Association of Mexican Cave Studies newsletter

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Association of Mexican Cave Studies newsletter
Series Title:
Association of Mexican Cave Studies Newsletter (1965-1977)
Association for Mexican Cave Studies
Association for Mexican Cave Studies
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Subjects / Keywords:
Regional Speleology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )


General Note:
Contents: News and Notes -- Conservation -- Part 1. Trip Reports -- Ahuacatlan, Qro. -- Ocampo, Tamps. -- Sotano del Anticlino, N.L. -- Sierra de Guatemala, Tamps. -- El Barretal, Tamps. -- Lote La Grota, N.L. -- Ayutla, Qro. -- Part 2. Articles -- Exploration of EI Sotano -- Letter From Rick Rig -- Cave Rescue Procedure.
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
Original Version:
Vol. 3, no. 5 (1972)
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See Extended description for more information.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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K26-00469 ( USFLDC DOI )
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ASSOCIATIONFORMEXICANCAVESTUDIESNEWSLETTERNEWSANDN OTESCONSERVATIONTRIPREPORTSAhuacat l4n,Qro.Ocam po, Tamps.S6tanodelAnt iclino, N .L .SiemdeGuatemala,Tamps.EI Banetal ,T amps .LoteLaGrut a ,N.LAyutle ,Qro .ARTICLESExplontionofEIS6tanoLett erFrom Ri ck RigCave RescueProcedureVolumeIIINumber5ASSOCIATIONFORMEXICANCAVESTUDIESNEWSLETTERNEWSANDNOTESCONSERVATIONTRIPREPORTSAhuacatl4n, Qro.Ocampo,Tamps.Sbtano del Anticlino, N.L. Sierra de Guatemala, Tamps. El Barretal, Tamps.Lot.LaGrota,N.L.Ayulla,Qro.ARTICLESExplorationofEIS6tanoLetter FromRickRigCaveRescueProcedureVolume III Number 5


ASSOCIATIONFORMEXICANCAVESTUDIESNEWSLETTERVolumeIIINumber 5 Publication Date:July1972 TheAssociationforMexicanCave Studies isa non-profit organization whosegoalsare the collection and disseminationofinformation concerningMexicancaves.TheAMCSpub lishesa Newsletter, Bulletin,andCave Report Serieswhichareavailabletoanysincerelyin terested, conservation-minded person.TheAMCSNewsletter ispublishedsixissuespervol umeas frequently asnecessaryatacostof$3.00 USpervolume,whichincludesboththe publication and membership. Pricesofother publications areavailablebywritingtothe AssociationforMexicanCaveStudies,P.O.Box 7672, Austin,Texas 78712, USA. Potential contributors areurgedto submit articlesfor publication. Thearticlemay coveranyphaseofMexicanspeleology.Trip reports are requested fromalltrips. Publications Editor CaveFiles.... Secretary-Treasurer Coordinating Biologist. Photo Editor ... Production Manager.. TerryW.Raines William H.Russell JanLewis JamesR.Reddell CarlE. Kunath RonnieFieseler PublishedbyTHESPELEOPRESSNEWSANDNOTES In addition tothepersonslistedabove,several others veryactively support theAMCS.HelpingwiththisissuewereRoyJameson,JamesJasek,AnnLucas,and CarolRussell. Speleologicalactivitysofarthis summer hasbeen moderate. During June agroup reachedthe terminal siphonata depthof1500-1600 S6tano deElBuque. Thissystemis located intheLaCienegaAreanearJalpan,Qro.InJuly approximately 10, S6tano deJaponeswassurveyed. Anticipated inAugustisa French expedition ledbyClaude ChabertoftheSpeleoClubdeParis.ASSOCIATIONFORMEXICANCAVESTUDIESNEWSLETTERVolumeIIINumber 5 Publication Date: July 1972 The Association for Mexican Cave Studiesisa non-profit organization whose goals are the collection and disseminationofinformation concerning Mexican caves. TheAMCSpub lishes a Newsletter, Bulletin, and Cave Report Series which are available to any sincerely in terested, conservation-minded person. TheAMCSNewsletterispublished six issues per vol umeasfrequentlyasnecessary at a costof$3.00USper volume, which includesboththe publication and membership. Pricesofother publications are available by writingtothe Association for Mexican Cave Studies, P.O. Box 7672, Austin, Texas 78712, USA. Potential contributors are urged to submit articles for publication. The article may cover any phaseofMexican speleology. Trip reports are requested from all trips. Publications Editor .CaveFiles .... Secretary-Treasurer Coordinating Biologist. Photo Editor ... Production Manager. TerryW.Raines WilliamH.Russell Jan Lewis JamesR.Reddell CarlE.Kunath Ronnie Fieseler Published by THE SPELEO PRESSNEWSANDNOTES In addition to the persons listed above, several others very actively support theAMCS.Helping with this issue were Roy Jameson, James Jasek, Ann Lucas, and Carol Russell. Speleological activity so far this summer has been moderate. During June a group reached the terminal siphon at a depthof1500-1600 ft. in S6tano de El Buque. This systemislocated in theLaCienega Area near Jalpan, Qro. In July approximately 10,000 ft. in S6tanodeJaponeswassurveyed. Anticipated in Augustisa French expedition led by Claude Chabertofthe Speleo Club de Paris.


9 0CONSERVATIONAMCSNews TheAMCShas been proudofthelowl evel ofva ndalism which has been m aintained byits mem bers ButasthepopularityofM exican caves inc reases a ndth e influxofextraneous cavers gr ows incident s occur.Itis difficulttotell who's who Peopl e h earaboutourgroup ,s endin their mo neyfor public ations a nd becomesupporting me mbers.Wetrustthem. Some are independents bu t mo st are affiliated with organized caving Andofa lltheg roups known t o you which d o y ou ex pect could bet rusted m ost? Wethought th e NS S with its"Takenothingbutpictures ..., butwewerewr ong. Durin g Christmas o f197 0 Gary Schaecher ( N SS10116)led a groupofthree ona brief r e connaissanceofa pitjusttothewest o f Gomez F arias Tamps andofanareat othenorthwest. O n6 May1971h e contacted theAMCSbylet te r d es cribin g the Christmas trip ,informin g us o fa" large c avingtrip"th ey were organizin g and r equesting information onthe a rea.TheAMC S responded with a letter detailin g mo stofth ea vailablem aterialco ncerningtheSi errade Guatemala Astimep assed Gary's group wa sg rantedth es tatus o f N SSE xp edition T amaulipas Mexico"bytheBo ardofGover nor s on19June 1 971 Pl anned wasa fourmonth stay from December 1971toMarch1972 Th en duringthef all AMC S ca vers s urveying i ntheG 6mezFanasarea enteredthecavepre viou sly vi sited byG ary'sgroup Herew as d iscovered the vandalism illustrated inthephoto gr aph Upon r eturnin g to A ustin a certified letter was sent t oG aryre questi ng an explana tionoftheir a ct i ons Thi s w as on3Nove mb er s ixmonthsag o. T o date n o corres p ondence ha s beenrec eived .Fors omere ason the expedition"never mate rialized, which ispr obably j ustaswe ll con siderin gthea bove information.Itison ly hopedthatthe o thercavesvisited during theChri stmas tripdidnots imilarly suffer. Wh at c an b edone? In t his cas eawir ebr ushwill take care o fthecaveand perhaps press ur e fromthi sa rticle a nd f riendswillc orre ct G ary's behavior. B utm ost im portantist o keep upa prote ctivea wareness a nd s trong conserv ation attitudes t oward allcaves. Vandalism i n M exico i s nil exc eptfor a f ew cl assical exampl ess uchastheengravingfeatsperformedbytheMe xican outing club s inGruta del Palmit o. L et's keepitthatway .90CONSERVATIONAMCSNews TheAMCShas been proudofthe low levelofvandalism which has been maintained by its members. Butasthe popularityofMexican caves increases and the influxofextraneous cavers grows, incidents occur.Itisdifficulttotell who's who. People hear about our group, send in their money for publications, and become supporting members.Wetrust them. Some are independents, but most are affiliated with organized caving. Andofall the groups known to you, which do you expect could be trusted most?Wethought the NSS, with its"Takenothingbutpictures, ... ,"butwewere wrong. During Christmasof1970 Gary Schaecher (NSS 10116) led a groupofthreeona brief reconnaissanceofa pit just to the westofGomez FarIas, Tamps., andofan areatothe northwest. On 6May1971 he contacted theAMCSby let ter, describing the Christmas trip, informingusofa "large caving trip" they were organizing, and requesting informationonthe area. TheAMCSrespondedwith a letter detailing mostofthe available material concerning the Sierra de Guatemala.Astime passed, Gary's groupwasgranted the statusof"NSSExpedition, Tamaulipas, Mexico" by the BoardofGover nors on19June 1971. Planned was a fourmonthstay from December 1971toMarch 1972. Then, during the fall,AMCScavers surveying in the G6mez FarIas area entered the cave pre viously visited by Gary's group. Here was discovered the vandalism illustrated in the photo graph. Upon returning to Austin, a certified letterwassenttoGary requesting an explana tionoftheir actions. This was on 3 November, six months ago. To date no correspondence has been received.Forsome reason the "expedition" never materialized, whichisprobably just as well considering the above information.Itisonly hopedthattheothercaves visited during the Christmas trip did not similarly suffer. What can be done? In this case a wire brush will take careofthe cave and perhaps press ure from this article and friends will correct Gary's behavior. But most importantistokeep up a protective awareness and strong conservation attitudes toward all caves. Vandalism in Mexicoisnil except for a few classical examples suchastheengraving feats performed by the Mexican outing clubs in Gruta del Palmito. Let's keep itthatway.




WhenfirstviewedbyLoganandCraig EI S6tano was14kmaway rather than5kmasinthis photograph Using binoculars theycouldseethatthe cliff facewascurvedandindeed partofan incredibly largepit. RanchoEIBarrois located inthemidstofthecornfieldsinthevalleybelow.Whenfirst viewed by Logan and Craig,EIS6tanowas14km away rather than 5 kmasin this photograph. Using binoculars, they could seethatthe cliff facewascurved and indeed partofan incredibly large pit. RanchoEIBarroislocated in the midstofthe corn fieldsinthe valley below.


93 Date:17-21January 1972 Destination: Cave hunting near Ahuacatlan Location: SMO; Jalpan Persons:Craig Bittinger andLogan McNatt Reportedby:Craig Bittinger On January 17,1972,LoganMcNattandCraig Bittinger caught a second classbusoutofCiudadValles headed toward Ahuacatlan. Wehad just finished twenty daysofMexi cancavingintheCiudadVallesareaandwewere looking forward toseveralmoreweeksofadventure. John Fishandtherestofour caving companions had just left fortheU.S.,so wefeltthatwewereon our own.Loganhadbeeninonthe explorationofSotanito de Ahuacatlan andknewofseveral unchecked pitsinthe Ahuacatlan area,along with rumors ofahugepittwelve hours awayoverthe mountains, sowehad decided to return tothe area. Thebusslowly worked itsway south, stopping innumerable timestopickupevery Mexicanalongtheroad. Finally, around 3:00p.m., after 5 hours oftwisting mountainous roads,wearrivedat Jalpan wherewewere informed wehada3 hour layover.We bought amealatalocal restaurant and then sat around the town squarewaitingforthenextbus toarrive.We heard thebuscomingtwo minutes before it burst into viewandsoonwewere under wayagain. Twenty-five minutes later wearrivedin Ahuacatlan and proceeded to hikeupthe arroyo toward the Sotanito de Ahuacatlan. Our entire dayofbus riding had costus2dollarseach,andnearly exhaustedourenergy.Wesetupcamponaflat spot above the arroyo andwerelulledtosleepbythe barkingofthelocaldogs. Wewokeup around sixinthe next morning, and after a quick breakfast, hit the trail. After about an hourofhiking,wearrivedatalocal store andtheendofthefairly level partofthetrail.Logan bought acanofMexicansardineswhichwe proceeded toeat in order tostaveoffour hunger. After twosardinesLogan noted something strange inthebottomofthecanand proceeded topulloutalarge chunkoffishnetfromin between the remaining sardines. After mumbling afewwords about Mexican canning factories wepro cededonupthetrail. Two hoursofsteepclimbing brought ustothe vicinityofthe Sotanito where we hired2Mexicankidsto watch ourpacksin return forafew hand fullsofanimalcrackers. Wehikedovertothe Sotanito wherewedidthe70ft entrance drop, threw rocksdownthe 946-foot drop, andthen returned to our packs. Thirty minutes later wearrivedatthe Montoya's housewherewewere welcomed with open armsanda hearty "Micasaessu casa."The Montoya familygaveusaplacetostay,food,andaguidetomorevirginpits thanwecouldpossibly explore. The Southwest Texas Grotto haddonesuchagoodjob ofpublic relations onprevioustripsthattheir housewaslikeasecondhomewherewewere tobe honored guests. That afternoon wewentto what we thought wasa l20-foot pit.Un fortunately after Logan descended totheendofourISO-footropeherealizedthatthepit wascloserto300ftdeep,sowe decided towait until the next daytobottomit.Whilewe werecoilingtherope,Craigasked our guideifheknewofanydeeppitsinthearea.He proceeded to point atawhite spot visibleonthesideofa mountain inthefar distance.93 Date:17-21January 1972 Destination: Cave hunting near Ahuacatlan Location: SMO; Jalpan Persons: Craig Bittinger and Logan McNatt Reportedby:Craig Bittinger On January 17, 1972, Logan McNatt and Craig Bittinger caught a second class busoutofCiudad Valles headed toward Ahuacathin.Wehad just finished twenty daysofMexi can caving in the Ciudad Valles area andwewere looking forwardtoseveral more weeksofadventure. John Fish and the restofour caving companions had just left fortheU.S., sowefeltthatwewere on our own. Logan had been inonthe explorationofSotanito de Ahuacatlan and knewofseveral unchecked pits in the Ahuacathin area, along with rumorsofa huge pit twelve hours away over the mountains, sowehad decidedtoreturntothe area. The bus slowly worked its way south, stopping innumerable times to pick up every Mexican along the road. Finally, around 3 :00 p.m., after 5 hoursoftwisting mountainous roads,wearrivedatJalpan wherewewere informedwehad a3 hour layover.Webought a meal at a local restaurant and then sat around the town square waiting for thenextbus to arrive.Weheard the bus coming two minutes beforeitburst into view and soonwewere under way again. Twenty-five minutes laterwearrived in Ahuacathin and proceededtohike up the arroyo toward the Sotanito de Ahuacatlan. Our entire dayofbus riding had cost us 2 dollars each, and nearly exhaustedourenergy.Weset up camp on a flat spot above the arroyo and were lulledtosleep by the barkingofthe local dogs.Wewoke up around six in the next morning, and after a quick breakfast, hit the trail. After about an hourofhiking,wearrived at a local store and the endofthe fairly level partofthe trail. Logan bought a canofMexican sardines whichweproceededtoeat in order to staveoffour hunger. After two sardines Logan noted something strange in thebottomofthe can and proceededtopullouta large chunkoffish net from in between the remaining sardines. After mumbling a few words about Mexican canning factorieswepro ceded on up the trail. Two hoursofsteep climbing brought ustothe vicinityofthe Sotanito wherewehired 2 Mexican kids to watch our packs in return for a few hand fullsofanimal crackers.Wehiked overtothe Sotanito wherewedid the 70 ft entrance drop, threw rocks down the 946-foot drop, and then returned to our packs. Thirty minutes laterwearrived at the Montoya's house wherewewere welcomed with open arms and a hearty "Mi casaessu casa." The Montoya familygaveus a placetostay, food, and a guidetomore virgin pits thanwecould possibly explore. The Southwest Texas Grotto had done such a good jobofpublic relations on previous tripsthattheir house was like a second home wherewewere to be honored guests. That afternoonwewenttowhatwethought was a l20-foot pit. Un fortunately after Logan descended to the endofour ISO-foot rope he realizedthatthe pitwascloser to 300 ft deep, sowedecidedtowait until the next day tobottomit. Whilewewere coiling the rope, Craig asked our guide if he knewofany deep pits in the area. He proceeded to point at a white spot visible on the sideofa mountain in the far distance.


