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UER Mobile > US: Four Corners > Anything important to know about Denver Drains? (Viewed 5923 times)

post by ghostmemory   |  | 
Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
< on 11/5/2020 11:06 PM >

Hey, newish to URBEX/UER (I've been aware and interesting for more than a decade, but without much first hand experience, Weird NJ sparked my interest way back) and definitely new to draining. So I've heard Denver has some cool drains to check out, I think I found a good outfall/entryway, but haven't gotten a good enough look at it yet up close. Has angled metal bars blocking it, but they're wide enough to slip through, and the entrance I found has one damaged/falling off.


So for anyone experience specifically with Denver drains and the surrounding area, anything specific I should know/look out for? I know the basics (been reading a lot) when it rains, don't drain, bring two flashlights, waterproof boots/pants, etc. NOT asking for locations/tips if that wasn't clear

Also, a more general question, how does snow/ freezing weather effect draining? It doesn't rain too much here, but damn does it snow in the winter months.


I figure since I'm new, draining would be a decent place to start, finding abandonments nearby hasn't panned out so far for me. Thanks y'all!


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post by Aran   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 1 on 11/5/2020 11:15 PM >

This is just about drains in general, but winter is actually preferable for draining in many cases. Once you get below the frost line the temperature in most drains and tunnels will hover around 50 or 60 degrees, and when it's cold enough to snow you don't have to worry about flash flood from rainstorms. The water level in many drains tends to be lower in the winter too, making it easier to access otherwise flooded sections.


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post by BloodBoss   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 2 on 11/7/2020 4:39 AM >

Posted by ghostmemory
Hey, newish to URBEX/UER (I've been aware and interesting for more than a decade, but without much first hand experience, Weird NJ sparked my interest way back) and definitely new to draining. So I've heard Denver has some cool drains to check out, I think I found a good outfall/entryway, but haven't gotten a good enough look at it yet up close. Has angled metal bars blocking it, but they're wide enough to slip through, and the entrance I found has one damaged/falling off.


So for anyone experience specifically with Denver drains and the surrounding area, anything specific I should know/look out for? I know the basics (been reading a lot) when it rains, don't drain, bring two flashlights, waterproof boots/pants, etc. NOT asking for locations/tips if that wasn't clear

Also, a more general question, how does snow/ freezing weather effect draining? It doesn't rain too much here, but damn does it snow in the winter months.


I figure since I'm new, draining would be a decent place to start, finding abandonments nearby hasn't panned out so far for me. Thanks y'all!



if youre in a drain and you feel a gust of wind. GET OUT.



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post by ghostmemory   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 3 on 11/10/2020 9:13 PM >

Thanks for the advice!


I'll do some more research into winter draining. It can get warm here during the day, so not sure how melting snow effects drains, I'm guessing less of a chance for sudden flooding, but still best to go at night when it's frozen as hell.

I did have two small draining expeditions, one pipe walking distance from my house, and the one I found near my work. My buddy was interested and tagged along, he seems like good company for this type of thing.

The one near my work was short distance-wise but cool, tall enough to stand in or slightly crouch, rectangular, and very wide, it went for maybe 50-100ft, then there was a cool slide with concrete bumpers (not sure the technical term) every 3-4 ft that made it an easy decent. Then it went down into a large drain tunnel, but one that was only 30-40ft long and opened to ditches by the road on both sides.

Cool, but then sketchy when we looked up to see that in the top corners (since it wasn't a round drain) were home to about 500 mud wasp or hornets nests, like you couldn't see the corners due to how many. There were no active wasps around, but we high-tailed it out. Duly noted to note return there unless it's the dead of winter.

The one nearer to my house was way more of an experience. This was one of those pipes that you can only crouch walk in, making it a struggle to go long distances. It had that really intense cave-like atmosphere, creepy but exhilarating for sure. We also seemed to get out of breath faster due to this and probably less oxygen being in those tunnels. There was graffiti as far as we went. We passed maybe 4 sections where it went up into a manhole and we could stand up, maybe 15-20 minutes of crouch walking.

Along the way it was entirely dry, actually, and the water line that stained the bottom of the pipe only went up maybe 2 inches. The bad thing about the pipe, was the shit. Every here and there was some very old looking shit, and then in some of the manhole sections, a lot, especially on the 'shelf' section about halfway up to the manhole. I couldn't really tell if it was human, it almost looked animal, but it could just have been there for so long. Pretty fuckin gross. There was also one or two things of trash towards the entrance.. maybe homeless?


It then hit a section where there was a pipe that was almost twice as wide, but the same height, but we were beat, so we decided to head back, which was very tiring at that point.

