All the Way Down, Virgil the Turtle’s Greathouse Cave, Montana, United States

Photograph by Philip Rykwalder

Seen in this photo, Elliot Stahl is struggling up a hill toward Virgil the Turtle’s Greathouse Cave, the second deepest limestone cave in the United States(and the 5th deepest US cave in general), which was discovered in 2005 by myself and Hans Bodenhamer, Jason Ballensky, and Ben Sainsbury. A 25 mile hike is required to access the cave, which is over a mile long currently and -1586 feet deep. It’s still being explored and at only 18 feet shy of being the deepest limestone cave in America, we hope that it will one day take the title. 

6 Responses

  1. Nick

    It’s incredible that there are still so many things being discovered on our planet. Gorgeous shot – I would love to hear more about how you discovered this cave!

  2. Ryan

    tight spaces and i do not mix, but serious congratulations are in order for anyone who has the guts to explore caves. rock on!

  3. Philip

    I’ll write an article on it soon. The find was the culmination of ~12 years of cave discovery and exploration. We walked thousands of miles all over the country looking for a deep cave. Even now Virgil is one of the high points of my 18 year caving career… stay tuned.


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