Material Information

Series Title:
National Speleological Society (Iowa Grotto)
National Speleological Society (Iowa Grotto)
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Regional Speleology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )
United States


General Note:
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.
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
Original Version:
Vol. 49, no. 6 (2013)
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
K26-01780 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.1780 ( USFLDC Handle )
21341 ( karstportal - original NodeID )

USFLDC Membership

Added automatically
Karst Information Portal

Postcard Information



This item has the following downloads:

Full Text


I N T E R C O M Volume 49, Issue 6 November December 2013 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 Feb. 1st. Send material for publication, e mail, disk or hard copy to: Editor and Typist: Scott Dankof 515 986 3219 410 SW 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. Cover Photo: Mark Jones doing what he does best in a Northern Arkansas cave. Photo by Scott Dankof. National Speleological Society P. O. Box 228 Iowa City, Iowa 52244 Chairman Mike Lace Vice Chairman Ed Klausner Secretary Teresa Kurtz Treasurer John Donahue Volume 49 Issue 6 ______________C O N T E N T S _____________ Trip reports: Coldwater Cave 102 Kemling Cave 103 Coldwater Cave 103 Elkton Cave 103 Cleveland Cave 104 Cleveland Cave 106 Vic Nickel Cave 106 Scott Sawmill Cave 107 Jedlicka Vollmer Cave 107 McGillicutty Cave 108 Parks Ranch Cave 108 Rotunda Surprise 109 Kemling Cave 110 Peterson Cave 110 Roppel Cave 111 Potato Cave 111 Mammoth Cave 112 Mammoth Cave 113 Potato Cave 113 Bedquilt Cave 114 __________C A L E N D A R__________ March Grotto Meeting March 26th Room 125, Trowbridge Hall. April Grotto meeting April 23rd Room 125, Trowbridge Hall. Iowa Grotto picnic is scheduled for the first week in August at Central Park in Jones County. 101


102 No meeting minutes submitted for Nov. 2013. No meeting Dec. 2013. Coldwater Cave Winneshiek County, Iowa November 5, 2013 By Mark Jones Larry Welch wanted to gather more extensive radon data at Coldwater to better understand the dynamics of radon distribution throughout the entire mainstream passage. In addition to the standard ten sites we were going to collect information from fourteen other locations further downstream. While heading downstream we also took the air and water temperature sensors to switch out at the Sistudy. We anticipated that the placing of the radon bugs would take six hours. Dropping the shaft at 9:30 a.m. had us right on target to meet up with Wanda Flatland, the owner, A check of the water level revealed that it was for mid fall. Another plus was that the water was extremely clear making it much easier to navigate around underwater rocks and holes. Our first bug was placed on the platform at 9:35 a.m. with only twenty three more to go. Moving downstream along a ledge on the right wall gave us two hundred feet on easy walking before dropping into the chest high stream. Heading into the Gallery we stopped to place the next bug at Big Berth, which was looking particularly swanky today with a slow, steady stream tumbling down the twenty foot height of the formation. Pothole Country, Camp II, Upstream Dead Coon, Guardian Fangs, Cascade Falls, Monument Passage, Brothers Grimm and Twin Domes all followed, with a twelve to fifteen minute interval between them. While on our journey we noticed numerous fishes everywhere in the stream, another benefit of the good visibility. I would estimate that we saw upwards of sixteen fish the entire day. That number is certainly the most fish that I have counted on one trip, normally observing only a few at a time. The remainder of the downstream bugs been included in the study. Weaving our way in the stream through the downstream breakdown we set the next bugs at the Swim, the Fountain, Beaver Boneyard and Sand Canyon. Just past the Fountain we began to observe telltale signs of debris being stuck to the ceiling from the recent flooding. At the Sinus passage we took a short break and swapped out the temperature sensors. Dropping back down in the stream we were surprised with the increasing depth of the water as we worked out way down to First Right hand Side. It has been several years stream and the occasional flood events (like the BIG one in July.) have carved away several mudbanks and gouged out the streambed. What was once walking in two feet of water was now swimming in six feet. The phreatic nature of the passage past Sinus certainly makes one aware that this is no place to be during rising water. The last downstream bug was set at the Equipment Cache at 12:45. Our trip upstream seemed to be more difficult due to the facts that we had been caving for three hours, were to stop to set bugs every fifteen enough. In spite of these obstacles we trudged back to the platform by 3:45 p.m. Gathering the remaining bugs we set the final string at the Upstream Breakdown, North Snake, III, Spong and Waterfall Passage. By enter the shed a cold rain was falling and it was 5:30 p.m. which was a bit too late for us to meet up with Wanda for dinner. Eight hours in Coldwater Cave had left us both tired and sore but content in the fact that we had gotten the ball rolling on this experiment and that we would have 48 hours to recuperate.


