Upper Cave to the Western Borehole and Beyond





















  1. The 80' entrance drop to Lechuguilla and the room below had been known since the early 1900s, and were mined for guano.

  2. A series of digs by Colorado cavers broke through in 1986. Entrance is now through this culvert, where 60 mph winds have been recorded.

  3. Deep secrets, in the Western Branch, was the first arm of the cave explored. These planar coralloids mark the entrance to Deep Sea camp.

  4. Mammalaries or cave clouds are found in many parts of the cave, in old pool basins. These orange ones are above Lake Louise.

  5. The ABCs Room marks the start of the Western Borehole, the largest, most continuous passage in the cave. It extends over a mile.

  6. Gypsum floors much of the Western Borehole and "drilled" formations such as these are found along the trail. Note the tiny shield rock on each.

  7. The Three Amigos are probably the largest gypsum stalagmites in the Western Borehole.

  8. Passage shot about halfway down the borehole. Note the Three Amigos in the distance.

  9. The "Leaning Tower" is a raft cone covered with aragonite - perhaps the largest in the cave. It's found in an old pool basin.

  10. "Raft Cone Land" is a portion of the Western Borehole floored entirely with layers of calcite rafts and numerous raft cones.

  11. The Huapache Highway is one of the largest passages in the cave, just beyond Hard Daze Night Hall, a huge chamber.

  12. After a mile of bone-dry passage, an active area is reached at the end of the Western Borehole: the Oasis, a receding pool basin.

  13. Inside the Oasis Pool Room, near the top of the water line.

  14. Much of the pool which once filled the Oasis Chamber has evaporated.

  15. The Red Lake Passage is in the same vicinity as the Oasis. Note the 5' long soda straw which extends directly into the pool.

  16. South Winds, a complex of passage south of the Western Borehole, is noted for its impressive aragonite bushes.

  17. The Northwest Passage leads from the Western Borhole to Hudson Bay. I call this area of the room the "Toasted Marshmallows".

  18. These unusual mammilaries are found in the Northwest Passage.

  19. Spar City is a portion of the Northwest Passage entirely covered with large spar crystals. Note the caver peering through the hole.

  20. Beyond Spar City, a series of ascents on flowstone lead to the well decorated There Be Dragons region.

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Created: November 10, 1995
Author: Dave Bunnell
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