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: Cave Hunting Near Big Bend National Park / George Veni -- New Depth Set In Lechuguilla -- Proyecto Montemayor Expedition March 13-21, 1992 / Joe Ivy -- New Kodak Chromogenic Paper -- Suunto Compass And Sisteco Surveymaster or How To Screw Up A Really Good Survey / Pat Helton -- Search For The Lost Ranch Of The Valley / Troy Shelton -- Caving Lights / Don Glasco -- Sunpak AutoPro 120J.
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Vol. 37, no. 03 (1992)
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THE TEXAS CAVER Volume 37, No.3, June 1992 47 Cave Hunting Near Big Bend National Park George Veni 49 New Depth Set In Lechuguilla 50 Proyecto Montemayor Expedition March 13-21, 1992 Joe Ivy 51 New Kodak Chromogenic Paper 52 Suunto Compass And Sisteco Surveymaster or How To Screw Up A Really Good Survey Pat Helton 54 Search For The Lost Ranch Of The Valley Troy Shelton 58 Caving Lights Don Glasco 59 Sunpak AutoPro 120J ALTERNATING EDITORS This Issue Oren Tranbarger 3407 Hopecrest San Antonio, TX 78230 512-522-2710-D 512-349-5573-N Next Issue Keith Heuss 1004-A Milford Way Austin, TX 78745 512-385-7131-D 512-462-9574-N HALFTONE STRIPPING Pat Geery PROOFREADER Linda Streckfus TEXAS CAVER LABELS Rod Goke PRINTED BY RAINES GRAPHICS 471 Limestone Lane Driftwood. TX 78619 CAVE RESCUE: (Collect) 512-686-0234 EDITOR'S COMMENT Normally, this space is used for an interesting photo graph. However, this issue contains a minimum amount of material because of budgetary limitations, and the photo normally found here has been eliminated to conserve costs. For the past few years, the printing budget for the Caver has been $300 plus postage, which is another $50. Based on recent printing costs, each page costs about $14 just be printed. Halftones (or photographs) average about $11 (each) extra. With these costs, a 20-page Caver is no longer practical, and present issues must be limited to 16 pages to include a balanced number of photographs. If current trends continue, future issues may be limited to 12 pages. Although recent TSA dues were increased (now $15) to help offset costs of the Caver, the budget remained the same ($300) and subscriptions have declined. As a result the Caver suffers, particularly because of the lack of photographs, which is one of the biggest reasons cavers have enjoyed the issues Personally, a 28-page Caver is preferred. The Texas Caver can be just as good a product as the NSS News but will lose its national distinction if content has to be limited. The question for a long time is what to do? Several ideas occur: (1) TSA subscriptions need to increase through an active promotional program; (2) grants (and individual gifts) could be pursued if TSA ever achieves nonprofit status; (3) authors could contribute to help offset the publi cation of photographs; and (4) considerations might be given to publishing quarterly instead of bimonthly. Think about solutions to the problem and make positive contributions on this subject at the TOTR October 16-18, 1992. As always, the Caver constantly needs material. You can also help the Caver by submitting material. Many thanks go to past contributors, including the authors in this issue. THE TEXAS CAVER is a bimonthly publication of the Texas Speleologica l Association (fSA), an internal organization of the National Speleological Socii ety (NSS) Issues are published in February, April, June, August, October, and December. Send all correspondence (other than material for The Texas CaverJJ subscription fees, and newsletter exchanges to: The Texas Caver, P.O. Box 8026! Austin, Texas 78713. SUBSCRIPTION for TI1e Texas Caver is $15.00 per year. For Texa s TSA membership i s included in the subscription fee. Single or back issues available for $3.00 each by mail, postpaid; $2.00 each at conventions. ARTICLES AND MATERIAL for The Texas Caver should be sent to thel alternating editors listed at left. TI1e Texas Caver openly invites articles, tnp reports photographs (35-mm slides or any size black and white or color print on glossy paper), cave maps, equipment items news events, cartoons, and/or any other caving-related material for publication. Deadline for submitting material is the 15th day of the month prior to the month of publication. COPYRIGHT 1992 by the Texas Speleological Association Internal organizations of NSS may reprint any item first appearing in The Texas Caveras long as proper credit is given and a copy of the newsletter containing the m atenal is mailed to the proper alternating editors Other organizations should contact the proper alternating editor about reprinted materials. FRONT COVER (James F. Jasek, March 15, 1992)-Nathan Summar climbs up the 41-foot air shaft in Inner Space Cave (Georgetown, Texas). At the time of the photo, this was the only way into Inner Cathedral, since most of the commerc1al trail was flooded. BACK COVER 1l1e artwork for the back cover was done (1992) by Jesse Herrera, who is an II th-grade student at Edison High School San Antonio, Texas. Jesse took his basic sophomore English course from Karen Veni,likes to draw cartoons, and works part-time at Jacala Restaurant. Dirty Dan and Sidekick Joe are willing and eager cavers but always seem to find trouble.


C avers Climb to Five Small Caves at The Base of a Cliff CAVE HUNTING NEAR BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK MARCH 14-21, 1992 By George Veni INTRODUCTION Have you ever been to Big Bend National Park and looked at the Sierra del Carmen range and wondered what caves may be hidden in that massive limestone? Well, I have. S o when the Texas Nature Conservancy (TNC) asked me ifl would set up a cave hunting trip to that area, they definitely c a u ght my interest. In 1987, TNC purchased Big Brushy Canyon Pr ese rve a b out 9800 acres near and along the north eas t bord e r of Big B end, situated between the park and Black Gap Wildlife Manage ment Area. The preserve was purchased largely for its outstandin g communities of rare Chihuahuan Desert plants and animals, including Giant Dagger mountain lion and bla c k b ear. Typically the TNC conducts inventories of the s p e c ies on their preserves and in this case they also wanted to know what caves may exist there. Few caves are known in the Big Bend region due to its remote location from most cavers and the inaccessibility of the terrain. Many of the caves known in other parts of West Texas contain rich and varied cavernicole fauna, important archa e ologic sites, and unique insights to regional geologic history. Prior to this trip Big Brushy Canyon Preserve was not known to contain any caves or springs; however, approxi mately 70 percent of the property is underlain by the Santa Elena Limestone, which is an excellent cave-forming rock. The purpose of this investigation was to systematically and thoroughly explore the preserve for cave entrances, accu rat ely locate them on topographic maps, and conduct a preliminary exploration to determine if a future and more detailed c ave survey and study would be warranted. June 199 2 The TEXAS CAVER 47


