The Texas Caver

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The Texas Caver
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The Texas Caver
Texas Speleological Association
Texas Speleological Association
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Technical Speleology ( local )
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Contents: Cueva Cheve, Qaxaca, Mexico / Andy Grubbs -- Stateside contact for a Mexican Cave rescue / Bill Steele -- Mexican caving / Ed Seveik -- A Mexican sojourn / Karen Merkette -- Book review: The Wakulla Springs project / Bill Mixon -- Dispatcheds - SWT grotto news / Jim Elliott -- Cave song: a play / Chris Thidodaux -- TSA convention / Jay Jorden -- The conservation of Whirlpool Cave / Michale Grimm -- Twenty years ago / Jay Jorden -- Trip reports -- Correspondence -- DFW grotto activities / Jay Jorden.
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Vol. 34, no. 03 (1989)
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39 41 44 46 49 50 50 50 51 52 53 54 58 59 THE TEXAS CAVER Volume 34 No.3 June 19 89 CONTENTS Cueva Cheve, Oaxaca, Mexico Andy G rubb s Stateside Contact for a Mexican Cave Rescue Bill S teel e Mexican Caving Ed Sevcik A Mexican Sojourn K are n M c rk c tt c Book Review (The Wakulla Springs Project) Bi ll Mixon Dispatcheds SWT Grotto News Jim Ellio tt Cave Song: A Play C hri s T hidodau x TSA Convention Jay J orden The Conservation of Whirlpool Cave Michalc G rimm Twenty Years Ago Jay J o rd e n Trip Reports Correspondence DFW Grotto Activities .Jay .Jo rtl c n Cave Rescue Call Collect (512) 686 0234 Front Cover Photo: P aul Stapelton viewing smaller gypsu m flowers in the T e nn ouri Room in Fitton Cave near J asper Arkansas. Photo t aken by Troy Shelton Back Cover: Impressions of the 1989 TSA Conventio n a t Lukenbach dr awn by Kenny McGee Alternating Editors: This Issue: Jay Jorden, 1518 Devon Circle, Dallas, Texas 75217 phone (214) 398-9272 or (214) 220-2022 Next Issue: Dale Pate, P.O. Box 1251, Austin, Texas 78767 phone (512) 452-5184 Staff for this Issue: Proof Reading ...... ... ... .... Johanna Reece & Jocie Hooper Typesetting ................................. ....... ............. Keith Heuss Printed by ........... .................... Speleo PressTerry Raines Binding ...................................... Members of the UT Grotto TC Labels ......... .. .. .. .............................................. Rod Goke The Texas Caver is a bi m o nthly publica tion of the Te xas Speleologi ca l Ass oc iation (TSA) an internal organization of the Nation a l Speleological Society (NSS) Issues a r e publis hed in February April June, August October and D ecembe r Subscription r a t es are $1 0 / year for six issues of The T exas Caver This includes m e mbership in th e TSA. Out of state subscribers, librar ies, and other institutions ca n receive The T exas Caver for the same rate ($1 0 / year). S e nd all correspondence (other than material for The Texas Caver}, subscriptions, and exc h anges to: The Texas Caver, P.O. Box 8026 Austin, T exa s 78713. Articles and other Material for The Texas Caver should be sent to one o f th e alt erna ting listed above The Texas Caver openly invites all cavers to submit artic les, trip reports, photographs (35mm slides or any size black & white or co lor print on glossy paper), cave maps, news events, cartoo ns and / or any other cav ing related material for publication Deadline f o r submiss ion of material is the 15th day of the prev i ous m o nth in which th e article is to appear. That is, material to ap p ea r in th e F e bruary issue s h ou ld be r ece ived by the editor of that issue by J a nu ary 15 Exchanges s h o uld be mail e d to The T exas Caver at the subscription address above The T exas Caver will exchange newslett ers with other grottos o Copyright 1989 by the Te xa s Speleol o gical Ass ociatio n Internal organizatio ns of th e NSS may reprint any item first appearing in The Texas Caver as long as proper credit is given and a copy of the new sle tter co ntaining the reprinted material is mailed to the co-editors. Other o rganizations should contact the c oeditors about reprinted materials


Cueva Cheve, Oaxaca, Mexico by Andy Grubbs The entrance to Cueva Cbeve is located in a flat, grassy llano at the bottom of a hug e doline several miles in diameter. A small strea m of cold water flows along one side of the meadow and into the cave mouth. The elevation is about 9,000 feet; tall, straight pine s are the only trees present. We arrived on March 17, 1989. When we drove through Conception Papalo, the last little town near the llano we found Louise Hos e and Todd Warren, Colorado cavers. We gave them a lift to the llano. We got there late in the afternoon. The second camp crew was still in the cave but would be out in a few days. The next day, we hiked our gear in from the truck down to camp in the llano and then we went on a get-acquainted hike around the area. We went over to Osto Puente Natural and looked down its 100-m e ter entrance shaft. Then we scouted around some in the Karst hills around there. We saw another entrance, Veinto Frio, which is a good, going lead Then, I located a cave with two entrances up close to a twin peaked karst pinnacle. We named it Cuates, for twins, and it turned out to have twin shafts inside It is 20+ m higher than Puente Natural and almost right on top of it. That night, it got very cold in the llano In the morning, my helmet and light, lying in the grass by my tent, was covered with frost and ice. The next day, we did a short trip into Cueva Cheve. We went down about 10 ropes to the bottom of a drop called the Elephant Shaft, about._300 m down I found a few interesting cave bugs, especially some blind, trichen e beetles, and a troglobitic centipede. We were out after about four hours. On the 20th, we did a 14-hour trip in Puente Natural. We got down to about -420 m and we were only 20 minutes or so from the lead, but through our own confusion, w e remapped a known passage instead. The cave has some spectacular drops in the 60 to 100 m range Some in the black and white banded and marbleized limestone, some with lots of flowston e and some where black bedrock and white flowstone are both being sculptured by the falling water. Also, there's an area of reef limestone with fist-sized snail shells being eroded out. It was about 4 a.m. when we got out, so mo s t of the next day was shot for us; we just rested. On the 22nd, a group of six of us headed down to Camp II in Cueva Cheve. It is located about 850 m b e low the main entrance. I was ferrying down most of my food, camp stove and other heavy items. Don Coons, John Schwin, Tim Jones, Matt Oliphant and Nancy Pi s tol e were the rest of the crew. Don and Nancy stayed down in camp. The others head e d out for th e re s t of our gear. On the way in, we had met Bill Ston e and Bob B e nedict on their way out from camping. They said that we wouldn't really need wetsuits for th e trip to camp, that polypro and cave suits would be fine. So we l ef t our neoprene up near the entrance. We made it to camp and back out in about 22 h ours. The n ext day, Todd soloed in with the rest of his camp stuff and we rested. On the 24th, Matt, John and I returned to camp with the rest of our stuff. It took about 10 hours one way to get there. The entrance to Cueva Cheve is located in a headwall at the bottom of th e sink. It is about 50 m across and leads into a big sunlit chamber that slopes downward about 12 degrees. The floor is littered with breakdown, bones, obsidian blades and has a small stream flowing along. A through path is flagged. There is a small pool that you can eit h e r wade through or climb over on some l edges and you are in the Basket Room: more blades, shells, bones and th e r e m a ins of a woven mat. The path on goes down between breakdown blocks and into some smaller rooms. There a r e a couple of short ropes down into som e 10 m sized rooms Some have mid calf deep water. The passage goes on aro und breakdown and over some small pools There are two trav erse lines and several more short drops, then into a breakdown room called the Christmas Present. It i s about 30 m wide and 150 m long with a 15 m or so drop out of it. The st&am can be heard off down to th e left. Several more short ropes are next. They were rigged with short traverses and rebelays. Then a nic e 50 m pit, called the Elephant Shaft, is rigged with one major rebelay a t a small ledge. At th e base, the stream re-enters down a small waterfall. There is a small series of short ropes, traverses, and boulder hopping over th e stream. A dike of black ign eous rock goes through th e center of th e passage here. This section finishe s with a 30 m pitch at Angels Falls A tall, straig ht, narrow waterfall that you rappel right beside; two carabiner redirections keep you out of the main spray of the waterfall. A little more breakdown scrambling gets you to the Giant Staircase, very reminiscent of the Breakdown Mountain in Bustamante. It's 50 m wide, litte red with huge breakdown. First you climb up "the camel's hump" th e n down, past Camp I and over, under and around th e big breakdown. At th e bottom, you reach a giant s haft, Saknussen's Well. The stream can be heard down below. First, th e r e i s a 50 m drop to the major ledge and th e n tw o major rebelays in th e top of a 70-80 m drop. The last 20 m or so i s fairly wet from the spray of th e waterfall. Next is a n a rrow stream passage. At one point, you tie your pack to a rope up into a n upp e r level then unhindered, you climb up some potholes in the wall and breakdown into the upper passage. Soon, you go back down into the n arrow stream s l ot. The air here whips by fiercely and it can blow o ut Petzl l amp flames. Th e passage opens a bit into a ser ie s of small rooms and pothole cascades. C limbing, wading some short handlines, two small l adders and a couple of unavoidab l e swims in th e 48-d egree water... thi s part i s called th e Salmon Ladders The walls are s lick and polished, the water clear, very blue and The Texas Caver June 1989 39


s wift. Mos t o f th e p oo l s wer e easily cli mbed a ro und Th e next sec ti o n i s called Th e Turbi nes: w a t e r l o udl y roaring a r o und th e wat erfalls This year w e h a d a hi g h upp e r p assage t o go ove r th e m i n but firs t you did th e Pi s ton a s h o rt dro p besid e a l oud w a t erfa ll, th e n wading a c ross the p oo l in th e s pray at its base and th e n b ack up th e r o p e o n th e o th e r s ide. A series o f s h o rt drop s and traver s e lin e s and th e n a b ro k e n 4 0 m pit that dropped you a t th e bas e o f th e p oo l b e l o w the Fu e l Inject o r a place w h e r e l a s t year th e ro ut e w e nt ri ght thr ough th e w a t erfa ll. T h e w a t e r m ellowe d a bit, and th e r e was a long p a ssage o f wadin g knee deep with p e ri o dic wai s t-d eep p oo ls. Afte r a kilo m e t e r o r so, th e wat e r l e ft d own a s m all s l o t t o th e left. T o th e ri g ht th e passag e continued a s a tube in p olis h e d black limest o ne, th e n br e akd own r oo m s and nice, strolling gallery p assage. At o n e place, the r e i s a p acks-off s queeze up through som e br e akdown N o t mu c h furth e r on, th e route dr o p s b ack to the s tream Firs t a 30 m dro p d o wn a scuzzy l oose s lope, th e n a r e b e lay and free dro p d own into th e b o mb zone b e low th e scuzz s l o p e N e xt a trav e rse on a l edge beside a thund e rin g 1 2 m w a t e rfall and th e n down besid e it. You the n w o rk e d yo ur w a y a l o n g a l e dg e and th e n d own to the s tream whe r e y o u s tepp e d a cross to th e other s ide, then o n to a b o uld e r in th e middl e and down one s id e of it. Th e s pray h e r e was blastin g everywh e re. We had now reach e d th e East Gorge, a beautiful s tre a m passage 5-10 m wide, w a t e r knee deep and fl o wing s wiftly over grav e l and breakdown b lo c ks. Abo ut 500 m a l o n g thi s you climb up on a ledge on the l e ft and th e r e i s a short 7 m rope up into a s andy floo r ed, upp e r passage thr o u g h whi c h a tributary flow s T hi s i s Camp II; when w e reach e d ther e with our final duffe l s w e set a b o ut o rg a nizing our camp for the week. Bill, D o n and N ancy h a d taken a trip off to the breakdown and h a d m a naged t o find a way through They h a d brok e n into a big b o r e h o l e We all had a res t day to get the seven o f u s onto th e sam e sche dule. Then we w e nt o n a trip t o s urvey th e new di s covery. The passage o n from camp s t a rt e d as a long gall ery with flo w s t o n c roo m s and l o t s o f breakdown to climb over or aro und. Th e r e was a c limb up an eroding flow s tone waterfall calle d th e Dipsy Doodle After a km or so, the r e was a 23 m fl o w s t o n c drop and then two mor e ropes o n l e dges with m e n a cin g breakdown. One of these drops i s calle d th e Wid o w M a k er. You l and besid e th e str eam, whi c h i s n o w l a rger. Th e n e xt 300 m i s a section call e d the S wim Gy m Most o f th e vi o l e ntl y fas t or dee p w a ter can b e avoid e d b y climbing. Th e r e a r c a c o uple of place s whe r e the w a t e r i s like a g i a nt turb o flu s h toilet. You c ross o n a n atura l bridge, th e wat e r s h oo t s b e low you into a g iant p o th o l e and c hurn s a round in a c ircl e and th e n goes squirting o ut of a l o w e r h o l e Only a c o upl e of r e l a tivel y calm w a i s t deep p oo l s cann o t b e climb e d ar o und T h e r e a r c a l o t o f very s h a rp bl a des on the walls and fl oor, r mn a nt s o f p o th o les th a t g r e w tog e th er. A 14 m ro p up l e t s you avoid th e l o w e r Swim Gym You climb up int o a n upp e r l e v e l form a ti o n g all ery. It is calle d th e H all o f th e Restless Gia nts. Stalagmitic column s 10 to 15 m in diameter abound, and all of them shattered and cracked badly The floor is covered with shattered s talagmites that had obviously been shaken off of the ceiling. After several hundred meters of passage, you do two flowstone drops and begin a canyon passage. There ar e a couple more drops down narrow slots Soon, you are in the breakdown maze that was the end of the exploration in 1988. This area is like a canyon 10 to 15 m wide and 25 m tall, the walls of which have some interconnecting potholes and are totally filled with breakdown in sizes from semi truck down to desk size. The way through is moderately confusing At one point, you crawl out of one hole into the spray of a small waterfall, and cross a wet little room Finally, you get into th e Black Borehole, a 20-30 m passage. Everything is totally covered with black manganese. Sometimes, you are traversing the walls but more often climbing over or under large breakdown. At the end of this passage was the terminal breakdown where Bill had found the way through. We started surveying The team of Grubbs Oliphant and Pistole mapped through the breakdown maze. This part was named the Looking Glass; the way in is the way back out. The other four mapped uphill from the connection squeeze to the Megaborehole. We emerg e d from the squeezes into a huge breakdown room 70 m across. The floor was covered with the same sort of freshly broken and totally shattered stuff as the Hall of the Restless Giants, except that it was bedrock instead of stal --obviously right under some major fault. We went up the angle of repose slope to a place where the passage forked; we were to map these forks The right hand one didn't go too far before it ended in a flowstone plug. The calcite on the walls had millions of points of sparkling light so we named that the Glitter Gallery. There was also four-inch spiky aragonite growing all over the bottom and sid e s of the terminal pool that we found. We also saw some places where the aragonite spikes had grown into solid mats of flowstone. The other side passage was mud floored, with some areas of fourto six-inch thick flowstone growing over the mud. That passage also ended fairly s oon, so we set out to leapfrog the other survey team, which had been going down the main trunk of the borehole. We found them a kilometer away at another breakdown choke The passage to get there was great; first, the breakdown slope -very unstable Then, the stream with huge, house-sized boulders wedged above it. Then, scrambling up another breakdown slope At one place, the stream could be heard going off to the right. A bit further on, a sloped passage off to the left led to the stream and some sumps. The main passage went s lightly to the right and then ended in breakdown with lots of airflow. We waited in a safe place, out of the bomb zone, while Bill probed in the breakdown. Then we went back to the left hand sump passage and mapped down to the water, declaring that to be the deepest point in the cave. Then we headed home; we were definitely hammered nails when we got there. My trip was 24 hours, and I got down to -1,100 m from the entrance The next day was a rest day in camp. We ate lots of 4 0 June 1989 The Texas Caver


