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: The Editor Speaks, again / Chris Vreeland -- 1996 TSA Winter Meeting: Powell's Cave / George Veni -- Grotto Reports / Tom Kaler, Jay Jorden -- Book Reviews / Bill Mixon -- Coordinator's Corner / Joe Ivy -- Notes on the Masterson Ranch / Mike Walsh -- Ukraine Underground 1995 Expedition / Ben Church --- The Inquisition / Joe Ivy -- Reports: Illusive Pit / David Locklear -- Earth Day Project, Colorado Bend Caving in San Saba County / Tom Kaler.
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Vol. 41, no. 02 (1996)
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See Extended description for more information.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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K26-04716 ( USFLDC DOI )
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THE TEXAS CAVER Volume 41, No.2 JUNE 1996 Articles 22 The Editor Speaks, again -C hri s Vre eland 24 1996 TSA Winter Meeting: Powell's Cave -Geor g e Veni 26 Grotto Report s -Tom Kaler Ja y Jorden 27 Book Reviews -Bill Mixon 29 Coordinator's Corner -Joe Ivy 30 Note s on the Masterson Ranch -Mik e Wals h 32 Ukraine Underground 1995 Expedition -Ben Church 41 The Inqui s ition -Joe Ivy 41 Trip Reports: Illusive Pit -David Lo ckle ar; Earth Day Project, Colorado Bend & Caving in San Saba County-Tom Kaler Alternating Editors: This Issue C hri s Vreel and 301 W 5th Aus t i n TX 7 8 701 (512) 447 59 87-H o m e (512) 474 170 9 Work vr eeca v e @ a ol.c o m Next Issue Terry Holsinger 1007 A Milford way Austin TX 78745 ( 512) 443 -4241 holsinger @ i-link net Pr oofread ing ...... ........ ........ Katie Arons Joy Kennedy P age L ayout ................ .Tim St ich and Chris Vreeland P rint i n g ...... ................... . ............ ...... .... .Terry Raines Cave Rescue (800) 686-692-0234 In Mexico call collect (21 0) 686-0234 The Texas Caver i s a qu a rt erly publi catio n o f th e T exas Sp e l e ol ogica l Assoc i atio n ( T SA) a n int e rn a l o r g ani zatio n of th e Natio n a l Sp e leol og ical Associatio n (NSS). I ss u es are publi s h e d in M a r c h Jun e S e ptemb er, and D ece mb er. Subscribe! r a t es arc $ 1 5 p e r yea r for four i ss u es of th e T ex a s C av er. Thi s include s a m e m be r ship in t h e T SA. Out of s t a t e s ub sc rib e r s libr aries and othe r ins tituti o n s ca n r ece i ve Th e T exas Caver for th e sam e ra t e ($ 15/year). Se n d c h eck o r m o n ey orde r w ith m a ilin g address t o T h e Texas C ave r P .O. Box 8026 A u s tin T X 78723 Submit! Mail, fax o r e -m ail a rti c l es o r trip r e p o rt s (p h o t os e n co ur age d ) t o e ith e r edito r ( ad dr esses at left ) o r J ay J o rd e n Pu blicatio n s Dir ecto r 1518 D evo n C ir c le. D allas, Texas 752 1 7-1205 56 5 1 968@ M Clma ( p re ferr ed). j ay. jord e n @ c hrysalis.or g ZDFX23A @pro o r 734 77, I 005 @C o mpu Se r m Front C o ver: A l e j a ndr o Vill ago m ez in th e e ntr a nce to Cu eva P te r a d ac t yl. P o tr e tTO R e d o nd o M ex i co. An o n y m o u s Ph o to g r a ph e r T a k e n w ith C hri s V r ee l and's ca m e r a Ins id e Front Cover Bill Mixo n w h e r e th e Entr a nce M aze m ee t s Th e C r ev i ce P owell's Cave. Ph o t o b y C hri s V ree l a nd


r Speaks, by Chris Vreeland Cave preserves are a good thing Every time a cave is placed in the hands of someone willing to pro tect it, it's a victory for us. It's a victory for the bugs and the bats. It s a victory for our groundwater resources. Getting anything done at all is no small feat, and my hat s off to the T.C.C. for their recent accomplishments in exploration and preservation. The recently dedicated Webb/Shahan Cave preserve is a worthy example of progress in this time of landowner suspi cion and paranoia. Fortunately, Happy Shahan was a landowner friendly to cavers, who was genuinely interested in the preservation of his caves. Although he recently p asse d away, the groundwork had been laid during the '94 conven tion for a fruitful relationship with his wife Virginia and the great folks who run Alamo Village. The T.C.C. obtained a management contract for the cave this spring and set out to do it right. A work day at the project site was advertised in the TSA newsletter a few weeks in advance, and the turnout seemed good, with people coming and going over the course of a busy three-day caving weekend. Several stopped in on their way to 0-9 Well and visited a few of the open caves in the area. Others took advantage of a good day to do some ridcre walking and caving, then camped together at Chalk Campground on the Nueces river. I didn t arrive until about 9:30 Saturday night bemoan ing having missed a rare opportunity to visit Midnight Cave. Although we never did an exact headcount it see ms that when I pulled in there must have been 40 or 50 cavers, some from San Antonio celebrating a birthday and others from all over god s brown earth, wandering from campsite to camp site. Some people headed elsewhere Sunday morning but the majority of us headed the hour west to Alamo Village When I got to Webb Cave around 10:30 Mike Wal s h was already zealously pointing in all directions and issuing commands. Most of the day he seemed like a n expectant father, running back and forth, a little too excitedly for those amongst us who were still recuperating from Saturday night. Turnout was good early on. I d estimate that at the peak, we had 25 or 30 people at the site before the sun began to take its toll. Parking-lot-making, trail-building and sign-erecting ( thanks to the wonderful sign built and donated by Eddy Boyd) took place at a first feverish then diminished pace Around noon the first groups began heading into the cave to take a break sightsee, and cool off. Webb is an impre ss ive cave ; it's quite fun to walk above on the s urface with its five very pretty pit entrance s of varying depths. There are two deep pits about 150 feet apart one The Texas Caver June 1996 of which was used to raise out guano on a boom back when th e cave was being mined the other being cunently occu pied by a rather large colony of hone y bees. Two of the three shallower pits were climbable and the third h ad a ladder which was by far the easiest means of e ntranc e and egress. although there were tho se present who could not r es ist han cr. b mg a rope down the main pit (always much mor e fun than boring old ladders!) I overheated around 2:30 and spent about an hour in the cave, just so rt of wandering around in the twilight. Jim and Patty Kennedy were checking out the bats (suprise), and I followed them around because Jim had theReally Big Light. We poked our heads into the crawlway which leads to the back part of the cave and the main bat roost but the air was rather stale and we opted to turn around after about 30 feet. Back on the surface trail-building was winding down and I took a break to go fossil-hunting, after see ing Andy Grubbs return from the bushes with the most unusual assort ment of fossils I had seen. The cave is formed in the Buda limestone which is full of these neat little iron pyrite clamshell things. If you want to get more technical, call Andy. Mike managed to convince a s mall minority of u s to stick around until the bitter end, which included the dedica tion ceremony and the bat flight. People from the s urround ing area began arriving at the preserve around 7 : 00 p .m., in their Sunday finest. Virginia Shahan and about thirty of her friends and family showed up to listen to Mike talk about the cave, Happy Shahan what the preserve was for, and to watch the bat flight. We gathered around the main entrance at du sk and waited what seemed an eternity, until finally just as we were beginning to think that there wouldn t be a bat flight at all they beg a n to emerge. This was a s pecial bat flight for me because we were able to s it so close to the entrance. Estimates vary on the number of bats, but it was defi nitely a healthy thriving population somewhere in the neighborhood of I 0-20 000. On the way back to camp, it definitely felt good knowing that they would be able to con tinue to thrive and that I had been a part of preserving their home .Mike Walsh and Eddie Boyd instal/the sign.


1996 TSA Winter Meeting: Powell's Cave b y G e orge V eni Lif e n o t pro cee din g planne u. Dave McClun g calle d m e in mid Januar y 1 996 t o if the Texas Sreleological (TSAJ w int er me e tin g co uld b e h eld in co njun ctio n w ith the Pow ell' s Cave pr o j<.:ct. Othe r ort i o n s had falle n throu g h and th<.:r<.: was littl e tim e f o r him t o arran ge any thin g <.:Is<.:. Since it m e ant a l o t mor e c aver s co ntribut Tec1111 1 0 1111destakes Js surve Y ing t o the rroj ec t b e f o r e discu ssing business and politics, s a w n o r easo n to refu se. It did m ean a littl e more work for Terr y H o lsin ge r in or g anizi n g the 20 t e am s that ente r ed the c ave. and for 111<.: in having t o write m o r e in this report but it w a s well w orth the e x tra ellorl. A r ecordt ying Ill cavers arri v<.:d for the 24-25 February 1996 w ee kend The record was s<.:t durin g Proj ec t 72 in 1 964: the r e cord for the resur vey proje c t had previou s l y been 72 c a ve r s during the F e hru ;try 1992 trip. N early eve r yo n e from thi s huge crowd went under g round and added t o the exp l o rati o n and survey of Texa s sec onu l o n ges t cave. Team I : Durin g the 7 ye ars o f the resurvey pr o j ec t ther e had b ee n ] or 4 trip s to The Stream t o r es urv ey up s tn : am from T h e Crev i ce. Eac h trip had fall e n v i c tim to e quipm ent failur<.:s or insuffi c i ent experi ence of its t eam memb e r s Eric John. S t eve K ese lik. Jimm y Mcintir e. Ju s tin Shaw. ami J oe Sumhera did a fine job br e aking the jinx. In X.5 h ours they s ur veye d ]] s tati ons f o r a distance of about 500 111. and found a co uple of s hort side pas s ages. Whil e they had hoped to quit at -Hl s tations. they r e tir e d ear l y w h e n fog gin).! ins trum ents be came too diffi c ult to r e ad a cc ur ate l y Team 2 : Much further up s tr e am. Wa y ne Bockleman. Don Bnlltssard. Greg G r ego ry. and Mar y Thie s s e push e d the breakdown at the mo s t distal known portio n o f the cave. The y g;tinc d ; 1 hard won m e ter durin g the ir 1 2 5-hour trip. and eo ttld St'C at lea s t ; ulllth c r half m e t e r that n eeds digging Ciood airflow cu ntinue s t n g uide the ir efforts towa;ct tl;e l \ 'C ittual eunncc tion with 1 6 -kmlong Silver Min e Cave. Team J : In the d o\\ n s trcam part of The Str eam Mik e C urrie Den ver Hnpkin s and I returned t o co ntinu e o ur s ur \ 'l'Y this time joined h y Robert C ampbell. W e b egan w h e r e the S 1 1\ la;e l'll llltc cts t o The Stream. then surveyed 1 3 s ta tion s down stre;1111 to tic in the han ging s ur vey which co ntin ues dm, n t o the s ump E nr nutc. we Sl't 1 7 othe r s tati o n s in a s hort s i L k passage itllo hr ca kduwn. a 2 0 m l o n g up per l eve l passage. a 7 -111diantctl r room a met e r ab o e stream l evel. and the adjacent Root Route although I initially didn t recognize it as suc h thinking it was fur ther downstream One or two more trips will be needed to finish this and other side passages in this p a rt of the cave. However, we did com plete the s urvey of 258 m during our 8.5-hour trip. Team 4: Bruce Johnson led Meriel Followell, Yico Jone s Julie Kocsis Chris Murray, Gary Napper, a nd Jessica Snider through The Crevice Most team members were new t o Powell s and new to cav ing and this trip was used for sur vey training, and a general familiarity with thi s complicated cave Teams 5 and 6: Dal e Barnard led two teams to the HR s urvey. Although the area has already been resurveyed cavers on recent trips have found additional passages embarrassingly miss ed by former re s urvey crews. Once in the HR Dale Amber Currie, Michelle K a rle Pat Perry and Dennis R enner formed one t ea m and Terry Burgan, Rus s Johnson and Curtis Vau ghn formed a nother. Together they double checked the ex i st ing r es urvey added about 55 m of new sur vey from newly push ed s ide passages and resketched areas as n eeded durin g their 7-hour trip. Team 7: Marvin Miller continued his SH ("Spe leo Heaven") Survey with the help of Justin Freeman, Gary Mahan, Bobby Moore a nd D a n Sharon They finished the lower SH area, then s urveyed up into the Jen ga Passage ," b eyond which on The Other Side ," th ey found lot s of going pa ssage to s urv ey and po s sible dig leads for their next trip. During the ir 9 5-hour trip they added 89 m of s ur vey to the c av e Teams 8 and 9: Paula Bauer a nd artist-caver Robin Wi I son plann e d to tr ek the cave and render drawing s that capt ur e an esse n ce of the und e rground that i s missing in s ur veys and l ost in photos. However, their sad duty and that of the t ea m of Donna Anderson Patty Kennedy a nd Donna Mos es mann became the documentation of g raffiti r ece ntly left in the cave. Names and other m a rking s had been scra t c h ed and s pray paint ed into a nd o nto the cave walls s inc e the last project trip in lat e October 1995 At lea s t one name wa s lat er r ecognized from a lawn se rvice card left on the bulleti n board o f a l oca l restaurant. Some cavers wanted t o imm ed iat e l y co nfront the vandal and press c harge s but coo l h eads prevailed. so the cave owner could first be con s ult e d o n how h e wanted to handle the s itu at i on. 24 Jun e 1996 The Texa s Caver


