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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Regional Speleology ( local )
Technical Speleology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )
United States


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Contents: Crisis: Can TSA take it? / Editor -- Caver content / Gary Parson -- Fotogram: close up (v) / Mike Feltz -- Too far / Claude Penny -- Digest / Speleo T. Agnew -- Adventure / Anon -- Free lit / A. Richard Smith -- Trip reports -- News not-so news -- A cave / A. Richard Smith -- Teknikal report / Bill Sherborne -- Guano Bucket -- Cut it short / Glenn Darilek -- A caver: Speleo T. Agnew / Editor -- From the Chair / Glenn Darilek -- Authors -- Editorial.
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Vol. 19, no. 02 (1974)
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0040-4233 ( ISSN )

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tAgn the TexascaveR ew1 0 1ns starr February 1974 Volume 19, No 2


The TEXAS CAVER is a monthly publication of the Texas Speleological Association (TSA) an internal organization of the National Speleological Society (NSS) and is published by Ken A. Griffin in Houston, Texas. Subscriptions are $4.50 per year (U.S.) and $5.50 elsewhere. Persons subscribing after the first of the year will receive all back issues for that year. Single copies are available at 45e each, postpaid (U.S.) or 55e each elsewhere. The TEXAS CAVER openly invites contributors to submit: articles, reports news etc. (preferably typed); cartoons diagrams, illustrations (camera-ready); and photographs (5x7 or 8x1 0 black & white glossy prints) to the Editor Address all correspondence (other than subscription) to the Editor: Ken A. Griffin-701 N Post Oak Rd. / Suite 4 Houston Texas 77024 I Address all subscription orders to: JamesJasek-1218 Melrose / Waco Texas 76710 Advertising Sales Office : Griffin & Holt Advertising Graphics-701 N Post Oak Rd. Suite 4 / Houston Texas 77024 / (713) 688-7633 The Responsible Parties Editor: Ken A. Griffin Staff: Greater Houston Grotto Art Direction: Griffin & Holt Advertising Printing & Distribution: James Jasek Advisors: Publications Committee-TSA Assembly: Huaco Cavers Griffin & H olt Advertising Graphics (713) 688-7633 701 N Post Oak Road Suite 4. Houston, Texas 77024, HE TEXAS CAVER the Texascavea Volume 19, No. 2 Contents TSA o fficers for 1974 C hairman Glenn Darilek Vice Chairman Mike Walsh Secretary / Treasurer Barbra Vinson P. 0 Box 8415, UT Station, Austin 78705 Crisis : Can TSA take it? -Editor .... ...... ....... ......... ... 22 Caver Contest-Gary Parsons ................... ...... ....... 25 Fotogram: Close Up ( V ) -Mike Feltz ............. ......... 26 Too Far-Claude Penny ..... .................. . ... ... ........... 27 DigestSpeleo T Agnew .......... ....... ....... .......... ..... .. 28 Adventure-Anon ............................. . ...... ... ............. 29 Free Lit-A. Richard Smith ............. . .......... ............. 29 Trip Reports ......... . ........... ......... ......... ..... . .............. 30 N ews & not-so News ........ . ..... . ......... .... ...... ......... 32 A Cave-A. Richard Smith .................. .... ..... . . ... .... 33 Teknikal Report-Bill Sherborne ..... . ........ ....... ..... 34 Guano Bucket ....... ............. ......... .... .............. ... . ...... 35 Cut it short-Glenn Darilek ......... . . . .... .................. 37 A Caver/ Speleo T Agnew-Editor ........... ... ....... .... 37 From the Chair-Glenn Darilek .... ............... . ......... 38 Authors .......................... ................... .... . ...... ....... ... 39 Editorial .... ....... .... ...... ... .... .......... .... ...... ............... 40 Inside -f ront cover Jud y H embre in H idde n Cave N ew Me x i co Phot o by Bob Lloyd / Nikon F-55 mm M ic ro-Nikon / Pan-X. The inside-front c over, Jan issue is a Carl Kunath photo at Devil 's Sinkhole 21


CRISIS: Can TSA take it? The following l et t ers represent what is considered by the TEXAS CAVER staff as potentially th e singl e mos t exp lo sive eve nt in the histor y of TSA. In a n e ffort to b e fair and bipartisan, we present both v i ews not so the readers may pick s ide s and thus r ender th e TSA split into tw o opposite camps and th e r e by e nding the TSA as a common ground for Texas Cavers (an already w eak and loo se union desi g n ed to serve ALL cavers in the state) but to brin g fort h th e a r gume nts and cl ai m s of both th e parties so that readers may be aware and informed of th e s ituation a nd coming confronta tion whic h will s ur e l y be bombed o n th e BOG in San Marcos, Feb. 2. The TEXAS CAVER, i n th e tradition of a rree and respon s ibl e pre ss, se rv es t o print th e NEWS no matt e r h ow terrible o r trit e. 22 Dear Editor (and TSA), I hope 197 3 was a good year for TSA and will be one of those referred to when ca vers talk of the .good old days". Howev e r, rather than go into a long re cital of what neat things were done in my year as Chairman and what a wonderful, best-ever type of year it h as been, I am going to apologize for a great blunder on my part. I ran the January and Convention BOG meetings unde r a semi-formal an d r e lati vely l enient atmosph e r e, believing that this would be the most practi cal arrangem ent for such a group as the TSA. Indeed, it see med to work very well, with lots accomplished and little h ass les. However, it has recentl y been brought to my attention that my method of running the BOG meetings was taken a dvantag e of during the September BOG. I was co mpl ete ly duped. I want to apologize to the m embers of the TSA for b e ing so thoroughly unawar e of what was going on. I hope my ex planation below will convey to other ca vers my fe e lings of c hagrin an d anger. A l a m e duck is not noted for much more t han the usual heartrendin g far ewe lls at the end of his term, but I am determined to let other TSA members know wh:J.t in the flock is going on! Sifting through several different con versations with various concerned cavers, and recalling what I personally know to have happened, I hav e come up with the following information. While registering delegates for the BOG, I was told by Mike Walsh that TSA Conservation Ch airman, Sandi Luker, was not present and that she had given Jeri Jones the 1ight to b e her proxy. They had no letter of proxy, but assured me that Sandi had not had time to write one and that Jeri knew S andi's wishes according to voting. Since they were from the same GruLto, I assumed that they were telling me the truth and that all was on the up and up. This has been done in the past with no harm. So I ok'ed the proxy, blithly ignoring the TS A Constitution & By-Laws and Roberts Rules of Order. I have since been informed that Sandi did not give Jeri permission to be h er proxy. For this I am sincerely sorry. The BOG proceeded with various busin e s s matters being taken care of. The illegal proxy would hav e had little if any effect in these matters since they were all passed or rejected by heavy majorities. But the elections for the 197 4 TSA Officers was another story. The Vice Chairman and Chairman positions were extreme ly close rac es where a vote or two one way or another would have made the differ ence For Vice-Chairman, ( the TEXAS CAVER shows results in the BOG minutes) Mike Walsh had 16 votes to Craig Bittinger's 13 (one vote unaccounted for). For Chairman there was Glenn Darilek with 15 votes, Fred Paschal with 14, and 1 abstention. I recall Jeri voting for both Walsh and Darilek It is conceivable that if it were not for the illegal vote (and the one unaccounted for) that there would have been a tie for both offices. It also seems that there may have been an ill e gal d elegate fo r the San Marcos Grotto. It is q uestionable in the minds of many c ave r s I have talked to whether Mike Walsh's wife, Linda, serving as a San Marcos delegate, THE TEXAS CAVER


