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Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition  |  OKLAHOMA CLIMBING  |  Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge Climbing  |  Water Cave on Elk Mountain 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Water Cave on Elk Mountain  (Read 7532 times)
darrollrr
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« on: March 24, 2008, 07:33:46 PM »

I am new to the group and figured maybe somebody may have some answeres to some questions I have about a couple places on Elk mountain.  I was in the Wichitas this past week of March 19-23. I have tried three times to find the water cave mentioned in the book "Hiking the Wichitas" by Alan Thode.  I know I am in the right canyon just to the west of the elk slabs and I have climbed and scurried all through the boulders all the way up to the top of Elk Mountain.  I don't understand how I can be missing such a large cave?  Can someone please give me some advise? 

Also, I did find something very interesting in that exact area, and it has me boggeled.  I found a space that was just barley big enough for me to crawl into and it was pitch black.  It didnt look like anyone had been there in a long time.  I crawled back into the crevice and found a couple old lug nuts.  I then crawled deeper, aproximately 15', and it was very cool and moist and I could here water running plainly.  Then it opened up and it was only about maybe 2' wide and 30' long, but it dropped down probably 20'.  At the bottom of the pit was a pipe.  There was water running through the bottom of the cave pretty steady.  I could not go down into the hole because I didnt bring my rope and I couldnt see any way out except where I crawled in.  I looked everywhere for the pipe to come out lower down and higher up.  I could not find any other entrances to that cave.  I cant wait to get back down there and scope it out.

Has anyone ever been here before and can you tell me what the pipe is for or why it is there or how in the world it got there?  Any info is highly appreciated.  Also I packed a lot of trash from that area this week and it is sad that visitors treat it that way but I sure appreciate you guys doing your part to keep it pristine.

Thanks,
Darroll
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darrollr

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« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2008, 03:22:56 PM »

I had to make some changes to my account because of my email so my new User ID is darrollr, and I started this post.
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randallpink

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« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2008, 05:37:14 PM »

dude, darroll

i need to know where your profile pic was taken.  i need to look at that boulder behind you for any potetial.
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careful with that axe, eugene.
rabbit

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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2008, 06:44:49 AM »

Dude,...That's the entrance to rock rooms.
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eeeeeehhhhh.................what's up doc?
darrollr

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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2008, 10:44:08 PM »

yup, that seems to be the entrance.  I have yet to make it through them though.  I have another post just for them and Rabbit is supposed to send me some pics of them.     

So does anybody out there have any info on the water cave that I have posted questions about?
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darrollr

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« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2008, 10:24:44 AM »

I went back to look for the water cave again this weekend with two other friends and spent about 3 hours searching, still nothing.  But I also brought my gear so that I could go down into the crevice in the cave that I found earlier, the one with the pipe in it.  Unfortunately I could not fit down into the crevice.  It is only about maybe 8"-12" wide and I couldnt risk getting stuck since there is no room for the guys above me to get leverage to pull me back out.  I am still going crazy trying to find out why this pipe is there and how the heck it got there.  We searched again for another entrance or exit to this cave with the pipe but had no luck.  I don't know where the pipe leads to or comes in from.

Very mysterious!
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ctwist

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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2008, 10:20:24 AM »

Darrol, you are just like me in that you are just amazed with the mysteries of the Wichitas.  I'VE JUST GOT TO KNOW!!.  What is that pipe all about? Who put those chains there and why? Exactly how did that young doctor die in the Wichitas?

I just bought Alan Thodes book a couple of weeks ago while at the refuge. Now I've just GOT to find the water cave.

I have to take my nine year old daughter everytime I go, so I am limited as to what I can do while there. She is a Blackbelt in Taekwondo, so she has the stamina, strength and will, but I'm just too afraid to let her do too much. I can't leave her home, it would just break her heart. I can't wait until she gets a little older...

I too am just a Hiker. I've got a bad knee, but am in pretty good shape for my age, 42, as far as stamina.

I hope someone here has some answers.





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berkly

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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2008, 10:40:29 AM »

Im not positive, but I believe those chains are there because someone died falling in that spot. 
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Tea in Bishop anyone?
darrollr

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« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2008, 01:42:29 PM »

ctwist,

I have a niece that is 9 and she does great out there.  She aint no black belt but she is athletic.  She absolutely loves it.  I'd really like to get her into climbing, she loves to climb stuff, but we need to get her a harness so she can get serious.  I also have a 4 year old niece and a 5 year old nephew and they both love it too, but their legs are pretty short and makes for a long day of hiking.  Anyhow i wouldnt worry to much about her getting hurt.  She would love scrambling to find the water cave.  There are lots of boulder rooms in the canyon of the water cave, or where the water cave "supposedly" is!  It could be dangerous but kids aren't as fragile and they heal quicker.
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ctwist

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« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2008, 03:31:19 PM »

I THOUGHT that those chains might be where that Dr. died. Anyway, we had left from Treasure lake parking area, hiked to the boulder field (Valley of the boulders), went throught the boulder field as far as we could go, or could stand, took to the tops of the boulders the rest of the way, hiked up to the top of Elk Mt.  and decided to go touch Apple pear just to say we did.