Karen Veni Searching For Caves in a Forest of Giant Daggers I spr ead the word about the trip and got 20 peopl e to the property to hike for caves The idea of avoiding spring break c r owds in the national park, gazing at scenic vistas, finding new caves, and having the TNC pay our gasoline expenses brought in cavers from Austin, College Station, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Wichita Falls, and eve n a couple of cavers from Pennsylvania who were visiting Texas. METHODS Prior to the field work, I prepared se t s of 7.5-minute t opographic maps to illustrate the areas mos t likely to contain caves. I included informati o n from geo logic map s and stereo aerial photographs. Additionally. I o utlined the non-pr ese rve properties and non-karst areas to be avoided. The field work had cavers searc h areas of the preserve by walking in a row with approximately 10-30 meters betw ee n them: variations in vegetation and topography that may have obscured possible cave e ntranc es determined the spacing inte rval. All caves or features of interest were precisely l ocated on topographi c maps. DAILY LOG 14 March 1992 Terry Ande rson Norm Collins, Bruce and Jacob Fre e by, Jason Gustafson, Jill and Martha McArthur, Bru Randall, Barb Schomer, and George and Karen Yeni arrived at the preserve gate about 4 p.m. TNC s taff warned us the road into the property was very difficult for trav e l in our 2WD trucks. Although it was a long road, when we arrived at camp, several of us were wonde ring where the bad spots where supposed to have been! I guess driving on caving roads in Texas and Mexico redefines cavers' perspective of what constitutes a bad road Camp was down the road from a 12-by 6-m adobe lodge that was occupied by a group from Angelo State University (ASU) studying the preserve's plants and mammals. The lodge sits atop a ridge between val leys and has spectacular views to the north, and especially south into Mexico We dug a fresh latrine and Martha later commented that the view from the pot alone was worth the 9hour drive to the preserve. 15 March 1992 For the first day of hiking, we decided to acclimatize ourselves to the terrain, and explore a small hill and its adjacent area 1.5 kilomet e r s northwest of the lodge. We quickly gained an appreciation for how much the steep terrain, heat, and abundant Jech uguilla and other prick lies would slow our progress. No caves were found. Just before sunset, Julie and Maurice Padilla ("celebrating" their first wedding anniversary), and Karen Plaxton walked 13 kilometers uphill into camp. They had expected a ride to camp from Travis Kinchen, but when he did not arrive, they dro ve as far the ir little car would take them and then walked the remaining distance During the previous day, they encountered two other cavers who were also waiting for Travis, and who decided to skip the cave hunting and visit the national park rather than hike up the ranch road. Jason and his mighty Bronco took the foot-sore trio back to their car to r etrieve their gear, and lat e r that night, Travis and Sudhir Nunes finally arrived after being unavoidably delayed by a broken clutch. 16 March 1992 Norm, Travi s, Sudhir, Bru, and Barb got an early start and went to check out holes in a cliff reported by preserve manager John Karges. The holes could only be reached by rappelling down from the top of the cliffs, but since that area was off preserve property they were not checked out. How ever, two small caves were found. We've-Gotta Cave was a 6-m long crawl way and Fly Cave was a 4-m long fissure that contained a swarm of flies. A second hiking group got off to a late start because the ASU group mov e d out of the lodge in the morning, and we moved in. After redecorating, Terry, Bruce, Julie Maurice, Karen P., and I fini s hed searching the area we started the previous day, and again found nothing. Chris Boyer and Dan Riedel arrived at camp that evening. 17 March 1992 Awakening to rainfall, Terry, Norm, Bruce, Jacob, Jill. and Martha decided to leave a day early. Although the road is not too bad when dry, a good storm could have destroyed the streambed sections and prevented them leaving the next day at their scheduled time The rest of us began hiking a ridge tha t extends northeast from the lodge but continued rain and lightning forced our return David Kent and Andy Rounds arrived during early afternoon, and with clearing weather they climbed over 300 meters atop a high ridge southwest of 48 The TEXAS CAVER June 1992


the lodge. However, their youthful enthusiasm kept them away a bit too long, and they were not able to make it back to the lodge before dark. Fortunately they had come down most of the way, and it only took Travis and Bru 45 minutes to fetch them off the mountain. 18 March 1992 With the exception of one blister-footed caver, we all hiked together as a group of 13 and made a detailed search of the nat-topped hills 1-3 kilometers north of the lodge. We d ecided to change our strategy of "looking for caves" to one of"finding caves," but we still came up empty. Karen and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary, so at least for us, the day was fulfilling. Norm also celebrated his second anniversary this day --the reason he left the previous day, since his wife could not join us at the preserve. 19 March 1992 David and Andy left in the morning, and the rest of us explored a canyon about 4 kilometers northwest of the lodge. Three days earlier, several dark holes were seen in the canyon walls, and five turned out to be caves: Butt horn Cave, Flaking Fissure, Popcorn Cave, and Slip-Siidin' Cave. Name Without A Cave appears to be a cave but could not be entered without climbing equipment. Chockstone Crack was discovered near Fly Cave. All of these caves are just short enlarged fissures, and their cumulative length is less than 50 meters 20 March 1992 For the final "cave-finding" day, Chris Jason, Travis, and Dan (celebrating his birthday) finished searching the area in the vicinity of the canyon with the five caves. They r evisited Fly Cave and hoped to rappel down the cliff into Nam e Without A Cave, but they did not have enough time. Sudhir, Julie, Bru Barb Karen V. and I searched the cliffs and s t e e p hillsides below the area covered on March 18, 1992. Two holes appeared to be caves from a distance, but on closer inspection, they were not. 21 March 1992 The latrine was buried the lodge was cleaned and everyone left the preserve by 11:30 a.m. RESULTS A total of 445.5 person-hours were spent searching 2 6 km2 (646 7 acres) for caves. Although only a small percent of the limestone of Big Brushy Canyon Preserve was examined, the f indings and geologic observations indicate that there is a low probability of finding many significant caves. (In additio n to this investigation, the biology res earc h group from Angelo St:Jte University reported not seeing any caves during their field studies) Predominantly relict caves that formed during ancient hydrologic conditions were expected in the preserve. None were found and the absence of related solution features indicates the re was little groundwater circu latio n during those hydrologic regimes to form significant caves. The caves that were discover e d are small, hydrolo g ically r ecent features Minor fractures, tensionally enlarged by their location along cliffs, allow water to enter the lime s tone and form caves where the water discharges below from the cliff face. Solutional enlargement of fractures near the top of cliffs was evident throughout the preserve, but lower in the cliffs there was minimal or no enlargement. All of the caves are developed in a cherty horizon of the Santa Elena Lime stone, which may have restricted downward groundwater movement and promoted the caves growth. None of the caves had archaeologic materials from American Indians or evidence of habitation by bats. Cave crickets in We've-Gotta Cave were the only cavernicole fauna discovered. Based on the geologic observations made at Big Brushy Canyon Preserve, I do not believe ridge walking for caves is a productive activity in the Sierra del Carmen. Caves are few, and significant caves will be rare. For future caving in the region to be productive, trips should be based on exploring known cave entrances Better cave potential is along the west side of Big Bend National Park, such as Mesa de Anguila where water drains into the flat-lying terrain to form caves rather than rapidly draining off of it as in the Sierra. I thank the TNC for their invitation and support in exploring Big Brushy Canyon Preserve. The TNC welcomes and encourages anyone interested in continuing to search for caves on the preserve or in conducting other research. For more information contact me (512-558-4403) or Tom Hays at the TNC (P.O. Box 1440, San Antonio, Texas 78295-1440, 512-224-8774 ). A copy of the project report prepared for the TNC containing cave descriptions maps and other data, has been submitted for the files of the Texas Speleological Survey. Share your cave data with other Texas cavers --support the TSS! NEW DEPTH SET IN LECHUGUILLA Carlsbad Caverns National Park News Release On May 8, 1992, P e ter Bolt, a British cave diver, supported by an international team of Briti s h, Canadian, and U.S cavers successfully completed a dive in the Lake of the White Roses at the deepest point in Lechuguilla Cave. Bolt de sce nded 92 feet (28 meters) below the surface of the water to extend the cave d epth to 1,593 feet (486 meters). Although thi s is st ill a tentative depth, it finnly establishes Lechuguilla Cave as the deepest cave in the U S. Th e previou s depth of Lechuguilla Cave was 1,565 feet (477 m e ter s). This unoffici a l depth was determined by Lechuguilla Cave Project, Inc using non-standard surveying methods and data calculating technique s that were never verified by the Park Service because of unavailability of survey data The Park Service is currently using loop-clo s ure techniques to avoid overstating the new d e pth at 1 ,593 feet. The dive di sc overed two open-air chambers that appear to h ave no passages leading out of them. The walls of these chambers were covered with folia s imilar to the area a round the lake The dive team and support crew did an excellent job of protecting the cave's delicate formations and sc ientific values, and in maintaining a profes s ional attitude throughout the project. Water samples were also collected for scientific analysis. The Park Service compli ment s e veryone who was involved in the project for a job well done. June 1992 The TEXAS CAVER 49


