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: Dallas - Ft. Worth Christmas party -- Speleolaw / Jay Jordan -- Texas oldtimers reunion / Mike Walsh -- Bat conservation / S.P. Lunker -- Officials can't recover bodies of divers, sewerlunking? / Hal Lloyd -- Caves copperheads / Dale Grissom -- Don't drink the water / Orion Jan Knox -- Map to get thru N. Laredo to Lampazos -- La Gruta de Los Alamos / Paul Duncan -- La Gruita de los Alamos Map -- Trip reports -- Feb 2-3, 1980 TSA BOG meeting notice.
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Vol. 24, no. 06 (1979)
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K26-04626 ( USFLDC DOI )
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0040-4233 ( ISSN )

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the Texas Caver November-December 1979


DALLAS -FORT 'w'ORTH GROTTO CHRISTMAS PARTY December 15, 1979 Saturday 7:30 p.m. You are cordially invited to attend the DALLAS FORT WORTH GROTTO CHRISTMAS PARTY Transients Welcome Friday Night :thru Sun. Stop in for fun and camp in back yard. WHITE ELEPHANT GIFT EXCHANGE Put together a cave related white elephant gift to exchange. Gifts should not be related to cost, but rather involve ingenuity. Traditionally the paper and bow have more value than the gift. You have to bring one in order to get one. You too could have a three-foot Tecate bottle cap or an Electronic Cave finding Device. CAVERS CHRISTMAS TREE ORNAMENT CONTEST Make a caving related ornament for the tree A J4dges Panel will be chosen from the attendees. No Real Formations or other specimens Permitted. Bring Your Slides. We'll Have a Projector. Mucho Tent & Floor Space Available. FOOD: If you have a special party treat, Bring it along BYOB DIANA & TIM HARTER 3815 Wayne Drive Colleyville, TX 76034 (817) 498-2133 the Texas Caver Vol. 24, No. 6,1979 CONTENTS DALLAS FT. WORTH CHRISTMAS PARTy ...... SPELEOLAW -Jay Jorden ................. .. TEXAS OLDTIMERS REUNION Mike Walsh ... . BAT CONSERVATION S. P. Lunker ........... OFFICIALS CAN'T RECOVER BODIES OF DIVE RS., SEWERLUNKING? -Hal Lloyd ............. .. 1 CAVES & COPPERHEADS -Dale Grissom ....... 1 DON'T DRINK THE WATER Orion & Jan Knox.1 MAP TO GET THRU N. LAREDO TO LAMPAZOS .... I LA GRUTA DE LOS ALAMOS Paul Duncan .... 1 La Gruta de los Alamos MAP ............... I TRIP REPORTS ............................ I Feb 2-3, 1980 TSA BOG MEETING NOTICE ... .. I This months cover is a very fine pen and ink drawing by John Brooks who is a c a ver at Te xas A&M University. The TEXAS CAVER is making plans to produce T-shirts with this months cover on it. Look for details in the Jan 1980 issue. The TEXAS CAVER is a bimonthly publicat io n of Texas Speleological Association (TSA) a n o rganization o f the National Speleolo,:p .(!('(l Society (NSS) and is pub l ished by James Jasek in Wac o Texas. are $5. 00 per year. Per sons after the first of the year will all back issues for that year. Singl! are at 90 each, postp a id The TEXAS CAVER openly invites contributors t o submi t: les, news, cartoons, cave articles, and photographs (any t b ? ('(. }k & whi te or co lor p rint) for pub l7..catwn in the TEXAS CA VER. all SUBSCRIPTIONS and EDITORIAL matenal to the editor: James Jasek lOlg Melrose nr., Waco, Texas 76710 When sending in a chanqe of au'dress pleas e include you r old Persons interested in EXCHANGES or FOREIGN subscriptions should direct corresponde n c( t o the editor.


Jay Jorden NOTE: This report is the second in a series on the effect of the legal system on caves and caving. The purpose of the articles is to inform cavers and commercial ca ve owners of the laws--statutory, judgemade and precedental--which impinge upon ca ve ownership and speleology. It is hoped that the legal issues which arise out of cases a nd statutes discussed will not be interpreted as answers to specific, individual controversies and problems, but rat he r will serve both as an overview of the American legal system and a spring beard, in the case of individual situations--for consultation with private at tern e ys There exists no warranty, express o r implied, that the information in this co lumn will in any way serve as a subsitute for the latter. However, as was mentioned in the previous installment, there does exist on the pc:rl of stud,'nts ;:Ind prCl.ct ir-i o n ers the 101'1 ,111 opportunity to inform the public in general terms about legal questions. The nee d for an awareness of the law is rai sed in an ethical consideration of th e Bar Association's Code of Responsibility. The same code mandates that legal writers must not convey th e impression that their of issues have universal applicability to all pr oblems; also, financial benefit from ar ticles must be avoided. This column is written in accordance with these goals. Looming in the winclshield of a private air rraft were the imposing foothills of Sierra de Guatemala, as its pilot reached th e middle leg of a flight from eastcentral Mexico back to Texas. Thoug h the plane, fully loaded, had bee n in a gradual climb for about 20 miles. the foothills may have looked a little too close to cockpit observers. the crash that followed that June day 1969 and the resulting court fight, pIlot and aircraft owner became the subject o f possibly the only Texas case reported :..." I"hic h litigation has arisen from a cave trip. Chie f Justice Charles W. Barrow, then of th e San Antonio Court of Civil Appeals, heGrd the case two years later, after the man W h o rented the airplane to the pilot 83 sued him in a non-criminal action for damages. His legal complaint hinged on his entrustment of the plane to the pilot and its subsequent destruction. In legal terms, the situation in which one party delivers an item of personal property to another in crust is called bailment, and the delivery carries with it certain rights for the bailor--or person who creates the trust. Generally, the bailee--one who receives the property in trust--must act reasonabl, in connection with the use and enjoyment ;f the item. Several t ypes of bailments convey different legal obligations, depending upon whether or not possession was obtained voluntarily or if money exchanged hands for the property. Judge Barrow wrote in his opinion, "The evidence is undisputed that the airplane was totally destroyed while in (pilot's) possession AS the result of a bailment for the mutual benefit of the parties. The licensed pilot with about 400 hours flying time, rented the airplane from (plaintiff at Kingsville Airport on May 24, 1969, for a trip to Central Mexico to do scientific research in the caves near Sierra de El Abra. On June 2, 1969, his party consisting of himself, his adult son and the son's colleg e friend, took off from Ciudad Valles in the fully loaded airplane for the trip back to Kingsville. "After proceeding north about 100 miles and climbing approximately 3,000 feet in elevation, the airplane reached the foothills of a mountain rang e knmVTl as Sierra de Guatemala. In this area, (pilot) \,7as interested in looking from the air at a cave called Sotano Verde, so he flew low over this cave severa l times. On subsequently continuing northbound, the airplane was unable to clear a ridg e of the mountain rang e and crashed. The airplane, which had a stipulated value of $12,500.00 at the time it was rented was totally destroyed." The pilot testified in court that he was flying in the area with a craft that was equipped with equipment used in instrument flying. "He was guiding on the horizon created by the mountain r a n ge, and the top appeared to be directly on level with the airplane, and he thought the


