The Texas Caver

The Texas Caver

Material Information

The Texas Caver
Series Title:
The Texas Caver
Texas Speleological Association
Texas Speleological Association
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Regional Speleology ( local )
Technical Speleology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )
United States


General Note:
Return to Mexican Bird Pits Contents: Feature articles: A Mexican Black Hole, Revisited / Jay Jorden -- The Return to Sorcerer's Cave / George Veni -- TSA news -- Speleonews: 24 Years Ago / Ken Larsen -- Equipment tips: Electroshock Treatment for Snakebite / Noble Stidham -- Grotto news -- Dispatches -- Trip reports.
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
Original Version:
Vol. 34, no. 01 (1989)
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
K26-04679 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.4679 ( USFLDC Handle )
11413 ( karstportal - original NodeID )
0040-4233 ( ISSN )

USFLDC Membership

Added automatically
Karst Information Portal

Postcard Information



This item has the following downloads:

Full Text


the Texas Caver Vol. 34, No. 1 ; Febru a r y, 1 9 89 CONTENTS F eature Articles ............ ..... ............. .... .... ........ ... ................ .................. 3 TSA News ................. .... ..................... .... ................................................. 9 Spe l eonews ................ ...... .................. ... ....... ... ............. ... .......... ...... .... 11 Equipment Tips ................. ........ ..... .... ........... .. .......... ..... ....... ...... ........ 13 Grotto News ......... ............... .... ..... ... ........................... .... ...... .............. 14 Dispatch es . .......... ................ .... ......... ............ ...... ...... ........ ..... .............. 1 5 Trip Reports ........... .................. ... ... ...... ........... . .... ........................... ... 18 FRONT COVER PHOTOGRAPH T exas cave rs, inc lud i n g J ay J o rd e n (I) and Scott Rote (r) at the bottom o f the entr ance d r op in H oya de l as Guaguas S L.P., Mexico. Photo copy righ t 1988 D e b o r a h Br own. I NSIDE FRONT COVER PHOTOGRAPH Raalen Brown at t h e entr a nce o f Scorpion Cave, Murr ay Co Oklahoma. Photo b y T erry H o lsing er. BACK COVER PHOTOGRAPH M a rk Porter in entr a nce room o f Fitto n Cave, Ark Photo b y T e rry H o l singer. Co-Editors Dallas Staff CAVE RESCUE J ay J orde n 1 5 18 D evo n C ircle D allas T X 7 52 17 2 14398-92 72 214-220-2022 Photographe r Dal e Pate P 0. Box 12 5 1 Austin, TX 78757 5 12-4 52-5 1 84 James J ase k Managing Editor Tony Sanders Call Collect 512-585-0234 The Texas Caver i s a bi-monthly publicati o n o f the Texas Speleological Association (TSA), an internal organization o f the National Speleo logica l Soc i ety (NSS). It i s published in F e bru a r y, April, June, August, October, and December The Texas Caver openly invites all cavers to submit articles. news events, cartoons, cave maps, photographs (35 mm s lid e o r a n y s ize blac k & white o r co lor print), cavi ng techniques and any other materi a l for publication. T SA dues are $10 /year whi c h inclu des the Texas Caver Subscrip t i o n rate is $5 per year f o r o u t o f state s ub sc riber s Purc h ase s ingle and back i ssues fo r $2 00 each by mail, post pai d; $ 1.00 eac h at conv e ntions. Sen d subscriptio n and back i ss u e requests to the Texa s Cave r U. T Station Box 8 025 Austin, Texas 78 7138 025. Pl ease inc lude o l d addr ess in address chang e corresponde n ce. POSTMASTER: Send address c h a nges to the T exas Cave r U. T Station, Box 8 0 25 Austin, T exas 7871 3 8 025 DEADLINES: Articles, a nnouncements, and material f o r publication must be submitted to the editor by the 12 t h o f t h e month preceding publication. EXCHANGES: The Texas Caver will exchange n ews letter s with oth e r grottos at the Editors' di sc retion Contact one o f the co-editors. COPYRIGHT 1 989 T exas Speleological As soc iation Inte rn a l organizat i o ns o f the National Speleological Society may r eprint any item first appearing in t h e Texas Caver as l ong as proper credit i s give n and a co py o f the n ews letter containin g the mate rial i s mail ed to the co editor s. Other o rganizati o n s s h o uld contact the co-edito r s Printed in the Republic o f T exas (...,) by PRIORI TY COPY, Inc Typeset at CONVEX Compute r Corporati on, Richardson T exas


t h e TexiUI Cav e r February, 1ggg P; 3 FEATURE ARTICLE S A Mexica n Black Hole Revi sited by Jay Jorden Destinatio n: Hoya de las Guaguas, Cueva de Cilitre, other sights; San Luis Potosi, Mexico Personnel: John Brooks, Steve Dalton and Jay Jorden, Dallas-Fort Worth Grotto; Linda Palit, Joe Ivy, Alan Montemayor, Scott Rote, Debra Brown, Chuck Kennedy, Paige Calloway, George Veni, Jo Ann de Luna, Manuel Flores, Kathy ? and other cavers from the Bexar Grotto, San Antonio area Dates: Tuesday, Nov. 22-Sunday, Nov. 27, 1988 For several months, the Bexar Grotto members had been planning to return to the Sotano de las Golondrinas area to do Hoya de las Guaguas and other deep Mexican bird pits in preparation for the "Big G" over the Christ mas holidays. Linda had bought a 1 300-foot PMI rope for this purpose Other cavers were invited to go along, and Steve and I made preparations to join them. On Tuesday afternoon, I drove to Fort Worth to meet Steve, who was just getting off work The San Antonio folks were planning to meet at 7 p.m Wednesday in the Alamo City. John had planned to fly or drive down to meet them. Steve and I decided to go down early swing through the Ciudad Victoria area for an ongoing caving project there and then catch up with the Bexar Grotto cavers at Tamapatz, the trailhead for Guaguas. They would be arriving there on Thursday afternoon. After other necessary arrangements were made we departed the city where the West begins at about 1:30 a.m. and drove all night to Laredo. There, the usual contingent of hunt-and-peck border bureaucrats was waiting for us and the rest of the pre-Thanksgiving rush when we arrived about noon After being stuck behind a smelly Transportes del Norte bus for 20 minutes, we went through Aduana, filled out all the appropriate and necessary papers, paid the customary "tip" to the sticker guy and were out of there. A stop at the deposito for ice and libations put us on the Inter-American Highway to Monterrey. We barely blinked as we roar ed through Sabinas Hidalgo and were in Monterrey, the Pittsburgh of Mexico, by rush hour. This d i sorganized assortment of boulevards dirt roads and burro trails stretched out across a smog-filled mountain valley was as much of a joy to navigate through as it had been on earlier trips. Monterrey is an effective argument for mass transit, freeway l oops and land use planning, among other things. On the south side of the city, we found a buffet style restaurant, run by a naturalized American citizen from McAllen who promised a turkey dinner the next day for Thanksgiving. But we had miles to go before we slept and so bade farewell to the Linares area. We arrived at the kilometer post for the turnoff to La Boca, north of Victoria, about 10 p m. The dirt road leading west toward the high mountains, was potholed and washed out in places It took more than an hour to near the turnoff for La Boca, which led to Los San Piedros and Urba Buena higher in the mountains. We decided to camp for the night and ask for directions and distances in the morning, as Terry Raines had suggested Thursday morning found us camped near the end of an unfinished road up a mountain canyon that was seven or eight kilometers past the turnoff for La Boca. Sev e ral locals told us it was a three-to four-hour drive to Los San Piedros and Urba Buena after we got to the turnoff. In the int.erest of time, we decided to head on south toward Valles to enable us to meet up with t he San Antonio cavers. We arrived in Cd. Mante just as the banks were closing for the day, and were briefly hassled by a rude city official when we tried to find another place to change pesos We hurriedly gassed up and headed south again arriving in Valles and the Cafe de Don Juan near the central plaza. We signed in at t he caver logbook there and ate, then swung by the other side of downtown for a look at the markets before heading south again. It was dusk when we arrived at the trailhead for Guaguas. San Antonians were midway through a Thanksgiving repast, complete with turkey and dressing and an assortment of pecan pies and other delica c ies. A number of cavers who had not been to Guaguas had hiked to the entrance after a mid-afternoon arriv al. The plan was for departure to the pit at 8 or 9 a m A rowdier-thanusual crowd of locals had gathered around the American entourage, with residents asking for handouts, grabbing at caving gear (and taking some small items )-generally making nuisances and pests of themselves. Several were caught trying to enter and/ or molest vehicles and their contents. We got to the point of having to pull the vehicles in closer together and shine bright lights at them periodically. An attempt had been made to use a coat hanger to get into Alan s truck. Someone else had a carbide lamp stolen The area does not afford a secluded camping spot, but we had been given permission to stay there. A guide had been arranged, along with porters for the large ropes-the 1,300 and a 600-foot length from San


Page 4 February, 1989 the Texas Caver Marcos. On Friday morning, after a sumptuous Mexican taquito breakfast served up courtesy of Linda, an early group led by George went off to rig the drops. The hike down trails from the road, past comfortable-looking thatched houses to a haystack hill, then down narrow trails choked with coffee plants and other jungle vegeta tion was pleasant and entertaining, as always. Our porter took the brand new, 1,300-foot PMI-still on the wooden spool-to the high side of the pit. We had determined that we didn't quite have enough rope to double-rig the -700-foot drop, so I lowered the full length to the floor, tied the rope off with a tensionless anchor and then pulled the rest of the rope off the spool. George and Joe said they had a short rope that could be tied off the other end so it would reach the bottom (for emergencies only, since most folks were not thrilled about the prospect of changing over a knot near the bot tom of a long drop.) With the remaining rope coming off the spool we narrowly avoided calamity with tangled coils Joe, who had brought the San Marcos 600-foot PMI, rigged it on the low side of the pit. And they were still climbing out, tandeming and singly, as dusk settled in and we, now on the surface, watched the incredible bird flight into the pit. About one hour later, everyone else started arriving and peering over the ledges The sun shone brightly and parrots and sparrows flew quickly over the pit, their wings flashing in the light. The 600 had been rigged, but with a butterfly knot over a bad spot in the rope-core damage-and that left less than 30 feet at the top to start to double-rig the low side Two more ropes were pro duced and these were tied on. That meant that climbers on the low side had either one knot or two to go over on the 500 foot climb out, depending on which rope they used. Then it was time for the rappel. All chose the high side for its splendor, new rope and absence of knots. Hoya de las Guaguas consists of two immense, interconnected domepits, each over 200 m high and 200 m in diameter. Mapped in the late 1970s by the Associa tion for Mexican Cave Studies, Guaguas was surveyed to -1540 feet or -465 m. Lately, cavers have been rappelling down the high side, at 202 m or about 680 feet, and then climbing up the low side, at 147 m or about 500 feet. The cave, which ends in a sump, was surveyed using a 410 m spool of thin-gauge wire. Picture the awesome depth of this black hole as a group of San Antonio cavers were the first to rappel its high side. Alan Montemayor was about to more than triple the length of his longest rappel as he crossed over the ledge. I was third to rappel the drop. Waiting at the bottom, we heard a great amount of whooping and hollering as cavers continued to come over the edge. The twin ropes rigged on the high side were swallowed up, along with the cavers, by the pit's vast ness. But descents seemed to be going smoothly, until Rob Bissett was about 100 feet from the bottom. We were watching him descend from a safe vantage point out of thr boulder fall zone. Suddenly, he gave a startled cry, then seemed to speed up greatly on the rope and plummeted toward the bottom. It happened too soon for anyone to react, and we had no hint of any previous trouble. "My hands are burned!" he cried as we ran over to him Indeed, he had severe blisters on fing e rs of both hands, exposed where he had been wearing bicyclists gloves. As we derigged him he explained that he had gone over the lip using four half-diameter steel bars which he immediately realized were too fast for him But he said that, for some reason he couldn't add the other two bars and instead tried a leg-wrap or two. That slowed him down for most of his descent until he went out of control near the bottom. He said the impact of the fall didn't hurt but his fingers did We had been sent down a walkie-talkie, but to our chagrin discovered that it didn't work We w e r e instead reduced to try to shout to the surface that we had an injury and needed first aid equipment. That fact was finally communicated and, with the next rappel, Steve Dalton brought an assortment of bandages, creams and even large leaves from a native plant that Manuel Flores, the resident botanist on the trip, said would ease the pain and prevent infection. While I busied myself with cutting off the dead skin from Rob's hands with a razor blade others gathered the large bandages. We had no gauze and no medical tape, but instead used the ever-useful duct tape to secure the dressings. Luckily, someone discovered an abandoned pair of full-size glove on a ledge which Rob wore over his dressings Rob was in good spirits and ambulatory, but we decided it would be best for him to immediately begin the climb out of the cave while he still had the energy One by one, the rest of the cavers descended, including Kathy, a teacher and friend of Linda's who had never been in a cave before. She was a real trooper descending the pit in fine form and then climbing out using a system that Joe hastily assembled from available gear She knew nothing of the equipment she was using and even so, managed to go over two knots on the way out! Incredible. And she even liked the experience and looked forward to her next trip. Our only question: what is she going to do for an encore? George and crew had brought extra rope for the climbdown into the second rom, but then it was debated whether the cavers really had the time for the extra trip. They decided instead to climb out, after many photos were taken, feathers from the golondrinas collected and views admired. And they were still climbing out, tandeming and


