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. 51, no. 2 (2015)
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:
K26-01790 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.1790 ( USFLDC Handle )
21629 ( 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 51, Issue 2 March April 2015 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 June 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: Spring entrance of Blanchard Springs Caverns, Arkansas. Photo by Scott Dankof. National Speleological Society P. O. Box 228 Iowa City, Iowa 52244 Chairman Ed Klausner Vice Chairman/Treasurer John Donahue Secretary Elizabeth Miller Volume 51 Issue 2 ______________C O N T E N T S _____________ Meeting Minutes 24 Trip reports: Mill Creek Cave 24 The Lost Caves Of Louisa County 25 28 March Coldwater Cave Trip 28 White Nose Syndrome in Dubuque 29 Lava Beds Natl. Monument 29 Carlsbad Caverns Natl. Park 35 Lava Beds Natl. Monument 40 Maps: Wilson Cave 49 23


__________CALENDAR___________ May Grotto Meeting May 27th Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall. June Grotto Meeting June 24th Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall. July Grotto Meeting July 22nd Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall. Iowa Grotto Summer Picnic Saturday August 1st at Swiss Valley Campground in Dubuque County. Minutes of the Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting March 25, 2015 The regular meeting was called to order by Chairman Ed Klausner at 7:50 PM with 8 members and 1 guest present. Prior to the meeting, Justin Sipla gave a presentation on Ancient DNA of the Extinct Megafauna of Natural Trap Cave in Wyoming. Minutes of the January and February 2015 regular meetings were read and approved. Trip reports: John Donahue, Mike Lace, Elizabeth Miller, Joe Dixon and in Louisa County. They also Looked over a sinkhole area. Mike Lace took three trips to the Caribbean Mapping in the Caymans in December, January in Haiti and February in the Bahamas. Ed went to the Roppell section of Mammoth Cave National Park in February with Mark Jones from the grotto and other Cave Research Foundation members. Coldwater weekend in Winneshiek county had a lot of activity. Groups from the Redwing Environmental Center visited the cave Saturday and Sunday. Pat Davis, friend Ann and Mike Bounk went upstream in Coldwater. Chris Beck directed a crew of Larry Welsh, Jeanette Muller, Ed and Elizabeth replacing the outhouse. Mike Lace assisted with privy reconstruction and also did other landscaping and maintenance chores. Mike Bounk, Gary Segwarth of the DNR, and others did a count of bats in Spook Cave. 460 bats were counted, a high number for the cave. Future trips: A trip to count bats and dig in Kemling Cave is scheduled for Saturday March 28. Contact Chris Beck if interested. Waynesville MO is the site the NSS convention this July. The grotto picnic in is tentatively set for Dubuque County. Old Business : There will be cave rescue training Saturday, September 12 at Coldwater Cave. Contact Doug Schmuecker if interested. New Business: Mike Lace will do a presentation at the April meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 P.M. (No minutes submitted for the April meeting) Mill Creek Cave (PUL012) Pulaski County, Missouri March 7, 2015 By Mark Jones After weeks of terrible winter weather in Missouri Jim Cooley, Brenda Goodnight, Bill Gee, Dennis Novicky, Ken Grush, Rita Worden and I finally met on Friday evening at the Our original goal was to continue surveying beyond the endless spanky banks in Allie Spring Cave (PUL317) but the recent warm up had melted most of the snow in the watershed which resulted in a flooded watercrawl. Nearby Mill Creek Cave issues so we opted to survey this cave with hopes of completing the map by the end of the weekend. With the muddy, sloppy road it took us forty five minutes to hoof it up and down the steep hills to Mill Creek Cave on Saturday morn. Although the water level had receded in Alley excited) to survey this cave. To best utilize our resources and time we split into three groups Brenda and Rita doing a bio inventory throughout the cave, Bill and Dennis pushing leads and surveying and Ken and I surveying. A pungent odor of a striped skunk ( Mephitis mephitis ) wafted from the entrance area and 24


concerned us on the presence of said creature but thankfully no skunks were encountered on this trip. After unlocking the gate we crawled down the dusty slope to the first room, The Hall of the Fallen Heroes, with broken formations scattered around the floor. Several bats were observed in this area that the girls would be entering into their bio inventory. The boys continued another four hundred feet across the tacky mud floor Bill and Dennis scurried off to the right to push the end of Jesse James Passage while Ken and I began the survey. Ken was on point, read backsights and took photos while I read foresights and kept book. We started off well enough with a good, long shot in a roomy, rubble strewn tube with high hopes of hundreds of feet of survey. Unfortunately two stations later the floor rose to the ceiling choking off any possible thoughts of more cave. While Ken and I finished this off Bill and Dennis began surveying the lower level of total of 103 feet before closing down. Heading back toward the entrance Ken and I located Station C1 to begin Branch. In spite of the fact that we were in a high, dry crawlway the sketching was difficult due to the narrow, winding floor eighteen feet below. This keyhole passage twisted under a flat confining ceiling for the duration. Throughout the survey we were able to shine our lights down to the floor but for 177 feet we gnarly slot. Eventually the floor opened up allowing us to connect to the lower level. First we attempted to double back under the overhead crawlway but within twenty feet it became less than inviting. (i.e. low, this survey to future hearty cavers. Turning back we conferred with the other team to establish a tie in station. Ken and I got another fifty feet of muddy survey to finish off our day with nearly 350 feet of survey. According to Dennis a low watercrawl funneled down to an impossible pinch that terminated their survey. The survey total for the day in Mill Creek Cave was over 530 feet. This trip totaled seven hours with only a tight, lower lead remaining. The cave fauna inventory resulted in 113 pipistrelle or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ), with two bats that unfortunately exhibited white nose syndrome (W.N.S.) ( Pseudogymnoascus destructans ), three Western slimy salamander ( Plethodon albagula or glutinosus ), 100 larval salamanders in lower pools, two pickerel frog ( Rana palustris ), numerous flies ( Diptera sp.) and a cave webworm ( Macrocera nobilis ), a larva of the fungus gnat. Addendum Bill Gee, Dennis Novicky and Rita Worden finished mapping Mill Creek Cave on Sunday with 85 feet. The cave totaled 1,756 feet, a fine addition to the Missouri Speleological Survey. The Lost Caves of Louisa County March 14, 2015 By Joe Dixon In December of 1894 the Iowa Academy of Science met for their annual meeting in Des Moines, Iowa. At the meeting a presentation was given by Mr. just started working as a park ranger for the Louisa County Conservation Board when I stumbled across this obscure entry in a report of the Academy's annual meeting. I contacted the Academy to see if any record or copy of this presentation survived that might divulge the location of the cave he had found, but alas, no such documentation existed. So began my quest to find the lost caves of Louisa County! Over the next several years I asked many of the locals if they knew of any caves in the area. As would be expected I heard many tales of caves in the county, all of which ended with the cave owner being a friend of 25


a friend, or some other vague associate who could never be precisely located or whose name could never be remembered exactly. Occasionally I would receive obscure directions to where a cave was located. Phrases southern heard there is a cave between Wapello swers to my question. I did hear on more than one occasion that the caves county), but I was never able to locate any. I also began searching the internet for any information I could find on caves in Louisa County. I knew that services such as Google Books and Internet Archive were constantly scanning old books and documents and making them freely available online and I hoped that I would someday stumble across a clue much like I did with Iowa Academy of Science report. Eventually I found my first hint in a published in 1889 by the Acme Publishing Company of Chicago, Illinois (I do not believe this company was affiliated with Wile E. Coyote however). According to this book the grand jury for the county, lacking a court house, would meet in a cave in the river bank near the town of Wapello. Being very familiar with the Iowa River in Louisa County from my job as a park ranger I was dubious of this claim, but it was my only lead. I asked several colleagues with the County Conservation Board and Iowa DNR about it but I was unable to find any additional information on the cave in the Iowa River bank. That is until I stumbled upon another book County, Iowa, from Its Earliest SetSpringer. Mr. Springer's book confirmed my suspicion that it was not truly a cave as he described it as a sort of cave, or hollow in the Fortunately, Mr. Springer's book also provided a clue to another possible cave location. The first chapter of his book covered the geology of the county and in that chapter he briefly mentioned the presence of sinkholes near Morning Sun. The sinkholes it seems were located near the Concord Schoolhouse in Section 18 of Morning Sun township. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate any records of the Concord Schoolhouse. I moved on in my career and eventually left Louisa County in 2004, but I never forgot the lost caves. Over the next several years I would occasionally search the web hoping to find a nugget of information. My persistence paid off when at the end of 2014 I stumbled upon another document that seems to have been the source of Mr. Springer's information den, and published by the Iowa Geological Survey in 1901, contained a detailed legal description of the sinkholes. Using this information I looked at a LiDAR photo of the area and found several sinkholes clearly visible (LiDAR is a laser created topographic map, the entire state of Iowa was mapped using this technique by the DNR in 2010). And to my surprise, one of the sinkholes was right next to the entrance of a cemetery named Concord Cemetery. be significant and that it could not be a coincidence that I had found sinkholes next to a cemetery bearing the same name as the schoolhouse described in Udden's book. I sent a few emails to some contacts I still had in Louisa County and continued searching on the web when I had another stroke of luck. I learned that The Tri Rivers Conservation Foundation of Louisa County had a PowerPoint presentation that consisted of interviews with people about the natural resources of the county. It just so happened that an interview done in 2008 was with a man named Earl Wilson and was about the caves he explored around Morning Sun as a 26