Team 10 : Eliz a b e th Campb ell, J a m es L o ft i n R e b ecca O D a niel and D av id P ea r s on pu s h e d a nd s ur veye d so m e o ve rlook e d l e ad s in th e so uthw es t part o f th e 3 S M aze. Th ey se t 24 s t a tion s w hil e s ur veying 143 m Th ey du g o p e n w h a t turn e d out to b e a c onn ectio n t o a kn ow n p assage but o th e r promi sing le a d s r e m a in t o b e pu s h e d Th e team ca rri e d out so m e tra s h l eft b y v and a ls, inc ludin g a can o f s pr ay p a int. Team 11: Robin C o p e, G eorge F a u s t J ay J o rd e n Bill Mi xo n a nd Chri s Vr ee l a nd b ega n th e SSS di g, a l s o in th e 3 S s ection of th e m a z e Th ey wo rk e d f o r a b o ut 3 5 h o ur s a nd m a de an es timat e d 4-5 m o f h ea d way. Th e di g co ntinu es with moder a tel y l oo se fill and no end in s i g ht. A f t e r war d Robin a nd Geor g e pu s h e d quit e a lon g w ay up Th e Cr ev i ce, s i g ht see in g in a f e w s ide p ass a g e s alon g th e way a nd final l y e x ited the c ave tir e d but happy Team 12: S a r a Die r k Jennifer H a r g ro ve, B o nni e Longley, Christa McLeland a nd Chri s Sobin h e ad e d to th e SM Surv e y to s ur vey and expl o r e a p assa g e found durin g th e October 1995 trip on th e oppo s it e s ide o f Th e Stream from it s inter s ection with the SM. Amber Currie a nd Vi c o Jone s s plintered off from their r es p e ctiv e t e am s and joine d th e m Unfortun a tely the team di sc overed s om e di sc rep a nci es in the m a p ( they wer e navi gating with a port io n o f the map from the old ori g inal s ur ve y of the c ave) a nd n eve r f o und thei r de s tination. After more than 3 hour s o f se ar c hing the y e m e rged without s urvey to s how for their p a ins, but s till found the cave wonderful. Team 13 : K a te a nd Pete Baron Rob e rt Lewi s a nd Jennifer Well s w e nt to th e Hell Hole area t o e x cav a t e a l ead with air flow. Unfortun a tely the dig was not dig g able bec a u s e th ere w as no room to put th e debris, e xcept to blo c k th e ir w a y out of the cavea digging techniqu e th a t i s gen erally not recommended Findin g no n e w c a v e to s ur vey, th ey photo g raphed part s of Th e Cre v i ce, a nd th e H ell H o l e a nd Witch's C a uldron areas. Team 14 : A se cond team to th e H ell H o l e a r ea co n s i ste d of L eslie Cald e ron Marc Greth e r Chri s toph e r J agge, Chri s Moo r e, Tin a Schmid a nd C a th e rin e Th o rnt on. Durin g th e ir 7-hour trip they ch ec k e d a l e ad th a t s till n ee d s m o r e digging th e n joined T ea m 13 's phot o t o ur. Team 15: Andy Grubb s, Niki L a k e a nd G ordo n W a id enjoye d a t r ip up The C r e v i ce t o Th e W e ll. Th ey r es ur veye d 3 s t atio n s a nd s k e tch e d th e p ass a ge co nn ec tin g th ose a r eas. Team 16: Chri s H all a nd Jim K e nn e dy s ur veye d a 6 -m l o n g p assage th a t l ea d s off The Crevice, whil e n ea rb y the ir t ea mm a t es Zac h M c D o nald D o nni e R o l a nd Arthur S c h wa r z a nd Bru ce W a t so n du g a t a l ea d Th e p assage was eve ntu a lly o p e n e d a nd s ur veye d a nd found t o l oop b ack t o Th e Crev i ce a ft e r 1 8 m Team 17 : D o u g All e n a nd Mik e W arto n w ith ass i s t a n ce f ro m D ave M c Clun g and othe r s, drill e d h o l es int o the co ncr e t e cul ve rt s whi c h will b e u se d t o s t a bili ze the ca v e s e ntr a n ce Ch ains will l a t e r b e thr ea d e d thr o u g h the h o l es so the c ulv e rt s can b e h o i s t e d and l owe r e d int o t h e pit. Afte r wa rd D o u g and Mik e du g a t a l ea d in the E ntr a n ce M aze bu t it connec t e d t o a n upp e r l eve l tha t had a lr ea d y b ee n s ur veye d Oh we ll. . mayb e n e xt tim e. Team 18: J e rr y A tkin so n Alla n Co bb D o n C oo p e r Bill Elli ott, and C hri s a nd K e ith H e u ss c h ec k e d a di g l ea d in th e E as t Broa d way a r ea Th ey d ecide d th e dig wo uld t a k e a garga ntu a n effo rt f o r pr o b ably littl e r et urn in n ew p assage a nd so it was a b a nd o n e d Th e g r o up the n t o ur e d Th e C r ev i ce t o Th e Str ea m as well as p o rti o n s of th e E ntr a n c e M aze Bill bi o l og i ze d a n d J e rr y geo l og i ze d co mpl e tin g a ro u ghly m ea s ur e d sectio n of th e s tr a t a in th e a r ea a nd t aking a r oc k sa m pl e f rom th e m aze for a n a l ys i s Th e t ea m ex it e d aft e r a b o ut 4 h o ur s und e r g r o und Team 19 : Eri c C oo k a nd K evin Thu ese n ass i s t e d b y D ea n L ee a nd D o n R oss co n t inu e d th e ir s tud y of t h e r e l a tion s hip o f T exas R a t Sn a k es in th e e ntr a n ce o f th e c a ve, with th e b a t s th ey f ee d o n as th e b a t s m a k e th e ir nig h t l y e xits. No s n a k es we r e fo und durin g thi s wint e r t r ip but in th e m aze n ea r th e e ntr a n ce, th ey co unt e d a b o ut 2 0 E a s t e rn Pipi s tr elles a nd 100 M yot i s ve lif e r b a t s Team 20: Bill a nd K a th y K oe r sc hn e r and Bill St e ph e n s continu e d th e ir s ur vey of the G a mm a Qu a dr ant o ff th e LL m a z e w ith th e h e lp of Will H a rri s Aft e r 28 1 5 m of v ir gin p assage was explo r e d a nd s ur veye d th e a r ea w as so rt o f fin i s h e d e xc e pt for so m e p oo r to r easo n ably wo rth w hil e dig l e ad s Th e G a mm a Qu a dr a nt was fo und to turn b ac k t o w a rd th e m ain p art o f th e cave a nd end a t a breakd o wn co n e, whic h th ey s u s p e ct i s a colla p se t h at ex t e nd s t o th e s urf ace b as ed o n evide n ce o f seaso n ally infl owing wa t e r a nd a irflow. Th e ir trip l as t e d 1 3.5 h o ur s In s umm a ry, a bun c h o f lt:a d s we r e pu s h ed a nd c h ec k e d s om e big scie n ce w as co mpl e t e d and ab o ut I I 00 m o f s ur v ey w e r e a dd e d t o the cave. P o w ell' s Cave i s n o w 24.8 km lon g Terry H o l singe r m a d e my j o b o f r e p o rtin g o n th e trip much e a s i e r b y g ivin g th e t ea m l ea d e r s Po w ell's C a v e Sur vey Pr o j ec t R e po rt forms t o f ill w ith t h e d e t ails o f the ir e x pl o it s N early eve r yo n e pr ovide d ple nt y o f inf ormatio n includin g l ocatio n s of b a t s i g htin gs whic h may p rove u seful in und e r s t a ndin g th e dis tributi o n of b a t s in thi s co mpli ca t e d cave. I a ppr ec i a t e th e cave rs' e ff orts in fillin g o ut the forms in d e t a il. I a l so wa n t t o t h a nk eve r yo n e f o r the ir p atie n ce and und e r s t a ndin g in o ur n o t h aving a ca mpfir e thi s t rip du e t o the ex tr ao rdin a ril y dr y co n ditio n s On Sunday m o rnin g TSA a nd r e pr ese nt atives of o th e r caving o r ganizatio n s h a d the ir m ee tin gs whic h will p ro b a bly b e r e porte d in d e t ail e l sew h e re. A f ew p eople did qui c k t o uri s t trip s int o th e cave durin g all th e p o liti c kin g t h e n eve r yo n e d e p ar t e d with the w arm fee lin g of a goo d c a ving wee k e nd. To join the Powell' s Cave Project: Cave r s of all s kill l eve l s a r e welco m e a t Powe ll's. M a n y of o ur s ur vey trip s include teac hin g n e w cave r s t o s ur ve y Th e r e a r e a l so l o t s of dig s t o b e du g, and w ith a m aze lik e Po w ell's, o n e br ea kthr o u g h c a n l ea d int o m a n y pla ces w h e r e n o o n e h as go n e b efo r e. Fo r m o r e informatio n o n the P owell's Cave P r o j ec t co nt act T e rr y H o l singe r I 007 A Milfor d W ay A u s tin T exas 78 7 4 5 ,512-443 424 1 The Texa s Caver Jun e 199 6 25


Grotto Reports Central Texas Grotto b y Tom K a l e r Th e Ce ntr a l T exas Grotto was first organized in late 1 994 and was c h ar t e r ed w ith the NSS in June of 1995 (G# 400). We h ave me e tin gs the second Friday of every month in Lampa sas, Texas. There a r e currently 25 dues-paying members, and we u s u ally h ave close to 20 cavers at our meetin gs. D ece mb e r 1 995, we h eld o ur annual election of offi ce rs. Tom K a l e r wa s e l ec t ed Chairman Ken Langley wa s r ee l ec t ed Vice C hairm a n and Pat Copeland was reelected Sec r e t a ryrrr eas ur er. In Fe bru a ry 1 996, we s t ar t e d our own n ews letter C TG Upda t e, which i s publi s h e d monthly. In Ap ril, we h eld a l ogo d es i g n contes t for the CTG To m Kale r's d es i g n was picke d for our l ogo, while Ed Boyd's desi g n was m a d e int o a n officia l CTG T-shirt. In May. the C TG h eld a S ur veying and M a ppin g Work s hop in the r es t o red Sa nta Fe R a ilr oa d dep o t ( 1902 ) in downtown Lampasas. Mik e Warton was the instruc t or. T h e Ce ntr a l T exas Grotto ha s s p o n so r ed two trip s to Co bb averns t o d o r es t oratio n and s urv eying. Cobb C averns was a s h ow cave from 1962 to 1970 and i s located in Williams o n Co unty. Work trip s were h eld in February and Jun e o f 1 996. W e r e m oved all the e l ectrica l wires tha t were o n ce u sed t o light the cave, as well as seve ral d ebris pile s (wood ash es and ca rbid e dump s). A man-m a d e rock wall was a l so r e m oved. as w ell as a thi ck acc umul atio n of dirt a nd rock fro m the e ntran ce s t e ps. We h ave s t ar t e d cleaning mud otT of the w hit e f ormat i o n s in the back p a rt of the cave that had been tracked in b y pr ev iou s cave rs. We h ave also s tart e d s ur veying the cave as it has n e ver b ee n co mpl ete ly mapp ed and the map that do es exi s t l ac k s detail. O n the second wee k end o f Mar c h thr ee of u s went caving in an S aba co unty. so uth of Richland Sprin gs Whitefa ce C ave was visi t ed. a s well as Travi s Cave and an unnam ed (yes Virgi n1 ) cave W e a l so go t in so m e ve rti ca l practice o n so m e cliffs a l o n g the San Saba River In April o ur g r otto again h eld a n Earth D ay Pr o j ec t o ut at Colorado Bend State Park. 23 people from several differ ent grottos participated We lead public tours to Gorman Cave Gorman Falls and Gorman Spring. 132 people (13 groups) were taken on a tour of Gorman Cave. We had cav ing gear and literature on display at the Conference Center, with Pat Copeland and Jim Kennedy (BCI) doing slide pro gram s on cave conservation and bats The grotto also partic ipated in a trash cleanup of Icebox Cave and restoration work in Lemon's Ranch Cave On Memorial Day weekend in May, the CTG and the Texas Cave Conservancy held a joint trip to the Camp Wood area. Camping was at Chalk Bluff on the Nueces River. On Saturday, several groups explored the following caves: High Heaven, Baylor's Crossing, Jeane's Wish, David's Throne, Turkey Pen and several unnamed caves. Later that night, the TCC held a Founders Dinner in Camp Wood On Sunday most people went to Alamo Village to help with the TCC's Webb/Shahan Cave Preserve. A trail was constructed to the cave, a sign was erected a parking lot was cleared off, and a picnic table was installed On Monday, a small group spent several hours surveying Black Mother Scorpion Cave. In July the CTG hosted a booth at the Spring Ho Festival in Lampasas. We displayed educational literature, caving and vertical gear, bat houses and played videos on caves and bats. We got some leads from people coming by a nd talking about a cave or sinkhole on their property Several people were interested in joining our grotto; one woman said she used to cave in Indiana and still had all her gear. We even had a teacher and a Girl Scout Troop leader who wanted someone to come by and give a presentation on caves and caving to their groups Summer plans include a Labor Day weekend trip to Endless, McKittrick, Sand ABC, Wind (Hick's), Helen s and Christmas Tree Caves. We will also be continuing with our restoration/survey project at Cobb Caverns Also, verti cal practices are being held every month out at the old Regency Suspension Bridge, between Brownwood and San Saba. Maverick Grotto b y Ja y Jorden The grotto secretary started Augu s t's D a llas-Fort Worth Grott o meeting with introduction of visitors old business and trip reports. It was announced that the grotto's Rites of Fall i s sc heduled for 5-6 Oct. in conjunction with the Ma ve rick Grotto s tenth anniversary s hindig at Keller's R a nch Plan s were m a de for a mailed notice to grotto mem-26 June 1996 The Texas Caver