the Texas Caver February, 1ggg Page 5 sing ly as dusk settled in and we, now on the surface watched the incredible bird flight into the pit. A video tape and stereo soundtrack of that event would not even do it justice. But the experience left those who hadn't seen it, and espec ially those still on the ropes, breathless. When darkness fell, Scott Rote and I stayed by the low side of the drop to help cavers get over the lip. A lit tle extra bargaining and additional pesos had enticed our porter to return about 9:30 p.m. to retrieve the 600-foot rope and some other gear. The 1,300-foot rope had long since been hauled back to the truck, where cavers were standing guard in shifts to prevent any thievery. Everyone was back at the trucks and eating pot luck stew by 10 p.m. or so and it was decided that the cavers would drive to the Xilitla house, where a more secure campsite was readily available. Though all were tired, it sounded like an excellent idea. So the caravan started down the mountain and, after 30 minutes or so, made the Inter-American Highway once again. We arrived at the bird house by about 2 a m. and pitched tents by car headlights. The sun Saturday morning rose clear and hot in this jungle paradise. Many folks wandered down to the waterfall to take morning showers while others scouted around for coffee George, who had split off from the group Friday night on his way back to the states, had provided us with the name of the official in town to get permission for a bird house tour. We determined to go into Xilitla to try to secure same, along with changing pesos and doing a little shopping. The house in town where permission is secured is as striking architecturally as the gardens in the jungle where the illegitimate son of Aldous Huxley began his project in the 1940s or so We were told at the door that the official was not feeling well and we asked whether he would write a note for the caretaker to give us entry to the gardens. After a small wait, we received the note and were on our way to shop for an hour or so. Machetes fireworks, ice cream and other items were purchased When we returned to camp, dozens of cavers got an excellent tour of the Xilitla house and many photographs were taken. Cavers spent a couple or three hours wandering through this maze of buildings, gardens pathways, stairs that sometimes led to nowhere and bird cages festooned with plants. The Mexican government seems to be taking good care of the property and the jungl e is being held at bay. After the tour, we went around to the back of the main house and Scott Rote and Debra Brown enticed me to climb around the waterfall to some buildings in the rapids above. I hadn't planned to go swimming that day but got about as wet anyway. On Saturday afternoon, the cavers decided to visit Cueva de Cilitre, below the city Two trucks were loaded up and the pilgrimage made. All who had not seen the cave were impressed by its massive entrance and long climbdown to the room at the bottom. The lead in the back of the cave was very intriguing and everyone was trying to be reminded to bring a rope on the return visit. After returning to the trucks, Jay discovered he had left his camera case in the cave and so, in a whirlwind return trip of 20 minutes, he retrieved it. A gr ea t workout that day! One group went into town on a beer and fireworks run and all were treated to some s p ectacular that evening, along with a camp feed courtesy of Linda, Debra and others. Stev and Jay, who had to be at work Monday determined that they probably should hit the road to allow for a border crossing on the hectic Sunday return from Thanksgiving holidays. So the journey north began for them after fond farewells at camp. They drove all night, stopping in Mante for gas and arriving at Cd Reynosa at daybreak. A search for the typical vanilla purchases took about 30 or 40 minutes, s ince most of the stores were closed, but finally we were through Customs in a near-flawless 10-minute crossing and on our way back to Cowtown and Big D The Crump's Cave Project: December '88 Expedition by Woodrow Thomas The exploration and mapping of Crump' s Cave in Warren County, Kentucky became an official project of the Central Kentucky Cave Survey in May 1988. Since that time, 15 cavers from four states have participated in 10 trips into the cave resulting in 6 500 feet of sur vey. Currently, we have several going passages two digs and a climbing lead. Most of the cave is large borehole trunk with few decorations and many high domes. Our present survey efforts are focused on t he lower levels of the cave. Plans are being made for a week-long expedition to Crump's in December 1988 The dates are Dec 26 through Jan. 1. Our goals are to follow the water in the lower levels downstream, to find a way around the te r minal breakdown in the trunk passage and to document possible Indian mud glyphs in the cave. All competent, well equipped cavers willing to fol low the standard safety and conservation ethics are invited to contact me about participating in the December 88 expedition Survey experience is preferred but not necessary. A desire to cave hard and the ability to get along with others is a must. As co-director of the project, I am proud of our pro gress in Crump's Cave and I am excited about the future prospects. If you have skills to offer and are interested in joining our team, call or write me: Woodrow Thomas 951 E. Marshall St. Cooper TX 75432 (214) 395-4492 or David Doyle 21997 Louisville Rd. Park City KY 42160-9998 (502) 749-5205


Page 5 February, 1989 the Texas Caver The Return to Sorcerer's Cave by George Veni It had been almost seven years since Eric Short and I made the last trip to Sorcerer's Cave in May 1982. Now it was Feb. 17, 1989, and the two of us were r eturning to a cave most special. Sorcerer's is located in Terrell County, Texas. In 1978 Gary Poole, Randy Waters and I pushed the cave to smash the Texas depth record in grand style, for at t h e "bottom" of the cave was a stream passage that led deeper still. The "Sirion River" was pushed well over a kilom ete r incre as ing the cave's depth an additional 30 m to its record 170m. From 1978 to 1982 Sorcerer's set many other r ecords and proved itself to be proba bly the most in c r e dibly ri c h and diver se cave 1n T exas Conditions r a ng e d from dusty dry to di sg usting guano pud-ding you wade through, to c rystal clear water in an underground desert stream. The ; ; 'Mz Wall: Bukllghl up lhe Dungeon Drop, Dec. 82 cave had deep and shallow pits, crawlways and big room s, free-climbs and bolt climbs, traverses and breakdown wading and swimming. Sorcerer's was the only cave to be on BOTH lists of the top 10 longest and de epest caves in Texas. Sorcerer's also housed the state's long est stalactite, deepest bat roost, and the deepest human remains found in North America. The cave was determined as being rich in archaeologic and paleontolo gic materials, as providing a unique and insightful view of the hydrogeology of the region, and as having a rich cave fauna to include many new species, new records of species for the state and in considerably extending the range of many known species Sorcerer's was a helluva cave! When I left Texas to study out-of-state for a few years, the owner decided to "give the cave a rest" until I returned. And now we were heading back. Originally, Jim Bowden and I were to stay at the cave for a week and dive the sumps, refilling the SCUBA tanks as needed with his portable air compressor. Unfor tunately, he ended up having to work so the trip was shortened to the three-d a y President's Day we e k e nd. And Jim wasn't the only one to cancel. Heavy rain s dur ing the scared off Jane t Steele's team of a rch aeologists, who feared e vil spirits, that the ro a d s would b e washed out, and an otherwise wet a nd cold mi se r able weekend. Most of the r e m a ining group arrived o n Friday night, tlw 17th. Sinc e 1982 a n e w road h ad been built that we were to use The direct ion s see med easy eno u g h but we promptly got lost We decide d to camp where we to fix it. w e r e and l oo k f o r the rig h t ro ad with th e daylight t hat came all too soon. With t hat daylight, I easily f o und m y wrong turn a nd th e n f o und th e cave. Daylight a l so b r o ught car troubles. Bill S teel e broke his van's oil filter asse mbl y o n a r oug h pat c h of the wrong ro a d. H e a nd Tom S hop e e nd ed up spending the day in Del Rio futil ely sea r c hing for parts With the cave located, camp was mov ed, brea kfast was eaten gear was readied and the n ecessa ry coo rdin at ing was coordinated-but that took time a nd its toll ( as I overlooked to assign certain groups the ir tasks, which I 'll discuss later). The coordinating was complicate d by almost everyone having to leave on Sunday and not stay for the full three-day weekend The coordinating was complicat, d by almost everyone having to leave on Sun day and not stay for the full three-day weekend Sorcerer's is a long way to drive and it takes a lot of rig ging, so it's hard to accomplish much on just a 2-day weekend. Since we were there, however, w e' d do what we could. It was about 1 p m. wh e n the first group entered the cave to start rigging. Karen Markette, Eric and I led the rigging, and we were assisted by D a le Pearson and Scott Rote who helped ferry the ropes down. The rigging went very smoothly as the seven-year absence


the Texas Caver February, 1!189 evaporated; all the nooks, handholds and tieoffs were just as I remembered them. The cave did seem a bit tighter, but that's 'cause I'm not the emaciated youngster I once was. At a depth of 85 m, we got to the pudding-guano. As usual, this "Bubble, Bubble, Guano and Trouble Passage" provided considerable entertainment as first-timers wad ed through the muck with gas bubbles traveling up their pant legs, or otherwise belching to the surface. One spot, however, had gotten even more disgusting over the years. Great fun! Well, at least I thought so. Moving through the two large rooms and through t he breakdown climbs, we finally rappelled down the Riv e r Pit. At that point, 137 m deep, some of us donned w etsuits and others didn't. Those who did without were th e r e solely to bop the river passage. As long as you keep moving, you don't get cold. Now, normally there are no trips to Sorcerer's solely for people to bop the cave The agreement with the owner has been one of accomplishing some work The "bop" team of Deborah Brown, Hal Lloyd (in Texas from Arizona to become the proud daddy of baby Georgia) and Karen Markette were to r emove some miscellaneous junk from the cave, but I forgot to t ell them that. Same for John Holland and Heath e r Mack, who did the upper levels, going about 90 m deep into the cave The trash was stuff left from a group of locals who with the use of A LOT of h ardware, managed to reach the top of the River Pit in the mid-1970s Much of the stuff had been pulled out of the cave between 1978-82 but there is still more to occupy a few teams on future trips. The wetsuit teams pursued three objectives Chuck Cluck Scott Rote and Eric Short went to a dig lead off the main stream. It wasn't much of a lead to begin with but it deserved a poke They poked at the mud, digging small infecd e r for 5.4 m until reaching terminal grim ness. Afterwards, Chuck and Scott headed out while Eric joined Dale Pearson and I to do s ome surveying Dale and I had gone with the hoppers to visit the first downstream sump, then with Eric we surveyed the passage that was just dug open From there, we headed toward the River Pit and stopped near a large flowstone mass called "The Sentinel" to accomplish the second objective: Big Science! I'd recently begun a project of collecting speleothem samples from various Texas caves The samples are small and few in number. The purpose i s t.o determine their age and possibly make further d eterminations on the conditions in the cave and on the surface at that time. Past groundwater levels climatic/temperature conditions types of vegetation and rates of cave and speleothem development are a few of the things which can be learned from the samples In many regions, like Texas, caves are the only sources of this valuable geologic and paleoclimatic data. With the Big Science completed (and in spite of the above justifications it still pains me to collect the samples-1 guess that's good) we moved to our third objective and the last remaining lead along the Sirion River which did not require SCUBA tanks or bolt kits. The "Firf;t Downstream Lead", as we always call ed it, had been surveyed by Mike McWhirter and I for 42 m in 1981. Randy Waters had previously explored a short ways further to a dome with an upper and lower l e ad. Reaching the end of survey this trip, we did one shot and found Randy's dome Actually, it wasn t a dom e but rather a tall fissure which was filled with mud except for small openings at the bottom and top. W e sq ueezed over the top and added 84 m of narrow, zig-zagging muddy, tight and sometimes sharp and uncomfortable survey to the passage Just prior to the new end of s ur vey, the passage forked The left branch carried most, of the water, and Dale pushed it to where it pinched off, and the right branch ended at a constriction n eeding a hammer to explore any further. Total survey for the day was 89.62 m It was rath er frustrating since an extra 16 m would have moved th e cave up one notch on the state's long cave Jist. But Bill Steele later comforted us by saying we d set a new r e cord by surveying the deepest grim lead in Texas! Finishing with the survey we began d e riggin g th e cave It was 7 : 30 a m when we exited an 1 8.5-hour trip. It was nice to see the daylight and its promise of warmth. The cold February morning how eve r brok e that promise and required a good fire to warm our bones Soon everyone was up and we heard about what else had been going on in the cave and elsewhere. When the rigging of Sorcerer s began Wayne Bock leman Mark Minton, Mary Thiesse and Na ncy W e aver went off to check a l ea d given me by the ranch for eman. Mark later said the directions were exact and excell ent, so since the cave was so easy to find i t of course would not do anything-and it didn t. It was just an enla rged joint that was 11 m deep By the time they had finished with that no-go pit, Sorcerer 's was rigged and clear for them to go down. Wayne, Mark and Mary went in to do a bolt climb The original plan was to complete the climb up Echonoid Aven, off the Sirion River, which :Minton and Steele began in 1981. Due to Bill 's van trouble and the l ate start, they decided to check a dome closer to the entrance in the ceiling of the Sanctum Sanctorum, the largest room in the cave The climb went sm oo t hly and they got about 7-8 m high The next climb should eas ily get to the top. The return trip to Sorcerer's Cave was a mixed suc cess. It didn't have the stunning results of completed dome climbs or long stretches of new survey (as we expect to find beyond the sumps) but it was a good trip. Some survey was done leads were mopped up new climbs begun and a renewed interest in the cave was generated The cave has great potential but its easy leads have been pushed Future work will be technically oriented-diving or bolt climbing Anyone interested in helping w1th the effort is welcome to call m e for more informaticn. The river in Sorcerer's drains to t.he Rio Grande, 40 km away! The cave goes!