94AMesNews ThatnighttheMontoyasgaveusmorebeansand tortillas than wecouldpossibly eat; inre turn wegavethemoneof our dehydrated dinners,soit turnedouttobean unusual mealfor all. Inthemorningwewereawakenedbythesoundsofdogs,chickens, burros, pits,and roosters alltryingtodrownouteach other. TheMontoyas pointedoutthewhitespotonthe sideofthe mountain againand through ourbinocularswecouldseethecurveofthe entranceofwhatweknewmustbeahugepit.The entrance intrigued us,sowedecidedtohikeover andhavealookatthepit.TheMontoyashadneverbeentothepit but they assuredus that noonecouldpossibly throw arockacrossthe entranceofthepit,andthatitwasfairlydeep. About 10:00a.m.weleft their housecarryingonlyourdaypacksand about 25pesosbetween us.Weassuredthem that wewouldbebacklate that nightandaskedthemtowatchour equipment. Atsix o'clock that eveningwearrivedatthebaseofthe mountain containing thepit.Wehadbeenhikingata steady 21/2to3milesan hour pacealldaylongandwe were totally exhausted. Thelocalpeopletoldus that weshouldgotoRanchoEIBarroto talktothelocaljudge,whocouldgiveuspermissiontogo into thepit.Eventuallywear rivedatthe judge's house,and after explainingwhowewereand that wewouldliketosee thepit,wewereonceagainwelcomedwithopenarms.Thejudge,Gregorio Rodriquez, gave usabedtosleepon,2serapes,andamealofbeansandtortillas.Wewenttobedalmost immediately but couldn't fallasleepduetothejudgeplayinghisradiooverthelocalloud speakersystem.Wewokeup about 6:00a.m.,shiveringwithcoldandeagertogettothepit.After givingthejudgeoneofour canteens toexpressour gratitude for everything hehaddonefor us,weheadedup toward thepit. Unfortunately, therewasadenseforestin between usand thepit,andtherewerenoobvioustrails.Soonweheard shouts frombelowtellingus that wewerelost.Beforelongthe judge's son,Ram6n,appearedtoguideustothepit.After 21/2hoursofhiking,wearrivedatagrassymeadowandfiveminuteslaterwe burst through thejungleandtherein frontofuswasthelargestpit either oneofushadeverseen.Wequicklypickeduparockand threw itintothepit.Afterwhatseemedlikean interminable wait,wehearda tremendous noisefrombelow.Neitherofushadawatch,sowehadtore sorttotimingtherocksbyslowly counting, thousand-one, etc., until wereached thousand eleven.Ram6nwas totally mystified astowhythesetwocrazygringoswere jumping up anddown,screamingand excitedly shakinghands.Weproceeded tojunglecrashapproxi mately halfoftheway around thepittoacave located ononewallofthepit.Thecave was apparently inhabited byjavelinasas their tracksanddungalmost completely covered thefloorofthe entrance. Unfortunately, thecavewasonlya rock-shelter, sowedecided toleavethepitand return withropeandawell-equippedcavinggroup.Aswe hiked back downthe mountain we started to consider our situation. TheMontoyaswere expecting us backany minute, wewere virtuallyoutoffoodandmoney,andwewere totally exhausted. Luckily,Ram6nknewofacloserwaytogetbacktothehighwaywherewecould catch abusbackto Ahuacatlan and our equipment.WegaveRam6na pocket knifeinpay mentforhisservicesasaguide,said goodbye, andthensetout toward thecanyonwhichhe assureduswouldtakeus directly tothepavedhighway. After anhouranda halfofjungle crashing,wereachedthe canyon onlytofindRam6nsitting patiently attheedgeofthe streamwaitingtoguideusoutthrough thecanyon.94AMesNews That night the Montoyasgaveus more beans and tortillas thanwecould possibly eat; inreturnwegavethem oneofour dehydrated dinners, so it turnedoutto be an unusual meal for all. In the morningwewere awakened by the soundsofdogs, chickens, burros, pits, and roosters all trying to drown out each other. The Montoyas pointedoutthe white spot on the sideofthe mountain again and through our binocularswecould see the curveofthe entranceofwhatweknew mustbea huge pit. The entrance intrigued us,sowedecided to hike over and have a look at the pit. The Montoyas had never been to the pit but they assuredusthat no one could possibly throw a rock across the entranceofthe pit, andthatitwasfairly deep. About 10:00 a.m.weleft their house carrying only our day packs and about25pesos betweenus.Weassured them thatwewould be back late that night and asked them to watch our equipment. At six o'clock that eveningwearrived at the baseofthe mountain containing the pit.Wehad been hiking at a steady 21/2 to 3 miles an hour pacealldaylong andwewere totally exhausted. The local people told us thatweshouldgoto RanchoEIBarro to talk to the local judge, who couldgiveuspermission togointo the pit. Eventuallywearrived at the judge's house, and after explaining whowewere and thatwewouldlike to see the pit,wewere once again welcomed with open arms. The judge, Gregorio Rodriquez,gaveus a bed to sleep on, 2 serapes, and a mealofbeans andtortillas.Wewent to bed almost immediately but couldn't fall asleep duetothe judge playing his radio over the local loud speaker system.Wewoke up about 6 :00 a.m., shivering with cold and eager to get to the pit. After giving the judge oneofour canteens to express our gratitude for everything he had done for us,weheaded up toward the pit. Unfortunately, therewasa dense forest in betweenusand the pit, and there were no obvious trails. Soonweheard shouts from below tellingusthatwewere lost. Before long the judge's son, Ram6n, appeared to guide us to the pit. After 21/2hoursofhiking,wearrived at a grassy meadow andfiveminutes laterweburst through the jungle and there in frontofuswasthe largest pit either oneofus had ever seen.Wequickly picked up a rock and threw it into the pit. After what seemed like an interminable wait,weheard a tremendous noise from below. Neitherofushad a watch, sowehad to re sort to timing the rocks by slowly counting, thousand-one, etc., untilwereached thousand eleven. Ram6nwastotally mystifiedasto why these two crazy gringos were jumping up and down, screaming and excitedly shaking hands.Weproceeded to jungle crash approxi mately halfofthe way around the pit to a cave located on one wallofthe pit. The cavewasapparently inhabited by javelinasastheir tracks and dung almost completely covered the floorofthe entrance. Unfortunately, the cavewasonly a rock-shelter, sowedecided to leave the pit and return with rope and a well-equipped caving group.Aswehiked back down the mountainwestarted to consider our situation. The Montoyas were expecting us back any minute,wewere virtuallyoutoffood and money, andwewere totally exhausted. Luckily, Ram6n knewofa closer way to get back to the highway wherewecould catch a bus backtoAhuacatlan and our equipment.WegaveRam6n a pocket knife in pay ment for his servicesasa guide, said goodbye, and then set out toward the canyon which he assureduswould take us directly to the paved highway. After an hour and a halfofjungle crashing,wereached the canyon only to find Ram6n sitting patiently at the edgeofthe stream waiting to guideusoutthrough the canyon.


v.IIIno.5 95 We followed thesmall stream for41/2 hours asit wound itsway between 1,000 foot tallcliffs.Wefinallyemergeduponan ancient aqueduct whichledus directly tothe townofAyutla. Thelocal people informed usthatthelastbusofthedaywouldbebyina half-hour, sowesatdownto enjoy a refresco andrestourwearybodies. Suddenly someone yelled, "Here comesthe bus," sowe started moving straight uphill toward the road onlyto seethe headlights flashbyandvanishinthe distance. Fortunately, itwasonlyacar,butthebus appeared 2 minutes later andtookusbacktoJalpan.Wewere then informedthatnomorebuseswentto Ahuacatlanthatnightsowewouldhavetospendthenightintown. A hotel room would definitely costmore than the5pesoswehad left; it appearedthatwe wouldhavetositinthe town squareifwe could havearideto Ahuacatlan. Hesaidifwe couldwaitfor half anhourhewouldtakeusupthere.Three hours later we climbed inthe backofhis truck and watched him accelerate upthe mountainous road.The truck con tinued accelerating aswe started downthefarside.Webothhungonfor our livesand watched the truck stayonthewrongsideoftheroadfornearly half thetrip. Fifteen min utes later wewerein Ahuacatlan marvelingthatwewerestillalive. Welitup our carbide lightsand started the 3-hour hiketothe Montoyas' house. Twoand1/2 hours later wewere totally lostinthe pitch black night, virtually ontopofa mountain andshiveringwithcold.We decided tobuildafireandwaitfor morning insteadofwandering aimlessly through thenight.Fivehours,andalotofwood-gathering later, thesuncameupandwediscoveredthemaintrail20yardsaway. The Montoyas were surprised toseeusandwhenwelefttwo hours later there were twenty people waving goodbye andtellingustocomebacksoon. From Ahuacatlan we caught abustoValles,andthen straight on through totheV.S.Our conversations kept centering onthe pit, andhowweweregoingto break thenewstothe people backinAustin. Date: 17-22May1971 Destination: Ocampo, Tamps. Location:SMa;Sierrade Guatemala andSierradeEIAbra Persons:Ken Gordon, David Johnson, Kenny Johnson, MaryAnnKelly, John Mikels,Nick Morales,Mike Padgett,B.B.Russell,J.Carr Strutz, DavidWaddell Reported by: John Mikels Amanat Ocampo, Tamps., agreedtoguideustoacave.ASmihikegotustothe entrance.Itis located inavery steep anddeep canyon approximately 10miSEofOcampo. The entrance isnearthe floor ofthe canyon which apprently conducts greatvolumesofwaterattimes.We located severallargedeeplakesinthe canyon floor.Ourguidesaidthe cavewas named La Gruta delaSierra Tamalabe (thiscaveismore commonly known as Cuevadel Puente). Thecaveis approximately 1000ftlongandV-shaped.Themainent ranceis50ftby100ftand mostly breakdown. Thecave enters the canyon wallandcurves backto another smaller entrance 200yardsdownthe canyon. Thecaveis essentially one big room dividedupby flowstone and breakdown.Itwas quite dryanddusty. The entire cavecanbe negotiated without ropes, although some difficult freeclimbingisavailable. The entrance isorwas mined, apparently for phosphates. Theonly noted lifewasbats, including vampires.v.IIIno. 5 95Wefollowed the small stream for 4 1/2 hoursasitwound its way between 1,000 foot tall cliffs.Wefinally emergeduponan ancient aqueduct which led us directlytothe townofAyutla. The local people informed usthatthe last busofthe day would be by in a half-hour, sowesat downtoenjoy a refresco and restourweary bodies. Suddenly someone yelled, "Here comes the bus," sowestarted moving straight uphill toward the road onlytosee the headlights flash by and vanish in the distance. Fortunately, it was only a car,butthe bus appeared 2 minutes later andtookus backtoJalpan.Wewere then informedthatno more buses wenttoAhuacathlnthatnight sowewould havetospend the night in town. A hotel room would definitely cost more than the 5 pesoswehad left; it appearedthatwewould have to sit in the town squareifwecould have a ridetoAhuacatlan.Hesaidifwecould wait for half anhourhe would take usupthere. Three hours laterweclimbed in the backofhis truck and watched him accelerate up the mountainous road. The truck con tinued acceleratingaswestarted down the far side.Webothhung on for our lives and watched the truck stayonthe wrong sideofthe road for nearly half the trip. Fifteen min utes laterwewere in Ahuacatlan marvelingthatwewere still alive.Welitupour carbide lights and started the 3-hour hike to the Montoyas' house. Two and 1/2 hours laterwewere totally lost in the pitch black night, virtuallyontopofa mountain and shivering with cold.Wedecidedtobuild a fire and wait for morning insteadofwandering aimlessly through the night. Five hours, and a lotofwood-gathering later, the sun came up andwediscovered the main trail 20 yards away. The Montoyas were surprised to see us and whenweleft two hours later there were twenty people waving goodbye and telling us to come back soon. From Ahuacatl{mwecaught a bus to Valles, and then straight on throughtothe V.S. Our conversations kept centering on the pit, and howwewere goingtobreak the newstothe people back in Austin. Date: 17-22May1971 Destination: Ocampo, Tamps. Location:SMa;Sierra de Guatemala and Sierra deEIAbra Persons: Ken Gordon, David Johnson, Kenny Johnson, Mary Ann Kelly, John Mikels, Nick Morales, Mike Padgett,B.B.Russell,J.Carr Strutz, David Waddell Reported by: John Mikels A man at Ocampo, Tamps., agreedtoguide us to a cave.ASmi hike got us to the entrance.Itislocated in a very steep and deep canyon approximately10miSEofOcampo. The entranceisnear the floorofthe canyon which apprently conducts great volumesofwater at times.Welocated several large deep lakes in the canyon floor. Our guide said the cavewasnamed La Gruta de la Sierra Tamalabe (this caveismore commonly knownasCueva del Puente). The caveisapproximately 1000 ft long and V-shaped. The main ent ranceis50 ft by100ft and mostly breakdown. The cave enters the canyon wall and curves back to another smaller entrance 200 yards down the canyon. The cave is essentially one big room divided up by flowstone and breakdown.Itwas quite dry and dusty. The entire cave can be negotiated without ropes, although some difficult free climbingisavailable. The entranceisorwasmined, apparently for phosphates. The only noted life was bats, including vampires.


