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: The Birthday Passage / Gill Ediger (New passage is where you look!) -- Map of Birthday Passage / Gill Ediger and Neal Morris -- Photographs of Birthday Passage / Gill Ediger -- Editorial (Kunath's 1 1/2 cents worth.) -- Cartoons / Loving and Jameson -- On my way out (A. Richard Smith looks back but does not turn to salt.) -- Have you seen this man? -- The Chairman speaks (Ediger tells it like it is.) -- Preston McMichael award (James Reddell gets his.) AMCS (Unabashed plug.) -- Garbage (Harmon in the news, NSS Fellows.) -- News and such (Harmon does his thing.) -- Late news - UTG Texas speleological survey -- Review (J. Warren socks it to 'em.) -- Cartoons / Bill Elliott -- A letter from Elbert (Ft. Stanton lives!) NSS -- Notice of BOG meeting -- Speleo-calendar -- Rescue information.
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
Original Version:
Vol. 15, no. 1 (1970)
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:
K26-04532 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.4532 ( USFLDC Handle )
10691 ( karstportal - original NodeID )
0040-4233 ( ISSN )

USFLDC Membership

Karst Information Portal

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J A N u A R y THE 'TEX.A& C.A-v.E:R.


COVER: Your friendly staff. Left to right and top to bottom---James Jasek, Carl Kunath, Jon Vinson, Terry Raines, Russ Harmon, GlendaKunath. (Next month we promise a real honest-to-goodness cave picture.) The TEXAS CAVER is a monthly publication of the Texas Speleological As sociation and is published in San Angelo, Texas. Material for publication should be typed double-spaced and sent to the editor at 2302 W. Avenue J, San Angelo, Texas 76901 no later than the first of the month of publication. Grotto and club news should be sent to the News editor at Box 58534, Houston, Texas 77058. Subscriptions are $4.00 per year for 12 issues. All requests for subscriptions should be sent to James Jasek, 1218 Melrose, Waco, Texas 76710. Persons subscribing after the first of the year will receive all back issues for that year. Single copies are avaliable at 40 each postage paid anywhere in the U.S. (g 1 97 0 by the TEXAS CAVER. Editor .... Carl E. Kunath Assistant Editor .. Jon Vinson News Editor ... Russell Harmon Business Manager . Glenda Kunath Printer ...... Terry Raines Assembly ... U. T. Grotto Distribution .. James Jasek THE TEXAS CAVER NEXT MONTH: Blankenship Cave Photo-Tips I Am A Rain God Reviews Cartoons ?????? VOLUME XV, NUMBER 1 PAGE * * * *CONTENTS* * * * 3 5 7 THE BIRTHDAY PASSAGE by Gill Ediger (New passage is where you look.) MAP OF BIRTHDAY PASSAGE by Gill Ediger and Neal Morris PHOTOGRAPHS OF BIRTHDAY PASSAGE by Gill Ediger 8 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 EDITORIAL (Kunath's 1 1/2 worth.) CARTOONS by Loving and Jameson ON MY WAY OUT (A. Richard Smith looks back but does not turn to salt.) HAVE YOU SEEN THIS MAN? THE CHAIRMAN SPEAKS (Ediger tells it like it is.) PRESTON McMICHAEL AWARD (James Reddell gets his.) AMCS (Unabashed plug.) GARBAGE (Harmon in the news, NSS Fellows.) NEWS AND SUCH (Harmon does his thing.) LATE NEWS---UTG TEXAS SPELEOLOGICAL SURVEY 18 REVIEW (J. Warren socks it to' em.) CARTOONS by Bill Elliott 19 A LETTER FROM ELBERT (Ft. Stanton lives!) NSS 20 NOTICE OF BOG MEETING SPELEO-CALENDAR RESCUE INFORMATION OFFICERS OF THE TEXAS SPELEOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION FOR 1970 ARE: Chairman . Gill Ediger, Box 2213 A& I, Kingsville, Texas 78363 Vice Chairman Russell Harmon, Box 58534, Houston, Texas 77058 Secretary-Treasurer Suzanne Wiley, Box 4563 TT, Lubbock, Texas 79409


