The Texas Caver

The Texas Caver

Material Information

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


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


General Note:
Contents: Eisenhauer Ranch Caves / Bill Rambo -- Vertical Etiquette (Or, Miss Manners Says .... ) / Phil Kirshtein and Angela Morgan -- A Vertical Rig / James Jasek -- Archaeological Excavations At Sorcerer's Cave / Kevin Thuesen -- Cheve 1990 / Bill Steele -- The Great Kickapoo Cave / Hal T. Cunningham -- Thanks Texas! / Capt. Don Glasco -- Coahuila Caving / Peter Sprouse -- Xilitla Trip Report / Peter Sprouse -- Across The Great Divide / Colin Nicholls -- Book Reviews / Bill Mixon.
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
Original Version:
Vol. 35, no. 05 (1990)
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
K26-04689 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.4689 ( USFLDC Handle )
11423 ( karstportal - original NodeID )
0040-4233 ( ISSN )

USFLDC Membership

Added automatically
Karst Information Portal

Postcard Information



This item has the following downloads:

Full Text


THE TEXAS CAVER VOLUME 35, NO. 5 OCTOBER1990 95 Eisenhauer Ranch Caves Bill Rambo 97 Vertical Etiquette (Or, Miss Maneers Says .... ) Phil Kirshtein and Angela Morgan 99 A Vertical Rig James Jasek 100 Archaeological Excavations At Sorcerer's Cave Kevin Thuesen 102 Cheve 1990 Bill Steele 103 The Great Kickapoo Cave 1889 HalT. Cunningham 104 Thanks Texas! 105 106 108 110 Capt. Don Glasco Coahuila Caving Peter Sprouse Xilitla Trip Report Peter Sprouse Across The Great Divide Colin Nicholls Book Reviews Bill Mixon ALTERNATING EDITORS This Issue Oren Tranbarger 3407 Hopecrest Next Issue San Antonio, Texas 78230 (512) 522-2710 -Day (512) 349-0208 Night Keith Heuss 1004-A Milford Way Austin, Texas 78745 (512) 385-7131-Day (512) 462-9574 Night PROOFREADERS Linda Palit and Barbara Tranbarger TEXAS CAVER LABELS Rod Goke PRINTED BY RAINES GRAPHICS 471 Limestone Lane Driftwood, Texas 78619 CAVE RESCUE-CALL COLLECT (512) 686-0234 Page 94 The TEXAS CAVER October 1990 niE TEXAS CAVER is a bimonthly publication of the Texas Speleologi r a! Association (fSA), an internal organization of the National Speleologi a! Society (NSS) Issues are published in February, April, June, Augu t October, and December. Send all correspondence (other than material > r The Tc:J:aS Caver), subscription fees, and newsletter exchanges to : The Te> 1:i Caver, P.O Box 8026, Austin, Texas 78713. SUBSCRIPTION for The TellliS Caver is $10.00/year. For Texas cave s TSA membership is included in the subscription fee Single or back iss1 : s are available for $2.00 each by mail, post paid; $1.00 each at conventions .AKila.ES AND MATERIAL for The TellliS Caver should be sent to I e alternating editors listed at left. The Tc:J:aS Caver openly invites articles, II p reports, photographs (35 mm slides or any size black and white or color pri 1 1 on glossy paper), cave maps, equipment items, news events, cartoons, and/ r any other caving-related material for publication. Deadline for submitti 1 l material is the 15th day of the month prior to the month of publication. C> COPYRIGIIT 1990 by the Texas Speleological Association Intern: I organizations of NSS may reprint any item first appearing in The ; Caver as long as proper credit is given and a copy of the newslett e containing the material is mailed to the proper alternating editors. Othe organizations should contact the proper alternating editor about reprinte r materials. FRONr COVER (Photo James F Jasek, 1990) Joel King (San Antonio 1 is climbing out of CM Cave, Coma! County, Texas. This virgin cave wa : discovered and surveyed this past spring as a result of efforts headed up b : Bill Rambo The cave has a tla-foot (18-meter) drop below the manhole-siz: entrance and a lower passage See opposite page for article on this cave. INSIDE COVER (Photo -Susie Lasko, 1987)This photograph shows Pete ; Sprouse at the bottom of Dead Man's Hole, a 40-meter (131-foot) deep pit in Burnet County, Texas. This pit, like many caves in central and sout h Texas, has high carbon dioxide levels most of the year BACK COVER (Photo-Noble Stidham, 1986) -Pat Copeland (Brownwood, Texas) is climbing out of Malpais Madness Sink which is 70-feet (21-meters ) deep. This sinkhole is west of Carrizozo and north of White Sands, New Mexico in the lava flows of the Valley of Fires.


BACKYARD TEXAS CAVING by BiH Rambo EISENHAUER RANCH CAVES Every caver dreams about exploring virgin caves (large or small) and to stand on ground untouched by anyone previously. This thrilling experience occurred several times earlier this year for San Antonio cavers in exploring cave leads on the Eisenhauer Ranch in Coma! County. Overall, 14 caves have been found on the ranch. Those described in this article include Long Job, CM, Four Below and Bear Tooth Caves. BACKGROUND The year 1989 ended with the start of an investigation of new caving leads on the Eisenhauer Ranch near Spring Branch in Comal County, Texas. Four San Antonio Grotto (SAG) members, which included Randy Waters, Tony Jackson, Lloyd Swartz, and myself, left San Antonio early in the morning on December 30, 1989, for the ranch. Upon arrival, we assisted in a goat roundup Of course, the goat to be rounded up had to be the biggest and perhaps the meanest, since one horn was missing. After successfully completing the goat roundup in a matter of minutes, we were taken to a sinkhole infested area on the north side of the ranch and shown Goat Cave, which had been surveyed by some TSA cavers a year or so previously. LONG JOB CAVE After Goat Cave was checked out, our primary interest was some of the large sinkholes passed on the way to the cave. The SAG cavers started digging in the ftrst sinkhole. Many rocks had to be broken up and removed. Tony worked as the power driver for much of the morning. Randy's small sledge proved itself worthy the handle was retired at the end of the day. The rest of the group worked until lunchtime removing all the debris. By lunchtime, the entrance was large enough for a body to fit through. Lunchtime was spent discussing the safest route in the tight fissure entrance, since it was shaky at best. Lloyd volunteered to climb in frrst. He chimneyed down into the cave to the frrst shelf about 2.7 meters (9 feet) from the surface and then on about 1.5 meters (5 feet) more to a rock floor. A small passage found leading west into a small room which terminated at a sump ended the excitement. Further digging, however, might yield more cave. The cave was named Long Job (U) Cave just because of the long time required to open it. OTHER SINKHOLES The next sinkhole checked out was north of U Cave. The ranch owner showed us the sinkhole earlier in the day but felt that it didn't really go. Lloyd started digging in the sinkhole while a search was made for other sinkholes. Several sinkholes were found. Tony showed us one that the ranch owner had pointed out. There was a straight 18-meter (60foot) rappel into this sinkhole, but nothing else was found in it. Altogether, Randy found six sinkholes, Tony found five, and I found four One of particular interest was an 8.8meter (29-foot) deep sinkhole that corkscrews to the bottom which definitely warrants further investigation. CM CAVE We returned to where Lloyd was still digging Lloyd dropped my shovel into the opening, and I kept asking, "See my shovel yet?" Lloyd soon recovered the shovel prior to leaving for work in San Antonio Two large rocks caused problems during the remainder of the day. Digging and probing fmally caused a rm:k to drop into the darkness Then the return sound came a few seconds later. Each time a rock was dropped, sounds were heard through the breakdown. Randy realized what I had been telling him about the sounds, and he proceeded to dig horizontally into the breakdown. The opening was quickly enlarged. After this when rocks were dropped, the depth of the shaft could be determined. Only one rock was an obstacle in seeing to the bottom. Randy and Tony worked to remove it. Tony fmally caused the rock to drop, and the bottom was in sight. A passage could be seen at the bottom heading north At this point, the rappel into the fissure opening would have been tight, since the width was about 0 6 to 1.2 meters (2 to 4 feet) The bottom appeared to be about 18 meters (60 feet) deep. About two more hours of work was required to enlarge the entrance. The initials "CM" stand for "see my" which refers to the missing shovel. RETURN TRIP February 1990 CM Cave A return trip was made with several cavers during the first week of February 1990 Some continu e d the work on the CM cave entrance. Others searched for more sinkholes. James Loftin, David Pearson, Joel King, and Don Wiggins worked in one very promising sinkhole. Since the sinkhole could only accommodate four people at once, it was named Four Below Cave. Not much w a s found in The TEXAS CAVER October 1990 Page 95