96AMCSNews NextdaywehittheMonosroad just north ofCd.VallesinsearchofMontecillos.Too fardowntheroad,we stopped atthetrailtoSoyateand started downit,butatthetimewe didn't knownSoyatewasthereandpasseditby.Ondownthetrailwe stumbled onto anin conspicuouspitwitha3ftby5ft entrance.Itprovedtobea180ftsingledropwithaledge halfwaydown.Atthe bottom wasalive, decorated room6ftby30ft. Another smallroom was off toonesideabouthalfwaydown.WenameditS6tanodelLagartoforthelizardwe foundinthe bottom. David Johnson's camerafell90fttoits death; luckilyitwasanInstamaticoThenwecameoutandsomeofus tookoffinsearchofother caves. About 7p.m. everyonewenttoVallesandtheCondesa.There,a headcount showedonewas missing. Seems that I (John) hadbeenleftinthejungle,soafterahotliesurelymealtheyset off in searchofme.Meanwhile,IwandereddowntheSoyatetrail after dark,withnolight,for 3hoursuntilmeetingtherescuers.CampedatLosSabinos. Nextdaywesuccessfullyfound Sotanito deMontecillosandspent about 6hrwithin. Laterweviewedthe entrance of S6tano dePichijumo.Thefollowingdayweleftforhome, makinga brief visittoCuevadeElAbra. Date:1-3 October 1971 Destination: S6tano delAnticlinoandCanondelaHuasteca Location: SMO;ColadelCaballoandCafi.6ndelaHuasteca Persons:CraigBittinger,StevenBittinger,DonnaAtkins,JanLewis,TerryRaines,Hugo Victoria Reported by:TerryRaines FollowingdirectionsgivenusbyJamesMcLaneof Houston, wedrovetoCascadaCola delCaballo,arrivinglateinthenight. Continuing onthenextmorning,wearrivedata point 10.6milesfromHighway85andjusttothewestofthehigh point reachedbythe road. Immediately abovetheroadandaculvert,tothe north, isthe entrance to S6tano del Antic1ino. Although itis not visiblefromtheroaditiseasilylocatedonceyou start hiking around.The entrance isaclimb-downsink about 8min diameter whichleads into aroom 25mby8mwithaceilingheight about 5m.Thefloorisoldguano-covered breakdown. Atthefarendoftheroomisapit60mdeep.Atthetopitis3mwidebutitrapidlyopens to about10mindiameter.Thepitfloorisa460slopewhichleadsdirectlyto another pit of28m.Atthe bottom istheterminalroom,asilt-floored chamber10mby15m.Total depth is132mandlengthis37.8m. After thesurveyandbiologicalcollectionsweremade we continued ontothetownofLaCienega,Atthis point arough,gravelroaddescends into CanondeLaHuasteca.Wehesitated becauseofhighwaterbutforgedahead,with water entering the truck cabattimes.Thenightwasspentdeepwithintheheartofthe canyon. Aswedrovedowntheriver canyon thefollowingday,a lookout waskeptforpersons intheareaand consequential caveleads.JustbeforeGrutasdeSanBartolo(seemap, p.141,AMCSNews,v.II)onegentleman informed usofacaveone hour's hikeawayand saidhecouldtakeustherethefollowingday.Timedidnotpermit,sowe continued on toBartolowherewemadebiologicalcollectionsbefore returning home.96AMCSNews Next daywehit the Monos road just northofCd. Valles in searchofMontecillos. Too far down the road,westopped at the trail to Soyate and started down it,butat the timewedidn't known Soyatewasthere and passed it by. On down the trailwestumbled onto an in conspicuous pit with a3 ft by 5 ft entrance.Itprovedtobe a180ft single drop with a ledge halfway down. At the bottomwasa live, decorated room 6 ft by 30 ft. Another small roomwasoff to one side about halfway down.Wenamed it S6tano del Lagarto for the lizardwefound in the bottom. David Johnson's camera fell 90 ft to its death; luckily itwasan InstamaticoThenwecame out and someofus tookoffin searchofother caves. About 7 p.m. everyone wenttoValles and the Condesa. There, a headcount showed onewasmissing. Seems that I (John) had been left in the jungle,soafter a hot liesurely meal they set off in searchofme. Meanwhile, I wandered down the Soyate trail after dark, with no light, for 3 hours until meeting the rescuers. Camped at Los Sabinos. Next daywesuccessfully found Sotanito de Montecillos and spent about 6 hr within. Laterweviewed the entranceofS6tano de Pichijumo. The following dayweleft for home, making a brief visittoCueva deElAbra. Date:1-3October 1971 Destination: S6tano del Anticlino andCafi.6ndelaHuasteca Location:SMO;Cola del Caballo andCafi.6ndelaHuasteca Persons: Craig Bittinger, Steven Bittinger, Donna Atkins, Jan Lewis, Terry Raines, Hugo Victoria Reported by: Terry Raines Following directions givenusby James McLaneofHouston,wedrove to Cascada Cola del Caballo, arriving late in the night. Continuing on the next morning,wearrived at a point 10.6 miles from Highway 85 and just to the westofthe high point reached by the road. Immediately above the road and a culvert, to the north,isthe entrance to S6tano del Antic1ino. Although itisnot visible from the road itiseasily located once you start hiking around. The entranceisa climb-down sink about 8m in diameter which leads into a room25m by 8m with a ceiling height about 5m.The floorisold guano-covered breakdown. At the far endofthe roomisa pit 60 m deep. At the top itis3m wide but it rapidly opens to about10m in diameter. The pit floorisa 460slope which leads directly to another pitof28m.At the bottomisthe terminal room, a silt-floored chamber10m by15m.Total depthis132m and lengthis37.8m.After the survey and biological collections were madewecontinued on to the townofLa Cienega. At this point a rough, gravel road descends intoCafi.6nde La Huasteca.Wehesitated becauseofhigh waterbutforged ahead, with water entering the truck cab at times. The nightwasspent deep within the heartofthe canyon.Aswedrove down the river canyon the following day, a lookoutwaskept for persons in the area and consequential cave leads. Just before Grutas de San Bartolo (see map,p.141,AMCSNews, v.II) one gentleman informed usofa cave one hour's hike away and saidhecould take us there the following day. Time did not permit,sowecontinued on to Bartolo wherewemade biological collections before returning home.


v.IIIno.5 Date:Thanksgiving,1971 Destination: Southern Sierrade Guatemala, TresManantiales,Micos Location:SMa;Sierrade Guatemala; Barrancas Persons: Frank Binney,Steven Bittinger, BillDeane,BillRussell,CarolRussell Reportedby:Steven Bittinger 97 Ourmainobjectivewasto checkoutthecaveatTresManantialeswhichhadbeenpre viously entered twicebyAMCScavers.JamesReddelland Robert Mitchellfirst entered in 1966forbiologicalcollectingandwere stopped bythecoldwaterinthefirstlake. Later BillRussellandBill Elliott visitedthecave,crossedthelake,and reported alargepassage uptoahandlinedrop. After an uneventful drivefromAustin,we found that our firstbig problem wasmerelygettingtothecave.A recent forestfirehaddownedmanylargetrees acrossthecruderoad,sowe spent thefirstdaychain-sawingtreesandgenerally rebuilding theroad.Finallywehadtoadmit defeat anddecidedtopackourgeartheremainingtwo milestothecave. Thecaveis situated atoneendofalargevalleyandservesastheonlysourceofwater forseveralnearbyhouses.Itappears that duringfloodtimesthecavetakessomesurface drainageanda considerable numberofvadosefeatureswere noted throughout thecave. Ofthe approximate mileofpassagefoundinthecave,thelarge majority seemstofollow a prominent seriesofjoints. Justinsidethe entranceofthecaveisa 20-foot handlinedroptotheedgeofawaist deeplake.Walkingsizepassage continues pastthisfornearly1000fttoasecondlakewhere itisnecessarytoswimfor about 20ft. Shortly thereafter thepassagesplits,alarge canyon continuing totheleftdowna ISO-foot handlinedropsoonfollowedbyaIS-footrappel. The other branch is somewhat inconspicuous, being straight aheadandhighup,and after 200ftit connects withthemainpassagebelowtheIS-footrappel.Thismainpassage then continues forseveral hundred feetto another fork.Totheleftisover1000ftofdown streamwalkingandcrawlingpassagewhere exploration wasfinally halted ata siphon ina smallcrawlway.Theright branch continues several hundred feetpastaneck-deeplaketo an 85-foot dropwherea bolt wasset.Atthe bottomofthepitisseveral hundred feetofwalkingpassagewithafewshallowlakeswhichfinallyendsinadomewithpossiblehigh leads.Directly opposite thetopofthe 85-foot pitaretwosmallcrawlwayswhichwerenot foundto extend foranysignficantdistance. Total depthofthecaveis approximately 200 feet.Were-entered thecavethe next daytode-rigourropes.Asmallcrawlwaywas entered ontherightsideofthepassage500ft after thefirstlake.Inthis short crawlandinthemain passage nearby webeganto notice large numbersofpottery fragments. Frank was fortunate enoughtolocateapiecewithaverydistinctiveface etched into it.Webelieve that this would indicate that thecavewasalsoknownandusedbythepre conquest Indiansasa sourceofwater.Any future visitorstothecaveshouldbe cautionednottoremoveorto disturbanysuch artifacts whichmaybeofarcheological importance. Thefollowingdaywemadeanunsuccessfulsearchforsome rumored blindfishcaves westofMicosbutdid eventually locateasmallcave containing somerareasellidisopods. That eveningwemetDavidMcKenzieinCd.Mante.BillRussell joined himforan additional weekofreconnaissance whiletherestofus returned toAustin.v.III no. 5 Date: Thanksgiving, 1971 Destination: Southern Sierra de Guatemala, Tres Manantiales, Micos Location:SMa;Sierra de Guatemala; Barrancas Persons: Frank Binney, Steven Bittinger,BillDeane,BillRussell, Carol Russell Reportedby:Steven Bittinger 97 Our main objectivewasto checkoutthe cave at Tres Manantiales which had been pre viously entered twice byAMCScavers. James Reddell and Robert Mitchell first entered in 1966 for biological collecting and were stopped by the cold water in the first lake. LaterBillRussell andBillElliott visited the cave, crossed the lake, and reported a large passage up to a handline drop. After an uneventful drive from Austin,wefound that our first big problemwasmerely getting to the cave. A recent forest fire had downed many large trees across the crude road,sowespent the first day chain-sawing trees and generally rebuilding the road. Finallywehad to admit defeat and decided to packourgear the remaining two miles to the cave. The caveissituated at one endofa large valley and servesasthe only sourceofwater for several nearby houses.Itappears that during flood times the cave takes some surface drainage and a considerable numberofvadose features were noted throughout the cave.Ofthe approximate mileofpassage found in the cave, the large majority seems to follow a prominent seriesofjoints. Just inside the entranceofthe caveisa 20-foot handline drop to the edgeofa waist deep lake. Walking size passage continues past this for nearly 1000 ft to a second lake where itisnecessary to swim for about 20 ft. Shortly thereafter the passage splits, a large canyon continuing to the left down a ISO-foot handline drop soon followed by a IS-foot rappel. The other branchissomewhat inconspicuous, being straight ahead and high up, and after 200 ft it connects with the main passage below the IS-foot rappel. This main passage then continues for several hundred feet to another fork. To the leftisover1000ftofdown stream walking and crawling passage where explorationwasfinally halted at a siphon in a small crawlway. The right branch continues several hundred feet past a neck-deep lake to an 85-foot drop where a boltwasset. At the bottomofthe pitisseveral hundred feetofwalking passage with a few shallow lakes which finally ends in a dome with possible high leads. Directly opposite the topofthe 85-foot pit are two small crawlways which were not found to extend for any signficant distance. Total depthofthe caveisapproximately 200 feet.Were-entered the cave the next day to de-rig our ropes. A small crawlway was entered on the right sideofthe passage 500 ft after the first lake. In this short crawl and in the main passage nearbywebegantonotice large numbersofpottery fragments. Frank was fortunate enough to locate a piece with a very distinctive face etched into it.Webelieve that this would indicate that the cavewasalso known and used by the pre conquest Indiansasa sourceofwater. Any future visitors to the cave should be cautionednotto remove or to disturb any such artifacts which may beofarcheological importance. The following daywemade an unsuccessful search for some rumored blind fish caves westofMicosbutdid eventually locate a small cave containing some rare asellid isopods. That eveningwemet David McKenzie in Cd. Mante. Bill Russell joined him for an additional weekofreconnaissance while the restofus returned to Austin.


