Joined: 24 Oct 2007
Locations: Idaho Springs, CO
|Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 3:25 pm Post subject: Brown's Cave, Assumption Abbey, Douglas County.
|It is time for me to tell you guys about a caving experience once. This was in March of 2001.
I was living in a group home, at the age of 18 with a few other people between the ages of 15 and 19. The staff at this group home decided to take us to a cave that would be an easy walk through.
This is Brown's Cave, in Ava Missouri. It is on land next to Bryant Creek, owned by Assumption Abbey. These are a group of Cistern Monks, who have a Monastery on about 500 acres of prime land.
Here is the Web Site of their Abbey
The Monks are a Strict form of the Catholic observance. They are REALLY nice people and they operate a get-away from society style of inn. You can stay there for almost nothing. They just take donations of what you can afford to pay them. These Monks also make a unique fruit cake in a bakery on site. These fruit cakes are supposedly the best on earth. I have tried one and they are excellent, but expensive.
Well we get out there and we arrive at the cave after making our donation. I would say that we were fairly well prepared for the cave, we had plenty of lights, extra batteries, high traction shoes. The staff member of our group home told us that it was a "dry" cave and that we would have to be careful not to stir up dust when we got inside. Well it was dry for about the first 100 feet, then it became muddy as hell. I guess that the high amount of rain received that year contributed to the 4 feet deep puddles of muddy water, in between mounds of clay about 10 feet high.
I am going to use the cave maps, provided on another thread, as a reference of the inside of the cave.
#1 represents the main entrance. When you walk to the hillside where the entrance is on, the cave at first only looks about 5 feet tall. When you get up to it, you realise that it is actually about 20 feet tall!!!
#2 is the first Hairpin, it is a really sharp change in direction of the cave. and #3 is a place up on the ceiling where there is a little round place off to the side. It is called Max's Hideout
#4 is a place that has a large dome, id say it is about 20 feet high, and up on the ceiling is a junction where the cave splits off to another tunnel, about 3 feet high or so.
#5 is called the torture chamber. I dont know why it is called that, as I do not really remember where exactly where it is. Mabie the monks go back in there to do their torture stuff, or mabie its because it is hard to go through. #6 is the Lake Room. I didnt see this either because I didnt go back all the way. I got tired of dealing with going up 10 foot slopes of mud down into 3-4 foot deep puddles of COLD muddy water.
#7 is called the first crawl. It is where a giant flow of mud has almost completely sealed the back portion of the cave. At the time the passage was underwater, according to everyone else who went back all the way.
#8 is an interesting note on the cave map. It says simply Monastery Cave. I guess it is for obvious reasons. correct me if I am wrong plz.
And finally #9 is the back portion of the cave that none of us have been able to see because the crawlspace at the time was underwater. It says that there are Strawtite formations, a drapery room, and some rimstone formations. It also looks like that there is another mud ridge that has to be dealt with. I guess that is supposedly the end of the cave. I would say it goes back about a mile or 2. Some people have told me that it goes back way farther than that, that the other end opens up somewhere outside of a nearby town (Vera Cruiz mabie?)
Well the way into the cave was rather un eventful, and the cave really didnt look all that good for about the first 1/2 mile in. Just muddy and no cool formations.
Then it happened.
I had already made my way out of the cave, gotten back to the Van, grabbed my clothes, took a very cold as hell bath in the creek to wash the mud off, and got my clean clothes on, and even got a fairly good size fire going.
One of the guys that was with us on the trip came out the cave all covered in mud, just like I had been. He told me that another one of the guys, had slipped down one of those muddy as fuck slopes and broke his leg, and that they were dooing the best they could to try to keep him from going into shock and hypothermia.
I think that it happened between #6 and #7, about 1/2 a mile inside.
I drove the van (illegally, I had not yet got my DL) to the monastary, called the sheriff's department and about an hour later, yes an hour, a helicopter lands with a search and rescue team. About 15 minutes after that, the sheriff department arrives with 3 Volunteer Firefighters to do the search and rescue.
The rescue started at about 5 pm, and they didnt get our buddy out of the cave until about 9:30 or so pm.
The co-pilot of the Med-evac helicopter was in the cave trying to deliver an IV, and a splint when he twisted his ankle and had to be escorted out as well. At this time, Cox Air was dispatched and landed next to the other chopper and that team took our guy and flew him to St. John's hospital. Well by that time we all had put clean clothes on and had headed back home. When we got home, we found out that Joe, the first victim had 2 fractures in his lower leg, it wasnt as bad as what they had thought it was in the cave, but serious enough to cause excruciating pain and immobility. He was off crutches in about 1 month, and good as new in about 3 months.
Here is a report in PDF format of a third party's story of events. Keep in mind all their facts are not correct, as they were not there to see the stuff go down. The story is on Page 4
One comment lists us as being foolish. This is not correct as we were well prepared, and had plenty of supplies. Its just that he slipped on that steep mud slope, and broke his leg. Could happen to any cave explorer.
I have been planning on going back out to the Abbey for some time now. It is a beautiful place that is very quiet. Nature is truly an experience out there. I would like to see the cave again. Mabie organize a group to go out there with me. I wonder if it is still open, without bars and stuff. There is something living down there, you have to private message me to find out. I will not tell what it is out in the open for its own saftey from the public.