The Texas Caver

The Texas Caver

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The Texas Caver
Series Title:
The Texas Caver
Texas Speleological Association
Texas Speleological Association
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Regional Speleology ( local )
Technical Speleology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )
United States


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Contents: PBSS Continues Restoration in Carlsbad / Gralin Coffin -- Broken Leg Saga in Lechuguilla / Peter Jones -- World Depth Records Set in Cueva Cheve / Louise Hose -- A Regional Cave Rescue Seminar Comes to Pass / Joe Ivy -- Nine Cave Vandals Apprehended at Ft. Stanton Cave / Oren Tranbarger -- The Vandalism and Restoration of Cave Without a Name / George Veni -- New Owners of Bracken Bat Cave Have Big Plans / Kurt Menking -- Report on the 11th International Congress of Speleology / George and Karen Veni -- The Caves of Bexar, Comal, and Kendall Counties / George Veni -- Camera Platform / James F. Jasek.
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
Original Version:
Vol. 38, no. 03 (1993)
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University of South Florida Library
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K26-04705 ( USFLDC DOI )
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11439 ( karstportal - original NodeID )
0040-4233 ( ISSN )

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THE TEXAS CAVER Volume 38, No.3, September 1993 47 49 51 52 54 55 58 60 64 67 PBSS Continues Restoration in Carlsbad Gralin Coffin Broken Leg Saga in Lechuguilla Peter Jones World Depth Records Set in Cueva Cheve Louise Hose A Regional Cave Rescue Seminar Comes to Pass Joe Ivy Nine Cave Vandals Apprehended at Ft. Stanton Cave Oren Tranbarger The Vandalism and Restoration of Cave Without a Name George Veni New Owners of Bracken Bat Cave Have Big Plans Kurt Menking Report on the 11th International Congress of Speleology George and Karen Veni The Caves of Bexar, Comal, and Kendall Counties George Veni Camera Platform James F. Jasek CAVE RESCUE: (Collect) 210-686-0234 ALTERNATING EDITORS This Issue Oren Tranbarger 3407 Hopecrest San Antonio, TX 78230-3905 210-522-2710-D 210-349-5573-N FAX: 210-522-5499 OTranbarger@SwRI edu Next Issue Keith Heuss 3816 S. Lamar Blvd., Apt. 2307 Austin, TX 78704 512-385-7131-D 512-362-9574-N PROOFREADING Barbara Tranbarger Grammatik 5 PRINTED BY RAINES GRAPHICS 471 Limestone Lane Driftwood, TX 78619 THE TEXAS CAVER is a quarterly publication of the Texas Speleolo gical Association (TSA), an internal organization of the National Speleological Society (NSS). Issues are published quarterly in March, June, September, and December. Send all correspondence (other than material for The Texas Caver), subscription fees, and newsletter exchanges to : The Texas Caver, P.O Box 8026, Austin Texas 78713. SUBSCRIPTION for The Texa s Caver is $15.00 per year. For Texas cavers ,TSA membership is included in the subscription fee Single or back issues are available for $3.00 each by mail, postpaid; $2.00 each at conventions. ARTICLES AND MATERIAL for The Texas Caver should be sent to tht alternating editors listed above The Texas Caver openly invites articles, trir reports, photographs (35-mm slides or any size black and white or color print o r glossy paper), cave maps, equipment items, news events, cartoons, and/or any othe1 caving-related material for publication Deadline for submitting material is the 1 5tt day of the month prior to the month of publication COPYRIGHT 1993 by the Texas Speleological Association. lnt e m a organizations of NSS may reprint any item first appearing in The Texas Cave r a! long as proper credit is given and a c opy of the newsletter containing the m aterial il mailed to the proper alternating editors. Other organizations should contact tht proper alternating editor about reprinted materials The FRONT COVER is a combination of artwork and computer graphics. The artwork is a reproduction of a water color painting by Andy Komensky, Car l sbad. New Mexico. The painting was scanned and imported into CoreiDraw The graphics and page layout were done by Blake Barr, San Antonio, Texas Blake iS a graphics layout specialist (and a leading expert in CoreiDraw) with New Century Graphics, San Antonio, Texas. Andy is a ranger at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. For the past two years, Andy has sold his paintings at TOTR. BACK COVER (Patsy Copeland, Dec. 1992). From left to right: Oren Tranbarger Bill Sawyer, Wayne Walker, Mike Huber, and David Files on Sentinel trip


PBSS CONTINUES RESTORATION IN CARLSBAD Permian Basin Grotto Hauls Where No Grotto Has Hauled Before November 21, 1992 B y Gralin Coffin Photos by Walter Feaster Introduction Carlsbad Caverns in Southeastern New Mexico has been one of the won d ers of the cave world since the turn of t h e century and remains so today with h undreds of thousands of visitors each y ear. The Cave Resources Office at Carlsbad Caverns National Park (CCNP) s trives to better portray the cave in its n atural and untouched way. Certain volunteer groups are enlisted for this purpose to restore areas of the cave that require cleanup, trash removal, and general restoration to areas of the cave that have been changed by the human ele ment to make the cave more accessible for the park visitors. Over the past eight years, the Cave Research Foundation (CRF) in coopera t ion with the National Speleological S ociety (NSS) and the National Park Service (NPS) has held a week-long r e storation field camp for this purpose. In June of 1992, Walter Feaster, Bill Bentley, and I attended the CRF Field Restoration Camp. Although working extremely hard for a week, we felt that this was a very worthwhile endeavor that enabled us to give something back to nature (the cave}, since it is so much a part of our lives. After that week of work, we came back to our grotto telling o f the good times we had and the work we had done to help ensure that the beauty of the cave is preserved for future generations. Project Idea Although the Permian Basin Spe leological Society (PBSS) has a good September 1993 (Those Present at First Work Trip) Front Row: Bill Bentley, Tony Jones; Second Row: Walter Feaster, Don Carlton, Tony Greico, Terry Cargile; Third Row: Gralin Coffin, Steve Franks, Ken Kamon; Not Pictured: Larry Gray group of cavers, we had no idea that any would want to do what most folks would call hard labor, in a cave that is. Walter and I discussed the idea for a couple of months and decided that permission from the NPS would have to be the frrst order of business. Walter contacted Dale Pate, Cave Specialist, and Jason Richards, his assistant, with the Cave Resources Office of the NPS to get their thoughts on the idea. Granted, there had been several groups of cavers in Carlsbad doing various types of volunteer work for the NPS and the CRF during the week long restoration camp for the past several years, but this was a first for a volunteer grotto. Dale and Jason knew that Walter, Bill, and I had a good The TEXAS CAVER idea of what we were asking to do because of our past involvement with other projects with the NPS, the CRF in Carlsbad, and the Texas Cave Management Association (TCMA). In working with the TCMA (a conservancy of the NSS), Walter and I had previously arranged a cleanup project for the Amazing Maze Cave. This is not withstanding the fac! that Dale needed a lot of rock moved and whether he under stood it or not, we were asking to do it! Tbe Job The job was easy to describe al though it might not be easy to accomplish. It involved shoveling rock into 5-gallon buckets, then into wheelbarrows, and then pushing the wheelbarrows along the visitor's trail (with the rock) approximately 1,000 feet ( 1,600 feet round trip with the 47


Working on Flowstone Floor, Gralin Coffin, Terry Cargile, Tony Greico and Steve Franks are Filling Buckets and Wheelbarrows. Area in Background is From Past CRF Restoration Projects. wheelbarrow). The restoration work to be accom plished was a continuation of the current project started two years ago by the CRF. It consisted of removing rock from a flowstone floor area immediate ly west of the present lunch room. The east portion of this area was the first "lunch room," and the remainder of the area is believed to be flowstone floor with a pit in the center covered with rock from three to 60 feet deep. The question first asked by the people on any of the past restoration crews and subsequently by a great ma jority of the visitors as they pass the area is, "Where did all the rock come from and where are we going to put it now?" The rock is material blasted for the installation of the elevators in the 1930s. At that point in the history of the cave, restoration and conservation were not priorities. The rubble needed to be put somewhere, and the area of the pit was close and convenient, since there was plenty of cave left to see. Cave conserva tion is a key issue with any good caver today. Discoveries The restoration work has uncovered some very nice flowstone and popcorn areas While shoveling rock on the way down to the flowstone floor, several unusual items and antiquities have been 48 found including: ( 1) power cables; (2) a water line; (3) meters and meters of blasting wire used for the detonation of explosives in excavating the elevator shafts; (4) old coins; (5) an old catsup or mustard bottle; (6) other pieces of glass; (7) several rock-embedded fossils; and (8) even chicken bones-yes the Cavern Supply Company was selling "chicken box lunches" even back then. All these items were turned over to the Park Ser vice for possible inclusion in a future exhibit for the visitor's center. Goals There were to be eleven workers on our crew for the workday on Satur day, November 21, 1992. We decided that to get the most work out of that number of people, we should concen trate on "just hauling rock" and leave the precision and more delicate work to the CRF restoration crew. The goal was to do as much work and haul as much rock as possible and make a good im pression on Dale and his staff in the Cave Resources Office (not to mention the top brass in the CRF). Why, we might even get to come back and work our butts off again some other Saturday. All we had to do was to show up, pay a small fee for housing, supply our own food and beverage, and HAUL ROCK! Nuth 'n wrong with that scenario, right RIIIIIIGHT? The TEXAS CAVER The Big Weekend The story begins Friday night, like any other good mystery. Walter and I got to the CRF huts at CCNP around 11:00 p.m. Bill was already there, but that was it. No problem, it was early, and there was plenty of time for the other folks to show up. Later, only three more arrived for a total of six. Bill and I were getting a little worried, so we knew Walter was a little more than that because he had set the work trip up and his name was on the line. But there was always in the morning, and at that, we finally called it a night. The next morning when we awoke, we were sure or at least hoping that cavers turned workaholics would be beating a path to our hut door. Alas, there were no workaholics or even cavers, just very cold air, a little mist, and it was snowing like hell to the south toward Guadalupe Peak. It was coming north. We knew that if the bad weather persisted, the chances of getting any thing close to another six people there would go down the tubes. The weather did blow in, boy did it blow and snow. There was too much wind, however,and the snow continued to the north. But the wind did blow in six more cavers. We had the required caver/rock haulers, and we were off to the caverns to start our Bill Bentley and Don Carlton are Fill ing "The Buckets" in the Old Lunch Room. September 1993