Bill Rambo and Joel King Standing at The Bottom of The First Level in CM Cave (Photo Made Using Fish-eye Lens -James Jasek, 1990) this cave, since the ceiling had collapsed causing some very tight spots to get around. While Four Below Cave was being explored, a tractor and lift boom were used to open up CM Cave. We quickly rigged the entrance, and I rappelled into the opening. It quickly opened up into a large vertical shaft, and I soon found myself looking up at the entrance opening. Roy Wessel beamed down to join me. We found ourselves standing in a room about 7.6 by 2.4 meters (25 by 8 feet) with a rock floor. The floor was packed with mud at the lowest point of the room. Roy started probing in the mud and found more cave -another passage. After a few minutes of digging, Roy slid into the opening. A narrow crawlway that led into another small room was found. The crawlway was about 3.6 meters (12 feet) in length. The room contained breakdown, was Page 96 The TEXAS CAVER October 1990 muddy, and had very low ceilings. Bob Cowell joined us at this point. About four more hours of digging yielded another portion of cave. Although we could not see much of what was in our way, the sound of rocks bouncing off the sides of som e thing made us dig more. A ledge was soon found, but that was as far as we could go The opening was about 6-inches (15-cm) wide by 3-feet (1.2meters) long There was no way to get in so we all came out to share the excitement with everyone. Bear Tooth Cave We found James and Randy working in what appeared to be the largest and deepest sinkhole on the ranch. Not much work could be accomplished, but it was amazing what a tractor and lift boom could do. Also several explosive charges were used which excited some of the nearby residents (most walked out to the area to see what was happening). After the smoke cleared, James was ready to slip in (again beating David Pearson). A few more rocks were moved making the entrance a little easier to crawl through After the smoke cleared more, anxious cavers entered the large pit to fmd a sizeable room about 24 meters (80 feet) in length and 6 meters (20 feet) at the widest section. Much of the room was high enough to stand upright. Kurt Menking started digging in the ground and soon carne up with a bear tooth This extraordinary find was presented to the ranch owner who really appreciated it. A promising ledge at the lower level is presently being investigated by James, David, and Duane Canny The cave has a dirt floor with few rocks. The cave does not have many formations; however, there is some flowstone. Evidence from seeping ground water shows that the cave is still active. A survey was later accomplished by Linda Palit, Joe Ivy, and myself. The return trip ended with a large get -together and a few vans being "rocked The ranch owner provided beer for everyone who entered Bear Tooth Cave. RETURN TO CM CAVE After returning to CM Cave on the next trip, we decided to use a light explosive charge to open the pit. (Continued on page 101)


Vertical caving IS one of the more physically demanding and rewarding aspects of underground sport. However, if approached in a haphazard or inconsiderate way, vertical rope work can become a very dangerous sport. As a result of recent training exercises and discussions on improving vertical techniques, the following list of "vertical manners" was compiled as an introduction for neophyte vertical cavers and to make the pits everywhere safer places to be. JUST A FEW WORDS ABOUT RIGGING Gardening the lip: clean loose dirt, rocks, etc. off the lip before rigging. Try to avoid rigging in poison ivy, a bee's nest, etc. Lower the rope into the pit; do not throw it. Before lowering the rope, always tie a figure eight knot in the end, making a loop large enough to stand in. This will come in handy if the drop has been short rigged. It will keep you from rappelling off the rope, and gives you somewhere to stand to facilitate changeover. If you don't like something about the rigging, say something about it! Never fiddle with the rigging any time between an "On Rope" and an "Off Rope" signal. If you see something that needs to be done to the rigging, check with others present before doing it. Never lower a rope into a pit while someone is on another rope. If you want to rig another rope, check with those at the bottom and the top of the drop before lowering it. Whenever possible, it is best to rig all ropes before anyone descends. Put on your descending gear before beginning to rig a rope. This way, you will be able to clip a safety onto the rope while The basic rules outlined in this article were first published in the December 13, 1989 issue of the Undergraph Newsletter (Intergraph Corporation, Huntsville, Alabama). The same material also appeared in the May 1990 issue of The Huntsville Grotto Newsletter (Volume 32, Number 4). VERTICAL ETIQUEITE (Or, Miss Manners Says .... ) by Phil Kirshtein (NSS 28040) and Angela Morgan (NSS 24044) placing rope pads, lowering the rope into the pit, etc. It is easy to ignore this important safety point and take chances, all because you didn't want to stop what you were doing and put on your seat harness. TAKE CARE OF THOSE NYLONS! A rope owner is very particular about his rope, and rightfully so! If a rope owner gets angry at you about something you have done to his rope, don't take it personally. Most importantly, his life (and everyone else's) depends on it. Also, rope is not cheap. The following guidelines are for rope care and for keeping the rope owner happy. (A disgruntled rope owner may not let you use his rope again.) Do not step on the rope. Do not allow the rope to be unnecessarily dragged through mud or dirt. Do not let any corrosive materials get near the rope. If you have a lead-acid battery with open vent holes, tape them shut! Keep batteries away from the rope in general. Extra care must be observed when using a carbide lamp on rope. Keep the flame well away from the rope. Obviously, the nylon rope will melt quickly. (Some insist that carbide lamps should not be used on rope.) When crossing a rope pad (either rappelling or climbing), make sure it is positioned properly, and the rope is positioned on the pad after you pass Always be alert to spots where the rope may be abrading and a pad is needed. If you see such a problem, it is your responsibility to correct it, or call it to someone's attention. Never toss anything (especially rocks) into a pit while a rope is in the pit. The object could strike the rope and cut or damage it. Figure-eight descenders are not accepted by some people as allowable rappelling devices on their ropes because they impart a twist in the rope. You should respect the owner's feelings on this matter. Some rope owners don't like alloy bars being on their ropes because they leave aluminum oxide (a well known abrasive substance) on the rope. Offering to wash this person's rope every once in a while might make him a bit more amenable. In any case, you should certainly respect the rope owners wishes. Most rope owners prefer not to lend out their ropes. Care of the rope is always your responsibility. CAN WE TALK? (OR, VERTICAL COMMUNICATION) Good communication is imperative to the success and safety of any caving trip. There are many different signals and protocols that are used in vertical caving. Any group of vertical cavers should agree upon the protocol to be used before beginning to descend the pit to avoid confusion. The following protocol is recommended. It differs somewhat from other more widely-used protocols for safety reasons. When approaching the rope to rig in for rappel, call"On Rope". Don't wait until you have rigged in! When you are ready to rappel, call"On Rappel". When rappelling, do not call"Off Rope" until you are derigged from the rope, are out of the fall The TEXAS CAVER October 1990 Page 97


