The Texas Caver

The Texas Caver

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The Texas Caver
Series Title:
The Texas Caver
Texas Speleological Association
Texas Speleological Association
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Subjects / Keywords:
Regional Speleology ( local )
Technical Speleology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )
United States


General Note:
Contents: Accident report-Precinct 11 Cave -- Subterranea Amo -- TSA convention, comfort, Texas -- Grotto news -- Flint Bridge Camp map -- San Antonio Spring map -- Old timers reunion insert -- Trip reports.
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
Original Version:
Vol. 28, no. 04 (1983)
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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K26-04648 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.4648 ( USFLDC Handle )
11382 ( karstportal - original NodeID )
0040-4233 ( ISSN )

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the Texas Caver Vol. 28, No.4,1983 CONTENTS ACCIDENT REPORT-PRECINCT 11 CAVE ...... 67 SUBTERRANEA AMO ....................... 70 TSA CONVENTION, COMFORT, TEXAS ........ 71 GROTTO NEWS ........................... 73 FLINT BRIDGE CAVE map ................. 74 SAN ANTONIO SPRING map ................ 76 OLD TIMERS REUNION INSERT TRIP REPORTS .......................... 78 COVER PHOTO: "Beware the Beasties" First place winner, Humor catagory, in the TSA photo salon. Photo by Dale Pate. BACK COVER PHOTO: "Belizean Cheesecake" by Logan McNatt. Honorable mention in the TSA photo salon. ERRATID1: The cover on the June issue was taken by Ron Simmons, and submitted by Bill Steele rather than by Bill Stone. Editor: James Jasek Typing and Proo freading: Mimi Jasek lllustrations: Jay Jorden Layout: James Jasek Printing : The Speleo Press (Terry and Susie Raines) Distribution: James Jase k The TEXAS CAVER is a bi-monthly publication of the Texas Speleological Association (TSA), an internal orga nization of the National Speleological Society (NSS), and is published in February April, June, August, October and December. Deadline for submission of material is one month before publication date. SUBSCRIPTIONS are $5 year. Persons subscribing after the first of the year will receive all back issues for that year. Single and back issues are available for one dollar each postpaid. The TEXAS CAVER openly invites all cavers to submit articles, news events cartoo ns, cave maps, photographs (any s iz e black & white o r color print), caving techniques, and any other cave related material for publication in the TEXAS CAVER. Address all SUBSCRIPTIONS and EDITORIAL material to the Editor: James Jasek, 1019 Melrose, Waco, Texas 76710. Evening phone is(817) 776-1727. When sending in a change of address, please irTclude you old address Persons interested in EXCHANGES and FOREIGN subscription should direct correspondt!nce to the editor.


ACCIDENT REPORT Precinct 11 Cave George Veni I'd missed being home for the first callout at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, 24 April 1983. At 9:30p.m., Allen Graf called to inform me that 8 cavers were trapped by rising flood waters in Precinct It 11 Cave CP-l1), in Rockcastle County, Kentucky. H e rattled off a list of names from the Kentucky Cave and Rock Rescue Team that w ere on the scene and stressed the message r adioed from the cave that I was specific ally requested to come. Why? Terry L eitheuser, Chairman of the National Assoc iation for Cave Diving, was on the .scene. Perhaps he needed diving back-up. \ i h atever the reason, I was on the road in 1 5 minutes with all of my gear. Arriving at the rescue command post, in the Bowling Green firehouse, I was put in contact wi th Terry who said he was t o o sick to dive and to ransack his apart ,;e n t at Mammoth Cave for more dive gear. . lUck Martin, a local ham radio operator, \'ould drive me to Mammoth and then to the :e scue site so I'd be fresh to dive. Our ride was uneventful other than the radio equipment which kept us in con contact with other hams and, via tliem, the rescue team. Within 24 hours t h e entire East Coast ham network would be tie d up to service the rescue. After the two hour drive, at 80-90 m.p. h., lYe arrived at the cave. TV camera floodlights burned our retinas as we drove int o camp. We considered "accidentally" running over a couple of newsmen just for grins. Terry, Dennis Robertson and Geary S c hindel briefed me on the situation. About noon Saturday eight cavers from Cincinatti had entered the cave. When they h a dn't exited by midnight, two team mem bers left on the surface discovered that heavy rains had sumped out the entrance. The rescue was on. P-ll has over 5 miles of mapped passages whic h include a main stream passage that flows past the entrance to a downstream passage, which eventually sumps and re-67 surges at a spring about 1,000 feet away. The eincinatti team, comprised of 6 experienced cavers and 2 novices, had gone surveying in the cave and would be waiting in a high and dry passage about 1800' from the entrance. As I geared up for the dive in Terry's equipment, he, Geary and I couldn't help but reflect on how close the three of us came to being trapped, the day before, by rising water in Koppel Cave. We were going to retrieve dive gear I'd left there on a previous trip to a level assuredly safe from flooding rather than leave it in a "probably safe" area. We arrived at the 180' long low-air passage leading to the gear only to find the water rising at a rate of 1" per minute. That was a mere 40 hours ago -the same time the Cincinatti group had entered P-ll. to be trapped by the rain that had threatened us. Now a little time was needed to become acquainted with s oraeone else's gear. Soon a 4x4 was carrying us the remaining 1/4 mile to the cave. The water's edge was only a short stoopwalk down the slope of the alluviated, former spring, entrance. It was 4:20 a.m.; the line was tied, the gear was checked and rechecked, regulators working well, tank pressure at 2500 p.s.i., turnaround pressure at 1800 p.s.i.; it was time to dive. The sump was initially a bit tight, requiring the tank to be dragged by hand, but it soon opened to 3-5' high. Descriptions of the cave sized the sump from a stoopway to a crawlway and from 40' to 1,000' long. After 80' it tightened to a crawl and came up into air passage within another 20'. A low, wide passage extended straight ahead. The dive line was cut and tied off, the scuba was abandoned, and I was crawling off down the passage dragging an ammo-box and small backpack stuffed with space blankets, food and water. It was about 300' before the cave opened into walking passage, but af-


ter 700' more it sumped again. Side passages and domes were checked but none went far, so it was back to the first sump for scuba. Eventually the gear was at the second sump and it too was pushed, as was a third sump 150' beyond it. As the fourth sump was approached, the character of the cave had drastically changed a narrow, high, swimming-deep canyon. I was almost positive this was the wrong passage. Sump 3 was unlucky in three respects: first was the realization of being in the wrong passage; second, the turn-around point on air had been reached; and third, the dive reel fell apart. After the long trek back to sump one, the passage wall could be seen receding away towards the correct route. Unfortunately it appeared to sump and shouldn't be attempted without a working dive reel. The revised plan was to return to the surface, brief the team on what had happened, fix the reel and try again. Depressed and deep in thought at diving out without having contacted the eight trapped cavers, I was startled by a sudden loud noise. Dropping thE. pieces of the dive reel, I hastened my movements to the entrance while trying to fix my free-flowing second regulator. It was soon obvious that the regulator was O.K. and not the source of the noise. I surfaced to find 4 pumps straining to lower the water level in the entrance. The barrage immediately followed: voices, hands, people, cameras, questions, maps, praise, disappointment, planning -the sweet silence of the cave had ended. The dive reel couldn't be found; scrap plan "A" of an immediate return. Two more divers were soon to arrive from Indiana, and they'd be in better shape to push the cave than 1. My trip had lasted over 6 hours and I'd been without sleep for almost 30 hours. Prior to their arrival, other things had to be done---discuss plans, change into dry clothes, radio home that I was out and alive, radio work that I wouldn't be in that day, force-feed tylenol to Terry (whose fever spiked to 103 degrees F.), answer the infini te innane questions of the media, and finally try to get something to eat, only to find that the media had eaten it all. It was about 2: 00 p. m. on Monday when Stephen Maegerlein and Jeff Forbes arrived 68 to do the second dive. They were given a thorough briefing on the rescue, the cave, the sump, and were soon ready to enter the water. Maegerlein was first in. He had some initial difficulty due to the usual combination of silt-out, dive-line entanglement and cramped quarters, but once he was underway Forbes was quick to follow. As the bubbles disappeared, we all turned and left the cave to sit out the long wait of their return. Ten minutes later there was a commotion at the cave. The divers found a note on the far end of my dive line: "HELP. 8 CAVERS ON A LEDGE 180 0 UPSTREAM. LEAVE HERE. ONLY NEEDE D FOR ENTRANCE. MON. 4/25 1 2 noon; in: 11:00 a.m. SAT., 4/23. GAH.Y BUSH". As it turned out, what appeared to me t o be a sump, not wearing my own mask with prescription lenses, turned out to be a low-air space. An hour after I'd left, Bush came to check the water level at the sump, found my di ve line and left his note. This was tile turning point in the rescue. They knew that we were outsi d e and that they soon '.;>Quld be too. It als o eliminated our speculations, proving t h a t our guesses of where they were and that they were all right were accurate. The next aspect of the rescue was t o wait for two more c ave divers to arriv e At about 7: 00 p. m., two teams of div e rs entered P-11. Steve Hudson and Forre s t Wilson went to make contact with the CilV ers and to take them supplies. Maegerle in and Forbes went into the passage I h a d been in to retrieve the annno-box and p:1c k that I'd lef t a few hundred feet back j'ls t in case it was the correct passage, t hen took those supplies to the cavers t o o While they were in, two more big pumps been brought to the cave. Later, close midnight, when Hudson and Wilson were com ing out after taking in dry clothes and sleeping bags, the sump had begun t o r e spond to all the pumping by opening a ver y small airspace. This caused consider" b l e problems for the divers since a baromer ric high pressure cell sat on the cave a 1 t e r it sumped and now, to equalize the sure, the cave was sucking in a large v olume of air including fumes from the pumps. Fortunately the fumes stayed lo W and didn't ge t into the high passage the cavers were camped in, but Hudson and Wilson had to endure it for 1800' and "/hen they got out, they weren't exactly a )iC-


