Caves at Dixville Cave Mountain

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Jan 8, 2015
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Essex Co., Mass.
More than 25 years ago, I bushwhacked to Cave Mountain, in Dixville, N.H. I wanted to find any caves that might be there. I checked out a cliff south of the summit, but only found some vertical fissures in the cliff.
This year I returned, armed with better intelligence in the form of a Caltopo map color-coded to show slope angle. This allowed me to waypoint several possible cliff and talus locations. I also finally had a copy of the long sought-after booklet “Walks, Drives and Places of Interest for our Guests”, published around 1917 at The Balsams hotel in Dixville.
In that booklet, regarding Cave Mountain, is the following: “Another trail leads to what are known as the ‘Jaws of Death’, an overhanging ledge, and a small cave just below the summit.” So, here is the first (and only?) record of a cave on Cave Mountain.
One big difference in approach to Cave Mountain, compared the mid-1990s, is the existence now of a permanent logging access road starting at Route 26, and passing within one half mile south of the mountaintop.
I checked out a set of southeast facing cliffs about 500 feet south of the “summit.” The immediate approach to the cliffs is among a fascinating three-dimensional jumble of compact-car-size boulders that (along with the spaces between them) are completely covered with very thick moss and other plants, and sprinkled with small fir trees.
The first cliff I checked is about 650 feet due south of the summit. The cliff is partially overhanging, with several false cave mouths and crevices. The base of the cliff is very steeply sloped along the cliff face.
In a mossy mini-gorge below the cliff I found a relatively straight thirty foot long talus cave below some fragments. About 200 feet NNE of the first cliff is another cliff that has massive collapse features (slabs) in front of it. These form a poorly-roofed (“degenerate”) shelter cave of impressive size. Inside this shelter cave, there are four separate short horizontal crevice caves, each of which is enterable for about fifteen feet.
I next went to a third cliff about 200 feet further to the north-northeast. This cliff looks more impressive in satellite views, but is less precipitous and has no significant talus below it.
Here’s my theory, and its limitations. I think that the mountain is named for all the caves in the area that I just described. (This is similar to how “Devil’s Den” sometimes refers to an area, and sometimes to a specific cave.) The “Jaws of Death” in the old booklet is probably the overhanging cliff that I saw.
However, there seems to be another line of cliffs between the summit and where I explored. Perhaps there are other cave-like formations there.

talus cave near Cave Mtn 1 pan.jpgLarge degenerate cave entrance Cave Mtn 2.jpg
That’s cool. Always fun to just go bush whack on a talus slope or cliff base. Is this right in the notch?
Thanks for sharing. Do I see snow deep inside?

Just downslope from there, Dixie Brook is rumored to have a reasonably-sized cascade/falls. I tried to find it two years ago, but logging in the area made to going tough and I turned back. I'm hoping to try again this summer.
Cave Mountain isn't in the Notch, it's a couple of miles NE of the notch.

Yes, there was snow in that cave, also small amounts here and there between the talus.