zone, and are ready for the next person to proceed. When preparing to climb, call "On Rope" before entering the fall zone. When you are rigged into the rope and are ready to climb, call "Climbing". When climbing, do not call "Off Rope" until you have derigged from the rope, have checked the rope pads, are safely away from the lip (i.e., when there is no danger of knocking rocks, etc., down the pit), and are ready for the next person to proceed. "OK" may be used as an acknowledgment to any of the signals. "Repeat" may be used to request that the last signal be repeated. "Stop" has its obvious meaning. When shouting up or down a drop, allow echo time between each syllable, more or less depending upon the depth of the drop. If you drop or knock anything down the pit, immediately call "Rock, Rock, Rock"! (Three times in rapid succession.) Use the word "Rock" no matter what is falling. The courteous caver will call "Rock" even if it is his body that is falling down the pit. If you hear someone above you call "Rock", don't look up! While waiting, listen carefully for signals from above or below. It is best to keep noise levels at a minimum because otherwise, important signals may be missed. WHAT GOES DOWN MUST (USUALLY) COME UP .... and hopefully come up in the same condition as it went down. This includes people and ropes, but not rocks! Rocks don't come up (and you don't want them to go down in the ftrst place). Here are some tips on getting the rope and everyone down and up the pit safely. When rappelling or climbing, double-check all your gear before beginning. If you are at all unsure about it, don't be embarrassed to ask someone else to check it for you. The flrst person down the pit should assume responsibility for doing a little "housekeeping". Take the excess rope, untie the loop in the end (you did tie a loop in the end, didn't you?), coil it neatly, and place the coil (with the loose end down) in a spot out of the fall zone, if possible. (As an alternative, the rope could be piled neatly.) This keeps other rappellers from stepping on the rope, keeps falling objects from hitting the loose rope, and prepares for pulling the rope up by ensuring that it is not tangled. (A tangled rope is likely to snag on the way up.) The ftrst person down the pit should know how to do a changeover, and should be prepared to do such, in case the drop was short-rigged or adverse conditions exit (such as rattlesnakes or bad air.) (Ideally, of course, everyone should know how to do a changeover.) The last person to ascend the pit should double-check that the loop has been untied, and ensure that the excess rope is positioned such that it will not snag or become tangled while it is being pulled up. Climbing tandem is not as cumbersome as some people make it out to be; in fact, some people prefer it because they can bounce the pit more times. (It also gives the climbers some company and moral support on long drops.) The top tandem climber may request the lower climber to stop climbing while negotiating the lip. Traditionally, the order of ascending the pit is the same as the descending order. Don't be embarrassed to ask for a belay if you want one. When waiting at the top of the pit, be sure that you don't knock anything into the pit (stay well away from the lip). When waiting at the bottom of the pit, stay well out of the fall zone, unless you enjoy being hit by falling rocks, packs, etc. When rappelling or climbing, have everything (pack, etc.) securely attached to your body. Do not detach items from yourself unless absolutely necessary. If you fmd this necessary, know what to call if Page 98 The TEXAS CAVER October 1990 something is dropped. When rappelling, always have full ascending gear with you. When climbing, always have a rappel device with you. You never know when you may have to switch from one mode to the other. IT'S 2 A.M. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR ROPE IS? At some locations, a rope guard is a necessity at the top of the pit. During a recent night trip to Natural Well, at 12:30 a.m., three rather unsavory individuals appeared. Just because it is late at night does not mean a rope guard is unnecessary! Having or not having a rope guard is usually a judgment call. When in doubt, leave one. Reasons for having a rope guard include avoiding stolen, cut, or damaged rope, and to prevent others (possibly vertically incompetent) from trying to use your rope. The rope guard also serves as a pit guard, to keep passersby from doing nasty things such as throwing rocks and beach balls into the pit. Should rope guards be armed? That's up to you and the rope guard. Tying the rope to a rock at the bottom of the pit (if no rope guard is available) is considered by some to be a good safety measure. This keeps your rope from being stolen and gives you something to look at while you're sitting around at the bottom of the pit waiting for your callout time to pass. (You did tell someone where you were going and when you would return, didn't you?) WE ALL HAVE VICES Caving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is frowned on by a majority of orgariized cavers who view such activity as an accident about to happen. If you must imbibe, wait until after wards when you won't endanger yourself or your companions. In the fmal analysis, the above rules amount to consideration for others, thinking about what you're doing before you do it, and common sense. Thanks to Roger Haley (NSS 29236) for his input and suggestions.


VERTICAL GEAR IDEAS A VERTICAL RIG ! c I Like it or not, vertical caving is one aspect of cave exploring that is difficult to avoid Even if you consider yourself a horizontal caver, there is always a short but unclimbable drop that can easily stand in your way of totally exploring the cave. I have never considered myself a h

Right: Units A And B (With Rock) at The 10-20 em (25-50 Inches) Level (PhotoKevin Thuesen, 1990) Below Left: The Toyah Point (a Local Variation) Recovered From Sorcerer's Cave (Photo Karen Veni, 1990) CAVE ARCHAEOWGY ARCHAEOWGICAL EXCAVATIONS AT SORCERER'S CAVE by Kevin Thuesen The first archaeological excavation at Sorcerer's Cave was conducted on May 2{r28, 1990. The excavation yielded a diagnostic Toyah point, which extends the lithic evidence of the cave to the Late Prehistoric Period. Sorcerer's Cave has been a known archaeological site since the flrst speleological exploration of the cave began in 1962. Two pictographs are located just outside the entrance of the cave. The polished edges of the walls inside the entrance and the many grinding spots worn into one of the ledges indicate a prolonged occupation. During one of the recent descents into Sorcerer's Cave, a wooden mortar was found cached in the second major shaft (Prewitt 1981), Poltergeist Pit. In the deepest section of the cave, the Sirion River, human bones were recovered in 1980 (Steele et al. 1984) at a depth of 150 meters ( 492 feet), setting a new state depth record for human bones found in a cave. Near the entrance pit (Witch's Well), utilized flakes, grinding stones (manos), and a large worked piece of gypsum have been recovered by a previous preliminary archaeological investigation (McNatt 1980). Directed by Janet Steele, the excavation conducted in May 1999 was concentrated just inside the entrance of the cave. Two 1 x 1-meter (3.3 x 3.3-foot) units were placed under a ledge and excavated to a depth of 30 em (76 inches). The surface material consisted of various animal bones and water-moved debris (twigs, cedar fragments, and small walnuts). A Toyah point was excavated in this first 0-10 em (0-25 inch) level. Several utilized flakes, many bones, and walnuts (Juglans microcarpa) were also recovered along with a 32-cm (81-inch) long rubber Page 100 The TEXAS CAVER October 1990 One of The Two Pictographs on The Wall Outside of The Cave. This Perhaps is a Warning Symbol to Early Visitors About The 46-foot (14-meter) Pit Just Inside The Entrance. (Drawing Kevin Thuesen)