boy. I contacted the person who had done the interview, a woman named Kathy Vance, whom (ironically) I had known when I worked as a Park Ranger all those years ago in Louisa County. Kathy called me back and it turned out that Earl Wilson was her father and one of the caves he explored as a boy was on the farm where she still lived. With this information I was sure that I had found at least some of the missing caves in Louisa County and I knew it was time to organize a trip. I emailed Mike Lace, Ed Klausner and Elizabeth Miller to see if any of them were available to check out some possible caves in Louisa County. Everyone was on board. Ed also mentioned that John Donahue would be joining us as well. It was at this point that my hands became clammy and I broke out in a cold sweat. A couple years ago I had convinced John to accompany me on a bat counting trip during the middle of the winter. I had chosen the caves at Pine Valley Nature Area in Jackson County. The snow was deep, the wind was cold, and with a crude map provided by Mike Lace we set off. We made our way down into the valley and found... zero caves. Zip, nada, nothing. We didn't find a single cave that day even though we knew they were in the valley all around us. I wondered if I would ever be able to face John again if I lead him on another wild goose chase! Surely I couldn't be wrong this time, I reasoned. I decided this was my chance to redeem myself. We set off from Ed and Elizabeth's house on the morning of Saturday, March 14 th Which I had forgotten was also Pi Day. Fortunately Elizabeth had remembered and made several small Pi pies. Elizabeth gave us each a pie with Pi and insisted we all pose for a selfie before leaving. Mike refused to have his face in the picture, I believe I overheard him mumbling something about top secret tropical caving conspiracies, while John ate most of his Pi pie beforehand, but it was still a nice picture. After our brief celebration of a mathematical constant we headed south toward Morning Sun. When we arrived at the farm we were met by Kathy's husband Michael who took us directly to the cave. One the way he explained that the farm had been in his wife's family for over 150 years and was first homesteaded by one of her ancestors in 1840. He also found it hard to believe that the Iowa Grotto had never documented a cave in Louisa County before, as sinkholes were quite prevalent in the area. When we arrived at the cave we were all quite surprised. It was a solutional entrance on the side of a hill approximately 20 feet up from a creek. The first 15 to 20 feet or so was stoop walking passage which quickly narrowed down to a crawlway. We did not see any bats in the cave, but several other common cave critters were present; cave orb weaver spiders, camel crickets, and pill bugs. The presence of raccoons was also obvious from the large quantity of poop throughout the cave. Michael told us that his in laws had told him that all of the neighboring children knew about the cave and would often play in it when they were growing up. His Mother in law stated that there was even a small room at the very back of the cave and that as a child she and her friends would crawl to the back and sit in the room around a candle. Ed, Elizabeth and John continued working their way to the back of the cave to map it while Mike and I hung back and spoke more with Michael. Eventually the trio returned with a total surveyed length of 115 feet. Not bad for the first cave mapped in Louisa County. They also confirmed that there was a small room with a ceiling height of about 3 feet at the very back of the cave, just as Michael's Mother in law had described. When asked what to name the cave Michael suggested Wilson's Cave. After thanking Michael for his hospitality we headed a few miles to the north to Concord Cemetery to check out the 27


Some of the sinkholes were on private property so on the way we stopped at the landowners house to get permission to check them out. Unfortunately they were not home so it will have to wait for another day. Once we arrived at the cemetery we decided the dirt road was too muddy to risk driving so we hiked about a quarter mile down the lane until we arrived at the cemetery. Sure enough, just as Mr. Udden had said in 1901, and Mr. Springer in 1912, and the DNR's LiDAR from 2010, there was a sinkhole right on the edge of the cemetery next to the entrance. Unfortunately the sinkhole had long since silted in and no accessible cave was present. After talking with a neighboring landowner (who had come down to the cemetery to see what we were up too) about the possibility of more caves in the area we headed home. Since this trip I have spoke with Kathy Vance some more about the caves her father explored as a child. It turns out that one of them (which apparently had a room large enough for several adults to stand in) was destroyed by the Iowa DOT when they built Highway 78 in the 1950's. She also mentioned that there was possibly a third cave in the area, but the land had changed hands and she would have to do some research to find out where it is and who owns it now. Both she and the man we met at the cemetery however have our contact information and were very interested in having the Grotto explore possible caves in the county. Hopefully this was just the beginning of the search for the lost caves of Louisa County. Wilson Cave, Louisa County, Iowa March 14, 2015 By Ed Klausner In high spirits and low expectations, we headed off to Louisa County to follow up on some leads of Joe owner with a cave on his land that was entered by his wife and her friends when they were children. They were supposed to have gone in about 50 feet to a room where they could sit up. Unusually, we found that it was actually longer to get to the room, about twice as long. Usually, people exaggerate the length and it turns out to be much shorter than they thought. We surveyed through the raccoon poop in various stages of fresh to powdery for a total length of 115 feet. This makes Wilson Cave the first recorded and first surveyed (and longest) cave of Louisa County. We then headed off to some sinkholes that were on LIDAR images that Joe found. The landowner of many of the sinkholes was not home but there was one on public land that we found. Unfortunately, it was plugged. Based on what we saw, there is a potential for other caves in this county, but Jackson and Jones Counbeing outnumbered by Louisa County caves. March Coldwater Cave Trip March 21, 2015 Jason Jech and 8 students (from the Red Wing Environmental learning center), Pat Davis, Anne Crotty, and Michael Bounk By Michael Bounk We entered the cave at about Noon. The plan was to head upstream a ways, and then to the Gallery before exiting. The Red Wing cavers (taking year 2 of a 2 year caving course) led the way, and I brought up the rear, planning for a fairly leisurely cave trip. I was just getting my Coldwater legs back. We started upstream, with me bringing up the rear, as planned. This went fine, with me playing follow the leader, until someone decided to go to the left of the Breakdown Pavement, instead of up and onto the pavement, (where the crinoid slab is). I had always been curious as to what was down there. Now I know. Water covered breakdown blocks, that I am guessing by foot feel to be about 2' in diameter. Walking on these in28


visible rocks, not knowing how to step next, wore me out. We came up onto the pavement just upstream of the crinoids. We then headed upstream beyond the Jump in off Point. I found that I was having trouble stoop walking at the pace that was set. After about 200' or so, I went to crawling on hands and knees (many hundreds of feet early), and fell further behind. I called ahead that I would wait there for everyone, and stopped and rested. Everyone except Pat and Anne, who were going to go through Spong, returned. A few minutes after that, they also arrived, having abandoned their attempt. After a short break, we started downstream, with me bringing up the rear, moving slowly. Unfortunately, I was trying to watch the water covered floor so hard, that I walked past the usual point where people walk from the stream to the Jump in off Point. I tripped on water covered breakdown, and fell face first into the water. At that point, I realized that I better head slowly out. I asked Pat, who was still there, to stick with me, which he and Anne did. We exited before everyone else got back from the Gallery. This is very embarrassing. My exercising must continue. I plan to be back to Coldwater in May. I have a conflict for April. On the surface, Mike Lace, Larry Welch, Ed Kausner, Elizabeth Miller, Chris Beck, and Janet Muller had torn down the old outhouse, and were finishing a new outhouse out of galvanized steel. This was finished before we went to supper in Cresco, at Mabe's Pizza, where Wanda Flatland got us a discount on all you can eat pizza. White Nose Syndrome in Dubuque March 28, 2015 By Ed Klausner It was, once again, time for a bat count at Kemling Cave. Last year, we found an unusually high number of bats very close to the entrance, but none showed the white muzzle associated with White Nose Syndrome. Chris Beck, Jeanette Muller, Jim Roberts, John Donahue, Alex and Sasha Zelinsky, Randy and Liz Hayungs, Elizabeth Miller and I met in Dubuque to both count bats and 3 people (John, Alex and Sasha) to go to the Oz section to continue working on the lead. Very close to the entrance it was very apparent that something was wrong. We found a large number of bats, several of them with white muzzles. We photographed them and when enlarging the pictures, many others also showed the characteristic white muzzle. There were also 3 dead bats on the floor. We continued on and counted a total of 226 bats, the largest number by in the cave, the bats appeared to be healthy. It was no surprise since Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri have all reported White Nose Syndrome, but it was still pretty depressing seeing sick and dead bats. Lava Beds National Monument Labyrinth Cave System Siskiyou County, California March 31, 2015 By Mark Jones I arrived at 3:00 p.m. on the last day of March at Lava Beds National Monument, checked in at the Visitor Center and unloaded provisions at the Cave Research Center before heading out to see some lava tubes in the Cave Loop. Since the rest of the crew of the morning I decided to reconnoiter some of the popular sites in the monument. With all of the surveying of lava tubes outside of the Cave Loop performed under the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) banner stay to visit these well known caves. Starting at the Hopkins Chocolate Cave/Garden Bridges parking area I followed the paved trail to the east and climbed down the aluminum staircase through a skylight to Hopkins Chocolate Cave. The Labyrinth Cave System has numerous skylight 29