We then got the wild idea to take the top of Elk Mt. south back to the treasure lake parking area. After many failed attempts to find a safe looking way off the mountain to the parking lot (we could see our vehicle, we just could'nt find a way down), we accidentally ended up at the chains. By that time we were both (my friend and I) extremely exausted, and my bum knee was killing me. We both took that narrow ledge to where the chain is, and when my buddy started to go for the chains, I saw his leg shaking, from exaustion and fear I suppose. Anyway, at that point I told him that I thought it was a bad idea.  I just got this creepy, gut feeling that told me DON'T DO IT.

At that point, we made the descision to hike back to Sunset parking area and bum a ride off of someone back to our vehicle. When we got back to the vehicle we noticed the plaque dedicated to the Dr. Another hiker mentioned that chains might have something to do with where the Dr. was killed.

I think my gut feeling at the chains that day was trying to tell me that.

Had it been earlier in the day and we wern't already tired, we might have done it, but at that  point, I think we made the right descision.

Yea, I'm sure my daughter could do anything I can do, maybe more, but I guess I am just too protective. 

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frank

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« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2008, 04:02:54 PM »

The story of the chains, as I have heard it, was Dr. Phil Mitchell from Texas was meeting a buddy or two for some climbing one weekend.  Dr. Mitchell arraved a day or 2 early and set out on his own to explore.  He didn't show up at his car that evening and his body was found a couple of days later in the rock rooms below where the chains now are.  Judging by his injuries and his body position, he had fallen from the ledge and survived the fall and crawled for a bit but couldn't climb out and ended up dying there (either exposure or internal injuries). The thought is he could have survived had he not been alone, thus the plaque 'never go alone'.  The chains were put up after that but I don't know if it was a refuge deal or climbers.  Use the chains at your own risk!
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okmd58

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« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2008, 09:19:47 AM »

I also looked for the water cave from the same book back in July of 2007.  This area is left (North) of Elk Slab. I climbed all over the area from the photo in the book & found a small crevice I could crawl into that looked like a small cave entrance.  However, I was alone & did not want to venture any further.  I did see a rope coiled up in front of the entrance but again I was alone.  I would say the rope was about 25 feet long. 

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leinosaur

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« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2008, 04:16:54 PM »

I'm sure this is a different cave, but the Refuge is showing off at least one of their caves, these days:

(from the refuge fws.gov site:)
Quote
Visitor Events for the Weekend

The Refuge is scheduling lots of FREE events for weekends! Please check here or contact the Visitor Center at 580-429-2197 (or call the general Refuge number at 580-429-3222) for the most up to date schedule.

Plan to participate in weekend hikes at the Refuge. Interpretive hikes to some of the historical and scenic locations like Spanish Cave and Isom's Cabin are scheduled on Saturday and Sunday mornings. These hikes are first come, first served and will meet at the Refuge Visitor Center. Reservations are not needed. The Saturday morning hikes will leave the Visitor Center at 9:30 am. The Sunday morning hikes will leave the Visitor Center at 11:00 pm. There is no charge for these interpretive programs. 


Also a bus from the Visitors' Center to the top of Mt. Scott to watch fireworks on July 4!

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Marion

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« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2008, 11:12:17 PM »

My recollection is that Chuck Lohn, author of "The Oklahoma Climber's Guide", installed the chains after the Dr. Mitchell's death.  Chuck owned Hangdog Mountaineering Guide Service out of Ft. Worth and frequented that area with his clients.  I believe Chuck knew Dr. Mitchell, and when he heard about his abandonded vehicle at Treasure Lake and the fact that he had been missing for several days, Chuck had a feeling about what had happened and actually drove to the Refuge and found Dr. Mitchell's body.  That accident led him to install the chains for safe passage for other climbers.

The pipe described is a mystery to me.  I'd sure like to know the story on that one.

By the way, if any of you happen to come across a rusty iron door, make sure to call me right away Wink

       
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thetravelor

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« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2010, 06:16:03 PM »

I am a little old-fashioned.  Just got internet this week!  Someone suggested I GOOGLE my name and see what turns up.  And guess what did?  Yep, your TOPIC.  I see by the date you question is pretty old... but if you're still looking for the Water Cave listed in the book HIKING THE WICHITAS - I'd be glad to take you up there and show it to you.  Be good for me to get back to that area.  Just let me know.  Alan Thode, author, HIKING THE WICHITAS.   
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May all your paths lead home.  Alan Thode
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