freeze-drieds and got lots of sleep. The following day, we had a small crew of Bill, Don, Matt and I returning to the breakdown for one more look. We got there in not much more than four hours. We named this passage the AS Borehole because of some mineralized cracks in the wall that formed the letters AS. In the breakdown choke, we tried many different ways but couldn't get through, even though a lot of air does. After that, we went down the passage to the right where the stream can be heard from the borehole. I called this Cataract Canyon. It is a canyon 3-6 m wide, twice as tall. The stream is roaring down 2-4 m cascades into giant potholes and down a 6 m cataract. The water is so beautiful: deep, blue pools and spray frothing over the drops. This passage ended in a sump, probably very near the one that we had mapped to on the trip before. As we left, we stage-derigged the drops. I was back in Camp after 16 or so hours. There was a surprise when we got there. A survey crew of Bill Stone, Rolff Adams, and Carol Vesely had come in Puente Natural and connected to Cheve just two drops up from camp. They had come on down to camp, been fed and given sleeping bags to crash in. They had gone more than 900 m down before connecting in and had found a great 150 m shaft at the same level as Saknussen's Well. They had been expecting a big pit so they had a big rope with them. Most of the cave was small, narrow and at one point, Rolf had pointed out that they could have just as much fun as carrying the rope by staying outside and beating their heads against some rocks. They stayed about six hours and then we fed them lots of breakfast. Don and Carol switched teams and Don went as they surveyed out of Puente. The rest of us rested. The next day, we cleaned up camp. Carol and Nancy left with their duffels for the surface and then Bill, Matt and I waited for a while so that there wouldn't be a jam up somewhere. As we exited, we derigged all of the drops, stashing the ropes in safe places and taking all the hardware with us. At the Fuel Injector, we had a chilling chore to do. An 80 m orange rope had fallen into the pool at the base of the falls and we had to try to recover it. Don had loaned us a mask; since Matt had a wetsuit there, he did the dive. The rope was eventually located about 10 m deep, right under the falls. Matt dove for it and came up struggling with one hand and holding onto the rope. I was there to pull him in to the chest-deep ledge we could stand on. In the short ropes above the Turbines, I got flipped upside down whe n my seat Jumar didn't catch and slid down to my knee cam. The camp stuff on my back took me right over. I was able to slip it off and laugh, but apparently that ripped out some of the sewing in my seat harness. I was able to fix it (sort ot) with a mallion link, but it rubbed a sore spot on my hip. The Salmon Ladders with camp duffs were no fun at all; easy climb-arounds just weren't do able with the extra weight, and once I pulled my arm as I fell out of a climb into chest deep water. A short time later, I was pulled off a ledge and slid neck-deep into the 48-degree drink. I got warmer going up Saknussen's Well. We derigged to the top of the Well and then continued out. At the top of the Giant Staircase, I noticed that both shoulder straps were about to come off my duff. I had to be very careful in the climbs so that if they broke, it wouldn't throw me off balance or drop my stuff down some 15 m precipice. When they went, I was able to tie the ends to one of the compressor straps and continue on. While crossing the rebelays at Angels Falls, a 3-inch cave centipede came walking over on the wet wall. My collecting bottle deep in my duff, I just said 'Hi' and watched him walk off. At the Basket Room, I saw daylight for the first time in a week. It was about noon. I had made it out from camp in 21 hours. At the entrance, I paused and drank in the colors and the exquisite smells of the plants growing at the entrance. In camp, everyone was scurrying around. Most people had decided to leave and route fever was evident. A field calculation of the survey data showed that the new depth of Cueva Cheve after the discovery of the AS Bor.ehole and the connection of Osto Puente Natural to be -1265 m, making it the eighth deepest in the world. The next day, Bill and Tim finished derigging the cave from the top of Saknussen's. I went on a hike to stretch my legs and I got up on a local peak. From there, I could see across the Santa Domingo River and see the Huautla area. I could easily make out the white church in San Andres and the one in San Agustin. The next day, Tim and I helped Bill and Carol clean up the llano. We hiked our stuff back up to the truck and left, driving down into forests of three types of pine and oaks, and down into the Oaxaca valley desert of tall cacti We camped that night by the river near Cuitcat l an. Stateside Contact for a Mexican Cave Rescue by Bill Steele It was Tuesday afternoon, March 7, 1989, the first Tuesday of the month, when I spend most of the day marooned in a full staff meeting. It was over by early afternoon and I went to the receptionist for my phone messages. There was one from Mexico and it said Blakeley. "Jeb," I thought to myself, "he's at Cheve, and this could be a rescue." I pumped the receptionist for information. I was a little angry that someone had not come to get me. They are not supposed to for phone calls, but I suspected this one was urgent. It turned out that he had called twice. It was a collect call, as the seasoned Mexican caver always does because it costs half as much. A Mexican operator had asked in broken English if we would accept a collect call. Just the The Texas Caver June 1989 41


weekend befo re, w e h a d a busload of peopl e participate in an event in M onte rrey and it was assumed that thi s call was connected to th at. Only at th e end of th e secon d call, an h o ur afte r the first, was my name said All I could d o was wait f o r Jeb Blakeley, o f Id a ho, a Huautla v e t e ran a t C ueva C heve, a 1 ,000-meter de e p cave in th e s tate of Oaxaca, t o call a third time In tw o h o urs, h e did He was in Teotitlan d e l Camino, th e town at the beginning of the serpentine road up into th e Sierra Mazateca the gateway to Huaut la. There had been a n accident. Steve Knutson had falle n and broken som e ribs. He was 850 mete r s deep (ar o und 2,800 feet). They want e d a d oc tor. Jcb e mphasized that they wanted n o inte rn atio n a l incident. They jus t want e d a d octo r t o come who was a ble t o go th a t deep in a cave. They did not want a rescue team and all of th e a tt endant hoopla such as the M exica n Red C ross, embassy o fficials, the Army, e tc. I k new they h a d a s tron g team and that the cave was very difficult. I was th e r e last year. I knew I could pull together a team of muscl e who could do th e cave, but would n ot unless asked. Jeb named three d oc t o r s whom they fig ur e d could d o the cave. First was Rob Cooney of Atlanta Second was Noe l S loan of Indi a n a p olis. Third was P e t e Creceli u s of O rosino, Ida h o I asked for s ymptomatic det ails. T h e accid e nt h a d h appened o n the way i n t o camp Steve h a d fall e n a t approxim a t e ly 5 p m o n Sunday, 48 h o ur s before. He h a d broken a t least o n e rib o n th e ri g ht s id e Wh e n h e b e nt over a bump a ppear e d at th e third rib up n car th e s pine, o n th e right s id e of th e back It l oo k e d like th e end of a broken rib When h e s t oo d up straig ht th e bump disappear e d T hey h a d tap e d him l oose l y up and down the back, and l oose l y a r o und th e rib cage. He was havin g n o troubl e breathi ng. T hey had few firs t aid s upplies a t C heve. J e b was on hi s way to Huau tla, wh ere th e H u a utl a Proje c t h a d aSked Litter stas hed. He w o uld call back in four h o ur s to learn if o n e o f th e three cou ld go. I calle d direct ory assi s t a nce f o r Atlanta and got Coo ney's phon e numb er. He a n s wered th e pho ne. H e li s t e ned int ently to th e sympt o ms. A c lu e t o hi s tru e conditi o n was th a t I had been t o ld th a t whe n h e s t oo d up the lump went away. T h a t was t o say th a t h e could s tand. J c b had n o t said anythin g o f vi t a l s ign problems, o r s hock but thcs w e r e possibilities Bob Coo ney questi o n e d Du e t o th' fact that th e accide nt h a d t ake n place ove r 48 h o ur s pr evio u s ly, these fac t o r s w ere ei th e r present o r n o t with n o way of knowing. Dr. Coo ney said t o call back in a n h o ur and h wou l d sec what h e could do t o clear himself to go. Next, I went for Noel S loan. I was goi n g down th' lis t a s it had been give n t o me. No e l had an unli s t e d number. I was a t th office and did n o t have with m e my N dir ct ory. J e b h a d given m e th e n a m e of a hospit a l but dir ctory assi s tance said that hospita l n a m e had bee n c h a n g d. Wh n I got th e hospit a l they did not kn ow of a Dr. loan I tri e d a do c t o r's exch a nge, to no avail. He went o n a ba k burner. Pet r rcccli u s I reached with n o probl em. H e said he h a d jus t begun a s m all town practice and had lots of p a ti ents with appoint m ents H e said it would be tough to get away, p e rhap s a 10-20 p ercent likelihood. He, too, wondered abo ut s hock and I knew nothing. Was he passing blood in hi s urine? Was h e taking fluids? How about passin g custo m s with n arcotics? Frus tratingly, I could n o t a n swer these questions. J e b would call back in several hours, but h e was a messenger who had not been in th e cave and seen the victi m Wh e n I calle d Dr. Cooney agai n he was clear to go. He, t oo, questioned pass ing custom s with narcotics I told him I could not imagine it b e ing a big problem, given his DEA and m e dical licenses. We really needed to speak with Dr. Sloan. H e h a d caved in Mexico several times and s urely knew th e scoo p on t a king in a complete m e dical kit. C recelius called bac k and was clear to go. He would await further word, but was pack ing his caving gear. My job, as r e quest ed, was don e I had secured a doctor to go. I still nee d e d to s peak with Noel Sloan, but I h a d m y choice of two doctors when I did reach him. Th e tim e for J e b to call passed Knowing the Huautl a r oad, a nd what it is like to go down in th e cave wher e th e Ske d Litte r i s s tashed I realized that four hours was pu s hing it. I went home. The switchboard at the offic e was closed anyway, and I was not interested in sitting th e r e a nd a n s w e ring all after-hours calls in hopes that it would b e J e b I knew he would be calling from a friend's home in Huautla, he should have my home numb e r and my friend would hav e it if he did not. Wh e n I got home, I looked up Dr. Noel Sloan in the NSS directory His home number was not answered His work number got m e a hospital. I asked the person who answered to please get a message to him. She was not cooperative, and in fact, even said something to the effect of, "why should I", "what' s in it for me", "where did I get thi s numb er", and so on I k ept my cool and persisted and s h e finally agreed to try to reach him because God would w a nt h e r to Wh e n Dr. Sloan called, he had sensed that a rescue was amiss. He i s the medical officer of the National Cave Rescu e Commission. I am a contact person for many going caving in Mexico, especially those going to extremely deep caves. He was relieved to learn that Knutson was not sever e ly injure d but the fact that he was so very deep in a cold and difficult cave made the situation serious. I t o ld him I already h a d a doctor, Bob Cooney, lined up to go. I needed informa tion for Cooney on tra n s porting n a rc o tics into Mexico. Noel answered with wha t I expected, that given a medical license and DEA license, th e r e should be no probl em. Th e n he began to question the whole operation I ran through th e symptoms and particu lars. I was speaking with one of the authors of th e newly published NCRC cave rescue manual. He could appreciate the magnitude of hauling a victim in a Sked Litter up so many rope drops. No e l did not know of doctors Cooney and Crecelius. He did not hav e th e m lis t ed. He questioned their vertical 4 June 1989 The Texas Caver