airplane was flying straight on level,: the test'imony read. "On getting closer to the mountains, he realized it was necessary to climb a bit more to clear safely. Unfortunately, the airplane wouldn't climb any more as it was already climbing the limit, and the mountain was climbing faster than the airplane. He could not turn the plane to the right because of a high peak; and on trying to turn left 180 degrees, the wheels of the plane struck trees on the ridge and crashed." At the trial court level, or upon the initial lawsuit, the airplane owner was awarded rental value of his craft, but denied recovery for its entire replacement cost. When he appealed, Judge Barrow "reformed" the first decision to award him $12,500 All other aspects of the first lawsuit were affirmed or upheld. In the first trial, a jury found that the pilot did not fail to "keep a proper lookout"--a tort or personal civil injury concept which, if found against a defendant, connotes negligence. In defense, the pilot told the court he was distracted when he flew low to look for a cave, and testified as an expert that he had been physically disoriented to believe that he was flying level with the horizon, when actually he was in a full throttle climb. The disorientation, he said, was caused through disruption in the fluid in the inner ear which determines a person's balance. Also, he testified that the plane owner had crashed under similar circumstances while investigating an accident site at a low altitude. The court found that the pilot, as bailee of the plane, owed its replacement cost to the bailor, citing the principle that, "Where goods have been committed to a bailee, and have either been lost or been returned in a damaged condition, and the bailee's liability depends upon his negligence, the fact of negligence may be presumed, placing on the bailee at least the duty of producing evidence of some other cause of loss or injury." In this case, Judge Barrow felt that the presumption had not been rebutted. He pointed out that voluntarily flying low in an airplane places it in greater danger and therefore more vigilance is required in piloting it than were the craft high over level terrain. In the first trial, the owner had recovered $320.00 for the craft's rental value. This award was also given on a bailment theory. 84 The element of lawful possession of an item itself creates a bailment, and an express agreement between the parties is not always necessary. There must be an implied duty to account for the the property of another. The relationship nearly always arises where one delivers property to another to keep for hire, giving him or her control and possession. Even an involuntary bailment creates I obliations to keep reasonable care of an item. One of these situations, called a gratuitous bailment, results when care of property is accepted by another without charge and expectation of benefit. Here, the bailee is liable to the owner only if he was grossly negligent, and the negligence proximately caused loss. An example would consist of loaning personal property to another to be used byhl or her. Another type of bailment, constructive, occurs when a person holds property for at other involuntarily. but the law imposes or implies an obligation to deliver it bac to its owner. This device is used by courts to equitably remedy an otherwise wrongful possession. Bailments can also be created when a perso accidentally leaves property in the possession of another without having been negligent "involuntary" or if he finds mislaid property. Enough on bailments. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Southwestern Reporter, Second Series, 1972. 469 S.W. 2d 617. TEXAS OLDTIMERS REUNION The 1979 Texas Oldtime Cavers Reunion was held in New Braunfels. Over 200 cavers attended, making this the largest gathering of Texas cavers other than the NSS Conventio We will be gathering names of cavers and ex-cavers around the state for our official list. If you know of any cavers you want to see next year, send their names and addresS es to Alicia Gale. We should have a list of six to eight hundred Texas cavers ready by the first of the year. Send $1.25 to Alicia Gale for a copy. In the future we hope to expand the reunio and our services to the Texas caving community. Our goal is to help promote the advancement of Texas speleology through GO TO p87


