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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. 6 (2011)
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I N T E R C O M Volume 47, Issue 6 November December 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 Jan. 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. Cover Photo: Gypsum formations in Mammoth Cave. Photo by Ed Klausner. 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 6 ______________C O N T E N T S _____________ Trip reports: Meeting Minutes 56 Shrieks and Critters 56 Angry Hornet Cave 58 November Coldwater Cave 58 Fitton Cave, Ark. 60 Iowa Caving 2011 60 __________C A L E N D A R__________ 2012 August Picnic 1st wekend in August to be held in Ozark, Jackson County, IA February Grotto Meeting Feb 22nd, room 125, Trowbridge Hall. March Grotto Meeting Mar. 28th, room 125, Trowbridge Hall. April Grotto Meeting Apr. 25th, room 125, Trowbridge Hall. May Grotto Meeting May 23rd, room 125, Trowbridge Hall. 55


56 Please welcome Alex and Sasha Zelinski as newest members. Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting November 16th, 2011 The regular meeting of the Iowa Grotto was called to order by Chairperson Mike Lace, at 7:40 p.m. with four members present. TRIP REPORTS: Joe Dixon reported on the bat survey conducted in Winneshiek County with Ed Price and Gary Engh. Mike L. and Gary E, described their trip with John Donahue and Teresa Kurtz to Clayton county where one cave was mapped and several more located for future survey trips. It was noted that Indian Cave (Johnson County) was also resurveyed this month. FUTURE TRIPS: Joe Dixon will be continuing his Iowa bat surveys. Contact him if interested. There will be lead checking trips and survey trips as well. There are Coldwater Cave trips the third weekend of each month. Iowa Grotto Picnic will once again be held on the first weekend in August, Venue to be announced. See the Intercom and N.S.S. News for additional trips and events. OLD BUSINESS: 2012 Nominations for Grotto officers will remain open through December. Teresa Kurtz has accepted the nomination for Secretary and requested that John Donahue be nominated to serve as Treasurer, thus sharing the office duties that Phil LaRue has diligently discharged for many years. NEW BUSINESS: Elizabeth Miller will offer a presentation on the upgraded Grotto Library at the January meeting. Mike Lace will have a presentation on recent expedition caving in the Caribbean at the February meeting. Joe Dixon will recap his recent bat microclimate data collection and Iowa biospeleology inventory at the April meeting. With no additional business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m. and followed by a brief presentation of historical cave slides (from Jim Hedges and Greg McCarty) recently donated to the Grotto library. (Ed note) No December Meeting Minutes Shrieks and Critters 11 12 2011 Gary Engh, Teresa Kurtz, Mike Lace, Landowner Timothy and John Donahue By John Donahue Sometimes the voyage to a cave is an adventure in itself. After meeting up with Gary and Mike, Teresa and I followed them through the beautiful countryside of Clayton County. Iowa has many wonders and Clayton County is one of those. Left turns on our journey were abundant to the point were they taking us to some exotic secret cave and wanted to make sure we were good and lost before we arrived? Your guess is as good as mine, do they? We finally did arrive at our destination and after a little bit of asking around we hooked up with Timothy. It is hard to believe that a farmer would even have the time of day to say hello to us during harvest season, let alone drop everything he was doing and spend the day escorting us enough how thankful we were to him. The first cave we surveyed was obviously the home to one LARGE raccoon as was evident from the large digits he left for us on the floor. I sketched this cave, which turned out to be over 100 foot. As I was finishing up I crawled up into a little nook where Teresa had just given me the dimensions. I wanted to see what was going on with the passage and if it was worth noting as a possible dig. As I lay there in this little 1