103 Kemling Cave Dubuque County, Iowa November 6, 2013 By Mark Jones On the way up to the cave on Monday afternoon Larry Welch had planned to set up the wind sensor at Kemling Cave but had a technical issue when a wire snapped and he had to postpone the project until the wire was repaired. After arriving at the Coldwater Compound he did indeed fix the problem and had the anemometer ready to go. With Wednesday free we decided to take a trip to Dubuque County and install the wind sensor for a five day run. I showed Larry the shortcut around Dubuque and we were soon parked at Kemling Cave. Twenty minutes later Larry had the sensors up and running and we were down the road. Unfortunately Larry wanted to shortcut was anything but. wonder he can find his way around in a cave. Thankfully we eventually crossed a recognizable landmark and were able to return to Coldwater before nightfall. Coldwater Cave Winneshiek County, Iowa November 7, 2013 By Mark Jones Refreshed and rejuvenated after a day of rest Larry Welch and I re entered Coldwater Cave at 8:30 a.m. to collect the radon detectors that sage upstream to the Equipment Cache far downstream. bumped the water level to a murky more difficult. We were better prepared for this trip and planned to increase the enjoyment level of our experience. Since the sensors can be affected by moisture we headed down to pick up the bug at the Equipment Cache and worked our way back upstream. Sticking to our plan we took a snack break halfway downstream as well as taking several short rest stops. The collection went smoothly with no problems encountered during the trip. With the low visibility of the water we only saw a couple of fish although I did see a crayfish. Most of the active mainstream formations had plenty of water flow giving them an ultra chic appearance. Even though it still took us eight hours to complete the circuit we were the surface. The data should be crunched in the next week and a broader picture of how radon functions in Coldwater Cave should be realized. Elkton Cave Hickory County, Missouri November 9, 2013 By Mark Jones After staying at the swanky Casa del Cooley in Benton County, Missouri Ken Grush and I drove down to Hickory County to participate in a landowner trip into Elkton Cave (HKY002). Kansas City Area Grotto (KCAG) members Jim Cooley, Megan Groenbacher, D.J. Hall, Gary Johnson, Jack and Austen Peters and Nathan Taylor as well as Shelly Colatski, Assistant Wildlife Biologist of the Missouri Department of Conservation, were all on hand to introduce the landowners to their cave. D.J. Hall & Co. were busy rigging the rope to drop a thirty foot sinkhole entrance when we arrived. Gary and Shelly did a quick bat scan of the cave while D.J. & Co. set up a couple of ropes for vertical training in a nearby sinkhole. Once the ropes were in place we rappelled several times to test the ropes and have some fun. Satisfied with our work everyone but me headed back to meet the landowners. I opted to stay behind and guard the gear and enjoy the beautiful November weather. At 11:00 a.m. a large group broke through the underbrush toward the training area. Along with the cavers were eight members of the family that owned the cave. D.J. gave a brief


overview before demonstrating safe rappelling techniques to the group. I I always learn something from the instructors. Soon we had the landowners rappelling down two ropes, each doing several drops to gain confidence in their ability. After an hour of training we hiked the short distance to the sinkhole entrance where eleven people rappelled down a slot canyon to the rock pile below. Ten feet down the rope in an alcove off to the left was a white flowstone formation that was the prettiest of the day. The eleven of us stumbled downstream to meet up with those who had used the horizontal entrance. Two hundred feet of stoopwalking in knee deep water later we climbed out of the water on a large mudbank speckled with a blanket of guano. Gary led a small group into a crawlway off to the left that led to the Bat Room. While they were gone some of us started poking around toward the horizontal entrance. Big ceiling breakdown block forced us to route up and over or along narrow slots before the room opened up. The entrance area had a thirty foot wide bulge with a sixteen foot ceiling and a floor that gradually angled up. The mouth of the cave is fifteen foot wide by five foot high perched above a picturesque valley. Returning to the group we took our turn crawling a hundred feet to the Bat Room. Popping into the room revealed its thirty foot ceiling and BIG pile of guano. This area is a perfect spot for a gray bat ( Myotis grisescens ) maternity colony since the high ceiling traps the heat, making it ideal for them to raise their young. Thousands of bats use this room during the summer, but now there were only scattered pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ) and a small cluster of unidentified bats. Continuing up the crawlway led us to a steep mud slope that peaked and quickly dropped six feet down to a blind pit. All along the walls were numerous signatures, some of historical importance, some not so much. Reuniting with the others we slogged back by the sinkhole entrance, observing another well used summer bat roosting site as evidenced by the large area of guano. We splashed through another two hundred feet of water before reaching a dry hands and knees crawl amid a scalloped bone yard. I investigated a small passage off to the right that shortly terminated in a cobble choke. Back at the hands and knees crawl the cave eventually opened up. Now the channel split into a dry upper level and a wet lower level. We alternated between these two parallel passages for another two hundred feet to a breakdown pile at the bottom of our vertical training sinkhole. Daylight for us. Retracing our steps we reached a sidepassage that we squeezed into to take a winding five foot slot canyon to yet another sinkhole entrance that we could exit. By exiting here several of us completed a door to door to door trip. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the trip as could be seen by smiles on the faces and the stories that were told around the vehicles. The landowners graciously provided a campfire meal for the cavers to show their appreciation for our efforts. Plans are in Cleveland Cave St. Clair County, Missouri November 10, 2013 By Mark Jones Ken Grush, Jim Cooley and I arrived evening to find he had a roaring campfire prepared for our enjoyment. Vic owns Cleveland Cave (SCL001), a long closed commercial operation that had fallen into decades of abuse before being rescued by Vic. He had gated the cave and enlisted the help of the Kansas City Area Grotto (KCAG) to restore the cave to its former glory. Many of the passages had been filled with graf104