EXICAN CAVING PROYECTO MONTEMAYOR EXPEDITION Rob set a Petzl Long-life stainless steel bolt at the top of the "Muddy Whore" drop to augment the existing bolts, which are old and of regular steel and aluminum. The camp was established, and the group turned in for the night. It is worth noting that none of the crew members had ever previously camped underground. MARCH 13-21, 1992 By Joe Ivy Departure Mos t of the group left for Minas Viejas Friday (March 13, 1992) while Joe Ivy, Linda Palit, and Dan Hogenauer re mained b e hind to continue pr epa rations. Joe Linda, and Dan l eft Saturday morning. Thi s group crossed the border at the new bridge at Colombia N.L. and found the crossing quick and une ventful. Page Calloway. Cath erine Berkeley, and Susan H e rpin arrived Saturday night. Those already at Minas Yiejas included Rob Bisset, Cathy Chauvin, Libby Overholt Steve Young, Peter Mills, and Ixta the B e ast a. Another group from Austin and San Mar cos that arriv e d Saturday includ e d Karl Kieffer, Tim Stich, Mo, Clark, Troy. and Tamison. Page, Catherine, and Susa n also arrived late Saturday night. They camped at a lower camp than the res t of the group and joined the others on Sunday. Sump Pump Page brought the "s ump pump s upplies for the Rebirth Canal -a p e r e nnial s iphon at the 440-meter depth in P6zo de Mont e mayor that has foiled se veral pas t attempts to reach the bottom of the cave. After Pa ge arrived, a s ump pump team was organized that con s i s t e d ofTim Stich, Joe Ivy ,and Peter Mills. This group departed for the Rebirth Canal at about noon on Sunday (March 15, 1992). Montemayor had been rigged by a g roup of Monterrey cavers the previous weekend, so that rigging was not a problem. On the way down to the Rebirth Canal, Joe rerigged some of the Mexican rigging to make it s afer. At the siphon Joe, Peter, and Tim began pumping the water out of the siphon into a pool that was about 3.5 meters higher than the siphon and about 10 m e ter s upstream using a bilge pump and a l ength of 4-cm diamet e r hose After only 50 minut es. the s iphon was empti e d complet ely. The trio exited the cave at about 4 :00AM. Photography Team The next day Monday (Marc h 16, 1992), Peter Mills l e d a group into Mont e mayor t o begin phot og raphing the uppe r sec tion of the cave. They did not e nter the cave until evening. Underground Camp OnTuesday(Mar c h 17, 1992), Joe Linda,Rob,Catherine, and Dan pre pared to e nter Montemayor to camp just above the Rebirth Canal. The group entered the cave from noon until 4 : 00PM. Joe did some more r e rigging as he went down Also, Mo formed a survey crew consisting of Page and Cathy and began a resurvey at the top of the "Big Pit"a 115-meter drop that is part of the "Historic Section" of the cave. Also, later that day, Peter formed a photo crew consisting of Susan Herpin and John Loving. These folks eventually found their way down to the camp at the 440-meter depth and greeted the camp crew. Mo's survey crew decided to sleep a few hours before exiting, and Peter's crew headed out. Exploration Wednesday (March 18, 1992), the exploration activities got organized. The camp crew headed into the Canyo n Passag e beyond the Rebirth Canal intending to: ( 1) bottom the cave; (2) perform a bolt climb; and (3) do some resurvey efforts in the Bottom Borehole. Mo's survey crew decided to tag along, since none of them had previously seen the bottom of the cave before. Unfortunately, the camp crew vas unable to locate the two drops that lead to the Bottom Lo._, ehole. After a substantial amount of time was spent looking about Page found a virgin, upper-level passage that lead s to a pit and Rob located a lower-level pit that clearly captures water from the Canyon Passage Rob and Joe checked the lower pit. Joe acted as the rig point, and Rob dropped the pi!. The pit was tight in places and finally ended at a and a very tiny pinch through which water flows. The pit was abo u t 8-meters deep. The rest of the group was still looking around Page came back into the Canyon with the news of his find The group then reassembled at the top of Page s Pit where Joe placed two bolts at the top of the drop, since there were no natural rig points. Page descended the pit on a 27-met e r piece of rope. The rope just reached a ledge where Pnge was able to get off rope. Rob joined Page on the ledge. P<:ge was able to see that the pit continued down for another ::o meters to a mud-floored borehole. This borehole was prob ably the Bottom Borehole, and the pit was an alternate r oute to the bottom This will aid in future exploration as tl:is alternate route is much quicker and easier than the oth : r known route. At this point the crew broke up somewhat, and Joe, Roh. Linda, and Cathy remained behind to recharge carbide and t o eat. Rob wondered off into an adjacent dome, started climb ing up through breakdown and found that the dome went a considerable way. He returned and told the other three of his find. Joe, Linda, and Cathy then decided to see it as well, sinc e so The TEXAS CAVER June 199 2


Rob reported that there were some nice formations. Rob stayed to rest, and the three climbed up into the dome. The trio missed Rob's route and instead climbed even farther up on the breakdown to discover a very large, virgin room. The room was about 100-meters long by about 20-meters wide and had ceiling heights of 25 meters. The room was well decorated and also had fairly fresh bat guano on the floor in one area. The room was named the Bat Hall. The bat roost indicates that there is a lower entrance somewhere that is at least bat-sized. The trio returned and described the room to Rob who immediately went to see it. After Rob returned, the four of them rejoined the rest of the group, and everyone headed back to the camp. That evening, Page, Mo, Cathy, and Catherine exited the cave Thursday (March 19, 1992), Rob, Joe, and Linda returne d to the Canyon, and Dan stayed in camp. The objective was to derig Page's Pit and reach the bottom. If there was enough time, the bolt climb would be attempted. Linda, Rob, and Joe found Page's Pit without incident, since the route had been flagged the previous day, and the pit was They then descended in the Canyon and managed to locate the missing drops. Rob and Joe descended the 20-meter drop while Linda remained at the top and waited. Joe headed for the last drop and rappel led down the 40-meter pit after rigging the r ope. Rob also descended and remained at the bottom of the pit t o eat and rest while Joe continued to the downstream end of the Bottom Borehole. This passage had been found to end in a siphon, and one of the objectives of the trip was to determine if the s iphon was permanent or perennial. Joe found the siphon and found that the underwater passage leading from the t e rminal room was about 1.5-meters wide and 1-meter high and s loped downward at about a 30-degree slope for at least 1.8 meters. The siphon is definitely permanent and will require a dive with tanks to explore it. Joe rejoined Rob, and they headed out, derigging the two bottom drops Linda. Joe, and Rob returned to camp. Friday (March 20, 1992). Dan Joe. Rob, and Linda packed gear and headed for the surface. The 49-meter Dis heliever's Pit was negotiated, and the group marched on to the 106-meter Argo Well. Rob, Joe, and Dan ascended the pit without their packs, and Linda stayed on bottom to put the p a cks on the rope to be hauled up. Pleasantly enough, three Monterrey cavers were encountered at the top of the pit on the way in, and they assisted in hauling the duffels up the Argo W ell. The camp crew continued on down the 10-meter Muddy Whore and reached the bottom of the 113-meterBigPit. Here, a buffoon sump occurred, since there were more Monterrey cavers headed in. The Mexican cavers helped for a while, and one duffel was hauled up, but since there was a rebelay on the pit, and the pit is not a free drop, the hauling idea was abandoned. The Mexicans continued on. and the camp crew regrouped at the top of the Big Pit. It was decided that Rob and Dan would leave the cave, and Linda and Joe would remain at the top of the drop to camp for one more night. Rob was scheduled to return the next day with reinforcements to assist in getting the duffels out of the cave. After Rob and Dan left, Joe rappelled back down the Big Pit and decided to carry his duffel to the top of the drop instead of spending the night at the bottom of the pit. The next morning, Saturday (March 21, 1992), Rob returned with Cathy, Steve, Peter, and Page. Linda descended the Big Pit and put the remaining duffels on the rope, and the rest of the group hauled them to the top. Once the duffels were up, their contents were divided among all those present, and each person headed out with a load. Joe carried his entire duffel, since everyone else was carrying enough already. The entire group exited the cave about4:00 PM. Page, Catherine, and Susan left for Texas that afternoon, and the rest of the group left the following day. During the week, numerous day trips occurred for pho tography. Peter Mills lead the photo trips and managed to photograph everything from the entrance to the Rebirth Canal. Summary All in all, this trip was successful although the original objectives remain largely unattained. Although the bolt climb in the Bottom Borehole was not accomplished, new passage was discovered, and new routes were found. Also, several people had their first cave camping experience, and this alone is of great value for future trips. After visiting the Canyon beyond the Rebirth Canal, it is obvious that the Canyon will require extensive checking and a very precise resurvey. This will require a camp trip to be successful. The Rebirth Canal is no longer a significant obstacle, since the pumps are permanently in place, and the time required to empty it is not prohibitive. The primary objective will remain the same for the next trip to Montemayor: to push the bolt climb in the expectation of finding a lower entrance to the cave. Also, diving the terminal sump is now a new objective, but that can wait until a new entrance is found, since hauling tanks down to the sump is a remarkably strenuous task. Many thanks go to all those who helped out with this trip and made it possible in the first place. For information on upcoming trips to Montemayor, contact: Joe Ivy 4019 Ramsgate San Antonio, Texas 78230 NEW KODAK CHROMOGENIC PAPER Photographers shooting with color print films some times need a second set of black-and-white prints. To meet this need, Kodak hinted it may market a still-to-be-named, three-layer, chromogenic paper that will produce cast-free black-and-white images from color negatives. The new paper will use the same exposure times and color filtration used to make color prints. Result? For the first time ever a darkroom will be able to switch from high-quality color to high-quality black-and-white by simply switching enlarging papers. June 1992 The TEXAS CAVER 51


