the TexascaveR Volume 20, No.2 CONTENTS HANDLIGHTS-Bill Sherborne ..... 20 MADLA'S CAVEJames Jasek ..... 23 MAP-MADLA'S CAVE ... 24 POETRY -Dale Pate. .. 26 TRIP REPORTS ..................... 27 PHOTO CREDITS: Front cover: Photo by Jim McLane. No information about picture was available Inside front cover: Photo by James Jase k of Mimi Laurens in Gorman Cave. Contents Page photo: Sam Pole atop dry Post Oak Falls downstream from Lemmons Fishing Camp. Photo by James Jasek Inside back cover: Kelly King in the entrance room of Cottonwood Cave, New Mexico. Photo by James Jasek. All editorial communications. including subscriptions, should be addressed to the Editor James Jas ek 5315 Laurel Lake Waco, Texas 76710 phone (817) 776-1727 The Texa s Caver o penly invites contributors to submit articles reports news gossip, cartoons, diagrams, illustrations, and photographs All material must be labelled with the name and address of the sen der If material is to be returned after publication please include a self-addressed envelope with sufficient postage Subscriptions are $4.50 per year (U. S ) and $9 60 elsewhere (air mail to insure delivery) Persons subscribing after the first of the year will receive all back issues for that year. Single copies are available at 45' each postpaid (U. S ) or 80 eac h elsewhere (postpaid-air mail) The Texas Caver is a monthly publication of the Texas Speleological Association (TSA), an internal organization of the National Speleological Society (NSS) The TSA officers for 1975 are Chairman-Fred Pascal Vice Chairman-Wayne Russell, and Secretary/Treasurer-Barbra Vinson.
Hand lights When I began caving in Texas several years ago I carried an ordinary flashlight as a second light source. I soon became disillusioned with the general unreliability and hassle of these lights, and stopped carrying a second light altogether. Shortly thereafter I discovered disposable flashlights and have used one ever since (well, almost ever since). This article covers three disposable lights and one that should be but isn't. The disposable light offers many plus features for the caver. First and foremost is soldered connections which lowers internal electrical resistance, eliminates spring battery contacts, and eliminates contact corrosion problems. It is also possibly responsible for the amazingly long service life of these units. by Bill Sherborne The disposables usually have good switches -with the exception of those noted below, and since the entire light is replaced periodically switch and reflector problems rarely develop. Another nice feature is their compactness; most fit easily in your pack or pocket. Four of the disposable the Dispoz-a-lamp I, Mallory I, Mallory II, and Dispoz-a-lamp Mk IV, are evaluated below. Others are available and are probably adequate but I have not tried them. Dispoz-a-lamp -This light,which is made in France, is rectangular in shape with one corner cut off and a reflector inserted. It is almost all battery which probably explains its long life. I was first introduced to this light while caving with Jon Everage. Jon's headlamp had given up the ghost, so he pulled out his Dispoz-a-lamp, strapped it to his hard hat, and went on caving at his normal rate. It gave out a steady bright light for a long time so I decided to try one as an auxiliary light. I used it intermittently as a cave light for 3 or 4 months. Then on a trip to Mexico the water pump on my van went out. I put the light in my teeth and spent the next four hours changing the pump. After four hours of continuous use it was still putting out a respectable amount of light, so I put it back in my cave pack and continued to use it for another six months. I knew I had found the ultimate light so I purchased another, but when I tried 20
to replace that one a year later I could not find them. Advantages: l. Compact 2. Lightweight 3. Rugged & reliable 4. Long service life 5. Long shelf life 6. Can be strapped or taped to the side of a hard hat. Disadvantages: May not be widely available. Do not immerse this light (or any disposable). Although it can stand very damp environments or even_rain_ immersion will shorten the life appreciably. Seal it in a plastic bag for water caves. Mallory I -After searching in vain for a replacement Dispoz-alamp, I cast my eyes upon the Mallory. It was compact with a comparatively large reflector, used alkaline batteries, and was recommended by Colin Fletcher in The Complete Walker -all pluses. Obviously Colin has never been in a cave, but more on that later. The Mallory is a tapered rectangular shape with the reflector in one end and a semicircular roller