experience. I did not personally know them so could only repeat what I had been told over the phone. I could tell by now that Dr. Sloan felt h e was better qualified I was in no position to argue. I already had two doctors who said they could go. Here was a third. Cooney was preparing to go, Crecelius was on stand-by and Cooney had questions about what to take as well as never having been in Mexico. "Can you get away?" I finally asked. "Let me see," was his reply. "I'll call you back." In fifteen minutes, he called back and was clear to go. I called Cooney and Crecelius and asked them both to stand by. Noel and I spoke two or three more times that night as he prepared. I was awaiting Blakeley's call from Huautla. Noel put to the test the rationale of only he going and not a team to back up the cavers on the scene. I emphasized that they stressed they wanted only a doctor who could do the cave. We discussed how these things go, that you keep the victim s tabilized until ready to move toward the entrance and th e n you move them steadily to the entrance. His services would be needed to make sure of what Knutson's injuries were, prepare him for the evacuation, and travel along in case anything else developed. Sloan asked me about contacting the U.S. Air Force to see if transportation could be arranged for him, and now, Don Paquette, director of the NCRC, who had decided to go, too. It was my opinion that he should not, because this could, and probably would, sound the very alarm that I was asked not to. I felt that commercial airliners would get them to Oaxaca just as fast as would cutting red tape for an Air Force plane to get to the same airport. He called his airport to arrange to get to Mexico City and I called Mexicana for times of flights on to Oaxaca. They could get out of Indianapolis at 7:30 a.m. and connections would get them to Oaxaca at 6:30 p.m. It was important to get the cavers there to pick them up at the airport. Otherwise, they were certain to have to wait until morning for a bus. Late in the evening, Dr. Cooney called from Atlanta. There had been a grotto meeting that night, and he had made news of the impending rescue. The Dogwood City Grotto is a vertically oriented one and somewhat of a rescue oriented one as well. The push was on from them to organize a team and send them on their way. I stuck to my guns and insisted that the team at Cheve was strong. They knew what they were doing. If they needed people, they would say so. The issue was dropped. Jeb Blakeley did not call me back that night. In my mind's eye, I could see them grinding up that rough, rocky Huautla road, going down in the stash cave, and then not finding our Huautla friend at home or the phones being out. It is no surprise there when schedules are not met in the Sierra Mazateca. Early the next morning I called Noel. Don Paquette had decided not to go, honoring my initial reque st. I had not heard from Jeb, but probably would in the next couple of hours Noel had set things up with the USAF in case we needed to later send a team of cavers, so I took down th e details of how to activate this transportation He was well prepared with another Sked Litter, lots of pulleys, and a full medical kit; armed for b ear. I felt good that it was h e who was going. By th e time I got to my office, Jeb had called and misse d me. Noel called when he landed in Houston. He had an hour to wait until the plane for Mexico City left. He said h e would call again before boarding. At 10:30 a.m., moments before Noel was to board, Jeb called. They had had a harrowing night driving the winding, muddy road in the dark, with fog. They had the Sked Litter. It was in the wee hours when they passed through Huautla, so they came down out of the mountains and planned to call first thing in the morning. He was pleased to learn that Dr. Sloan was en route. They would pick him up at the airport. Sloan did not call. I called Continental and learned that the plane was taxiing. I could not get word to him. Ten minutes later, Jim Smith called collect from Mexico. I immediately asked him where h e was. He was at the same telephone office from which Jeb had just called. He had not seen him Smith had gotten out of the cave just hours before He had been with Knutson. It was now four days since the accident. Knutson was doing better and had been slowly moving on his own up ropes. He was now halfway out. They did not need a doctor. Well, Noel was by now approaching Mexican airspace. He was committed to at least getting out as far as Mexico City. He was to call me from there. After we hung up, I sat and thought about it. This was great news. A rescue of hauling a victim from so very deep and up the complicated rigging of Cheve would have been monumental -unprecedented That was not going to have to happen. I knew wh e re in the cave he was and he was now above the tough stuff. I had avoided second guessing the guys on the scene. They were calling the shots. But I had an opinion here. We had a doctor on his way. He had cleared his schedule and bought airfare. Knutson was still in the cave. He was still deeper than is any cave in the U.S. As I sat in thought, the phone rang It was Noel. He was calling from the plane. Pretty neat! The news was w ell received He was firm on going He had considered joining the expedition, anyway. He had a round-trip ticket and was going to Cheve. He too, pointed out that the victim was still underground and that complications could arise. Two hours later, Smith called. I told him that Sloan was going on. He said that he definitely would be picked up at the airport. We hung up and that was the last I heard from them for one week. During the next week of silence, I heard from cavers from Utah and Oregon who had somehow gotten wind of Knutson's accident and wondered if he was coming home or going on to Guatemala where they were supposed to meet him in two weeks. I did not know In my mind, I could imagine the happenings at Cheve. Sloan would go in on Friday, they would have Knutson The Texas Caver June 1989 43


o ut by Saturday, and s ince I h a d n o t heard from th e m b y T uesday, i t was a pp a r e nt to m e th a t Noe l had d o n e for the b r o k e n r ib s all a n y hosp i t a l wo uld so they wer e still at C h cvc. oc t was pr o babl y seein g som e o f th e cave. Whe n I did hear fr o m someone, it was Noel. H e called f r o m H o u s t o n e n r o ut e back t o Indianap olis. Knutson was goin g o n t o Gu a t e m a l a All had gon e s m oot hl y and Knutson h a d gott e n himself o ut o f Cueva C h cvc w i t h o nl y min o r assi s t a nce. It was quit e f o rtunate tha t h e h a d n o t h a d t o b e h a ul e d up th e drops. This was a good exercise in sounding an alarm and mobilizing Three caving doctors had been willing and able to go on a moment's notice. Doctors Cooney and Cr e celiu s are now known to the NCRC and are building up cave rescue kits to be prepared to grab and go. We opened channels again with the USAF for international emergency tran s portation and, in fact learned that due to th e 1985 Mexico City earthquake, red tape had diminished and it would be much smoother to utilize this if needed. It was used in 1978 to fly a truck and team to Cd. Victoria to rescue Chris Kerr from Brinco. Mexican Caving ----by Ed Sevcik D es tin atio n : P e r so nn el: C u eva d e L a Pu e nt e a nd b e yond ; San Luis Potosi and parts west, Mexico Cy nthi a Gra nt Joe Ivy, Linda P a lit, Ed Sevcik D a t es: D ec. 26 19 88 thr o ugh J a nuary 9 1989 Day 1 "It'll compress, ... W e pack e d in San Anto nio, with much cur s ing, and sitting and s t a ndin g up o n things to jam th e m into Joe's little blu e Toy, and t y in g o f thing s onto th e roof of the camp e r w hi c h began t o c rack and b end but hey, thi s is Mexico we' r e goin g to. Lar e d o b y 10:00, Nu e vo Laredo by II :00 and onward. Th e u s u a l driv e through the "night l ands" o f Northe rn Mex ico with a s top for food in Saltillo tha t need n o t b e describ e d Day 2 "Cuetes!" Some scenes in San Luis : Us all n o ddin g sagel y in t o tal c o nfu s ion as the waitress a t Lo s Arcos (cccugh) t ells u s where to find th e l a rge, d a nger o u s M exican b o ttl e rock e ts, known as cuetes tha t Joe has set hi s h e art o n having for New Y e ar's Eve H ellis h drivin g a round e l centro ("It's a zoo!") fig htin g off s m all wind s hi e ld washing children, dodging tru c k s Joe c ur s in g Lind a l a ughing, Cynthia and I cringing and screamin g and tossing in th e back. Oh boy A sear c h a m o n g th e m arke t s t alls alas r e veals no c u e tes, thou g h w e did c o m e upon enough mi s cell a neou s h a ngs t o m a k e a s uit a bl e din as well as some large, trian g ular things wrapp e d up in M e xican tran s lations of A r c hi e comics th a t l oo k ed, w e ll, s c ary. Buy in g g roceries: It 'll c o mpress, I s wear to God!" P o or, overload e d tru ck! Joe i s upset about hi s leaf s prings again h o ppin g icc with a machete in th e p a rking l o t o r a G igant e ( th e T a rget o f M exico) t o th e amusem e nt of v ariou s ru g r a ts. Beer t oo mu c h beer (no, n o t e nough). Le t' s s kip th e drive t o the m o untain s and pr e t end w 'r e alread y camp e d a f e w miles a b o v e S a n Franci sco and n o b o d y need s to pee. Day 3 "in' Wah!" Morning found us wandering around camp, in the cedar and oak forest that fills the dolina. Below us lurked the cave, hidden among the green shadows of trees The weather was magnificent, with a delicate, warm blue sky and a breeze, so we lingered over breakfast and weren't nearly ready until noon The entrance to La Puente is a spectacular arch about 20 meters high, set among mossy stones and trees in a pleasant vale. The arch fronts a high chamber inhabited by vampire bats and smeared here and there with their tarlike droppings; our lights excited them into fluttering, squeaking confusion. They seemed a degenerate sort of bat, though Cynthia tells me that, up close, they are very cute. Our way led on through gradually lowering passage to a miserable cobblestone crawl, then past a spring that comes down over a series of rimstone dams adorned with curious underwater helictites (which looked like noodles or tapeworms, depending on whether you ask me or Joe). Then on over sand dunes to a long high, meandering stream passage shaped, in cross s e ction, roughly like an hourglass. A little stream trickles through it, corrupted by the bats and laced with disgusting orange algae. At length, we arrived in a huge chamber formed by the juncture of three passages: the one we had come from, its continuation through a cold water crawl, and a huge infeeder from which a stout stream was pouring over breakdown and rimstone dams. In this place of dark, soft echoes, we sat awhile and ate. This site, about 2,000 feet in, was the end of the old survey, but not the end of the cave. Ignoring the infeeder (which had already been mapped), we progressed through a couple of low cold, nasty waterfilled crawls to meand e ring stream passage, of much the same character a s the first, though smaller and more highly decorated. On thi s day, our objective was to get to the drop at the end 44 June 1989 The Texas Caver


