The Texas caver

The Texas caver

Material Information

The Texas caver
Series Title:
The Texas Caver
Texas Speleological Association
Texas Speleological Association
Publication Date:


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


General Note:
Contents: "...No, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn(tm), Express(tm), last night." / Don Arburn -- Is Project Caving a Good Thing? / Aaron Addison -- Let's Go To Bustamante! 2002 - TSA Labor Day Project -- Government Canyon KARST Survey / Makr Miller -- 2002 TSA Cartography Salon / Sean Vincent, TSA Cart Salon Chair -- Texas Cave Conservancy Newsletter # 2 -- Texas Cavers in Maine: A Summary of What Texans Did at the 2002 NSS Convention / Compiled by George Veni, Jim Kennedy -- Caving With the Future in Mind / Kate Walker, TSA Conservation Chair -- Trip Report for Maple Run Cave, Travis Co. / Kate Walker -- MATACANES! / Terri Whitfield, Photos by Ernie Garza, Peter Sprouse, and Terri Whitfield -- Weekday at Airman's Cave / Carol Schumacher, dictated by Wes Schumacher -- In the Santa Elena Limestone -- Currior's Cave / Sean Vincent -- Hill Country Day-trip / Kate Walker -- Beyond the Deep: The Deadly Descent into the World's Most Treacherous Cave / William Stone, Barbara am Ende, with Monty Paulson -- Crossing the Border / Jonathan Wilson.
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
Original Version:
Vol. 48, no. 4 (September 2002)
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:
K26-04385 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.4385 ( USFLDC Handle )
9889 ( karstportal - original NodeID )
0040-4233 ( ISSN )

USFLDC Membership

Added automatically
Karst Information Portal

Postcard Information



This item has the following downloads:

Full Text


2 THETEXASCA VERSeptember 2002 Vo lume 48Number 4 The Texas Caver is a publication of The Texas Speleological Association (TSA), an internal organization of the National Speleological Society (NSS). Subscription rates are $25/ year which includes TSA membership. Libraries, institutions, and out-of state subscribers may receive The Texas Caver for $20/ year, Letters to the Editor, articles submissions, subscription requests and questions should be sent to the Editor: The Texas Caver 10801 County Road 116 Kenedy, TX 78119 Don Arburn 361/362-3677 The deadline for submissions to The Texas Caver is the last Friday of each month. Opinions expressed in The Texas Cave r are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors, The TSAor the NSS. T exas Speleological Association Officers: Chai r Jim Kennedy . . . . . . V ice-Chair Annmarie Mikelski Tr easurer Christi Bennett . . . . Secretary Joe Ranzau . . . . . Other contacts: THETEXASCA VER DONARBURN . TSABookstore Logan McNatt . . TSAWeb Team . . . . . TCC Mike Walsh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TCR Andy Grubbs . . . . . . TSS George Veni . . . . . . . . TCMA Linda Palit . . . . . . . . BCI Merlin D. Tuttle & Jim CaveTex To m White . . . . . . THECOVERS: FRONTCOVER: Photo of Mike Moore taken in The War Club Room in Endless Cave, New Mexico, May 1975. Photo by Carl E. Kunath BACKCOVER: Don Arburn in an unknown cave May of 1988. Photo by James Jasek Contents Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 News: Events . . . . . . . . . .4 News Feature . . . . . . . . . .9 News: Trip Reports . . . . . . .9 Review . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 How To (or not to) . . . . . . .18 Registration form . . . . . . .19


3 Whoa! Whats this guy talking about? Of course its a good thing... isnt it? Well, that all depends on your idea of project caving. Historically project caving in Texas (and several regions around the world) has meant one of two things: 1. An on going effort to document and study, many caves and associated karst features of a particular area. The TSAproject at Colorado Bend is a good example. 2. The ongoing survey of a particular cave. Use your favorite big cave as an example. Acouple that come to mind are Honey Creek, Powells and Lechuguilla. More realistically project caving has become something quite different in Texas these days. Sure lots of people show up and go caving, but few have a vested interest in whats going on with the project. Lets look at the dark side (you decide whether the pun was intended) of project caving. 1. Caves can handle smaller parties much better than large groups of cavers. 2. Most cavers have no idea how much work the project leaders put into a trip so that others can show up to go caving. 3. Landowners are never contacted. 4. With so many newcomers to the projects (not necessarily beginners) it is impossible to maintain continuity. 5. Productivity is lost. Perhaps the main problem lies in the fact that project caving fosters the idea that all caving is project related. Ive talked to several cavers in Texas that said they never knew that there was caving outside of projects. Many new cavers (and some that have been around awhile) dont know that you can simply jump in your vehicle grab some topo maps and head out to talk with landowners. Sure the TSS and TSAgive a better starting point for most activities along these lines, but in reality they are not needed to support good caving etiquette. The etiquette that new cavers learn will undoubtedly come from the experiences that come to pass from caving. Once that etiquette is formed, it is very difficult if not impossible to change. Im not suggesting that project caving is bad either. But I am suggesting that Texas cavers have taken the easy way out for far too long. Its easy to point the newbie cavers to the projects and tell them to check it out. Its much more personal and time consuming to take a new caver with you next time you head out to go caving in your favorite spot. The result is an entire generation of cavers that dont know how to talk with landowners, how to find new caves, or how many spectacular caving opportunities exist in the State of Texas. EDITORIAL My answer to the fictional TV advertisement question, Are you an editor?Ž. Greetings and salutations, fellow Texas cavers. As some may already know you have a new editor at The Texas Caver magazine. I am Don Arburn. First, my apologies to those who have gone before, I bow to your superior intellects and abilities. While I knew Joe, in his early days, I did not know Mike at all. So, if I screw up, you (Joe & Mike) will, hopefully, understand, the rest of you cavers will just have to tell me all about it (maybe even offer help, understanding and guidance). Second, I expect to hear from the caving community about how Ive goofed on a photo credit or how Ive stepped into a political pile. No problem, this is your publication. I want to hear how it is done, or not done. I will listen. Third, I may not be as eloquent, as some, but I CAN print YOUR strories. While I also may not be as experienced, I hope yall will convey your experiences as well. Lets get some information out, pictures and text. Y ou, beginner, this publication is as much about your contributions, as it is about those most experienced. I expect ALLto contribute to this endeavor. Lets get some Texas caving experiences and savvy out to the world, and into print for posterity. Lets continue to break new groundin the caving community and show the rest of the world we are really World ClassŽ. We need to revisit old stuff as well as explain the new. We need to describe the caves as well as the various groups interested in those caves, Hodags not withstanding. I may not be World ClassŽ, I admit that, but some of you, are. Just remember, I am a volunteer. And now, on with the show! ...No, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn’, Express’, last night.By Don Arburn Is Project caving a Good Thing?By Aaron Addison