The TEXAS CAVER, January, 1970 Page 3 THE Birthday Passage By Gill Ediger AUTHOR'S NOTE: I've maintained for quite a while now that the TEXAS CAVER should devote a maximum of space to Texas caving and a minimum of space to nonTexas caving. So, when I was asked to write an article on some of the new discoveries at" La Gruta del Palmito" in Mexico, better known as "Bustamante", I automatically became a little hesitant and mentioned my beliefs to those making the request. They rebutted with, "But the Texas Caver is about Texas cavers and what they do, regardless of where they cave. 11 Realizing that at least three of the Texas clubs or Grottos spend more time out of Texas than in, I was left with no other alternative than to pick up my pencil and start writing. (Ed. note: Aren't you glad he did?) The "Birthday Passagerr (so named because it was discovered on Steven Bittinger's birthday in May of 1969) is located high on a ledge from which dripped the waters that formed the great flowstone wall that separates the main part of "Bustamante" from the "Rice Room", "Flowstone River", and the rest of the back parts of the cave. We first wandered into it accidentally while checking a visible lead that turned out "not-to-go". We've made about a dozen trips to that passage alone and find something new nearly every time. The "Birthday Passage" is the collective name we gave to the series of parallel and/or interconnecting passages that are developed along the dipping beds of the great anticline which plays a big part in the structure of the rest of the cave and the Sierra Madre in which it is developed. The main passage trends in the same direction as the rest of the cave---roughly S, SE. The passages are developed more or less parallel to each other, perpendicular to the dip, and for the most part, beneath the same dipping bed. Therefore, each subsequent passage is, in elevation, some few feet lower or higher than the one it parallels. (See Figure 1) In the past, and to some extent still, much saturated water entered at the uppermost of the levels and flow-ed down-dip to the lower levels. It can be clearly seen that the levels were once connected along almost their entire length. But now the flow of the water and subsequent deposition of flow stone and formations has in many places either brought the floor up to meet the ceiling or has formed walls of formations which separate the passages. IDEALIZED CROSS SECTION OF BIRTHDAY PASSAGE FIGUREI


Page 4 The TEXAS CAVER, January, 1970 Bat guano from many interrupted visits of bats have helped fill up the passages also. This guano and the flowstone are found layered together throughout the passages. In places, guano has accumulated to depths of a foot or more. All of the guano in the passages has been highly leached leaving only a red, wet, rnudlike residue easily identified as guano by it's inclusions, gas bubbles, and insect or worm borings. In areas where the leached guano is no longer subjected to hydrostatic or dripping water it has formed a dry, crunchy, brown, crusty cake several inches thick. This complete with inclusions, gas bubbles, and borings. Thick guano can be found covering many formations. Several inches of wet, red guano was found covering unbroken fragile aragonite needles in the Aragonite Room. One of the most interesting and awe-inspiring discoveries in the "Birthday Passage" is a room over 100 feet long, 20-25 feet wide and about 12 feet high. This was aptly named the "Snow Room". The Snow Room was bypassed on the discovery trip by everyone but 2 neophytes who, not realizing what they had found, failed to display the proper emotion such a find would normally prompt. On the second trip however, we made a thorough exploration of it, and were richly rewarded. The room, as I have said, is over 100 feet long and about 20 feet wide. The entire floor is covered to a depth of several feet with a mass of thin white mineral flakes resembling sand or potato flakes. This material is dry and easily filtered through the fingers and one's first impression is that it would make a good bed. It doesn't! With very little pressure it compacts and hardens up so one gets the idea of sleeping on bare flowstone. In places where stalagmites were present, a mound of the flakes were piled up higher than the normal floor formations. A level of a former lake is visible several feet above the floor, and many flakes up to several inches across (compared with microscopic size to one inch or so for those on the floor) are found clinging to the vertical walls and older stalactites which hung below water level. All of this is fine and good and pretty to look at and take pictures of, but there's always some fool (and in my case, more than one) who has to ruin the beauty of the moment by asking a question---like: "How did all this stuff form?" So, I'm left holding the bag. How arnitoknowhow it formed? But stillone wonders! So Isatdown and groped through the many years of caving articles that I have filed away in my mind. I cast out many, incorporated a few, shuffled and reevaluated the remainder, I carne up with, if not a theory or hypothesis or other thought ofa-high-order, at least a working idea of how it carne to be. It seems that after some period of being dry, supersaturated water entered the room and filled it to a height of from 3 to 7 feet relative to the floor. As is well known by most cavers, it is easily possible for cave ice (thin crystalline deposits of dissolved minerals---usually calcium carbonate--which form on the surface of the water as they come out of solution due to evaporation) to form with the only conditions necessary being evaporation and supersaturation of the water, And it is my that it was exactly this process that formed the masses of tabular crystals on the floor since they so closely resemble cave ice fragments, and the larger fragments clinging to the walls and formations are, without a doubt, cave ice, Also support-