was a legal member of the Grotto or not. If not, then she also would have been an illegal delegate. This is a question I would like answered. I was also amazed to find out that the San Marcos Grotto was not aware that Mike Walsh intended to run for Vice-Chairman. Both Walsh and Darilek, along with loyal supporters, had been electioneering since just before the Labor Day "project" in Mexico, and it was common knowledge among all the cavers I knew (except for the San Marcos Grotto evidently) that they were running for office. I can't help but feel that this may have been purposely hidden from them to allow or arrange for the appointment of delegates sympathetic to Walsh. I know that many of the Grotto members, if appointed as a delegate, would not have voted for Walsh, a fact that, no doubt, he was also aware of. In view of all this, I can only conclude that Mike Walsh was so determined to win the election that he was not above using question able and even illegal political tactics to do so. I have no evidence that Darilek was involved. Being eager to run for TSA office is certainly laudable, but I personally find such highhanded tactics quite angering. I cannot condone this type of political activity, and will do my best to bring it to a halt. In my ten years as a TSA member, I cannot recall anything that rubs me as raw as this! Ronald G. Fieseler NSS 7669F TSA Chairman, 1973 Ronnie's letter was given to me just in time to publi s h it in the January issu e However, the staff and I d eci d ed th e severity and significance of the charg es would only damage TSA and ruin Mr. Walsh no matte r what the l a ter outcome. In all fairness to those involv e d and to th e readers, I inform e d Mike of the basic charges made against him and aske d that he r espond immediately, addressing hims e lf only to the charges. Here is his letter. Dear Editor, On December 24, I received a letter from you informing me that you had received a letter from Ronnie Fiesler concerning myself and the TSA elections. According to your letter, Ronnie made three charges against me concerning my actions during the elections. I shall list and answer the charges later in the letter. Needless to say this was a great shock to me. Why Ronnie did not even bother to talk to me concer'frHE TEXAS CAVER ning the "truths" and half -truths I can only speculate. Let us assume only that he was so convinced that he did not need to check out any of the facts. Since he was in Mexico when I learned of his charges, I had no chance to present my side other than in this letter. Ken, I greatly respect your fairness in this issue by informing me of the charges that I might respond before only Ronnie's opinions were published The first charge is that I "vouched that Sandi Luker gave Jeri Jones her proxy". Sandi and I had discussed her TSA conservation activities in detail, and I said I would see that her activities would be presented at the BOG meeting. I mistakenly assumed that I had her proxy. I do know that Ronnie never checked with Sandi because she told me that she had never discussed this matter with him. Obviously he relied on secondhand information as a basis for this accusation. The second charge is "your wife served as a voting delegate of San Marcos. Yet she was not even a member of that Grotto". Disregarding the fact that Linda has been actively involved in the SWTG since 1967, I had in my possession at the BOG meeting a written authorization to appoint whomever I felt would make good representatives for SWTG. This had been discussed at the SWTG meeting and was signed by Robert Hemperly, Chairman and Sandi Luker, Vice Chairman. Today, December 26, I called Sandi, and she will vouch for this. Had Ronnie checked into the facts, he would have known this, and had Ronnie bothered to read the TSA Constitution, he would have seen that under Article IV Section B Paragraph 1 "a group delegate is an authorized representative of a recognized caving group." Nowhere does it state that the group delegate must be a dues paid member of the group. Charge three is that I "used question able and illegal political tactics to get elected". In this the year of Watergate, this is a fantastic catchall charge signifying nothing. What are these charges? If there were any questionable and illegal tactics, the question might be passed to Ronnie. Why did he not check on the unauthorized representatives from Corpus Christi group who voted against Glenn and myself? According to Matt Farrar, Chairman then 23


of the Corpus Christi group, Glenda Dawson was not a member and Jim Clements had no authorization to vote, written or otherwise. l s this an effort to discredit me, or is it m erely a c a s e where the facts have not been investigated thoroughly? I am sure t h a t the entire TSA membership agrees with m e in hoping that this is mostly a case of lack of facts. I have been greatly hurt by these charge s and hope that they can be w orke d out s o I c a n work within the TSA. With this behind us, I hope that all invo lv e d can g e t togethe r to work for the g o o d of the TSA. Mik e Wal s h A N ANALYSIS b y K e n Griffin Bill S h r rh o rn e, & A. Rich a rd Smith As m a n y o f yo t pro b ably a lr eady kn o w a m atte r ver y s imil a r t o t h e o n e c ove r e d a b ove a r ose f ollowing the e l ectio n o f th e 1971 T S A office rs. T h e r e was mu c h t a lk of illegally seated d e l ega t es, fra udul e nt pr ox i es, imp e achm e nt n e w e l e cti o ns, a nd m o r e tha n o n e s u ggestio n t o tar a nd feath e r th e wh ole l o t ' C:wcrs b eing a b ove all a g r o up t o s upp o r t l aw a nd o rd e r co n s ult e d th e TS A con s tituti o n W ell, it was n o t mu c h h e lp o n thi s m a tt e r so a criti ca l it e m was r eso lved a t th e n e xt BOG m e eting : t o r ew rit e th e co n s tituti o n so tha t th e qu estio n o f d e l ega t es a nd pr ox i es wo uld n eve r b e in d o ubt a ga in. Therefo r e, th e e l ectio n s wer e n o t ch alle nged f r o m th e floor. As a result th e a uthor s o f thi s a rticl e a nd Bill Ru ssell w e r e n a m ed as a c o mmitt ee t o r e writ e th e co n s tituti o n a nd b y l a w s o f t h e T SA so th a t ind ee d s u c h a m atter wo uld n ot arise again. ( R e f e r t o th e TEX A S CAV E R V ol. XVI N o II N ov. 1971 pg 209-14: a n d Vol. X V III A u g 1 9 73 p g 240-44.) It n o w ap p ea r s th a t ce rtain onicc r s a nd candi da t e s h ave i g n o r ed the result, but m o r e o n th a t l a t er. Rig ht n ow k t"s l oo k at the c h a r ges whi c h h ave b ee n m a d e a nd exa min e th e m in lig ht of th e c o n s tituti o n a nd b y laws. W,;; otTe r only a co n s tituti o n a l ev alu ation. The fina l ev aluati o n a n d d ec i s i o n as t o wh a t i s r eso l ve d is up t o the m e mb e r s hip a nd the BOG. T h e first c h a r ge w e will co n side r is th e qu estio n o f Mik e Wals h \ w ife se r ving illegally a s a del ega t e fo r So uthw est Texas S t a t e Unive r s ity G r o tt o wh e n s h e was n o t eve n a m e mb e r of tha t gr o tt o A rti c l e IV, P ; tra g ra p h 4 of the b y l aws cove r s BOG d e l ega t es. Spec i fically Sectio n I s t ates A g r o up d e l egate i s a n auth orized r e pr ese nt at i ve o f a r e cognize d c a ving g r o up Eac h r ecogniz ed caving g r o u p s h all se l ec t a nd a uth orize its ow n de l ega t es. T h ese s impl e c rit e ria m ay see m so m e what l oose. but in w ritin g t h e con s tituti o n w e felt t ha t the TSA h a d n o rig ht to d e termin e wh o th e 2 d e l ega t es fr o m a n indi v idu a l grotto might b e b y s pecif y ing a rigid se t o f r equire m e nts We did howe v e r, protec t ag ains t imp os t o r s a nd po ss ibl e u surpe r s in S e cti o n 4 of th e sa m e p a ragr aph: "The right of a p e r so n to se rv e a s a gr o up d e l e g a t e or as a d e l ega t e a t-lar ge m ay b e ch alle ng e d b y a m embe r of hi s g r oup o r by a n inde p e nd e nt m e mb e r r es pectiv e l y from th e floor a t th e be ginning of t h a t BOG m ee ting. The rig h t of th e c h alle n ge d d e l ega t e t o vot e mu s t b e decid e d imm ed i a t e l y b y a m a j ority vo te o f th e Exe cutiv e Council. Offi ci al del ega t es s h all b e all d e legates a t a m ee ting wh ose right t o vot e i s no t r e vok e d ANALYSIS: Sinc e Linda W a l s h 's delegacy to the BOG wa s n o t c h alle n ge d s h e w a s seate d as a n offici a l delegate. A r e troactiv e ch alle ng e is not p ermitt e d unde r th e co n s tituti o n th e r e for e h e r vo t e was l e gal a nd mu s t s t a nd N o wh e r e d oes it s p e cify th a t a d e l ega t e mu s t b e a m embe r o f a g r o tto; thi s i s f o r the grott o a lon e t o decide The right o f challe ng e and th e d e t e rmin a tion o f t e chnicall y l eg al d e l e gate s prio r to v otin g is, o f c o ur se, esse nti a l to an y m eaningf ul vo tin g p rocess. A seco nd serio u s charge st a t es th a t S a ndi Luker as co n se r vatio n ch a irm a n did n o t give a ve rbal prox y to Jeri Jones as s tat e d at th e el e cti o n BOG m ee ting. Article IV, P a r ag r a ph B S e cti o n 5 of th e bylaws s t a t es : An y gro up d e l egat e may r e lease hi s a uth o r ity t o vo t e at a s p ecific BOG m ee tin g a nd r e d es i gnate th at a uth o rit y to an o th e r TSA member b y a written prox y appro ved in writing by a n o flicer ( o r equival e n t ) o th e r than him se l f o f his r ec ogni ze d c av ing group or b y a s impl e m a j o rit y o f th e r e co g niz e d caving gr o up. A n y r es tri ctio n s o n vo tin g mu s t b e containe d in th e w rit te n proxy. A proxy fo r a m ee ting may b e cha l l e n ge d from th e floor by a membe r of th e r e c o gni zed caving g r o up r eprese nt e d b y th e b eg innin g o f th a t BOG m ee tin g The rig ht o f proxy vo te must b e d e cid e d imm e di a t e l y b y a m a jorit y v o te of the Executiv e C oun cil. Offici a l prox i es s h all b e all th ose for a m ee tin g wh ose rig ht s a r c not r evoke d. ANALYSIS: Alth o ugh Articl e IV o f the c o n stituti o n v es t s th e office r s a nd p ermanent committee chairman (including the con se rvati o n ch airman) with votes, nowh e r e does it gra nt a p ro x y for th es e vot es. The ab o v e se cti o n on proxi es applie s sp e cifically to group d e l ega t es t o th e BOG. The r e a so n for this is s impl e th e Exec utiv e Council and p ermanent committ ee chairm a n a r e give n vo ting privil eges so that they m ay introduc e matte r s p e rtin ent t o the bu s in ess of th e TSA b efore the BOG, not so that th e y can form a p o w e r structure. T o pro p erly brin g s uch busine s s for wa rd th ey mu s t b e pre s e nt ; th e r e for e, th ey are not p e rmitt e d a pro x y Thus, S a ndi Luke r h a d n o right t o nam e J e r i J o n es o r a n yo n e e l se a s a pro xy, and a n y qu es tion o f s uch a n appo intm ent actuall y b e ing made, o r th e l ack o f a writt e n proxy are n o t p e rtin e nt. The r e is one ov e rriding con s iderati o n however; the THE TEXAS CAVER