Now that larger tunnel is sticking in my head, like something out of a damn horror story, it gives me the creeps, but I just have to know what lies further ahead I'm guessing y'all are familiar with the feeling.



My gameplan is to come back with the skateboard strategy I read about in approach, should be faster and less tiring to reach the same point. Well rested, with clear weather (likely freezing by that point) and the goal of seeing where the next tunnel leads.

A few questions, though, if anyone with expertise would like to help out

My theory after thinking about it, is the shit could be from sewer overflow maybe? Nothing was fresh thank god. Do you think this makes the tunnels more unsafe/should I definitely bring a respirator?

Do you think that wider drain will continue to open up and lead to a bigger chamber? Is it more dangerous going down those crouch walking height pipes, since you can't escape the water as quickly?

So, being very out of breath, normal? Or should I be more cautious and bring an oxygen detector before returning? (I plan on getting one anyway, to be safe, and a gas detector as well, overkill?) We could catch our breath if we stopped for a bit, and I also noticed some spiders and insect life, and not just at the very tops of the tunnels, so there's obviously air in there.


I'm going to keep researching myself, but I'm interested to hear input on this stuff. I'll get a camera soon to share some of my travels, I have a good one, but I'm not bringing that thing where it could get wet haha



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post by plight   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 4 on 11/11/2020 2:18 AM >

Posted by ghostmemory

A few questions, though, if anyone with expertise would like to help out

My theory after thinking about it, is the shit could be from sewer overflow maybe? Nothing was fresh thank god. Do you think this makes the tunnels more unsafe/should I definitely bring a respirator?

Do you think that wider drain will continue to open up and lead to a bigger chamber? Is it more dangerous going down those crouch walking height pipes, since you can't escape the water as quickly?

So, being very out of breath, normal? Or should I be more cautious and bring an oxygen detector before returning? (I plan on getting one anyway, to be safe, and a gas detector as well, overkill?) We could catch our breath if we stopped for a bit, and I also noticed some spiders and insect life, and not just at the very tops of the tunnels, so there's obviously air in there.



Can't comment on snow/winter draining since thats not really a thing in the Bay Area. However, San Francisco is a combined sewage system city. All 'drains' (In San Francisco) are really overflow systems that could, and sometimes do, handle raw sewage.

I'd do some researching for your area of Denver, find out if they are using a combined sewage system. From a google search it seems like they aren't.

Now for the tunnel near your home, one way to see whats up with the shit would be to follow the assumed path of the tunnel above ground and see what the manhole covers say. You'll quickly know what your dealing with if the covers say Storm Drain or Sanitary Sewer. Although you've read approach, remember, don't open the manhole from below until you are 100% certain what is above you.

If it turns out you are dealing with a combined system, you might feel more comfortable with a gas meter. If the shit was just sort of sitting on the floor and there wasn't liquid in there in a while I can't imagine its a sewer system. In San Francisco the combined system overflows are huge and made to handle very large amounts of liquid. If it is a sewer, how close is it to a treatment plant? Based on your area and the location of the tunnel and some critical thinking you can probably figure out what the tunnels purpose is. Maybe you'll find a manhole walking above ground and have an easier way back into the unexplored part. Because of the pricy-ness of gas meters you might want to hold off on purchasing one until you know for certain that you are dealing with a sewer system.

My thought process with the safety on a crouch height tunnel: if its dry inside, and there hasn't been rain, theres not much of a reason for liquid to enter the system.
Breathing: You might be out of breath because you were walking crouched over for 20 minutes, if your fit and don't think thats normal then it might be an oxygen thing. Your best bet is to use common sense and play it safe if you feel unsafe. If you can afford an oxygen sensor and gas meter, no reason not to have one.

Sounds like no one from Denver has given geographical specific advice, so be careful and have fun out there.

[last edit 11/11/2020 2:19 AM by plight - edited 1 times]

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post by uLiveAndYouBurn   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 5 on 11/11/2020 6:31 PM >

Posted by ghostmemory
So for anyone experience specifically with Denver drains and the surrounding area, anything specific I should know/look out for?


There be sharks.




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post by ghostmemory   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 6 on 11/12/2020 7:12 PM >

Okay, looking it up, there are a few treatment facilities with 5-10 miles, but not super close to the drain near me. I'll walk along the surface and see if I can find a manhole to double check. This one is in Aurora, but I wasn't able to find anything concrete (no pun intended) on whether they have CSO's, but it seems there may be a few.

The tunnel didn't reek and there was none of the other types of sewer garbage with it, so it's like not from sewer overflow I'd guess. The crouch walking was mostly the culprit for the breathing I think, as we WERE able to catch our breath upon stopping. We'll take it slow and turn back if it happens with low effort, or we experience other symptoms, dizzyness, nausea, headaches, etc.

