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National Speleological Society (Iowa Grotto)
National Speleological Society (Iowa Grotto)
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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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Vol. 46, no. 2/3 (2010)
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I N T E R C O M Volume 46, Issue 2 and 3 March June 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 is September 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 2 and 3 C O N T E N T S _____________ Trip reports: Meeting Minutes 16 April 2010 Arkansas 17 Eureka Avenue 18 Book Review: Double Drop 19 Cave Maps: GlenÂ’s Cave 20 Cover Photo: Mike Nelson in canyon passage in Wind Tunnel, AR. Photo by Scott Dankof. ___________C A L E N D A R___________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. August 25th Grotto Meeting will be held at U of I Trowbridge Hall, room 125 at 7:30 p.m. (instead of in Tipton). Sept. 11th (Sat.)cave survey/sketching workshop. Contact Mike Lace (319-6433501) or Ed Klausner ( for details. Sept. 22nd Grotto meeting will be held at U of I Trowbridge Hall, room 125 at 7:30 p.m.15


(Editor note: No minutes from the April or June Grotto meetings) Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting April 28, 2010 The regular meeting of the Iowa Grotto was called to order by Vice Chairman Ed Klausner, at 7:55 p.m., after a power point photo show on various caves including Kemling and Wonder Caves, IA, Mammoth Cave, KY, Mystery and Goliath Caves, MN, and Caverns of Sonora, TX. There were 8 members present. Minutes from the March 24, 2010 meeting, were read and approved. TREASURERÂ’S REPORT: General Fund: $1999.86; Coldwater Fund: $111.83; Petty Cash: $122.00. TRIP REPORTS: Jasen Rogers reported on his trip to WerdenÂ’s Cave, Jackson Co. with Phil LaRue, and on another trip he visited Maquoketa Caves State Park. John Donahue then reported on the cave clean up trip organized by Camp Courageous members to Indian Bluff Cave, Jones Co. with Chris Beck, Tyson Gilbert, Teresa Kursk, Phil LaRue, Liz Lutmer, Jeanette Miller and Heather Williams. He reported that the removal efforts of the group changed the appearance of the graffiti affected areas considerably. He continued his report that he and Teresa K. took a trip to Mammoth Cave, KY, with several other cavers to look for a forgotten cave entrance. He continued that while Teresa attended a presentation by Pat Kambesis, he and several other cavers visited Bedquilt Cave on the Flint Ridge side for survey work. FUTURE TRIPS: Mystery Cave, MN. Contact Warren Netherton for details. See the Intercom and N.S.S. News for additional trips and events. There will be a beginner vertical training, contact Doug Schmucker for details. The annual picnic will be the first weekend in August, at Dutton Cave County Park, Fayette, Co. OLD BUSINESS: Volume V of the Iowa Grotto Map Book has been completed. There was an update on white nose syndrome (W.N.S.). The spread of the fungus in Missouri was discussed and the fact the state of Missouri is asking cave owners to voluntarily close their caves. The fungus has been now found in Pike County, Mo. In addition, the state of Illinois has closed its state controlled cave properties. Mike Bounk reported that the I.D.N.R. is seriously considering closure of all state of Iowa controlled cave properties. Discussion followed, without any decisions being made. It was agreed that information on gear clean up and preventative measures to control the spread of the disease should be included with the notification of the Grotto picnic weekend. NEW BUSINESS: There was no new business. With no additional business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:33 p.m. Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting May 26, 2010 The regular meeting of the Iowa Grotto was called to order by Vice Chairman Ed Klausner, at 7:46 p.m., after a power point photo show by Jasen Rogers on various caves including Goliath and Mystery Caves, MN, and WerdenÂ’s Cave, Jackson Co. There were 9 members and 2 guests present. Minutes from the April 28, 2010 meeting, were read and corrected. TREASURERÂ’S REPORT: General Fund: $1999.86; Coldwater Fund: $111.83; Petty Cash: $143.00. TRIP REPORTS: Teresa Kurst and John Donahue reported on their short notice trip to Maquoketa Caves State Park, Star Cave, near Burlington and SearrylÂ’s Cave, Jones Co. before the state order closure of these properties to recreational caving on May 3, 2010. Phil LaRue reported on a short notice trip to WerdenÂ’s Cave, Jackson Co. to talk with the owners about W.N.S. A check of the cave was made to again document the numbers and species of bats. Mike Bounk reported on his tourist trip with Cornell College students during Coldwater Cave weekend. He continued his report that he visited DuttonÂ’s cave County Park and advised there are access problems into the lower areas. This has increased camping in the upper area where the annual picnic is scheduled. FUTURE TRIPS: Mystery Cave, MN. Contact Warren Netherton for details. See the Intercom and N.S.S. News for additional trips and events. 16