proxy was not challenged and/ or revoked and thus became an official proxy under the constitution no matter how illegal it may have been until that time. A third and much broader charge was that Mike Walsh used questionable and possibly illegal political tactics to win the election. Unfortunately, or perhaps, fortunately, the constitution and bylaws do not specify legal and illegal campaign procedures. It must be recognized, however that people do, and will continue to seek office in the TSA. In so doing they will in evitably campaign and try to line up votes. This in itself is not an incorrect practice, but when people try to win by d e vious or covert means (still subject to personal interpretation) it leaves a bad taste in every ones mouth, no matter how legal it may be. In an attempt to eliminate such methods, the bylaws specify that the nominations for office be held one BOG meeting prior to the elections. This provides the candidates with adequate time to campaign and state their platform above board to all who will listen. It also gives the grottos an opportunity to examine the qualifications of all the candidates and instruct their delegates on their voting preferences. If this bylaw had been adhered to, there would probably be no question of illegal political tactics, but unfortunately, it has not been, so we must fall back on the rest of the constitution and hope for the best. If Article II, para. B is to be ignored, perhaps it should be amended. In reviewing all the charges it appears that they have little, if any, legal basis under the constitution, as we see it and under that document the elections should stand It must be realized that at best the constitution and byiaws are imperfect documents and are intended primarily as guidelines. Although an act may be allowable within the framework of the consti tution, it may also be inethical within its true intent. But the ethics of this issue are not within the written scope of the amoral constitution, it is for the BOG to decide ... and that is where the responsibility now rests. Mr. Fieseler is to be congratulated on his courage to speak out on a most sensitive and important issue as well as his admission of making an error in management. Mr. Walsh has faced up to these charges and has presented a rational response, admitting inattention to the constitution. We would, however, advise both that unconstitutional behavior, rather than politics and personalities, is the issue and the reason for this situation. It has not been our objective in this analysis to pass judgment on any person or group Likewise, we do not intend it as an indictment of those who chose not to follow the constitution and bylaws strictly for we feel that both parties did so in good faith and made some genuine progress in the process. What we have tried to demonstrate is that the constitution and bylaws can and should serve as the THE TEXAS CAVER basis for running the TSA. The faith is still necessaryin large measure; but the constitution serves as a legal means of mediating those differences of opinion which inevitably arise in a group as large as TSA. Hopefully, it does so before tempers flare and emotions, rather than reason, begin to rule. If you don't like something in the constitution-then change it! It is relatively easy easier than by-passing the matter only to regret it later. READ IT! It is not that complicated, and we think you'll discover that it won't extend the BOG meeting any longer than letting Bill Russell speak for his allotted three minutes. It is your document, just like the TSA is your organi zation. Only YOU can make it work. but seriously now ... it's time for CAVER CONTEST! Can you identify the now famous caver on the left? Can you identify both of these scaled-down persons? Can you identify yourself? If you can identify the prominent caver on the left, and if you are the first to send in the correct answer, you will win a six pack of brew! Should you be so lucky as to identify both these tiny cowboys, you will win a free case of brews! Should you not be able to identify any of the above and cannot even identify yourself, then stay tuned. The TEXAS CAVER will publish the names in a future issue. (Your name is probably on the address label on the back cover of this magazine.) Send your guesses to: Gary Parsons/3006 Card ova Dr./ Temple, TX 76501. e 25


Fotogram: CLOSE UP Part V: EXPOSURE DETERMINATION by Mike Feltz One problem which many cave photographers face in close-up photography is determination of the proper exposure. Since determining the exposure for close-ups differs from "normal" shots, many photographers simply bracket their exposures hoping that one will be acceptable This is unfortunate because the proper exposure is easily calculated once the basic formulas are learned. An understanding of the principles behind the formulas, while not completely necessary, will certainly make the formulas easier to learn and apply. Most photographers realize that the f-stop ring on their lens controls the aperture of their lens and hence, the exposure. What many do not realize is that the numbers stamped on the lens ring are nominal values for the aperture, and the effective aperture varies with lens extension. R efe rring to Figure 1, the effective aperture is expressed as: I ) A=v /D; where A=effective aperture v=image distance D=working diameter of the diaphragm Dis tant Subject Figure 1. Over the normal focusing range of the lens the imag e distance ( v) changes very little and is approximately e qual to the focal length of the lens (F). Thus under normal circumstances equation I may be simplified to 2.) A=F/ D It is the nominal value for the aperture in this relationship which is engraved on the f-stop ring of the lens, and hence the value we u se for n o rmal exposures. 26 In close-up photography, however, the lens must be ex tended a considerable distance beyond its normal range, and the nominal f-stop values are no longer valid for exposure determination since v is no longer equal to F. Referring to figure 2, we may establish a new relationship, where: 3.) v=d+Fg, where d=lens extension beyond infinity setting r Figure 2. We can now substitute this expression into the basic aperture equation (equation I) thus: 4.) A=d+F / D, wh e re A=the effective aperture at extension This r e lationship can be converted into a more useful form by utilizing one of the variations of the basic len s extension formula. The basic formula for determining magnification is: 5.) M=d/ F, where M=magnification d=lens extension F=focal length of lens Rearranging to the form d=MF and substituting in equation 4 yields: A'=MF+F/ D Factoring the F terms yields: 6.) A=F(M+l)/ D As mentioned above, however, A=F /D. Rearranging and substituting this into equation 6 we get: 7 ) A'=A(M+l) Thus w e may determine the effective aperture from only the magnification and the nominal aperture. For example, with a nominal aperture of f 16 and a magnification of 1 5 ( 1:2 reproduction ratio) the effective ap e rture will be: A'=A(M+1) = 16(0.5+1)=16(1.5)=/24 Now that th e e ffective aperture is known, it is a simple matter to determine the proper flash distance by dividing that value into the guide numbe r for your flash unit. This number is packaged with the film and flash bulb for flash bulb usag e and is included in the manufacturers instructions for strobes. THE TEXAS CAVER