of the cave and rig it, so we hurried on down the tube, now with a fair-sized stream rushing along beside. This 33-meter drop had been rigged a couple of times previously, always from a point where the climbers got doused by something like a heavy thunderstorm while on rope. Joe's object was to rig it from a group of sturdy formations out at the end of a sloping traverse, from which it seemed that we might have a clean, dry drop. After spending some time on a complicated rig with several backups and a tail, he descended, and we waited for him to emerge. We waited a long, long, long time, eventually putting our lights out to conserve them, and sitting there in darkness, cold and sore, with the sound of the stream crashing in our ears. At last, the rope indicated Joe's return, and he emerged over the lip exhausted and in a foul mood, having run into what he described as "a geyser" of cold water shooting straight out of the wall. What actually happens is that the greater part of the stream, which might be 30 or 40 cfs, goes into the breakdown and emerges about halfway down the drop, shooting 10 or 15 feet out into the air. The rope he had rigged ran directly into it, and this (to use the technical term was a major ass-pain. After sitting around for a while to allow him to recover from the gymnastics he' d had to do to get around the geyser, we decided to blow it off and come back another day, leaving the rope rigged and much of our gear at the drop-off. Somehow or other, the trip had occupied nearly 12 hours. Day 4 "If it weren't for people like me, people like you would think you're a wimp" Beautiful weather; we all felt exhausted. The consumption and digestion of breakfast having proven too strenuous, an hour's nap was required, which gradually stretched into three. By noon, we all knew we weren't going back in, and resigned ourselves to a day spent snoozing, rambling and idling. A cow wandered through camp. The wasps were attracted by our water and got on my nerves Cynthia and I took a walk up on the puente for a view of mountains beyond dusty, tree-clad mountains, where the limestone ends and the cliffs have an odd, volcanic, columnar aspect. Nothing else to report. Day 5 "Fry mah hide!!" A Lil' Abner cartoon provides the motto for the day (and many to come). Surveying in La Puente, from the old end of survey nearly to the drop, proved exhausting and cold, but satisfying nonetheless. Linda photographed in the cave and I acted as her flash dog, while Joe sketched. THe luckiest dragonfly in the world found us, far back in the cave, and clung to my helmet strap all the way to the entrance. After an eight to ten hour trip, dinner (by Linda, of course) and sleep. Dragonfly stayed with me in my tent that night, still clinging to the helmet strap, and survived the chill. Day 6 "Day of the Ultrawimp" The title sums it up. We released the dragonfly and after a few turns around camp, it sauntered away into the blue sky and golden morning. There was not a chance of a productive day. The weather remained beautiful and hot; the wasps continued to get on my nerves. After I swung at one with a hammer, Joe made it land and crawl on his arm to spite me. He and Cynthia threw dry cow pies at each other and fought over her purse. I have no idea why As it was New Year's Eve, the night was treated with fireworks and indiscriminate drinking. One of the triangular bangs blew our campfire to smithereens and another made short work of a stewpot. With much laughter and staggering, midnight closed the show. Day 7 "[Expletive deleted]" Somehow or other, surveying the tail end of the cave to the real sump took 14 hours. Linda and Cynthia had trouble from the cold. I had trouble on the drop, and Joe's tummy didn't feel at all well. Nevertheless somehow the job got done. Below the drop, the cave goes almost immediately to a sump with passage leading off underwater. This we did not explore, nor an upper level that leads to a bolt traverse off the big room infeeder. These must be left for the next La Puente trip. Surveying (930 meters) and derigging and all the rest took 14 hours, and that cobblestone crawl on the way out was sheer purgatory. By the time we reached camp (a stiff uphill walk from the cave), Linda was incoherent from the cold and I was just plain incoherent. Waah! Day 8 "Goodbye to La Puente" Back on the road, after long, leisurely packing and eating and hiking and fiddling around. As we were preparing to leave, a crowd of TAG and other miscellaneous cavers, led by Maureen Handler of Tennessee, came sauntering over the hill. Included were Gerald Moni, John Sullivan, Doug Abernathy, Cecille James and Marc and Myrna Legault (he of Canada, she of Puerto Rico). We said "hi" and they went off to pig around in "our" cave. Then we were out of there, back to the city because Linda must return by bus to nurture the young minds of her students and the rest of us needed to nurture a few more bottles of Negra Modelo. Days 9-14 ''The rest of the trip" Free to carouse in earnest, Cynthia, Joe and I returned to the mountains and began following spoor on a topo map, looking for booty. A few "roads" up into a promising range revealed themselves to be cruel senderos, leading only to a town named San Juan that was like something out of a Beckett novel, all strange, whitewashed buildings standing in clusters under the corroded shadows of an enormous colonial basilica and church which were falling into savage, plant-festooned decay. The people The Texas Caver June 1989 45


seemed s trang e and m enacing, and we did not linger. Returning through dark m o unt ains back to th e highland s of San Francisco, we encoun t ered th e TAG people once more, parked by the road and babbling excited l y at each oth er. Their s tory : they had gon e up th e infecder in La Puente cli mbed up several hundred feet of iro n rebar l adders draped with e l ect rical cable, gott e n soaked, and eme rged into the pumpin g s tation of a pho s phorou s mine, to the g reat aston i s hm ent of certain Mexican s who were tes tin g the pumps. Th e warm afternoon found them idling around by a tienda drinking beer when a g r o up of Mexican caver s o ut of San Luis happened by and s t opped to greet th em. This led t o a p a rtn ersh ip into which we Texas caver s wer e invited The Mexican s knew of a cave with what they s aid was a th ou s and-foo t drop in it, but they didn t have A Mexican Sojourn photos and story by Karen Merkette It seemed like a l o t t o do in three days-Cueva d e I a Boca, Pozo de Gavi l a n, Puente d e Dios, C ueva lo s H undidos and ueva de Co n s t a ntin-especiall y s ince n o n e or us had been t o these places before. But never fear, Sanbo rn' s would get u s th ere And the topo m a p s weren't a bad idea e ith er. It was o n Thursday night, Jun e 1 1989, that D e bra Brown, Carl Ponebshek, George Y e ni and I hit the road in George s truck and Carl's van from San A nt o ni o t o n o rth e rn M exico. W e camp e d in Gilbert-altered Bu s t a m a nt e Canyon that night. The trip down Highway s 35 and 85 h a d been uneventful except for being s t opped three times by th e Mexican police The first bunch were agri cultura l th e rope to do it (and what rope they did have looked extremely fright e ning) They would show us the cave if we brought supplies. The potential for booty seemed good. We camped that night in the Valley of the Phantoms ( n a m e d for its many kar s t pinnacles), and prepared to visit Cue v a de Borbollon the next day. The day dawned rainy and continued foggy, but we progressed as best we could by quarry roads to Cueva de Borbollon, below the town of Piedra Agujerada. There was also a large elegant pit in the area named Sotano de Cacalotera what this means, no one seems to know. The rest of the week was spent prospecting in what seemed a very promising region to the south, driving here and there through little towns and meeting the locals as best we could. Our group returned to Texas, tired and s trung-out, but happy and eager for a return to the San Luis area. in s pectors; the second, narcotics; and I suppose the third were to find anything the others had missed. They didn't bother with us too long; we had been detained longer in Nuevo Laredo, where I noticed the mural in the custom's building for the first time. It's a typical blend of Christian and Indian symbols with a feeling of striving and beseeching evoked by the huge, naked man at the right. I wondered about the projectile-looking things going into (or coming out of?) the big hands on either side of the symbols. Anyway, up early Friday morning, Carl's near legendary coffee brought me to life. George mentioned "floaters" while I washed my face in the stream (the water 46 June 1989 The Texas Caver


stinks), but I didn't see any With a push-start for Carl's van, we headed for La Boca about 15 miles south of Monterrey. The traffic was light and the smog w as thin enough to afford a view of the "saddle" mountains overlooking the VW dealership where we stoppe d to check on the van It would only take an hour and a h a lf to replace the starter, so we decided to give them so m e leeway and do the cave in the meantime. Cueva de Ia Boca is hard to miss because the mouth takes up a fourth of the mountain face just past Rodrigo Gomez Dam. Workers mine phosphates there with buckets drawn up the mountain and across the road on a pulley system-the weight of the full bucket coming down brings up the empty bucket. The climb up to the mouth was steep. I took "the hard way" up a crumbly gully and was breathing h eavily when I hit the top. The guano smell was strong and bittersweet. Several fresh-faced giggling Mexican teenagers were taking pictures and they insisted in shooting George and I with their group. La Bo ca i s impressive because of its huge passage with high ceilings and domes. Guano covers everything; my boots found a wet patch almost on the order of Sorcerers. Guano mining accounts for several deep pits marked with crossed beams. After many photos, we headed back to Monterrey for Carl's van. We arrived just in time for siesta. It was 1:10 and they'd be closed until 3:00. A little ice house nearby provided entertainment during the wait with sweet cantaloupes, cold Cokes and Pink Floyd's "The Wall" in Spanish. After the VW place reopened, we were back on the road toward Poza de Gavilan. The turnoff to Highway 60 is at Linares so we stopped for gas. Right on top of the pumps was an assortment of M ex ican sugar candy for sale-only in Mexico! The kind we bought tasted lik e megasweet peanut butter. The next 30 miles or so was easily the mos t scenic part of the trip, winding through gorgeous Galeana Canyon with its vertical bedding planes. The most beautiful feature is 22 miles east on Highway 60-a hug e black stone mural chiseled into the side of a mountain by sculptor Federico Cantu in the late 1950s. Mother Nature stands holding an ear of corn in the center, surrounded b y various flora, fauna and important Mexican officials. The road winds past the town of Iturbide (a name d esc riptive of most of the towns in this area) and hosts big a nd bright yellow wildflowers that look lik e a cross between a tulip and a rose. We also saw a fat, red, ring-tailed raccoon crossing the road. Poza (which means "well") de Gavilan is we s t of th e town of Galeana. We didn' t have much trouble finding it after asking the way a couple of times The first m a n to give directions-poor ones-was on a donkey. H e had a couple of bushes tied with ropes to his saddle and he was dragging them all over the field, raising up all sorts of dust. I haven't yet figured out why he was doing that. The second man had a baby in a wheelbarrow, and a littl e girl with him, who opened the gate barring the "roa d we needed to take. Carl gave her a big bag of Chip s Ah oy for h e r troubl e The poza i s th e world's deep es t kn own gyp s um pit ; a crumbly, Out e d h o l e 200 feet across a nd very deep The water was probabl y 300 feet below th e surface a nd o nl y God kn ows h ow deep. Fog covered part of it way down below The s un was settin g a nd w e wanted t o find n ea rb y Pu e nt e d e Di os while it was s till lig ht so we h ea d e d b ac k thro ugh G a lean a, thinkin g h ow much it r e mind e d us o f Bu s t amante, with th e tree-cove r e d roads a nd brightly p a int e d houses. It was dark when we reached the n atura l brid ge. George go t out th e Ooodli ght a nd we spotte d itsort of. It was diffi c ult to see from the road, probably so eve n in the d ay light. Wh e n Georg e tri e d to mov e th e tru c k to a more favorable viewing spot (the 11oo dlight co rd was plugged into th e tru c k 's c i ga r e tt e lighte r) h e couldn't back out of th e steep g r a d e, a nd h a d to go forward, d a n ge rou s l y c lose t o th e cliff. It was a littl e h airy when hi s back wheels s lid sideways c los e to the e dg e, but with a littl e h e lp h e made it o ut fin e, a nd our n e w location prov e d how impressive the brid ge is, even in the d a rk. George Veni stands in the entrance to Cueva los Hundidos W e turn e d north on Highw ay 5 7 t owa rd S a ltillo, and Cu eva lo s Hundidos, 40 mil es o r s o n o rth o f San Roberto. A truck stop th e r e provid e d suppe r d e lici o u s ca f e co n l ec h e a nd horribl e chuletas I wondered if those w e ird-The Texas Caver Jun e 1989 47