The annual Coldwater Cave family picnic will be held the third weekend in June. There will be a beginner vertical training in the near future, contact Doug Schmucker for details. The annual picnic will be the first weekend in August, at Dutton Cave County Park, Fayette, Co. OLD BUSINESS: Volume V of the Iowa Grotto Map Book is available. Ed K. reported that W.N.S. has been reported in the state of Oklahoma. The status of the closure of state controlled cave properties in Iowa was discussed. NEW BUSINESS: There was no new business. With no additional business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:20 p.m. 17Editor note: Due to lack of trip reports, I’ve had to combine the March April and May June 2010 issues of the Intercom. If you’ve been caving recently, take a few minutes to write up a paragraph or two of your trip and email them to me( April 2010 Arkansas April 24th thru 30thSinging Waters Cave, Wind Tunnel, Glen’s Cave, Bear Naked Cave Mike Lace, Mike Nelson, Sage Wood, Scott Dankof By Scott Dankof Mike Lace and I took a trip down to Arkansas to spend some time caving with former Iowa native and Grotto member Mike Nelson. We have numerous cave mapping projects in various stages of completion. On Sunday we headed over to Singing Waters Cave. Water levels were not up too much, even after recent wet weather. The cave seems to drain fast, but there are places I wouldn’t want to be during a rainstorm. Strangely enough, that’s where we were heading. The trip to the end of the last survey was non-eventful. We stopped in a few places to point out interesting facts to Sage. (Places like “The Hall of Insolence” where a revolt against our taskmaster/sketcher almost took place.) After about 30 min. we arrived at our last survey point. The passage ahead was a tall narrow canyon with a lower level streamway. The canyon was around 20 to 40 feet tall and 18 inches to less than a foot wide. Where we could, we stayed in the dry canyon. When the canyon became too narrow we dropped down into the stream to continue. The water in the stream passage was deep enough in places to float along. We took some time and explained the art and science of surveying to Sage. She took a look ahead in the wet stream passage as we pressed on. In a couple hours the cold water started taking its toll on all of us. Mike L. went ahead and reported back that the apparent end of the stream passage was about 200 feet beyond. Our total survey for the day was just over 200 feet, giving us a grand total of 3814 feet surveyed in Singing Waters. Wind Tunnel was the plan for Monday. After picking up the key for the cave gate we headed through the valley, put the truck in 4-low and chugged up the mountain side to the parking area. I wanted to take a couple pictures in the canyon passage at the end of the main trunk. Mike N. posed while Mike L. ran the flash. After a couple more photos we headed back to mop up some side leads. One of the side leads was a tall canyon passage. I took the last survey shot down this and noticed that a small crawlway led off with good airflow. I dropped to my belly and headed in with Mike N. following close behind. Every time I thought the passage was ending, it would turn a corner and snake out of site. In about 50 feet I came to a spot that was too tight for me to fit through. I tied off the survey and looked for a place to turn around. The crawl was not wide enough, but there was a crack in the ceiling that I could almost sit up in. I thought I could slip up into this, pull my legs around and drop back down and head out headfirst. I was only partly right. I got up in the crack but needed a few extra inches of space to complete the maneuver. I yelled to Mike N. to see if he could crawl up and move a few rocks that were blocking my turn. He moved a couple key rocks and it was just enough for me to make my turn. I was happy to get out there. On Tuesday we met Mike N. at the Lowgap store for a trip into Glen’s Cave. This