In normal exposures, the flash is located close to the cam e ra and the aperture adjusted to provide correct exposure In close-up photography, however, it is usuall y easier to select an aperture for good depth-of-field, calculate the effective aperture, then adjust the flash-to-subject distance according to a re_ arranged guide number equation: D=G. N /A' Rarely will this distance coincide with the camera-to subject distance, so provisions should be made for remote flash. In summary the basic procedures for close-up photography are : 1. Determine the magnification(M=d/F) 2 Calculate the effective aperture (A'=(M+l) 3. Determine the flash-to-subject distance (D=G. N. / A') In actual practice, it is a good idea to calculate flash-to-subject distances for several key magnifications (based upon extension tube sizes) beforehand. This will avoid possible errors and harrassment from your non-photographer caving companions. Properly used, this procedure should r e sult in perfect exposures every time. MF TOO FAR! by Claude Penny It wouldn't be so bad if Texas wasn't so big! Agreed, starting off in St. Louis can give you a distorted view of things, what with 2-dozen caves within the city limits, and hundreds more in the nearby counties. But Austin is just as well situated. Airmans Cave is even a little closer to Austin than St. Louis' own "Hell" cave, Rice (Jefferson Co. M.V.G. has the key). It's also a good bit harder: Rice's water crawl is no challenge if you don't mind getting your nose wet. There remains, however, the problem of getting to Austin from Houston. Driving that distance in Missouri (from St. Louis at least) would take you past a thousand caves, 2 or 3 hundred of them good for 5 hours-plus. It would even include the farthest of St. Louis University Grotto common l-day trips, Powder Mill Creek Cave. THE TEXAS CAVER Powder Mill almost flamboyantly open to the public, still has it's inner secrets from all but the persistent. The 1 mile of cave before the first water crawl satisfies most people. They leave without coming anywhere near the formation room with it's forest of soda straws. Those who wish to see the helictite bushes still farther in, must brave the second water crawl the still unpushed river passage, and the blowing hole crawlway--300 feet long, averaging 15 jagged inches across. Naturally, there is much mapping still to be done there. Compared to that drive, SLUG's Crawford Co. project area is on the outskirts of St. Louis a scant sixty miles, each way to the area scheduled to be flooded by an Army Corps of Engineers dam. That impoundment will drown more than 70 caves of the 100 to 1000 foot class, and at least a dozen in the 1000 to 10,000 foot range SLUG hopes to find something, biological, or paleontological, that will stop the Corps. Or at least to be able to tell people where the water is going, when the lake refuses to fill. That's the area I come from. Caves so dense that uninformed people are actually throwing them away by the dozen. From there, I came to Houston, where climbing practice is from the bridge over a cemented downtown bayou, and desparate people explore the storm sewers Sure, there's lots to see in Texas! Mystery Cave just about blew my mind. Four hundred miles away ... and what about the gas shortage? It wouldn't be so bad if Texas wasn't so big! CP. 27


GJJigest Reprinted from : SPELEOLOGIST, Vol. 3 No. 18, 1969. Ed. R. Maxwell, R. Wood; London, England MEXICO REVISITED by Ian Drummond It was about May that we started to get fed-up. The snow disappears by the end of March in eastern Canada so there had been no skiing for quite a while and exams had kept us from making the long trip to the West Virginian caves. We started talking about caving; Mexico, Rio Iglesia, which we had visited last Ch. istmas, and the unbottomed cave of San Agustin. It had to be deep, 1,680 ft. and still going vertically down. An 800ft. deep rift? Water? Perhaps it is hard, but who believes everything Americans say? A plot was hatched and more beer supped. A letter to the Texans who had been in San Agustin last Christmas elicited a favorable response; they were keen to go back to San Agustin. A few more letters, a meeting in August at the N.S.S. convention in Missouri and The Plan was formed. (N.B. Missouri in August is very hot, a large daily intake of liquid refreshment is essential to your health.) Christmas '68. Some 17 people, Americans, Canadians, English and the odd Australian, all beginning to doubt the sanity of The Plan, had made it to Hauutl in Mexico. There was also 4,000 ft of rope (Americans do not like ladders), wet suits and electric lights (English do not like water if unprepared) and a couple of hundred lb. of cave food (everyone likes to eat). The Plan was underway. The cave was laddered to the base camp at 870 ft (there was much traffic in this section of the cave and to avoid delay and minimize the effects of wear ladders were used instead of ropes). All equipment and food was transported to the base camp (this turned out to be a mistake, the surface party nearly starved to death-more anon.) Then half the party returned to the surface to recoupe, they were to come in later, take extra equipment down to camp II and push on from there; assuming the party remaining in the cave had rigged down the cave and found a site for camp II. Highly theoretical. Meanwhile, back at camp I the rigging team swung into action. Yes-there was a rift, formed down a fault, displaced strata, drag lines, the lot. There was a stream as well, but fortunately only small pitches, although sitting around in solution pockets on the side )f the shaft was not too good. At least you could leap 28 16001 '2' 006' by Speleo T. Agnew .SOTANO SAI'-l AUGU'i>TIN 0 o.xa.c.o, M...,.,ic..o around on a rappel rope to avoid the worst of the water. We all believe everything Americans tell us. Down the big pitch and at last a ledge, large enough to walk on. The cave had gone horizontal for 20 ft. before disappearing into a 20ft. diameter shaft, which looked like a plughole and was reputed to be 250ft. deep. The Plan, so brilliantly conceived, was looking shaky. However a man was selected and dispatched. All -:ontinued on page 38 THE TEXAS CAVER


WAITING FOR DEATH This is certainly not the way I had envisioned my exit from earth. And it's definitely not what I would choose But then you can t pick your time unless suicide is the way. I just hate going out in suc h a tormenting manner, with the realization that I will soon die from suffocation and having hours to think about it. The optimism is gone now, and the ice-cold fact that I am not immortal keeps numbing my processes of thought, and the reality that the termination of my brief existence is now only hours away, slams a gainst my brain rendering me hopeless and helpless. There is no way out. There will be no rescue. The passage is solid breakdown. What caused the cave-in will never be known to me. I only know that my companion and friend is lying life less and crushed beneath the tons of limestone rubble His twisted legs seem unnatural, even s urrealistic, protruding from the bottom of that wall that has now separated me from the living. I can dig no more. My fingers are still bleeding from futile attempts to uncover him. My body a c hes from frantic strains to move the boulders that block my escape and my air All I can do is sit in darkness and wait. My light is worthless now. Even if the batteries had not run down there is nothing to see here, save for the broken legs of my friend. Nothing to see in this small dead-end room--this closet-sized tomb. Isn't it silly? I just wound my watch! Time is up here. Surface values don't apply in this hole, and the correct time is certainly not a critical item anymore. The air is too thin to support my last candle--so how the hell would I even check the time? Slowly, I am purging myself of all the thoughts, habits and reflexes of the living. Slowly, I am becoming dead. Most people don't have the opportunity to prepare themselves for death. My companion didn 't, that's for sure! For him it was instan taneous. Perhaps I should envy him and pity myself having to patiently endure and await the e nd. But then if I'm to envy, I would envy someone alive, walking around or. the surface. Hell, I'd envy someone like a millionaire living in Aspen with seven women. But envy is idle folly and waste. I must ready myself. Here, in THE TEXAS CAVER c:Jldventure this cave of purgatory I must wait for death. Hours and hours, may be even a full day. That' s how long it's been since the ear-splitting crash when that rock veil was lowered over me. But death will come sooner. I welcome it and I pray for it. I pray for peace in death and I pray for those who loved and depended upon me. Give them the strength in living that I have found in dying. I pray to God or gods or even to death itself. In life I believed only in myself and nature. Forgive me if I was wrong, dear God or gods I meant you no harm or disrespect. My mind is clear--that in reality there is only life and death. So here I sit, totally alone in the blackest of dark, closing out my life ... waiting for death. FREE LIT! FREE TWDB LIT! A. RICHARD SMITH Want to know more about the geology, hydrology, and land-owners of Blanco and Val Verde Counties? If so, and you surely will if you' re a serious caver send a postcard to Texas Water Development Board, P. 0 Box 12386, Austin, TX 78711, for your free, FREE copies of Report 17 4 Ground-water Resources of Blanco County, Texas, and Report 172, Groundwater Resources of Val Verde County, Texas, both just issued. Blanco County is one of those intriguing central Texas counties which overlaps the boundary between the Edwards Plateau and the Llano Uplift, with caves in the Ellenberger, Cap Mountain, lower Glen Rose, and Edwards formations. You already know that Val Verde County has most of Texas' deep ones in the thick Edwards and Devils River limestones; there're lots more still unfound, and the geologic map in the report will b e a great help. When you write, also ask for the latest list of TWDB publications (practically all free) several of which will guide you to cave areas Out-of-print issues are usually available at university and college libraries. ARS 29