ture of good health. The diving was over. It was now up to the support teams, wetsuit teams and the pumps. All night long the support team members took turns at sitting in the cold 54F water, inhaling noxious pump fumes, L o break up whirlpools that developed at l:ne 6" diameter hoses of the large pumps. T h e small whirlpools would suck air into t h e pumps and shut them down. By morning ,here was a couple of inches of airspace, the wetsuit team went in at about 9:30 :'. m wi th extra wetsui ts for those in :;de. It was close to 11:00 a.m. when the i r s t Cincinatti cavers exited the cave, a rly three days to the hour since they :!1t in. The pumps now began to fail, but kept working until noon when everyone .'; out and they could be finally shut Within 15 minutes, P-ll cave was m p e d a g ain. .11 that was left was the "welcome to < surface world", answer to the press, pack-up and the clean-up of the rescue .J:', In retrospect, the rescue went off . rly well and was probably the longest cave rescue since Floyd Collins, . controversy has arisen, as could be as to whether or not the Cincin L t eam was foolish f or going into a like this in wet weather e"H h \' -+"\c? \ In my, they made all the right moves, but suffered due to misinformation. They knew that the entrance sumped out, so a cache of supplies had been placed in the cave just in case this would happen. They checked the weather and it predicted light rain. Having been in the cave before under similar conditions, and not having the water level appreciably affected, they felt it safe to enter. Careful just the same, they left a gauge in the stream before departing to survey a dry passage. Unfortunately, instead of light rain, it poured. By the time the stream gauge was checked and the entrance was reached, it was too late. Some argue that they shouldn't have gone into a cave with a low-air entrance during a forecast of rain. This raises the question of what is a "safe" forecast? 10% chance of rain? No chance of rain? Fifty year drought? This question of what is "safe" or "dangerous" is dealt with on almost every caving trip and with the mundane events of everyday affairs. The answer is usually very subjective and arbitrary, beyond following certain basic guidelines. In this situation the guidelines were met and criticism due to an inaccurate weather report cannot justly follow --.. f/f f.d(J' u, ............. u.",f' he IS' $OWl12 Q S"EIIlJ


SUBTERRANEA AMO Dust, mud and sweat burning the eyes. Muscles ache; blood runs from stinging scrapes and scratches: Sharp, jagged rock triumphs over mere mortal flesh. And the passage goes on; No turning back now Lungs labor longing for better, more satisfying air and Strained joints grind screaming for rest, but The passage, the silent, secretive passage, goes on; No turning back now Up ahead, the passage opens suddenly, exponentially. Burning eyes open wide and stinging cuts become a memory, Hearts pound hard, but with excitement and expectations now, Not strained exertion; No turning back now The surprised room's vastness and beauty stifles any speech; ye t Mouths hang dumbly open, futilely attempting speech Just the same Thrusting crystal all about, beautifully returning light from headlamps and handlights; Sparkling stars in a night of columnar stone. Silently, majestically, motionlessly cascading flowstone gleams in silent resplendence. And still the cavers gawk foolishly; their pain, discomfort and strain forgotten. Dripping, dripping water dominates the scene. Joe Ivy 5/21/83


TSA CONVENTION Comfort, Texas Minutes of the TSA Meeting TSA Convention Comf ort, Texas May 22, 1983 Officers present: President -Jerry Atkinson Vice-President -Jon Cradit Secretary-Treasurer -Jocie Hooper, as-sisted by John Gilliland who was kind en ough to take notes for us. A g roup of 30-40 folks attended. COMMITTEE REPORTS: A. FINANCIAL REPORT January 1, 1983 to May 20, 1983 Balance December 31, 1982 Bank Petty Cash Credi ts to date: 1. TSA Dues 2. Book Sales 3. Interest Debits to date: 1. Photo Salon Awards 2. Cashier's Check Fee 3. Advance for TSA Convention 4. TSA Publications 5. TSA Convention Mailout 6. Office Supplies, Xerox, Stamps 7. Langtree Project Mailout Balance to date: $1,104.55 22.50 $1,127.05 $ 202.00 5.00 15.25 $ 222.25 $ 50.00 3.00 460.00 34.00 70.00 15.78 27.00 $ 659.78 $ 689.52 71 B. PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE REPORT John Spence, Chairman, states he has had lively sales this spring. The "Introduction to Texas Caves" has sold 70 of 100 copies; "Texas Cave Humor" sold 100 of 100. Bill Russell has revived tne "Fault Zone" to "influence good reporting" he states. James Jasek, Texas Caver Editor, reported on the status of the magazine. He states the subscriptions are down by approximately 100 from the end of last year, however we are still ahead of the number of renewals usually recei ved by this time each year. The Caver needs 200 subscribers to break even. We currently have enough money to finance 2 more issues without receiving more subscriptions. In February 700 were sent to induce subscriptions from other cavers in Texas. James reiterated the lack of new material which makes planning issues a problem. C. SAFETY AND TECHNIQUES REPORT Jerry Atkinson, Chairman, requested that the Cave Rescue Number be printed on a sticker and mailed in one of the Texas Caver issues. It was suggested that the call-down list be further improved and disseminated to key people around the state. A letter from Tom Vines, Chairman of the National Cave Rescue Committee of the NSS, was read. The NCRC needs to establish a regional contact person for Texas. It was agreed that Jerry would contact Terry Jones and try to reestablish him in this position. It was also suggested. that the TSA try to inform police departments of Texas Cave Rescue through


the NCRC and a national law enforcement magazine. OLU none. NEW tlUSINESS: A. James Jasek has proposed a non-profit status for the TSA. Those in favor pointed out that it would reduce ouc bulk mailing rates and that donations would be tax deductible. The only negative aspect is the amount of paperwork required to es tablish this status with the IRS. James' motion passed unanimously. B. Mike Walsh requested the TSA donate $100 toward an OTR (Old Timer's Reunion) mailout. It was suggested that the TSA loan OT1<. the IIlOney rather than gi ve it outright since the two are separate entities. The final proposal which passed was for the OTR Committee to fund an expanded issue of the Texas Caver with an OTR bulletin included. This would both boost OTK attendance and Texas Caver subs criptions. This Will be the August issue. OTR will be held September 25th this year at Krause again. C. Randy Waters made a motion to have TSA Convention meetings on Saturday rather than Sunday. This would allow those who wish to participate in the meeting and go caving to do both. It was pointed out, however, that the meetings are very important and if held on Saturday would be too abbreviated. Furthermore the officers are very tired Saturday evening from organizing and running the day's program. It was voted to continue holding the meetings on Sunday morning. D. We are out of TSA patches and decals. Jay Jorden volunteered to look into the cost of making new ones. Bill Russell suggested, and it passed, a redes ign of the TSA emblem to look more cave oriented. A" contest" will be held to find the best design. Entries are to be limited to three colors (as is the current design) and can be ma.iled to Jocie Hooper or turned in at this year's OTR. Jocie's address 72 is RR 3 BOX 149-S, Leander 78641. The entries will "oe voted on by the TSA membership at the mee ting held at OTR. John Spence requested the TSA expend $300 for reprinting 100 copies of Texas Cave Humor. It was agreed upon on the condition that the copies would be ready to be sold at this summer's NSS Convention. F. A di scussion was held regarding the lack of material and/or good material for publication in the Texas Caver. It was proposed that each grotto des igna te a reporter to wri te or collect informa tion to send in. The editor will be responsible fo r contacting these grotto reporters in case of a lack of articles. The discussion continued regarding the 8ustamante episode as reported by Texas Cave r. The gene ral consensus was that not only the editor, but the cavers of Texas suffer the quences of "editorial choice". This is inherent in free journalism, how ever, and specific constrictions should not be placed on an edi t o r. hveryone agreed that we need to "b reak the vicious ci rcle" and ge t some good articles in the Caver and thus en couraging a wider readership which will in turn produce more and better articles. G. The TSA greatly thanks the father of Darrell Rees for allowing us to use his ranch for our convention camp ground. We thank Peter Strickland for the fine facilities. NEXT TIME 1 ,HINJ( J"II "BRING MY WIFE AlONG SO Wf C.AN CIlRR'{ MoRE QUIf'MNT


Randy Waters Having acquired a new case of Kinepak, .1e headed out to Poley's Pi t near New t; aunfel s. Several more charges were set iT; this strong blowing cave wi th 12 more f<.et of passage cleared. Al so, small El U_,He Cave in Bexar County was blasted in a t : ght restriction which had ai r flow. H ore blasting will be done in both caves. W hile checking out some new subdivision r adcu ts nea r 1604 and 281 in San An tonio it was discovered that VOights Bat Cave, a 5\j-'oot diameter is-foot high chamber, was d t's troyed. And they call that progress! A i so, in \>lest Bexar County, a new subdivision has located one of its roads next t o the entrances of Wurzback Bat Cave, one o r trle county's largest. Gating attempts proved worthless and it now is a sacrifice cav e where many of James Watts' friends party. The bats do not come anymore and th ere were even reports last year of kids s hooting rows of bats down from the ceiling as they slept. The cave now serves as a collection bin for beer cans and trash, while spray painte rs find the main room p articularly interesting. The cave and 2 acres above are now for sale at $27,000. H interested call (512) 736-1302. And, over near New Braunfel s, another 73 subdivision is uncomfortably close to highly decorated Little Gem Cave. So far, the cave has escaped major vandalism and talk of gating the entrance is under way wi th the owne r. Earlier this year, a successful attempt was made by a neighborhood kid at tearing down the gate in Robber Baron Cave, a 4,400-foot maze cave inside the San Antonio city limits. One brick wall was destroyed allowing the gate to be removed. It took five trips and several cavers to redesign and rebuild the wall s using rebar and 900 pounds of premix concrete. The cave is now open once again to any interested grotto. Contact me, Randy, at 826-4103, Kurt Menking at 824-7230, Eric Short at 828-2442 or Bob Cowell at 647-0582. We have the keys to the gate. Since the regating, several SAG cavers removed f rom inside the cave 18 full trash bags of garlJage collected over the past 2 years throughout the cave. On the last weekend in May, three SAG cavers visited a large ranch between Honeycreek Cave and Spring Creek Cave. Seve ral pi ts we re shown to theUl; some ve ry deep. One was explored to a log jam 60 feet down. It was reported by the owner that some of the pits blow tall clouds of steam in the winter, bringing up visions of connecting to Honeycreek or Spring Creek Caves. Flint Bridge Cave ---Randy M. Waters Back in 1976 when I was working as a chainman for a local survey company, we were clearing a center line for a subdivision (subdestruction) road when I discovered the beautiful sinkhole to Flint Bridge Cave. Wi thin a week we dug open an entrance and surveyed the accessible parts of the cave. One end of the bottom passage led to a diggable restriction, but when we returned a few days later, the entrance was sealed by bulldozers preparing the road surface. At least we were able to document the cave before all knowledge of its existance disappeared from the surface of this planet. Sometime later, I returned and drove around this development. Lo and behold I Where Flint Bridge was, the pavement is now cracking and sinking somewhat. Nature's revenge---