Grinding Spots in The Entrance to Sorcerer's Cave (Photo Kevin Thuesen, 1990) strap and a bottle cap (circa 1960). The 10-20 em (25-50 inch) level yielded much the same as the first 10-cm (25-inch) region. Flint debitage (chips and flakes), several utilized flakes, mammalian bones (rabbit and deer), walnuts, and mescal beans were uncovered. Charcoal ash was found in the soil matrix and several burned rocks were removed The third level at 20-30 em (50-76 inches) consisted of flint debitage, mammalian bones (rabbit and deer), and walnuts. A large utilized flake was unearthed at the very base of this level. Again, charcoal ash was present in the soil (as well as small charcoal chunks) and more burned rocks were removed. Sorcerer's Cave was looted at one time, but the looters probably did not descend into Witch's Well and just looted the entrance. Our units were placed under a ledge in the hopes of fmding an undisturbed area. The surface had been disturbed, however, by water movement and farther down in the excavation, there were several small animal burrows. The Toyah point (Turner and Hester 1985) was the only diagnostic feature found in our excavation. This point is associated with the Late Prehistoric time period (700-1600 A.D.). Other points described by McNatt (1980) in his initial investigation represent the Archaic time period (6000-300 B.C.). The Toyah point reconfirms the radiocarbon date (890 A.D., which falls in the Late Prehistoric range) obtained from the wooden mortar (Prewitt 1981). A return trip is planned, but no date has yet been specilled. Future excavations may include another two units in the entrance area, as well as further excavation in the two units discussed here. A unit may also be placed at the base of the Witch's Well. It is imperative that cavers and archaeologists work together. Any artifacts found in this or any other cave should be left in place and reported to: Texas Archaeological Research Laboratories Balcones Research Center University of Texas Austin, Texas 78712 (512) 471-3434 REFERENCES 1. McNatt, L., "Sorcerer's Cave : Archaeology'', The Texas Caver, Volume 25, No. 4, 1980, pp. 6970. 2. Prewitt, E.R., "A Wooden Mortar From The Stockton Plateau of Texas", Journal of Field Archaeology, Volume 8, No. 1, 1981, pp. 111-117. 3. Steele, J., Gentry, D., Byrd, K.E., McNatt, L., Veni G "Human and Non-Human Skeletal Re-mains Recovered From Sorcerer's Cave, Terrell County, Texas", The Texas Journal of Science, Volume 36, Nos. 2 & 3, 1984, pp. 169-184. 4. Turner, E.S., Hester, T R., A Field Guide to Stone Artifacts of The Texas Indians, Texas Monthly Press, 1985. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Many thanks are expressed to George Veni and Janet Steele for providing tireless help in documenting this excavation. Others assisting in the excavation included: Mark Malone, Bill Steele, Brian Steele, Audrey Steele, and Josh Dossett. (Eisenhauer Ranch Caves Cont'd from p. 96) James Loftin and David Pearson took care in planting the charge prior to everyone exiting the cave. Not much of the blast was felt or heard on the surface. We waited for another day to resume digging in CM Cave We worked the rest of the day opening smaller pits on the ranch. We successfully opened several pits that were as deep as 6 meters (20 feet). BACK TO CM CAVE FOR MORE A large group of cavers returned to CM Cave on April 28, 1990 for a special work party and barbecue. Several cavers ended up at CM Cave while others went to Bear Tooth Cave. We found that the explosives used at the lower level in CM Cave were very effective as expected. However, a lot of mud and rock had to be cleared prior to entry Those at the bottom included David Pearson, James Loftin, Joel King, Roy Wessel, James Jasek, and myself. After about an hour of cleaning, Roy made the first followed by myself. We found that the shaft was about 12 meters ( 40 feet) deep and 1.5 meters (5 feet) wide. Flowstone was everywhere. The floor had standing water and knee-deep mud. There was evidence that this pit takes large amounts of water. A trash line was above our heads. This was due to a rain storm in the area a few days before. A small crawlway led off in one direction. A little digging enabled us to move only 6 meters (20 feet) or so (Continued on p. 111) The TEXAS CAVER October 1990 Page 101


DEEP CAVE EXPLORATION In OAXACA, MEXICO CHEVE 1990 by Bill Steele (NSS 8072F, LB, CM) It's a fact. Sistema Cuicateca, known as Cueva Cheve when first found, ha!' had the world's deepest successful dye trace. The vertical extent of the fluorescein dye tracing is 2,500 meters (8,202 feet). In early March 1990, an expedition returned to this deep cave found only four years ago. From Texas were Andy Grubbs, Mark Minton, Nancy Weaver, Ralph Snavely, Brian Steele, Janet. Steele, and me. In all, nearly 30 people were in and out of the "llano", or meadow, near the top of the high mountain range and our campground right outside the wide entrance. We Texans were there for three weeks. A few who arrived a week before us and left a week afterwards stayed the maximum of five weeks. Cheve had been found at the top of the looming range we had looked south on from Huautla all those years. Huautla had gone 1,353 meters ( 4,439 feet) deep from 1966 to 1987. Cheve had been explored to a depth of 1,240 meters ( 4,068 feet) in four years. Huautla's traced potential is no more than 1,700 meters (5,577 feet). Cheve presently holds the dye trace record. It was a sweet position to be in, possibly beating our own Western Hemisphere Depth Record. If we didn't, well, we had it; if we did, well, we had it again. Let's go see. It was said before the return to Cheve this year that at the point of exploration, 1,240 meters (4,068 feet), and over 8 km (5 miles) laterally, it was the second farthest point from an entrance in any cave in the world. The one with a point farther was Castleguard in the Canadian Rockies. The end of Castleguard is 6 miles (1.8 km) from the entrance. But, Castle guard is not a world class deep cave. Sistema Cuicateca had been explored in 1989 from Camp II, 1,000 Gary Mele Descending The Elephant Shaft In Cheve During Proyecto (Project) Papalo 1988 (Photo -Peter Bosted) meters (3,281 feet) deep, to break down and a sump. The plan for 1990 was to establish Camp III, 1,240 meters (4,068 feet) deep and push the breakdown. We had scuba tanks in the vehicles for a second camp and a go of the sump if the breakdown didn't go. The frrst camp lasted eight days and worked the breakdown to no avail. What was found was that an infeeder "Sure enough, the final for the year is a depth of 1,340 meters (4,396 feet). A depth of 100 meters (328 feet) had been added in 1990, shy by 13 meters (43 feet) of Huautla." had been missed flowing into the sump. It was followed upstream. As deep caves often seem to do, it led to a connecting upper level which went to a parallel descending stream passage. The sump was bypassed! The new passage had wild and raging water. It too, sumped after 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) of large roaring waterway booty. I arrived at Cheve with the frrst camp in progress. I chose to not rush in and join them, but rather work up to it over a week of 500-meter (1,640foot) deep trips here at over 9,000 feet (2,743 meters) in elevation. I was ridge walking the afternoon the campers exited. I looked down on them from on top of the 300-foot (91-meter) cliff above Cheve's entrance. Jim Smith looked up at me and yelled, "Huautla's history!" My heart sank. It had happened. Oh, well, this is a grand effort. I'm here and I'm part of it. And this is a monster. It might be over 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) deep! I recalled how badly I wanted a 1,000-meter (3,281-foot) deep cave a decade before. That was nice to get. Twice that would no doubt feel doubly good! I went down and sat around for hours drinking rum and eating sausage and cheese, dipped in some delicious sweet mustard Stone had packed in. The top stories poured forth. Laura (Continued on page 111) Page 102 The TEXAS CAVER October 1990


