Devils Den

June 9, 2002

Four brave and heroic young men signed up for the Devils Den outing, down by Roseburg. Three of them (Obsidians: Rick Ahrens, Mel Zavodsky, and John Jacobson) and I (Gary Kirk) headed south to Cottage Grove. There we found Obsidian Wayne Deeter wandering around in the Bi-Mart parking lot. We took pity on him and asked him to join us. It was wonderful weather as we continued on to Roseburg, where we turned off at Garden Valley exit. Heading West toward the coast range we drove up the steep curvy Callahan Road to the top of Bear Ridge, where we parked. We were greeted by the pleasant sounds of dirt bikes echoing through the woods. Always a pleasure. Off we walked down the the dirt road, which is so rutted by four wheel drive tracks, that a normal car will not make it. After about a ¾ of a mile on the road, we turned off on the old forest trail that runs along the rocky crest of the ridge until we got to the “Balancing Rock”. Here we stopped for a bit to enjoy the views of the Umpqua Valley way below. The birds, plants, etc. were named (Its nice to have experts along) and enjoyed by all. Then onward to the entrance area of Devils Den, which is a huge crack system in the rock edge of the escarpment. I used a handline to safeguard the short climb down into the Den, because a slip would result in a 20 foot drop down into a dark hole. After we were all down, we started to move through the huge mossy boulders toward the right hand crack system. There we worked our way through the “Chockstone Crack” using climbing methods I have never seen used before. Soon we were outside the Den and climbed up onto “Bathtub Rock” where we stopped to enjoy a lunch break. After lunch I led off down through the boulders and vine maple until we got to the “Rabbit Hole”. Take off your pack — push it through the tiny hole in front of you — down on your belly and using your toes push yourself after the pack into the darkness. After a short ways you can stand up, but it’s very narrow. You are now in the “Narrow Passage” which leads back into the Den. Without a flashlight it is dark and and you need to trust in the leader a lot. When I climbed up and into the “Big Room”, I waited for the others. I listened to the many comments, and watched the many looks of amazement as they saw the huge high walls of rock around them. At least that is what I first thought. The reason for the amazed looks was that Wayne Deeter was heard to say a word or two that he has never been heard to say in the past by anybody. We continued on by crawling, wiggling, climbing, etc until we worked our way past the “Bat Room” (no bats now, they have been scared away) and on to a tiny black hole. I dropped down into the blackness and disappeared from the view of the others. More comments about demented leader types were shared by them. But soon they joined me in the crossing of the “Big Slab Room” (had to turn on a flashlight to show them the slab) back outside the Den. We traversed around the outside to the Den back entrance and then returned to the start by a slightly more direct route. Back on the trail, happy that I had not lost anybody. Picking up cans along the way for extra exercise. At the cars, Cave Certificates (designed by John Cecil) were given to each caver, with thanks for their good humor and willingness to follow. A fine trip !!!!

Marching to the “Den” — John Jacobsen, Rick Ahrens, Mel Zavodsky, Gary Kirk, (and Wayne Deeter behind the camera).

Slippery slopes

Long way down …

Entrance to the “Den”

And in we go!

Chockstone alley

Yellow-flowering succulents on the rocks

Moss & broken stone

Obsidians succumbing to the influence of the local demons? Nah!

Conference in the cracks, “Oh no! We’re lost!”

“Down this way”

“It’s dark in here!”

Light at the end of the tunnel

Ooops! More of the same!

Ok, I think this looks familiar

Big-leaf Maple on a ledge


The end …

— photos by Wayne Deeter

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