4 Lets Go To Bustamante! 2002 TSALabor Day Project August 30 thru Sept 2, 2002Labor Day is coming and time for the annual Bustamante Project. Make your plans now and join what has become a great annual event. The Bustamante area provides a premiere trip destination for beginners as well as experienced cavers. Planning for the Bustamante Project 2002 is being finalized and coordination continues with the Bustamante City officials, Rogelio Rangel (the cave guide), and TSAfacilitators. The Municipio de Bustamante will provide the following: ** Free access to the cave beginning on Friday, 30 August. Most work will be done on 31 August and 1 September. **Free camping at the spring (Ojo de Agua). Present plans include the following tasks: 1. Continued Cathedral Room area graffiti removal, with some work to very sensitive areas in deeper parts of the cave. 2. Cabeza de Leon trail building. 3. Placement of informative and conservation signage outside the cave. 4. Expansion on last years installation of light shields to improve the lighting along the east wall. To help you fill out the pre-registration form, we have provided expanded explanations for some of the categories. If you have additional questions, please call Rune or Ron at the phone numbers on the form. Many of you have e-mail addresses and as a lot of our communication will occur during late August, it would be helpful if we have this information. Form on page 19 On task preference, we would like to get a rough count on who wants to participate where. We do need several crew leaders, and are willing to work with inexperienced people who would like to give it a try. Please indicate on your work preference on the pre-registration form. If a Grotto or other group would like to take on a task area, please contact Rune or Aimee. The gate will open at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning and you of course can come at any time you choose. Ashuttle will run people up and down the hill beginning at 7:30 a.m. If you want to work all day, it will be deeply appreciated. Sunday is a workday also, if you wish to continue working. To better schedule work, we would like to know when you plan to arrive at the cave. T rail building-Terrain modification will involve lopping and chopping. Some terrain modification like water-bars and rock liners might be attempted. Lopping shears and machetes are needed to widen the existing trail and shovels and hoes may be needed to excavate and smooth the ground surface. Wear gloves and steel toed boots if you have them. Contact Phillip Russell, ( for more information. Cave Graffiti Removal-Most of this years effort will continue to focus on the Cathedral Room moving toward the deeper parts of the cave. For graffiti removal, the following equipment and supplies will be provided. Nylon scrub brushes, 1Ž to 2Ž non-shedding bristle paint brushes (brushes should only brought if they have never been used), one gallon buckets and jugs, sponges, toothbrushes, tweezers. Aspecial team may be requested to assist with carrying a ladder down the breakdown for permanent placement inside the cave. We wish to use the ladder each year and hope to find a nice hiding place for it. The Cathedral Room is located below the steep breakdown, so it is important to wear boots or shoes with non-skid soles and gloves are nice. Be sure to bring your lunch and plenty of drinking water and a pee bottle. Call or contact Aimee Beveridge ( if you have questions, if you can offer specialized tools, or if you wish to assist in leading a group. We could use a couple of battery powered drills with stainless steel brush attachments. Carbide Dump RemovalThis years trash removal efforts will focus on the hard to reachŽ areas and carbide dumps in the cave. Specialized equipment includes gallon sized zip-lock freezer bags and plastic scoops. Sign Placement-This task is still in review. It may involve bolting signs to posts and then setting the posts in concrete. Talk to Pete Strickland, ( about new details concerning material needs. Cave Lighting-Equipment useful for light and light-shield installation includes gloves, electrical tape and short ladders. Contact Orion Knox ( for more information and material needs. Sunday Tours As always we will offer various tours on Sunday Morning to participants. They include the following: 1. Rock art tour to Chiquihuitillo on Sunday. Ron Ralph will lead a morning tour leaving the campground (swimming pool area) at 7:00 a.m. This will be the coolest and best photoshoot opportunity. There is a small peso charge at the site for each visitor. Bring a sun hat, sturdy shoes and water. The hike up to the rock face is only 50 meters or so but fairly steep and full of cactus. The total walking trip is about a kilometer. For late risers, we will flag the road with pink tape. Just follow the dang road west from the campground. 2. Historic tour of Bustamante. The guide will be a historian perhaps from Monterrey. The tour will be in Spanish by Felipe Hernandez with a running translation by Philip Russell. The tour is on a first come first served basis, leaving from the front of the Church probably around 9:00 a.m. Last years tour was a great success and if things work out, this year will be even better. We will keep you informed as we get more information concerning the guide. 3. Early Bird (watching) tour will be led by biologist Shannon Breslin of the Lower Colorado River Authority. It will start at the campground by the springs at 6:00 a.m. and go till you poop out or the birds stop participating. Last years visitors were amazed at the variety of plants and birds identified. Bring your bird books, plant identification books and binoculars. 4. The everŽ popular mescal factory tour will leave the Ancira Hotel around 10:00 a.m. and will be led by Terry Plemons. The tour will take about an hour providing you dont stay in the sipping room too long. 5. Atrip to Minas Viejas may be scheduled. Check with Rune Burnett, for details. If the trip is scheduled we will likely meet on the NE corner of the square in Bustamante about 9:00am and depart promptly. 6. AMinas Golondrinas Tour may be offered this year according to Charlie Loving. Stay tuned for details. 7. The cave will be open on Sunday for sport caving. Those interested in visiting the cave should be sure to be out at 4:30 p.m. so that Rogelio (the gate keeper) doesnt miss the banquet. Sunday Evening BanquetThis years banquet will be held somewhere downtown Bustamante. BUSTAMANTE YEAR BYYEAR The 1997 TSALabor Day Project to La Gruta del Palmito near Bustamante, Nuevo Leon was a big success even though a lot of you didnt make it. There were 136 cavers, most of whom reported having a good time. T wo truckloads of trash were removed from the cave, but theres still a lot to get out. Several crews worked both Saturday and Sunday removing graffiti and 71 concrete steps were placed in the entrance room, more than we thought would be set, but about half of the total we have. The new policy, yet to be finalized, should include unlimited access to the cave in exchange for an hours work „ picking up trash, cleaning the cave, or installing steps. The 1998 TSALabor Day Project, again to La Gruta del Palmito, attracted NEWS: EVENTS


5 60 cavers, a good number of whom were from Mexico. Awhole lot more steps, about 30, were put in place. More garbage was collected and hauled out of the cave, mostly by Scouts from Monterrey, and a big effort was put forth toward removing graffiti in the Entrance Room and immediate area. The head of T ourism from the State of Nuevo Leon showed up to watch the process and see what the Project was all about. Archeologists were on hand to advise and supervise in the restoration work. Many thanks and a tip of the old sombrero to all who participated. The 1999 TSALabor Day Project to Gruta del Palmito saw completion of placing steps from the entrance to the bottom of the entrance breakdown slope. A crew of about 30 of the 90 volunteers accomplished this backbreaking work. The Monterrey Boy Scouts and Austin cavers again facilitated major inroads into graffiti removal and trash pick-up. Some of the lighting was repaired with PVC pipe replacing the rotting tree limb uprights. The 2000 TSALabor Day Project involved over 110 volunteers from Mexico City to Colorado. Graffiti and trash clean up were the major efforts but a number of people worked on the installation of light shields on the bare bulbs strung throughout 30% the first room. Asmall dent was made in removing graffiti from many locations outside the cave. The 2001 TSALabor Day Project This year we had outstanding participation by over 100 cavers as well as Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops from Monterey. The Cathedral Room was vastly improved with much of the easier to reach painted and carbide graffiti removed. Work on the electrical system continued and informative signage was posted inside the cave. The banquet was extra special this year with certificates of appreciation being given to all participants by the State of Nuevo Leon tourism officials, Mayor of Bustamante and other local dignitaries. Other visitors included a TVcrew from a station in Monterey, who featured the annual project in a television program that aired later that week. Photo by Orion Knox


