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: Letters to the Editor -- Cave biology - Texas Tech style / Bill Elliott -- TSA caver in Virginia / Mike Mitchell -- Mexico '73 / Mike Walsh -- Abominable Sinkhole / Scott Harden -- Abominable Sinkhole map -- Cartoon / Ken Griffin -- Hypothermia / Chuck Stuehm -- Cartoon / Ken Griffin -- Ballad of the flood at Cascade / Cathy Allison and Karen Clement -- Close-up photography in caves, part II: close-up lenses / Mike Feltz -- News history -- Trips.
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
Original Version:
Vol. 18, no. 10 (1973)
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
K26-04577 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.4577 ( USFLDC Handle )
11311 ( karstportal - original NodeID )
0040-4233 ( ISSN )

USFLDC Membership

Karst Information Portal

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COVER: A nicely done photograph. of Devil's Sinkhole by Mimi Laurens on Plus X film with a Minolta SR T 101. The TEXAS CAVER is a monthly publication of the Texas Speleologica,l Association, an internal organization of the National Speleological Society and is published in San Antonio, Texas. Material should be typed double spaced and sent to the editor, Glenn Darilek, at 11929 Grapevine, San Antonio, Texas 78228, no later than the first of the month of publication. Subscriptions are $4. 00 per year for 12 issues an.,d all should be sent to James Jasek at 1218 Melrose, Waco, Texas 76710. Persons subscribing after the first of the year will recieve all back issues for that year. Single copies are available at each postpaid anywhere in the United States. STAFF Maggie Allison Karen Clement Glenn Darilek, Editor Ruth Darilek, Asst. Ed. Hugh Draney John Graves PRINTING AND DISTRIBUTION: James Jasek ASSEMBLY: Huaco Cavers and Temple Cavers Karen Sloman The TEXAS CAVER VOLUME XVIII, NUMBER 10 ,;, ,;, * * * EXCHANGERS: Address copies to 11929 Grapevine, San Antonio, Texas 78228 PAGE 291 292 297 300 301 CONTENTS LETTERS TO THE EDITOR CAVE BIOLOGY-TEXAS TECH STYLE by Bill Elliott TSA CAVER IN VIRGINIA by Mike Mitchell MEXICO '73 by Mike Walsh ABOMINABLE SINKHOLE by Scott Harden INSERT -ABOMINABLE SINKHOLE MAP 3 02 CARTOON by Ken Griffin 303 HYPOTHERMIA by Chuck Stuehm 305 CARTOON by Ken Griffin 306 BALLAD OF THE FLOQD AT CASCADE by Cathy Allison and Karen Clement 307 CLOSE-UP PHOTOGRAPHY IN CAVES, Part II: Close-up Lenses by Mike Feltz 309 NEWS & HISTORY 3 10 TRIPS


The TEXAS CA VEJl, October l973 Page 291 letters to the editor Dear Glenn, This note is in regard to page 86 of the Texas Caver (March, 1973 ). The true depth of Sotano de la Escuela is somewhere in the vicinity of 200 meters. I guess a wishful slip somewhere down the line accidentally -added a one in front of the 6riginal figure. Sorry about all the confusion. Craig Bittinger Dear Glenn, I was wondering if you could print two corrections to selections which I sent to last year's Texas Caver. Here they are for those who might like to write in the correction on their copies of the Caver. 1. April, a-page 69 -Letters to the Editor. The second sentence in the letter on the mini-project reads: This type of project will attract the more accurate and complete cave maps and, no doubt, in many new discoveries in known Texas caves. The second sentence should read: This type of project will attract the more competent and dedicated mappers and explorers and can only result in more accurate and completecave maps and, no doubt, in many new discoveries in known Texas caves. 2 December, 1972-page 153-Wurzbach Bat C&\re article-The sentence beginning on the 11th line reads: Al did come up with another sink though, but it ended after about 1270 feet of mapped cave on the books making this the third longest cave in Bexar County. This sentence should read: Al did come up with another sink though, but it ended after about 8 feet. Glad we WEre finally finished we headed for home with about 12 70 feet of mapped cave on the books making this the third longest cave in Bexar County. I was also wondering if Moody intends to write an index of the '72 Caver. Good CAVER ing, Roger Bartholomew, S. J. Editor: Making an index for the 1972 Texas Cav e r would certainly be a worthwhile project for some ener getic group. We would be happy t o print it. In order to avoid possible duplication, contact the present editor before starting on the project. The indexing of thie year's Caver i s already in progress. We have January through March completed and hope t o publish t h e completed index with the December issue. I n order to keep things straight it would be bett..e_r if someone else worked on the 1972 index.


Page 292 The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 TEXAS Texas Tech University, although situated in Lubbock far from major karst areas, has a high density of biologists who are interested in cave-dwelling animals. Much of this research centers around the laboratory of Dr. Robert W. Mitchell, Prof. of Biology. Texas Tech also has more than its share of fine bat biologists: Professors Baker, Carter, Genoways, Jones, and Packard. I thought Texas cavers might like to know something about the activities of Dr. MitTECH STYLE by Bill Elliott chell's lab, so I assembled a "rogue's gallery" of photographs Dr. Robert Mitchell, photographing a vinegaroon with his Nikkormat Medical with descriptions of the various N 'kk t 1 or sys enJ.. persons and their research interests. ROBERT W. MITCHELL is a native of Lubbock and earned his BS and MS degrees in zoology at Texas Tech. His interest in caves and cave animals began in the late 19501 s. After some time in the Air Force and four years teaching at Lamar Tech in Beaumont, he began his PhD work under Prof. Bassett Maguire at the University of Texas in 1961. His dissertation dealt with the ecology of the troglobite beetle, Rhadine subterranea. He actually had a laboratory in Beck's Ranch Cave and did most of his studies there. He completed his PhD in 1965 and came to Tech as an Assistant Prof. of Biology. His research interests have covered many aspects of cave biology, particularly the evolution and zoogeography of the Texas and Mexican cave faunas, but he has also become a well known flatworm biologist and arachnologist (in fact, he recently launched, as editor, the Journal of Arachnology). He has authored about thirty scientific publications, most dealing with cavernicoles. He is recognized as one of the leading North American biospeleologists. Some of his more spectacular achievements have been the discovery and description of the first truly cave-adapted scorpions (there are now three species, all from Mexico), the investigation of some of the largest known populations of ricinuleids (a rare order of arachnid), the description of several new species of cave flatworms from Texas and Mexico and his ongoing study (since the mid1960's) of blind Astyanax fishes and their cave habitats in the Sierra de El Abra and Sierra de Guatemala. Mitchell is also an excellent wildlife photographer who graces many of his publications with fine photographs. An energetic person, he still enjoys dropping pits, thrashing through jungles, or making marathon trips in his Toyota.


