The Texas Caver

The Texas Caver

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The Texas Caver
Series Title:
The Texas Caver
Texas Speleological Association
Texas Speleological Association
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Subjects / Keywords:
Regional Speleology ( local )
Technical Speleology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )
United States


General Note:
Contents: The safety line / Bill Elliott -- Nannette / Michael L. Warton -- A message for Guadalupe Mountain cavers -- Cartoon / Ken Griffin -- Beneath Valdina Farms / Scott Hardin -- Cave rescue procedure -- Cartoon / Ken Griffin -- Accident at Black Abyss / Arizona Cavers -- NSS convention / Mike Moody.
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
Original Version:
Vol. 17, no. 05 (1972)
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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K26-04560 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.4560 ( USFLDC Handle )
11294 ( karstportal - original NodeID )
0040-4233 ( ISSN )

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Soda straws in Caverns of Son0ra by Carl Kunath. The TEXAS CAVER is a monthly publication of the Texas Spele')logical Association, aninternal organization of the National Spele0logicaJ. Society, and is published in Dallas, Texas. Material sh0uld be typed double-spaced and sent to the Editor at P.O. Box 533, Euless, Texas 76039, no later than the first of the month of publicati0n. Subscrip tions are $4.00 per year for 12 issues and all subscriptions begin with the January issue. All request for subscriptions should be sent to James Jasek at 1218 Melrose, Waco, Texas 76710. Single copies are available at 40 each postage paid anywhere in the (c) 1972 by the TEXAS CAVER. STAFF Moody Assistant Moody Proof Reader---------------Pete and Karen Lindsley Press Distribution---------------James Jasek Guiding Light--------------Bilbo Baggins * * The TEXAS CAVER, VOLUME XVII, N'TMBER 5 * * * * * EXCHANGERS: Address copies to P.O. Box 533 Euless, Texas 76039 CONTENTS PAGE 81 83 SJ4 THE SAFETY LINE by Bill Elliott NANNETTE by Michael L. Warton A MESSAGE FOR GUADALUPE MOUNTAIN CAVERS CARTOON by Ken Griffin BENEATH VALDINA FARMS by Scott Hardin CAVE RESCUE PROCEDURE CARTOON by Ken Griffin SJ9 ACCIDEN'I' AT BLACK ABYSS by Arizor1a Ca vers 91 NSS CONVENTION by Mike Mo0dy * * * * * OFFICERS OF THE TEXAS SPELEOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION FOR 1972 ARE: Cha1rman-------------------Bill Elliott, Dept. of Bi..ol')gy, Texas Tech Univ. Lubbock, Texas 79409 Vjce-Chairman--------------Jon Vinson, 1222 S. Abe, San Angel0, Texas Secretary-Treasurer--------Ollene Bundrant, J07 Tomahawk Antonio, Texas,


The TEXAS May 1972 Page S1 The Safety Line Or 11TwO feet of rope is pretty cheap 1 ife insurance 11 by Bill ElJiott During the last several years I have noticed that many pit cavers who still use the 11Texas prussik11 wjth jumars (as I do) do not use a 11safety line11 with their equipment. I used to think. that this little (but very important) safety measure was common knowledge among verticaJ cavers,but, sad to say, either it isn1t or people are remiss to use i t for some reason. I don1t want to sound like I1m saying 11I told you so 11 with the recent tragedy at De v i 1 1 s Sinkhole st i 11 on everyone 1 s mind, but I think there are q1..ti.te a few people who would use the safety line if they were encouraged to use it. Besides, I didn1t 11te 11 you so 11, so maybe I and the others who use the safety 1 ine have only ourselves to blame. The safety line is simply a length of 3/S11 or 7 /1611 nylon rope tied between the foot jumar and the locking carabiner of the seat sling (see illustration). It should be long enough to be slightly slack even when you stand up. Thus, if for some reason your seat jumar or its line slips, breaks, or comes undone, you fall only 1 1 / 2 to 2 ft. rather than to your death. You cannot ever depend on your foot loop to save you if your seat jumar gives way; you1ll probably fall right out. Even if_ it catches you, it might break your ankle, and at any rate, you would be hanging upside-down and would lose consciousness before too very long. Most likely you will not react quickly enough to grab the main line either. Even if you did, you would have to hold on with one hand while you try to retie you seat jumar line. With the safety line, the foot jumar catches you, and though you will probably have one or both kness crammed up your nose, you will be in a sitting position and you can easily stand up again and remedy your faulty seat jumar with little risk. I use 7/1611 goldline myself, since I do want something that can absorb tte shock of my hulk falling 2ft. but would probably be quite adequate. In any case, use bowlines on each end of the line (and all other lines), tightly secured with at least a couple of half hitches or an overhand. A double carrick bend apparently will shake out unless backed up with secondary knots. Even a bowline will shake out unless it is secured with secondary knots.


