The Texas Caver

The Texas Caver

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The Texas Caver
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The Texas Caver
Texas Speleological Association
Texas Speleological Association
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Regional Speleology ( local )
Technical Speleology ( local )
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Contents: The Agony and the Ecstasy / Butch Fralia -- Powell's Cave Project: Leap Trip / George Veni -- El Nino Visits Airman's Cave / William Russell -- A Return Trip Report (Rescuing the Rescuer) / Cathy Winfrey -- New NSS Members -- Recently Moved to Texas -- Address Changes -- International Team to Make Exploratory Dive in Lechuguilla Cave -- NSS Convention in Texas, 1994 / Donna Anderson -- Rope Incident at Cuchilla / Peter Sprouse -- Killer Bees Mexico Pits -- Book Review / Bill Mixon -- Financial Report / Mary Standifer.
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Vol. 37, no. 02 (1992)
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See Extended description for more information.

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THE TEXAS CAVER Volume 37, No.2 April1992 31 The Agony and the Ecstasy by Butc h Fralia 34 Powell's Cave Project: Leap Trip by Ge orge Veni 36 El Nino Visits Airman s Cave by W i lliam Russell 38 A Return Trip Report (Rescuing the Rescuer) by Cath y Winfr e y 39 New NSS Members 39 Recently Moved to Texas 40 Address Changes 40 International Team to Make Exploratory Dive in Lechuguilla Cave 41 NSS Convention in Texas, 1994 by D on n a And erso n 42 Rope Incident at Cuchilla by P e t e r Spr o u se 42 Killer Bees & Mexico Pits 42 Book Review by Bill Mixon 43 Financial Report by Mary Standifer Alternating Editors : This Issue Keith Heuss 1004 A Milford Way Austin Tx. 78745 (512) 385-7131 Day (512) 462 9574 N ight Next Issue Oren Tranbarger 3407 Hopecrest San Antonio Tx. 78230 (512) 522-2710Day (512) 349-5573 N i ght Proof Reading ...... .. Katie Arens & Jocie Hooper Printed by ........................................ Terry Raines Texas Caver labels .................... ........ .. Rod Goke Cave Rescue Call Collect 1r (512) 686-0234 The Texas Caver is a bi-monthly publicat i on of the Texas Speleolog i cal Assoc i at i on (TSA), an internal organization of the National Speleolog i cal Society (NSS) Issues a r e published i n February April June August, October and December Subscription rates are $15/year for s i x issues of The Texas Caver Thi s includes membership in the TSA. Out of state subscribers, libraries and o t her institutions can receive The Texas Caver for the same rate ($15/year) Send all correspondence (other than material for The Texas Caver) subscr i ptions and exchanges to: The Texas Caver, P O Box 8026, Austin Texas 78713 Back issues are available at $3.00 per issue Articles and other Material for The Texas Caver should be sent to one of the alternating editors listed above The Texas Caver openly invites all cavers to submit articles trip reports photographs (35mm slides or any size black & white or color print on glossy paper) cave maps news events cartoons and/or any other cav i ng related material for publication. Exchanges should be mailed to The Texas Caver at the subscription address above The Texas Caver will exchange newsletters with other grottos Copyright 1992 by the Texas Speleological Association. Internal organ i zations of the NSS may reprint any item first appearing in The Texas Caver as long as proper credit is given and a copy of the newsletter containing the reprinted material is mailed to the co-editors Other organizations should contact the coeditors about reprinted materials Front Cover Parks Ranch Cave located in the gypsum planes of far west Texas, Summer of 1978 Photo by Keith Heuss Inside Cover The entrance to Fitton Cave, located near the Buffalo in Arkansas, Thanksgiving 1989 Photo by Keith Heuss


The AGONY and the CSTASV !By 23utah '3taUa Destination: Arkansas -Mount Ida, Fitton Cave, Harrison, --All Over Date: November 26-30, 1991 Personnel: Butch Fralia, Ray Fritts, Arlene Heintz, Todd Heintz, Wayne Pierce, Mark Porter, Tag Swan and Jimmy & Pat Thomas (almost). Mark Porter and I planned this trip a long time before the day finally came to leave for Arkansas. I got off early for the holidays, and Ray Fritts, on vacation for the week, arrived at my house shortly after me. We transferred his belongings to my truck, dallied a bit, then I drove to Garland to collect Mark. Mark was waiting with his g ear in the driveway. We loaded his equipment and heade d for Sulfur Springs to pick up Tag Swan. In scarcely an hour we arrived to find Tag packed and ready. Wonderful! Everyone's timing was perfect; at 4:30 we were an hour from Arkansas. We were driving to Mount Ida, where we would spend the first night and visit the area Thanksgiving Day. We stopped at a Dairy Queen in Mount Pleasant and took some gloss off the initially flawless trip with over-cooked Chicken Fried Steak sandwiches. Oh, well, into every life a little rain must fall. We continued and at 8:30 pm arrived at a Forest Service FREE campsite, just outside Mount Ida. Our good fortune was continuing to be nothing short of miraculous. I listened for sirens and looked for red lights. It seemed as though we were violating some natural law arriving at a campsite before 11:30. Thursday morning we broke camp and drove into Mount Ida where we located Otis Standley's rock shop. In college, Mark made a field trip to this area. He knew Mr. Standley once allowed people to dig in his quartz cryst al mine for $2.00 a person. Mr. Standley's shop is next to his house, so he was open for business. He collected $2.00 from each of us, gave us each a ball point pen and a business card. He drew a map on the back of some scratch paper and gave us the key. He made suggestions on where and what we might find, and we were off. At the mine we found many small crystals in the area recommended by Mr. Standley but finally realized this was going nowhere. Being good cavers we began a ridgewalk of the area around the mine. Ray walked down the side of the hill and began finding crystal clusters on the side of rocks. We found enough samples in the area to make the stop worthwhile. At 1:30 we had enough, returned the key to Mr. Standley, and began the drive north. In Russellville, we enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner at Shoney's. We ate our fill, thinking it good to have a real Thanksgiving dinner without having to cook or clean up the mess. We entertained ourselves discussing the unusual names of our young waitresses. Our main waitress was Stormy, originally from Texas. Odyssey brought our main course. When we paid the cashier named Mary, I commented it was unusual for someone to have a bona fide name at Shoney's. She made a remark about Odyssey and I asked if she (Odyssey) had a boy friend named Homer. From the look on Mary's face, I surmise literary humor to be wasted on Arkansas. We arrived at Caver's Camp (near Fitton) just after dark; thus far, the trip had exceeded our expectations. On a Thanksgiving trip to Fitton two years ago, the high temperature during the day was twenty-five degrees for the first two days. We were in short sleeves and quite comfortable. We'd come equipped for cold weather and hadn't brought light clothes. I wore the only short sleeve shirt I'd packed. We set up camp and spent the evening imbibing and enjoying each other's tall tales. The National Forest Service has built a fine camping area called Caver's Camp, within walking distance of Fitton Cave. It has picnic tables, fire pit with cooking grill, and best of all, a good toilet facility (no shower). There is water and a telephone within short driving distance. The site is on the Compton-Erbie road, midway between Compton on Highway Forty-three and Dog Patch on Highway Seven. There are three different routes by which camp can be reached. The most reliable is by way of Compton, since the other two feature low water crossings on the Buffalo River. Later that evening, other cavers began arriving. Terry Holsinger came up from Austin with another caver. Rob Holstead arrived in his huge van with a load of cavers from Colorado. Rob said they had been on the road nineteen hours during the previous two days. They were meeting for a Friday trip with about six tons of equipment, to test their photographic ability. Friday morning our fortune changed. A forest ranger arrived looking for Tag with instructions to call home. He provided directions to the nearby phone at the Compton-Erbie campground and explained there was a commuter airline located in Harrison, if the need arose. On the way to the phone, we saw an elk that had shed its horns and had begun to grow short spikes for replacements. Elk shed their horns and replace them The Texas Caver April 1992 31