Bat Conservation S.P. Lunker T exas is fortunate in having several caves wl1i c h harbor tremendous numbers of bats in the s ummer. Most cavers are aware of bats' impor t ance in the ecosystem; both in insect control and as food imput for cave ecos ystems. Person a l observations and a paper by Charles E. Mohr (1972), lead this author to b elieve that populations of cave bats are n egat i vely affected by visits to caves where th o bats are roosting. A c aver friend of mine was at the Devil's Sinkhol e not long ago during the summer. He W&s climbing out whe n the bat flight began, and n oticed that some bats hit the rope and t hen f ell to the floor, apparently with h ro:(en \.Jings. !;e,hr's paper indicates that even mild distruban ces can be detrimental to bats.For t h e be nefit of Texas cavers, I'll quote some pen i n ent facts from that report. "1",) many southern caves Ivhich serve as ilLlrsery roosts for hugh colonies, summer visi t ation, appears to increase noticeably : :h e number of accidents to young bats. W he n disturbed, many fall from their precarious perches and are consumed b y a 110st of predators. M yotis relifer, the rave b at, reacts unfavorably to disturb ance s in nursery caves. Humphrey (1969) documents severe population declines clos ely follwed visits by spelunkers ... Tndarida (the Mexican free-tail bat) also i s intolerant of distrubance. One summer population of 5000 male freetails left an Oklahoma cave in reponse to a very s light disturbance. Most disturbances c r e ated in the bit Tad arida nursery caves < a n't be blamed on spelunkers. Humphrey Si-lYs The ammonia produced by decaying k e e p s sensible people out of freetail caves, but researchers undoubtedly cause m o s t o f the problems for this species. A m o ng other things, Mohr recommends the follo wing steps to protect bats. 1 ) Drastically reduce trips to bat caves during critical life periods. The l a r g e bat caves in Texas are generally free of bats from late fall to early spring; this is a fine time for your survey and photo trips. 2.) Support legislative action to ban organochlorine pesticides, which are h armful to bats. 85 reason to avoid bat caves in the summer is the increased chance of contracting bat-related disease. There is evidence tha t rabies virus can be transmitted via aersol in bat caves. Histoplasmosis and encephalitis are added risks. Bats have enough trouble with predators, pesticides, and the general public. As cavers, let's do what we can to help them. References: Humperey, S.R. 1969 Disturbances and Bats Oklahoma Underground, 2:42-44. Mohr, Charles E The Status of Threatened Species o f Cave d\.Jelling Bats. NSS Bulletin, 197 2 3 4(2): 33-37 ( Reprint) Officials Can't Recover Bodies of Divers wmRERLEY OfficiaLe; here have given up their attempts to retrieve the bodies of two Houstonarea din'rs who wrrt' trapped and drowned in a water fillrd cavern. "Thev said it was too dangerous for am'one' to go in," Mary Maupin of Pa sadena, the mother of one of the vic tims. said Tuesday. "We couldn' t live with that if anyone got hurt," she said K(lnt Maupin, 20, and Mark Alan Brashier, 21, died in Jacob's Well durIng the early morning hours of Sept. 9. The dark well had long atltracted curi ous divers into its dangerous depths. Several drownings were recorded in recent vears The "two were trapped beyond the narrow third rim of the well. Divers have to take off their breathing appa ratus to get through the narrow open ing. Officials speculated that Maupin and Brashier may not have been able to pull the equipment into the chamber after they slipped in.


SEWERLUNKING ? Hal Lloyd Early in 1977, while on a stroll, Mike Boon happened upon a gaping hole in the ground with two streams pouring down. The hole, Sima de Zoquiapan was the mouth of a deep wet shaft. He decended via SRT to a ledge about 33 meters down where he could gaze down to a lake at the bottom. He ascended because his rope was not long enough to reach the bottom, and he did not return because of greater discoveries elsewhere in the Cuetza1an area. Norm Pace received a letter from Boon informing him of this unbottomed wet sime, so Pace's job of exploration was cut out for him. March 31st, Warren Anderson, Joe Lieberz, Hal Lloyd, Norm Pace and Peter Thompson hiked down to the yawning mouth of Sima de Zoquiapan to check it out. The hole, 5X7 m in truly impressive, taking water from a large cave (Cueva de Zoquiapan) on one side, and from a stram valley on the other. An abundance of vegetation around the lip add to the beauty here. Water flowing from the cueva drops down a series of small cascades before free falling into the deep shaft. Lloyd and Pace entered the cueva from following morning, April Fool's Day, and completed a through trip to a sink entrance 400 m distant. What a sight for the local farmers to see two gringos with black rubber skin emerge into their cornfield! On the way back through the cueva, Hal noticed a side lead with water flowing out from it. It led to a junction where Lloyd pushed up to a resurgence sump. Pace pushed down a craw1way some 100 m or so. The main objective for the day was to descend to the bottom of the sima, and to find out where the water went. Pace entered first, descending to Boon's ledge where he placed a bolt of offset rig the rope out of the main force of the falls. Finishing this he descended to the lake at the bottom of this 65 m deep pit. From the bottom, Pace's voice sounded off "Borehole!" Lloyd promptly rigged and rappe11ed down, the bottom half of the descent in the full force of the falls. 86 It's an awakening feeling, this, descen d ing a single rope into darkness surrounded by falling water, and getting buffeted on the head by a fire hydrant's worth of water. The lake at the bottom was waist deep with many day-g10 plastic bottles floating in it. The water flowed down a ch1.'.nnel in the floor of an approximately 7 m high X 9 m wide passage. Dozens of Crayfish w ere living here. Anderson descended next. Hearts were pounding wildly at the of exploring a virgin stream cave. Through hundreds of meters of passage they ran, passing numerous tributaries which doubled the water flowing in the main stream. Into a large chamber, the cavers broke into, with a fairly high ceiling, walls about 30 m apart and nearly 150 m long. It was a dream come true, this discovery of so much cave at one time, and of such good size! A tributary which also flowed into this chamber was of equal water volume as the main stream, but contained sewage and trasl from the town of Cuetza1an. The smell was horrible, it was grim. Plastic, wood, metal, glass and all shorts of garbage wen washed in. One caver found a plastic toy spider-Man, thus the Hall of Spider Man. In another place several plastic dolls ani a toy rattlesnake with wheels were found, so this was names Toyland. Descending several small cascades over a distance of about 175m, the cavers arrived at a major trend change. The passage was headed toward Atepo1ihuit, a major stream cave of Cuetza1an. After exploring approximately one kilometer of passage, the team turned around, repassing high pools which were black with fecal matter and thici with bubbles of methane trapped beneath the surface. Jumaring out proved to be a sporting c1imb ... ascending through the torrential rain of water as plunging down into the abyss. April 2nd, Irv Graham, Hal Lloyd, and Peter Thompson surveyed Cueva de Zoquiapan, netting 380 m and a depth of 46 m. April 3rd, Graham, Lloyd, Pace, and