Page 8 February, 1989 lhe Texas Caver Eleventh Texas Old Timers' Reunion, Part 1 by Jay Jorden For the history books, 1988 will go down as the Texas Old Timers' that even a hurricane couldn't stop. Hurricane Gilbert did delay TOTR for a solid month, but more than 300 cavers converged on the banks of the Blanco River Oct. 14-16, undaunted by the weather, which by now was just a little cooler. Called "Little Arkansas", the Lone Man II Ranch section along the Blanco was tailor-made for a cavers' get-together. The water ran cool and clear-deep enough to swim in-past tree-lined slopes that leveled out into a small field suitable for cavers' vehicles to seek shelter, along with overhung limestone cliffs farther down the river. The Blanco afforded limestone pavement for hot tub placement. A Burma Shave-style sign near a lowwater crossing beckoned cavers to register for TOTR. David Locklear joined Sheila Knight and I for the drive from Dallas to Central Texas. David arrived at my house in his speleo-station wagon, complete with massive speleobumper, at about 6 p.m. and we departed about thirty minutes later. James Jasek in Waco had called me up and asked whether I could stop on my way down to pick up some bindery work for Terry Raines. About 8 or 8:30 p.m., we rolled into Waco and gave Jim and Mimi a call. Soon thereafter, we arrived at their home. Jim, who had been doing a lot of caving in Central Texas recently, said he wasn't sure if he could make it down this weekend. But he had a box of books taped shut for me and gave our group best wishes after a short visit. We were on the road. After trying to no avail to get on the southeast bound lanes of Highway 6 and back to 1-35, and a close encounter with a federale, we were again driving toward Austin. By midnight or so, we were in New Braunfels and looking for gas. But few stations were open! We found the right road out of town, then had to backtrack a bit for petrol, finding no stations open. We connected with the right road to the campground and found, to our amazement, that this county road deteriorated to levels lower than what we believed possi ble. It felt like we were in Mexico, or Carta Valley any way! Soon, we came off a hillside, down a steep embankment, and several washouts on the road, and it seemed we were in the Blanco River valley. Several miles later, with TOTR signs to point the way, we cro ssed a bridge and paralleled the north side of the river, then arrived at registration. It was closed, but a dozen or so people were up and talking as they stood around the bonfire. After crashing at 3 or 4 a.m. to the tune of crickets and running water, with a clear sky overhead, we awoke at 9 or so to find a beehive of activity. We registered and found all our old friends at camp, and folks said the Board of Governors' meeting was scheduled at 11 a.m. Also attending from the Dallas-Fort Worth Grotto were Mike Cagle, Steve Dalton, Ron Miller, Dave McClung, Sheila Hartman, Terry Holsinger, Bob and Will Obele and many others. Editor's Note: To be continued ... Cave Law Update from staff reports At the winter Board of Governor's meeting at Powell's Cave, George Veni gave an update on the status of the state cave legislation The groundwate r bill, HB 563 has been drafted and is being sponsored by Rep. Lena Guerrero. Some senators were going to be approached about sponsoring the bill, notably an El Paso senator on the Natural Resources Committee. The groundwater bill has been introduced. Cave law meetings have been scheduled one hour before each Bexar Grotto session. The cave bill has problems with the liability language. Hopefully those problems can be straightened out. U not, then the remaining sections of the bill-cave life, vandalism and some procedural aspects of permits-might be supported on their own. Some cavers had mixed emotions about supporting the cave bill, sans the liability section. Veni said that the final decision would rest on the meetings with legislative aides and attorneys. There is no protection for cave life at the present, he said, so supporting the bill might be a good idea even if its provi sions were significantly altered. Cave life in the bill includes bats, which have been especially threatened. On the logistics of introducing the legislation, Veni said that cavers might have to testify at two hearings instead of one. The groundwater legislation remains very important and cavers can get the biological provisions pushed through this session In terms of how to proceed, Jorden said that momentum has already been built up for the two meas ures. Fralia said cavers should push for whatever they can get this session. (Editor's note: as an update, Veni said later that the cave bill has been sliced into two por tions, cave life and liability Rep. Guerrero said she would not sponsor the cave life section. Cavers were


t.hc Texa.s Cav e r February, 1989 looking for someone to do so.) Veni solicited a consensus on how to proceed if the lia bi lity section had problems. He said a call was received from a lobbyist who has aided the Audubon Society, offering help with the cave law Officially, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will n either support nor condemn the bills. As an alterna-tive, Bill Elliott mention e d that s inc e the r eal goal o f the liabi lity sec tion i s an inc entive to landowners to se rv e cavers, over coming a psycholog ical barrier, if the liability ISS U e becomes an in s urmountable obstacle, that sect ion could b e repl aced with o n e in which lan downers get tax r elie f co n servation ease m ents, recogni tion in the form of r eg istration as land m a rk s or other ben e fit for preserv ing plots of l a nd That might be as mu c h of a n inc e n tiv e as the liability provision would be. Dutch as k ed if s pe cific to the the r e were objections liability Yeni said sec tion. attorn eys co nc e rned w e r e BOG Minutes TSA Winter Meeting by Jay Jorden Editor's note : The following are minutes from the Board of Governor s meeting Texas Speleological Association Jan. 29 19 89, at Powell s Cave near Menard, Texas. About 25 people attended the BOG m eeti ng. Officer s present: Joe I vy, chairman; Doug .!\li e n vice chairman. Ab se nt: Johanna Reece se cretary; TSA treasurer. The meeting was c alled to order about 10 a.m. I. Minutes from the last m eet ing. Minutes from the Board of Governors meeting at the Old Timers' Reunion n ea r Wimberley, T exas w e r e unavailable M j l vy to approve the minutes as no t read; s /Linda Palit. Jorden said the minutes would be pub lished in t h e Februar y Texas C a ver. Approved. II. Financial about the provision that would release l a ndown e r s o f gross n e gligence. It co uld perhaps be modifi e d hazards. Ernle G>.rn or Clllfornl& u I be Old nm.:r. Reunion. Sept. "SCI. Photo by J,.y Jordm. Report for t h e ensuing p e riod from OTR to the prese nt was unavailab le. h y said that current TSA. a r e runmng m the black. to ta e mto account certam Ill. Old Business. Too great an exclusion of liability could be a prob l em, several people said. Veni said trial lawy ers advise legislators on the l egality of provisions He said another question involved the possibility of language that would enabl e so -c alled "middlemen" such as organizers of cave projects to relay information to cave r s, who could then make an informed waiver of their rights. A. Texas Caver: Ivy said that cost estimates for printing t.Je C a ve r at Kestre l Printing Co. in Austin ros e substantially. It was determined that TSA would seek another printer for the C aver since officers became con cerned ah mt a possible doubling or mor e in price Doug Allen sai : that his employer Priority Copy in Austin would print the C aver at the old prices staying with the $300-per-issue budget. Allen said some donated time would be required. Jorden raised t he question of printing alternatives. Allen said that Priority would print theCaver in a timely fashion. He emphasized that current quality cou ld be maintained, as well. Palit, Jorden stated that publication quality should be maintained within


Page 10 February, 1989 the Texas Caver current budget constraints because the Caver has an excellent reputation in the caving community and that should not be compromised. Palit suggested the possibility of raising TSA dues to $12 or $14, if necessary, to maintain quality. Jorden said that, for years, the Caver has set the standard for regional caving publications. To increase contributions to the Caver, Ivy sug gested a newly appointed job position to contact Texas grottos, by telephone if necessary, and solicit material for upcoming issues to help the editors out. The editors have previously encouraged grottos and, in many cases, individuals to contribute material. Jorden said any help would be greatly appreciated. He said such an editorial assistant could help with sending out requests for infor mation to various grottos by mail and phone. There was much discussion of contributions, and lack thereof, to the Caver. Ivy said that former editor James Jasek spent a great deal of his own money and time making phone calls and writing letters. Quinta Wil kinson asked whether the position would receive a budget for phone calls, etc Jorden said a personal, one on-one approach of soliciting articles at TSA Conven tions, OTRs, etc. There were several motions and seconds to create the position of assistant. Linda Palit offered a friendly amendment to the motion that the position be expanded to a subcommittee. George Veni suggested $100 per year as a cap on expenses. Linda sug gested $50 between now and spring convention. Motions carried. Debra Brown expressed interest in the subcom mittee position. B Cave legislation : George gave a report on the status of the cave liability and groundwater bills in the Texas Legislature. He said the liability section was encountering some difficulty, and would discuss it in detail after the BOG. He urged cavers to phone and/or write their state legislators in support of the measures. IV. New Business A Spring convention: Doug Allen said plans were tentative, with meeting facilities in Fredericksburg and camping at Luckenbach. Activities were possible Sunday at Enchanted Rock. Dates are tentatively the first week end of May. As that date gets firmed up, the word will be put out. Doug said he needed all the help he could get because it is his first convention. B Southwest Texas Grotto: Ivy said that the NSS informed that the SWT Grotto is current as an internal organization again. Other grottos were discussed. C. Reports : The secretary and treasurer were absent Doug said that $1 fees were payable for the TSA work project. A generator was not available for a slide show Saturday night, he said. D Cleanup project at Longhorn Caverns: Doug said that a joint TSA project was being discussed to help clean up Longhorn, including some old Civil Defense rations. Texas Cave Management Association would like to be involved, said Mike Walsh. He said that cavers should get something out of the work they do-a dinner, refreshments or other kinds of reimbursement. He said National Park Service representatives visited Longhorn to view the situation. If cavers don't help, the state may have to hire a group in the private sector. And cavers had expense, he said, in the Kickapoo project-renting outhouses, etc. Andy Grubbs had additional information on the Longhorn concessionaire. Butch Fralia added details, saying cavers could take on other projects in state parks. George said at the initial meetings, cavers said they would help at Longhorn on a volunteer basis. Carl asked for a show of hands of cavers who would work at Longhorn without reimbursement. Doug said he at one time considered having the TSA convention there. A tentative date would be the first weekend (or third) of April. E. Devil's River Project: Butch mentioned the Devil's River recon project, beginning March 17 and con tinuing for a week through the next weekend. The most noted cave on the property may not be open for recrea tional caving, but all other caves on the 19,989.6-acre park are fair game. It's 4-x-4 country and ridgewalking is needed Standard state park release forms must be filled out. Supposedly, five pits are on the property other than Fawcett's Cave. There are no registration fees. Bunkhouses will probably be available with hot showers F Committee reports: Linda moves that committee chairmen must submit written reports prior to the next meeting, such reports to be available for inspection Friendly amendment extended the rule to all meetings. G. Caver mailing lists: Jorden mentioned some sub scribers are having problems getting their issues Rod Goke was commended for his work on the mailing lists Only a few people were having problems. Ivy said it was being worked on. H. State parkland: Cavers had a general discussion about state parkland and TSA's role in liaison with the state. Butch said that information on management wa.s traded at the most recent state cave task force meeting and he t>ltcited comments from cavers on access, permits search and rescue, etc. Linda suggested a roundtable dis cussion on those considerations and cave classifications. Butch said the four-step cave classification system was discussed at the meeting I. Powell's Project report: George said that 74 cavers participated and close to 3 km of cave surveyed or resurveyed. A more full report will be published in the Caver. The project will be held on the fourth weekend of February, June and October, though the landowner wants that schedule and other information formalized with him Linda wondered how air circulation will be in the cave in June with the bat population, etc Problems : George said survey markers in the cave and campground considera: ions need to be respected. All in all much pro gress 11ade V. Adjournment Mjs LO adjourn. Respectfully submitted, Jay .Jorden