98 Date: 18-21 November 1971 Destination: Cave hunting westofEl Barretal, Tamps. Location: SMO Persons:JohnMikels,NickMorales,David Johnson, Mike PadgettReportedby:JohnMikels AMCSNews 18 November. DrovetoasmallvillagetothewestofEl Barretal, Tamps., andnearthe baseofthe SMO. Crashed. 19 November. Take 7hourstodrive26milesupintotheSMOona narrow,ruttedlumber road. Weare trying togettothetownofLasMinasandahuge sink nearby (over800ftdiameterandvery black)thatwasspottedfromtheair.Afterthese 26mileswefind ourselves inasmalllumbermillvillage.We inquire andfindwecan'treach LasMinaseasilyorin the timewehave.Sowegetalocalto show ussomecavesinthearea.He guides ustoa coupleofs6tanos within afewhundredyardsofa "side side-road."Thetwopits areabout100yds apart andbothare dead-end 11a-footdrops, locallyknownas S6tanos de Contabanda. With the arrivalofdusktheday's explorations were terminated. 20 November. Atthelumbervillagewe located aSefior Gremaldo, an elderly man, who agreedto show us some more caves. First, arathershorthike,butwith fantastic scenery (elevation was6000ftor more),broughtustoanotherpitjustlike thoseofthedaybefore.Theywereabout100ftand dead-end.Nexthetookustoa horizontal caveabout100ftoffasmallside road.Itwas approximately500ftlongandwell decorated andactive.Abouthalfofthefloor was white flowstone with numerous rimstone pools. Wetooksome pictures and mapped it.LocalscallitCuevadela Cojada. We left and talked more with Sr. Gremaldo. He told usofnumerous cavesand pits,"muygrandes ybonitos,"furtherupinthemoun tains,buttheywould involvelonghikesandbackpacking. Hewas most hospitable andgave ussome fruit aswe talkedaboutthearea.We promised toreturninthenear future. Our friendlyattitudesdidpayoffonafuturetrip tothesamearea when he helped some sick caversgetover Moctezuma's revenge.Afterbidding goodbye ontheafternoonofthe20thwe beganthelongdrivebacktothehighway. There wewenttoCd. Victoria and Peregrina Canyon tojointhePAD Geology Clubfield trip. Date: 25 November 1971 Destination: LeadwestofBustamante nowknownas"LotelaGruta"Location: NBR Persons: Ronnie Fieseler,JonEverage,David Temple, Billie FieselerReportedby:Ronnie Fieseler We left Canon de Bustamantetocheck acaveleadofCharlesFromen,etal.In the Sierra de Enmedio 12-15mileswestofthe Canon andaboutinthemiddleoftherange, isaprominentseriesofswitchbacks which reportedly leadstoacaveoramine.Theyareeasily visible from a long distance. LeavingtheCanon wepassagedthrough2-3gates, riding onourmotorcycles. Wehadnotgonefar before encountering ahuge swamp. Wewere barely abletoget ourselves andourbikesoutofthebog, which wasa coupleofmilesacross.Weasked directions ataTe quila factory and rode closer totherange.Soonwe could seetheswitchbacks despitethe98 Date:18-21November 1971 Destination:Cavehunting westofElBarretal, Tamps. Location:SMOPersons: John Mikels, Nick Morales, David Johnson,MikePadgett Reportedby:John MikelsAMCSNews18November. Drovetoa small village to the westofElBarretal, Tamps., and near the baseoftheSMO.Crashed.19November. Take 7 hours to drive 26 miles up into theSMOon a narrow, rutted lumber road.Weare trying to get to the townofLas Minas and a huge sink nearby (over 800 ft dia meter and very black) that was spotted from the air. After these 26 mileswefind ourselves in a small lumber mill village.Weinquire and findwecan't reach Las Minas easilyorin the timewehave. Soweget a local to showussome caves in the area.Heguides us to a coupleofs6tanos within a few hundred yardsofa "side side-road." The two pits are about100yds apart andbothare dead-end11a-foot drops, locally knownasS6tanos de Contabanda. With the arrivalofdusk the day's explorations were terminated. 20 November. At the lumber villagewelocated a Seftor Gremaldo, an elderly man, who agreed to showussome more caves. First, a rather short hike,butwith fantastic scenery (elevationwas6000 ft or more), broughtusto another pit just like thoseofthe day before. They were about100ft and dead-end. Nexthetook ustoa horizontal cave about100ftoffa small side road.Itwasapproximately 500 ft long and well decorated and active. About halfofthe floorwaswhite flowstone with numerous rimstone pools.Wetook some pictures and mapped it. Locals call it Cueva delaCojada.Weleft and talked more with Sr. Gremaldo.Hetold usofnumerous caves and pits,"muygrandes y bonitos," further up in the moun tains, but they would involve long hikes and backpacking.Hewasmost hospitable andgaveussome fruitaswetalked about the area.Wepromised to return in the near future. Our friendly attitudes didpayoffon a future trip to the same area when he helped some sick cavers get over Moctezuma's revenge. After bidding goodbye on the afternoonofthe20thwebegan the long drive back to the highway. Therewewent to Cd. Victoria and Peregrina Canyon to join the PAD Geology Club field trip. Date: 25 November 1971 Destination: Lead westofBustamante now knownas"Lotela Gruta" Location: NBR Persons: Ronnie Fieseler, Jon Everage, David Temple, Billie Fieseler Reportedby:Ronnie FieselerWeleft Cafton de Bustamantetocheck a cave leadofCharles Fromen, etal.In the Sierra de Enmedio12-15miles westofthe Cafton and about in the middleofthe range,isa prominent seriesofswitchbacks which reportedly leadstoa caveora mine. They are easily visible from a long distance. Leaving the Caftonwepassaged through2-3gates, riding on our motorcycles.Wehad not gone far before encountering a huge swamp.Wewere barely able to get ourselves and our bikesoutofthe bog, whichwasa coupleofmiles across.Weasked directions at a Te quila factory and rode closer to the range. Soonwecould see the switchbacks despite the


v.IIIno.599 haze.Atasmallvillageamantoldusthattheyledtoabigcaveandthe only way there was byroadfromthebigranch.Fromenandcrewhadbeenrefusedaccesstothis road onan other tripsoweaskedtheMexicanifitmightbepossibletoridebikesacross country tothe cave.He thought wecould. Soonwewerecrashing through apieceofdesertcoveredwith almost solid growths of agave,lechiguilla,etc.Itwassobadwe almost gaveup.Onebikehadaflatwhenwefinally reached what passesfortheroad.Ittookabout 3 hours tocoverthe3-4milesofdesert. Misery. AllbutBillie started upthe switchbacks. They lead into ahigh canyon andstop.A foot trailleads further up into the canyon. After about a half milehikethecavewasfound by Ronnie almost attheendofthe canyon. Hetooksome pictures and entered thecave. Exploration didnottakelongasitconsistsofasingle tube-like passagewithnoobvious sidepassages.Measuredbypaces,itwas found tobe about 900-1000 ftlong.Thefirst 2/3ofthecaveaverages20-40ftwideand20-30fthigh.Thelast part contains somestoop waysandmorewalkingpassage.Thecaveendsinafacewhereanore deposit isbeingmined. Thecave contains some medium-sized formations which, though not spectacular, are pretty. The entrance isan invertedVarchwithalarge rock inthemiddleofit.Apassage just tothe left insidethe entrance isseeminglyman-madeandleadstoa vertical shaft, alsoman made.Itwasnotexplored. Amarking stone stands just outside the entrance andreads: ML LOTELAGRUTA SUP.4H's EXP. 1844 AG.MONTERRYEN.L.Thereisalsowhatlookslikeasurveyordatum point in concrete atthe entrance with the initials"P.P."inthe concrete. David joined Ronnie for another quick look inside before leavingthecaveandrejoining Jon back atthebikes.Theyweresadthatitwaslateinthedayand they hadnotimeto checkouttwovery promising leadsacrossthe canyon. Oneisagiant arch-shaped depression with treesand brush growinginitandabig dark holeintheback.The other isaverynice looking holeona cliff face-very promising but veryhardtogetto except forthechancethatanother smallerholeinthesame bedding planeandaccessiblemight connect. Wemadeourwayslowlybacktothe Canon duetothebikewiththeflatandarriveda little after dark.Thisisaveryroughtripacrossthe desert bybikebutitisthe only wayun lessthe rancher willallowuseofhisroad.Hemightevenownthecaveandthe canyon. But theMexicanwe talked toseemedto think itwouldbealrightforustogo there, andhe worked atthe ranch. Butitwouldstillbe best andsafesttotrytoget permission atthe ranch, which isonthe north-east sideofthe mountains. Thecavehasbeenminedfor something-probably phosphates. Yetthe amount of workseendoesnotratetheroadofswitchbacks (whichcouldeasily accomodate trucks). The shaft mayleadtomore extensive workingsor there maybe another mineinthecanyonthatwemissed.Theroad certainly indicates alarger operation andwas doubtless built forv.IIIno.599 haze. At a small village a man told usthattheyled to a big cave and the only way therewasby road from the big ranch. Fromen and crew had been refused access to this road on an other trip soweasked the Mexicanifit might be possible to ride bikes across countrytothe cave. He thoughtwecould. Soonwewere crashing through a pieceofdesert covered with almost solid growthsofagave, lechiguilla, etc.Itwas so badwealmost gave up. One bike had a flat whenwefinally reached what passes fortheroad.Ittookabout 3 hours to cover the 3-4 milesofdesert. Misery. AllbutBillie started up the switchbacks. They lead into a high canyon and stop. A foot trail leads further up into the canyon. After about a half mile hike the cave was found by Ronnie almost at the endofthe canyon. Hetooksome pictures and entered the cave. Exploration didnottake longasitconsistsofa single tube-like passage with no obvious side passages. Measured by paces, it was foundtobe about 900-1000 ft long. The first 2/3ofthe cave averages 20-40 ft wide and 20-30 ft high. The last part contains some stoop ways and more walking passage. The cave ends in a face where an ore depositisbeing mined. The cave contains some medium-sized formations which, though not spectacular, are pretty. The entranceisan invertedVarch with a large rock in the middleofit. A passage just to the left inside the entranceisseemingly man-made and leads to a vertical shaft, also man made.Itwasnotexplored. A marking stone stands just outside the entrance and reads:MLLOTELAGRUTA SUP.4H's EXP. 1844 AG.MONTERRYEN.L.Thereisalso what looks like asurveyordatum point in concrete at the entrance withthe initials"P.P."in the concrete. David joined Ronnie for another quick look inside before leaving the cave and rejoining Jon back at the bikes. They were sadthatitwaslate in the day and they had no timetocheckouttwo very promising leads across the canyon. Oneisa giant arch-shaped depression with trees and brush growing in it and a big dark hole in the back.The otherisa very nice looking hole on a cliff face-very promising but very hardtoget to except for the chancethatanother smaller hole inthesame bedding plane and accessible might connect.Wemadeourway slowly back to the Cafton due to the bike with the flat and arrived a little after dark. Thisisa very rough trip across the desert by bikebutitisthe only way un less the rancher will allow useofhis road.Hemight even own the cave and the canyon. But the Mexicanwetalkedtoseemed to think it would be alright for us togothere, andheworked at the ranch. But it would still be best and safest totryto get permission at the ranch, whichison the north-east sideofthe mountains. The cave has been mined for something-probably phosphates. Yet the amountofwork seen doesnotrate the roadofswitchbacks (which could easily accomodate trucks). The shaft may leadtomore extensive workings or there may be another mine inthecanyonthatwemissed. The road certainly indicates a larger operation and was doubtless built for