fiti that insulted the natural beauty of the cave along with the accumulation of trash from hundreds of ignorant and careless tourists. The controlled access has significantly reduced both of these issues. Over the years this has been a popular site for youth groups and what better way for them to learn the importance of good stewardship of the land than to restore Cleveland Cave to a more natural appearance. Numerous Boy Scout troops and church groups have toured the cave with scrub brushes and trash bags to address these issues. Our main goal was to complete some mop up survey, design a new bat friendly gate and give the final quality control to nearby Vic Nickel Cave (SCL064). A fabulous Sunday morning made preparing for the day quite relaxing. Dave Mead joined us to bring our number to five for the trip. It was just a short hike down the trail to a rock outcropping with the ten foot wide by five foot high entrance. Vic had ingood for keeping vandals out was also not the most conducive for bat usage. A stoopwalk down a sloping floor quickly brought us to the bottom of a slot canyon with a twenty foot ceiling. The ceiling remained relatively flat throughout the cave due to a sandstone cap while the floor undulated from a pinch to thirty five feet. Most of the passage is from two to six feet in width. Cleveland Cave has basically six parallel canyon passages that have a bearing of 50/230 and are separated by limestone walls of varying thickness. The Bat Room passage (Passage #1) extends over four hundred feet over four huge dirt mounds before splitting into an upper and a lower level that both terminate in a pinched canyon. Vertical relief ranged from three foot to thirty five foot, with the deepest spot able to hold significant water. Today the floor was unusually dry. The Bat Room is three hundred feet into this passage and contained the majority of the graffiti found in the cave. This area has seen a great deal of restoration work during the past decade and it is evident that the effort is paying off. While it was obvious that the room was once heavily vandalized the diligent work of Dave and others has proven effective in minimizing the damage. Through the use of scrub brushes and elbow grease when possible and mud frescos when necessary the cave is regaining much of its lost luster. Taking a sharp left at the Bat Room brought us to the Jesse James Passage (Passage #2), named for a block letter carving of that name near the end of its two hundred fifty foot length. Once again the floor in this canyon rippled although only between two and twelve feet. Returning towards the Bat Room we took a hands and knees crawl off to the right to the Water Barrier Passage (Passage #3). This two hundred foot long canyon mimics the Bat Room with tall ceilings and an undulating floor. We passage on the right and 140 feet of increasing passage to the left. Turning left brought us to a steep slope leading to the Water Barrier, a V shaped route that held four feet of water. While Vic and Dave slogged through the Water Barrier Jim, Ken and I straddled the canyon to a pair of high balcony on either side. The left balcony terminates quickly while the right balcony paralleled the Water Barrier to meet it sixty feet later. The only issue with the balcony route is a nuisance pinch before rejoining the canyon. An unsurveyed leg (Passage #4) in the right balcony awaits mapping. Sixty feet of stoopwalking brought us to crawl on the right that went to an aluminum ladder that led down to the floor of the F Survey (Passage #5). To the right the cave remains unsurveyed while we continued left sixty feet to yet another connection on the right to the S Survey (Passage #6). survey. Jim took book, Ken read foresights and photographed while I was on lead 105


tape and backsights. Vic and Dave provided moral support as well as continuing the graffiti removal in the area. The first two shots from Station S1 garnered over seventy feet of easy crawling on a 230 azimuth. From here the crawl closed down to a cobble crawl pinch that pops open a bit before terminating in a cobble strewn crawl. Total cave footage from this was 103.7 feet. Returning to Station S1 we surveyed in the opposite direction of 50 for 44.5 feet in a tight canyon that pinched. Three windows along the left wall connected to another short parallel passage that surveyed at 36.5 feet. The middle window allowed us the best access and once through the floor dropped to a nine foot high room. A small upper crawlway angled off but we were denied entry. Including tie in shots we accumulated 215.2 feet of new survey to put on the Cleveland Cave map. Total cave time was five and a half hours. Vic had exited earlier to prepare for the fish fry he had promised. We were not disappointed with the meal or the hospitality. A great time was had by all. Cleveland Cave St. Clair County, Missouri November 11, 2013 By Mark Jones While I was doing QC work on nearby Vic Nickel Cave Jim Cooley and Ken Grush began measuring for the new bat friendly gate at Cleveland Cave (SCL001). Just as I finished up my work Lee Krout arrived to join us in Since Jim was going to work on designing the cave gate it was going to be Ken, Lee and I wrapping up the survey. We passed through the gate at 10:45 a.m. to make our way back to the furthest section of the S Survey (Passage #6) to attempt wrap up surveying the small upper crawlway that had stymied me the day before. Although there were signs that people had gotten further into the passage for me it was not to be. Lying on my side I forward movement. This task will have to be completed by much smaller cavers. We did finish off the S Survey with eighteen feet of crawlway in two shots. It should be noted that the ceiling is full of crinoid fossils and other interesting fossilized life forms. Next we returned to the bottom of the aluminum ladder to survey to the right in the F Survey (Passage #5). This was much nicer cave to survey with its flat sandstone cap ceiling and comfortable limestone walls. As in the other passages the height fluctuated greatly all along the passage, from a pinch to twenty two feet. We added 101.6 feet in four shots following a 50 azimuth in the F Survey. With plenty of time left we hopped over to the Water Barrier passage (Passage #3) to tie in the left and right balconies. From Station SW4 we took a fourteen foot shot to the right balcony on a 40 bearing and then took seven more shots on an azimuth of 50 totaling 167.7 feet (Passage #4). A six foot high by twenty foot square balcony looks over the Water Barrier about midway along this line. Ken appropriately named this the Crinoid Sea Balcony. Finally we took readings across the Water Barrier to the left balcony to tie in a loop. With little to offer in terms of new footage or formations we christened this the Disappointing Balcony. We ended the day with all of our objectives achieved exiting the cave at 4:45 p.m. Total cave time was six hours. Vic Nickel Cave St. Clair County, Missouri November 11, 2013 By Mark Jones The second day of caving began with Vic Nickel showing me to the Vic Nickel Cave (SCL064) just off the trail to Cleveland Cave. This sinkhole cave was discovered by his son in law and grandson a couple of years 106