Page :J2 The TEXAS CAVER, May 1972 I : s c that the safety line is very useful. as well as Here are a few reasons: l)You can the safety line to pull up on your foot jumar. This way you don't have to reach all the way down to your knee each time, grab the j umar just right, and pull it up. Tied to the eye in the top cf the j !Jmar, a jerk on the 1 ine will pull it straight up, smoothly, withou t any binding (as often happens when you grip in the wrong place). With the right rhythm, you can work up to a decent and still retain the versatility of the Texas prussik. 2) You can now rappel with both your ,i hooked in and ready to use. Experienced pit ca vers are aJ way s ready to go to a prussilfrom mid-rappel, or vice versa, in whi c h see#3. 3). If you: have to go to rappel from prus;-dk, for S')me reason (going over a knot, your camera, forgot your tootsie rolls, etc.), you have to have confidence in your system being able to save your life if you slip. I believe that all vertical cavers should know and practice how to do this_ which requires going throtlgh the following steps: a) Being. an experienced pit ca ver _, you already have a safety line between the foot jumar and the locking 'biner. Also, you probably already have your 'biners and brake bars attached and ready to use. If you have a rack (which gets in the way while prussiking) it's probably in your pack and you'll have to fish it out and nook it in. b)Hook your rappel system to majn line below the foJt jumar, but very close to it. c) Stand up in iour foot loop, stabiljz e yourself with one hand. d) Unhook the seat jumar. I:t' you sl-Lp now, the safety line will catch you and y6u can try again. e) Pick up the main line belaw the rappSl system and pull it very hard against your butt (enough to stop yourself). f) Slowly sit down, lean way back, stick your foot up in the air to take the tension off your foot jumar, all the time tightly holding your buttbrake. g) Unhook the foot jumar and rappel down. that your safety line must longer than your rack or 1biners .for this to work. You can't do this with one jumar (unless your're Samson incarnate), and if y J u try it without. a safety line, you. re taking an unecessary risk. If anyone can do this on cams, I'd like to see it. 4) Another good reason for the safety line is simply to keep from losing your foot jumar. I just tie it around my leg .and go clanking happily about the cave. I used to know a fine pit caver in when I was a 1T Caver. He would practice hanging by his foot lo0 p in a tree and pulling himself back up again. His foresight was commendable, but the safety line would have saved him a lot o:t bother. Why don't you try it? And those of you who use cams or other systems ought to devise safety lines for your systems. Infact, why don't some of you guys write a Caver article on that?