TRIP REPORT TiiE GREAT KICKAPOO CAVE-1889 This special trip report from the author's diary describes a j ourney into Kickapoo Cave in 1889 Lanterns and torches were u sed for lights. The author was awed by the beauty of the cave and found some of his companions to be uncultured. The following trip report has never been published and is 101 years old! by HalT. Cunningham AT THE GREAT KICKAPOO CAVE April 22, 1889 This wonderful place is some 25 miles north from Brackett. Since coming to the frontier, I have heard much of it, and have been contemplating a visit to it for some time. Our party consists of only nine persons and yet almost as many specimens of the genus homo: Mrs. Lambert and her daughter, Miss Manie, residents of Brackettformerly of Kansas; Mrs. Partrick, of Brackett; Mrs. Phillipane, an Italian woman, who does not speak English. She converses in Spanish, which is similar to her own language; Bettie Getlin, a little half-Mexican girl; Tena, a little Mexican girl, who lives with Mrs. Lambert; Mr. Haas, a U.S. soldier from the Post, of Pennsylvania; and Mr. Stall, proprietor of Brackett and Spofford Stage Line. This gentleman brought the party out in a large hack. I am writing this on the morning of the 23rd (We) reached our desti nation last evening at about six o'clock; had supper and made preparations at once to explore the great cavern. We were well provided with torches and lanterns, and with our blankets and quilts, and lights in hand, we began the ascent of the hill in the side of which is the entrance to the cave. There is an opening in the rock, 12 feet (3.6 meters) square, more or less, overgrown with shrubbery and grass. By bending our bodies almost double, the ingress was easily made. (After) an abrupt descent of a few feet, and we were on our feet, and with raised torches, peered into the Egyptian darkness of the subterranean wonder. Massive rocks and huge boulders lay before us and around us on all sides. Over there we stumblingly passed into the silent and awful depths of the cave, now constantly increasing in dimensions, to a distance of about 100 yards (91 meters). A massive pillar, extending from the floor to the gracefully arching top, and about 30 feet (9 meters) in diameter, stood before us while immense perpen dicular gorges lay on either side. Passing round to the left of this pillar, we descended very abruptly to a narrow passageway, which, tending still to the left led us to that part of the cavern known as the water cave. We drank from a beautiful little basin, formed in solid rock, which was kept ftlled with pure refreshing water by constant drippings from above. We thought this apartment was beautiful as well as grand. But when we had retraced our steps, reascended the hill, and bending our course to the right of the great pillar, entering another passageway by a deftle in the rock, and passing through this, stood in another apartment, known as the "Crystal Palace", we were overwhelmed with wonder and admiration. The scene here beggars description The most beautiful stalactites, depending from above in every conceivable way, and blending into each other in the most fantastical manner, are opposed by formations below, both made by percolations through the rock. Frequently, the stalactite and stalagmite formations meet, and the About the Author: Hal T. Cunning ham was born in 1865, the year Lincoln was assassinated. He moved to Del Rio from Mississippi in search of better health At the age of 24, when Hal explored Kicka poo with his companions, he was a circuit riding itinerant Methodist minister. The circuit included Brackett. On April 21, 1889, the day before Kickapoo was explored, Hal conducted Easter Sunday ser vices in Brackett. It had been a cloudy, threatening day, and the congregation at the morning service was very small, perhaps only 15-20 persons. The congregation was bigger at the evening service. Hal s diary on the cave trip was made available through his grand son, Mr. Charles F. Cunningham, Troup, Texas. Charles is presently 70 years old a retired teacher, and has been transcribing his grand father's diary onto disk. Recently he contacted Mike Walsh about the possibility of visiting the cave and seeing the "Great Kickapoo Cave" which his grandfather described. result is a solid column from the vaulted roof to the rock strewn floor. These columns, or pillars, are numerous throughout the cavern varying from a few inches to many feet in diameter. We did not explore the cave thoroughly by any means. We missed several apartments which members of our party had visited. It took over four hours to make this subterranean tour. I shall never regret having made this visit One fact alone tended to mar the pleasure of the occasion, viz, the personnel of the party. Upon the whole, it was a rough uncultured company. Many times, I wished for the presence of the loved ones at home to share with me this rare opportunity. April 23, 1889 Went back into the cave again this morning remained about three hours --found no new rooms or apartments. Slept in the cave last night on the "soft side" of a rock, and feel a little stiff and sore. Left for town at eleven o clock, stopped for dinner. The TEXAS CAVER October 1990 Page 103


CORRESPONDENCE THANKS TEXAS! Texas cavers are some of the most friendliest cavers anywhere to be found. by Capt. Don Glasco, U.S. Army NSS 23626 I arrived in San Angelo in May 1990 for a four-month military assignment. I knew no one and nothing of caving in Texas. When I departed Texas on Labor Day, I left many dear friends and now consider myself a Texas caver. Fortuitously, the TSA Spring Convention coincided with my first Texas weekend. I. was apprehensive because I was a stranger, but lovely Catherine Berkeley's hearty welcome immediately put me at ease. The stories told, the slides shown, the experiences overheard, the camaraderie expressed indicated that Texas cavers were not secretive, exclusive armchair cavers. Since I had just moved from Arizona, I was anxious to cave in Texas The acquaintances made that first weekend in Texas insured that I would not be disappointed, and what a summer it was! I was able to cave every weekend from May Day to Labor Day. You guys are active! Often, there was more than one trip which could be selected. On the rare occasions when nothing was happening in Texas, there was always the Guads. Even there, I met and caved with Texans. The many activities this past summer included : (1) surveying in some of the longest caves in Texas (Powell's and Amazing Maze); (2) swimming in the wettest (Honey Creek); (3) crawling in guano (Whiteface); (4) getting lost in the mazes (Robber Baron); (5) bouldering granite (Enchanted Rock); (6) photo graphing the beautiful (Natural Bridge and Caverns of Sonora); (7) pushing virgin passage (Highline); (8) sniffmg the flowers (Hill Country); (9) watching the bats (Frio Bat); (10) wandering the hills (Turkey Pen); (11) fmding arrowheads (Slaughter Bend); (12) tubing the river (Concan); (13) making new friends; and (14) having lots of fun (Texas). I wish to mention and thank my new friends. Since I met so many wonderful folks during my stay in Texas, I can't remember all their names. Any omission is not intended. James Loftin and nephew, David Pearson, showed me my first Texas cave Robber Baron. Did Busby really make that wagon? Catherine Winfrey made my cave pants. I'm getting fatter. Can you let them out some? Randy Waters taught me that the post-cave swimming hole is also important. Know any ranchers in the East? Linda Palit sent me rope on credit. How is Mr. Turtle? Rob Bisset dug with me at Big Manhole. Can Linda really beat you up? Kurt Menking welcomed me to Honey Creek. How long does it take a blind cat to do a through trip? Bill Rambo showed me real 4-wheelin'. How do you fmd Turkey Pen at night? Terry Holsinger invited me to Powell's. Are you really wild and crazy? Peter Sprouse tolerated my instrument readings Has Austin annexed Mexico yet? Roy Wessel judged my cave photos. Who needs a job anyway? Rich Knapp showed me the joys of the smell of rotten eggs and eardipping in Parks Ranch. Will it beat Jester's? Bill Elliott entertained and edified me with cave biology stories. Isopods, Antropods, Analpods, they're all just cave critters ain't they? Barbara Luke taught me how to do Lechi. Welcome to Texas. Do you miss the alamogordo nuke heads? Tony Jackson and Joel King taught me how to fmd Indian "points". Other than recreational pharmaceuticals, what do you do? Jim Elliott guided me through Bustamante (Mexico) and Customs. This is a "Texas toothpick"? ... .1 thought it was a strange (Coon) bone. Mike and Cindy Warton let me help survey Amazing Maze. What's our ranking now? Nila Dennis and Pixie Alford, the San Saba Speleo Babes, gave me lotsa hugs. How's your love life, ladies? Page 104 The TEXAS CAVER October 1990 Two people warrant special mention. Pat "mom" Copeland of Brownwood befriended not only me, but fellow soldiers, airmen, and sailors I occasionally brought along Pat is a mentor for cavers and noncavers alike. Coming out of a cave in San Saba County, two young lads passing by watched us with wonder Pat quickly allayed their fears and within the hour the local lads were describing new leads and showing us cave entrances I've yet to meet anyone so friendly, loving, and generous as Pat Copeland. It will be a few years before I return to Texas, but I know that Pat will save Highline for us to survey together. Thanks Pat. It was perhaps appropriate that I spent my last weekend caving in Texas with Oren Tranbarger. (It was actually Mexico, but that s just a southern county of Texas ain't it?) Having never met me other than over the telephone, he heartily invited me to the TSA Spring Convention We later caved together in San Saba and Turkey Pen, dug at Big Manhole, photographed in Carlsbad Cavern, hiked the Guads, and were flooded at Bustamante I anxiously awaited each issue of the Bexar Facts (which he edits) to read about trip reports and upcoming events. Most importantly, he sincerely befriended me and initiated me into the Texas Caving Community. Thanks Oren. By the time you read this, I'll be settled in southern Maryland outside of Washington, D.C. If any of you are ever back east, please contact me. Just remember that you'll always have a place to stay and caves to see. Just say, "I'm from Texas" I'll forever treasure my all too short Texas Summer Sojourn. Thanks a whole bunch. Keep cavin' Don