Thompson surveyed 1.329 m into the Sima to the previous point of exploration, and beyond, 374 m into virgin cave, averaging 5 to 10 m wide by 5 to 10 m high, to station humber 100. Total net 1, 703 m, the passage still going, taking 'water with no end in sight. ; April 4th was a rest day, in which many : cer vezas y tortas were consumed. April 5th, Chris Albers, Anderson Boon, Lloyd, Pace, and Thompson descended the :Sima and trudged back to station 100. One caver was heard to say "What's that smell"? Another answered "It's the shit, m an, look, there's a turd". Beyond station 100 they explored into the dismal depths traveling down well sculptured pas sage. Plastic dolls wedged in the ceiling, evidence the volume of flood here. In one pla c e the cavers found two tires. Here and there blades of stone, which were festooned wit h plastic, jutted from the wall, like th e s,,,ords of Conan the Barbarian! The passage rose to a height of roughly 15 rl plus and was 5 m wide. Ahead, the group was stopped by a monster size boulder choke, a common obstacle of the cavers in th e area, says, Boon. Alp through the boulders near the ceiling Lloyd climbed whilst the others looked for a route lower down. Between boulders Lloyd pushed through the breakdown maze, to a slot abo ve stream level. Through it he dropped one meter into chest deep water, where the sound of moving water could be heard from both directions. Upstream there was a small casca de with a bubbling resurgence sump above it. Down stream was a hole less then one meter wide with the ceiling perhaps 6 centimeters above the muving water. Through this hole could be heard the sound of falling \vater. Pace came down, then Lloyd slipped th ro ugh the low air space into a small nearby \vater filled chamber with less than about three centimeters of airspace. Ahead the water flowed through a narrow slot which widened underwater. Lloyd held his breath and dunked a meter distance to emerge at th e head of a down arching flume meter Ivide by one meter high. This flume was 1/3 filled with white water which swirled into a plunge pool 2 m distance and I m lower. Through here feet first into the plunge pool the cavers went, then they climbed up into a hole in the ceiling. This brought them to e passage with a scalloped wall on one side and breakdown on the other. Up th e y climbed, pushing 50 m between boulders before climbing back to the water level. At this point the volume of water 87 was double, an unseen tributary had joined the main flow. The water was neck deep here with a narrow slot in the ceiling near the water surface. Again, the cavers held their breath and dunked, popping up on the other side in a narrow passage with about 3 centimeters of airspace 10 m long. Beyond a climb up followed by a down climb into what appeared to be the bitter end, a cascade pouring into a swirling pool with a low ceiling. Pace checked it out carefully, and determined that it was truly impassable ... a shite water sump. Searching further Lloyd found a narrow passage to the right in the breakdown. This was chest deep with about 2 decimeters of airspace. He pushed this past two more separate ducks, which brought him to another narrow near sump which was too long to safely free dive. A hole in the ceiling there still waits to be pushed as does the next duck-under. He splashed and dunked his way back to Pace, were the discussed the possibility of going on. They decided to leave these leads for someone brave or foolish. How about you? The duo made their way back to Mike Boon, was searching for a dry bypass route. Lloyd and Pace had been gone three hours and Boon had envisioned the two cavers as running into a real scoop. No such luck. Meanwhile, the survey team of Albers, Anderson and Thompson had surveyed the boulder choke out to station 100 netting 390 m. Sima de Zoquiapan was now 2,093 meters long, and still going. Virgin side leads and tributaries are abundant, thus future efforts will undoubtly add more kilometers to the map, and downstream all that water certainly flows into unknown caverns of the Netherworld. to L D TIM E R S fellowship and co-operation. This year we presented our first award to James Reddell for his major contributions to Texas speleology. This award will be presented each year. It is an effort to let some of the Oldtimers know we appreciate their work over the years. James is deserving of this award. Starting next year we will present another award. This will be given to a caver for major contributions to Texas speleology during the 1979-7980 year. We will accept nominations through Labor Day. Reports in the Texas Caver will be the other area for the selection of a winner. Any active caver has a chance, but you must let the Texas Caver know what is going on. GO TO p 89