switch on the top. It is not disposable and splits down the middle to replace the batteries. It's a good thing too, because that's how you rebend the contacts after you drop it or it has bounced around in your pack for a while. Fletcher m entioned a problem with the roller switch turning on in your pack and suggested putting a piece of tape over the switch if you didn't want dead batteries. What he didn't say was that sooner or later the switch would break at its extremely weak pivot point thereby solving all your problems since now you could throw it away and go out and buy a decent light. Unfortunately I could not find a decent light so I began caving in large groups and everybody assured me they carried a minimum of three light sources so I felt safe. Comments: This light has been replaced by the newe r Mallory II (see below) and is not widely 21 available, which is good. Mallory II -Although I did not stop caving-y did continue my quest for a suitable auxiliary light. Then I came across a redesigned version of the Mallory. It was even smaller, and featured an antropometrically curved case to fit your hand and an improved postive action rocker switch. And it was disposable! "Aha", I said, "people who put alkaline batteries in flashlights can't be all bad and obviously they have learned their lesson." Obviously they hadn't! On the next cave trip I took my kids and they had headlight trouble, so I let them use the new Mallory. Inevitably they dropped it and just as inevitably it went dim. A little shaking restored it to almost its former glory and we managed to finish the cave with it. When we got home I pried it open and discovered the same old spring contacts. I have since discovered that Mallory also makes a non-disposable version of this light which is identicalexcept it snaps together rather than being glued -which probably explains the lack of soldered contacts. The disposable sells for at a discount store, while the replacable battery version retails for $1.95. Advantages: l. Ultra-compact 2. Bright light 3. Relatively long service life if not dropped. fi . . 1 P. ; ,. :' I! "':... -... : I ' 1!_' -c.; ....... :;._ .... \, r e,tllr./ I __ -:..::--I I / L ---. Q -_ .:-.. /'r';. -;:;:;:-<:.;---....____ ,r' 'i'fi,-* I 1 1 1 I ,, , I
Disadvantages: Sensitive to and vibration. Try to avoid dropping or shocking this light. It will still operate but increased contact resistance will measurably decrease battery life. The non-disposable version may be worth the extra money so that you can open it up and manually rebend the contacts. Dispoz-a-lamp Mk IV -I wasn't thrilled by the Mallory II but I felt that it was better than nothing and I was tired of caving in large groups, so I went to buy another. When I went into the store there was the Dispoz-a-lamp Mk IV. Being inheritor to a famous name I immediately scarfed one up; it has given service comparable to the original ever since. The Mk IV is slightly more compact than the original and appears to have a slightly smaller battery and larger reflector. The reflector sits in an angled housing atop the battery and is properly positioned for throwing the light beam the proper distance ahead when walking. The switch is very positive and biased toward the off position so turning it on accidently is almost impossible -in fact the light will turn off at the switch if you drop it. All-inall the Mk IV has proven a fit inheritor of its name and with an American manufacturer it will hopefully continue to be available. Advantages: 1. Same as origional Dispoza-lamp. Disadvantages: May not be widely distributed, but you should be able to locate one if you look. If you can not locate one in a store, the manufacturer iB Gurrity Industries, Stamford, Conn. That just about covers it. Hopefully some of my experimentation with light sources will save you some time, hassle, and money. What about that third source of light? Well, my third source is the one that didn't work out and I left home. Two reliable light sources are better than three questionable or unmaintained ones in my opinion. CAVER STICK-ONS RED Each four inch sticker is printed in three bright colors on a self-adhesive material that has been plastic laminated for extra protection. 75 EACH ppd order from: STICK-ONS 5315 Lau ral Lake Waco, Texas 76710 2'2