57 by 2 foot crack I heard a loud SHRIEK. Then behind me came the yells relief Teresa remembered my predicament and came back to my rescue. The second cave had a decent sized sinkhole entrance. Mike was the one who located it, and when I arrived I took my time getting ready allowing him to drop in first. Mike however was taking even more time. Eventually I could not contain my excitement and I asked if I could go first. Mike just smiled and said sure. I crawled down into the sink and just as I was poking my head into the cave I heard a growl. Hum, what would growl like that? Then the growl turned into a hiss and again with a pert, but it sure sounded a lot like my little house cat, only a little bigger. I backed off a little hoping that what ever it was would move on, where. I eventually moved a little ways into the cave throwing rocks and sticks out in front of me but the animal would not stop growling and seamed to be sitting right around the next rock. After about 10 minutes of this game I decided to let him have his way and I climbed back up. Once up on top Mike smiled at me again and mentioned something about hearing an animal scurry through the leaves into the sink just as he was arriving. I was only slightly amused and now understood why he was willing to let me hurry into the cave. Thanks bud, smile. We decided to go back up to the farmhouse, hop on an ATV and head down into the next valley. Gary stayed with the vehicles as the rest of us loaded up. Mike and I sat in back, and Teresa sat with Timothy up front. It was a fun ride and surprisingly Timothy kept his concentration on driving while answering the constant drilling of questions coming from up front. We followed a cow path, which Timothy kindly explained to Teresa how it had been made, and at one point we had to cross a small creek. This again brought loud shrieks from Teresa, albeit in pleasure this time. The third cave we found out later had actually already been surveyed so we did not net any new survey footage. It was a nice cave though that in the back area actually had a larger crevice of about 30 35 foot deep. I free climbed down this about half way but decided the last 15 feet would be much better equipped with a rope. The only other item of note was again the raccoon scat. Lots of it, and no Teresa those were not SpaJohn Donahue and Mike Lace riding in style.


58 Angry Hornet Cave Hornet Cave, Winneshiek County, Iowa Joe Dixon, Gary Engh, Ed Klausner, Elizabeth Miller, and Ed Price November 5 th 2011 By Ed Klausner long to survey a 325 foot cave in Winneshiek County, but this cave posed some problems for us. During the first survey trip in 2007, Mike Lace, Gary Engh, Steve and Jeannie Daughton, Elizabeth and I surveyed 160 feet until we got to a bellycrawl through water. This is the only wet cave in the valley and we were not prepared for the conditions. This was a cave found by the landowner and had never been surveyed. On the second trip a month later, Gary, Brandi, Elizabeth and I surveyed in the low wet passage another few survey shots towards an ear dip. first wet suit trip) so we stopped the survey for the day. It took us a while to get back to finish the survey and we thought that the first weekend in November in a dry year would give us good conditions. We were mostly wrong. It was mild out and pleasant enough changing into and out of wet suits, but the cave conditions were difficult. Only Elizabeth and I surveyed while Joe, Gary and Ed monitored the other caves in the valley as part of a project Joe is working on. The water was mostly gone and all that remained was either sticky mud or wet gooey mud. Travel was very slow and surveying was a challenge as mud got over everything. The passage was mostly bellycrawl and the former to finish the cave as neither of us wanted to go back. It only took a few more shots as we got into a room where we could stand up and then only one small passage led out of the room. It quickly pinched down to where it became impassable. Much of our gear just stuck to us on the way out except for the packs. They proved difficult to get out as grip on them. It took a while to get cleaned up and by the time we changed, Joe, Gary and Ed were finished with their work. A disappointment was that the Whippey Dip in Decorah was closed for the season. November Coldwater Cave November 19th, 2011 By M. Bounk Michael Bounk, Bert Exline Sat. morning I picked up Bert, a new caver, in Tipton and headed to Coldwater. We entered the cave at about 1pm.We proceeded downstream, past the Gallery Section, and slowly through Pothole Country. After a while we turned around just beyond a big dome in the ceiling of the main passage where a line a breakdown extends across the passage. We wanted to get out in time for pizza and to visit with the other cavers and the Flatlands. On the way back upstream we took pictures and I pointed out a few features. We exited at about 4pm, visited with Mike Lace, Larry Welch, and Mark Jones. During this discussion we were invited on a trip upstream next month through Spong Siphon, and up to Tuna Sea Siphon. There is still unexplored passage up this way, however, it involves going through water filled passages and sumps. After visiting for awhile, we headed The next morning, after sleeping in the shed, Bert and I checked out the entrance to Glenwood Cave, before heading home.




