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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. 47, no. 4 (2011)
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I N T E R C O M Volume 47, Issue 4 July August 2011 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 Hotline 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 Sept. 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 47 Issue 4 C O N T E N T S _____________ Trip reports: Meeting Minutes 34 Picnic Caving 34 Iowa Grotto Summer Picnic 2011 35 Iowa Caves Word Search 36 1st Time Cavers 38 Cover Photo: Glenwood Caverns, Colorado. Photo by Scott Dankof. ___________C A L E N D A R___________33 November Iowa Grotto meeting Wed. 7:30pm. rm 125, Nov. 23rd. December Iowa Grotto meeting Wed. 7:30pm. rm 125, December 28th. January Grotto Meeting (returning to regular 4th wednesday schedule) Jan. 24th, room 125, Trowbridge Hall. Joe Dixon will be collecting bat roost data in various small caves every first weekend of the month through March.


Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting July 27, 2011 The July 27th Iowa Grotto meeting was called to order at 8:20 p.m. with 12 members in attendance after a slide presentation on 2011 cave exploration in the Republic of Haiti. No previous meeting minutes were read. Trip Reports: Loren Schutt described a recent trip to Maquoketa Caves State Park. Brad Smith, Liz Robinson, John Donahue and Teresa Kurtz described their trips at the recent NSS Convention in Colorado. Mike Lace described recent caving efforts in Puerto Rico and recent trips into Coldwater Cave. John Donahue described a recent survey trip into Mystery Cave, MN. Future Trips: The 2011 Iowa Grotto Picnic will be held at Motor Mill County Park on August 6th. Doug Schmuecker would like to hold a beginner vertical training session this Fall (date to be announced). He needs those interested to call him in advance (319-642-7676). Iowa small cave surveys will be going out after the Picnic with several horizontal and vertical caves to be mapped. Old and New Business. New Grotto T-shirts were presented at the meeting and will be available for purchase ($15) at the Grotto Picnic and upcoming Grotto meetings. Future meeting presentations will include a show by Teresa Kurtz and Jason Rogers on “what it’s like to be a new caver”. More slide shows on caving at the last NSS Convention and in the Caribbean are planned as well. With no additional business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m. (No August meeting minutes) Picnic Caving Unnamed cave, Jackson County, IA John Donahue, Frank Frieberg, Ed Klausner, John Lovaas, and Elizabeth Miller By Ed Klausner August 6, 2011 Frank came through for us yet again and found a cave opening that he enlarged. The cave below was deep and Frank couldn’t negotiate it as it required vertical gear. He estimated the drop to be about 50 feet. We could wait until later in the fall or make it our Iowa Grotto Picnic destination. We chose the latter. Elizabeth and I were joined by John Donahue and John Lovaas, both of whom brought vertical gear to the picnic. We met Frank in Jackson County fairly late in the morning as trips didn’t leave the Clayton County campground until 10AM. The opening looked into a canyon where you couldn’t see the bottom or around the corner of the canyon. I dropped to the bottom to see what we were facing as far as survey goes. John Donahue wanted practice sketching and this was an ideal opportunity. The cave dropped about 50 feet as Frank correctly estimated. From what we saw (and surveyed) the canyon was choked at a middle level downcanyon from the entrance. The easiest way to get to the middle level was to swing over on the rope. The problem occurred when trying to get to the bottom on the far side from this middle level. The canyon was too wide to chimney down and it didn’t look like a good idea to tie a rope to the breakdown on the middle level choke, as it seemed like it could be pulled loose and come down on top of us. The best thing to do would be to put in a bolt so we could safely get to the bottom and continue down the canyon passage. With no bolting equipment, we had little choice but to tie off the survey and leave it for another day. We’ll return with the proper equipment later this fall. We didn’t make it back to the campground until 7pm and missed much of the pot luck dinner. We were in time for the auction, however. Frank has subsequently found more openings in the same vicinity and is removing rocks to make the passages wide enough to get through. It looks like we’ll have some additional caves to survey when we return. 34


IOWA GROTTO SUMMER PICNIC 2011 Mike Lace, Pat Kambesis, Maria Perez, Erik Rader and Andrea Perez-Rader 8-06-11 Yet again, the inclement summer weather gave way to a glorious picnic weekend as 37 grotto members, friends and family gathered at Motor Mill County Park in Clayton County. There were several trips during the day with abundant opportunities for folks to get as underground as they wished. I ended up leading the best of all trips as it was my privilege to take Andrea (2 and 1/2) on her very first wild cave visit. The five of us took a quick tour of Keppler’s Cave an easy walking-sized phreatic maze that’s always been a big hit at past picnics. The back portion of the cave was rendered inaccessible for most due to collapse of a central segment brought on by the heavy rains of last year but the entry portion remained enterable and very stable. Andrea did very well! After a quick stop in town at the “beer cave” (i.e. the walk-in cooler in the local supermarket no, we did not survey it), Pat and I did a little more leadchecking in the area, managing to map a small shelter before returning to camp. The potluck dinner was extensive and the Caver Auction brought in generous donations exceeding several hundred dollars all of which goes to support our Grotto publications as well as cave conservation and research efforts across Iowa and in neighboring karst areas. The newly designed Grotto T-shirts were popular and the auction was followed by the squeezebox competition where the contortionist winners walked (or limped) away with “fantastic” prizes. Thanks to everyone who came out to spend a quiet saturday, bringing a great array of dishes and almost priceless auction items to pass along to some lucky cavers and a special 35welcome to our newest members who joined the Grotto that weekend. Brandy Zinn in Thurn Cave. Photo by Chris Beck. Ed Klausner decending into Unknown Cave, Jackson Co. Ia. Photo by Elizabeth Miller


