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New ''hell Hole'' Quest?

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Several Northwest Geocachers had fun a few months ago figuring out what and where the Oregon Hell Hole is.....but.......




I ran across this in the news today:




Any amateur spelunkers out there?


Any of you government archive gurus want to chase this info?


''The Lost Caves were discovered 50 years ago by accident during a forest fire, when smokejumpers landed in the area and stumbled upon the cave openings. A small team explored it but kept their findings largely secret, although there was one write-up of what they found. That write-up was discovered in the 1980s at the ranger station in Gasquet for the Smith River National Recreation Area and Six Rivers National Forest.


One report says the cave openings lead to a complex system of chambers, elevator shafts and tunnels with multicolored walls, underground creeks and waterfalls.


Over the years that followed, the members of the cave team split up and disappeared, and the secret location has stayed with them.


Some readers asked me not to reveal the answer to the Mystery Mountain, fearing the Lost Caves would be overrun. It is possible, however, that nobody is left alive who can pinpoint the cave entrances. My searches have been fruitless. So have extensive searches by my geologist pal, Michael Furniss, and other experts.


As far as the mountain, however, there is only one answer that fills the voids of all the clues:


It is Preston Peak" - WWW.SFGATE.COM

Edited by Peanuthead
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You might start off by trying to track down any maps made of the fires for a few years each side of the suspect date.


Or track down any of the reports made to the Ranger District or possible the SO of which ever National Forest in the suspected area.


Or head for the local newspaper and track down any information or news articles about the fires around the suspect date.

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I've never tried to use GIS data, but a good place to look for California fire maps is the California Dept. of Forestry and Fire Protection, Fire and Resource Assessment Program'sFRAP Data page.


According to page 32 of the World Wildlife Fund's "Fire Regimes, Fire History and Forest Conditions in the Klamath-Siskiyou Region" report, the FRAP data for this time period should be complete.


Based on the fact that the report was found in the Gasquet ranger station (point 1 on the map), and it's near Preson Peak (point 2), it's at least an 18.2 mile range we're looking at.



Interestingly, a Google search for Gasquet hidden caves -"oregon caves" comes up with 19 pretty much irrelevant hits, but includes GC56AA, Where's Waldo.

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Well, I happen to be living in the Bay Area (temporarily, I have been since Thanksgiving commuting every other weekend) so if you locate the caves I have every other weekend free. And I still have rope left over from the Hell Hole trip. (Find the coordinates quick I want out of here soon). Oh and if anyone has a TB that need to travel here let me know.

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I just finished typing in a response that took about 30 minutes. I did something wrong and it disapeared, UGG !!!!!. This one will be alot shorter.


What an interesting topic.


I'm sure you have gotten lots of good advice, just wanted to throw in my 2 cents.


- Like mentioned before, try to find out more about the fire and it's boundries. It seems like this might be one of your best clues.


- The USGS puts out 7.5 minute topos for certain areas. Try to narrow down your search area, and then look on these maps for Limestone. Then get out there and pound the ground.


- I think the best peice of advice I have heard here is to contact the author of the newspaper article and see what he knows.


- Attempt to search for e-mail addresses and contact some of these winners of this contest. What do they know and are they willing to tell you?


- If there is a caving grotto in that area, try to find out if they put out a monthly publiction. you wouldn't get so lucky as to find a location for the cave in print, but many people like to brag in these type of publications, so you might get the clue you need. Try a library to get these issues


- Contact some local grottos, and kinda dance around the subject of the caves. You never know what they might let slip.


- Post this question on ( http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&...roup=alt.caving ) and see what happens. Information seems to flow easier here.


- Once you narrow down the area, spend some time there, just looking.



Edited by Vader
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I received the following update today:

Hello, Travis. I thought I would update you on the status of your question regarding the "Lost Caves". The most detailed geographical resource we have is a multi-volume book, published by Omnigraphics, entitled "Omni Gazateer of the United States of America". It includes listings of "places in the US" including streams, mines, caves, summits, etc. I found some of the places mentioned in the San Francisco Chronicle article, but I was unable to find the Lost Caves that the article refers to.


Since the article says that a write-up had been found in the 80s at the ranger station in Gasquet for the Smith River National Recreation area, I decided to call the station to see if they knew about the report. The person I talked to was not familiar with it, but he asked me to send him an email about it, and he would check with other staff members at the Ranger Station. I sent the email to him on Jan 7th, and I have not heard back from him yet.


I also sent an email enquiry to the Oregon Caves National Monument, since this was also mentioned in the article. I have not heard back from them, and I don't expect them to respond since it was unsolicited. I think the best chance we have of finding the caves is the response from the Gasquet ranger station.


The person I talked to there said that the area has a lot of old, abandoned mine shafts, and some of them have lost their timber entrances, and are overgrown with vegetation, so it's possible that the Lost Caves are actually mine shafts that may resemble caves.


