Extreme Caving: Fantastic Pit of Georgia
Did you know that?… Just kidding I won’t use that lame lead-in to this awesome fact, but, in all seriousness, I bet you did not know that the deepest known cave pit in the entire United States is right here in the state of Georgia.
Yeah, that picture above only shows a portion of what is known as Fantastic Pit, descending a total of a whopping 586 feet straight down into Georgia’s very own Ellison’s Cave. To give you a better idea of how large that is, that provides enough room to fit nearly two Statues of Liberty stacked on top of one another within this pit. The focus of this piece is on Fantastic, but Ellison’s Cave is also home to the second deepest cave pit in the U.S., which is called Incredible Pit and is 440 feet deep. Ellison’s Cave can be found specifically on Pigeon Mountain, within the Northwest region of the Appalachian Plateaus of Georgia.
This dangerous, but incredible drop draws adventurers from all over the world who are interested in extreme caving. If you’re not feeling quite up to this particularly enormous challenge, however, there are a total of seven different routes to the cave floor.
Danger is definitely a factor at Fantastic Pit. In fact, three people have died of hypothermia after being stuck in the cave, one man in 1999 and two University of Florida students in 2011. Another man had to be rescued in 2013 after fracturing his skull from a nearly deathly fall while in the cave. This is not meant to be scary, but just reinforces the fact that proper training is crucial when taking on extreme feats such as that which is offered by Fantastic Pit.
The Daily Mail, the Huffington Post and National Geographic have all produced small articles about the site, but I feel as though Georgia should be bragging about this awesome place a little bit more within the outdoor community. Personally, I’ve never been caving in my life, but now knowing that this amazing place is, essentially, right around the corner makes me want to take a trip there this weekend. It is also pretty close to Chattanooga, Tennessee, located right across the border so for those looking for a weekend full of all kinds of outdoor activities, this would be a great area to visit all around. Often, it seems as though only the Western region of the United States get credit for being full of opportunities for outdoors-enthusiasts, but the Southeast really does have so much to offer. Whether caving is your thing or not, it’s awesome to think about how many great places that this part of the country has to offer. Ellison’s Cave is just one great example because it’s a record-breaker in the United States.
If you don’t have any experience, I would certainly not suggest simply going out and attempting extreme caving in a place like Fantastic Pit. I do think that it poses as a symbol for inspiration though. There are so many beautiful things that nature provides just waiting to be explored, you just have to get out there and start somewhere. Who knows, one day maybe you could be one of the people who do get to say they have rappelled into a pit as deep as the Washington Monument.
By: Maddie Anderson