bers along with a map to the site new since the M& W went south for the spring Members were encouraoed to brino a 0 0 dish. Swimming a sauna and other attractions were possible along with as many as three (3) cooks. Bruce may cook faji tas. Russell Hill may have a surprise Rich Knapp and Shannon Sikes announced their mar riage and a honeymoon caving trip. The reports included Onyx and Cumberland caves War Eagle and other attrac tions Dave Milhollin recalled his experiences in the Carlsbad area. Donna Mosesmann was also in the CaCa vicinity. Much restoration has been done in the cave The exploits of Mrutha McArthur were recounted. Grotto members met up with Mike Queen, who has been studying geology in the area. (The author also saw him in New York State during a caving trip there in September. Please watch for a future trip report on it.) Troy Shelton, John Brooks "Danger Don Metzner, Woodrow Thomas and others went to Central Texas on a classic "near-bum trip.'' But the truth was that they did some caving-not just ridge-walking. Some caves mentioned were Kickapoo, Telegraph, Rose Deep etc. Twenty-six big black scorpions were seen somewhere along the way. Also Troy went with Dave to Mexico for some cave diving train ing. Other trip reports included Fitton Cave in Arkansas and Cobb Cavern in central Texas. Sheila Knight gave a report on her trip with Jay to the NSS Convention in Salida Colo. It was a good convention with some caving, lots of mountain climbing and whitewater rafting, along with many other fea tures. Grotto chairman Dave Cave then joined in. Dave gave a report on progress with the hot tub, which could actu ally be under construction! Barbe Barker said the grotto has money in the bank T-shirts are selling well, she said with only about 20 left. Mike Pearson announced that, effective with the December newsletter, he is resigning as editor of the O z totl Caver He was thanked profusely for his editorial service to the club with several pointing out it's a difficult job The grotto chairman opined, You know, editing a newsletter can kill a good man .... For the program, the Texas Speleological Survey's video of cave surveying featuring Peter Sprouse was shown. The August meeting included several visitors who swelled attendance to about two dozen people After adjournment, the crowd gathered at Taco Cabana south of Interstate 635 at Webb s Chapel. .-. Book Reviews The Cave Beneath the Sea: Paleolithic Images at Cosquer. Jean Clottes and Jean Courtin Harry N. Abrams New York ; 1996 200 pp hardbound $60 Dawn of Art: The Chauvet Cave. Jean-Marie Chauvet, Elliette Drunel Deschamps, Christian Hillaire Harry N. Abrams, New York ; 1996. 135 pp hardbound. $35 Also published as Chauvet Cave: The Discovery of the World's Oldest Paintings by Thames and Hudson London for (Brit. pounds) 29. by Bill Mixon After a lapse of many years during which no major new paleolithic art caves had been found in Europe, the discov eries, in 1991 and 1994, of Co s quer Cave, entered by a cave dive along the Mediterranean coast of France and Chauvet Cave in the Ardeche region in southeastern France in 1994, caused much excitement. Not only are their paintings impressive in qu a ntity and quality but subsequent C-14 dat ing has shown tha t they are also the oldest dated cave paint ings. Some of the Chauvet Cave drawings of animal s are about 30,000 years old ; some art in Cosquer is 27 000 years old although the painted animals in Cosquer date from a more recent period about 18, 000 years ago Compared to other paleolithic art caves in southern Europe Chauvet i s notable for numerous drawing s of lions and rhinoceroses. Cosquer h a s the only drawing s of auks (initially reported in the English press as penguin s ) These two books are very similar in format, which is that of the classic "coffee table'' art book : heavy paper large pages, and color photos on almost every page The Cave Beneath the S e a is a tran s lation by Marilyn Garner of the French La g rott e Cosqu e r (Seuil Paris: 1992) not the same book as the much inferior one with the same title by Henri Cosquer, the dis coverer of the cave The authors are profes sional archaeologist s for the French government and the book is the more technical of the two in terms of detailed description s of the art s o far inventoried and photographed But the text doe s include a his tory of the dis covery of the cave and the expedition s to it up to the time of writing The The Texas Caver June 1996 27


only entra n ce i s a s u bme r ge d p assage a b o ut 500 f ee t long tha t i s e nt e r ed a t a d e pth of 1 20 fee t in the Medit e rr a nean Sea Th e paint e d roo m s the m se l ves a r e parti ally s ubmerged as the s ea h as rise n hundr eds of feet since the painting s were mad e, at a time w h e n the wate r was a half-d oze n mile s a way So study of the cave and its art i s n o t exactly easy. Com p a r ed t o the book s o n cave art that were published 20 o r 3 0 yea r s ago, thi s o n e contains much l ess wild s pecu l atio n about the m otives of the a rti s ts. In f act, the authors m ake muc h of the ir n ew sc i e ntific attitude about cave art But this d oes n t s t o p the m from m a kin g so me wild s peculatio n s of the ir ow n s u c h as a n ew theory o f why th e s tencil s o f hand s tha t mak e up muc h of the earlier a rt in Co s quer are o f h ands w ith o n e o r m o r e s h o rt e n e d finge rs. Th e bulk of the C hauvet Cave book i s a narrative of the initi a l disco very and explo rati o n of the cave, written by the explo r e r s the m selves. There a r e also an epilogue by the sa m e J ea n C l o n es who i s coa uth o r of th e Cosquer book and a n ew f o r eword b y P aul Bahn who also tran s lated the book from the French La grotte C hauvet ( Seuil, Paris: 1995) The cave r s w h o discove r e d this cave were s pecialists in paleolithic art caves, h aving found a few minor o ne s in the sa m e a r ea b efo re. Th ey were very careful not to di s turb the soft parts o f the floor, which a r e ther e fore preserved for archaeologists t o s tud y things lik e the print s of cave bears and m e n R esea r c h e r s h ave b ee n r es tricted to narrow pla s tic cove r e d p a ths l aid out b y th e original explorers, and so mo s t of the paintin gs in this cave. t oo, h ave yet to be s tudi e d reaJ I y c l ose ly. The authors o f thi s book are also content to de sc ribe the sce n e and n o t spec ulat e undul y about the motiv es of the artis t s In fact. in the f o r eword B a hn m e nti o n s the a lready n o t orio u s bear skull pla ce d o n a ro c k which ha s led to so muc h spec ulati o n ab out b ea r c ult s, but could jus t as eas ily b e exp l ained b y a bored c hild pla ying in the cave while the adult s wer e painting." the sort o f ex planation that ha s always co m e t o m y mind wh e n r ea din g th e fant as i es traditio nall y spun b y ar c h aeo l og i s ts. C ave Passa ges: Roaming the Underground Wilderness. Michael Ra y Taylor. Sc ribn er. N ew York: 1996. 285 pp har dbo und. $23 hv Bill Mixon Fre elan ce ma gazine writ e r s-abo ut -caves lik e Mike Ta y l o r a n d Tim Ca hill have a certain s t y l e : a t ende n cy t o overw rite. a n otio n tha t a hundr ed word s o r so i s a l o n g p a ra-graph, and an inability to stick to a train of thought for more than a couple of pages here smaJI pages of large type Perhaps that style is appropriate to the presumed attention span of the magazine reader or the length limits of illustrat ed magazines such as National Geographic or Sports Illustrated or wherever you re reading this but it is immensely annoying in a book The ftrst chapter of Cave Passages is a maniacally dis jointed exercise in name dropping that was no doubt meant to be a suck-in, but it almost turned me off completely. But it isn t quite proper to review a book on the basis of its first six pages so I persisted. Fortunately it isn't all like that. Parts of it are quite readable. Taylor has participated in a number of interesting caving projects, although, as he'd be the first to admit, his participation was less than a hard-core caver than as a writer who, in concert with various well known cave photographers, could get magazine sponsorship This book is an autobiography of his writing career, built around various caving articles he has written The main cav ing topics together with where the materiaJ was originally published perhaps in somewhat different form, where I have been able to track down that information are Great X Cave (Sport s Illustrated, 2 May 1988) the Conns and Jewel Cave (Audubon, January 1989) Lechuguilla (Audubon, SeptemberOctober 1991) the Cockpit country of Jamaica (Adventure Travel, 1989), Sheck Exley's Zocaton dive (Sports Illustrated 3 October 1994), Hellhole and Bone Norman in West Virginia, and some spectacular caves in China Since caving really is an avocation of Taylor's, he ought to do a better job than most of the writers who accept assign ment s to write about caves. To some extent he does captur ing well some of the s pirit of his caving companions and their goals. However there is a good bit in the book that is not right. He misspells the names of some well-known caves. He think s there is a publication titled the "National Speleological Society News." Taylor names his book editor in the acknowledgements How embarrassing when he has let through besides the occasional sentence that makes sense only in a second reading things like two different depths for Exley's dive in del Rio Mantez and the use of cubic feet per second as a measure of velocity. Caver s who regret anything that brings caves and cav ing to the attention of th e general reader will of course, not like thi s book. I imagine that the organizers of the Old Tim e rs' Reunions will not be too happy with the publicity he gives them and their "ruinous activities." Most cavers, though who will not have read elsewhere about the caves and caving he describes will find Cave Passa ge s a wel come if s hodd y and expensive, book .-. 28 Jun e 1 996 The Texas Caver


Coordinator's Corner by Joe Ivy Part of the mission of the Texas Region Coordinator of the National Cave Rescue Committee i s to disseminate cave rescue-related information This co lumn i s one way to accomplish this task. The first thing to talk about this time is some changes that have occurred in the Texas Region of the NCRC. I am no longer the Regional Coordinator for Texas, as I declined another nomination at the NSS Convention in Salida, Colorado, in August due to not having the time to do an ade quate job. The new Regional Coordinator is John Green, an Austin caver and fire fighter who has done lots of caving in Texas and Mexico as well as lots of work in putting togeth er a self-rescue curriculum. I believe he will do an outstand ing job as the Texas Region Coordinator. As far as the Coordinator's Comer goes I will continue to write thi s col umn but with a lot of John's input. To get in touch with John we will be supplying his e-mail address, snailmail address and other info in the TSA Activities Newsletter The next thing to talk about is the appalling apathy of the readership of the Texas Caver! I have continually asked for input from all of you as far as what you would like to see in this column and have received almost none. I am certain that someone out there has had a close call underground and wondered what they should have done had there been a real problem Or at least had que s tions about first aid or rigging or something As before, if I don t hear anything I'll just keep on putting out stuff that John and I are intere s ted in. Enough of that, and on to cave rescue stuff. Let's talk about some minor injuries and their remedies Easily, the most common injuries underground are lacera tions (cuts), abrasions (scrapes), puncture wounds av ulsions and skin flaps and contusions (bruises) All of these injuries occur when our soft flesh comes into contact with the notso s oft cave, and, of course, the cave wins. Lacerations or cuts can be stra ight or jagged shallow or deep and tend to bleed quite well. If the cut is relatively minor a fair amount of bl eed ing s hould be encouraged to help flush out the wound. Of course, if the cut is deep e nough to h ave blood spurting out of the wound then pres s ure must be applied directly to s top the bleeding. For les s ser iou s cuts, allow so me blee ding then put on a simple ban dage. Once you re out of the cave, remove the bandage and sc rub out the cut with soa p and water. It m ay be a good idea to give so me kind of pain medication s uch as ibuprofen or acet im e nophen 20 minute s prior to the sc rubbing Onc e you h ave cleaned the wound thoroughly ap ply so me antibiotic o intment and b a ndage with a clean band age. If yo u are out in the boonies and will not be able t o see a doc any time soo n the wound may hav e to be sc rubbed and reb andage d once a day until it heal s, or you do see a doc. Suturing or s tapiing of the wound s hould b e avo id ed s ince it will b e n ex t to impos s ible to get the wound completely clean and this will only promote infection Abrasions or scra pe s can a l so be m ajor or minor though they are usually minor. Scrape s are caused by a forceful encounter with a rough s urfa ce. The main concern h e r e i s to clean the sc rape thoroughly once yo u re out of the cave and to make s ure that all foreign objects are r e mo ve d s in ce grav el and dirt frequently get imbedded in the ski n when a sc rape occurs. Once clean, bandage with a nonstick type bandag e, as scrapes will ooze a lot and a plain band age will b eco me one with the scrape after a while If you don't have nons tick bandages use gauze bandages but when you change the dressing soak it in warm water first so you don't rip off the sca b s underneath Pun c ture wounds are u s ually goi ng to occur outside the cave, but I have see n so me nasty puncture s under g round. Severe deep puncture s are ser iou s busine ss, as they can affect the underlying tiss ue s and bone and can cause infec tion to se t in that can only be tre a ted with antibiotic s from hell. Less severe puncture s should be e ncouraged to bleed as much as possible to flu s h out the wound. If it won't blee d much, insert a small piece of s terile gauze directly into the wound as deeply as po ssib l e to wick out the blood and fluid When far from medical assistance watch the se wounds care fully for infection. Th e m ain concern with puncture s i s the threat of tetanus, which s hould b e pr eve nted with a tetanus vaccination well befor e any outing. A vulsions and s kin flap s occur when forces contact the s kin in a roughly parallel fashion and either tear away a chunk of s kin (avulsion) or tear up a p iece of s kin (skin flap). A vulsions should be treated like scra pe s, but with more fre quent cleaning a nd rebandaging. If the avulsion i s seve re enough it may require a skin graft l a ter and you s hould watch caref ully for inf ectio n while ge tting the per so n to medical help. Skin flap s u s ually benefit from being l eft in place unles s the flap dies (turn s black) in which case they s hould be removed. The wound under the skin flap s hould be sc rubbed at lea st once a day pa cked with gauze b a nda ges then covered with a lar ge r dressing. If you're goi n g to be o ut in the wilds for a long tim e, thi s treatment will a llow the wound to heal from the bottom out. Severe skin fla p s (those with mu s cle tissu e attached) are very se riou s and s hould be d ea lt with by a doc. Initi a lly scrub the seve r e ski n flap as thorou g hly as po ssible, ap ply so m e a ntibioti c ointment i.e. Neosporin (t m), and banda ge l oose ly. Contusions o r brui ses are a cru s hin g injur y t o the s oft tiss ue s of the body that only rarely affec t the bon es. Min o r brui ses are easily the most co mm o n of all the minor cave injurie s, with cavers often having biggest bruise contes t s after trips. When a more ser iou s brui se occurs, the be st pos sible tr ea tment i s the imm ed i ate a ppli ca tion of co ld. Thi s co ntinu e d on pag e 43 The Texa s Caver June 1996 29