entrances scattered along its route making it confusing which skylight the lava flow. Following the tube easy walk for much of the five hundred feet to the lava filled terminus. Interesting sights along the way were frothy pahoehoe floors, lavacicles, lava benches, a lava falls and a lava pool. One of the satisfying aspects exploring lava tubes is that when they shut down, they REALLY shut down. Unlike in limestone caves there are no dig trips in lava tube. dust in a lava tube and never enough mud to warrant taking a shovel in Returning to the skylight I followed the tube upflow into the Garden Bridges, a series of several bridges broken by expansive skylights. Before the lava flows were accurately mapped explorers found the series of endless skylights and tubes very confusing resulting in naming this area the Labyrinth System. The entire Cave Loop cluster lies no more than ten feet below the surface which is why there are so many skylights. I spent an hour weaving in and out of one lava tube to the next enjoying the variety of formations and passage. April 1, 2015 South Castle Flow Cave System Siskiyou County, California To celebrate the 24 th anniversary of shattering my left femur skiing at Copper Mountain in Colorado I decided to go caving at Lava Beds National Monument in California. Since the rest of the crew (Don Dunham, Paul Hauck, Scott House & Richard Young) needed time to recuperate I was assigned to reconnoiter some of the lava tubes near Monument Road west of Schonchin Butte. I picked up the survey gear and cave information from the administration office and was off to see how many I could find. Castle Cave (M230) It was only a short hike from the road to the extensive collapsed trench that led northeast to the breakdown slope of Castle Cave. Carefully climbing down the rocky slope I gradually dropped a hundred feet to a terminal breakdown. Other than occasional lavacicles the lava tube was devoid of formations. Extensive woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat covered much of the breakdown. From the entrance I followed the collapsed trench to the southwest for five hundred feet with high hopes but little faith. Evening Cave (M220) Cresting a breakdown pile in the collapsed trench I saw an oval openright with breakdown scattered all along the floor. No significant formations were found in this cave. After a hundred feet the breakdown funsky. Beyond the upflow entrance the collapsed trench continued off to the horizon. Ascending the lava flow I spied a brass cap identifying the cave/natural bridge as Evening Cave. More woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat was found in this area. April Fools Cave From Evening Cave I hiked toward the south and stumbled across a surface lava tube with two entrances. The northern entrance was three foot wide by four foot high leading into a ten foot wide by three foot high passage for thirty feet before a ceiling collapse opened up to the second entrance. Another twenty feet of crawlway continued to a lava flow choke. It is assumed that this was an unknown cave. More woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat here. April Fools Annex Cave Just thirty feet south of April Fools Cave I found another small cave I christened April Fools Annex. A three foot square entrance dropped to an anteroom with a smidgen of passage remaining. More woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) 30


scat here. Turkey Cave (M265) Crossing Monument Road to the east I began searching for Kirk Whites Cave in another impressive trench collapse. To the north of the trench I located Turkey Cave, a hundred foot lava tube that ended at a breakdown pile. No significant formations were found in this cave however a great deal of woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat was identified. Still looking for Kirk Whites Cave I followed the collapsed trench further south poking around the endless breakdown. Beaconlight Cave (M270) A thousand feet to the east the breakdown trench terminated and a large cave entrance angled down through the rock. According to Selected Caves and Lava Tube Systems in and near Lava Beds National Monument, California this cave got its name from the bonfires set by Modoc Indians in search of water. This was the longest cave of the day at over three hundred feet. Two large rooms define most of the lava tube. The entrance chamber measures 150 feet long, 50 feet wide and up to 35 feet high while the second chamber, named the Silver Clouds Cavern, is 190 feet long, 50 feet wide and up to 50 feet high. Huge mounds of ceiling breakdown cover the entire floor. Extensive woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat was found everywhere in this cave. The Igloo (M260) Still searching for Kirk Whites Cave I retreated to the north past Turkey Cave (M265) and located the continuation of the collapsed trench which held The Igloo (M260) and Kirk Whites Cave (M250). The Igloo was a small cave on the downflow of Turkey Cave. As the name implies the lava tube resembles an igloo. At only thirty feet cave. Woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat was present. Kirk Whites Cave (M250) The last cave of the day for me was Kirk Whites Cave two hundred feet north of The Igloo in the same collapsed trench. Evidently in the floor for the general public but the cave was never opened. A nicely groomed trail extends a hundred feet to a breakdown terminus. Not much in the way of formations but all kinds of woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat. With the photos and GPS locations from this trip we should be more efficient when we return in the future to survey these lava tubes. A total of four hours was spent reconning these eight caves. April 2, 2015 North Castle Flow Cave System Circle Cave, Spotlight Cave, Whitecap Cave, Sidetrack Cave, East & West Trench Caves, Temptation Cave, Funnel Cave, Bitterbush Cave and Tympani Tube Siskiyou County, California With so many objectives in the North Castle Flow Scott House wanted to get an early start to the day so we were up at 5:30 a.m. and out the door at 7:00 a.m. Along with us (Don Dunham, Paul Hauck, Scott House, Richard Young and myself) was Casey Chalmers, an intern at the Lava Beds. Parking at the trailhead for the Thomas Wright Battlefield we geared up and were off down the 1.1 mile path. From the battlefield overlook we hiked north into the broken ground of the North Castle Flow. Our first goal was to hit the Circle Cave/Spotlight Cave area to confirm the survey information from previous trips. On the way I took Paul, Richard and Casey into an upper entrance collapse of Circle Cave that did indeed make a big circle that exited on the north side of the same collapse. This easy crawlway was a good initiation into the lava tubes of the North Castle Flow. Back on the surface we joined Scott and Don at Spotlight Cave to further expose the group to navigating in the caves. While we were touring the cave Scott reconciled his 31


map problems and we were on our way east to visit more caves. Caves we stopped at included Whitecap Cave with its alabaster tipped pahoehoe and Sidetrack Cave with 152 feet of lava tube from entrance to entrance. While on our way to survey Funnel Cave Paul discovered an unknown cave and then Scott found another unknown appeared to be a small room but a rocky pinch opened up to a nice sixty foot long stoopwalk that terminates at a breakdown wall. At this time we broke out the survey gear and divided into two teams. I joined Scott and Don on the A Team at West Trench Cave B Team) surveyed East Trench Cave. (The B Team surveyed this lava tube photos, Don was on lead tape and I read instruments and took photos. The entrance to West Trench Cave was in the bottom of a small collapsed dome that had thirty foot crawlway, a twenty foot alcove and a sixteen foot arced crawlway. The total footage for With our first cave surveyed we set off to find Ant Hole Cave, a GPS waypoint east of West Trench Cave while the B Team surveyed Funnel Cave. While wandering about Don stumbled other GPS waypoint for an unsurveyed cave. The entrance was a sixteen foot wide by two foot high slot without much hope. At first Don thought the cave to be about twenty feet, a rather disappointing length. Once we began the survey Don modified his estimate since the passage opened up and knees crawl. Thirty feet into the lava tube a tight pancake passage veered off to the right. Don and I confirmed it opened up on the other side of the pinch, but it will require more slender cavers to investigate this lead. Another thirty foot down the main crawlway another tight pancake passage up high angled off to the right. Once again Don and I were stymied by the squeeze with roomier passage beyond. This bellycrawl turns with the first side passage. A short tube ran off to the left before terminating at a lava plug. However a three foot drop on the right led down to a fabulously wide room with a three foot ceiling. No further passage existed after this interesting room. This was my favorite lava tube/ cave of the day. Don could barely get his body in the crawl. Curious as to how the B Team was doing I was sent to see how their work was progressing. I found them at Funnel Cave, a known cave south of East Trench Cave. The roomy entrance was in a pile of lava breakdown that dropped sixteen feet down to a six foot high passage that trended north. The B Team was well into their survey in a crawlway beyond a breakdown slope. When information was exchanged I returned to the A Team in search of more missing lava tubes. Bitterbrush Cave appeared to be less promising than Temptation Cave but like that cave it was full of surprises. A healthy bitterbrush ( Purshia tridentate ) grew out of a shallow five foot diameter ceiling collapse entrance. (Have you figured out there are a LOT of ceiling collapse entrances in lava?) A large rock blocked the lava tube crawl to the left so Don led us in a bellycrawl to the right. It appeared that the cave would end at a small skylight but Don had other ideas. Squirming along the pumice floor we slid past the skylight to a hands and knees crawl to another skylight. The tube finally shut down twenty feet later, giving it a total length found a eared bat ( Corynorhinus townsendii ) hanging out in this cave. Near Leap Frog Cave we found a twenty foot diameter collapsed dome with cave passage along the outer edge. The walls of the lava tube formed the outer edge of the cave while the ceiling collapse constituted the inner wall. 32