;' San rail '" '" ;' '/\ "./\ \ '" \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ Flint Bridge Cave Bexar County, Texas Survey: 9 Jonuory 1977 John CrOI' Tennl Kern Gary A Poole Randy M Watlrl, Draft 26 May 1981 Unit,: Brunton on Tripod 30-Meter Steel Chain I"EET o 10 20 50 I :e-,,:e-"A:a "a o II 10 ItETEII. M E T E R 5 o 0 1 0 20 50 10 F E 40E T III 50 10 20 70 23. e 71 1


San Antonio Spring ---Randy M. Waters The San Antonio Spring is located behind Incarnate Word College in the Olmos Flood Basin in San Antonio. It and San Pedro Springs, 2 miles to the southwest, are the two natural major resurgence springs for the Edwards Aquifer in Bexar County. From its resurgence, it travel s 100 yards to merge wi th Olmos Creek, thus fonning the San Antonio River. Normally in the past, t he water exited at around 100-150 cfs, but due to periodically recurring droughts and overpumping by the San Antonio area, ) ften one can go as far as 30 feet down i.nto the spring before encountering water. The only biology seen by SAG members .. ; e re te tras, minnows and a large snapping :urtle. During heavy rains when the ':pring is below flow level, the water from ;:he flooded Olmos Creek backs up and cas (:;lde sin to the well, thus ac ti ng as a re '.", arge cave. Since 1978 the San Antonio CoQLings are rarely seen to flow, mainly ,''.Ie. to the overpumping for the San Antonio F pulation. Within 2 miles downstream of spring are three water pumps expelling (';e r 20,000,000 gallons a day into the San P';-,tonio River in order to keep it up to O'N. Something like robbing Peter to pay \ 4ith all the extensive development over \',2 recharge zone in the north side of t'.:xar County and ever increasing mining of l:! .. ground water, the days of a clean and L :ll Edwards Aquifer seem to be numbered. TSS: William Elliott There have been numerous surveying projec t s over the past few months so Texas caving must be alive and well. The Texas Speleological Sutvey has straightened up its data and map files. TSS is the repository for cave data in Texas, so send us you r maps, photos, reports, survey data, and old field notes. We serve as an information service to Texas cavers. Most of our files are organized by county and We can copy files for you at a nominal cost. The files are loaded with leads, and we have a large topographic map file to help you locate caves. TSS has recovered the long los t Comal 75 County file, missing over ten years. This was sent to us by one of the Boerne caven; who responded to our ad, and we are very grateful. Charlie Yates of Austin has contributed field notes and cave maps, mostly from the Sutton County area. This is just the sort of thing need from you experienced cavers out there who have accumulated material over the years. TSS was recently re-activated as an Internal Organization of the National Spele ological Society. This means we will contribute our publications to the NSS Cave Files. If we develop any indexes to our data, that will go to NSS too. At this time we are considering duplicating most of our files for backup storage somewhere in Austin. Most of the material is irreplaceable, so it would be a great loss if there were a fire, for instance. Some day we may develop a computer data base but it would take hundreds of hours of data entry to do it. We are finishing up our work on the Llano, Blanco, Gillespie County survey. It is hoped that the Texas t1emorial Museum will be ready to publish it this fall. Send your material from these counties immediately, if you want it included, to: James Reddell, Editor Texas Speleological Survey Texas Memorial Museum 2400 Trinity Street Austin, Texas 78705 UTG:Wiliiam Elliott The UTG has been active this spring. In May Mark Minton, Jerry Atkinson, Duwain Whi tis, Andy Grubbs, Wayne Russell, and Sheila Balsdon worked in Spring Creek Cave, Kendall County. They mapped about 800m and explored another 400-50Om to a sump, which had been dived by Wayne Russell and Bill Stone several years ago. This is another base level stream cave in the Lower Glen Rose and it trends southeast toward the back of Honey Creek Cave. The passage is reminiscent of HCC: ankle to chest deep water, some swimming, and about 5m wide with 2m of air space. There were so many bats that the survey almost turned back, especially when Duwain and Andy were covered with bats climbing out of the water to gain altitude. The sump


Fee t 0 5 10 15 .......................... -----0 2 3 4 Meters San Antonio Grotto San Antonio Sp-ring_ (The Headwaters) Bexar County, Texas B / Survey 25 July 1978 a 24 July 1980 Gary A. Poole Gearoe Veni Randy M. Waters Units: Brunton a Suunto', 30-Meter Fiberolaas Tape Draft: 2 January 1982 R.M. Waters Lenoth : 10.5m(34.!I') Depth : 8 .6m(28.2') Sprino is the main source for the San Antonio River a is formed entirely in Austin Chalk N Projected Profile 0 0 Water Flow Leve I o 0. Level, 24July 1978 (48th Day of Drouoht) 5 @lco M E T E R S II: o 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 8 6


GUIDEBOOK Sept. 23 -25 1983 Krause Springs Spicewood, Texas


TEXAS OLDTIMER'S REUNION 300 W MOCKINGBIRD AUSTIN, TX 78745 512-441-0050 TABLE OF CONTENTS Thanks To ................................ I Howdy o. T r S 1 Schedule .................................. 2 Looking Back With: Bill Helmer ......... 4 Bill Russell (History of Texas Caving) 6 Texas Old Timer's Reunion . 11 Map to T. O. T R 1 2 T. S. A. OFFICERS Jerry Atkinson ... Chairman John Cradit .... Vice Chairman Jocie Hooper ... Sec./Treasurer SPECIAL THANKS TO ..... TOTR would like to thank the following for their help in making this reunion possible. There will be many names to add after all is said and done, but so far these folks have gone beyond the call of duty: Old Timer's Committee Gil Ediger Chairman Mike Walsh Special Advisor/Treasurer Patricia Herrera Secretary Pete Strickland Construction Foreman/ Playground Supervisor John Spence .. Publicity/ Guidebook Editor Bill Elliott Guidebook Word Processor James Jasek Guidebook Distributor Speleopress . Guidebook Printer Bill Russell . Guidebook Contributor John Cradit Activities Director Mark Minton Speleolympics Austin 01' Timers Chuck Wagon It's not too late to pitch in. Contact any of the folks above if you can't fin d any way to help on your own.


HOWDY, ALL I HOWDY OL' TIMERS. first timers, two t:: m ers and guano miners, to the first Annual Texas Old Timer's Reunion. year's union expects to be the big g23t and best to date with over 300 bodies t(; s hare the good times. We've decided to meet under the spring-fed cypres s .:3 a t Krause Springs, since last year's ge>together was so great. We are assured there will be plenty of clean water f o drinking and swimming, but we're n g ing lots of free beer to be sure. WHAT THE HELL IS THE TEXAS OLD TIMER'S REUNION? T h e gathering serves many purposes, not t l l east of which is getting together for a g o o d time with fellow cavers and A special effort has been taken t e t e ach "Old Timers" in Texas caving but newco mers are more than welcome. This will b e ) u r chance to renew our old friendships a n e j m a ke new ones. l,';HAT OLD TIMER'S IS---TOTR will also i nclu de training and competition. It is s c L s duled for the 2nd weekend after Labor D a y s o that College Grot tos can encourage t heir new recruits to attend and take part i n ; h e various activities, see firsthand t h e use of vertical equipment, have a chanc e to buy equipment for the various sup pliers, and to meet cavers from around th e state. Don't be afraid to introduce y ourself or ask questions of those who s eem to know what they are doing. PLEASE WEAR YOUR NAMETAGS SO WE CAN ALL BE FRIENDS. 3 RULES AND REGULATIONSThe organizers have adopted the following rule: 1. There will be no other rules!!! We've adopted this stance on the premise that most folks who are smdrt enough to not like being hassled by authority are capable of being cool and not causing hassles themselves. If you find yourself in some activity which might otherwise alarm authoritarian types, please try to be cool about it. Discretion may very well be the key to mutual harmony. It would be unfortunate if anyone had less than a good time this weekend. Please do everything you can to see that everyone el se has the best time possible. With everyone wishing the best for everyone else, we can't fail to have a successful boogie. Thanks for your consideration. DOG OWNERS NOTE--Poison bait for coyote control may be in use in the area. If your dog tends to wander from camp, you may want to prevent it. In general, dogs which are amiable and likely to contribute to the general merriment are welcome to run at large. Dogs which are less than cool should be left at home or chasti zed into whimpering submission. OFFAL---Texas Cavers have long had a reputation for leaving a campground cleaner than they found it. Thank you for continuing that tradition. FIRST AID--A First Aid kit and supplies are available at Registration. PLEASE REGISTER--If you came in during the nite or somehow missed Registration, please register. The price of registration covers not only the regular $5 per night camping fee but provides free beer, soft drinks and a feast for all, come Sat. evening. The money also goes toward contest prizes and goes to help TSA throughout the year. This would be a good time for any TSA non-member to join, since the $2 savings would make membership only $1 (and don't forget the Texas Caver.) On the following page you'll find our schedule of events and we'll do our best to keep with it.