Page 6 The TEXAS CAVER, January, I970 ing my optmon is the "bathtub ring" that marks the old level of the water surface. From it, around the entire eire uit of the room, stilt stick numerous particles of cave ice in their original positions. However, due to the large accumulations of this cave ice and the relative purity of it, I feet that factors other than just supersaturation and ordinary evaporation played a part in it's deposition. It's my idea that 'crystalization and subsequent deposition were accomplished over a relatively short period of time. There was, or is, a definate tack of any other than convectional air circulation in the Snow Room. This, to my mind, rules out .rapid evaporation due solely to changing air above the water carrying away evaporating water vapors at the rate necessary for speedy deposition. I have a feeling, based on nothing but pure conjecture, that with warm springs tess than 3 mites away and others present in the area only slightly more distant, there remains a possibility that the water that entered the roo1:TI was saturated and slightly warmer than the room. As the water temperature lowered to the cave temperature, the minerals came out of solution as cave ice. As it increased in thickness, it eventually broke surface tension and felt to the bottom. A new layer of cave ice quickly began forming on the surface and the process was repeated. Eventually, this ted to a thick buildup on the floor. It is also clearly visible where crystals deposited directly onto stalactites projecting below water level. It may or may not be important to note that there was a slight overflow of water into the "Register Room" over a travertine dam which maintained the water level. What effect this may have had on saturation I don't know. In general, the Birthday Passage is an important extention to the great cave at Bustamante and points out the need for further intensive investigation of the many leads high on the watt in this part of the cave. KEY TO PHOTOGRAPHS. All photographs by Gill Ediger. Figure 2: Figure 3: Figure 4: Figure 5: Figure 6: Figure 7: Figure 8: Figure 9: Figure IO: Figure II: Figure I2: Figure I3: Cross section of passage showing dip of beds. One of many bat skeletons being encrusted in flowstone. The "Gotfbatl" formation. Height is about 4 I/ 2 inches. Aragonite on large botryoidal masses. Note cave ice at right. Dry pool with broken soda straws. Probable aragonite crystals. Forest of stalagmites toward rear of passage. Former level of lake in Aragonite Room. Note slabs of cave ice which sank. Note botryoidal and runiform masses probably formed underwater. Note aragonite, probably aerial. Small vertical formations growing hydrostatically from floor. Helictites on ceiling of Snow Room. Diameter: I/2 to 3/4 inch. Many water levels visible on botryoidal masses in Aragonite Room. Formations in Snow Room showing growth before, during, and after presence of lake. Note former water level and fragmented cave ice stuck to longer stalactite. Travertine dams and possible aragonite formations in lower section of Birthday Passage.


The TEXAS CAVER, January, 1970 Page 7


Page 8 The TEXAS CAVER, January, 1970 EDITORIAL In this, the first TC under new editorship, it is appropriate that we set forth for you the policies and goals that you may expect in the future. The primary goal of the new TC staff will be the production of an informative and somewhat liberal newsletter at regular monthly intervals. We feel that the TC should be a multi-function mode of communication between all 11cavers11, even those whose interests may be somewhat peripheral to what some might consider the main-stream of caving in Texas today. Thus, while we reserve the right to edit as we see fit, we will give consideration to contributions which, in the past, might have been rejected. The TC will strive to promote fellowship among all cavers, particularly those in Texas. We would like to have a small photograph and short paragraph about each feature article author. We feel that many of the readers would like to know more about our contributors. We earnestly solicit your constructive criticism and suggestions. If you like the new TC, we'd like to hear about it. Letters to the Editor are most welcome. We even invite you to write just to chew on us for a time. Mainly, we'd like to hear what is on your mind. How long we edit the TC will depend substantially on how much cooperation we receive. To put it bluntly, if you want a TC, you sure as hell better send something to go in it, And, as a former TC editor used to say, "He who bitches loudest gets to be editor. 11 In line with the above policys, here is what we hope to do: OLD DEPARTMENTS REVITALIZED Caver of the Month: There are many people worthy of this honor, but it requires a close friend to write them up. Send us a summary of the person's caving history and a photo. This is a good way to recognize the people who are responsible for making TSA a leader among speleological organizations. Photo-Tips: Photo-Tips could appear more often if we had something worthwhile to print. We'll do our best to see that Photo-Tips appears 3-4 times a year even if we have to write it ourselves (like next month). There are better photographers in Texas than anywhere else---write so:r:nething! Adventure: Sometimes, you don't go caving, but you have a good time anyway. Cavers are basically outdoor people. We mountains, float rapids, visit unusual places other cavers interested also write about it. Do it now! NEW DEPARTMENTS Trip Reports: This is different than grotto or club news, but the trips should still be mentioned in the news. Check almost any other caver-type publication and you will see that often the trip report section makes up the bulk of the publication. Knowing full well that an 11article11 is a real hassle to write, and that it is hard for grotto news reporters to round up the news, weinitiate this department with the earnest hope that at last we can read about the tremendous amount of Texas caving that formerly was lost to us.