lo o king pork chop s would giv e me trouble and, sure enough the cramp s came the next morning. Thank God for Lom o til. Once again luck led u s s traight through the dusty, cacti cov ered landscape to the cave. Actually luck had s ome help from P ete r Spr ou s e who'd m arked the cave o n our t opo. In the s ink, we found a 3-foot-dia m e t e r gypsum bli s ter and a huge b l oom in g cactu s To get inside Hundidos, a cave formed in gyps um, there's an immediate, c himneyabl e drop des cending 20 feet or so. The rope Carl rigged in anticipatio n of knee t rouble made it really e a s y Jus t pas t th e entrance, you s queeze diagonally through s ome breakdow n to get to the main trunk passage that open s big 40odd feet below th e s urface-nearly 100 feet wide by 30 feet hi gh! A hundred yard s in, th e ceiling c ome s down, and you see a trench dug ou t som etime af t e r Sprou s e mapped the place in 1977 (p lease see The Texas Cav er, April 1981, for m ap). It u s e d t o be a h ands-andknees to belly craw l but n ow it' s 100 feet of s t oo p walking after whic h the cave ope n s up big again. A coup l e of big breakdown pile s divides up the rest of th e cave into two room s Pretty brown boxwork cover s som e of the white breakdown in the first roo m som e of it extending a good inch from th e rock. It is very fragile We did s ome expl o rin g and s o m e multiflash s h o t s W e l eft Hundido by earl y a ft e rn oo n bound for Cueva d e Con s t a ntin Perhaps 50 miles south of Monclova, a very du s t y dirt road connect s Highway 57 and 53. Along thi s road o n s t a ntin s it s in th e m o untains, jus t cast o f th e t ow n of s pinazo. But west o f t own, there's a mount a in off by itself. Geo rge r e m e mb e r e d th a t Chuck Stuehm had m e nti o ned rumors of a cave with a ro o m bigger th a n Gru t a del Palmito in jus t s u c h a m o untain Sure e n o ugh, we spotted a n enticin g mouth near th e top of thi s one. W e pulled o ut th e binocs and it l oo k e d d o a ble so George t ook off throu g h th e cacti He ascended quickly, but once o n t op, h e couldn't sec th e entra nce. W e s h outed directions, and h e cam e within 15 feet of th e mouth, o nl y t o be s t o pped by s h eer walls So close, yet so far! Below, and t o the l ef t of th e m o uth a hug e b o ulder l ooked a s i f it h a d been carved int o th e head o f a man with dccp s c t eyes. A n Indi a n g u ar din g th e entra nce? W e s peculated abou t pictographs inside as we waited f o r George's return He reported that if h e' d h a d a knife, h e probably could have scraped th e lcchu guilla from a handh o ld needed t o ascend th e last distance. Oh well, it was n car s und ow n Another trip, p e rhaps. In Espi n azo, we needed icc and directi o n s A t c nugcr t o ld u s h e h a d icc a t hi s casa, and s ur e e nou g h, hi s mother filled o ur c hests. Fo r directi o ns, they point e d a t the mountains ahead th a t h e ld Co n s t a ntin, but th e r e w rc h a l f a dozen road s l eading in-which o ne? The first one we tri d led t o a l ocked gate. The next o n e was gravelly and t ook u s t o th e foot of th e m o untains, but it was t oo dark t o sec th e cross which m arks th e trail up. W h oped t o sig ht it a t daybreak. Som e tim e during th e ni g ht a thund e r s t o rm hit with big lig htnin g and r a in I r e m e mb e r seein g Debr a and Carl during one bright flash, s tashin g gear into Carl's van, but I had no trouble going back to sleep. And in the morning, there was little evid e nce of th e nig ht's rain and fortunately, we saw two crosses, o n e o n each e nd of the trail up the mountain to Cueva d e Constantin. I George Veni views some of the f o r m at i ons in Cueva de Constantin Th e cave is a holy plac e for Mexicans, a shrine for El Nino Fidencio a healer of the 1920s who could operate with s h ards of glass and r e move tumors bloodlessly Unfortunately, h e wasn't s killed in healing pneumonia, which got him in 1938 at th e age of 33. He's a saint now, and Cueva d e Constantin is full of candles which also s urround a very pr e tty alcove of columns with a sign marking his temple. We started up the mountain after breakfa s t and Carl's d e licious coffee. After an hour's s teep climb, s topping at the few shady places to rest, I saw the cave behind th e cross. Actually, there are three crosses-the white, wood e n one we could see from camp, a s m alle r wooden one behind th e cave mouth and a heavy, wrought iron cross to th e s ide I marve led at whoever had carrie d it up th e mountain with enough cement to set it in. Th e r e was a little bundl e of s ticks tied in offering to th e cross with a scrap of green, polka-dotted cloth. I tore a little strip from my blu e bandanna and tied a mesquite bean t o th e cross in my own offering. You never know. 4 Jun e 1989 The Texas Caver


When we others got to the top, we rested briefly and entered the cave. The pretty stuff starts just inside, and continues throughout the + 700 feet of passage. Neil Morris' 1971 map made the way easy-it's all walking except for one short squeeze-through. The cave is roughly horizontal but along its 150-foot width, it slopes at a 45-degree angle from the left wall down to the right wall. The vertical range of this tilted cross section is up to 130 feet. Flowstone and formations divide up the passage, so it can be explored on different levels, all very pretty. There are columns, soda straws, 'tites and 'mites everywhere you look. The front of the cave is fairly dry, the back fairly wet and slippery. Carl brushed off a five-foot fall that could have been ugly. Biologically, it's a rich area. George killed all sorts of critters for science; I saw a little brown and white spotted frog he spared. We all shot rolls of photographs. The trip down the mountain was easy and much cooler than the trip up. Alleluia for clouds! Back at camp, I discovered the wonderful cooling effects of a spitbath with my bandanna dipped in ice chest water, and we were back on the road to San Antonio through Eagle Pass. Carl's starter gave us no more trouble but something else in the van did, and we averaged no more than 50 mph all the way home. We arrived at 4 a.m. to cold showers, a little sleep and the reality of Monday morning (ugh!). Book Review: The Wakulla Springs Project by Bill Mixon The Wakulla Springs Project. William C. Stone, editor. United States Deep Caving Team, Derwood, Maryland; 1989. 212 pp. hardbound. $33 from the NSS Bookstore; mail orders add S2 postage and handling. In late 1987, a team of cave divers under the leadership of Bill Stone explored and mapped over two miles of very deep underwater passage in Wakulla Spring, Fla. While the "depths averaging 300 feet" one sees casually tossed out is a slight exaggeration, there really were very few survey stations less than 260 feet deep. The main point of the book seems to be the technology that went into the project, but that is probably in fact the main contribution of the project to the overall cave diving field so I guess I can't complain. In fact, I found most of the technical stuff pretty interesting, in an academic sort of way. Following an introduction and a chapter on the previous history of exploration of the spring, there are several chapters, totaling 85 pages (not counting related appendixes) on the techniques used. The major problem was the great depth of all the passage in the cave. There are long discussions of the problems of nitrogen narcosis and oxygen toxicity, and the use and preparation of the mixtures of helium and oxygen that were used to solve these problems are described. Decompression was done using compressed air and pure oxygen at different depths; an appendix gives the decompression tables used by the project. A variable depth underwater habitat was used to make much of the decompression time much more pleasant, although I have the impression that the work could have been accomplished without it. Diver propulsion vehicles were used to speed up movement through the cave and reduce the time spent at great depths. Stone describes his prototype rebreather which has potential for solving the air supply problem (but not the decompression time problem) inherent in deep, long distance diving, and there is a lengthy discussion of the sort of reliability analysis that gives overconfident engineers unpleasant surprises Stone calculates that his redundant design is 14 times more reliable than other similar units. It would be, if the numbers he plugs into the equations weren't purely imaginary and if he hasn't missed any failure modes. Some simple testing of the rebreather was done, but it played no part in the exploration. Because of the pioneering nature of the work, it is not surprising that a lot of the fancy stuff didn't at first work quite as intended, but a lot of valuable lessons were learned and recorded in this book. Only 50 pages are devoted to the actual exploration and mapping of Wakulla Spring and nearby Sally Ward Spring, but these sections may be the most interesting to a reader who is not into technology. There are nicely drafted plan and profile maps of both caves, although I suspect that the large amount of passage detail shown is somewhere between schematic and imaginary. How much detail could you record if you had ten minutes to map a thousand feet of passage, even if you didn't have to keep one eye on a pressure gauge that dropped noticeably every time you took a breath? Schematic or not, these maps stand as one of the premier accomplishments of American cave diving. The book concludes with short chapters on the geological and biological work accomplished by the project and a discussion of what might be needed to push the cave considerably further. Most major passages continue beyond the penetrations reached by the 1987 project. The Wakulla Springs Project is very nicely printed, although the computer-driven typing is pretty tacky. There are over a dozen full pages of color photographs, plus scores of black-and-white photos and other illustrations. The price seems a tad high, but I don't doubt that all one thousand copies of this record of a major push at one of the hardest frontiers of caving will be sold. The Texas Caver June 1989 49


DISPATCHES ERRATA In The Texas Caver, Vol. 34, No. 1 of February, 1989, the n a m e of Kathy Berkeley was o mitted fr o m the capti o n for the cover photograph, and Chuck Kenn e d y was the cavcr on the photo's ri g ht h and s ide FOR SALE For Sa le: Large, wooden ceremonia l bat mask from Nahuatl Indian s of Guerre ro, Mexico. Appr oximately 2 by 2 1/2 feet. $260. Please call Katheri n e at (512) 280-8106 or Bob at (2 1 4) 2 1 {}-5037 SWT GROTIO NEWS by Jim Elliott T h e past few month s has s h ow n a n increase in th e m e mber s hip of th e Southwest Texas (St a t e U niver sity) Grotto. I d o feel th a t increased participation acti vities is needed. I am o ptimi s tic abo ut the comin g months. n o ted, we have e i g ht National S p e leol ogica l Socie t y members, and 58 sig n atures (29 o f which a r c dues paying members.) The c lub was abl e t o acquire a s izeabl e a mount of dollars f r om a garage sale, collection of dues and th<.: sal<.: ofT-shirts. All of these have been s uccessful. I would like t o sec purchases of new gear for c lub use. S umm er has come and a l o t of s tud e nt s have vacat e d San Marcos. But thi s will n o t h a mp e r a n y o f th e cavin g acti V Ities. A h a ndful o f u s will be d o in g a subs t a nti a l amount of s urveying, plotting and relocating caves. Those of you who will he stayin g in th e a rea a r c urged t o kee p in t ouch wit h o n e of your officers t o s tay o n t o p of what is happening. O ur meeting s have c h a nged t o th e Showdow n S a l oo n a t 7:30p.m. o n the second and fourth Thurs day o f every month The c h a nge was du e t o a n increase in absenteeism for the s umm e r months. We will, o f course, go back t o Pepper's for the f all t e rm I wish t o thank those who have h e lp e d t o m a k e thi s a n active cavi n g club again and t o welcome those w h o will be joining u s in th e comin g weeks. (Editors Note: fr om th e SWT Grotto newsl ette r Vol. I No 3. The gro tt o was very active in th e 1970s, publi s hin g a g ui debook to Mexican caving. Welcome back, SWT!) CAVE SONG: A PLAY by Chris Thibodaux The play, Cave Song, i s a mu s t see for all cavers. Set within a Central Texas hills ide below a shopping mall the play carries a p ert inent message to the dwellers upon kar st. Th e diverse cast includes landowners developers, conservati o ni s ts, rock 'n roll punks, and cave spirits. The cast presents the dile mma proposed by development over a n aquife r and m ainta ining a clean and plentiful water s upply. Cave spirits awak e n to find that a stalagmite and a s t a lactite have n o t j o in e d to form a column and that their r e flectin g po o l has dried up. THe spirits discover that a s h o pping m all has c ut off their water supply and stunted th eir grow th Enlisting the help of some rock 'n roll punks, th e cave s pirits seal off their cave, preventing outside e xploitation of their fragile environment. The play leaves the audience questioning the role of development in t e rm s of protecting cave and water resources. By C h ar les Pascoe, Cave Son g is a musical for children of all ages. The mu s ical s howed every Wednesday and Saturday b e tween Jun e 28th and July 15th It may be shown as well b y s peci a l arrange m e nt to cavers. For mor e info rmation please contact: The Centra l Texas Children's Festival D e p a rtment of Theater, Southwest Texas State University S a n Marcos, T exas 78666 (512) 245-2204 Dr. Pascoe has m entione d the possibility of a special s h ow ing o r s peci a l r ates for cavers. Th e s talactite, Descendo, and stalagmite, Ascenda, are played by Jon a th a n D e Wolfe Hiebert and Leesah Marie Tyler, respectiv e ly Codirectors for the production are Jay J e nnings and Charles Pascoe. Cosponsors of the play are th e Edwards Aquifer Research and Data Center at SWTSU, th e Edw ards Underground Water District and Th e Guad a lup e -Blanco River Authority. The directors would also like to recognize the Barton Springs-Edwards Aquife r Conse rvation district for contributing to the production of the soundtrack. Th e music was recorded at Sailfish Studios at San M a rcos. Th e play i s th e first in a series of three thoughtful, e nt e rt a ining musicals at th e children s festival in the University Theat er. Oracl e of Balcon es was written for Texas' Sesquicent e nnial and The Next Amendment for the 200th a nniv e rsary of th e United States Constitution and th e Bill of Rights. Intended for children, the plays are e qu a lly heart-warming uplifting entertainment for adults. Editor's Not e : Chris Thibodaux is vice chairman of the S o uthwest Texas Grotto and editor of its newsletter. 50 Jun e 1989 The Texas Caver