long five foot diameter surface tube. This roomy crawlway terminated at a breakdown choke/skylight. Scott and Don returned the next day to survey and name the cave Tympani Tube. Addendum: It was going to be pretty repetitive mentioning that woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat was found in each cave or lava tube. Suffice it to say there was woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat in each cave or lava tube. April 4, 2015 North Castle Flow Cave System Little Hummock Hole Cave, Witness Cave, Phoebe Cave, Battlefield Cave, Mossy Crawl Tube, Mossy Crawl Cave, Hideaway Cave, Hardin Vent and Unknown Cave Siskiyou County, California For the fourth day of caving at Lava Beds National Monument I was teamed up with Bill Broeckel and Paul Hauck to mop up some remaining lava tubes in the North Castle Flow, north of Hardin Butte. Paul led us right to our first objective just east of a lone juniper. Bill read instruments, Paul kept book and I was on lead tape. Our survey began at the collapsed end of a surface lava tube. Crawling over a rocky floor I set the first (and only) station at 23 feet in a triangular passage. A bit of light shone through a small hole just beyond my station. This cave is now known as Little Hummock Hole Cave. After finishing the survey I poked into Hummock Cave, another nearby breakdown entrance. Turning right I crawled twenty feet until the passage closed down. On the return crawl I went to another entrance further to the left that broke out to the surface. With one down we hiked off east to Witness Cave. We walked right to the six foot diameter ceiling breakdown entrance that dropped down three feet. A forest of moss sprouted around the entrance and extended well into the cave. This greenery gave a nice ambiance for the start of our survey. We crawled over a big breakdown block off to the left and squeezed between some ceiling breakdown into a two foot high crawl. The most impressive aspect of this lava tube was the thirty foot width of the passage. Although we lacked any vertical room we had an abundance of horizontal room. gnarly bellycrawl on the left and a promising hands and knees crawl on the right. We opted to survey the left in the grabby crawl and wound up with over seventy feet although the final thirty feet was shot with a Disto rather than sacrificing our bodies. Expecting to begin a long survey to the right we took our first shot of forty feet and were stopped cold at a wall of hardened lava. Our hopes were dashed in short order. Returning to the entrance area we surveyed to the right in a forty foot crawlway that wrapped around to the passage on the left. The breakdown slab in the center of the room defines the walls in both passages. We Witness Cave. Following completion of surveying Witness Cave we set off to meet up with the other survey team of Don Dunham, Scott House and Richard Young. On our way we stopped by Phoebe Cave, a trench collapse that opens into a single large dome room. We spotted the other team near Hardin Butte and hiked the short distance to meet them at Battlefield Cave. This impressive cave was the remains of a vent from which lava issued during eruptions that resulted in the North Castle Flow. Unlike the lava tubes in the area the vents are much more substantial in size and jumbled pile of collapsed ceiling blocks. Just inside the entrance on interesting lavacicles. The entire passage is sixty feet in length with three small alcoves scattered about. 33


In spite of its significance the vent midden of large twigs of unknown orifloor. While on our way to Hardin Vent Paul discovered another cave that needed surveying. Since it was a continuation of Moss Crawl Cave it was called Mossy Crawl Tube. M.C.T. was a surface lava tube with entrances on the east and in the middle at a ceiling collapse. From the middle entrance we surveyed east and then turned west in a dry crawlway. The easy crawlway had ceiling breakdown scattered throughis given to Bill for pushing the western crawl through some breakdown rubble. West of M.C.T. is Mossy Crawl Cave which is a continuation of the same surface lava tube. At about twice the length this hands and knee crawl was much more comfortable with more room to move than M.C.T. Below Mossy Crawl Cave in a trench collapse was Hideaway Cave with a nice walking entrance that slightly ballooned out before funneling down to a crawlway pinch. Next to Hideaway Cave as a small cave with a bellycrawl entrance that gradually opens into a hands and knee crawl that leads to a breakdown room before ending in a pinch. Before leaving the North Castle Flow we stopped to see Hardin Vent. A thirty foot circular hole eighteen feet deep dropped down to an impressive forty foot diameter hole. The final cave of the day was a surface lava tube we discovered on our hike back to the car. Dropping down through a ceiling opening I crawled thirty feet to exit through an opening in the end. April 5, 2015 Castle Cave (M230), Mammoth Crater, Valentine Cave, Mushpot Cave, Indian Well Cave Siskiyou County, California Easter Sunday dawned a might cold with a threat of snow showers later in the day so we decided to hang close to the road rather than make an extended hike out in the lava fields. Our objective for the morning was Castle Cave (M230) which is within a hundred yards of Monument Road west noitered the cave on Wednesday I led the group to the brass cap over the entrance at the east end of a long trench. For this survey Scott House kept book and drew the plan and profile views, Paul Hauck drew cross sections, Richard Young read foresights, Don Dunham set stations and I read backsights. Using the brass cap as the first station we took a steep angled shot down to a piece of breakdown in the trench. The next three shots took us a hundred feet down a breakdown slope to the back of the lava tube. Bill Broeckel had told us on a nice lower passage accessed through a breakdown climb on the left before beat the snow. I squiggled down a couple of potential leads that pooped out before finding the true down climb. This was the most challenging station of the day to get good readings from since it was a very high angle in awkward positions. At the bottom of the breakdown climb we took a twenty foot horizontal shot at the edge of a large basement room. A breakdown slope dropped down forty feet at a 30 angle to the lowest point of the cave. Here the ceiling was thirty foot high and the walls thirty feet apart. From here the breakdown pile angled up just as steeply for another thirty feet to a breakdown collapse. We ended up with respectable for some old guys out on Easter morning. With numerous other pressing concerns such as an Easter ham dinner, survey notes and trip reports we dropped off Scott and Don at the Cave Research Foundation building while Paul, Richard and I drove off to see Mammoth Crater. This non cave site is 34


still mighty impressive with its half mile wide crater and deep crater even if the snow was preventing any turn to Mammoth Crater at a later date to walk the rim and get a better sense of its impact on the lava tubes in the area. From Mammoth Crater we drove to Valentine Cave, a lava tube east of the 1933 by Ross R. Musselman. It was only fifty feet from the parking lot to the twenty foot diameter shallow ceiling collapse entrance that continued downflow over 1,000 feet. According to Selected Caves and Lava Tube Systems in and near Lava Beds National Monument, California U.S.G.S. Bulletin 1673 description: to be found in lava tubes: pahoehoe floors, lava pools, lava cascades and well developed lavacicles ceilings and dripstone walls. Two kinds of lava benches are present: one marks a high level stand of an extremely viscous lava flow, which attempted to crust outward from the walls as the lava was flowing; the second kind was made by the penetration and bulldozing of collapse blocks, due to hydraulic pressure from lava forcing its way through the tube. Large pillars around which the lava stream divided and reunited are present in the upper part of the cave. The central part of cave contains lava falls and cascades through which the lava stream transferred from a higher lava tube to an open tube at a lower level. Downstream from this area of subsurface breakdowns Valentine Cave divides into distributaries, which are filled with lava downstream. Suffice it to say we followed the cave until it got to the crawling section where our enthusiasm waned. This is a very nice lava tube to become familiar with lava formations. The next lava tube we (Paul, Richard and me) visited was Mushpot Cave, the only lighted lava tube within the Lava Beds National Monument. Certainly the signage along the paved trail helps everyone better understand how the lava tubes forms and important safety information related to caving. Nearly everyone that visits Lava Beds National Monument stops by this lava tube first. The final cave for the day was Indian Well Cave which is an all together different lava tube from the nearby surface small diameter caves. when we popped over a small rise but changed my opinion. An easy trail led down the breakdown slope into a wide passage with a path through breakdown rubble. Weaving between the breakdown we traversed three hundred feet of twenty foot diameter lava tube to a steep forty foot breakdown slope. Paul and I climbed up and out of the cave into a shallow ceiling collapse. The lava tube extended another thirty feet before terminating. A distinct woodrat urine smell permeated the air in this alcove. Rather than retrace our steps we decided to simple join Richard back at the van. This is another important lava tube that should be explored if you have the chance to go to Lava Beds National Monument. Carlsbad Caverns National Park Eddy County, New Mexico April 9, 2015 By Mark Jones Slaughter Canyon Cave Dave West was planning to knock off several leads in Slaughter Canyon Cave on this trip so he assigned Dwight Livingston, Dawn Ryan and me (Ladder Co. #1) to investigate the tension ladder. In September of 2014 we had the best intentions of using the ladder but were denied by massive flooding in the park from the remnants of two Pacific Ocean hurricanes. Meanwhile Ed Klausner, Elizabeth Miller, Karen Willmes and Dave (the B Team) would stay closer to the ground to check leads. Once all the arrangements were made with Carlsbad 35