CAVES & COPPERHEADS Dale Grissom The day had been a full one. Members of the Temple -Belton Grotto had already caravaned sixty miles to Harald's Cave west of Lampasas and rappelled into that dark chamber, initiating the clubs newest members. There were lessons to be learned about descending and ascending into that gaping mouth in the earth. The weather also contributed its own timely lessons on working with wet ropes and on slippery limestone. The rain had come in heavy sheets just as the cavers began gearing up for the descent. But, all had gone well and the cave, although not the first uncornrnercialized cave the neophytes had explored, proved to be an interesting and exhilerating experience. To see the sparkle of the water glistening over the great formations and to splash the chilled refreshing water of the deep pool surrounding it, offset the depressing effect of the mud and the squeaks and flutter of the hundreds of bats clinging to the ceiling. As a neophyte to caving I found this neatherworld wet, slimy, miserable and thoroughly fascinating. Curiousity and the need to discover for myself, drove me down the forty feet of wet rope. I had to see the bat colony and pale cave crickets; the helicities, which could be seen only if one belly-crawled under a tiny overhand, slipping along in icy mud and water; the harvestmen spiders clustered in pulsating colonies that moved like one living organism. the fat, happy brown toad that lived and feasted on crickets in the dim light beneath the cave opening. Curiosity! Yes, it had been a full day already. But, my curiosity had been whetted, not satisfied. Our two car loads of happy cavers had planned to return to Bell County and investigate the possibility of a new discovery. Or, maybe it was a rediscovery. We weren't sure. We were tired but anxious to use the day to its fullest. So off we went. Some of the long-time members had other plans so they were dropped off at home. But not the enthusiastic neophytes. I could hardly wait to trek through the underbrush in search of new adventure. We had a report from two teenaged hikers who had come across a cave opening in the Stillhouse Lake area in Bell County. We 88 felt that the limestone cliffs in that area were promising and in fact one of the members of the club had located the cave opening a few days before. We could hardly wait to see it for ourselves. But the cave was remote. Several miles of thick rainforest-like underbrush, brambles and poison ivy, must be tramped through. Rattin logs would block our way and pesky critters like ticks and chiggers must be endured in order to reach our goal. We arrived late in the afternoon at the starting point. Only three of us had ul tima tely decided to make the hike. Of the three only one was an experienced caver. I was the newest initiate to caving and therefore probably the most enthusiastic. Should we continue on? Wasn't it too late to risk getting caught after dark out there in the woods? The more experienced of the group queried our determination. "We have our lights, good boots, water, what could happen out there that we could not handle?" We newbees answered. By the time the question was settled and we had geared up to make the trek it was almost ei?,ht PM. The only thing about me that wasn't already almost exhausted was my need to see and know what lay ahead. The reports of rough going had not been exaggerated. We dove into the forest, hip and waist deep at times in emerald green brush. We admired the limestone cliffs riSing along the path. We climbed muddy inclines and jumped across tiny streams of water that issues periodically from the face of the cliff. We watched attentively for the landmarks we had been given. We were getting nearer. Our efforts were rewarded. We found the cave mouth gaping blackly just as the first shadows of real night began to obscure everything. How exciting! The mouth of the cave opened on a ledge of soil and rock. It was easily accessible. Its dimentions and shape suggested a hugh door. Mentally I dubbed it Eric's Door, afer the teenager who had reported it to the club. To a neophyte it was impressive. Quickly we made our way to the opening and entered a samll smoothly arched chamber. Campfires had blackened the rock ceiling. We knew many humans had used this doorway


t b r shelter. Indians, explorers, fisherman, had all been there perhaps, but haw &r had they penetrated its inner secrets? The entrance chamber's ceiling sloped about fifteen feet into a tube-like thnn e l that ran curving straight into the t ack. We had only two helmets and lights J1th us. It was a very narrow craw1way so Ii a s the newest of the new, elected to let the others crawl into that snakelike hole, while I kept the gear company in Eric's After fifteen minutes 0: bel1y drawling they reached a bend 1n the tunnel i n d yelled back, :'It gets even more narrow. ] t g oe s on and on as far as the beam of my liight." They also made several uncompliment a ry and profane remarks about the numbers behavior of the cave crickets. "Yuk", I thought. : It was too tight a squeeze. They back cra wled to the door and stood up, drenched with sweat and covered with mud, crickets, and spiderwebs. "Well, that will present a problem to get into." Did the narrow tunnel lead to a chamber somewhere below? Could there be another ope n i n g somewhere in the woods and ledges above? We didn't know, but we made plans to return. It was now almost pitch dark. Not thinking, t he excitiment of discovery, we had p acked alvay our lights. We started the long w a l k back, speculating about the possibilities o f th e r being a large chamber somewhere benea t h the tunnel. We had gone on further than one hundred yards, back tracking our'I s e l ves when it started to rain. We hardly f elt it. Then the leader of our single file m a rch suddenly froze in his tracks and threl., up his arms. "Snake", he yelled. "Copperhead", he hissed. "There in the trail." The large brown body of the lethal slithered into the [We Here qU1et for a few seconds cons1der1ng our situation. For the first time we realized we were smack in the middle of copperhead habitat. "I don't like this", I said. "Lets climb out of this bottomland and get up to that p as ture over there and walk out that way." He turned to retrace our steps. "We need our lights. Get out the lights," someone sai d "Lets get out of this underbrush first. II We walked a few more steps back tOlvard the cave. Then, again, the cry, "s nake, there's another one over there." lole w ere surrounded. Get Some sticks and beat the brush ahead of us as we walk", I suggested warily. I d heard that was a good thing to do to 89 discourage snakes. Gingerly we all found a stick and began to beat the brush, walking stealthily along, grateful for our boots. "I hate snakes", I shuttered involuntarily. Helmet lights were unpacked and donned quickly and we started our journey back to the car, that modern, safe, symbol of civilization. "We really shouldn't have attempted such terrain so close to nightfall. It was foolhardy," the more e xperienced caver said. We newbees couldn't have agreed more. The hike in to 'Eric's had taken us about an hour. It took us two hours to hike out, beating the brush carefully as we went, sometimes slipping on muddy banks, tripping on unseen logs, getting caught on rusty b arbed wire fences. On the return hike we encountered four large copperheads. Those were the ones that we saw. Our collective imagination conjured up hundreds more lurking in the dripping foliage. And they were, no doubt, really there. At last we thwacked our way out of the dangerous vegetation and made our way wearily to the car. "Never again", I said, my neophyte's enthusiam at last thwarted and literally dampened. But a valuable lesson had been learned. Not more than an hour later, we were reveling over our adventure while sipping coffee in a safe, clean kit kitchen. But, I'll admit that snakes have play ed a major role in at least one of my dreams since that day and night of my initiation into the fascinating world of caving. tOLDTIMERS In the first of o u r expanded activities, the Oldtimers donated $50 to the Texas Caver to help with publication. It is hoped that as the reunion grows, our support can be greater. In addition, cavers of the Texas region have donated a Xerox machine to the NSS office staff. Our thanks to the people who helped raise the money. Next year one additional award will be given. Thanks partly to the financial support of Margaret Wright, we will award $25 cash to the caver who sends the best feature article to the Texas Caver this year! In addition to the TOCA, the Texas Caver editor, will assist in the selection. The Oldtimers will be held each year after Labor Day at a site se1cted by the Board. In addition to the regular members, the current Texas Speleological Association officers are invited to serve on the Board. GO TO p 92