the TexaB Caver February, 1Q8Q P age 11 SPELEO NEWS 24 Years Ago submitted by Ken Larsen Editor's Note: Grotto member Ken Larse n and his father, C huck have been involved in r ecent months in a project to go through all the old Dallas-Fort Worth Grotto minutes from meetings in the 1950s-1960s and compi l e them into a database on a home computer. In the process of going through this material, Ken has come across some interesting items, including the following discussion on the DFW Grotto patch that member Pete Lindsley recently resurrected. At the August meeting Pete announced that he hadfollowing an intensive search discovered the old pair of overalls h e had stashed away in his garage during the move t,o Allen. These overalls had a huge patch on the back. The overalls looked pretty much the way they would have following the last caving trip they were involv ed in Here, then, are the minutes for the overalls inaugural appearance at the grotto on Sept. 17, 1964: The meeting was called to order by Chuck Larsen as both Chairman and Vice Chairman were absent. Chuck gave a detailed report of the TSA Project 72 held a(, Powell's Cave. Pete Lindsley then arrived and presided over the rest of the meeting. Lee Skinner read the minutes from the August meeting as the Secre tary was absent. The minutes were corrected and approved. Saf ety and conservat,ion were discussed. Katherine Goodbar gave a report on the TSA meet ing. This was follow ed by a discussion of issuing membership cards to TSA members. Carl Johnson announced Louise Hutchingson has a phone: (501) 446-2233. The Cave Plan Fellow cavers, you're young now, digging enthusiastically on afternoon sinkholes, loading your trucks for every West Texas cave, spending all your vacation time in Mexican borehole. But what about years down the line when the crawlways peter out, the ropes get too thin to climb and you've squandered all your good leads in your youth? Sound unlikely? Friends, this has happened to others-those lost souls who wander the Old Timers' Reunions reliving past glories-and it could happen to you! BUT, with just a little foresight and a small invest ment in The Cave Plan, your underground future can be assured. How to start? Neighbors, it couldn t be easier. To get in on the ground floor, follow these few simple instructions for guaranteed r esults today. How does it work? The beauty of The Cave Plan is its simplicity. To get started, send six promising leads to The Cav e Plan. You'll receive printed enrollment instructions and membership cards with which you can recruit new cavers into The Cave Plan. For each new caver you enroll The Cave Plan will pay you back with three leads But, Friends The Cave Plan doesn stop there! For each new membe; your enrollee enlists YOU receive two more cave leads AATD, as a further future bonus, every thirdgeneration member will pay off a fantastic addi t ional lead to YOU. Now, you say, how does this work out? Well, let's say you enroll six new cavres in The Cav e Plan. You receive immediately 18 leads a 300 percent return on your investment. Now suppose each of your original six enroll another six members apiece. That' s 72 cave leads piling up for your future use Now when those members enlist their share, say another six each in The Cave Plan, that's an astonishing bonus of 216 promising underground prospects. As you can see from this modest example a smart investment of six leads TODAY, will pay off 306 times in the FUTlJRE. Of course for a more aggressive caver the sky s the limit! DON'T WAIT!! Even as you read this, enterprising cavers are flocking to join The Cave Plan. So dust off your caving gear and send your six lead enrollment to: SPELEO INVESTMENTS 515 Limestone Lane Driftwood, TX 78619 Update on West Virginia 0 ld Timers from Dale Ibberson Thanks to all who have come to the new site in Dailey W.Va. justifying our faith that acquiring our own on which to hold the annual Old Timers Reunion was a wise and sound decision. Without the record attendance at the Dailey site it would not have been possible to effect what progress has been made to improve the facility. Financing initial improvements was also helped by the fac t that repay ments on the mortgage were set low for the early years of operation so as to put money into the site. From now


Page 12 February, 1989 the Texas Caver on, our mortgage payments are due to increase unless we can come up with a plan to pay it all off and burn the mortgage. This is also important to enable us to increase our level of support for conservation and safety programs, in line with our purposes as a nonprofit organization What has been done at the site to date? We've built roads, had a well drilled put up a pavilion with toilets and showers, as well as installing less visible miles of water, electric, gas telephone and drainage lines Meanwhile, The Robertson Association board was able to begin in 1988 making small advance mortgage repayments from surplus, and has postponed all but the most necessary development until the mortgage can be paid off (set for 1994) and has refinanced the mortgage at 7 per cent instead of 13 percent. Here's what we would like to do to improve the site as soon as possible based on your input: 1. Open up the southern corner to camping. Drainage projects are working well, so this mainly entails putting in roads and a couple of bridges for access. Many hundreds of truckloads of gravel will be required to build even a minimal road. Road liner (to keep the gravel from sinking into the ground) is expen sive. Bridges require lots of concrete and lumber. 2. Improve existing roads, especially in the eastern corner between the registration tent and the Kiddie Cor ral. 3 Permanent toilets in the western corner, gen erally referred to as the "Party" campground. 4. Add trees Previous efforts at planting seedlings largely failed, with blame to be spread equally between soil conditions, animals (deer, etc.), hay cutting, and careless cavers. The current plan is to spend money for somewhat larger trees as opposed to inexpensive but vulnerable seedlings But a first priority is to retire the mortgage and release the interest involved to be used on site improv e ment, as well as an expanded grant program. Here 's the financial story: the land was bought in 1985 from excess money that had accumulated from successful OTRs a nd a $20,000 mortgage, to be repaid over nin e years Still remaining to be paid off in principal is $14,000. With a little extra help from all of you, we truly believe we can raise this sum this winte r and celebrate the 40th a nniv ersary of OTR in 1989 with a mortgage burning. The TRA board is committed to contributing to the TRA 40th Anniversary Fund. Trouble in Yellowstone from staff reports We noticed in a r ecent magazine that times must b e getting hard for the nation's forests A company that makes Murphy's Oil Soap took out an ad that says, "For years, we've been r esto rin g t h e beauty of America's woods Now w e' r e h e lping to r esto r e th e b ea u ty o f Yellowston e National Park." Of course, the ad h ad to h a wk the virtues of Murphy's Oil Soap, which cleans wood r esto r ing t h e b eauty of p a neling wood work, cabinets a nd oth e r wood s urf aces. "For over 75 years, w e' v e been h e lping to prese r ve America's w oods. And in this spirit, w e' re making a donation to the Fire Recovery Fund for Yellowstone National Park. If you'd lik e to h e lp too just make your donation payable to the National Park S e rvice. Mail it to Yellowstone National Park, P.O. Box 168 Yellowstone National Park, 'WY 82190. Together, w e can ke e p Am e rica's woods looking b eautiful."


g g E-anta


T.S.A./T.C.M.A. Longhorn Project for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Dates: April 1-2, 1989 at Longhorn Cavern State Park near Burnet, Texas Project: In the 1930's, the Civilian Conservation Corp built the Longhorn Cavern State Park. They and subsequent persons used the sinkhole area north of the cave entrance as a dump site. There now exists decades worth of refuse in this area directly overlying the cave itself! Neither the concessionaire nor T.P.W. have the manpower to clean this mess up though they would like to very much. Additionally, there are hundreds of Civil Defense containers in the cave itself left from the early 1960's when the cave was chosen as a C.D. shelter and whatever "visitor's tidbits" are hidden in shadowed crannies throughout the cave. All of this junk needs to be removed! This is a chance for us to do some sorely needed and worthwhile conservation work as well as an opportunity to camp in the heart of some of Texas' most beautiful hill and lake country and do some off-trail caving in Longhorn Caverns (ARE there really blind catfish in there?!?) ***Trucks, containers and refreshments will be provided. ***There will not be a registration fee. (Though there will be a registration) ---***Camping is primitive so bring your own food and water. ***We will be allowed ONE social campfire. ***NO PETS ALLOWED ***Shower facilities MAY be available. (more info at the project on this) LOHGIOltl CAVEltMJ ON PARK ROAD 4 JUST SIX MILES OFF U.S. 281 NESTLED IN THE SCENIC Highland Lakes For more information contact: Doug Allen 2944 Eckert Street Austin, TX 78722 (H) 512-476-9031 (W) 512-835-5998


Canwantion SCHEDULE AND INFORMATION When: April 28-30 Where: Fredericksburg, Texas *******************************FRIDAY*************************** 5:00pm-1:00am Registration and camping at Luckenbach ******************************SATURDAY************************** 9:00am-4:00 Programs and shows begin at Das Fest Restaurant's meeting hall. Publications and T-shirts on sale. Map salon entries on 4:30-6:00 6:30-8:30 8:30-??? display. TSA meeting Banquet dinner at Das Fest. Dinner will be a salad, chicken-fried steak, potato, a veggie and coffee or tea. Beer and wine are available separately. Photo salon entries will be viewed toward the end of dinner. Return to Luckenbach for carousing and swimming. *******************************SUNDAY*************************** Possible activities at Enchanted Rock. More info.on this later. **** If you have any questions about the convention or want to volunteer your much-needed help to the convention, don't hesitate to call: TSA (H) ( w) DOUG ALLEN VICE-CHAIRMAN 512-476-9031 512-835-5998 SPECIAL NOTES *****NO DOGS ALLOWED AT LUCKENBACH******* (this is not subject to negotiation> *****BRING YOUR SWIMMING TRUNKS****** ****BRING LOTS OF FIREWOOD**** ****EL PASO CAVERS RECEIVE A 50% DISCOUNT ON REGISTRATION FEES** DIRECTIONS From the intersection of Crockett Street and Main Street MILEAGES AUSTIN-SO (HWY 290> in Fredericksburg, head SOUTHEAST on Hwy 290 for ------6 miles-----to Ranch Road 1376. ********Look for the Boerne and Cain City turnoff sign Turn on Ranch Road 1376 heading Cain City and Boern e and go for ------4.75 miles----to the Luckenbach "drive-way ********Look for the Lone Star Custom Building sign, the TSA sign and a low water crossing****************************** CORPUS CHRISTI-225 DALLAS-280 HOUSTON-229 LARED0-222 LUBBOCK-327 SAN ANGEL0-14 6 SAN ANTONI 0-7 5 MIDLAND-278 EL PAS0-505 TIERRA DEL FUEGO-A BLOODY LONG WAY!