The TEXAS CAVER, May 1972 Nannette by Michael L. Warton I TAKE NANNETTE 1 WITH YOU! Watch for "Nannette 11, the vertical cave doll in her pink, enameled cannister found in deep caves. What is "Napnette"? "Nannette" is the invention of Dorothy Patten (NSS 2724) : .and began her travels prior to the NSS Convention. "Nannette", and her twin sister "Nancy", (horizontal cave doll), stands 3 inches tall equipped with headgear, ropes, boots, etc. The idea is a game of "Hide N' Seek" for cavers not only across America, but. around the world. The dolls travels are aimed at gathering information for Dorothy's travel articles (to be. published) Should you find "Nannette" or Nancy", there are a few instructions to follow; ;r:. Remember that "Nannette'' is to be placed in vertical caves and "Nancy" in horizontal caves. 2. You and all the members .of your party are to sign a permanent register sheet that is to remain in the 11pink caving case". 3. Take "Nannette" with you and place her in another cave within a period of 2 weeks. Be sure to chose a conspicuous spot so that someone else will be sure to find her. 4. Please select a cave that requires ropework ("Nannette"), and one that is likely to be visited by other cavers. Your cave selection is not limited to any particular state or even country. "Nannetteu and "Nancy" like to travel, so take her as far as you can. 5. If you are unable to put "Nannette" in another cave within a reasonable period of time, or if it means a chance for her to travel farther, you may give her to another caver who will take her to next If you do this, both you and the person who Places her should send 11traveiinformation" to Dorothy Patten. Self-addressed envelopes will be stocked in the carrying case for this purpose. b. Once you have put in a cave it is up to yo u to keep her location a secret, or it will spoil the fun of discovery for others. 7. As information is received, it will be published through the NSS News as to where ''Nannette" was found and by whom. Where she is replaced will be kept a secret of course. Those who help 11Nannette11 travel will in return for their efforts,free membership in the "SSS. (Spent Spelunker Society.) Membership cards:will be mailed to those who mail in discovery reports. Mail to: Dorothy Patten 145 W. Dilcrest Florence, Ky., 41042 Page


Page lJ4 The TEXAS CAVER, May 1972 So far," Nannette "Has traveled far and wide ranging from the Northern TJ.S. to Mexico and has visited such places as Hell Hole Cave, W. Va., Big Ridge Cave, Pa., Devils Hole, Mo., Cass Cave, W. Va., (recently pictured on cover of NSS News), Devils Sinkhole and Sotano de Las Golondrinas. She was last discovered by the "Ba.lcones Grotto Conservation Task Force:, in Austin. _She will not reappear again until spring 1972 due to the need of minor repairs on the doll and a new register with enough. pages for signatures. She will, however, be replaced in some Texas cave again this spring, so "keep an eye out for these mysterious mini-cavers". * * * * * * A MESSAGE FOR G'JADALUPE MOUNTAIN CAVERS Andy Komensky has asked me to pass along the following information. For the past several years, Andy has been gracious enough to act as an intermediate between the Forest Service and cavers with regard to obtaining keys and permits to visit the better known (and-therefore gated) caves in the Guadalupe Mountains (Cottonwood, Hidden, Black, Hell below). Due to the hassle and expense of trying to serve all comers at all hours of the and night, and being rewarded mostly by inconsiderate acts such as failing to return the keys after the trip, Andy asks that it be known he is out of the "business". Please do not contact Andy concering a visit to these caves, not even to ask him to vouch for you with the Forest Service. Until further notice, direct all inquiries to: Allan Hinds USFS Federal Building Carslbad, N.M. 88220 or or Mrs. G.E. Whetham Guadalupe Ranger Clerk 307 Jewel Carlsbad, N.M. Note that presents USFS policy for Cottonwood Cave restricts the issuance of keys and permits to those who are familiar with the area beyond" ',l]e gate (How this is to be determined is not known). * * * * * * l' \ '1 l v If-, "CET SERIOUS! DO YOU REJI1.l7E HOW BIG /1 BAT WOUT.D HAVE TO BE TO MPKE Jl. NOISE T IKE TH/IT ." r ---* *


