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The Saturday Fall 2011 Caving Class was cancelled due to low enrollment, but Broccoli Rob had his heart set on a cave scouting trip. So a few of us piled into the van one Saturday in September to attempt my first rappel cave. Broccoli Rob, Sarah, Reid, and I attended.

Gage Cave is on private property a few miles from the Clarksville and Onesquethaw caves near Albany, NY. Though it is not managed by the Northeast Cave Conservancy, it is open to the knowledgeable public. The entrance is fairly challenging to locate if you have never been there before. We set-up an anchor and I rappelled in first. There is a broken 40-foot later down from the unassuming poured concrete entrance. From the forest floor, the site looks like an old Cold War bunker, and it probably would function well as one if it wasn't so wet.

Once inside, we found the cave had a few enormous rooms with full stalagmites and veins of lighter rock. It only has one entrance, and the passages branches out like a tree. There are a few fun squeezes hidden in its back rooms, but much of the rock tunneling is filled with mud.

On our way out, three French Canadian cavers with old-school open-flame headlamps and full-body rubber suits descended. Two had enormous cave beards and one was obviously the son of one of the old-timers. Oh yeah, and the granola bars were delicious-good choice Broccoli Rob.