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Mile 4 of the Pettyjohn Cave Survey
Mile four really begins with the passage over the Luge which led to the discovery of the Pulverizer Squeeze Tobacco Road and the Outer Limits. The lowest point of the cave has also been discovered and mapped. All known cave streams flow into this sump. The discovery of the Emerald Pool pushed the cave to the northernmost point and Tobacco Road pushed the cave to the westernmost point. After completing Mile 4, you can see how complex this cave has become. The years 1969 and 1970 were the most active surveying years in Pettyjohn’s Cave and it was all due to the caving efforts of Richard Schreiber and those he may have enticed to accompany him.
September 23, 1969 – Richard Schreiber and Della McGuffin did the last survey of the year and covered the first three miles of Pettyjohn Cave. This journey started in the passage that is above the waterfall room but is not connected. After mapping this area, they returned to Station H114 and inspected the Over N Under room to reach the 3 mile mark.
They then retrieved the sounding above the toboggan or chute at station H40. It’s a dry area and after a twisty ride they climbed into a rift room with lots of loose rock. The survey ended with a crawl 80 feet long and two feet high. The survey resulted in 658.45 feet THC The total survey is now 16,506.73 feet.
April 18, 1970 – Richard Schreiber, John Eastburn, Dick Minert, Allen Padgett and Marion O. Smith descended from the Bridge Room near the Compression to the Mason – Dixon Passage and mapped downstream below the Volcano Room until they are stopped by a fall.
They then returned to Bridge Room to trace a short connection between Bridge Room and the upstream side of the purlin below Bridge Room. A short distance upstream there is a side passage which was noted on the February 23, 1969 voyage near station P123. Station notes did not give a clear location and the new record begins with “D35 – P?”. They raised the double echo domes, then when they went up the Baroody – Holsinger pass to map two more tracks near stations P110 and P99. The one starting at P99 was labeled on the survey notes as MF Passage Intestine with the MF crossed out. Both survey starting points are between existing stations, so the closest station was used for the connection. The investigation resulted in 1,484.48 feet of THC. The total survey is now 17,991.21 feet.
May 13, 1970 – Richard Schreiber, Ted Wilson and Steve Gelfius returned to collect the investigation in the Fault Room which ended on September 23. As soon as the crawl was over, they found a downhill track. This led them to the Pulverizer Squeeze, a one-foot-wide, ten-foot-tall by six-foot chimney. If you get stuck in the Pulverizer Squeeze, they may have to leave you there!
Mapping continued west until they discovered Tobacco Road, a long straight passage over four hundred feet. The investigation resulted in 1,048.76 feet of THC. The total survey is now 19,039.97 feet.
May 14, 1970 – Richard Schreiber and Ted Wilson returned to discover the beginning of the Outer Limits, a far-reaching passage running north under the mountain. They explored and mapped more than eight hundred feet north before stopping at a stream crossing for the day. The investigation resulted in 813.20 feet of THC. The total survey is now 19,853.17 feet.
July 3, 1970 – Richard Schreiber, John Eastburn, Dick Minert, Rod Price, and Chris Morgan (all USAF), returned to the lowest part of the cave and mapped the sump. The short reading resulted in 95.77 feet THC The total reading is now 19,948.94 feet.
July 4, 1970 – Richard Schreiber, John Eastburn, Dick Minert, Rod Price and Chris Morgan went through the Worm Tube and started surveying station G73. They discovered the Emerald Basin, a siphon, and an overpass with descending air. However, they did not have the necessary equipment to climb and check. They then returned to station G73 and mapped the stream to a sump. The survey resulted in 911.34 feet Total THC reading now 20,860.28 feet.
August 22, 1970 – Richard Schreiber, Ted Wilson and Steve Wells gave way to the end of Tobacco Road and picked up the sounding at station W80A. After mapping a hundred feet, they drove to the outer limits and picked up the survey at station W108. Two feet in front of station W129 would be the 4 mile mark. The next survey station W130 crosses a stream from the outer limits. The survey continued with the start of mile five.
Pettyjohn’s Cave is considered Georgia’s muddiest and most popular cave in the southeast for non-vertical cavers. There are places where a rope is nice and one or two places where it may be necessary but 98% of the cave can be visited without the use of vertical gear. In recent years, easy access and parking have made the cave a favorite for weekend outing groups. Many have always thought that this cave holds many more surprises for those willing to put in the effort and explore the many trails that remain.
Raw survey data for the fourth mile is available in pdf format on my caving webpage.
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