The TEXAS CAVER, January, 1970 Page 9 Garbage: Nearly any other title would be more impressive, but we like to be honest. This will be a horrible hodge-podge of little bits and pieces that 'don't belong elsewhere. You might be interested in perhaps half of the items that appear in this section, but on the other hand, this might become your favorite department. Contributions are solicited, and the jucier they are, the better we like them. Calendar of Coming Events: Sometimes you hear about things, sometimes you don't. We'll depend on you to supply materials for the Calendar. At the very least, each organization should keep the TC informed as to their time and place of meeting. This can be a good way for us to get together more often if you will announce trips where visitors are welcome. This month's Calendar is small because we don't know what is happening. Don't assume that someone else will tell us write today! CONTRIBUTIONS Not only would we like to have your contributions, we MUST have them. The TC is, to a large extent, what YOU make it. We'll try to print what you send as soon as possible. Two issues should be the maximum delay. We need: Photographs, cartoons, maps, reviews, trip reports, announcments, plain old cave stories (most of all), and almost anything else of interest. Remember, if it interests you, it will probably interest other cavers as well. We will, as a general rule, not print exact cave locations, out and out vituperative insults, or gross profanity. Anything goes . almost. Grotto and club news should be sent to the Grotto News Editor, Russell Harmon, at Box 58534, Houston, Texas 77058. All other contributions should be sent the editor at 2302 W. Avenue J, San Angelo, Texas 76901. HOW TO SUBMIT COPY We will accept anything. Crayola on the back of a Chuckwagon napkin will do. It would be appreciated however, if you would type and double-space your copy. Ideally, we would like to have it in columns which are either 3 or 6 1/2 inches long. This gives us a better idea where things will fit and the double spacing gives us room to make minor editorial corrections or notations (heh, he h). It would also be appreciated if you would proofread your copy since that is really not our bag. If you want to go all the way, submit your copy proofread, single spaced, and typed on an IBM Executive. HOW THE TC WILL BE PRODUCED The entire TC will be photo-offset. That is, each page will be "pasted up" fro;n the various materials (cartoons, text, photos, etc.) and a film negative will be made of each page. These negatives are then shipped to Austin where Terry Raines will make metal plates and do the actual printing. Next, members of the UTG will take over for the thankless job of collating, stapling, and folding. The assembled TC's are then shipped to Waco where James Jasek will address and mail them. Hopefully, the entire process will go smoothly enough that you will have the TC in your mailbox within two weeks from the time it leaves San Angelo. You get news---not history.


Page 10 The TEXAS CAVER, January, 1970 ADS Public service ads will run free as space allows. Example: Wanted, any information about Bat Dung Cave in Travis County, Texas. Contact Smedly Stoutheart, Box 69 U. T. Station. Austin, Texas 78712 Commercial ads to individual subscribers will run at the rate of 50 per column/inch/issue or $5.00 for 12 issues. Your message would reach interested people for approximately 1/5 each. Rates to commercial caves,, etc. will be $1.00 per column/ inch/issue or $10.00 for 12 issues. This is a good way to reach the people that are REALLY interested in what you have. You cavers with commercial contacts, please help us get these ads. It means a better, larger TC for you. All ad copy should be sent to the editor at 2302 W. Avenue J, San Angelo. SUBSCRIPTIONS The subscription rate will be $4.00 for 12 issues. This 25o/o rate increase is due to increased production costs. With the change from Abilene to San Angelo, the TC lost it's 11nearly free" photo-lithographer, Bryant Lilly. Money talks. If the TC can pay rather than wait for cut-rate, freetime jobs, then things should be speeded up considerably. We realize that $4 is more than any other caving newsletter, but we promise to give you more than the rest providing you supply us with material. Your best guide to what you can expect in future issues is the issue you now hold in your hands. Is it worth $4. 00 to you to receive the most modern caving newsletter being published today? We hope so. Many of you have several issues remaining in your subscriptions. By the time you read this, the December, 1969 issue may not yet have reached you. However, you WILL receive all the issues you paid for, and the 1969 volume will be completed. A combination of things has put the former staff behind, but they are working diligently to get caught up. Please be patient. Meanwhile, the new staff will be trying not to fall behind, so don't become alarmed if this issue "leapfrogs" some of the 1969 volume. PLEASE NOTE ONE IMPORTANT CHANGE: All subscriptions will now begin with the January issue and expire with the December issue_. For example, if your present TC subscription is good through the June, 1970 issue, we will be billing you for an additional $2.00 for the remainder of the year. NOTE: if you subscribe later in the year, you will automatically receive all back issues for that year. Your subscription expires with the December issue no matter when you subscribe. Why? To simplify the book work and bring in much-needed revenue. Send money---keep your TC green! Subscriptions to clubs, grottos (Texas only), and cave owners will be $2.50 per year. Single issues will be 40 postpaid for the current year. AU other avaliable back issues will be 30 each postpaid. We will continue to honor all present exchanges that are worthwhile, and will provide free copies to: TSS, NSS, S-D, NEWS, and NSS library. In addition, we will award a free one year subscription to the Texan submittin_g the best article (in the Editor's opinion) for the year.