SCHEDULE OF EVENTS FRIDAY 23 SEPTEMBER 6 pm in evening ARRIVAL AND REGISTRATION: Fees-TSA Members-$8, non-members-$10, 6-12 year-olds-$2. FREE BEER AND GENERAL CAROUSING in the party area. SAUNA AND HOT TUB near the creek (if the water gets hot). MOVIES AND POPCORN in the party area. BEST STORY TELLER will be awarded a special prize. SATURDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 9 am-noon noon-4 pm 6 pm 7 pm 8 pm SUNDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 9 am 10 am Afternoon REGISTRATION CONTINUES: If you arrived during the nite and missed Registration, please take advantage of this opportunity to do so. We need your money. Door prizes will be awarded. You must register to be eligible. PUBLICATION SALES. SPELEO VENDORS. SPELEOSWAP MEET: TSA. TEXAS CAVERS. TSS, NSS. AMCS. and other publications will be available. Caving equipment, T-shirts and other items will be on sale in the Registration area. Don't miss the swap-meet. In the interest of safety we ask you not to bring worn rope or slings. SPELEOLYMPICS: Simultaneous events held in the lower area. HARD HATS MUST BE WORN FOR MOST EVENTS!!!!!!!! ROPE CLIMB-30 meters--men's and women's categories--best time wins--prizes awarded. LADDER CLIMB-10 meters--special Old Timer's Category--prizes awarded. OBSTACLE COURSE-Always a favorite--Iots of excitement--prizes--don't miss it!!! BEER CHUGGING--Free beer for contestants--prizes--special surprise for some entrants. TUG-OF-WAR--Grotto vs Grotto, males vs females, etc--no prizes--victory is its own reward!!! SPELEO-RALLY-Special Grotto event--includes Carbide Lamp Assembly, Rope Climb, Ladder Climb, Obstacle Course (one male and one female required), Survey Course (3 person minimum). FREE FEED: food--beer--soft drinks--all free till it's gone. AWARDS: Door prizes given--prizes awarded to contest winners--other special categories. DANCE/BOOGIE: Live and recorded music designed to bring out the sweat and animal nature in you. Multiple screen party slides--sauna and hot tub by the river. PUBLICATION SALES AND SPELEO VENDORS: Continues as per demand. TEXAS SPELEOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION MEETING: Election of officers. CAVING TRIPS AND RETURN HOME: Check with Registra-4


Notes from Bill Helmer Bill Helmer on the "hi gh ledge" in Caverns of Sonora. This was as far as local e x plorers had ever gone. He was part of the group that discovered the famous hel i cti te rooms. When I started caving, the U.T.S.S. old-timers were Holmes Semken, Ed Smith, Don Goodson, Arthur Carroll, Lynn Allman, Bob Holder, Jerry Chastain, Jack Props ma, Mel Huebel, Bob McClure, Charles Hilb urn and two or three other names I've forgotten. Semken, Smi th, Goodson and C arroll were the sober and serious sorts who kept the club going. Allman was a car freak who had the fastest '49 Ford hotrod on his block until it caught fire one day in his South Austin driveway and burned Up, Holder was a backyard mechanic and great inventor who must have completed at least two percent of his projects--one of which was rebuilding a Navy surplus steelhulled boat which sank every time it was launch e d and probably is still at the bottom of Lake Travis. Hilburn was the m adma n of the bunch. I'll later recount some o f the exploits of this legendary fellow who is long overdue some recognit I lon hlS feats, the least of which was a roadgrader and terrorizing the lrls in Scottish Rite Dormitory. 5 I : I i j' i I I I .. Some of the people who joined the U.T.S.S. about the time I did were Ken Baker, Don Snider, Dottie Payne, Nan Austin, Quincy Berlin, Nan Jones, Larry Littlefield, David Boswell, Fred Berner, Dave Kyser, Bob Jones, Bill Hettler, Dave Hannah, Jim and Joann McDowell, Bernie Hendrix, Bill Russell, Bill Thompson, Bill Cronenwett, Jamie Spence, Phil Waters and Don Boswell and Jamie Spence preparing for dive in Devil's Sinkhole, 1956. Helmer photo.


a bunch of others whose names also slip my dottering mind. The out-of-town cavers we soon met were Bob and Bart Chrisman of Abilene; Don Widener and Jack Prince of Dallas; John Harkey, Maurice Fox and Harvey Cartwright of San Antonio; and Harvey Jackson from Corpus Christi. Baker was a serious bat-and-salamander buff and true speleologist who, last I heard, was working for U.S. Parks at Carlsbad Caverns. Snider was the resident intellectual who went around quoting Proust and Sartre and other high-fallutin' crap; but we hung out together a lot because he was big on booze and parties and had about as much trouble getting laid as I did. (I hear he sold out and became a mathematician for the military-industrial complex in California.) Dottie Payne was the best-looking broad in the outfit but I couldn't handle the competition. Littlefield was a sharp caver and a fun guy who struck oil as a geologist in Venezuela. Berner, who was too bi g to squeeze through cave entrances much smaller than the Devil's Sinkhole, had a jolly disposition but somehow ended up a Houston cop. Thompson was a six-foot exMarine UPI photographer who looked like a cowboy out of a Marlboro ad and was the sort of gentle and soft-spoken fellow you wanted on your side in a bar fight. Cronenwett made the worst moonshine whiskey I ever tried to drink; part of the problem was using an old oil drum for the mash cooker. Waters was one of the craziest sons of bitches I've ever known, and therefore a great guy. He was thoroughly dedicated to drinking and screwing, and conspiring to violate local, state and federal laws and all Ten Com mandments. You needed a clean gun, a stag movie or an illegal abortionist, Waters was the man to see. I could go on and on, but this is getting boring. Bill Helmer helped edit the first Texas Caver in October, 1955, and is currently working on the editorial staff of Playboy magazine. These notes are part of his original "Confessions of a Reformed Spe lunker" manuscript and assorted notes on hi s photos. 6 Left to right: Bob Jones, Don Goodson, Bill Helmer, Bill Hettler, and snake killed in Red Arrow Cave, late '50's. Bill Helmer and Nan Austin in Pape Cav e "She wouldn't put out--at least not t o me."--Helmer. ) After learning to sweet talk people i n small towns, cavers often were able t o sleep inside instead of camping out i n winter. Some locations included fire s t a tions, movie theaters, and once the cells of the Rocksprings courthouse jail.


A of Social Texas History Caving By William H. Russell Organized caving in Texas is realtively recent. Probably the first group effort i n Texas Speleology was the W.W. II Pro jec t X-ray to develop a bat-carried incendiary bomb to be released over enemy cit i es. After W.W. II, caving returned to c ivilian hands, and by 1948 a diverse group of cavers, loosely coordinated by th e NSS, had enough information to publish NSS Bulletin 10, The Caves of Texas. Following Bulletin 10, more individuals became active and the first Texas NSS Grotto was formed in Austin in 1952. During the fifties, caving groups were organized across Texas and in 1955 the Texa s Caver began publication. In the same Texas Region of the NSS (now the Texa s Speleological Association) was organize d in the basement of what is now the old library building in Austin. Cavers f r o m across the state were present, but a larg e majority were from Austin and San Anto nio. So to prevent the few big grottos f ro m dominating the organization it was L eft to right: Tom White, Mills Tandy, B jll Cronenwett, Bill Russell, Charles H hi t e man, at 400 Foot Cave in Glass Moun t ain s 1959. 7 decided to have the Texas Region governed by a Board of Governors (BOG) composed of two delegates from each grotto. This would give the smaller grottos encouragement to participate, as they would not be outvoted by the numerical superiority of the larger grottos. Every "Texas caver" was a member of the Texas Region, but each caver participated in Region affairs through his grotto; those not in grottos met before the BOG meeting to choose two delegates for the unaffiliated. This system worked well during the rest of the 1950's as Texas cavers met frequently at caves and campgrounds. They shared two common caving areas: the Cen tral Texas area from Burnet to San Saba, including Gorman Falls, Longhorn Caverns and the Lemons Ranch,and the West Texas area extending from San Antonio to Del Rio and Ozona, including Caverns of Sonora (Mayfield Cave), Felton, Diablo, Langtry, Abyss, 0-9 Water Well and many others that attracted Texas' wide attention. One of the most enthusiastic Texas Grottos of the fifties was the Ozona Grot to, organi zed by hi gh school students Mills Tandy, Scotty Moore and others. This grotto pioneered numerous caves in West Texas. Enthusiasm reached such a peak that for a couple of years this small West Texas town devoted more space in their high school annual to caving than football. But the cavers graduated and those left behind went back to football.


This happy state of affairs, with most cavers harmoniously visiting the same areas, was seriously strained by the events of the early sixties. Before Cuddington (BC?), Texas cave trips from all grottos were conducted under the strong-Ieader-system, where one caver was in complete charge of the trip, supervising all rigging and personally belaying the less experienced cavers on each ladder. This fit in well with the generally authoritarian mood of the fifties: females at the University of Texas needed written permission from their parents to leave the dormi tory overnight and could only go on cave trips if accompanied by a Universityapproved chaperone in their car. Even underground things were different. I remember waiting an hour standing in waistdeep water for Fred Burner, the leader of an 0-9 Water Well trip, to arri ve and inspect our rigging. Before he could do that, he had to supervise the descent of the entrance drop, and then make his way to the second drop to approve the rigging before anyone could descend. Bill CUddington changed all this after the Carlsbad NSS Convention in 1962. He took a group of Texas cavers, who were already experimenting in the Langtry area with "unconventional" vertical techniques, to Helms' West Well, east of EI Paso. By the time the best vertical cavers in Texas had unrolled their cable ladders, Bill had bottomed the pit and prussiked back to the surface. Single Rope Technique rapidly spread throughout Texas, but with considerable political cost. Many old-time cavers were firmly convinced that one needed three independent lines to be safe--the two cables of the ladder and a belay rope. 8 Campsite at 1958 Longhorn Project. Left to right: Bill Russell, ?, Harvey Jackson, Carol Ann Parker Roberts, two Ozona cavers, T.R. Evans (hat), Scotty Moore. Mills Tandy photo. One line was NOT safe, and they would not be involved in allowing cavers to ris k their lives. Some changed their minds, but many once-dedicated cavers put away their carbide lights for good. Another result: the fast-moving smaller groups, made pos sible by SRT, were more democratic, with all members participating and no o n e leader responsible for all aspects of the trip. Bill Cronenwett working on communications system for 1958 Longhorn Project. M ills Tandy photo.


and James Reddell getting ready f ) r Iexico near San Jacinto Cafe, Austin, 1960. Mills Tandy photo. The second major change in Texas was Mexico. At the same time SRT was being introduced Texas cavers discovered Mexi co. San Antonio cavers began to visit G r utas del Palmito at Bustamant; UT cavers b e g a n caving in the Valles area at Sotano del Arroyo, Sotano de la Tinaja and Ventana Jabali; and Bob Mitchell's visit t o S otano de Huitzmolotitla opened up the h ighe r mountains and introduced Texans to d e ep pits. Texas cavers armed with SRT f ound serious challenges in Mexico and to amp some of the largest and deepest caves in the world. As a result, the or gani zation effort that once directed rexa s cavi ng turned el se where. Ti m es had changed. Before the first Texas Region C onvention in Rocksprings, cavers had foordinated several weeks of articles in local newspaper announcing the conven and had arranged for the mayor to the cavers. But during the six cavers learned Spanish to improve relations. 9 Orion and Jan Knox surveying Gruta del Palmito, Bustamante, early '70's.