The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 Page 293 JAMES R. REDDELL, one of the most famous personalities in the pantheon of Texas and Mex i can cave rs, has been instrumental to the founding and success of the Texas Speleological Survey and the As sociation for Mexican Cave Studies. His major interest is the zoogeography of the Texas and Mexican cave faunas. A native of Idalou (a small town near Lubbock), he majored in English at the University of Texas, where he became interested i n caves in the late 1950's. A s his interest in biospeleology grew, he began publishing checklists of his Texas cave collections. As a result, the Texas cave f auna is one of the b e s t documented in North America. He has edited and typed too many s peleological publications to name, and has authored and co -authored at least twenty scientific papers and has many more in the mill. He and Dr. Mitchell co -edited AMCS Bulletins 4 and 5, which are fine contributions to the study of Mexican c avernicoles. James spent a year studying with Torn James Reddell, bottling bugs after a grueling collecting trip. Barr at the University of Kentucky, then three years with Mitchell at Texas Tech. In 1969 James moved to Austin and conducted his research privately, but kept a very close tie with our lab here. He is now working on his PhD under Dr. Mitchell's Bill Elliott, reducing a cave map with a Dietzge n pantograph, a precision drafting instrument. superV1slOn. His dissertation will be concerned with the cave fauna of the Yucatan Peninsula. He has made three long expeditions to Yucatan since last year, each yielding significant dis coveries. James will move back to Lubbock this fall to finish his degree. James Reddell has infected quite a few people with an interest in cave biology (in fact, he got me started in it five years ago), and we can expect even more spectacular achievements from him in the future. WILLIAM R, ELLIOTT comes from Georgetown, where he became interested in caves while a guide at Inner Space. Originally a pre-med


Page 294 The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 Glenn Campbell, pouncing on a cave cricket in Beck's Ranch Cave. student at the University of Texas (with a$pirations in medical ill ustration}, his interest in cave biology began almost from the time he joined the UT Grotto in 196 7. By 1969, when he graduated with a BA in zoology, he was planning a career in biospeleology. He spent the summer of 1969 working in the El Abra for Dr. Mitchell, exploring, mapping, and collecting in blind fish caves with Don Broussard and Jim Mcintire. He then came to Tech and completed his MS in zoology in 1971. His thesis dealt with the temperature preferences of five species of cave-adapted crustaceans from Texas and Mexico. To date, he has co-authored five scientific papers. One of his major interests is the zoogeography of the Mexican cave fauna. His PhD dissertation will deal with systematics of the troglobite milliped, Speldesmus, from Central Texas. Bill has actively participated in Mitchell's blind fish study for the past several years. He is doing a survey of the cave fauna of Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park. His work in the near future will be on cave mites (Rhagidia), millipeds, and fishes. GLENN D. CAMPBELL earned his BS in zoology at Texas Tech in 19 72. While working as a student assistant for Dr. Mitchell, he became interested in caves and the ecology of cave crickets. Now in graduate school, he plans to do his master's thesis on the habits and movements of cave crickets, in two caves in Carlsbad Caverns National Pa-rk. Glenn will be marking cave crickets and observing their movements, species interactions, and feeding habits. The study will involve at least three species of Ceutho philus cricket. JERRY W. COOK comes from Iowa (Grinnell College originally). After teaching high school for several years, he moved to Lubbock in 1969 to take up life as a grad student under Dr. Mitchell. Jerry has been to many caves with us and became interested in the habits of ricinuleids, a rare order of arachnid which is abundant in some Mexican caves. He completed his Jerry Cooke, hopefully waiting for his ricinuleids to mate.


The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 Page 295 M S thesis in 1971 on the mating habits of Cryptocellus pelaezi, the first time this was adequately studied in ricinuleids. Suffice i t t o say their behavior is unusual. He has also participated in the blind fish research, both in the field and in statistical analysis of the data. He plans to continue his studies of mating behavior of other ricinuleids for the PhD. J MARK ROWLAND came to us in 1971 from Cal Poly in Pomona, where he had already developed an interest in arachnids, particularly the order Schizomida. Schizomids are Mark Rowland, at work with h i s "Wild" (brand name) microscope. small "cousins" of the vinegaroon, or "whip-scorpion". Mark has described several new species and genera of these animals from Mexican caves, as well a s from all over the world. His PhD dissertation will deal with the schizomids o n a world-wide basis. Mark has authored about ten scientific papers. He is the Assistant Editor of the new Journal of Arachnology. SUZANNE WILEY is i n zoology at Texas Tech, known to many Texas cavers. She completed her BS where she worked as an assistant for Dr. Mitchell. Suzanne Wiley, with the 14 channel, Gilson Differential Respirameter, which she used on cave beetles. She decided to take up biospeleology and participated in all research projects with great enthusiasm. After literally being "washed-out'' of an ecological study of blind fish in Sotano de Yerbaniz (the cave flooded unexpectedly, ruining plans to complete a year-long fish census), she decided to find out if troglobites really do have lower metabolic rates than closely related epigean species, as many biospeleologists have theorized. She studied several closely related species of Rhadine beetles from Texas caves (some troglobites, some troglophiles). TONY R MOLLHAGEN is a bat biologist working on his PhD under Prof. Robert Packard. Tony has been in many caves in the U.S. and Mexico and has been with us on quite a few trips. He did his BS and MS work at Kansas State College before coming here. He is interested in small mammals of all sorts, but much of his work has been in bat ecology, particularly the zoogeography of bats, their distribution as


( Page 296 The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 Tony M ollhagen, gleefully displaying a pickle d bat. Bill Russell, describing (in Bill Russell fashion) how to get to a cav e related to temperature, and activity periods of desert bats. His dissertation will cover the distribution of small mammals in the Trans -Pecos Region. Tony has authored and co-authored about ten scientific papers, including "A key to the bats of Texas and adjacent regions' (Texas Speleological Survey, Vol. 3, No. 4). WILLIAM H. RUSSELL has been active in caving for many years. Trained as a geographer-geologist (BS in geography, UT, 1970), he has participated in many of our trips to the Sierra de El Abra and Sierra de Guatemala and has been instrumental in finding many new caves. His contributions to the blind fish project are numerous. A paper, co-authored by Mitchell and Russell, on the physiography of the El Abra region, as it relates to blind fish caves, will appear soon. Bill has also assisted in our various biology projects in Texas. Although he lives in Austin, we feel he is very much a part of our work here at Tech. If you cavers should ever find yourselves in Lubbock, feel free to call me or come by our lab on the fourth floor of the biology building. We will show you our "cave" labs (temperature and humidity control rooms) and some of the interesting animals we keep there. Who knows, maybe YOU will be bitten by the biospeleology bug!


The TEXAS CAVER, October 1 g73 Page 297 TSA Caver in Virginia by Mike Mitchell My good friend and caving buddy, Floyd Vice, recently moved to Virginia for "greene r grass" H e had been active in Texas caving for a very short time before he left, but h e had caught the "bug'' and was looking forward to all the cave s in Virginia. H e did all the t ourist caves and had been having a rough time finding any "wild'' caves. At least until I received a letter from him, t elling n e that he had, at last, found "them caves'! and not t w o miles from his house! Here's the whole fantastic and true story. Maybe it will stir other cavers to start caving again or refresh memories into what it was like to stumblt> o n to their first "virgin" caves. Anyway, the following is take n from Floyd's letter to me: Mike, I found them! I found them! I found them' CAVES!! WILDCAVES!!! WILDAND BEAUTIFULCAVES!'' '' AND NOT TWO MILES FROM MY HOUSE! ! ! Here's the whole story: I went into town to get a haircut, and being kind of d epressed about no s i g n o f a job, I decided to take another of my drives through the country. I around in a 2 0 mile circle, and though the view was outstanding, it only l ifte d my spirits slightly. I pulled off the road about l /2 to 3/4 mile from town, at what I thought to be a roadside park and was going to stroll through the woods. Y o u know, the old replenishment of nature bit; but I got more than I bar gained for. Then, it happened: ... cave ... cave ... came running through my mind. Somehow I knew that there was a cave there, and I knew strongly. There had to b e The lay of the land ... the tree grouping ... everything said cave. No, it s c r eamed CAVE . CAVE ... !! I got out of the van and looked around; I saw the trail, a trail where no trail should be. I had walked about 15 yards, if that much, when I saw it, off to the left, a little pile of rock, jutting out of the ground. I got off the trail and ran to the rocks. By now I was trembling with excitement. Sure enough, there it was, the first entrance to a cave that I had seen since Midnight Cave two months ago ... and it was all of 8 inches across! I knew it was a cave because I could f eel the cold air gushing out of it. .. and it was all of 8 inches across! I could have very easily cried. Dis gust, despair, agony ... they all rushed to my mind as I stood there looking at my cave ... my 8 inch caveJ I wondered how long it would take to dig a larger entrance with my bare hands. Then it seemed to come to me on the wind again ... cave ... Cave ... CAVE! lt s t arted low and grew until I was ripped away from the entrance of my 8 inch ave. I hit the trail in a very quick walk, almost a run ... cave ... cave ... cave.