Notes on the Masterson Ranch, Kinney County, TX b y Mik e Wal s h Area A This i s the a rea w h e re m os t of the known c av e s are l oca t e d It i s jus t down s tream f ro m the o ld Ba y l o r ranch h o u se o n Live O a k C reek Th e caves a re found on th e e as t ern s id e o f the c reek a b out t e n t o fift ee n feet a b ov e the creek. T h e bes t known o f the caves o n thi s r a n c h i s the one known as B ay l o r's C r ossing Cave. Baylor's Crossing Cave Thi s medium s ize cave a pp ea r s t o have be e n a s prin g a t o n e tim e. The w a ter pa ss ing thr o u g h the cave ha s l o n g since re ached a lower level a nd no l o n ge r exits the m ain e ntr a nce o f the c a ve. Near the re a r of the cave, the re i s a w a t e r c r awl whic h pr o bably take s water t o a s m all r es ur ge nce locat e d d o wn s tream fr o m the main e ntr a n ce. M os t o f the thr ee hundre d t o f o ur hundred f e et of the e ntr a nce p assage i s e a sy wa lkin g. Near the rear of the c a ve, the p ass a ge n a r rows, but i s s till e i g ht-to ten-fe et high. M os t o f the f o rmati o n s in the c a ve a r e o ld and dry but there i s littl e va ndali s m An upp e r l e v e l run s fro m th e entra nce to the ba c k o f the c a ve but it i s ex tr e m ely difficult to follow The t o tal l e n gth o f the c av e s h o uld e x ce ed on e thou s and feet w h e n s urv e yed Genie's Wish Thi s c av e i s locat e d in the cliff east of the parkin g ar ea. Th e c a ve w a s di sco v e re d by W es and Genie R o bin so n o f Bra c k ettville. Mik e Wal s h saw a hole in the c liff and sent these new c a vc r s t o see if a n y thin g was th e re. Wh e n they f aile d t o re turn h e went t o ch eck o n th e m and f o und that they had a goo d caver s cav e. It r a nge s fr o m w alkin g p assage t o tight craw lw ays. The c a vers' e s tim a t es o f the l e n gth ran ge fro m tw o hundr e d feet to two thou s and. A s ur vey will d e t e rmin e whi c h numbe r i s COITect. King David' s Throne Thi s small but int e res tin g cave i s l ocate d fift y feet d o wn s tr e am fro m Ba y l o r' s Crossing Cave. The c a ve ha s seve ral e ntran ces sc att e re d alo n g the c liff. P r o m the main e ntr a n ce. it i s p o s s ibl e t o c limb upward and t o the left t o r e a c h the ''thron e e ntrance." Fr o m h e re it i s p os s ible t o l oo k d o wnward t o the c reek Several c rawlwa ys lead t o the othe r e ntran ce. Th e t o tal len gth o f th e cav e will exceed tw o hundr e d feet. Salmon Peak Northeast Fault Thi s major fault ext e nds f ro m alm o n P e ak t o the so uthw est. t o ward M o nte!] Creek to the n o rth e a st. It ex t e nds a c r oss the c reekb e d jus t up s tream f ro m B ay l o r' s Crossing C a ve. A l so in thi s area. th e re i s a lar ge h o n ey b ee hive. They h ave b ee n t ro ubl eso m e o n occ a s i o n eve ral othe r s m all c a ves h ave b ee n c h ec k e d a l o n g the dill. but n o n e ha ve proved t o b e ex t e n s i ve. Live Oak Indian Shelter Thi s s m all s h elte r cave i s l o a t c d seve ral hundr e d feet down s tream fr o m Ba y l o r' s Crossing a ve The c a ve con s i s ts o f o n e r oo m f o ur t o five feet hig h and t e n to tw e l ve f e et in diam e t er. The wall s a r e dr y and du s ty. S o m e ex tr e mel y faint drawin gs c an b e see n but arc o f s uch p oo r qualit y t o n o t b e o f an y s p ec i a l int e rest. Area B Thi s area is located along Live Oak Creek on the north e as tern boundary of the ranch To the east of this area at an e levation of 1955 feet there is an interesting razorback ridg e. Thes e rough rocks are ten to fifteen feet high and about an equal size wide. They extend for about four hundre d feet. From the top of these rocks there is an excellent view of Boiling Mountain to the south. The spring cave is located approximately five hundred feet from the northern ranch fenceline. Boiling Mountain Spring Cave This spring is on Live Oak Creek downstream from Boiling Spring. Water exits from a four foot wide by three foot high entrance. The water flow increases following heavy rains. The cave consists of a water c rawl for most of the estimated one thousand foot length. With digging, additional passage may be entered Area C This area is located to the west of the road that runs to the northern boundary of the ranch. A large cave is rumored to be in the canyon. A number of cavers have checked the canyon but have not found any caves other than those which can be seen from the road The largest of these is Live Oak Creek Shelter. There are a number of good cliffs in this area for rope work. Live Oak Creek Shelter This large shelter can be seen on the northern side of the canyon. The canyon is located on th e west side of the road. The entrance is approximately ten fe e t in diameter and leads to a dusty room fifteen feet in diameter with a ceiling height of ten to twelve feet. No evidence of use by Indians was found however, due to its loca tion it may have been This i s probably the largest cave in the canyon. Area D Thi s are a i s located on the eastern boundary of the ranch in the area on the topo map called Negro Hollow. After the recent 0 J. Simpson trial we started calling it the N-word Hollow This rapidly became a pun, the Inward Hollow. Tom Stouer's father owned the ranch to the east and has told his s on that there was a bat cave in this area A search shows good c ave potential since there is a good amount of exposed lime s tone in the area If a bat cave is found it will be named th e Inward Hollow Bat Cave. Area E Thi s area i s located on Live O a k Creek just north of Blackie Haby s hou s e. Live Oak Creek Resurgence i s locat e d two hundre d feet up s tream of the low water cross ing. The cave i s a low c rawl extending into the hill for thirty feet or m o re With digging it may be pos s ible to extend the length o f th e c a ve. Blackie Haby said that following a major flood wat e r s hot out of the cave for thirty feet. This may be an old s prin g, or may jus t be a short cut for the creek. 30 Jun e 1996 The Texas Caver


Area F This area is located along the road northeast of Salmon Peak. From here, it is possible to either walk northward toward Salmon Peak Blowhole or continue downhill on the road to reach an old hunting cabin. Salmon Peak Blowhole In 1994, the owner of the B & S Grocery Store in Brackettville told us about a twelve inch in diameter hole on Salmon Peak which blew or sucked air. He stated that he would pour gasoline on a burlap sack and the hole would pull it out of his hand into the darkness. We were unable to find the pit until we got Archie Woodson, the brother of the grocer, to take us there. The pit has a fifty foot drop into a small room. We were unable to find more cave. The pit is approximately 4000 feet north of the ridgeline road. I CAVE CONTINUES l(lOW 8lOCICS Area G Just downhill from Salmon Peak there is an old hunting cabin. Just before it is reached by road there is a well in the creekbed. It has been lined in concrete but appears to be a natural feature Water was not moving the day we were there but Archie Woodson said it flow s at times Area X An article from the February 15, 1906 Bra c k e tt Mail, states that an "immense deposit of onyx, "existe d on the old A. L. Cashell Ranch. These onyx bed s are said to be loc at ed between "West Nueces and Live Oak. There is a good chance that this is located on the Masterson Ranch. The Kinney County records will be checked to gain a better loca tion on the site. 0 .zo o Entrance Room ru1 ZOO '"'' '-0,. JO lut """"' 10 t 1.0 r ... t....,.. below PROJECTED PROFILE ,..OJ(CT(O I)N tH'\( Entrance Room High Heaven Ranch Cave Qu:;drangle Uv01fde Counly, Texas Suunto :md slK'Vey Uy Texas Cave Management Association Survey: Jerry Atkinson. Jay Jorden, Bill Russell Gerdes. Jim Bob Johnson, Leonard Johnson, 1-4indy John sou, Bill Sawyer, Nobel Stidham Fbruory 19. 1995 Drafted hy Bill Russell for Texas Cave Conservancy Nueces Canyon Project 0 The Texas Caver June 1996 zo <0 Feet I 31


Ukraine Underground: A Personal Account of the August 1995 Expedition r nl' /\n11 1-'l'nlll 1 .<'/i: 11<'11 ( '11111'..!1. ( 'hl'i s N icolo l'ulni. Vitule. (11/ik o/a /lol/o!IJ 1\nll ", \ ',/111<1 .. t.n .lnn/, n : \/,,. /In-k\ .Inn es. /Joh l.i lllllll '/'1111111 /n /?en C/uud1 110\\. T il L l ii\.R;\IN L CON N LCT I ON WAS MADE Itt ( kll>hl'f' Jl)lJ3. the Lhairman lli' the Met Grotto Harr y 1\r;utdk. h ;td ; t pllllltL' call from EJ S ira llr the Northern N e w ( ;n>lll> Ill s;t\ th;ll V;t\cri a friend he had tllL'I in l il-.rainL' tn \l)l) I, \\';ts in fur s i x months and 1-.L'Cit Ill dll SlltllL' V;tkri joi n ed mctllbL'I"S or the t\kt ( ;rlllll > i'l>r ; t crtic;tl pr;tcticL' SL'ssiun in a s clwol 11hiLh kd ll>matt\ cal IIL'CkLnds 11ith Chris Nin>la [Nc11 Yl>rl-. I ;utd uthn lltL'tllhns. \\'hL'll Vakri m:nt ltumc in :\pril JlJlJ..\. ilL' in1itLd Chri s Ill 1 i sit hint in the Ukra ine. 1 i s itcd \';tkri in 199..\. in Kiel' ;tftn ; t 1 ; -hl>llr trainjllllrllL'\ !'rum St. Chris 1 i s itecl caves in the Poclola r eg i on of western Ukraine a nd spent e i ght da ys to the Cltaraclak P l ateau in the Crimea w h e r e he deve l oped his theory t h at I t n eve r rain s in the Crim" (mo r e about that lat er ... ). C hri s th o r o u ghly enjoyed his trip and Va l eri invited him back for a r e turn v i sit in 1 995, s u gges tin g that he might bring some friends Chris ge n e r ated a lot of int erest in the planned trip over the n ext few months w ith his e nthusiastic talk s and spectac ular slides. Becky Jones [Pennsylvania[ was the first to place a depo sit. and w h e n s h e told Eel Keh s [Penn sy l vania] about it. he was quick to join. Jay Jorden [T exas] h eard abo ut t h e expedition 11hile o n a trip in the New York wa t e r tunnel s wit h Bob Zimmerman [New York] and Chris a nd imm edi ate l y said h e wanted to come alo ng. J2 June 1996 The Texas Caver