Along with the changes in methods and locality was a change in cavers themsel ves. Outdoors was now the place to be. Mountain climbing, backpacking, canoeing, hiking and kayaking flourished as never before. Caving shared in this early sixties enthusiasm for the outdoors and the influx of new cavers was so strong as to determine to this day the social character of Texas cavers. Before the sixties, grottos and cavers were scattered across the state, but roughly represented the population as a whole; families with children and post-college-age individuals were relatively common. But with the overwhelming numbers of new college-age cavers, the sixties "liberal" lifestyle became the caver norm. Confl icts were inevi table. A carload of cavers stopped in Leakey ("lakey", not "leaky" please) and walked toward the cafe. The waitress looked out at the advancing cavers and flipped the "open" sign to "closed". Ranchers' wives were afraid to open their doors. Cavers decided that not only were the caves bigger in Mexico, but that once one crossed the border, the people were friendlier. So, despite an increased number of Texas cavers, caving in Texas declined and the discovery of major Texas caves ceased. The major problem was not actually the difference in life styles or the Texas rancher. It was the low priority given Texas caving. When time and energy were expended to properly approach Texas landowners, caving in Texas was still very successful. The best example of this was caving in the Carta Valley area by a group of cavers not known for their conservative lifestyle. Carl Kunath was willing to spend time to contact the ranchers and organize trips for cavers from all parts of Texas. These trips were quite successful, both socially and speleologically. Other factors also influenced the lack of success in Texas caving. Land ownership in Texas was changing. Hundreds of ranches passed from individual to corporate control or were absorbed into very large individual holdings. This change in ownership was combined with increasingly intense pressure for recreational use of rural land by ci ty dwellers. Many of the smaller ranches were purchased for recreational use of rural land by citydwellers, and almost all of Texas was 10 leased for hunting. Many Texas ranches now make more from hunting than cattle, and are used for visits by well-paying customers, not by strange groups of cavers who want in for free. Changing legal attitudes made the large ranch owner worry about liability. Not only was access made difficult, but the knowledge of the existence of many caves was undoubtedly lost when the small land-owner was displaced. The future, however, holds much promise for Texas caving. The same factors that contributed to the decline of Texas caving are now working to encourage it. Much of Mexico has been carefully investigated and this makes Texas relat i vely more prom i si ng. Techniques perfected in Mexico have enabled Texas cavers to explore far beyond the limits reached in previous years. The changing ownership patterns have blurred the distinction between city and country. Many landowners live in Austin and Houston, more accessble to cavers from the city than many o f their neighbors across the fence. Caving is changing, and these changes offer a n ex cit ing future. Terry Raines measuring ceiling height in Gruta del Palmi to, Bustamante, early '70's.


How TOTR Began It hardly seems like the sixth but h ere it is. Adding one more face to our shirt and it's a she, at last! She's har dly an old face but a welcome one. She joins a crowd that's been growing ever sinc e our first reunion back at Luckenbach i n 78 The crowd was pretty sparce, only about 40 or 50, not counting the bikers, W a ylon or Willie, but something about that part y went right 'cause we all left looking forward to the next one. The whole idea was patterned after the W es t Virginia Old Timer's Reunion, with the intention of bringing together cavers o f the Region to help promote the advance ment o f Texas speleology through fellows hi p and cooperation. Chuck Stuehm and Gil E diger, with the help of a few others, got b all rolling and it's been snowballing e v,-;r-y year as more and more people get the wO'd. Mike Walsh and Alicia Gale joined in a n d b y the next year in New Braunfels the c r o w d had more than doubled. New caver e l a t e d activities were introduced with t h e S peleolympics highlighting them. Slide shows were in constant motion as more s lide s were made of the ongoing scene. A fter some locals got upset and threw a f e i-' o f us in the ri ver we deci ded to take I O u!' s ce ne to the country. R eimer's Camp near Hamilton Pool and I-lest Cave seemed to be just the place so w e had both the third and fourth reunions t here with the crowd growing into hun d r e ds. The location on the banks of the Pedernales, surrounded by nature, sui ted U s wel l but our growing numbers led to our seai'c h for another location. K rause Springs was well-suited for our n e eds Cypress covered springs feed both the man-made pool above and the falls i along the cliff, dropping to the natural 11 Hot tubbing and cool tubing at Reimer's Fishing Camp, 1980. camping with restrooms, water and electricity available. The lower level, near the stream, is perfect for partying, hot tubbing and the like. With this set-up we decided to return this year for the Sixth TOTR. Since Old Timer's has drawn the largest crowds in Texas Caving it was decided by the TSA to use this gathering for the fall meeting and election of officers. Although TOTR and TSA are independent from each other, they have historically worked together with the common goal of promoting fellowship and growth within the Texas caving community. With something for everybody, we hope to make this the best gathering yet. So pack up the kids and friends and bring them on 'cause it won't matter how great this reunion is without you!! The Chuck Stllehm Award TOTR's founding father, Chuck Stuehm, has been credited for organizing several Grottos around the state, bringing in and welcoming scores of newcomers to Texas caving and providing an example for us all. Since his passing TOTR has established an award in his name, to recognize newcomers who have shown exceptional speleological enthusiasm. Selected by their peers, one new member from each grotto, involved less than two years, will be acknowledged at the reunion with the presentation of the Chuck Stuehm award. How fitting, for this award is meant to honor not only those who receive it but the man whose name it bears. Chuck's absence left an empty space we all find nard to fill.


MAP TO TEXAS OLD TIMER'S REUNION DIRECTIONS TO KRAUSE SPRINGS Directions from Austin: Take Hwy 71 west out of Austin. Keep to the right when the r oad forks from 290 at Oak Hill. Travel 35 miles west of 71 (past the Pedernales River) to the Spicewood turn-off. Turn right on 191 and dirve one mile north to Spicewood. In Spicewood turn right and follow the signs to Krause Springs. Don't miss the left off the gravel road! Directions fro. San Antonio: Take 281 north 18 miles past Johnson City, turn east on H w y 71 and travel 9 miles to 191 at the Spicewood exit. Drive one mile north to Spicewood th e n turn right and follow the signs to Krause Springs. Don't miss the left off the gravel road! j1wJad OlL9L xl 'O)OM a I 'ltd a6ojsod sn )nnca OlL9L Xl'OJ8M 'JO aSOJ laV\J 6101 J81\E8SBX 81 8L U


was lowered 3 or 4 inches by notching a travertine dam. A return trip will see an attempt to duck through. Several side leads were noted. On Memorial Day weekend a crew went to the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico. Duwain Whitis, Barb Vinson, little Sarah Whitis, Lisa Wilk, Brian Burton, John Gilliland, Steve Boehm, Chris Kerr, and Mark Hinton drove Minton's Speleobus out, enjoying a flat tire and clouds of mosquitoes on the way. They met Dallas-Ft. W orth cavers Jay Jorden, John Brooks, and t w o others at Three Mile Hill and camped o n Friday. That afternoon they went to Cave of the Madonna, which has a nice ent rance chamber, then a 3D maze leading to a fissure, 'which goes down 60ft, bells o ut, and drops 160ft to a large room. C hey looked for a fissure that descends I O Oft to a lake room, but couldn't find <.t. They had a long hike back to camp. i ) n Saturday one group went to Cottonwood to help some New Mexico cavers scrub off a boulder. A second group j:'lpped Ain't Dean's Cave (as opposed to )).::an's Cave) in one shot. They then found . 1000-1500ft cave in the bottom of a can ;:o n which Chris Kerr checked out. Then Lhe y happened across Andy's Cave, went in, 2 cl. d returned to camp. On Sunday some went co Three Fingers Cave to continue the sur 'le y in three teams. One team piddled a LJund, the second found some nice cave and t i e d it into the main survey, and the r.i1ir d found a lost, hanging survey, tied H. in, followed it, and pushed some leads t o w ard the end. The first (piddly) team met up with the third, then found a legendar y 100ft pit, which was a tight fissure line d with popcorn which they dubbed B. F Canyon. At one point they had to do a han ging bellycrawl over l-lopcorn. They ret urned to camp at midnight. On the way h o m e Monday they visited Sitting Bull F a lls and the small grotto there. O n the same weekend Paul Fambro led the r e c ently formed T. 1. Cavers of Austin on a trip to Bustamante. Part of the group got lost and never made it to the cave, but m o s t of them did and enj oyed the trip. Paul showed some fine slides of the cave at a r ecent meeting. On the first weekend of June Jerry Atk i nson, William Russell, Katy Ahrens, and Jeff Horowitz tried to find York Creek Cave in northern Comal Co. Unsuccessful 77 there, they visited the entrance of Ezell's Cave but didn't go in. An attempt to find Wimberly Bat Cave also met with failure. You can't win them all Whiteface Cave, San Saba County, was explored by Jerry Atkinson, Mark Minton, Logan McNatt, Katy Ahrens, and William Russell on the second weekend of June. They went to check a stream passage lead at the bottom, some 200ft below the surface. They found a mommy buzzard, which regurgitated, then left them with two, cute buzzard chicks. They climbed down through a steep, breakdown slope along a bedrock wall to water. The cave is essentially a large collapse somewhat like Devil's Sinkhole. They followed the lake for about 250ft. The lake trends North South and is about 35ft deep, continues down, and probably resurges 3 1/2 miles north at Cold Spring. Dead sheep floated in the water. There are plenty of leads on the ranch. The cave is in Ellenburger Limestone, and as expected has stale air, but not bad. No real air flow was noted. On the same weekend John Gilliland, Wayne Russell, and several other cave divers dove 37ft in Ezell's Cave. Details are lacking, but apparently no navigable passage was found at that level. A return trip to Langtry is planned for mid-July to continue the surveys of Langtry Lead and Langtry Quarry. This will be in conjunction with other grottos, as was the Harch trip. The UT Grotto is meeting this summer at the regular time, 7:30pm on the first and third Wednesday of each month at Painter Hall on the UT campus. Visitors often attend and are welcome. Several slide shows are usually given at each meeting. Grotto officers, elected in the spring, are Duwain whitis, Chairman, Brian Burton, Vice-Chairman, and Bill Mixon, SecretaryTreasurer. LAST ISSUE Over 100 cavers have not renewed their subscription and we are now OUT of money. The TC does not want to ask the TSA to fund the TC, so please get your fellow cavers to send in their $5.00 so we can complete the year in style. Better yet, get them to join the TSA for $8.00 and get the TC as a part of their membership dues.