TSA CONVENTION PRE-REGISTRATION Hey! Register EARLY and SAVE $$$$$! Please include the names of ALL those pre-registering in the spaces provided. Costs at the convention will be $2 more for adults and $1 more for kids. Children are 6-12 years old. Kids under 6 are free. ADULTS ________________________________________________________ __ CHILDREN ____ Pre-registration fees: adult members-$10.00 X = __________ child members-$ 5.00 X = ________ __ adult non-members-$12.00 X = -----------child non-members-$ 6.00 X = __________ TOTAL= ________ __ *Make checks payable to TSA and send this form to: TSA SPRING CONVENTION P.O.Box 8026U.T. Station Austin, TX 78713 -------------cut here----------------------------cut here------MAP AND PHOTO SALON Map Salon-Entries will be judged on clarity, composition and aesthetic appeal. Photo Salon-Slides of caves, cave entrances and the cave environment in general. Entries will be judged on composition, photographic quality and uniqueness. Please include the name of the cave on the slide. There is no limit to the number of entries in either salon. Please DO NOT send originals! Send only good quality copies. We will try to return the entries at the convention but please include your address and telephone number with your entries in case we are unable to do so. The entry deadline for both salons is APRIL 14. Send all entries to : DOUG ALLEN 2944 ECKERT AUSTIN, TX 78722


t.he Tex!U! Caver February, 1989 P age 1 3 EQUIPMENT TIPS Electroshock Treatment for Snakebite by Noble Stidham H aving b ee n expose d to v a ri ou s rumors concern ing the u se of shoc k in the t reatment o f s n a k eb ite s, I asked fo r a nd r ece iv e d from Barba r a Bilb o so m e inte resting a rticl es from a sc i e ntifi c m e dical journa l The Lancet, in whi c h fo ur d iff e r ent l ette r s h a v e appear e d concern in g the u se a nd application o f s u c h treatment. The articl es w e r e in the form o f lett e r s written to the publication and were printe d in 19 86. C l a i rns a nd di sc l a im s in t h ese a rticles are strictly the opini o n s of the wri te r s. Wh e n it becomes n ecessa r y to deal with these c r a fty little g r ound c r aw lin g bugge r s, l m willin g to g rasp fo r a ny s t r aw es peci ally s ince most o f our cav in g i s accomplis h e d in a r eas wh e r e snakes lie about lik e r oc k s a nd h e l p i s certainl y more than a n hour a w ay I would lik e to r ev iew t h e letter s in the o rd e r in whi c h they appear in The Lancet in t h e hop e t hat more r esea r ch will b e don e with thi s m ethod of treatment. In T h e Lancet, July 26 1 986 Rona l d H Guderian, C h a rl es D Mac k e n z i e a n d J effrey F. Willi a m s w rote t hat high voltage e lectri c s h oc k h as proven s u ccess ful in Ec uador wh e r e 45 perc ent o f one t ri be has been bitte n by s n a kes a nd 5 0 p e rcent a r e bitte n more t h a n o nc e. The first r e p ort o f t h e us e o f t hi s type o f t reatm e n t carne from a f arme r in Illin o i s who w as alle rgi c to be e stings a nd di scove r e d t hat a hi g h voltage, l ow curre n t s h oc k to t h e s i te of t h e sting p r evente d th e u s ual r eac tion s For s n a k e bites, t h e letter states t hat a 20-25 kilo vo l t l ess t h a n o n e milli amp direct current i s applie d to t h e s i t e o f t h e b i te The lim b i s grounde d as close to t h e bite as poss i b l e and t h e current i s applie d via an in s u lated probe to the bite f o r o n e o r two seco nd s. Four or five s h oc k s a r e g i v e n wit h five to 10 seconds betw ee n t h e m Motors with s p a rk p lu gs w e r e u se d with excellent r e sults. The write r s have r eco r ds in whi c h 34 cases of bi tes w e r e treat e d with s h oc k w i t hin 30 minutes. It i s cla im ed that within 1 5 minutes pain w as gon e a long with the u s u a l s w e llin g se rosanguino u s bullae b leeding, shoc k a nd r e n a l f ailure No pati e n t d i e d and a ll w e re a ble to go home a ft e r an hour. Follow-up s how e d no necrosis o f ti ss u e due to the bite or t h e t reatm ent. Seven peopl e r e fus e d the treatment and s uff e r e d the norma l complic a tions. Two r equired amputation s. Two pati ents who waited two hours b e fo r e treatment a nd were a lready e xp e ri e n c ing s w e llin g r equire d more treatment and seve r a l days for s w e llin g to d isappear. Shock techniques have b ee n used success fully in the jungles for ant and black scorpion bites. Othe r colleag u es in Iran, Java, Indonesia and P eru have h ad similar re sults. The w ri te r modifi e d a portable "stun gun using a nin e -v o l t batte ry and d e liv ering a direct pu l s ing current of 25 kV at l ess t h a n one rnA One p r obe acte d as t he ground tPrmina l whil e the other was u se d to apply current to the bite. They states that s uch currents do not stimulate myocardial muscle. Write r s do no t know the biological basis fo r the t r eatment. They state that t h e re may b e a l ocal effect o n the host tissues or a direct affect on the acti vity of t he venom itse lf. The venom i s known to have a short halflif e and speculation i s t hat e lectros p asm might confine the venom locally long e n o ugh for i t t o become effective. Editor' s N ote: from t h e Lubbock A rea Grotto N e w s ovem be rD ecembe r 19 8 7 Blx CAnyon o rtbwest or O!atn. Oeneps, Mexloo 1 500' a.bovoo tbe onyon lloor R>cllael MJ,r.. desoe.nds !50 l.o the e&vt' entn.noe o n & Tha.nksglvlng in 11188. PhotO by Kenny MrG ee


Page 14 February, 1989 the Texas Caver Greater Houston Grotto by Carol Carlson The Greater Houston Grotto's winner of the Chuck Steuhm Award for 1988 is Pam Oczkowski of Rt. 6, Box 6317 Pearland, Texas 77584 Write or call her at (713) 485 2002 and congratulate her! Pam was first introduced to caving by Harry Walker. Both were involved in teaching backpacking to the girls during a regional Girl Scout Reveille. Harry also talked about mountain climbing and caving. His cave slides were what pulled Pam over the edge, so to speak. Captivated beyond release, she cornered H arry, craving all he would disclose to her about this dark underground-world adventure. 'caving: her dream come true. Her first enchanting trip was to Kickapoo Caverns last fall. H e r second was to Grutas del Pa/mito in Mexico She is now learning rope work and can't wait for her first vertical descent. P a m is married to a diver, Bob, and has a teenage daughter, Kim. If Bob would let her, she would be in a cave every weekend. Congratulations again, Pam! Dallas-Fort Worth Grotto by Jay Jorden A pictorial report from the Lechuguilla Cave Pro ject at Carlsbad Caverns National Park was featured in the Dallas-Fort Worth Grotto's January meeting. A number of DFW Grotto members were on the January expedition to the cave, now second-deepest and seventhlongest in the U S. Slides included those from the Lake LeBarge and Lake Chandelar areas of the southern trend in Lechuguilla, as well as the massive selenite stalactites in the Chandelier Ballroom. DFW cavers also went to the Big Manhole Cave dig on Bureau of Land Management property near Lechuguilla, and participated in photo projects in Carlsbad. The grotto has purchased 100 pounds of carbide for grotto use Treasurer Troy Shelton said that money has already been made on carbide, with aluminum can col lections going well also. On publications news, Dangerous Don Metzner has been helping with digitization of photographs for covers. He reported on his work, and asked photographers to contribute black-and-white (or color) prints that would be returned after scanning. On trip reports, Terry Holsinger said he went to Fitton and the New Maze, along with Hemme d-In Hol low in Arkansas. Last weekend, Terry, Butch Fralia and others went to the Devil's Rive r Natural Area for a preliminary reconnaissance, and look e d in a f e w hol es. Al s o on the trip was Keith Heuss of Austin and Mark Porte r On the Arkansas trip, Terry r eports 250 f eet was s ur veyed. Thousands remain. Dave "Cave" McClung r eported that h e and Jorde n went to Oklahoma last week end to meet Dennis Thompson who has moved back to Ardmore D a ve and J a y went ridgewalking in the Arbuckles, meeting Corky Corcoran about sunset out on the ranc h Som e f a irly good-sized caves were p enetrated and othe r s look e d in Greg Mooty r eported that he, Woodrow Thomas and Dangerous Don Metzne r went all ove r the pl ace, including Kentucky and Arkansas. Don worke d in Dangerous Don's Dig of Death. The surve y to Crump's Cave in Kentucky was basic a lly completed. Eight in c hes of rain fell Two hundred f e e t of virgin passage was pushed. One cav e in Bowling Green, Ky., has three entrances and one-half mile of passage. Mike Cagle, al s o in on the Kentucky venture, the n went off to L e chuguill a with Steve Dalton to meet up with the January e xp e dition. Cagle, who stayed until the last day of the expedition said that Kevin Allred of Alaska was aided by a in the installation of an iron ladder extending the rest of the way past the culv ert into the entrance. Sharon Lytle reported she went to a vertica l practice session. Don, Greg and Woodrow, along with som e other East Texas State University students, went to Homer' s Cave in Arkansas last weekend An ill-fate d Fit ton Cave trip was described along with Janus Pit. Janus' west branch was checked out. The cave is described as very pretty. Benny Rutledge and Charles Martin described a hunting trip to the Sloan's homestead near San Saba, Texas where a shelter cave was found with Indian picto-, 0 graphs. Benny said he found a 60-foot-deep p1t, four feet in diameter, that no one has descended A number of upcoming trips were mentioned. In the intervening weeks, many have been taken.


the Texas Caver February, 1989 Pagt 1 5 DISPATCHES Dispatches from staff reports AUSTIN-More than a million bats are in Texas this f all, soo n to b e gin the ir annual migration south, say Texas Parks a nd Wildlif e offic ial s, and one of the largest of t.hose groups i s at D e vil 's Sinkhole, in Southwest T e xas The S inkhol e bat. s are "t.he bigges t group. We know t.he r e w e r e well ov e r 1 million that came out (Thurs day night.), a nd it. probably approached 1.5 million," depart m ent spokesman David Cot.tom said Friday. "The r e a l so are se v e r a l hundre d thousand in Au s tin, and the Edwards Aquif e r i s fille d with caves a nd s inkh o les" t.hat. bats u se, h e said. The aquif e r i s between don't understand why or when they start their migratory patterns. A lot of it is relate d to rainfall and insect population.'' Editor's Note.: from an Associat e d Press dispatc h Ill the Dallas Times Herald Sunday, Sept. 25, 1988. Dispatches: Isolation Experiment from staff reports CARLSBAD . M -With a c heerful "Ciao'", a 27yea r-old Itali an research e r de scende d a 20-foot la dde r Friday into a cave sh e will call home for the n ext fou r o r five months during an exp e riment in i so lati on. Wearing a military-style olive-green jumpsuit, Stefania Follini of Ancona, Italy, called out the Aus tin a nd San Ant.on i o. traditional Italian greeting \ vith a grin a wav e of her hand, a nd a final glance at t h e sky b e f o r e ente ring Lost Cave at 5:20 a.m. BaL COnscrvMi o n Inti. Founder, MerUn Thttle with Allstrallao Flying Fax. Stalf Photo Cottom said the bats from Devil s Sinkhole a verti cal cave near Rocksprings, in Edwards C:ounty are rang ing over a 40to 50-mile a rea at night. The Parks and Wildlife D epartment purchased the sinkhole in 1985 "The s inkhole is the best example of the g eo logical feature in the state," Cottom said. "Most of the bats come in the early spring. We have a large resident summer colony there, which is being join e d by other bats now h e said. "They could start their migration any time. We Pio neer Frontie r R esearches a nd Exploratio ns a n Italian team of s peleologists a nd r esearche r s und e r t h e direction o f Dr. Maurizio !\ Ion tal b ini hopes t h e ir expe riment will yield knowl e dg e about the effects o f longte rm space t r avel. Built within the can is a 100s quare-foot Plexigl ass enclosu r e in which Ms. Follini will be isolat e d from sound, sunlight and human contact-even t h e sound of a human voice-for at least f our and probably five months, communicating only via compute r keyboard. Montalbini team d octo r Andrea Galvagno, U.S. Bureau of Land M anagement r ep r ese ntative Jim Goodbar, the team camera operator and seve ral fri e nds esce n e Ill o e cave e nclo su r e with h e r for a f arewell party. They shared wine and Ms. Follini sang a f e w songs and played the guitar b e f o r e her guests left her and resurfac ed. R eporters watched the f est i vities on a vide o monitor that also will allow scientists in a nearby trailer to keep watch on her from the surface during t h e nex t se v e ral months. Montalbini called her isolation a long and lon ely circumna\ igation no t of t h e world but o f a single mind-your own.


