Tumbling Rock Cave

Aldaron

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Jun 16, 2012
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1,485
For something a little different, how about a short trip report from a cave back east?

On April 4, 2015, my wife, a couple of friends, and I went to Tumbling Rock Cave in Jackson County, Alabama. Jackson County has the distinction of having the highest number of caves of any county in the country. And from what I have seen so far, they are some nice caves. Tumbling Rock is owned and managed by an organization called the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, which is a non-profit group that buys caves in order to protect them. Tumbling Rock is, so far, the best non-commercial cave that I have ever been to.

This was the second time I had been to this cave since moving here last year, but the first time without someone to guide me. With over 6 miles of surveyed passages, Tumbling Rock is a very long cave. It also has several areas of rock breakdowns as well as multiple intersecting passages, making it a reasonably difficult cave to navigate. But it has some great formations and I want to start learning it better. So off we went.

The best parts about this cave are its length, its intersecting passages, the Topless Dome, and its great formations.

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We didn't have any trouble at all getting to our ultimate destination, which is called the Inner Sanctum. This room is over halfway towards the back of the cave, and it has a really nice waterfall coming down into the room.

On our way out we stopped off at the Topless Dome which is an incredible room. You have to climb up through a waterfall in a hole in the roof of the cave and then walk a few yards to a room that's shaped like a missile silo, is 396 feet tall, and has water raining down from the top. This room is really nice.

From there we just continued out of the cave. We got a little turned around in an area known as the Wildcat Rock Pile (well, we THINK this is where we got turned around). But after a few minutes of combing the rock pile we eventually decided on the correct way out and luckily we were right. All in all, we were in the cave for about 6 hours, and came out wet, muddy, sore, and wanting more.

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This is an outstanding cave. Its length and its intersecting passages make it challenging for a newbie to navigate, but it also makes me want to go back over and over again until I figure it out.

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Joined
Feb 10, 2013
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Very cool trip. How were you able to get a guide for your first trip? Is there any technical skill required for this cave?
 

Aldaron

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Jun 16, 2012
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I joined the local NSS grotto and they do monthly caving trips. The trip in December was to this cave so I just went with the grotto on that trip. The Birmingham Grotto probably makes trips up here, too. Or you can come up here and we can explore it together!

The parts we were in didn't require anything technical. There was some tight belly crawling and one place where we had to climb up and then back down a few vertical feet on some really slick boulders. I think some other parts of the cave might have some tougher climbing, but I haven't been to those sections.
 
Joined
Feb 10, 2013
Messages
122
I joined the local NSS grotto and they do monthly caving trips. The trip in December was to this cave so I just went with the grotto on that trip. The Birmingham Grotto probably makes trips up here, too. Or you can come up here and we can explore it together!

The parts we were in didn't require anything technical. There was some tight belly crawling and one place where we had to climb up and then back down a few vertical feet on some really slick boulders. I think some other parts of the cave might have some tougher climbing, but I haven't been to those sections.
Thanks much for the information and the offer.
 

Aldaron

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Joined
Jun 16, 2012
Messages
1,485
I went back to this cave today and tried to take some better pictures.

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Fossils

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Footprint from Civil War Era worker mining salt peter

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This really is an amazing cave. I will be buying my vertical caving gear in a couple of weeks (have to wait on the Christmas gift cards, you know), so hopefully the pictures will start getting even more interesting.
 

Ben

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Sep 12, 2014
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^very nice. Looking forward to more of this from you.
 

Mr. Me

Photographer & Hiker
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Messages
12
What a beautiful looking cave. I wish I knew more about the caves here in Utah, but I know that most of that stuff is kept secret among caving groups that you have to be a part of, and many of the caves require rappelling gear. Someday I might get into it all though, it looks like a ton of fun.
 

Aldaron

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Jun 16, 2012
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Evidently it was a half second shutter...I don't know how I kept it that still for half a second when I wasn't even trying...that's probably how.
 

Curt

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Feb 1, 2014
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408
Evidently it was a half second shutter...I don't know how I kept it that still for half a second when I wasn't even trying...that's probably how.
Sometimes its just good to be lucky. Very impressive - 1/2 second hand held.
 

Artemus

I walk
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Jun 25, 2012
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