The TEXAS CAVER, May 1972 Beneath Valdina Farms by Scott Harden Recent explorations in Vald3 _na Farms Sinkhole have proven the cave to be much more complex tllan origi:.tally believed. Due to difficult conditions in the cave less than 300 0 of passage have been explored. However, out of five passages only two have been explored to their ends and two of the most promising trunk passages remain unexplored. Herein lies the story of the courageous but only partly successful expeditions to this intriguing cave. In early 1970 Buster Huntsman, Charles Burns, David Allison and Henry Kuehlem entered the cave with diving equipment. Al Brandt and Dave Litsinger were surface stand-bys and a field phone was used for communication. The group proceeded into the downstream passage, went through the first guano pool which they likened to "swimming in cocoa crispies", out of the water and into the second pool which suddenly siphoned. Buster then donned tanks and went for a dive after looking for his helmet in fifteen feet of water. A 150' climbing rope was used as the safety line and Buster used the entire length proceeding down a large, completely water filled passage. Due to a mixup in signals, he was hauled out of the passage at tremendous speed, holding his helmet, mask, etc. and hoping for the best -riot exactly the safest of cave divers. Buster reports that the ceiling was trending upward and it's quite possible that airspace may be found slightly, farther down the passage. The already tired and shaken group exited the cave only to find that Dave and Al had caught a rattlesnake over four feet long near the entrance. On July 31, 1971, Mike Ross, Jorja Lindgren and I entered Valdina Farms and headAd upstream. A mysterious nearabsence of bats was noted on this trip, On the other hand, the troglobitic proved to be rather numerous: We saw five or six in one small area of the pool. These are Glenn Darilek entering Valdina Farms Sinkhole


Page : 86 The .TEXAS CAVER, May 1972. Eurycea troglodytes, and I believe they're unique to this cave. Near the pool I noticed a small side passage not mapped or described by the TSS. I commenced exploring this crawl which is floored with extremely sharp rocks. This sinuous passage averages two feet high, three or four feet wide, and was perhaps 1001 long, ending in a small, pretty pool fed by a little stream flowing from a crack at the right, into the pool, and siphoning at the left. For weeks I thought about VD Farms; the hairy pit entr13: 'nce, voluminous passages, 4,000,000 bats, etc. The main incentive to return, however, was a 40-60 foot pit which had never (and still hasn't) been plumbed by man. Far back in the worse passage, past four slimy mud slopes, and thigh deep mud, the fabled pit. Charlie Burns. been tbrough of these mud slopes and told that you riari stick your arm ih the mud walls up to the shoulder not reach solid rock. In spite of these rumors, a few brave souls still wanted to descend the pit. Thus, on September 11, 1971, Glenn Darilek, John Graves and Scott Harden went to Valdina Farms equipped with mud pitons, bolts, etc. with the express purpose of enteringthe 40-601 pit. I thought the cave took very little water, but we were a littJ.e worried because of the vkient floods two weeks earlier. I was confident though, that high hamper our explorations. As it turned out, the 30 inches of rain in two weeks was too much We entered the cave and due to someone's low IQ we went downstream. We turned around but soon stopped to investigate a noise that sounded like running water. The sound led to an enterable hole that would have gone unnoticed except for the noise. A previous party had heard the noise but found only a small crack. Apparently the recent rains had washed open .the crack and made it man-sized. We decided. to explore this. promising lead later; We came to a Cocoa Crispies guano pool.which isn't normally there. We went around the pool and came to what could be called an underground river. The stream was completely siphoned, thus, the water was four feet higher than normal and this was two weeks after the floods. The dry crawlway I went through on the previous trip was taking huge amounts of water, and communication at this point required yelling. Although welooked for thept we saw no salamanders. We took photos, then went to the noisy side passage not previously entered. This down to the lower level stream passage. Upstream from here the passage is too small, .but the downstream crawl can be in dry weather. This promising lower level:awaits exploration. Our noble but somewhat chagrined trio left.thecave, did a surface survey to.locate a sink and Seco Creek, then rid ourselves of grime and guano by swimming in the creek. Finally, Glenn, John, and I .headed gratefully home but with plans for future trips dancing in bur heads