Caverns National Park we packed up our gear and headed south. It was a beautiful day to hike the half mile up Slaughter Canyon to the newly installed gate. The previous gate was not bat friendly and replaced with a much nicer barrier over the winter. Slaughter Canyon Cave basically has a main trunk passage that runs a thousand feet southwesterly from the entrance with side passages angling off northwesterly (right hand) and southeasterly (left hand). Inside the gate we walked down the trail a short distance until we split off left into the first side passage (Tom Tucker) to pick up the ladder and start our work. Our first lead was conveniently close to where the ladder was stashed so in no time we had the ladder set up to assault the castle wall. In this case it was a promising twenty foot high lead with a light connecpassage ever since it was on the lead list and was excited to be the first to peer over the edge. At the top rung I was at the lip of a thirty foot wide by eight foot high balcony with a dry, granular floor that gradually sloped to a crest. From the ridge top the floor sloped toward a hundred feet of new survey but unborehole heading southeast. One lead down. Our second ladder lead was a flowstone slope outside of The Mushroom Passage, the second right hand passage. At the top of the ladder I could see that this was only a small decorated attic with absolutely no hope. Two down. Just around the corner were two additional high leads in a flowstone alcove. The first one was even smaller than the previous lead however the next lead proved more fruitful. Located at the end of a flowstone choke was a dome with a extended twelve feet to a pretty little grotto while to the right it climbed over a flowstone slope before dropping down under a couple of shield formations that pinched off the crawl at twenty feet. Four leads checked. The next lead to check was just inside Fossil Avenue (third passage on the left) along the right wall. After anchoring the ladder I climbed up to find little to survey so after dropping back down Dwight ascended to sketch in the little attic. While waiting for Dwight to finish up I found a low crawl that was obscured by a dirt mound. We put this on week since we had so many upper level questions to address. Five finished. Further down Fossil Avenue was a wide cross joint on the right that At this intersection we found another high lead that Dwight sketched. Looking around we noticed remnants from the guano mining and soon discovered a ten foot cut in the floor that exposed a HUGE concentration of bat wing bones. We conservatively estispection we found that ALL of floor in Fossil Avenue and beyond was comprised of a bat wing bone and guano mixture. Six high leads crossed off the high leads list. We finished the day by moving the ladder over to Subterranean Disaster day. A total of six fun filled hours were spent on this first day at Slaughter Canyon Cave. Slaughter Canyon Cave April 10, 2015 The first lead of the day for Ladder Co. #1 (Dwight Livingston, Dawn Ryan and me.) was in the Subterranean Disaster Passage, a significant left hand passage in Slaughter Canyon Cave. Before starting on our high leads we visited the beautiful White Sands area. A dark, grimy layer of soot hides a white gypsum sand floor that gives the room its name. This may be a good omen for our search. 36


Two holes high on the wall in the Subterranean Disaster proved to be shallow vugs that Dwight sketched in. Our next lead required us to maneuver the ladder over some big breakdown up to a flowstone wall with a long ledge twenty feet overhead. This would prove to be the most challenging climb if we could pull it off. With the ladder in place I was able to ascend twenty feet up the flowstone wall to see that the high ledge didNot far way was a four foot diameter vug twenty feet overhead with enticing shadowing that required us to get a better angle. This last upper lead in Subterranean Disaster was just as futile as the previous leads. Totting the ladder back to the main trunk we wandered through the guano trenches switching to the northwesterly passages. The next lead was on the right behind the Guardian Formations. After wrestling the ladder into place I scurried up to find another blind lead. Trekking deeper along the visitor trail we detoured off toward a flowstone wall that held our next unknown. This time Dawn took her turn at the lead, she did find a bit of a balcony but not much. It took Dwight fifteen minutes to sketch this area. Getting weary of insignificant leads we headed past the Great Wall of China and reconned behind the Christmas Tree formation. Poking around for high leads we were stymied until we spotted a nice lead between some flowstone draperies. We erected the ladder once more and I took point. Imagine my surprise when I squeezed through to a nice room. My excitement dropped to zero when I spotted several pieces of blue flagging tape from the EE Survey. Turns out Ed & Elizabeth had been here the day before. To lift our spirits after being shut out of any survey footage we hauled the ladder out to stage it near the Great Wall of China. We spent a total of six futile hours in search of more footage. Slaughter Canyon Cave April 11, 2015 Dwight Livingston, Dawn Ryan, Pat Seiser and me (Ladder Co. 1B) headed up to Slaughter Canyon Cave in Carlsbad Caverns National Park with high hopes of breaking into virgin borehole beyond the known limits of the Monarch Passage. This is the deepest point of penetration thus far in the cave but Dave West predicted the greatest potential for going cave was out here. From where we picked up the ladder near the Great Wall of China it was 800 feet northwest in a tall of long, steep granular slopes made our task more challenging, but still achievable. At a flowstone choke near the end of the passage we set up the ladder for Pat to reconnoiter. At the top she had a small shelf with a short climb to an overhead ledge. I joined her on the shelf and attempted to lasso an anchor point above but finally decided it was easier to wedge myself in a slot and climb up. Unfortunately the first thing I noticed on the ledge was an imprint of a boot in the soft soil. Once on the upper ledge I secured a twenty foot piece of flat webbing for the rest of the party. Neither Pat nor I could find survey stations so Dwight came up to survey this area for inclusion on the cave map. A steep angle shot took us to the top of the ladder before our first station on the ledge. We finished the survey with a shot into a canyons extending twelve feet in either direction. Twelve feet above the ledge was another shelf that hid any upper passage. Additional climbing gear will be necessary to explore beyond this point. Since we had many more ladder leads to check this week we anchored a rope securely around a large rock to climb up at a later date. Once at the bottom of the ladder we broke for lunch before investigating 37


38 the flowstone choke at the end of the to fit into anything there we retreated back toward the Monarch formation. On the way out Dawn noticed a high lead on the right wall that required a look see so we set up the ladder and went to investigate. It did indeed offer some footage so we broke out the survey equipment to take measurements. Basically it was a sixteen foot balcony that paralleled the passage. Not to be outdone Pat soon found a hole on the left that was above a flowstone mound. Dwight carefully scoped out the lead and found a small grotto that was worthy of surveying. After this slight distraction we trekked back to the Monarch formation to stash the ladder and recon some very high leads on Carefully moving behind the monolargest flowstone column) we gradually climbed until we reached a flowstone wall with a high lead. I was able to gingerly climb up to the lead and confirm that it was no more than a shadowbox. After this Dwight worked his way up to another lead that also dead ended. Feeling kind of low from all this rejection we knocked off high lead checking for the day and joined the other team in pursuing a pit lead nearby. Squeezing behind the Christmas Tree formation Dave, Dwight and I conferred on the best route to bring the ladder for the following day. Although not many leads were checked off today we are closer to wrapping up the high leads of Slaughter Canyon Cave. Total cave time was six hours. Slaughter Canyon Cave April 12, 2015 Dwight Livingston, Elizabeth Miller, Dave West and me (Ladder Co. #1C) teamed up to tackle more high leads in the back of Slaughter Canyon Cave while the other team (Ed Klausner, Dawn Ryan and Karen Willmes) dropped down to survey a lower level. Following a quick reconnoiter by Dwight and Dave we carried the ladder behind the Monarch formation up a flowstone slope to a breakdown pile. Here we changed into flowstone shoes to prevent damage to the sparkly alabaster floor as we needed to traverse. Another shoe change and we were passing the ladder through a slot up to our objective twenty feet overhead. At this point we were near the Christmas from here. Once the ladder was set up I scooted up to peer into the narrow slot lead hoping to find significant passage. I was excited to find there was a big room on the other side of the floweasy to get there since it would require a twenty foot vertical drop. Then I began wondering if it could already be known. The others were of a similar opinion so Dave elected to wind back around to the Christmas Tree formation to make a light connection. Lo and behold Dave did make a connection through the dreaded EE Survey. (See April 10, 2015 trip report) Defeated once again we backtracked to the Monarch formation to reorganize. The next lead (our 19 th of the expedition) was near a cluster of white formations collectively known as the White Palace. Again we lugged the ladder down the trail and up through a rock slot to the base of a high balcony. With the ladder extended, Dwight scampered up with great enthuwell bit of poking around Dwight determined that there was enough cave to survey. Dwight kept book and sketched, Dave read backsights, Elizabeth took inventory and I read foresights. The first shot angled up forty feet just past the lip to a dry alabaster rimstone dam. We wove our survey through a forest of eight foot columns coated in helictites, soda straws and popcorn. On the other side of a flowstone squeeze was a spiffy


39 dry popcorn encrusted pool with several columns sporting beautiful paleo waterlines. At the end of the dry pool was a decorated crawlway on the left while a flowstone choke appeared on the right. Dave had climbed up to the top of the flowstone choke and weaseled through to going cave. The cave gods were smiling on Ladder Co. #1C. flowstone choke I know that we were in something special. The flowstone angled down at 20 while the ceiling shot up resulting in a forty foot high canyon! A blanket of greasy guano coated most of the flowstone slope giving us an added challenge in navigating our way down. About half way down the flowstone were a gorgeous soda straw, stalactite, drapery and stalagmite grotto on the left. Several of the soda straws and stalactites were over four feet long, some of the draperies were over six feet long and numerous stalagmites over three feet tall. The most fabulous formation in this grotto was a seen a stalagmite so thin or so delicate. In honor of Russell Miller the Sweeping our Sten Lights down the end! Our high lead checking has really paid off. With too much cave ahead we tied off for the day and carefully made our way out. Total cave time was six hours. Slaughter Canyon Cave April 13, 2015 A nasty bit of weather settled in overnight whipping up a stinging rain during our half mile trek up Slaughter Canyon making our journey less than enjoyable. With virgin passage nied today. Excited to push RusElizabeth Miller, Dave West, Karen Willmes and me (Ladder Co. #1D) returned to survey the back of Slaughter Canyon Cave. Once up the ladder we negotiated our through the flowto continue surveying this big, beautiful passage. From our last station (SJ28) the tion covered left wall and a flowstone coated right wall to an impressive column. Remnants of a vast pool lie below the big column. Thick white gypsum sand covered with a thin calcite crust coated most of the floor in this passage. Scattered throughsoda straws as well as some stalactites that had fallen long ago. Some straws was caused by a seismic event such as an earthquake. These broken formations have come to be known as seismites. I had great expectations for days of discovering thousands of feet of survey but alas after just two hundred twenty feet and three stations the forty foot canyon terminated with a dred feet to Slaughter Canyon Cave. This discovery would be the highlight of our expedition. Returning to White Palace we reviewed the lead list before packing up our gear and lowering the extension ladder. Working our way along the trail we stopped at the mouth of the Black Forest passage where Dwight and Dave checked out some high leads. Fifteen minutes later they returned with two more leads scratched off our list. Hoisting the ladder back on our shoulders Dwight and I lugged it to the Mushroom Formation passage where we dropped it off for the day. during the six hours we spent on this adventure so we hiked down the trail enduring a chilly tailwind.


