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I N T E R C O M Volume 46, Issue 1 January February 2010 Iowa Grotto P.O. Box 228 Iowa City, IA 52244 Grotto Website: Coldwater Cave Project website: Membership Dues : due January 1, $15.00 per year, includes INTERCOM and Hot-Line subscriptions. INTERCOM subscriptions only are $13.00 per year. The Iowa Grotto reserves the right to decline membership during or after a probationary period. Due Dates : for submission of material for publication in the INTERCOM are March 1st and May 1st. Send material for publication, e-mail, disk or hard copy to: Editor and Typist: Scott Dankof 515-986-3219 410 Hickory Circle Grimes IA. 50111 E-mail Coordinate photographs for publication in the INTERCOM with Scott Dankof, the INTERCOM editor. Cave Rescue : Contact the Kentucky Disaster and Emergency Services Central Dispatch at 502-564-7815 for cave emergencies only in the NCRC Central Region of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Iowa Grotto Meetings : are the fourth Wednesday of each month, third Wednesday in December at 7:30 p.m. in Room 125 or thereabouts of Trowbridge Hall on the campus of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. IOWA GROTTO National Speleological Society P. O. Box 228 Iowa City, Iowa 52244 Chairman Mike Lace Vice Chairman Ed Klausner Secretary Treasurer Phil LaRue Volume 46 Issue 1 C O N T E N T S _____________ Trip reports: Meeting Minutes 4 Little Bear Cave 5 Unnamed Spring Cave 6 GlenÂ’s Cave 6 New YearÂ’s Caving 6 Mystery Cave 7 Mammoth Cave Expedition 9 Cover Photo: Nicole Bull climbing out of Pohl Ave, Mammoth Cave KY. Photo by Dawn Ryan. ___________C A L E N D A R___________May 2nd Sunday. Vertical rescue training session. Contact Doug Schmuecker. 319642-7676 May 26th 7:30 pm Iowa Grotto Meeting. June 5th, 6th. Beginner's Vertical training session. Contact Doug Schmuecker. 319-642-7676 June 23rd 7:30 pm Iowa Grotto Meeting. July 28th 7:30 pm. Iowa Grotto Meeting. August 7th, 8th. Iowa Grotto Annual Picnic 2010 will be held at Dutton's Cave County Park, Fayette County, IA. More details soon. Cave survey workshop (late summer). More details coming soon. Slide shows scheduled for summer Grotto meetings freaturing recent expeditions to the Caribbean.3


Please welcome new Iowa Grotto member: Teresa Kurtz. Special Notice: Copies of the latest volume of the The Iowa Cave Map Book (vol. V) are now available for $23. Please contact any Grotto officer or mail a request to: Iowa Grotto, Box 228, Iowa City, IA 52244. Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting January 27, 2010 The regular meeting of the Iowa Grotto was called to order by Chairman Mike Lace, at 7:55 P.M., after a slide presentation by Mike Lace on the 2009 expedition to Barbados. There were 11 members and 4 guests present. Minutes from the November, 2009 meeting, were read, and approved. There was no TreasurerÂ’s Report. TRIP REPORTS: Ed Klausner reported on a trip to Mystery Cave with Elizabeth Miller, John Donahue, and Teresa Kurtz, where they spent a day surveying in the Carousels and took a short trip to the Straddle Gallery so Teresa could get some experience in negotiating the passage. Ed then reported on a trip to Mammoth Cave over New Years. He, Elizabeth and 5 others took a trip to Ralph Stone Hall and Turner Avenue in Unknown Cave (a section of Mammoth) to have several people learn the route. He then reported on a trip in the Historic section where a bit over 600 feet of new survey was done. John Donahue reported on his trip to Ralph Stone Hall, led by Steve Ormeroid who learned the route the day before in the above mentioned trip. Ed then reported on a trip the following day to Belfry Avenue with John Donahue and several others to survey several hundred feet of virgin cave. Mike Lace reported on his trip to Barbados and a 2 week trip to Puerto Rico with Pat Kambesis, John Lovaas and Dawn Ryan (plus others) where they surveyed caves and karst features on the main island, Vieques, and Cueva Zumbo in the Rio Encantado system. They had a break through in Cueva Zumbo and found an additional kilometer of cave (and itÂ’s still going.) FUTURE TRIPS: Mystery Cave, MN survey trip January 30th and Goliath January 31st. Contact Ed K. for details. Several short lead checking and survey trips are going out. Contact Ed K. or Mike L. for details. Doug Schmuecker will be holding a cave rescue session in the spring. There will also be a surveying workshop in the spring or summer. See the Intercom and N.S.S. News for additional trips and events. The annual picnic will be the first weekend in August. The CRF annual meeting and expedition will be in Missouri starting on October 23rd and will last a week. OLD BUSINESS: The current slate of officers was retained for an additional year since there were no other nominations. NEW BUSINESS: Volume 5 of the cave map book will be out soon. There was a discussion on recent news concerning White Nose Syndrome and a discussion on the caving accident in Utah that resulted in a death. The next meeting will be