II SURVEYING TECHNIQUES SUUNTO COMPASS AND SISTECO SURVEYMASTER OR HOW TO SCREW UP A REALLY GOOD SURVEY Cave s u rveying is the fine art of tripod and other necessary gear. Searching rat ely illu s tratin g on paper the confusing By Pat Helton in the mirror for the telltale shadow and passages, crawl ways, pitches, and rooms ....._ _______ ___. finding the elusive bubble were mysteriou s found und e r g round. Th e exp erience level and m atu rity to many Good pas sages went unsurveyed for lack of a of a cave r ca n often be revealed by the ir aptitude toward good Brunton-man or a willing crew. Today, surveying surveying Newer cavers, anxious to show the ir talents, has become more popular with the introduction and think nothing of scooping new leads and tearing through widespread use of the direct-sighting compass and virgin p assage without tho ught s of what they are doing or clinometer such as the Suunto and Sisteco. With these where they are going. Surveyin g is b o ring and a tedious new tools, much of the instrument mystery has been drag not meant for r eal cave explorers. Hopefully, a little removed, and a willing student can become a fairly good time and a l o t of con t act wit h responsible cave r s will instrum e nt person with little training Along with easier t eac h them the value of a good survey ancl an accurate instrumentu se,fewregre thavingtoleavethecumbersom e map. tripod and swivel mount top s ide. Until recently, a good "Brunton-w i se" cave r was With these new instrument s came easier use for worth his weight in gold to a grotto or s urvey crew. They many. But along came a few problems. The "one eye or were few and far between Cave survey trips were two eye" parallax problem has b ee n dis c ussed in bot11 dependent on finding an instrument person that was The Texas Caver and other publications. A more willing and able, along with recruiting Sherpas for the immediate concern i s the lighting for the compass card in Table 1. Wild Compass Theodolite Condition Deg Min Initial reading nothing near the compass 153 13 Mini-Mag without batteries at 1 / 8 inch above instrum ent 152 35 No light near compass 153 13 Mini-Mag (OFF) with batteries 6 inches west of compass 152 25 Mini-Mag (OFF) with batteries 6 inches east of compass 154 11 Mini-Mag (ON), 6 inches west of compass 152 26 Mini-Mag (ON or OFF), in contact with compass west 145 06 Mini Mag (ON or OFF), in contact with compass east 158 49 52 The TEXAS CAVER the n ewe r sig hting compasses. The Brunton relied on the light source down the lin e at the distant tape station. The Suuntos and Sis tecos require a mor e immediate light source. Reflecting and prismatic light bars attached to the instrument work but have proven victim of extremely rough caving situations. The new Suunto s with the built-in light source are having problems, and many cavers are t urnin g to the trusty Mini-Mag flashlight to lig ht the ins trument. Basic Experiments Tables l and 2 show results obtained by nationally-known and respected cave s urveyor Tom Rohrer, on the magneti c effects produced by a Mini-Mag light. A precision wild compass theodolite and a Sisteco compass/clinometer were used ii: the experiments. In the experiments, Rohrer shows significant compass deviations when the light is within 14 inches of the instrument. June 199 2


Table 2. Sisteco Compass/Clinometer and reflector are well removed from the instrument station. Light Space Location Reading The data show significant azimuth differences. The slope distance over which these readings were taken was 600 feet, which produces a significant absolute error. Deg. No Light N/A N/A 183.5 Mini-Mag 0 Eye Level 182.0 Mini-Mag 0 180 Deg 185.0 Mini-Mag 0 90 Deg. 166 5 Mini-Mag 0 270 Deg 200 0 No Light N/A N/A 183 5 Mini-Mag (ON) 0 Eye Level 181. 5 Mini-Mag (OFF) 0 Eye Level 181.5 Mini-Mag Up 6 in. Eyel Level 183 0 Mini-Mag Up 5 in. Eye Level 183 0 Mini-Mag Up 4 in. Eye Level 182 0 Mini-Mag Up 3 in. Eye Level 182 5 Mini-Mag Up 2 in. Eye Level 181.5 Mini-Mag Up 1 in. Eye Level 178 5 Similar tests with the light off the 90and 270-degree sides show similar amounts of magnetic detlection S everal times in the recent Mystery Room survey at Carlsbad Cavern, the instrument readers were questioned a bouttheirlightsources. Several indic a ted tha t it did not m ake any difference. When plotting survey data, errors w ere evident that required a resurvey of the affected a r eas. Along with the two hazards mentioned, significant magnetic deviation also occurs from metal eyeglass frames, carbide tip cleaners worn around the neck, metal neck chains, and jewelry near the compass. Two survey legs had to be redone because one person was wearing a stainless steel MIA bracelet Follow Simple Procedures It is really very simple. In using direct-sighting compasses, be sure all sources of magnetic deviation are well away from the instruments. Many say that their light source, helmet, or other metal does not affect their com pass. Improper care to avoid magnetic items has resulted in returning and redoing the survey again. For the past year or so, the green 12hour Cyalume Lightstick has been used for instrument lighting to eliminate the magnetic problems. It is truly nonmagnetic, provides more than adequate light for the instrument, and is a handy instrument station marker. Summary Many hours are spent driving to a cave in addition to the hours spent walking, crawling, and climbing to the survey passage. Big bucks are spent on gasoline, food, caving gear and survey instruments. Why blow it because it is too much trouble to take off your helmet or pop a light stick before shooting a reading? Take those extra eight seconds and do it right. Your cartographer will love you for it. Acknowledgments 1. Rohrer, T., Guadalupe Hooter, Vol. 6, No. 2, February 1992 2 Helton, P Guadalupe Hooter, Vol. 6, No.3, March 1992. Table 3. Compass Errors During the Mystery Room survey other magnetic d e mons were found lurking in the dark After one exh a usting day of surveying the numbers were just n o t making sense. Nonmagnetic light sources were u sed with the compass. In recreating the shoot the p roblem was found to be a stainless steel parabolic reflector on a Petzl carbide ceiling burner. Even though the caver was careful to remove the helmet the feed tube from the c a rbide generator to the lamp k ept the lamp and retlector assembly within 18 i nches of the instrument while shooting. Station Condition A (Deg.) Condition B Difference (Deg.) (Deg.) Survey With Petzl Lamp TableJ shows the survey data and illustrates the e ffect of a lamp reflector on a Suunto compass. Column A is using a nonmagnetic light source but has the helmet reflector near the compass Column B has a nonmagnetic light source, but the helmet 1 to 2 2 to 3 3 to 4 4 to 5 5 to 6 6 to 7 7 to 8 June 1992 The TEXAS CAVER 229 230 239 216 231 220 230 210 19 223 7 232 7 208 8 -236 5 210 10 221 9 53