Larry Gray is Dumping Rock in Pickle A lley. e x cavation. I do not know if any of you have ever been faced with a task that seems "bigger than life." Let me tell you, when you walk up to an area just under an acre with rock varying in thickness from three feet to an estimated 60 feet deep it is a pretty big task. Now we k n e w we were not going to move it all or probably even make much of a dent, but we did know it was there, and there was a w hole lot of it. The objective of course w a s to shovel the rock and transport it via a stout person and a wheelbarrow s ome 1,000 feet to an area in the back of Pickle Alley (a boneyard area at the edge of Left-hand Tunnel used in the early days of the Cavern as a trash dump). Notice that I said "shovel" rock. H ave you done any of that lately? This i s not dirt, not dirt and small pebbles, but ROCK. It is no small walk through the Big Room of Carlsbad. Rock does not w ant to go onto a shovel and that's that. Accomplishments Well now, you know it was hard and tough. But what I have not told you is that in a spooky sort of way, I had fun, and I think that everyone else would agree. All our hard work and the fun we could muster from about nine to six tallied up to approximately 900 cubic f eet or about 15 tons of rock. Each pound lovingly dumped four times from (Continued on p. 50) September 1993 BROKEN LEG SAGA IN LECHUGillLLA May 16, 1993 By Peter Jones May, 1993 was the month to cel ebrate my twenty-fifth year of caving. So in honor of that event, I decided to break my leg in the Western Borehole (WB). I believe I now also hold the record for the most number of miles crawled in Lechuguillaas well. Anyone wishing to challenge my record is grate fully welcome to it. Saturday -May 15, 1993 Saturday May 15, 1993, I led a group consisting of myself and three others (Lechuguilla veteran Doug Kent and newcomers John Rowlan and Sarah Vieweg) into the Deep Seas camp where we left our bivouac gear around 7:00 p.m. After a brief rest, we headed into the WB to do some photography for the evening and to acclimatize ourselves to Lechuguilla. Around 10:00 p.m ., we turned around and headed back to camp, arriving about one leisurely hour later. By midnight, most of us were in bed and asleep. Around 12 : 30 a m another group led by Angela Morgan (consist ing of veterans Dan Legnini and LEARN Representative Doug Feakes and new comers Val Hildreth and Dave Berman) arrived in camp, and after a noisy dinner went to bed also. Sunday -May 16, 1993 Sunday morning, Dan, Angela, and I decided to split our expedition into three teams of three people each. Each team would have a requisite sketcher and at least one individual familiar with the cave. We were each to undertake a particular area to resurvey as well as check leads in the area. Our common meeting place was to have been at sur vey station EY 95 Being ready to go, I left with my team of John Rowlan and Doug Kent around 11 :00 a.m. The other teams were to follow shortly after that. Tbe Accident. Shortly after noon, we arrived at the vicinity of the Leaning TowerofLechuguilla, which I had never been beyond before. Since our depar-The TEXAS CAVER ture point from the main trade route through the Borehole was to be around EY 75, I thought it prudent to find out exactly where we were in the survey position. I spotted the telltale blue survey marker atop a small hill just beyond the Tower and climbed up to it to find it marked EY 69. As I climbed back down the hill, I placed my left foot down on good, solid knobbly projec tions that held my boot firmly in place, then my right foot on what must have been ball bearings because I was imme diately falling and twisting around on my ankle. My left foot would simply not let go its grip on the rock, and all the force of the twisting fall was displaced into my ankle and fibula, resulting in a fracture of the bones there. My foot was immediately in a lot of pain and was still twisted in an awkward position, but I was finally able to right it with some difficulty. Splinting. I had a great deal of hope that it was merely a sprain and that after a few hours of relaxing, it would be re paired on its own. Anyhow, I realized that I should dispatch someone back toward camp to inform the others and have them retrieve warm, dry clothes, a foam pad, first aid gear, and a sleeping bag. As Doug was familiar with the cave he went off to do so. John, who stayed with me had experience as an EMT and recommended that we get the boot off to examine my foot and find a way to splint it. He also offered a small piece of foam pad to insulate myself from the rock. Shortly after that, Angela showed up with Sarah Vieweg and Dave Berman. Sarah, who also had EMT training joined in consultation with John and Angela and devised a splint out of pieces of thin foam pad gauze duct tape and the outer plastic covers of a survey notebook cut into an L-shape. The boot was then carefully replaced on the foot 49


and tied loosely. During this construction phase, Dan had showed up with Val Hildreth, Doug Feakes, and Doug Kent with the requested gear. Crawling Back to Camp. I had considered the possibility of spending the night out there in the WB, but it was soon decided that despite the injury, it would be better to head toward the entrance, perhaps stopping at camp for the night. Hobbling with a person on each shoulder seemed the most likely way to travel until I took two steps and realized how fruitless it would be. Not to be daunted, I thought there was one other way to go, and as such, got down on my hands and knees and started crawling. Fortunately, the break was such that it did not bother me in the least to keep it raised and crawl along, just as long as I did not hit it on something. And so at 4:00p.m., with the others picking up my spare gear, I headed for the entrance to ABC's Room This being my sixth trip down the Borehole, I had some familiarity with it and could measure mileage markers of sorts by where we were in it. And so, I was pleasantly surprised when about twenty minutes later, we were at the turnoff to Hudson Bay, an old familiar locale. Soon, we stopped at the Three Amigos for a break After awhile, the passage just seemed to roll on by at a very slow, but steady pace. At one place in the Borehole, there is a steep slope of gypsum with a moderate amount of exposure and not too many footholds. Here I asked for and received a belay and a few artificial hand and footholds to grab onto. With two good legs, it would have been a breeze; in my condition, a possible nightmare. I was glad to have the support when I needed it. Time seemed to go amazingly fast, as spirits were high, and around 6:00 p.m., we were back at the ABC's Room entrance to the WB. The going was a little slower and more precarious at this point, since the passage narrowed consider ably and started involving ropework as well as more up-and down climbing. I was able to find a circuitous route around the first exposed downclimb that put me at less risk. From here, I clipped in using a friend's double brakebar on a carabiner and gradually rappelled/kneed my way down the slope. With a little more spotting and careful crawling, I made it down the Cornflakes Climb. Shortly after that, with a bit of (PBSSCont'd. from p. 49) shovel to bucket to wheelbarrow to Pickle Alley. All in all, it was a very good day. Off Trail Saturday Night Saturday evening, we were treated to some pretty "hangi-downi, sticki-upi's" in some off trail part of the Caverns, and although we were tired, it is always great to see some new part of Carlsbad. We Will Be Back! Author's Note PBSS did return (February 20, 1993) and haul another big bunch of rock. This time, rock was moved all the way to the surface via the elevators to a waiting truck at the back dock. Although I was unable to make the second trip, I am sure that the guys still had some fun in spite of all the work. up-and-down climbing, I was back at the Deep Seas Camp ground by 7:00p.m. Boot Heel Pass. Here another decision had to be made. In consulting with Dan and Angela (both of whom had consider able NCRC experience), we decided that since I still felt relatively strong and awake, I would continue the crawl to the bottom of the Great White Way (GWW), a major obstacle to be tackled the following day and no sooner. The other three of my original team members stayed back to pack up all my bivouac gear as well as their own and ultimately ferry it all forward to the bottom ofGWW. With Angela leading and Dan behind me, I continued the slow crawl out of Deep Seas. Here the cave began to be intimately familiar to me, since I had participated in hauling Emily Davis Mobley through this area about two years earlier. After awhile, we passed through a particular area that I had clear memories of handling a belay line with Dave Belski. Shortly after, we began the steep climb/crawl up the Fortress of Chaos. About halfway up the climb, I noticed a small piece of boot heel that had come off someone's boot earlier. I did not think much of it other than that the trail could use a good cleaning (you notice these things when you have a closer view of what is beneath your feet!) Anyway, following Angela's lead, we crossed over the top of a pass, dropped down a bit, then started gaining altitude again. From here, it was pretty much downhill. Something did not seem right to me, but it was not forefront enough in my mind to comment on it at the time. That is, until I carne across the boot heel again! My first reaction was, "Boy, this person's got some pretty shoddy boots for Lechuguilla caving." Then I started thinking how unlikely that really was and decided to look up ahead of me. There again below me was the location of the belay position used for Emily. I cried out that we were all turned around. Dan and Angela thought maybe I had had one too many painkillers for my own good. But, after explaining it and illustrating what had happened, I convinced them that we had indeed done a circuit around the top of the Fortress of Chaos. That area has now been renamed "Boot Heel Pass." About another tired hour later, we finally arrived at the bottom of the GWW, and I collapsed in exhaustion. About one We can all take pride in knowing that we are making a difference in the work necessary to preserve thisnatural wonder for future generations. As of the date ()f this writing, another trip has been scheduled for this fallon November 13, 1993. The PBSS grotto has discussed the possibility of contacting the Cave Resources office about scheduling two trips a year during thewinter. At least the restoration work is out of the weather. Restoration Crew . ... .. ... / . .. ..... . < PBSS members participating in thisrestorationwork to date are: Chuck Anderle, Bill Bentley, Don Carlton, Terry Cargile, Gralin Coffin, Rick Day, Walter Feaster, Steve Franks, Larry Gray, Tony Greico, Ken Karnon, Noel Pando. Tony Jones and Julia Cronk presently working for the NPS should be included for their help. = .. ... 50 The TEXAS CAVER September 1993