The TEXAS CAVER., May 1972 CAVE RESCUE PROCEDURE When is is necessary for a cave rescue, do the following: 1. Make a collect call to the Cave Rescue number in Waco, Texas. This number is l317-772-0ll0 a n d is the phone number of AirPage Answering Service. The operator will answer the phone by stating the number 772-0110. 2. Tell the operator that you need a cave rescue. She will accept the collect call. 3 Give her your name and phone nqmher. She will then call the rescue co-ordinators and have them contact you. Stay by the phone until you receive the call. 4. In the case of a very "light" rescue you may call the operator to find out the names of the co-ordinators on the call down Page l37 list. Please do this at your own expense, unless it is absolutely necessary. Air-Page Answering Service will provide u s with a no charge number until it is used. Then the TSA will be charged for the collect calls plus $10.00 service charge. So lets not use the service unless it is absolutely neccessary. CAVE RESCUE CALL DOWN LIST Alpi:: e _.;rea fr,iight Deal Larry Williams Austin Area David Meredith .Eugene Haydon Dalle:ts Area Mike Moody Laredo Area Jerry Li r1d sey Lubbock Area William Elliott 512-255-264l3 214-327 -5442 512-722-67q2-Res. 512O!'fice Oft:


Page t)8 Sa n Angelo Area Carl Kunath San Antonio Area Luther Bundrant Raymond "Chuck" Stuehm Waco Area James Jasek The TEXAS CAVER, May 1972 915-949-1272 512-694-2t)8 3 512-923-'(34:) t)17-753-2464-office International Underground Search and Rescue Team Headquarters (Fenton, Missouri) 314-225-3344 Civil Defense (if no answer at Headquarters) * * * * * * I *


The TEXAS CAVER, May 1972 Page Accident at Black Abyss At approximately 2 PM on March fourteen members of the Central Arizona Grotto, Escabrosa Grotto and UAAC Association (Pe.ter Kokalis, Pete Delany, Ron & Sue B;idgemon, Bob & Debbie Buecher Len Linda Clark, Bi 11 Thrj_ft, Kathy Sreg Lazear, Bill Peachey, Fran PhiJ.lJps, Arlin Pound) gathered a t Black Abyss, Arizona's deepest cave ), for what was supposed to be just a quick look at this unusual cave. Black Abyss is a totally tectonic feature, no solutional features being present. It has the appearance of an enlarged earth crack. Ropes are not needed to reach the bottom but the cave steeply over large, loose breakdown. Breakdown in the Kaibab limestone is loose, but the Coconino sandstone breakdown can really be treacherous. The group entered the cave around 3:30 PM. At the -450 foot level in the Coc.onino sandstone, Peter Kokalis fell victim to t his loose breakdown at 5 :10 PM. As Pete was behind the group doing some geological no one acutally witnessed the accident. A large rumble and yell were heard and Pete was found pinned beneath a large rock. The rock was removed and Pete lay flat with his head on a caver's lap. He complaj_ned of pain in the back, left hip, and especially in the left foot where blood was already coming through his boot. Two of the party exited to gather first aid equipment and warm clothing. Upon their return a down jacket was put on Pete and he was covered with a blanket. He was in shock and everyone tried to minimize his injury to him. After his left boot was removed and sock cut off, first a{d was performed his leg was immobilized. More of the group headed out to bring in :food and additional water for as well as warmer clothing t'or the entire group. One of this party left the area in hope of getting a doctor and/or ambulance to the cave entrance. Meanwhile, Pete was cautiously moved laterally 50 feet to a flat breakdown slab where it would be feasible to get him on a stretcher that everyone knew would be needed if we were to get him out. When the one group returned with food, they stayed with Pete while four others exited to construct a stretcher board. Fortunately, one individual had a bed frame in his pickup constructed of plywood and 2X411 s We had wi tb us a saw, hammer, nails. and 6 X 2' foam that was 411 thick. A sturdy stretcher was quickly banged together and the foam lashed to it. The stretcher was taken in and Pete strapped to it with all the webbing available. He wa s positioned so that his left leg would not bump any-thing and so that his left hip did not have to support any weight. we knew that the stretcher would have to hauled vertically in a couple of locations, especially at the entrance, so he had to be sectre enough to stay on the board in a vertical position. An ambulance (no doctor) arrived at the cave entrance about 9 :00 PM and the long haul (approximately 1000 feet over steep, large, loose breakdown all the way) with Pete on the stretcher began