DATE: November 23, 1973 DESTINATION: Jacob's Well, Inner Space; Williamson County PERSONNEL: David Finfrock, David Foster, Pat Nix, Gary Parsons, Alicia and Jenise Wisener REPORTED BY: David Foster and Alicia Wisener As usual, the TCA trip got underway an hour later than planned. Upon arriving we found that the property had been leased to another party who just happened to be in Florida for the holidays. Since Inner Space (Laubach's) and Jim Brummett were only 12 miles down the road, we took off to ask him for suggestions. He told us that the deer hunters had reduced the possibilities to about nil, and offered us a tour of the cave. This was enthusias tically received since some of the group had not seen the caverns. After a fine tour we returned to Temple and rappelled from the fire tower for a couple of hours. DATE: November 24, 1973 DESTINATION: McCarty's Cave PERSONNEL: David Finfrock, David Foster, Francis McCauley, Pat Nix, Gary Parsons, Frank Sadek, Alicia Wisener REPORTED BY: David Foster and Alicia Wisener We got off bright and early Saturday morning, foaming at the mouth to get into a nice, muddy, sloppy, dark cave and made the jaunt to San Marcos. Upon our arrival we were thrilled to see another car parked off the road near the cave entrance since it was bound to have held cavers. Frank went to see if he knew who it belonged to, only to come face to face with a man and woman arising from a prone position in the back seat. We snickeringly filled up our carbide lamps and did the cave. Without a doubt, the prettiest part of the cave is at the very back and can only be reached through a small hole in the wall of the room just beyond the register room. We exited the cave thoroughly begrimed and trashed out and went to the San Marcos Burger Chef which, surprisingly, served us. We returned to Temple for a badly needed bath. 30 DATE: November 3-4, 1973 DESTINATION: Gorman Cave PERSONNEL: Mike Mitchell, Floyd Vice, Sammy Bishop REPORTED BY: Mike Mitchell Since Floyd wanted to do a walking cave after a recent trip to Airman's we picked up Sammy and headed for Gorman. It obviously had rained some days before, because when we did the cave, water was up to our waist and the mud up to our knees. The air was not too bad and we were able to all the way back to the first siphon. I didn't even get a headache this time! Floyd enjoyed this cave, but was saddened by all the vandalism. DATE: November 3-4, 1973 DESTINATION: Airman's Cave, McCarty's Cave, Boyette's Cave PERSONNEL: 4 U T. cavers and 30 ASS members REPORTED BY: David Finfrock We gathered early Saturday morning for what would be the first caving trip for some 50% of our newly formed Aggie Speleological Society Then our chairman, Bob Bliss, arrived with the news that Gorman's, our objective, was closed for deer season, so we quickly changed plans and headed for Austin. There we met with four U.T. cavers who directed us to Airman's a really fun cave for beginners. We felt all the bellycrawl was wortl1 while when we heard of a unique speleo-sculpture in a room just past One-Legged-Man. We were delighted to find it still erer.t. Saturday night we camped at Lake Travis west of Austin and enjoyed four cases of Aggie fun and fellowship. Sunday morning we headed for San Marcos where we split into three groups--one to McCarty's, one to Boyette's, and one to repair that inevitable plight of the caver, the busted water pump. Here we received help above ond beyond the call of duty from fellow cavers. Naturally we were all broke, so Stan Moarba and Sandi Luker (two SWTG cavers whom we had met only an hour before) came to our rescue. Sandi wrote a check for the new wate r pump and Stan took time out from his studies to install it. For their generous aid, we immediately voted to make these two honorary ASS'es. Only a leaky radiator in one car and a lost ignition key from another now stood between us and College Station A lengthy search turned up the key, and five full canteens allowed us to limp back with overheating only twice along the way. We arrived at A&M around midnight, thoroughly exhausted but still thoroughly enthusiastic about our next trip. DATE: 8 December 1973 DESTINATION: Sugarloaf Mountain PERSONNEL: 20 members of the Aggie Speleological Society REPORTED BY: David Finfrock With most caves closed for deer season, we decided to take a training trip to practice vertical technique. Sugarloaf Mountain, a few miles west of Hearne, provided good practice in rock climbing and chimneying on its sandstone cliffs, but the longest rappell was only twenty feet. We practiced ascending with jumars, Gibbs, and prussik knots We decided that the cliffs were excellent training grounds for novices, and plan to return soon to clean up the countless beer cans. THE TEXAS CAVER


DATE: November 16-18, 1973 DESTINATION: Airman's Cave PERSONNEL: Mike Mitchell, Floyd Vice, Kirk Brew, Robert Meadows REPORTED BY: Mike Mitchell Well, back to agony alley. For some unknown reason, we keep coming back. We spent all day Saturday exploring, mapping, etc. We still didn't get to do nearly what we had planned on doing so in a weak and fatigued moment, we planned to come back soon and continue the work. A voice inside each of us cries out: "more cave! more cave I" I noticed on this trip that someone (cavers?) had drawn arrows and "out" along the main passageways. It looks like whoever did this didn't want any tourists to get lost. One good thing about the arrows; we found a passageway that we didn't know about. Thanks, whoever you are! DATE: December 8, 1973 DESTINATION: Precipicio Bustamante, N.L. PERSONNEL: David Brantley, Tom Addison, Dionicio Vasquez REPORTED BY: D. Brantley It all got underway when the alarm clock started ringing 2:15 Saturday morning. It sounded something like the world might be coming to an end. But what the hell! Let's go caving. We met at Tom's house and got loaded by three. I guess I should say "we got our equipment loaded Anyway, we got cranked up and shoved urr to Bustamante. We arrived at customs and cleared the place in 8 minutes (they give fast service to crazy pea pie). The little old man slapped a sticker on the window, one on the front just in the right spot to block our vision, and then stuck out his hand. Tom dropped in a quarter The nice little old man thanked him by saying whatever that is they say about your mother. It was yak, coffee, and taco s from customs to the cave. We could have enjoyed the sights, but Tom was d1 iving. He can't see so why should anyone else! We got as far as the truck could take u s by 6:00 o'clock. We had to wait until about seven for the sun to rise so we could get started up the mountain We hiked up the rock slide and got up on the ridge. The ridge is very easy to climb due to its step like features. About two thirds way up, the ridge has a cliff that appears to have no place to climb up. We used ropes at this point, but I suggest going to the right until it i s climbable to save time One main point 1 would like to express is stay on the rock as much as possible, because the brush will eat you up. Once on the ridge we stayed on it until we reached the top At the top of the ridge there is a good trail with only about a 15 degree incline. We followed the Precipice around until we came to the little slope going down and around to the face of the Precipice where the cave is located. The slope i s safe, but be careful, one slip, you create a manmade hole at the bottom of that Precipice. When you finally get into the cave you feel more secure. Tom wanted to check out the caves below Precipicio, so we put down a 245' rope, tied to a rock inside Precipicio. He took another 200 foot rope down, because of a report that it was over 300 feet, but he didn't need the extra rope. 1 didn't go down because I felt just a little chicken. Tom got some great shots with his camera in the lower caves. The best shot of all was the one THE TEXAS CAVER he missed of his face at the top of the rope when he dropped his hundred and fifty dollar camera about 400 feet straight down. The lower caves are not worth the trouble unless you like the rope work, according to Tom. We went back to the first drop with very little difficulty. There are a few ups and downs getting to the first drop, but nothing difficult. A 200 foot rope is sufficient for the drop. There is a large rock at the mouth of the drop to tie to It doesn't look safe, but still we have used it twice with no problems. There are a few ledges as you go down. One is large enough to rest on. You could unhook and adjust your equipment if necessary. We got to the bottom of the first drop, and faced the wall we had just descended on. We went to our right until we came to a large cavern that drops down about 50 ft. A rope about 150ft. is needed for this drop due to the tie off point. We descended on the left side (facing the room) because there is a lot of loose rock on the right, big enough to wipe you out if they should work loose. After our descend, we climbed a huge pile of brake down to a opening near the top Untill this point, the cave was beautiful, but the sight at the top was simply indescribable. It is one of natures finest works of art. The formations formed and designed by nature not one of them looking like the other. The architec ture features are unbelievable The ceilings are supported by huge columns s trong enough to hold up the world. Stalactites hang from the roof of the cavern up to 30ft. in length. We admired the beauty within the cavern and investigated every opening we could; large or small. It's a sight that nature created, but God only gave a few of us fools the ambition to see. I guess he gave others brains. Everything went like clock work on the way out. l headed up the rear, giving myself a little time to think while each idiot made his way up the rope. I came to the conclusion this had to be hell, separated from heaven only by a thin line (the rope). If you don't go along with my conclusion, just try getting down in the hole and let me pull out the rope. If that ain't hell, I'll kiss your ... We got up to the top finally, ate and got down to what could have been a good night's sleep, but the bad air in those sleeping bags was just too much. We got up the next morning around eight, had breakfast, and got started up so we could go down. On the way down, I knocked about a 200 lb. rock down onto my leg. I guess the muscle cushioned the fall because it didn't break any bones. It was sure comforting to know we had made the trip and didn't have to. This was the second trip to the cave for Tom and me. We had also made an earlier trip that failed. I didn t go into details on location, routes, and distances because this information is already available. All in all it was a "super good trip" as Jerry Lindsey would say. DATE: December 8, 1973 DESTINATION: Airman's Cave PERSONNEL: Mark Loeffler, Tom Byrd REPORTED BY: T. Byrd We entered the cave about 2 p.m. and proceeded to crawl thru the squeeze. I discovered that I'm either loosing weight or getting more experienced because it's becoming easier to get thru Mark found it challenging since it was his first trip to Airman's. 31