February 24th where Joe Dixon will talk about his small caves research project. Maria Perez will have a slide presentation at the March meeting and Mike Lace will have a slide presentation at the April meeting on his recent trip to Puerto Rico. With no additional business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:22 p.m. 4 Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting February 24, 2010 The regular meeting of the Iowa Grotto was called to order by Vice-Chairman Ed Klausner, at 8:17 p.m., after a power point presentation by Joe Dixon on the evaluation of data collected from the on-going Iowa bat surveys. Specifically, Joe evaluated this data for the types and sizes of caves selected for hibernation by the four regular species of bat in Iowa. There were 6 members and 1 guest present. Minutes from the January 27, 2010 meeting, were read and approved. TREASURERÂ’S REPORT: General Fund: $1929.45; Coldwater Fund: $111.83; Petty Cash: $87.60. TRIP REPORTS: Ed Klausner reported on the trip to Mystery Cave with Elizabeth Miller, John


Donahue, Teresa Kurtz, John Lovaas, Dawn Ryan and several others for survey work and training. Teresa Kurtz then reported on a survey trip to Goliath Cave with John Donahue, Dawn Ryan, et ali. Ed K. then reported on the trip to Star Valley Cave, Ws, for a invertebrate survey with Chris Beck, Elizabeth M., John L., Dawn R., et ali. He then reported on his trip to Mammoth Cave, Ky. Phil LaRue reported on his trip to Werden’s Cave, Jackson Co., for a December bat count. FUTURE TRIPS: Mystery Cave, MN. Contact Warren Netherton for details. There will be a cave clean up trip to Indian Bluff Cave, Jones Co., at a date to be arranged. Contact Ed K. for details as this work will be coordinated with members of Camp Courageous. See the Intercom and N.S.S. News for additional trips and events. The annual picnic will be the first weekend in August. No location has yet been selected. OLD BUSINESS: Volume V of the Iowa Grotto Map Book has been completed. Ed K. reported that white nose syndrome has been found in Tennessee. Restrictions to control the spread of this disease are now in place in the states of Arkansas and Missouri. Ed reviewed the decontamination process for cave gear. NEW BUSINESS: It is with regret that the Iowa Grotto writes of the loss of long time Grotto and N.S.S. member Greg McCarty, Fayette, IA, while lead checking in northeast Iowa on February 6, 2010. Greg is survived by this wife and Grotto member, Deb McCarty, two sisters, and his dogs, K.C. and Mira. Four Grotto members attended the visitation on February 13th. With no additional business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:50 p.m. 5 Little Bear Cave Newton Co. Ar. 11-23-09. By Mike Nelson Will and Eve Feltman, Katy Jeffry, Missy Beachy, Dave “Herman” Zook and myself. Little Bear is 3 1/2 miles of cave centered around a huge collapsed sinkhole. It has been pushed to within mere feet of a full circle, but, alas... Will was quite familiar with the general layout, but once one sees the cave one realizes why one’s memory might need constantly refreshed. One wall of the passage was solid rock, the other collapse material. One had to wend their way up and down the collapse to progress along the solid wall. Rooms and passages extended out from the solid side, some of which we perused. Voids and crawlways in the breakdown sometimes needed negotiated to progress. It didn’t matter how much one looked over their shoulder entering, upon our return the question “do we go high or low here?” was constantly on our lips. Now this is a very interesting cave, as you may have guessed. However the really interesting part for me was that Missy, Katy and Herman were Mennonites. This was the first time I had ever caved with ladies in dresses. They had blue jeans on beneath them, but it was so amazing to watch what they did and how they did it so impeded. And being Mennonite had nothing to do with any kind of restraint that I could see. Katy must have seen more of the cave than all the rest of us put together, so great was her enthusiasm. We had a pleasant trip, with numerous deviations, to “the Rain Tree”. I would be surprised if your illustrious editor hasn’t previously treated you to a photo of this feature. Despite the grief I gave Will to the contrary, it was well worth the complete soaking required of my heretofore dry feet to see it. As alluded to earlier, the return trip was as eventful as that coming in. Refinding our way was a bit disconcerting though never frightful. Will did need some assistance with some of the tight stuff on the way out. (Give him a break, the age of 70 will sneak up on you too if you’re lucky. What will you be doing for fun then?) And he did request that I re-lock the gate as we left. Imagine squeezing into a shorten telephone booth laying on its side and reaching through a hole to hook the lock through a hasp that has a barrier plate between it and the hole. The first thing that the Mennonite ladies did upon exit? They pinned their little “doilies” back into their hair!