100AMCSNews vehicularuse.Ithasnotbeenused recently though andwasina moderately bad state ofre pair.Itwouldbevery interesting tofindoutmore information onthis canyon and it's asso ciatedactivities,maybefromthe rancher, ifhewouldtalk. There's bound tobeagood story about itifitcould just befound. Date:17-26April1972 Destination: Ayutla, Qto. Location: SMO; Jalpan Persons:CraigBittinger, John Greer,ClarkLillie Reportedby:John GreerAustin,Texas Craig Bittinger Kingsville andAustin 17-19April.Left Kingsville Mondaynight,crossedatReynosa,rodebusestoAyutla. Walked part wayup canyon south toward RanchoElBarrofrom Ayutla andspent Tuesday nightina haunted rockshelter next toriver (nacimiento). Wednesdaywe continued onup toElBarroand found Ram6n--Craig'spreviousguideandgoodfriend (Ram6n Gonzales, SantaMariadelosCocos, Ayutla, Queretaro, Mexico). That afternoon wehikedonupto El S6tano (entrance drop1345ft)justto look atthehugepit.Leavescoveredthetrailand we ended upjunglecrashing through thorns about halftheway. Spent thenightinElBarro. 20April. Thursday morningweleftat 8:00 forLa Florida, "3hourswalk"westofEl Barro (faster tocome straight inoffthehighwayfromwestofAyutla), Checkedseveral 25-35 foot pitsinalargesinkareaontheway (between La Huasteca westofElBarroand the Puerto CudisiaeastofLa Florida). Inthepass before dropping downtoLa Florida we checked the S6tano del Puerto Cudisia-4.9sec.initialfreefall, bounces toIIsec., then we just couldn't hear the rocks anymore (estimated over600ftdeep).Wegot into La Florida at3:00p.m. exhausted. Heardofmanymorepits.Checkedonepit(ca.120ft)about half wayupthehill southoftown (15 minute runfromthe church). About 70yardsNEofthe church aretwopits:ca.ISOft,ca.120ft,bothapparently droptoadirtfloor. Reported isahugecavernnorthdown the valley toward thehighway, contains astreamorlake;should be checked forsure.Also reported wasadeeppitnorthofLagunillas toward Rancho Carri zal,possiblyat Rancho Carrizal (our informant hadseenthepit--saiditwashuge,over 500mdeep,andwell known). Another verydeeppit reported onCerrodelPajaro south of town.Wewerethefirst norteamericanos inLa Florida andwerewellaccepted.Wefixedthe electrical generator for the church (except forthe tornillos to connect the motor withthe generator inplaceofa clutch). Spent thenightatthe church after an exceptionally fine mealwith the padre(Javier Ferros Moya,La Florida, Municipiode Arroyo, Seco, Queretaro, Mexico). 21April.Weleft Friday morning withtwoguidesandcheckedouttwopitsontopof thehillNEofLaFlorida. S6tano delaMora,3.6sec. entrance droptodirtfloor. S6tano Conrado, 6.5sec. drop todirtfloor.Areais apparently all internal drainagewithsome reallylargesinkareas.Headedback toward EIBarroagain, stopping by S6tano del Puerto Cudisia.Clarkfixed another radio. Stopped by another pit(ca.110ft)inthesinkareaon thewaybackdownthehill between Puerto CudisiaandLaHuasteca.BackatElBarrowe were temporarily harassedby drunks, who then beganfightingamongthemselveswith100AMCSNews vehicular use.Ithas not been used recently though andwasin a moderately bad stateofrepair.Itwould be very interesting to findoutmore information on this canyon and it's asso ciated activities, maybe from the rancher,ifhe would talk. There's bound to be a good story about itifit could just be found. Date: 17-26 April 1972 Destination: Ayutla, Qto. Location:SMO;Jalpan Persons: Craig Bittinger, John Greer, Clark Lillie Reportedby:John Greer Austin, Texas Craig Bittinger Kingsville and Austin17-19 April. Left Kingsville Monday night, crossed at Reynosa, rode buses to Ayutla. Walked part way up canyon south toward RanchoElBarro from Ayutla and spent Tuesday night in a haunted rockshelter next to river (nacimiento). Wednesdaywecontinued on up toElBarro and found Ram6n--Craig's previous guide and good friend (Ram6n Gonzales, Santa Maria de los Cocos, Ayutla, Queretaro, Mexico). That afternoonwehikedonup toElS6tano (entrance drop 1345ft)justto look at the huge pit. Leaves covered the trail andweended up jungle crashing through thorns about half the way. Spent the night in El Barro. 20 April. Thursday morningweleft at 8:00 for La Florida,"3hours walk" westofElBarro (faster to come straight inoffthe highway from westofAyutla). Checked several 25-35 foot pits in a large sink areaonthe way (betweenLaHuasteca westofElBarro and the Puerto Cudisia eastofLaFlorida). In the pass before dropping down toLaFloridawechecked the S6tano del Puerto Cudisia 4.9 sec. initial freefall, bounces toIIsec., thenwejust couldn't hear the rocks anymore (estimated over 600 ft deep).Wegot intoLaFlorida at 3 :00 p.m. exhausted. Heardofmany more pits. Checked one pit (ca. 120 ft) about half way up the hill southoftown (15 minute run from the church). About 70 yards NEofthe church are two pits:ca.ISOft,ca.120 ft,bothapparently drop to a dirt floor. Reportedisa huge cavern north down the valley toward the highway, contains a stream or lake; should be checked for sure. Also reportedwasa deep pit northofLagunillas toward Rancho Carri zal, possibly at Rancho Carrizal (our informant had seen the pit--said itwashuge, over 500 m deep, and well known). Another very deep pit reported on Cerro del Pajaro southoftown.Wewere the first norteamericanos in La Florida and were well accepted.Wefixed the electrical generator for the church (except for the tornillos to connect the motor with the generator in placeofa clutch). Spent the night at the church after an exceptionally fine meal with the padre (Javier Ferros Moya,LaFlorida, Municipio de Arroyo, Seco, Queretaro, Mexico).21April.Weleft Friday morning with two guides and checkedouttwo pits on topofthe hill NEofLaFlorida. S6tano de la Mora, 3.6 sec. entrance drop to dirt floor. S6tano Conrado, 6.5 sec. drop to dirt floor. Areaisapparently all internal drainage with some really large sink areas. Headed back towardEIBarro again, stopping by S6tano del Puerto Cudisia. Clark fixed another radio. Stopped by another pit (ca. 110 ft) in the sink area on the way back down the hill between Puerto Cudisia andLaHuasteca. Back at El Barrowewere temporarily harassed by drunks, who then began fighting among themselves with


v.IIIno.5 101 knives. Ram6n wentoverand broke itup.Thenthe army happened byandhassled, interro gated,and arrested usandputus under strict armedguardwith machine gunsforthenight. Tryingto urinatewith armed escorts turnedouttobe quite anew experience. 22April. Saturday morning, following orders from Queretaro headquarters, thecom mander releasedus (after 18 exciting hours); wetookpicturesofeveryone, hadafewlaughs, etc., before leaving.Sincethedaywas shot, we just lay around, except fora short walkto theriver(3miles)totakeabath. 23April.Weleftat5:30a.m. with Ram6n forLaCienega,acrosstheriveruppast NaranjoSEfromElBarro.Wewerealsothefirst norteamericanos inNaranjoandLaCienega. Whilewewerewaitingforsomebeansand tortillas tobe heated forus,wevisitedtwopits: ca.90ftandca.250ft. Informants saidthewholehilliscoveredwithpits.Weateandleft with our guideLuisArriegaofLaCienega,Later EliasSanchez(wholivesuponthehillwest ofLaCienega) joined us.WeclimbedthehillwestofLaCienegaand checked severalexcel lent pitsinthe upper regionsofthehill.Of particular interest wasadrainage terminal which wecalledCuevadelPerroMuertoforobviousreasonsprobably an extensive system beginshere; there isalargedrainage pattern andno resurgence activity onthehillatall.This isnotfarabovethe store andbelowthehouseofEliasSanchez.HoyadeCallej6nis quite awayabove Sanchez's houseandattheedgeofan upper field. Entrance drop probably wellinexcessof600ft.Hugerocksdropfor14seconds before they just gooutofhearing range.Thisandmostotherpit entrances onthehill around generally about 3x4m,mas0menos.Nearthetopofthehillis S6tano delBernal(atthis point wewereaboveand just westorWNWoftherockfingerwhichiseasilyvisible,butsmall,fromLaCienega),which issaidtobethe deepest inthearea, apparently becauseamanwentdown60m without reachingthe bottom. The pit opened up30yearsagowhenamanwaswalking home from his corn field--theground opened andswallowedhimup.Thewholehillis hollow and walkingacrosssomefields,onecan actually hearechoesdown probably 200ft. Apparently thehillhasa hollow mantle andmay contain an extensive system.Thesepit entrances are probably easily3000ftabovethe entrance to S6tano delaPaila(tobe mentioned later), whichleadstosome interesting possibilities. Ourguidealso mentionedthatotherpitswere present onthehillhigher than Bernal; certainly the karst continues higher (there isalsoa house about 300yardsorsouptotheNNEwhere presumably onecould acquire another guide).The possibilities herearestaggering. From S6tano deBernalwe continued ona round thehilland started down,always checking insignificant pitsofabout 25toISOft deep.We stopped byacavern entrance where people today getwater.Old flowstone covered footholds indicatethatthecavehasbeenusedfora considerable period.Thebottomofa100-footpitinthe entrance room shouldbe checked for artifacts which might indicate howlongthecavehasbeenused.We continued down tothebottomofthehill andvisitedLas Tranto, acave into whichawholevalleyruns.Itshouldbe checked for sure,andmighteasilybe found to connect withthehuge S6tano delaPailawhichliesabout one-half miletothe northeast. S6tano delaPailaisan extremely largepitwithamouthabout300x200ft;the shaft narrows about 200-250 ftdeepto about 65x20ft.We dropped rocksfrom about 100-150 ftbelowtherim (one canclimbdown somewhat on thenorthside).Thefollowingtimeswere recorded (running timesarefor individual bounces with elapsedtimesinfreefall):(a)3.4sec. initial, bounce to5.0,5.0-9.0freefall,v.IIIno. 5101knives. Ram6n went over and broke it up. Then the army happened by and hassled, interro gated, and arrested us andputus under strict armed guard with machine guns for the night. Tryingtourinatewith armed escorts turnedoutto be quite a new experience. 22 April. Saturday morning, following orders from Queretaro headquarters, the com mander released us (after18exciting hours); wetookpicturesofeveryone, had a few laughs, etc., before leaving. Sincetheday was shot,wejust lay around, except for a short walktothe river (3 miles)totake a bath. 23 April.Weleft at 5 :30 a.m. with Ram6n for La Cienega, across the river up past Naranjo SE from El Barro.Wewere alsothefirst norteamericanos in Naranjo andLaCienega.Whilewewere waiting for some beans and tortillas to be heated for us,wevisited two pits: ca. 90 ft and ca. 250 ft. Informants said the whole hilliscovered with pits.Weate and left with our guide Luis ArriegaofLaCienega. Later Elias Sanchez (who lives up onthehill westofLa Cienega) joined us.Weclimbed the hill westofLa Cienega and checked several excel lent pits in the upper regionsofthe hill.Ofparticular interestwasa drainage terminal whichwecalled Cueva del Perro Muerto for obvious reasons probably an extensive system begins here; thereisa large drainage pattern and no resurgence activityonthe hill at all. Thisisnotfar above the store and below the houseofElias Sanchez. Hoya de Callej6nisquite a way above Sanchez's house andatthe edgeofan upper field. Entrance drop probably well in excessof600 ft. Huge rocks drop for 14 seconds before they justgooutofhearing range. This and mostotherpit entrances on the hill around generally about 3x4 m, mas0menos. Near thetopofthehillisS6tano del Bernal (at this pointwewere above and just west orWNWoftherock finger whichiseasily visible,butsmall, from La Cienega), whichissaidtobe the deepest inthearea, apparently because a man went down 60 m without reaching the bottom. The pit opened up 30 years ago when a manwaswalking home from his corn field--theground opened and swallowed him up. The whole hillishollow and walking across some fields, one can actually hear echoes down probably 200 ft. Apparently the hill has a hollow mantle and may contain an extensive system. These pit entrances are probably easily3000ft above the entrancetoS6tano delaPaila (to be mentioned later), which leadstosome interesting possibilities. Our guide also mentionedthatotherpits were present on the hill higher than Bernal; certainly the karst continues higher (thereisalso a house about 300 yards or so up to the NNE where presumably one could acquire another guide). The possibilities here are staggering. From S6tano de Bernalwecontinued onaround the hill and started down, always checking insignificant pitsofabout 25 toISOft deep.Westopped by a cavern entrance where people today get water. Old flowstone covered footholds indicatethatthe cave has been used for a considerable period. Thebottomofa 100-foot pit in the entrance room should be checked for artifacts which might indicate how long the cave has been used.Wecontinued downtothebottomofthehill and visited Las Tranto, a cave into which a whole valley runs.Itshould be checked for sure, and might easily be foundtoconnect with the huge S6tano delaPaila which lies abou t one-half mile to the northeast. S6tano delaPailaisan extremely large pit with amouthabout300x 200 ft; the shaft narrows about 200-250 ft deeptoabout 65 x 20 ft.Wedropped rocks from about 100-150ftbelow the rim (one can climb down somewhatonthenorthside). The following times were recorded (running times are for individual bounces with elapsed times in freefall): (a) 3.4 sec. initial, bounce to 5.0, 5.0-9.0 freefall,