Slaughter Canyon Cave April 14, 2015 Dwight Livingston, Dawn Ryan and me (Ladder Co. #1) reunited for the last trip of the expedition to finish off the high leads in Slaughter Canyon Cave. After five days of poking into all sorts of high leads we were down list. Thankfully the weather had improved dramatically during the past twelve hours allowing us to enjoy our last hike up to the cave gate. While we completed our work the other team (Ed Klausner, Elizabeth Miller, Dave West and Karen Willmes) mopped up their leads. Carrying the ladder up to the Mushroom Formation we propped up it up so that I could get a look beyond the shelf. Although it started off as a promising balcony it only extended thirty feet to a hard stop. While Dwight sketched the balcony area I reconnoitered two nearby leads. I could chimney up to check on one and cross it off as a narrow shelf while the second lead required the ladder. Once Dwight was ready we moved the ladder up and over to this lead. A quick peek revealed a shallow vug so it only took Dwight a short time to sketch it. The 23 rd and last lead for the expedition was in the Tom Tucker on the outside wall, across the room from our first lead six days ago. With the ladder at full extension we were able to confirm that this lead offered no hope. About this time the other team arrived with all of their objectives addressed. We ended the expedition with only two high leads not completely addressed. After the survey notes were entered into the Walls program I discovered that I had been to the most western (Monarch passage) of the known cave. Total cave time Slaughter Canyon Cave. Lava Beds National Monument Siskiyou County, California April 23, 2015 By Mark Jones Having arrived early at Lava Beds National Monument for the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) trip I took the opportunity to scout out some more of the popular sites before being tasked with expedition surveying with Ed Klausner and Dave West. Earlier in the month Paul Hauck and Richard Young had climbed up to the fire tower on Schonchin Butte and had reported a fine view of the park so I decided to check it out for myself. From the parking area on the eastern 0.7 miles up the trail built by the Civilian Conservation Corp (C.C.C.) during the Great Depression. With the elevation gain I got a good idea of the lava flows that constitute much of the area. Near the crown of the cinder cone on the west is an excellent view of the Bearpaw Skull lava flow with all the caves in between. Winding around the crest counter clockwise I reached the fire tower lookout anchored in a gnarly mound of pahoehoe. A wraparound observation deck allowed a nice 360 view of the surrounding landscape. A photo diagram showed major mountains, cinder cones and lava flows. In fact one of the distant mountains to the west was Goosenest Mountain, a feature named by my great, great granduncle. With any tomorrow. Total time at Schonchin Butte was two hours. Castle Well Cave (M240) From Schonchin Butte I had seen an interesting lava tube collapse nearby that I could visit before returning to the C.R.F. Headquarters. A two hundred foot diameter trench thirty feet deep was an enticing sign of an intermediate cave in the Bearpaw Skull system. Descending the staircase of ceiling breakdown I hugged the wall looking for potential caves. Alas I only found shallow overhangs at the most likely locations until I 40


was at the downflow end of the lava flow where a ridge of breakdown hid a foot diameter antechamber. Breakdown of various sizes covered the floor accompanied by the obligatory woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat. Above the entrance at the edge of the trench was a brass cap identifying the cave as Castle Well Cave (M240). Total time spent here was thirty minutes. Merrill Bridge, Merrill Cave, Bearpaw Cave and Merrill Natural Bridge April 24, 2015 On my way back from hiking up Goosenest Mountain I stopped at the Bearpaw Cave complex to visit some of the popular spots at Lava Beds National only a short hike downflow from the parking lot to a path leading to Merrill Bridge, an upflow extension of Merrill Cave. Merrill Bridge is twenty foot in diameter that extends a hundred feet to Merrill Cave. Extensive breakdown covers the floor from end to end. Walking downflow I climbed up some breakdown to the ceiling collapse enHummingbird ( Calypte anna ) heckled me as I descended the aluminum walkway to a low ceilinged lava tube. Breakdown blocks from the ceiling and walls were scattered all along the floor. I followed the gently sloping trail for three hundred feet until it appeared to abruptly end at a rubble pile. A steep ladder climb through a small hole in the floor dropped down to the ice cave level or should I say former ice cave level. Until 2005 this passage had an ice coated floor year round but a shift in the floor allowed warm air into the area melting all the ice. All that remains now is the aluminum walkway and the overlook to a crater of breakdown rubble. It would take another significant airflow change to have the ice return Hiking along the trench collapse upflow three hundred feet took me to the impressive entrance of Bearpaw Cave. At sixty feet high and forty feet wide it is an open invitation to anyone looking south from the parking lot. Since the lava tube formed thousands of years ago rocks have been falling creating hills of breakdown throughout its length. The true floor is buried deep under this thick layer of debris. Two massive nests of large sticks are located high on the wall probably built by hefty birds rather than the ubiquitous woodrat ( Neotoma sp.). The sticks seem to be too big think of another explanation. Climbing down a well worn path between the breakdown soon brings you to the base of a high angle breakdown slope. A sliver of light at the southern end of the tube indicated a skylight exit, which it indeed was. Upflow is a jumble of the collapsed lava tube that extends off into the distance. The last feature I visited in this area was Merrill Natural Bridge. On my way back to the parking lot I climbed back down in the trench collapse downflow from Bearpaw Cave. Merrill Natural Bridge is a sixty foot arch that is actually used as a bridge to the parking lot. Once again massive breakdown litters the floor for its hundred feet length. Woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat was found throughout the entire Bearpaw Cave complex. A total of ninety minutes was spent on this endeavor. Post Office Cave April 25, 2015 The first day of the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) expedition at Lava Beds National Monument found me Elizabeth Miller and Me) surveying the lowest reaches of Post Office Cave. From the camping area it was an easy hike to the upflow entrance to Post Office Cave. A gated culvert prevents unwanted visitors from fumbling around in this extensive lava tube. After Ed unlocked the gate we slid down twelve feet through a 41


grabby constriction to a sixteen foot diameter lava tube with breakdown covering the floor. This area is very popular with the local woodrats ( Neotoma sp.) as indicated by the extensive amount of droppings on the breakdown and the pungent odor of woodrat urine that wafted on the chilly breeze. Post Office Cave is known for its cold winds that howl throughout and can cut short a survey trip. We were well prepared for that eventuality today. The lava tube morphed into a tall canyon with a steady ceiling and sloping floor before splitting into an upper and lower level. Taking the lower passage we continued down a hundred feet to a hole in the floor where we cut back under a hundred feet to a trio of holes amidst the breakdown rubble on the floor. The middle lead was our choice today as we enjoyed a nice walk through the Cocoa Pipeline on a fairly level floor interrupted with a breakdown crawl. Soon we had entered the Cocoa Crawl before scaling huge breakdown mounds. We started our survey where the Silver Cave lavafall breaks into Post Office Cave in the Lower Cataract Tube with Ed on book and sketching, Elizabeth reading foresights and me setting stations and reading backsights. Thankfully all of our stations were in roomy passage where we could adjust for the inevitable wacky, magnetic induced compass reading. Lava tubes are notorious for their magnetic rocks and the fact there is no rhyme or reason on where they are makes it even more challenging. At nearly every station additional compass readings were required to bring the reading to within tolerance. (+/ 2) In spite of the fact that we were in the lower levels we still got over thirty foot shots on most stations. Within the Lower Cataract Tube there was an upper and lower level that we surveyed simultaneously since there were several ceiling/floor connections along the way. Most of the survey was in walking passage with some stoopwalking and a bit of hands and knees crawling. A wall of breakdown ended our survey although a breakdown squeeze along the left wall seemed to have quite a bit of cold air blowing in our face. This enticing lead will remain for the next generation of hearty cavers. We finished the day with 635 feet in 17 stations for an average of 37 feet per station. An excellent start to caving in the Lava Beds! On our return trip we saw several bat wing bones in spots along the floor although no bats or signs of recent bat activity were observed anywhere in the cave. Total cave time was seven hours. Balcony Cave April 26, 2015 I joined Dave West and Karen Willmes surveying in the Balcony Flow on the second day of the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) expedition at Lava Beds National Monument in northern California. Dave had high hopes of completing the survey of Balcony Cave and getting a good chunk of Sharks Mouth Cave knocked off. From the Boulevard parking lot it was an easy four hundred foot hike to the South Branch of Balcony Cave entrance. A rubble pile along the edge of a ceiling collapse made a nice stairway down to the pahoehoe floor. Weaving between the larger breakdown we made our way two hundred feet south where our survey began. Dave kept book and sketched, Karen set stations and I read instruments. Much of the Balcony survey was to flesh out the walls for the final map of the Balcony Flow. Lavacicles dotted the ceiling while breakdown covered the floor. Once these shots were taken we finished by tying in a loop through a dusty crawl (actually it was desiccated woodrat scat). The loop on the field map closed very well and will make for a high quality guide to the cave. Three hours were spent putting the bow on Balcony Cave. 42