SEARCH FOR THE Thanksgiving November 22-30, 1991 LOST RANCH OF THE VALLEY By Troy Shelton Introduction Once again, members of the D/FW Grotto asse mbl e d at Steve Dalton' s hous e for the annual pilgrimage to Mexico during the Thanksgiving holi day However, this year the crew (Steve Dalton, Jay Jorden, Dav e "Cave" McClung, Don Met z n e r Troy Shelton) was not planning to do the usual "tour ist" caver activities of dropping big pit s and tourin g the Xilitla bird house. Our plan s were to find an area in Mexico that had not been surveyed by cavers so that the D/FW grotto could have a pla ce to return year after year to survey and explor e unchartered caverns. Trip To Valles After packing equipment and pro visions into the TajMah Truck and trailer rig, we l eft Fort Worth at a respectabl e 9:30 p.m. Dave and Don ended up pullin g the g raveyard pilot /copilot s hift and ea rly on defined the musical genre theme by declaring that this was a "Rock N' Roll trip. No funky Jazz, boring classical, droning blues. or obnoxiou s punk. Definitely, Barr y Manilow was out. By 6:00a.m. Saturday, we b ega n our arduous border crossing at Reyno sa. As usual, policies and procedures had changed, and Stev e had to scramble t o get his truc k legally into Mexico. At one point, h e l eft the immigration office with Mexican national s in an unmarked car to go and make copies of his v e hicl e regi s trati on, etc. Dave mad e the com m ent "We could hav e dis mantled the truck and carried it across the bridg e 54 San Luis Potosi and Queretaro States, Mexico November 22 30, 1991 faster than this!" Finally, two hours later we were on our way into the inte rior of the country. Dave exclaimed, "Beat to fit, paint to match!" Immediately after blowing by a slow-moving vehicle, we came up on the fir s t checkpoint and almost zoomed past. Th e federales were out front waiv ing us down. They didn't look too amused but certainly made us laugh when Steve was asked to "bring your finger and push the button ." He got out and walked over to a light pole, push e d the r e d button and amazingly a green light flashed telling us that we could "pase." W e pondered if this was some Mexican sobriety test or a Norte Americana aptitude test similar to the bovine aptitude test we have here in the U.S. After s topping in San Fernando for roadside "mystery meat," tacos, and a diesel stop, in Ciudad Mante, we arrived at our fir s t destination, Ciudad Valles. We went s traight to the Cafe Don Juan, the local meeting place of celebrated international cavers, to read the caver journal and to grab some lunch The caver journal has entries from all sorts of peopl e going to caves all over Mexico. It appear e d that we were the first to arrive this holiday season. Hotel Taninul We l eft Don Juan 's and proceeded to the Hote l Taninul, to soak in its thermal s ulfur spring and plan out our week. W e decided to go to Guaguas on Sunday to visit the Briti s h cavers and to retrieve the grotto 400-foot rope. Danny The TEXAS CAVER Sherrod had escorted the Brits to Ma donna in the Guads, and had left the rope with them to rendezvous with us in Mexico. The grotto rope is starting to get a lot of mileage. Plans For The Lost Valley We set up shop in the Bar Oates, spreading out the Mexican topographi cal maps and looked at areas that Jay had been told about. After several rounds of Margaritas, we decided to travel to a ranch near the Santa Maria river valley. The problem was, we didn't know what the best way (or only way) to get there was going to be like. You can't really tell if a road is going to be a foot path, or a foot path is going to tum into a road. We were in for an adventure in naviga tion and route finding, with the ultimate goal of finding virgin caving territory in Mexico. Sunday morning, we were up early and went into town for fresh food, cof fee, non-block ice, beer, and other es sential supplies to keep us going for a week in the Mexican backcountry. We left Valles and began the mountain trek to Guaguas. This is a very bumpy road up to the small villages ofTamapatz and La Union, where the legendary Golondrinas can be found. Along the way, you pass a small group of cottages marking the parking area for Guaguas, a 580-foot monstrous sinkhole that looks like it could swallow the Astrodome whole. We parked and hiked to the cave. There we found Oren Tranbarger of San Antonio, Don Denton from Wichita Falls, the Brits, and assorted June 1992


other American cavers Oren had rigged the low side and there was a rope rigged on the high side. We learned that the g rotto rope was locked in someone's truc k who was currently in the pit. We waited around, and after some initial mis-communication and searching, lo cated his keys and were able to retrieve the rope. In the meantime, some locals w e re attempting to talk Steve into un l o ading the trailer, driving back down the mountain, loading up some building s u pplies, and transporting them back to the parking area. They were not quite per s uasive enough. Camping At Xilitla Our initial hopes were to continue o n to Tamapatz or La Union and drop into the valley from there. Unfortu n;.;t e ly, when we arrived in Tamapatz, we l e arned that all routes turned into foot trails, and we would have to try a different approach. We descended in darkness, stopped along the highway for a g r e at meal of polio and papas fritas. then w e nt on to Xilitla and the caver campsite. We would try a mountain r oad that winds its way into the sky from X ilitla. :Jearch Continues Monday morning we went into town for diesel and information We met some missionaries from South Caro lina at the Pemex station, who were riding around the mountains on three w h ee l e rs spreading the word Also at t h e Pemex was a taxi driver, who knew o f our destination, and drew a map. Near the center of town we became involved in a major traffic jam, as a iarge gravel truck was backing up a crowded street causing all traffic behind ;t to back up as well. We tried another m ute and ended up in somebody's back yard. After unhitching th e trailer to tum <:r ound, we successfully left Xilitla and headed into the beautiful surrounding m ountains. Our route took us directly b e low La Silleta, or the thumb the p rominent karst pinnacle that is visible from town. On we climbed, more than 4 000 f eet in elevation into the mountains b e yond the Tlamaya valley. We passed a phosphorous mine, which was actu ally a cave located at the bottom of a d eep do line. We finally reached a small June 1992 town where once again we learned that this was the end of the road, and you can not get there from here unless you walk. So, we turned around and headed back down the mountain to Xilitla. We stopped along the way to check out a lead near the road, which I had exam ined earlier Dave checked it further and determined a rope was in order. Jay and Don rappelled a short 20 feet and came to a lead in the floor, where break down threatened to slide in. The chim ney was deamed too risky due to loose rock, and it remains a lead Tuesday morning, we left Xilitla again to try a route that followed a valley, rather than drive up into the mountains. We followed the dirt road 20 kilometers only to reach its end at another small village. We did get some good information there, as a local rancher drew a map in the dirt indicating we had the right idea, only the wrong road. On the way out of the valley, we went through a beautiful pine forest that was literally pockmarked with sinkholes. You could not walk three feet off the road without falling into one. Dave rigged one and dropped 93 feet into a blind pit, finding a piece of flagging t a pe at the bottom. It was clear that our virgin area was not to be found at the side of the road We resisted the urge to camp among the pines, and continued our search. A couple of hours later we were on the right road, but chose the left fork when we should have gone right. Of course, there were no signs We came to the picturesque town of San Antonio, which had a wonderful colonial archi tecture church. After more communica tion and directions with locals, we were escorted out of town by an 11-year old boy driving a Chevy truck We back tracked as the sun set arrived at our missed intersection, and drove high into the mountains in darkness The glitter ing lights of the towns in the valley gave testimony to how high we were ascend ing, and how far we would fall if Steve drove off the road (but that's another story). Finally, too tired to continue, we pulled off to the side of the road and set up camp. After a hot meal ofcaverchili, we bedded down, not exactly sure that we knew where we were, or where we The TEXAS CAVER would end up the next day Thus is the life of a Mexico backcountry traveler. Finding The Lost Valley Wednesday turned out to be quite an eventful day. We arose early and headed ever North, passing through sev eral small communities. The terrain had changed from high mountain ridges to valley. We passed from a semi-arid desert climate zone through pines, then down into hard woods and cactus. About noon, we drove into a broad valley at about 4,500 feet elevation and began noticing sinks and dolines. We drove into a small town and saw several large sinks some of which were being used as places to perch outhouses. Making in quiries, we heard the answer we had been awaiting for three days-we were in the lost valley, which had eluded us so well. We drove on to the end of the road where it continued on as a footpath. A small dirt road led off from the grated road and ended at a cement culvert, which was marked with a date of May 11, 1990. This was truly at the edge of motorized civilization, and our infor mation had no cavers even being in the general vicinity in the past 5 years, so we are confident that no one has pushed the area for virgin caves Wednesday, November 27, 1991 12:00 Noon We located a level spot near the end of the unfinished road, and Dave and I began scouting the area for caves. Steve turned the truck around, and the unhitched trailer was parked strategi cally near the campsite. After the ve hicles were parked, Dave returned with news that he had found a very deep pit only 300 yards from camp! Work began in earnest on establishing a campsite tents were pitched, the jungle was beaten back with machetes, and Jay built a monster fire pit. With this taskoutofthe way and after a quick bite to eat, we prepared for our first day of serious cave exploration. We broke up into two groups Dave, Jay and Steve would survey the pit, while Troy and Don would set out to look for other leads. Don and I began hiking down the established footpath and cut over to the sinkhole which con tained Dave's pit. The survey crew took 55