Page 16 February, 1989 the Texas Caver Goodbar, who provided the wine as a gift to the team, said the cave farewell was basically "a going-away party, held in her home. "A lot of sentiments were being expressed in those songs, and it was very, very touching," he siad. When the party was over and the guests out, Montalbini and Goodbar sealed the cave with a locking gate. A screen placed over the gate blocks sunlight from entering through the keyhole but allows air in. Montalbini recorded the official time, 6:15 a.m., and declared the experiment under way. If all goes well, she will also exit at 6:15 a.m. sometime next spring, he said. Minutes later in the monitoring center, Ms. Follini's first message spread across the computer screen. Translated from Italian, it said, "I don't know what to write, Daddy; this is just the beginning." Montalbini explained that "Daddy" was a joking nickname for him because of his role as director and instructor. He replied on his keyboard: "OK, Bibi, this is the beginning. And, now, the adventure continues." Ms. Follini's next transmission read: "I think I will find something to do, but first, I want to know who is up there with you." Montalbini said that also was the first question asked by subjects of three previous isolation experiments. He said the instant loneliness prompted them to ask who was present in the monitoring center one last time. "For her, it is the last point at which she still has some contact with the outside world," he aid. Montalbini, 35, said it reminded him of the emo tions he felt at the beginning of his record-setting, 210day isolation in a European cave. Ms. Follini then began to make herself at home; she had not been allowed to view the cave or her enclosure until Friday. The room in which she plans to study English and practice judo is sparsely furnished but has 400 books. There is a red metal chair and a table hold ing two computers. Supplies pack shelves from floor to ceiling. Her bed consists of several foam pads spread across the wooden floor. Her chemical toilet is secluded from the camera's VIeW. Five-month supplies of food and water are stored in the cave, so no intrusion from the outside will be necessary. While electrodes monitor her brain waves, Ms. Fol lini will place blood and urine samples in containers that can be pulled to the surface. They will be tested for immunology, endocrinology and hormones at three U S. medical centers. Montalbini said the tests would come at random intervals to prevent Ms. Follini from realizing how much time passes. Officials say an essential element in the experiment will be her time perception. Similar experiments have shown subjects soon reject the "normal" 24-hour daily cycle in favor of a sleep-wake pattern that approaches 48 hours, scientists have said. Save the Bats From: gregw@ harvard (Greg Wilkins,,) Date: 25 Jan 89 16:25:29 AEDT (Wed) Subject: Cave Conservation Battle in OZ from "the net" Australian (OZ) cavers are currently involved in a battle to save Mt Etna. Not the Volcano Mt Etna, but the equally explosive Mt Etna in Queensland. What is Mt Etna Queensland: The most cavernous area of limestone in Australia. Maternity site of 2 endangered species of Bat: The Little Bent Wing Bat as featured in the yearly spectacular emergence flight of millions of bats from Bat Cleft Cave. The rare Ghost Wing Bat. Information on which has been suppressed by Queensland Government bodies. Together, these bats consume hundreds of tones of insects every night, thus protecting the Queensland Farming industry. Contains many well decorated caves Mt Etna WAS the location of a fabulously decorated cave .:ailed Crystal Palace. This cave DID contain Australias largest shawl formation, larger and as beautiful as the Temple of Baal tourist cave at Jenolan. Notice the PAST tense regarding Crystal Palace. This is due to the fact that Mt Etna is also the home of a lim e stone quarry, operated by A Certain Queensland Cement Company (ACQCC). The Quarry employs 12 people and runs at a loss. The MD of the has stated that there are many economic alternatives. -ACQCC was granted the mining Lease illegally but when the lease was challenged in court, the major share holder THE QUEENSLAND GOVERN MENT, passed a law that retrospectly made the lease beyond challenge ACQCC donated money to the Queensland National Party (allegedly $200,000) The Queensland National Party gave ACQCC a monopoly on cement in Queensland (even though the australian constitution guarantees free trade between states). In an attempt to end the issue, ACQCC stopped normal productive mining and began unproductive destruction of the caves. -ACQCC used sonic devices that caused bleeding in the middle ear, to drive out cavers that had prevented mining by spending 48 days underground. -ACQCC employees entered the bat maternity cave Speaking Tube, and detonated explosives in an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the bat rousting sites -ACQCC used over 1000 tones of their income (read


the Texas Caver February, 1Q8Q Page 17 mined and crushed limestone from their stockpile) to pour into Speaking Tube and Elephant Tube caves What I have described is not only a conservation battle for mount Etna, but a new tactic that companies are using against conservationists Conservationists must now say SAVE ALL TREES. Because if they say SAVE TREE X, then tree X will be the first to be logged. When Amnesty International publish list of political prisoners. some third world countries SHOOT anybody that appears on the list. This is the same Tactic. Crystal Palace has been lost. Bat Cl e ft has been saved Speaking tube, the ghost bat and the Australian constitution are still in limbo You can help by writing to the Rt Hon Bob Hawke and urging him to jump on the bat wagon For more information: -Watch Hynch at Seven over the next few nights (sorry about the Advert.) Ring our voice mail bulletin board (02) 5520945 Support a aus.conserve news group. If any net gurus have read this far : How about an aus conserve news group? Greg Wilkins ACSnet: gregw@otc.oz or: gregw@ basser.cs su .oz UUCP: {uunet,mcvax}!otc.oz!gregw Phone : 8104592(h) I do not know my employers opinion on this matter! Queensland Cement Limited and the Queensland Government have gone to irresponsible, immoral and probably illegal length to prevent open and scientific dis cussion of the Caves on Mount Etna: QCL has used explosives and rock fill to deliberately destroy the bat maternity caves. They have done this, not in the course of normal mining but in an admitted attempt to end the controversy They now argue that there is nothing left to save. When a mining lease is granted, does this permit the company to freely kill animals anywhere on the lease. What if the miner had gone hunting Koalas instead of exploding endangered bats? -A National Parks report on the bats of Mt Etna has been suppressed allegedly by the Queensland Government. -A documentary on Bat Cleft has been censored. The permit to film on the mountain was only granted under the conditions that: The film did not show the two quarries, less than lOOm on either side of Bat Cleft cave The film did not show or mention the endangered Ghost Bat. All film taken must be given to a government body for censoring -The first blockade of the mountain, was ended when the Queensland Premier declared a moratorium on mining and a scientific study of the caves. During this Government given break, QCL built an 2m barbed wire fence around the mountain and con structed roads to the major cave entrances and gated minor cave entrances. The moratorium ended when QCL detonated (without any warning) explo sives in the entrance and bat roosts of Speaking Tube cave It appears as if the scientific study was directed at discovering what was to be destroyed first During the second blockade, QCL assaulted cavers with sonic devices which caused bleeding in the middle ear. Further more, as the blockade was end ing, QCL began filling in Speaking Tube cave while there was still one caver underground. The company was told that caver was still underground but continued to pour crushed rock into the cave Hav ing spent 46 days underground, and with little remaining food or light, the last caver wisely left the cave before its entrances were totally blocked. How can reasonable discussion and planning of the use or conservation of Australias resources, take place with such pirates as QCL operating. QCL has already spent more money, stopping the conservationist than the quarry will earn in 2 years. There are at least two years of limestone reserves in the quarry away from the caverns If QCL had continued to mine the non-cavernous lime stone, then two years of discussion and planning could have occurred. Furthermore, in two years time the quarry will no longer be economically feasible as the monopoly agreement with the Queensland Government exptres. QCL should be taken to court on at least three matters: -The slaughtering of an endangered species of bat and the attempted destruction of its maternity roosting site. -The irresponsible use of explosives that have showered rocks on near by farmers. An agreement between the major share holders of QCL to prevent takeovers was not revealed to the stock exchange for 10 years. Greg Wilkins 231 Elizabeth Sydney NSW. Snail: GPO Box 7000 Sydney 2001 Australia ACSnet: gregw@otc oz Phone: (02) 287 4862 Ph 0 /S: +612 287 4862 Fax: (02) 287 4990 UUCP: {uunet,mcvax}!otc oz!gregw Telex : OTCAA120591


Page 18 F ebruary, 1989 the Texas Caver TRIP REPORTS More Saved Than Killed Destination: Canyon Lake Guadalupe Mountains, N.M. Personnel: John Brooks, Mike Cagle, Steve Dalton, Jay Jorden, Don Nletzner Bobby Moore and Connie, Greg Mooty, Troy Shelton and Woodrow Thomas Dates: 31-Sept. 1988 Aug. 5 ThP-plan was for Jay and I to rendezvous at John' s house at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Then, we cou ld get to Carlsbad early enough to get some by Greg Mooty Potential leads in the Bl ac k River Cave, Christmas Tree Cave, Ogle Cave; at about 10 p m. to be delighted to hear from someo n e there that Jay had just left the office We h eaded over to the Jorden r esidence to be g r eeted by S h eila, who stated that s h e had just spoken to Jay and that he was still there. After seve ral hours of watching boring TV s h ows, Ja finall arrived. We de arted Dallas at 1 a.m. W e Ill arrived Carlsbad Ill time to eat three Hungry Trave l e rs' Sp e c i a l s We soo n h ad traversed the 20 mile s o f back ro ads to Fra nk 's S sprmg at the mouth o f Black River Canyon. We plann e d to c heck some l eads whi c h w e had s l eep before I:OOAMTilanksglvlng, 1988: Box Oulyoo. A -45 minute exposure rerords & river o r carbid e as l-kluston cavers rescued three cavers rrom & our planned de&d-e nd l edge. Note the star-streaked sky. Photo by Kenny McGee. marke d on o ur topo during a ridgewalk ove r the Memorial D ay weekend trip. After r epac king ou r bac kp ac k s, we began trudg mg up th e canyon. It was 1:14 p.m. The weather h ad overnight backpack jaunt up Black River Canyon the next day. But noooooooooooooo, Delta Air Lines Flight 1141 had to crash and dedicated AP reporter, Jay, would be the re covering the tragedy well into the late hours. John and I talked to Jay on ihe phone and asked him if he would mind if we went without him. Jay said that we should call him back about 7 p.m. and he would give us mor e information. At 7 p m., Jay stated that h e would be finished by 10 or 11 p.m. We caved in (no pun inte nded) and said that we would wait for him John and I took in Mexican food for dinner and called the AP office upon returning been threatening rain but, since we didn't want to be burdened by the weight of heavy tents, we l e ft them oui of our packs. The hik e up the canyon was interrupted several times by brief showers. We took the opportunity to find s helt er and have pleasant rest breaks during the diversions. We a l so took the time to mark our topo with several n e w potential l eads we spotted during the hike up the ca,1yon. In addition, we found se v e ral pools with running hater that look ed ideal for cooling off. Unfor tunately, it was already a little too coo l for this We hnally arrived at the point in the canyon, below the l eads John thought that Double Sh elte r was just a