AN IMPROBABLE OPPORTUNITY Early in March an old friend of mine John Elliott, came over from London to the Forest of Dean. I had taken John caving about four years previously, and he was keen to have another go. We enjoyed an excellent trip down Slaughter Stream Cave; his joyful enthusiasm made it clear that he was well and truly bitten by the caving bug. John had recently logged onto the Internet and had brought over a few pages of caving information, some of which looked pretty interesting. John put a message on the Internet caving notice board for me: "British caver seeks expedition, anywhere in the world considered, August 1995." A few weeks later John called with the news that he had received an e-mail message that Chris of the Met Grotto, New York, was arranging an expe dition to the Ukraine. Over the following months, John was good enough to act as my middle-man and relayed e-mail messages between me and Chris. Chris was encouraging and seemed confident that it would be possible for me to join the trip (after he had sussed me out by contacting Chris Howes in Britain and Kevin Glover in New Mexico), but it was not until the end of June that my place on the expedition was confirmed. AN EXPEDITION DIARY SUNDAY, AUGUST 13: Traveling to Kiev. I was up at 4:15 a.m. to start my trip, a trip I knew very little about but had a very good feeling about. Not knowing the people I was going to be with, having no idea about where we would be going or the character of the caves all added to the excitement and anticipation. I arrived in Amsterdam and set off for a wander around the airport to try and find the members of the Met Grotto who I had loosely arranged to meet. I found the boarding area for the flight to Ukraine which was teeming with crowds of American "Jesus Army" members off on a mission. Eventually, I spotted three guys and a girl not wearing "Bible Basher" T-shirts and overheard them talldng about caving. I introduced myself and met Chris, Bob Jay and Becky. After a flight spent reading Descent and the latest copy of the Roya Forest of Dean Caving Club newsletter we arrived at Kiev Airport, which was very grey. As we col lected our luggage I was gobsmacked by the enormous tow ering frame pack Bob wrestled off the conveyor. Equally amazing was the rats' nest of straps that festooned Chris' pack. Once through customs, we were met by the beaming gold-toothed smile of our host, Valeri. We also met Ed Kehs, who had flown in from Germany (via a stopover in Budapest) and one of Valeri's students, Alec. We all piled into the back of a little van and headed off to the suburb of Kiev where Valeri lives There was a lot of chat and laugh ter in the van and Valeri started as he continued for the whole trip filming everyone on the video, "Repeat for history . Arriving at Valeri 's, we wedged ourselves into the lift and went up eight of the nine floors to his flat, one of 200 apartments in the block (30 blocks in the complex). We were given a warm welcome by his wife Luda and daughter Sasha There was much laughter and jollity as we tucked into a buffet lunch and many toasts were made; so mething we were all going to get u se d to! It transpired that we had arrived on Valeri's 54th birthday and in the evening we all trooped off to a small restaur a nt owned by one of Luda s friends. Shortly after we aiTived, we discovered that it was also Andre's 14th birthday so there was plenty to celebrate. There was a really good spread of food; jus t when you thought the meal was over another course appeared The toasts were beyond counting both with champagne and LOTS of vodka; many were accompanied by speeches about hospitality, gratitude and caving. As the evening progressed, the dancing started and the speeches got long e r (especially Chris's). After the meal Valeri and Chris were very keen that we should repeat a little ritual that they pe1formed last year; we were drunk enough to agree and a few minutes later found ourselves swimming in the river Niepa ... 70 kilome ters downstream from Chernobyl! Becky fell asleep on the beach ; it had been a long day for all of us especially the Americans. We walked back to Valeri 's, and then Jay and I headed off to stay at Alec's. MONDAY, AUGUST 14 : Vertical Pra ct ice at a Fortification Wall. This morning, we all became millionaires! Ukrainian money is like "Monopoly" money $10 = 1 ,000,000 Ukrainian coupons Mind boggling-I never did really get used to thinking in such large numbers. Today we went for our first vertical training session at a 25-30 meter high forti fication wall in woods in a park in Kiev. Three ropes were rigged in a combination of ingeniou s routes involving both the wall and big trees next to it. We all enjoyed the rope course, which proved to be strenuous but satisfying. We all struggled at some point in the proceedings. Becky was heard to make the classic s tatement (while 20 m up) "I think I have done a bad thing.'' This became something of a catch phrase of the trip Jay seemed to spend a very long time on one rope-this was his first experience of u s ing the "Frog" system, and he was remrukably reserved in his comments about it. Bob sweated his way through a few rack problems (something we were to get used to). Chris managed to get into a position where he had jammers on the rope facing in opposite directions. I m a naged to get well and truly hung up with my foot in a Girth hitch much to everyone's am u se ment (mine included). Meanwhile Ed z ipped up and down ropes with sickening ease. It was while at the wall that I met the only British tourist I saw in the Ukraine: a girl from Manchester who had come for the climbing. When we stopped for a bite to eat, Vitale and his friend Sasha a mazed u s all with their m agic lamps: carbide head sets with a pho-The Texas Caver June 1996 33


toelectric cell that se t s off an i g niti o n s p a rk if it detect s darkness. It was a bit lik e o n e of those trick birthd ay cake can dle s that yo u jus t ca n t blow o ut. Very clever and typical of Ukrain i a n inn ovatio n In the eve ning, I bought one for me and o n e as an unu s ual pre se nt for Niki. Afte r the training s ession, we sto pp ed off briefly a t a b a r w h e re we h a d some l oca l beer, drunk o ut of g l asses tha t look e d for all the world lik e jam jars. O n a n y trip a l o t o f tim e see m s t o be s pent planning the n ex t o n e and this was n o exception. As I trav e l ed back to Valeri s o n the M e tro Chris a nd I enthused about him co min g t o the UK so metime and me going over to the s t a t es a t Eas t e r st r o n g p oss ibility that it will happen In the eve nin g, a party a tm os pher e prevailed and we all embarrassed o ur se l ves by playing th e u s u a l repertoire of caving ga mes eve n down t o Ed ge tting s tuck in a toilet sca t' Needless t o say, V a l eri was always there with his video. TUESDAY. AUGUST 15: V e rti ca l Practice in a C a i sson. Would yo u b elieve r ice puddin g for breakf as t ? Today we went t o a site n ea r the M os k awski bridge where there was a l a r ge co n c r e t e s tru c tur e, a ppar e ntly the 50-year-old ca isso n o f a n a ir s h aft for a m e tro line that wa s never fin ish e d Seve r a l ropes were rigge d with a goo d variety of prob l e m s t o n ego tiate. B o b was s tru gg lin g at a n awkward edge and, w h en give n so m e h elpful" a dvic e from below was h ear d t o say, I don t think so; s kin i s import a nt to me. I was c limbin g a r o ut e up within the s tructur e when Ed, above m e. co mm ented, 'I' ve got so m e thin g to t ell you, but I think I'd better wait until yo u ge t up th e r e fir st." I got to the top t o find a s t ee l krab load ed rig ht acro ss the gate. I was very impr essed by watching Alec. who was only introduced to vertical t ec hniqu es in Mar ch. H e l e d up a bolted route that qui c kly c h a n ge d from vertical to h orizo ntal overhanging u sing ctriers. Wh e n h e had fini s h e d Val eri s u gges ted that I have a go. I had n eve r tried anything lik e this, and didn't rate my c han ces ve r y highly but in the eve nt I didn t do too badly It t oo k almost half a n h o ur and was very s tr e nuou s, but it was inc r e dibl y sa tisf ying t o r eac h the t e nth b o lt. The aft ernoo n was spent p ac kin g f o r a thr eed ay trip to v i sit the gyps um caves o f the P o d o la r eg i o n in western U krain e We a lso went s hoppin g with Luda walking thro u g h a mark e t where vendor s s t oo d in th e s tre e t touting their wa rt:s anything from a fistful of dried fish to a f ew bottles o f s hamp oo. Th e s tall s sold a b ew ild e ring array of produce. ofte n in bizarre co mbin atio ns. In a s up e rmark e t thert: was a r efrige r a t ed section co ntainin g row up o n row of stewed app l es in huge glass jars. I n oticed h ow qui e t it is o n the streets. co mpar e d to h o m e people don't see m to t alk nnH: h o n the Metro In the aft ernoo n we all m e t at th e train statio n 15 o f us. We h ad four berth co mp ar tm e nt s o n the train A part y atmosphere soo n developed when we all crammed into o n e co mpartment t o ea t deli c i o u s stuffed p e p pers and drink wine and vod ka lat e r in the eve ning. Th e t oi lets o n the tr ain were n o t very inviting B ec k y co mm e nted that the drainage hole in the floor was more appealing than the toilet. WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16: Traveling to Podola Region : Ozemaja Cave When we got off the train carrying our rucksacks e xce pt for Bob, who had to manhandle his through the train door much to everybody's amusement-, we were collect ed by a little 20-seater bus that looked like something out of the 1950s Chris practically worshiped Valeri for having arranged private transport apparently he hadn t been very enamoured with public Ukrainian buses last year. We went to the tourist centre in Temopol where we were met by Vladimir, who taught Valeri We were given a good break fa st, followed by a lot of enthusing over cave surveys. It took a few hours to drive to the Podola region where the roads deteriorated into farm tracks as we approached the site of Ozernaja (Blue Lakes) Cave. After pitching our tents and getting our kit sorted out, we walked over to a huge sinkhole, where we found the gated entrance to the cave. The entrance was a 6 m drop down a 30-inch metal tube on a slippery ladder made of thick sticks and baler twine(!). The trip was arranged by the Ternopol cavers, led by Serge and Tanya. None of us were used to caving in such a big group: 16! The first hour or so was very slow going through very well-traveled cave with lots of stops for smoking, which appears to be standard prac tice in Ukraine We stopped for a break in a big chamber about 12 m across, with walls of variegated layers of white and orange-brown gypsum. A narrow passage led off from this chamber with a little metal cross above the entrance. Serge told u s it took about an hour with tackle bags but could be done in seven minutes wearing trainers. In fact, he once had to self-rescue with two broken ribs and a twisted ankle. Something was lost in the translation when Serge explained what was ahead, and there was more than a fair amount of whingeing when we found ourselves embarking upon a 420m traverse above a deep rift. Becky commented, Luckily my butt is naturally well padded." Some of the Ukrainian cavers a ctually wore butt pads for traversing! At time s, it was pretty tricky-at one particularly wide point, Serge provided a human bridge. It was here that we discov ered that gypsum is "Ochin skolska" (very slippery) it was like caving on greased glass! About an hour later we reached the end of the traverse and were treated to a sit down s nack complete with a table dug out of the mud floor. Ed B ec ky and I went and had a look at the Blue Pools which were very pretty We caved for a couple of hours and found chambers that had walls bristling with fantastic gyp s um crystals. Some really breathtaking stuff. We all got pret t y s nap-happy. The long traver se was pretty tiring on the way out. I don t think that I ha ve ever seen anyone sweat as much as Nikolai did ; Bob s uffered with cramps and Sa s ha was over tired it h a d be e n a long trip Sa s ha s lipped and hurt her 34 Jun e 1 996 The Texas Caver


C hris N i cola and U kranian Covers in Crystalan y a Cave knee about I 0 minutes from the entrance and needed a bit of help to get out ; Luda and Svetlana bandaged her knee. Becky was not well impressed by the traverse: "I would rather crawl through half a mile of raccoon shit than do THAT again!" After our 10-hour trip, we sat around the fire hun grily eating and downing a few vodkas with a spectacular thunderstorm as our backdrop When trying to explain how he had got the description of the trip so wrong Chris said, It's amazing how easy it is to confuse massage with ma s sacre in Ukrainian.'' THURSDAY, AUGUST 17: Cristalnaya Cave. Becky had a very impressive collection of brui ses thi s morning : s he had leg s like a leopard! Valeri : Good morning, Becky, how are you?" Becky : I am fine, but my knee s are not happy." As we s truck camp, it became obvious that the reason why Chris has an extension on his rucksack and so m any straps i s so that he can fit more shit in it. After we had breakfast we drove off to Cristalnaya Cave The first part of the cave (3 km) i s commercial, but the system extends for 32 km. We had an excellent three-hour trip The first really good d eco r a tion s in the cave were manmade-a Christmas tree! The gyps um crystals were spectacularly beautiful. The crys tal s s ticking out from the walls were a few centimetres long. There were a lot of "swallowtail'' twinned crystals and myr iad s of little gypsum roses. The orange gypsum crysta l s m aking up the rock we re often a s much a s half a metre long and were u s ually curved. In many places the rock had been worn into delightfully c urvaceou s roof pendants. Sometimes they hun g down low ; as 6-foot-4 B o b said, Thi s cave is far too short it is a tall person's headache.'' After the cav ing trip the cave owner and his wife put on a s uperb meal for u s. Delicious Borscht and sweet boiled potatoes Lots of vodka. Nikolai was really on form, a natural clown. He referred to gherkins as "Russian lemons.'' There were lots of toasts and so me long speeches. Chris got pretty drunk and was swept off his feet by the cave owner's daughter, Nadia. After a bit of danc ing Chris was whisked off in the sidecar of a big old motor bike When we had lazed around a bit we pitched camp nearby next to Lost Gypsy River. Valeri said, My American friends, go get tree (fetch firewood), so off we went. Chris finally returned from his motorbike trip and pro vided an amusing cabaret as he attempted to pitch his tent. FRIDAY, AUGUST 18: Slavka Cave. There was much mirth and hilarity on the bus from Cristalnaya to Slavka, particularly about Chris and Nadia's antics. Nadia was sitting on Chris' knee Chris: It will take a crowbar to get thi s smile off my face!" Ben: No Chris it will take a crowbar to get Nadia off your lap.'' Chris: "It's OK, I have a bar on me." Ben: No that's WHY you need a crowbar!" We arrived at Slavka Cave after a pretty long drive on rough track s and were met by Nata s ha a leading light in the organizatiry 1992 by a group of young cavers from Kiev (I 0 I2, 16, 17, I9). The first I 00 m was a fairly comfortable crawl. The big breakthrough was made on 7 Novemb e r 1992 after a series of seve n diggin g trips (which also involved V a l eri and N atas ha) Nine kilometres of cave passage was discovered and it took a year to s urvey (you have to see the s urvey to believe it!). The cave consists almost entirely of dry fossil p assage, though ther e i s a s mall ephemeral s tream in the so uthea st of the syste m which ha s pot e nti a l for future ex ten sio ns. The whole a rea i s peppered with caves-over I 00-, with 14 over I km. I caved with Ed and Becky, along with Luda, Svetlana, The Te xas Caver June 1996 35