Formations in Glenwood Caverns. Photo by Rd Klausner.36


37 Ute pictographs from 1800s in Sweetwater Cave, Co. Photo by Ed Klausner Formations in Glenwood Caverns, Colorado. Photo by Ed Klausner.


1st Time Cavers Coldwater Cave, Winneshiek County, Iowa August 19. 2011 By Mark Jones John Lovaas had planned to check some downstream data loggers during the August Coldwater weekend and I expected that I would be accompanying him on his journey. Imagine my surprise when I arrived on Friday night to discover that earlier that week some locals had contacted the grotto to get their feet wet at Coldwater. Two women (Lindsay Tallman and ???) and three guys (Tony Tallman, XXX and XXXX) joined John and I as we waded downstream in 0.68'. (This water level bodes well for getting upstream into the Mike Nelson section of the cave this winter.) The water was rather cloudy making our movements more deliberate and slower. With the new cavers in our entourage we’d decided to give a guided tour of the Mainstream and collect the data only from the Cascade Passage. Since the newcomers had rented wetsuits they had some difficulty in getting the right fit, but eventually they were geared up and ready to drop the shaft. I descended the ladder first and waited for the group to assemble on the platform. As they arrived on the platform we began to talk and I discovered that none of them had previous caved, but they were excited. Over the decades I’ve found that a sincere interest in caving trumps experience since bad habits are often developed without proper instruction. John and I discussed caving etiquette and safety as we started for The Gallery. The formations were in full splendor as the water swiftly flowed down the flowstone. Of course Big Bertha was quite a sight to see, stealing the show from all the others. At 0.68' many of the stepping stones were submerged resulting in a slower pace while still trying to take in the beauty in this portion of the cave. Just downstream of Big Bertha we pointed out a 12" diameter rock that was carving out a 3' hole in some softer streambed. This form of erosion is magnified in nearby Pothole Country that we would soon encounter. With seven sets of lights we were able to easily light up the walls of the mainstream to focus on the variety of formations scattered along the way. The group was challenged by the numerous 6' pestles carved in the streambed by the long-gone mortars that had to be navigated to continue downstream. With safety a top priority at Coldwater we inquired about their comfort and confidence repeatedly before we got too far into the cave. When asked about the rescue options at Coldwater we replied that in all seriousness a self-rescue was the only viable option. In June, Doug Schmuecker conducted a mock rescue with Coldwater cavers and local firefighters to demonstrate the proper techniques for hauling a litter up the 100' shaft. Serving as the victim I can attest to the difficulties in just raising a person from the platform. Both John and I have been “victims” over the years and stress the importance of safety whenever caving at Coldwater. As the group gained more experience they began to move within the dynamics of the cave rather than try to muscle their way through. Traveling further downstream the well-decorated large boxy canyon with uneven floors gave way to a more barren oval cross-section with a smooth sandy floor. It was in this location that we pointed out 4" stalactites on the ceiling ten foot above us with surface debris from a recent flood event, sobering thoughts to keep in mind when exploring this cave system. Near the Scott Dankof formation we stopped to examine the effects of the flooding. On the left hand wall facing downstream we observed a 6' slab of flowstone that had been undermined of its mud support and had broken off the wall. It had fallen 12" into the stream slowly being dissolved by the water. On the other wall several rusty flowstone formations have just appeared this year. These iron-rich formations are in stark contrast to the manganese stained black walls or cream colored calcite formations. I took several photos of these pretty formations with my disposable camera. Soon we’d arrived at the mouth of Cascade Passage where the water was shooting over the 5' rimstone dams. 38


Moving to the downstream side we climbed into the much colder infeeder of Cascade. John’s data logger wasn’t too far away and while he exchanged “bugs” the rest of us quickly scouted upstream a short way. A good pace was set for the trip out with numerous pictures being taken along the way. Once the surface was reached the newest Coldwater cavers were more than excited to tell of their exploits over several pizzas at Mabe’s. 39 Right: Little Andrea Sofa Rader, 2, daughter of Grotto members Erik Rader and Mara Prez, explores her first Iowa cave (Keppler’s Cave). Below: Andrea wonders what all the fuss is about with the squeeze box. “Plenty of room for me!” she thinks.

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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