Friday, July 27, 2007

Tradgedy in St. Paul Storm Drain

I don't mean to over-hype the incident, but it hit very close to many in the local UE community and deserves at least some mention.

Two contractors working for the City of St. Paul were killed Thursday when they were swept away after the storm sewer they were working in flash-flooded (flooding being a normal occurrence) during the afternoon storm around 3:00 pm. A massive rescue attempt was launched after emergency services were notified four hours later. Teams entered drains and covered outfalls to try and recover the lost workers.

When it rains, no drains.
This should never have happened. There is somewhat of an international motto among explorers and the like, considered even more paramount than the "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints".
  • Never enter a drain if there is even the possibility of rain in the days forecast.
  • Examine side tunnels and shafts to determine possible emergency exits.
  • Know what is down stream of you, so if all else fails, you can try and work with the flow to get you to an outfall.
  • The most important thing is not to find a place to hold on to or hide in, but get the hell out.
The following like takes you to a page with a first hand account about when things in a drain get out of control, and this wasn't even during a flood. Attempting to follow these guys yourself is highly discouraged (if I say something like that on this site, it has to be something I wouldn't consider doing myself).

I can't recall ever hearing of the death of an explorer in a local drain. A private firm that claims to have had monitoring deceives and weather spotters in place should have bean able to avert this tragedy.

I think it's fair and accurate to say the hearts of the entire TC UE community are with the victims' friends & families, and they share their frustrations, some, more than they may ever understand.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Nicollet Island (3rd Times the Charm)

Weer'e baack! No more silly reports stolen from other sites, its time for some super bad ass urban exploring! I was chatting with a friend I hadn't seen since school ended (Sparkling Wild Berry) and she brought up the idea of going exploring with another friend (Scout) that I had talked about doing something like this over the summer with. Long story short, Thursday morning we were on the way to Satan's cave. Yeah, I know we've been there half a half dozen times before, but there is still plenty of it I haven't seen, and its sort of like a good place to get back into shape.

Every trip we had made before this, we had used a manhole located on a hill in the middle of a field to get into the tunnels, and we were more than lucky no one ever saw us. A few days before this trip, I had spent an afternoon walking around the island, trying to find a better way in. I found one.

We crawled our way up into a partially caved-in "room" littered with slabs of limestone and sleeping bags, then down a length of sandstone tunnel before emptying into another large space, this one bisected by a branch of the large brick sewer tunnels found under the island. We has two choices, over or under. Scout and I took the high road, and SWB managed to get through underneath. We had to take turns tossing packs and gear back and forth to fit through some of the tight spots, but it wasn't long before we ended up in a brick water main tunnel. We followed that for a long time. We didn't take any side tunnels this time, it was wet, heck, our main tunnel was flooded enough in parts that even by walking on the top of the water main pipe, our shoes were sinking into about an inch of nasty smelling black sludge shit.

Eventually we got to the cave. Out came the cameras, we admired the artwork, and moved on. We took the long way out and headed through the "other cave" that loops into the brick tunnel again closer to our old entrance.

Scout in Satan's Cave

Lick Nuts. If ya haven't figured it out by now, yeah, we're weird

Scout, art aficionado

Sculpture in the cave

SWB documenting

In the belly of the beast.

Check that?... err, still here

Not even alcohol

The shrine


Light writers



Scout BW

Sparkling Wild Berry

Me (thanks Scout)

SWB again

Back into the brick tunnel

It was actually open when we got there. Weired. At the top we found a flashlight someone had left. Double weird. Call us lucky or Scout's got mad skilz, cause no one saw us this time either! Afterwards, we stopped by the Aster Cafe' on the mall there for some lunch and a few rounds of Jenga. Great place. Got to go back there some time when I'm not covered in clay.