Three Fingers Survey

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Three Fingers survey

Bell canopy in Three Fingers

Location High Guads
Author William Tucker
Date June 2-3, 2012

On June 2-3, 2012, I had the opportunity to join a small team of cavers surveying in Three Fingers.

I arrived at the campsite at about midnight after an extremely rugged 4-wheel drive road to find two vehicles and tents with the occupants fast asleep. I found the main parking area empty and promptly occupied it leaving enough room for another vehicle should the space be needed. Since the campsite is quite exposed and the wind is known to blow, I chose to sleep in the car.

The next morning, we gathered for instructions, waivers and permits. The participants for this trip included: Andrea Croskrey, Mark Bulman, Pati Spellman, Vickie Siegel, Bill Stone and me, William Tucker. We divided into two teams on day 1 with Bill, Vickie and Mark on team 1 and Andrea, Pati and I on team 2.

The drive to Three Fingers is one of the most difficult 4-wheel drive roads in the Guads and the hike from the camping area to the cave is very steep. The drop in the cave is moderate in length and involves a couple of rebelays with significant exposure. Once in the cave, large portions are under large breakdown boulders and involve significant climbing and crawling.

Both teams worked in the breakdown checking leads. The leads we followed were tight and awkward as breakdown leads usually are. Pati was on lead and is significantly smaller than all of us and she was able to push some tight stuff forcing me to do my best to follow. I did instruments and inventory while Andrea sketched.

At 8 PM, we called it a day and began the arduous journey back to camp. I arrived last to the campsite several minutes behind the others. I was exhausted and chose to go straight to bed with no supper. The next morning, I found out that the others had done the same.

On day two, we did it all again. This time, I was assigned to inventory with Bill and Vickie in a flowstone area in the main room. I set a few stations using aqua sox; but mostly, I did inventory and waited while Bill sketched the massive, highly decorated room. At 3 PM (mountain), Mark and then I started up the ropes. When I got back to camp, I was doubly exhausted and threw everything into the car for the drive back home. I arrived back home at almost 1 AM (central). That comes out to about: 1 hour of rope work; 1 hour of hiking; 1 hour of 4-wheel drive road; 1 hour of 2-wheel drive road; 1 lost hour due to the time change; and 4 hours of highway.

It was a great privilege to be able to cave with these fine cavers and though thoroughly tested, I enjoyed it very much.