Madia's Cave Just about every caver in Texas has heard about or has been to good ole Gorman Cave. There is another cave here in Texas that has the same camping, swimming, and picnicing features as this cave. A short distance north of San Antonio is a small town called Helotes and west of town on the Scenic Loop about 4 miles is the Madla's Ranch. A small fee is charged to enter the ranch, and directions to the cave can be secured from the office. My last trip to this cave was about ten years ago, and I have heard that the owner has passed away so I do not know if the ranch is still open to the public,but for cavers living in the area it would not be much trouble to drive out on a Sunday to investigate. The cave located on this section of the property (there is another cave on the far back section) is not as large as Gorman Cave, but has been visited by the locals aboutas heavily as Gorman. The entrance is located about mile up the hill near the cemetery and about ten feet from the top of the same hill. The cave entrance looks like a rock ledge. The opening is a short three foot drop then a side twist through a narrow crack. Once inside the cave, you are able to stand up. The first 50 feet of the cave is dry, but shortly after turns into common cave mud that covers every inch of the cave. The cave is really not very extensive, but several hours can be spent pocking around in all 23 by James Jasek the interesting passages that lead in several directions from the main rooms. We found a large amount of cave coral but not much of any other typical cave formations. The map shows the location of the formation areas. What was there was very small. While I was a student at St Marys University, we made several trips to this cave and surrounding caves in the early 60's and on December 16, 1962, I had my first experience at mapping a cave. I was very fortunate at having two excellent cave mappers break me into mapping every inch of a cave. They were Orion Knox and Al Brandt. We spent eight hours in this cave, using a steel tape and brunton (back sighting each station) for accuracy to complete the map ofthis cave. Orion drew up a very good looking cave map. If you happen to be in this area stop by the old Madla Ranch and check out this cave. It may be that it is still open, and will make a very good cave trip.
I sit alone, lost. The seconds turn into minutes, into hours, into days. I hear nothing, but silence. The deafening quiet. I strain to hear. I hear nothing. I see nothing but darkness. Total black darkness. I strain to see. I see nothing. Soon, I'll hear voices calling. Soon, I'll see the glows of carbide lamps. Soon, ..... The days have turned into months, into years, into centuries. I still strain to hear voices calling, looking for me. I still strain to see the familiar glows of carbide lamps. ANCIENT CM.IPFIRES Dale Pate November 13, 1974 The ancient campfires burst into flames. Shadows of dancing savages play on the flowstone walls in the back of the cave. Echoes yell, laugh and die from the past. Shrunken eyes glare at the intruders. The ancient spears diminish in the air and leave their carven points in the dust. We draw closer to the living past. Blood from the slaughter of sacrificed beasts stain the floors and our eyes. We pierce through the dark and witness the lives of the dead. Torches burn low as we follow this past into darkened centuries of living and into darkened centuries of death. GOLONDRINAS, I DEFY YOU Famed Golondrinas, I defy you. Dale Pate October 22, 1974 You are a cave, a cavern, a great sinkhole. Your existence captures my raging desires. In visions, I see your vastness, your solitude, your splendor and I long to peer over your edge and let my mind tumble down into your darkened void. I long to be locked in your grip of power as I am locked in your grip of fear. Your awaken the terrors of my subconscious and you arouse primorial feelings I know nothing of. I have never seen you, but I know you wait for you have defied my being and my soul and you present yourself to me as a challenge. Your echoing depths are a part of myself, a part I cannot rein or control and I must know what it is you hold. I must accept the challenge you offer. Dale Pate October l, 1974
LEONARD CAVE BURIAL CAVE October 4-6, 1974 Brian Clark, Bob Finger, Steve Fleming, K athy Meeks, Katie Monahan, Dale Pate, Bill Thomas Reported by: Dale Pate We camped at Lorna Alta Friday night and drove out to the caves Saturday morning. These were just recently discovered a nd we wanted to get them mapped. After several hours of searching we found Leonard Cave. It was large walking passage a nd turned out to be 431 feet long. Burial Cave was easier to find and was just one small room. Saturday night was spent at the Carta Valley triangle. LANGTRY LEAD CAVE EMERALD SINK LANGTRY QUARRY CAVE October 11-13, 1974 Mar cia Cassey, Steve Fleming, Keith Heuss, Robert Hernperly, Kathy Meeks, Dale Pate, Charlie Yates, Cindy ?, Pat ? Reported by: Dale Pate Friday night was spent at the Pecos highwater bridge. The next morning we were at Langtry Lead by 10:00. Several hours were spent here. We scared a raccoon on our way through the cave. From here we went over to Emerald Sink, and we went as far as the 142' pit. The next cave on our stop was Langtry Quarry Cave. All three caves were great for practicing chimneying. and many photos were taken. The night was spent at the Pecos bridge once more, and the next day our only stop was in Ingram to go dam sliding. PANTHER CAVE VARIOUS PICTOGRAPH SITES, LAKE AMISTAD November 22-24, 1974 Steve Fleming, Keith Heuss, Katie Monahan, Dale Pate, Charlie Yates Reported by: Dale Pate We towed Keith's boat down to Lake Amistad and put in at the highwater bridge over the Pecos River. From there we headed to the Rio Grande and went downstream. Quite a few pictograph sites were visited and photographed. The most interesting was Panther Cave. We headed back to the Pecos River and visited a few more sites there before it got dark. A cold norther blew in that night and prevented us from going out on the lake on Sunday. HIDDEN CAVE, N.M. COTTONWOOD CAVE, N.M. BLACK CAVE, N.M. CARLSBAD CAVERNS, N.M. CAVERNS OF SONORA, TX. l-lovember 27-December 1, 1974 Marcia Cassey, Bob Finger, Steve Fleming, John Graves, Keith Heuss, Katie Monahan, Dick Montgomery, Dale Pate Reported by: Dale Pate Thanksgiving holiday was spent exploring caves in Lincoln National Forest. Wednesday night we camped south of Pecos, Texas, and Thursday we obtained the keys to the caves in Carlsbad and headed into the mountains. We entered Hidden and spent 27
about 4 hours in it taking pictures. That night the temperature dropped well below 15 degrees. Friday was spent photographing Cottonwood Cave and Black Cave. Saturday we came down and talked to Jerry Trout and went in Carlsbad Caverns. On the way home Sunday we visited Caverns of Sonora. It was an excellent trip and quite a few photographs were taken considering that only six of us had cameras. TURKEY PEN CAVE November 2, 1974 Cathy Allison, John Graves, Wayne Russell Reported by: Wayne Russell We rendezvoused at Utopia, Tx., Sunday morning, had lunch in Leaky, Tx., and finally arrived at the ranch that afternoon. We had previously arranged for permission to explore and survey the cave which has been known for years but is seldom visited and still unsurveyed as far as I know. I had been told that the cave is difficult to locate and our experience verified this. No guide was available to lead us to the cave, but the owner pointed out a hill and said that the 3 entrances were "in that flat spot just below the knoll." Any cave with 3 entrances should not be too hard to find in a hill that size, I thought to myself. Man, was I wrong! Hours later we decided that the cave couldn't be on that hill and checked the next one. Still no luck. Finally we had to leave with only a snake that Cathy had caught to show for our efforts. We'll try again after deer season. CENTURY CAVERNS March 10, 1974 Chuck Stuehm, John Graves, Karen Clements, Wayne Russell, Strangers from Corpus Christi, Bob Oakley Reported by: Bob Oakley Chuck invited me to go to Century Caverns on a trip organized by Wayne Russell, stating that this would be a survey effort, not just another fun and 28 training trip. I could dig on that and Graves said it needed to be done. I elected to go. Chuck had muttered under his breath that we would survey the damper portions of the cave. He He He! I arrived promptly at the designated hour of 6 PM to find no other cavers. Typical, Chuck got there a little later and everyone else arrived in a herd; with lotsa aqua lungs and wet suits. Then I remembered Chuck mentioning damp caving. Boy, am I naive! We started in; with half the caving crap in South Texas -even a 4 man raft! We trooped quickly through the commercial part of the cave. Real nice. Real nice and dry. Abruptly we came to a stream. Everyone else started to blow up rafts, put on wet suits, adjust aqua lungs, take picture s fit flippers, strap on diving weights, spit into masks, etc I scratched myself and lit my carbide. Graves was elected head surveyor and me his head wet back. OK John where do we start? In There? I'll get my toes wet! Chuck giggled. Well I got my toes wet, and my gonads, and my nose, and my damned cigarettes! I vented my frustrations on Graves. John shot the Brunton and I set up the stations and drug the tape. This was like surveying a half full sewer pipe only the rock walls were coated with good ole slimy mud. No flat ledges or floor to set the Brunton on. Since the Brunton won't float or hold still in the water the survey drill was a little strange. I would swim-wade down the passage with tape in hand as far as possible, gather up a double hand full of mud, slap it on the wall about 6 inches