a more direct route to the cave, which Dave had chopped through the jungle while lunch was being prepared. Dave chose a rigging point on the high side of the pit. They rigged the pit with the grotto's 350-foot rope using three trees for a tensionless anchor. The third tree hanging over the pit provided a free rappel in excess of 300 feet. The pit, which we later learned is called S6tano de Leones by the local ranchers, was blind and hourglass shaped, but the rope barely reached the narrow throat of the hourglass. Here, a huge pile of breakdown choked the pit like the sands of time. Dave sketched from the top of this massive breakdown pile while Steve and Jay made spray shots to the walls. The room's walls were 60 feet apart, and the ceiling height was well over 120 feet. The room s lower extremities were covered by mud several inches thick, and two obvious water sinks were plugged with mud, rocks and other de bris Cave fauna observations included a tarantula and a Desert Storm camou flaged toad With the surveying com plete, the cavers began their individual ascents, taking a total of one hour and twenty minutes to complete the success ful exit. Meanwhile, Don and I had been busily hacking our way through to drain holes in sinkholes and flagging promis ing leads. After heading downhill along the trail for awhile, we decided to return to the campsite area to check on the cave survey progress. Finding the othercavers still in the cave, we began hiking up the mountainside from camp, bushwhack ing through the thick spiny-leafed palm trees and other man-eating plant life. I could see a break in the jungle up the hill in front of me, and was hoping to find a good vantage point. What I found was a enormous bowl-shaped doline, several acres in s ize, which had been slashed and burned to facilitate cattle grazing. My heart raced as I could see a cave entrance at the bottom of the doline. Hollering for Don to follow me (we had separated to cover more ground), I ran down to the cave entrance and peered into a fantastic looking lead. Don met up with me, and after flagging the entrance, we proceeded on up the 56 mountainside which we now could clearly tell consisted of a series of huge dolines. The next doline had also been burned out, but contained more under brush than the first. We poked around the low spots, looking in areas that would serve as water drains. We couldn't find anything, and hiked to the crest to view the next doline. This doline had not been burned, and we were once again at the mercy of the jungle. Since nightfall was eminent, we began the hike back to camp with a least one good cave to explore the next day. That night, the camp culinary team of chefs Don and Troy prepared two dishes combining traditional grotto cam pout fare with local additions-camp rice casserole with green sauce and tostados con queso (it was time to do something serious with the goat cheese, since we had ran out of ice, and the air in the ice chest was getting warm). After dinner we celebrated our good fortune with Barrils and a roaring campfire. Muy bien! Thursday, November 28, 1991 Thanksgiving Day We awoke at the usual time, 7:30 -8:30a.m., as the sun climbed over the mountains. Dave, who slept under the stars every night on his cot, was already out chopping through the jungle in search of more caves and returned as the coffee was perking Shortly after 9:00, we heard a pick-up rambling down the road above camp. It arrived at the end of the grated road, and a load of locals disem barked We remained quiet, since we figured they were taking the trail to the next village and we were valuing our privacy. However, five of them walked down the unfinished road to meet our camp. Luciano, the spokesman for the group, was friendly but businesslike and said we looked like Norte Americar10s all except for me. We then made intro ductions, including a little background on my Oklahoman Native American heritage, and Luciano said he owned the ranch we were on. He gave us permis sion to visit the caves in the area, includ ing S6tano de Leones, the 300-foot pit we had mapped Wednesday. He said no other Americans had visited the area. The TEXAS CAVER Others in Luciano's party were Oritz, Michael, Hernando, and Anjelica, who was carrying a ledger book and taking notes. They declined our offer of coffee, with Luciano saying he needed to get home. He told of us at least three other pits in the vicinity, along with a large horizontal cave. We said our good byes, and then proceeded to prepare for the day's caving activities. Don, Jay, and I were to go and survey the doline cave, while Steve and Dave would explore on a reconnaissance trip for more caves. Don, Jay, and I hiked up the moun tain to the doline cave. We decided to call the cave Cueva de Tres Dias de Gracias, in honor of Thanksgiving and the three days it took to get here. We rigged on a tree, and I rappelled into the cave. The first pitch of the drop landed on an entrance platform 25 feet below the surface. The next pitch ended on a crest where the cave split into two forks. The first fork ended in a blind pit. I climbed back up to the crest and threw the rope down into the other side, but the rope did not reach the bottom. Don was dispatched back to camp to retrieve his 160-footropeand the grotto's 150footer. After Don got back with the ropes Jay rappelled down and rigged the sec ond drop, and rappelled to the bottom of the pit. Although the pit was plugged with a dirt-filled floor, it made for an interesting multi-level pit with several rooms. Jay sketched, and we surveyed out of the cave. Total depth was mea sured at 160 feet. We hiked up to the third doline, and hacked through the thick brush look ing for holes hidden by the dense under growth. We began ascending the south side of the doline, spreading out to the point where we were barely within ear shot of each other. My section of the doline was looking real promising, and I headed over to a small shelter depres sion. In the shelter, I found a large clay pot which appeared to be very old. It was almost entirely intact, except for a small chip in the neck. It was a genuine artifact, and after a careful examination I left it peacefully in its resting place. Just a few yards farther up the do line, I discovered a prominent cave entrance June 1992