V ital e and so m e young l oca l cave rs; R o m as ha, B a t o n a nd P e l man (Na t a s ha's 1 4-year-old so n w h o caved wit h o ut a lid) Our l ea d e r wa s the delig htful T a n ya, w h o s p oke excell ent E n g I i s h and wo r e a c ut e liLLie bull p ad. B e n : "In s u c h a co mp l ex cave yo u ca n only l ea rn t o l ead from the fro n t n o t from the b ack. Chris : Y ea h yo u jus t end up l ookin g a t the butt in front o f yo u .'' B e n : Hmmmm ... tha t s n o t a lw ays a bad thing! Mi c o l a in S lal'ka Cm e T h e c ave s tart s with a clamp mud -floo r e d c r aw l whi c h kads t o a mockrate squ e eze into H a lf Baton C h a mb er. so ca lled bec a u se Ba t on. o n e o f the orig i nal discove r e r s co uld n t quite p u s h the s que e z e T hr o u g h out the c a ve. c hamb e r s had littk p aper s i g n s with t h e nam e o f the c h a mb e r a c co m panied h y some excellent cartoo n s We co ntinu e d t o a m a j o r jun ctio n Oc t npus. followed b y Thre e Old Cave r s and Lhe n t o 1-le dg.ehng.. This was inc r e dible : the walls we r e bri s tlin g w ith Ctlllntkss \\'ell fmmed spik y gyps um c r ys tal s 3-4 e m l o n g Aft e r an enthusiastic photo stop, we continued to Passage of 120 Steps which had some pretty laminated clay forma tions. Thi s was followed by Hole of USSR and Lenin s Mausoleum, which was a 7 m x7 m chamber, with beautiful walls of convoluted band s of orange brown and white gyp s um Milk y Way had white powdery needles all over the place and the North Star was incredible : 15-20 em long clear-bladed crystals of selenite gypsum, many exhibiting well-formed "swallowtail" twins Our next stop wa s the highlight of the cave the cutely named Love Oven (!). This was the only part of the cave where there were a significant amount of calcite formations and boy were they pretty! A small but exquisitely beautiful little chamber (4 m by 4 m) with stalactites and stalagmites, so me pure white others a rich, deep orange. Needless to say, I went wild with the camera ... After the Love Oven (what a great name!) we followed the Passage of Priests its walls glittering with s parkling gypsum crystals. This led to Big Turtle, a wide low chamber containing a very well pre se rv e d mud bank with excellent mud cracks The next sec tion of the cave, a large bedding plane chamber Suitcase had a littl e section known as People's Square where there were so m e huge ( 1 m by 30 em) translucent gypsum crystals in the roof which fluore s ced with an eerie tinge of green when we all turned out our light and zapped them with my flash unit. In Ver sa illes where there were 10-15 em long gypsum crystals sprouting from the wall s, Tanya asked if we wanted to stop for more photos but I said, "No thanks, we have s een better than that": we were being spoiled! From Versailles we headed off to the Wild West and Klondike, where we saw a little area with the walls covered in 10 em balls of s parkling white needles maybe aragonite rather than the u s ual gypsum. We exited the cave after a thoroughly enjoy able and frequ e ntly breathtaking three-hour trip. Becky took the pi ss m erc ile ss ly when she c aught me trying to photo g raph Tanya's butt pad . Lunch was a really good buffet spread all the usual fare that we were getting u se d to : bread tomatoes cheese, sa lami peppers. Inevitably there was much toasting in celebration and g ratitude with wine, Champagne, compote and so m e chili vodka. Many people have de sc ribed s trong vodka as b eing rather like paint stripper-but thi s was something e l se. You co uld strip the tarmac off a motorway with this s tuff! Chris got a bit of a glow on" and impre sse d Nadya by s howin g h e r his b a dge. Before long he was trying to extri ca t e him self, fearing proposal s of marriage After lun c h we walked up to Ol ga and Nataly s cottage, where so m e of u s bou g ht pillowca ses a nd s hirt s embroidered with ca t d es i g n s b y Olga. We were given the biggest pickled g h e rkins l h ave eve r see n Later we dro ve up to the little t ow n of Cricha. We were walking to the c hurch when we we r e m e t b y a bi g country woman carrying a n e normou s axe a nd with a glis t e ning go ld s mile Sh e s howed u s around the c hur c h which s he was h e lping to renovate along with th e se v e n other Bapti s t families living nearby. Then s he and her 36 Jun e 1 996 The Texas Caver


friend sang an enchanting hymn. Valeri videoed it and it was the best three minutes of the whole two hour tape After the church, we went and bought lots of kiwi fruit juice. As we got back onto the bus Nadya told Chris, in stilted english "I love you Chris." Chris' response-"would you like some kiwi juice? On the two-hour drive back to Ternopol Becky and Vitale must have tied every knot known to man/womankind Back in Ternopol we all had a quick wash and then went for a very pleasant walk heading down to the park by the river. There was a beautiful sunset. Ed presented Sasha with a big bunch of flowers; it was her sixteenth birthday today Back at the centre for tourism, there were toasts and speeches before we headed back to the station to catch the 11: 30 train back to Kiev. SATURDAY AUGUST 19 Return to Kiev, Sightseeing in old Kiev It was good waking up this morning and lying on my bunk, looking out the window at trees bathed in the warm glow of the early morning sun. We got back to Valeri's around ten and spent a few hours sorting our kit out and hav ing much needed showers After an excellent meal of chick en, potatoes and red wine, we went sightseeing in Kiev We took the metro over to Old Kiev, a huge contrast to the sub urbs where we were staying. Broad cobbled streets and very pretty, old buildings. The churches were incredibly beauti ful, with gorgeous gilded spires and crosses that looked especially spectacular against the green roofs. Some of us bought a few gifts and souvenirs in a little tourist shop. Becky bought a clay figurine of an old woman ; "She's splen did I'll wrap her up in dirty socks to take her home safely." We sat in the street for a while, listening to a pretty good busquer and watching the world go by We had a pleasant cold drink at a streetside cafe and stumbled upon a photo graphic exhibition with a few really good pieces I particu larly liked the one of a stork's nest on top of a statue of the Maddona in a ruined church Bob bought a few prints for his brother. Chris and I succumbed to the tourist magnet of Russian army hats. I bought a stereotypical bearskin hat complete with a little red star badge for $15-and inevitably found one for $10 up the street. We visited the Ukraine mountain/cave rescue base where we were met by Vladmir, a highly respected caver. We sat around talking caves and watching bizarre T V.La ss ie followed by Popeye cartoons. Back at Valeri's we watched the video he had filmed of the trip so far, some hilarious stuff. I have never been very keen on the idea-a video camera can be rather intrusive and you always end up doing a lot of repeat for his tory s hots, but I have to admit that so me of the film was very good. Nikolai cornered me with a Ukrainian book on mineral ogy, and I did rea so nably well at trying to identify all the mineral s from the photos, which was a good lau g h In the evening, Vitale gave u s an excellent s lide s how about a seven-day trip he took part in to mak e a video about Krashna (Red) Cave. The s lide s were trul y breathtaking and certainly whetted our appetite for our plann e d v i s it to the cave toward the end of our stay SUNDAY AUGUST 20: Ve1tical Practic e at Fire Tower. After a rice pudding breakfa st(!) we took a tram to the Puska Vodize forest park where ther e is an impressive 35m high metal fire lookout tower. There was a fixed ladder up through the middle and four hefty anchor cables from the top Alec Andre and Vitale quickly rigged three rope rout es that included every SRT situation imaginable (plus a few I hadn t even thought of!)-rebelays, deviations, traverses ... Everybody worked up a sweat practising their vertical tech niques in the morning By lunchtime, we all wished we had better padding on our leg loops! Later, th e re was a flurry of on-rope rescue practice after Andre demonstrated his tech nique when his mate got his hair caught in hi s rack and Andre zipped up to sort it out. In the evening we watched a long video of Red Cave Jay made a toast after tea: To the wonderful, hard-working Ukrainian women!" Valeri had to be cajoled into drinking Svetlana and Luda wanted it in writing! MONDAY, AUGUST 21: Starting Our Train Journey to Crimea. Today was a day of traveling. Unfortunately Jay was unable to join us, as he has to return to the States to sort out his house purchase made just before the Ukrainian trip com plete his move etc. Nikolai couldn t come either, due to family commitments. At the s tation, a young man se lling news came by singing and playing Ukrainian folk so ng s on the guitar Whenever the train stopped, the train was mobbed by vendors selling melons tomatoes, crayfish, dried fish roasted sunflower see d s and drinks. It was very hot and humid, which was quite unplea sa nt at times, thank s to the fact that hardly any of the windows on the train would open. In the evening, we joined the young Ukrainian caver contin gent in their third-class carriage with three tiered bunk s Lots of singing and quite a lot of drinking too TUESDAY AUGUST 22 : Continuing Our Journey to Crimea. We aiTived in Centeropol at 7 :30a.m. where it was with great relief we found a private bus waiting for us; the public bu ses are incredibly overcrowded and very uncomfortable in the s tifling heat. We visited the Mountain-Cav e Re sc u e cen ter where I bought a titanium carbide ge n e rator for Niki ($14) she has asked for one before I left. It took about three hour s to reach our campsite on the Karabi Plateau. The road s deteriorated stead ily as we progres s ed and it wasn t until watching the video l ater that we reali se d that just how The Texas Caver June 1996 37