ago and had been surveyed by the Kansas City Area Grotto (KCAG) and the map was now ready to be checked for quality. Jim Cooley was doing the cartography and had some questions on the sketch that I was to address. The ten foot by seventeen foot sinkhole entrance sharply angles back into the hillside located on a rocky slope along the Little Monegaw Creek. The cave consists of a circular room twelve feet in diameter with a sandstone cap ceiling and a floor of mud and surface debris. Fifteen minutes were spent on answering the quality control questions. Scott Sawmill Cave Camden County, Missouri November 12, 2013 By Mark Jones After romping through coon scat (Oh boy!) without getting any survey in Jedlicka Vollmer Cave we thought we should redeem ourselves by surveying nearby Scott Sawmill Cave (CAM025). Nearby is a nebulous term when used by Jim Cooley since it was 800 meters over rocky Missouri ridges and streambeds. In spite of these challenges we soldiered on to the base of a gully that led directly to the cave entrance. Climbing up this five foot deep cut for a hundred feet took us to a three foot high by thirteen foot wide opening in a small rock outcropping. An uninviting wet crawl lay before us so I volunteered to survey and sketch the cave while they remained outside. Using the Disto I took three readings, the entrance shot and a left and right shot. Each of these measurements was about fifteen feet resulting in a forty five foot cave. The ceiling was two feet high throughout and each arm of the cave narrowed down from three feet to a foot wide. While I was taking compass and inclinometer readings Ken Grush had to join me in wallowing in the shallow water to photo document the cave. Although there too many people will want to push either of these leads any time soon. Once Scott Sawmill Cave was surveyed we spent the next hour ridgewalking We only found a couple of shallow animal shelters of no significance but can cross this ridge off the list to walk in the future. Addendum: A few camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ) were noted in this cave. Jedlicka Vollmer Cave Camden County, Missouri November 12, 2013 By Mark Jones After our morning business meeting to schedule 2014 cave trips Jim Cooley, Ken Grush and I settled on mapping some local caves in Camden County. Jim suggested that we start with Jedlicka Vollmer Cave (CAM125) because we could knock it off quickly. A mile hike over some Missouri ridges eventually brought us to a gentle rocky slope above an intermittent stream. The three foot square cave entrance is surprisingly nestled in this hillside. Jim had previously surveyed the cave, but since it was one of his first attempts at sketching he thought it would be a good idea to resurvey it. He claimed it was about fifty feet in length and constriction. At the entrance he suggested that I reconnoiter the cave to better prepare for the sketching. I reluctantly crawled into the passage and grew more reluctant with each shuffle of my limbs since the floor was covered with an abundance of fresh raccoon ( Procyon lotor ) scat. The cave snaked around, cutting back and forth for thirty feet before the floor dropped eight feet at a flowstone formation. I stayed in the upper level and continued another twenty feet to a second flowstone formation that constricted the passage. I slipped by this squeeze and continued to crawl in coon scat for another fifty feet before I would have to bellycrawl in it. Satisfied that there was a lot more survey than we could accomplish today I retreated 107


to the first flowstone formation where Ken was doing some photography. While he was there I dropped down to the lower level to discover a ten foot diameter room and a parallel passage four feet below the upper level. This lower level was also covered in fresh coon scat. This is NOT the ultra chic caving that I have come to expect from Missouri! After exiting the cave we discussed our options and decide to put this ture. With over a hundred feet of complete this sketch in one visit. Addendum: Two cave salamanders ( Eurycea lucifuga ) were noted in the upper level along with a few camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ). McGillicutty Cave Camden County, Missouri November 13, 2013 By Mark Jones Ken Grush and I had one more cave project to complete before closing down our weeklong November cave trip in Missouri. McGillicutty Cave (CAM191) is a sinkhole cave located east of Osage Beach a short distance from Willow Spring Cave (CAM171) on the same ridge. We arrived at the property at 10:15 a.m. and were ready to survey at 10:30 a.m. Ken was on lead tape, backsights and photography while I took foresights and kept book. Our work began with tying in a shallow sinkhole (Sink #1) thirty feet west of the entrance to get a influence on the cave. Our first station at the entrance was on a small dead cedar stretched across the ten foot diameter sinkhole. (Sink #2) A vertical drop of nine feet sharply sloped down to a three foot high antechamber that trended back ten feet to Sink #1. Ken selected a nice station in the antechamber to shoot another high angle shot down thirteen feet through a slot to the lower passage. Gravity worked well entering the slot, but cave. On the other side was a surprising eight foot wide by twenty foot long room with a ceiling from two to ten feet high. In spite of having a sinkhole entrance this lowest level was rather dry. At the far end of this room a mud slope rose to join the ceiling at a sinkhole collapse. The floor angled down to a rat holed crawl that could be push when every other Missouri cave with low miserable leads is discovered, mapped and inventoried. McGillicutty Cave now has a surveyed length of 51.6 feet. Returning to the surface I speculated that another sinkhole (Sink #3) was above the terminus of the lower cave, so we took a bearing of 86 and length of fifty feet to tie into the surface survey. Unfortunately it was wide to the east of the cave. At this point Ken saw a shallow depression (Sink #4) that we surveyed to that lined up perfectly with our sketch. This surface survey helps to reinforce the need to record and sketch features accurately to understand the interaction above and below ground. We finish the day at 1:45 p.m. Fauna noted in the lower level included some camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ) and four pipistrelle or tri colored bat ( Perimyotis subflavus ). On the way back to Osage Beach I saw four small deer near the edge of the road, which should have tipped me off. While driving to Iowa City to spend a relaxing evening with Ed Klausner and Elizabeth Miller I met a large buck at 70 m.p.h. My truck did not bear up to this encounter and sadly may have reached the end of its useful life. Parks Ranch Cave Parks Ranch Cave, New Mexico Derek Bristol, Lee Florea, Bob Hoke, Ed Klausner, Elaine Scott, Tammy Tucker, William Tucker, Dave West and Karen Willmes November 1, 2013 By Ed Klausner 108