DON'T DRINK THE WATER ORION & JAN KNOX Increasing urban growth in the Hill Country of Central Texas has caused concern about possible ground water pollution as well as pollution of the cave environment' Pollution in caves is often overlooked despite the interrelationship in carbonate terrains of cavern development and ground water. One of the primary reasons pollution of the cave enviroment has not been recognized is that determental effects are not generally visible on the surface. Due to the very nature of carbonate terrain, ground water pollution is an ever present threat. The carbonate rock terrain in the Central Texas area is characterized by few perennial surface streams, little or no soil cover, and uneven permeability distribution in the limestone aquifers. The permeability of carbonate rock varies depending on the degree of solutioning and the presence of fractures or openings inherent in the rock. These initial fractures and openings are further enlarged by the dissolving action of the ground water on the limestone often developing into subterranean passages. These enlarged openings act as water conduits concentrating ground water flow in localized areas. If these openings extend near the :surface, they will serve as drainage ways for surface water to reach the water table. Wastes dumped into cave entrances and sinkholes can move rapidly downward toward the regional water table with little time for filtration or oxidation, thus pollution of the cave environment can lead to pollution of the local ground water supply. The danger of ground water pollution is conpounded in parts of this area by the fact that there is little or no soil cover. Soils tend to absorb and filter out many pollutants, and physically slow the movement of polluted water to allow oxidation and decay. In this instance, the lack of a thick soil blanket, and the highly porosity and variable permeability of the carbonate rock permits wastes to move downward rapidly with little filtration or oxidation. 90 For these reasons, a cavernous limestoo area has a high potential for ground pollution. All wastes dumped in a or cave can eventually find their, way int o the aquifer. This is evident in som e areas of Kentucky where cave streams foam d u e t o pollution by synthetic detergents. The greatest threat of ground water pollution occurs where wastes are released by design or accident on the fracture d cavernous outcrop areas of the porus lime stone or into streams that cross this o ut crop and recharge the underlying aquife r. At present, the major problem of pollu tion to the aquifers in the Hill Country i s polluted runoff from the land surface and effluent from septic tanks entering the fractured cavernous limestone. A s urbanization continues, the chances increase on destroying the delicate of cave flora and fauna, and preservin g the quality of the local limestone By dumping diseased animals, batteries, or household wastes into a convenient sin kholt or cave entrance, one may be taking ch ance! with the quality of his own water supply. YOUR subscription to the Texas Caver has EXPIRED 3nSSI SIHl HII M


, / TAke Ih our of A DLl4NI1 (cu.sTol'f1.s) dowN breAd ",lie wi /V191""'''W 7VAS'.J Mt: -O,"/lAJ f L;7e 170/"5. 1 .{ CUlfVc TO J.e{'-r rh)-q TYAI;,'c (,f,,f, ;re) . ;) !<.. i l> T A 7 /() 11/ b N f( 7: / 7' 0 Ti r T Y A I' /, (: L; r J .. i:: /,ic: 011-' ,?eY'1 Sr /I, Trt4.f"c,c Life 5 TOC i-<. 0::.. ======-r;1!, SI, ,(,1 /t--v If H II /Ie /Yle .'II fOr 1\ Y ;z.o This map shows the route through Nuevo Laredo to the highway to Lampazos, and on to Candela a n d Bustamante. This way is shorter and the road is better and less traveled than going through Sabinas Hidalgo. When coming back, turn in your Tourist Cards at the Aduana between Nuevo Laredo and Lampazos. Map drawn by Paul Duncan. il. k' ) k {? l'.le,' r L c: I.. ,4 relt/ ceo' Ci/DSj 7/..{,/,,' sr'eec/ bU,7S J deN T>'Ilu:> vle,.,y /1/ ex Z" /( c WI'1Tev WORkS wi r!Jwey ,I' 71'1k, 1.. t"fr: fit liT" j.1117el".ft'cT ;;,.' fl. bOrTtPM eJlhll/. ThellJ 7,-?, ; Ar AI..!.,eJ o 5 .. 97os S.II. 1/ NLlFVo Cttc,"-().'U J...e/r s ;dt> 01 ;/I,l7e,s{!(' r ,. 5 III b/1..4 e Two .s TO,f Y h%f.' -.v IJ 01 W,"NJPI#.1 "AJ rl, e .1 Ficor-. T4k{' A Rc Ar /'Iexr: "T" 1',v-;el"Secr/OIl/(sT()Ck, yAvJs ,',.; I'/"IN z). ,heN f 0 J;!.!c bt:side STNk yARd S/9# ANAHUAC MONTERREY"


