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“Great spelunking opportunity” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hall of The White Giant

Hall of The White Giant
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
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Activities: Group tours/walking tour
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Owner description: Only the truly adventurous ( and fit ) should consider this four-hour guided tour of one of Carlsbad Caverns' most captivating caves. Involves crawling through tight spaces, walking on slippery surfaces and getting dirty.
Medford, Oregon
1 review
“Great spelunking opportunity”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 27, 2015

You need to be fit, if you are not fit but you are bold enough afford the possibility of breaking a bone, go ahead, you don't have to be skinny but it helps, otherwise you have to be squeezable, no knee problems, no claustrophobics or people afraid of darkness or heights. I felt a little guilty to walk, well crawl in a place that has been under construction for the last 250 million years. I didn't even knew what spelunking is, but it was great. The tour takes a couple hours and there is no bathroom, water, or food available during the tour. You can't bring anything with you other than the equipment they provide. I don't know for how long this tour will be available, but if you feel like picking into the guts of mother earth, you should definitely go there. Rangers were great, is there a place to leave them a tip? it should be, because they did a great job. If you like a more nerdy experience, I recommend to read more about the formation of stalactites and stalagmites before you go, for this formations it can take up to 1000 years to grow 4 inches.

Here is a video of our visit
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQecUU4NbsM

Visited January 2015
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12 reviews from our community

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Juneau, Alaska
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“You MUST do this! Intense but very memorable!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2014

Full Disclosure: I have been to caves before but I am not a spelunker/caver. I don't know how to climb a rope and I am not that physically fit. I am a couch potato on most days. With that being said, I was able to do this.

I must say, I signed up for this tour but I had anxiety for days leading up to it when I read that it involved climbing a rope. I was in panic mode and ready to back out as I have never climbed a rope before. But I did my research and read about it. When I read that people who didn't think they can do it were able to then I said to myself that I can do this!

The tour started with an orientation of what to expect. Then they handed out headlamps, gloves and kneepads. They also gave us the option of using elbow pads. I opted not to use elbow pads because I was told that it might be difficult to move in some places if I have them. You must bring 3 batteries for the headlamps but if you don't they will allow you to borrow their batteries. No backpacks allowed. You can bring a camera but you will definitely need the use of every body part you have so unless you are fine with your camera being scratched up and probably broken, I strongly recommend not taking it. I took my iPhone but I put it in a padded case inside my pants pocket. I needed to at least take some pictures!

The tour starts with the walk through the natural entrance of the Carlsbad Caverns cave. Then part of the way is a hidden entrance and this is where the fun starts! First, you have to conquer what they called Castration rock/point where you have to straddle a huge rock in the middle while crawling to the spot they considered the point of no return. This is the spot where you decide if you can do this or not. There were four of us in the tour, 3 guys and me, a girl. One of the guys decided to quit after Castration point.

This tour is not for the claustrophobic though. What followed was a lot of climbing and crawling. I think that I only spent a fraction of the four hour tour standing up right. The rest I'm either crawling on my hands and knees, or on my stomach, or dragging my body sideways through very narrow holes. This tour will make you realize that your body can twist and turn in different directions that you did not know was possible just so you can get out of the hole you got into.

The rope that gave me anxiety was the biggest challenge I had in this tour. The rope have knots and it's not like you had to vertically climb it. There are rocks on both side that you can use to pull yourself up the hole. Except it's flowstone so it's very slippery. You HAVE to use your kneepads and other parts of your body to create friction and pull yourself up to make it to the next level. It took me awhile and I slipped and fell several times but my group members were awesome! They encourage me to take my time, no need to rush. Ranger Jeremy even went back down and guided me on spots where I can put my knees or feet or hands to get to the top of the rope.

After the rope, there's the steel ladder that is so narrow it only fits one foot at a time. It's very sturdy though. It was also nerve wracking to climb because the landing was also flowstone...so you have to be very careful getting on and off the ladder. The ladder and rope was the most difficult part of the tour in my opinion.

A lot more hiking, crawling and hugging cave walls (so you don't fall into the abyss) followed but then after that you get to the area that is the whole reason of the tour. The White Giant! To get up there you had to use ropes again, but this time it's to climb a semi-steep incline to get to the top and be closer to the White Giant.

One of my tour mates had the unfortunate realization, at this point, that whatever we did to get to that point we had to do again to get out of the cave. So be warned that you have to do the ropes, ladders, crawling, dragging, hugging walls, etc...twice! To get to the end and see the White Giant and to exit the cave afterwards.

After we climbed down the slope, we had our lights out moment. Head lamps were turned off and silence for several minutes. This was actually very soothing as it allows us to enjoy the peace and quiet of the cave after several hours of strenuous activity.

Ranger Jeremy and Ranger Ellen were awesome. They allow you to figure out how to go about the obstacle course (as they call it) but will definitely be there to assist you if you are having problems (which I did). They are very knowledgeable and engaging. They also had a very easy banter with each other which makes it for an entertaining trip.

This tour is strenuous. It is challenging. But once you do it, you will feel like you accomplished something. It will definitely be the most memorable part of your trip and something that you will talk about for years to come.

PS. This is a four hour tour with no bathroom facilities once the tour starts. Limit your liquid intake to what you can hold in for four hours. Rangers carry emergency water bottles for dire situations only.

Visited December 2014
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Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“It is what it is”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2014

It is what it is... Great White Giant. as part of the road trip we came to see this and we were in no way disappointed.

Visited July 2014
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Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“One of the coolest things I've done”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2014

This is probably one of the most intense guided cave tours available, so be prepared for it. That being said, my 60 year old mother made it through just fine.

Visited December 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Don't be afraid!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2014

My ranger Walter was right. He said when we finished this tour we would feel like we accomplished something and he was right! I was anxious when my boyfriend picked a tour labeled very strenuous but I mastered it. It is strenuous, there ate very tight spaces and pulling yourself using ropes but nothing you cannot master with a little determination. I am sore after it but I earned each bruise and was rewarded with the sight of one the most amazing natural wonders I have ever seen that would have remained a mystery if I hadn't gone through with it. It was an incredible experience and I would recommend to any of the adventurers at heart.

Visited October 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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