COAHUILA CAVING by Peter Sprouse 11 July 1990 -After a bumpy start, five of us left Austin in my truck. C athy Chauvin, Allan Cobb, Susie L asko, Cathy Winfrey, and I set off for t he highlands of southeastern C oahuila. l2 July 1990 Our first stop in the m orning was at Potrero Chico, n orthwest of Monterrey, our favorite s wimming spot in the area. However, I t was closed until the weekend, so we c limbed up to the overlook on the n earby cliff, and viewed Cueva de Ia Virgen, a shrine in a breccia shelter ca ve. Then we drove on south of S altillo, and east to the cool passes near Mesa de las Tablas. We were s omewhat surprised to see the high limestone ridges being covered with A -frame cabanas, vacation homes for r ich (and hot) Montereiios. One large alluviated sink, Hoya de los Gringos, has even apparently been turned into a golf course. But we continued on past all that to the next range, the Sierra Coahuil6n. A new logging road took us all the way to the top at 3,200 meters (10,499 feet). It was very beautiful and cool up there, with wildflowers, aspen, and hemlock in abundance. We set up camp near a log cabin settlement of potato farmers. 13 July 1990 -A local named Julian took us to the only cave he knew of, a shelter in an escarpment off the north side of the ridge where they kept livestock during heavy snow. Although not a true cave by our standards, it did contain some Indian pictographs, and had a great view of the valley 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) below. Then we hiked up to the higher part of the sierra at 3,400 meters (11,155 feet). We found a lovely meadow of yellow flowers and a herd of horses, one of which became quite fond of Cathy Winfrey. We also found a few small caves. One had a nice sink entrance, but ended immediately. Next we found a pit about 15 meters (49 feet) deep, but quite narrow, so we passed on it. Last was a covered pit, which we MEXICAN CAVING cleared and climbed down into: all 3 meters (9.8 feet) of it. As rain settled in we left the Sierra Coahuil6n in search of better caving elsewhere. Back down in the valley we got a lead on a sizeable cave, but were turned back when the road got too slimy. So we headed west looking for drier climes. We camped that night near Sierra Hermosa. 14 July 1990 -We heard rumors of caves in this area, but unable to come up with a solid project this morning we drove down to Arteaga, where we knew of the existence of the Grutas de Arteaga We parked in the valley floor and were guided up the steep trail by a young man named Jose. Along the switchbacking route we found El Volcan, a pit measuring 1 by 2 meters Cathy Winfrey In Entrance Chamber of Grutas de Arteaga (Photo Susie Lasko, 1990) The TEXAS CAVER October 1990 Page 105


MEXICAN CAVING Peter Sprouse and Allan Cobb in Grutas de Arteaga (Photo Susie Lasko, 1990) (3.3 by 6.6 feet) in an exposed bedrock area. It plunged down at about 80 degrees for perhaps 15 meters ( 49 feet) but we didn't have rope along to do it. James Reddell says they saw this pit on a trip in 1965, but he can't recall if they went down it. We continued up the steep trail, lined with nasturtium, biznaga, and piiion. Finally we reached the entrance, 440 meters (1,444 feet) above the valley floor. We realized that the small opening we could see from below was actually only the top walls. Potrero Chico must surely be one of the best rockclimbing sites in our area, with vertical beds of limestone zooming up to the sky. We were the first ones into the pool that day, enjoying the high water slide numerous times before beginning the drive back to Austin. South of San Antonio we hit a massive storm front which slowed us down with high winds, hail, and flooding. of the large entrance. It was 20 meters .._ (66 feet) across, and led into a 50meter (164-foot) diameter room buttressed by numerous columns. The ample graffiti on the walls, some dated as far back as 1932, showed how much tourist traffic the cave receives. The maio passage slopes down to the left, and we set about taking photos and mapping the cave. As we wound our way down through the columns, the cave narrowed down, then opened again into a sizeable fmal chamber Susie climbed the wall to look at a high lead on the right, but didn t get all the way up it. We collected a few rhadioe beetles and spiders, and headed out. We camped that night at Potrero Chico. XILITLA TRIP REPORT SLP, Mexico by Peter Sprouse Dates: 24-29 May 1989. Personnel: Jerry Atkinson, Allan Cobb, Ruth Diamant, Ram6n Espinasa, John Fogarty, Peter Sprouse, Cathy Winfrey. 24 May 1989 Stuffmg the last items into Allan's truck, John, Cathy, Allan and I went to the airport to pick up Jerry Then we headed for the border : and got to the wrong one! John got up front to drive near Corpus and got on the road to Laredo, where we stopped to change the thermostat. 25 May 1989We stayed overnight to get the radiator reamed out, so we didn't cross until noon. Since we were late anyway, we decided to go swimming at Potrero Chico. It was great! Then on up Highway 57 to San Luis through multiple checkpoints, fmally arriving at Xilitla not long before dawn. 26 May 1989 Naturally we got a bit of a late start. We ate and shopped in town, then drove west one kilometer and located our objective S6tano de Apetzco. This pit had been partially ...:j I 15 July 1990 We awoke to the magnificence of the soaring canyon Cathy Chauvin Peers Into El Volcan de Arteaga (PhotoSusie Lasko, 1990) Page 106 The TEXAS CAVER October 1990


l' rofi le: 1 60 degree view 7 ' ...; e xplored by a team from West T exas/New Mexico a few years earlier down the 100 plus meter (328 plus f eet) entrance drop to a sloping drop At 4:30 we started in, leaving the e ntrance drop survey for later. We s tarted mapping at the bottom, with Jerry rigging ahead The new drop was very flaky, but it led into a giant room. This took awhile to map, but we located a number of promising leads off of it. In one part of the room there were huge helictites of clear blades and loops. We painstakingly surveyed the entrance drop (actually several pitches) on the way out, then de rigged the entrance part. We went back to Las Pozas to camp, and the rains began. 27 May 1989 In the morning it was pouring rain so we got a late start MEXICAN CAVING c:lc:v m GRUTA S D E A RT EA G A 10 AHTEi\GA COAIIU I L A Suuntos and tape survey 14 Jul y 11190 C