Page 298 The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 I could smell it; it was here ... somewhere. I couldn't have walked another 15 yards when I broke throug h the underbrush and had to pull up short to keep from falling into the pit. The entrance was huge. A faulted rock, dirt eroded away from it, broke into the cave. I had found it! I had found it! I could tell by the footprints all around that I was not the only one who had found it, but it was still virgin to me, and it was a cave! I ran back to the van, but the thoughts were running faster through my mind. "My boots are in the van, I'm sur e that I haven't unpacked them yet; I think I have a flashlight; yes, my carbide lamp is still hanging from the wall. No hardhat! I remember hanging it by its straps in the trailer. Should I attempt an entrance without a hardhat? Hell, yes, I should; and I'm going to! 11 When I reached the van, I found the carbide lamp hanging right where I had remembered it, but drat and confound it, the damne d thing was empty. Oh, agony of agonies! Then I saw one end of a flashlight sticking out from under the debris that constantly fills the back of the van. I snatched for it like a drowning man grabs for a float. But my float sunk, the batteries were dead! Oh, horrors! I can1t tell you the feeling that sunk and stuck in my gut. It was at this point that I chanced to catch a glimpse of the 6 -volt battery that I use to supply the van with light at night to save the van's battery. I'd spent about an hour rigging that light just so ... but to hell with that. .. I have found a cave! Yes, I ripped the light out, grabbed my water bottle, and took off fo r the cave like a 707 taking off, the bulb in one hand, the battery in the other, and six feet of wire trailing behind me. The entrance to the cave is about a 4 5 degree incline, and is pure, slick gooey mud. At this point, ankle deep in mud, I remembered that I still had on my best pair of cowboy boots. 11lt doesn1t matter; I'm almost in the cave" ... I had on my best set of clothes ... 11It doesn't matter, I1m in the cave now." I stood there, in that huge room, basking in the coolness of the cave and the heat of discovery, and I felt ecstacy that one seldom finds in this sad world. The first room is huge, wet, and cool. The cave goes down, almost straight down! It goes up, there are still ropes hanging from some previous and better prepared spelunker than I. The cave goes to the left, and it goes to the right ... 11Down, down, I must go down. 11 Huge boulder-size breakdown ... 11I must go around it11 more breakdown to go around ... then straight down a ten-foot mud slide. Mud covers the floor, ankle deep, and everything is wet, very wet! 11Must turn on light now ... ceiling dropping fast." Passage splits three ways ... only one is walkable, other two are crawlable ... muststoop to make the walkable one. No noticable formations except in the big room, but the ceiling and walls glitter in the light like little gems. Fantastic! I'm duckwalking now. Ceiling closing in fast ... Must crawl to go any farther. This is my limit, I'm not going to crawl in this deep mud with my good clothes on ... I1ll come back tomorrow and crawl through it in my old clothes! Back at the mud slide. Straight up! Start to climb ... slide back down. 110h, no! 11 Try again ... foot slips, come sliding. back down ... 110h, my God, NO! This is a wonderful place to visit, but I don't want to live here ... or, worse, to die here!11 fear ... panic ... 11Get hold of yourself .. don't let


The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 Page 299 panic get hold .. stay calm ... I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, ''Shine the light around and look at the beautiful cave ... OK I'm calm. I 1m calm, DAMN IT! I'm CALM! ... I'm also alone; no one knows I'm here ... no equipment ... batteries weak ... half-empty bottle ... I'll just die if some good cavers find my body here prepared so poorly ... What am I saying! I've got to get out of here!!" Start to climb mud slide again. A noise behind me, like something falling in the mud. "Someone else is in here? ... Ahoy!'' ... Silence. "Hey!" Silence. "Hello." Silence. I made it up the mud slide that time. I'm in the light now ... dimly. Looking around. Peace. Calm. "Should I try the rope that was left hanging there? No, one narrow escape is enough, and you have been taught better than that: 'Use only the rope you bring into a cave, Floyd.' ... right, no climb. Better leave now and come back better prepared tomorrow." Passage to the right. .. Deadend. No wait! A passageway, bends sharply. I enter. It opens up to a fair-sized room which is walkable. It goes left ... deadend. It goes up ... passages lead off in three directions: one of them must be my wonderful 8-inch cave earlier. Later for them. Pas sage to far left ... bends sharply and deadends ... Back in the light again ... going out. The heat hits rne. The climb out in the heat consumes all of my remaining energy. Standing on the rim of the pit looking down ... I shall return little cave ... I promise you that!" The winds whisper through the trees: 11 caves ... caves ... it seems to whisper. "Hell, yes, there is a cave, "I grumble to the wind. "I1 m standing here looking at it! 11 Then it hit me: the word was CAVES, not just cave! "Could it be? Yes, it could, but the trail ends here." I push through the brush and find that the trail is still there. I walk slowly down the trail and sure enough, about 50 yards away, I find another cave . or another entrance to the same cave? Once again the wind urges me onward. Another 50-to-75 yards down the trail I find another cave. Another damned cave! This one is not as impressive as the first two. It is a tunnel into bare rock, about 3 feet in diameter. Not as impressive but very tempting. From the leaves all over the floor it looks as though no one has been in it in quite some time. All total I found five entrances---same cave? __ to 75 feet apart. I also found two more of the 8 inch openings and three sinkholes. And one of the best parts is that they are only about 100 yards off the highway. The line of caves runs parallel to the road. Much of them have not been explored, and that the local caving grottos are doing the exploring. Just think ... someday in the NSS mag., you may read that "Floyd Vice, a Virginia caver, finds passageway connecting Luray and Skyline." Oh, well, with my five new caves to explore I'm sure that I will be content just being in any cave for a while. And from this day forth, there will be a complete set of caving equipment in my Van at all times! ! Peace and Sunshine, Floyd Vice * * Resubscribe now to the Texas Caver ... or be intimidated later. Send $4.00 to James Jasek, 1218 Melrose, Waco, Texas 76710.