hour after that, my packs finally arrived, and I was able to get warm and dry, some food in my stomach and painkillers in my veins. Sleep came around 11:00 that night and fortunately, it was a good, sound one. Monday May 17, 1993 Next morning, after the rest of the team members arrived, I began my ascent of the GWW around 10:00 a.m. I rigged a combination Frog/Mitchell system that allowed me to ascend comfortably and securely with one leg. Two hours, a belay and a couple of spottings later, I was at the top, resting at EF Junction. From there, the traverse through the Rift went relatively smoothly because in several places, the walls were close enough to allow me to hobble through. About 1:00 p.m., I was at the start of the Rift where I rested for another 15 minutes. From there, it was a slow, steady climb up through Sugarlands, Windy City, Glacier Bay and ultimately to the bottom of Boulder Falls. By this time, several party members had been sent out of the cave to inform the Park Service of the injury and my request for crutches. There was the possibility of manufactur ing a crutch/sling out of a 2x4 and webbing, but in retrospect, it probably would not have worked very well. My own climb of Boulder Falls started around 4:00p.m. and took me about twenty-five minutes to complete: again, slow and steady. F rom there, it was a relatively easy exit from the cave, knowing I was so close to the entrance. Finally, around 5:30, r was at the mouth of the cave, enjoying the warm evening winds of the Guadalupes. Back to CRF Hut. An hour or so later, it was time to start hobbling back to the vehicles. Four cavers from the CRF Hut had joined me by then, informing me that the Park Service was looking for crutches and would be there soon. With crutches nowhere in sight, I hobbled between two cavers and found it to be the most difficult and strenuous part of the journey. By the time I had reached the bottom of the arroyo in front of the cave, Dale Pate arrived to inform me that crutches were not to be found anywhere in the Park: too much of a liability problem to keep around. However, there was a rolling Stokes litter on its way if it was desired. I decided at that point that I had had e nough and requested its delivery. Fifteen minutes later, I was s afely ensconced in the litter for the final trip back to the vehicles. At the CRF Hut, I did things in the prescribed order: had a beer, took a shower, went to dinner in town, and arrived at the emergency room of Guadalupe Medical Center about 10:00 that night. By midnight I learned that I truly had broken the fibula in my left leg as well as knocking my ankle about 4 -mm sideways. Back Home and Recovery I ultimately had my ankle operated on at home in Maine and had a six-to-eight-week convalescence period. Acknowledgments Each in their own way, all the participants contributed in great measure to my getting out of the cave as well as I did. I certainly could not have done it without them and their unquestioning support. I will be indebted to them all for a long time. WORLD DEPTH RECORDS SET IN CUEVA CHEVE .. By Louise Hose ..... ... Geology Department .. University of Colorado Colorado Springs, CO . Funded by a National Geographic Field Research arid Exploration grant and by the University of Colora do, Colorado Springs, a small team determined the depth of Sistema Cheve in Oaxaca, Mexico. We are now ready to announce two new world records. A visually positive dye trace was performed between the Cueva Cheve entrance in the upper part of the system and Agua Fria de Santa Ana in the Santo Domingo CaMn in 1990. Jim Smith of Western Kentucky University provided and dumped the dye while Nancy Pistole and Sheri Engler confirmed its emergence eight days (and 18 kilometers) later. The actual relief between the two sites was not known until now. The depth of the dye trace, the world's deepest, was proven to have been 2,363 m by our team this spring. The Cheve entrance, however, is 144m lower than the highest explored part of the system, the entrance to Cueva Escondida. Adding this figure and the surveyed depth of the resurgence cave (surveyed during dives by John Evans and Bill Stone in 1984), the totiil proven depth of the Sistema Cheve is 2,525 m. That figure makes Sistema Cheve the deepest (albeit, not yet fully explored) cave in the world. (Exploration depth to the upper part of the system stands presently at 1 ,386m. The explored lower part of the system, now over seven kilometers long of mostly dry passage, has insignificant relief thus far.) The new figures are largely the result of extensive Global Positioning System work conducted in the area this winter and spring. More information on this work has already been given at the recent NSS convention (given twice by popular demand!) and in the last Geo2 Future articles on both the technical and non-technical aspects of the work will appear soon in publications like the AMCS Newsletter, Geo1 and, maybe, Cave Science or the NSS Bulletin. Lastly, I should thank not only National Geo graphic Society but also: UNA VCO for providing the GPS receivers and supporting equipment; Magellan Systems for providing the software; the state govern ment of Oaxaca; and Apple Computers for providing one laptop to the project. The equipment and support were absolutely critical to our success. In addition, thanks are due to the cavers ofProjecto Cheve, especially Don Broussard, Matt Oliphant, Nancy Pistole, and Skip Withrow. Cavers' Forum Internet September 1993 The TEXAS CAVER 51


}avur Trevino and Spencer Woods Work on Stretcher Handling in Bear Cave While Danul Zucker Learns About Stretcher Riding. A REGIONAL CAVE RESCUE SEMINAR COMES TO PASS MARCH 27-28, APRIL 2-4, 1993 By Joe Ivy Photos by Joe Ivy and Linda Palit On the last weekend of March and the frrst weekend of April this past spring, a Level I NCRC Cave Rescue Seminar was presented in San Antonio for the first time Twenty-nine students par ticipated in the seminar, which was taught by 11 instructors. The seminar was five days long and culminated in a mock rescue on April 4, 1993. This article is about what went on at the seminar, but frrst, what is the NCRC anyway? WHAT IS THE NCRC? The NCRC is the National Cave Rescue Commission of the National Speleological Society. The NCRC was formed in 1977 by the NSS to offer cave rescue training on both the national and regional levels, to review new rescue equipment and techniques, to act as a communications network for locating rescue workers and equipment, and to maintain caches of specialized cave res cue equipment throughout the country. 52 A National Coordinator heads up the NCRC, which is divided into regions. Each region has their own Regional Coordinators. Texas is its own region. NCRC COURSES Before this past spring, the NCRC had offered only weekend orientations and a national-level week-long seminar once a year, usually conducted at NSS conventions. The NCRC national-level training is divided into four levels. Each level has a specific goal for the students. Level I At the completion of Level I, the student should be able to perform as a "grunt" in a rescue opera tion and have a basic knowledge of cave rescue and first aid. Level II Level II graduates should be able to perform as team leaders. Level III-Level III graduates are able to act as the top-level management of a rescue Level IV Level IV students The TEXAS CAVER follow an education track learning how to teach and can apply for a NCRC Instructorship or Coordinatorship. Modularized Training So, until now, to get "complete" training required three years of attend ing the annual national seminar. Fortu nately, the NCRC Education Board modularized the Level I portion of the national seminar so that it could be offered on the regional level in different time formats. Many cavers had expressed interest in learning about cave rescue but were unwilling to make the time commitment to travel to far away exotic places for ten days to attend the national seminar (the 1993 national seminar was in Vernal, Utah). NCRC LEVELl AT SAN ANTONIO Because ofthis, Rod Dennison and Joe Ivy decided to conduct the first ever five-day, two-weekend Level I NCRC course in San Antonio. Rod Dennison is a Level I Course Coordinator and Instruc tor for the NCRC. Joe Ivy is the Texas Regional Coordinator for the NCRC. The seminar spanned Saturday and Sun day of one weekend; Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the next week so that the students would only have to take one day off work. First Day Everyone met at the Alamo Area Joel King and Spencer Woods Learn About "pickoffs" at Cub Cave on Day One. September 1993


Search and Rescue (AASAR) Building near Ingram Mall and the day started with getting checked in, signing release f onns, and other bureaucratic stuff. The p aperwork done, the group headed out t o Bear Cave and Cub Cave to do gear c heck and first-day checkoffs. The gen eral outline of the course was to learn how to take care of: (1) yourself; (2) y our buddies; and (3) a third party. The gear check is to make sure that everyone has adequate equipment for the semi n ar. The checkoffs involve a student s howing an instructor that they are able t o tie basic knots, ascend, descend, c hange from climb to rappel and vice v e rsa. After this was done, the group m oved into Bear Cave and participated in a cleanup of the cave and had an introduction to: (1) the NCRC; (2) cav ing; (3) caveconservation;and(4)caves i n Bexar County With their eyes well acclimated, the group began work on basic litter handling in the twisty lower levels of Bear Cave. S econd Day Back at the AASAR Building Sun day morning, the students were divided into medical and nonmedical background groups. The nonmedical students learned a bout basic patient assessment pack a ging, and first aid while the medical f olks discussed the considerations and difficulties of trauma care underground. Dan H ogenauer(F ore ground) Provides WeighttoRaise]oelKingOutofHelotes Hilltop Cave Using a Counter Balance System. After breaking for lunch, the stu dents headed back out to the field to do pickoffs. Cub Cave, Hills and Dales Cave, and Robber's Cave were used for this exercise. A "pickoff' is a technique for getting a person stranded on rope back down to the ground. In other words, a rescuer arrives at the top of a pit and finds that there is someone stranded on rope. The rescuer then lowers a D ru Spalding, a Rescue Instructor From Big Wells, is "Rescued" From the Lower Levels of Bear Cave by the Austin EMS Group. September 1993 The TEXAS CAVER separate line descends to the person transfers the person's weight from the person's gear onto a specially rigged descender and lowers the person to the ground This can be a rather amusing part of the class. Third Day Five days later, the students found themselves back at the AASAR Build ing learning about knots rigging for rescue, and lowering systems After lunch the students headed for Hills and Dales, Robber's, and Helotes Hilltop Caves to work on lowering systems in the real world Helotes Hilltop Cave became the nemesis for the students who worked there with its tight chimney entrance and its squeeze into the top of a 30-foot deep crevice. Fourth Day Saturday morning was devoted to learning about communication systems and techniques followed by the differ ent varieties of raising or haul systems. After lunch, the students rotated to the caves they had been at the previous day so that no one went to the same cave again and worked on haul systems under ground. Again, Helotes Hilltop Cave beat up the students. Instructor James Davis said We had students thanking God that they were out of that cave! Fifth Day -Mock Rescue Sunday morning was the time for the exam and mock rescue. After the exam was completed, Rod Dennison went over the rules of the mock rescue The mock began with a phone call from a distraught parent" whose child was overdue coming out of Robber Baron Cave across town There were three mock patients in the cave and a cantan kerous landowner at the entrance for the students to deal with. One child was near the entrance lost frightened and hypothermic but able to tell the rescuers that there were two others who were injured and further back in the cave One mock patient who had fallen down a hole in some breakdown was seri ously injured and mostly unconscious but would moan when his name was called out. The third mock patient had fallen about 15 feet (from the top to the bottom) in a crevice passage and had broken her leg and injured her shoulder and head but was quite conscious. The 53