The TEXAS CAVER, January, 1970 Page 11 If your address changes, tell us in plenty of time to make the necessary changes. It costs us money to get mis-addressed copies returned andremailed. Address changes and requests for subscriptions should be sent to Jarries Jasek at 1218 Melrose, Waco., Texas 76710. Requests for back issues or complaints about lousy service should be sent to the Assistant Editor at 2438 Dallas Street, San Angelo, Texas 76901. That's it for now. I'll try not to be so lengthy in the future. Thanks for wading through all this. Now send me something to print. * * * * * * * * * / -. \ -.....,.._ ..:---/


Page 12 The TEXAS CAVER, January, 1970 On My Way Out ... Labor Day 1968: TSA elected officers for 1969. The new chairman was me. Because of the way TSA is set up, the new officers really begin their work before their year starts since the first meeting is in January. That first meeting---January 4, 1969--was a Board of Governors meeting in San Angelo. Not many people came because not many had heard about it. The chairman was an hour late. Not an auspicious beginning . Good new ideas for reviving TSA were put forward and passed unanimously by all de legates. In April the TSA Annual Convention was held in Georgetown. It was a huge success topped off by a fine barbecue at Cobb Caverns. The convention was arranged entirely by the vice-chairman David Merideth. At the BOG meeting, rpany of the ideas brought forth in January were reconsidered with suggestions for' implementation given by many delegates. The final meeting of TSA during 1969 was the Labor Day Project at Cascade Caverns. Not much real work was acomplished except by a very few dedicated cavers. It seemed obvious nevertheless that nearly all the participants had a good time. The arrangments were mostly taken care of by' James Red::lell and Carl Kunath. The third Board meeting held at the Project, was largely concerned with wondering what had happened to all the good ideas advanced in January. A new slate of officers was chosen. The Texas Caver, struggling against almost insurmountable odds, was urged to catch up. At the year's end, the Texas Caver seemed to be moving to editorship by Carl Kunath, and the new officers, including re-elected Suzanne Fowler Wiley seemed to have 1970 well in hand. To my fellow officers, thanks for doing all the work. To other active members of TSA, thanks for keeping up the work almost without your chairman. There's a great deal to be said for electing a caver to the chairmanship. * * * * * * * * * Have you seen this man? If you should see him, send him an article at once! He is to be considered literate and highly enthusiastic. CAUTION! Do n:>t tell this man anything that you don't want to see in print. Frequents caves, stock tanks, and Ma Crosby's. Real name is Rondal, but frequently uses almost anything else. This is your new NSS NEWS editor. Give him some help. He needs it!


The TEXAS CAVER, January, 1970 Page 13 The Chairman Speaks TSA REACHES PUBERTY A year or two ago, the people running TSA began to notice that the TSA was ailing. And it continued to get slowly worse a5 time went on. The main problem seemed to be a general lack of interest in caving throughout the State. The problem was finally brought out in the open last year under A, Richard Smith 1 s Chairmanship when he chose to ask, "Is the T SA dead?" And indeed, it seemed dead---or at least dying. Several of us began doing some serious thinking about what could be done to pep up the old TSA, Like a doctor and patient, we had to diagnose the ailment before we could attempt to to suggest a cure. And what we came up with (in part), is this: As is usually the case in any organization, there 'are several individuals who really "Give 'urn Hell" and do what has to be done, both in running the organization and in carrying on it's activities. And then there are the hangerson who follow in the footsteps of the go-getters. In the early days of the TSA there were quite a few of the go-getters and a goodly number of hangers -on. But that was several years ago. Many of the individuals that carried TSA in those days have left Texas, gotten a little older, or changed their caving interests to other parts of the World. And unfortunately, none of the able hangers -on were willing to step in and take up the slack left by those who used to do the dirty work. This, I believe, was the main factor which led to the temporary decline in interest in the TSA. And I offer a solution to this problem. But first, let's at least mention a couple of other problems that affect the TSA. It seems that some people are under the impression that all the caves in Texas have been found. A.. Richard Smith (of the Texas Speleological Survey to which you should subscribe) assures me that there are over 1600 legal caves in Texas. In 1960 there were about 650. In 1963, about 1100, and in 1965 about 1360. With over 1600 now, that's an increase of between 250 and300 caves every 3 years. Not quite a hundred a year, How many have you found? There are parts of the State literally loaded with caves that havn't even been touched, Particularly out West. Who's responsible for finding these caves? The few go-getters that are ycill, the members of the TSA, Also, there's been some worrying about not finding any large caves in Texas lately. This comes up every year when the BOG is trying to decide on a Project site. There's no doubt in my mind that we have some more big caves in Texas. We're just not finding them. I've an idea that there may be a direct correlation between number of caves found and number of caves look-----------ed for. What do you think? To the best of my knowledge, caver -cave owner relations haye never been better. On January 6, 1970 the TSA begins it's thirteenth year of being. Has the T SA reached puberty? It seems to be geting a little out of hand. Are we going to take hold of the problem child and lead it in the right way---in the way of super-caving? Or are we going to let it go it's own way and wind up in no telling what kind of.c:Elinquellt condition? It's not a decision for me to make. Realizing the problem, deciding on a cure, and presenting it to you, the membership is! And it's in this light that I now offer the solution to the basic problem that! presented earlier:


