The Texas Caver

The Texas Caver

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The Texas Caver
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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: Letters to the Editor: more talk about the TSA. Praise for the '75 Editor -- Role of the region: results of a survey by the I/O Committee / Evelyn Bradshaw -- Cave of the Month: Diamond Cave--from the files of the TSS / Ronnie Fieseler -- Cavernicole corner: bug of the month! The Rhadine exposed / Bill Elliott -- The pancho peddler: have you seen this doubtful messenger from the east? / ? -- Grotto news: club news from around the state -- Photo tricks: trial by error-how to test your flashbulbs / Crawl E. Goonarse -- Garbage: little known facts and bits of fiction -- Editorial: seething philosophical exercise of the editor's prerogative -- Trip reports: the last in a series of questionable events.
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Vol. 21, no. 01 (1976)
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Januar y 1 976 NOTICE: This publication may contain matter which could be considered immoral by overly sensitive persons. If you are likely to be offended by life as it r eally is, please do not turn this page. Nothing in this magazine will be found offensive to children who have not yet formed their p rejudices.


The TEXaS caUER Volume 21, Number 1 January 1976 COVER PHOTO Jill Ediger in Wilson' Cave. Photo by the editor. In this iss ue .... LETTERS TO THE EDITOR More talk about the TSA. Praise for the 175 Editor ..... ROLE OF THE REGION Results of a survey by the I/O Committee EVELYN BRADSHAW CAVE OF THE MONTH Diamond Cave--From the files of the ISS .. RONNIE FIESELER CAVER NICOLE GaRNER Bug of the Month! The Rhadine exposed .. BILL ELLIOTT THE PANCHO PEDDLER Hav e you seen this doubtful messenger from the east? .. ? GROTTO NEWS Club n e w s from around the state .... . 10 PHOTO TRICKS Trial by error--How to test your flashbulbs .. eRA WL E. GOONARSE 11 GARBAGE Little known facts and bits of fiction .... I Z EDITORIAL Seething philosophical exercise of the editor' s prerogative . 14 TRIP REPORTS The last in a series of questionable events .. staff EDITOR: SUBSCRIPTIONS: COLLATION: Gill Ediger Rt 2 Box 98 Falls City, TX 78113 James Jasek 5315 Laurel Lake Waco, TX 76710 Alamo Ar.ea Chapter tsa officers CHAIRMAN: Wayne Russell PO Box 848 Rockport, TX 78382 VICE-CHAIRMAN: Jimmy Clements Box 7438 SECRETARY: Corpus Christi, TX 78415 Ruth Darilek 11929 Grapevine San Antonio, TX 78288 IlIUIIia TSA .'v1EM3ER ORGA:-\l 1:\ Tl 0';" ALAMO \REI\ Greg P aSSI11U;'c 2 Q 7 W ',yside San Antonio, TX 78213 AGGIE SOCIE! Y B () ) B lis 5 -:\ 'i S PO Box 1 31-1 College S:ation, TX 771'0 ttl BALCONES GROT fO Sus

Dear Editor, I thoug h t that C arl KU:1a th s editoria l in Dl!cember s TEXAS CAVER w a s good and quite time l y I can't help but to agree with m ost e verything h e s aid. I've felt th e sa:ne t y p e of f eeling s for a long time so it was good to s e e these feeling s in print, especially b y someone from the pot and needle gen eration. I didn't realiz e th e impac t it would hav e until I walke d into a U T Grotto m eeting in Decembe r and someone came up a n d ask e d if I h a d read the l etter and procl aimed that a bunch of Austin cave rs h a d tagged m e as a catagory I p erson. 11m not sure that Kunath woul d agre e to this or not, but say one thing, 11m not going to sit around and preach safety; I m going to try and DO something about it. E specially when there are many cavers in Texas that seen to be s atisfie d with the low standards of safety that seem to be appa r ent in some grottos. It's important that muc h effort should be expended t o prevent the t ype of accidents and nea r accidents that have happened in Texas (and San Antonio) in 1975. But it's going to take more than just me to push a little harder all the time. W e are all intere sted in conserv ation, how about m aking 1976 the year for better conservation of cavers in T exas. The real reason for this l etter is to add a little t o Kunath' s ramblings. It i s one of m y opinions, of which 1 hav e m any, that the TSA i s the best instrunlcnt, if not the only one that can be construe d as a S ounding Board i n the state. Wh e r e else can one sound off, procl aim, bitch, gripe, make amendments, make mockery beat chest s ki c k a s s and in g enera l l e t off steam (not Stuehm) than a t a BOG meeting? The fac t that there is this outlet nlay be a n other reason tha t p eople or a rea' s of Texas don't go off on t h eir own and t end to stic k togeth e r somewhat in th e hope s tha t some t hing good can b e accon'plished for caving and cavers in Texas by the TSA. L a s t year discussion and dial o g was discouraged, if not suppressed, for the sake of short m eetings. 1 say this shoul d b e avoided i n the future. Let t here b e r anting and r aving a nd l e t those who wish to spea k out be abl e to have the opportunity Isn't it better to have a place to sound off a nd be listened to r athe r t han have too m a n y muttering in their beer cans f a r into the sJna H hours afte r ever y TSA meeting whic h could cau s e splinte r g roup s breaking off into who knows what. A n d i f th e r e are th o s e wh o do n o t like l o n g nleetings, l e t th e m run, not walk, t o th e nea r est bee r keg ( h c al'-hear ) while those w h o wis h can stay and t alk or lis t e n. Believe it o r not, there are new p e ople in cav i n g w h o con lC to TSA ; l l e etings in o rder t o l e a ) n m o r e .J.bout caving. Kunath has said i t like it i s and 1 hope som e of u s can put the TSA into its prope r p e r s pective and not t a k e i t s p olitics too serious l y i n th e futu r c L et's hav e J110,"e 111eeti n g s and get tog ethcrs to t a l k a n d pl a n cav i n g a nd t h e n l e t t hcl" c be n l orc cavi n g and less t