I will let you know if/when I hear back from the Gasquet ranger station. The author of the article in the Chronicle indicates that it's possible that there is "nobody...left alive who can pinpoint the cave entrances". I do not know of any other way of finding this information if the Gasquet station can't unearth it.


William Poore

Bellevue Library Reference Dept.

King County Library System


So... we continue to wait.

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In my e-mail today:


Hello, Travis.  I have not yet heard back from the Smith River National Recreation Area. I think the only people who might be able to answer this question is someone in that area that may remember the report from the 80s.  I will keep your email address for awhile,  and I'll forward any email I receive from them--if they respond.


You might want to try talking to them.  Here is their website address:




I'll let you know if I hear back from someone there.


William Poore

Bellevue Reference Department

Bellevue Library


I'll let someone else pursue this from here, if they're really interested.

Edited by travisl
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I received this in a forward of a forwarded e-mail yesterday. Kudos to the Bellevue library research department for forwarding this along:


From: John E Roth

To: Ann Schlichting/ORCA/NPS@NPS                     

Date: 04/12/2004 07:42 AM PDT

Subject: Re: From ParkNet - "Lost Caves"


They most likely are referring to Scorpion Cave which is about seven miles from Preston Peak. It is not connected to Oregon Caves. Location info and the key to the cave gate can be had from the Happy Camp Ranger District.




I searched for Scorpion Cave only turned up one relevant result, at


Scorpion Cave lies within the Thompson Creek watershed, and has been

determined "significant" under the criteria of the Federal Cave Resources Protection Act. This cave has had an operating plan in effect since the late 1970s. The cave is very sensitive to disturbance and recreational visits are not allowed. Visits are designed with specific objectives to monitor, inventory. The Southern Oregon Grotto, an affiliate of the National Speleological Society, recently completed a photo monitoring project where they took a number of photos at the same locations of those taken in the early 1970s.


Based on this, I'm guessing its located off of FR-17N11 (a road to a lookout tower at Baldy Mountain), at roughly N41.8, W123.47 (give or take a mile or more). It's also not a good place for a cache. That's just a guess on my part -- maybe someone else will have a better idea.

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One more update in my mailbox today:


From: Tom_Siewert@[the National Park Service e-mail system]

Sent: Mon 4/19/2004 12:23 PM

To: William Poore

Subject: From ParkNet - "Lost Caves"


Greetings from Oregon Caves!


I apologize for the late nature of our response; it probably is a moot point at this time.  Our computer system had some problems and we have not been able to open this mailbox until just recently.


I read through the article and know of no specific caves in that area.  I know one thing for certain: the Lost Caves do not link up with the caves here.  We have just over 3 miles of passageways in this cave...Period.


There is no evidence for major links to other cave systems at this time.

We do have places where the passageways pinch down to where it is too small for people to fit through and the question arises: "Is it possible that those later open up to other major rooms or other caves?"  The answer cannot be stated with absolute certainty, but if there were larger passageways beyond, one would expect to feel lots of air movement through those tight spots and that just doesn't occur, so we at this time have to say "No."


The likelihood of a cave system extending from Preston Peak (the mystery

spot) to here is virtually non-existent.  For one thing, granite and

peridotite do not form caves of any extent.  The base rock generally has

to be either limestone/marble, or (as one finds in many parts of Oregon and northern CA) a continuous lava flow, neither of which exists here.  There are caves in the Marble Mountains and not far from Preston Peak, but with the complex geology and extent of deformation, it is [not?] likely they are of any great extent.  The area has not been adequately explored for cave resources and much remains for discovery.


Please feel free to save this email address and drop me a line directly if any further questions arise with which I may be of service.



Tom Siewert

Head Guide

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There's supposed to be a "crystal cave" somewhere near Bend, Oregon discovered around the start of the century by some guys caught in a snowstorm. Apparently they went back to try to find the cave, but the snow had melted and its never been located again. Very unusual cave for this area if it does indeed exist....

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Related to the infamous Blue Bucket Mine, maybe?

I still don't get why it's called the Blue Bucket Mine. If memory serves, the group found some strange looking "rocks" and put them in a blue bucket, only to later find out they were gold nuggets not rocks. Where does the mining come in?

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Related to the infamous Blue Bucket Mine, maybe?

I still don't get why it's called the Blue Bucket Mine. If memory serves, the group found some strange looking "rocks" and put them in a blue bucket, only to later find out they were gold nuggets not rocks. Where does the mining come in?

Maybe they couldn't think of a better term?

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Mr. Snazz, We too are from the same area as you, and I seem to recall reading an article on the crystal cave within the last two (?) months. One of our local rags. I can not recall if it was the bugle , Bend Bullentin..no I think it was a more"hip/younger generation" group of writers, so maybe the Source. It seemed that, from this article, the author connected with the gentleman (or family members of) that had some crystals he had taken from the original snowstorm visit and they did infact re-visit the cave, and spotted more crystals? I am too lazy too research this. If anyone does..do post the info.

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