The TSA Convention by Jay Jorden Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings may not have been there, but the cavers made up for it. For this year's TSA Convention, we returned to Luckenbach, Texas, hoping to have some fun together and maybe, as the Country-and-Western song goes, meet up with Willie, Waylon and the good 'ol boys. For the traditional festival, Mother Nature usually coaxes up some of her celestial fireworks, so the convention had been moved up to April 28-30 to try to avoid thunderstorms. Well, the best laid plans of mice and men in this case went astray. The ranks of about 150 cavers was swelled by DallasFort Worth Grotto members Bob and Margarita Lloyd, Ron Miller, Catherine McClure, Patti Bowers, James Savage, Dave McClung, Clay Chambers, Terry Holsinger, Jay Jorden and others. The convention campground was across the creek from Luckenbach near Fredericksburg, with talks and the Saturday night banquet at Das Fest Restaurant in the larger city. The obligatory hot tub and sauna was set up at the river that snaked through camp. An abandoned cotton gin provided shelter for some tent campers, and a large Indian tepee overlooked the scene. A sudden rainstorm that moved through the area during talks Saturday afternoon flattened many tents and left the grounds soggy. The convention also included a special workshop set up by Dr. Bill Elliott of Austin for a cave information exchange. Members of the Texas Cave Management Association held a meeting on cave permits and other business, and the Board of Governors also gathered In talks, Joe Ivy of San Antonio outlined the 1989 expedition to Cueva Borbollon in Mexico. The cave's first drop is 217 m, with a 40 m pit following. The cave was pushed to about 700 m in depth to a low airspace But the passage continues. There are no springs in the area. The cave takes a lot of water. Several other caves in the vicinity were visited. h y said a return trip was planned for Thanksgiving or Christmas to push the caves. He said that, during the trip, cavers saw billboards for an auto safety campaign in Mexico. Also Bill Steele of San Antonio gave a very compelling talk on the Huautla Project. The caves of the Huautla Plateau have been visited for the past 14 years. The system now has 17 entrances. The most visible is Sotano de San Agustin Steele discussed events in the project, including discovery of Kinepak Canyon in 1979, a 10-day-long stay at Camp IV two years ago, the connection with Nita Nanta, the dive into Nanta to make one of the world's deepest at 1,230 m, the La Grieta connection, Tommy's Borehole in 1987, determination of the significance of the resurgence, the trip down the river from there for 150 km and r e lations with the locals. Other items included the need to get bulk out of freeze-dried foods for the trip into Huautla, Jay Arnold's filmmaking 750 m deep and more in the cave, the Explorers Club flag and its connection to the expeditions, filming and climbing at Camp III in 1988, discovery of Anthodite Hall, dye tracing in the area, hydrological research, Nita Ka's exploration and early history of the plateau, including its reputation as a mecca in the 1960s The area was closed to cavers from 1971 to 1976. Facts on Huautla: it's the most complex of the world's deep caves, and now sixth deepest. It contains two 1,000 m deep systems, two at 900 m, one at 800, one at 700 and another at 600 m, all integrated into the system. Other presentations included a multimedia show by the Lubbock Area Grotto on the Guads of New Mexico that was superb, Fredericksburg area caves by Elliott, the National Geographic Guatemala expedition by George Veni, and Andy Kaminsky's video of Lechuguilla Cave in New Mexico. Also, Bill Russell gave a quick ov e rview of the history of Texas caving, James Reddell discussed the state's cave biology and the Texas Speleological Survey, Mark Minton showed slides of Honey Creek Water Cave, and Butch Fralia outlined Texas Parks and Wildlife Department liaisons The Texas Caver June 1989 51


The Conservation of Whirlpool Cave by Michael R. Grimm, NSS 29767 In the pa s t year, local cavers have been very concerned about the environmental impact and the outcome of a situation resulting from the southwest extension of the Mopac expressway in Austin and its s ub sequent impact on a local recharge feature known as Whirlpool Cave. The situation exists because of oversights in the planning of the drainage for the Mopac-Latta Lane inter section in Southwest Travi s County. The city of Au s tin was re spons ible for this planning; therefore, for the mo s t part, the city of Austin is to blame Whirlpool Cave, a major r echa rg e feature for the Barton Springs seg m ent of the Edwards Aquifer, seems to have been overlooked in the planning stage for the area's drainage. The res ult was placement of a four-foot-wide concrete drainpipe, which terminates within 20 feet of the entrance of the cave. The discovery of the drainpipe occurred on July 13, 1988, when my son Eli a nd I took a weekend day trip to th e cave to sec how it was being affected by all of th e heavy ma c hinery operating in the area. Whirlpool ha s always had a sig nifi ca nt value to th e l oca l cavcrs who h ave crawled through its pa ssages and discovered all of its charms. (Please see The Texas Caver, July August 1979). The cave ha s also been an area of considerable exploration and digging, with many di sco verie s re s ulting from all the efforts of cavers who took interes t in Whirlpool. Its value as a primary recharge cave has been threatened by improper planning o n the part of the city of Austin's department of the sa m e name. One week after I di scove r e d th e pipe, I took time off my full time job to attempt to a lert as many sta t e and l oca l agencie s t o the si tuation. Seven days of repetitive daily calls finally got th e attention. of the city of Austin's Environmental Protection personnel. They finally sent someone out to investigate the problem. During this period, I di sco v e r e d that while placing the pipe in th e trench a sixinch hole had been punched through the upper bedding plane into the first room of the cave. Finally, nin e days after municipa l officials were a l erted, th ey sent a city geologist, Dianna Slagel, to inspect th e damage to th e cave. Sh e agreed with m e that there were indeed seriou s problems here and suggested that I contact the Texas Wate r Commission. Rob Cont e with th e s tate water commission was contacted. He investigated th e problem. On Aug. 3, 19 his superior, Clyd e Bohmfalk, wrote a formal letter t o Roland Gamble, District 14 e ngineer for th e Texas Highway Department, and informed him that the pip e mu s t be mov e d or possible fines could be levied because of the potential contamination to th e aquifer from the discharge Months passe d Along with the tim e, the damag e to the cave went unrepaired. Many meetings occurred with the city of Austin's environmental personnel, but little was being done to move the pipe. It was a typical, modernday American story: lots of rhetoric but no action. By this, I am not saying that people were unconcerned. But th e fact remains today that our leaders do not seem to be as concerned with preservation of the environment as they s hould Finally, almost a year after the pipe was put in place, a meeting occurred with members of the water commission. Those present included George Veni, Mike Warton and I. The date of that meeting was Jan. 11, 1989. Yes, fellow cavers: 1989! The results of that meeting, however were positive The water commission agreed that the cave should be gated and protected from any "first surge" runoff occurring in the area running into the entrance to the cave. Whirlpool's owner, Col. James Beckett, was contacted. He agreed to let the Texas cavers install a gate. He also has agreed to l e t the Texas Cave Management Association manage access to the cave. On March 19, 1989, Texas cavers constructed the form for the cave gate. Then, in a precedent-setting cooperative effort between cavers and contractors, the concrete portion of the gate was poured on March 22, 1989 I would personally like to thank Ralph Brown, a Highway Department engineer, and Eby Construction Company for logistics and material to successfully complete the ta sk. We owe Ralph a debt of gratitude for all of his efforts. On Tuesday, May 22, 198Y, the gate was installed by Eby personnel Gale Williams and Jeff Syring who spent the entire day in the hot sun welding and cutting all of the metal that was required to put the gate in properly. Thanks to Mike Warton's design genius, the gate works very well and the cave entrance is now locked and secure. Also, thanks to Marke Lynn (Gypsy), the gate was prefabricated so well that it almost fell into place. But with every good story, I suppose there has to be some bad news Today, the four-foot drainpipe still remain s where it was when I discovered it. It is now connected to the drainage system and every time it rains, water pours from the pipe into the area near the entrance of the cave. Although a felt filter has been placed in the bottom of the pit caused by the construction, fine silt has been running into the cave and no one on the Austin City Council seems to be overly concerned about it. Col. Beckett, the owner, would like to see the whole area around the cave set aside as an environmental space, but city officials would rather sliver the land into little pieces to move the pipe to. They are not interested in buying the estimated four-acre tract of land Texas cavers need to give the Austin City Council a 52 June 1989 The Texas Caver


piece of their mind and inform them how important the issue of protecting th e cave is to quality recharge in an ever-decreasing groundwater situation. The Austin City Council's address is: P.O. Box 1088 Austin, TX 78767 I am writing letters to all of them. Their names are: Sally Shipman, mayor pro-tem; Michael "Max" Nofzinger; George Humphrey; Smoot Carl Mitchell; and Robert Barnstone. In conclusion, I would like to thank all of the people who gave of their time and talents during the construction. We should never forget these people because their efforts were the only thing that saved Whirlpool for future generations. Thanks to Marke Lynne, Jack Ralph, Jay Jorden, Doug Allen Mike Walsh, George Veni Mike Warton, Mack Pitchford, Bill Russell, Pete Strickland and Bill Mixon. They are all "brothers in arms" to me. The entrance to Whirlpool Cave 20 Years Ago from staff reports The year was 1969. In the June Texas Caver, Elbert Bassham had an article on "Cave Survey Calculations by Desk -Top Computer." Elbert used a machine called an Olivetti Underwood Programma 101. The machine, which weighed 65 pounds, "uses a serial printing device which prints a field of characters at 30 characters per second, more than twice the speed of an electric typewriter, on 3 1/2-inch adding machine tape." My, we have come a long way since th e n! The issue also contained a tribute to Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon at 9:56 p .m. Texas time on Sunday, July 20, 1969. "I believe that the failure to pay tribute to Apollo 11 would be a great mistake," wrote Don Watson of San Marcos. "Everyone should be interested and enthusiastic over this great moment, especially cavers as we too are explorers." At a time when the space shuttle is again circling the earth on ambitious missions and cavers are doing some world-class caving in New Mexico, it shows just how true those words still are. Another article, "Murphy's Law in Caving contains some real truisms, including the following: "After mapping a horrible 200-foot crawlway, you always find someone else's survey marker at the far end." And: "The more people you have posing for your picture, the more likely is the flashbulb to fail to fire Finally, "An overhang never look s bad on the way down." The Texas Caver June 1989 53


I TRIP REPORTS I Return to River Styx by: John Thompson Destination : River Styx Cave; King County, Texas Personnel : Date : Clay Chambers, Chad Fennor John Thompson and Bob Wommack April 1989 On Monday, April 10, I was on the phone to an old friend, had, trying to catch him up on what has been happenin g in my life since I las t s poke with him some three years b e fore. It didn't take long for me to mention caving, and he began to tell me how he had always wanted to venture below and would like to go on a trip sometime. Having not been on a cave trip s ince the day before, I felt a cave trip was l ong overdue and began trying to put a good beginner trip together. Firs t needing another experienced caver, I gave Clay a call Even thou g h we had jus t gotten back from 50 straight hours of cave restoration and exploration, h e sounded very enthusia s tic. After talkin g ove r the possibilities, Clay and I decided River Styx would be the perfect choice, even though I had never been there We decided that the coming weekend would do. And, with that Clay left the rest up to me. During th e week, caving was left on the back burner until Thursday, when another old friend, Bob Wommack, called and wanted to know when I was going climbing or S UBA diving Bob had been on climbing trips with both lay and myself hack when we tho u g ht ascending was don e hy prussik and prussik only Imm edia tely, I began to put the hard sell on Bob for th e coming trip, telling him how the crack climb at Enc hanted Rock could not compare t o River Styx. And, even thou g h I had not been there before, I assur e d him this was a REAL cave. If you wonder why the hard sell, you have but to look at my waistline. I LOVE food and Bob is an extraordinary cook. On a previ o u s climbing trip to Lost Maples State Park, Bob told u s not to even think of bringing MRE's as he would thr ow som e thin g together. What h e threw" together started cooking when we hit the trails th a t morning. When we returned th a t evening. Bob l ooked und e r the grill, s miled, and let us feast o ur eyes o n Co rni s h game hens, filet mig non e t c He th e n began making a di s h which he called "th other s--t." Well, the hard sell worked. Bob said he would go. and h e would like to cook for us. Ahhhh, victory Frida y rolled aro und and. as usual o ur 9 o'clock s h ar p m c tin g tim e e<1me and went as did 10 and 11. Chad was th re and Boh was o n th e pho ne. waiting for m y call. C lay was not at h o me, and not h ere T hi s made me feel a t case. for of all th e uncertainti e s in this world, o nl y one thing has r e mained consta nt : "No caving trip has or will ever depart on time." It is also tru e that th e more rigidly o n e set s the depurture time. th e m ore one will miss the set departure tim e lay finally s h owe d up at II :45. Bob was called and by midnight we were on our way. After a nice drive with no traffic at all, we reached the dirt road and noticed a couple of antelope on our way to the campsite We finally reach e d camp and Bob and Chad attempted to lay down and rest but decided that since it was already 5 a.m., it was useless. A bonfire was started and Bob could be seen getting breakfast ready as the sun began to rise. Well, Bob did what he called his "quick breakfast": pancakes, eggs and has hbrowns. After breakfast, we took a quick jaunt down to the water entrance for photos. Chad was duly impressed with the size of the entrance but the s limy appearance of the water --not to mention the absence of wetsuits -made us decide to enter at the crawl entrance. So we took our pictures and went back up the cliff to camp. It was now about an hour after sunup and the front I had been told would pass was seen approaching as a thin cirrus cloud line. It approached at 60 mph and the wind soon picked up to mach one (or so). With clear skies overhead, we decided to take refuge from the wind in the cave so we geared up and, like chicks following after their mother hen, we followed Clay straight to the cave entrance. Ha, ha. Soon I heard Clay say those fateful words, "I think it's just over that hill." You see, I have heard this before on trips into the Arbuckles with Dennis Thompson. Dennis would say, "Let's go to Cave X," and of course, we would get shanghaied on what was really a ridgewalking trip on which Dennis wanted some company. After awhile, Clay decided to go back to the truck for hi s map Within an hour, we soon heard the very distant voice of Clay, yelling he had found it about half a mile from where we were. We entered River Styx through the crawl entrance and almost immediately noticed a few bats here and there. Even though the entrance was small, when we got to th e junction room Chad was hooked on caving. It had been a long night, so when we reached the window, Bob decided this was the perfect place to take a nap So Clay, Chad and I headed on in to see both bat rooms, along with most every passage. Clay and I figured that Chad would enjoy it mo s t up front leading. I figured this would stop Clay from setting his u s u a l death pace. And sure enough, he seemed awe-inspired around every corner. After about four and o ne-half hour s in the cave, we decided to head out and e njoy the fine spring camping. Scooping up Bob on our way out, we headed back to camp and Bob decid e d to finish hi s nap in the shade. I thought that Bob looked too 54 Jun e 1989 The Texas Caver