Page 300 The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 ICO Due partly to the fact that the TSA decided not to have a Labor Day Project, the Southwest Texas Univer. sity Grotto set up Mexico 173, a Bustamante Labor Day Project. Lack of time prevented the notification of the entire TSA membership but over 75 TSA members attended. Camping was provided at Ojo de Agua in Bustamante Canyon. Trips were arrainged for those who wanted to vis it G ruta de Palm ito, Gruta de Precipicio, and Gruta de Carrizal. When cavers hit the border they found long lines of people wanting to eros; Saturday morning, September 1, SWTG had ropes rigged, trails marked and handed out a general information sheet. Most cavers a few good caves. Trash bags were pa:;sed out to bring out of Palmito. Sunday, the work really started. One group went to map and photo graph the 12 0 meter pit that the Laredo group had found and explored earlier this year. Several shelters were checked high on Bustamante Canyon walls. One new cave was visited across the canyon from Precipicio. Information from several small caves was gathered. All of the work activity information is still not in. Sunday night cavers gathered to talk over the days activ-ities. While it would not be called a party, there was a great deal of group communication. What was accomplished at the project? First, a large number of the TSA membership got together '73 ' and did a lot of good caving. Some commented that this seemed to be the most sedate TSA gathering that they had attended. Perhaps this was because we were all tired from our caving activities. Second, good lines of c .ommunication were set up concerning cave work in their area. Third, various work projects were carried out. More information on these will follow at a later date. Finally, cavers got together and had a good time. A project can be considered a success when work is done and the information is put into a useful form. We will make every effort to collect the information and make it available to the TSA membership. The SWTG would like to thank everyone for the support given to this project. Thank you and good caving. Mike Walsh Project Chairman


The TEXAS CAVER, October 1 973 Page 301 Abominable Sinkhole by Scott Harden The Abominable Sinkhole is an aptly named, i mpressive pit near C( Jmstock in Val Verde County. I became interested in the cave after reading a n obscure article in a 1963 Texas Almanac. As of 1972 it was still unm apped although it is a major Texas cave. Wayne Russell had been to the pit so I got him interested in a surveying t dp. On our first attempt we had no luck. After visiting Montgomery Cypsum Cave and Airport Cave (location of the world's grossest crawlway containing everything from rusty glass to petrified Brontosaurus f e ces) w e tri e d t o get t o Abominable. It rained. I won 1t g o into a boring exhortation as t o h o w much it rained or how frustrated we w ere; we've all been through it. Wayne 1 s van indeed got stuck in the mud and we spent four hours getting it o ut. The h elpful ranch forman came by and showed us the way to the which we entered but didn't have time to map. On May 20, 1972 Glenn, Ruth, and Paul Darilek, John Graves, and I went t o map the cave. We drove the ten miles of dirt road and arrived at the entrance The pit is on a plateau with shimmering Lake Amistad visible t o the south and further on, the mountains of northern Coahuila. As we look e d into the undercut abyss a disgusting stench assualted our nostrils. Peering into the depths, a morbid mass of messy garbage could be seen 130 fee t below. The man-made mountain top consists of things like old phono records, barrels and cans, barbed wire, numerous dead sheep, flies, scorpions and black widows, unidentified rotting stuff, etc. The For gotten Works. All mushy and germy and rotten and diseased, stinking like hell w ith a visible green mist and flies so stoned from the lethal gas they couldn't move. Flie s o n the climbing rope; Jumars going John wanted to play hide n1 seek in the garbage but Glenn and I made him map. At o n e point I had to hold the tape in place while feeling an unidentified four foot snake move uncle r the board I was standing on, while holding my breath to kee p from puking or dying or whatever would happen if one took a bit hit of that green mist. We were beginning to understand why no one ever went to Abominable Sinkhole. We proceeded mapping down the steep breakdown slope. We shot a few sprays then surveyed around the walls. The cave is bearable once you get off the top of the hill where the garbage is so profuse. The view up and out fro m part way down the breakdown slope is as impressive as any in the Devil1s Sinkhole. We finally left the cave after finishing the survey and taking a few photos. The first two out got to shower those below with rocks which inevitably get knocked loose when entering or leaving the pit. W e took a bath in a mixture of industrial fungicide and cheap Tequila and felt humanoid a gain.


* Page 302 The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 John managed to sneak into his school late one night or something and use the computer t o get the XYZ coordinates. I meticulously did the plot and draft and the map came out halfway decent considering it was my first real effort in cartography. The profiles were done carefully and give a very good idea of the cave's shape. Dick Smith sent me a publication on the geology of Val Verde County and thanks to him the names of the formations and the approximate location of the contacts could be put on the profile. The cave is quite unusual geologically speaking as it is contained in five limestone formations. The pit has the appearance of a "breakout dome 11 although it doesn 1t seem that too much breakdown has been removed by solution. Notice on the profiles how the floor conforms to the ceiling. It would be interesting and worthwhile to conduct a complete study on the cave and its speleogenesis. The ecology of the cave is probably so screwed up that a collection wouldn 1t be much good. Besides all the arachnids and the snake we saw in the garbage, we also saw a beehive (with real live bees!), an owl in a hole on the wall of the pit, and s orne interesting bird skeletons. Here 1s an interesting item regarding the cave 1 s history. Those of you who have The Vandal's Guide to Texas Caves, e. g. NSS Bulletin #10, look on pages 90-91. The article concerns the infamous "bat-bomb" project of WW II. "Next to that in depth is Rose Cave, which apparently hadn't been explored before. We gathered up hundreds of feet of barbed wire fence, and with short sections of brush for rungs, improvised a ladder and reached the bottom. I want to go back and explore that one fully. 11 The aforementioned Rose Cave is apparently the one and only Abominable Stinkhole. See also the TSS volume on Val Verde County. In spite of a few unpleasant aspects, Abominable is worth visiting at least once if only for the experience. * . * ,, 1 0 .1(. ""{"\\\ S I .S A CA\JE t-)0\.A.) T\ M.E cO :STAR.\ CUI. A L\ //


ABOMINABLE SINKHOLE VAL VERDE CO., TEXAS 0 15 30 45 60 B ENTRANCE/ lo' & I I ; n BRUNTON r. TAPE SURVEY Tf'r 5120172 /lj_ Glenn Oarilek --------; John Graves ----At Scott Harden ----------m-::;:::::o COMPUTER DATA :::::::,_ l G raves -PLOT r. DRAFT Nm A -:::::--\\\ ::::::::::::::: S. Harden Breakdown A -====7 A1 81 B_ 81 Quaternar) 2ravel 37' Boqillas fm. 901 Buda Fm. 1451 Del Rio Fm, 210' --Devils River Fm.