. r-I \ -t I ) 'L.. NEVERSINK, VALHALLA, AND FERN CAVES, HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA Date: July 2-6, 1981 Caven,: David McAdoo, Vern Shellmann, Hank Ratrie, Nicki Reineck, Mike Hughes, Stephan Gregory, Jeff Rabek and, from Cleveland, Ohio, Cliff Rabek and "Bud" Hallard. Reported by: Nicki Reineck and Hank Ratrie During the Spring of 1981 spirit for the upcoming expedition to Golondrinas began to build in the Galveston Grotto. The arrival of 1340 feet of PHI rope increased the enthusiasm to a fevered pitch and the serious vertical cavers began to discuss testing themselves before attempting the 1100 foot climb in Mexico. Some members began their own training regimens to get in shape and the group came to an informal consensus regarding various feats which each potential member of the proposed Golondrinas expedition would have to accomplish. One of these feats was the successful completion of several drops in Alabama longer than most of us in the Grotto had previously attempted. Attempting these drops had the dual purpose of exposing weaknesses in the general vertical technique used by the Grotto and of 78 pointing out individual difficulties before attempting a pitch of the magnitude of Golondrinas Hembers of the Grotto left Galveston at various times during the week before the 4th of July and met in the parking lot of NSS headquarters in Huntsville on the morning of the 3rd. There we met Bill Torode, NSS Librarian, who introduced us to NSS headquarters. We had previously communicated with the President of the Huntsville Grotto, John Van Swearingen (J. V.) and he and a friend, Kim, came over to introduce us to the area caves. After a quick look at the entrance to Shelta Cave behind the parking lot we headed off into the lush southern Appalachian Mountains to explore underground Alabama. It was decided to do three caves in order of increasing depth. J. V. skillfully guided us to Neversink cave which is a pretty sink about 160 feet deep. 'l'he pit is about 100 feet across and so receives plenty of natural light and also has a small waterfall at one end. We rigged two ropes at different points and proceeded t o gear up and descend to the bottom. At the bottom we found several snakes and many, many salamanders. At this point we received a demonstr ation of vertical skill from a group o f rock climbers from Georgia that had arrived after us. They quickly rigged their rope and the first man, without a helmet, started to descend. As he des cended we noticed that their rope did not reach bot tom and did not have a knot at the e nd. When we advised them of their "shortcoming", the man descending stopped moment a rily. He began again but there was s ome confusion somehow and when he was a b o u t six feet from the bottom he was dropped on his buttocks with a loud thump. It t o o k him a minute or so to move much, but we ascertained that he was okay. Another o f their favorite tricks was to stand the rope without helmets during descen t s. We ascended and left them to work on their techniques. Another interes ting aspect of the d a y was J.V.'s demonstration of a Petzl descending device and a climbing rig with a Gibbs at the shoulder that he could s t e p out of while on the rope. Following our return to the vehicles several of us v ent out to dinner with J. V. and Kim. At d in ner J. V. des cri bed and gave us directi ons to the next two day's caves. He also t old


us stories of trying to drive his caving truck underwater and how to dry it out afterwards. Then we headed back to camp at an old quarry called Spencer's Gap. In the morning we packed up again and headed for Valhalla. We found it with no trouble and were able to drive one of our two vehicles within 100 feet of the pit. As we approached the entrance we were greeted by an 8 year old girl who was just finishing the 230 foot pit for the second t ime that morning. She told us that she often went climbing with her father and his friend, and that they had also done t he pit once the day before. We were eager to rig the pit as this was our first opportunity to use our new long rope. Valhalla is a spectacular pit and all enjoyed the rappel1. During the descent we tried out a set of walkie-talkies that Bud had brought along. They proved t o be very useful in maintaining communic ation between the top and bot tom. Vallalla is deep enough that yelling merely [Jroduces unintelligible echos and we have r o und this to be true of all the deeper that we have done. The success of [ h e walkie-talkies renewed our hope, ulti ately unrealized, of getting a set for ; olondrinas. One of our members decided to climb out hile the rest of us explored passages at f h e bottom. The passages are somewhat : aze-like but generally large enough for -';asy crawling. At one point during our xploration Hank could see back in the c ain pit and observed our early ascending e mber hanging just beneath the lip. Won { l e ring if the climber would be able to the lip, a matter which typical ,'.y causes him unusual difficulties, Hank o ntinued to explore. adventure in our exploration [( 1 0k place in a small room where the exit I ia s located above the floor in a wall of breakdown. One basketball sized rock was noted to be loose and each member duly c autioned as they crawled over it. As Cliff approached the rock, it became so l oose that it had to be allowed to drop. Cliff warned everyone but the rock fell an d bounced down the breakdown 00 erratic ally that Vern avoided it only with some d ifficulty. It made a terrific boom as it h i t the floor and shook the room. We returned to the bottom of the pit and met three climbers. This group had fortuInately arrived soon after Hank had seen 79 our climber near the top and had assisted him over the lip. They were not prepared to explore the cave passages, but they impressed us by climbing out on prusik knots. They were slow and seemed awkward as they climbed, but we remembered that prusik knots were used in many landmark climbs before mechanical ascenders became available. We returned to camp anticipating our attack on Fern cave the folloWing morning. J.V.'s directions to the Fern were good and after loading up with our long rope connected in four awkward coils we began to climb the mountain. The mountain was steep and we were slowed by a couple of strong downpours of rain and one wrong turn. The cave is in a small sink filled wi th a profusion of lush ferns. There are two entrances close together with the left one providing simpler access to the inner passages in spite of a small stream of water falling into it. A short climb through some breakdown brings you to a stream passage lined with sharp rock edges and featuring glowworms and white crayfish. The passage ends as the stream plunges into the void of Surprise Pit. At over 400 feet, it was far deeper than any we had done. A narrow ledge has actually been cut into the left side of the pit wall at that point and allows one to crawl out onto a mass of large breakdown material that has jammed at the top of the chasm and forms a bridge. There may already be a name for this ledge but with the drop only inches away as you crawl along it, we called it tne "Crawl of Death". A couple of us took several long, hard looks at it before starting. The breakdown bridge is fairly roomy and level, which was fortunate because Vern decided to fire up his homemade carbide lamp. We prefer to give Vern plenty of room for this operation because his gas flow control is less than perfect and occasionally he walks around with a blowtorch on his head. Nobody precedes Vern through a crawlway. This popular pit has had so many cavers passing time on the breakdown bridge that a shelf on one side has been converted into an art gallery. The smooth workable mud of the cave has been used as a medium to build models of every imaginable object. Averaging a couple of inches in size the figures include animals, caving vehicles and of course cavers engaged in


all manner of act i vi ties. Every notch, irregularity or hole of that wall has a mud caver climbing into, over or through it. It is a fascinating display and one to which you are irresistibly drawn to contribute. David ingeniously rigged the pit from the bridge with double ropes by tying off the center of the long rope and lowering the two ends. This allowed us to rappell and climb in pairs. After the first two descended we always sent two up after two went down to keep someone on the surf ace at all times. The authors were the second pair down and noted as the first pair climbed out that rare and unpredictable but steady missiles of rock and mud landed nearby. So near in fact that we moved away from the landing zone to a safer position. Soon the firs t two were out and the third two were descending. From the bottom faint glows from the two carbide lamps could be seen. Suddenly a sharp cry was heard and from below one of the lights was seen to be falling. Frozen at the bottom we watched as the light turned over in the air and crashed to the rocks nearby. It took a long moment to realize with relief that only the lamp had landed and no body along wi til it. It took some ten minutes or so for Cliff to arrive and explain that one of those mud globs had caught his helmet brim and knocked it and his glasses free about 300 feet from the floor. Even a veteran would have been shaken we're sure, but this was only his third rappel. His carbide lamp was still in good operating condition, if not pretty, and one glasses lens also survived. Later inspection of the rigging area showed no loosening of any debris by cavers, so this stuff just seems to release from the underside of the breakdown bridge and we hope the whole works doesn't go someday. Some months later one of us was reading an old NSS report of a woman who had lost control of her rappel in this pit and suffered a very serious fall. The analysis concluded that this accident could have been prevented if the man at the bot tom had been on belay for her. Our immediate thought was that this 'Nas such an obvious conclusion why hadn't he seen his duty. Then the realization rushed upon us that we too could have allowed this to happen because that strange falling debris had 80 also driven us away from the rope at the landing area and no belay was being given to Cliff. If we had been thinking, We could have fulfilled our duty by retreating to a safe spot while holding onto the rope ends. We report this to re-emphasize the constant responsibility we all have to our team members to provide all possible safety support regardless of distractions that may be competing for our attention. The landing point at the bottom is an extremely steep breakdown slope, dubbed Cuddington's Cairn, which leads down to a continuing stream passage. At the top this s lope is a flat ter area wi th a pyramid shaped formation known as McKinney's Haystack and a register where we signed in. Consistent with the now established precedent, the only mishap during the climb out befell Cliff. With about 100 feet to go his foot Gibbs came off a n d slid down the rope. But this man is obviously a natural vertical talent and c ompleted the climb using a seat Gibbs and jumar. We weren't through with Cliff yet however. When "safely" on the bridge aga in he asked his brother to inspect somethi n g he was holding in his hand and, as t hey put their heads together, a spot o f Cliff's hair was magically consumed Jeff's lamp flame. We must say Cliff was very philosophical about the treatment he recei ved at our hands and has even l:e turned to cave with us again. The morn i n g after leaving Fern, he rushed down to NSS headquarters to join up. Cliff's 10 : a 1 caving organization, the Cleveland which he joined upon returning home, im:' l ediately recognized his expertise and v o r e d him vertical chairman. We laboriuosly pulled up the long r o p e recovered the Gibbs held on by the b o t and headed down the mountain. As an opportunity to exercise our verci cal technique the trip was a solid succ ess and everyone enjoyed the Alabama count r y immensely. With the nearest caves 2 0 0 miles from Galveston, we certainly f elt envious of those who live in the midst of such magnificent pits. We are now cons idering another Appalachian trip for t h is year's 4th of July weekend. The following trip and accident report ',.,raS cleared by Ron Kirbo and the National F a r k