After the CRF public meeting in the morning, Derek arranged for a visit to Parks Ranch cave on BLM land south of Carlsbad. Parks Ranch Cave is a gypsum cave and I had no idea what to expect. Giant gypsum blocks in Carlsbad Cavern are quite soft and I like that. The gypsum where the cave is located is evaporate and quite compacted and therefore fairly hard. There are multiple entrances to this cave and the walls, floor and ceiling show scallops from fast moving water. The cave is quite unsafe in the rain as it floods to the ceilings and there are signs posted to this dannothing. We had a map of the cave and did fairly well following the map for an hour or so. Later, we found a small on the map and followed the passage until we found ourselves in a fairly large room. We were pretty wet by this time as there were pools in the cave thigh deep (we avoided the passages with deeper pools.) We checked the map and were pretty certain we were in an unsurveyed section of the cave. As a general rule here, we just followed any passage going up and eventually we found one of the many entrances. With a bit of searching, we found where we parked our cars and headed back to town. Rotunda Surprise Mammoth Cave, Kentucky November 28 30 2013 By Ed Klausner My main objective for the day was to go to the far end of Boiled Egg Passage in Mammoth Cave and finally look at some of the small leads in the Historic section along the way. These leads are close to the entrance and into the cave and have thus not looked at these leads. Elizabeth Miller, Karen Willmes and Sue Hagan joined me on the first day of the Thanksgiving CRF expedition to look at these leads and then go on to Boiled Egg Passage. The first lead was a small alcove under a wall in the Rotunda. It was filled with rubble and some lumber. The lumber may have some historic significance and this lead will be left for an archaeologist to assess. The second lead was also a small alcove, or at least we thought it was a small alcove, near the Rotunda. We were surprised to find wooden tracks and a mined passage through the sediment that we surveyed for 160 feet. It curved back towards the main passage once it was plotted and the map drafted, it almost came back to the main passage. We then proceeded to a lead near Cyclops Gateway. It will take a ladder do this some other time. When we finally got out to the far end of Boiled Egg Passage, we easily found the lead noted and also noted that the area was quite complex. Instead of one lead, there were several and going in different directions at different levels. We only had time for a few survey shots since we spent more time in the Rotunda than expected, so this area will need more work. The following day, Elizabeth Miller, Eli Winkler and I headed down the Carmichael Entrance, down Cleaveland Avenue, past the Snowball Dining Room, then retraced our direction at a lower level through El Ghor and Silliman Avenue to Cascade Hall. In Cascade Hall, we climbed to a slightly higher level and again, reversed directions going along Stevenson Avenue. It had flooded here recently and the floor and breakdown were covered by a thin layer of mud. When Stevenson Avenue turned sharply to the right and Opossum Avenue was to the left, we had come the location of our 20 or so objectives. Most turned out to be way too small to enter and the rest turned out to have been surveyed. We did, however, find a small side passage that had not been surveyed and got 50 of new survey for a 9 mile cave trip. I have only one grim lead left in this gen109