And yes, I plan to not open any manholes from below, seems like a bad idea unless you've mapped it and have marked it/opened it from above already and it's not in a roadway. Even then, utmost caution.

I'll also keep an eye out for sharks

Thanks for the advice y'all! I'll try to get some phone pics next trip.



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post by ghostmemory   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 7 on 11/14/2020 11:08 PM >

Haven't gone back in yet, but I've been doing more research.

Found a water map of the area, and it appears the tunnel is a storm drain, but right along side it runs a wastewater line. So I'm guessing that makes it more likely to be a CSO?



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post by BloodBoss   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 8 on 11/17/2020 1:24 AM >

Posted by ghostmemory
Haven't gone back in yet, but I've been doing more research.

Found a water map of the area, and it appears the tunnel is a storm drain, but right along side it runs a wastewater line. So I'm guessing that makes it more likely to be a CSO?


there arent CSO's in colorado anymore. they are all long gone.



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post by plight   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 9 on 11/17/2020 6:30 PM >

Looks like you got some geographic specific info. I'll be waiting to see what you find. Did you find any manholes? Might help with the breathing problem if you drop in further down in the tunnel. If its your type of thing, print the map or digitally save it and start marking where you have and haven't been and your entrances. Did that for a decent sized tunnel in my area, stopped once I realized there was a manhole about every 5 minutes of walking. Have fun!

[last edit 11/17/2020 6:35 PM by plight - edited 1 times]

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post by ghostmemory   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 10 on 11/19/2020 2:16 AM >

Posted by BloodBoss

there arent CSO's in colorado anymore. they are all long gone.



Well that's good information to know, thank you! I was only specifically looking up that area in particular, not CO as a whole. I'm guessing the shit is probably animal considering the areas it got into. If it's human, it's been deposited in hard-to-shit-in crevices, so it would have to have been moved and placed by water coming through. I'm thinking the former.



Posted by plight
Looks like you got some geographic specific info. I'll be waiting to see what you find. Did you find any manholes? Might help with the breathing problem if you drop in further down in the tunnel. If its your type of thing, print the map or digitally save it and start marking where you have and haven't been and your entrances. Did that for a decent sized tunnel in my area, stopped once I realized there was a manhole about every 5 minutes of walking. Have fun!


I haven't gone looking for manholes yet on that specific tunnel, as I've been exploring other areas (without the shite in them). The maps I found for the area are super easy to use (alternatively, the ones I found for Denver are an old-school grid system and a tedious nightmare to use lol), and for my first couple of ventures out with them seem pretty accurate. I've just been looking for outfalls and inlets, and I'm going to map out and takes notes of all the ones I can reasonably get to in my area. Then I can figure out if there's anything really worthwhile systematically. I will go for manholes down the road, especially for systems or sections I can't access via the other entrances.

Depending on the complexity, so far I just draw a simple copy of the map myself, as long as the drain system isn't too long or complex. I may make nicer ones for any really interesting drains I find.

Exploring Update

Since my last update, I've gone draining two more times. I went solo this time. Utilizing maps of the drainage system I found of the area (Aurora) I have tons more locations to check out. Likely mostly small systems, but if there's anything cool, I'm gonna find it

First one I check out was pretty small. I nicknamed it Mush Mouth, for this entrance:



Yeah.. I crawled in there.

Luckily it was only that tight in the beginning. Then you have a lot more room to crawl:



I used a trash bag to shimmy my way along this pipe (only about 20ft) to avoid coating myself in the muck/muck juice. Only smelled mildly of decaying leaves, no strong rotten egg odor. Then it's a manhole chamber, which leads to this pipe, same height but wider:



This is a bit longer, then it's another manhole chamber, this one has another tunnel, the same as the entrance, but exiting out the other side. I didn't go out this way dude to garbage and spider webs. The manhole chamber also has a branch to another section, however this is one of those pipes you can only really wiggle through, looks like it leads shortly to another manhole chamber, but I didn't have the balls to crawl into it. This was all accurate according to the map I found. All in all, mediocre drain, but a good proof of concept for the maps, and one I can cross off my list.

Absolutely no graffiti in that drain. I doubt many people have ever been down there.



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post by ghostmemory   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 11 on 11/19/2020 2:44 AM >

Also, please forgive the shitty photos, it's a phone camera, and not a good one. I have a DSLR, but that thing isn't going down into a drain. I'll be looking into getting a digital camera dedicated to it, that I care less about destroying.

The next drain was better.

This one is one of those large box-shaped drain/culvert that sits under a road with ditches on each side. Big enough that you could drive a car through. It's open at each side of the road, leading in diagonally through each entrance, then there is a straight section in the middle, and on the east wall there's the entrance to an RCP drain, with a small flow coming out of it.