trips_-. We rested and held an uninspiring discussion on the anatom1cal symbolism of that passage. We then spent about 4 hours exploring the maze and walking passage. It looks like the gate may need replacing soon. Since I was there last in October, new signs of frustrated vandalism have appeared (most notably a liberal dose of orange day-glo paint). DATE: November 11,1973 DESTINATION: Canyon Dam PERSONNEL: Cathy Allison, Glenn, Ruth, and Paul Darilek, Stan Shaw, Clement REPORTED BY: Karen Clement Our object today was to get some vertical practice on the cliff next to the dam. Upon arrival, Ruth and Paul hiked to the base of the cliff, while the rest of the group walked along the cliff until we reached a good tie-off point. Glenn and Stan rigged the ropes (two, side by side) while I prepared to descend first. We had a good training session with a lot of energy expended by Glenn and Ruth in the efforts of teaching safety and skill in vertical techniques. The only injuries of the day were a scraped knee (mine) and a wounded foot caused by attacking cactus plants (also mine). The drop was approximately 70 feet. After we had worn ourselves out there, we retired to the Wurstfest where a good time was had by all. I '\ AAV A\-1 ?A.\R. oF IF YOU'i) UK To -n\\ 3/ ASS YeWcaf) The Aggie Speleological Society elected office officers for the '7 3'7 4 school year. They are: Chairman--Bob Bliss Vice Chairman--Jim Goodbar Secretary--Alicia Wisener Treasurer-Kathy Walker We've been holding vertical training session s on the towering twenty foot cliffs of Sugarloaf Mountain but have been suffering from a lack of nearby caves The ASS's have offered their services to Tom Warden and the ALTO Survey. A nine day trip to the Guadalupes is planned for the middle of January Alicia Wisener P .O. Box 8466 College Station 77844 TSS Nothing has happened. Terry Raines of SpeleoPress has succeeded in putting out two issue s o f the AMCS Newsletter while still holding the TSS Caves of San Saba County. I recommend that you d o not send any subscriptions to Volume IV at this time. sin c e the publishing program of the TSS may be terminated for lack of an available printer A. Richard Smith misc. Dear Glenn (Editor '73): I just received my December CAVER, and I want to congratulate Glenn and others for the pa st year. I want to say "Thanks" for bringing the CAVER to me on time, and having each and every issue filled with good articles, reports, etc. Ken will have a tough act to follow, but he can't do it alone We all need to send him any kind of cave related article. I, for one, plan on contin uing sending in trip reports, and anything else I can. And I'll even send it in typed up! Mike Mitchell send! THE TEXAS CAVER


BOEHME'S CAVE by A. Richard Smith Boehme's Cave is at the end of a shallow draw which channels abundant floodwater into the cave following heavy rains The entrance itself opens into a 5' high shelter-like room about 40' long. Off the east end a series of short drops (7', 3', 14' 14') leads to a washed-in mass of logs that appears to block the cave Removal of a few logs reveals a squeeze to a 5 drop into a small flat-floored room. Two holes drop 15' into a complex area of small holes and natural bridges. Additional drops of 7, 7, 6, and 13 feet lead finally into a pool of water; the walls in this area are scoured clean, exposing jagged white limestone. The pool of water lies about 80' below the entrance. The water passage leading east from the last drop begins as a 7' high passage with a few inches of fetid, manure-loaded water on the floor; the ceiling shortly lowers to a mere 1.5 ft. high. Downstream, the passage continues low and wide, shallow water covering the gravel floor, with occasional domes and low travertine dams. The ceiling rises to 5' about 350' downstream from the drop series and remains thus for 125 to a breakdown-floored crawl. Eighty feet farther, the main passage ends in a 15' pit into water. A passage in unstable breakdown from near this 15' pit leads to consecutive 30', 15', and 30' pits, the last never having been entered. Total depth of the cave is about 170', and total surveyed length is 675'. Long known by its owner August Boehme, the first recorded exploration of the cave was by St. Mary's THE TEXAS CAVER 'BOEHI'<\'.5 CAVE Me.c'll-c.. ., 100 f'T, aGave Speleological Society in the late 50's and then only to the bottom of the entrance drop series. James Reddell, David McKenzie, and John Porter surveyed the cave and made biological collections in 1964. Later trips by other cavers have not added additional discoveries. Abundant invertebrate fauna, especially aquatic forms such as isopods, are doubtlessly related to overflow of a stock tank near the entrance draw and the pressence of abundant organic material in the cave pools Additional collecting is needed Boehme's Cave is formed wholly in the Fort Terrett Formation, the lower part of the Edwards Group. The Fort Terrett is 250' thick, composed of thin to thick-bedded limestone and dolomite. The cave lies between major down-to-the-coast normal faults of the Balcones fault zones, and most of the water passage is guided by ENE-trending joints parallel to these faults. Boehme's Cave serves as a major drain for floodwater into the Balcones fault zone, with water apparently moving to springs in the Medina River valley three miles to the east. This cave and the area merit additional exploration ARS References : The Caves of Medina County James R. Reddell. Texas Speleological Survey, 1967, 3 (1): 10 13. Cave and Karst Regions of Texas, A. Richard Smith, NATURAL HISTORY OF TEXAS CAVES, 1971, t;rnest Lundelius and Bob Slaughter, eds. 33


t9k'n1-k81 re.porf: Bill Sherborne: Technical Editor More on the Floating Cam Well cavers, get out the rope and open the cave door--we're going to have another vertical session. Actually this month's column is a continuation of the floating cam system article pre sented last month in that it presents some comments, an analysis and some new twists on that system. Hopefully these comments will enable you to build an even better system and inform you of the inherent advantages and short comings of the floating cam. First of all, I guess I'd better confess that there is an error in Figure 3 of last month's article. (Yes folks, even the new, improved CAVER has 'em.) The connector plate should be 3/32 in. thick--not l/4 in., and the distance from the plate edge to the hole edge should be l/4 in --not 3/32 in. Now, for those improvements. The first was inspired by an article on a "Dual Floating Cam System" by Brian Smith in the limeslime, 1973 issue of SPELEOTYPE (No, I didn't make up that month.) Unfortunately space does not permit reprinting the article but if all that sewing last month seemed like too much of a hassle, you might look it up. The system described is simpler and uses more conventional rigging, although it also looks like it would be considerably more innefficient than that described last month. In my opi_nion Smith's major accomplishment is floating the lower, right foot cam. Floating this cam enables it to catch as soon as it is stopped, eliminating the characteristic "Gibbs kick", and allowing the climber to achieve a more natural and efficient rhythm. Adapting this feature to the regular floating cam system is quite easy First, sew a piece of l-inch tubular webbing to the back of the shoulder strap just above the buckle. This webbing should be positioned so that it passes over the left shoulder forming a yoke in the back. Now sew a loop in this new strap 6 to 8 inches below your shoulder. Next, make a second connector plate just like the first and sew a length of shock cord to it. Tie the foot cam on your right foot and put the plate on it. Clip a carabinerinto the loop below your left shoulder, thread the shock cord 34 through it, take a giant step with you right foo t and tighten the shock cord slightly. Now mar k the point where the shock cord crosses the carabiner, stitch a loop in the shock cord with the mark at the center, and that's it. When rigged it should look like Figure 1. Figure 1 An additional benefit of this system is that it permits greater flexibility in attaching the cam to the foot. The method illustrated last month may be used, but James Jasek suggests utilizing a continuous loop of 2 inch webbing through the eye of the cam in a manner which provides a safe and rapidly rigged sling. This method is illustrated in Figure 2. THE TEXAS CAVER