6 Government Canyon Karst Survey 1st & 2nd June, 2002 by Marvin MillerT rip participants: George Kegley, Kurt Menking, Marvin Miller, Bill Ravenscroft, Ron Rutherford, Kathy Scanlon, Kate Walker Saturday Activities Y et another weekend was spent in the Dancing Fern area with more success to report. Ron, Bill, George, and I headed that direction Saturday morning. We carried a large maul, a long bar, and other digging implements to work on the dig at feature 8-D1. During a previous dig trip in July of 2000, most of the large rocks had been removed from the sink. Some more digging was done in April of the current year. We first stopped at Dancing Fern Cave. I went in first, Ron found out he didnt fit, and then Bill came in. It was his first wild cave. My intention was to see if I could push south in the cave through the formation area where we had stopped before. I had a feeling that it had never really been tried, and our experiences in Dancing Rattler made me think that there might be more passage to be found in here. I was right! It took some squeezing and turning between formations but I was soon looking into larger virgin passage. The only problem was, I couldnt get there without breaking a few projections off the floor and I didnt have a hammer. We left the cave and left the new passage for another trip. The real goal had been to see if it did go, and it does! The sink at 8-D1 was only about 50 meters to the north. Ablacktail rattlesnake gave us some excitement as we were deciding where to start. It didnt like us and retreated under the wall of the sink. After removing a few remaining large rocks, we were pleasantly surprised to find that a little bit of digging was going to get us into a cave. It was close to noon when we had the entrance big enough to scoot into. We ate some lunch and then grabbed our lights and headed into the cave. Once more we were pleasantly surprised to find a much larger cave than we are used to finding at Government Canyon. The entrance slopes about a meter down to the level dirt floor of the entrance room. This room is roughly 13 meters in diameter with a fairly constant ceiling height of 1 meter. The room has some nice decorations. Along the east wall a passage extends southeast approximately 13 meters from the entrance to a constriction that looks diggable. It cant be seen if passage continues on the other side. Approximately 10 meters from the entrance a passage heads southwest into an area of many columns, stalactites, and stalagmites. After about 5 meters the passage is constricted by formation growth to a small window that looks into continuing passage on the other side. Directly west of the entrance, at the far wall of the entrance room, a crawl through a small window leads into a passage that soon is walking height due to a lowered floor and raised ceiling. The main trend of the passage ends after about 10 meters. Aside lead heading south involves a short crawl over breakdown and some path-finding through a formation forest but it also ends fairly quickly. Without a doubt, more passage will be discovered in the cave, either through digs or through overlooked leads. We named the cave Hackberry Sink due to the large hackberry tree growing at its edge and sending roots into the cave. After our cursory exploration, we started the survey of the cave and kept at it until Bill and Ron had to leave at 3:00. George and I packed up and struck west for Lithic Ridge Cave where I finished a cross-section sketch for the map. After this we headed back to headquarters. Sunday Activities On Sunday, Kathy, Kate, Kurt, and I headed back up to the Dancing Fern area. I took them to Hackberry Sink to show them the cave and to take some photographs. We had three cameras and two slave flashes so we spent about 2 hours in the cave setting up various shots. Kathy and Kate took a collection of cave critters. After this we went to Dancing Rattler Cave. Kathy and Kate were going to do another biological collection and also start on the survey of the new area. Kurt and I were going to work on another dig lead. The lead didnt look near as promising this time as it had the first time I saw it. We soon abandoned it. I took off into the new part with camera and flash to do some more photography while Kurt worked at widening the entrance to this area. Kathy and Kate were surveying. While in the new passage I checked out the leads at both ends. With some rock removal we can get into another room at the south end. At the north end I could have crawled a little bit further if I had had a hammer. I couldnt see for sure if the passage continued. We all left the cave at about 4:00. Kurt did some digging topside, as well, in the sink right beside Dancing Rattler. Inside the cave there is no evidence of this sink, even though it is only about 4 meters away from the entrance and to the west of the entrance passage. However, the hole encounters solid rock after less than a meter. We estimate it would need to get about 2 meters deep to hit a cave the same as Dancing Rattler and Dancing Fern. We probably wont work on this one any more. This was the last trip to Government Canyon until the weather cools in the fall. Atrip will be announced for September of October. NEWS: EVENTS 2002 TSACartography Salon by Sean Vincent, TSACart Salon ChairThe 2002 TSACartography Salon included 14 well-drawn maps from 5 cartographers. Not surprisingly, all were computer-generated. There were no first-time cartographer entries and no traditionally drawn maps. Cartographers in each category earned certificates, ribbons, and prizes. Judges comments and awards were distributed upon completion of judging. These comments should be used to fix problems in the maps, which in most cases should only take a few minor changes and additions. We would like to see these maps submitted to the NSS Cartographic Salon at this summers Convention. All cartographers were from Texas, but there was only one Texas cave map submitted. We are pleased to see Texas cavers active in mapping, but would like to encourage mapping Texas caves also. Entries this year included a GIS map inlaid with individual cave maps. The project area map was unique and placed in its own category. Honorable Mention is a green ribbon, Merit is a blue ribbon, and Best of Show is a white ribbon. Some great prizes were awarded this year. Green ribbons received survey books and survey pouches. Blue ribbons received a $25 gift certificate to Gonzo Guano Gear (GGG). The white ribbon received a $50 gift certificate to GGG. The following are the categories, maps entered, cartographers, and awards. COMPUTER DRAFTED, LESS THAN 100 METERS Cueva Calavera del Jabali, Mexico HONORABLE MENTIONJerry Fant Cueva No Se, Mexico. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jerry Fant Sotanito de la Botella Rota, Mexico. . . . . . . . . . Jerry Fant Sotano de Arana Blanco, Mexico. . . . . . . . . . . Jerry Fant Sotano del Grieta Chica, Mexico. . . . . . . . . . . Jerry Fant Sotano del Grito, Mexico. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jerry Fant Sotano Tres Raices, Mexico. . . . . . . . . . . . . Jerry Fant C OMPUTER DRAFTED, MORE THAN 100 METERS Caverns of Sonora, tourist trail, Sutton County, Texas. . George Veni Cueva Jardin, Mexico. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Peter Sprouse Mahiehe Cave, Hawaii. . . . . . . BESTOF SHOWBob Richards Paxal Ita Te, Mexico . . . . . . . . . . . . MERITJerry Fant Paxal Pach Ja, Mexico . . . . HONORABLE MENTION Jerry Fant GIS PROJECTAREAMAP Proyecto Expeleologico Sierra Oxmolon, Mexico. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . HONORABLE MENTION Jerry Fant FOR DISPLAYONLY Powells Cave, Maze Complex, Menard County, Texas Many thanks to this years judges Robin Barber, Andy Grubbs, and Bill Stephens. Abig thank you to Gonzo Guano Gear for prize donations. Most of all thanks and congratulations to all entrants on the time and effort of mapping and submitting entries.