service before being released to us. A co py was al so sent to the edi tor of AIDe rican Caving Accidents, Steve Knutson. Incident: New Mexico, Ogle Cave, Carlsbad Caverns National Park Uate: May 16, 1982 Reported by: William Bentley On Saturday May 16, 1982, William Bentley(22), Terry Hill (25) Pat Hill (2l) Dean Jennings(30), and Ronald Kirbo(cave specialist for the National Park Service) cl i rJbed and hiked the northeastern wall of Slaughter canyon to the entrance of Ogle cave at approx: 9: 25 A.M. The rope was rigged from the old single piston donkey e ngine cable spool which is bol ted into the surrounding limestone. The rope used a 300 foot Bluewater II-was tied off with several wraps on the spool, therefore taking the tension off of the tie off knots. A t around 10: 00 A.H. everyone was getting into their descending gear when it was discovered that Dean did not have a rappel rack. Ron decided that it would be easy to pass a rack back up, however a ledge at 1 10 feet down the 185 foot drop would hang up any object being pulled up. William Bentley was the fi rst to rappel down to the 110 foot ledge and got off the rope. Jjeing careful not to slip on the sloping ledge, he then tied his rack to the rope an d had it pulled to the surface. Then Dean rappeled to the ledge and got off the ro pe Ron Kirbo then rappeled to the It!dg e and attached a single Jumar to his sea t ha me ss on the rope. Wi th Ron now se cured to the rope Dean rigged his rack jus t below Ron and descended on to the floor of the cave. (The reason for Ron clipping on to the rope was to keep the r o pe from getting out of reach of the sloping ledge, this way he could swing back to the ledge. Dean then tied the rack to the rope and it was pulled up allowing William to rappel to the bot tom. Kon swung back to the ledge and switched gea r and rappeled. Pat and Terry Hill the n rappeled the entire 185 foot drop by passing the ledge. T he total trip into the cave lasted about 4 hours and a short break was taken before the climb out. Everyone climbing was using a modified Gibb s rope walker system, wi th the exception of l.{on and Dean. They used a Jumar inch worm sys-81 tem. William was the first to climb out. Terry started his cliub, and when at a point some 75 feet from the surface and just above the ledge where the rope is pinned tightly against the wall, a rock (estimated to be between 60 and 70 pounds and about the size of a car tire) dislodged 20 to 30 feet below him. The rock fell and hit the ledge and busted into several pieces. The cavers on the bottom scattered for shelter under ledges. For several minutes there was total confusion because of the enormous size of the entrance pit. (l85 ft. x 70 ft. wide.) Each shout was turned into echoes and com munication was difficult. After the dust had cleared, it was determined that Terry was unharmed and still able to cliub. Ron shouted to Terry to stop and check the rope below him for wear, ab rasion and damage. The rope checked good and Terry ascended out of the cave. Everyone el se climbed out without incident. Ronald later said that another point should be chosen to rig the rope at the entrance in the future to keep it as far away from the wall below the old donkey engine. This area is exfoliating and was in spots unstable and loose creating its own danger. Reference: W. Bentley Unpublished report, April 1983 MONTERREY, NUEVO LEON Date: January 21-23, 1983 Cavers: David Honea, Terri Sprouse, Peter Sprouse Reported by: Peter Sprouse A1 though this was primarily a shopping trip to pick up on peso bargains, we al so wanted to check out a lead in Casa Blanca canyon west of Monterrey. Before leaving the city we met with Larry Cohen for a cab ri to lunch. Driving west on the Saltillo highway we suddenly emerged from the Monterrey smog bank. A turn to the south brought us to the entrance to Casa Blanca canyon. The canyon is formed in the same spectacular vertically-bedded cliffs one sees in Huasteca Canyon. We had been told about a pit called Cueva de Aguila,located along the right side of the canyon, that had been partially explored by cavers in


the lat'3 l ':lbO's. The pit rel>0rtedly had a strong wind blo\ving out carrying much dust. did not see the cave as Itle drove in at dusk, and we set up camp at the end of the rOdd. Apparently it l!Jas formerly possii)le to drive farther, out the road is f10\. washed out. A b right moon over our camp created some fantastic images on the high canyon wall s. In the 1U0 rning we hiked farther up the canyon.\.Jhere we st()pped we c : .>uld see several cave entrances in the distant cliffs, including one large one. Driving back out of the canyon, we again failed to locate Cueva de Aguila. We did meet d local who said he cO'.lld show it to us nex t time, however. The following trip report was taken Habla la Abuela del OZTUTL, Vol. I, IV, Page 7. from No. DEST [NATIOH: Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico PEKSONNEL: John Brooks, Paul Vittlearo, Kevin Jones, Ann Lawson, Chris Tracy DATE: 13-19 March, 1983 RPO:<.TED tlY: John Brooks It \

full stomachs, we settled in for a long drive back to Fort Worth. DESTINATION: Wild Woman and Big Crystal Caves, etc., Oklahoma DATE: 27 March, 1983 PERSONNEL: Joe and Jenny Giddens, Ed Poynter, Russell Hill, Cynthia Hill, Jay Jorden, Jerry Chisum K EPORTED BY: Jay Jorden After Joe contacted Jerry by phone at h i s home near Turner Falls, a trip was h astily --but efficiently nonetheless -organized to the Spade Ranch. I got off \

to a low waterfall that vanished. The other side went up to a mud slope. Naturally, the water got deeper and deeper -and it was c-c-c-coilld! And the mud we are talking about serious mud here, folks. Big blobs of it came raining down on us as we climbed further. Finally, the cave basically ended in a choke higher up, and we returned to the surf ace, only to find that the weather had turned colder, and we were soaked to the bone. Undaunt ed, we found anot her cave to keep warm in. Heanwhile, the rest of the crew was exploring around and Joe, Russell and Jerry were trying to remove a boulder from the entrance of one cave. Someone happened to look at a watch and realized it was nearly 5 p.m. and quitting time. The sun was sinking into the west and a chill had begun to settle. Joe went for his van to shorten the trek back, while Jerry led onward to another group of caves. We mus t have gazed into a dozen entrances; there were too many to count, beyond them. One led down a long crack about 25 feet to a canyon passage. It intersected with two other passages that both led out to other entrances. The area was honeycombed! Finally, though, a horn was heard and retreat called. After bidding Bruce and Jerry goodbye, all migrated southward to a Mexican food restaurant off Highway 77, and then to the lights of the Metroplex. The following Trip and Equipment Failure Report was taken from HABLA LA AIWELA DEL OZTOTL, Vol. 1, No. IV, April 1983. DESTINATION: Cedar Hill, Texas; Grapevine Dam (also: EQUIPT. FAILURE report) DATE: 17 April, 1983 PERSONNEL: John Brooks, Jay Jorden REPORTED BY: Jay Jorden I was sitting at home minding my own business on a Sunday afternoon when John blasts by in his Karman Ghia. He mentioned something about caves, then set a des as Greenhills Environmental Center. That sounded good, so we headed out. (Cavers have to be ready to cruise at the drop of a hat.) Soon we were lost in the Hill Country and looking for ca.,res. Suddenly, we came upon a thenbrilliant idea. We would go practice rappelling. But where? The answer was clear and as unmistakable as an Indiana mud 84 crawl: Lake Grapevine. It was back to Lakewood and outfitting with rope and vertical gear, then to John's for more of the same. Inside of an hour, we were rigging off the spillway, the height of which We overcautiously estimated to be 38 feet, plus or minus. We rappel led over the iron railing, to the amazement and consternation of the lake tourists. The 350-foot Bluewater was double-rigged on the rail -a little overkill, you say? Oh well '" better safe than sorry. After several rappels for a warmup, the crew got down to serious business --blowing the guano and cave mud off their vertical gear and s trapping it on. John used the trusty rope-walk, while I opted for an inchworm. After a couple of rappels and climbs, John yelled down from above that he'd had an equipment failure. As he lifted up his rack to rig in, the brake bars fell out. The nut had somehow loosened from the end of the rack and was nowhere to be found. Egad, what a misfortune. But not to b e swayed from his obj ective, and being a true caver against all odds and perils John elected to walk down to the bottom o f the drop, then climb again. Several curi ous onlookers parked their vehicles t o watch the training/practice session; none of them, thankfully, were Corps of Engineers heavies. The session drew to a close with the slow decline of the setting sun. To round out the day of speleologically oriented activity, we stopped by La Cave in Dalle s but its entrance was closed. Another t r i p was planned as the sojourn ended. ANALYSIS OF EQUIPl'1ENT FAILURE: It ,,a s considered in passing that the cavers h a d entered the Twilight Zone. "No, there is nothing wrong with your rack i)ut since Rod Serling never made an ance, this incident must simply join bizarre occurrences that have no 10gL al explanation. POSSIBLE PREVENTION: Using Teflon p ipe thread tape would provide a more snug ht, or perhaps two nuts could be used. If all else fails, grab a pair of Vise Grips twist that mutha on there good. The following trip report was taken from Habla la Abuela del OZTOTL, Vol. I, No. V, Page 2.


