Saturday, April 13, 2013

Herron's Hope Cave 200 Foot Rappel

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Herron's Hope Cave is at the base of a 200 foot cliff on the south side of Little Rock Canyon. The cave is fun to explore, but it can be combined with an exciting rappel for even more fun. 
You can see Eric rappelling down in the picture above. He's the black dot 30 feet below the big cave. You can hike around to the top of the cliff on the south side. At the top there are two bolted anchors and a boulder which can also be used to anchor off of. The rappel is completely vertical with most of it free hanging, and passes an enormous but shallow cave on the face of the cliff as seen in the video below.
Looking southeast from the mouth of the canyon.

 Climbing up onto the south ridge after crossing the creek bed. 

Hiking up along the south ridge. 

 We set up the rappel anchoring off of two bolts 
and the boulder on the right, using 120 feet of webbing. 

 Dani rappelling down. 
You can barely see her free-hanging in front of the big cave. 

 Jared coming down the final stretch to the opening of Herron's Hope Cave. 

 If you've set up the rappel with a 60 meter dynamic rope, you can rappel down into the bottom of Herron's Hope Cave from the top of the cliff. However, climbing down from the entrance of the cave into the lower passage is a pretty simple down-climb. 

The lower section of the cave goes back 40 feet and then ends.

 The lower portion drops down 15 feet and then goes back 40 feet. 
The upper section goes up 30 feet and then back 10. 

 Climbing across into the upper section of the cave. 

 It's a pretty easy chimney up 30 feet to the top of the cave.

 Looking down the final passage at the top of the cave. 

 A few formations, though most have been broken. 

An ugly spider living at the top of the cave. 

 Looking down from the top. 
 This stalagmite was about 5 inches in diameter and would likely 
have been very tall. Unfortunately it has been broken off and ruined.

 The trail along the base of the cliff to and from the cave. 

Directions: From University Ave, turn east onto 3700 N. Continue onto 3650 N St and continue onto Quail Valley Drive. Turn left onto Foothill Drive, then make the third right onto Windsor Drive. Take the third right onto N Imperial Drive, and follow that to the loop at the end which you can see in the picture below. Follow the trail around the water reservoir, and stick to the lower trail which takes you down to the creek bed. It's not very obvious but you need to cross the creek, go up on the other side, and find the trail again. It essentially follows the south ridge east (uphill). The trail is not well worn as directions to the cave have never before been made public. Just keep hiking up toward the big cliff with a cave on the face, and remember that Herron's Hope Cave is at the base. 
GPS coordinates at the cave entrance: 40.284784, -111.628532

Setting up the rappel: There are two bolts on top of the cliff and I don't know who put them there but they seem pretty new and very solid. Just in case we set up a third anchor off of a big boulder. I used a 60 foot piece of webbing to wrap around the boulder, a 40 foot piece off of one bolt, and a 20 foot piece off of the other bolt. We had all of the webbing converge off of the anchors about three feet from the edge of the cliff. We used one 60 meter rope, but if you want to pack two ropes up you can do a double rope rappel. Hiking back around to the top of the cliff only takes about five minutes to retrieve your anchors and rope. From the top of the cliff to the entrance to Herron's Hope Cave is about 180 feet, leaving you just enough rope to rappel into the cave if you wish. 

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1 comment:

  1. I know of a cave on the north side of the Canyon that resembles an underground slot canyon and has a rope to the upper passages and a very tight squeeze. I could be wrong but i think it might be longer than here's hope cave. Do you know the cave I'm talking about?