yearly The animal calmly stood on the side of the road and watched us pass. I've heard elk and bear are present in the area, but this is the first time I've seen either. Tag phoned home to learn his father passed away on Thanksgiving Day and needed to return home. Back at camp, he gathered what he would need for the flight, leaving his camping/caving gear for drop off on the return trip. Mark and Ray elected to stay in the area while I drove Tag to Harrison. Lone Star Airlines has three flights a day from Harrison to DFW. I never learned if these were direct flights, but we arrived very close to time for the next flight and Tag was able to depart quickly. We regret the loss of Tag on the trip because he's good company; we also regret his personal loss. Lone Star has a round trip from Harrison to DFW for $129 that might be worth checking to see if it's available from DFW. This is a reasonable fare for a short weekend when you're feeling flush and dying to go to Arkansas. I saw a parking place for an AVIS rental car, so that service is likely available, too. Returning to camp, I performed maintenance chores you're supposed to do at home. I loaded my pack and headed for the Blue Diamond trail to find Mark and Ray. The Forest Service has located several easy hiking trails through the area. The Blue Diamond provides an easier route to Fitton than the CRF trail. If you're on a CRF trip, you're allowed to drive to the cave. If it rains enough, the Blue Diamond is impassable because it follows the Cecil Creek, and then you still have to walk the CRF trail. Of course if it rains enough, even the CRF has to walk the CRF trail. I immediately found Mark and Ray coming back from Friday the Thirteenth Cave (also known as Mud Cave). I had my nerve up to drop Devil's Den, a deep pit in the area. Mark and Ray readily agreed before I lost my nerve We loaded rope and vertical gear into the truck and headed out. The cave is several miles from camp and some people walk there, but you can get within a thousand feet by car. We arrived at the cave, rigged the lowest (and safest) point. I went down and discovered myself rappelling beside a waterfall. The pit is about sixty feet deep on the short side and perhaps eighty-five feet on the high side. It's a pleasant drop, free hanging without banging against walls It would be really great if you could just avoid the waterfall. Mark and Ray soon came down and we explored the cave There's about 125 feet of passage with very tall ceilings and fossils in the walls. On this trip there were bats hibernating on the ceiling. It doesn't take long to explore, but it's worth the effort. Mark and Ray went out while, slow-climber that I am, I waited until last. They are both big old boys, and I, being out of shape, wanted them topside in case I needed a "tow" out. I did great for the first forty-five feet, and then my seat harness began slipping down to my knees. I had loaned it to someone who had readjusted it. I didn't realize the need for readjustment until then. I kept fighting with the seat harness and so ran out of gas a few feet from the top. I knew I'd get out, but I wasn't sure exactly when. I thought there for a while, I'd have to take a nap or something first. Well, I finally got exhausted, but out. Into each life a little rain must fall, and it was raining when I got out. A hiker had come along and was talking to Mark and Ray. His name was Wayne Pierce and had been on six CRF trips to Fitton since January. We had an extra slot on the permit. Wayne seemed to know what he was talking about, so we invited him to join us the following day. This, by the way, was more insurance than being a good Samaritan. There is a requirement that four people must enter the cave or you can't use the permit. If something happened to the remainder of our party, we'd be able to enter the cave. Wayne had "in-laws" in Compton and had brought his son over from Oklahoma City to visit while his wife had to work the weekend. This is why a caver was in the Fitton area without a permit. Wayne agreed to join us, and we went our separate ways. Did I mention it had started raining? It started pouring on the way back to camp as it only seems to pour at Fitton. Listening to the radio, I heard severe thunderstorm warnings for the county we were in and tornado warnings just north of Harrison, about fifteen miles away. At camp, Mark and Ray got in their respective tents while I waited in my truck and listened to the rain fall. Ray came to check on me, and we started talking about showers that were available at Ponca. We talked ourselves into a hot shower and drove to Ponca in a severe downpour, only to find the showers disconnected because they were difficult to maintain. Oh, well, into each life a little rain must fall. Without a real rain god along to stir up totally unnatural weather, I predicted the rain would abate and we could cook supper around 9:00 pm. My estimate was conservative, and the rain abated at 8:30. Mark and Ray drained their tents while I drained the Coleman Stove and started water boiling. It rained again later in the night, but nothing serious. Saturday morning, Cecil Creek was up. Rob Holstead reported his group returned to camp at midnight when the creek was waist deep. The rain closed the Blue Diamond Trail. I awoke tired and didn't want to walk two miles up the steep CRF trail. It looked for a time like the trip wouldn't be necessary. Arlene and Todd hadn't arrived from Missouri. Pat and Jimmy hadn't arrived from Eureka Springs where they were to stay until Friday evening (Saturday morning if the weather was bad) Wayne hadn't come down from Compton. It was later than we'd planned on meeting, and we began to get nervous. We decided a ride would calm our nerves, so we drove to Compton. We checked to see if anyone was wandering around up there because of some mistake I'd made in directions. On the way back to camp, we heard a horn 32 April1992 The Texas Caver