Editor, Three cheers to Jim Jasek for the great 1975 TEXAS CAVER. Beautiful-well done, Jim. James, Chuck Stuehm San Antonio Love d the last issue (Dec). K eep it up this year! Maybe I ca;;J'i;id new subscribers for the TC if the quality stays the same Dear James, Keep on Caviq.' Jonathan Justice Abilene I was very disappointed to read that you were giving up the editorship of the CAVER. I was going to send m y subscription in until I read of your decision. I feel that even with all the problems you nave had, you have done an excellent job. The CAVER can be improved, but it has already improved greatly in the past year. It has achieved a level of quality which a great many publications can not and do not enjoy. There are a great many suggestions to ITlake but apparently, upon your leaving, they are too late. At any rate, a 'posthumous' attempt will he m ade to air the se suggestions. The first is there seems to be an enormous l ack of knowledg e b y the cavers of this state as to what n eeds to be done; where to find this information; mapping and mapping skills and, finally, a lack of motivation to get off their posteriors to do something constructive. Perhaps a serie s in the CAVER to rectify this sitlliltion would be in order. Also, for purely s elfish reasons, I would like to see some t ype of 'Help Wanted' section added to help locate information, maps, people p laces and cave leads. I noticed Bill Elliott did something along these lines in the Decembe r CAVER. Thirdly I think with inflation increasing each year a rise in th e subscription pric e would be in order. As I said at the outset, I was very disappointed to r ead of your decision to g i v e up the editorship, therefore until such time as you change your mind or an equally competent editor is named I am withholding m y subscription and am asking a n yone who enjoys the CAVER in its present state to do likewise. I would hate to subscribe and then hav e the CAVER revert to some of the nonsense which h a s transpired in the past. Thanks for your time and the great job you have done. R espectfully Charle s M Y a t e s A u stin (Gee, Charlie you just whipped up on about e verything I was going to say in my editorial. Thanks for the l ead-in. Your tions are well taken and in fac t some have already been put into operation. As most T exas cave r s know the Texas Speleological Survey is the undisputed authority on and c entra l repository for all cave information in T exas (Bill Russell n o t withstanding). In an attempt to rejuvinate both the cavers of Texas and the TSS, the TEXAS CAVER will publish monthly the nam e l ocation, own er, a nd other pertinent d ata on severa l know n but unmappe d unstudied Texas caves. In addition, I will a lways s erio u sly cons ider articles d ealing with any phase of 'cave science' A s you mentione d Bill is now editing for the CAVER a monthly s eries on biology. A sirniliar serie s on m apping, or anything eLse would b e a great h e l p to me, t h e c avers of Texas, and th e usefulness and content o f the CAVER. I await the day w h e n my m ailbox over flows with suc h m atter. Cla s sified a d s by and f o r caver s a r e a l w ays welcome d They are free as a s e r vice to our read e r s Also, every effort is being mad e t o s tave off any inc reas e in the subscription r ate. The TC is going i n t o b u sine s s W e h o p e t o sell TEXAS CAVER a n d TSA T-s h irts with profits going t o the CAVER, to h e l p i n its ope r atio n K eep a n eye out for them. And a las, Charlie how c a n you e v e r compa r e this editors compe t ency with that of another without a grubby copy of this thing i n you r own hands ? Your subscription money, your contributions and your continue d c omments a r e anxious l y awaited. --ed. ) Role of the Region The Texa s Speleological Association Ls a Region of the NSS. O t her R erions include the Southwestern R egion { S WR}--which is New M exico and far West Texas, Arizona R egiona l A ssocia tion { A R A } Southeastern R egional Assoc i ation {SERA} -which includes most of the South, Vir ginia Region {VAR} Mid-Appalachia n Region {MAR}--which includes Pensylvania and West Virginia, and others. Leaders from various Internal Organizations {i. e Grottos & Regions} were questioned a s to the role of the R egions. Over 100 replies were recieved. Overwhelmingl y they stated that t hey did not believe that the sol e function of the R egion was to provide social functions. The function which apparently was most favored for regions was coordination of projects happening in the Region. T :'le results are shown below. The 1 st column lists the function, the 2nd is the % placing this function in the top 3 priorities, and the 3rd column is the % ignoring the function or giving it a low rating. Project Coordination 71. 2 11. 8 Hunting for caves 17. 8 38. 1 Sponsoring seminars 59.3 12. 0 Publishing c a v e surveys 12.7 54. 2 Gathering s for fellowship 50. 0 1 6.0 Regiona l Projects/trips 39.8 22.0 R e presenting cavers on conservation councils 50.8 15. 0 Talks at conservation heari n g s 43. 2 19.0 Exploring, mapping 21. 2 38. 9 They came out strongl y for the status quo when problems of o verla p ping interests arose. Often negotiotions among the cavers involved was sug gested as the appropriate course of a ction in such cases. {At this point, the I/O chairperson wants to interj ect an editorial. She h a s concluded that many such I/O problems can be traced to personaJity clashes, often where the individuals are all well motivated cavers able to get along with most people. Bitter speleopoliticking helps no one and hurts the NSS. If the individuals in question c a n contribute m o r e to caving in s eparate organizations, with others m aintaining good inter-organization r e lationships, is that the best w a y to go? It's too b a d that w e t ake up time with speleo-strug gles, that could better be spent constructively } The above is repr inted from the I/O NEWSLETTER in the interest of alleviati n g the pain of the 'identity crisis' now popular within the TSA.