The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 Page 303 by Chuck Stuehm Gone are the days of freezing to death by exposure that we read about in Jack London's noYels. Doctors have a precise scientific explanation of those happenings in the oat-of-doors. Its descriptions, treatment, and pre cautions are now known, clear, simple facts. HYPOTHERMIA -Killer of the unprepared. It is the rapid, progressive mental and physical collapse accompanying th. e chilHRg of the inner core of the body. HYPOTHERMIA is not confined to the season of snow and ice and freezing storms, or to the mountain tops during the worst kind of weather. It can happen anywhere, anytime the common element is cold or wet against the skin which flushes away the body heat at a faster pace than it can be produced. As the core temperature of the body slides, a series of physiological changes can lead to death. In spring and fall sudden weather change is a problem for hikers, canoeists paddling against wind and rain, sweating skiers riding a ski lift in a cold wind, swimmers and cavers -all are subject to the chilling effects of HYPO THERMIA. A lethal combination of wind and wet and cold brings on hypothermia. Once the body begins to lose heat faster than it produces it, hypothermia has stall'ted. Two reactions follow, the person voluntarily exercises to stay warm but the mom.ent that stops heat production instantly drops by fifty percent and the body makes involuntary adjustments to preserYe the normal temperature of the vital organs. This is the arms and legs become chilly as the blood circulation slows down. Soon, cold reaches the brain, depriYing it of vital oxygen. Thinking becomes confused and sluggish and narrowed. Breathing becomes shallow and weak as the heart slowly gets cool. If this spiraling effect of cooling is not immediately reversed, death soon follows. Knowing precisely what to expect and ..tlat dangers lurk is the first step. TltEm comes practical experience. Plan for a margin of safety at all tim-es. Gradaally build up the skills and sbm"in-a to cope with the cold on IIM.ny trips before u-nderte.kmg th&.t ultimate challange. Know your equipment and your body1s tolerance levels. Don't push either of them. Ma1te it your bGeinesa to keep comfortablliL Learn to adjust your gear as it is necessary. WbeD. you feel hot, remove a sweater. As it cools take the time to stop to put on a hat or jacket. Conserving body heat {energy) is the essence of When caving in a wet cave learn to regulate body temperature constantly by 1) regulating your pace and 2) ventilating the body. easy-on and easy-off layers of clothing. Have warm, dry clothing ready to. change into as soon ail you come out of the watel! Remember to keep them in a waterproof stuf(-batJ.


Page 304 The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 Too many cavers think of a trip as something to be rushed through in order to reach some sort of an objective. The goal should not t ake precedence over the experience of attaining it. There are four lines of defense against Hypothermia. These ought to be so well known by water cavers that he should be able to recite them. Every trip leader should be familiar with all aspects of hypothermia so he can visibly detect it and prevent it in his fellow cavers and himself. l. The primary defense against hypothermia is to AVOID OVER EX POSURE. Have adequate clothing for both wet and dry caving. Wool gives the best insulation. After emerging from the water and/or cave beware of the wind. Most hypothermia case s are recorded between 30 and 50 degrees. These t emperatures can be comfortable when dry, but when wet and in a slight wind i t can be FATAL. 2. The second line of defense is to STOP EXPOSURE of the body before it is too late. Retreat while all in the party are in good condition and while strength remains. Have a trip leader who is responsible for calling a halt before exhaustion and shivering sets in. 3. The third line of defense is to be able to DETECT Hypothermia. Watch for clues that say hypothermia even though the victim may not be aware of i.t. THINK HYPOTHERMIA, talk about it and its effects before the going gets tough. SHIVERING that cannot be controlled is an obvious c 1 11e. (There is an exception -if a person remains very activ e and produces heat to the point where the body uses up its energy reserves he may bypass the shivering stage. The body produces only half the heat when at rest than while active). VAGUE, SLOW SLURRING SPEECH, MEMORY LAPSES, INCOHER ENCE, FUMBLING HANDS, STUMBLING AND A LURCHING GAIT, are all clues that the body temperature is falling. Once it starts to slide, it goes down at an increasing rate; unless thts downward slide is reversed, death can result. Take immediate drastic action even though the victim denies he or she is in trouble. 4. The fourth and last line of defense is TREATMENT. If the patient can still function get him into warm, dry clothing and a warm sleeping bag. Give a warm drink and some sort of sugar, glucose is ideal. But if the victim is semi-conscious or worse, peel off all wet clothing, tuck him into a sleeping bag, then have a person strip down and climb into the sleeping bag with him. Skin-to-skin


The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 Page 305 contact is tbe last hope of emergency treatment possible without specialized equipment. Don't leave the victim alone, as his temperature drops he feels warm and starts to shed clothes and sleeping bag. Heat packs can be used, warm rocks placed under arm pits and in the groin area. It has been known where a victi.rns temperature dropped to 80 degrees F. and it took three hours to bring the victims body temperature up by one degree. Traii foods and snacks of high energy return help a great deal, such as nuts,chocolate and jerky._ One of the most crucial factors in a survival situation is to quite un the early side of trouble. Rember to A VOID, MINIMIZE, TERMINATE, TREAT. Hqpefully as the term Hypothermia" becomes more familiar to outdoors men across the nation, its victims will be less numerous. It is the killer of the unprepared, be it summer or winter, above ground or below.* * :>:* * I I \ I I I I i I I I I \ I I I I / I I I I \ I I I i I I I \ \ \ I \ i \ I I I i I j I I j I i I I I "GO I bl.G u? 1


Page 306 The TEXAS CAVER, 1973 Ballad of the Flood at Cascade Will you dig in my cave, Texas Cavers? For Cascade Caverns is filled with mud. There's debris and rocks buried deeply, Brought in by the mighty force of the flood. Yes, we'll dig in your cave, Mr. Bridges, So its beauty can shine forth again; And we'll make it the best cave in Texas Then you can smile again while money comes pouring m. With the rocks we will build a mighty rockwall, To help keep the cave from flooding out again; And the gravel we'll spread along the trailways, So you can walk along in comfort again. But the mud is the most difficult problem, As you walk through it nearly to your knees. So we'll pump it back to the lower level, Then Mirror Lake can reflect your cave's beauty. We will work in your cave with pick and shovel, To remove the mud and rocks that don't belong. With water we will wash all the formations, So your cavern will shine with life once more. We are proud to have helped with your caverns, And we hope they will never flood again. First, because you're a friend of Texas cavers, And the work is too damn hard to do again. by Cathy Allis on and Karen Clement We sang the above ballad for Mr. and Mrs. Bridges after a clean-up session at Cascade Caverns on August 19th, and I must say they took it rather well. But then, I guess a lifetime greeting the public has taught them to be prepared for almost anything. Seriously, we've enjoyed working with Mr. Bridges who has made everyone feel right at home, and hope that nothing but good fortune is ahead for everyone at Cascade Caverns. By the way the above song should be sung to the tune of Red River Valley, preferably after you've had a few beers.


The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 Page 307 UP Photography in Caves PART If: CLOSE-UP LENSES by Mike Feltz Why discuss close-up lenses? This is the question the typical SLR user will ask. H e e ncounters no exposure and no composition problems as what he sees through the lens is exactly the image that will be on the finished picture, but the owners of rangefinder cameras or twin lens cameras do not have this luxury in close-up photography. The non-SLR users have to solve a few simple formulas to d etermine the subject distance and picture area. In cave photography with any type of camera, one of the most important factors in favor of close-up lenses is that there is n o exposure problems: the exposure with the close-up lenses is the same as the exposure without it. As a rule, you will use the smallest possible -stop on the camera (either f-16 or f-22) t o maximize the depth of field. This means you will divide f-16 (or f-22) into your guide number to get the correct flash distance. If your guide number is 80 and the aperture is f-16 the proper flash distance is 5 feet. No matter which close-up lens you use or how many of them you stack together or how close the camera is to the subject, the correct flash distance will always be 5 feet. It doesn't work out this way for extension tubes, reverse adapters, or noncompensating macro lenses. With these you have to run through a series o f calculations for each given extension length to calculate the correct flash distance. As you add or subtract a certain amount of extension for each close -up shot, the flash distance changes with each combination. The term most often associated.with close-up lenses is diopter strength (+1, +2, +3, etc.). The diopter strength regulates both the subject distance and the image size. You can determine the subject distance by applying the following formula: SD = l Meter /DS, where SD stands for the subject distance and DS stands for the diopter strength. Your total.diopter strength is determined by adding the diopter strength of the close-up lens or lenses you are using to the calculated diopter strength of your camera. If you have your camera lens set to a given subject distance, you can interpret this as a certain diopter strength by using the following variation of the previous formula: DS = l Meter /SD. For example, if you have your camera lens focused to 2 meters (about 6. 5 feet), this is equivalent to adding a +0. 5 close-up lens. When you use this distance setting with a +2 close-up lens, then the total diopter strength would be 2. 5 and the subject distance would be about 16" (i.e., 40"/2. 5). For another example, assume your camera was set at infinity (DS=l/00=0) and you have_ both a +2 and a +3 close-up lens on your camera, then the total diopter strength is 0+1+2= +3 and the subject distance is l meter divided by 3 o r about 13 inches. Notice that the focal length of the camera lens per se does not enter into consideration with respect to the subject distance. A +2 closeup l ens has a 50 em (20 inches) subject distance whether you use it with a