eral area, a water crawl on the far side of Opossum and then down Belfry Avenue. It will probably stay a lead for a while. Kemling Cave Dubuque County, Iowa November 29, 2013 By Mark Jones Chris Beck asked me to assist in the Black Friday cave tour of Kemling Cave rather than fight the crowds at the local mall. Happy to get underground to work off some Thanksgiving turkey I volunteered my services for this endeavor. While recently discussing my caving adventures with some relatives (Roger and Dan) I convinced them to accompany me to Kemling Cave, south of Dubuque, Iowa. In fact we carpooled for the two hour trip to meet at the cave entrance at 10:00 a.m. I supplied all the appropriate cave gear to insure a safe and enjoyable trip for Roger and Dan. Upon our arrival we found Chris outfitting an enthusiastic group of local youngsters for a tour of the cave. The landowners had graciously offered to open up the cave to interested neighbors and had over a dozen people take advantage of the offer. Since the surface temperatures were long for the group to climb down the ladder to the relative warmth of the entrance passage. The youngest caver, who happened to be a 1 st grader, became scared just inside the dark zone but was soon calmed down. The cave was relatively dry with only a small trickle of water running in the first passages. Big Room we were able to reassemble the group to educate them on proper cave etiquette. I was able to point out a nearby restoration project that Chris had successfully spearheaded several years ago. The Big Room is adorned with beautiful alabaster stalactites and helectites throughout. After everyone had a chance to look around the Big Room we set off for the Jug Room. The ten minutes between these two rooms were spent wallowing in some of the finest boot sucking mud to be found in the Midwest. Along the way we counted over twenty hibernating bats, a real treat to see. In the Jug Room Chris found a chunk of lead ore in the mud to pass around to the kids. At this time we told of the lead mining operations in the Dubuque area. Stories of pit ponies and child labor revealed the terrible conditions that existed over a hundred years ago. Our final stops were down past one K19 dig and out to the perched pool above the Grand Canyon. Everyone enjoyed their introduction to caving and had tales to tell next week when they returned to school. Total cave time was two fun filled hours. Peterson Cave Winneshiek County, Iowa December 14, 2013 By Mark Jones Mike Lace and I returned to Peterson Cave hoping to continue our work past a breakdown constriction that we had circumvented in early August. The story of a 3,000 feet long wetsuit watercrawl has a certain appeal for me and I wanted to be in on the surveying if at all possible. Our plan was to push past the ceiling breakdown block to survey and recon for future trips. We brought along a Wunderbar and hammer in case we needed to move more rock. Since we anticipated a crawl in cold water we opted to wear wetsuits. While Mike donned just his wetsuit bibs, I decided to also wear my bibs and top. It was a short hike through six inches of snow to the entrance twenty foot up a rocky bluff. A cold winter blast had shut off the waterfall making our assault much easier. The hands and knees crawl to the Jenga fight any water although a chilly wind was coming in from the cave mouth. Inside the Jenga Room Mike crawled over the ten foot piece of ceiling breakdown to begin pulling 110


removed several rocks I took point to continue pulling rocks out of the way. The opening was a twelve inch slot on the left that dropped down three feet to a rocky crawl. Unfortunately the icy wind blowing into the cave had frozen the remaining water making a small crawl even smaller. Mike was able to slide down to the crawl to assess the posus any further advance. We ended the trip by stabilizing the Jenga Room before the short crawl to the entrance. We were surprised and delighted to discover several bats along the way out. able to return in the spring when into this enigma. Total cave time was two hours. Roppel Cave December 30, 2013 John Davis, Ed Klausner and Andrew Wilkinson By Ed Klausner Elizabeth Miller and I were expedition leader and camp manager for the CRF Mammoth 2013 do any caving. Always optimistic about a potential trip, I did bring caving gear. Fortunately, Lynn and Roger Brucker volunteered to be expedition leader and camp manager for day three of the expedition and I got to go caving. There were two loops that I wanted to close in Roppel Cave. The first was a passage called Swell Way because it is rather pleasant. To get there, you go down the ladders at the Weller entrance, follow South Downey Avenue for a short distance, then Arlie Way for a short distance and then turn left at North Crouchway for 10 stations. At Psychosis Junction there is a hole in the floor and a passage that goes directly under North Crouchway. Swell Way starts out as a crawl but soon becomes walking passage. The previous survey ended a few stations before Crecelius Dome. We had no trouble finding the last station and started our survey. Once we got to the dome, I looped a rope around a large piece of breakdown and used it to get down a very slippery ledge and slope to the floor of Crecelius Dome. We tied into an easily visible station and pulled down the rope as our next objective was to survey back up to North Crouchway by a different route and close loop number two. After doing a bit of exploring around Crecelius Dome (there are several routes out including Western Kentucky Parkway, a low, wet passage, and Seven Sisters Trail), we started our survey of the route to a station near the beginning of North Crouchclimbed up a pit near Y2, our tie station. It was good to get underground and accomplish something when I had no real expectations of being able to go caving. The trip home was a bit of a challenge as we ran into a snow storm in Illinois and had to spend the night while the roads were cleared. Potato Cave Mammoth Cave National Park Edmonson County, Kentucky Cave Research Foundation Expedition December 28, 3013 By Mark Jones I was assigned to join Stan Sides along with Bruce Hatcher, Jeremy Reedy and Norman Warnell in the inventorying of Potato Cave, a mysterious small cave within Mammoth National Park. The cave had once been deeded in 1903 to Josh Wilson, a famous Mammoth Cave guide and had been investigated by Joe Davidson and Bob Keller for the Cave Research FoundaDavidson was prudent to bring along some basic vertical gear. Although they had made three trips to the cave there was not much information about the cave in the Cave Research Foundation database. Other than the name the only 111