was a lead that Mike N. had told us about and needed surveying. The entrance is about two feet tall by about 3 feet wide. It sloped down into a breakdown strewn walking passage. We broke out the survey gear, Mike L. sketched, Mike N. read instruments, and I ran lead tape. We quickly came to a T-junction. The way to the left quickly ended, but the righthand passage continued. I ran the survey tape for a few more stations before it got too tight for me. Mike and Mike squirmed and squeezed past the tight spot and finished up the survey for a total of 216 feet. The last cave for the week was named Bear Naked Cave. ItÂ’s a small cave near mine and MikeÂ’s property in NW Newton Co. Years ago, Ed Klausner stuck his head in and determined it would be a fun place to crawl in and meet a hibernating bear. Because of that reason, weÂ’d been saving the survey for a trip when Ed would be back. Ed wasnÂ’t along on this trip, but we decided to take our chances and get it done. I crawled in and took the first shot through the small entrance crawl. Ahead of me I could see a depression in the floor of a small room. I didnÂ’t see any glowing eyes, so I continued with the survey. I tied off after about 56 feet of small passage. Mike L. crawled in and sketched while I crawled back out. He reported where I tied off was a smaller passage I missed, with some air movement. I plan to leave it for smaller people. 18 Eureka Avenue Mystery Cave, Minnesota Jeff Brandon, John Donahue, Ed Klausner, Teresa Kurtz, Elizabeth Miller, and Jasen Rogers May 29th, 2010 By Ed Klausner A number of us were getting pretty close to desperate to get underground. Fortunately, Warren Netherton from Mystery Cave came up with a survey trip to Mystery III. This was good news because itÂ’s a nice area and Elizabeth, Teresa and Jasen had never been there. They were looking forward to the raft ride across the lake. Warren warned us that the DragonÂ’s Jaw was the wettest heÂ’s seen it. We did get fairly wet sliding across the wooden boards in this small passage. The boards help keep you (and the mud youÂ’re carrying) out of the water. Once past the DragonÂ’s Jaw, we took turns getting across the lake in on the raft. The water is clear and you can see the raft cones below you. The goal is to keep mud out of the water. Our objective was Eureka Avenue. ItÂ’s easy to see why it was so named, itÂ’s probably the biggest passage in the cave at 15 or so feet wide and as much as 25 feet high. Elizabeth and Teresa wanted some practice sketching, so Teresa did cross sections and Elizabeth did a running profile while I did plan view, John was lead tape, Jasen read instrument and Jeff did inventory. Along Eureka, we found an area with what appeared to be pool fingers. Some were quite small and others an inch or so long. The pool fingers we encountered elsewhere in the cave were several inches long. Since we were wet from crossing the DragonÂ’s Jaw, we didnÂ’t last as long in the cave as weÂ’d hoped. The trip back was wetter and we all thought that he water level was a bit higher. In all, we surveyed about 430 feet of passage with the main passage continuing and some large side passages that are not yet surveyed. Hopefully, weÂ’ll be able to continue this over the summer.


19DOUBLE DROP (2009) by H. A. Hurtt. CreateSpace. Scotts Valley, CA. Paperback, 278 pages, 5” x 8" format, ISBN 9781449906993. Available for $14.99. Reviewed by Danny A. Brass. The presence of an Iranian graduate student in the United States with suspected terrorist ties attracts the attention of a powerful and dangerous political machine. As a result of the fact that he is also an avid expedition caver, undue attention is brought to bear on several of his caving companions in the CRI (Cave Research Institute). Double Drop revolves around a somewhat far-fetched plot spawned by a secret cabal of Christian supremacists and directed by a hard-line ultraconservative politician in a position of power within the United States government. The plot is driven by the ruthless attempts of the mercenary arm of this clandestine organization—operatives of a high-tech paramilitary security group with access to state-of-the-art equipment and intelligence-gathering capabilities— to frame a group of California cavers as being participants in a suspected terrorist cell and then to respond to this threat in a most forceful manner. The organization’s ultimate goals are to discredit the effectiveness of the FBI, to completely take control of security operations within the country, and ultimately to bring about a definitive worldwide ethical and religious revolution…a cleansing that will shape a new moral order conforming more closely to their own. Terminating several members of the CRI caving group with extreme prejudice is only the first step in bringing this master plan to fruition. While the story has many interesting facets, character development, especially among the villains, tends to be somewhat thin. This makes it difficult to fully appreciate the underlying motivations driving the behavior of some of these figures. We see them primarily as two-dimensional religious fanatics, obsessed with implementation of their black-and-white agenda. As such, it is sometimes hard to fathom the rationale behind various activities as the plot evolves. In bringing an air of mystery and suspense to bear on his story, the author periodically introduces characters and dialogue without benefit of supportive background description. This lack of clarification may leave readers a bit bewildered by what they had just read and especially by what relationship these characters and their actions may eventually have to the rest of the story. Hence, various short chapters that never appear to get fully pulled into place seem disjointed from the main storyline, diminishing their overall value as segues between different subplots and leaving the reader to wonder if a paragraph or two hadn’t been accidentally missed. Moreover, the actual relationship between the efforts mounted against the California caving group and fulfillment of the organization’s ambitious domestic terror agenda is never completely clear. The opening chapter offers readers some initial page-turning moments in expedition caving that are somewhat reminiscent of Richard Watson’s Under Plowman’s Floor. However, for most of the first two-thirds of text, descriptions of caving activities are relatively few and certainly more sedate in nature, largely replaced with the complex—and often vague—plotting required for the fanatic villains to bring about the downfall of the CRI cavers…thereby bringing them one step closer to achieving their nefarious ends. Underground adventure picks up again in the latter third of the book as the story rushes to its conclusion in the three-dimensional underground labyrinth of California’s Big Spring Cave.


21 Teresa Kurtz and Karen Willmes in Mammoth Cave, Kentucky. Photo by Ed Klausner. Mike Lace in the Wind Tunnel, Arkansas. Photo by Scott Dankof.

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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