Page 308 The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 35mm lens. The particular focal length of the camera lens does not affect the subject distance with the close-up lens, although it does affect the image size. After you determine the proper subject distance by adding up all of your diopter strength values (also considering the distance setting of the camera lens), what is magnification? This is one of the formulas I mentioned in Part I of this series: M = (DS X F) I 1000, where M is the magnification, DS is the diopter strength, and F is the focal length of the lens. If you are using a + 2 lens with a 50 mm lens (set at infinity), then the magnification is 0. l. This corresponds to a reproduction ratio of 1:10 and gives a picture a rea of lO "xl5". The same close-up lens used with a 135mm lens set at infinity w ould have the same subject distance (2 0 inches), but the magnification would b e 0. 2 7. This is approximately a 1:4 reproduction ratio with a 4'' x 6" picture area. So the same close-up lens yields a larger image sixe and a smaller picture area when used with a telephoto lens. Generally you can buy close-up lenses individually or in sets. A set o f close-up lenses usually consists of +l, +2, and +3 diopter strength lenses and they are designed so that you can screw the close-up lenses onto each other. Two logical questions you might ask with regard to close -up lenses are: l) How close can you get to the subject?; 2) How small an area can you get? The answer to the first question depends in part on how close you can focus the camera lens by itself and the diopter strength of the lenses you may add. This is limited by a slight loss of image quality at high magnifications which becomes more serious as you increase the image size. Because of this loss of quality, a reproduction ratio of 1:2 is the approximate limit for close-up lenses. Beyond this, the image quality is usually considered unacceptable. The focal length of the camera lens is involved in the second question. Let's suppose you have a 50mm lens that focuses to 0. 5 meters (equivalent to a +2 close-up lens) and a set of all three close-up lenses (+1, +2, +3). If you use all three close-up lenses together (+6) and set the camera lens to 0. 5 meters (+2), then the total diopter strength is +8. By referring to the formula in this installment, you can see that the subject distance is 5" (40"18). This answers the first question. Since you can use up to +8 diopters with this 50 mm lens, then: (8x50) I 1000 = 0. 4. Thus you can attain .any magnification up to 0. 4 (which means you can get any picture size down to 2. 5" x 3. 75" with a 35mm camera). One final note: close-up lenses are sometimes designated with a certain focal length rather than a given diopter strength. The focal length of the closeup lens is simply the subject distance when it is in best focus. You can determine the corresponding diopter strength by dividing the focal length into 1 meter. For example, a close-up lens with a 50cm (0. 5 meter) focal length is the same as a +2 lens. Next time I'll present some of the problems you will encounter in close-up photography and how you can eliminate or reduce their troublesome effects in your close-up pictures.


The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 Page 309 News& History TEMPLE CAVING ASSOCIATJON The Temple Caving Ass uuation held its monthly meeting on Thursday, Aug ITst z nd: w e have been holding our meetings in the city courtroom. Recently the city has granted us the use of its fire drill tower for our vertical training. At our meeting we held elections for officers for the next six months. The new officers are: Chairman ............... Frank Sadek Vice-Chairman ........... Alicia Wisener Secretary ............... Mimi Laurens Treasurer ............... Curtis Sitz Also at the meeting we made plans for a trip to Airman1s Cave and Devil1s Sinkhole. AlAMO AREA CHAPTER Alamo Area Chapter members had a busy month with caving and club related activities. The cleanup work at Cascade Caverns continued with representatives of AAC hard at work there every weekend. We are proud to report that Mr. Bridges was able to conduct commercial tours beginning August 20th. With our weekends tied up with the clean up work, our Texas Caver sessions were held during the week nights the first week of August. Our monthly B. 0. G. meeting was held at Karen Clement's house on the 15th. The business meeting was preceded by ping-pong games and a rope climbing practice session. A grotto trip was held at Bracken Bat Cave on August 29. For an hour and a half club members watched while bats, bats, and more bats emerged from below. Then Labor Day weekend found many AAC members at the Mexico 173 Project. A good time was had by all caving and swimming at Ojo de Agua. Our next grotto meeting will be September 2 5 at 7:3 0 PM at the Civil Defense Building, 115 Auditorium Circle. All interested cavers are welcome.


Page 310 The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 DATE: August 6-10, 1973 DESTINATION: Enchanted Rock, Gorman Falls PERSONNEL: Mike Mitchell, Kirk Brew, Terrell Palmer REPORTED BY: Mike Mitchell We left Conroe early Monday, and drove to Pedernales Park for swimming. While the boys were in the river, I went scouting for caves. I did not see any obvious ones in the area, but I did not search too long. I still feel that this area has good potential. For the next two days, we did the caves, hiked, climbed, and rested at Enchanted Rock. On to Gorman Falls Thursday for a quick tour of Gorman Cave. C02 was bad, and the boys left with a headache. We ate lunch at the -camp, looked at the falls, and headed for our usual rest area near Johnson City. I made sure that Terrell received proper instruction on cave safety, conservation, etc. Gorman Cave was a good example of what happens to caves when they are not protected. DATE: August 12, 1973 DESTINATION: Airman1s Cave Photo by Gary Parsons PERSONNEL: Paul Bonner, David Foster, Mimi Laurens, Frances McCauley, Tommy Joe, Gary Parsons, Frank Sodek, Alicia Wisener REPORTED BY: Gary Parsons We arrived in Austin around 10:00 Sunday morning and immediately awakened Bill Russell from his peaceful slumbers who told us that the gate was not on yet. We then headed out for the cave. Frank and I were the only ones in the group that had been to Airman 1 s and we knew what was in store for the others. We only went back about 1300