long. Our job was to rectify this by inventorying the cultural development as well as surveying the cave for future reference. Since Norman had already reconnoitered the site and had GPS coordinates we had no trouble walking directly to the rocky bluff that held Potato Cave. At the entrance we quickly discovered the brass cap (C 037) used in inventorying the caves for the park on the left rim of a rock outcropping. The mouth is twelve foot wide and eight foot high that steeply slopes down fifty feet to a rock ledge. The entrance is in Big Cliffy sandstone but limestone is encountered in the lower part of the entrance room. Bruce took book while Jeremy read foresights and I read backsights. We had brought along a were surprised to find that additional vertical gear would be necessary to survey beyond the entrance room. After tying into the brass cap with a ten foot shot we were ready to drop down the 45 degree slope of surface debris forty five feet to our first cave station. While Bruce was sketching the cave I decided to recon the pit. The cave slopes another twenty feet to a rock ledge where I attached the cable ladder to continue deeper into the cave. It was a twenty foot vertical climb to the top of a scree pile that dropped another thirty feet down a tall, narrow canyon that was partially choked with debris. Climbing down the debris pile through the partial choke revealed that the canyon dropped another twenty feet but was impossible to enter due to being filled with rocks. The cave does continue as an upper level hands and knees crawl at the ceiling for another twenty feet before reconnecting with the underlying canyon resulting in a fifteen foot drop. From this vantage point the canyon appears to be filled with debris although the upper hands and knees crawlway continues across the pit up a fifteen foot vertical wall. The passage disappeared around a corner and will have to wait for us to reconnoiter any further. I observed 36 pipistrelle or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ) in two clusters in the lower section of the cave. This cave has potential to be a great addition to the Mammoth Cave small cave survey. Mammoth Cave Mammoth Cave National Park Edmonson County, Kentucky Cave Research Foundation Expedition December 28, 2013 By Mark Jones Dave West had planned to do an intense survey of the Frozen Niagara Entrance and needed help so Lynn Brucker and I volunteered to join him for an evening trip. We arrived at 7:00 p.m. in a cold rain and quickly ducked under the shelter before Dave got the door unlocked and we pushed through the revolving door. On the other side of the airlock we walked forty feet down a mine adit to the first room. The trail gradually sloped to a thirty foot dome, turned around a flowstone wall and popped out at the Frozen Niagara room. Peering over the fence I scanned up thirty feet to the top of the dome and down forty feet to the base of the pit. At the bottom was a rusty handrail leading to a shallow pool that once served as a port to ferry tourists on johnboats to other parts of the cave. From Frozen Niagara we slipped through to the Onyx Colonnade. A nondescript wall on the right was offset by forty feet of beautiful flowstone wall on the left behind a cyclone fence. We began our survey at this point and worked our way back to the entrance shooting twenty foot shots with Dave taking book, Lynn on tape and me reading compass and clino. I had no trouble with most readings although the metal in the railing and the electrical wiring did cause consternation in some spots. We worked through these issues and got back to 112


the door in good time. Total cave time was two hours. Mammoth Cave Mammoth Cave National Park Edmonson County, Kentucky Cave Research Foundation Expedition December 29, 2013 By Mark Jones Ed Klausner, expedition leader for to a team of four to resurvey a side passage off of Miller Avenue. Howard Kailitz had sent a list of objectives along with survey notes for the Bishop Dome map that he is drafting. Since Andrew Wilkenson and I had surveyed in this area last year we agreed to lead the group back to tie in an errant loop. I joined Kayla Sapkota, Aaron Tester and Andrew Wilkenson in the 30 minute hike from the Carmichael Entrance down Cleveland Avenue to the Snowball Dining Room. After a short break we doubled back a short distance to turn off Miller Avenue. We quickly walked, stoopwalked and crawled along a well worn trail of gypsum sand that brought us to the small rabbit hole at the Z1 station. This turnoff can easily be it but we were able to find it without incident. Squeezing through this constriction proved to be the tightest of the day. From here it was only a fifty foot crawl to the L1 Station, a roundhouse, where four passages radiate out. We crawled to the right for a short distance to the F1 Station which was our exit down a rock tube. For the next two hundred feet we alternated between our bellies and hands and knees to move through the passage before it eventually transitioned to a six foot high canyon passage. At the start of the canyon section an unsurveyed undercut trends off to the left. We continued along the main passage another two hundred feet to our destination, the F39 Station. According to our records we were to survey a vertical shot into F39 Station and tie into the BA1 Station to close a loop. A piece of flagging were in the right spot to begin our work. Andrew was on point taking backsights, Aaron read foresights and Kayla took book while I would scout ahead. The first twenty feet was a belly crawl in a popcorn lined passage that transitioned into a ten foot wide pancake passage. The line plot that Kayla had brought along indicated that we should be heading northwest, but we were heading straight south. I crawled past Andrew to recon the paswe were in the right place. I returned to Station F39 to figure out the problem while they continued surveying. Craning my neck I saw a narrow slot overhead with an even smaller hole that someone of small dimensions might be able to wiggle tic. Kayla came back to investigate a good sense if it was possible to squeeze through the small hole. Fiinto the slot and was able to verify that it was indeed the elusive passage we needed to survey, but there was no way any of us were going to push into the upper passage. Perhaps we could come at it from the other direction on another day. Thankfully we had an alternative surveying option just around the corner at station F40. This windy, boxy crawlway necessitated short shots for the entire survey. In spite of this disadvantage we moved along for over a hundred feet before tying into a previous survey. I scouted ahead for another hundred feet with no end in sight. We set a comfortable pace for the trip out enjoying the fellowship as we hiked down Cleveland Avenue back to the car. Potato Cave Mammoth Cave National Park Edmonson County, Kentucky Cave Research Foundation Expedition 113