TSS o 40 Ft 0 20 FT. I I I I PLAN SEC TIONS DIAMOND CAVE C O RYELL COUNTY, TEXAS SURVEY BY U T S S. 8-16-;;4 NOS ARE CELHl IIGHlS 5 Diamond Cave is one of the b est known cave s in Coryell County. It is located on a brus h c o vere d plateau i n the west part o f the county. Frequently visited by local s i t i s a nicc little cav e to visit if the rather small entrance can be found. Severa l small p its i n the floor seem to indicate either occ a sional searches for Indian artif a cts (a common past -time in the area) or that the cave may be r u m ored to contain treasure as many caves nearby are s upposedly the repository of buried loot. N o rumors have b e e n heard about specifically about this cave however. Cavers have visited the cave from time to time and on August 16, 1 96 4, it was mapped by James Reddell, Bill Russell, David McKenzie, and Tommy McGarrigl e A collection o f invertebrates was made at this time and included centipedes, collembola, mites, cave crickets, tenebrionid beetles, a p seudoscorpion, spiders, pillbugs, and some larvae. The entrance t o Diamond C ave i s a diamond-shaped h ole about 5' long and 4' wide dropping 14' to a crawl extending i.P. two directions. To the west i t ends a fter abOu t 10', but to the. east it extends for about 400' where columns split the passage int o tw o distinct c rawlways. T hese come together again after about 80' A fter an a dditional 80' the cave narrows from about 20' to 3 and continues a s a crevice-type c r awl for an additional 50' before ending. The floor of the c ave is covere d with silt, although in some p l aces a thin layer of guano is found. Ronnie Fieseler Texa s Speleological Survey


6 By William R. The hadine Beetles of Texas Caves -The genus Rhadine (pronounced ruh-DIE-nee) conl ains about sixty species, r anging from Canada to M(!xico. Most inhabit caves, cellars, Inammal burrows, and rock piles. About nineteen species occur in Texas caves; eleven of them are troglobites (exclusively cave-dwelling), and are found in caves in or nea r the Balcones Fault "Zone (see map). These beetles have been studied by several biologists, but most of the taxonomic work has been done by Dr. Thomas C. B arr, Jr. of the University o f Kentuc k y His most recent paper (1974) wraps up his work on the troglobitic forms of Texas. Mitchell and Reddell (1971) have discussed the troglophiles a s well. In this article we shall focus on the eleven troglobitic species, all of which are placed in the subterr anea species by Barr. The eight other Texas species are all troglophiles, that i s species which u s u all y i nhabit caves but which may b e found in similar h abitats elsewhere, and which l ack the extreme reduction o f eyes and pigment, and slenderness of body and lirnbs that troglobites often show. I n the case of Rhadine, the troglophiles mostly occur on the Ed ;;'ard s Plateau, the Llano Uplift, the Northwest Texas gypsum al'ca, around Alpine ( B rewster Co.), and the gypsum a r e a o f far Wes t Texas (Culberson Co.). Most are placed in different species groups than the troglobites Why are the troglobite Rhadine species found only along the B a lcones Fault Zone? This is one of the most interesting aspects to consider, e specially when we find simi lar p atterns occuring in other Texas ca v e animals I n most cases the greatest numbe r of troglobite species occurs along the Balcones Fault Z one. One might s a y that the caves in this part of Central Texas are, in general, wetter and have a higher orgalli c input than caves farther west; thus, these caves support a richer fauna and one would expect a higher numbe r of troglobitcs there But, this i s not the whole story. Geologic history has also h a d a great influence on the evolution of Texas troglobites. The caves of Centra l Texas are mostly in Creta ceou, S (125 million years ago) rocks of the Edwards and Glen Rose formations. The uplift of Central Texas occurred in the Miocene (IS million years ago), but exposure of all cave-forming limestones did not occur at this time. Along the Fault Zone, the faulting caused exposure of cave-forming rocks sooner than away from the lault. Away from the fault, exposure (and the formation of cave entrances) could not occur until the overlaying, non-cave-forming, late Cretaceous deposits were eroded. Even with this mechanism, Fault Zone caves were not available for colonization by terrestrial animals until maybe early Pleistocene. Caves away from the Fault Zone were not available until about mid-Pleistocene ( l, 000, 000 and 500,000 years ago, respectively). It aptlears, then, that caves were available for colonization along the Fault Zone first. Changes in climate probably were responsible for wiping out the surface-dwelling ancestors, leaving isolated cave populations to evolve their adaptations to cave life without the influx of 'surface' genetic traits. Troglobites have had, in general, more time to evolve along the Balcones F ault Zone. To further complicate the situation, there is simply m ore geological complexity along the Fault Zone, which has broken u p the cave populations from each other. Faults, i solated outcrops of cave-forming lin1estone, and intervening river drainages are more common there, 50 there has been little underground migration of troglobites for great distances. This has resulted in the evolution of closely related spe-, des and subspecies (races) in relatively small areas. For example, in Williamson and Travis counties there are six Rhadine species and subspecies. Rha 8ubterranea (see map) is limited to caves in