obscured by thick foliage and burned out wood. We only had two machetes, neithe r of which were in my possession. I summoned Don over to borrow his, and proceeded to do a major hatchet job on the pit entrance. Soon, a fair sized cave emerged from its jungle shroud. Jay rig ged his 125 footer and Don descended the pit. The cave turned out to be 37 m e ters deep with a forked pit. Don f o und a tarantula in the cave, so we n a med the pit Cueva de Tarantula. Don asce nded out using only his Jumar as a saf e ty, and sketched as he went, while Jay assisted by taping some distances. While Don completed the sketch map of the cave, Jay hiked up to the top of the doline through very thick jungle. A fter he returned with reports of more of the same, and we began the long hike back to camp. On the way, we stumbled a c ross a small do line with several going l e a d s Small pits ringed the doline, and we wondered if they could all be con n e c t e d below. The area was noted and l eft for exploration on another day. We got back to the road about nightfall, and were soon greeted by Steve and Dave back at camp. The fire crew started getting things h o t while Don and I started preparing the Thanksgiving feast. Steve found a b aby Coral snake, and Dave assured me tha t it was too small to bite He ex p l a ined that Coral sn a kes are not pit vipe rs and have no fangs to pierce their v i c tims with They attach them s elves to t h e ir prey and rely on a chewing motion t o s ecrete venom into the wound. A s m all snake could not wound me enough t o kill me. Darn the luck. Dinner was served. Turkey Mexicali, O yster dressing, peaches, and b r ead rounded out a fine Thanksgiving D a y m e al. Campfire tales revolved aro und politics, Native American his tory, F-16s General Dynamics plumb ing, lawyers unions trespassing and l and ownership. We consumed all of the r e maining beer at ambient temperature, and retired beneath a starry southern sky at II :00 p.m. Friday, November 29, 1991 We arose to a bright, sunny morn ing to the realization that it was time to h ead back North. Don and I were the last June 1992 ones out of the tents, finally driven out by one of Dan's infamous wake-up bufos. Jay had been rummaging through the food box carnage looking for cafe, and had managed to get a Huestecan/ Simon-David blend brewing. We sipped our morning java and washed down PopTarts for breakfast. It was time to break camp and head out of the boonies, beginning the long long drive back to the U.S. I rode up front and kept the trip log back to Xilitla We arrived in Xilitla about 2:30p.m. and ate at the 'Principal' restaurant on the plaza. It wasn't as good as the Restaurante Coya, and was very expensive 15,000 pesos each. While we were eating, five truckloads of policia federales in full riot gear drove around the square looking real mean We think they might have been encouraging everyone to exercise their right to vote in the December 1, 1991 election. The August election had been declared invalid due to fraud The governor' s race was being hotly contested by a feisty old patriot who was the ex-mayor ofCiudad SLP. He had hiked all the way from SLP to Mexico City in protest, after losing the governor' s race to the ruling party candidate i.n the shady election. We wandered around the market, doing some respectable tourist shop ping. At the tire tread sandal store, Steve scored big by nabbing the only pair of sandals large enough to fit Jay, Don, and himself. Unfortunately, Jay and Don had to go without. Don did get corralled by the super old sales woman in the indoor market and bought a blan ket from her, just like I had done on an earliertripduringChristmas 1990 Dave got plenty of asthma medicine for his friends and some 'cuetes' or m exican firework rockets made out of g unpo w der, bamboo, and twine. We all boug ht Xilitla T-shirts for 17,000 p e sos eac h We finished up our sightseeing and shopping, gassed up the Taj-'Mah truck, and left town for Vall e s Aft e r stopping at the deposito for bottle return and more cerveza, we checked into th e Hotel Taninul at 6:30. We were eager to soak in the warm sulfur wat e r of the Taninul' spool, to chase the bugs off and ease our road-weary bodies The TEXAS CAVER After some initial confusion concerning our room requirements, we moved into our respective snoring/nonsnoring accommodations and changed into our swimming suits. Don and Dave got stopped bringing the ice chest full of beer into the hotel, so the beer smuggling began. Jay arranged for cerveza to be served pool side, and ten plastic cups of beer quickly arrived. We all took long soaks, and Dave made timed exposure photos of us all floating in the water. Sulphur plumes twisted into the sky, as limes were twisted into our beers. After awhile, the sulfur makes your skin feel tingly and your pores open to release the imbedded jungle dirt. I began the exodus back to the showers to wash five days of funk off, and the others soon followed. Clean again, it was time for dinner. We downed a few coronas and hit the hotel restaurant -meals and margaritas for all. After dinner, we congregated on the Taninul's long front porch to smoke cigars and drink all our beer. We met Fred Hipp from Arkansas, who filled us in on some of the current news (unbe lievably we learned that the Cowboys beat the Redskins in Washington). Six southern white democrats talked about football, war politics, DavidDuke,Jerry Jones, Barry Switzer, Jimmy Johnson Oklahoma, Arkansas, big business CIA d i rty business, and the 1992 presidential election into the wee hours of the morn ing The beer ran out, HBO was show ing crap (but at least i t was in Eng lish ), and so the last of th e party animals crawled into bed at 3:00a. m Saturday, November 30. 1991 W e left th e h ore l fairl y earl y fuctbe Cafe D o n Juan foc breakfast where we m e t Kerry Rowland and the rest of tbe M i ssouri bun ch Mos& f lbcir had a.lready lcll roc }.fissomi,. n-ag Kerr ys mother. were going t a caveoo. a r.mdl, result of K erry's socressful owner relationship effurts. Kerry said that he 3.00 his were a cc osted i n -Xilitlab w h o were looking foe B ritish De did n o t think they at t.he c urrent group of Bri but ev id en tl y s m e h a d been run nin g aroo.OO


assed (and some accusations about re moving artifacts were even made) and had pissed off the local caving commu nity. Kerry was concerned that they were giving all cavers, including Ameri can cavers, a bad name. There also were some very derogatory comments about American cavers written in the log book at Don Juan's which were penned by some Brits. We also ran into Tom Bones from Wichita Falls who said that one of the British cavers had slipped in Cueva de La Abra and broke his leg. The com pound fracture required pins in his leg and left him hospitalized for several days. The Brits had plane flights home on Monday, so they left him behind and Tom was going to stay until he was released from the clinic and take him back to the U.S. After eating breakfast and saying good-bye to the Missourians, we went to the market for some serious tourista shopping. We all bought groovy Mexi can caballero hats. Other items pur chased included belts, sacrificial veg etables, wife-disciplinary devices, rugs, keychains, gun holsters, and coffee (8 kilos). Unfortunately, we were unable to buy alcohol because they don't sell any the day before an election. We took CAVING LIGHTS By Don Glasco INTRODUCTION Gloves are nice but not necessary. A helmet is an important safety item but not crucial for caving. A bold person may even dispense with clothing. But light is absolutely essential for caving. Caving lights take a lot of abuse and are not immune to Murphy's Law. Always carry three light sources per person. Your primary light must be able to be mounted on a helmet. Preferably, it is removable but permanent attachment is okay. Carry enough power source, be it carbide or batteries, for twice as many hours as you anticipate being in the cave. Numerous good lights are avail -58 group photos of us all wearing our new hats, then hit the road about 3:30p.m. We stopped at a place in Ciudad Mante to buy alcohol (it is in another state, which wasn't having any elec tions). The man there wouldn't redeem our Corona bottle deposit, so we traded warm empty bottles for cold full ones. During the drive to the border, we filled the floorboard of the cab with peanut shells and tangerine peels. The logic behind this fails to reach me, but it is thought that somehow the border pa trol will search less if the vehicle is real messy. We hit the border at Midnight, and the crossing ordeal began. The first person at the gate really wanted to just let us pass immediately through, but we just couldn't have that. We had too much alcohol, fruits, and vegetables, and peanut shells all over the floor so they were forced to search us. The guard had us take just about everything out of the truck and camper, and rummaged through all of the gear and personal baggage. He got into the cab and inspected things with his flash light including Dave's travel pack, get ting peanut shells stuck to his butt, which made us chuckle behind his back. He told us to declare all of our alcohol or face stiff fines, and bottles appeared CAVING EQUIPMENT able from sporting stores, and caving equipment purveyors. Choose your pri mary light carefully and do not skimp. CARBIDE A carbide lamp has two chambers, one for the carbide and another for wa ter. The steady dripping of water onto the carbide generates acetylene gas, which is burned to create a flame 0.5-1.5 inches (somewhat adjustable). Advantages 1. Carbide and water are cheap. 2. The lamp itself is hot and is suit able as a hand warmer. 3 Combined with a large plastic bag, you can make a "warming tent." 4. The carbide lamp also is useful for marking stations when sur veying. 5. The carbide lamp looks pretty The TEXAS CAVER from all manner of storage places. He looked at our vintage assortment and said two bottles had to go. Don poured two bottles of some rot-gut fortified sugar cane wine down the drain. Abruptly, the guard ended the search and told us to repack and leave, without even throwing out the fruit and veg etables. Mysteriously, a fifty thousand peso note somehow vanished from Dave's pack during all the chaos. We stopped and ate at the Whataburger 50 feet across the border, and began our adjustment back to the American way of life. Dave pulled the graveyard shift again, but everyone else fell asleep violating our two-man rule. This was unacceptable so Steve became co-pilot at 4:00a.m. The weather began to deteriorate, as did the tarp covering the trailer. It had been sunny and hot in Valles, and even warm at the border, but was only 44 degrees in San Antonio. The old tarp completely blew out near San Marcos, and was quickly replaced by Steve and Don, who were now pilot and co-pilot respectively. I took over the driving in Georgetown around 8:00 a.m., and completed our 2300-mile trek back to Fort Worth, arriving about 10:30, Sunday morning. setting on a fireplace mantle. Disadvantages 1. It requires frequent cleaning. 2. Very few stores sell carbide. 3. The fuel, water, and spent car bide take up more volume than batteries for the same amount of light. 4. The flame is difficult to keep Iii under waterfalls and in strong winds. 5. The flame will go out at the most inconvenient time. Two types of carbide lamps are used in caving. A miners cap lamp is small and lightweight but requires fre quent refueling, about every 2-3 hours Water must be added about every hour. Only Premier still makes a good cap lamp. A new Premier costs about $28.30. Used brass Justrites or Autolites are June 1992


