Nutty Putty Cave



Jan 25 2009

Nutty Putty Cave

Published by Shaun at 11:19 pm under Activities & Adventure

Janel, Shaun and Curtis exit the caveNutty Putty is what cavers call a “sacrificial cave.” No animals are ritually killed or anything - it’s the cave itself that’s sacrificed by hordes of novice spelunkers (about 40,000 per year, I think I heard) who don’t know anything (or don’t care) about cave etiquette (like not touching sensitive crystals and other features, not leaving any trash, etc.).

So while the cave takes a beating, at least it draws attention away from other caves. Not only does this protect other caves from abuse, but Nutty Putty is one of the safer caves around, with only one two spots where a serious accident seems possible.

About three years ago, search and rescue was called to Nutty Putty three times within a few weeks. The cavers didn’t have serious accidents, they just got stuck. And stuck good! One got wedged in a tiny tube near a room called “The Scout Trap.” Only the smallest scouts can even fit in. I squeezed as far down as possible last weekend and barely got my ankles in before my shoulders wouldn’t slide any farther.


Shaun in Nutty Putty aorta crawlAnother was following two (smaller) friends through a tight spot, and when he couldn’t fit, his friends “helped” by giving him a little tug. This got his rib cage past the impediment, but his hips wouldn’t make it…and his ribs wouldn’t go backward. Shay Lellegren and I used an air-powered jack hammer (attached to a SCUBA tank) to remove about an inch of the rock, and then we were able to lift and rotate the boy enough to slide him out.

The third call was a false alarm where a passing trucker (or someone with a CB radio) thought they overheard something about someone stuck (maybe a news report?) and we spent a couple hours checking out the entire cave to make sure there was no one there.

The BLM (or whoever was responsible for it) decided the risk was just too high and decided to close Nutty Putty down.

There was talk of filling the entrance with cement, but eventually Jon Jasper of the Utah Cave Grotto was tasked with creating an iron grate just past the initial squeeze of the entrance. So you can get into the cave, but you’ll only get a few feet before you have to turn around and leave.

Unless... EDITED… you happen to know that the lock is currently broken. Don’t go telling everyone, please; this is a exclusive. The doorway through the iron grate is about as small as any squeeze within the cave, and I wonder if anyone who fits through the cave entrance will fit through the door.

Anyway. I went out there with Jon, Janel, Rachael, Curtis and Susie last weekend. It was nice to have the whole place to ourselves, not having to wait hours for our shot at the Scout Trap, Aorta Crawl, and other locations.

After we got out, we had fun getting the 4Runners stuck in the snow (not mine, though, with its awesome new tires), and Jon generously bought us all dinner at IHOP. Not much to say about it other than everyone made great company and we all had an enjoyable day together.

One Response to “Nutty Putty Cave”

  1. # Dianeon 26 Jan 2009 at 8:51 am

    Next time you go in, if you find some D batteries, they’re probably mine. The end of my flashlight fell off and they fell out - and fell down, down, down. Though it was probably over 10 years ago, maybe they’re still there. Glad you had fun! During my freshman year of college some friends of mine found that Logan Cave was open and we all went through. It was a lot of fun - and nice to have it to ourselves. It was the first, and I guess the last, time I’ll ever get to go all the way to the end.



NOTE: As part of the Cave Management Team, I responded to Shaun via his blog...


I found your site by way of a very simple Google search for “Nutty Putty Cave directions” and I enjoyed your recent account. I must question your logic of telling the world how to access a closed cave. You have knowingly/unknowingly assumed all the liability for anybody reading your online post that then goes to the cave and injures themselves. From your post, it appears that you are on the Search & Rescue team that performed the extraction at the cave, and your images indicate that you still work in that capacity. I would think that the entire Utah County Search & Rescue team program would frown on your exclusive World Wide Web Nutty Putty Cave access tip. Please consider editing your post to remove your exclusive information. If your blog was private, then I could understand. But Google freely shares your blog to the world and I would hate to see an injury resulting from unauthorized access to the cave by groups that have not formally agreed to follow the rules, sign the waivers, and wear the proper equipment. You are in essence, telling the world how to enter a cave that is closed and marked with “No Trespassing” signage. I do not question your caving abilities, and was glad to see your group equipped with the required helmets and head lamps, but we all fear the ill-equipped groups that threaten to close the cave for good.

Please help our cause and consider editing your post.

You will be happy to learn that the new Nutty Putty Cave Management Plan was accepted and the new online reservation and access system is up and running at The cave officially re-opens for public access on May 18, 2009.

Michael Leavitt - Nutty Putty Cave Management Team