Edwards Limestone between the Colorado River at Austin and the S a n Gabriel River a t Georgetown. It has developed two subspecies because of faults. Rhadine austinica, in southern Travis Co., has not move d north, partly because the Colorado has cut be low the Edwards, partly because the r i ver doesn' t dry up. If it were a small stream that occasionally dried up, beetles could conceivably migrate across, if temper ature and humidity c onditions were just r i ght. Another exampl e is Rhadine speca s peca, whic h i s limited to Glen Rose caves while another subspecies, R. speca gentilis is found in Edwards caves New Braunfels. Likewise, iso l ated hills of Edwards Limestone near Helotes, north o f San Ant onio have allowed two distinc t subspecies of R infernalis to differentiate. Another interesting aspect of the subterranea group is the occasional occurence of two species in the same cave. This has occurred in Marnock, Headquarters, and Governme n t Canyon Bat caves, all in Bexar County (infernalis and exilis) ; Alzafar Cave, north of Boerne, Kendall County (koepkei and speca); and Tooth and Kretschmarr caves, Travi s County (persephone and subterranea--see photo). In each of these cases, one species (the f irst in parentheses) is 'robust' and the other 'slender'. Perhaps the robust species are more recent trog lobites and have habits tha t are just different enough to allow them to coexist with the s lender species without too much competition ( a biologist would say that they have little 'niche overl ap'). I n most of these cases, however, the robust species are more abundant. Within the subte:'ranea group, there is a general vague pattern of the mo st cave-adapted species (smallest eyes, most slender) being found closestto the Fault Zone, whil e the least cave-adapted ones are farther away. This does not a lways hold true Sever a l interesting stud ies have been done on the ecology, behavior, genetics, and physiology of Texas cave Rhadine. Dr. Robert W Mitchell, Texas Tech University, did his Ph. D. research on R subter in Beck' s Ranch Cave, Williamso-; County. H e actually had a lab set up there! He studied the beetle s feeding habits, distribution and dispersion (patterns of occurrence in the cave), and preferences and tolerance s to light, temperature, a nd humidity (Mitchell, 1971a, b c). This particular species is a highl y specialized predator on cave cricket eggs (other species are probably scavenger-predators). The beetles dig into the silt to uncover buried eggs that they smell. They a r e so automatically keyed on having to dig up the eggs that they do not respond to eggs placed on the surface! The beetles are found onl y in silt areas, where crickets lay their eggs, but their dispersion is random. However, this is caused by two counter -acting behavior s-attraction of males to females (they smell them out), and repulsion be tween beetles of the same sex. The beetles are slightly shy of light even though the eye rudiments are practically absent. They prefer high humidity, and they have a strong temperature prefe rence which changes with the seasons. I n the summer they prefer about 1 00 C but in the winter they prefer about 200C (cave temperature). Mitchell thinks that this shift serves to keep the beetles in the cave in the summer when they could not survive outside. In the winter, under the right conditions, they could conceivabl y migrate overland. Rhadine subterranea was also studied b y Avise and Selander (1972) to see if its genetic variability is as low as that of cave fishes from Mexico, which they a lso studied. It was found that the genetic var iability is quite high for the three genes they studied by electrophoresis (a biochemical technique). This finding is rather at odds with theories advanced b y some students of trog lobite evolution. Suzanne Wiley, former TSA Secretary and graduate student at Texas Tech, did her master's thesi s Rhadine beetles: the subterranea group l. R. spp. (eyed) 5b. 2a. R. tenebrosa tenebrosa 5c. 2b. R. tenebrosa mckenzei 6. 3a. R. koepkei koepkei 7. 3b. R. koepkei privata 8. 4a. R. speca speca 9. 4b. R. speca crinicollis 10. 4c. R. speca gentilis 11 a. 5a. R. infernalis infernalis 11 b. 1 2 KERR , , , KINNEY R infernalis ewersi R infernalis subsp. R. e xilis R insol ita R. austinica R. persephone R. russelli R. subterranea subterranea R. subterranea mi tchell i R. noctivaga MEDINA o 10 20 SALCONES ESCARPMENT 30 40 50M