Page 14 The TEXAS CAVER, January, 1970 Have an interest in caving and the TSA and create interest in caving and the TSA. Take it upon yourself to find, map, and report to the TSS as many new caves as you are physically capable of this year. Take it upon yourself to visit some of the 1600 plus older caves in the State. active in your club or grotto---and region. Be sure to attend the Conventions and Projects where you can exchange ideas and caves with other cavers. Make yourself known and make it a point to know other cavers. There's a wealth of information stored in the minds of the greatest cavers from the greatest cave State. And don't let and hour or the day go by that you don't ask yourself, "What can I do to help myself and the Texas Speleological Association?" Become one of the "Give 'urn He llers". Be proud! Be a Texas caver! Spe lunk! Don't let the TSA down in it's time of puberty. * * * * * McMichael Award -James Mr. James Reddell Box 7672 Austin, Texas 78712 Dear James, 3811 Link Valley #45 Houston, Texas 77025 15 October, 1969 The Texas Speleological Association is very proud and pleased to present you the first Preston McMichael Award, You have been chosen for this award in recognition of your selfless devotion to the cause of Texas Caves and caving, manifested * Reddell by your establishment of and continued work with the Texas Speleological Survey and by your outstanding efforts and successes in Texas biospeleology. With your help, and the help of others like you, the Texas Speleological Association is assured of a bright future. * * * * * Sincerely, f)d A. Richard Smith Chairman, TSA * * A M C S * The Association for Mexican Cave Studies wants YOU as a member. The AMCS acts as a for all the speleological activities in Mexico You can subscribe to their first-rate newsletter for a whole year by sending a paltry $5.00 to Box 7672 U. T. Station, Austin, Texas 78712.


The TEXAS CAVER, January, 1970 Page 15 GARBAGE 24 November, 1969 Russ Harmon, our faithful staff member, is now nationally famous, Check the picture on page 102 of the 24 November, 1969 issue of NEWS WEEK. See the radical-looking fellow in the hospital smock and surgical cap? He has his hand in something as usual. That's our very own Russ---about to unravel the secrets which have been locked in the Lunar rocks for eons. Or . maybe that's a lump of hash those guys have under glass in there, 1 December, 1969 AP wire ''A leaky glove in the high vacuum chamber exposed 11 scientists to possible Lunar contamination. Added to those already in quarantine were,,,,. and Russell Harmon:' Way to go Russ! 10 days paid vacation with world famous personalities. There's the old college education paying off! 4 December, 1969 AP wire Russell Harmon says:"All persons exposed to possible Lunar contamination have not been quarantined, 11 Harmon apparently discovered the leaky glove and thinks it had been defective for sometime before discovery. Not bad, Russ. Personal interviews with the press . 9 December, 1969 AP wire NASA officials today expressed concern over the condition of Russell Harmon, a technician at the Lunar Receiving Laboratory. Harmon was exposed to Lunar contamination 9 days ago and was placed in quarantine, On the 6th, Harmon complained of feeling poorly and began re-questing a nearly continuous succession of bannana splits. Yesterday, during a routine examination, it was discovered that Harmon had a strange growth in the region of the lowermost spinal vertebrae. The doctor, when questioned more closely by the press as to his personal opinions on this development, replied, "It's too soon to say anything definite, but it appears that Mr. Harman is growing a tail", * * * * FELLOWS OF THE SOCIETY In recent years, certain cavers havebeen honored as "Fellows" by the NSS. These are people who "have performed outstanding services in the field of speleology in scientific, exploratory or administrative capicity". Texans so honored for 1969 were: Ron Bridgeman Jack C. Burch James H. Estes Orion Knox Jr. Carl E. Kunath Joel T. Meador A. Richard Smith Texans honored as previous years were: Thomas R. Evans Johnnie E. Fish Pete Lindsley Terry W. Raines James Reddell William H. Russell 6614 2175 4618 4603 6230 5202 3708 fellows 6516 8296* 5566 6154* 4897* 4357* in Those whose NSS numbers are followed by an asterisk have also received the NSS Certificate of Merit.