honking and looked back to see Arlene and Todd following us. Back at camp we found Wayne and learned from Arlene that the Thomas Wagoneer had difficulty, and they had been unable to leave Texas. We quickly donned gear and began the long trek up the hill. I got a good head start, figuring everyone would pass me on the way up. Sure enough, they caught up, and some did pass me. The steep road up to Fitton is about two miles long and seems like it goes straight up. The hardiest hikers take frequent rest stops on this road. The walk took about an hour and a half, but finally, at long last, Fitton Cave. We entered the cave just in time for light rain to begin to fall. Inside the entrance, we rested, rearranged equipment, put on knee pads and such. Fitton is a fantasy cave, all Texas Cavers (or at least cavers who cave in Texas) know that caves are small and crawly. Fitton passage is mostly walking and, except in two locations, crawling is an elective experience. One heavily decorated area of Fitton is but a short distance from the entrance. There are tall and beautiful formations that are great for photographs. After the formation area, you go down a steep rocky area to a lower level where there are smaller formations. Quickly it's down to hands and knees (borehole) for about 100 feet where you reach the dreaded manhole. The manhole is a short climb about twelve feet deep. The walls are very slick, hand/foot holds are barely perceivable, and it bells about midway down. We climbed down the manhole, traversed some narrow stoop-walking passage, then entered the main passage of the cave. At this point, the passage is twenty to f o rty feet wide and about the same dimensions in height. The walls are a paleontologist's delight with crinoid stems, shells and an occasional starfish. Here, the cave is easy walking, though, other than fossils, there's little to see except size. The right side of the passage dips down to a lower level where running water may be heard. Soon there is a big room where the passage goes down, to a lower level with a running stream, and up, following the main passage. Leaving this room, the main passage is much the same as before until you arrive at the Razor Back. Here you're walking on a raised floor which rises to a sharp point. You finally arrive at a small squeeze area where packs and helmets come off to slide through a small opening between small formations growing on flowstone. After the squeeze is a small formation area, then it's down into a large passage again. This passage continues until there is a large room called the Round Hous e It should be mentioned at this point that Wayne began leading. He knew the cave better than he led us to believe. He knew short cuts a person would only know from being in the cave often, with those who know it well. At the roundhouse, I became disoriented when we took a route I hadn't traveled before. This led into passage that eventually took us into the New Maze area In this area we were able to visit such scenic areas as Jernigan's Leap and Horse Piss Falls. There were many areas where the passage seemed to drop down toward the center of the earth. We visited for a while before being lead to a hole in the ceiling It was difficult to climb, but with Wayne's help, everyone made it up. The next surprise was a tight squeeze that took a while to get through. Mark and I had experienced this squeeze on a previous trip from the other direction, and that time couldn't get through. Someone has dug it out, making it barely passable. Through the squeeze and up a steep passage and you are into a beautiful area of the cave. Gypsum covers the limestone walls, and there are gypsum formations, mostly flowers. This passage leads into a huge room that provides access to the Tennouri Room. This room is notable for its size and its gypsum formations. At some past time, a visitor wrote the name of the room, using a carbide lamp, on a large rock. From the Tennouri Room, we began the trip back out in the direction of the Round House. We passed through passage beautifully decorated with gypsum flowers. We discussed the source of sulfuric acid which forms gypsum, but no one knew the source Someone noted that a gypsum cave has few formations, while in a limestone cave with gypsum deposits there are always formations. This is because the limestone is constantly being attacked and the gypsum growing. We backtracked through the passage where we had entered and eventually returned to the entrance. On the way in, Arlene had mentioned fossilized starfish in the walls of the cave. We saw an area with well-defined starfish in the ceiling. Photographs were taken of the fossils. There wasn't a camera with a close-up lens, so it's unlikely the photographs will do them justice. We spent 9-1/2 hours in Fitton. Our tour was leisurely and would have taken fifteen hours or more, had we not had such a knowledgeable guide. We learned much about the cave and the visit will be long remembered. Outside the cave, a light rain had begun to fall and the temperature was about thirty-five degrees. This was at first a pleasant change from the cave that seemed hot in comparison. It was apparent there had been heavy rain while we were in the cave. The road was much soggier. It seemed like it took forever to get back to camp. When we reached it, the creek was higher than when we first crossed and the temperature was lower. At camp, the only thing on anyone's mind was getting warm. I got in my truck to change clothes and asked myself: why get out? I was camping in the truck, and the sleeping bag, already laid out, called my name. I decided to miss a meal and found myself snuggled warmly in the zero degree sleeping bag Dale Ellison loaned me for the trip. I went to sleep and never knew when Arlene, Todd and Wayne left. It was suddenly morning and I felt wonderful after an exceptionally good night's sleep. (continued on page 38) The Texas Caver April1992 33


POWELL'& CAVE PQOJtCT: LEAP TQIP Cy eo'C-:Je rveni There was some confusion about which February weekend we'd go to Powell's Cave By now everyone knows (or should know) the project is scheduled for the 4th weekend of February, June, and October. However, the 4th weekend in February should be the last weekend and 22-23 February didn't fit that image. Despite the confusion caused by the leap year calendar, 71 cavers came out for this Menard County project and added 1053.4 m. of survey to Texas' second longest cave. Unseasonably heavy and persistent rainfall preceded this trip. Everyone expected the Stream Passage to be sumped and so no one planned to go there. There was some apprehension about the condition of the ranch road, since it was nearly impassable during a couple of rainy trips in 1989, and heavy rain was encountered by the cavers who converged on Menard from all directions. Luckily Oztotl smiled on us and provided a calm, rain free weekend in spite of the nearby storms. On Friday afternoon Doug Allen dug out sediment that had washed into the entrance during the previous rains, and on Saturday almost a dozen teams entered the cave under clear, sunny skies. Team 1: Jim Mcintire and Joe Sumbera continued their survey of the WC area, assisted by Steve Keselik. They tied in to The Well and mapped into the Witch's Cauldron, one of the few rooms in the cave and measured at over 20 m long, 9 m. wide and up to 6 m. high. They discovered the room's namesake was a block of breakdown that casts a shadow resembling a haggard, old witch. They also discovered a lead with reasonable air flow, but it will take considerable digging to open it up. The teams's survey tally of 34 7.4 m. included redoing the old Z survey and pushing it an additional 4 m. to a very grim dig lead. Team 2: Doug Allen, the consummate gentleman caver, would not enter the cave until his hair and beard were properly cut and groomed (courtesy of Robin Wilson) He thenjoined Dales Henry and Pate to survey 319.2 m. in the NG area of the cave. This was Dale Pate's first trip back to Powell's since accepting the job of Cave Specialist at Carlsbad Caverns National Park; it was good to have him back. This trip finally relocated the Night Gallery passage, which the survey area is named after, and the passage was surveyed to the bitter end. Most of the other major known passages in the area were also surveyed, but several leads remain. Team 3: Terry Anderson (no, not the former Palestinian hostage), Tom Bone, Wendell Berg, Bill Koerschner, Paul Rodriguez, and Bill Stephens photographed all the way back to the Metro and mopped up a remaining 14 7.4 m. of survey in that area Stephens suggests that another 30 m. could probably be surveyed in short passages at the top of some domes, but the main reason to return would be to push the blowing leads. However, their further exploration will require hammers or more persuasive means of passage enlargement. Team 4: This trip's A&M contingent included Mike Eastman, Stuart Halliday, Travis Kinchen, Nicole Muse (currently displaced at SWT), Julie and Maurice Padilla, and Karen Plaxton. They revisited the Third Crevice area and found the Lower Maze (located near the Stream Passage) to be completely sumped. Retreating to higher ground, they surveyed 116.1 m. near the end of the Third Crevice, including about 35 m. of new passages containing several leads. Team 5: Jean Might joined George and Karen Veni to try and wrap-up the 7J survey area. They found a couple of small, but new passages and completed 150.0 m. of survey. They were unable to complete the 7J area, but should be able to do so on the next trip. On the way out of the cave they took a few photographs near Station 3 and in The Crevice. Team 6: Cathy Chauvin and Jason Gustafson joined Eddie Yonemoto who was returning to push the grim GR survey. They struggled to add 26.7 m. of survey in the passage, but although the passage was slowly getting larger, fatigue overcame them. Later that evening, Jaso n was heard mumbling something about "understanding the meaning of the word 'Hell'." The team contemplated that GR should stand for GRunt survey. Team 7: A large group pushed to the end of The Crevice. Leading the way were Mark Minton, Bill Steele, Nancy Weaver and Salsa --the first white German Shepherd to go caving in Powell's! They surveyed 46.3 m. near in and near the Mud Puppy (no relation to 34 February 1992 The Texas Cave r