Figure 2. About the only possible disadvantage I can see with this s lin g is that it might tend to get a little snug and hence uncomfortable on a long climb. Still it is one of the quickest and safest methods I've seen, and floating the cam makes locating the cam extremely close to the boot unnecessary. In addition to floating the lower cam, Brian a lso came up with another good suggestion--using s mall diameter surgical tubing for elastic if you cannot find suitable shock cord. Do not sew surgical tubing! Double knots should suffice inst ea d. Needless to say, the knots and tubing s hould be inspected frequently lest you end up with painful hemorrhoids (from falling on your duff). A spare length of tubing wouldn't be a bad idea either, since it is much less durable and resistant to cuts than the shock cord. A second improvement was suggested by CAVER staff member James Jasek. Jim recom mends using an ankle hitch for the left-foot sling rather than a simple loop. Details of the ankle hitch were featured in the August 1973 issue of the CAVER, but Figure 3 shows the basics. If you can't figure it out from the illustration, refer to the more detailed original article and practice your bowline twenty more times. Jim recommends using this hitch as a foot loop with all systems, because of the additional s afety factor it provides. Simply stated, all other support points can fail, and you will still be helda lbeit upside down--on the rope. Continued on page 36 THE TEXAS CAVER Paul T Darilek, age 3, was voted in as a member of the Alamo Area Chapter His listed hobbies include puddle jumping, picking up litter tight lead ferreting, and coloring. He's been caving for years and is vertically qualified (25 ft. limit). Little Gem Cave has been bought by a real estate company who plan to fill it up with styrafoam and seal it up and put a suburb on top of it! Also, Blowhole Deep and Punkin property has been bought by a cong lomerate here in Houston. The property has been marked "No Trespassing." Carta Valley S.U C.K.S was reportedly not consulted in this matter This year your editor received Xmas cards from Charles Fromen, Alamo Area Chapter, and Bob Stucklen (Colo.) with cave-type photos as the theme. Very good idea. '' you i"' o.. o' -trov'o\ca. boy 1 -+\-\' Wt"OIII.j \AJO.'f ;""-o-. Wo..'f o..* o..V\. exc::e.s.s o Le seca. yo\"e.. N.SS C:o.t"d ,-t '." 35


the Floating Cam .. Figure 3. So much for hybrid ascending systems. I would now like to examine the floating cam system a little more closely. Specifically, I would like to discuss when it can be used to good advantage, and when it would be better to use another system For good as this system is, it does not provide all the answers. The floating cam system has several advan tages over many existing vertical ascending systems. Most of these advantages are a direct result .of adding the third Gibbs at the shoulder. Placing the cam at this point allows the bulk of the body to be suspended from the rope. Consequently, gravity, not muscle power, holds the caver next to the rope, resulting in much greater efficiency since a greater percentage of the caver's energy is directed to getting up the rope, not fighting it. In addition, the third Gibbs provides an additional safety factor, and the caver may rest in a natural sitting position without having his knees poke out his eardrums, or having to contend with a binding chest harness (Burn your bras fellas! ). Additional benefits are accrued by the floating-knee Gibbs. No longer will you have to choose between cutting off the circulation in your leg, or having the knee Gibbs creep slowly but surely toward your ankle, for now it will "set" automatically. The same applies to the foot 36 Gibbs if you float it. The "Gibbs shuffle" will become a thing of the past and you can use all that saved energy for whatever it is cavers do when they get out of caves. With all of these advantages, the floating cam should not be looked upon as a panacea, however, it does have drawbacks. Suppose you are climbing a free drop and then encounter an overhang. That shoulder Gibbs that has been such a help suddenly becomes a hindrance, for you must now push your entire body weight away from the rock from a very poor position belo w the overhang. You just don't get much lever age down there. Now suppose that you have neg o tiated the overhang, and the rope is now again st the wall. I guarantee that your nose (or ear) i s going to be very familiar with that rock by the time you get up. And what about negotiating the lip? Wherever that rope goes, so does your shoulder, so you make like a snake getting out. Of course you could remove the upper Gibbs, but it' s a hassle, you may lose parts and it's unsafe. Which brings us to another point-you cannot easily change configurations to m e et varying conditions as is frequently done with Jumars. For these reasons, I would recommend th e floating cam system if you do a lot of caves with long free ascents, and you have access to a set of Jumars through a friend or club for cave s that are otherwise. The system can be a great time and energy saver much of the time, but if it's all you have you 'II probably end up cursing it sooner or later, just as you would any system. Price wise it is attractive--especially when compared with a Jumar system of equivalent safety--but this should not be the sale justification for using it. I think the main point here is not to swear by the method, nor to swear at it, but to recognize that there is no one best system for all caves, and that all have their strong and weak points. Variety in caves certainly makes caving more interesting, so why shouldn't variety in equipment and techniques. Who knows, if we all experiment a little, maybe we'll find that "best way"--but I doubt it. We will find better ways though, and that makes it worthwhile. WDS THE TEXAS CAVER


Cut it short by Glenn Darilek LET'S NOT GET DOWN TO BUSINESS Recently I had the opportunity to go on a cave trip with a newly organized high school caving club. I recognized at least one person who had been doing a lot of caving even before this group was organized. When he was asked why he had not joined the lo ca l NSS grotto, h e said something to the effect, "I went to a couple of their meetings, but the meetings got bogged down in business and turned so unorganized that I lost interest in joining such a group.' This statement might be applied to m any groups. In general, the most active grottos have the mo st business to take care of. Unfortunately, at times a program or slide show has to be cut short because all the allotted time was used for business. Debate over motions that have been dis c ussed at length by an executive board so me times co nsume valuable meeting time. Valuable time ha s also been wasted trying to convince one or two holdouts when a simple majority vote is all that is required. W e hold meetings to advance the science of spe l eo logy, so we must not devote most of the time to the advancement of argument, rhetoric, and picayunish business. We must do all we can to insure that our meetings have a program that will be enjoyed by the members and other cavers who are already caving, but do not belong to an organized grotto. One way to do this is to take care of all business at regularly scheduled executive board meetings. Most organizations have constitutions or by-laws that provide for this. In most cases a vote of the membership is not necessary and the exec utive board is entitled to carry out all of the business of the grotto. I prescribe to the format of the TSA where business is resolved by a board of governors and the convention is reserved for a specific program of papers, talks, and slide shows. GD Betty Crocked was still stoned (from celebrating the New Year) at press time. Her column will a ppear next issue. Ed. THE TEXAS CAVER a Caver Speleo T. Agnew Meet Speleo T. Agnew--this month's feature Caver and newest member of the TEXAS CAVER staff. His handsome portrait graces the cover of this issue Speleo T. will be writing s pecial articles, figuring our taxes, helping other staffers, proofreading, and sweeping out the press room after each issue ha s been put to bed. Perhaps you've already heard about Speleo in the book cover ing hi s cavi ng activities. But for those of you tightwads who didn't buy the book, h e h as become a l egend in Te xas caving, and you certainly ca n be thankful he has offered hi s talents and services. His striking r esemb lance (in both name and features) to a certa in internationally known political figure was definite ly an advantage in geLLing into caves owned by local ranchers. Howeve r, since particular distasteful events, whereby hi s lookalike fell hard and fast from the hearts of conservatives (as well as from a very high political office), Speleo has b ee n kicked, cursed, shot at and suffered all kinds of mean and nasty things. He decided i t would be safer to cave with a typewriter, and so he has come to us. (Little does he suspect that caver-journalists get kicked, c ursed, shot at and suffer a ll kinds of mean and nasty things at the h ands and pens of readers ) Anywho, Speleo T. Agnew is a caver you should know and a writer you should appreciate. We welcome him to our staff. We need all the help we can get. 37