Page 16 The TEXAS CAVER, January, 1970 NEWS & sue H. .. Wherein our faithful reporter presents a summary of the latter portion of 1969. It is our hope that we will get news on a regular monthly basis from ALL groups or individuals based in Texas. If you don't already have someone appointed for this job, get one now! Send your news to Russell Harmon, Box 58534, Houston, Texas 77058. Russ will get it to the TC on time, and will also glean items for use in the NSS NEWS. Ed. I understand that the official Texas Tech Grotto as such no longer exists as that organization has incorporated with the Outing Club. However, a few hard-core cavers (Bill Elliott, Suzanne Wiley, Robert Mitchell, et al) are still in residence and caving as often as living in Lubbock allows. There is no doubt that Lubbock is still the center of Texas and Mexican cave biological studies. It seems that the folks from Southwest Texas are geting a lot of mileage out of Sotano de Matapalma down in the Valles area of Old Mexico . 6200 feet with more to go! UT seems to be expanding it's caving efforts into new fields, as a stouthearted crew (D. Erickson, D. Broussard, D. Honea, C. Henry) went cave hunting on skis. Jon Vinson and Mike Moody met them in Ruidoso, but I understand that they saw more snow than caves. The UT annual Bustamante trip was another big success. 81 people made the trip and participated in the clean-up campaign. The title of Chief Garbage Collector was shared by Carol Russell, George Majewski, and Russ Harmon. Dallas cavers seem to be continuing their marathon out-of-state caving trips. Fitton Cave (Arkansas) and Crystal and Cottonwood Caves (Oklahoma) being recent targets. In a for -real ncaver 's holiday", Pete Lindsley, Karen Bradley, and Co. spent the Thanksgiving holidays in the Big Bend area, but they managed to visit a few shelter caves when they wern't shooting the rapids. Rice University finally put the right crew together has a real good grotto down in the Harris County Salt Mine country. They hope to become the focal point for the many cavers in the Houston area, Even the old folks down San Antonio way seem to be geting out and going caving these days. Kerr and Kendall Counties have been the center of activities with 1000 feet of new passage in Stowers Cave the highlight. The even older independents are caving more than ever before. Carl Kunath has been working steadily in the Carta Valley area hoping to complete a report on the area before too many more new caves like MFP (the 2nd deepest freefall in the State) are discovered. We're glad to acknowledge that the Rio Grande Valley Cavers are alive and actively searching for caves in the barren places in which they abide, Blankenship Cave, the first in Hidalgo County was their first find and it is a good one (at least by Valley standards). (Ed note: Article and map of Blankenship cave to appear in February issue,)


The TEXAS CAVER, January, 1970 Page 17 (Ed. note: The following news was received too late for inclusion in the regular News column.) Late News -UTG During the Christmas holidays, several large groups went to Mexico. To the Huautla area went Terry Raines, Sherry Greer, Ann Lucas, Gill Ediger, Don Broussard, David Honea, Glenn Doran, E. P. Smith from Montana, and Robert Hanford and Ray Rimmer from El Paso. One week was spent in Huautla exploring numerous small caves, fissures, and Cueva de San Agustin. The final depth of Cueva de San Agustin was approximately 1400 feet, ending with a 361 foot drop. Following a week in the Huautla area, they traveled to Taxco. Here the objective was Las Granadas, a horizontal water cave. The cave held much promise from earlier trips, but a siphon ended exploration much too soon. Leaving Taxco, Don Broussard, E. P. Smith, Ray and Robert Hanford went to El Sotano de Japones north of Valles. New passage was found, but lack of time prevented complete exploration. However, blind fish and marine isopods were collected. Bill Russell went on two trips over the holidays. The first, to Mante, included T. R. Evans, Rod Rothberg, Ernest Garza, Howard Crow, and two co-workers of T. R. They had been rained out on a previous trip to this area during Thanksgiving. Blind fish were collected on this trip. Following this week near Mante, the group returned to Austin. Bill Russell left again on the first of January. The destination was again Mante, but the group was composed of Bill Elliott, Bob Mitchell, and several other Texas Tech people. Further south, near Valles, Bob and Diane Richardson spent four days. The second most popular place over the holidays was New Mexico. Tom White and Dennis Barrett led twenty-plus cavers to the ski slopes of Ruidoso. * * * * * * TEXAS SPELEOLOGICAL SURVEY Do you subscribe to the Texas Speleological Survey? If not, you're missing out on the most informative and best presented cave survey around. The recent is sues have been completely offset printed, often in several colors. For factual information about the caves of Texas, this is where it's at. A. Richard Smith would be delighted to receive your $3.00 for the next 6 issues. Write to pim at 3811 Link Valley #45, Houston, Texas 77025, and mention your NSS number or group affiliation.


Page 18 The TEXAS CAVER, January, 1970 REVIEW ''Exploring The World Within'' by Bil Gilbert, Sports Illustrated, November 10, 1969, pp 80-91. This article by an ex-caver of some twenty years is certainly a very frank account of caving. As far as I can determine, Mr. Gilbert has never been a member of the NSS and it shows in his attitude toward caving. The article recounts some of his experiences when he was caving twenty years ago, mentioning such notable caves as : Marshalls, Breathing, Schoolhouse, Grapevine, and Tory. Then Mr. Gilbert describes a caving trip he recently made with his sixteen year old son and some of his friends to Well Cave. He does a very good job of describing the cave and the challenge it presents to them. However, he seems to ruin the description by centering it on ways the trip proves the boys' manliness. Some of Mr. Gilbert's frankness could be damaging to caver /land-owner relations. He vividly describes throwing cigarette butts into the cave, recalls caving with hangovers due to Friday night partying and reckless drives home on Sunday that sometimes ended in accidents. He also "reveals 11 that the reason cavers go caving is not to 11 find and map new passages; to band bats; to practice ropeworkj 11 but instead 11 after one of the old, dependable highs in life, the risk high. 11 If you want to read it like it really is, then this article is a must for the caver. jwv * * ... * .i.?: . .: .t' J"i t'j;"'. :. .. ... .. :. ,,.. ; ..... .. * <:.E.P..V .A C.IGttRl.05 C&iiLL.OS !lOOks "'S u r-< 14.1< GOL\)L.ttJE :SUIJGL.E BOOT5. *