three mock patients were found quickly and extrication procedures were begun. Robber Baron Cave presented some difficulties for the rescuers because of heat humidity, and bad air that the cave is w ell known for. The paramedics and EMTs were horrified at the difficulty of accessing the patients while the rest of the students were horrified at the difficulties associated with moving a patient in a litter through a tight twisty cave The mock rescue lasted about eight hours and was very successful for all involved Future Level I Seminar If enough interest is shown, there will be another Level I seminar next spring following the same format. APPRECIATION Many, many thanks go to Stan Irwin who arranged for the AASAR Building as the classroom facility. Many thanks also go to the landowners of the various caves that were used as training sites for the seminar. And, finally, thanks go to the instructors who traveled ncar and far to help make the seminar happen : Tom Bones Oak Hill Fire Department Robin Cope Austin EMS James Davis S.T.A.R. Rescue Association Rod D e nnison S.T.A.R. Rescue Association Tommy Griffin -Farmer's Branch Fire Department Dennis Gross -Farmer's Branch Fire Department Tony RepkaAMOCO Productions Jim ShiresFarmer's Branch Fire Department Vickie Smith UTSA Dru Spalding S.T A.R Rescue Association Monty Strange Oak Hill Fire Department FURTHER INFORMATION If you would like more information a bout the NCRC or upcoming regional and national seminars, contact: 54 Joe IvyTexas Region Coordinator 40 19 Rams gate San Antonio TX 78230-1629 210-699-1388 NINE CAVE VANDALS APPREHENDED AT FT. STANTON CAVE Lincoln County, NM August 8, 1993 By Oren Tranbarger (Note : This article is the result of a casual telephone discussion with Wayne Walker of Awmogordo, NM on August 17,1993. After talking to Wayne, Mike Bilbo of the BLM, Roswell District, was then contacted. Mike suggested con tacting Doug Filer, the District Staff Ranger for the BLM at Roswell, who apprehended the cave vandals. Most of the details of the story were provided by Doug. Below is the account of the nine cave vandals who were apprehended at the cave.) On August 8, 1993 the CRF was having a work project at Ft. Stanton Cave, which is about 60 miles west of Roswell, NM. The CRF group included: Wayne Walker, Alamogordo, NM; Walter Feaster, Odessa, TX; Jennifer Breen, Ava Habish, Shannon and Gavin Corcoran, Charles Tuberwill, Josh Lander,all from Rio Rancho, NM; Lynne Lazelle, Albuquerque, NM; and Carl Pagano Denver, CO. The vandal group arrived at the cave in the morning and displayed a permit on the windshield of their ve hicle. Suspicions were aroused shortly after the group went into the cave. In following the group, Wayne found beer cans in the pathway Cigarette butts and candy wrappers also littered the cave. Upon examination of the permit, the CRFers discovered: (1) the permit was issued for August 15, 1993, and August22, 1993; and(2)onlyfivenames were on the permit and nine had gone into the cave With this information, Wayne called the Lincoln County Sheriff, who initially responded. The Lincoln County Sheriff then notified Doug Filer, the BLM District Staff Ranger. Doug arrived at the cave around 12:30 p.m where he found the Lincoln County Sheriff interviewing the cavers. The TEXAS CAVER The suspects were still in the cave at that time. Another deputy sheriff was called in for assistance to wait for the group to come out of the cave. The group exited the cave around 3:50 p m Ages ranged from 14 to 30 years. Two were minors. All were from Roswell. When the group was appre hended, illegal drugs (marijuana and drug-related paraphernalia) and 21 cave formations were recovered from the van dals. The formations included some cave velvet specimens. The vandalism was done for souvenir collecting with no intentions to sell the booty. Fifteen mandatory court appear ances were issued for violations that include : ( 1) failure to obtain a valid recreation cave permit; (2) possession of illegal drugs; and (3) removing min erals from a cave. These violations are federal offense s that carry a maximum penalty in fines up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment up to one year or both. The court date is to be announced. Arraignment could take up to 30 days The BLM is planning a restoration project soon to restore the cave forma tions using an epoxy developed by DOW Chemical. Ft. Stanton Cave has been vandal ized in the past and approximately 3,000 people visit the cave annually in the months the cave is open. The cave is closed in the winter because of bat hibernation. Because of this latest vandalism incident, the present gate over the key hole leading to the lower part of the cave will be replaced with an improved vandal-proof bat-friendly gate. Although the group vandalized the cave, they were careful to remove the beer cans, cigarette butts, and cand y wrappers in coming out of the cave. September 1993


Introduction Cave Without A Name is one of the loveliest caves in Texas. It has operated as a show cave since 1939 and is located a bout 50 km north of San Antonio, near the town of Boerne. A staircase spirals down along its entrance pit to a depth of 24m, and opens into a well-decorated p a ssage measuring seven m high by 12 m wide by 186m long. Large columns, s talactites, stalagmites and draperies d ivide the passage into four distinct sections The commercial trail ends w here the southern end of passage intersects an underground stream that makes up most of the cave's 4.3 km surveyed l e ngth. Cave Without A Name is currently Texas' seventh longest cave. Joleen and Eugene Ebell are the cave's owners and sole operators Cave W ithout A Name receives relatively little traffic due to the Ebells limited financial resources and advanced age, w hich restrict their ability to publicize this small but outstanding cavern. Before 1993 there had been no significant vandalism of the cave. The Vandalism Around 2:00a.m. during the nights of 30 January to 3 February 1993, vandals entered Cave Without A Name by prying up a corner of the roof of the entrance building and climbing down a l a dder to the trail. They used the tour lights to travel thiough the cave, where the y kicked over stalagmites used one as a club to smash other speleothems lights and light shields. They also shattered a beer bottle, threw mud rocks or broken speleothems to damage speleothems that were out of reach, and scratched a name in the wall. Several speleothems were removed from the cave. Because of the low tourist traffic at the cave, the vandalism was not discovered by the owners until the cave had been entered at least twice. The local s heriff was called on 1 February 1993, but the vandals reentered the cave for a final time that night. The vandals' total damage included seven broken lights, eight damaged light shields, one stolen road-sign advertising the cave, trash left in the cave, one name scratched on a wall, 4 7 broken or damaged speleothems, and 30 missing speleothems. The bro-September 1993 Kevin Thuesen Epoxying a Stainless Steel Support Rod Into a Toppled Stalagmite. THE VANDALISM AND RESTORATION OF CAVE WITHOUT A NAME By George Veni (All photos by the author) This article is excerpted and modified by the author from a comprehensive report published in the proceedings of the 1993 National Cave Management Symposium. See that report for complete details about the restoration procedures. ken or missing speleothems ranged in size from 3cm up to nearly 2 m in length. Restoration During the evening of 5 February 1993, I received a call from Eugene Ebell. The tone in his voice indicated some great loss or trauma They busted it all up he told me shakily, and asked if I could help him the next day. The following morning we surveyed the dam age. It was bad but could have been much worse. The cave is so well deco rated that while 77 broken speleothems are inexcusable they would not be no ticed by the average visitor Cleaning and repairing the dam age would have been difficult for the Ebells, so I took the work upon myself and my priority was to get the cave ready for business. I spent the day The TEXAS CAVER replacing broken lights picking up bro ken glass, removing broken speleothems from the trail so no one would step on them sweeping the trail clean of mud rocks and gravel, and securing the roof to prevent further access from that route. The second priority was to inventory the damage for restoration work on the fol lowing weekend. The next day I began to search the literature for infonnation on speleothem restoration. Several reports have been written on the subject but little specific infonnation exists on speleothem re pairs. Clearly most repairs are con ducted in isolation and without benefit from the experience of other restoration efforts. Not wanting to r e invent the wheel or exacerbate the damage in the cave, I called around for ideas and advice My phone search led me to Jim 55


Two-meter Tall Totem Pole ; Two Pieces Connected and Three to Go. W e rk er. Jim came highly recommended as the c ar e ful and thorough person who for sever a l years has conducted th e s pel eothe m r e pairs in Carlsbad Caverns and the s urrounding area. Before using any g lu es or other repair materials Jim sends the stuff to a chemist to rule out a dver se impac t s on the speleothems the cave wate r s, o r c ave life, eith e r in the app l icat i o n o r b y the long-term pres ence o f the m a t e rial in the c av e When I c all e d. h e ex pr esse d int e r es t in my p r ob l e m and was e x tr e mel y h e lpful. Cnl ess ot h e rv.ise s pc.cifi e.d, the following r e pair te.chniqu es wer e sugges t e d b y Jim On the wee k e nd o f 1 3 -14 F e bruary 1 99 3. a t otal o f 12 c aver s from the Bexar Gr otto i n San A nt o nio and thr e e cavers/ s taff f r o m Caverns o f Sonora began the r e stor a tion wo rk at Cave Without A A dditi o nal v olunteers abounded, inc ludin g othe r caver s, groups of explo r e r scouts, and even cave tourists but I f elt it b e st to keep the group to a small t ea m Few cavers in Texas have done thi s s ort of work before so while most of my group was inexperienced, I wanted to be c e rtain they were conscientious. The s mall group size also made for better instruction discussion, and quality control of the restoration work The speleothem repair was con duct e d in five stages. The first was to match the broken pieces to their original 56 locations. This proved more difficult than it might sound since many broken pieces were carried throughout the cave and dropped far from their sources. The matching was also crucial to effective reconstruction of single speleothems broken into several sections; often the pieces would fit together only when assembled in a certain order. The second stage was to work on speleothems needing internal support rods to regain their strength and stabil ity. This process required two days. During the first day, holes were drilled in the speleothems and a stainless steel rod was half-inserted and epoxied into one broken end. After drying overnight, the opposing pieces were glued together. The third stage involved the reassembly of speleothems not needing support rods. Stalagmites were gener ally the simplest speleothems to repair. Once the epoxy was applied, the broken end was set on the lower intact stump, and its weight held them together until the epoxy dried. Stalactites were diffi cult to repair because of the need to create a steady, secure, vertical upward force to hold them in place. To accom plish this, a wide range of techniques had been used in other restorations with varying degrees of success. The Cave Without A Name resto ration team was lucky enough to include an engineer. I was puzzling over the best way to secure a heavy stalactite The TEXAS CAVER when I noticed Dan Hogenauer had just finished working on a stalagmite. I reminded myself that I was supposed to be coordinating the restoration and should not get bogged down on one speleothem, so I volunteered Dan with the off-the-cuff comment, "You figure this out." He had it set up in about two minutes. The solution was elegant and effective Dan created a lever. A board was laid onto a fulcrum, with oneendset under the stalactite and a rock placed on its opposite end to hold the speleothem in place. For repairs close to the floor, the fulcrum can be made by stacking rocks or other available materials. For repairs more than one meter above the floor, a scaffolding can be built to support a fulcrum at higher elevations. The most lengthy repair operation was the restoration of speleothems broken into several pieces With stalag mites, especially those that were topheavy, several days were required to reassemble them Following the resto ration weekend, I made three additional trips to Cave Without A Name just to glue on another piece to stalagmites broken into three to five sections W e attempted to simultaneously join more than two pieces together before the ep oxy was dry, but found this was n o t effective for most top-heavy or weight bearing pieces. While stalagmites were rebuilt b y adding to the stump until the speleothem was whole, stalactites were more easil y restored by reassembling the broke n pieces into one unit and then attachin g that to the stump. The stalactites wer e repaired by turning the topmost piec e upside down, planting it firmly into the dirt/mud floor, then adding its lower pieces as if reassembling a stalagmite. The weight of each piece held the unit intact until the epoxy was dry enough t o either add an additional piece, or to tum the rebuilt unit right-side up and attach it to the stump. At the time of this writing (Apri l 1993), repairs on several speleothem s have not been completed because the y are actively dripping water. The epoxy can dry despite the water, but in stala c tites where the water originates insid e the speleothem enough hydrostatic pre s -September 1993