S a lsa), and determined they'll need someone who is very s m all to enlarge this promising passage. The rest of the gro u p consisted of Wayne Bockleman and Mary Thiesse, w h o assisted Ted Lee with his explorer scouts: Heath B a h n os, Jason Bennett, Matt Cooper, Joshua Dossett, Wes Goodwin, Justin Gover, Andy Jackson, Bennett and J o n athan Lee, Regina Reese, Chris Ross, and Carlton Spear s Heather Haecker and Jim Wolff also joined the group but didn't get far in the cave because, as Jim l earned: "It's not a good idea to crawl in The Crevice only 3 w e e ks after you get your hand out of a cast." The Explorer Scouts extended the excavation about 2 m. to wher e progress was slowed by a boulder. Team 8: Terry Holsinger led the usual photo/intro-to t h e c a ve trip for new cavers or those who couldn't get on a survey team. This caver coterie included Mike Anderson, Meta Huzarevich, Katrin Robinson, and an inte rnational group from San Marcos: Tim Branch, John Brou ssard, Brian Fitzwater, William lvey, Bernd Peters, M o Tangestani, and Jutta Zengley. They spent most of t h eir time in and near The Crevice After a couple of h ours, Mike and Meta joined Donna Anderson and Mike C i che r s ki to assist with a radio location. Team 9: The rest of the radio location team consisted of B e n and Keith Heuss, in the cave, and Bruce Anderson, Charles Beyer, Ed Mears, Bill Mixon, Wynant Wilson and Jim Wolff on the surface. They pinpointed thej u nction of the Crevice and Stream Passage under the large sinkhole located south of the cave entrance. Aft e r w ards, Bill led Ed Mears and Charles Beyer u nderground to see the cave side of their location Team 10: Having finished with the radio location Bru;::e Anderson, Keith and Ben Heuss, and Wynant Wils o n extended the surface survey south along the n ear b y graded road and across a neighboring ranch to a fenc e post near the Neel's entrance to the Powell's Cave Syste m Team 11 : Mary Standifer and Robin Wilson traveled The Crevice to do the first artistic sketches of the cave. T rips to Powell's Ca v e are sched uled for the 4th weekends of February, June, and October. The cave i s excellent for all caving skill levels, and especially good for those wanting to learn to survey. For more information contact: T erry Holsinger, 1007-A Milford Way, Austin, Texas 78745, 512443-4241 <---note new phone numbe r Next trip is June 26-28, 1992 BenJamin Heuss explores some of the lower crawlways where the lower c revice intersects the stream passage Photo by Keith Heuss We look forward to seeing these in future issues of The Texas Caver On Saturday evening, chef Bruce Anderson and assistants Donna and Mike Anderson and Keith Heuss stirred up a batch of chili, cornbread, apple cobbler, and peach cobbler that warme d the innards of the weary cavers who exited into the evening chill Their efforts and culinary skills were greatly appreciated. After dinner, the usual lies were shared around the campfire before everyone drifte d to sleep. Terry Holsinger awoke Sunday morning jealous of Doug Allen's well-groomed appearance and put himself under "Robin Scissorhands" gentle care. Others went caving. The Aggies spent the morning hours shooting photos, and Mike Melot and a friend stopped by for a quick bop on their way to Big Bend. Access was reestablished with the owner of Neel's Cave (the downstream section of Powell' s ) and Bruce and Mike Anderson, Keith and Ben Heuss, Meta Huzarevich, Ed Mears, George and Karen Veni, and Wynant Wilson went to the ranch. The owner showe d the group a couple of interesting springs, and the cavers showed the owner the inside of her cave. No one went into the stream, the water was well over a meter higher than normal, and the upstream passage was completely sumped. The previous day's surface survey was extended to the Neel's entrance, thus the relative location of the cave system's two entrances can be accurately plotted for the first time (the caves have been physically connected but the cave survey between the entrances is not yet complete). A rattlesnake at the Neel's entrance helped keep things lively. The Powell's Proj ec t is thriving. More than half of the 71 cavers who attended this trip have been to the cave before, and most of them attend on a regular basis. On each trip a cadre of new cavers is introduced to caving and surveying at Powell's and many return to become project "regulars." The Powell's Cave System is 19.2 m long and growing. Hope to see you there in June. The Tex as Caver February 1992 35


El NiNo VisiTs AiRMAN's CAvE 6y Wiffiam !l(usseff Far out in the Pacific Ocean the waters warmed, the winds blew, and the El Nino cycle began. The warm winds pushed the jet stream north, and carried Pacific moisture to central Texas. So much rain fell that cows were mired in their pastures, rivers flooded, and Mansfield Dam became a scenic attraction. Underground waters rose to historic heights. In Natural Bridge Caverns and Innerspace, the tourist trails were underwater. In Travis County the rising waters reached the level of Airman's Cave. But instead of quietly pondering in the far recesses of the aquifer, the water turned Airman's Cave into what it used to be in prehistoric past: an active resurgence. Reports first reached cavers that there was water in Airman's Cave about the first of the year, but assuming the rains had just turned the normally muddy entrance into an even more muddy entrance, nobody got excited. Then Craig Bittinger decided to take his teenage son and a friend caving, and selected Airman's as a nice beginner's cave. The three squeezed into the entrance and reached the main passage to find there had been a change, swiftly flowing wall-to-wall water. They crawled upstream to the first horizontal squeeze, now a Honey Creek Cave type low air space experience. And the current provided additional complications, trying to push cavers into water filled areas. Craig and the teenagers decided they weren't equipped for major exploration and returned to the entrance. Outside they discovered a large spring had erupted just downstream from the cave entrance, the water pouring down into Barton Creek. What had been a dirt-covered slope was now a jumbled The Spring formed of the waters now flowing in Airman's Cave pile of clean-washed boulders displaced by the water, aided by curious diggers attempting to find the source of the new stream. In an attempt to investigate this water flow, Jim Wolff, Bill Russell, John Fogarty, Keith Heuss, Christopher Heuss, and Benjamin Heuss returned to Airman's Cave to push upstream. The first low wide area was a problem since, looking ahead across the water, it was impossible to find the ceiling cracks that provided John Fogarty returns from the his attempt to push upstream head room. This was solved by going through feet first, using the toes to feel for air space. Using this method some of the party made it through to the next "room But from this point, they could look ahead into the low tube that leads to the first maze area, and there was swiftly flowing water with only two to three inches of clearance for the next forty feet (without a body in the tube). After a short discussion, it was decided that since summer was approaching the water levels were bound to decline some, a later date would be a better time for a visit. The flow of water through Airman's Cave is a historic event. Airman's Cave was first brought to the attention of cavers twenty-one years ago in April of 1971, by several airmen from Bergstrom Air Force Base. They followed a small crack with airflow, digging out the silt filled entrance to the cave. This silt was derived from floods of Barton Creek, the muddy water ponding in the entrance and depositing its load of suspended silt. Some silt was carried further into the cave, and the first few hundred feet of the cave was flooded with washed in fine gray silt from Barton Creek. Most of this silt is likely a relict of a large flood on Barton Creek several years before the cave was discovered This flood removed cypress trees seventy to 100 years old, and was th e largest flood up to that time. The present flow of wat e r has removed much of this silt revealing that about one half inch of silt was deposited on solid rock floor The removal of the silt by the water now flowing through the cave indicates the cave has not carried water since the silt was deposited 36 April 1992 The Texas Caver