The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 Page 311 meters because of time and the fact that we knew we had to go back the same way we entered. After going through Airman's once or twice, you can really appreciate the work that Bill Russell and Ronnie Fieseler (and many others) are doing mapping and exploring the cave. DATE: August 12, 19, 26, 1973 DESTINATION: Cascade Caverns PERSONNEL: Cathy, John and Maggie Allison, Karen Clement, Joe Thibodeaux REPORTED BY: Karen Clement August 12th and 19th were more mud pumping activites an.d finally at 3 PM the 19th the entrance room was clean and free of mud and the rock wall was complete. The next day Mr. Bridges was able to start tours and the sightseers were shown all the way through the cave to the entrance of the Cathedral Room. From this point, the cave is still a sea of mud. As everyone else had other activities going, only Cathy and I showed up for the cleanup, August 26th. Everyone else missed out on one of the best times we've had at Cascade, we worked in the Cathedral Room washing walls and clearing the trailways. This sounds much tamer than the work actually was. Mr. Bridges had hooked up a high pressure hose, which simplified much of the labor. But to work with that hose, and all that cold water it was putting out, we had to cut off the light to the commercial tours, (leaving only two flood lights behind us for working light). While one would handle the hose and direct the mud and debris on down toward the lake, the other would move the big rocks off the trailway, keep the lights in position and race back to the bend in the trail to see if a tour was coming. When a tour did come (about once every 20 or 30 minutes) the yell "Tour's Coming" would echo above the roar of the waterfall. Slipping and sliding across the mud to the power switch to the pump was always a funny sight. We couldn't risk spraying a customer and the lights couldn't be turned on with the pump spraying water everywhere. So, off with the pump, then back as fast as possible to the bend in the trail to turn on the light switches. As we stood there drenched in the beautifully lit cave, we listened to the tourist's comments on the lovely waterfall, and bravely withstood their looks of wonder at our filthy attire. Then as the tourists turned to leave, one would run for the light switch and back to grab the hose, while the other would go racing through the mud in the dark to turn on the pump switch. Once I beat Cathy in the race I turned on the pump b efore she got the hose under control. Cathy, being chased and sprayed by a high power water hose was a funny sight to see. Thereafter, she moved a little faster. DATE: August 18, 1973 DESTINATION: Gorman Falls, Harrell's Cave, Bonnie and Clyde Cave PERSONNEL: Bruce Bonner, Paul Bonner, David Foster, Tommy Joe, Alicia Wisener REPORTED BY: Alicia Wieener


Page 312 The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 On Saturday morning, Paul, Bruce, Tommy, and David arrived at Gorman Falls fully expecting to meet a minimal number of other Temple Cavers. Instead, they found my parents and I exiting from Gorman Cave, my progenitors definitely not being cavers (yet?}. The five of us elected to leave Gorman Cave because of the foul and impure condition of the atmosphere. From there, we went to Harrell's and rigged for the rappel. Everyone made a fine descent while david grossed out below on the vast abundance of guano. We all slithered and slid off to explore the breakdown. Circling the room we freaked out on the huge drifts of black snow ( i. e. bat guano) and encount-e red a blizzard of the stuff as the bats got stir red up. We finally returned to the rope and all got high on their Jumars. From there, we proceeded to Gorman with intentions of rappelling off the cliffs across the river. Once there, however, our energy proved insufficient for the long lug up the hill. We elected instead to do Bonnie and Clyde and proceeded to cross the river, where several of us managed to trip and immerse ourselves and our gear. We did Bonnie and Clyde Cave as clumps of daddy-longlegs and crickets dropped onto our cringing bodkins. Afterwards, we soaked out the guano and crud in the Colorado River and came home. DATE: August 18-19, 1973 DESTINATION: Inner Space and several caves in the New Braunfels area PERSONNEL: Chris Williams and Johnny Morrow REPORTED BY: Chris .Williams Since both Johnny and I were on vacation, we decided to take a trip during the middle of the week to dodge the heavy week-end traffic. Bright and early Wednesday morning found us at Inner Space. Since Johnny had not been off the commercial trail, the purpose of this visit was to show him some of the sections of the cave and photograph the formations. We spent about three hours in and around the Squid Room and Bone Sink I. We then made a short journey up the passage to Volcano Maze. After returning to the surface, we talked fo Jim Brwnmett for about an hour, then went over for a quick visit to Chinaberry and Steam caves. We found that the bats which have inhabited Steam Cave in years past have either moved or totally abandoned the cave. Thursday morning found us on the property of George Steele. Mr. Brummett had put us in contact with Mr. Steele, who had at least six caves on his ranch. All the caves had pit entrances, anywhere from 5 to 13 meters deep. Lacking the proper equipment, I was only able to get into the smaller caves. One of these was a 5 meter pit which opened up into a 6 -?meter in diameter room. Mr. Steele said that this cave had no name, so I promptly named it Cricket Cave because of the profusion of cave crickets. Other residents included daddy longlegs and a very small spotted frog. Since our time was running out, we had to say good-bye to Mr. and Mrs. Steele. We did this with some regret, but with the knowledge that we were


The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 Page 313 welcome to come back. I must say that the Steeles were the most hospitable land owners I have ever met. After leaving the Steeles, we took time to go on a commercial tour through Natural Bridge Caverns, and then began our journey home. DATE: August 18-23, 1973 DESTINATION: Northern Mexico PERSONNEL: Bill and Barbara Reeves, Pete and Darlene Thorworth, Hugh Draney, Karen Sloman, Glenn, Ruth and Paul Darilek REPORTED BY: Glenn Darilek CAVES VISITED: Gruta del Palmito, Grutas de Garcia, Naciomento de Ebanito (? ), Pozo de Gavilan, Real de Catorce Naciomento de Ebanito (?) which was reported by Wayne Russell to be a t a very low level on May 20, 1973, was flowing over the top rocks at the entrance at this time. (See photograph). There is a new graded gravel road to Real de Catorce. At Palmito, we observed one group of Mexicans actually picking up trash in large garbage bags. There are three new graded gravel roads going into the mountains near San Pedro de Iturbide that need to be fully checked out for possible caves. Photo by Hugh Draney DATE: August 21-23, 1973 DESTINATION: Longhorn Caverns, Devil' s Sinkhole, Caverns of Sonora PERSONNEL: Paul Bonner, Debbie Flanagan, David Foster, Jane Laurens, Mimi Laurens, Frances McCauley, Gary Parsons, Frank Sadek and Alicia Wisener REPORTED BY: Mimi Laurens and Alicia Wisener As usual, the Temple Caving Association left on their last big trip of the summer about an hour late. After a short in Lampassas for equipment and food, we continued on our way to Longhorn Caverns. Arriving just after a tour had begun, we missed the first few minutes. We especially enjoyed the Hall of Diamonds and the Rock of a Million Layers. From Longhorn, we continued to Rocksprings. After finally arriving at the Sinkhole and having the magnitude of what we were about to do impressed upon us, we ate, took pictures, and crashed. We awoke the next morning to sounds of the bats re-entering the pit,