K aren Veni Examining the Two-meter High Totem Pole Before its Final Piece I s Attached. sure develops to prevent a good bond between the broken pieces. Since the cave becomes less active in the summer and fall, repair ofthcsc speleothems has been delayed until those favorable con ditions develop. The fourth and fifth stages in the restoration process were respectively the cleanup and touchup of repair work. I deally, once speleothem pieces are joined together, the repair is complete. In reality, epoxy sometimes leaks from the seams and runs down the speleothem. Cleaning is more complex then it wo.uld i nitially seem and depends on the tex ture of the speleothem surface. The touch up work will begin when the cave is drier, and will include filling seams and gaps with color-matched cement or a color-matched mixture of epoxy and pulverized limestone; the choice will depend on whether the speleothem is opaque or translucent. While the focus of the restoration work was to repair the broken speleo thems, other assistance was also pro vided to the cave owners. During the project weekend, the gate to the cave was reinforced, all of the light shields were repaired, and two troublesome light switches were fixed. Miscellaneous speleothem restoration work included washing off some soiled speleothems, September 1993 fishing out broken pieces tossed in the stream, and picking up the "Cedar Post," a 1.9-m high stalagmite that was pushed over and fortunately not broken. Publicity, Community Support, and Prosecution of the Vandals The restoration of a vandalized cave goes beyond the physical repairs of the speleothems. It includes the capture and prosecution of the vandals, and the education of the community that cave vandalism is a reprehensible act that harms everyone. To meet these goals, I targeted three groups, my purpose being to: Publicize the vandalism; Advertise the $250-$1,000 reward offered by the National Speleo logical Society for cave vandalism; Develop sympathy for the cave and cave owners; and Develop leads that may identify and contribute to the prosecution of the vandals. The first group I contacted was the Kendall County Sheriffs Department and met the deputy in charge of the investigation. It was important he know how many people were outraged by the vandalism, that cave vandalism is ille gal in Texas, that there is a reward offered for the cave vandalism, and that he was welcome to call me anytime (which he did) when he needed help or had questions about the cave or about the vandalism. The second group I called was the local weekly newspaper, The Boerne Star. I discovered that its editors are big fans of Cave Without A Name, and reporter Charles Wood has long wanted to become a caver. For three weeks, the vandalism was a front-page story, de tailing the damage but emphasizing that it was still a beautiful cave and worth visiting, especially after the restoration when almost none of the damage would be noticeable. Wood produced a very positive article about the cave, and his publisher made Cave Without A Name the focus of two editorial page columns. The story was picked up by the San Antonio newspaper, was the subject of a San Antonio television news broadcast, and a columnist for a regional newspa per wrote a sentimental piece on his visit to the cave. The TEXAS CAVER In talking with my wife Karen about the vandalism, I speculated that the vandals were probably high school kids looking for cheap thrills. She gave me the best advice possible when she suggested I call the third information group, embodied by the Boerne High School principal. Mr. Champion turned out to be yet another person who was enchanted by Cave Without A Name. Appalled to hear about the damage, he was happy to announce the NSS reward to the students over the school public address system. The next day, he called to say a student had come forward with infonnation on who the vandals were and that they had speleothem pieces at home. Over the next two weeks as the Sheriff investigated the allegations, one youth confessed and apologized for his part in the vandalism. This confession prompted numerous confessions and identified a total of 18 participants in the vandalism. They had gone out to the cave for three to five nights in groups as large as eight persons. Five were 18 years old or older; the rest were legally minors. Beginningon26February 1993, they were charged in front of the Kendall County magistrate. The Sheriff and I set the cost of damages at $35,439.86 from the actual Philip Farrington Swabs Excess Epoxy From a Broken Stalactite, Held To getherbyaLever Untilthe Epoxy Dries. 57


cave property to three family members. BCI worked for several years to pur chase the cave from Mr. Marbach, and then hjs heirs. Two of the new owners were agreeable; however, the third be lieved he could make a fortune mining the guano, and would not sell. In 1990, BCI bought the ownership interest from the two agreeable owners for the five acre cave site. Finally in late 1992, BCI convinced the remaining owner to sell, and BCI became sole owners of the world s largest bat cave. Site Plans David]. Bamberger Stands By Caged Sign at Entrance to BCI Property. BCI started with big plans for the cave site, including: (1) regular visits to begin educating the public of the value of these and all bats; (2) help in increas ing membership; and (3) research oppor tunities for interested scientists. As they gathered information on public visitaNEWO ERSOF tions of other cave sites around the world, they discovered many sites where in creased human visitation had contribBRACKEN BAT CAVE HAVE BIG PLANS By Kurt Men king uted to a decrease in the bat population. Therefore, the BCI board of directors has decided the primary objective of the Bracken site is to protect the bats. They still have many plans for the site, but they plan to work around the bats, and cause the least amount of distur bance as possible to the bat colony. BCI wasted no time once they completed the Acquisition Bat Conservation International (BCI) of Austin Texas has recently completed the purchase of Bracken Bat Cave, which contains the largest colony of bats in the world. When the original owner, Mr. Marbach, became ill, he deeded the costs of repair materials and the market value hourly wage of the restoration workers (assuming they had to be paid for their voluntary contribution). This figure includes costs of missing or irreparable speleothems, determined by totaling the cost of actual repairs, dividing by the number of repaired s peleothems for a price of $460.26/ spel e othem, and multiplying that value by the number of speleothems missing or impossible to repair. At the time of this writing, the alleged vandals have not yet been tried in court. I will report the outcome in a future issue of The Texas Caver. My discussions with law enforcement officials suggest that they will not be severely punished, since this is a first offense for most or pos s ibly all of them, yet the public's disgust with the matter will not allow them off unscathed. In any case, it is clear that the people of Boerne realize that cave vandalism is not only a legal offense but is morally purchase of the site. They appointed David Bamberger, a BCI director, as project manager. The directors approved his multiyear site plan and instructed him to get it done. Their plans for 1993 included: (1) trimming trees away from the cave entrance; and (2) removing much of the underbrush to offensive. Without their support, the vandals may not have been brought to justice. Summary The vandalization of caves is a sad event yet their restoration can be used as an opportunity to promote positive public support for cave conservation. The gen eral public becomes impressed when they see how cavers organize to help victimized cave owners. This image also shows the public the fragile beauty of the underground world, and gains their proactive support in apprehending the people responsible for its desecration. Restoration Crew: Sherrie Chevalier, Rick Corbell, Philip Farrington, Juventino Grenado Scott Harden, Dan Hogenauer, Tory House Claire Lindblom, Rebecca 0 'Daniel, Gary OJ saver, Carl Ponebshek, Bill Sawyer, Phil Schauer, Kevin Thuesen, George Veni, and Karen Veni. 58 The TEXAS CAVER September 1993


encourage the return of more of the native grasses and wild flowers. Additionally they wanted to build: (1) trails around the cave sinkhole; (2) some seating for visitors; and (3) some i n terpretative signs to help educate and control visitors. Generally, they wanted to make it safer and easier to visit the c a ve. Bexar Grotto Involvement Merlin Tuttle, the founder of BCI, was aware of the ef fort of the local cavers over the last twenty years to protect the site from hunters, kids, and assorted idiots. He asked D avid Bamberger to contact myself and the Bexar Grotto to see if we would help provide some of the volunteer effort required. David carne to one of our grotto meetings in January 1993 and presented BCI's plans and asked for our help I contacted cavers across the state by phone, by mail, and visited other grotto meetings to recruit volunteers for the w inter of 1993. Over the next several months, about 85 people provided over 1 ,700 hours of work at the cave About 75 percent of the volunteer hours came from cavers. By the time the bats started returning in March and April all of the first year objectives had been met, and we were well into the second year tasks. To thank the volunteers, BCI held a "Thank You Dinner" at the cave on July 25, 1993. BCI provided a b arbecue dinner Sunday evening for all volunteers who could att end They also presented awards to the volunteers who contributed the most time to the project. Bob Cowell from the B exar Grotto worked over 80 hours, which was more than any other volunteer. He was awarded an original Merlin Tuttle bat p h oto, which is scheduled to appear in a National Geo graphic article sometime in 1995. Many other cavers also received awards. R oad Improvement As the work trips began David Bamberger discovered (what we have known for years) that the road to the cave was beyond terrible. He brought in bulldozers, earth movers and an expert road builder, and we now have an excellent road all the way. It used to take 35 bone-jarring minutes to get from the gate on Bat Cave Road to the cave. Now it takes about !0 minutes. It is even safe to take good cars to the cave. D uring the Thank You party, I saw BMWs and Cadillacs Bat Flight Trips Summer trips have been very limited this year and will probably remain that way for years to come. The Bexar Grotto has entered a stewardship agreement with BCI that allows limited access to the cave in the summer months. During these trips, we perform grounds maintenance activities, and then watch the bat emergence. The trips are limited in both size and frequency, and flrst choice is given to those who provided v olunteer hours during the winter work trips Future Plans This winter, BCI plans to do more work at the cave site. T hey plan to leta local nursery mine guano during December T hen, starting in January, they plan to begin restoration on the two old buildings that are on the cave property. The mine shaft b uilding dates back to the late 1800s, and they are working w ith the Texas Historical Commission to obtain official recognition and certification of the shaft building. This building was constructed from solid cypress planks cedar timbers and square nails David Bamberger has purchased similar cypress planks from a dismantled building in New Orleans, and plans to use them to restore the building to as close to the original condition as possible. David has hired an expert to supervise the building restoration project, but much volunteer effort will be required to dismantle the buildings and then reassemble them. Besides the building restorations, other projects include the restoration of a rock wall that exists north and east of the cave sinkhole. There will also be more brush trimming to do as well as more trail work. BCI's long term plans for the site include the purchase of more property around the cave as it becomes available. They would like to obtain approximately 200 acres around the cave area and set up a nature preserve, where native plants and animals would be safe from the encroaching developments of San Antonio They might even hire a full-time resident caretaker to insure that the site is properly managed and protected. Volunteer Work Still Needed Bracken Bat Cave has been a popular site with cavers for many years. Over the past 15 years caver access to the cave has ranged from very easy to absolutely impossible. The volunteerresponse from cavers this past winter proves that we do appreciate being able to visit this cave and we are willing to help the owners protect and preserve the cave and the bats While summer access is still limited it is possible for volun teers to attend bat flight trips. So if you want to see the bat flights in the summer, plan ahead and attend a winter work trip this January I will be sending out flyers and calling around to drum up support when the tim e comes. If you do not hear from me before mid January, then call KurtMenking 210-6543014 or David Bamberger 210-690-5564 for information on scheduled work trips. Appreciation On behalf ofBCI, David Bamberger, and myself I want to give one more major THANK YOU to those who have already volunteered on this project. David]. Bamberger Thanks Volunteers After a Hard Day's Work September 1993 The TEXAS CAVER 59