Unnamed Spring Cave Newton Co. Ar. 11-14-09 Sage Wood and myself. By Mike Nelson I came upon this lovely little spring fed waterfall cave quite by accident. I had done some work for a lady that lived on one of the many roads like it here in the Boston Mountains that just drop off the main road and go nowhere in particular. I pushed the roadÂ’s limits until running into discouraging signs, seeing the spring only on the return trip. I sized up the fact that it was enterable before going to the effort to locate a landowner or recruit assistance. With permission granted, my young friend Sage and I went for a looksee. This was SageÂ’s first ever cave trip. The fact that she followed me for several hundred feet attired in her outdoor clothing with a shorty wetsuit pulled over them was reminiscent of my 45 minute trip into DuttonÂ’s Cave, sans wet-suit, in my early caving days (5-1185). She was off to somewhat of a hardcore start. Though there were several places to sit up and generally enough width to turn around, most of what we saw that day was flat out crawl in water. What we did see, however, was encouraging enough for us to bag it just then with plans to come back better prepared. 6 GlenÂ’s Cave Low Gap, Newton Co. Ar. By Mike Nelson 1-16-10. Glen Kilgore, Sage Wood, Mariah Davis and myself. GlenÂ’s cave didnÂ’t have a name before he found it, but it did have a history. It was said to have had three entrances before a local teacher took her students there on a field trip. When the parents heard of this, it no longer had any. The land owner had been shown by an old-timer where one of those entrances had been. Even with known cave at hand, it did not look like a promising dig. I checked out the hillside at that level back towards my car until I ran out of hillside, with no more likelier spots found. Sometime later, the landowner told me that her grandson, Glen, had found the cave. It was wide open and accessible. It was named after him and he was put in charge of showing it. As my friend, Sage, wanted to cave more, the next time I ran into Glen, I set up an appointment. SageÂ’s friend, Mariah, who had been in a few of the local caves, asked to join us. YouÂ’ll never appreciate my surprise when Glen led us to the cave and it was just barely over the edge of the hillside. It was much higher on the slope than what the old-timer had indicated to GlenÂ’s grandmother. I had to have walked right beneath it on my previous excursion. There just wasnÂ’t much rock covering it. There was several hundred feet of what struck me as odd sort of cave. It would go joint aligned here, bedding plane there, the floor would drop out of tight passage into roomy holes. The entire pointy ridge that the cave was in seemed to be Swiss Cheese. Sites that appeared to be the other two likely entrances were observed. Some old names were found scratched on the rock. This nice little cave would make for an involved survey and a very pretty plot drawn map, I believe. And there are three young volunteers here who would love to be trained in such practices. New YearÂ’s Caving Mammoth Cave, Kentucky By Ed Klausner Dec. 31, 2009 to Jan. 2, 2010 Elizabeth Miller volunteered to be the camp manager for the CRF New YearÂ’s expedition at Mammoth Cave. That means she could not go caving during the expedition. We made plans with Chares Fox (expedition leader), Steve and Judy Ormeroid, Joyce Hoffmaster and Dan Greger to go a day early and go caving so Elizabeth and Charles would get some cave time. Our original plans were to go in the Austin Entrance of the Unknown Cave section of Mammoth and go to Eyeless Fish Trail. Unfortunately, this passage was flooded so we had to change plans.