comfortable and decided to take a nap also, but instead ended up in a state more closely resembling a coma. When I awoke, Bob already had the T bone steaks and Cornish game hens on the grill, along with his "other s -t" and sourdough bread Soon, dinner was read y and we were enjoying a fine meal in one of the most beautiful restaurants in the world. What a view! After dinner, we enjoyed some good spirits with some good spirits, and with a great bonfire, the night was complete. The next morning, I awoke to the aroma of more pancakes, bacon, hash browns, eggs and one-inch-thick pork tenderloin. I sure was glad I asked Bob to come along. The drive back was a lot quicker than the trip out and, as we arrived in Dallas, I realized that for the first time in three years I was home when I told my wife I would be. Miracles never cease to occur in the world of caving. In conclusion, I would like to include a famous quote in my first trip report. "What kind of man would live where there is no daring? I don't believe in taking foolish chances. But nothing can be accomplished without taking any chance at all." --Charles Augustus Lindbergh :::::;:; :;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:::;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;:;: ;: ;:;:;:;:;: ; : ; :;:;:;: ; : ; : ;:;:;:;:;: ;:;:;:;:; :;:;:;:;: ; :;:;: ; :;:::::::;:::::;:::::: ;:;:;:;:::::::::::_:;:;:,:.:,:_:;:;:;:,:.:.:....... ;:;:;:;:;:;:;:::: ...-.:.:.:;:;: Destination: Enchanted Rock by Dottie Barnes Our family took a trip to Enchanted Rock, Texas on June 10. At the time, we did not know there was a "cave" there. Before we started to climb the rock, we packed a backpack. Alan, our nine-year-old son, said that we should take the first aid kit but I didn't want to carry the whole thing so we took about 10 bandaids, one sterile gauze pad and tape. We also carried water. At the cave, we came up behind some Boy Scouts who were going through also, so we joined their group. The cave is really just big rocks and tiny passages to slither through. (Bill and I have a great interest in caves but before this have only been able to take tours. So this was our first time to get our clothes dirty.) Some of the scouts had been through before and they led. We made it all the way through, and everyone but one Boy Scout got out. There were three steps, each about 3-4 feet high, to get out. The last scout was unsecure, had no tread on his shoes but was getting help from the scout master. He fell 7-10 feet on his head. Of course, there was a rock to catch his fall. The scouts had neither a first aid kit nor water with them. But quite a few people around donated water and I gave my sterile gauze pad to help stop the bleeding. It took about one-half hour to get him up and out of the cave. Then the scout master and a passer-by l e nt their shoulders to help him down From now on I carry more first aid because the accid e nt may not involve u s but it could happ e n, n e v e rtheless. Cave safety is high on our list and we haven't even gotten to go into many caves! RuRiey Finds New Road to lnfiernillo by Carol Carlson and Kenny McGee Destination: Personnel: Cueva de Infiernillo, Brinco, Mexico, Easter 1989 Carol Carlson, Charles Fromen, Carl Phillip Fromen (age 10), Kenny McGee, Wild Bill Rupley, Georg e Sanders Rupley's Fur Mobile meets George's Black Truck about 9:30p.m. Friday and, with two-way radios tuned, the small group of GHG'ers (Greater Houston Grotto) headed for the wilds of Gruta del Canyon Purificacion in the mountains west of Ciudad Victoria. At the border crossing, Bill paid an enormously low "bite" of 50 cents. Are payoffs really curtailing? The exchange rate was 2,730 pesos to $1. On Saturday morning, George felt so frisky that he decided there was no use in wasting time. So before midnight, we had set up camp the other side of Paso de Ia Muerte. It was a disappointment to miss seeing all that lovely scenery because of the darkness. But the trip was warm, bumpy and beautifully dry. Back in the early 1970s, Charles Fromen and Harry Walker had first discovered this cave. By pushing all the leads, it proved to be a huge and glorious cave system which captured the attention of the Texas Speleological Association and the Association for Mexican Cave Studies. They began surveying and mapping. It was a through cave which goes inside the mountains and exits at Coralles or Conrado Castillo and is called Brinco. The Saturday night camp was on the mountainside about four miles from Gramaldos. Carol and Kenny discovered their new stove does not work (all their food was to be cooked) but George comes to the rescue. On Sunday morning, we made last-minute preparations for the hike down into the canyon. (Please see cartoon.) Bill parked his van at Grarnaldo's granddaughter's horne Everyone piled into George's four wheel drive and drove down the road into the canyon until the road ended. A major roadblock required all muscle power to remove the fallen tree. The three-hour hike was super, even though everyone was loaded to the gills. Carl Phillip even carried his load (kinda). Hundreds of parrots in the tall pine trees greeted us at the halfway point. Their squawking was so remarkable that we could hardly hear one another incredibly loud and noisy Carl Phillip and Carol collected red and green feathers. Charles said that was the firs t time The Texas Caver June 1989 55


he had ever seen the parrot s there. P o ison ivy abounds. The hike down was steep, and Kenny' s pack was so heavy that he fell over and Carol m a naged t o ri g ht the wrong The y t oo k pictures and lagged behind the rest o f the pack but Wild-Bill-ojack-"1 wanna go to Micos"Da Weasei Ruple y occasio n ally kept in voice contact until we all arrived at the bottom, where we were dwarfed by the Rio Purificaci o n giant boulders. George and Bill went f o r the hairy rope rigging climb while Carl Phillip discovered Spid e r Cave (15-foot h orizontal cave with s peleothems). Two parrot s new out of the e ntrance and joined the o ther 500,000 already circling high overhead. As darkness prevailed, Carl Phillip was firs t and ascended th e 1 20-foot inchw o rm workout. Dad l ends assistance at the halfway point. A second r ope was rigged by Charles which was used to haul ou r pack gear. Wild Bill donates hi s watch in car e of r o p e rigging detail. The sand-pile camp No. I was locat e d about 500 yards into the cave. Sleep came quickly about 10:30 p m "Space Blanket George" didn't need a s leepin g bag becaus e th e cave was a very comfo rt able 54 degrees. Monday Morning: At 9 a.m., Fri s ky George is ready to cave. Without breakfast, Caro l joins the pack in search of the Confusion Tubes. A few photos were s napped along the way. Due to being scoured o nce or twice a year, the cave i s very c lean and is full of beautiful, assorted colors. A s hort belay was needed at "Jump Rock" before arriving a t the Confu sio n Tubes, which were anastomosing passages within th e s teel-grey lime s tone. Exotic chert concretions added to th e s p e ndor of a mazement. Thanks to Kenny's tiny reflect ors, a return trip through the swiss cheese section was a s nap We returned to base camp about 6 p m Wild Bill s urvived the "daze" adventure as he continued hi s s tru ggle to wake up from las t night's nap A clear lak e s ump abo ut 100 yards from camp provided water r efi lls. A gourmet dehydrated feast was scarfed up before turnin g in for a restful night. Tucsduy: Early to rise and break camp! We arrived back at the entancc before noon Entrance photos were taken before exiting the cave. Although no parrots were there to guide u s back up the mountain to the truck, th e overcast s kies were a blessing. George rappells down first. C. Phillip makes hi s very firs t rappel with much moral s upport and a nxiou s ly look e d forward to Dad's arrival (on the second rope) after reaching "The Big Ledge." About 120 feet lat er, Dad and son and George waited below under boulders to hid e from light mi st. Kenny descended to an upper ledg e and l oc k e d off to assist Wild Bill who hand lowered pack s on th e haul rope. After packs were lower ed, arol descended on the haul rope to make a parallel beside Kenny Wild Bill was las t and decid e d to descend with two packs in a rapid swat tea m style rappel. lrol's 130foot PM I was left rigged to assist the next group of GHG'ers comin g with Harry Walker in a few weeks. h ar lcs and Car l Phillip hiked and flagged th eir way up the steep three-hour trip to the truck Car-sized bould e r s camouflaged the ravine turnoff that we s hould have taken After 200 yards of boulder scrambling. we realized that we probably went too far downstream. As we rested, weightless George "flies" back toward the cave in search of the side canyon Wild Bill, in search of a place to relieve himself, decided to look ahead, just around the next house sized boulder. As he disappeared, he screams, "WOW!!! There's a road h ere. This is the end of a new road!!" And thu s was born: "Bill's New Road" Actually, Carol saw this road during one of our scenic roadside stops from the top of the canyon. However, everyone thought she was looking at th e dry riverbed since she was "just a girl." Kenny got so excited and voted to stash our packs, except for water, and hik e back uphill to get the trucks, find "Bill's New Road" and retrieve the stashed packs. However, his great idea was vetoed. So, four hours later, with 70-pound packs, we finally heard Charles, somewhere, as he called us home. We figured out that we went too far to the right and should have gone more toward the left. What a jungle! And it was getting near dusk. By the time we got to Bill's van, it was dark with a temperature in the low 40s. Wednesday: The next morning, Antonio Sanchez and his dog Lassie came to our camp. He agreed to show us the new road and overlook. At the end of the new road is a 1 /4mile, 20-minute hike to view the cave from the other side of the canyon. We had lunch with Senor Sanchez on the switchback road back to the main road. We gave him bundles of clothes and goodies as payment before continuing west to the unknowns of Sierra Madre Oriental toward Caballos and Canada Verde in search of caves and other Mexican adventures. Looking forward to Charles' promised swimming hole, we finally arrived at dusk to find a stagnant pothole with a few pollywogs and one dead frog. The water was chilly and everyone thought they didn't really need a bath, yet. Besides, we would have had to swim with the cows. We camped before darkness, had a nice fire, big supper with hot link roast and all celebrated Harry Walker'sannual popcorn popoff birthday bash, while wild pigs were squealing with delight. Thursday: Carl Phillip discovered that the Mexican Easter bunny had invaded camp during the night and left a clutter of colorful candy eggs hidden everywhere. Wild Bill decided he has donated enough rubber to the cause and longs for the asphalt jungle to the Micas region. However, we convince him that a big cave is "just around the corner." Four hours later, (at five mph) we get to The Rock. (Please see cartoon.) After one hour of working with George's come-along, we moved The Rock enough to squeeze between it and the ledge and continue upward The next 100 yards, we discovered the road is completely washed out and would require a tank. After negotiating the turnaround and The Rock again, we stop for lunch. Wild Bill changes a badly worn tire with George's jack. Bill, Carol and Kenny part company with George, Charles and Carl Phillip. On our trip down the mountain toward El Carmen, Wild-Bill-" really wanna go to Micas now"Rupley loses his brakes and a slow leak results in a flat tire. A friendly local truck driver loans us his jack. We drove to Cd. Victoria for a dining-out supper. We continued south to Mante where we camped at the beautiful resurgence, or 56 June 1989 The Texas Caver