The TEXAS CAVER, January, 1970 Page 19 (Ed. note: Elbert Bassham doesn't write me very often, but when he does, it's usually worth reading. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.) El Paso, Texas 12-3-69 Dear Carl; I got to be a part of the breakthrough in the discovery zone in Ft. Stanton Cave. Lee and I and a couple of others were digging in this hole 10-15 miles back down crawlways and duckwalks and all of a sudden the cavities between rocks got larger and we dug and shoved rocks back down the crawlway until we could see up into a little room. It looked similar to a couple of rooms we had gone through already in the crawlway, but when we climbed up into the room, on one side there was a slide down through a hole and there was a big room on the other side! Geting more into this room, we saw that it was actually a long passage about 20' x 30'. The end of the passage dropped again into a slide down a hole, but on the other side, the bottom dropped out. Fast work, much friction, and diging in allowed us to edge around to the right and onto a ledge with some nice helictites overhead and a large hole below. The carbide lamp would not reach the other side. Working down the right wall over a drop of 60-701 we carne to "walking passage" just covered, floor and walls, with velvet flowstone. Beautiful blacks, browns, reds, and tans. There was so much velvet that there was no way to proceed down the passage without crossing it. The passage here resembled a stream bed in that it was about 20-301 wide and wandered back and forth in wide 11S11 turns. At the first bend we carne upon a large number of very nice, delicate arragonite trees on the floor and under a ledge just about 51 high---just right for photos. After lots and lots of velvet, we carne to a dome room that had fallen in in layers forming tiers all around over a large hill of breakdown. On the other side we found a section of formations similar to parts of Cottonwood and Sonora only they were all covered with beautiful velvet. Farther on, the major passage led to a large breakdown plug. It's probably open on the other side. Several passages led off to the sides, but I haven't heard about anyone geting into any more big passages. We left at this time and carne back 2 days later and took many photos. Several carne out very good. More later. * * * * * * NSS Join the National Speleological Society today. If caving is your thing, you need to be a member of this organization. Ron Bridgeman is the new eP,itor of the NSS NEWS, and we look for irnprovrnent in both service and quality of the NEWS. Write to 2318 N. Kenmore St., Arlington, Va. 22201 for information, or ask one of your friends who is already a member.


Page 20 The TEXAS CAVER, January, 1970 NOTICE: BOG meeting The Board of Governors of the Texas Speleological Association will meet January 24, 1970 at 1:00 p.m. in the home of Jon Vinson at 2438 Dallas Street, San Angelo, Texas. Hopefully., you will have received an announcment in advance of your reading this. Please pass the word around to make sure that all interested persons are informed. This will be an important meeting for TSA members, so make plans to attend. There will be a period of "fellowship'' at the same location following the meeting. Come for that if nothing else BYOB. * * * * * * SPELEOCALENDAR 24 January-----BOG meeting in San Angelo. See above for details. 6-7 March -----Texas Academy of Science meets at Angelo State College, San Angelo, Texas. Several Texas cavers will speak. This sounds like an interesting meeting. Why not go? March/ April---Annual TSA Convention. The exact time and place will probably be decided at the January 24 BOG meeting. Late August ---NSS Convention at State College, Pa. This should be a real goodie. Make plans NOW to be there. * * * * * * Need to be rescued? Call Rescue Chairman Luther Bundrant in San Antonio, Texas at 512: 694-2883 for assistance. * * * * * * The TEXAS CAVER 1 2 1 8 Me lr o s e Waco, Texas 76710 Official publication of the Texas Speleological Association (Return Postage Guaranteed) TO:

Contents: The Birthday
Passage / Gill Ediger (New passage is where you look!) --
Map of Birthday Passage / Gill Ediger and Neal Morris --
Photographs of Birthday Passage / Gill Ediger --
Editorial (Kunath's 1 1/2 cents worth.) --
Cartoons / Loving and Jameson --
On my way out (A. Richard Smith looks back but does not
turn to salt.) --
Have you seen this man? --
The Chairman speaks (Ediger tells it like it is.) --
Preston McMichael award (James Reddell gets his.) AMCS
(Unabashed plug.) --
Garbage (Harmon in the news, NSS Fellows.) --
News and such (Harmon does his thing.) --
Late news UTG Texas speleological survey --
Review (J. Warren socks it to 'em.) --
Cartoons / Bill Elliott --
A letter from Elbert (Ft. Stanton lives!) NSS --
Notice of BOG meeting --
Speleo-calendar --
Rescue information.