Monday, February 27, 2006

Caving At Limestone Ridge

I finally got to do a bit of caving on the weekend with some of the local caving leaders out here. It was just one day, and we only visited one cave, but it was still a great trip.

We went to the Limestone Ridge area in the Mt. Etna National Park. After parking the cars we started the walk to the top of the ridge. It took us around 45 minutes to get where we thought the cave would be. The last 25 minutes or was was clambering all over some very rough Tower Karsting, apparently one of the few areas in Australia where this really happens.

We were looking for a cave which had a 30m abseil into it. We arrived at the supposed location, though couldn't find the cave. We had a brief look in a couple of other holes we'd noticed, but didn't find anything worth going further into

At around lunchtime we decided to cut our losses and head into a cave called Lost Paradise. Much to my embarrasment, it turned out that I didn't fit into the entrance of the cave! Jim (one of the Rovers) and I headed to the second and larger entrance, only to be thwarted by a snake sitting right in the way. Later we worked out it was only a carpet python, but at the time we decided to to risk crossing it!

So we went back to the small entrance for another bash, and after altering the angle on which I was entering the whole, I was in! The cave itself is reasonably large, and is spread out over two levels. It has a couple of nice decorations including an excellent 8m long white flowstone coming down the side of a chasm. I found the cave to be similar to many found in the Flinder Ranges, though without as much dust as some of them are blessed with.

We were simulation a mock search and rescue on the day, so we explored plenty of nooks and crannies in the cave. There are plenty of nice crawls and squeezes in this cave.

Eventually we headed up to the second level. One of the leaders climbed up first, via a slightly tricky and slippery climb, not unlike a couple in Corra-Lynn cave. He threw down the ladder to the rest of us and we followed them up.

The top part of the cave seemed to have lots of bats roosting in it. Mainly males I presume since the breeding cave is located not too far from this one.

After about 3 hours in the cave, we headed back to the entrance, and finally worked our way back to the cars. I can't wait to get out there again, and do some exploring in the area, and hopefully next time I might be able to get some photos from inside the cave.


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