102 AMCSNews 11.0 total; (b)3.4,6.8,9.0,11.5,20.0;(c) 3.6, 5.5,7.0, 8.5, 12.0 (thought we heard a later onebutnotcertain); (d) untimed rock with a distinct, very faint bounce verydeep after about 10sec.freefallfollowingtheusualseveral secondsofentrance bounces; (e)3.4 initial, bounce to12.0, 12.0-16.0 sec.freefall,nomore sound. We hopefully estimate thepitat around 1500ft. After this excitement, we returned toLaCienegaandbacktoE1Barro (arrived9:30p.m.) --a16hourtrip. 24April.LeftE1Barroand went backtoAyut1a, then toValles,andouttoLosSabi nosforthenight.Awelcomesight. 25-26April.Cameback into Valles.Messed around, rented ahousefor summer head quarters, and headed backforKingsville. TRIP SUMMARY Craig Bittinger, John Greer,ClarkLillie 17-26April1972 Notes:Nopitswere entered. Timesarefrom stop watch forfallingfist-size limestone rocks. Depths are estimated. Most entrances areingeneralabout3x4m. ELBARRO Visited-E1S6tano (previously explored and mapped byAMCS, January 1972) Trail,LAHUASTECAtoLA FLORIDA Visited-1.Pit,25ft(est.) 2.Pit,30ft(est.) 3.Pit,35ft (est.) 4.Pit,110ft (est.) LA FLORIDA Visited1. S6tano del Puerto Cudisia,over600ft (est.) --4.9sec.tofirst bounce, 11sec. total drop before goingoutofhearingrange.Inmainsaddleeastoftown. 2.Pit,120ft(est.)to dirt floor.HillSEoftown. 3.Pit,120ft(est.)to dirt floor.NWof church. 4.Pit,150ft(est.)to dirt floor.NWof church. 5. S6tano delaMora, dirt floor.TopofhillNEoftown. 6. S6tano Conrado, dirt floor.TopofhillNEoftown. Reported -Manypits(somedeep)all around La Florida andinthe surrounding hills;good leadsforthearea around CerrodelPajaroSEoftown. --Verydeeppit reported ontopofCerrodelPajaro. --Cavewithgoodyellowcalcite crystals justWNWoftown; also nearby elephant bones (portionofexceptionally wellpreserved mastodon molar was examined). -Verylarge,longcavern containing ariverorlake,northupthe canyon toward thehighwayfrom town. -Deeppit(over500m) between Lagunilla(onthehighwayNWofAyutla) and Rancho Carrizal.Verylargeandwell known.102AMCSNews 11.0 total; (b) 3.4,6.8,9.0,11.5,20.0;(c) 3.6, 5.5, 7.0, 8.5, 12.0 (thoughtweheard a later onebutnotcertain); (d) untimed rock with a distinct, very faint bounce very deep after about 10 sec. freefall following the usual several secondsofentrance bounces; (e) 3.4 initial, bounceto12.0, 12.0-16.0 sec. freefall, no more sound.Wehopefully estimate the pit at around 1500 ft. After this excitement,wereturnedtoLa Cienega and back toE1Barro (arrived9:30p.m.)--a16hourtrip.24April. LeftE1Barro and went backtoAyut1a, thentoValles, andouttoLos Sabi nos forthenight. A welcome sight. 25-26 April. Came back into Valles. Messed around, rented a house for summer head quarters, and headed back for Kingsville. TRIP SUMMARY Craig Bittinger, John Greer, Clark Lillie 17-26 April 1972 Notes: No pits were entered. Times are from stop watch for falling fist-size limestone rocks. Depths are estimated. Most entrances are in generalabout3x4m.EL BARRO Visited -E1S6tano (previously explored and mapped byAMCS,January 1972) Trail,LAHUASTECAtoLAFLORIDA Visited--1.Pit, 25 ft (est.) 2. Pit, 30 ft (est.) 3. Pit, 35 ft (est.)4.Pit, 110 ft (est.)LAFLORIDA Visited -1.S6tano del Puerto Cudisia, over 600 ft (est.)--4.9 sec. to first bounce,11sec. total drop before goingoutofhearing range. Inmain saddle eastoftown.2.Pit, 120 ft (est.)todirt floor. Hill SEoftown. 3. Pit, 120 ft (est.)todirt floor.NWofchurch.4.Pit, 150 ft (est.)todirt floor.NWofchurch. 5. S6tano delaMora, 3.6 sec.todirt floor. Topofhill NEoftown.6.S6tano Conrado, 6.5 sec. to dirt floor. Topofhill NEoftown. Reported Many pits (some deep) all around La Florida and in the surrounding hills; good leads for the area around Cerro del Pajaro SEoftown.--Very deep pit reported on topofCerro del Pajaro.--Cave with good yellow calcite crystals justWNWoftown; also nearby elephant bones (portionofexceptionally well preserved mastodon molar was examined). Very large, long cavern containing a river or lake,northup the canyon toward the highway from town. Deep pit (over 500 m) between Lagunilla (on the highwayNWofAyutla) and Rancho Carrizal. Very large and well known.


v.IIIno.5 103 LACIENEGA Visited--I.Pit,90ft(est.). South sideoftown. 2.Pit, 200-250ft(est.). South sideoftown. 3.CuevadelPerroMuerto(ourname).Cavernon opposite hillside just westoftown.20ftclimbabledropto horizontal passage.Drainsaverylargearea. Shouldbeaverydeepsystem. 4.Pit,100ft(est.)to breakdown slope.JustabovehouseofEliasSanchezon opposite hillwestoftown. 5.HoyadeCallej6n,over600ft(est)-3sec.freefall,2sec. bounce, 2sec.freefall,fast bounces atleast6moreseconds (outofhearingrange). 6.Pit,40ft(est.) 7.Pit,120ft(est.)-3.0sec. 8.Pit,30ft(est.)to breakdown room. 9.Pit,over200ft(est.)-(a)2.8sec.freefall,fast double bounce, 5.0sec. total; (b)2.8sec.freefall,several bounces, 7.5sec. total. 10.Pit,50ft(est.) 11. S6tano delBernal,over500ft(est.) probably into anextensivesysteminthe hollow mountain -IIsec.bouncing before rockgoesoutofhearingrange. Neartopofthehill. 12.Pit,80ft(est.)--2sec.todirtfloor. 13.Pit,30-35ft(est.). 14.Pit,30ft(est.). IS.Cavern entrance withsome formations into asmall room; onrightsideofroom apitdrops about 100ft(est.).Ancient footholds toallowwater collection are partially coveredwithflowstone. 16.Las Tranto. Long horizontal passagedraininganextensivearea.In bottom of valley about 2miles southoftown.Verylikely connects with S6tano dePaila inanextensivesystem. 17. S6tano delaPaila, probably over1500ft(est.), bounce timesupto20sec. before rockgoesoutofhearingrange.Exampleofrunningtimesforbounces withinterveningfreefalls:3.4,6.8,9.0,11.5,20.0sec.(rocks dropped from 100-150ftbelowthe entrance lip).Verylarge entrance; drainsanextensive area. Reported -Numerouspitsallaroundand practically inLaCienega,Apparently hillis coveredwithpits. -Upper portionsofhill opposite LaCienegatowest,wherewecheckedourpits, iscoveredwithsinksandpits.Onlyafewwerechecked. -Largepitless than anhourwalkupthevalley (south) fromthecaveLas Tranto.v.IIIno. 5 103 LACIENEGA Visited--I.Pit, 90ft (est.). South sideoftown.2.Pit, 200-250ft(est.). South sideoftown. 3. Cueva del Perro Muerto (our name). Cavern on opposite hillside just westoftown. 20ftclimbable drop to horizontal passage. Drains a very large area. Should be a very deep system.4.Pit, 100ft(est.) to breakdown slope. Just above houseofElias Sanchez on opposite hill westoftown.5.Hoya de Callej6n, over 600ft(est) -3 sec. freefall, 2 sec. bounce, 2 sec. freefall, fast bounces at least 6 more seconds (outofhearing range).6.Pit, 40ft(est.)7.Pit, 120ft(est.) 3.0 sec.8.Pit, 30ft(est.) to breakdown room. 9. Pit,over 200ft(est.) (a) 2.8 sec. free fall fast double bounce, 5.0 sec. total; (b) 2.8 sec. free fall several bounces, 7.5 sec. total. 10. Pit, 50ft(est.) 11. S6tano del Bernal, over 500ft(est.) probably into an extensive systeminthe hollow mountain -IIsec. bouncing before rock goesoutofhearing range. Near topofthe hill. 12. Pit, 80ft(est.)--2 sec. to dirt floor. 13. Pit, 30-35ft(est.). 14. Pit, 30ft(est.). IS. Cavern entrance with some formations into a small room; on right sideofroom a pit drops about 100ft(est.). Ancient footholds to allow water collection are partially covered with flowstone. 16. Las Tranto. Long horizontal passage draining an extensive area. In bottomofvalley about 2 miles southoftown. Very likely connects with S6tano de Paila in an extensive system. 17. S6tano de la Paila, probably over 1500ft(est.), bounce times up to 20 sec. before rock goesoutofhearing range. Exampleofrunning times for bounces with intervening freefalls:3.4,6.8,9.0,11.5,20.0sec. (rocks dropped from 100-150ftbelow the entrance lip). Very large entrance; drains an extensive area. Reported Numerous pits all around and practically inLaCienega. Apparently hilliscovered with pits. Upper portionsofhill oppositeLaCienega to west, wherewechecked our pits,iscovered with sinks and pits. Only a few were checked. Large pitlessthan an hour walk up the valley (south) from the cave Las Tranto.


v.IIIno.5 107 PRELIMINARY REPORT ONTHE INITIAL EXPLORATION OFELSOTANO by Terry W.Raines Although the existenceofalargepitinthe Jalpan Regionwasa known fact, noneofthe earlier caversvisiting the areahadthe persistence to continue ontothe entrance un tilLoganandCraig'shikein Januaryofthisyear(seeTrip Report, p.93).Oncenewsofa definite sighting reached Austin, 2dayselapsed before an"expedition"of14 members headed south. Equipped with over4000ftofrope, backpacks, and provisions foruptoa week,thegroup traveled in three vehiclestoa rendezvous in Ayutla, Qro. From thissmalltowna mountain trailclimbstoCerrodelaTinaja, descends toRfodela Atrejea, then climbsagaintothe entranceofEl Sotano. The activitiesofthisfiveday adventure arere corded below. 27 January -Hiketo Rancho ElBarrofrom Ayutla Twovehiclesarrivedlatethe previous evening containing Logan McNatt, Terry Raines,JohnFish,JanLewis,Craig Bittinger, Frank Binney,Blake Harrison, Craig Sainsott, and Peter Strickland. Atthattime arrangements weremadefor3 burros to carry 6 duffel bags tothepitata costof12 pesos/burro/ day.These arrangements fell through the following morning andwehadtoseekoutanotherdriver-guide.By9:40a.m. another truck hadar rived with Donna Atkins, Steve Bittinger, DavidHonea,Roy Jameson, andTomWright and the hikewasbegun.Leaving theupperedgeoftown, thetrailfollowsasmall arroyo fora short distance then cuts upontoariver terrace. Thecrossingofthe gently sloping terrace required one hour after whichthetrailbegan climbing steeply uptheeastflank of the Cerro delaTinaja.This particular cerro isthefirstofaseriesoflinear ranges which characterize theregion.Itis approximately 20kmlongand5-6kmwideandthetrail between Ayutla andEl Limon crossesata point 3160 ftabove Ayutla (see photograph, whichshows almost the entire lengthofCerrodelaTinaja).Fromthepasswe hiked down toEl Limon, located onalow plateau formed bya rock formation change.Anotherhour's hike brought usto the Rfodela Atrejea, only612ftaboveourbeginning point at Ayutla. Thisis the primary drainage course inthearea.Asis frequently true throughout Mexico, itsnamechangesfromareatoarea.Below Limon itisthe Atrejea while only afewkilo meters awaytheriveris named Rfo Ayutla, below the townofthesamename.Thelast legofthe day's hiketookusbackupagainto Rancho ElBarro, located onasmall plateau area corresponding tothatofEl Limon. The elevation here (above Ayutla) was 1557 ft andarrivaltimewas6:30p.m.The people livingatthe ranch werevery friendly andgene rousand allowedourgroup to spend the nightinthe school house. 28 January -HiketoEl Sotano and descent Arrangements weremadewith Ramon, sonofalocal official, for burros to carry the equipment tothepit entrance. The populationofElBarrowasonhandto watch us reloadourpacksand wanderoffin groupsof2and3. From the ranch, located on the lower east flankofthe second range,itisa continuous hike upward tothe entrance. This mountain hasbeen refered tobylocal sources asCerrodelaMesaandCerrodelCharcos.Itwould re quire2hrand45minovera networkofmuddypaths toreachthecave. Fortunately, Craigv.III no. 5 107 PRELIMINARY REPORT ON THE INITIAL EXPLORATIONOFEL SOTANObyTerryW.Raines Although the existenceofa large pit in the Jalpan Region was a known fact, noneofthe earlier cavers visiting the area had the persistencetocontinue ontothe entrance un til Logan and Craig's hike in Januaryofthis year (see Trip Report,p.93). Once newsofa definite sighting reached Austin, 2 days elapsed before an"expedition"of14members headed south. Equipped with over4000ftofrope, backpacks, and provisions foruptoa week,thegroup traveled in three vehicles to a rendezvous in Ayutla, Qro. From this smalltowna mountain trail climbstoCerro delaTinaja, descendstoR{ode la Atrejea, then climbs againtothe entranceofElSotano. The activitiesofthisfiveday adventure are re corded below. 27 January Hike to RanchoElBarro from Ayutla Two vehicles arrived late the previous evening containing Logan McNatt, Terry Raines,JohnFish, Jan Lewis, Craig Bittinger, Frank Binney, Blake Harrison, Craig Sainsott, and Peter Strickland.Atthattime arrangements were made for 3 burrostocarry 6 duffel bags to the pitata costof12pesos/burro/ day. These arrangements fell through the following morning andwehad to seekoutanotherdriver-guide. By9:40a.m. another truck had ar rived with Donna Atkins, Steve Bittinger, David Honea, Roy Jameson, and Tom Wright and the hike was begun. Leaving theupperedgeoftown, the trail follows a small arroyo for a short distance then cuts upontoa river terrace. The crossingofthe gently sloping terrace required one hour after which the trail began climbing steeply up the east flankofthe Cerro delaTinaja. This particular cerroisthe firstofa seriesoflinear ranges which characterize the region.Itisapproximately 20 km long and 5-6 km wide and the trail between Ayutla and El Limon crosses at a point 3160 ft above Ayutla (see photograph, which shows almost the entire lengthofCerro delaTinaja).Fromthe passwehiked down toElLimon, located on a low plateau formed by a rock formation change.Anotherhour's hike brought us to theR{ode la Atrejea, only612ft aboveourbeginning pointatAyutla. Thisisthe primary drainage course in the area.Asisfrequently true throughout Mexico, its name changes from areatoarea. Below Limon itisthe Atrejea while only a few kilo meters away the riverisnamedR{oAyutla, below the townofthe same name. The last legofthe day's hiketookus back up again to Rancho El Barro, located on a small plateau area corresponding tothatofElLimon. The elevation here (above Ayutla) was 1557 ft and arrival time was6:30p.m. The people living at the ranch were very friendly and gene rous and allowedourgroup to spend the night in the school house. 28 January Hike toElSotano and descent Arrangements were made with Ramon, sonofa local official, for burrostocarry the equipment to the pit entrance. The populationofEl Barro wasonhand to watch us reloadourpacks and wanderoffin groupsof2 and 3. From the ranch, located on the lower east flankofthe second range, itisa continuous hike upward to the entrance. This mountain has been refered tobylocal sourcesasCerro delaMesa and Cerro del Charcos.Itwould re quire 2hrand 45 min over a networkofmuddypaths to reach the cave. Fortunately, Craig