I went up this with my skateboard for a bit, but it just went on and on, and I decided to head back on a night I had more energy to explore.

Also, my skateboard ran into the issue of constantly trying to turn due to the curvature of the tunnel (and maybe alignment). To the point I would boost through one section of RCP, maybe 4-5ft, then by the second section it was already too off to keep going with adjusting. I could see the potential though, with a proper custom board, it would make these tunnels not only faster and easier, but really fun.

In the last few days, I took the wheels apart, and tapered them myself. By hand, without machining tools. I used a box cutter, exacto knife, some sandpaper to smooth it out, and just some basic measurements. They look really good despite the bootleg tapering process. I just need to test it in the field, as I don't have anything resembling an RCP pipe at my house to check how it rolls. I'll try to get pictures of them next time, especially if they end up working.

So the coolest thing about this drain was the graffiti in the big entrance chamber, just a little secret art gallery So that's all I grabbed pictures of:











Mostly just tags, but still cool to stumble upon.

So I think I'm going to check out an entrance to another system I haven't been to yet in the next few days and test out the improved board. I didn't spend tons of time in these last two, so I want to try and make the next one a longer expedition.






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post by plight   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 12 on 11/19/2020 5:08 AM >

Sounds fun. I'm interested in seeing your skateboard. I wonder if a long board would be better and harder for it to start turning. I haven't had the need but I imagine if your going down a gravity flow tunnel you could trail a long length of paracord to pull yourself back up the tunnel with. Might be easier said than done though. I'm following this thread now so I look forward to any updates. Also the phone pictures, I wouldn't worry about. I use my phone for purely documentation and only bring the DSLR if I'm trying to make something cool.

[last edit 11/19/2020 5:09 AM by plight - edited 1 times]

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post by ghostmemory   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 13 on 11/21/2020 8:14 PM >

Here's the board, plight:



It's a Ninja Turtles board... I saw it and couldn't help but chuckle to myself at the idea of riding a TMNT skateboard through drain tunnels. If I ever encountered any unsavory individuals or LEOs, perhaps the excuse of 'I just really wanted to be a Ninja Turtle' will have some merit ;)

It's not very lowkey though, as I'm in my late 20's- a tad ridiculous looking to carry around. I may just paint over the grip tape and red sides in black to make it more low key. Then it's just a pizza skateboard, which is also hilarious to me for some reason.

Here's the taper job on one of the wheels:



I have tried it out since the last post so you can see the usual wear marks that skateboard wheels going down the center.

Yeah a longboard may be better perhaps. The one disadvantage to this strategy I realized is having to lug around the extra weight and bulk of the board when not using it, so that would be something for me to consider if I got a longer one. I'm thinking about getting the biggest cruiser wheels I can find. The gaps between the RCP's can be rough, the smaller wheels do have a tendency to stop in them or just get slightly caught and stops your momentum. You can kind of remedy this with speed, but this is where the turning problem gets troublesome, as the faster you go, the more often you need to adjust.

The turning problem improved somewhat with the taper I did, and it doesn't ride wobbly or anything from unevenness. It's still there though, maybe 30-40% improvement? Not being much of a skateboard wiz, I did some googling, and I adjusted the trucks a bit. Might just take some trail and error, I'll bring the wrench with me next time.

I may choose to just get a better overall set up, as the turning could likely because it's a cheap ass deck. I think it'll be worth it in the long run to get a decently made board, swap out the wheels, and boat grease the shit of the bearings. From my last trek - I can tell how much easier you could make some tunnels with this set up, especially going downslope, a good push and you would just keep going for awhile. It would be good for safety reasons as well, if you're going upstream in a smaller pipe and there's a sign of flow change, you could make a real speedy exit with some effort.


Exploring Update


Okay, so as I alluded to before, I checked out another spot nearby. Traced a basic map, brought some supplies and my board to test out with the tapering done now.

I get to the spot and... it's a corrugated metal pipe, and it's a crawl, a dusty crawl with some debris in the pipe, currently dry. I need to bring a tape measure in the future, but I believe these to be 36" from eyeballing it. For reference(my last updates with pictures were all about this size but in RCP, or maybe 48"). Requires kneepads or a board, you could crouch walk if you hate yourself/are a crab person though. I decided to walk for a bit and check out another area close by that should have another entrance/outfall according to my map sleuthing. I got there and it was much the same. Bummer.