7 There was a survey group that was going to be camping in Turner Avenue and there were some objectives at Ralph Stone Hall. Charles knew how to get to these locations, but since he was expedition leader, he couldnÂ’t lead the trips. This early day gave him a chance to teach the rest of us the route which turned out to be relatively easy. I had always heard about the Brucker Breakdown, Pohl Avenue, and Turner Avenue, now I finally got to see them. For the first official day of caving, Rick Olson, Jackie Wheet and I surveyed a bit over 600Â’ of passage in the Historic Section. There is still a bit left to do in this passage. The last day of caving was problematic. I really wanted to return to Belfry Avenue to survey a passage I had found the previous October. ItÂ’s a long trip getting there (5 miles each direction), but I really didnÂ’t want to stay out until 3 AM, get back and have to do a trip report, scan the notes and then leave the following morning for the long drive back to Iowa with little sleep. I could have chosen a different objective, but I really wanted to see where that passage in Belfry went, so I took an unusually large group to Belfry for a limited survey trip. There was a shortage of sketchers in camp but lots of other people who wanted to survey. I wound up taking 9 people where we could split into two survey parties with Judy Ormeroid also sketching. This trip would have the added advantage of teaching the Ormeroids the route and helping Aly Signorelli with sketching (she did cross sections). Getting to Belfry is interesting as you wind up close to the entrance where we started, just 70 feet lower. To get there, you enter the Carmichael Entrance, travel east along Cleaveland Avenue to El Ghor. At El Ghor you travel west for a long way until it becomes Silliman Avneue. At Cascade Hall, you again reverse direction traveling east along Stevenson. Part of Stevenson is below Cleaveland Avenue. When Stevenson turns south, you follow Opossum east until the junction with Belfry. Left at Belfry gets you to the area weÂ’ve been both resurveying and finding virgin passage. Judy opted for the more complicated resurvey of Belfry since she wanted more experience with this type of passage. No problem for me as I really donÂ’t mind surveying virgin passage. Karen Willmes took lead tape and John Donahue read instrument while I sketched and Aly did cross sections. Unfortunately, we only had time for about 300 feet of survey. We left the passage as it was getting bigger (3 x 3 with blowing air.) I am very interested in getting back and seeing where the passage goes. The line plot showed that it veered off from Belfry above and was heading in the opposite direction. Mystery Cave Mystery Cave, Minnesota January 30th, 2010 By Ed Klausner Chris Bashor, Jeff Brandon, John Donahue, Amy Funk, Ed Klausner, Teresa Kurtz, Heather Levy, John Lovaas, Liz Lutmer, Elizabeth Miller, Warren Netherton, Jasen Rogers, Dawn Ryan, Mark White, and Heather Williams There were an unusually large number of cavers who signed up for a Mystery Cave survey for the last weekend in January. Three of them were new cavers with no surveying experience. I volunteered to train the new people and then take a break from surveying and take them to Mystery Pool Passage. Although easy for an experienced caver, this passage is a good introduction to the types of passage they would be likely to find at Mystery. Warren thought this was a good idea and further suggested that we go along 4th Avenue as well to pass the small pit in the floor for additional caving instruction. Since there were 15 people in 5 teams, I only had two of the new cavers. Jasen went with Dawn and Chris to the Torture Chamber while I took Liz and Heather (Williams) to the Carousels. John (Lovaas) took Elizabeth and Teresa to the far end of the Carousels and worked back to us. John (Donahue), Heather (Levy) and Mark went to Wood Cock Avenue to make a dent in the 500 feet of unsurveyed cave reported to be north of


the survey we had previously done in the area. Finally, Warren, Amy and Jeff went past Garden of the Gods to survey in this delicate area. Surveying is slow going when youÂ’re learning the basics and having to read a compass and clino in awkward positions. Elizabeth took a few minutes to give Heather and Liz the basics in the main passage before she headed off to join John and Teresa. We started by making a small loop up a slope and then down a side passage back to the main passage. Reading instrument on the steep slope was a challenge, but the loop closed very well. We made plans to meet at 4 and start a tour of Mystery Pool Passage. Besides the three new people, Elizabeth and Teresa joined us to help the others. The pit on 4th avenue was interesting for them