original was foldout


v.IIIno.5111andLoganhadbeenguidedtothepitearlierandwerenowabletomarktheway accurately forthestragglers. About 1000ftabovetheranchthetrailangles toward the south but we stillcouldnotseethe entrance orhadanyideawhereitwas located. Infact,itwouldbehid den until thelast moment. TheMexicans continually advisedusastothe pit's proximity. Thelast stretch ledupalinearvalleycarvedby Arroyo delOjodeAgua.Ata nondescript point thestreambedwascrossedanda short hikeledustoLa Joya deLosNogales.Herea depressionhasbeenfilledtoformalevel,grassysurface, perfect forcamping.Andfromhere, only7 minutes away,isEI Sotano. Hastily abandoning our packs,weclimbedthelowridge abovethe joya and suddenly foundourselvesontheedgeofa true precipice.Wecouldnot contain our excitement. Peoplewerecarefullyrunningfromonevantage point to another, exclaimingatthe voluminous, wonderful pitbutnotreally comprehending the immensity ... notatfirstanyway.Organizeanddroprockswasforemost.Thewatchwasready,therock wasready,andwhenthefirst13secfree-fall resounded previous excitement seemedminor. One hour lateritwas noon, a bright, sunnyday, temperature 570F,andthe burros still hadn't arrived.Wewere anxious togetonwiththeriggingbutalso grateful fortherest. Shortly, Ramondid appear with burros and equipment and activity resumed.Eachperson organizedpersonalgearandmadegeneral preparations. Thenthemainlines,stillintheduf felbags,werecarriedtothepitedge.Two points wouldberigged,whichwouldallowLogan andCraig Bittinger tomakeaninitial, simultaneous rappel.Onthe north wallanareapro trudesinwardprovidingtheonly practical rigging points around thewhole perimeter. Here workwasbegunclearing vegetation anddislodginglooserocks.Handlineswereriggedfor safety.Whenallwasready,ropepadsinplace,theloweringprocesswasbegun.Tothewest descendeda continuous lengthofIImmbraidednylon,whiletotheeastthreelengthsofBluewater,600ft,600ft,and300ftwererigged.Bythistimeitwas3:00p.m.andLogan andCraigwereeagertodescend. Asthey dropped overtheedge,everyonewaitedwith anticipation. For thefirst60fttheropeshungagainstthewallandwereon either sideofabuldge.Then,thedropbecame completely freewiththeropes mutually visibleand65ftapart.LoganrappelledI181ftand Craig1239ft.The difference wasdueto their landing points onthe bottom. Loganarrived attheverytop, western-most endofatalusslopewhileCraiglandedinatreedownslope.We werein contact viawalkie-talkie throughout mostoftherappel. Whathad appeared tobea smooth, evencoveringofvegetation fromabove turnedouttobearugged topographyofrocks,ferns,andtrees. From thelanding point atthefarwest ernendofthepit,the explorers sawa steeply dippingfloordescendingtoalinear trench and then climbingupagainto approximately thesamelevel,700ftaway.Thewidthwas350ft. Further exploration produced acaveonthe south wall that was150ftlong.Therewereno other leadsshowinganypromise. Theradiogaveusthedetailsandgoaheadformoreofthegrouptoenter. Frank, Roy, Stephen, Tom,andDonnadescendedand further checkedthe bottom but foundnocon tinuations. Asmostofthe bottom groupcarriedsleepingbags, they spent thenightonthe flatfloorofthe150ftcave.Meanwhile,backontop, John, David,Terry,Jan,Blake,and Craig Sainsott surveyed about 2/3ofthe north halfofthe entrance before dark.v.IIIno. 5111and Logan had been guidedtothe pit earlier and were now able to mark the way accurately for the stragglers. About 1000ftabove the ranch the trail angles toward the south butwestill couldnotsee the entranceorhad any idea whereitwaslocated. In fact, it would be hid den until the last moment. The Mexicans continually advised usasto the pit's proximity. The last stretch led up a linear valley carved by Arroyo del Ojo de Agua. At a nondescript point the stream bedwascrossed and a short hike led us toLaJoya de Los Nogales. Here a depression has been filled to form a level, grassy surface, perfect for camping. And from here, only 7 minutes away,isEISotano. Hastily abandoning our packs,weclimbed the low ridge above the joya and suddenly found ourselves on the edgeofa true precipice.Wecould not contain our excitement. People were carefully running from one vantage point to another, exclaiming at the voluminous, wonderful pitbutnot really comprehending the immensity ... not at first anyway. Organize and drop rockswasforemost. The watchwasready, the rock was ready, and when the first13sec free-fall resounded previous excitement seemed minor. One hour later itwasnoon, a bright, sunny day, temperature 570F, and the burros still hadn't arrived.Wewere anxious to get on with the riggingbutalso grateful for the rest. Shortly, Ramon did appear with burros and equipment and activity resumed. Each person organized personal gear and made general preparations. Then the main lines, still in the duffelbags, were carried to the pit edge. Two points would be rigged, which would allow Logan and Craig Bittinger to makeaninitial, simultaneous rappel. On the north wallan area pro trudes inward providing the only practical rigging points around the whole perimeter. Here workwasbegun clearing vegetation and dislodging loose rocks. Handlines were rigged for safety. Whenallwasready, rope pads in place, the lowering processwasbegun. To the west descended a continuous lengthofII mm braided nylon, while to the east three lengthsofBluewater, 600ft,600ft,and 300ftwere rigged.Bythis time itwas3 :00 p.m. and Logan and Craig were eager to descend.Asthey dropped over the edge, everyone waited with anticipation. For the first 60ftthe ropes hung against the wall and were on either sideofa buldge. Then, the drop became completely free with the ropes mutually visible and 65ftapart. Logan rappelled I181ftand Craig 1239ft.The differencewasdue to their landing points on the bottom. Logan arrived at the very top, western-most endofa talus slope while Craig landed in a tree downslope.Wewere in contact via walkie-talkie throughout mostofthe rappel. What had appeared to be a smooth, even coveringofvegetation from above turnedoutto be a rugged topographyofrocks, ferns, and trees. From the landing point at the far west ern endofthe pit, the explorers saw a steeply dipping floor descending to a linear trench and then climbing up again to approximately the same level, 700 ft away. The width was 350 ft. Further exploration produced a cave on the south wall thatwas150 ft long. There were no other leads showing any promise. The radiogaveus the details andgoahead for moreofthe group to enter. Frank, Roy, Stephen, Tom, and Donna descended and further checked the bottom but found no con tinuations.Asmostofthe bottom group carried sleeping bags, they spent the night on the flat floorofthe150ftcave. Meanwhile, back on top, John, David, Terry, Jan, Blake, and Craig Sainsott surveyed about 2/3ofthe north halfofthe entrance before dark.


112 29 January -Surveyofpit floor completed AMCSNews Veryearlyinthe morning all prusikedoutexcept LoganandCraigB.,who remained to surveythenorthedgeofthebottom.Thissurveywas completed asBlake reached bottom. Hewasthefirstto rappel inontheseconddayofexploration andwasfollowedby Peter, Terry,David,CraigS.,and John. Terry andDavid photographed thepitasthe others entered and upon John's arrivalsurveyingbegan. Proceeding eastalongthe south wall,onlyafew hours elapsed before closurewasmadeto Logan's andCraig'searliersurvey.With informa tion gathering activities completed, thecavers,whohadnotalready exited, didsoin turn. Whilethiswasgoingon,othermembers topside wereloweringa calibrated wiretore cordthe pit's depth. Readingswere taken attwo points, oneatthe eastern riggingandthe secondon farther totheeast.Resultswere1239ftand1345ft respectively. This latter point is located wherethelipisstillatthetopofasheerdropand immediately before it recedesfromthepit.Itishere that a plumb line intersects thetalusfloor furthest down slope.All other approaches tothepit, except theriggingarea,are characterized bydensely overgrownslopesofincreasing magnitude.Forthisreason,itis only practical torigthepit inthatonearea. 30 January -Surveyofentrance completed andhiketoEIBarro Onthe morningofthe30ththe only task remaining wasthe completionoftheent rancesurvey. Frank, Steve,Roy, Donna, andTomhadleftthepreviousdayfor Austin whichleft9caversatEI S6tano tofinishthislast partofthesurvey.Beginningatthelast station, the remaining 1/3ofthe north halfwas completed and triangulation stations estab lished.Itwas then possibletosurveytheheavilyovergrown south halfofthe entrance peri meter bysightingonpersons perched abovethepitatcloselyspacedintervals.Allwascom pleted by noon, camp broken, andthatafternoon everyone arrivedin Rancho ElBarro wherethenightwas spent againinthe school house. 31 January -Hiketo Ayutla At9:00a.m.hikingbegan;downtoRiodela Atrejea, uptoCerrodelaTinaja,anddown to Ayutla, witharrivalat4:40p.m.A quick return to Austin wasmade.PitStatistics Toreachthe entrance from Ayutla would require anearly continuous hikeof9hours, assumingapackof20-30 pounds wascarried.Thishikewouldinvolvechangesin elevation totaling 9021ft. Elevations measured by altimeter: Ayutla 2699 ft Trailpass 5859ftRiodela Atrejea 3311ft Upper edgeofEI S6tano 6624 ft The entrance perimeter measures700ftby1400ft,whilethepitfloor measures300ftby700ft.Thelongestdropis1345ft.Nootherpitintheworldis presently known tobe deeper.112 29 January Surveyofpit floor completedAMCSNews Very early in the morning all prusikedoutexcept Logan and CraigB.,who remained to surveythenorthedgeofthebottom.This surveywascompletedasBlake reached bottom.Hewasthe first to rappel in on the second dayofexploration and was followed by Peter, Terry, David, Craig S., and John. Terry and David photographed the pitasthe others entered and upon John's arrival surveying began. Proceeding east along the south wall, only a few hours elapsed before closurewasmade to Logan's and Craig's earlier survey. With informa tion gathering activities completed, the cavers, who hadnotalready exited, did so in turn.Whilethis was going on,othermembers topside were lowering a calibrated wiretore cord the pit's depth. Readings were taken at two points, one at the eastern rigging and the second on farthertothe east. Results were 1239 ft and 1345 ft respectively. This latter pointislocated where the lipisstill at thetopofa sheer drop and immediately before it recedes from the pit.Itishere that a plumb line intersects the talus floor furthest down slope. All other approachestothe pit, except the rigging area, are characterized by densely overgrown slopesofincreasing magnitude.Forthis reason, itisonly practical to rig the pit inthatone area. 30 January Surveyofentrance completed and hike toEIBarro On the morningofthe30ththe only task remaining was the completionofthe ent rance survey. Frank, Steve, Roy, Donna, and Tom had left the previous day for Austin which left 9 cavers atEIS6tanotofinish this last partofthe survey. Beginning atthelast station, the remaining 1/3ofthe north halfwascompleted and triangulation stations estab lished.Itwas then possibletosurvey the heavily overgrown south halfofthe entrance peri meter by sightingonpersons perched above the pit at closely spaced intervals. All was com pleted by noon, camp broken, andthatafternoon everyone arrived in RanchoElBarro where the night was spent again in the school house.31January Hike to Ayutla At9:00a.m. hiking began; downtoRiodelaAtrejea, up to Cerro delaTinaja, and down to Ayutla, with arrival at4:40p.m. A quick return to Austin was made.PitStatistics To reach the entrance from Ayutla would require a nearly continuous hikeof9 hours, assuming a packof20-30 pounds was carried. This hike would involve changes in elevation totaling 9021 ft. Elevations measured by altimeter: Ayutla 2699 ft Trail pass 5859 ftRiode la Atrejea 3311 ft Upper edgeofEIS6tano 6624 ft The entrance perimeter measures 700 ft by 1400 ft, while the pit floor measures300ftby 700 ft. The longest dropis1345 ft. Nootherpit in the worldispresently known to be deeper.