I decided to head back to the original entrance and go over my options while walking. I decided to crawl in that way to the first manhole chamber I had marked and see if it opened up or turned into RCP that was boardable. It didn't. Just another branch of the same corrugated metal pipe. I just headed back, crawling in this one sucks more than concrete, bonus points for lots of those weird extremely thin-legged spiders corpses in the little crevices of the pipe and a very rocky entrance/exit, too. I left my skateboard outside and just pushed my backpack in front of me, otherwise it would bump the ceiling, which is major no-fucking-thanks city with getting webs, spiders, and other shit all over me and my bag.

One section had a very slight dent in the top of the pipe. A little unnerving perhaps. Acoustics were probably the coolest thing about the place. My hard knee pads clacked on the metal and it would echo heavily with add a deep bass boom to it. I had to stop a couple times just to make sure I wasn't hearing something else in the pipe. It wasn't very interesting otherwise so I didn't get pictures.

...

So having wasted some time and energy, but being pretty dissatisfied with most of the night ahead of me, I trekked a bit and went to the area of my first draining excursion, the shit tunnel I visited with my buddy. Upon later inspection of maps and google earth, that was only one of several outfalls in the immediate area that empty into a creek nearby. Many of these entrances/outfalls lead to completely separate drain systems.

I found this outfall and decided to enter:


This is a 5ft RCP from my guesswork, same size as shit tunnel. Crouch walking works, but it's tiring. This is where I utilized my drainboard. I mostly use my hands and arms, but since the board is still a work in progress, it requires some upper body strength to go for awhile. Good gloves are definitely necessary, I got the cut resistant kind as recommended, I slip on a latex glove underneath if I want to keep my hands dry as well. There is a small amount of water in this one, but mostly dry, hasn't been raining and the snow hasn't really begun, so that's likely why.

I came across the first manhole chamber. A couple small branches and then a diagonal branch of the same larger size. Not sure what that weird black shit is above the drain openings, when I looked closer it just looked like some kind of weird rubber ribbon-like stuff:



Then it continued on until another manhole chamber:



And after another stretch, I came to a chamber with another manhole and gutter, the classic side-of-the-road gutter, allowing me to peak outside, check what street I was on, and get some fresh air and phone service.

I quickly snuck a shot of the inside of the gutter opening, trying to not give away my position:



My first time being in one of these. Had to step up on a raised bit of concrete in order to peak out to see anything. Pretty surreal finally being on the under side of one these things!

At this point I was tired, and decided to head back. I didn't have a map of this place, only the location. I didn't plan on the first one not working out as well as I should have. Would have gone farther if I hadn't expended so much time on the first drain. Upon inspecting the maps once I was back home, if the larger drain's the same one it appears to be, that system extends out in two big branches pretty far. I covered maybe 10% of it, however these maps don't give you size information, so some branches maybe be too small to access. Definitely one I plan on returning to.

...

One take away I have, I think I need to pace myself more while going through these drains you can't full stand in. Especially if I choose to explore the full extent of decent sized systems like the one above. I think I tend to want to keep pushing forward, when I should take more regular rests, especially on the way out, I find myself trying to go quickly and tiring out rapidly. I'm not in terrible shape, but definitely can work on my cardio/endurance also.


Moving Forward

The smaller drains can definitely be a let down for me, especially with some of the effort involved. Now I'm currently focusing on finding larger drains, ideally ones I can walk upright in.

I came across the 'Under the Garden City: Victoria B.C. secret tunnels.' thread while searching the site for useful draining info. I'm about 60 pages deep so far, and I don't skim read. Some really great information for urban exploration in general in there, especially for the research and history portion of things.

It's inspired me, and lead me to change up my strategy in my search for interesting drains in the area. Looking up some of Aurora's history, it originally started out as a 4 square mile settlement named 'Fletcher' - named after Donald Fletcher, who eventually skipped town after losing his fortune in the 1893 Silver Crash and left the residents with a water debt. Apparently the town almost crumbled due to the lack of access to water, but eventually they recovered and started to expand very quickly, becoming the state's third most populated city.

That's just from a very basic glance at the town's history. Aurora is pretty massive, funny how it came from just a little square of land. They apparently got their water from Denver, I read somewhere that they 'lost' their original water supply in 1890. I'm going to have to do some digging to find out more. I'm curious particularly how they transported the water, if they used any kind of underground system, or if the original water supply dried up, could there be some old underground infrastructure for it still around? Complete speculation, but interesting. I just like the idea of draining in older parts of town and potentially finding unmarked or forgotten drains or tunnels.

Anyways, all of this lead me to studying which part of the city are the oldest, and potentially would have older/more interesting drains. It appears the area I've been searching in was added in the 1970s-1980s, so the drains there are all pretty new, most likely. So there might not be too much around there of note.

So I started looking around the oldest parts of town with my various maps and..