LA GRUTA DE LOS ALAMOS by Pau 1 Duncan "jOla senor! c!Como esta?" "Bien, gracias. usted?11 "OK. Esta canon es muy bonita. se llama?11 II Los A 1 amos. II "Ah, si 0 usted si hay grutas 0 cuevas 0 sotanos cerca aqui?" "Si, hay." lie! Por donde? II The workman turned around where he stood and pointed up the wall of the canyon to a ridge. "A 11 a, arriba," he said, liEn los arboles." This was our introduction to La Gruta de Los Alamos. He told us it had been mined for phosphate and had been abandoned some twenty or so years beforeo He thought it to be very deep, Muy Hondo! Fred Paschal and I thanked him for his help and took a hike to see. The entrance drop had railroad ties and timbers holding back a good quantity of rubble. We had to do some thinking on how to rig the rope so it did not rub against the retaining structures. When the problem was solved, I went down into a nice sized room. As I looked around its perimeter, I discovered boxes of very old dynamite and caps in an alcove. Very interesting! Bill Mayne and Fred came down for a look. When Fred went to check the explosives, I went to the far side of the room to look at something else 0 anything else. Bill found a drop behind some formations. We rigged it and down he wento Later he called up for us to fol10wo It was an interesting pit and had been completely dug outo Apparently the pit had been filled with phosphate rich dirt and had been mined down until the miners had broken into a room. There were 55 gallon drums which had been split open and used as 92 retaining inserts in the walls of the pit. Old ladders were set in several places. At the top of the third and what was to prove to be the last drop We threw in some rocks and listened to them bounce for about twenty seconds. All right! We did not have the rope at that time so for several months we went through our work and daily mundane existence thinking of that dropo Finally a trip was organized and we were once again at the top of the third drop. We rigged a one hundred meter rope and started down. I was able to walk down for some of the distance and had to negotiate two free drops. There were more old ladders and steel rods driven into the flooro My respect for those old miners was growing considerably. At the bottom was a large room with test pits in its floor and soda straws among its other formations. It was also the end of the cave. The climb out was steep enough that one had to stay rigged into the rope but with a low enough slope to make climbing on the rock possible for much of the way. Keeping the slack out of the rope so that if we fell we would stop quickly was the real problemo The cave is typical of mined caves in the Bustamante-Candela area. The Illusive Pit is a deep version of this type of caveo That's why we continue to ask the 3 locals, grutas cerca a qui?lIi The board members of The TOCRA are: Chair man: Mike Walsh; Activities Director: Blake Harrison; Secretary-treasurer: Gale; Special Advisor: Gil Ediger; Membership: Keith Heuss: TSA Chairman: George Veni; TSA Vice Chariman: Jonathan Justice: and TSA Secretary-treasurer; Blake Harrison. The official address is 2103 S. 7th St. Temple, Texas 76501. Mike Walsh




TRIP TO "JOEY'S CAVE" April, 1979 CAVERS: Calvin the Caver, Wild Willy, Roxanne Mudd Access to this cave is very difficult, but almost possible. It involves a climb of 140 ft. on the near-vertical cliffs of Mt. Keemosabi in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. We reached the huge mouth of this rare granite cave only after clawing our way up the two foot wide channel cut by the water flowing from the cave, and then vaulting from a five inch ledge over a seven foot. wall, into Roxanne's anteroom. We tossed Roxanne over first because being the smallest and least experienced, she was the most expendib1e. She tossed a rope back over, and soon we were in the cave. There is nothing in this room except an exit, up and to the right. This passage leads to a second entrance on top of the mountain, which is impassable due to an iron grating over it. The passage then bends slightly to the left and sharply down It is tight, and we named it Wind Passage. Not because the air was moving, but because Calvin passed wind in it, and he was in the lead and crawling slowly. Eventually we dropped into the Pit room, so called because of a single, deep pit almost exactly in the enter of this almost perfectly round, undecorated chamber. We shined our lights into the pit, and not 94 seeing the bottom, we decided to test its depth. There were no rocks on the f10or,J we picked up one of the numerous apteryx wing-bones lying around and it into the pit. By counting the seconds until it hit bottom, we estimated its depth to be at least eight inches. Since there was nothing of interest in that room, we crawled on, and found the next chamber, a highly decorated chamber named Rogue's Gallery. There we saw multi colored formations bearing the likenesses ofYassir Arnfat, Fidel Castro, Adolf Hitle and Roxanne's Math teacher. Reluctantly, we started our climb back out, with Calvin in the rear this time. Joey's Cave still needs further study, particularly its blind cave rabbits. HONEY CREEK WATER CAVE, Coma1 Co., TX Sept 16, 1979 CAVERS: Cathy Allison, Carol Carson, Pat rica Herrera, Bill King, David Persha, George Veni, Mike Walsh Reported by: David Persha The day began with a beautiful 65 degree blue-orange sun rise. It was going to be a fine day for anything, especially going caving. Around midday we traveled Highway 4! West to Honey Creek Cave (a water filled overflow cave). A twenty five mile drive northwest of New Braunfels was enough to give anyone a taste of a beautiful fall day Approxitmate1y twenty-five miles we made a turn to the north where we traveled a short distnce to the owners ranch. George Veni and Pat rica Herrera collaborated with the rancher. Good relations were established and we were off to Honey Creek Cave. Leavin! the ranch we journeyed two miles over a rugged road to the cave. Upon nearing the end of the road the second truck, driven by myself, found a support wire in a sharp bend of the road, Scrap, Snap! Stopped! A support wire for a weather vain had been snapped by the top corner of the cab. (The wire was invisible by the road angle) At this point in time cavers ingenuity took over. Everyone pitched in and the line was quickly and properly repaired. George Veni taged the line with some red flagging tape to show the line more visible. (Full intentions made to explain the situation to the rancher.) Six of us then geared up for a water flowing cave. Mike Walsh, Carol Carson,