DESTINATION: Worth Ranch, Palo Pinto Co. PERSONNEL: Bill Gabriel, Jay Jorden, Eric Spears ])ATE: 5-6 May, 1983 REPORTED BY: Jay Jorden On a trip out to Mineral Wells and Palo Pinto during the week, I visited a meeting of the Palo Pinto Historical Association and there met Bill Gabriel, a Fort Worth real estate man. After discussing caves, he showed an interest and asked me to acco mpany him out to Worth, a Boy Scout c amp, to see some caves out there. We were taken by one of the children of scout master Allen Johnson to three caves, all basically long crevice caves, but one with a slight amount of solutional activity. W e talked wi th Mr. Johnson, who invited t h e ])-FW grotto to make a presentation on c aves at some time, and also left open the p ossibility of doing some rappelling out t here. Cliffs about 50 or more feet high c a n be found on the ranch. Incidentally, t h e Historical Association provided some c ave leads, and also invited Spears and o thers to give a slide show or other talk o n caves of the area. Mr. Johnson's scouts mentioned there is at least one cave on Cow Mountain, which o v erlooks Possum Kingdom Lake. 'J ,1e following trip reports were taken from NTS S CAVER'S ECHO, Vol. II, No.5, Pages 1 3 May 1983. TRIP llliPORT TO WILD WOMAN, rlIG CKYSTAL, AND BITTER ENDER A p ril 30 and May 1, 1983: Jarvis Tousek, Milrincipal cave of the area, which should become J:l favorite cave of the NTSS: Wild Woman Cave. The entrance to Wild \.loman is a fairly difficult squeeze through cracks in the rock, both vertical and horizontal. Fearful and painful, it was a wonderful introduction to a marvelous cave. The cave features some large and impressive active formations, such as the Snow bank. This travertine flow stretches for a length of about 50 ft., with its top about ches t high and its base somewhere hidden in the water. It appears to be floating gracefully, as if it were actually ice. We took our time in this loTell-decorated passage, fascinated by the speleothems we found at every bend. Rudy was interested in the "lava blobs" we found imbedded in the walls and floor in the last half of the passage, Mike took pictures of everything from the giant cow pie to the Snowbank. Meanwhile, Jarvis was trying to swim to the original ent rance to the cave at the other end, but the water was too high and he couldn't make it. We all had fun wading in the water and emptying the sand from our sneakers-next time we'll wear boots. There is plenty of passage still to see in Wild Woman; sometime we would like to spend more time exploring in this beautiful cave. tole emerged dirty and tired from the crack in the rock with just enough daylight left to find the campsite described to us by Jerry (bless his heart) as being just across the creek from Bitter Ender. The campsite was beautiful, with a grassy, rockfree area perfect for tents. A fire was quickly built, hot dogs and pot of chi li were produced, and the eight of us proceeded to pork out in a manner befitting cavers. We retired to the tents almos t irnmediately after this exercise in gluttony, and slept soundly until about midnight, when the l-lirtd began gusting through the area without mercy. The "dome" tents stood the '-lind' qui te well, but those of uS with standard two-man jobs found ourselves


repitching our tents after every strong gust, or every five minutes, whichever came first. Georganne and I gave up first, and went to call on management of the Hotel Wayne. Wayne was by himself in the van, you see, and we just couldn't see letting him spend the night all alone in there on such a scary night. It would have been a violation of ethics---what are friends for? He welcomed us, and we stretched out in the van and slept the sleep of the good and just. The next day, we tackled Bitter Ender Cave. Rudy and I pushed a passage to the left of the entrance, which featured mostly rocks to crawl over. It did have a nice little travertine wall, and some walking passage in the back. This led to some breakdown, through which we could see the room that's just in front of the duckunder. After rejoining the rest of the group, we decided not to try the duck-under. This decision was partly based on the fact that we already had a rope ladder rigged for the pit entrance, but mainly on the fact that the duck-under was ten feet under the water. We cavers are very practical. A new hole was found near Bitter Ender which may be a new cave. Jerry plans to check it out after the water goes down, or when he can check it with the right equipment. Fanette was able to poke her foot into an air space just beyond a sump. One never knows what may be hidden just a few feet deeper. -----------Bill CAVERNS OF SONORA While I was on the March caving trip to Langtry, I decided I wanted to see more of that part of Texas. Not taking the side trip over to the Caverns of Sonora while on that trip, further whetted my interest, and made a return visit to that area inev-itable. About a month later, I had my chance. I managed to get a Friday and Monday off, and I made preparations to take advantage of the opportunity. My transportation was to be a full dress, touring motorcycle. I packed everything 1 'd need for four days on the road, some of which included: tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, tarp, tools, flashlights, 86 several changes of clothes, boots, mess kit, etc almost everything I'd take on a normal overnight caving trip. Departure was Friday, April 15th. Temperature a chilly 40 degrees. Destination: Sonora, Texas, plus 4 days of sight seeing in southwest Texas. 330 miles later, at 5:00 p.m. I arrived in Sonora. About 15 miles west of Sonora are the caverns, and the campground where I set up the tent. Camping on the grounds a few hundred feet from the cavern, costs $4.00 per night. Showers, hot and cold water, and peacocks that run wild on the grounds are included in this price. Kerry will want to know that the restrooms were clean. You supply soap and towels, and your own mirror. I suggested they install a hook or two for hanging towels or shirts on. They assured me they would! Saturday morning 9:00 a.m., with no one else ready for the tour, Stan Colley, my guide, and I headed for the entrance. M mission to the caverns is $6.00 per person. Guided tour lasts a little over two hours. Since I was the only visitor on this tour, I was fortunate in getting an "extra special" tour. The Caverns of Sonora were formed without any outside entrance. There was and is no running streams at this cave -it is entirely solution or phreatic action. Practically all formations are formed f rom calcium carbonated minerals producing c alcite crystals. Cavern temperature is a constant 70 d egrees. Humidity is 100%. The cave is 98% active. Tour length is about 1 mile. Cavern length is better than 7 miles. Lowest point in cave is 175 feet. New passages have recently been opened to the public, and more are scheduled in the future. I was absolutely amazed at the huge variety of different types of formations that are present in this one cavern. Some of these are: Sodastraw Stalactite, Spearhead, Ribbon and Bacon Stalac tites, Draperies, Coral Globulite, ( cave popcorn), Helictites, Moonmilk and Calcite Nodules (geode) to name a few. The remarkable thing about the calcite formations in this cave is their ability t o let light through. This translucency is p redominant in most formations and gives eX tra beauty to formations that look like pure china, or glass. Helictites are hollow like Sodastr aws


and can be seen formed in all directions, including circles, in their gravity defying forms. I could go on and on. The experience is really difficult to describe. This cave must be seen in person to be believed. Don't pass up an opportunity to visit this cave I A special trip would be worth the time and effort, and like Stan said, take 5 rolls of film. I shot two rolls. I'm making plans to return again soon! I left Sonora about noon Saturday and visited Ft. Stockton, Balmorhea, Ft. Davis, Alpine, Marfa, Pecos, Midland Odessa, and Abilene on my way home, arriving Monday 4:00 p.m., 1250 fantastic miles later. Sometimes I smile for no apparent rea son. I've had some good memories!!! -----------Jerry NEWCOMEH.s TRIP The spring Intro. to Caving Trip for newcomers took place in the Walkup System on April 9. There were eight Olde Tymers and ten Newcomers. Sue and I led one group. Here's how it went. An overview of the geology of the area .,a s given and we pointed out some of the maj or flora during the hike to the cave area. We used Walkup Cave as an example of what continued vandalism can do to a cave and spoke strongly for cave conservation. Unfortunately, I have never seen a b2tter example of cave vandalism. Maj or cave features such as open and closed sinkholes, boreholes, false floor and skylight were observed. It was explained how the caver can get clues to speleogenesis by observing joints, scallops, and water flow patterns. Several caving techniques were demonstrated; including chimneying, canyon-hopping, and--oh, yes--crawling. We were horrified to find scores of dead bats on the floor. It appeared they had been burned out of their roosting cracks as soot was around each crack in the ceiling over dead bats. After exiting at the Beehi ve entrance we looked at a couple of the surface features, then entered Little Crystal Cave and had lunch. Afterward, feeling we had talked enough for an introductory trip, we insis ted the new people lead the exploration of Little 87 Crystal. We had two more things we wanted to demonstrate: (1) the thrill of wildcave exploration without a tourguide, and (2) that all time basic of cave exploration; look behind you occasionally to memorize the way out (especially when emerging from a small passage into a large chamber). We think both demonstrations went as planned. As we passed the main entrance to Walkup Cave on our way off the property, we came across about a dozen young people preparing to burn bats. They were nice people operating under the mistaken belief that they were helping rid the countryside of rabies. We explained that these little cave bats, Myotis velifer, were harmless -not at all the rabies carrier like the Mexican Freetail bat. We begged them not to kill more bats, if f or no other reason than for their great value to area farmers in the insects they destroy. We hope to keep in touch with some of these young people as they might be good cave explorers -with some guidance. We ate supper at the Dairy Queen in Quanah, near a picture of some Indians labeled "Geronimos Band", we didn't even know Geronimo was into music -----------Kerry (Editor's Comment: For those of you who enjoyed these reports and would like a chance to go caving with these folks, the address for the NTSS is North Texas Spele ological Society, P. O. Box 2448, Wichita Falls, Texas 76307. CONGRATULATIONS ... Some of our Texas cavers were honored at this year's NSS Convention. George Veni and Blake Harrison were made Fellows of the NSS, and George Veni also won the Ralph Stone Award in the area of Thesis Research. Besides winning several minor awards in the area of photography, Albert Ogden was named the 1st Place Overall Medal Winner in the Photo Salon. Congratulations to all of you, and if we left anyone out, please let us know so that we can publish this information. We also understand that out of 15 door prizes, our Texas cavers walked away with 5. Good going!


the Texas Caver 1019 Melrose Dr. Waco,TX 76710 BULK RATE us. Postoge PAID Waco, Tx. 76710 Permit No.14 23

Contents: Accident
report-Precinct 11 Cave --
Subterranea Amo --
TSA convention, comfort, Texas --
Grotto news --
Flint Bridge Camp map --
San Antonio Spring map --
Old timers reunion insert --
Trip reports.


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