mu c h the bus s queak e d On th e way, Chris kept me enter tain e d with tal es of his esca p a d es as an underco ve r cop w hil e Vitale and Becky s tudi o u s l y completed crosswords, and Sasha s nuggl e d up t o Ed. Th e k a r s t sce n ery was cla ss ic s p ectac ular. Suddenly the bu s screec hed to a halt and Sa s h a r a n lik e h ell -a nd th e n r e turned with a heads ized puffball mu s hroom Thi s e nthu s ia s m for fungi was to be a ta s t e of thin gs t o come. We arrived at o ur campsite around I :00 and se t up camp in a bro a d sink b ac k e d by a lim es t o n e c r ag a few hundred metres from the old Mountain R esc u e p os t up on th e hill. After lun c h we set off o n o ne o f Valeri's Short go walks ( i .e a 10 km "s p o tholing" walk). The s uperb kar s t sce nery was pitted with innum e r ab l e d eep s ink s, so me as much as I 00 m across. Loads of pretty flowers and lot s of noi sy insec t s but n ot much in th e way of wildlife. We walked to the e dg e o f the pla t ea u and look e d out toward the Black S ea in the h aze b e l o w Th e walk t o thi s p o int had been pretty rough; o n the way ba ck, we followed a much easier route, a l o n g a reasonably good tr ack. On th e way back Becky sai d I ca n see o ur t e nts." B o b said, I ca n see my laundry." C hri s said, I can SMELL your laundry!" Wh e n we got ba c k t o ca mp, we had so up with diced puffball s for t ea. Ed and I cu t wood until it was dark Alec spent h o ur s c uttin g s l o t s in b olts with a hack saw for u s to u se tomorrow S ittin g around c hattin g this eve ning an embryon i c plan e m e r ge d : j o inin g the M et Grotto annual Easter cav ing trip t o W es t Virginia: co uld be a blast! It was heavenly t o go t o s l eep loo kin g up a t a myriad of bri g ht s tar s a nd th e occas i o n a l fla s h o f lig htning. WEDNESDAY. AUGUST 23 : Big Buzuluk Cave Boltin g Practice I woke a t was cold I awok e again at 6:30 a.m t o the so und o f bolts being saw n .... At 7 a.m I h ear d Valeri say. B ec ky. you live?" B ec ky : "( Groan) Ye s, I sleep." Huge plat e of bulghur wheat for breakfast: se riou s ballast. C hris n early go t butted by a ram thi s m o rnin g when h e went up t o th e r esc u e p os t t o fetch water with Ed. Th e ram the n f ollowe d th e m back t o ca mp and pro ceeded to s t ea l o ur appl es and ge n e rall y mak e a nui sa n ce of itself. In th e e nd Sve tlana had t o drag it away and u se a big bloc k of wood t o persuade it n o t t o com e back C hri s ca m e up with the idea o f the U kr a inian-Ameri ca n cave r exc han ge project thi s m o rning and e nthu sed about it all day. Today. we walked f o r thr ee-q uart ers of an h o ur t o Big Buzuluk an 80 m deep c av e with very littl e h orizo nt a l Lkvdopment. What was int e r es tin g about it was that it ac t ed a s a natural r e frigerator: d es pite it being r eally h o t at the s ur face (n d eg r ees C). there was a co n side rabl e a m o unt of ice at the bottom o l the cave. We all h ad a go at bolting so m e findin g it easier than othe r s (E d!). Lots of fun e n s u ed, h a n g ing around o n "S k y hook s until they popped off and I took an enormous pendulum. n e arly knoc king ove r Lucia in passing Klim and Natasha joined u s t oday a t the cave and ca m e back to camp with u s in the evening. Valeri was trying to find s torage s pace : Bob you in tent on own?'' Bob: Yes." V a leri : Bob store food in your tent. Chris: Bob in charge of food? Are you crazy? We' re going to s tarve to death! I didn t feel too good tonightbad guts, very cold Bummer. Beautiful night sky though ; the Milky Way looked particularly bright. Ab so lute s ilence too THURSDAY, AUGUST 24: Krubera Cave Bolting Practice. Woke feeling a lot better though still a little cautious in the toilet department! I think my body is confused ; I just pissed out of my arse!" Today we went bolting at Krubera Cave. about 50 m deep Some big pretty very old forma tions. Bob had a bit of a problem with his enormous rack at one rebelay and after much faffing about, was heard to say, It's OK, I am a s uper duper! This caused much hilarity and was repeated often for the rest of the trip; it transpired that Dupah is Poli s h for "Arse!" In the evening, we went for a walk along the ridge behind the campsite and watched a s pectacularly beautiful s un set. It looked incredible a fter the sun had gone down below the horizon but was s till lighting the clouds from b e low. Meanwhile Svetlana put up a bolted route on the crag by carbide light while Klim did a bit of climbing Sasha was s inging by the fire again thi s evening and demonstrated typical Ukrainian innovation. When a string broke she replaced it with a bit of waxed cotton. Chris spent mo s t of the evening sewi n g up the flapping soles of his caving boots Chri s h a d assured u s all before the trip that It never rains in the Crim." Tonight he was proved wrong! (Not for the last time, e ither! ) FRIDAY AUGUST 25: Dublan s kogo Cave. After four day s without being able to have a proper wash, Becky mad e an astute comment this morning: I don't mind dirt it's s mell s I don't likewhen you go to bed and close your eyes, the dirt goes away." It had rained a lot last nig ht a nd was ve ry mis ty thi s morning So misty in f ac t that when Val eri asked, Chri s, can I borrow your compass?" Klim was quick to a dd "Valeri wants to go to the toilet. It was a 6 km. w a lk to th e cave, and we stopped off on the way to look at the entrance to Nahimov s kya Cave. The cave was di scovere d after about 2m of digging(!) in the bot tom of a classic s ink five years ago; now 405 m deep and a b o ut I 000 m of horizont a l development. Klim and Natas h a had b ee n on an explo ration expedition down there with a couple of friends before they met up with us. When we got to Dubl a n s ko go Cave we sa t around eating wild h aze lnut s, while Klim and N a ta s h a rigged the pitch es. a nd Ed did a bit of b o lting. While Beck y was lo a ding up h er carbid e l a mp s h e showe d Vit a le her carbide Pah! 38 Jun e 1 996 The Texas Caver


That's not carbide, that's sand!" he said producing a Crimean Caver Carbide Cobble so big it wouldn't even fit into Becky's carbide generator. We entered the cave after lunch. The entrance rift was about 25 m x 5 m and there were three rebelays The lush vegetation at the top gave the place a positively tropical feel. The cave was spectacular; a huge single chamber, difficult to judge in size. The main chamber was littered with enormous fallen blocks 5-10 m across, covered in old formations and draped in new ones creating a weird pattern of speleothems at a variety of angles. Moving through the blocks was a surreal maze On the walk back to the campsite, we found a few (apparently new) caves but there was little excitement; here anything less than 30 m deep just has a number. Excellent mushroom soup for tea. Later, there was a lot of red wine and laughter, singing and guitar SATURDAY, AUGUST 26: Monaste Chokrak Cave. After a good porridge breakfast, thanks to Klim, we set off on a 5 km walk to the cave. On the way, we collected two carrier bags full of mushrooms! Most) y field mushrooms and Ceps We arrived to find that the cave entrance was in a mas sive sink with trees clinging to the steep sides, and moss encrusting the upper walls of the impressive shaft: about 85 m, 5 rebelays and one deviation. I was quite pleased with descending smoothly in about 20 minutes, considering I am a rank amateur in the SRT [single rope techniques] game. Looking back up at the entrance from the base of the pitch was very impressive The chamber was huge; about 100 m long, 30-40 m high and very well decorated with gigantic old formations. Becky came down after me and we joined Svetlana to explore the rest of the cave A grotty little crawl about 4 m long which had been dug five years ago, led us to a series of increasingly wonderful chambers with superb for mations. In places, the mud was incredibly slippery and a chorus was struck up to the tune of "Rawhide": "Skolska, Skolska, Skolska Ochin Skolska, Skolska!" (ochin=very, skolska=slippery). After a few short slippery rope climbs we reached the end and Svetlana entertained us with a hilar ious series of "Playboy" pose s in front of a well decorated calcite slope. On the walk back to camp, we picked even more mushrooms. Guess what? ... Mushroom soup for tea. SUNDAY, AUGUST 27: Walking Day. I l ay awake, listening to the rain on the tent for a half hour this morning (I know Chris, It never rains in the Crim!' ') Today, we had a day off caving and went for a good long walk up into the hills to the west of our campsite Ed joined Klim Natasha Alec and Luda for a trip down Nahimovskya Cave. It rained quite a bit in the morning but it wasn't a problem We sheltered in the woods and sat a round a fire for awhile I got carried away and took a whole reel of photos of flora and fungi today We followed the ridge to the top White Peak (1,253m), which was inevitably enshrouded in mist-until we had got halfway down agai n On the way back we stop ped for a brief visit to Mother's Cave-only a few tens of metres long, nothing special after yesterday s wonders We had not had a shower since leaving Kiev on Monday. Last night, we had arranged with the guy at the Mountain Rescue post to have s howers tonight for $2 each We were pleasantly surprised to find that a little had been lost in translation what we got was a sauna! A big oil drum over a wood burner provided boiling water, while sev eral barrels of warm and cold water had already been pro vided in a small bare room with a wooden slatted floor. Being true gentlemen, we let Becky and Sasha go first, and wished we d had a tape recorder to record the "oohs" and "ahhs" followed by giggles and finally screams as they doused themselves with water of varying temperatures. After half an hour we had our tum and it was luxurious. Tonight I almost made Andre swallow the police whis tle that Chris had made the mistake of giving him You can only stand so much In the evening, there was much talk of marketing Vitali's magic carbide lamp in the states. It ha s a photoelectric cell in it which triggers a spark automatically if the flame goes out. This was graphically demonstrated on the video he showed us of the lamp in use in wet conditions in Red Cave. MONDAY, AUGUST 28: Bus to Red Cave. Today was a long day on the bus. We drove through so me gorgeous scenery and traveled on some positively frightening roads that clung improbably to precipitou s s lope s. We stopped at a place which translated as Fisherman's Town on the coast and went for a sw im in the Black Sea before lunch on the beach Afterward s, we went for a bit of a wander. Chris wanted to get rid of a hug e s tack of small denomination bills by buying a bottle of red wine but while counting out the money the stall closed behind his back Unperturbed and true to form, Chri s con so led him se lf by buying a Ukrainian condom. We se t up camp near Red cave around 4:00 and s pent a while gather ing firewood. In the evening we walked up to the cave for a chat and a few drinks with the guys who run the commercial part of the cave. Had a quick s neak preview of the cave before we left. TUESDAY, AUGUST 29 : Red Cave-Bus to C e nt ero pol. Valeri: "Good morning, my American friends! Blue s ky s unshine birds in the tree s, get up and eat!" Up at 6:30 a.m for a rice pudding breakfa st. We walked up to Krashna Cave ( Red Cave) and s pent about a n hour st rug g ling into dry s uit s, a n experience which Becky in particular i s never lik e ly to repeat. We only s p e nt about 2 1/2 hour s under gro und but it was an excellent trip into a great cave Shortly afte r the s how cave portion we came to the first "siphon (sump ), which turned out to be an easy I m duck with I 0-15cm. air-The Texas Caver Jun e 1996 39


Th e re was quit e a bit o f sw immin g a nd we were g l a d o f the h a ndline a s in man y se ctions yo u could n o t t o u c h bot t om It a r elie f t o ge t the rubber h ood s off of o ur drys uit s and o ff t o se c som e of the exquisite l y beautiful forma Some o f the b es t decor atio n was in the g r o tt o know n Bloo d y Mary H all. It i s easy t o see w h y the place i s called R e d Cave. L o ts of impress i ve big form at i o n s so m e w ith we ird s hap es so m e p ositive l y phalli c, so m e go rgeou s little formation s a nd big s tal ac tit es bri s tlin g w ith h elict it es W e all left the cave in hig h s pirit s a nd h a d a goo d l aug h ge ttin g out o f o ur dry s uit s. Vitale wore his o n the wa lk back to ca mp and n o t s urpri sing l y, jumpe d int o th e river upon arriving After ge ttin g c han ge d a nd s preadin g o ur kit o ut to dry in the s un the re was a flu rry of tr a din g of caving gear which s eemed t o end up w ith ever yo n e h appy. W e s truck camp a nd h ad a humpy b u s rid e b ac k t o Centr o p o l w h e re we s t aye d at the M o unt ain-Cav e R esc u e HQ. We went for a wander a r o und town and tr ea t e d o ur se l ves t o deliciou s ice creams. In the evenin g, we we re g i ve n a s up e rb buffet meal accompanie d b y the inevitable t oas ts and copi o u s qu a ntitie s of vodka. C hri s annou nced his proposals for the Ukrainian-American yo uth cavcr exc han ge project, whic h was well received. Ed and the HQ boss h ad an ann wre s tlin g contest a nd Chris' s p eec h es go t l oude r and drunk e r as the eveni n g progre sse d In the end. C hri s h a d t o ask f o r h e lp w h e n h e went to bed b eca u se h e couldn't ge t the s trap s o ff his s leepin g bag! the Ukrainian cavers talked int o the nig ht about the pros a nd con s o f nyl o n rop e ver s u s s teel cabl e a nd ente r e d the spc lcop o liti cs zo n e. WEDNESDAY. 30 AUGUST: Cente rop o l Train to Kiev. C hris: "Ar c o ur ho s ts s till s p ea kin g to me?" Bob: Y es. but they aren t s p ea kin g to eac h other!" the m o rnin g wa nd e rin g around Cent e ropol b e for e hoardin g o ur train at 1 2:3 0 for the 22-hour journey ha c k t o Kiev. Thank God we got a c arriag e with an open w indow 1 TH U RSDAY. 3 1 AUGUST: Kiev B r eakfas t at 8:15 includ e d wine ... w e ll. it was Ed's birthday1 Back in Kiev aro un d 11:00. After getting unpa L ked. we s tart e d packing (again) and an othe r round o f mutu ally beneficial tradin g comm e n ced. In the afternoo n we went for a l o n g and enjoyable wander in Kiev. I even m anag ed t o find a bottle o f c hili vodka to t ake h o m e I Sas h a pr esente d E d w ith a bunch of tlowers for his birthday. U nf o rtunatel y. he wasn't in mu c h o f a birthda y m oo d as h e had had guts. S asha had a tr eas ur e hunt aro und the h o u se to find hn lat e birthda y present from A l ec ( a n ecklace). which pnl\ided entertainm ent f o r all. In the eve nin g. we watched thL ideo footage Va leri h ad tak e n during o ur s t ay. w hi c h as a good lau g h FRIDAY, I SEPTEMBER: Sightseeing in Old Kiev. We spent mos t of today revisiting Old Kiev. Unfortunatel y the Ukrainian Art Museum was closed. Visited the National Hi sto ry Museum and an Art Gallery. Then we took a ride o n the underground. On the way, Ed got mugged and there was a scuffle on the train followed by a c h ase a lon g the platform at the next station. We caught one guy but the main perpetrator got away. A very na sty twist at the end of arrotherwise has s l e-free trip. Chris staye d with Ed at the police s t atio n whi l e the rest of u s went sig htseeing there was nothin g we could do to help. We visited the beau tiful Vladimir church, where we watched part of a triple wedding ceremony. Enchanting singing. Later, we went into th e catacombs at Luvca (a big church complex), creeping pas t monks in coffins lit only by tiny taper s. Later, we visit ed the HQ of the Ukrainian Speleological Association, where we met Alex Klimchek Sr. and hi s wife Natasha. Klim turned up too. We were made very welcome and given some cave posters. Ed and Chris turned up just as we were le av ing. in the evening we went to Vitale s and watched videos of some of the expeditions he has been on with his wife Luscha. We enjoyed an excellent meal and there were many good toasts I even made a toast: "To new caves and new friends.' SATURDAY, 2 SEPTEMBER: The Journey Home. Ed go t hi s wallet back this morning-incredible! Only about $5 missing; credit card and driving license intact. There was a ceremonial exchange of gifts before we left. Then it was time for our goodbyes and th a nk yous to the warm, genero u s, hospitable an d kindhearted people who had been our ho sts for three fantastic weeks .-EXPEDITION MEMBERS Ame1icans Becky Jones, Quakertown, Pa./Wimberley, Texas; Jay Jorden, Celina, Texas; Ed Kehs, Germany/Quakertown, Pa.; Chri s Nicola A s toria Queens, N.Y;. Bob Zimmerman, New York British Ben Churc h Fores t of Dean Ukrainian Valeri R egozn ik ov, Lucia Regozniko v, Sasha Regoznikov, Vitale Nikolai Alec Andre Alex Natasha. 40 Jun e 1996 The Texa s Caver