7 T exas Cave Conservancy Newsletter# 2 July 20, 2003 This has been a busy summer for the T exas Cave Conservancy On June 8, we had a work project at the Boulevard Cave Preserve in CedarPark Agood deal of trash was removed along the trails. In addition, dead cedar was cleared. After the work, a visit to A very Sanctuary Cave was conducted. Following the NSS Convention in Maine on July 10, an Associates Meeting was held at Jim Kennedys house in Austin Plans were made for future events. We are planning three or more events each month. With more caver assistance, we will have more activities available. Thanks go to Christi Bennett, in charge of Cave Owner Relations and to Joe Ranzau for driving up from San Antonio for the meeting. We are working on additional cave access in the Camp Wood area and in the Boerne area. We will have an Associates Meeting in Austin the second Wednesday of each month. In addition, we are working on plans to have a brief meeting every other month in San Antonio These meetings assist in planning cave trips and work projects. Join us and help us set up new activities. Everyone is welcome. On July 13, we continued the clean up at the T exas Cave Conservancy Campground There is still more work, however, the campground is now ready for camping. On August 24, we will install a large picnic table at the campground. The campground is located along Buttercup Creek. Camping is under a number of large oaks. The campground is approximately 300 feet from the lot set aside for the T exas Cave Conservancy Office The GreaterHouston Grotto will be starting a cave clean up and restoration at Beck Ranch Cave on August 3. Donna Mosesmann has offered to head up the restoration project. Later this year, Robin Barber, of Ft. Worth, will start a new survey of the cave. If you want to assist on the restoration contact Donna ( at 713-777-7335. On August 16-18 we will host the TCC SummerSplash W eekend at the Mastersons Falling Waters Ranch located near Camp Wood, Texas We have a great place to camp, swim, and to cave. In addition to Palace Cave we will have access to several small caves that need to be surveyed. Saturday evening we will have a barbecue. Please RSVPto Christi Bennett, 210-344-7149 or e-mail to JoeRanzau ( On August 24, the BexarGrotto of San Antonio will be visiting Round Rock to install a wood mulch trail at the Tres Amigos Cave Preserve. Following the work, several good caves are available. Avisit to the proposed educational show cave, A very Sanctuary Cave will also be available. Steve Gutting of San Antonio will be heading up the trip for the BexarGrotto Cavers from other areas are welcome to join us for this work project and for the caving. Members of the Bexar Grotto should contact Steve. Other cavers contact Mike Walsh ( at 512-804-2158. We now have 120 Associates and we are seeking more. We are planning a number of activities for the rest of the year. The only limitation on the caving and the work projects is the level of interest. If you want to help us, there is a good deal to be done. Here are several of the areas where we could use help. Contact us. T exas Cave Conservancy Activities Cave preserve developmentCave restoration Cave clean up Trail building Educational signage Cave management Digging and explorationTCC Web site TCCNewsletterBat protection Cave acquisitionNew cave access Cave owner relationsCave survey PhotographyDevelop slide shows Publications: A very Sanctuary Cave Activities & Coloring book Palace Cave Activities & Coloring book T exas Bat Cave Owners Publication Building Projects: T exas Cave Conservancy Campground construction. Develop A very Sanctuary Cave as an educational show cave. Help build the T exas Cave Conservancy Office (2003). If you would like to receive our electronic newsletter, send e-mail to T and we will add you to the list. To become an Associate either send $ 25 for Contributor status or send $ 5 then work with us. When you are able to donate 40 or more volunteer hours, you will become a Lifetime Associate A T exas Cave ConservancyT-Shirt will be given to cavers that make the Contributor donations. For more information contact: Mike Walsh ( 512-804-2158. Associates Meetings are the2nd Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m., 4402 Bannister Lane, Austin, Texas Jim Kennedy ( 512-6663-2287. The T exas Cave Conservancy is a non-profit 501 (C) (3), Texas Corporation dedicated to the protection of caves, cave life, and the aquifer as related to caves. T exas Cave Conservancy 512-804-2158 PO Box 153034 Austin, Texas 78715 T NEWS: EVENTS


8 T exas Cavers in Maine:A Summary of What Texans Did at the 2002 NSS Convention Compiled by George Veni and Jim Kennedy Number of Texans in attendance: almost 30 A wards, salons, & events: Cartography Salon Merit Award Robin Barber for Blackberry Branch Cave, Kentucky Cartography Salon Merit Award Mahiehie Cave, Maui, Hawaii Cartography Salon judge Jim Kennedy Graphics Arts Salon Best of Show August 2000 Maverick Bull Graphics Arts Salon Merit Award November 2001 Texas Caver Lead saxophone for the Terminal Siphons Robin Barber NSS Fellows Award presentation Bill Mixon NSS Science Award presentation George Veni Caving trips: Few after all, this convention was in Maine! Chairmeetings/workshops: George Veni Geology and Geography session and luncheon Papers: Jay Banner, Patrick Mickler, Larry Mack, Eric James, Jenny Cooke, and Libby Stern, with MaryLynn Musgrove Applications of cave deposits to temporal hydrologic and environmental change. Jay L. Banner, with MaryLynn Musgrove Influence of soils on cave dripwater geochemistry in the Edwards Aquifer of central T exas. Scott Engel Using continuous dye injection to simulate contaminant transport during precipitation events in a karst aquifer, Fort Knox, Kentucky. Thomas M. Iliffe, with Bernard W. Szukalski The BeCKIS Project: establishing a GIS for cave and karst conservation in Bermuda. Jean K. Krejca, with Steven J. Taylor, Michael L. Denight, and V anessa Block Preliminary report on investigation of Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta) impact on karst invertebrate communities at Fort Hood, Texas. Megan L. Porter, Sarah Russell, Annette Summers Engel, and Libby A. Stern Population studies of the aquatic snail Physa spelunca (Gastropoda:Physidae) from Lower Kane Cave, Wyoming. Geary Schindel, Steven Johnson, and Lew Schnitz, with Stephen R.H. Worthington, E. Calvin Alexander, Jr., and Scott Alexander Groundwater flow velocities for the deep artesian portion of the Edwards Aquifer, near Comal Springs, Texas. Annette Summers Engel, Megan L. Porter, Libby A. Stern, and Philip C. Bennett Metabolic and isotopic diversity of chemautotrophic sulfur-oxidizing bacteria from Lower Kane Cave, W yoming. George Veni, with William Woodley Estimating the effects of seeding-induced rainfall on karst aquifers. Apologies: to anyone that was overlooked! NEWS: EVENTS NSS Geology Field Trip to Anemone Cave, Acadia National Park, Maine. Photo by George Veni.


9 Caving With the Future in Mind Kate Walker, TSAConservation Chair What comes to mind when someone says, "cave conservationŽ? Perhaps you immediately picture muddy people scrubbing rocks with toilet bowl brushes in the dark, or perhaps you think first of chasing down the key-holder for a gated cave you want to visit. Perhaps you think cave conservation just means taking your granola bar wrapper out of the cave with you. Each of those ideas is a small part of the total picture. Cave conservation encompasses a range of ideas and disciplines, all of which are dedicated to a common statement: caves are special, unlimited use of caves can be damaging, and its up to those who use caves (thats probably you, since you are reading the Texas Caver) to do prevent, reduce, or fix that damage. Lets face it: the people who most want the cave to be there and look good the next time are cavers. Ask yourself a question: "Self, what have I done to prevent, reduce or fix damage due to cave overuse?" Then pat yourself on the back for your good work (unless, of course, your answer was, "nothing"). Ask yourself another question: "Self, is there something else I can do in addition?" Y ou might donate money to an organization that protects caves or cave-dwellers. You might introduce one person to the wonderful underground, to spread the word that caves are valuable. You might go on one (or one additional) work trip each year, celebrating your birth month by hauling trash or installing a vandal-resistant gate. There are many ways for you to cave with the future in mind. In next Texas Cavers column: Kate wants to know how you would complete this sentence: Cave conservation meansƒ Email or phone her (, 512-695-1758) with your ideas for conservation column topics. NEWS: FEATURE NEWS: TRIPREPORTS T rip Report for Maple Run Cave, Travis Co.June 15, 2002 By Kate WalkerK athy Scanlon, Aimee Beveridge, Kate Walker, Geoff Hoese, Faith Watkins, Vicki Irwin, Clint ?, Susan After we had all assembled at the entrance to Goat Cave Karst Preserve, we quickly hiked to the cave. Maple R un is a nice mixture of squeezes and rooms, with a few v ery short climbs; it was perfect for our two first-timers (Vicki and Clint). Some of the group climbed down past the last large room into the very end of the cave, where there are helictites and columns to admire. The attractive (though muddy) surroundings and company sparked a new idea for a Texas caving fundraiser. T op: A clean Vicki Irwin prepares to enter Maple Run Cave (Travis Co.) on her first caving trip ever. Photo by Kathy Scanlon Below: Did you ever see the cave boobs in Maple Run? September 2001 by Marc Necker


10 NEWS: TRIPREPORTS P articipants: Ernie Garza, Ramon Godina, Rudolfo FofoŽ Gonzalez, Doug Heyden, Adriana Montemayor, Xa vier Salinas, Charley Savvas, Peter Sprouse, Terri Whitfield, Yari and other Monterrey cavers. Y ari was cold. It was just a little past midday, but the sun now only occasionally reached to the bottom of Matacanes Canyon. As the warm sun moved out of the canyon, a cold wind would begin to blow through the shadows. As the last of us climbed out of what was about the eighth or ninth plunge pool, we regrouped around Y ari. Wearing shorts, a T-shirt and tennis shoes, all totaled she probably weighed little more than ninety pounds. Yari shivered slightly but otherwise stood motionless as we made our assessments. She definitely needed to put on more clothes. Some of us were wearing full wet suits over lightweight polypro. Most others had on neoprene shorty wetsuits. Our group of about fourteen was large, and was moving a bit slowly, leaving time for her to chill. Now only one-third of the way through the canyon, we had yet to reach the first of the two caves that we came there to map. Charley dug into his drybag and pulled out a balaclava. Yari draped it over her head and then secured it in place with her helmet. I pulled out the heavyweight polypro shirt that I had stashed in with my emergency gear, and offered it to her. She removed the T-shirt, pulled on the polypro and then covered it with her PFD. Yari ¡MATACANES! By Terri Whitfield, Photos by Ernie Garza, Peter Sprouse, and Terri Whitfield