King, and myself used innertubes. Herrera wore an inflatable vest, ile George Veni wore a wet suit and gear. George was best prepared f n that he could manuver and observe the ciave much more than the rest of us. None the ress w e all enjoyed the cave. : It was an interesting cave. There were two entrances (Upstream, and downstream) They were within 200 ft of each other. The upstream entrance was a dry fissure passage with a high ceiling. It suddenly gave wax to three feet of water and the ceiling 6ei ght dropping considerably. Biological sights were predominate in the twilight zone (first 100 to 150 ft of cave). Frogs, daddy-Iong-legs, and crickets were in abundance. I traveled first through the 3 ft water p ass age. The walls and ceiling were scalloped with some fossilized imprints. This small winding passage gave way to the l arg e r main stream trunk passage of the c ave. The water suddenly increased in it's d ept h (Water temp. was estimated to be 50 t o 60 degress F) I n the main stream of passage stalactites and so da straws hung on the ceiling in large and varitable clusters. Traveling ahead of everyone by some 60 feet. I was able to sight undisturbed water and cave activity. Midway through our travel we disturbed a bat r oos[ which was overhead and directly in the mid Gf passage. With only 10 X 4 ft of air passa g e the bats flew excitability. At this poin t we were floating cautiously upstream. Suddenly a bat had landed on Bill Kings arm. In Rmazement he tried to out stare the bat. It w a s useless. Bill was no match for this cr eature of the night. He then began to shak e his arm with hopes of making him fly. This had worked, but he scared the other bats too much and they were flying everywhere. One ha d to keep his body and face very close to the water. Passing further upstream, we found more formations that had been carved u p by moving water. Beyond this point we traveled in a floating caravan. ApproximateJy 200 feet more upstream the water a nd ceiling height came to a very close meet. At this point in the cave we decide d to return to the entrance. The water temperature had began to slowly change our body temperatures. Of course George Veni was very much interested at this point in the cave. The wet suit proved to be an important aid in wet water caving. Everyone surfaced with a good caving experience. After surfacing we warmed ourselve s by the heat of the sun and made way 95 back to the trucks. There we met up with the rancher and told him of our adventure. He was glad to hear about it. The broken support line situation was explained and was stated that we would replace the line if necessary. No problem! The rancher understood and was not worried about it. He told us no damage had been done and we were welcome back. LA GRUTA DEL PALMITO & LA GRUTA DEL PRECIPICIO, N.L., Mexico Date October 19-20, 1979 Cavers: Members of UT Grotto at Austin, Greater South Texas, Southwest State University at San Marcos including but not limited to : Tom Byrd, Paul Duncan, Gil Ediger, Andy Grubbs, Blake Harrison, Robert Hemperley, Keith Heuss, Jay Jorden, Dan Kleinfelder, Liz McClendor, Terry Raines, Lisa of the AMCS, Ruff of Austin, etc .. Reported by: Jay Jorden A mini-TSA convention, although impromptu, was held this weekend with the arrival of al least five different truck and/or carloads of cavers for another look at Palmito, a different kina of trip to Precipico and other activity. At least 25 cavers, not counting those camped on the ledge a t Precipicio, were in Bustamante Canyon Saturday night, 20 October, either completing a day of caving or, in at least one case, preparing for one. One group climbed to Precipicio with rope enough for a series of rappels from its entrance 60 meters to Ojo del Gato, then another 20 meters to Cueva del Vientos, with a final drop of 15 meters to the base of the cliff over 400 feet high. Although performed before by Greater South Texas Grotto member Paul Duncan, rappeling the cliff makes for a little less work of the long climb down Sierra de Gomas. Another group, including, but not limited to Tom Byrd and Blake Harrison, went to Palmi to Saturday. Terry Raines and two companions arrived Saturday night at the canyon and planned to take Palmito Sunday. As is painfully obvious, there were so many cavers there that one cannot do justice to all of it in one trip report. Therefore, any additions, corrections, deletions or revisions of the one are welcome. The more the merrier.


The Texas Caver 1019 Melrose Dr Waco Texas 76710 nus PHOTO SALON 2-3 FEB. 1980 fiG b09BULK RATE us. Postage PAID Permit No.1423 Waco, Tx. 767\ij PAPERS CAVE Gnd TRIPS PRESENTIONS PLUS 2nd f1Jexa(} ceO/ifle uHantt?e4'(} r!J) ijcujjion I/iew/toinlj I fYlte reommeltcial of f!7exaj Witbout-a-jI}ame Jjoerne, \!rexag MORE DETAILS IN THE NEXT TEXAS CAVER!!!

Contents: Dallas Ft.
Worth Christmas party --
Speleolaw / Jay Jordan --
Texas oldtimers reunion / Mike Walsh --
Bat conservation / S.P. Lunker --
Officials can't recover bodies of divers, sewerlunking? /
Hal Lloyd --
Caves & copperheads / Dale Grissom --
Don't drink the water / Orion & Jan Knox --
Map to get thru N. Laredo to Lampazos --
La Gruta de Los Alamos / Paul Duncan --
La Gruita de los Alamos Map --
Trip reports --
Feb 2-3, 1980 TSA BOG meeting notice.


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