Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Nutty Putty Cave to Be Closed for Good after Trapped Caver's Death

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Nutty Putty Cave to Be Closed for Good after Trapped Caver's Death

Article excerpt

The tragic ending to rescue efforts in Utah to free a trapped caver brings new attention - and a cautionary note - to a sport that has been growing in popularity. By all accounts, John Jones, who died around midnight Wednesday after being stuck in the Nutty Putty Cave south of Salt Lake City for 28 hours, was an experienced caver and avid outdoorsman. To access the cave, which is owned by Utah's State Institutional Trust Land Administration, explorers are required to have reservations and either travel with a guide or have experience. Mr. Jones is not the first caver to get stuck inside Nutty Putty, which draws about 5,000 visitors a year. According to the Deseret News, rescuers have freed at least six people from the cave since it was discovered in 1960. In 2006, the land trust moved to begin limiting the number of people who could enter, in hopes of reducing mishaps. "We were hoping that by limiting access to those with the proper gear, proper leadership preparations and the appropriate skills, we could make sure that only the most prepared people were going into the cave," caver Jon Jasper told the Salt Lake Tribune. Mr. Jasper is a volunteer with the Timpanogos Grotto, which manages the cave and is a local chapter of the NSS. "Even with everything that has been put in place to help guide people into proper preparation, going into the cave can still be dangerous," he told the paper. "A Guide to Responsible Caving," published by The National Speleological Society (NSS), America's leading caving organization, might be enough to deter many would-be caving enthusiasts. "Dangers include falling down pits, being crushed by falling rocks, drowning, and hypothermia," it states. "And then there is the possibility of getting lost and quickly dying of hypothermia or slowly starving to death. …

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