the Texas Caver February, 1989 Page 19 bit further up the canyon, but we found a relatively flat, comfortable spot which made an acceptable camp site. We still dropped our packs and sauntered further up the canyon a ways to find Double Shelter. The shelter had a fairly steep floor and would be unacceptable for camp ing. We got back to our packs in time to set up camp by the final light of dusk. The caver's staple, Dinty Moore, made a fine meal that evening. We sat around the camp fire and sipped a little tequila that evening (strictly for analgesic, medicinal purposes) An obnoxious owl came by to visit, but soon left. Miraculously, it did not rain on us that evening. The next morning, after coffee and instant oatmeal, we began the hike up to the first lead on the map About 400 feet up from the floor of the canyon, we found a small cave about 40 feet by 30 feet with solution forma tions. John made a quick sketch map of the cave an checked several other small holes at that elevation, prior to the climb back down to the canyon floor. We hiked further down the canyon to the next lead. This lead turned out to be just a shelter. After getting back down to the canyon floor and hiking a little way, another shower occurred We found a suitable shelter and waited out the rain. While waiting, we participated in a vice picked up from Chuck Cluck and Gerald Saulsberry. The worm dirt (i.e. snuff-Ed.) gave you a screaming, wall eyed buzz that didn't last long and required a thorough mouth rinsing upon completion but it was a good diverSion. We decided that there wasn't enough daylight to check any of the leads that we had spotted hiking up the canyon. John had almost made his mind up that the most promising lead we had spotted was Crystal Ball Cave. We reluctantly trudged down the canyon and arrived at the vehicle before dark. We decided that it would be best to drive over to the campsite by New Cave this evening, instead of setting up camp here and breaking camp in the morning Mike Cagle's directions to get to the camp site were simple Just turn right, before you get to the New Cave parking lot. After about an hour of searching for the campsite, we decided that we would sleep in the New Cave parking lot and wait for Cagle and company to arrive. We opened some cans, had dinner and then spread out our sleeping bags under the beautiful New Mexico sky. We were greeted by a couple of loud hoots when Cagle, Bobby, Connie and Woodrow drove up about 2 or 3 a.m. They quickly drove away and returned a half hour or so later. They must have upset the rain gods, because a slow drizzle soon began which lasted into the dawn. We covered ourselves with ponchos, but sleep was difficult. In the morning, Cagle admitted that he too had looked in vain for the elusive campsite. He was about ready to start hiking cross-country when John, viewing a topo posted with New Cave visitor's information, saw the jeep trail which led to the campsite. We piled in the vehicles and drove back out to some of the jeep trails that we had been traveling on the night before. The correct route turned out to be the trail that had gotten too rough for us to traverse the night before. it was barely visible through brush which literally enveloped the vehicles. The brush was so thick that it tore the ram's head clean off Mike's Big Steel Dog. The drizzle had showed no signs of subsiding when we reached the camp. John, Jay and I waited in the vehicle for about half an hour for the rain to stop, all the being chastised for our pantywaist behavior. Soon, the rain did indeed stop and we set up camp. Everyone was soon organizing their caving gear. We got back in the trucks, headed toward the New Cave parking lot across Bureau of Land Management and then National Park Service land We parked the vehicles where the jeep trail merged with a wash, several hundred meters from the parking lot. It was 11:30 a m and there was no sign of Troy, Don and Steve. We decided to wait until noon If they didn't show by then, they could catch us on the trail. Steve and Troy had been here before At 11:47, they arrived The troupe of 10 cavers began their journey up Slaughter Canyon Mike, Woodrow, Jay, John and I headed off toward Lake Can. The remainder of the group took the trail to Christmas Tree Cave The hike was somewhat long and arduous but a picnic compared to the previous two days of hiking There is a nice, big lake in Lake Cave; surprise! The serious photographers in the group used up numerous flash bulbs in the cave. We exited after about an hour d.nd a half in the cave. We were back to the vehicles before dark. That evening, the portable grill came alive and everyone experienced a little camping cuisine We joked about the old DFW motto, "Laggards die a lonely death And, borrowing from humor directed toward Delta Air Lines, came up with a new one "More saved than killed!" The next morning, we were up at an astounding 8 a.m. Jay, in an effort to thwart a bad reputation that had been building from previous trips, pulled out his rope and measured it. It came to 247 feet, plenty long enough for the drop. Everyone had eaten breakfast and the nine of us-Connie remained in camp-were on the road by 9:30 a.m. Although several of the group had been to Ogle before, we had a little trouble finding the cave Once there, however, the rope was quickly rigged and the cavers were soon rappelling into the depths of the huge cave Ogle cave is a huge, borehole-type passage with enormous speleothems. Much of the cave is alive with beautiful, white "moon milk" formations. Mike, John, Steve, Dc.n and I were not into involved picture taking, so we tout"ed the cave at a fairly rapid pace. Woodrow, Jay, Bobby and Troy were into "composed" pictures and wandered from point to point, arranging photos. The former crew were the first out of the cave. We got back to camp well before sunset. There were about seven beers left in camp when we arrived. Mike and Steve headed for Texas in a beer run. John, Don and I whipped up our evening meal, not wanting to wait for


Page 20 February, 1989 the Tex!Ul Caver everyone else. The remainder of the cavers showed up just before dusk. We had saved them three cold beers. Before they could finish them, the headlights of the Big Steel Dog were seen on the horizon. The group got to cooking dinner while Mike entertained everyone that evening with his colorful beer buying story. The next morning, John, Jay and I were the first to break camp. We headed to a low water crossing where a cool clear stream runs. The water is absolutely freezing, but we had four days of Guads grunge on our bodies and the pain was bearable if you only stayed submerged for a short time. The next truck load arrived just as we are getting ready to depart. Cagle stated that the water was too cold for him We made some derogatory comments about his manhood as we drove off. The El Ranchito was closed on Labor Day. It was too early for the Sirloin Stockade to be open, so another "Hungry Travelers' Special" was consumed at Jerry's. Jay pulled out a book on time management on the way back to Dallas This was just too much fodder for the joke mill and John and I gave him hell. We made Dallas before dark, which had to be a record The trip was a wonderful getaway and we are already kicking around the idea of a New Year's trip to check out Crystal Ball Cave. Memorial Day Weekend in the Guads by Greg Mooty Destination: Cave of the Bell, Pink Panther, Pink Dragon, Cave of the Madonna; Guads, N.M. Personnel: John Brooks, Mike Cagle, Steve Dalton, Don Metzner, Greg Mooty, Troy Shelton Dates: May 26-30, 1988 Don and I met Troy at his place Thursday after noon. After the use of some imaginative packing tech niques in the lsuzu, we headed into the sunset with Dal las and Fort Worth only visible in the rearview mirror. Eight hours later, we unrolled our sleeping bags to catch some shut-eye at the Carlsbad Airport rest area. That night went smoothly, except for the hour or so that we were subjected to loud head-hanger redneck music at three in the morning. We greeted the next morning with a hearty "Hungry Travelers' Special" breakfast at Jerry's; a bargain at only $4.49. With the vehicle full of gas and ice, we departed Carlsbad before 8 a.m. We met John Brooks and Steve Dalton at Deer Camp an hour and a half later. They had spent the pre vious two days ridgewalking in the Guads. After setting up our tents, the five of us drove to the fire tower to meet Ransom Turner, who proceeded to take us to Cave of the Bell, so named for the bell-like formations in the cave We spent an hour and a half shooting pictures in this nice little "before breakfast cave". After returning to camp, John, Don and I got restless and decided to hike back out of the ridge that Cave of the Bell was located on to look for potential leads on a finger of Lone some Ridge, across Black River Canyon. We marked several leads on our topo, which were checked on a sub sequent trip and became the subject of another trip report. Don walked back to camp while John and I headed out further on the ridge. On our way back, we intercepted Don who was not lost but was glad to see us. That evening, soon after we had finished a wonder ful steak dinner Chuck Cluck, who had departed Alpine earlier in the day, arrived The evening was capped off by ritual tequila drinking with entertainment provided by the "Flaming Gummy Bears of Death". The rain god waited until we were fast asleep before unloading a shower that lasted until nearly dawn. The misty morning was greeted with hot coffee and a sausage, cheese and green chile concoction which, when rolled into a tortilla, just melted in your mouth. The sun finally broke through around 10:30 a m We packed our gear and the six of us took Chuck's vehicle to the Pink's camp. We made the hike out to the Pinks in a littl e over an hour. We rigged and dropped into Pink Panther first Almost everyone shot quite a few photos in the cave John, Steve and I were out of the cave by 5 p .m. Troy, Don and Chuck emerged about an hour and a half later after a somewhat long photography session. We made a quick trip into Pink Dragon, exiting the cave at 8 p m. We were able to hike to the top of the ridge in the setting sun, but the hike back to the truck was in the dark. After toasting our day with a cold brew upon arrival at the truck, we were surprised to find that Chuck's vehicle would not start. The FX2 charger that Chuck left hooked up while we were gone isn't supposed to drain your car battery. But, on this occasion it did. Steve and I hiked back to Deer Camp. We drove Dalton's truck back to the Pink's Camp and got the stranded vehicle jump started quickly. Troy whipped up a meal par excellence that even ing We finished eating shortly before midnight and were surprised by the headlights of Cagle's Big Steel Dog piercing the darkness Mike had driven from Lubbock where he had been attending the graduation of an old friend from medical school. Unfortunately, we were too tired to stay up and cajole with Cagle. We slept well that evening. A beautiful Sunday morning sunrise greeted us the next day After the usual coffee rituals that morning, we managed to make the Madonna Camp by 11:20 a.m. We were at the entrance to the cave in less than an hour. The 240-foot drop was rigged and the enthusiastic group began the rappel. The first 70 feet are through a chim ney which opens into the top of a huge room The excitement when you pop out of the ceiling of the room is enough to pucker parts of your body that do not usually contort to that shape. Although we had carried another rope to do the other drop, no one had much motivation to rappel down to the lower level of the cave The cavers managed to exit the cave and hike to the vehicles well


the Texaa Caver February, Hl8Q Page 21 before dark. That night, Dinty Moore was the featured food of the evening The last of the tequila was consumed and the last of the gummy bears was sacrificed, a Ia Joan of Arc. The next morning, Cagle and Metzner hurried off early to catch some reggae music in Dallas that night. The rest of the group participated in the ritual plunge at Sitting Bull Falls, followed by the ritual El Rancho Grande's at El Ranchito. We vowed to return to Madonna and penetrate her low er level s on a later trip. Underground Alternative Caving in the Ozarks by Troy Shelton Destination: Fitton Springs Cave, Fitton Cave (aborted), Blanchard Springs Cavern, Janus Pit, and Homer's Cave Personnel: Troy Shelton, Don Metzner, Paul Staple ton, Bob Jenkins, Ed Poynte r Dawn Burrows, and Dave (Cave) McClung Dates: November 24th 27th, 1988 Where's Greg Mooty and his backpack helicopter when you need him? Those were my thoughts as I gazed at the raging torrent of water that the Buffalo River had become. Only the day before we had crossed the Erbie Ford without incident to visit Fitton Spring Cave. The river had risen approximately 6 to 10 feet since then and it would be impossible to cross it now both by Earth bound vehicle or foot. Don and I arrived at the Erbie campground late Thursday afternoon, greeted by warm temperatures and a clear sky I spent the last few minutes of daylight gathering firewood as Don set up camp. Beneath a blaz ing full moon, we broiled turkey over the campfire, prepared dressing on the stove, and enjoyed a proper holiday meal. On Friday morning we gathered a horde of firewood to last the weekend as we awaited for Paul and Bob to arrive from Tulsa. Our plans for the day were to go to Copperhead Sinks Cave or look for 140 foot pit Paul had marked on his topo. However, when Paul showed up he suggested that we check out Fitton Spring Cave. He also made a comment about moving camp to the Fitton Cave parking area, but in my eagerness to go caving, I sug gested that we defer the decision until later. After Paul ceremonially distributed "Buffalo Soldier" T-shirts to the crew, we piled into his Jeep Comanche and left for the cave. Fitton Springs Cave is the small spring that crosses the "closed" road going up to the CRF cabin near Fitton Cave. None of us had ever entered the cave, and were curious about it's extent. As we approached the entranced, a snake dived into water and swam beneath a rock. We suited up, and joined him in the stream. We waded ankle deep for the first 200 feet or so and then crawled along the gravel and sand bank for anothe r 300 feet Eventually we climbed up into breakdown as the stream disappeared into the walls. Squeezing through tight breakdown rooms, and after a belly crawl along a flat slab of rock, we popped through a small crack back into gravel streambed. Downstream the water flowed into the wall at the end of a corridor. We followed upstream until we forced again to pinch through som e very small holes connecting cozy breakdown rooms not large enough to stand. After these constrictions, we found ourselves on a ledge surrounding a dome room with a pool of water a t the bottom. Crossing over a narrow fissure, we came to a room large enough to stand. Several bats flew and squeaked at us as we searched for continuation. Paul climbed up through an extremely small hole in the chert layer that formed the ceiling throughout most of the cave It was funny to see two boots poking out of the ceiling and it sounded as if someone was climbing around in the attic as he crawled around up there. Meanwhile, Don checked out a side lead and I soon followed It turned out to be the most uncomfortable part of the tour. We found ourselves in a grim belly crawl over sharp flint rocks. When the mud that covered the rocks turned into water, we turned around in grimly going tight passage We returned to the room and began making our way out of the cave. When we emerged from the spring, a gentle rain was only a precursor to the storm that would follow. By the time we arrived back at the Erbie Campground, the rain had thickened. We hastily fashioned a rain fly out of Paul' s mega green tarp, using bungy cords as guy lines and Paul's truck, the lantern pole and long firewood logs as tent poles. We set up the kitchen beneath our makeshift shelter and feasted on beef chicken, and shrimp fajitas; black refried beans ; and pumpkin pie. By the time Ed, Dawn, and Dave had arrived, the weather situation was beginning to deteriorate. The rain alternately became downpours as heavy thunderstorms moved through the area. Several times, the wind threatened to blow our indispensable shelter away. Dur ing a particular severe episode, we were blasted with what felt like windshears, and we physically held the tarp down with all our might, expecting to be lifted up like a parachute at any moment. As the night grew long er, individuals waited for the storm to ease up, giving opportunities to dash to their respective camps. Ed, sensing severe weather, had driven his Volkswagen camper bus, ensuring that they had dry sleeping quarters. Paul and Bob planned to camp in the back of Paul's truck. So this left Don and I as the only brave souls sleeping on the ground. As we crossed the creek which had been a road to our campsite we were surprised to find our tent pitched in a lake. The little wood railing surrounding the campsite was serving as a dam, creating a 2 inch deep body of water. We waded over to the tent door, and were r elieved to find everything dry inside.