Bingo. I quite quickly found a very promising looking drain outfall, one of those big double barrel box-style drains. It looks like it leads to a large system as well, not just the other side of a road. I found my next target I'll keep you guys updated.

(also pardon me being long-winded!)











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post by plight   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 14 on 11/23/2020 6:22 AM >

Awesome!


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post by ghostmemory   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 15 on 11/25/2020 1:15 AM >

But wait, there's more!

Board Update - I have a new board on the way, spent a little more and got a good longboard. It should be a night and day difference. My buddy had a lot less trouble than me with a real, but beat up, old skateboard, so I think my current one is crap.

Anyways. I went with said buddy to check out those new leads. Different friend than my first trip, he seems like he's into it (and would be someone I trust to have my back if shit got real), so we plan on going again soon.

The two most promising drains were a no-go. The first became apparent as we got to the entrance, at least 6 inches of water, maybe more. We didn't have the footwear for that. We're both getting some waders and heading back in. This looks like it could be miles of walkable drains.

The next spot was even cooler looking. A big tall rectangular entrance, but with a padlocked iron door/grate. Like 8ft in eight easily. I know another possible entrance now, and Plan C is going to be popping some manholes. Absolutely NEED to check this one out.

Despite those setbacks, this area had tons of outfalls, mostly backbreakers. We checked out one or two, then decided to go on a full explore of one of these.

Here's a shot of the entrance from inside:



It has a grate on the outside that's easily slipped through. I think it's mainly for collecting debris from storms, or just a visual deterrent. Here's a pic of my friend for size reference:



One of those box drains that requires crouching. This part went on for a bit, then opens up into a chamber with split paths.

We went down the path to our left, which was a 6ft RCP, as we could actually stand in it. This didn't go very far, maybe 50ft? Then it opens into a 'grate chamber' - tall rectangular room with a big metal grate on top that let's outside light in, ladder up to that, and a grate box on the side to let additional water out. First time seeing a feature like this!

My buddy at the entrance to this room:



Top grate:



Side outlet box/grate:



Then we returned to the chamber that it branched from. We went down the only other pipe, this was a backbreaker, so we skated it, but my board's issue became obvious. It was a slog. We went pretty far, maybe half a mile, it was straight, so we could always see a pinhole of light behind us until the final stretch which turned.

This is where I spaced on getting more pictures lol

Here we were relieved to find an exit pipe, instead of having to board back through that stretch of RCP. Before the exit there were two new chairs set up and a shopping cart. A bunch of burnt matches on the ground and evidence of a small fire.

At first I'm thinking, ohshit, we just found some homeless hideout and his stash. However, no evidence of drug use other than the matches or signs of someone sleeping there.

The shopping cart had a vote for trump sign in it, but with a nice dick spray painted over his name

Upon exiting the pipe, we came out in a woodsy area, and right nearby were some stoner kids smoking weed on old furniture out in the woods. Yeah it seems obvious they're the source of the chair set up. We said what's up and went on our way. There was another backbreaker nearby, but a super wide one. We hopped in for a few minutes to see if it opened up. It didn't from what we saw, so we headed back, now pretty beat from the long RCP trek.

So that's about it for that trip, a lot of fun, and really motivating to have started finding larger drains. Next time we should have supplies to check out the big drain with a lot of water, and we'll check out the entrance to the awesome looking one with the metal door. We inspected the door, no where to crawl/slip or climb over, the lock has to be dealt with it another way in just be found. I prefer more gentle methods, so alternate route it is! Wish us luck!




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post by BloodBoss   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 16 on 11/25/2020 4:39 AM >

keep up the good work! never stop looking for the next big drain. you guys need to come to denver and see some of the stuff around here. drains so big it will blow your mind.


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post by Explorer Zero   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 17 on 11/25/2020 12:51 PM >

nice write up


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post by ghostmemory   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 18 on 12/1/2020 10:30 PM >

Posted by Explorer Zero
nice write up


Thank you!

Posted by BloodBoss
keep up the good work! never stop looking for the next big drain. you guys need to come to denver and see some of the stuff around here. drains so big it will blow your mind.


Oh I will! I have a better map for the Denver systems now. There are definitely some big drains in Aurora- from my map scouring, ones 10ft+ in height, some that go on for quite awhile.

I've decided to be more methodical in my search, I'm going through the entirety of Aurora, bit by bit, and marking all the medium-large drains. I'll finish Aurora first (already at 50% marked), then systematically go through Denver in the same way. Englewood is also a possibility, as I've heard of some cool drains there.

I've already found and explored a few more drains, including a pretty large one, using this method. I also got some waders, and a good longboard.

Exploration Update:


I guess this is my unofficial-official drain exploration log now.