as none of them had ever done anything like that before. They all did well both here and along Mystery Pool Passage. Besides the challenge of the passage, they also got to see numerous formations. We regrouped and surveyed for several more hours before heading out. Mark, Heather (Levy) and John (Donahue) were near the entrance when we got back to this area to change. This was a surprise as I thought theyÂ’d be rather late. What may be fortunate is that they found no passage where we expected to find 500 feet. This may mean that the early trip report that Jeff found was describing a different location along West of Sand Camp and we havenÂ’t gotten there yet. If thatÂ’s true, we have not only the 500 feet north of West Of Sand Camp, but 500 feet south as well. It also means that Wood Cock Avenue (the 500 feet south) was truly new passage. John Lovaas found some pool fingers while surveying. These are not at all common and many of us photographed them. There are all sorts of gems that you find when youÂ’re doing a careful, detailed sketch. Pool Fingers in Mystery Cave, MN. Photo by Ed Klausner.8


9 Mammoth Cave Expedition February 12-15, 2010 By Dawn Ryan Amy Crews, Tammy Otten, Joe Sikorski, Matt Keller, Nicole Bull, Jeremy Reedy and Dawn Ryan John and I met up with Jack Wood in Chicago, where we all piled into the car and made the drive down to Mammoth Cave National Park for the CRF expedition. The eight hour drive didn’t seem to take so long as I sat in the back seat and studied most of the way. We arrived at Hamilton Valley about 10:00 p.m. The place was full with cavers and loud. It was nice to see many familiar faces. John and I sat and talked and enjoyed some beer with others. Of course, the conversation turned to WNS and all the issues involved. But eventually it became late and off to bed. Breakfast was at 7:00 a.m. and conversations turned to upcoming trips. Spike Crews, the expedition leader, came up to me and asked if I was up for a 24 hour trip that would be wet and with new members. I thought that would be great and agreed right away. Spike wanted to send his wife Amy out to Candlelight River. But she had only been out there twice and for those two times she was following Spike and not leading. There would probably be some route finding involved. After breakfast the new members attended the safety meeting, this is mandatory for all new members. Then I took them out to the compass course to test clinometers and compasses and to see how they felt about using instruments. They all did great. By 10:00 a.m. we were on the road to the cave. We drove down the old road passing two old buildings; one was the ticket office to Floyd Collins Crystal Cave and the other was Floyd Collin’s house and we parked a little farther passed those. We entered the Austin entrance by 11:00 a.m. The entrance has a steel door and a long culvert pipe that is slippery and allows you to slide into the cave. With everyone gathered inside, we traveled down Pohl Ave. This part of the cave has hands and knees crawls, walking passage, low stoop walking over slabs of breakdown, then do that all over again and again until you reach Cow Piss Falls; a narrow waterfall stream that, well, looks exactly like it’s name sake. We continued on down the Lower Crouchway and up Brucker Breakdown. This is a very steep, high and loose pile of breakdown. Just after this area we took a wrong turn but after about 5 minutes of walking, we realized our mistake and went back to quickly find our way. Up an old metal ladder took us to a very pretty area with gypsum decorating the walls like sugar. There are long brushes of gypsum, curls and every imaginable shape. Old Granddad is directly in front of us and out come the cameras and oooossss and ahhhhsss. Granddad is a large thick column with crystals and gypsum and a collection of many other types of formations. There were many other passages we traveled down, Turner Ave., Mather Ave., Swinnerton Ave., Argo Junction until it came to a point that I had never been to. One of the other memorable landmarks was Crowbar Junction. I asked Roger Brucker, co-author of “The Longest Cave” what the story was behind the crowbars. Roger said, “Crowbar Junction was named because of balanced crowbars at the location. The hooked wrecking bars were part of a cache of rescue and first air supplies located at that junction. After CRF replaced the cache with individual party first aid kits, somebody drove one bar into the earth floor of the passage and balanced the other crowbar on the implanted one. Various newbies were struck by the odd configuration which some of us veterans claimed was a magnetic compass….whichever way the bar was oriented, when we had returned it had mysteriously turned to point north.” The two balancing bars are rusted together and still standing to this day. Following Spike’s hand drawn map we continued on our way to the next landmark, the Shower Shaft. This took some time to find. We found the small duck under in the passage but from there, the passage went off in many directions. The first passage was traveled down and thought to be the wrong one. Eventually the team split up into several pairs and checked each lead. Nothing was working so we stopped