by Colin Nicholls ACROSS TilE GREAT DIVIDE In the UK, wetsuits and Wellington boots are essential for caving to prevent hypothennia. In most Texas caves, T-shirts and blue jeans are suitable enough. In this article, comparisons (humerous) are made between UK and Texas caving. In essence, cavers and caving clubs have many of the same characteristics. As Randy Waters and Duane Canny rolled on the floor laughing at me in my wetsuit and white Wellingtons (gumboots, if you prefer), I knew that caving in Texas was going to be different. Eventually, when the paroxysms subsided, they took pity on this (mostly) harmless Brit on his first trip in Texas and explained gently and not too patronisingly that yes, even though Cave Without A Name was a wet cave and we would indeed be going swimming, they didn't think that I would need the suit, and by the way where did I get my flashy rubber boots from? (The real answer is from an abattoir, and not what I told them that they are traditional costume for an Irish bride at her wedding. Sarcasm at least is transatlantic). Reattired in a T -shirt and pants (I retained the Wellingtons), I went underground where the first lesson was learned it's not just above ground that's hot in Texas. Any serious caver in Britain wears a wetsuit all the time, unless as a penance, he is obligated to slither around in one of the dry grot-holes in the Mendips (See later), where the dress code calls for a furry suit underneath a protective jump suit. The reason is simple: British cavers have a common genetic trait fear of death through hypothermia. I suppose that the average underground temperature in British caves is above freezing, but it never feels like it. Remember that Britain has an average latitude of 53 degrees, which puts it north of Calgary, and so the temperature has good reason to be cold -I recall coming out of a cave in Yorkshire called Lost John's at 2 a.m. one April morning (in my wetsuit of course), and before I had dressed, my wetsuit had frozen to the roof of the car. The temperature of the caves also explains the temperature of the beer Brits drink -you need something to warm you up after a cold day underground. (Britain is the only place in the world where you have to drink your beer before it gets cold). Aside from the temperature, Cave Without a Name taught me the second difference between British and Texas caves British caves don't have plastic dinosaurs in them. After a couple of hours of surveying and sketching, we got to play in the stream and poke around in some bits the local cavers weren't too familiar with, since the water level was low and had opened up some air space where there usually was none. So while Duane and John Cross were exploring up some narrow, muddy crawlway, Randy and I started to block their exit by building up the mud bank at the entrance of the side passage. Malicious victimization is also transatlantic -I suspect that on the caving gene it's right next to the desire for anarchy, chaos, and scruffy clothes. In many ways, it seems to me that Texas caving is even more anarchic than British caving. In Britain, cavers haven't heard the Groucho Marx maxim and consequently will belong to a club that will have them. Not only that, but generally, the only trips that people go on are those specifically arranged by the clubs. There is some rationale behind this, since Britain is small with about 151,000 square kilometers for England and Wales compared with 678,000 square kilometers in Texas. For the metrically illiterate like Oren, a kilometer is 1000 meters and a meter is a tad over a yard. It was invented by Napoleon and is defmed as the height of a 19th century Parisian horse parking meter (hence, the name) and was this height because Page 108 The TEXAS CAVER October 1990 Monsieur Bonaparte, being a shor t ass, couldn't reach any higher with his 5 centime coin (ref. C. Clavin Encyclopedia). Anyway, since Britain is so small nearly all of it belongs to someone and those bits that don't are private Hence, you have to write to the landowner and reserve a date to visit the cave (and that, despite it' s absurdity, is NOT BS. It's absolutel y true for 90 percent of British caves). The notion of independently getting a bunch of folk together to wander ofi and look down a few unexplored hole E on cousin Leroy's neighbor's niece' > ranch is foreign to me. As is much o l the language which has entirel ) different meanings if you want to live to see the next sunrise, don't try t c compliment a British caver by saying how great his wife looks in her suspenders and her pants, and what a great fanny she has; he may ask how the hell you know before he knife s you. Transatlantic speech differences are, however, another story. There are also only four areas in England and Wales which have a significant number of caves in them (none in Scotland): (1) the Yorkshire Dales in northern England which has the best, wettest, longest and highest concentration of caves and potholes in Britain; (2) the Peak district in north central England, which has a few


d ecent systems; (3) Southern Wales w hich has some very extensive h orizontally developed caves; and ( 4) t h e Mendip Hills near Bristol in s o uthwest England, which with the ;;x ception of a few great caves, is the m ost miserable collection of dusty, ; q ualid, mud filled grot holes that it h a s been my misfortune to experience : E xaggeration? If I tell you that to one of the best caves in M endip you have to dive a 2-ft (61: :m) sump where you are in imminent d a nger of contracting Weil's disease r om the rat piss dripping into the ; ump from the farm yard above you : m d that people risk it anyway because L h ere's such a paucity of decent alternatives you can make up your 3WD mind). Naturally the shortage of : aves and caving areas together with he high density of cavers make the of virgin passage in British c aves very largely a thing of the past. f herefore, most clubs head overseas if t hey want to frnd new caves I spent f o ur summers in northern Spain v xploring an 1100-meter (3,609-foot) d eep cave called Pozu Del Xitu with t he Oxford University Cave Club -(O.U.C.C.). If you say you re with O.U. C.C. to an average British caver, you will get the sort of treatment that Aggies give to Tea-Sippers, or that Texans give to people from Connecticut who have pick-ups and wash them And it's true that we did have a member called Bill who was the son of a Bishop, who always wore his pajamas at night (even on underground camps) and prefaced every sentence with 'I s a y .. .'. However he had the most truly physically sickening eating habits that I have ever encountered and at the party after a national caving convention was seen being beaten on the butt with a drinks tray by a security guard while he was swinging from the light fixtures. I always reckoned this proved that despite his upbringing anQ. going to Harrow, he had overcome his disadvantaged childhood pretty well. No matter how foreign the caves or the lingo, cavers are much the same. The hyperactive libido is prevalent. Every cave club seems to have a lecherous (usually) older member who at every opportunity will Tl-\E NEAl<. .:)IDE J,''i .. _ chase after any unattached member of the opposite sex with about two arms and two legs in approximately the correct locations. After lechery, I frnd that a peculiar schizophrenia in technical competence is also common both sides of the water. On one hand the ingenuity and technical dexterity of cavers making things or bodging things together amazes me (I am reminded of Tom, a whiz-bang at pyrotechnics until he found the Lord. It was Tom who, when one guy's car devoured its own wheel bearing, repaired it by creating a new one from an old oil can and a car radio antenna.) Cavers commonly make their own gear, repair their own caving suits, and work miracles in resurrecting decrepit old vans from the junk yard. So why is it these technical geniuses can't make it through one trip without multiple light failures? The caving gene again. My point is that cavers are cavers world-wide, and despite the differences in the caves, Texas cavers have only one essential difference from Brit cavers After a caving trip, Brits like to drink beer, whereas, Texans like to drink Budweiser or Lone Star. ---.. . --=---. --=-=-.,.--:..:_ _;,._. -------------. _..:-..; -AI>oLO& lo lo Pat Helton (August 1988) The TEXAS CAVER October 1990 Page 109


BOOK REVIEWS by Bill Mixon GURNEE GUIDE TO AMERICAN CAVES by Gurnee, R., Gurnee J., R.H. Gurnee Inc., Closter, New Jersey, 1990, 288 pp. Softbound: $6.95; hardbound: $8.95. Available from the NSS Bookstore. Postage and handling: $1.50. This is an updated edition of the Gurnees' 1980 book with the same name. It is a guide of the caves in the U.S. that are open to the public. Besides show caves with guided tours and admission charges, many caves, often with self-guided tours, that are incidental attractions of public and private parks are listed. Even Disney World, which contains some artificial caves, is included . Each entry gives a mailing address and phone number, hours of operation (but not admission fees), directions to the cave, and a brief description. There is usually a black-and-white photograph provided by the cave operator. Following some introductory text about types of caves and cave formations and a conservation message, the caves, roughly two hundred in all, are arranged by state. I don't know how many people, besides the Gurnees and Gary Soule, there are who like to run around the U.S. visiting as many show caves as possible, regardless of quality, but this is the book for them. The Gurnees have, alas, been careful not to rate the caves, and they all get about the same treatment. For instance, Wonder World in Texas gets the same amount of space as Caverns of Sonora. About all someone who doesn't want to visit the real dog caves can do is read with an eye toward (perhaps unintentional) damning with faint praise, although the photos can give valuable clues, too. Beware of the commercial cave that furnished only a picture of the entrance! HIGH ANGLE RESCUE TECHNIQUES by Vines, T., Hudson S., Kendall-Hunt Publishing Company, Dubuque, Iowa, 1989, 250 pp. Available in softbound fonn from the NSS Bookstore: $20.50. Postage and handling: $3.00. This book was written for the National Association for Search and Rescue. It is a student guide for training courses for high angle rope technicians. (Evidently, rescuers, like mechanics, have become technicians since I was a kid.) The first half of the book covers pretty much what we would consider elementary vertical caving techniques and equipment. The second half gets into raising and lowering litters and other things of particular interest to rescue teams. The book doesn't pretend to be a complete reference, but it does cover a lot of material. The main omission is any really complete discussion of even one climbing system, although somebody could get up a cliff with the information given. The book isn't very easy to sit down and read, since, as a study guide, much of the text is in outline form, rather than a series of ordinary paragraphs. And the continual appearance of garish and distracting sidebars doesn't help the reader, although I guess it would help the browser. The book appears to have been written for idiots (or their lawyers). It is full of conspicuous warning notes about such things as the ability of improperly tied knots to cause serious injury or death. The density of material is pretty low, and there is a lot of repetition. The training course it describes is very conservative from the safety point of view. Would you want to be either caving or on a rescue with someone who really needed to do his first practice rappel on level ground? Although it is not really meant for cavers, cavers would fmd just about everything in it of interest. However, there really isn't much in High Angle Rescue Techniques that can't also be found in On Rope. One exception is the description of a neat rig for practicing belaying. THE LIMESTONES AND CAVES OF WALES edited by Ford, T.D., Cambridge University Press, 1989, 257 pp. Hardbound: This is the fourth in the British Cave Research Association's "Limestones and Caves of .. ." senes. Page 110 The TEXAS CAVER October 1990 . Limestones and Caves of North-West England was in 1974 (for .95), the Mendip Hills volume appeared in 1975, and the Peak District one in 1977. The volume on Wales has been long awaited, and in fact, according to Ford's introduction, it wore out four different editors before he fmally managed to pull it together. The book contains twenty chapters by a total of 21 authors. There are 120 small black-and-white photos and numerous diagrams, including a number of small scale cave maps. Four chapters cover general geological topics, one discusses the cave biology of South Wales, and three are about cave archaeology. The book is not meant to be a survey of all the caves in Wales, but the majority of the chapters cover particular cave areas, such as Ogof Ffynnon Ddu, deepest and second-longest in Britain, and the caves under Mynydd Llangattwg. (Don't even think about reading this book out loud.) Geology is emphasized, but descriptions of the caves and the history of their exploration are generally not neglected. Unfortunately, the high price (over $60) is bound to limit the circulation of this interesting book. A STUDY OF FOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK AND FOUNTAIN CAVERN edited by Gurnee, J., National Speleological Foundation, Closter, New Jersey, 1989, 48 pp. Available in softbound fonn from: (1) the NSS Bookstore: $6.95, postage and handling: $1.65; and (2) Speleobooks: $6.50, postage and handling: $2.00. Fountain National Park is an undeveloped small area on Anguilla (British West Indies) that contains Fountain Cavern. The cave is one large, sloping room that contains large formations, some of which hold pre Columbian petroglyphs. Several cavers and scientists investigated the cave to make recommendations to the Fountain National Park Development Committee of the Anguillan Government. The first part of the report includes scientific results, including drawings of the main petroglyphs. It is a bit startling to read one scientist's recommendation that shaky-looking parts of the roof should be shored up by concrete posts


