Lovers Leap, A Vertical Pursuit

The daytime high was 81 degrees when Mike Broome, Lisa Lorenzin, and I made our plans to head for Lovers Leap Cave, but the weekend weather took a turn for the worse. Despite the forecast for ice pellets overnight, we trudged up the hill. I think that Mike and Lisa were glad that I advised them not to wear Wellies as we hiked up. As we climbed the hill, fallen trees pushed us closer to the steep face and prevented us from using the switchbacks we’ve found necessary. Apparently the hilltop is being cleared of trees. Hopefully it won’t result in erosion; it’s tough to imagine the hillside being even harder to climb.

Inside the cave Mike climbed toward the ceiling in the main room. He discovered more passage up there that requires survey, and I led him back down to us through a simpler hole in the floor/ceiling.

Then we headed to the pit. Mike and Lisa enthusiastically descended into the slot and admired the white flowstone and draperies choking the sides of the fissure. At the bottom of the 68-foot-deep fissure, they surveyed 35 feet in both directions. One lead got too tight to pursue, but two others will require additional ropes to continue descent. As Lisa ascended the rope, she dropped a mini-mag that Mike was unable to locate. Put together with the 1950’s-style flashlight that Dave Duguid found there previously, Lisa dubbed the slot the Flashlight Eating Fissure.

Upon my request, Lisa used her sten light to check out a second slot located below the Echo Bench. She believes it goes pretty deep (based on rocks dropped in), but only the thinnest people would be able to ascend out of there. Mike and Lisa then demonstrated that the Echo Bench also serves as a loveseat (check out https://tritrogs.org/gallery2/v/LoversLeap0311/loversleap0007.JPG.html in the TriTrog photo gallery).

We also surveyed two leads above the cable ladder drop. The first led us to an easy dig over an 8-foot drop, and that remains to be explored. The second lead pinched into fissure at the lowest level, but Mike squeezed along the horizontal. I followed, and we surveyed into a room. Unfortunately a drain pointing back to Lisa gave us the only route out of the room.

Almost 800 feet of survey now, but the plan view isn’t very interesting:

The plot below shows a profile of the line plot to show how the fissures cut down through the 35-degree bedding.

We exited the cave to a light rain. I ascended the entrance rope at night with a single jumar, but I slipped and slid the whole way up, loaded down with the weight of my gear. Mike and Lisa had more luck while wearing their full vertical gear. As we crested the top of the hill, snow blew into my face. So much for an early Spring.