Cave Type: Vertical
Time: 10-18 hours
Length: 10,750 ft
Depth: 1,127 ft
Recommended Months to Visit:
Features: Technical, Waterfalls, Cave, Camping,
Links: Utah Caves
Hype:At 1,127 feet deep, Main Drain Cave is the deepest cave in Utah.
By Jeremy Dye
Jeremy Dye, Chris Erickson, Michael, Someone Else,
I visited Main Drain Cave with Chris Erickson and two of his caving buddies. It took us about an hour and a half to reach the cave entrance. We met at Tony Grove Lake at 9:00 a.m. and got to the cave around 10:30 a.m.. We made it to the bottom of Kilo Pit (around 1,100 feet underground) and explored Kilo Canyon for a bit before we realized we were going the wrong way. Then we turned around and came back out. We got back to the surface at about 9:30 p.m. and got back to the cars around 10:45 p.m.
Special thanks to Michael for most of these pictures. As I explain below, I broke my camera in the cave, so Michael graciously shared his pictures with me.
After the first rappel into the cave, we did a traverse down a snow pile over to a second rappel that drops into the snowcone room. Right as I started rappelling, my camera (which was actually a borrowed work camera) fell out of my pocket and landed 100 feet below on a bunch of rocks. The $250 camera was completely destroyed, and I couldn't find the SD card either.
One of the purposes of this trip was to help haul scuba gear and ropes out of the cave. So at the bottom of Kilo Pit, we each took a bag with us. I was the last one to start the ascent and I had my gear as well as a rope bag. I got about 10 feet off the ground and all my energy left me. On the hike to the cave I had pushed too hard and got myself sick from overexertion. I pushed through it and kept going, but I lost all my appetite. So I had been the whole day without eating, and I didn't have any energy left. I was really discouraged. I remember setting elevation goals: I'll make it up as high as that rock up there, then I'll stop and take a break. As I was bouncing up and down on the rope, I kept imagining the rope breaking and me falling down to my death. I'm not normally nervous about stuff like that, but for some reason, that's all I could think about. Oh, and to make matters worse, my wetsuit was too tight around my groin area, and it was really uncomfortable every time I had to sit down.
After what seamed like hours, I finally made it to the top of Kilo Pit. I secured the rope bag there and made it the rest of the way out with just my own gear. I was so exhausted by the time we finished. And then we still had to hike to the car. It's an awesome cave, but it kicked my trash. I vowed to never return because it stopped being fun.