The Entrance in April 1971, shortly after it was dug out. Another indication of the unusual aspect of the water flow is the disruption of the surface caused by the r esur gence of water from the newly developed spring. This spring is located in fractured limestone at the base o f a cliff, and the water has dislodged many of the blocks o f limestone. The spring is a few feet below the cave level and about six feet below the cave entrance. Thus the i nitial flow of water would have ponded against the loose blocks blocking the downstream end of the cave and b u ilt up several feet of hydrostatic pressure, lifting the brea kdown and pushing it down the slope toward Barton Creek. The upwelling pressure has destablized the entire s l ope, and several months after the spring began to flow, a l arg e tree by the spring toppled into the creek. This tree had grown away from the cliff, extending outward toward the creek, and the loose limestone blocks, sepa rated by the spring flow could no longer support the stress of the tree. The most interesting aspect of the flow is the ques t ion of where the water enters Airman's Cave. Wherever this water enters the cave, finding this point m i ght lead to additional discoveries The cave does not conta in evidence of previous floods, so it is difficult to predict where the water might be entering the system. A source near the entrance is suggested, as further into the cave there are features that would be affected by the flood waters but show no evidence of previous floods :rhere are several solutional holes in the floor especially J U st upstream from Sherwood Forest, that would have filled with sediment if there were many floods since there a r e f ine-grained, easily transported deposits upstream form the holes. The floodwaters flow might be able to bypass t he Sherwood Forest area through lower level tubes, m any just too small to follow But Karen Crawl, a long crawlway just downstream from Sherwood Forest, is the onl y known passage connecting the front and back secti o ns of the cave and this passage would be difficult to avoid. This passage has numerous small rocks that would be washed out of the tube if the present flow were to f ollow this passage. If there is a yet undiscovered branch of t he cave nearer the entrance, this could be an i mportant find. Whoever finds the source of the water needs to be careful in following this new passage if the water is still flowing. Something is limiting the amount of water flowing through Airman's Cave; the cave is not full of water. There must be a small constriction, probably in breakdown, but possibly only a flat rock blocking a crawlway. The level of the Edwards Aquifer could be several feet higher on the other side of the blockage Removal of this rock could greatly increase the flow of water into the cave, trapping or drowning the explorers. The water level in several wells monitored by the Barton Springs-Edwards Aquifer Conservation District (BS/EACD) are approaching historic highs, and their nearest observation well to Airman's Cave at South First and Stassney is at an historic high. The BS/EACD observation well near Barton Springs is not usable for this purpose, since it is affected by the pool level in Barton Springs which has been lowered for repairs due to the flooding. The most significant well, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) observation well at 290 and Ben White (the Target Well), which is only a few hundred feet from Airman's Cave unfortunately has not been measured, since the USGS takes measurements when they sample the well and samples are taken only during dry periods (dry periods are defined as 10 days of no rain) and this has not occurred since the first part of last year. As this is written, there has been no rain for eight days, so it appears likely that we will soon have data from this well. Most amazing is that the aquifer level is still rising. Onion Creek is flowing across the aquifer, and recharge from Onion Creek exceeds 120 cubic feet per second (cfs), an amount greater than the spring flow. How much longer Onion Creek will continue to cross the aquifer is anybody's guess. Ronnie Fieseler reports that he and several others from the BS/EACD, tied securely into safety lines cleaned the gate over Antioch Cave. The grate had clogged somewhat, but when cleaned, the four feet of water covering the grate made a gigantic sucking sound and formed a vigorous whirlpool, adding several cfs to the aquifer. The water passage, look i ng upstream. Photos by K. Heuss The Tex as Caver April 1992 37


A l?eturn TriP l?eP()rt ()r the On December 24th, while assisting with a little bit of cleanup mapping in Cueva del Borrego, Allan Cobb had the unfortunate luck to dislocate his (second ) knee in one year. His luck improved a little bit thereafter, when John Fogarty was (once again) able to successfully realign his knee. And unlike the first time, both of the recommended items for treatment were available: ibuprofen and ice. Allan was content to recuperate in Conrado Castillo as long as the ice held out. When it was exhausted, however, he began to make noi ses about returning to Austin where proper treatment (i.e., ice) was available Since P eter Sprouse and three others wanted to stay and continue caving, and Peter's truck had only been able to accommodate 2 persons and gear on the trip down, it was decided that as much excess baggage as could be would be gathered and packed into my truck. With this completed, Nikko Hauwert, Allan and I departed down the mountain into the fog and mud. Eleven hours later, as we approached the international bridge in Reynosa, SOMETHING HAPPENED to my truck. It coughed and spewed its way across the bridge, through the customs inspection and out onto the black highway south of McAllen, where the dropping oil pressure forced me to the side of the road. It contained no coolant, and after much debate, I decided the three of us would spend an uncomfortable night where we were. Under the light of a new morning, reason and the mechanics affirmed what I had suspected: I had been running water through the cylinders of my engine, and certain repairs needed to be made. Oh well. This is when the real dilemmas started. Keeping three persons in a h otel until the truck was once again mobile didn't seem practical; bussing it back to Austin sounded like 8 hours of pure hell, and even more than I cared to deal with, let alone Allan, with his swelling knee. Airfares were truly prohibitive. I chose a timely and cost effective solution: rent a car and drive back. The sooner we were all back to Austin the better for everyone. Since every rent-a-car in McAllen was reportedly in the capable hands of retirees touring the valley, I was relieved when the Toyota people were able to assist me in finding a car in which to drive away. The fact that it was just large enough to accommodate three people and personal effects was not a consideration. Not until, that is I confronted the great mountains of gear that occupied the back of my truck! ( We had been discouraged from leaving many "personal items" in the truck while it was being repaired). What to do!?! Allan recommended calling Cave Rescue, so I calle d Cave Rescue. The lady who answered the phone said, "Kreidler Funeral Home. I looked at Allan and said, "This i s a FUNERAL Home!" He told me just to tell them wh o I was, what I was and that I needed some help. I did ju s t that. In 25 words or less, I gave my name, said that I was a caver attempting to get an injured caver back to Austin and needed some help. I was asked to hold, but not for long. Mrs. Kreidl e r picked up the phone in under a minute. I explained our circumstances and what I needed--just a home for sever a l duffels and assorted camping equipment until I could rescue all of it and my truck. She didn' t seem the least bit perturbed by this request. She expressed concern f o r the injured caver, offered any additional assistance th at I could think of, and sent her daughter over to the rep air shop to pick up the excess baggage. We piled into the micro-rent-a-car and blasted back to Austin. On New Year's Eve, I returned the rent-a-car rescued my truck and stopped by the Kreidler's t o personally thank them and pick up the gear. In talkin g with the one who opened the door for us, it becam e apparent that the assistance they offer comes from a real desire to help. They had been ready to do a lot more f o r us than provide safe storage for a few days. And I believe they were genuinely pleased that, this time, they had n o t been asked to do more. (The Agony and the Ecstasy -continued from page 33) Sunday morning started the best and the worst p ar t of the trip, going home. We made coffee, packed and headed south, intending to have breakfast on the way. As we drove toward Compton, reaching the top of the hiil we saw ice coating the trees and fences, creating a beautiful scene. Fog was very heavy, slowing progress considerably. The fog continued for many miles and was still with us when we stopped to eat. After we ate, the fog was lighter but still heavy until we reached H o t Springs. We gassed up and made our way to Bismarc k and I-30, where we knew the increased speed limit would get us home quickly. The cruise control quickly lock e d on seventy; we were trucking. It was good to be making progress after the fog. There was occasional light rain but nothing o f consequence. Our fortune quickly changed and the traffic began slowing, becoming slower and slower until it 38 April 1992 The Texas Caver