for a break and something to eat. After getting a second wind, we decided to recheck everything and sure enough we found the way. And wouldn’t you know it; it was the first passage we checked. The Shower Shaft is a large dome and drain and again at this point we needed to look for another landmark; Best Way Down. While searching for our lead Amy and Tammy came upon some material in a dead end crawlway. Roger Brucker elaborated on that; “The ill-fated camp in Shower Shaft was an attempt to position supplies there so Art and Peg Palmer could explore far beyond the Tight Tube, and return to a place of refuge. They were so wet and miserable on their return that they exited the cave instead of staying. I do not know who left the scarf. We did pull the supplied out and they were never used. I found the obscure drain out of Shower Shaft leading to Best Way Down.” That “obscure drain” was what we were looking for and eventually we found it. It was nearly 8:30 p.m. With as far as we’ve gone and as much as we’ve done, the hardest passages were yet to come. We started looking for The Turbines and Agony Ave….sounds fun huh? These passages included a pretty exposed climb down first; then traversing through some very tight passage at base level (in the water). The passage was sinuous and snake-like. The walls are like turbines sticking out, there was no good way to travel through this, scooting sideways, getting down on one knee and sidways, then back up and climbing a bit, then back down, etc., etc. This meant pack on, pack off, pack getting caught on the rocks; frustrating to say the least. Agony Avenue was nice compared to that. It was a narrow passage but at least we were on our feet most of the time. And finally we found the Loose and Tight Tubes. The tube was about 10 feet above us. This required a free climb up a sheer wall. Jeremy was a great help with this; he is tall and able to hold the shorter people’s boots in what little footholds we could find. The tube was wet and muddy and went on for one hundred feet or so. We all came out of the tube looking as though we had thoroughly wallowed in the mud; everyone except for Amy. She was fairly dry as though she had levitated through the tube. I don’t how she did it. It is a small tube, belly crawl height. I was not able to get up on my knees. One day I’ll have to learn her levitation trick. We finally made it to our destination and began the survey. We split up into three teams and surveyed one long passage. Nicole and I worked as one team; I sketched and we both did instruments until we all met and tied the survey in. It was midnight and in order to make our call out time we had to pack it up and go. Climbing back down that sheer wall out of Loose Tube meant suspending oneself out over the passage and getting your legs back under your body and finding those tiny elusive footholds in the wall. But we all made it down eventually. The trip back went much faster. We went through the turbine area by going up a higher route. This meant having deep crevices below us and crawling on shelves or just suspending ourselves and doing that “commitment move” thing but anything was better than the way we came. My knee pads were soaked and muddy and not cooperating at all, making the long and many crawls seem just that much longer. But the sight of Cow Piss Falls was a good one, meaning we were very near the entrance. Twenty minutes later we arrived at the culvert pipe. It was nearing 5:00 a.m. by the time we exited the cave and nearly 6:00 a.m. by the time we made it back to Hamilton Valley. It was nice that there was a warm dinner ready for us and the hot shower felt really good too. I climbed into bed just as the sky was starting turn a light blue color. Oddly enough I could only sleep a few hours and got back up to pack and say good bye to everyone before hitting the road and coming home. 10


11 Amy Crews at the Club Formation, Mammoth Cave, Ky. Photo by Dawn Ryan. Crowbar Junction, Mammoth Cave, Ky. Photo by Dawn Ryan.

Intercomis a publication of the Iowa Grotto of the
National Speleological Society, Inc., an internal
organization of the National Speleological Society (NSS). The
Iowa Grotto, is dedicated to the exploration, study, and
conservation of caves.


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