8 on metabolic efficiency in four species of Rhadine. T w o were troglobites (tenebrosa and subterranea) and two were troglophile s (rubra and howdeni). The four s pecies form a series grading from a large-eyed, robust fo"rm to an extreme troglobite. She measured their oxygen consumption and their activity rates in the lab. She found that although all four species consume oxygen at about the same rate, the troglobites are much more efficient metabolically because they have higher and more continuous rates of movement. Rhadine subterranea is 4.4 times as active as R. howdeni, yet uses oxygen at the same rate! This would be an as set in seeking food in a relatively sterile environment like a cave. It is also interesting tha t only R. rubra retains any 24-hour rhythm. species seem to lack the internal biological clock found in so many animals. This seems reasonable, as there is no advantage in having daily activity cycles in the constant cave environment. Texas cavers can perform a valuable service to cave biology b y collecting Rhadine beetles wherever they see them. Specimens should be preserved in rubbing alcohol and a label enclosed in the container with the cave and county, date, and collectors' names written in pencil. Specimens should be mailed to J a m e s R. Reddell, Dept. of Biology, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409. These beetles are small (less tha n I em) and reddish (see photo). While some forms may be found only on crystalline silt, others may occur anywhere in the cave, such as on flowstone, clay, walls, under rocks, or on guano. J ames Reddell even collected t w o specimens from a rock in the middle of a stream in Boehm's Cave, Me-dina County! Much is yet to be learne d "Oll out caving. References Avise, J. C., and R. K. Selander. 1<)72. E," oilitilln ary gen etics of cave-dwelling f i s hes of the genus Astyanax. Evolution. 26(1); I-I') Barr, T. C., Jr. 1 974. Revision of Rhadine LeConte' (Coleoptera Carabidae) 1. The s llbt"l"l",lI,e:, Group. Amer. Mus. Novitates. 253<) : 13 D. Mitchell, R. W. 1 9 71 a Food and [eedin!.; habit,; uf the troglobitic carabid beetle Rhadin" subt.. r r anea Int. Jour. Speleol. 3: 249-270. --------------1 971b. Distribution and t1ispen;iull of the troglobitic carabid b e etle Rhadi' H.! Sll" terranea. I nt. Jour. Spe leol. 3: 271-2BH-.--------------1971c. Preference responses ;lnd tolerances of the troglobitic carabid bectlc Rhadine subterranea. I nt. Jour. Spclcol, 3: 289-304. Mitchell, R. W and J. R. Reddell. 1 971. Th" in\"l.!r tebrate fauna of Texas caves. Pp. 35-90. in E. L. Lundelius and B. H. Slaughte r (cds. ),Natural History of Texas Caves. Gulf Nat. Hist., Dallas. -------Wiley, S. 1973 A comparison of respiration ;tnd activity in four species of cavernicololls b",, tles (Carabidae, Rhadine). Unpuh. MS thesi,;, Texas Tec h University, Lubbock. In the near future we hope to have articles on Texas cave salamanders and amphipods. If there are oth e r IUl> ics you readers would like to see covered, drop a line to: William R. Elliott, Dept. of Biology, Texas Tec h University, Lubbock, TX 79409. WOULD YOU BUY A USED PANCHO FROM THIS MAN? This itinerant p ancho vender disappeared from his home in Pennsylvania some years ago. He has been variously seen around the country in the company of a n unusual assortment of dogs and an othe r wise sane lady. He has been lately seen in the presence of doubtful cavers and other hairy persons. It is reported by reputable sources that he has propagated recently and is holding up somewhere in Central Texas. His only vice is addiction to the powerful drug caffein which he takes in the form of Coca Cola. He is harmle s s in this state.


9 I Grotto News It is the intent of this editor to eliminate the TRIP REPOR TS section from future issues uf the TEXAS CAVER. Instead, they will be combined with Grotto News in some form or fashion presentable to the eye. Please, in the future, report your trips under the auspices of some club or grotto if at all possible, using the basi c format below. An Independent category will be instituted for unaffiliated cavers. GALVESTON The unlikely spot of G a l veston is the site of the most recently formed Texas grotto. For some tim," Tom Iliffe has been trying to generate local interest in caving. Last July he was finally abl e to get a small group together to luok at some s lides and become familiar with some of the standard caving gear. The group was enthusiastic. Because of the almost total lack of prior caving experience, Gorman Falls was chosen as the site of the first weekend trip. The area afforded an introduction to the use of vertical gear and also served as a shakedown for the testing of a wealth of newly acquired head and foot gear. the first trip in August, members have participated in the TSA Labor Day Project, made Gros ser's Sink in October, and spent 10 days in and around the Valles area of M exico over Thanksgiving {trip reports will be in shortly}, Spring and early summer trips are currently in the p lanning stages and the grotto is most interested in participating in the BOG meeting in San Antonio this January, The Gal ve ston Spe leo logical Society has some rather unique features associated with its membership {othe r than being geographically located some 200 miles from the nearest honest-to -god cave}, The membership draws heavily from the University o f Texas Medical Branch and almost every member has taken rabies immunization series. While the regular membership has stabilized at just over a dozen, the word appears to be getting out and new aces appear at every meeting. Members are busily arming themselves with all the gear necessary for t,h e serious caving planned by the grotto. Club address: Barbara R Strenth Box 5296 G a lveston, TX 77550 HOUSTON The GHG is meeting once a month on the third Tuesday at the Museum of Natural Science. GHG members have been concentrating on Mexican caving during the Fall w ith trips to the Rio Purification area and other parts of Northern Mexico. Club address: c/o Theresa Connolly 7143 Triola Houston, TX 77036 A&I Christmas vacation saw Jimmy Clements, Gandalf, Amador Cantu, Irene Gonzales, Dorthy Tucker, Mark Shumate, and Bill and Charlie Mayne deep within the parasite infested jungles of Yucatan. From the 20th of December to the 3rd of J anuary they pondered such things as Howler monkeys, ruins, commercial caves, cenotes, mushrooms, rock phalli, and more than a few honky tourists. Caves and areas visited included Grutas de Xl:acumbilxunan, Loltun, and B alanca n che, plusUxmal ruins, X tojil Cenote, and Chichin Itsa. Hal Harnm, Herman Smith, Jeff and Torn Wright were in the Bustamante area scouting for caves and pictographs from the 26-28th of December. January 17 8< 18, Dorthy Tucker, Jimmy Clem ents, Gandalf, and Chris Griffith were in the New Room in Bustamante taking pictures. Afterward they went to Carrizal for a swim. Great numbers of bats were seen there. Perhaps just passing through on their winter migration, Club address: Box 2213 Texas A8

10 PHOTO TRICKS BULl FLASHBULB TBSTIIIG By Crawl E. Goonarse Upon purchasing several boxes of expensive flashbulbs, the astute photographer will note that the bulbs are seperated from each other, generally by means of a cardboard device (Fig. 1). Flc;, 1 In this configuration it is impossible for a photographer to determine the reliability of ignition of these bulbs. Generally, this is accomplished by testing the bulbs individually in a flashgun. The busy photographer often cannot take this tedious route and must seek other methods to determine the reliability; represented by where: R=.!. N p=percent reliability I =ignition completed N=number of bulbs. The author has evolved a testing procedure which may' be readily implemented by anyone. Begin by .removing all the bulbs from the cardboard and dumping them randomly into a rp.d nylon stuff sack 2). Place this container into a green nylon daypack and toss into back of vehicle. Drive to some low humidity area. Rummage around in the vehicle making sure to jostle the pack in the process . If all these instructions have been diligently followed, you will be rewarded with a buildup of static electricity which will ignite any usable flashbulbs (Fig. 3). After completion of testing the photographer can easily sort through the bulbs,. discarding as unreliable those bulbs failing to ignite (Fig. 4). The photographer now has a large supply of tested bulbs with which to proceed in his photographic endeavors. NEXT MONTH: How to Shorten Strobe Cords