Page 22 February, 1989 the Texas Caver The next morning it was still raining, and I laid in my sleeping bag hoping it would stop. When it finally did, we got up and were surprised to find more people camping than there were when we had gone to bed (insane cavers, no doubt). Two ladies affiliated with the Boy Scouts camped down the way, came up to talk to us. They informed us that the river and the road out were impassible. A blasting area associated with the on going Erbie road improvement project, had become nothing more than an oozing quagmire of red mud. We were told of a line of cars stuck trying to leave the vicin ity. Someone had spoken to some hunters who were on the other side of the mudslide, and they agreed to seek some National Park personnel for help. A while later, two National Park rangers showed up in a red fire truck. They said that the construction peo ple were going to try to fix up the road and that we should wait here, as the vehicles that were already up the road were only complicating the situation. Their weather report was that heavy thunderstorms had dumped inches of rain on northwestern Arkansas, spawn ing tornadoes and widespread flooding. There were reports of fatalities from people attempting to ford flooded low water crossings. We broke camp and decided that we would attempt to reach the Fitton Cave parking area from the other side of the river, even though we would still have to cross a creek Ed, Dave, and Dawn loaded up and took off The rest of us packed the remaining gear in our vehicles and headed out. We approached the beginning of the nasty part and were soon greeted by pickup truck traveling in reverse back up the road. Don put the Celica in reverse, and we too traveled back about a hundred yards in the mud we had just plowed through. The driver said he began to get stuck and decided to pull back and wait for the rangers. A park ranger soon showed up in a Dodge Ramcharger 4X4, (a big steel dog), with a winch. We headed back up the road, and got stuck attempting to go up a hill around a curve. The ranger pulled us out with the winch and then pull us up the hill until we could make it on our own. When we finally made it to high way 7, we decided to give Fitton Cave up and headed for the Dairy Diner in Jasper. A large group of cavers from the Windy City Grotto filled the back dining room. Some of them were the unfortunate fellow campers who had found them selves in the same predicament as us earlier in the morn ing. Their Fitton Cave permits now as worthless as ours, they were discussing caving alternatives. Ed knew one of them, Sue Anderson, and she volunteered to give us directions to Janus Pit and Homer's Cave We decided we would go to Blanchard Spring Caverns and play it by ear. With these new destinations in mind, we began the journey to Blanchard Springs Cavern, an Ozark National Forest attraction near Fifty-Six, Arkansas. Ed finished his chicken-fried steak dinner special, a real bargain at $2.95, and his crew took off in the Volkswagen camper. We made a short stop at a store, and departed for Blanchard Springs with Paul following behind. I was acting extremely anxious, coaxing Don to hurry so we could try and find Janus Pit with some day light. We arrived at Blanchard Springs, and checked the campground and visitors center for Ed. We finally spotted them on the way back to the highway. We were wanting to speed towards Janus, but they opted to go on the commercial tour. We sped off towards Mountain View as the day grew long. Unfortunately, what I did not realize was that we had lost Paul and Bob somewhere in the confusion We got halfway to Mountain View when Don finally brought this to my attention. Without additional personnel or rope, we turned back and raced back to Blanchard Springs Caverns. We missed the last tour of the day by 10 minutes. Disgusted, we returned to the campground and set up camp. When the others arrived at camp after their Blanchard Springs Caverns tour, Don and I were geared up and ready to go find Janus Pit. It was about 6:00 p.m and darkness blanketed the Ozark hills, but we couldn't stand the thought of spending a Saturday in Arkansas without entering a cave We threw a cave packs in the back of Paul's truck, climbed in Ed's van, and departed for Mountain View. Finding a cave in the Ozark backcountry is always an adventure. Finding a cave from second-hand direc tions and in the dark is especially challenging However we were determined to persevere We were searching for power transmission pole #77 which is near the cave, and located #80 on our first penetration. We back tracked to the "main" road, ignored one piece of misleading information, and followed the directions straight to pole #77. After scouring the hill side for about 30 minutes, the pit was located at the end of a small gully It turned out there is an old logging trail that comes close to the cave, and from there a slight caver trail leads to the edge of the sinkhole. The pit entrance is at the bottom of large, steep sinkhole which has a diameter of approxi mately 100 feet. A suitable tree was located and the rig ging commenced. We had 150' and 125' of Bluewater II to work with Dave rigged the 150' and began the rapptl. The pit is stepped with ledges breaking the rappel into sections. The 150' went just past the third step but did not reach the floor. Don geared up with ascenders on and followed with the 125' in hand. They were unable to find a second rigging location and were forced to tie the two ropes together. Don continued the rappel, crossing over the knot and untying another tangle which stopped him 10 feet from the floor, causing him to hang suspended in the steady rain of a dripping waterfall for about 20 minutes. Given the late hour and vertical expertise within the group, no one else felt like joining the two already in the cave. Dave continued to the bottom, while the rest of us went back to the vehicles to escape the chilly night


th e Texas Caver February, 1989 Page 23 air or wander the hill side looking for n e ighboring Flittering Pit. As Paul and I returned to the cave, Dav e was compl eting hi s ascent out of the mouth of the pit; Don s oon follow ed. We d e rigg e d a nd drove back to Blanc h a rd Springs campground arriving at 1.:00 a.m. The next morning w e broke cam p and said good bye to Ed, Dawn, and D ave. Afte r a short stop to vie w the s pring entrance of Blanchard Sp ring s Caverns, we head e d to the little o f town of Harrie t in search of Hom er's Cave. Following th e Windy City direction s, t h e cav e w as located o n a hill side above a s mall clearing at the e nd o f a loggin g road The entrance i s a s mall s inkh o l e o f collapsed rock l aye r e d with mud. A s teep breakdown s lop e l e ads to a T inte r sect i on. The r est o f the group w ent l e ft while I continue d down the s m all breakdown io the right in a n a rrow fiss ure. Afte r c lim bing o v e r a ro c k form ation blocking the passage I s que eze d through a c r ac k at ihe floor whi c h led to a muddy r oom. One e nd opened up io a good size d dome r oom with a high ceiling that r eq uir ed a muddy climb down to reach t h e it's floo r. J oined by the eve r yo n e e l se, we c limb e d down into t h e room a nd c r awled through a s lot on one side whi c h l e d to a noth e r small break down fille d d ome room with a high ceilin g The cave appeared io end there a nd h a d been nothing m o r e than a muddy, r oc k y cave, with n o s i g n s o f the beauty r eported Lo us earlier by Windy City m e mb e rs. Upo n returning io the first dome r oom, P aul c lim bed up to the upper l eve l opposite where w e had e n tered. The r e w as a l edge t hat look e d promising but expo sed. Car e f ully travers ing the narr ow edge, h e was s urpri se d to find the remains o f an old gate cove ring a small h o l e in fiowstone. The a ir flow was str o ng! I climbed up to him and together we f ound m o r e cav e that w e h a d t i m e to see. This pa r t o f t h e cave w as comp l e t e l y difTe r ent than t h e r est. W e w e r e now in dry gyp s um passage, surpassing anything I h ad see n in Fitton Cave. R eluctan t l y, w e turned back in wonderful going passage, h aving been away fr om Don a nd Bob for abou t 3 0 minutes. Wh e n w e got back to the car Don h a d already cleaned up a nd was talking to Mr. H o u se who liv ed in t h e old home s tead across from the road to t h e cave Seeing o ur T exas l icen se p l ates, h e thought w e migh t need ass istan ce. What f ollo w ed w as 1 hour of co l orful tales a nd s tories o f growing up a nd living in the Arkansas hill s. H e told o f moonshine. t hi e ving Jay h aw k s, f a mily m embe r s (it see m s that eve r yo n e in these parts is r e lated so m e how) and trees. A tall stand of pine ad jacent to his hou se w as nothing m o r e t h a n a Barley field in 1948. H e h ad live d in t h e o l d house s ince returning from t h e w a r in 194 5 He grew up near Big Flat only a f e w miles east o f Harriet. H e attend e d sc hool intermitte n t l y on l y wh e n it wasn't too co l d to walk and h ad no t gra d u a t e d fr om high sc h ool. H e l a m ente d this and told how h e h ad enfo rc ed the imp ortance of ed ucation upon hi s c hildren How eve r the mo s t inte r esting story of all invol ve d "Som e Old Cave" and buried treasure. Hi s grandfather had fought for both s ides during the Civil War, and his daddy had been told of two strongboxes, one full of s ilver, the other gold, that had be e n hidd e n in "So m e Old Cave" in 1860 I believe it was his grandfather who was to hav e hid the loo t but I'm not quite sure. Hi s daddy had hir e d some "cavers" in 1932 to searc h what he believed to be "Som e Old Cave". The man ente r ed the cave and found it was blocked off by some obstacle H e s aid h e would return with equipment and h e lp to furthe r exp lor e the area. About a week later, he came with tool s and a another young man. After a few day s o f hammering and rock removal in whi c h time a s kel eto n was s aid to be found the men r eporte d that they were out o f carbide and operations would hav e to cease while h e p rocured more. A c

The Texas Caver P.O. Box 8026 Austin, Texas 78713 BULK RATE U S Po s tage PAID Austin, Texas PermitNo. l181

Return to Mexican Bird
Pits Contents: Feature articles: A Mexican Black Hole,
Revisited / Jay Jorden --
The Return to Sorcerer's Cave / George Veni --
TSA news --
Speleonews: 24 Years Ago / Ken Larsen --
Equipment tips: Electroshock Treatment for Snakebite /
Noble Stidham --
Grotto news --
Dispatches --
Trip reports.


Download Options

Choose Size
Choose file type
Cite this item close


Cras ut cursus ante, a fringilla nunc. Mauris lorem nunc, cursus sit amet enim ac, vehicula vestibulum mi. Mauris viverra nisl vel enim faucibus porta. Praesent sit amet ornare diam, non finibus nulla.


Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.


Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.


Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.