a bove the water line and stick a survey marker in it. John would shoot to the light I would also stick in the mud wall. The fun and curses came when John disc o vered my stations as we moved up stream. He sure bitched a lot. Have you ever seen the mexican veteran clinging to a wall with all 5 appendages trying to read a Brunton while cursing the guy at the othe r end of the tape? He reminded me of a cursing tree frog. Very amusing. Chuck was cute too. He was the recorder and sketcher. Chuck was trying to swim using all 5 appendages while holding one hand out of the water to keep the book dry. We surveyed to the point where aqua lungs were necessary, discovered a very cold Karen Clements lugging an aqua lung like a dead albatross. As the saying goes, we enjoyed all of that we could stand and exited. DEVIL'S SINKHOLE BLOWHOLE Date not given Dr. Bittenger, Paul Duncan, Hal Ham, Dave I.Jalker, Hank ? Carl Sherman, Glenda Dawson Reported by: Glenda Dawson Decided it was time to view the splendors of the underworld again, so a group of us set out for West Texas in Dr. Bittenger's van -literally riding off into the sunset. The first night we camped a t a pretty, little, green roadside park outside of Rocksprings. Upon arrival we met up with Paul Vass and wife, Fred and Dede Amador, the ex-mayor of Odem and family. First thing the next morning, we \vatched in amazement as the mayor and Fred r eplaced the right rear wheel bearing. Then we headed for Devil's Sinkhole. Upon arrival we quickly secured the ropes to the standard rope securing place. Then one b y one (in reality it was two by two seeing as we had two ropes) we dropped into the pit, I being last because I was in the process of sewing my vertical gear together. The pit consists of a 150 foot drop from an overhang onto a large breakdown mountain. From there, if one knows where to look, there is a hole that leads to a room with a moderate sized lake in it. We found the lake, but decided it was too cold to go swimming in. After seeing all there was to see, we rigged back on to the ropes and climbed out. We then went to Amistad Lake to wait for Craig Bittenger to show with his group from Austin, and to spend the night there. He didn't show and we didn't spend the night. Instead we went to the 'triangle' right out of Carta Valley for the night (what a lousy campground, but beggars can't be choosers). Next morning, after a canned breakfast, we went to what used to be Pat Blacks land to see three caves all in a close area. We found that the land doesn't belong to Pat Black, but secured permission to go on the land anyway. Most of the group took off to see Deep Cave. Wayne, Paul and I took off to see Blow Hole, which, in spite of the old map only in Pauls head, we had little trouble in locating. Sure enough, the entrance had a breeze in it, but it was 'inhaling'. The cave proceeded to suck us into it. The entrance is a 20 foot horizontal crawlway, in which one has to be very careful to not run upon a rattlesnake. The passage then takes off in the most unlikely looking direction. Soon you find yourself on your back with a rock wall against your nose as you scoot along with your heels. This puts you out in a little hole in a funny sitting position, there is no way to do the trick on your stomach, because the backbone just doesn't bend that way. This exercise is really the old entrance to a moderate sized room that has a drop-off at one end. This little jewel of a drop-off is known as the Hour Glass, because it is similar in shape to an hourglass, skinny at the middle. It involves a little free climbing and I elected to use a rope as a safety. For a beginner the Hour Glass is rather hairy, it is really hard to follow the climbing rule of 'nose over toes' when you look down and see a hole beyond which is too dark to tell what's there. The narrowest part of the Hour Glass is about 2 X 3 feet, and going down it isn't much of a problem. Below that we climbed down some more breakdown and stopped right before a small drop, just sat in the middle of the earth and talked for a while and then started out. In my earlier referral to the Hour Glass being not too bad coming down, it is miserable coming up, unless you are related to 29