11 smiled and then nodded. We were ready to move on. It was only mildly hot and dry in Austin when Peter Sprouse started planning this trip to Matacanes Canyon in June 2001. But he knew that by August central Texas would be miserably hot and scorchingly dry. The grass would be crunchy and heat waves would be visible, radiating from the buildings and pavement. Peter had been reading about Matacanes Canyon for several years, and now anticipated that the spring-fed canyon plunge pools would offer a cool respite. He contacted Monterrey Tec caver Ramn Godina and asked if he would arrange to obtain the permit for our trip through the canyon. It wasnt easy. Being only a short drive from Monterrey, Nuevo Len, the canyoning trip had become perhaps the most popular one in North America. Due to numerous injuries and rescues, access to the canyon had recently been restricted primarily to professionally guided trips. For priv ate trips, each group needed to have an EMT or some other person qualified to assist in a medical emergency. P ersonal flotation devices (PFDs) were required. Since there were two caves that the river passed through along the way that needed mapping, the trip would have an additional purpose besides just having fun, though fun w as the main goal. With the assurance that the permit was in hand, we left Austin on a Thursday evening, driving south through Mamulique Pass, camping for the night in the desert near a microwave tower. The next day we drove along the PanAmerican highway through Monterrey, turning on the Cola del Caballo (Horsetail Falls) road going west up the mountain. After a short way, we came upon a huge warning sign that marked our turn onto the canyon road that goes up to Potrero Redondo. Recomendaciones Bsicas de Seguridad en Recorridos Acuticos Matacanes e Hidrofobia,Ž the sign read. What followed was a list of dos and donts with the emphasis on the coldness of the water and tips for avoiding hypothermia. At the bottom of the list were the telephone numbers to call in case a rescue w as needed. We turned down the road, first descending past our take-out point at Las Adjuntas, then up the mountain above Hidrofobia Canyon to Potrero Redondo. Before dark on Friday night we hiked down to Cueva de la Ta Rosa a well-known local cave below the village [AMCS Activities Newsletter No. 14]. We camped just north of Potrero Redondo at the Tec cavers usual spot, but we barely heard them when they arrived in the wee hours of the night. Several kilometers of hiking got us into Matacanes Canyon proper. The initial rappel into the canyon is a magnificent 40-meter descent several meters to the left of a cascading waterfall. Our descent was delayed at the start by other canyoneers who had gotten there first and had claimed the usual rig points. We counted at least fifty people ahead of our group. After scouting around a bit, we finally found another rig point on the right side of the first drop. Looking down from the top of that first drop, the emerald plunge pool shimmered as both the waterfall and the canyon wind came crashing down the mountain, sending waves with whitecaps rippling along the surface. As each of us called Libre!Ž we maneuvered over to where we could turn and watch the next rappeller. Knowing that there would be no turning back once Charley pulled down the rope, a few of us watched attentively, w aiting to consciously acknowledge that moment of commitment. Once we had descended into the canyon, we were committed to running its full course, following the river through the countless plunge pools, swimming its lakes, making our way through its two caves until it spat the river out further down the mountain at Las Adjuntas. When I came to the first of many high jumps, I allowed the tips of my boots to jut unsteadily over the boulders edge as I studied the water. It was flowing fast through a narrow slot in the canyon. I had to be sure to jump out into the channel and then not let the current slam me into the opposite wall, where the water crashes into the rock. It was only a 6-meter drop, but that distance seemed longer while looking down from the slick boulders edge. I had my choice of which slick rock to jump from, but taking a plunge into the water was the only way out of the canyon. I unclipped my dry-bag from my seat harness and tossed it into the river. After a few quick bobs, it was taken away by the current and jammed against the opposite wall, where it stayed, rotating counter-clockwise. There must be an eddy of some sort, I thought. Or the wall could be dangerously undercut. I w atched it swirl. Suddenly, the wind picked up and blew a spray of cold mist on my face. A reminder to get moving. I focused on the darkest, deepest part of the channel, I &


12 then jumped off the slick boulder, hanging suspended over the slot just long enough to position myself over my target area. Then, splash, I hit the cold, clear water at midchannel and went under. The impact was stimulating. Buoyed back to the surface by my life jacket, I began to swim with the current, avoiding the swirling water against the rock wall as I grabbed my drybag and headed toward a downstream eddy. Though there are a few rappels, Matacanes is all about jumping. We jumped so much throughout the day that, for fun, we began to work on earning style points. A jump, with a twist. A jump with one leg front, the other back. Arms and legs spread out on one, cannonball on the next. F ofo had started doing flips. There were several uncoordinated but interesting-looking group jumps. Before long, we came to a series of chutes. Peter started going head first, so the next guy one-upped him by running the chutes head first on his back. We were having so much fun with the chutes and plunge pools that we had almost forgotten about the caves until we reached a series of massive boulders that suddenly appeared around a bend in the canyon. When we arrived at the entrance to Cueva de Matacanes No. 1 we found that the professionally-guided group already had the entrance drop rigged and were sending the last of their clients down. We took a break for lunch, giving the other group some time to clear out. We donned our vertical gear, organized the survey team and began setting stations. The entrance chamber was 20 meters wide and high with beautiful showerheads sprinkling streams of water from circular shields that had formed on the ceiling. The first shot spanned a shallow lake to a rock set up on a nearby beach. Beyond the beach w as a blind jump. Of all of the jumps taken that day, for me, the blind jump inside the cave was the most challenging. Amidst the roar of falling water echoing down the passageway, this jump would be illuminated only by the feeble headlamp of someone working as a spotter. The spotters job w as to shine a diffused, weak and basically unfocusable headlamp into the still-very-dark hole and say, You want to aim for that spot where the light is.Ž All the jumper could see and hear from the top was that there was churning water down there somewhere. The details of the jump were absorbed by the darkness. Not being able to judge its height, the intensity of the hydraulic action, or whether there were submerged rocks or any other obstacles it would literally be a leap of faith. And I suppose that for many of us who have done a bit of vertical work in caves, free-jumping into the black void is . um . counterintuitive. All of those thoughts that I have had while standing near the edge of a drop, warning me what would happen if I jumped, or fell, were now being revisited. Those w arning thoughts were quite unnerving. It took a while for me to shake them off. Meanwhile, I got passed up in line, forfeited all of my accumulated style points, and was relegated to the role of spotter. My comfort level increased somewhat as I watched the others jump and heard them each acknowledge Clear!Ž as they continued downstream with the flow of the river. Eventually I made the jump, NEWS: TRIPREPORTS