. ,.' . REPiJllT DN' August 2 C8, 1993 By Gecnge and l(aren yepi > Introduction The lith International Congress ofSpeleology (ICS) was held in Beijing, China from 2-8 August 1993. The ICS is the official meeting of the Interna tional Union of Speleology (UIS the initials are based on the organization s name in French), of which the U.S A is a member nation through theNSS Since 1949 an ICS has occurred every four years in different countries ICSs are generally a lot like NSS conventions, with caving trips, scientific papers, meetings of special topic groups and committees parties and banquets Al though people from many different coun tries attend, most are sufficiently bior multi-lingual to communicate effec tively, and the rest enthusiastically ges ture and use broken bits of various lan guages to relate exciting cave finds. The Congress This year's ICS included cavers from 32 countries, but the total atten dance of 266 was much lower than nor mal ; 92 people were from China 26 from the U.S., and only 148 from the remaining countries. Several reasons account for the low turnout. First China has no cavers-at least not in the way we tend to think of cavers Chinese "spele ologists generally explore caves to as sess their worth as hydrologic resources and for s how cave development. Conse quently (and also due to a complicated bureaucracy), no wild caving trips were planned for the ICS, which turned off many cavers. A second problem was the expense of traveling to China, which is far from where most cavers live. The 60 lack of camping also required everyone to pay hotel and restaurant costs. Third, the ICS was planned for the same week as the NSS Convention, which kept sev eral U S cavers from participating. The fourth reason for the low attendance was a matter of organization. The British cavers' absence was conspicuous. Only two British families attended, while other Brit cavers boy cotted the ICS Individual cavers from several othernations (including the U.S.) took the same course of action. Many of these people had traveled or had close ties to people who had traveled in China, and felt the intricate Chinese bureau cracy would destroy the organizational efficiency and effectiveness of the ICS. China is also in hard pursuit of solid western currency, so some expected several unannounced expenses and costly related problems in services. The switch of the congress from its original Guilin location amid one of the world's most incredible karst landscapes, to the nation's capital of Beijing not only dis appointed many people but contributed to the unsettling feeling many had about the ICS. Had these dissidents attended this ICS, many of their expectations would have been fulfilled. It is not our intent to berate the Chinese hosts, but the organizational frustrations were a significant aspect of the ICS for most foreign participants and should be fairly reported. Examples include: Paying the ICS to arrange our travel within China, yet never receiving any confirmation despite three tele-The TEXAS CAVER Karen VeniDwarfed by the Stone Forest phone calls and two faxes (we left for China not knowing how we would get from our field trips to the confer ence) ; A registration process that dupli cated all pre-registration work; A registration-related refund in which the subtraction of just one number from another took four hour s to calculate; Papers that had been rejected from presentation before the ICS wer e found on the program, leaving the surprised authors unprepared to present them; Slide showing rooms, which wer e not dark, and lacked equipment or working equipment; Few people having (or willing t o give) an answer to basic service ques tions, and not knowing who to refer you to; and Field trips where half the time i s spent at unannounced "interesting places for shopping instead of the advertised destination. Many of these and similar problems were due to the convoluted bureaucracy and pres sure to tum a profit. Others wer e purely cultural. Most Chinese do not have a clear understanding of western needs and desires in styles for eating, touring, accommodations, etc. For example, "D o September 1993


Not Disturb" signs mean it is not okay for hotel staff to enter a room if they knocked and got no response. Many Chinese also have an apparent fear of responsibility, so requests for simple services and information are often met with "no," and few take the initiative to resolve even minor problems unless di rected by a superior. Although many attendees grumbled about these irrita tions, most realized it is unfair to criti cize a culture (ours must seem equally irritating to the Chinese), especially when our hosts clearly tried to over c ome the cultural differences and provide us with as good an ICS as possible. And the ICS was good. About 140 papers were presented, daily field trips toured various caves and cultural sites n e ar Beijing participants on week-long preand post -congress field trips visited some of the more far-flung parts of China and cavers from around the world shared information ideas, and tall tales i n the finest of spelaen traditions. The first day of the congress saw the usual formalities and opening ses sions. Bids for the next ICS in 1997 attracted the most interest. Brazil, Cuba, and Switzerland applied, and throughout the week people weighed the pros and cons of each bid and lobbied their country's delegate for their choice. Many cavers decided to forego the opening day's events to see some of the sites. We spent the day at the Forbidden City, the huge, opulent palace of China s past emperors featured in The Last E mperor. However, the film does not portray the massive hoards of people who now buffet and sweep you through the palace grounds. With China's popu lation of 1.1 billion, we found the jostling typical of many Chinese urban areas. This first day of the ICS ended back at the hotel with a welcoming reception dinner, the first chance to get a feel for who was attending the congress, to greet old friends, and to make new ones. August 3 4, 6, and 7 were domi nated by the sessions, including papers o n the usual topics of cave geology, biology, archaeology, and techniques. E x ploration papers were in short supply but some fine caving was described in s everal scientific presentations. Some S e ptember 1993 Cave-Riddled Tower Karst Along the Li River sessions covered topics less familiar to U.S. cavers such as "speleotherapy," the study of the medical use of caves. To the best of our knowledge speleotherapy has not been seriously practiced in the U.S for about 100 years, although it is still studied in some eastern and eastern European nations. Also offered during these days were cave book salesmainly Chinese due to the expense for foreigners to ship books to the ICS. Caving slide shows and videos played at night, with the audi ence voting on ballots "1" (excellent) "2 (okay), or "3" (poor) to select the best presentation. Brazilian Jose Labegalini won the slide competition. For two of the nights cavers could attend performances of the Chinese opera or acrobats. Midway through the con gress everyone had a break from the sessions and went on one offive full-day field trips. Almost everyone chose to climb aboard the buses heading for the Great Wall and Ming Tombs. On the last day of papers, we de cided on a trip to Yunshuidong ("dong" is "cave"in Chinese) about75 km south west of Beijing Buddh i st monks have known of the cave for several hundred years and built a small temple near its entrance In 1991 the cave was opened to the public. A one-hour hike leads 530 steep meters up a mountain to the entrance of the 613-m long cave. Yunshuidong is a 2to 4-m diameter The TEXAS CAVER passage intersected by four 50-m diam eter by 30to 50-m high collapse domes, the last of which featured a ghastly descent into hell. Dozens of life-size statues engaged in horrifying and gro tesque acts of torture lined the trail. Oddly it had a sick amusement park look to it and Michael Trepasso from Kentucky began singing It's a small world after all... The trail ended in a broad passage with a giant Buddha to offer salvation and ease the spiritual distress that tourists developed in the previous room (however you still had to walk through hell to leave the cave!). This last day ended with the tradi tional banquet marking the closing of the ICS. The usual toasts to interna tional friendship were made and caver socializing and business continued. One item included the formation of a UIS Commission on Anthropological Stud ies in Caves to develop standards and better communication lines among cave anthropologists archaeologists, and in terested cavers The first organizational meeting will be held during the 1994 NSS Convention in Texas (anyone want ing more information on the committee is welcome to write us at 11304 Candle Park San Antonio TX 78249-4421). On Sunday August 8 the 11th ICS ended. New officers were elected dur ing the closing session and Switzerland won the vote for the next ICS Swiss 61


cavers will attend the Texas NSS Con vention to present a program on their plans for 1997. Most people also left Beijing this day, either for home or one of the post-congress field trips The Field Trips The preand post congress trips were great opportunities to see some of China's magnificent caves and karst, and to get a feel for Chinese lifestyles. Most surprising were the similarities among the world's poorer nations. In the Americas, Europe, and now Asia, we found methods and styles in con struction, daily activities, interactions, and markets amazingly alike. Change the language and the look of the people and in some ways, it would be easy to mistake China for parts of Mexico Of course there are major differences, such as the totally alien language and the food, which was not as alien as we feared. Southern Yunnan Caves and Karst Our pre-congress field trip Jed to southeastern Yunnan Province, starting in the capital of Kunming and extending south to within 100 km of the Laos Vietnam border. The trip lasted eight days and included two Swedish cavers, three Swiss cavers, one Chinese driver, two Chinese interpreters, and us. Our hosts treated us like royalty, especially at mealtime. Lunch and sup per usually included over 20 tasty courses, although some dishes were strange to the western palatemost of us passed on the deep-fried bees. Our regal treatment also included meeting several local dignitaries. Mayors, directors of local agencies, and other community leaders often joined us for meals and in touring the caves and other sites, like Confucian temples and schools. Our first stop was a giant river cave called Jianshuidong or Swallow Cave, near the town of Jianshui. The main passage averaged 50-60 m high, 40-80 m wide, and the tour was 3 km long The cave is named for its resident swallows whose nests are collected seasonally as culinary delicacies. During the time the birds inhabit the nests, no collections are made, but to thrill the tourists, unbelayed climbers skillfully scale the wall to the ceiling to unfurl 10-m long bann ers saying (in Chinese) "Welcome 62 One ofSeveral Speleothems That Deco rate the Imperial Gardens of the For bidden City to Swallow Cave." The inside of the cave typified Chinese show caves: colored and unshielded lights, poorly lit trails, wall to-wall concreted floors, fountains, fluo rescent-painted speleothems, gift shops, restaurants, pre-set spots to have your picture taken by on-site photographers, twinkly Christmas tree lights, few (if any) guides to monitor visitors, unlim ited stairs to climb, and managers and tourism directors who repeatedly re minded us to spread the name of their cave around the world. Some aspects were better managed than others at the different caves, but in each case, the managers asked us for written com ments to improve their operation. We generally limited our comments to is sues of safety and cave protection. While in Swallow Cave, we were served horrible Bird's Nest Porridge and pretty good Bird's Nest Biscuits (which were more of a pastry than biscuit). The cave also had a Karaoke Bar, which is very popular inCh ina, and our interpret ers sang to cavers and tourists alike for about 15 minutes. The trip out of the cave was a 1-km long ride on gas powered "dragon boats." White Dragon Cavern (the dragon theme or name is very popular in China) near the town of Mile was our second The TEXAS CAVER cave. Its two dry and well decorated passages, each about a kilometer long, lacked much of the glitz of other caves. The tour formed a loop going to the end of the upper passage, then doubling back 20m lower through the near paral lel lower passage. Guides from the cave sang lovely traditional Chinese folk songs while we sat at a rest area. The Swiss cavers, who were constantly breaking into song throughout the trip, sang one of their national ballads. We were asked to sing but sheepishly de clined-the closest thing to an American folk song that we both knew was the theme to Gilligan's Island. Near the town of Luxi, we visited the Ancient Alu Caves. The guides describe them as four caves when in fact there are only two-the three sections of the first cave are interpreted as separate caves. The county's director of tourism remarked how impressed he was by Disneyland, and it shows in the caves. As tourists enter, they walk along a broad, red-carpeted passage where sing ers, dancers, and alpine-like horns her ald their arrival at Alu. Song and dance shows appear throughout much of the perfumed cave, and singers accompany you on the boat ride through the lower stream passage. The first cave runs the length of a karst cone and pops out where a ski-lift chair sweeps you across the valley to the second cave, located in a different cone. This cave is smaller than the first, lacks the song-and-dance acts, and also runs through the cone where the tour ends on the opposite side. Since there are few private cars in China, most visitors are picked up by their tour buses at this entrance. We next stopped at karst features near the town of Lunan. The Stone Forest is world renowned for its out standing pinnacle karst. Fluted spires of limestone rise over 30 m tall in tightly packed clusters within a 350 km2 area Narrow trails wind around, up, and through the pinnacles, which house some small caves-none more than 10m long. Abouta 15-minutedriveawaytook us to the Black Stone Forest, named for its darker limestone. While not as spec tacular as the Stone Forest, it was thor oughly delightful. A 300-m long show September 1993