From the chair Glenn Darilek/ ChairmanTSA Committee chairpersons have been appointed to serve for 1974. I use the word serve because that is their intended function So volunteer your help to these people and let's really get something accomplished by our committees this year. The committees chairpersons and responsibilities are as follows: CONSERVATION -Sandi Luker, c/o 11929 Grapevine, San Antonio 78228. Sandi will keep TSA informed of legislation that affects cave conservation and preservation, and she will be responsible for all TSA conservation activities. PUBLICATIONS -Fred Paschal, Box 491, Bishop 78343 Fred will coordinate or be in contact with all cave oriented publications in regards to TSA. He will organize a publications room at the TSA convention and similar functions. He also will be in contact with publishers of caving material relating to New Mexico and Mexico. His committee will serve as advisors to the CAVER. SAFETY & RESCUE -Brother Marvin Sannemann, 1403 N St. Marys San Antonio 78215. Bro. Marvin will be in charge of rescue training sessions and will act as coordinator of res c ues whenever necessary He will serve as advisor for all safety and training programs when requested LIBRARIAN Ollene Bundrant, 107 Tomahawk Trail, San Antonio 78232 Ollene will continue to collect and lend publications on all aspects of caving. CAVE GATE -William Russell, 708 W 30th, Austin 78705 Bill will continue to head this committee and coordinate all cave gating activities in the state. His instructions are to formulate a policy where the best interests of cavers, landowners, conservation and safety are served. In addition, each chairperson will solicit and provide material for release in the TEXAS CAVER concerning their committee. Each will also make a report regarding same to the BOG at each meeting Let's all help out on the important tasks by offering our help and support. Glenn Darilek 38 Digest __ eventually followed to a huge ledge but still the cav e descended. A 60 ft drop followed and then-horizontal passage! The team rushed off leavi n g the last man to follow with 400 ft. of rope-just in case there was another drop. Suddenly the small stream passage opened into a large dry passage, ideal for camping, everyone was rushing around full of enthusiasm; obviously the streamway had to be pushed a little bit further. There followed some superb passage, steeply sloping streamway in polished multicoloured rock, a couple of short drops and a deep can a l section before finally, some gravel banks and a sump. The rigging party arrived back in camp I just a s the second team arrived from the surface. It was decided not to put in a second camp and so they set off just to survey the new section. All were suitably impressed by the trip from the surface to the bottom of the cave, 2,000 vertical feet in about 2 hours! The passage turned out to be quite extensive although not as deep as the streamway, the obvious leads were followed but there is probably a lot more cave down there. The survey team detackled the cave to the bottom of the 317 ft. pitch before retiring to ca mp I. The first team (who had been sleeping all this time! ) detackled the rest of the rift pulling out some 2,000 ft. of rope, tied end to end as one long strand! All hand s were mustered for the final lift to the surface. It was then that the rigging party (who had been underground for 5 days) discovered how precarious lif e was on the surface The natives were restless. Besid e s stealing anything they could lay their hands on, the y had played such tricks as c utting the rope while someone was climbing out of a 120ft. shaft (fortunatel y only a 6ft. fall to a ledge) and stoning the van when w e went to fetch water. Then suddenly things eased up and while they were not friendly as least they ceased to be actively hostile. Talking to some of the more friendly natives it seems that a few rabble-rousers ha d been at work. Certainly the attitude towards us varied very much from village to village, we even persuaded some of them to help us carry the equipment out of the doline. To anyone contemplating a trip to Mexico, it contains some fantastic karst areas and is almost unexplored There are areas with thousands of feet of relief where the maps show large closed depressions, but no caver has ever been The attitude of the local people is quite varied but usually much more friendl y than that described above THE TEXAS CAVER


..... u <1! ai "' ll") M 0 I'.... c E Vl ::J 0 I ,---<1! 1.... 0 ::J g >-. 1.... ::J Two good reasons to buy Vas, que! -' (X) M -.() ---u .. ..... c <1! E Q. s o w Vl Vl <1! c 1.... <1! ""0 THE TEXAS CAVER LfiuthotS A. RICHARD SMITH A legend in his own time Dick Smith has been an activist in Texas caving since 1955 when he taught himself caving and mapping from books. He is a 1964 graduate of The University of Texas with a B.S. in geology. He is currently working on his Ph.D. in geology while serving as official geologist for the TSS and working in Houston Dick has been a NSS member since 1956 and was elected a Fellow in 1967 He was a member of the U.T. Grotto (1959-65), Rice Speleological Society (1969-72) and is now a member of the Greater Houston Grotto. From 1966 to 1973 he served as editor of the TEXAS SPELEOLOGICAL SURVEY, a most appreciated and vital publication. A Richard is an executive with Occidental Chemical Co. in Houston. What little spare time he has, each issue he manages to come up with a cave description and map for the "a cave series in the CAVER. MIKE FELTZ Mike Feltz became interested in caves and caving through Dr. Preston Knodel at St. Mary's University in the fall of 1970. His first trip was the 1970 Labor Day Project at McKittrick Hill where he was introduced to caving proper in Endless and Cottonwood Caves. Since that time he has gone on to author a paper with Dr. Knodel entitled "The Human Side," and invent the Total Photo Computer in conjunction with James Jasek. This device has been featured in "Modern Photography" Magazine. We hear they're cheaper if you buy a whole place setting. CLAUDE PENNY I grew up in St. Louis, innocent, naive, sheltered and black. Then the fellow at St. Louis University orientation mentioned that the college had a "grotto". I was hooked. Four years with SLUG took rrte over most of southern Missouri and even Stone County, Arkansas. I joined NSS (No. 11646) in time for the Lovell, Wyo. convention. Later, I was tricked into serving a year each as Treasurer and then Vice Chairman of SLUG. Now I'm in Houston working for Western Geophysical and am a member of the Greater Houston Grotto. 39


40 all GEditotia l I am constantly amazed at the degree of power-play politics openly and covertly displayed within caving organizations. The discovery of this came as quite a disappointment for me way back when I first attended a BOG meeting. It became apparent that cavers are after all (and in spite of public opinion), human. Any person aware of socio-political sciences or even the nature of man, is cognizant of the fact that if you have more than one person in a common place you are going to have a political system Such is certainly the case in caving groups Such is the fact in TSA. The academic types of political systems vary from anarchy to democracy to absolute monarchy. The TSA has a constitution, an elected body of representat i ves and an executive council of officers elected by the representatives From this workable system leaders are selected But then the question arises-why would any sensible person want to lead? For what? Who would want to be a big-shot honcho in a cav i ng group? There are certainly no financial gains or rewards available I suppose the answer is ego and the intox i cation o f power. This is human nature Of course there are those of us who want to lead because we have something to contribute and we believe our programs goals and methods are the best for everyone This, however is the noble justification of the ego trip. It is necessary expected and encouraged Those of us who are honest giving and even ambitious are the force for accomplishment and continuance In our society of cavers leaders will emerge. The BOG must elect them according to mandates from the body they represent. The membership must select them on the bas i s of merit ability and potential. The psychology of power and the potential political chaos of this unrestricted urge has become reason for c i vilized man to seek union through order. This is why we have constitutions, checks and balances and elections Those who ignore neglect or purposely circumvent the democratic rules and safeguards must be recognized and held accountable. The TSA constitution, written to be followed to the letter, was approved by the electorate (BOG) and thiJs made into law My advice is for all officers to respect uphold and strictly adhere to the constitution in each off i cial act of management and procedure. It is flexible enough for individual expression and interpretations The member ship and Board of Governors should do the same and see that officers and constituents conduct business under the definition and protection of the rules. My advice to aspiring leaders and future candidates i s to campaign honestly and vigorously. Make deals, form alliances and make your programs known. But make sure your activities and methods are not in violation of the constitution. Said revered document is there as a guide giving us governing parameters so that we may all enjoy and understand our common ground as a caving organization Hopefully if we abide by the law, the only d i rt we get on ourselves will be from caving TSA is a loose association designed and perpetuated by fellowship participat i on and sharing. It is social and political. It is us and we are human But that's my opinion. THE TEXAS CAVER


h by Mik e Wooley. v1arket summer photo, S 1969; London.


To: BULK RATE U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. l423 Waco, Tx. 7 6710 The TEXAS CAVER 1218 Melrose/Waco, Texas 76710 FORWARDING POSTA( GUA R ANTti ------------------------------.... Keep your bunnies warm Keep warm with great looking ski and mountain clothing from Wilderness Equipment. Wilderness Equipment 638 Westbury Square/ 591 Town & Country Village/ Houston

Contents: Crisis: Can
TSA take it? / Editor --
Caver content / Gary Parson --
Fotogram: close up (v) / Mike Feltz --
Too far / Claude Penny --
Digest / Speleo T. Agnew --
Adventure / Anon --
Free lit / A. Richard Smith --
Trip reports --
News & not-so news --
A cave / A. Richard Smith --
Teknikal report / Bill Sherborne --
Guano Bucket --
Cut it short / Glenn Darilek --
A caver: Speleo T. Agnew / Editor --
From the Chair / Glenn Darilek --
Authors --


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