California ‘Hell Hole’ Caving Video Terrifies the Internet: ‘Nope’

A video showing how two people squeeze into an extremely tight California cave system dubbed “Hell Hole” has caused many Reddit users to say “nope.”

The video was posted to the subreddit r/NextF***ingLevel on Thursday where it quickly gained more than 15,000 upvotes and around 2,000 comments in under a day.

Originally Posted on YouTube in 2019 by Brandon Gross, the videotitled Claustrophobia Engaged!shows how Gross is guided into a very narrow cave entrance that appears to have been built into a large rock wall.

Once inside, Gross and his guide clamber downwards through a tiny tunnel illuminated only by their head torches. As they descend, the two cavers squeeze through openings barely wider than they are as they follow a climbing rope that leads down into darkness.

“This hole is literally the size of my foot,” Gross says at one point indicating how the tips of his toes and the heel of his right foot are touching both the top and bottom of the gap he must climb through.

A video of a California cave system dubbed “Hell Hole” has sparked discussion of Reddit. A stock photo shows a silhouette of a person at a cave opening. Caving can be a dangerous activity and an uncomfortable one for those who dislike tight spaces.
k5hu/Getty

In the video description, Gross stated that he was “very bad with tight spaces and decided to face my fears.”

Eventually, the two reach a roomier area of ​​the cave where they can stand up—but at this point, Gross begins to feel uncomfortable and senses panic setting in. After navigating a little further through, he calls it quits and begins the climb back towards the cave entrance.

“I went into that whole adventure knowing that I’m very claustrophobic,” Gross told Newsweek. “I love to push myself and find my limits in everything that I do. I have been to the cave 4-5 times at this point and have only made it to the very bottom (end) once.”

“The other times I keep losing the mental battle and have to get out! It’s hard to explain what was going through my head when I needed to get out, I just start feeling really uncomfortable and can’t do anything but focus on how long and difficult of a crawl it is to get back outside,” Gross continued. “A few times I’ve been able to sit down and breathe for a while to calm down and keep pushing farther.”

On Reddit, the overwhelming response to the video appeared to be “nope”.

“I had several panic attacks watching this,” wrote one user who gained around 2,700 upvotes.

“Watching this as a claustrophobic is more horrifying than any horror film ever,” wrote another.

Claustrophobia, the fear of small spaces, is unlikely to mix well with the sport of caving. Yet videos of caving on the internet can get millions of views, and they clearly have a psychological impact on some viewers.

Caving YouTuber Calvin Sanders told the Guardian newspaper earlier this year that he enjoys the impact his videos have on some viewers, one of whom wrote that they were “getting better” at watching the clips. “I used to never be able to watch an entire video,” the viewer added.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that caves can be “fraught with peril” and that people should never go caving alone, ensure they tell someone who is not going when they expect to be back, and bring the correct equipment including at least three light sources. More details are available on the USDA’s Cave Safety website.