v.IIIno.5ALETTERFROMRICKRIGG113Just finishedreadingthe excellent Carrizal accident report inthelastAMCS newsletter, andthesuggestionsanddiscussionattheendgotme thinking about caverescue for thefirst timeinawhile. That accident had almost allthe elements onecouldimaginefora stateside rescue,plusthe additional complicationsofan international border. Iwas particularly im pressedbythe relatively small portion ofthe total hassle that wascausedbythe border prob lem.I'dliketo debate someofthe conclusions that weredrawnfromthe incident, however.I'mwillingto concedethataccidents are probably inevitable, especiallyinMexico,andthatthenumber willincreaseasmoreandmorecaversoflessandless competence gothere. The situation probably isthesamehereintheU.S.ButI'mstillnotconvincedaboutthe practicality of outside rescue. Consider: I. There aren't goingtobe enough rescue situations tokeepa "special Mexicancave rescue team" together and operating, unless they go into the practice rescuebusi nessfulltimelike typicalotherU.S.rescue organizations. Eventhe mountain res cue people, whogetalotmorebusiness,spendmostoftheir time practicing and havingmeetings just to maintain the "critical mass"ofpopulation and interest. 2.Thereis almost never enough timetobringin outside helpforsavingalifeifan injury isinvolved. Certainlynotenough timeinadiving situation. Eventheabove accidenttookmore than 24 hours toget outside help,anditwasonly about 120 milesfromtherescuegroup. Injured peopledon'tsurviveinacave environmentthatlong exceptunderveryspecial circumstances. Rescuershavemore time if they're just looking forlost people,butmaybewedon'tneedtoworryaboutthat. 3.The only people whoarewillingto take thetimetosetupandorganize,oreven findoutabout arescue organization arethosewhoareleastlikelytoneed outside helpintheeventofan emergency. TheCarrizal incident with competent cavers around whenan incompetent groupgot into trouble, wasthe exception rather than therule. 4. Setting upand maintaining arescuegroupisalotofhassleand bother, and requires thefull-time effortsofalotofpeople.Who'sgoingtodoit? 5.Isit worth it? Theaboveisallnegative,andmay appear toleadtothe conclusion inthe accident report; i.e.,makeupalistofpeople whomightbeabletohelpandcarryitwithyou. That approach hasalotgoingforit,butIdon'tthink it's theanswer.positivel.It's simple. Everybody fillsina questionaire and somebody compilesthe results and publishesitinthe Newsletter. Amore complex systemtakesmoretimetosetup and operate, andmayhavelower reliability. 2.Itputs the people atthesitein direct contact withcaverswhocanhelpout(ifit works).negativeI.Howdoyoudecide who's qualified tobeonthelist?The number of people who couldad-libarescue organization aswellas Kunath didis probablyprettysmall. You're lookingforanawfullotofattributes (verticalcaver,diver,rescuer,orga nizer)inoneperson.v.IIIno. 5ALETTERFROMRICKRIGG113Just finished reading the excellent Carrizal accident report in the lastAMCSnewsletter, and the suggestions and discussion at the end got me thinking about cave rescue for the first time in a while. That accident had almost all the elements one could imagine for a stateside rescue, plus the additional complicationsofan international border. Iwasparticularly im pressed by the relatively small portionofthe total hassle that was caused by the border prob lem.I'dlike to debate someofthe conclusions that were drawn from the incident, however.I'mwilling to concedethataccidents are probably inevitable, especially in Mexico, andthatthenumber will increaseasmore and more caversofless and less competencegothere. The situation probablyisthe same here intheU.S. ButI'mstillnotconvincedaboutthe practicalityofoutside rescue. Consider: I. There aren't goingtobe enough rescue situationstokeep a "special Mexican cave rescue team" together and operating, unless theygointo the practice rescue busi ness full time like typicalotherU.S. rescue organizations. Even the mountain res cue people, who get a lot more business, spend mostoftheir time practicing and having meetings just to maintain the "critical mass"ofpopulation and interest.2.Thereisalmost never enough time to bring in outside help for saving a lifeifan injuryisinvolved. Certainlynotenough time in a diving situation. Even the above accidenttookmore than 24 hours to get outside help, and it was only about 120 miles from the rescue group. Injured peopledon'tsurvive in a cave environmentthatlong exceptundervery special circumstances. Rescuers have more timeifthey're just looking for lost people,butmaybewedon'tneed to worryaboutthat. 3. The only people who are willingtotake the time to setupand organize,oreven findoutabout a rescue organization are those who are least likely to need outside help in the eventofan emergency. The Carrizal incident with competent cavers around when an incompetent group got into trouble,wasthe exception rather than the rule.4.Settingupand maintaining a rescue groupisa lotofhassle and bother, and requires the full-time effortsofa lotofpeople. Who's goingtodo it?5.Is it worth it? The aboveisall negative, and may appeartolead to the conclusion in the accident report; i.e., make up a listofpeople who might be able to help and carry it with you. That approach has a lot going for it,butIdon'tthink it's the answer.positivel.It's simple. Everybody fills in a questionaire and somebody compiles the results and publishesitin the Newsletter. A more complex system takes more time to setupand operate, and may have lower reliability.2.Itputs the people at the site in direct contact with cavers who can helpout(if it works).negativeI. How do you decide who's qualified to be on the list? The numberofpeople who could ad-lib a rescue organizationaswellasKunath didisprobablyprettysmall. You're looking for an awful lotofattributes (vertical caver, diver, rescuer, orga nizer) in one person.


114AMCSNews 2.This accident shows that you can't getin touch withmostindividualcaversonabig weekend,whenthe accident probability ishighest. 3.ItrequiresalotofcallstobemadeoutofMexico.I'venevertried,soIdon'tknow howharditis. 4. Somebody hastokeepthelist updated and republished, andthepeopleonthelist havetoberesponsibleenoughtokeepsendinginchangesofaddressand phone numbers.Goodluck! 5.Withoutbeing "official," you'll neverget government cooperation (MexicoorU.S.). 6.Mostpeople aren't readytoleaveonarescueevenif they arehome. Conclusion:Maybeit'sthethingtodoforthetimebeing, but Idon'tthink it's agoodlong term solution. Whatisagoodlong-term solution? It's awful difficult tomovepeopleand equipment around ina hurry (especiallyacross borders) unless there issomesortof "official" sanction. Thiscanonly dependably besecuredforan "official" groupwithallthehassleand effort andtime that that implies.Idon'tseeanyway around havingsuchagroupinareasonable long-term solution.advantages1. "Officialness" 2. Twenty-four hour phone,especiallyifitisassociatedwitha sheriff's officesome where,asmostwesternrescuegroupsare. 3.Personnel experienced atworking together.disadvantages1.Maynothaveanycaving competence, unless it's a bunchofcaversto start with. Mostrescuegroupshavesomevertical competence. 2.Maynotbereliable. 3.Maynothaveanyreal interest incavework. Whereissuchagroupgoingtocomefrom?Maybeanexistinggroup,liketheLaredorescue groupiftheyhaveany interest. Maybe it's timetogettheNSSrescue operations moreorga nized,andthenuse that. Maybe Christensen inMissouriorJim Storey in Atlanta. Idon'tthink theAMCSoranysmallcavingareacouldkeepareasonablegroupgoing; historically lotshave startedbutfewsurvived.The important thing isn't somuchwhichgroupasa group that hasbecome committed totheideaofrescuingpeopleinMexicancaves.There maybeevensomeMexicanrescuegroup that couldbeused, though Ifindit difficult to believe that onecould operateinterstate downthere.KenLaidlawhasbeeninthe "official" rescuescenefor quite awhileandmayhavesomeideas.SuggestionsIfyougowiththe "list" approach, youmight separate the "organizer" and "rescuer" function. Printalistofnice, competent, stable, stay-at-home caverswhoknowMexicoand couldorganizearescueiftheyhadto(oralonglistofsuchcaverswho normallydon'tstay home),andthengivethemthenecessary information togetthe particular technical exper tiserequired. There's probably enoughvertical competence inTexastokeepthecalllist "local," but youmighthavetogo further fordivers.I recently put outa'Caver Informa tionSeries'blurboncavediving,andDaveJagnowsuggestedinreviewingit that weput114AMCSNews2.This accident shows that you can't get in touch with most individual cavers on a big weekend, when the accident probabilityishighest.3.Itrequires a lotofcalls to be madeoutofMexico. I've never tried,soIdon'tknow how hard itis.4.Somebody has to keep the list updated and republished, and the people on the list have to be responsible enough to keep sending in changesofaddress and phone numbers. Good luck!5.Without being "official," you'll never get government cooperation (MexicoorU.S.).6.Most people aren't ready to leave on a rescue evenifthey are home. Conclusion: Maybe it's the thing to do for the time being, but Idon'tthink it's a good long term solution. Whatisa good long-term solution? It's awful difficult to move people and equipment around in a hurry (especially across borders) unless thereissome sortof"official" sanction. This can only dependably be secured foran"official" group with all the hassle and effort and time that that implies. Idon'tsee any way around having such a group in a reasonable long-term solution.advantages1."Officialness"2.Twenty-four hour phone, especially if itisassociated with a sheriff's office some where,asmost western rescue groups are.3.Personnel experienced at working together.disadvantages1.Maynot have any caving competence, unless it's a bunchofcavers to start with. Most rescue groups have some vertical competence.2.Maynot be reliable.3.Maynot have any real interest in cave work. Whereissuch a group going to come from? Maybe an existing group, like the Laredo rescue group if they have any interest. Maybe it's time to get theNSSrescue operations more orga nized, and then use that. Maybe Christensen in Missouri or Jim Storey in Atlanta. Idon'tthink theAMCSorany small caving area could keep a reasonable group going; historically lots have startedbutfew survived. The important thing isn'tsomuch which groupasa group that has become committed to the ideaofrescuing people in Mexican caves. There may be even some Mexican rescue group that could be used, though I find it difficult to believe that one could operateinterstate down there. Ken Laidlaw has been in the "official" rescue scene for quite a while and may have some ideas.SuggestionsIfyougowith the "list" approach, you might separate the "organizer" and "rescuer" function. Print a listofnice, competent, stable, stay-at-home cavers who know Mexico and could organize a rescueifthey had to (or a long listofsuch cavers who normallydon'tstay home), and thengivethem the necessary information to get the particular technical exper tise required. There's probably enough vertical competence in Texas to keep the call list "local," but you might have togofurther for divers. I recently put out a 'Caver Informa tion Series' blurb on cave diving, and Dave Jagnow suggested in reviewing it thatweput


v.IIIno.5 115 divers phone numbers inforrescuepurposes.I didn't,butmaybeIshouldhave.Thenearest diversIcan thinkofareJagnowin Albuquerque, NewMexico,andtheHondo group (Chris tensen)inMissouri, but theremustbesomeinTexas.Going further afield there's Jim Story andgroupin Atlanta, orJackHessandmyselfinwesternPennsylvania,orKenLaidlawin Berkeley.Ireally think youneedtogetsomesortofofficialgroupinvolvedtomakeitwork. Wouldliketohearif anything developsoutofallthis.Following the accident atCarrizal,many concerned caversmetinTexastodiscusstheeventandtofor mulate future rescueplans.Belowaretheresults.CAVERESCUE PROCEDUREWhenitisnecessaryforacaverescue,dothefollowing:1.Makea collect calltotheCaveRescue number inWaco,Texas.This number is817 772-0110 andisthe phone numberofAir-Page AnsweringService.The operator will answerthe phone by stating the number 772-0110. 2.Tellthe operator that youneedacaverescue.Shewillacceptthecollectcall. 3.Giveher yournameandphone number.Shewill then calltherescue co-ordinators andhavethem contact you.Staybythephone until youreceivethecall. 4.Inthecaseofavery "light" rescueyoumaycallthe operator tofindoutthenamesofthe co-ordinators onthecalldownlist.Pleasedothisat your ownexpense,unless itis absolutely necessarytodootherwise. Air-Page AnsweringServicewillprovide uswithano-charge number until itisused.ThentheTSAwillbechargedforthe collectcallsplus $10.00 servicecharge.So let'snotusetheserviceunlessitisabso lutely neccessary.v.III no. 5 115 divers phone numbers in for rescue purposes. I didn't,butmaybe I should have. The nearest divers I can thinkofare Jagnow in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Hondo group (Chris tensen) in Missouri, but there must be some in Texas.Going further afield there's Jim Story and group in Atlanta,orJackHessand myself in western Pennsylvania, or Ken Laidlaw in Berkeley. I really think you need to get some sortofofficial group involved to make it work. Would like to hearifanything developsoutofall this.Following the accidentatCarrizal, many concerned cavers met in Texastodiscusstheevent andtofor mulate future rescue plans. Below are the results.CAVE RESCUE PROCEDUREWhenitisnecessary for a cave rescue, do the following:1.Make a collect call to theCaveRescue number in Waco, Texas. This numberis817 772-0110 andisthe phone numberofAir-Page Answering Service. The operator will answer the phone by stating the number 772-0110.2.Tell the operator that you need a cave rescue. She will accept the collect call.3.Giveher yournameandphone number.She will then call the rescue co-ordinators and have them contact you. Stay by the phone until you receive the call.4.In the caseofa very "light" rescue you may call the operatortofindoutthe namesofthe co-ordinators on the call down list. Please do thisatyour own expense, unlessitisabsolutely necessary to do otherwise. Air-Page Answering Service will provide us with a no-charge number until itisused. Then the TSA will be charged for the collect calls plus $10.00 service charge. So let'snotuse the service unless itisabso lutely neccessary.


WARNINGTONAMEDROPPERS OnceIwastalkingwithaMexican anthropologist friendofminewhotoldme about thisexperienceinthehighlandsofChiapas: "OnetimewhenIwaswalkingalongatrailwithanIndianwepassedalargecaveon thesideofthetrail.I stopped andlooked into the mouth andthenaskedthe Indian whatthenameof the cavewas. "The Indian just shruggedandlooked impatient, soIforgot about thewholething and continued downthetrail. "About a kilometer downthetrailtheIndianaskedmeifIstillwantedtoknowthe nameofthecave.IsaidIdidandtheIndiangavemethenamewhichwasinthelocal Mayanlanguage.ThenIaskedhimwhyhe hadn't toldmethenamewhenwewereat the entrance. Thenhereplied that thecavewasnamedfor the spiritwhichlivedinit and that thespiritwouldgetmadifyouspokeitsnamewithinhearingrangeofthe cave.Sohewaited until hewaswelloutofthe spirit's hearingrangetoavoidtheconse quencesofgettingthespirit mad." FelipeWARNING TONAMEDROPPERS Once Iwastalking with a Mexican anthropologist friendofmine who told me about this experience in the highlandsofChiapas: "One time when Iwaswalking along a trail with an Indianwepassed a large cave on the sideofthe trail. I stopped and looked into the mouth and then asked the Indian what the nameofthecavewas."The Indian just shrugged and looked impatient,soI forgot about the whole thing and continued down the trail. "About a kilometer down the trail the Indian askedmeif I still wanted to know the nameofthe cave. I said I did and the Indiangaveme the name whichwasin the local Mayan language. Then I asked him why he hadn't told me the name whenwewere at the entrance. Then he replied that the cavewasnamed for the spirit which lived in it and that the spirit would get madifyou spoke its name within hearing rangeofthecave.Sohe waited until hewaswelloutofthe spirit's hearing rangetoavoid the conse quencesofgetting the spirit mad." Felipe

Contents: News and
Notes --
Conservation --
Part 1. Trip Reports --
Ahuacatlan, Qro. --
Ocampo, Tamps. --
Sotano del Anticlino, N.L. --
Sierra de Guatemala, Tamps. --
El Barretal, Tamps. --
Lote La Grota, N.L. --
Ayutla, Qro. --
Part 2. Articles --
Exploration of EI Sotano --
Letter From Rick Rig --
Cave Rescue Procedure.