stopped altogether. We speculated for the next hour and a half and nine miles about the huge wreck it would take to cause that kind of back up. We came to a construction area where traffic reduced to one lane, causing the congestion. It became tiring outside, and so we switched drivers. In the passenger seat I sawed logs for a time, only to wake up and discover we'd stopped again. It took 31/2 hotirs to travel the fifty miles from Bismarck to Texarkana. I made it home at 11:00 pm instead of 6:30, as I should have. It was agony having to lose Tag to the trip, as we did. It was agony having to put up with the rain and wading C ecil Creek. It was AGONY walking the two miles stra ight up to Fitton and the two miles back down. It was agony driving in the fog and the traffic. It was ECS TASY for nine and one-half hours in Fitton Cave that made the agony worth bearing. I'll do it again, first chance. N e w NSS Members [ These Texas cavers have recently joined the NSS. Congratulations! If you're not an NSS member, we encourage you to join. Terry Anderson, NSS 34232R, 609 W Brady, Decatur, TX 76234 Lin Barnett, NSS 34594R, 822 Kentucky St, Graham, TX 76450 K evin Lee Bramlett, NSS 35417R, 805 Carlswell Ter, Arlington, TX 76010 Jo seph Cook, NSS 34599R, 10608 Groverock, El Paso, TX 79935 Jo ann De Luna, NSS 33294R, 3219 Hitching Post, San Antonio, TX 78217, 512-822-6743 Nila Dennis, NSS 32406R, HC 65, Box D-12, San Saba, TX 76877 D an Eynon, NSS 32223R, 2100 Graysin Dr, Apt 1925, Grapevine, TX 76051 D i ane Finley, NSS 34163S, Apt 100, 4 508 W Pioneer, Irving, TX 75061 Stephen B. Franks, NSS 35245R, 2600 N N, Midland, TX 79705 Cathy Hardwick, NSS 3424 7R, Apt 610, 7500 S Hulen, F t Worth, TX 76133 J onathan Hazelton, NSS 33342R, Box 512, Graham, TX 76046 Susan Herpin, NSS 34557, 9834 La Vista, Houston, TX 77041 S teve Keselik, NSS 33265R, RR3, Box 263VK, Bastrop, TX 78602 Travis Kinchen, NSS 33262R, 812 Timberhill, Hurst, TX 76053 Greg & Steve Johnston, NSS 32201FR & 32200R, Box 5363, Amarillo, TX 79117 Cristin Lewis, NSS 33202A, 3102 Highland Terrace W, Austin, TX 78731, 512-452-1798 Martha McArthur, NSS 35327R, 5209 Stillwood, Wichita Falls, TX 76302 Mike McCaskill, NSS 32311R, 820 Houston #206, Austin, TX 78756 Jim Peel, NSS 35200R, Alum Extrusion, 1216 Fair Oaks Dr, Irving, TX 75060 John Rainey, NSS 33178R, 13018 Fitzhugh Rd, Austin, TX 78736, 512-288-2343 Mary Ann Schutte, NSS 35117R, 11216 Stallcup Dr, Dallas, TX 75228 W. Charles Sergeant NSS 35400R, 600 Shadowbrook Ln, Irving, TX 75063 Erion & Jerry Simpson, NSS 32269FR & 32268R Box 1662, Wichita Falls, TX 76307 Rachel Shelton, NSS 35301R, 1506 Limetree, Duncanville, TX 75137 Carelton Spears, NSS 35169R, Bexar County Courthouse, San Antonio, TX 7824 7 Martin Stallings, NSS 35109F, Apt 1209, 717 Hill Country Dr, Kerrville, TX 78028 Don Wiggins, NSS 33215R, Apt #814, 11660 Huebner, San Antonio, TX 78230 512-692-9231 Joel & Vickie Williams, NSS 33328R & 33329F HC 60, Box 394, Graham, TX, 76046 John Williams, NSS 35234A, 10539 Waving Fields, Houston, TX 77064 Jim Wolff, NSS 34315R, 3452 D Willowrun Dr, Austin, TX 78704 Mathew Wood, NSS 35295A, 10819 St Mary' s Ln, Houston, TX 77079 Ed Young, NSS 32395R, 3030 Oak Ridge Place, Grand Prairie, TX 75051 Recently Moved to Texas The cavers listed below have recently moved to Texas. If they're in your area you may wish to contact them. Ken Akerman, 2511 N Stanton St, El Paso, TX 79902 William A. Brown, NSS 22513R, 313 Mackeral St, Galveston, TX 77550-3049 Richard Dillon, NSS 18905R 3111 Ave 0, Galveston, TX 77550 Ernest Edge, Jr, 306 Sedora, Friendswood, TX 77546 William B. Hanson, NSS 30748R, 20522 Morning Cr Dr, Katy, TX 77450 The Texas Caver April 1992 39


