jay's Albums

Spelunking in Hell Hole - Santa Cruz

  • by jay
  • | Aug 4, 2007

Just going through some of my favorite photo albums from last year that I want to archive on this site and share with people who haven't seen em. This one here is my spelunking trip to Hell Hole in Santa Cruz with my coworker Igor and his buddy.


This is about my 7th trip to these caves, and my 3rd time making it to the very bottom. They call it Hell Hole for a reason...there is a massive hairy descent at the very end where you have to lower yourself down at times nearly freehanging from a rope, covered in mud, and your hands and feet are also covered in mud. One slip and you would literally be in serious trouble, broken legs, if not worse, and I don't know how you'd get back up. Coming up requires every ounce of upper body strength to pull yourself up the ropes, and all the while you just have some gaping caverns below you.


The reward at the bottom is worth it though, some very cool clay carvings of hellish faces and ghouls and other random stuff. Total time to the bottom and back out is about 2.5 hours. If anyone is ever in the bay area and wants the ultimate adventure with no guides other than myself, let me know. I've taken Igor twice now cause he loves it so much, and he wants to go again in March. Just the thought of going back there and making that descent again gives me butterflies.

Some have asked how to find it: X Marks the spot:



Enjoy the pics!

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  • 4 years ago


    I'm a Santa Cruz native myself and never seen the like. But a co worker of mine has, and swears by it. Good posting jay.

  • 4 years ago


    Very cool! When I was about 13 or so. My father and I went spelunking at Grownings,a vaulted cave and Fix'n To Die. On the White River Plateau in Colorado. We had to repel a few hundred feet to reach the entrance. And swing ourselves into the cave. On my way down my shirt actually got caught in my figure eight.And i was stuck for about an hour trying to untangle myself. lol..Pretty memorable experience. When we entered the cave it was a sunny day. But when we came out it was a blizzard. Very beautiful inside. I've always wanted to go back.

  • 4 years ago


    Hey great pics, on your map you have two places marked as Hell hole;

    Is it a through trip? I'm a caver myself, not that I would be able to get to the US in the near future. Just asking out of curiosity!

    Stay safe my friend, stick a jammer on that rope you mention!

  • 4 years ago


    what is it about human and holes.were either digging them or descending down into them!!maybe its the region of the brain known as the HIPPOCAMPUS when we were cave people.............

  • 4 years ago



  • 4 years ago


    chera bikhody dahaneto ta cheshat baz mikoni?


  • 5 years ago


  • 6 years ago


    I've added a picture to help people find it who can't:



  • 7 years ago


    I have to admit an attraction to caves (being in Carlsbad Caverns has to rank as one of the most epic experiences of my life), but I'm claustrophobic, which is sometimes a problem for me in archaeology too.  The best I've ever been able to manage were the lava tubes in Lava Beds NM, and those talus caves in Pinnacles NM, which I'm sure real spelunkers laugh at.

  • 7 years ago


    Hey, looks nice, but looks like your are going down an throat. I walked around a place in Northern AR called the Devils Den and there are alot of caves, one place is called the ice box feels like there is 40 degrees coming out of the ground all the time.

  • 7 years ago


    Even they are maden by peolple they are cool. Nice photos and nice place. Thank you for posting

  • 7 years ago


    all carvings by people

  • 7 years ago


    I feel curiosity...are there any face forms maden naturaly or they are all carvings in the clays?

  • 8 years ago


    Rope is already there. I have no idea how to describe how to find it, but I'm sure if you asked around you could find someone who could give you directions in. You don't need rope, its already there.

  • 8 years ago


    cool shit man, I'm a student at ucsc I've been to a few other caves but not the Hell Hole, where can I find it? Do I have to bring rope or is it already in there?

  • 9 years ago


     That's great Jay. I will invite you soon to a King's gambit Tournament. Just wait. Great work at chess.com.
  • 9 years ago


    Cool pictures, man.
  • 9 years ago


    It was not as wet that time. The first time we went a few years ago was nothing but crawling through puddles of mud.

    Last time we went to this cave was a couple of months back. We took a few photos too.

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