11 TSA CON'.' E !'IT I O N --The annual TSA Convention is coming--probably in April--at a t ime and p lace to be announced later. You can help make it a success b y preparin g a tal k or slide show to be presented AI!3o, the annual TSA P huto Salon is held at that time. I f you have slides or prints suitabl e for the Salon be sure to enter them. An entry form will b e available later. For more i nformation on the upcoming convention, contact J immy C lements, Box 7438, Corpus Christi, TX 78415. A l5.ttl.e known fact a mong some of the more recent converts to caving is tha t i n the Black H i l l s o f S outh D ?kota, north of Rapid City, is a shrine to St. B enedict, saint o f cavers. The P a isano Grotto and the University of Texas Grotto are in danger 01 being dropped by the N SS for not filing an annual report. Their Secretar ies should contact E v e l y n B radshaw, 1732 Byron St, Alexandria, VA 22.3G3. The 1967 & 1968 S PELEO D iGESTs are now available from the NSS Office for $ 6 .50 each, postpaid. Send check to NSS Office, Cave Afenue, Huntsville, AL 3581 0 The SD :s a compendium of the best articles culled fr.Jm Grotto and Region newsletters during that year. Spring NSS BOG meeting will be held Saturda y 2 8 February in D earborn, MI. Anyone interested in taking a week (5 days) to drive up and b ack s h ould contact F ieseler (512) 282-0613 or Ediger (512) 484-2103, poth NSS Directors representing you in the Spe leologica l Society. You will be able to view and parti in an NSS Board Meeting and help with gas expens e s and hav e a good chance of seeing some detestible and unbearably cold weather. O'.lghta be a f u n run t h o u g h 'Next time you're leaving a cav e and see s ome trash that someone else carried in--pick it up and pack it out. This minor bit of 'cav e maintenance' b y you could mean a prettier c a v e nex t visit. C "ving Safety is a good buy these days. You can afford to use plenty of it--and it costs you nothing--not even y our life! The TEXAS CAVER welcomes the following o l d and new cavers to t h e ranks of the NSS: John and Cecily Buckley (NSS 16810 & 1 6 8 1 1) of 10624 Candigann, E l Paso, TX 79935 James Clark (NSS 16794) of 3713 Stillmeadow, Bryan, TX 7 7801 Noma Hoehne (NSS 16838) of 10515 Emmord Lp, C orpus Christi TX 78410 Terry Jones (NSS '16820) of ) 6240 San Pedro, Box 257, San Antoni o TX 78232 Richard, Lowery (NSS 16808) on the Coast Guard Cutter 'Point Baker', Box 667, Port Aransas, TX 78373 Changes of address include: William E. Damewood (NSS11742) t o 3608 Shell, Midl and, TX 797 0 1 Lewis Paul Johnston (NSS 15988) to La Plaza Apts, #181, 8244 R e search Blvd, Austin, TX 78758 Peter Spro'use (NSS 14445) to Box 8424 U T Station Austin, TX 7 8712 We hope that by now the following persons John Brady--El Paso Richard Guerrant--Austin R icky Mashburn--Robert Lee h a v e rembered to pay their N SS dues. If you see 'um, remind 'um! Eddie R o w l and--Lubbock Noe l Ecke rt Sloan -Amarillo Fre d Starling--El Paso "As feral depredations took their toll a m ong the m 'ore loutish of the cave-dwelling Henny Youngmans, cultural evolutio;" took a mighty leap somewhere along t h e frozen shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Some genius (history no longer 'records his 'name or even his sex) realized that the inherent silliness ... of animals could be realized through visual representations. And so, on the walls of Lascaux, Altamira, and countless other caves, the first comics were born: Enter the comic strip!" --Martin Blubber, B. Sh. Magdalen College, from NATIONAL LAMPOON History of the Comics.