Thomas Ice, NSS 24110R, 3329 Esters Road, Apt 2137, Irving, TX 75062 Keith Alan Kaiser, NSS 15250R, 1632 Bert Greene, El Paso, TX 79936 John Langevin, NSS 31750R, 6081 Copperfield Dr, #116, Ft Worth, TX 76132 Jeff Osborne, NSS 27337, 10582 Carswell Dr, El Paso, TX 79908 Address Changes And here are some recent address changes: Ellen Allen, Apt #2056, 1818 Estrada Pky, Irving, TX 75061-8289 Terry Bolger & Lisa Spillers, 13 Norman St, Wembley Downs, Western Australia 6019, AUSTRALIA John P. Brooks, NSS 20233R, Apt 2A, 520 W Wellington Ave, Chicago, IL 60657-5455 Jim Bryan, NSS29144R, 2607 Westwood Main, Bryan, TX 77801-2610 Howard Dame, 9007 Tweed Berwick Dr, Austin, TX 78750 Dave Doolin, c/o 12128 Gln Lk Dr, Ft Wayne, IN 46804 David Feemster, 2603 Central Drive, Big Spring, TX 79720 David & Shari Finfrock, 1709 Danciger, Ft Worth, TX 76112 Andy Flurkey, 12443 W Louisiana Ave, Lakewood, CO 80228 David Gottula, 512 Belmont, Friendswood, TX 77546 Frank Hall, RR 2, Box 11A, Georgetown, TX 78626-9772 Ronnie Harrison, Apt #803, 2425 Cromwell Cir, Austin, TX 78741-6018 Tom Kaler, NSS 27372R, Rt 1, Box 335-H, Cedar Creek, TX 78612 John Loflin, Route 4, Box 4 704, Athens, TX 75751-9215 David Luke, c/o Green Lawn Chair, 5701 W 19th St, Lubbock, TX 79407 Sharon Lytle, 3932 Bunting Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76107-2611 Mark McKay, 2018 Spinnaker Dr, League City, TX 77573 Jeff Middleton, RR HCR 68, Box 144B, Green Forest, AR 72638 Robert Milhollin, Apt 244T, 412 Woodcrest, Arlington, TX 76010 Robert A. Moore, NSS 18927R, Apt 102, 11310 Woodmeadow Pky, Dallas, TX 75228-1334 Douglas Ozment, NSS 31908R, 1138 E 9th Dr, Mesa, AZ 85204-4218 Mack Pitchford, 2107B, Alta Vista Ave, Austin, TX 78704, 512 445-4364 Jack, Vicki & Jessica Ralph, 1965 Pahmeyer Rd, New Braunfels, TX 78130-7759, 512-620-5058 Brenda Smith, 13009 Tall Timber Dr, College Station, TX 77845-8599 Scott Trent, NSS 34021R, Apt 404, 6910 Hart Ln, Austin, TX 78713 Richard Van Arsdel, 4158 Winesap Dr, San Antonio, TX 78222 w512-536-3967 Garry L White, NSS 7973R, 1436 Ficklin St, Corsicana, TX 75110-2842 Karen Ann Whitte, NSS 17931R, Apt 1209, 717 Hill Country Dr, Kerrville, TX 78028 Corey Zeigler, NSS 35339, CMR 2, Box 12654, Ft Rucker, AL 36362 International Team to Make Exploratory Dive in Lechuguilla Cave An international team made up of British, United States, and Canadian cavers will make an exploratory dive in one of Lechuguilla Cave's deep lakes during an expedition scheduled to begin May 2, according to Carlsbad Caverns National Park Superintendent Wallace Elms. Leading the expedition will be Peter Bolt of the United Kingdom and John Schweyen of Glen Rock, New Jersey. Present plans call for the group to dive in the Lake of the White Roses at the deepest point in Lechuguilla Cave both to determine if passable cave openings continue underwater, and to collect water samples, before any activity and at various depths, for scientific analysis. A total of 27 people in separate teams will participate in the expedition, including 15 from the United Kingdom, eight from the U.S., and four from Canada. Park cave specialists will also accompany the expedition. Other deep lakes in Lechuguilla Cave which may contain explorable water filled passage are Lake Castrovalva and Stud Lake. Superintendent Elms stated that the leaders and team members of the expedition are experienced and well known cave divers and that emphasis will be placed on carrying out the expedition safely, as well as in a manner that will assure protection of the cave resources. Lechuguilla Cave, located near the northern boundary of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, is the nation's deepest cave at 1,565 feet, and has been mapped to a length of approximately 60 miles. 40 April 1992 The Texas Caver


QI:onbtntion in 1994 6g 'Donna .9Ltuferson The 1994 NSS Convention Committee met on February 1, 1992 at the winter TSA meeting in San Saba. Various sites for the convention in Texas were discussed. A vote was taken and the Brackettville site was unanimously chosen. On April 4th, the NSS BOG met in Richmond Virginia and voted unanimously that Texas host the 1994 NSS Convention. On May 1st, a meeting was held at Fort Clark Springs, which is a privately owned restored Army Cavalry Fort. NSS Convention Committee members discussed details of the upcoming convention. Some of the amenities include camping along the Los Moras Creek which flows through the fort. There are motel rooms and town houses which can be rented for the week for those who do not wish to camp. There is an olympic size swimming pool which will be available the entire week. The photo salon and vertical session will be held in the Brackettville Civic Center which is within walking distance of the fort. The Howdy Party may possibly be held at Alamo Village which is located 7 miles from the convention site. This is a full scale movie set where The Alamo and numerous other movies have been filmed. There are approximately 80 caves within 80 miles of Brackettville. Hopefully, the majority of these caves will be available for during the Convention. On May 2 the Convention Committee met at Bee's Campground at the TSA Convention. Ron Ralph chaired the meeting. The officers were pleased with the response to their previous request for donations to purchase air fare to present our proposal to the NSS BOG in Virginia. The convention treasurer, Bruce Anderson, stated that $361.65 was contributed by individuals and grottos. The following grottos are to be commended for their $50 contributions: AGG, DFW, Greater Houston, LAG, Maverick, and Permian Basin. Caving trips for the 1994 convention were discussed. Peter Sprouse will be in charge of pre-and post-trips to northern Mexico. Gill Ediger will handle caving deeper in Mexico. Pat Helton will arrange pre-and post-trips to the Guads, which may include geology and paleontology trips. Jay Jorden will handle pre-and post-caving in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Donna Anderson is in charge of trips during the convention week. Mike Walsh and Randy Waters will be contacting land owners to secure caves near the convention. Bill Elliott will be in charge of the guidebook. Ivy McLane and Cathy Winfrey will be working on registration. Nobel Stidham will handle the printing of the registration forms. We will begin registration for the convention in the spring of 1993 prior to the Oregon Convention. We need everyone's help in coming up with a convention logo and slogan. The 1978 Texas convention had the slogan "Deep in the Karst of Texas." Please mail your ideas and designs to LAG, P.O. Box 1094, Lubbock, Texas 79406. They will be displayed and voted on at the Texas Old Timers. Sign-up sheets were available for volunteering to work on various committees. You may still volunteer by calling Donna Anderson at (817) 246-6313 or write to her at 504 Kimbrough, Fort Worth, Texas 76108. Our next meeting will be at Old Timers Reunion to be held near Wimberly October 16-18, 1992. The following are the possible committees or tasks for the convention: Registration Guidebook & Program Sessions Geology Trip & Guidebook Photo Salon Map Salon Indoor Vendors Transportation Child Care Howdy Party Banquet Food & Beverage Campground Publicity Hotels & Condos Outdoor Vendor Sales Security Man Power Trouble Shooters Special Events Battle of the Alamo Mexican Discovery Section Trips to Mexico shopping, caves San Antonio TripsSea World Cave Trips Archeological Trips NSS Bookstore Biology Field Trip Speleo-Olympics Vertical Section Graphic Arts Salon Speleo-Auction (gathering items) Convention T -shirts Convention Patches Consignment Sales Porta Johns (secure, arrange for cleaning) Displays (carbide lamps, vertical equipment, etc.) Conventiongram (daily information sheet during Convention) Awards and Contests (gather items) Building Temporary Showers Signs for Campground Health & Safety (first aid tent) Campfire (secure wood) Hot Tubs Saunas The Texas Caver April 1992 41