Sharks Mouth Cave After a nice lunch on the surface we headed south to the Sharks Mouth Entrance located at a forty foot diameter ceiling collapse. A gentle slope of breakdown gave us easy access to the lava tube before we had to navigate over some big breakdown to a passage split. Keeping left we entered the most beautifully decorated the pleasure of seeing. Stoopwalking under a ceiling of elongated lavacicles we reached our starting station. First we defined the room and then had Karen investigate a balcony bellycrawl along the left wall. She found forty feet of passage, but then it pinched out. The main section of the lava tube had some massive magnetic breakdown that played havoc with my instruments. Several readings were necessary before I was able to rectify the situation and give Dave numbers that he could use. Avoiding the magnetism as much as we could we eventually worked our way around the room to a skylight at the edge of a breakdown pile. Karen scurried out the skylight entrance and set a station that Dave will tie into a surface survey later in the week. This entrance is in a ceiling collapse twenty foot in diameter near several other collapses. I poked around the edge of the depression looking for more entrances but only found an eight foot sheltered ledge. Once Dave had sketched in the skylight we returned to the main lava flow that angled off to the right in a hands and knees crawl. At this junction the ceiling was teeming with the most beautiful black and white lavacicles that led to the cave being named Sharks Mouth. In my opinion these formations cement this lava tube as the most beautiful in the Monument. The final shot of the day stretched forty feet through more lavacicles to a wide room with breakdown on the left. While Dave finished up the sketching Karen and I made a voice connection from this room to the nearby skylight entrance. All in all another great day caving! Total cave time was six hours. An unidentified species of bat flew past us during our survey while woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat coated most of the floor. Post Office Cave April 27, 2015 Ed Klausner led Elizabeth Miller and me back to Post Office Cave at Lava Beds National Monument to continue surveying for the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) expedition. Yesterday Ed and Elizabeth had finished the lower section between the two gates leaving only passage outside the downflow gate. It was an easy hike down the road, past the upflow entrance, past Silver Cave (which connects to Post Office) to the downflow entrance trench collapse. We used an eight foot etrier to climb down to the base of a breakdown pile. Since Ed had a good deal of sketching to do near the entrance Elizabeth and I split off to the northeast to check out Post Office Natural Bridge. From the base of the trench we scrambled over a rubble strewn floor in a forty foot diameter lava tube that extended six hundred feet to a breakdown slope that gently angled up to the surface. This is a much easier way to access downflow Post Office since no additional gear is necessary. Near the top of the slope a roomy entrance crawl led to a twenty foot anteroom. Downflow was another collapsed trench that I climbed over to find yet another collapsed trench. Three hundred feet away was a thirty foot diameter lava tube begging to be explored. Unfortunately the shear twenty foot walls of the trench prevented further investigation. Hoping to find a backdoor entrance I set off to the east looking for another ceiling collapse. Just two hundred feet later I was dropping down a sinkhole with plans of overcoming the vertical challenge. Instead of a gentle slope 43


I found a twenty foot overhang that taunted me with passage disappearing out of sight. Realizing that Ed may be done with his drawing I returned to Post Office Cave with Elizabeth to pick up surveying the upper tube. At the dripline of the cave Elizabeth pointed out a huge nest constructed of large sticks high up on the wall. I had seen a similar nest at Bearpaw Cave earlier in the expedition and was unsure of its builder. Evidently it was built by pair of Common Ravens ( Corvus corax ) in which to rear their chicks. Mystery solved. After a short lunch break Elizabeth discovered a chunk of breakdown embossed back in 1918. J.D. named the cave because of the numerous cubby holes in the wall that resembled a post office. We began our survey near the lower gate and followed the upper passage to the west through a breakdown coated floor for nearly two hundred feet to a hands and knees crawl. This crawlway terminated in a pinch after thirty feet ending our survey for the day. Only a high lead sixteen feet above the lower gate remains to be surveyed and a ladder will be needed to reach it. With the two hundred feet under our belts today we are fice Cave. Since we had finished so early we returned to Post Office Natural Bridge and followed the lava flow further downflow identifying several important caves along the way. One was identified with a brass cap as Dragons Head Cave (M860) while another was thought to be Schonchin ing in this flow. Total time out was five hours. Chest Cave and Silver Cave April 28, 2015 Bill Broeckel arrived around 9:00 a.m. to join Ed Klausner and me in surveying Silver Cave at Lava Beds National Monument in northern California during the spring Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) expedition. This lava tube actually connects to nearby Post Office Cave through a ceiling drop about a thousand feet upflow. Our goal was to get a good start on the survey so that Ed can incorporate it onto the map. Walking past the upper entrance to Post Office Bill was soon off trail and on top of Chest Cave. Unbeknownst to Ed and me this cave was used by J.D. Howard almost a hundred years ago to store his tools while searching for caves. Bill has quite a bit of knowledge about J.D. as well as a photo collection of his entrance inscriptions. A four foot diameter skylight dropped twelve feet to a lower room that continued thirty feet to a pinch. Upflow was a crawlway that also continued for a short distance return here in the future to do a full survey. Just a bit further down the Three Sisters Trail was the entrance collapse to Silver Cave. For this trip Ed sketched, Bill read foresights and I set stations and read backsights. Before we even started Bill had found the quintessential J.D. Howard inscription in purple paint identifying the entrance as Silver Cave. He was excited to add a picture of this to brass cap over the entrance we took a shot down to a lower rim before donning our vertical gear to make the fifteen foot drop. A pile of rubble covered the floor in this area and extended in both directions. With the majority of the passage upflow I opted to head that way. Climbing over a breakdown slope we entered a thirty foot wide by ten foot tall room that forked left and right. A single shot to the left finished in a dome room with a smooth floor. Retreating to the fork we surveyed to the right in a cluster of breakdown that changed to a six foot diameter tube half filled with pahoehoe and a small trench in the middle. A 5% slope caused the lava to be very 44


ropey as it flowed down and hardened. Forty feet into this tube we crested ing and a gnarly floor. The Selected Caves and Lava Tube Systems in and near Lava Beds National Monument, California U.S.G.S. Bulletin 1673 decult crawl is enough to discourage all but the most enthusiastic spelunkers, but it is the only way to visit the upstream part of Silver Cave and three short levels of Post Office make myself small enough to squeeze through to roomier cave but was denied by my less than svelte physique. Both Ed and Bill investigated the crawl and felt that they could, with a minimum of clothing and a maximum of squirming, wiggle through to the other side. For today what remains beyond this point will have to wait for an entire team of slender (and masochistic) cavers. Returning to the entrance drop we decided to survey downflow but no J.D. Howard inscription. Sure enough on the wall was painted: DISCOVERED J.D. HOWARD 1/18 18 SILVER CAVE TOTAL LENGT. 800 FT. Bill was really thrilled to find two J.D. Howard inscriptions for Silver Cave and we all promptly broke out our cameras to take some photographs. Once all the excitement was over we returned to the task at hand which was to survey a cave. This section of lava tube was completely different than the upflow. We garnered over 250 feet in three shots in an easy walking lava tube. A wide bench on either side was the perfect sidewalk for us for most of the way. In addition the naming of the cave became apparent went the ceiling was covered in shiny silver and gold. Actually there was no precious metal at all it was just hydrophobic bacteria. The fact that these microbes repel water is the reason the walls appear to be silver and gold. An obvious trail (built by the C.C.C.?) continues for another 150 feet over small breakdown to where the floor rises to the ceiling effectively ending the downflow survey. A total of six hours getting over 750 feet of survey was spent in this wonderful cave. Sharks Mouth Cave, Sharks Mouth Grotto and Pango NDogo April 29, 2015 Ed Klausner was taking Karen Willmes to Silver Cave to continue past the mied me the previous day so I was assigned to join Dave West in his work. Dave had planned to finish surveying the upper stretch of Sharks Mouth Cave so that he could render the final draft of the Boulevard Balcony Sharks Mouth Caves. Just four feet to the west of Hill Road we dropped ten feet down the skylight of the Extension Entrance to begin our survey. Dave kept book, sketched and read foresights while I set stations and read backsights. From beneath the skylight we ventured over some big breakdown to define the west wall and tie into a survey station in a breakdown room. Five short shots through grabby, gnarly lava got us to our objective without too much difficulty although several compass readings needed to be corrected due to the magnetic rocks. Once this was rectified we returned to the skylight to survey southwesterly in even grabbier, gnarlier lava with the added challenge of smaller dimensions. Following the right wall for forty feet brought us to a bulbous room that turned us back to the northeast and the skylight. With the final station set Dave announced that Sharks Mouth was finished until I asked about a breakdown crawl off to the east. Dave was incredulous with my question but said I should investigate the lead. After 45