cave with a stream runs under the forest. As the only visitors there, we enjoyed the relaxing absence of other tourists. Most tour buses run daily round-trips from Kunming to the Stone Forest and do not have time for anything else. In neighboring Yiliang County was our last and favorite cave of the Yunnan field trip Sleeping Dragon Cave It has colored lights, shops a stage show, and the other expected glitz but what made it special was great caver appeal We entered through a small hole which in t e rsects an immense stream passage. A rebar staircase snakes down the passage w all to a depth of nearly 100m, where a 10-m wide river rumbles along the opposite wall about 70 m away. The tour leads upstream past massive col u mns stalagmites, stalactites, and rim stone dams The water roars down a 1 00-m long stretch of rapids leading up to a thundering 20-m high waterfall. At the top of the falls, the cave is inter s ected by a karst window a 70-m diameter by 60-m deep collapse sinkhole The cave continues on the far side past a highly decorated section before reach ing its upstream entrance. The river flows into the cave from a 6-m wide by 40-m high gorge which is clearly a segment of collapsed passage. As a p leasant conclusion to the Yunnan precongress trip we hopped into small boats and rowed a few hundred meters along this gorgeous gorge. G uilin Area Caves and Karst The karst around the city of Guilin i n northern Guangxi Province is famous as perhaps the most beautiful landscape on the planet. We could not leave China w ithout seeing it so we planned it as our post-congress field trip. Twenty-six people joined the trip, which included t h e two of us from the U S. and others from Australia (2) Austria (5), Brazil ( 8), Cuba (3) Italy (2), Japan (1) Portugal (1), Switzerland (1), and Turkey (1). One of the Cubans was the NSS s new est honorary member, Prof. Antonio Nunez Jimenez. Unlike the Yunnan trip in which we were constantly moving from town to town we were based in Guilin and r e turned to the same hotel each night. A dditionally, our guide and interpreter was a karst geologist and an expert on September 1993 the area Dr. Zhu Xue Wen is a past head of China's Institute of Karst Geology and the current president of its Commit tee for Speleology He is a very warm and likeable fellow. When he toured the U S. in 1989 we hosted his visit to Texas, and it was wonderful to see him again Dr. Zhu (pronounced Joo") made the Guilin trip inexpensive yet comfort able for everyone by putting us up and feeding us at the Institute's hotel and restaurant. He also has a keen eye for photogenic scenery and would often stop the bus so photographers could climb out and get their shots. His tech nical information on the origin and his tory of the caves and karst was a breath of fresh air from the droll recitation of past cave guides who only pointed out features like "Centipede Frightened By Magic Mirror," "Dragon Playing With Tortoise, and Phoenix Trimming Its Feathers." The show caves of Guilin are smaller but better presented than in Yunnan. The in-cave shops and vaude ville acts are missing the trails are better defined and the lights are better shielded Most of the caves are short features that extend into or through nar row sections of karst towers. Seven Star Cave and Reed Flute Cave are excep tions. Both are well-decorated, but Seven Star averages 20m in diameter for its 2 -km length and Reed Flute is a huge room measured at 240m by 50-90 m by 10-18 m high. Cave shields a speleothem we have yet to find in Texas, are com mon in the Guilin caves. While the caves were pleasant, the focus of this trip was the superb karst landscape. Guilin's famous karst tow ers are vertical-walled hills that rise up to 300 m from an otherwise flat plain. Tourists commonly think the towers were shoved skyward by tectonic forces, but in fact cave and sinkhole develop ment gone crazy has leveled the land scape except for these monolithic senti nels. Most of the towers are riddled with caves, remnants of once extensive sys tems. In some areas giant sinkhol e s still rest between the towers, and are underlain by monstrously large, active caves Our tour of the karst led up to a The TEXAS CAVER mountain overlook and to several tow ers in Guilin which have been made into city parks. But the highlight of the entire trip was an ali-day cruise down the Li River. This splendid boat ride is a must for anyone visit ing China. It is rated as one of the top three natural wonders to see in China (the Stone For est and the soon-to-be-flooded Yangtze River Gorges are the other two). A private boat was hired for our group. For the first 1.5 hours, we drifted past towers and rice sprouting from the plains. Fishermen paddled nearby. each on a boat made of five bamboo poles lashed together. Ducks, cormorants, and water buffalo swam and waded along the river banks. By noon, the towers clustered together, separated by immense sinkholes, and the river gorge cut through them Unexplored dry caves were easily spotted up in the towers; water caves could be found by tracing the sources of waterfalls that joined the Li. The boat stopped for lunch at the entrance to the Guan Yan(Crown)CaveSystem, which was mapped at about 12 km long by a British expedition in 1985. Afterward, we continued downstream as the scen ery became increasingly incredible. We were stupefied and numb by the time we reached our takeout point at the town of Y anshuo and began our bus ride through more karst towers back to Guilin. Renections The congress was what we had hoped for-a forum for the development of friendships and the exchange of ideas with cavers from around the world, and an excuse to travel to a far-off and exotic land. Sure there were some problems, both with the ICS and participants ad justing to Chinese culture yet we have long since discovered that traveling re quires tolerance. Those who want things just as they are at home should stay home In this case, the price of tolerance rewarded us with the richest trip of our lives. Each day was filled with un dreamt of sights sounds smells and tastes. It is impossible to describe it all in a brief report but we hope to have given you a glimmer of China and the 1993 ICS. The next ICS is in four years. Start saving your money to attend. You will not be disappointed 63


rru:e or CO:U:A.:L, AND . .I 1ll4LL CQ;'VJNT:EES George Veni Introduction In 1976, I began caving in the Bexar County area and developed a natural interest in which caves were known and which areas remained unexplored. Initially, I casually col lected information but soon saw that a comprehensive survey of all Bexar County caves was needed. To develop this survey I spent much of the next 10 years searching through libraries and interviewing people around the state, besides doing a lot of caving. In 1988, this work culminated in my book The Caves of Bexar County, second edition. When the book went to press, I was temporarily living out of state and left the cave files with Randy M. Waters, who later passed them on to James Loftin, who passed them back to me earlier this year. Although I coordinate and compile the files, not only for Bexar County but now also for caves in Coma) and Kendall counties, they are a part of the Texas Speleological Survey (TSS) whose database is provided by and developed for use by cavers. The purpose of this report is to familiarize Bexar County area cavers with the database for Bexar and nearby Coma! and Kendall counties. With your continued help the database will continue to grow and en hance caving in the tricounty region. How the files are organized Each cave has two files. The first is a manilla folder containing maps, articles, survey data, and anything else ever published or hand-scrawled about the cave. The second is a computer file that is a synthesis of the folder file data with concise yet detailed write-ups on all pertinent topics, includ ing description, history, biology, geology, meteorology, ar chaeology, technique, and bibliography (these topics are discussed in detail later in this article). The format follows that of The Caves of Bexar County for easy future publica tion. There is little information on the computer file that is not in the folder. All information I can find about the caves is included in the files. Seemingly trivial data or reports have often proved valuable in later years. When I receive new information, I enter it into both files ASAP (usually the same day). Each computer file lists the date it was last updated, and a printout is placed in the folder. Besides the files on individual caves, I have also devel oped indexes and lists for each county. Indexes of all of a county's caves and their lengths and depths are prepared alphabetically by cave name and numerically by county survey number (Bexar County currently has 304 caves, Coma! has 141. Kendall has 158, and Tables I and 2 list the ten longest and deepest caves in Bexar County). An alternate names index contains past or less common names of caves. Another index is for "destroyed" caves, which includes caves paved over, filled with rock, dirt, trash, or concrete, and those blasted to bits (the chart on p. 66 compares the number of known and destroyed caves in Bexar County). This index is accompanied by an index of caves used for rubbish disposal. The destroyed and rubbish indexes also reflect caves that have been restored or washed open. Sometime this winter or spring, I will develop a "karst features" list, which will mainly include sinkholes (unassociated with known caves), holes too small for classi fication as caves ( <5 m long or deep), and solutionally enlarged fractures. This list will overlap with the current lead list, which not only covers potential caves but leads inside caves. The leads are arranged by topographic quadrangle and note special information or equipment that may be needed. My final list is of people I need to contact for information about certain caves or leads. The Bexar County files are organized a bit differently from the Comal and Kendall files. First, due to the earlier effort in publishing The Caves of Bexar County, the Bexar County files are better organized and data are more complete for each cave. This is even true for most caves discovered since the book was written thanks to more extensive continued cave research here. The Coma! and Kendal I County cave files are still largely incomplete and few synoptic descriptions have been written. I hope to begin correcting this situation by next spring. The second difference between the county files is that the computer files for Bexar County's caves numbers 1-208 are updates or corrections to the book, whereas com plete write-ups are provided for the county's recently found caves (numbers 209-304); only complete write-ups are made for the caves in the other counties. Access to the cave files The files are meant to assist and promote cave explora tion and research. To meet this goal, I believe it is vital that they be as accessible as possible. Generally, all that is needed is a phone call or a visit with me and the information flows freely. However, to protect the caves, cave owners, cavers, and the files themselves, there are some restrictions on access. 1) I have to recognize the person requesting information as responsible enough to treat the cave and its owners with respect, and to have the skills to cave safely. Novices are welcome to the files, but I will not lead them to caves where they might get hurt for lack of training or equipment. While I do not know every caver or scientist who might want access to the files, I do know many and can get recommendations for those I do not know. For most Bexar Grotto members, access is no problem. In every case, I will work with you as best as I can to provide the information you need. 2) A few cave files are not for distribution without special permission. Through my consulting work, I have had access to several caves on the condition that I tell no one about them without the permission of the owner. Other cavers have similar restrictions on the caves they have visited. All of this data is treated as strictly confidential. So how do you leam about these caves? If you are working in an area and will 64 The TEXAS CAVER September 1993


