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Nutty Putty Cave Incident


Discovered in Utah County in 1960, Nutty Putty Cave quickly became a popular destination for amateur and professional cavers and spelunkers as a kind of bucket list cave of considerable difficulty. Despite its popularity, beginning in the late 1980s, the cave became notorious for the number of explorers who became trapped and required emergency assistance to escape its twisting, narrow, and poorly mapped passageways.

In late November 2009, the inherent risk and dangers of Nutty Putty Cave made national news when twenty-six-year-old college student John Edward Jones became trapped upside-down in an uncharted and perilously narrow section of the cave. 

Thank you to the incredible Dave White of Bring me the Axe Podcast for research assistance!


Ashton, Katie. 2006. "Nutty Putty Cave entrance getting a gate." Daily Herald, May 2: 23.

Associated Press. 2006. "Utah's caves remain open one year after Provo tragedy." Daily Herald, August 14: 8.

—. 2009. Man dies after day trapped upside-down in cave. November 25. Accessed October 12, 2023. https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna34157005.

—. 2009. Man dies after day trapped upside-down in cave. November 25. Accessed October 13, 2023. https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna34157005.

—. 2009. "Recovery of caver's body deemed too dangerous." Roanoke Times, November 28: 4.

—. 2004. "Teen stuck in cave is rescued." Salt Lake Tribune, August 22: 20.

Cabero, Alex. 2009. Nutty Putty Cave discoverer doesn't want it to be closed. November 27. Accessed October 12, 2023. https://www.ksl.com/article/8824435/nutty-putty-cave-discoverer-doesnt-want-it-to-be-closed.

Canham, Matt. 2004. "BYU student freed from cave." Salt Lake Tribune, Septmber 5: 21.

LaPlante, Matthew. 2009. "Popular cave draws ill-prepared adventurers." Salt Lake Tribune, November 25.

Nokkentved, N.S. 2005. "State may close popular cave." Daily Herald, June 26: 21.

Outside Magazine. 2002. Exploring Caving Accidents, Deaths, and Rescues in the United States. August 3. Accessed October 12, 2023. https://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/exploration-survival/exploring-caving-accidents-deaths-and-rescues-united-states/.

Peterson, Chris. 2005. "Father says daughter died doing what she loved." Daily Herald, August 19: 1.

Reporter-Times. 1999. "Deputies free teens from cave." Reporter-Times, July 29: 3.

Tanner, Steve. 1999. "Teens spend long day in dark." Daily Herald, July 29: 1.

Waqar, Jehanzeb. 2022. The Nutty Putty Cave and the untimely death of a young caver. December 15. Accessed October 12, 2023. https://interestingengineering.com/culture/nutty-putty-cave-death-young-caver.

Whitehurst, Lindsay. 2018. Nutty Putty: ‘I really, really want to get out’. July 9. Accessed October 13, 2023. https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/07/09/nutty-putty-i-really/.

—. 2018. Nutty Putty: ‘We’re going to get you out’. July 10. Accessed October 13, 2023. https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/07/10/nutty-putty-were-going/

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