Well if there is anything specific to know about the area's drains, I guess I'm gonna find out So far there does seem to be some interesting trends for how the drain layouts are around the newer part of Aurora. The older part of the city seems completely different.

I checked out 3 drains solo since the last update. A few days ago I went just south of the area with the drain I originally went to in this thread, 'shit's creek'. I went to test out the longboard, knowing there were numerous pipes here that I could test it in if I wanted.

I've heard someone else on this forum talk about visiting bandos and having experiences where a trip or location feels 'haunted'. Yeah I had that kind night here.. (not saying it actually was, just in the sense that I was getting the creeps)

First, I couldn't find the first entrance in the dark, as marked on my map, but the area was full of brush and some trees. I psyched myself out a bit, but I had a feeling there could be some homeless out here that I wouldn't want to rudely awaken. I started to hear rustling/movement occasionally, but it seemed like it was on the other side of the creek I was next to. That wasn't too freaky. Until I also heard the distinct noise that a small rock makes when thrown into the water. Now, the sound is almost exactly the same as a frog jumping into a creek, from my experience. However frogs only have done that around me when I spooked them into the water, and this was much farther away from me. And it happened again but louder. Yeah I got some creepy vibes and decided to head north to some of the other drains and avoid this place for now.

I walked for awhile and came up to a previously unexplored drain. This was a 5ft RCP with a grate, it's on a hinge and not very heavy, but also has a bar missing to allow easy entrance as well.

Here's a shot from inside the entrance with the new longboard as well:



And for how the new longboard functions? Night and day difference It rolls butter smooth and only gets rough with huge gaps in RCPs (usually when it has gouges of concrete missing). These are only 65mm wheels, and they make them huge, 90mm+, so that'll probably be a future upgrade. It takes very little push to roll up an incline. The best part is going down the incline though, basically some pipes you only need to push once and steer by leaning, and you can pick up speed. It's extremely fun and efficient. It's fun enough to go up a smaller RCP just to board your way out!

The board itself is waterproof, and about 35", so a better platform for me. I also got ceramic rust-resistant bearings, and then used a shitload of marine grease on them for further protection, we'll see how they hold up.

Anyways, here's some damage on the ceiling, close to the entrance from what I remember:



A cool chamber(hard to get a proper shot of these due to space constraints):



Two ladders on each size to manholes, and a long curbside inlet opening to the road. I've seen a few of these now, they aren't 'grates' but just a slim but long opening along the curb, with three iron bars vertically along the opening. This room wasn't very wide but maybe 10 long.

This one goes for awhile, staying 5ft then shrinking. The longboard makes it a piece of cake though. Now here's the interesting thing, I only had a map with me for the entrance I couldn't find. Checking the layout of this place once I got home, according to the maps, doesn't seem to match up with my memory, mainly because I eventually came out in some weird grate, I think possibly on someone's property. One I can't seem to find on the map itself. That's kinda what I've been keeping my eye out for. To confirm, I'll go back at some point with a map drawn up and see how it actually matches up with the area, and not my memory. This would be the first that has any major difference.

Had to boost the brightness here, but I'm standing in a tiny little curbside inlet right, with some light coming in from streetlights, and then just ahead is the mystery grate:



Looks like some abstract album cover.

I then headed back, having explored the extent of this drain, now much more enjoyable with the board, as I was going slightly downhill now I only needed to push a few times to traverse the whole thing.

The boarding was so fun I wanted to explore another, so I headed up to that very first drain, finally intending to see where that wide pipe would lead.

This is where I got the shit scared out of me.

I shortly arrived at the beginning of the pipe, trying not to eat shit on the thin layer of ice over the concrete. I peer in with my light, then enter just a foot in, as it's more dry in the pipe than outside. I put my headlamp on and start gearing up. There's some noise from cars going over manholes in the distance, and engine noise.

But then I swear I hear just a little extra rustling, not just from me going through my bag. The reverb/echo in these pipes can be insane, so I stop and wait silently for a moment to check. I swear I heard something slight, so I do it again, make some noise then stop. I definitely thought I heard something now. I'm a little spooked at this point, especially with the weird vibes at the creek earlier.

I turn my light on brighter and click my tongue to make some noise into the pipe. Just around the bend of the pipe up ahead, not more than 30ft, right where might light started to not reach I saw two eyes reflecting my light from the blackness. They weren't low to the ground like a raccoon. This was a 4.5 ft pipe, and it was the height of maybe a coyote... or a person crouching in the pipe. I just kept my light on it for a moment, and it looks away and looks back. Confirming it's not just some optical illusion. I carefully, but quickly, gather my things, zip up my back and just walk out, all while keeping an eye on the spot where it was. I immediately almost eat shit on the ice, but regain my balance and leave. I walked towards the road and just kept an eye out for anything behind me, nothing came out of the pipe, as far as I could tell.