good lights and cost about $20, when you can find one. Never buy a Butterfly or plastic J ustri te; both have been known t o blow up, melt, and/or leak. Another type of carbide lamp uses a larger generator that is carried on a sling or on the belt. A hose transfers the acetylene gas to a burner mounted on the helmet. A single charge of carbide will last eight or more hours. Both Justriteand Petzl make dependable lamps o f this type for $60-$100 Although u s ually easier to use and more reliable than traditional cap lamps, many find :he large generator and hose cumber s ome in crawl ways and tight spots. E LECTRIC There are many good electric lights that can be worn on the head or mounted on a helmet. Battery size varies from AA to D cells Usually, those that use three or four C or D cells provid e a b righter and longer lasting light. Wet cell balleries cost much more and mus t be worn on a belt but are rechargeable ::nd las t as long as 24 hours per charge. i f d oing wet caves, a se aled bauery case is preferred. Choose a sturdy light as you will eventually drop it, get it wet, and bang it about. Advantages I. Elec tric lights are idiot proof require little maintenance. 2 They work under waterfalls and in strong winds. 3 Batteries are readily available ev e rywhere unlike carbide. 4 You can control the light inten sity and battery life by usin g dif ferent size bulbs. 5. When resting, you can turn off your light and mooch light off the carbide cavers. Disadvantages l Batteries are more expen s ive than carbide. 2. Electric lights will not warm you up. 3 Survey s tations c annot be marke d 4. The bulb will burn out at the most inconvenient time. 5. An electric light looks stupid on a fireplace mantle. The following list presents nine electric light s commonly used by cavers .Justrite : uses four D cells. A set of baueries lasts about 12 hours The June 1992 ballery case is carried in a large pocket or belt. Many find the electric cord a nuisance. It is not watertight; hence, the cardboard backing under the contacts will eventually have to be replaced However, it is versatile and easy to repair. The light beam is adjustable, and repair parts are readily available. Cost is about $24. REI Mini: uses two AA cells. It is very compact and light. A set of batteries lasts about four hours, butthe light is not very bright. It is not abuse tolerant. It is very good for a secondary light source. Cost is about $16. REI Cordless 2: is similar to the above but uses four AA cells. It is somewhat brighter, and a set of batteries lasts a little longer. Cost is about $24. REI Waterproof: uses four AA cells It is very compact and waterproof. The light beam is tightly focused. Do not use a Krypton bulb because it will melt the lens and reflector. Cost is about $32. Petzl Micro: uses either a flat 6-volt batlery or, with an adapter four AA cells. Expect about six hours of light per set ofbalteries. The ballery contacts sometimes come loose and it is not waterproof. However, it is compact, the beam is adjustable, and it is relatively sturdy Cost is a bout $27. Petzl Mega: uses either four AA cells or three C cells. It will last 8-10 hours with a bright Halogen bulb. It was designed forcavers is watertight, and the beam is adjustable. Although it is very robust, it is not easy to repair. Cost is about $50. Wheat Lamp: was designed for min ers. This lamp is very reliable and is one of the brightest available. It uses a rechargeable wet cell that is worn on a belt. A charge lasts 16-24 hours. Re c harging takes about 12 hours. It is h e avy and the large battery can be a nuisance in tight spots. Although the b a ttery can take a quick dip, it is not waterproof and should be kept upright. The lamp head is sealed with a lowand high-power switch. The beam is adjust able. Battery, lamp head, and recharging unit cost $160-$200, depending on the model. Speleotechnics : is designed specifically for c aver s It is similar to the Wheat Lamp but is smaller, lighter, totally waterproof, and very robust. A charge The TEXAS CAVER does not last as long as a Wheat Lamp. The battery is still carried on a belt but does not have to be kept upright. The cost with charger is about $160. N itelite: is the poor man's version of the Wheat Lamp. The charge only lasts about 6-8 hours, and the lamp head is not as well made. It does have a control for light intensity. Cost is about $80. SECONDARY LIGHT SOURCE A simple handheld flashlight is sufficient for a secondary light. You may occasionally leave your pack be hind while checking out a passage, but never leave your secondary light be hind. One small enough to be held in the mouth is recommend since sometimes both hands must be free. The most popular flashlight among cavers is the small Mini-Mag. It uses two AA batter ies, is waterproof, costs less than $15, and is easily carried in a pocket, or around the neck on a lanyard. THIRD LIGHT SOURCE Your third light source can be very simple. Another flashlight, a candle, a cigarette lighter, or even a chemical light. A cigarette lighter is preferable to matches; more than one caver has exited a cave using the spark from a lighter's flint. RECOMMENDATIONS Your primary light is the most important piece of caving equipment. Choose carefully. We suggest you bor row a light or rent one from your grotto or caving club for the first couple of cave trips and speak with other cavers before buying your own light. New Photography Product Sunpak AutoPro 120J Although this item was not in the stores 1n early June, Sunpak has announced the AutoPro 120J, which is a versatile \nondedicated, autoexposure flash unit that should prove very effec tive in cave photography in replacing flash bulbs It has a guide number of 150 (ISO 100, in feet) and features a large, round reflector. The unit is powered by four AA batteries and will list for about $499.95. 59


THE TEXAS CAVER P.O. BOX 8026 AUSTIN, TEXAS 78713 expires 12/92 & Georse 11304 Candle Par k San Antonio TX 78249 BULK RATE U.S. Postage PAID Austin, Texas Permit No. 1181

Contents: Cave Hunting
Near Big Bend National Park / George Veni --
New Depth Set In Lechuguilla --
Proyecto Montemayor Expedition March 13-21, 1992 / Joe
Ivy --
New Kodak Chromogenic Paper --
Suunto Compass And Sisteco Surveymaster or How To Screw
Up A Really Good Survey / Pat Helton --
Search For The Lost Ranch Of The Valley / Troy Shelton --
Caving Lights / Don Glasco --
Sunpak AutoPro 120J.