13 more than anything due to the desire to go ahead and get it over with one way or the other. If this trip turned out to be nothing more than a delusion on my part and I came to my senses after having actually jumped into and already fallen halfway down the Golondrinas drop, at least at that point it would (almost) be a done deal. We continued with the survey downstream of the jump, setting stations where we could. Running tape was easy, as there were many dripping stalactites hanging mid-stream in the fast-flowing channel. Reading instruments wasnt so easy for Fofo, though, as the strong current seemed to knock him off station a lot. He seemed to be having a hard time keeping the instruments dry, too, while having to dogpaddle to stay afloat. But we got the survey and sketching done, nevertheless, then returned to play time on the river. The entrance to Cueva de Matacanes No. 2 seemed staged; arranged like the beginning of an adventure ride at an amusement park. On the left was a massive mosscovered flowstone mountain, seeping water from top to bottom, with clumps of maidenhair ferns growing in patches where the water ran. Off to river right, the flowing emerald waves formed a channel undercutting the limestone rock. Wedged in the middle of the narrowing canyon there was an enormous tree that must have been 9 meters long. It was a fallen tree, with a thick, black trunk, seemingly lodged near the cave entrance for effect. P erhaps it had fallen from the top of the mountain, perhaps it had floated down the river only to be stopped at the cave entrance, but its presence seemed ominous. It w as obviously distressed with its limbs and branches still clinging to the trunk, being buffeted by the current; a river runners nightmare half exposed, but with the more dangerous half still submerged. Imagine entering this open chamber that had an enormous, fern-covered mountain seeping rivulets of water on river left, a fast-flowing emerald-colored channel under-cutting the stone mountain on the right, and a huge, contorted and quivering strainer-of-a-tree, all leading into a bend in the river that marks the entrance into the second cave. We were running late, so we decided not to map the second cave. We still had a long way to go to reach our take-out at Las Adjuntas. In addition to Yari, others in our group were beginning to get cold, so, while we were still tinkering with the first survey, a group of them had brok en ranks and forged their way on down the mountain. Anyway, leaving the survey of the second cave for later would provide justification for ( continued next page) NEWS: TRIPREPORTS


14 NEWS: TRIPREPORTS W eekday at Airman's caveBy Carol Schumacher as dictated by Wes SchumacherEarly Wednesday morning, July 31st I picked up Justin Shaw who had been fiddling with his headlamp on the table. That thing has more splices than a genetically altered organism. We picked up food at Sun Harvest and headed to Airman's cave. We got in at around 11:00 and did a straight crawl all the way to the first maze where we stopped for a few minutes. Here started a trail of cigarette butts that proceeded half-way through the cave. Smoking and caving seems to me to be a pretty stupid combination. We picked them up as we went. We proceeded through the cave at the same pace taking the alternate route around the One-Legged Man to save time and energy. We didn't even look at the Aggie Art Gallery cause we were headed for the very back! Something like 4,000 feet. We intended to reach the back and get back out for the grotto meeting at 7:45. We got into the walking passage and went pretty quick. We got to Crusifiction Rock, which precedes the longest belly crawl in the cave. It had sharp pointed rocks on the ceiling and the walls. No need to tell you we kept v ery low. The crawl is terminated by a formation known as the Emasculator. I asked what the name of the crawl w as and Justin said it didn't have one. We decided that with The Crusifiction at one end and The Emasculator at the other it didn't really need one. At K aren's Crawl we got on our hands and knees and crawled for the next 1200 feet. There's a place called The Wire Wiggle where we had to crawl through a tight succession of squeezes. It was made by blasting with dynamite on the end of a wire wiggled through the space and then detonated. It seems Bill Russel could have used a bit more dynamite. Then we stoop walked, hands and knees until we got to the back. The Formation Room had been damaged. The calcite crystals had been stepped on. We grieved and cursed the perpetrators and moved on deeper into the F ormation Room. It was quite beautiful and more than I had expected for Airman's. There were flowstone and rimstone dams, and stalagmites, soda straws and calcite crystals all over the floor. Heading back, we figured it probably took us twice as long to make the trip back to the entrance. We got out at 10:00 and headed for The Posse where we received a standing ovation and a hamburger. (continued from previous page) making a return trip. The second cave was mostly swimming. As we swam towards the light at the end of the river tunnel, the sunlight filtering through the deep, aquamarine lake that marked the exit was quite spectacular. From there it was mostly walking alongside the streambed and out of the canyon to the trucks. „ „ „ „ „ „


15 a fine grained mineral called cinnibar (mercury sulfide) and a white encrusting mineral calomel (mercury chloride), were most probably deposited hydrothermically, as v estigial magma pools cooled slowly. The Terlingua Mercury Mining District, and further districts of Brewster County, have officially produced more than 150,000 flasks of liquid metal, at 76 lbs. per flask, from 1899 to 1970. The Story... Arriving in the area the end of June 2002. I knew that bat researchers were conducting aerial radio tracking tests in the Chisos. I met the bunch of them to discuss what they had found and see if I could do anything productive to volunteer. I went on a few hikes in the park and took off for Blair Pitmans residence in Terlingua. Finding his place overrun with a group of young Human Rights Activists, preparing for a trip to Oaxaca, I partied with them for several days. We took them to be dropped off to hitchhike to Mexico City, where they met up with the UNAM contingent of the cause. They decided to catch a bus out of Ojinaga, Coahuila to get them past the 20 kilometer checkpoint. So we dropped em off and wished them well. The next day Blair and I were itching to get underground in a mercury mine called The Little 38Ž. After negotiating the dangerous entrance winze an extremely short left hand passage that leads to the main elevator shaft was found. I realized immediately the roof would make a good place for bolt placement. Fixing two bolts into the rock, we proceeded to drop into the 50 ft. level. It is an inward swing to get into this passage, so I chucked the hammerdrill laden pack into the passage. While waiting for Blair, I remembered the Nevada State agencies promotional messageStay Out Stay AliveŽ. We rejoined and I followed a rapidly moving away Blair. The 50 ft. level is a maze. We crossed a ladder lain across a winze horizontally. Fixed like everything in this mine, with timbers shimmed into hacked out pockets very tight with wooden wedges, across deep gaps left from ore removal. We found many historic ladders in varies degrees of decay. One of which led upward and was very well constructed, having the rungs worn 1/2 way through from the sandal traffic of the miners. The 50 ft. levels passage ended. We backtracked to a couple of overlooked downw ardly sloping winze. Stuck a bolt in one of em and went on to explore more. We found another downward sloping winze with a ladder made of a 2 by 10 with strips nailed to it for the rungs running downward. While waiting for Blair to follow me to get a look at a yawning hole, I realized this is a natural cave, with the walls coated with glittering flowstone and dogtooth spar. Blair was climbing down when I heard an unnghŽ and w atched a few of the ladder rungs pop off in a whirl of long nails! He was unfazed and continued down to watch me set a couple more bolts and chat. Having set these, we hauled our very sweaty asses out to the elevator shaft. This was Blairs first time to use a gift Ropewalker. You have to swing out into the elevator shaft to climb up and out. He swung out, with a flourish I admire in cavers, took a few steps and yelled, Pull me back!Ž. It became very obvious I had not attached my chest rollerŽ Blair said, many days later. So I reached a hand onto the rope we had pulled into the passage and got Blair as close as I could. He was able to get his feet on the lip, but not much else! A bit of hurried fingerwork and adrenaline made attaching his chest roller easier than it could have been. A very much relieved Mr. Pitman swung back out and blasted up to the main anchors. I climbed up and threw my hammerdrill out of my pack and told Blair I was heading to the bottom of the elev ator shaft. As the rope played through my gloves, I recognized a glitch in the rope itself. Stopping myself as the Touchdown NEWS: TRIPREPORTS I N THE Santa Elena LIMESTONE,