That might be one of the creepier moments in my life. Whether animal or person, I probably freaked them out more than I was freaked out. It does unnerve me that whatever it was remained silent and didn't retreat. Now doing some research, the eyes reflected back a blue/green, not red as human eyes tend to, and likely a coyote, or potentially a smaller animal on it's hind legs, but less likely. If I return here, it will probably be with a friend and a fresh rabies shot I was definitely paranoid for the rest of the night after this.

Since that fell through, but I wanted to do some more exploring, I decided on checking out that big drain with all the graffiti I posted earlier in this thread. I hadn't explored the full extent of the side pipe. So with my improved board I was determined to go as far as I could.

This one was maybe 4ft, but began to shrink as they tend to. I found a few cool manhole chambers, one with some pretty old punk graffiti if I had to guess, but then no more graffiti as I reached the deeper sections. It eventually shrank down to just 24", but it's big enough to get through with the board, but a backpack will sometimes scrape the ceiling if it's full. Avoid that if there's lots of webs/spiders. Cars going over manholes jumpscared me a few times in here, if you're right under it in a small drain, it's quite loud.

Finally I came to the end of my journey here:



A final manhole chamber with this odd board blocking my path, seemingly it came from a small side pipe. Even without the board, the drain became too small to traverse, and according to my maps, those small pipes ended pretty quickly.

Oddly enough there was some 'graffiti' here, but someone had taken the weird tar substance that you find in these pipes sometimes (for sealing leaks?) and made some 3D lettering in it, with some vulgar phrasing. Likely some teenager I would guess. Props for getting this far kid

So I then turned around and boarded out, although it was apparent at this point I was pretty spent. I concluded the night after this one.


---


This next drain was only a few miles away, this trip was on another day. I brought a map I sketched out of the supposed layout (it was basically correct).

It starts as a 10ft double barrel concrete box at the entrance, goes for maybe 50-100ft. Then it turns slightly, the wall between the boxes ends, and opens up into one giant box drain, 11ft to the ceiling. This continues for about 0.3 miles, and flows into a large body of the creek it's connected to. I got very close to the creek body, but couldn't make the last 100ft, due to the water level rising just enough at the end to get in my boots. Not enough interest to justify going back and putting on the waders.



There's a few smaller drain openings leading into this chamber as well, but all too small to enter:





There were also a few ladders to manholes, and one leading to a small grate you could potentially use as an exit:



This place is absolutely littered with graffiti, even more than the other drain. Another little secret art gallery Some of the better ones:














Towards the beginning is a cool little side chamber that leads to a 5ft RCP and a 30" RCP, and a ladder to a manhole uptop. After exploring the large box portion of the drain, I returned here and decided to head down the 5 footer:









This goes for a few hundred feet, with some manhole chambers, and along the way there's a curb-side inlet/grate you can peer through.

Then there's this chamber where the path turns, and shrinks to a miserable 40" crawling pipe:



Here's a shot of the 5ft pipe I entered the chamber from... note the ungodly amount of webs on the ceiling:




Not a big fan of spiders, but it keeps me on my toes in the drains at least

After going up this pipe for a bit, I could hear the trickle of running water, and it's a tiny 2ft waterfall coming from a (thankfully) larger RCP up ahead:



And finally that pipe leads into another chamber, one with a storm debris trap? I think that's what this thing is:



As well as another small side pipe (big enough for a board, but I according to my map it just keeps shrinking, not worth investigating), and a way out!



I had left my backpack at the entrance to the 5-footer, so I decided to just head back, but it's nice to know there's an easy exit, should I decide to return.

That's all for now. I think my next step is to finish my Aurora map, sort the drains by which peak my interest the most (biggest and most complex systems), then go from there. Thanks for reading more of my ramblings



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post by plight   |  | 
Re: Anything important to know about Denver Drains?
<Reply # 19 on 12/2/2020 6:33 PM >

Getting me real jealous now, seems like your finding out more and more. I've been trying to find a good pair of waders for a while now, I don't want to drop $150 on them if boots are suitable for most locations. Could you link the kind you got? I've been looking for a rubber, chest high, boot-foot style but can't seem to find exactly that. I noticed some PVC waders online but can't imagine those would hold up if your in contact with rough surfaces.

And the longboard? Damn. Sounds very fun and convenient. Have a recommendation for a specific brand when it comes to that? I just found a somewhat steep 3 or 3.5' RCP which seems perfect for a longboard, how steep would you go with yours? And how the hell are you measuring the RCPs? Maybe I'll bring a tape measure for my next outing.

Thanks for the write up!


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