Page 314 The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 and got rigged up for the descent as s oon as possible. After a fine rappel, the group split up to take pictures, climb around the bottom of the breakdown and enter the Lake Room. After several hours of these various activities we began the ascent and were all out with suprisingly little hassle by around 4:00. Needless to say, the group felt rather proud of what we had accomplished. Following a needed rest, we headed for the nearest low water crossing for a fantastic clean-up session (complete with a water roller coaster). We said good-bye to the Whitworths the next morning and headed for Sonora. As no three day caving trip should be trouble-free, ours was no exception. A broken water pump on the truck in Rocksprings caused quite a delay, but thanks to our men, we soon had the old pump and our nine bodies i n o n e car and were on our way once more. In Sonora, we purchased a new pump, ate while being checked out by the local lawman, and went to the caverns. Thanks to a suggestion from Jim Jasek, w e asked for Jack Burch at the Caverns. and were lucky enough to have him as our guide. For over two hours we were treated to the most fantastic tour any of us had ever had-Mr. Burch really knows and loves the Caverns of Sonora; and he was nice enough to share his knowledge with us. Words cannot describe the caverns. W e will not soon forget the Caverns or Jack Burch, and w e hope that many other cavers will take the opportunity to go to Sonora for the same great experience that we had. When we finally pulled ourselves away from Sonora, we went back to R ocksprings. The guys installed the new water pump, and we finally were homeward bound. After what seemed like a never-ending drive, we arrived home at 3:30 Friday morning, tired but happy! A gread ending to a fine sunJmer. DATE: August 22-26, 1973 DESTINATION: San Luis Potosi and surrounding area PERSONNEL: John Graves, Keith Heuss, Robert Hemperly, Mike Walsh REPORTED BY: John Graves Early Thursday morning we arrived in San Luis Potosi. After resting and 11t ouristing11 for s everal hours we drove east toward Rio Verde. At Sta D omingo we took the Las Cuevas Minas road south. After 32 kilometers w e arrived at the Las Cuevas Minas Mine. After inquiring about caves at the mine we drove north on the road to La Puente. About l kilometer past the mine w e found a large sink are a and sotano in a short valley to the right. Exploration was impossible due to the rather large volume of water flowing into the entrance. A few kilometers down the road we stopped and hiked around f o r several hours. The limestone in this area is very promising but nothing o f any significanc e was found. After a day of trying to drive through to La Puente we found ourselves haplessly stuck in the mud. Two days later w e abandoned Mike's van and hiked to the mine. The 11B ig Boss 11 at the mine spoke fairly good english and he assured us that as soon as the road dried out he would send some men from the mine with a 4 wheel drive truck to pull


The TEXAS CAVER, October 1973 Page 315 Mike's van out. After taking him at his word and knowing the rain would not stop for several days, Mike and Keith went to Valles and Robert and I returned home. DATE: August 31, September 1, 2, 3, 1973 DESTINATION: B ustamonte Canyon PERSONNEL: Cathy Allison, Karen Clement, Glenn, Ruth and Paul Darilek REPORTED BY: Karen Clement With only minor delays, the trip got on its way about 7:30 Friday night. Having no problems, we arrived at the border, and while awaiting our turn to be cleared through, saw several other San Antonio cavers, along with many cavers from other Texas cities. It looked like old home week or a state convention. As everyone had their papers in order, we had no difficulty and were soon on our way to the campsite at Ojo de Agua. Being one of the first carloads to arrive, we picked a campsite (which turned out to be almost mosquito free), and promptly went to sleep. At 8 AM I awoke to find the campsite packed with cavers, most of whom were up and ready to go caving. Glenn, being full of vim and vigor, started up to El Precipicio ahead of Cathy and I. By 9:00 we too were on our way up the mountain. I had a pretty good idea of how the trail went, up along the ridge, then across the crest, and down the talus slope to the cave entrance. Cathy and I had no trouble and were enjoying ourselves as the sun had not yet come over the mountain. Then we reached the ten foot chimney. Four different ways we tried to go up that climb and could not make it. Cathy unwillingly suggested going back down to camp, but I hated the idea of giving up. So I climbed a boulder to get a look around, and saq a possible route to the rigbt. We had to go back down a short ways and skirted the area where there are big boulders, then had to climb back up the side of the ridge finally arriving back on the trail at the "sidewalk". The area we had had to cut through was almost solid cactus; the one time I slipped I landed on a prickly pear. I have numerous reminders, in the form of thorns, still with me. But, finally we made it over the crest and started sliding down the talus. Cathy decided I needed a surge of adrenaline, which she promplty gave me by almost falling off the cliff. After falling about ten or twelve feet she landed on her hip against a big boulder near the edge of the cliff. As I hurried to her, offering prayers of thanks that she had not gone over, all she could think of wa s her helmet. ''Where's my helmet? I lost my helmetl" We located her helmet in some cactus about six feet from where she'd landed, and, as no bones were broken, proceeded the rest of the way to the cave entrance. Finding no one in the entrance, although there was plenty of gear there, we rested a short while, then proceeded to explore the cave. After exploring a short distance we met Glenn and Robert Hemperly coming back out. Robert decided to continue on back to camp, but Glenn joined us and showed us through the tunnel-like upper passage. Though it meant not seeing the best part of the cave, we were much too exhausted to do the required ropework, so turned back as the cave dropped downward. After taking a few pictures


Page 316 The TEXAS October 1973 at the entrance. We ran into four Dallas cavers the trip d t)w n proceede d uneventfully until we reached the ten foot drop. Mere we looked for a easy way down (there was none). Then Glenn took the plunge af!d went down the crack in the rock, then helped Cathy down, and finally caught me o n his shoulders and lowe red me down. I wish he had been there on the way up, maybe I would not have all these cactus scars. As we didn't anticipate any more trouble, Glenn bounded on ahead to camp, while Cathy and I f ollowe d a bit slower. After we made it to the rock slide and I was almost beat, I .at down on the loose rock and slid to try to keep up with Cathy who was .o.;till full of energy. But darkness was coming upon us and the trail forked to the right and left. 11Which way?' asked Cathy. T o our suprise a deep masculine voic e said to go to the right. As we willingly did so, th,fi!re appeared Mike Walsh, Anne and Ed Jacoby coming to see if we needed help. They led the way back to camp, politely refraining from mentioning that I'd lost the rear of my britches as I slid down the slope. At camp, I beelLned for the river where I sat and gloried in the cool water for half an hour. The next day I was much too sore to go caving s o I sat and read and slept at the pavillion at Gruta del Palmito while nineteen other cavers made the hike up to see the Birthday passage. Cathy's report on this follows. Monday, I was feeling great, but everyone else was grossed out so after cleaning up camp, we left for the state3. We had no problems at the border and cheerfully waved good-bye to the group in Mike Walshs' van as they unloaded all their gear. The must have looked guilty. We arrived in San Antonio about 5:00 PM, hot, dusty, and glad to be home. C nntinuation of Bustamante's Gruta del Palmito by Cathy Allison The trip up to Bustamante was very interesting. Several members from different grottoes that were at the camp came along. The climb up to the cave was tiring but interesting. The view from the cave entrance was fantastic. We entered the cave around noon. The cave wasn't very impressive in some places because of the writing and trash that was in the cave. The Birthday pas sage, I thought, was the best place in the cave. The formations in the passage were quite interesting including the calcite sandcastle in one of the rooms. About the most aggravating thing about the trip to the cave was prqbably when we had just started out and the guard at the gate turned the lights out. .. ,. * I'll make you an offer you can't refuse-Resubscribe now to the Texas Caver before Phase V price increases are put into effect. You ce,.n be of obtaining the lowest subscription rates if you send $4. 00 for a full year's subscription to: James Jasek 1218 Melrose Waco, Texas 76710 Actually no price increase is anticipated, but you know how inflation has been these days.


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Contents: Letters to
the Editor --
Cave biology Texas Tech style / Bill Elliott --
TSA caver in Virginia / Mike Mitchell --
Mexico '73 / Mike Walsh --
Abominable Sinkhole / Scott Harden --
Abominable Sinkhole map --
Cartoon / Ken Griffin --
Hypothermia / Chuck Stuehm --
Cartoon / Ken Griffin --
Ballad of the flood at Cascade / Cathy Allison and Karen
Clement --
Close-up photography in caves, part II: close-up lenses /
Mike Feltz --
News & history --