12 Is this the begin>ling? Or. ::he 4th day of January, the TEXAS CAVER did not have an editor. In tha past few weeks I have scrou'lged arourld and put together these few pages. I t is, I realize, very inadequate. I apologize without furthar ex:cuse, I must personally take credit for the poor quality--I hope to improve that in the future, As to quantity: I started with nothing and am grateful to Bill Elliott and R ')nnie Fie seler for contributing the bulk of this issue. The lack of a feature article, a Caver of the M :mth, many photographs, and other things can\v:-lly be remedied with your support. If, in six m untp.s, I have not earned that support, the TE)(AS CAV ER will be a thing of the past. It was with a graat deal of apprehension that I even considered consenting to edit this publication. Too many reasons against it presented themselves. I did not promise anybody anything. N0ne-the-less, I have g reatly enjoyed putting this issue together. It is the sort of work that is play to me. I cannot, how ever, justify putting out so little in the future. Much of this issue is filler, devised by me. I do not intend to supply more than a very few words (outside of the editorial department) for future issues. The bUl'den has been laid elsewhere--if not on you, then on those around you. Encourage them t o contribute. I will make only 2 promises. The first is that I will treat your contribution as a valuable extension of yourself--with as much respect for them as I have for you as a fellow caver. I will present it to the public in a professional, hopefully entertaining manner. I may at times editorialize on its contents, but only in the constructive interest of caving education and safety. The second promise is that if I do not get enough material to justify a press run, then the press will not run. So yes, this is the beginning. In your hands you hold the first bullet. The last bullet will be my decision to not turn that press on. I'm charging you with the responsibility to call the shots in between. Don't make me use that last bullet. Some comments on the contents of this issue are in order: I would be remiss to overlook Chuck Stuehm's comment on the "pot and needle" generation. Having promised above to be only constructive, I must point out that it is this sort of that leads and has led to much of the factioniilism that has prevented the TSA from becoming as effective as it couJ.d be under circumstances where one caver is more accepting of another caver's individuality and opinions. An honest and open criticism must be accepted in an honest and human-to-human manner. A cutting, sarcastic comment will only breed contempt. The 'bug article' by Bill Elliott is the continuation of the Cavernicole Corner begun in last month's CAVER. It will be a regular feature with Bill acting as Contributing Editor for Biology. I would welcome other such articles or seTies on other aspects of s.::ience, to include mapping, speleogenesis, hydrology, or whatever. The Grotto News lead-in, I believe, is self-ex planator.y:-Tdo;ot really dislike Trip Reports as such, I just think that they can be presented more effectively in the form of Grotto News. Reports of interesting or significant trips be accepted and encouraged when written in the form of an article. An article is much more enjoyable to read and has the advantage of giving the writer some degree of flexibility in deviating from the truth for the sake of a good story. Indeed, some of the best cave fiction I've read was based on trips which actually happened. Fiction or near fiction on cave-related topics will always hold a high priority so long as I'm editor. Likewise, poetry, crossword puzzles, mind tricks, and the like will hold a place of honor on the pages of the TEXAS CAVER. The encouragement of indi vidual talents in the caving world goes well beyond the taking of photographs and the leaving of footprints. The Garbage column belongs to you. It is not 'limited to :me page. You may use it to buy, sell, trade. inform, announce, or whatever, anything. Quotations are solicited. Practical jokes on fellow cavers are expected, so long they remain in the spirit of fun. For it is b y hoo-rawing ourselves and our friends that life is somehow made a little more bearable. And a personal note: If I tend to editorialize a lot more than you are used to, please bear in mind that it is free--I pay for these pages. It further allows me to discover errors in my point of view. If I say something wrong, I'm sure to hear about it. But I must warn you now, if you convince me I'm wrong, don't get mad when I change my opinion to yours.


Elsewhere in this issue find a reprint froIn the Internal Organizations NEWSLETTER concerning the "Role of NSS Regions" (of which the TSA is one). In the closing stateInents of the report, the I/O chairIna n editorializes on internal squabbles within the region, out the harIn dO:le by such "bitter speleopoliticking". This probleIn was Inore than evident at the Labor Day TSA BOG held at Century Caverns. I have vowed, as TC editor, to wage war on the narrow-Ininded conservatisIn that has stagnated the TSA. In the past few years, so Inany rules and regulations have been proInulgated to control votes at BOG neetings (the constitution has been rewriten twice) that we all need lawyers with us to get any seInblance of business conducted. The rediculous squabbles over who has the right \'ote, speak, propose Inotions, sneeze, et cetera has taken all the fun and business out of the :meetings and put a lot of tiIne wastage in. SOIne degree of order is necessary. And Robert's Rules of Order handles the probleIn nicely (The is that nobody's read the daInn book. The gross ignorance of parliInentary procedure was appalling.) But all the political Inaneuvering to prevent one grotto or another froIn voting is just so Inuch deficant. SOIneday, I hope, the conservative faction will wake up to the fact that nothing the TSA does is so iInportant that such shenanigans are necessary. The BOG should be a place to solve COIn Inon probleIns of caving within the region to everyone' s not to haggle over boring rule s to everyone's detriInent. And lastly: Though a caving publication Inay seeIn to SOIne not the place to discuss 'pot and needles', the fact that SOIne cavers Inay favor such things and others veheInently oppose theIn causes a breakdown in the fellowship we should enjoy as cavers, and justifies their Inention here. I hope it can be the last Inention. As an aviator, I have been taught that there 13 are Inany drugs which affect a person both physiologi cally and psychologically. O Jr Inain concern here, of course, is that a person be fit while in a cave-for his safety as well as the safety of others who Inay depend on hiIn. For this reason, drug use while caving has long been frowned upon. Alcohol is recognized as one of these drugs. Unfortunately, nicoti ne and caffein, which both affect a person's Inental and physical wellbeing (visualize a nicotine fit) have not been properly criticised. But there are a few cavers who do condone, in fact even proInote, the use of drugs to acheive a 'high' while partying (usually the drug is SOIne forIn of alcohol). Medical studies have proven, beyond the shadow d a doubt, that alcohol is one of the Inost toxic (poison) and addicting drugs now taken by hUITlans. Heroin ("of which use by cavers is significantly unknown) is addicting, but not toxic in usuable aInounts. Marijuana is neither addicting nor significantly toxic. So, in a Inore or less free society, such as we profess in the US where it is a person's right to decide if he drives a Ford sedan or a 4WD Power Wagon, where it is his right to decide between white bread and tortillas, and where it is his right to choose between beer and root beer, why in the world is it neces sary that we find fault with a person for wanting to find his high with a safe, non-toxic and natural herb rather than a poisonous, Inanufactured, and potentially addicting drink? Why is it not an individual's choice to decide which 'high' he prefers? Why Inust we constantly judge a person 'bad' when his choice is not the one we would Inake? Let's choose our own poison's with our own personal lack of abandon, and allow others to choose their's in the saIne way. In the spirit of personal freedoIn and fairness, let's stop condeInning a person for how he gets high, and only judge hiIn on his contribution to the caving world. --Ediger The TEXAS CAVER is edited and published Inonthly by Gill Ediger and the Oztotl Supply COInpany. Deadline s are insignificant, but proInptness is a virtue. The editor is serious in intent and uniInpressed by eager, but shallow support. All contributions of a literary or graphic nature should be sent to the editor at the addres s in the front cover. g-v Subscriptions, which are $4. SO/year, are handled by JaInes Jasek in Waco. Also see inside the front cover for his address. F ':; lr ,( -t-.-/ w<'i (,,\ Letters to the editor are welcoIned as well as personal COInInents ; '/\ I L on the contents of the TEXAS CAVER. We will Inake every effort 1,,1 1 to Inake this a Ineaningful, enjoyable publication to you. Your unfalt"ing .uppo,' i. u'ged. cS