Page 90 The TEXAS CAVER, May 1972 ar(Jl_;_r, j 9::::'J PM. 1/joving Pete, b12 .1/211_, 192 lbs., was no easy task. The load was moved by passing it off with people a long the sid e s and back of the stretcher and a rope belay on the front. If someone lost his footing or grip, he wo.uld move upward grabbing the stretcller in the first vacant spot he could reach and kept passing the stretcher upward. An average moving distance before a necessary rPst w a s only 50 feet. Two girls in the group were ferr.1ing the excess gear out of the cave as well as recarbiding the men's lamps the water supply. Pete remained conscious until the entrance haul anly three with the stretcher to keep it positioned properly while a double rope pull muscled the stretcher up a 40 foot vertical wall. Large boulders were constantly being disloged by the bottom of the stretcher and went crashing into the cave creating much noise and dust. It was a horrible spectacle. When Pete was out of the cave, and conscious again, he was put into the ambulance which left for the bO mile drive to the hospital at 2:10AM, 9 hours after the accident occurred. ANALYSIS: CAUSE: Pete was coming through a small vertical drop in breakdown blocks when his foothold (2'X2' rock) came loose resulting in Pete taking a three foot fall. The rock had been a keystone for a larger block (about 1,000 lbs.) that subsequently fell, landing first on Pete's left foot and.then rolling over on him pinning him to the floor. A preventive suggestion for such an accident in this cave is difficu l t -it just happened! Every caver in the group was f ully aware of the extreme loose breakdown hazard in this cave, in fact, Kokalis emphaticaly. explained the hazard to all before the group entered the cave. EXTENT OF INJURIES: Left h6el bone broken in eight places, broken left ankle, three simple fractures of the left pelvis, and a cracked cocyx bone. Pete was moved to Doctor's Hospital in Phoenix two days after the accident. There was no vital organ damage but internal bleeding was a problem for several days. Two weeks later he went into insulin shock and developed temporary diabetis. He was unable to have visitors for about six weeks after the accident. Pete is now doing fine and is at home, but there will be a very long period of therapy before complete recovery. ADDITIONAL NOTE: Since the cavers involved were able to conduct the rescue themselves, the rescue time was kept to a minimum and the situation was perhaps kept from being any worse than it was. Also, this kept the accident from receiving any publicity that could have had an adverse effect on Arizona caving. We wish to emphasize that it is not normally advisable for the group involved to conduct its own rescue. A competent rescue team should be utilized if at all possible. This particular case just


IHE TEXAS CAVER 218 MELROSE WACO, TEXAS 76710 Forwarding Postage Guaranteed Address Correction Requested TO CAMPING SHOULD BE TAKEN LIGHTLY We specialize in light-weight camping equipment for the hiker, caver, climber, canoeist, and all outdoor people. For the discriminating enthusiast, we stock the finest in tents, down clothing and sleeping bags, packs, frames, climbing gear, boots, and kayaks, as well as a full line of mountain and trail products. North Face, Sierra Designs, Gerry, Old Town, Kelty, Chouinard, Plymouth, Vasque, etc. We are Wilderness Equip me.nt, Inc., and we take camping lightly seriOusly. We also take mail orders seriously. EquipDlent Inc. 643 WESTBURY SQUARE I HOUSTON, TEX. 77035 I (713) 721-1530 BULK RATE u.S Postage PAID WACO, TEXAS Perm1t No 1423

Contents: The safety
line / Bill Elliott --
Nannette / Michael L. Warton --
A message for Guadalupe Mountain cavers --
Cartoon / Ken Griffin --
Beneath Valdina Farms / Scott Hardin --
Cave rescue procedure --
Cartoon / Ken Griffin --
Accident at Black Abyss / Arizona Cavers --
NSS convention / Mike Moody.


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