, it was finally time to get back to the surface. We used our vertical caving systems to ascend back up the rope one by one. During the climb out, a beam of light shown into the pit and brightened the walls with beautiful colors, making for a surreal experience. It was one of the more memorable trips in my 7 years as a caver.
It is important to note that vertical caving requires not only special gear, but the knowledge, skill, and training to use it properly. In addition, this particular cave requires a permit from the owner, so no unauthorized visitation please. For those interested in caving, it is advised to start out in caves more suited for beginners and to go with a group that can guide proper safety techniques. Required gear for any cave exploration includes a helmet, headlamp, backup light, boots, supply pack, and proper clothing; all of which can be found at Quest Outdoors.
This destination was explored by: Tim Stoops – on behalf of the Louisville Grotto