14 WHERE: WHEN: TRIP REPORT Bateman Ranch Sink. 15 November 1975 WHO: Gary Brite, Jonathan Justice, David Roberts. This was the first ;ave trip for Gary's new GMC and it worked great. n was only fitting that we take it to River Styx which has seen quite a bit of Abilene activity lately The n lain object was to check out several of the sinkhoIE.s. One was a bust, the second one we could enter, but it was just breakdown, and the third, Bateman R a . ch Sink, was found to be much larger than listed in tl:.e TSS. Instead of 40-50 feet we found it to be 250-300 feet to the breakdown. Dav e and Jonathan crawled around in the breakdown for an hour and finally found a way through to the main passage again. It extends for another 40 feet but is too shallow to follow without some digging. Later, we went in the Amphitheater Entrance, then to the Junction Room and out the dry entrance. There were many bats in all passages so if you go to the cave take care not to disturb them. We feel there is yet a lot of work to be done here. The cave from the Bateman Ranch Sink most likely connects with River Styx which would put it over 8000 feet with an easy chance of reaching 2 miles if some of the side passages are mapped. Who says that gypsum caves aren't worth it? WHERE: Sand, Endless, Cottonwood, Pink Panther, Pallette, Damn, and Pink Dragon Caves. WHEN: 27-30 November 1975 WHO: Tom Byrd, Laura Denison, Paul Fambro, Ronnie Fieseler, Harold Ingersoll, Carl Kunath, Sherri Larason, Mike McEachern Mike McKee, Jim Moore, Mike Moore, Neal Morris, Mark Pennington, Barbara Vinson, Jon Vinson. The trip began in a familiar manner. Fie seIer's truck refused to start as we tried to leave San Angelo. Sandwiching his nearly lightless vehicle between the Kunath and Pennington trucks and adding Fambro to the convoy in Big Spring, we arrived in Carlsbad just 'beTEXftS Rt2 Box98 Falls City, TX 78113 To before dawn. Once at McKittrick Hill, we viewed: new gates on Endless and Sand and split into 3 grot to enter S .and. Fieseler and Morris led mapping teams while the other half of the group flailed the cave taking pictures and getting lost. The map ping ended after about 1000 feet as we were all tin from the long drive with little sleep. Some, howevl felt up to a short visit to Endless Cave. Friday morning we marveled at the 5 new gate! on McKittrick Cave before leaving for the Guadaluf Prior to reaching the highway, Fieseler's truck s u fered additional problems which roadside repairs would not alleviate; so Fieseler and Vinson turned toward Carlsbad as the balance went to the mountai A short detour was made along the scenic loop beYI Klondike Gap but increasing winds and decreasing temperatures soon forced us to the base of 'three mile hill'. McEchern, McKee, and Larason cauglt a ride to Cottonwood and spent the next 20 hours photographing the cave on the same frame of film while the rest enjoyed a large campfire and a weI. come change from the McKittrick Hill scenery. Shortly after dark, the Fieseler truck (with $120 worth of new parts) arrived and great tales were to Saturday morning, most of the group followed Fieseler to the 'pink' caveS while a smaller group went with Kunath to some obscure portions of Cotto wood Cave. Upon emerging from Cottonwood, SO n1 winds persuaded the group to retreat to the previoul campsite. The 'pink' expedition arrived much late h I WIt tales of snow and wind gusts of 70 mph on the ridges. Sunday was spent in driving to the end of the scenic loop, traveling eastward, eating chili at Kunath's, and traveling eastward some more. The road is now paved all the way to the EI Paso G \ intersection and graveled to Klondike Gap. These improvements have noticeably changed the visitatio: pattern as Winebagos and pickups pulling cycle trail ers were seen in the area. However, the final thn, miles to Dark Lookout has deteriorated to the wors t state in memory and serves as an effective deteranl to casual tourist traffic although caver traffic contil ues to increase.

Contents: Letters to
the Editor: more talk about the TSA. Praise for the '75 Editor
Role of the region: results of a survey by the I/O
Committee / Evelyn Bradshaw --
Cave of the Month: Diamond Cave--from the files of the
TSS / Ronnie Fieseler --
Cavernicole corner: bug of the month! The Rhadine exposed
/ Bill Elliott --
The pancho peddler: have you seen this doubtful messenger
from the east? / ? --
Grotto news: club news from around the state --
Photo tricks: trial by error-how to test your flashbulbs
/ Crawl E. Goonarse --
Garbage: little known facts and bits of fiction --
Editorial: seething philosophical exercise of the
editor's prerogative --
Trip reports: the last in a series of questionable


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