16 tear in the ropes sheath came into view above eye level. I wasted no time in locking off and attaching my upper ascender to the rope above the glitch, standing in my footloops to get my Croll on. All this time the rope is stretching from me stopping. Am I going to die?Ž went through my head with a heavy dose of adrenaline. I whipped a butterfly into the ropes bad spot, and sweating like a waterfall, I headed up and out! To feel the 112 degree clear skies. The breeze was nice. The next week was spent getting to know the amazingly eccentric and beautiful folks of Terlingua and visiting with the bat and plant researchers. Wild-wild fun! Exactly one week later on a Sunday morning, Pa r amedic-resident, Joel, of Terlingua, had expressed a more than curious interest in our story of exploration. The previous nights revelry at the historic Chisos Mining Companies store had provided us with a victim. We handed Joel a helmet and headlamp, then bumped on down the road to re-enter the mines portal. It is a bit tricky to chimney across the winze-passage. Joel had an interesting time reaching the small adit my rope was hanging into. Blair and Joel made themselves comfortable and started another endless conversation. Geronimo! As the descent into the shaft took shape in the warm glow of carbide, I reached the knot that had stopped my descent, crossed it and happily dropped into the black unknown. I hit bottom of the elevator shaft onto a sloping, wood fragmented breakdown pile. The old mining ore-cart rails made a Y junction with the westward adit having collapsed. It was passable but I looked the other wa y and it was clear sailing. I lit out in search of the rumored huge caverns in the eastern section of the mine. A few minutes of whistling, singing and generally having a grand time cruising the tracks, brought me, to my amazement, a structure in the distance. While being drawn to it, I noticed I was walking over boards set in the passage to support the rails. It was a trap door that was open. I looked inside and headed down the sloping timbers that have the top inside edge cut at an angle to accept metal strips, to reduce wear from the ore carts being brought up from the depths of the lower workings. I made it carefully down to where no rungs continued and a ladder sidestepped the timbers. I had yelled up to Blair and Joel when getting off rope, Ill be back in 30 minutes.Ž Looking down, I realized it w as not a place to proceed alone. Stopping back up at the trap door I noticed a sign in Spanish. I have not completely translated it. I walked with a big grin back along the tracks. The 275 ft. climb out was entertaining and the men w aiting at the main anchors were in the best of spirits. We pulled the rope and carefully chimneyed back over the adit. Surfacing into the blue desert sky. Joel had the generosity and foresight to provide a full chest of cold drinks. It was the beginning of yet another day of fun on the border. by James Lopez NEWS: TRIPREPORTS Currier's CaveJune 8, 2002 Sean Vincent ( aren Delk, James Lopez, Sean Vincent traveled to Eagle Ridge Ranch near Rocksprings in Edwards County to visit a 100 acre tract purchased by Houston-area resident Mark Currier. Mr. Currier noticed a hole that took substantial amounts of water. Based on an article in the Texas Co-op Power Monthly magazine, he contacted the TSA in 2001. Sean Vincent, Jeanette Joost, and Terry Holsinger visited the location during August 2001. The hole was less than a meter in diameter and filled with rocks to within 1m of the surface. It was determined that the rocks were most likely pushed in an attempt to fill the hole and prevent cattle from entering. Rocks were removed to a depth of 2.1m and a dirt "floor" was found. During a rainstorm in January 2002, the hole took substantial run-off that did not stand in any observable areas. In the spring of 2002, the owner's wife investigated and noted that there was a 15m diameter space, 17cm above a dirt floor. June 2002, more rocks were removed from the entrance area and excavation began. Due to recent rains, the soil in the cave had turned to mud. A 0.3m hole was dug into the floor, more rocks were removed, but larger rocks prevented further depth excavation. A relationship has been established with the landowner and cavers are welcome to return for further digging and site survey. There are potentially other caves in the area. Sean Vincent is the designated contact and has the combo to the gate and permission of the owner to access the property any time except turkey and deer season. Anyone interested in visiting the ranch, should contact Sean ( Hill Country day-trip6 July 2002 By Kate Walker T erry Holsinger, Sean Vincent, Kathy Scanlon and Idgie, Kate Walker and TapsWe met up on Saturday morning, not too early, with the aim of driving all over the countryside west of Austin and visiting or relocating a few caves along the way. Our first destination was Dead Mans Hole near Marble Falls, a v ertical cave (now gated) out of which at least 17 bodies have been pulled. There is an informational sign at the cave; its role as a dumping ground makes it a historical site. We each threw a rock down the pit. We then went on to relocate Blowout Cave, near the community of Blowout in extreme northwestern Blanco County. The cave is so named because of a historical guano explosion that supposedly burned for days. Though we zipped past the cave area at first, as we retraced our steps the aroma of guano from the resident Mexican free-tail bats led us right from the road to the cave. We finished off the day with a visit to cavers in Llano and a meal at Coopers. c c c c c c c c


17 Re view Beyond the Deep: T he Deadly Descent into the Worlds Most Tr eacherous Cave. William Stone and Barbara am Ende, with Monty Paulsen. Warner Books, New York; 2002. 6 by 9 inches, 351 pages, hardbound. ISBN 0-446-52709-2. $26.95. I really wasnt looking forward to reading this book. The coy with, of course, means that Paulsen wrote this book based on draft material from and extensive consultation with, mainly, Stone. When I heard that a professional had been hired to write it, I feared that he would take perfectly reasonable things Bill and Barb had written, jazz up the death-defying-heroes bits, translate them into eighth-grade English, and leave me gagging. The carelessly written extracts that appear in the July 2002 National Geographic Adventure magazine werent encouraging. I was completely wrong. When I got my copy, I read it right through, stopping only for lunch. The writing is smooth and, although not obviously overly dramatized, brought tears to my eyes more than once. As most cavers probably know by now, the book is the story of the 1994 expedition to Sistema Huautla in southern Mexico. Cavers entered the Stano de San Agustn entrance, descended 840 meters, penetrated two virgin sumps totaling 600 meters in length, and mapped some two kilometers of new cave beyond, regaining the Western Hemisphere depth record for Huautla. After numerous setbacks, including a fatality, Bill and Barb were the only two to cave beyond the sumps. There is a prologue giving some history of exploration in the area, and other bits of it are woven into the main story. Among the illustrations are the first reasonably detailed maps of the new parts of the cave that Ive seen anywhere. There are twenty-eight pages of appendixes; the most interesting of which contains short summaries of all the expeditions to date to Huautla, and a useful index. The main contribution of Paulsen over what Stone and am Ende, together with a good editor, could have done is the portraits of the participants in the expedition, which ring true as far as I can tell. Id say am Ende and Ian Rolland, who died, come off best, although of course ultimate credit for the project has to go to the driven Stone. Unusually for a book for general American readers, cave dimensions are all given in meters, and it is even assumed that a reader will know how long a meter is. I did notice every page or so, something that a good editor might have fussed about, and nobody will mistake the book for serious reporting. The authors have taken liberties in attributing thoughts and words to the cavers, though nothing rings untrue. Dozens of things might have been more fully explained. But reporting wasnt the goal; a good adventure yarn was. The story, the writing, and the distribution skills of a commercial publisher will make this a best-selling caving book. -Bill Mixon NewBreakthroughinCaveTechnology! We-B-Bats , the same pioneering company that brought you the popular N N a a u u g g a a h h y y d d e e M M a an n cave fishing and bat skinning tool, now, presents the SpelunkersDe -Light . This feature-packed helmet utilizes the here-to-fore unheard of "two sources of light" concept. Its primary light source is an innovative solar powered electrical system. This revolutionary, ecology friendly system is guaranteed to perform, deep in a cave, equally well on both cloudy and sunny days. Aggie engineers marvel that a quick flick of the attached switch transforms the front-mounted light bulb into our patented "dark" bulb. Caves of any size are then flooded with darkness. Spelunkers can use the resulting "zone of privacy" to attend to personal hygiene such as adjusting pinched testicles or clearing one's nostrils of hardened mucous. The helmet's secondary light source is the familiar plumber's candle. Though tried and true throughout generations of spelunkers, we have included a (pat. pending) candle cozy attachment that drastically improves its performance in wet conditions. A properly mounted cozy prevents the candle from becoming snuffed out by dripping water. Since each cozy has been PERSONALLY tested and certified watertight to a depth of six inches by members of the elite Mile Under Club, it will prove to be a great boon to cave snorkelers.Call214-555-1212toplaceyourorder. (Mucous sold separately) All features are conveniently mounted on the helmet, thus freeing the discriminating spel unkers hands to carry both a r oll of toilet paper AND a beer. T his novel feat of engineering c an be yours for only $235.23 plus tax, license and dealer preparation. ONLY$235.23