nacimiento, at Rio Mante. Record-breaking diving has been done there. Good Friday Morning: We enjoyed the clear, warm water swim. A small cave marks the resurgence. A dive record of more than 700 feet was made. The current is very swift, making it a challenge to swim to the small cave entrance. Hundreds of locals arrived to enjoy the holiday picnicking with family and friends. We were great entertainment for them as we had already begun our spring house cleaning Sharing the morning in the park with the whole town was a wonderful experience. Oh yes . Carol did give two Spanish Bibles to the Gramaldo families. One family in particular was very, very, very happy and thankful. We drove down to El Saito to view the spectacular waterfall and other cascading waterfalls. The main fall was rerouted to supply electrical current. We dined in Mante that night, then tried to find Rio Corona but passed it before we ever started looking. Saturday: We shopped in Matamoros. Have you ever been into a Mexican candy store? Mark Kilroy's mother came to our van as we waited in the long line to cross the border. She was distributing fliers about her missing son, who had come to Matamoros for spring break. (Later developments proved a tragic fate had befallen him. Ed.). This was a good trip-ya shudda been there! ::::: Turner Falls Caving-Rappelling by Jay 0orden Destination: Personnel: Date: Wagon Wheel Cave, other caves and cliffs, Turner Falls area, Murray County, Okla. James Savage, Dave Milhollin, Jay Jorden July 16, 1989 A quick trip was organized Sunday morning to the Turner Falls area, where Dave and James wanted to get some vertical practice and do a little caving We met at the usual eatery just north of Denton at about 11:30 a m., with Dave and James driving from Fort Worth environs and I from Dallas. We loaded up in Dave's Jap p'up and it was north to Soonerland. With all the recent rains, the Red River was running muddy and deep, we noted as we crossed the I-35 bridge. We continued northward past Ardmore to the scenic Arbuckle Mountains and then to Turner Falls, passing by large ranches on the way up. Of course for a hot weekend, the falls were predictably crowded, but we spent the afternoon atop a 60 70 foot cliff at a nearby canyon James took one look at the drop and decided he might want to start on something a little shorter. But we persuaded him that after a 20 30 foot drop, there wasn't anything to worry about-just more air. The rope and my vertical gear were ready for the task Good old reliable PM!, the nylon highway. Even though James' built-in alarm system was sounding a warning he was gently coaxed over the edge and was soon enjoying the view We just kept telling him about all the big drops h e could be doing! After a while, he stood at the bottom. We asked him if the drop didn't look a lot shorte r now. He replied, "No Then, it was Dave's turn. He took to it lik e a duck for water scooting down the rope and even traversing the face a little to peer into a small hole. It didn't go. Then came the hard part: The Climb I set up Dave on my ropewalker and explained its few quirks to him. After we sent him on his upward way, James and I climbed around a side route and had time to coach him over the lip Since the temperature was well into the 9 0s, Dave required a cooling-down period. Then, I suggested a really good way to cool down. Donning our swim trunks, we rappelled into the canyon and walked the few hundred feet to the base of Turner Falls. There is something almost magical about that cle ar, blue-green water. There's no such thing as staying in too long. We wished we could bottle it and take it back... the whole falls. Wandering down the canyon to Blue Hole, Dave got a chance to revisit haunts from church camp days from 10 or more years ago He remembered the slick rocks he used to slide down as being bigger then But things change. However, the high dive and water slide into Blue Hole were just as I remembered A little Shangri-La in which to plunge We lay in the shallow water above Blue Hole, letting the rapids flow over us. Then, alas, we had to leave. We returned to James, who had been guarding the gear, and checked out a small cave in the canyon Then, we hiked back to the truck and drove north and east toward Davis to check out another lead as the sun began to s e t in the Sunday skies Finally, we began the drive back to the Metroplcx, stopping for pizza and salad along the way, and vowing to return soon. ::::::: : ;:;:;:;:;:;::: ,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,, ,, ,,,,,,........ Oklahoma Caving by Jay Jorden :::;:;:;:;:;: ............;..;.;.;.;.;.;.;.;.;.; ... ;.;.; Destination: Atoka County, Okla. Date: July 15, 1989 On Saturday before John Brooks' slide party I drove to Oklahoma to do some needed work on property in Atoka County and check out a few caving leads. The IIOmile trip took me over Dennison Dam at Lake Texoma, which is overwhelmed by water from all the recent rains. Some resurveying was done and new flagging tape set in place, and signs posted The whole job took 3-4 hours before I had to r e turn to the Dall as area, g ather my slide s and head for John's place. The Texas Caver June 1989 57


The biggest obst acle in Oklahoma was a pesky assortmen t of biting flies and chiggers that m a d e th eir attack in s hady a reas, in c ludin g wood s and t all grass. M o r e w o rk need s t o be done in thi s a rea, caving-w ise. -9///I'//////////,//////////////////U////////////////////////////////////#////////////////////////////////PW//#////////////////.4 Destination: Personnel : Date: Williamson and Travis counties Texas Peter Strickland, Jocie Hooper, Terry Raines, Joe Ivy, Linda Palit, Rod Goke, Kathy Berkeley Dale Pate, Erika Heinen, Bill Mixon, other Austin and San Antonio area cavers; Jerry Atkinson, Midland June 24-25, 1989 On a s ummer weekend, I h a d planned t o meet my parent s in Willia mson Co unt y t o help m ove a h o use tr aile r o nt o m y l and, th e n c heck o ut a cave lead and j o in Pete r S tr ick land's annual s wim p a rty, in pro g ress near Lake T ravi s It a ll worked as plann e d : th e tr a il e r was in s talled and set up, a lbeit durin g a drivin g r a in The r e mnant s o f a hurrican e th a t h a d c ut th ro ugh Mexico from th e Pacific moved across the Gulf and dre n c hed Centra l Texas o n its way t o Lo uisiana. After vi siting m y new n ephew a t my brother's and hi s wife's, it was o n t o the Lake Travis area where the party' s r a nk s h a d been c ut by heavy r a in s earlier th a t day. But th e event was beginning t o stir finally as th e clouds br o k e I arrived in tim e t o t ake the ob ligat ory tour of th e g reenho use and watch the ni g htl y catfi s h feeding, then swim and cat as cavin g s lides were cranked up and the hot tub was stoke d This a nnu a l affai r draws a l arge c ross-secti o n o f Austin's cavi n g community and has even become regional with th e call ext e ndin g to San Antonio and Dallas. Jerry who i s a University o f Texas alumnus, also got wind of it and r e turn e d The p a rt y las t e d until way into the evening and pas t th e witching hour, when, one by o ne, th e s t a lw a rt s got s leep y and went t o find a place t o roll o ut a s leeping bag. Many c hose the floorboards of P e t e r' s house und e r construction on the pond s hore. It's a beauty: splitlevel California style. A project worthy o f Peter, build e r o f a t least one of th e Cavin g World' s Seven W onde r s On Sunday mornin g I r e turn e d t o my brother's house for breakfast. Then w e drove north t o Lake Georgetown for som e s wimming and c hecked out another cave lead before the h a ul back t o th e M etro plex. City of Austin Sally Shipman Mayor Pro Tern April 11, 1989 Michael Grimm 3303 China Grove Austin, Texas 78745 Dear Mr. Grimm: I want to thank you for your ongoing concern and hard work for Austin's environment. In particular, I want to thank you for bringing to my attention the problem regarding the pipe spilling into Beckett s Cave, possibly endangering the Edwards Aquifer. Your concern for our community and for the future of our environment are commendable and most appreciated. Sincerely, Sally Shipman Mayor ProTern May 10, 1989 Hello caving friends: Du e to no host grotto for a fall 1988 Southern Plains Regional and low attendance at the spring SPR this past weekend, the 11 members present voted to continue SPR for one more year with Kansas possibly hosting the fall meeting. We have to decide now if SPR will "live or die." Please have your newsletter editors send exchanges so that your grotto doings can be included in the next Southern Plains Record. Make plans now to attend the fall regional meeting if you are interested in seeing SPR continue. Do you have any ideas for projects, meeting places with caving possibilities, or will you host a meeting? Please send all replies to the acting secretary/treasurer: David Kowalski 3009 Delta Enid, Okla. 73703 5 June 1989 The Texas Caver


Thank yo u for the privilege of serving as your regional secretary/treasurer. I had to resign because of lack of transportation. Here's hoping we will see you all at the fall SPR Cave softly, Fanette Begley 516 E. Locust Nocona, Texas 76255 DFW Grotto Activities by Jay Jorden This week, Janet Thorne, chair of the National Speleological Society's conservation committee, wrote the Dallas-F o rt Worth Grotto for a survey o n bat protection. She said Bat Conservation International based in Austin, had asked her to write an article for its magazine Bats She surveyed grottos to ascertain cavers' attitudes and relat io nships with bats and whether they have altered in th e past 10 years. "This survey recognizes that responses are based on your personal impression of th e attitudes of grotto members ... ," she wrote. In general, since the DFW Grotto's form a tion in the early 1950s, there has been a metamorphosis in attitudes and bel iefs about bats. I believe th a t now the club's general attitude toward prot ecting bats is very positive and has historically been at least somewhat positive About 85 percent of grotto members now have very positive feelings about bat protection with an o ther 10 percent somewhat positive a nd 5 percent neutral. I don t believe we have any m e mbers who harbor any negative feelings about bats. But thos e percentages have changed from a decade ago, when about 75 perc e nt were somewhat positive with 10 percent or so very positive and about 15 percent neutral on the subject. Based on these figures, between 96 and 100 percent of grotto members would probably refuse to enter a cave during known hibernating o r m a ternity periods f o r enda ng e r e d bat species. That compares with a decade ago, when the figure was probably more like 76 to 95 percent. For non-endangered bat species, the numbers of grotto members who would refuse to enter a cave during hibernating or mat e rnity p e riods is likely smaller. Today, it's probably 76 to 95 percent; 10 years ago, the number was 26 to 75 percent. The survey asked what methods the grotto currently uses when members enter a cave area containing bats. Our actions have r u n the gamut of all the possibilities They include minimizing non verbal noise, stopp ing conversation and immediat ely leaving the bat area of the cave. Members a lso avoid shining light s o n bats, avoid going n ear a bat o r t ouc hing a bat. Memb ers have also warned others abo ut th e danger of enterin g a cave containing bats, in tha t their presence might disturb them It's a scientific fact th a t when a hibernating b a t is disturbed, the process can cause the a nim a l to lose valuable s tored nutri e nt s and possibly endanger its life. Our members are conservation-oriented, I believe. They want to protect bats and this was made evident a t a recent club progr a m a t which Bert Grantges of BCI made a presentation on conservation, complete with some pet flying foxes and the organizati o n's excellent slide s how Over th e past several years, grouo m ember s have also h a d the oppo rtunity t o assi s t Dr. Merlin Tuttle, BCI founder, in some of his work in Centra l Texas, including identifying roosting sites and bat types, e tc. Also, through our participation in the Southern Plains Regi o n we have been aiding biologists in Oklahoma who were conducting bat inventories and doing other work. And, through the Texas Speleologicall\ssociation, member s arc working on a Texas bat guidebook. B efo r e 1979, the grollo was helping to post information and closure signs at bat caves, and talking with visitors a t caves about bats. These days, we're also publishing positive info rmation abo ut bats in our news letter and the other magazine s in which we arc involved, sponsoring t a lks about bats, donating money to b a t projects, building and inst a lling bat boxes and assisting scientists with bat population censuses. Through th e Texas Cave Management Association, we are also developing an e xhibit on bats for disp lay. In other grotto news, members have been active in the Lechuguilla Cave Project in southeastern New Mexico. Members who h ave been project participants include Steve Dalton Mike Cagle, John P. Brooks, Sharon Lytle, Sheila Knight and Jay Jorden The cave is now seventh longest in the country, at about 37 miles (and still going!) and second deepest, a t a little less th an I ,500 feet. Project participants have also been involved wit h digging in nearby Manhol e Cave. In the Guadalupe Mountains, a M emorial Day trip saw members exploring Three Fingers Cave and ridgcwalking in the area, a l ong with visiting other known caves. In Arkansas, th e club continues to particip ate in mapping Fitton Cave through the auspices of the Cave Research 1 -o undation Pete Lindsley and John Brooks have been heavi l y involved in this work, along with Terry I lolsingcr who has also led trips t o other Arkansas caves. Troy Shelton has been caving in th a t state this year. Oklahoma caves remain a popular destination for the c l ub, and efforts arc being made to re-establish some l andowner rel ationships tha t were hurt when the area suffered an economic slump. Several mapping projects remain unfinished there But trips h ave been made to the Turner Falls area for caving and v e rtic al practice. South of th e border, DFW cavers have been helping to check leads in th e mountains south of Monterrey this year and traveling south of the Tropic of Cancer in search of underground wonders Plans are even being made by several grotto members to go overseas l a ter thi s year on a British caving trip Details will be available later. At least one other trip to Mexico is also in store. In Texas, the grotto has been active at Texas Speleological Association projects inc l uding the Longhorn Caverns clea nup Several m e mbers a llcndcd th e winter and summer TSA meetings Central Texas i s again becoming a p o pular des tinati o n. So muc h karst; so lillie tim e The Texas Caver Jun e 1989 59


The Texas Caver P.O. Box 8026 Austin, Texas 78713 BULK RATE U S. Postage PAID Austin, Texas Permit No. 1181

Contents: Cueva Cheve,
Qaxaca, Mexico / Andy Grubbs --
Stateside contact for a Mexican Cave rescue / Bill Steele
Mexican caving / Ed Seveik --
A Mexican sojourn / Karen Merkette --
Book review: The Wakulla Springs project / Bill Mixon --
Dispatcheds SWT grotto news / Jim Elliott --
Cave song: a play / Chris Thidodaux --
TSA convention / Jay Jorden --
The conservation of Whirlpool Cave / Michale Grimm --
Twenty years ago / Jay Jorden --
Trip reports --
Correspondence --
DFW grotto activities / Jay Jorden.