Cave of the Madonna, New Mexico
New Mexico holds some of the most impressive caves in the USA. Carlsbad Caverns National Park easily comes to mind. One of the best wild caves in New Mexico is Cave of the Madonna. This non-public cave is very hard to find even if you know where to look. It took us all day of searching in steep canyon littered with yucca bush on a blistering hot day. The caving group consisted of Bob Montgomery, Marion Smith, Gerald Money, Joe Razo, Don DeLucia and Lisa DeLucia, who would sacrifice any grim surface terrain in search of naturally occurring cold cave air. This group of cavers assembled from all over the country was planned during a National Speleological Society (NSS) convention.
As you can see in the video, on the first drop the walls quickly fall away. On rappel you can hear noise echo. It opens into a wide bell shaped room that felt like it was as massive as the Big Room of Carlsbad Caverns. To say caves in New Mexico are big is an understatement.
A highlight is the bitchy second drop where even tethered packs kept getting stuck. At one point Don had to step on his pack to try and free it from the tight canyon walls, thatâ€™s how challenging, or dare we say nuisance, this rope drop was. Thankfully there was a high reward for this misery, with some of the most impressive cave formations awaiting those who are not easy stirred. Cave of the Madonna is indeed deserving of the premiere status it holds among the caving community. It is challenging but beautiful.