Rope Incident at Cuchilla by (/Jd.e'l. On 23 December 1991 Dale Chase, Jed Mosenfelder, and I were on a 12-hour mapping trip to S6tano de la Cuchilla, a 1300-meter long cave close to Sistema Purificaci6n, Tamaulipas. The entrance drop into Cuchilla is 16 meters to a sloping rubble-floored room, followed by a 30 meter drop. After our day's survey the others climbed out first. When I topped the second drop, I went to derig the rope from the boulder we'd used for an anchor. Just below the knot I noticed the rope had been cut most of the way through the sheath, apparently from a rat chewing on it. It was at a point positioned in free space 5 em. off the floor and clearly not naturally abraded. A pile of nylon fuzz lay below it. It's scary to think about a rope threat that we are virtually powerless to protect against. It does point out that everyone coming up a drop should always inspect the rope as they go, rigging included. The rope used was a 7 / 16" PMI, an old stiff piece. A new clean rope or one of smaller diameter might have been chewed through to an even greater extent. See photo above and Beware! Killer Bees and Mexico Pits This year, the Africanized bees (killer bees) are expected to enter South Texas. With the threat of the killer bees at our door, the threat of a bee sting related caving accident has is now present. Andy Grubbs reported the following incident to a recent University of Texas Grotto meeting. It is included here as a safety tip in hopes that, if a similar incident happens again, the involved cavers will be prepared and a serious accident will not occur. A group of Missouri cavers entered one of the pit caves near Otates Mine during a Christmas 1991 trip. From all descriptions, the cave they entered was probably Sotano Casi Media Mil. Tim Weber from St. Louis rigged and was backing towards the edge of the pit entrance when a giant swarm of bees came out of the cave. He was not yet fully over the edge and was able to unclip from the rope safely. The bees were attacking his sweater. He took it off and discarded it and was able to escape. Later that night, they returned to the site. The bees were still attacking his sweater. They were lucky. Killer bees are now on their way to Texas and may be soon invading some of the caves here. Be prepared for them. A good practice when entering a vertical pit is always be prepared to exit the pit for whatever reason. Always descend with your ascending gear on and be ready to clip in and switch over and climb out of the cave. This is a good idea, whether the reason is due to a killer bee attack, bad air, snakes on the bottom or any reason. Attend one of the vertical training sessions and become skilled in the switchover from rappelling to climbing. If you encounter any killer bees in a Texas Cave, relay such information to the Texas Caver for publication. Book Review GJ !BiLL dll( ixon The Art of Cave Mapping. Kenneth C. Thomson and Robert L Taylor. 1991. Volume 31 of Missouri Speleology, journal of the Missouri Speleological Survey, St. Louis. 182 pp. Plastic comb bound. $12.00 (Available from NSS Bookstore; add $2 for postage and handling. ) This is an extensively revised edition of the author's earlier An Introduction to Cave Mapping, which was pa rt of volume 21 of Missouri Speleology, published in 1981. In fact, considering the more compact type, the ne w edition is about twice as long. It is a thorough introduction to cave mapping, from taking the da ta through drafting the final map. Besides describing i n some detail the usual methods, it also contains information on some specialized techniques, such a s plane-table surveys and the use of "cave radios" for locating underground points from the surface. (The longest cave I know of that was largely surveyed by plane-table and alidade is Wyandotte.) The book is modern enough to recommend sketching to scale, but th e authors' long experience shows in their description of th e shadow method of Brunton surveying, a recentl y neglected technique that is still, in my view, the best for 42 April 1992 The Texas Caver


1 measuring azimuths in caves where the shots are not all nearly horizontal. They do, erroneously, claim the shadow method requires a tripod. The Missouri origin of the book is perhaps responsible for a relative lack of discussion about predominantly vertical or very extensive caves, but a beginning cave mapper will find all he needs to know, and quite a bit more, in this book Most prolific cave surveyors have very particular notions about how it should be done, and most of them will probably quibble about some of the things in this book. Be warned, though, that every few pages there is something that is just plain wrong. Fortunately, most of those things are not important, and they don't keep it from being the best large book readily available on the subject. notbing but 1Ltabt notbing but 1Ltill notbing but timt. TSA Financial Report Below is the financial report of the Texas Speological Association as reported by Mary Standifer. As always, The Texas Caver is the big expense of the TSA. The inc r e ase in TSA dues last year at TOTR did not increase the revenues of the TSA. Many ideas have been discussed to keep the TSA out of the red. If everyone w h o attended the TOTR would join the TSA, this would b e a great start. Date Description 11/16/91 Checking account balance 11/16/91 Petty cash balance (reconstructed) Winter BOG profits Winter BOG, mailinq costs Texas Caver, membership Texas Caver, production costs Other TSA, checkinq interest Other TSA, fliers, P.O. Box 4/19/92 Totals Texas Caver Costs Oct-91 Dec-91 Feb-92 Totals Misc. other costs (non-bulk mail, Join NSS Join the National Speleological Society Regular membership in the NSS is $25 per year. You will receive their monthly newsletter the NSS News, and you will become affiliated with our national caving organization the NSS. Join now! Send your membership fee to: National Speleological Society, Inc., Cave Ave., Huntsville, AL 35810, Phone no: (205) 852-1300. Congratulations Congratulations to Wojciech Kedzierski and family for obtaining their green cards, which means we will enjoy their friendship longer. Another Congratulations to Rafal Kedzierski for being accepted to the University of Texas at Austin. He will be majoring in Chemestry. We are all very proud of you and your family. The above news item first appeared in the Maverick Bull, the monthly newsletter of the Maverick Grotto. For more information about this Fort Worth based grotto, contact chairman Butch Fralia, 3412 Walton Ave., Fort Worth, Texas 76133 (817) 346-2039 Credit Debit Balance $2,437.29 $2,437.29 $130.62 $2,567.91 $161.00 $2,728.91 $52.25 $2,676.66 $856.00 $3,532.66 $1,634.66 $1,898.00 $25.21 $1,923.21 $92.50 $1,830.71 $3,610.12 $1,779.41 $1,830.71 Printinq Bulk Mail Total $493.00 $75.14 $568.14 $313.00 $53.60 $366.60 $552.00 $57.46 $609.46 $1,358.00 $186.20 $1,544.20 etc.) $90.46 $1,634.66 The Texas Caver April1992 43


The Texas Caver P.O. Box 8026 Austin, Texas 78713 1992 Caver Calendar of Events April10-12 April 24-26 May 1-3 May 8-10 June 12-14 June 26-28 August 3-7 October 9-11 October 16-18 October 23-25 November 13-15 Colorado Bend State Park CBSP Earth Day Project TSA Convention Colorado Bend State Park Colorado Bend State Park Powell's Resurvey Project NSS Convention, Salem, Indiana Colorado Bend State Park Texas Cavers' Reunion, Wimberley Powell's Resurvey Project Colorado Bend State Park December 11-13 Colorado Bend State Park BULK RATE U.S. Postage PAID Austin, Texas Permit No. 1181 For More Infotmation Contact I Colorado Bend State Park-Butch Fralia (817) 3462039 or Keith Heuss (512) 462-9574 Honey Creek Project-Austin, Mark Minton (512) 8473829; San Antonio, Bill Steele (512) 377-0850 or Kurt Menking (512) 824-7230 Misc. TSA events Carl Ponebshek (512) 824-8483 or Butch Fralia (817) 346-2039 NSS ConventionScott Fee (317) 291-7807 Powell's Cave-George Veni (512) 558-4403 or Terry Holsinger (512) 443-4241 Texas Cavers' Reunion Gill Ediger (512) 441-0050 TPWD Projects-Keith Heuss (512) 462-9574 or (512) 385-7131

Contents: The Agony
and the Ecstasy / Butch Fralia --
Powell's Cave Project: Leap Trip / George Veni --
El Nino Visits Airman's Cave / William Russell --
A Return Trip Report (Rescuing the Rescuer) / Cathy
Winfrey --
New NSS Members --
Recently Moved to Texas --
Address Changes --
International Team to Make Exploratory Dive in
Lechuguilla Cave --
NSS Convention in Texas, 1994 / Donna Anderson --
Rope Incident at Cuchilla / Peter Sprouse --
Killer Bees & Mexico Pits --
Book Review / Bill Mixon --
Financial Report / Mary Standifer.


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