- Jason fell in love with caving several years ago. Caving helps him, “rediscover the feeling of a kid on a playground.”
- Jason had been caving several times before this instance. The issue was the time of year as there can be flash floods that occur.
- Jason’s story is full of powerful metaphors. Dead Ends. Double Trouble. Bastards Crawl. These are all physical realities Jason was forced to experience in order to find the light.
- Jason’s one regret was his Indecision. For a moment he lost faith in himself, began to retreat and that’s when he got stuck. If only this experience somehow applied to real life.
- When Jason was stuck and feeling the water come up over his ears, the prospect of death became a reality and the panic began to overtake him. At this moment, his family flashed before his eyes and he drew strength and comfort from them.
- Once Jason got unstuck, he felt joy believing his troubles were over. In reality, they were just beginning. As the rain continued to fall, the cave continue to flood eventually trapping Jason and Andrew on a small ledge at the top of a 2 story waterfall where they would spend the next 14 hrs
- We asked Jason how he didn’t panic being trapped hundreds of feet underground in pitch blackness. He credits 3 things:
- Meditation. When you feel like you have no control and you don’t know what to do, go back to the basics and control your breath. Jason remembers focusing on deep breathing. He could feel the panic but he didn’t give into it. If he did, he felt he wouldn’t have made it out alive.
- Forced Hope – Jason exercised discipline and forced hopeful thoughts, “I will make it out of here, I won’t stop breathing, I will see my family again…” This replaced the negative thoughts and helped him stay focused on his survival.
- Problem Solving – Jason credits his problem solving mode as a helpful tactic to keep him in the moment and out of his head. Instead of allowing yourself to get overwhelmed, be proactive and make a plan of escape.
Jason returned to the cave a few months after this ordeal and finished what he started making it all the way through.
Jason continues to cave and rock climb. He feels this brush with mortality has inspired him to continue push the limits although he does pay better attention to the weather now.