twenty feet a breakdown squeeze stopped me cold (For the second time in two days.) enticing me with a wide roomy lead. This will have to wait for a lesser team (in girth) later in the week. A lunch break buoyed my spirits after failing to push the last lead in Sharks Mouth Cave and I was ready to attack surveying Sharks Mouth Grotto, a cave located under the rim of the main entrance collapse on the southeast. We skirted under the edge of the ceiling collapse for forty feet before pinching out. things to do today was a surface surMouth Cave. Working from the downflow skylight entrance we surveyed north following the trend of the lava tube just below the surface. At the last station we were only twenty feet west of a lava tube sump where the cave terminates! Fifty feet downflow (north) was a small trench collapse that opened into Pango Ndogo, a continuation of the Sharks Mouth flow. A twenty foot wide by five foot high tube ran about a hundred and fifty feet before gradually funneled down to a hands and knees crawl. Fifty feet into the cave a ten foot diameter skylight lit up the passage and further on a collapse entrance is interesting to put this cave on map with the associated flow(s). Total time on this trip was six hours. Fauna observed on this trip included a dead field mouse ( Apodemus sp.) in Sharks Mouth Cave, two sagebrush lizards ( Sceloporus graciosus ) outside Sharks Mouth Grotto along with woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat in all caves. Post Office Cave April 30, 2015 We had three important trips leaving from the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) headquarters in Lava Beds National Monument with different objectives. John Tinsley and Elizabeth Miller were heading to Craig Cave to push a lead, Dave West and Karen Willmes were off to Sharks Mouth Cave to investigate a breakdown pinch to wrap up that survey while Ed Klausner and I were returning to Post Office Cave with a twenty foot extension ladder to take a peek at a high lead. My reputation as a premiere ladder team member was cemented after being part of Ladder Co. #1 at Slaughter Canyon Cave in Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. Lugging a three leads in a three mile cave for a week put me in the elite class of gear haulers. Ed and I have team up several times to carry ladders at National Parks so we had a routine all worked out. Using some webbing as a sling we had no problem toting the fiberglass ladder to the trench collapse at the downflow entrance. Operating like a fine tuned machine we had no trouble navigating over breakdown rubble up to the gate and into position. Once the ladder was in place we lashed it to a rock and I scurried up fourteen feet to the edge of the ceiling lead. A steep slope of popcorn coated breakdown rose ten feet to a peak twenty feet from the ceiling in a thirty foot diameter dome. That was the extent of the upper lead. Two shots for a total of 61.1 feet was recorded with Ed on book and reading foresights and me setting stations and reading backsights. For all intents and purposes the field work for Post Office is complete. Two hours were spent on this endeavor. The most important find of this excursion were the three unidentified bats in the area. Bat guano peppered the floor at the base of the ladder indicating that the bats use the upper dome as a roost sometime during the year. This site can be easily monitored year round since the entire dome is viewable from the main passage. Sharks Mouth Cave Following lunch, Ed and I drove to 46


the Balcony Cave parking lot to meet up with Dave and Karen to continue with the Sharks Mouth Cave system to Sharks Mouth Cave we dropped down the ceiling collapse entrance and made our way downflow taking the left branch over to see the nifty black and white elongated lavacicles. From here we simply exited through the downflow skylight to find Dave and Karen doing a surface survey down to Pango Ndogo. Pango Ndogo Pango Ndogo, Swahili for Small Cave, is located in a shallow ceiling collapse north of the breakdown termination of Sharks Mouth Cave. For this survey Dave sketched the plan view, Ed kept book and did the profile view, Karen read foresights and I set stations and read backsights. The entrance is an oval sixteen feet wide by seven feet high tube that extended past a ten foot diameter skylight to a breakdown window that was filled with a sagebrush screen. A crawlway off to the right broke out into a roomy, well decorated lava tube for two hundred feet. Beautiful lavacicles of all sorts coated the ceiling with a lava bench on each wall and breakdown scattered throughout. Further downflow large pieces of ceiling breakdown covered the floor where the ceiling dropped and the passage widened. The tube continued to constrict until it was a hands and knees crawl over a shallow dirt floor which indicated we were close to the surface. The downflow entrance is a comfortable bellycrawl out into another shallow ceiling collapse. Three hundred sixty one feet of survey was recorded before we closed the book for the day. A little over a hundred feet remains to be completed with plans to return tomorrow. An unidentified bat was seen in the as well as some pika ( Ochotona princeps ) and woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat. Purgatory Cave Just thirty down from the lower entrance of Pango Ndogo I found another shallow ceiling collapse that harbored yet another segment in the Boulevard Balcony Sharks Mouth lava tube complex. A brass cap identified this cave as Purgatory Cave B150. In addition a piece of engraved aluminum had the following etched into it: PURGATORY CAVE INTIAL RECON 4/9/94 BY C. ROUNDTREE Two crawls dropped down through the breakdown to reunite under the fractured edge of a sixteen foot diameter room. A ceiling height of three feet required hands and knees crawling difficult. I was expecting to continue downflow but instead a roomy twenty foot wide pancake crawl trended upflow. My second surprise was that it split into a right hand bellycrawl and a left hand hands and knees crawl. The right hand passage ran thirty feet directly to a breakdown window to lower Pango Ndogo. The left hand passage becomes a comfortable pahoehoe crawlway for over a hundred feet that trends toward Boulevard Cave. Here the passage morphs into a breakdown room where I turned around. This interesting cave will prove to be a nice piece of the puzzle that makes up this lava flow. We spent a productive afternoon on this survey with plans to return on Friday. Pango Ndogo May 1, 2015 Dave West was excited about completing the survey of Pango Ndogo before calling it quits on the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) expedition at Lava Beds National Monument so I opted to stay one more day to help finish up. Ed Klausner, Elizabeth Miller and John Tinsley left after breakfast leaving Dave, Karen Willmes and me. A surface survey would put a bow on the map so we began our day at the upflow entrance of Pango Ndogo 47


and followed the lava tube downflow across the skylight entrance, past the window entrance to the lower entrance collapse. In addition we found and tied in the entrance to nearby Nirvana Cave. With the primary surface survey done we focused on the last few shots in downflow Pango Ndogo. Dave kept book, Karen read foresights and I set stations and read backsights. From the last station we took a splay shot up a forty foot alcove that terminated in a lava floor pinch. It only took two more shots to finish off the crawlway survey and tie into the surface. Total cave length was booked at 456.2 feet. Nirvana Cave While Karen and Dave did lunch I took the opportunity to check out Nirvana Cave. According to a previous report this is quite a nice cave with a variety of formations. A two foot square entrance crawl opened up into a twenty foot diameter room with walking passage upflow. An eight foot diameter lava tube extended 150 feet to large breakdown that nearly filled the cave. For the next fifty feet I was crawling over these blocks before the tube ballooned out twenty feet and changed to an easy stoopwalk. At this point the pahoehoe floor rose at a 6% slope appearing like a frozen river. At the top of the slope a thirty foot room had three gnarly crawls angling off in different dipushing these leads to the end. This three hundred foot lava tube will be a nice addition to the Balcony Flow survey. Obsession Cave Along with Karen and Dave I set of to the north to recon more of the caves in the area. The first stop was Obsession Cave, the last inventoried cave on the flow. Karen had found it locate it. A tube collapse with a hundred feet of breakdown pointed to the obvious downflow entrance. This eight foot diameter tube funneled down in fifty feet to a terminal crawl with a small window low on the right wall. Upflow a tight crawl through the breakdown joins up with this window until it closes down completely. Geritol Cave Just east of Obsession Cave is a shallow collapse sink that hides Geritol Cave. Having shed my elbow pads I was NOT interested in pushing this cave. Suffice it to say that the survey team will probably be the only visitors to this bellycrawl. Last Call Cave Just a hundred feet from Geritol Cave is Last Call Cave, a much more inviting cave with a hands and knees crawl that trends upflow to the south. A wide, dusty crawl will require more investigation to determine its final length, but I estimate that Himmel Cave West of Last Call Cave is a shallow collapse with two separate breakdown crawls. The easterly entrance drops down to a wide two foot high crawl that wraps forty feet around to a window that connects with the other entrance. Retreating to the westerly entrance I slid down to another wide low crawl that continues down to disappear through ceiling breakdown. A proper survey will flesh out this cave. 3 New Caves While reconnoitering near Obsession Cave Dave discovered two more caves, the first a forty footer that will require only a few shots to complete, the second a much more interesting and knees crawl. Several roomy bellycrawls radiate out from the anteroom accounting for much of the passage. We recorded information on these two for future survey. The final discovery was by Karen at 48


the bottom of the flow that is tentatively being called End of the Line Cave. This forty foot crawlway includes a cute little bridge at the lower end. We spent a total of four hours on the final day of caving at Lava Beds with a lot accomplished, but a lot more remaining. Other than woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat no signs of fauna were found on this trip. Balcony Cave On the way back to the car I dropped down into Balcony Cave and exited through an upflow collapse. Balcony is a popular cave with many visitors since it is easy to find and easy to visit. From the downflow entrance a rock lined trail follows the large lava tube upflow. A hundred feet inside the cave I turned left off the trail and climbed up a six foot tall lava bench that split off to a tributary. Big breakdown blocks filled difficult to navigate the two hundred feet to a ceiling collapse where a rock staircase led to the surface. John Donahue exiting Wilson Cave. Photo by Joe Dixon. 49

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.