Table 1. Longest Caves in Bexar County Cave Name Surveyed Estimated Additional Length (m) Explored length (m) 1 Robber Baron Cave 1,336.0 90+ 2 Fair Hole 650.0 10+ 3 The Labyrinth 300+ 300+ 4 Wurzbach Bat Cave 512.6 10+ 5 Holmgreen's Hole 0.0 500+ 6 Schertz-Cibolo Cave 467.3 7 Dead Deer Cave 138.0 300+ 3 Stevens Ranch Cave No. 2 383.7 30+ 9 Logan's Cave 220.6 150+ !0 Corkscrew Cave 317.0 b e nefit from the data, I will call the owner or caver contact to s e e if I can get you in You will learn about the cave and my ef forts only if I am successful. While I do not like "secret c a ving,"! understand that on rare occasions it is necessary. So br, I have found this administrative technique effective at r;wtecting confidences while collecting sensitive information so the database can truly represent the area. Also, I will not g ive out cave leads pioneered by cavers who plan to pursue t h e m 3) If someone needs to photocopy information from the f o lder files I will gladly lend the data on the condition that it i;, immediately copied and returned. Too much irreplaceable d ata has already been lost through my earlier, more liberal lending practices. Additionally, someone else may need iilformation that would otherwise be sitting on your kitchen t a ble while you are off caving for the weekend. How to contribute to the files Any information contributed to the files is always wel come. Never assume I know about a cave or some detail since I am sitting on a ton of data. About 25 percent of the files contain information someone thought I already had. I wonder how much more is similarly drifting around? Most information is passed verbally to the filesa phone c ? JI to me or when I hear someone at a grotto meeting announcing a new find. Unfortunately, many believe an oral r eport is sufficient to document a cave or new passage It is not. Expect me to hound you for more precise and detailed information. My questioning will follow the format of The Caves or Bexar County. To prepare you for that questioning or should you wish to submit information in writing, I have prepared the following descriptions of the topics and details I will be looking for. L ocation. The most important single piece of information about a cave is an accurate location which identifies the cave independent of the names it may have. Of the 61 caves published in the original Caves or Bexar County in 1962, three were listed twice under different names, and one is not in Bexar County. A pinpointed dot on a topographic map is ideal, but a general topo location or a non topographic "how toget-there" map will suffice. As long as the cave can be found, the exact topo location can be determined later. Cave name. An exact name is needed for each cave. This may seem obvious or trivial, but sometimes exact names are not used and a cave may be confused with others having similar names. With over 600 caves in the tricounty area, precision and attention to detail are important in distinguishing them all. Owner/access. This includes the owner's name, address, and telephone number if known, if cavers are welcome, and if there is a set procedure for access, such as submitting a liability release form. If a certain caver is the owner contact, that caver's name, address, and phone number are also listed so that people requesting information on the cave, access, or the owner can be referred to the contact person. Description. Imagine that you were telling a friend about a cave you found. You would say what the entrance and passages were like, how big and how long, and how it ended (or if it did not end) Most likely you would also mention if it was decorated, wet or dry, and if the passages were easy -to travel dirt floors or tough-to traverse breakdown. You might even scribble a rough map of the cave. This is the type of information that is critical to the cave files. The difference between casually discussing a cave and documenting it for everyone to understand is small but important. In conversation, we often say things like a cave was "big," a pit was deep," or a passage became small. These terms are inexact and mean different things to different people. Some passages I considered "small 15 years ago, I now find "impassable." Descriptions of cave size should include your best estimates oflength, width, height, and depth in units of meters or feet. Names of passages or features should be marked on an accompanying sketch map. Maps should minimally contain the cave name, plan, profile, and cross sectional views, an approximate scale and north arrow, the name of the sketcher, and the date of the sketch. Do not be embarrassed if you are not artistically inclined ; any sketch is far more valuable than no sketch at all. When the cave is surveyed, a copy of the field survey notes and reduced survey data should be added to the files. followed by the cave map when it is drafted History. To better protect and manage a cave, a record should ideally be kept of every trip inside. In practice I strive for at Table 2. Deepest Caves in Bexar County Cave Name Surveyed Estimated Additional Length (m) Explored length (m) 1 Genesis Cave 78.0 6+ 2 Elm Springs Cave 56.7 3 Raging Cajun Cave 56.2 4 Hairy Tooth Cave 55.7 5 Corkscrew Cave 46.6 6 Dead Deer Cave 33.7 10+ 7 Tobacco Can Cave 36.3 8 L006erock Cave 35.5 9 Bullis Hole 35.1 10 Wbistledrop Cave 34.4 September 1993 The TEXAS CAVER 65


.---Rate of Cave Discovery & Destruction ---.. 1 Meteorology. For Bexar County caves this section usually mentions the presence of "bad air" (air with high levels of carbon dioxide). This section can also be used to note airflow, in addition to any measure ments of airflow, temperature, car bon dioxide, or humidity. Technique. This topic is reserved to discuss any hazards, equipment needs, or other exploration factors cavers should know. Things to men tion include (but are not limited to) if a cable ladder or rope (and how long a piece) is needed, recom mended rig points, if bad air makes the cave dangerous, if there is un stable breakdown, if only skinny people can enter, or if certain tools 350 300 250 Cl () 200 ..... 0 L. Cl 150 Jl E :I 100 z 50 Year !:ill Total caves known D Total destroyed least a record of major events in a cave's history, such as: Who discovered the cave or a new section, and when? What is the story behind the cave's name? Does graffiti or other activity at the cave predate its "discovery" by cavers? Who surveyed, gated, studied, or commercialized the cave and when? Biology. When I go caving, I usually carry a thumb-size jar filled with alcohol to collect cave animals. The species are identified by a biologist, and their names are entered into the cave's files. Even if you do not make such collections, you probably noticed if the cave had bats, crickets, "daddy-long legs" at the entrance, fire ants, raccoon droppings, and spi ders. Low-tech information like this is also important to the files, and can help biologists understand which caves are potentially biologically significant and worth closer study. Geology. A good cave location makes it possible to determine from a geologic map the rock unit in which the cave has formed. A good cave description allows some interpretation of how the cave was formed. Other useful tidbits include how large an area drains water to the entrance, how high the cave floods, the estimated flow of cave streams, and if passages are formed along fractures or bedding planes. If a cave is being surveyed, measurements of major fracture directions are easy to perform and very helpful. Archaeology/paleontology. Did you observe any historic or ancient human, cultural, or animal remains in a cave? Such materials are rare, important, and should not be disturbed except by specialists. Simply picking up and putting down an item can result in the loss of significant information. If you find such materials, photograph them in place with an object in the photo for scale, and then please report them ASAP. Given the owner's permission, I can help you find a reputable scientist to study the site. 1990 chart l1y Blake BaiT are needed to open a new passage. Bibliography. I keep track of tricounty area caves mentioned in most caving publications and in the San Antonio newspaper, but appreciate receiving copies of or information on other newspapers, magazines, and books that may also mention these caves. Additionally, if the caves are mentioned in some obscure corner of the caving mags or S.A. rag, I welcome hearing about it in case 'I missed it. A bibliographic reference list and copies of the reports is an invaluable asset in reconstructing a cave's history, and in projecting a sound plan for its long-term protection. While this process may sound technical and intimidat ing, it is not! Just provide whatever information you know, and you will help the database tremendously. Conclusions Worldwide, cavers develop databases as a means to simply caving and to protect and study caves. The TSS is such a database for Texas, and for its Bexar, Coma!, and Kendall County area, I have worked to make the database as up-to-date and accessible as possible. I have also tried to make it as easy as possible for cavers to contribute information; written information is wonderful but I am just as grateful for the opportunity to interview cavers for the data. The process I have described above seldom requires more than a 10-minute interview for a typical area cave. In a few months I expect to have forms available to make written contributions as effortless as possible. All contribu tors will be acknowledged in any future publication using their data, and of course, individual caver accomplishments will be credited in each cave's history. In future issues of The Bexar Facts, I will provide updates on the status of the tricounty cave surveys. These reports will be submitted two to six times a year and will summarize discoveries, news, and acknowledge the people making them. The frequency of the reports will increase with the number of discoveries and their contribution to the database. I hope to report to you often. 66 The TEXAS CAVER September 1993


The tripod is the one piece of photo gear that is an absolute must to obtain the sharpest photographs. It is one of the most bulky items the cave photographer carries under ground. The small light weight tripods tend to fall over while a good sturdy tripod is heavy and bulky. Since the tripod is not used for every picture, it becomes a heavy bulky albatross. The figures above and to the right show how to construct what I call a camera platform. It is made from a small piece of aluminum sheeting. I rounded the comers with a metal file and smoothed off all surfaces to insure no sharp edges. PLATFORM READY FOR CAMERA CAMERA MOUNTED VERTICALLY ON PLATFORM A l/4-inch hole was drilled in the center, and in each corner. A l/4-20 machine screw was forced into each hole. Thumb screws were placed in the four comer holes. Wing nuts were used to secure the thumb screws. The nuts are not abso lutely necessary. but locking the wing nuts down stabilizes the platform. I placed a short screw in the center and screwed it tight against the plate so it could not be removed. The camera is supported in the center of the platform by a camera tilt head. To turn the camera to a vertical position, it is necessary to use a short extension between the platform and the tilt head. I made a light weight extension from PVC pipe by gluing several sections together. One end of the extension has a l/4-inch screw, and the other end has a foot from an old flash unit. This simple platform can be carried in your cave pack or hung on your belt. It is very light weight and will not get in the way during long crawls. It can be placed on a rock, ledge, or any surface underground to provide a stable support for your camera. The thumb screws can be used to stabilize the platform on a rocky surface. September 1993 The TEXAS CAVER 67


THE TEXAS CAVER P.O. BOX 8026 AUSTIN, TEXAS 78713 BULK RATE U.S. Postage PAID Austin, Texas Permit No. 1181

Contents: PBSS
Continues Restoration in Carlsbad / Gralin Coffin --
Broken Leg Saga in Lechuguilla / Peter Jones --
World Depth Records Set in Cueva Cheve / Louise Hose --
A Regional Cave Rescue Seminar Comes to Pass / Joe Ivy --
Nine Cave Vandals Apprehended at Ft. Stanton Cave / Oren
Tranbarger --
The Vandalism and Restoration of Cave Without a Name /
George Veni --
New Owners of Bracken Bat Cave Have Big Plans / Kurt
Menking --
Report on the 11th International Congress of Speleology /
George and Karen Veni --
The Caves of Bexar, Comal, and Kendall Counties / George
Veni --
Camera Platform / James F. Jasek.


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