disguised as stalagmite columns when the cave is developed. Fortunately, the rest of the authors ignore him. The second part consists of suggestions for development, including a rough design for a building, a trail layout, and so on. There is a detailed map of the cave. Russ and Jeanne Gurnee were involved in the development of the Rio Camuy Cave, Puerto Rico, and Harrison's Cave, Barbados. This booklet is a result of their continuing interest in the development and preservation of the caves of the Caribbean. (Cheve 1990-Cont'd from p. 102) Campbell had suffered a fall in the newly discovered passage. She may have broken a rib, but had gotten out under her own power. The breakdown seemed impossible. Camp III was a good camp, but getting there is epic. Almost all of the last 5 km (3.1 miles) are up and down gigantic breakdown blocks, sometimes 30 meters (98 feet) above the floor. In 5 km (3.1 miles), you traverse 10 km (6.2 miles). They were trashed. They had left their camp kits at Camp III and were going to return in a week. There was talk about taking tanks for the sump and technical climbing up the wall next to the breakdown. We started rigging a cave found the year before named Viento Frio. This means "cold wind", and it was deservedly named. The cave tempera ture is 47> F (8 C). This cave also had an added wind-chill factor. We picked up the exploration where they had left off the year before at 150 meters (492 feet) deep and ran out of rope during the first of two push trips. The cave fmally connected to the main Cheve system at minus 545 meters (1,788 feet). It had been a fme cave to explore, with such christenings as Hung Well, Ain't Indiana Room, Pit After Pit, and Drippy Drop. Several other caves high on the karst ridges were found, but nothing went deep. A cave named Escondido had a pit and a narrow passage found at the end of the expedition which appears from the survey to be imminent to connect to the system with a little enlarging. This will add 30 meters (98 feet) in depth and will make Huautla history. You see, Cheve didn't do it in 1990. Huautla stands, which is okay, too. The survey book hadn't made it out from Camp III after the first stay. It was only a hunch that survey depth of Cheve would be more than 113 meters (371 feet) deeper than the Huautla system. When returning cavers stayed at my house, they told me that field calculations had shown Cheve to be 1,355 meters (4,446 feet) deep, 2 meters (6.6 feet) deeper than Huautla, the mere height of a basketball player. I figured computer closure of the long loop which Viento Frio added would reduce the depth at least 2 meters (6. 6 feet). It always shrunk Huautla's depth when we closed a long loop. The error could go either way, but it always seemed to shrink it. Sure enough, the fmal for the year is a depth of 1,340 meters (4,396 feet). A depth of 100 meters (328 feet) had been added in 1990, shy by 13 meters (43 feet) of Huautla. That was a great way to leave it. In the words of Don Coons, veteran of four Cheve expeditions and one to Huautla, "Let's not nickel and dime Huautla." Really, if it goes deeper, let it go lots deeper. Let's have a 2,000-meter (6,562-foot) deep cave. Let's have a long-term project which goes on as a major challenge for a couple of decades. To me at least, there's nothing fmer in life on earth than the ongoing exploration of a major cave system. (A Vertical Rig-Cont'd from p. 99) Jumar give me two points of contact on the rope, and the chest rollers give me two additional points to provide me with a safe climbing rig. It is possible to rest by sitting on a bent leg, but this is only good for a short period. On a short climb, it should not be necessary to rest. On a longer climb, I attach a free running Gibbs to the seat harness as a safety and for resting. When I am in the standing position, I can lock the Gibbs to the rope by pulling down on the Gibbs. I can then sit and rest comfortably as long as necessary. The Gibbs will automatically release when I stand up to resume climbing. The seat Gibbs can also be used for climbing should any other part of the system fail. The main disadvantage of this climbing method is the use of the arms in climbing, but since only one arm is used at a time, it is possible to switch arms often to keep fatigue from overcoming both arms. I have used this method to climb 300 feet (91.4 meters) of rope with no difficulties, and have been using it caving for the past two years without any problems (Eisenhauser Ranch Caves Cont'd from p. 101) before the passage got too small. (James later returned and went farther, but still more passage exists.) Roy Wessel and I pulled out and climbed to the first level. It was good to have someone meet us there, since the sides of the pit were falling in and were hazardous. No further problems were encountered after we returned to the surface. COOKOUT James Jasek set up the camera for a group photograph. Overall, 28 people were present for caving and the goat and sheep barbecue. SUMMARY The Eisenhauer Ranch is very promising for more caving No where else in the state have I seen sinkholes and caves develop in such proximity Overall, 14 caves have been found, two surveys are presently working, and about 25 sinkholes remain to be investigated. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Acknowledgments are given to Pixie Alford (Brownwood, Texas) for proofreading and to Sandy Allen (Lackland AFB) for typing in preparing this article. GONZO GUANO GEAR 4019 Ramsgate San Antonio, Texas 78230 (512) 699-1388 The TEXAS CAVER October 1990 Page 111


BULK RATE U.S. Postage PAID Austin, Texas Permit No. 1181

Contents: Eisenhauer
Ranch Caves / Bill Rambo --
Vertical Etiquette (Or, Miss Manners Says .... ) / Phil
Kirshtein and Angela Morgan --
A Vertical Rig / James Jasek --
Archaeological Excavations At Sorcerer's Cave / Kevin
Thuesen --
Cheve 1990 / Bill Steele --
The Great Kickapoo Cave / Hal T. Cunningham --
Thanks Texas! / Capt. Don Glasco --
Coahuila Caving / Peter Sprouse --
Xilitla Trip Report / Peter Sprouse --
Across The Great Divide / Colin Nicholls --
Book Reviews / Bill Mixon.


Download Options

Choose Size
Choose file type
Cite this item close


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


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


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


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