18 TOOLS: HOWTO(ORNOTTO) Crossing the Border Jonathan Wilson T exas Independent Caver Rifling though my possessions in the dusty area of south Texas which defines the border zone, I realized that my passport was not where I wanted it to be. After some reflection, I could picture in my minds eye that grinning passport photo of mine staring at the floor of my truck. My truck was still in Austin. The signs on the buildings were now more Spanish than English. I was in a bind. Crossing the border is a simple matter of lights. Green light and you can proceed into the south border zone without much hassle. Score a red light and y our crossing now involves young men with sunglasses molesting most of your bags and belongings. Maybe a quick glance at your Texas drivers license and you can proceed into the south border z one without much more hassle. It is the 20 km checkpoint outside all of the border towns that you must concern yourself with, especially if you do not have the proper documents. Here more than anywhere else in Mexico does one need the proper documents to pass. Without them, they simply turn you around and send you back north. One doesnt have to leave the country; you just cant go past them. In the interior of the country, if asked for documents, one can simply explain how bad fortune had nicked the papers in question. Surley this results in a slap on the wrist in lieu of a trip hundreds of kilometers north to re-secure ones national affiliation and permissions. So the true crux of crossing the border is the 20 km checkpoint. This is generally an ill maintained building on the outside of the border town surrounded by fields, and manned by lethargic feds. After explaining the situation to my companions several solutions where offered, none of which being a return to Austin for my passport. The first solution required a financial outlay of $25 US for a notarized affidavit stating that I am, in fact, a citizen of these United States. Crossing the border with a green light I then attempted to acquire a tourist visa. I presented my affidavit with a crisp, new 200 pesos bill which had accidentally slipped out of my pocket with the stamped document, to an aging immigration service officer. Thank you for the N$ 200, but this document is not worth the paper it is printed on, next in line please. The new plan was devised, as all good plans should, over several beers. We were going caving, which meant the truck were we traveling in had a lot of equipment. We had several things going for us and a plan was beginning to emerge. Caving pants made of Cordura resist the effects of cactus thorns better than most cotton khakis. FRS radios have a r ange of 2 miles. Jungle boots are fun to run in. The new models of GPS are very easy to operate. Small LED provide enough light to illumination to the immediate area but are hard to see from a distance. The sun would be setting soon and the moon was going to be bright tonight. We finished our beer and headed south. The key to this plan is knowing where the 20km checkpoint is: If we stop too early I would have to run a long way, too late and the lethargic feds may take notice. So, at the appropriate place I rolled out of the truck clad in dark clothes and equipped with my trusty GPS, FRS, and single red LED. Across the Mexican scrub I jogged following a predetermined compass heading which was about 45 degrees off the southward highway. The landscape was illuminated by the starlight and a bit of moon rising in the eastern sky. I only had to use the LED occasionally when something appeared odd in my path. Barbed wire fences are the illegal immigrants worst enemy. Under the cover of darkness these fences hide in the shadows of your vision. Running into one at full stride can dampen ones mood. After the third one brought me to a painful halt, I was just shy of pissed off. When I had run far enough I made my radio call in. The plan called for me to initiate the conversation to avoid carrying a radio which could come to life with an errant call at an inopportune time, like hiding face down from pursuing Feds. After contact w as established I received two sets of numbers. The first was the coordinates of the 20 km checkpoint, acquired in stealth by the truck as their papers were being checked. The second set of coordinates is where the truck had conveniently gotten a flat tire down the road and out of site of the check point. It was important to know where the checkpoint was so I would not run though it on my way to help change the flat tire. Upon my arrival at the truck there were no high fives or cheers. I just emerged from the darkness and blend into the group of cavers avidly discussing the proper procedure for changing an over inflated flat tire. We all climbing into the truck and headed south to cave. I was never asked for my papers throughout the remainder of the trip. T ourist visas cost about N$ 170, which translate into under $20 US. I recommend all visitors to the great nation of Mexico pay this amount and get the proper papers. In the wake of recent world events the security in the border zone has increased. I would not recommend anyone get caught running around the wrong side of the border without a passport armed with the best electronics that an REI membership will buy. Smaller border crossing, such as Flacon Dam may accept an affidavit. But the true k ey the crossing the border is not forget your papers. Double and triple check that you have them before you leave home.


19 Bustamante 2002August 30 through September 2 Preregistration for Labor Day Cost eachTotalNamePrincipal Registrant$5.00 Accompanying registrants: Name Name Name Name AddressAccompanying Registrant(s)$5.00 CityStudents with student IDFree State + ZipChildren under 17Free Te lephoneCampingFree E-mailT-shirt ___S___M___L___XL$10.00 ______XXL$12.00 Sunday evening banquet$7.00 Childrens banquet (12 and under) $4.00 No beer with banquet (There will be a cash bar). Grand Total Wo rk Preference (first name of registrants in each category): Cave clean-up and trash removal . . .Trail to Cabeza de Leon . . . . . . . Graffiti removal . . . . . . . . . .Place signs inside and outside the cave . Install light shields in the cave . . . .Would you care to run a crew? . . . . Shift preference (circle one):MorningAfternoonBoth shifts A number of side trips on Sunday may occur if sufficient interest is shown. Please indicate number of regristrants interested in any of the potential offerings (not binding): Rock art/archeology tour . . . . . .Historic tour of town (Bustamante) . . . Mescal factory tour . . . . . . . .Early bird (watching) tour . . . . . . Minas Golondrinas tour . . . . . .Minas Viejas tour . . . . . . . . . Sport caving in Gruta del Palmito . . .Continue working in the cave . . . . . Id rather schedule my own Sunday, thanks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Questions? Call Rune at 512-459-0505 Call Ron at 512-916-9190 Send this pre-registration form and payment to: Ron Ralph P .O. Box 40374 Austin, Texas 78704 (Please postmark your reply by August 10, 2001) Note: Registration on-site will be $10.00 and $5.00 for students RE GISTRATIONFORM € Books € Videos € Calenders € Gifts € Packs € Patches € Gloves € Rope € Lights € Helmets€ Vertical Equipment€ Survey Equipment € Gift Certificates! P. O. Box 441-N, Lewisburg, WV 24901


20 PRSRTSTD U.S. POSTAGE P AID AUSTIN, TX PERMITNO. 882 THE TEXAS CAVER 10801 County Road 116 Kenedy, Texas 78119 DATED MATERIAL Address Service Requested

Contents: "...No, but
I stayed at a Holiday Inn, Express, last night." / Don Arburn
Is Project Caving a Good Thing? / Aaron Addison --
Let's Go To Bustamante! 2002 TSA Labor Day Project --
Government Canyon KARST Survey / Makr Miller --
2002 TSA Cartography Salon / Sean Vincent, TSA Cart Salon
Chair --
Texas Cave Conservancy Newsletter # 2 --
Texas Cavers in Maine: A Summary of What Texans Did at
the 2002 NSS Convention / Compiled by George Veni, Jim Kennedy
Caving With the Future in Mind / Kate Walker, TSA
Conservation Chair --
Trip Report for Maple Run Cave, Travis Co. / Kate Walker
MATACANES! / Terri Whitfield, Photos by Ernie Garza,
Peter Sprouse, and Terri Whitfield --
Weekday at Airman's Cave / Carol Schumacher, dictated by
Wes Schumacher --
In the Santa Elena Limestone --
Currior's Cave / Sean Vincent --
Hill Country Day-trip / Kate Walker --
Beyond the Deep: The Deadly Descent into the World's Most
Treacherous Cave / William Stone, Barbara am Ende, with Monty
Paulson --
Crossing the Border / Jonathan Wilson.


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.