insects who can walk on vertical walls, there are no footholds to be found in the center part, you do the climbing by gluing a foot and hand to each of the walls and thinking your way up. Once past that part, you can breeze out, we did and found to our amazement that the reason we breezed out was the cave was blowing us out. We went back to the camp and indulged in canned pineapple. Camped further up the road under some huge old oak trees. Watch with amusement as Hal strung his hammock 20 feet up in the tree and then climbed to bed. Arose early Sunday and had freshly picked nopalitos for breakfast. Headed for Corpus. A very successful trip. MUSQUIZ, MEXICO Date not given Jimmy Clements, Wayne Russell, Rick Bjorn, Mary Matejka, Chuck Stuehrn, Woody Brooks, Glenda Dawson Reporte d by Glenda Dawson In order to reach our quota of tures for the month of March, we set out for Musquiz Mexico, a little mining town about 70 miles in from Piedras Negras. So Friday afternoon, Jim Clements and I loaded up the van and started on an overland voyage to Eagle Pass. Arriving there wernet in emigration one of two groups of cavers we were supposed to meet, namely Chuck Stuehrn and Mary Marejka from San Antonio. We quickly got our paperwork taken care of so as to be ready to leave just as soon as the other vehicle showed. As you can guess, after about two hours of cussin' and dicussin' the truck with a few sleepy cavers finally arrived. Much relieved (we weren't really worried), we rushed them through their paperwork and were onto the highway south. Now Chuck gives directions, or rather encouragement (to keep you intereste d despite it all) something like Amador Cantu of Kingsville Grotto, the famous 'just around the next bend, only a little further, etc.' Finally we could no longer keep our eyes open and the caravan pulled off the road and crashed. Early, early in the morning, Chuck seemed to have gotten a jag with the horn of his car -he claims he was only trying to wake us up -he's worse to get up to in the morning than an alarm clock. 30 On our way again, we pulled into Rosita for hot chocolate and or coffee and pastries We then met at the local cemetery and headed for Musquiz. We whiz through Musquiz and onto a dirt road which becomes progressively narrower (which is rare for Mexico, where dirt roads are never ending). We soon find ourselves parked and wander around to see the couple of minor caves in the area. In the meantime, Wayne and Rick (they carne in the late vehicle) assemble their scuba gear in preparation to check out a cave from which a spring periodically comes out of. After watching Rick slowly turn blue in the water as he patiently waits for Wayne to get his act together, we bid them farwell for a short time. After about ten minutes they surfaced and reported that the cave is a water filled mine shaft. We now drove to the location of a pit that we had located on an earlier trip, but were unable to enter it due to lack of equipment. Upon finding it, we dropped a rope in and Jimmy goes down to check it out and to see if it is worth having the whole crew drop in. He reported back that it goes and that it appeared to be an old abandoned mine. He also reports that he met the resident mouse-catcher an 18 inch coral snake. We all drop in and one group follow Jimmy and a couple of us check out a small, flat, crawly type hole in hopes that it goes. It was a small, flat, crawly type hole, period We took off in hopes o f finding the others, which we did, and proceeded to climb and crawl around for the next five hours. Eventually we all left the cave-mine and enjoyed a canned supper before going to bed. Early Sunday we drove back to the first place we had been the day before, the place with the water filled mine shaf t and took a trail to a small, badly vandalized, one time very beautiful, still impressive cave. We crawled down some hole s (popcorn) and up a wall, look around a while longer, and left. Started back to the states, crossed customs in Eagle Pass and went back to the Sparkling City by the Sea. MOVING? Be sure to send The Texas Caver your new,as well as your old address to keep your copies of The Texas Caver delivered without interruption. THE TEXAS CAVER-5315 Laurel Lake-Waco, Texas 76710
The Texas Caver 5315 Laurel Lake Waco Texas 7671 0 Forwarding Postage Guaranteed Address Correction Requested I ck 'erup. BULK RATE U.S. Postage PAID Permit No.1423 Waco, Tx. 76710 The finest in lightweight camping gear: Backpacks, Boots, Tents, Down Clothing & Sleeping Bags, Racing Bikes, Ski Gear, Canoes Kayaks (sales & rental). Pack up. Equip111ent 638 Westbury Square / Houston, Texas 77035 / (713) 721-1530 591 Town & Country Village / Houston 77024 /461-3550
Contents: Handlights / Bill Sherborne --
Madla's Cave / James Jasek --
Map: Madla's Cave --
Poetry / Date Pate --