December 30, 3013 By Mark Jones A survey party of four (Karen Willmes, Tim Green, Matt Mezydlo and I) returned to Potato Cave, one of the numerous small caves at Mammoth Cave National Park, to continue work on surveying and inventorying that was began on December 28, 2013. I had been able to help on the previous trip by reconnoitering beyond the pit to determine the gear needed for a successful follow up trip. We arrived at 11:00 a.m. to begin surveying from station P2, 34 feet inside the entrance. Karen shot foresights and backsights with a Disto X while Tim held the target card and Matt set stations and I kept book and sketched. enter the cave and it was anchored to a conveniently located tree near the cave entrance. An intermittent waterfall passage, two feet by two feet, high on the wall at the back of the first room may garner more footage in the future. Another high lead may or may not be accessible, more on that later. A steep slope of 45 degrees for the first sixty feet to station P3 followed by a twenty foot vertical drop required us to be attached to the rope until reaching the bottom of the vertical drop. Matt led the way, followed by Tim, Karen and finally myself. A ten foot breakdown alcove located to the southeast made a convenient spot to wait while others are on rope. The ceiling stretches forty feet above the rocky floor. The survey trended northwest at 45 degrees down a loose, rocky slope with twenty foot walls with an abundance of fossils. A small cluster of miniature popcorn is found near station P4, but no other significant formations were noted during the remainder of the trip. The high scalloped walls lined the passage as we continued to drop down. On my recon trip on the 28 th I since it appeared to be too small but Matt pushed through down the passage. This was a much easier route than the upper crawl that I had ventured down. Our final station was set at P7 at the bottom of a sixty eight foot dome! According to my sketch of the cave the ceiling is located at the same level as the previously mentioned high lead. While I was sketching Matt and Tim had time to scout ahead at the bottom of the P7 Dome and returned with stories of deep pits, narrow ledges and roaring waterfalls. A high upper lead trends northwest although it will require vertical skills to check out this lead. A low crawl quickly drops down to another lower level that has a short crawl to several pits that This may be a migrating shaft complex with an upper connection between the pits. To view the first pits requires a bellycrawl along the left wall/ledge. Eventually the ledge becomes too small to continue safely; to continue will require vertical skills and free climbing skills. An additional rope chor to drop into the pits. A roaring waterfall was easily heard while in this lower level. This cave is a real From the time we reached the bottom of the vertical drop we were constantly discovering bats in groups or hanging alone. We believe that they are pipistrelle or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ) or little brown bats ( Myotis lucifugus ). Over five dozen bats were noted during this trip. We also observed two types of spiders and a few camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ). At the end of the day we got 127.2 feet of survey for the day with a The total cave length surveyed so far has 172.4 feet of passage with a vertical drop of Total trip time was 5.5 hours. Bedquilt Cave Mammoth Cave National Park Edmonson County, Kentucky Cave Research Foundation Expedition December 31, 3013 By Mark Jones For the final trip of 2013 I was assigned to lead a party of three 114


(Andrew Wilkenson, Karen Willmes and myself) to begin a profile sketch of Bedquilt Cave. We left the Hamilton Valley Research Center at 10:00 a.m. and hiked 45 minutes down the trail to the cave entrance. We entered the cave at 11:15 a.m. The entrance was at the bottom of a sinkhole that could take a lot of water when the rains fall. Thankfully we were going in with little chance of precipitatively dry and remained so for the day. The crawl was a combination of hands and knees and belly over a cobbly floor that transitioned to a silty crawl before reaching the cave that we stood up in the Bird Chamber where our survey began. Karen had refused to survey from the entrance since cold winds howl through the passage in the winter, I was grateful for that call. Breaking out survey gear Andrew took readings, Karen read Disto and set stations and I kept book. We quickly established a rhythm that had us efficiently surveying down the passage. The Bird Chamber had two thirty foot domes divided by a drapery formation but soon after that we were in an easy hundred foot walkway with nary a formation. At the G6 station we climbed down into the Hall of Mists, a big room full of big ceiling breakdown. We continued to follow the Bedquilt Route down a rocky slope that steeply sloped forty feet down a narrow slot to the Hall of the Mountain King. In some spots the ceiling was over 60 foot high. At the bottom of the drop we continued around a corner to a meandering six foot high passage for sixty feet to yet another short drop to a lower stoopwalk under large breakdown blocks. Believe it or not there was another short climb down to a fourth level with an easy walk in a winding passage. By this ready to depart. The profile survey shows that we had descended over a hundred feet from the beginning of our survey in the Bird Chamber. On the return trip we stopped in the Hall of Mists to verify the connection with the underlying Hall of the Mountain King. Interestingly we could not locate one dome so we assume that it is a blind dome. We exited the cave at 5:15 p.m. On the way out I spend more time caving. From the Bird Chamber until we ended our survey we saw over 50 bats (tri coloreds and large browns), unfortunately we found a tri colored bat exhibiting signs of white nose syndrome in the Hall of the Mountain King. After writing the last trip report for 2013 I counted 130 caves I had visited in 108 days. Announcment As many of you know, Mike Lace decided not to seek reelection to a grotto office. warning, but it was still a shock when he said he really was stepping down. For many of us, Mike was the only grotto chairman we knew. How could he step down? Mike has served as chairman for 24 years and has done remarkable things for the grotto. For example, he has been instrumental in creating cave maps and gathering old maps for the cave map books. Five volumes have been published so far. Mike says it was a group effort, which is true, but Mike was the driving force to teach many of us how to survey and produce maps. Mike is not retiring from caving, far from it. He has plans to continue his caving in the Caribbean as well as the midwest and other locations. We all owe Mike done for the grotto. New officers for 2014: Chairman Ed Klausner Vice Chairman/Treasurer John Donahue Secretary Elizabeth Miller 115

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.


Download Options

Choose Size
Choose file type
Cite this item close


Cras ut cursus ante, a fringilla nunc. Mauris lorem nunc, cursus sit amet enim ac, vehicula vestibulum mi. Mauris viverra nisl vel enim faucibus porta. Praesent sit amet ornare diam, non finibus nulla.


Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.


Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.


Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.