60 Fitton Cave, Arkansas December 3, 2011 Jeff Bridgman, Scott House, Ed Klausner, Elizabeth Miller, Kayla New, Josh Shock, Charlie White, and Max Young By Ed Klausner December can be a tricky time to plan a trip to Fitton Cave in Arkansas, but the weather forecast looked acceptable. Elizabeth and I met Scott at Steele Creek where the park service allows us to use a research facility. We were able to get permission to go to Fitton because we were going to monitor bats for Buffalo National River and have me learn the route to the Round House Room that I will be drafting. The next morning we met the others and headed off for Fitton, passing through scenic Broadwater Hollow. The forecast was for a chance of rain in the afternoon and a very high percent chance of rain in the evening. It ing, so we brought rain gear along with us for our return trip. Once in Fitton, we started counting bats dividing them between pips (Tricolored) and myotis. We saw a few Northern Long Eared Bats (a Myotis). We separated the counts by passages to try to get an understanding of where the bats were hibernating, if WNS was present, and the general health and numbers of bats in the cave. On the way in to the Round House Room, we went via West Crystal, then Crystal passage and finally Schermerhorn Bypass. This required a bit of route finding and it took us 5 hours to count bats and find the correct route. The Round House Room is immense. There are leads in the area and I will be back there many times before it has been fully surveyed. We decided to exit via East Passage instead of going back the same way we came in. This had the advantages of counting bats in a different passage and learning a different route. This way is much faster as it is more straightforward and mostly walking passage. We got out after dark and luckily, to the vehicles was nicer than expected. The weather got worse that night, however, and we could only do a bit of ridgewalking the following day. My GPS was more or less useless as the cloud cover was too dense to get a constant signal. The following day, the weather got even worse with snow and sleet with more forecast. We at Steele Creek with icy roads. The road down to the campground and research station is steep and not plowed. The next trip will be in nicer weather. COMPLETED IOWA CAVE SURVEYS: Carcass Cave (Clayton County) 40 feet Fungi Cave (Allamakee County) 177 feet Fantastic Fossil Pot (Allamakee County) 20 feet Frank's unnamed Crevice (Jackson County) 50 feet VVCC Cave (Fayette County) 14 feet Fugitive Shelter (Clayton County) 12 feet Plunging Crack Cave (Hardin County) 18.3 feet Rock Slide Cave (Clayton County) 20 feet IOWA CAVING 2011 SURVEY AND EXPLORATION : The Kemling Cave Project (Dubuque County) continues active exploration, survey, resource inventory and restoration efforts. Total survey stands at over 2 miles. Exploration at Coldwater Cave continues wth the recent discovery of yet another 125 foot high dome HC Grave Dome. Surveys were also initiated in Peterson's Cave and Mushroom Cave in Winneshiek County. New entries and numerous updates to existing ones were made to the Iowa Cave Files.


61 Highlandville Cave #9 (Winneshiek County) 324.5 feet CAVE RESURVEYS: City Park Cave (Hardin County) 18.3 feet Indian Cave (Johnson County) 25 feet Wildcat Cave (Hardin County) 42.8 feet MINNESOTA/MISSOURI CAVE SURVEYS : Several Iowa Grotto members participated in several Mystery Cave survey expeditions (Fillmore County, MN). Grotto members also mapped Historic Newark Cave (Knox County, MO) with a total of 125 feet. CAVE SAFETY TRAINING: Mock cave rescue and training was held at Coldwater Cave this summer for cavers and local EMS personnel. CAVE CONSERVATION : Photo documentation and restoration efforts continued in Kemling Cave (Dubuque County) where several delicate flowstone areas and pools were cleaned. CAVE SCIENCES: Iowa Grotto members and Coldwater Cave Project participants continued the ongoing study of cave microclimate in Coldwater Cave. Additional equipment was also installed in the cave to track long term changes in air temperature as well. Numerous improvements were made to the Coldwater Cave facility, including addition of a solar panel array to provide power to future instrumentation in support of future research projects. Iowa Grotto Biospeleology Research Projects include correlating the Iowa small caves database and species specific bat census data spanning several years were completed and published in the NSS Journal of Cave and Karst Studies. Grotto member Joe Dixon is coordinating the expansion of these studies, receiving a small grant from the Iowa DNR this year for monitoring equipment to measure the microclimate (ambient temperature) of bat roosting areas as a function of cave structure in select Iowa caves. The study was launched this year and projected to run for a total of three years. Additional Iowa cave fauna studies are in the planning stages. Joe has published yet another paper on Iowa Cave fauna this year, dealing with cave use by certain beetles. The Grotto now has an Iowa biospeleology database constructed for archiving these accumulating results. Grotto members also conducted late wintering bat counts and WNS monitoring in select Iowa caves in a cooperative effort with the State Biologist/IA DNR. All results are negative to date. GROTTO LIBRARY, MISC. BUSINESS. Previously out of print volumes of the popular Iowa Cave Map Book series were reprinted this year and are now in stock. The Grotto Library received a large bequest of cave related materials from Deb McCarty in Greg McCarty's name. Numerous caving books, maps, historical photos and postcards are currently being catalogued. New Grotto T shirts were produced from winning designs gathered from a wildly successful T shirt logo contest.

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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