The Inquisition What: Cancord Poly es ter Rop e Pros: Low s tretch l ow cost Cons: None th at I ca n find ... Cost: II mm rope-$1.87/meter or $0.5 7/fo ot b y Joe Iv y Well here s the final updat e o n the wo nderful n ew polyester cav in g rope from Canada-it's aweso m e!!! Four of u s went to Sot a no de l as Golondrin as back in Jun e for a quickie bop trip and took a I 200 foot piece of the Canco:d II mm poly es ter rope to u se in the 1 100 foot deep p1 t. Using the rope was really nice For tho se of you who h ave been to drin as, even wit h the 2% e lon gation offered b y n y l o n line s like PMI you s till ha ve to climb for 1520 feet while s t a nding on the bottom of the pit to get the s tretch o ut. Cancord o n the other h a nd had me a irborne with only three (3) Frog ste p s (yes I frogged out of drin as -it was n't b a d at all) a nd didn t ha ve the excessive bounce that n y lon lin es do in big pit s All in all it was a really plea s urable climb. B y the way there i s a new ro a d to Golondrin as s trai g ht from Aquismon that gets you to within a I 0 minute walk of the pit. In fact, you can see the entrance from where yo u park to s tart the hik e. Go to the m ai n s quar e in Aquismon, p ass the Pr esi d e n cia and tak e a right at the fir st corner of th e s qu are yo u co m e to after th e Pr es id e ncia. F o llow that roa d for a kilometer o r so, and yo u will see a large "Disfrute Coc a Cola/ Vi s it e el Sot a n o de l as Golondrina s" s i g n pointin g up the hill. Turn left her e a nd drive for m ay be 2 5 minute s at the most a nd the ro ad ends a t the parkin g l o t for th e pit. Th ere a r e three turnoff s, but if you go s tr a i g ht a t all of them, you will get there just fine And th e road i s 2WD if dry If yo u do n ot turn left at th e Coke s ign but go s tr a i g ht for thr ee or four kilometers, you come to a really nice p ar k/ sw immin g h o l e calle d T a mbaqu e that is fed b y a cave resurgence 300 m e t ers up strea m Very nic e way t o coo l d ow n when it's h o t out. And as far as the rop e goes, I won t b e u s ing a n y thin g but Can cord from h e r e o n o ut. Th e static qualitie s of thi s r ope make it r eally g reat to u se. Of co ur se, the price i s reall y good too. At pr ese nt Gonzo Gu ano Gear i s the only US dis tributor of Cancord polyester and nyl o n ropes. 'The Inqui s iti o n i s a co lumn d evote d to the s ubj ective t esti n g, evalua tin g a nd ab u sing of caving gear, so that yo u ca n make b e tter-inform ed gear pur c h asing/using d ec i s ions. I f yo u disag ree with so m e thin g in this co lumn feel free to w rit e a reb utt a l and se nd it in and we 'll publi s h it h ere. If yo u wo uld like t o see a p a rti cu l ar piece of gea r evalua t ed writ e me a t The Inqui s ition 401 Rhodes Lane Wimberley TX 78676 or e mail m e at joeivy @ int .-. Trip Reports The Illusive Pit, Coahuila Mexico Caver s atte nding: Oren Tranbarger of San A nt onio, Michael Port m a n of L aredo G eorge and Linda Sander s a nd m yse lf of H o u s ton M arc h 1617th 1996 b y Davi d Lock lear We m e t in the t ow n of Candela o n Saturday m o rning. E ve r yo n e that I was ex p ec tin g m et at Chely s Bur ger" twent y minut es a h ea d of sc h e dul e. W e imm ediate ly left h ea din g wes t tow a rd s the ran c h We jus t happ e n ed to n ot ice th e ranch foreman o n the side of the road severa l mil es b efo r e we got t o th e r a n c h We asked him for the key to the ranch a nd he gave it to u s without h es it at i o n Excited a t this p o int we h e aded for th e ranch Th e road across th e ranch t o the cave h ad r ece ntl y been bulld ozed s m oot h A corve tt e co uld h ave driven most of the way We go t to ca mp a b o ut two h o ur s a h ead of sc h edule. On e cave r d ecide d t o watch ca mp a nd the rest of u s h ea d e d for th e cave. It was not as hot as we were ex p ec ting, so we go t t o the cave way a he a d of sc h e dul e W e d ecided t o u se this time to r es t a nd work o ut the best way to rig the drop Non e of u s had ever rigge d the drop o r been in the cave, so we t oo k o ur tim e, a nd o n ce we all agree d tha t the rigging w as bombproof I put o n my gea r and went d ow n W e h a d rigged the upper e ntr a n ce, which i s the s m alle r of th e t wo. Th e r e is a n over h a n ging lip h ere so the r e i s n o oraceful way t o n egot i a t e it. Abo ut 15 feet below th e b e ntr a nce i s a l arge l e d ge w h e r e o n e s h o uld pad the m a m rope and th e pig -tail. Thi s l e d ge i s l a r ge e n o u g h to s it co mfort ably. Anyone h aving seco nd thoughts ca n eas ily c h a n ge t h e ir mind h ere W e knew our r o p e was too s h ort for the 436' drop, so we h ad planned t o c r oss a knot at abo ut 43 feet down the pit. Thi s was don e b y rappelling o n a pig-tail below the knot a nd c h a n ging over. About 83' down th e pit is a n ot her l edge. The rope d1d n o t appear t o rub h e r e so we did n ot pad it. Thi s l edge i s big e n o u g h for so m eo n e to sit o r s t a nd and sa fely c h a n ge r opes, the r efo r e futur e trips s h o uld m ake s ur e the ir pig-tail i s a t l east 88 feet l o ng. Even if yo ur rope i s n t knotted thi s pig tail co m es in h a ndy. Thi s l edge i s a n ot h e r goo d s pot for people h avi n g seco nd tho u g ht s t o c h a n ge and come back up. Once yo u take off from this l edge yo u know yo u r e in a goo d cave. Th e wall s s tart to flare out and t h e r ope p ea r s int o the a b yss be l ow. Anoth e r 1 50 f ee t down you wl_II e n cou nt er a n other l edge and a n other I 00 fee t down th e r e I S o n e mor e. All of the se l edges tha t I h ave m e ntioned are big eno u g h for o n e p e r so n to s it a n d r est. I thoro u ghly te s ted eac h o n e w ith m y 265 pound b o dy. T h e ro p e may h ave Th e T exas Ca ve r Jun e 1 996 41


rub bed the l as t l e d ge, a nd we mig ht p a d it in the future. Aft e r a t o t a l o f 436 feet of r a pp e llin g yo u will e ncount e r the t o p o f a b rea kdown s l o p e covere d w ith s oft dirt Y o u will b e in a l a r ge r oo m The breakdown s l o pe will d esce nd down t o the walls of the r oo m f o r a n othe r I 00 f e et or m o r e t o so m e nice fo rm atio n s. The re a re l o ts o f popcorn e n crus t e d bo uld e r s a nd so m e 30-foo t t all column s Als o lot s of s t a l ac tit es and a few s t a l ag mit es While I p o k e d aro und in the cave, Geor ge S a nder s came clown the r o pe. H e did it with g race and fine ss e The others d ecide d tha t the re w a s n o t e n o u g h tim e, so they re mained on the surface. Whil e Geor ge p o k e d around I go t on rope My 265p o und b o d y s tru gg l e d up the r o p e lik e a beached whale d row nin g in the surf. I w as u sing a Mit c h ell s y s t e m and did n o t h ave the phys i ca l s t a min a t o fig ht the f o rce s of g ravity. I eve ntu ally mad e it o ut tho u gh. Geor ge c a m e o ut o n a rope w alk e r and was h a rdl y breakin g a s w e at. W e h e ad e d ba c k down t o camp t o e at a late dinner a nd t o go t o b e d Aft e r a goo d nig ht's res t we g ot up early and cleriggecl the c ave. It w as pr e tty h o t but fortunately we got clow n the m o untain e arly. W e h e ad e d into town and Oren tr ea t e d u s all to lun c h at C h e ly's. I w ou l d like t o tak e thi s tim e t o tha nk all the p e op l e who h e l p e d o n this trip E ddi e Y o n e m o t o s upplied the rope tha t we use d f o r the pigtail and the main tie -point. Su s an Herpin loan e d m e h e r rac k (I so l d min e at M e xSpeleo ) Oren Tranbarge r of San Ant onio suppli e d the 400' foot rope the rop e pad s, the ba c k up tie-oil r o p e H e a l so carried gear and wat e r up the mountain and h e lp rig and d erig the c av e. As a matt e r o f fact. O re n did s o much o n thi s trip I promi s ed him that on futur e trip s h e w o uld be ex e mpt from s h e rpa duti e s. Mic ha e l P o rtman brou ght t o the g roup : pati e nce a know l cd gc of S pani s h and familiarity with the ar ea. He also pro vide d s urface s upp o rt. I w o uld lik e t o thank Linda Sanders f o r wat c hin g the c amp all da y whil e w e c av e d a nd h e r hu s b and. Geo r ge for d oing the c a ve with m e I couldn t have done it w ithout all o f these people h e lpin g .Earth Day Project, Colorado Bend State Park Parti c ipants: S urnnll : r Barb e r Jell & Mar y Ann e Baukn ec ht Mark B eauc hamp. M e l ynn Conwa y. Pat Cop e land M elie n e Dav i s. K e ith & C hri s topher H e us s. Alv i s & Dawn Hill. Wa y n e Hill. C hri s toph e r Ja gge T o m Kal er. Jim & Patty K enne dy. T o m Kind el. K enneth Lan g l ey Reb ecc a Lee. C hri sti Quintana Dan O u g ht on. St e phen Thomas St o rey Date: A pril 1 9-:21. 1996. hr T o111 1\' a/er Th e Ce ntral Te x a s G rott o again h eld a n E arth Da y P ro j e c t out at Colnrad o B end S tate Park S e v e ral o f u s m e t \\'ith R o b ert Ba sse ( Park S up e rintendent ) and E d Y o un g Specialist ) d n \\'n a t the rin: r office Frida y C\'e nin g. W e di s cu ss ed the plans for the weekend. Early Saturday morning Ed Young walked over to Gorma n C av e to check on the bats. He reported that a colony of bat s was located in the Big Room near the gate and that we would need to turn the cave tours around before reaching that area to avoid disturbing the bats. Keith Rebecca, Jeff, Stephen and Thomas went over to Icebox Cave to start the cleanup there Icebox Cave has a vertical entrance, and was used by area ranchers as a trash dump before this area was turned into a state park. First they had to move the bipod over to the entrance of the cave, then set up the rope that would be used for pulling up trash out of the cave in five-gallon buckets. The cleanup was delayed, however, when a rattlesnake was found at the bottom of the entrance chimney. The trash in the cave consisted mainly of old food cans, beer & soda cans and glass and plastic bot tles Dan and Tom Kindel went down to Gorman Falls to help with the self-guided tours there A rope was set up so people could easi l y negotiate a steep place on the trail near the falls. Robert Basse said that 77 tickets were sold for the Gorman Falls tours. A l vis, Dawn, Wayne, Mary Anne, Christi, Summer, Christopher Heuss and Christopher Jagge all helped with the Gorman Cave tours. There were 13 groups (132 people) taken to Gorman Cave; many were Boy Scouts The cave was very dry, due to the lack of rain in the area recently. Because of the popularity of the cave tours, we had several groups waiting for their turn to go into the cave. The last Gorman Cave tour didn't get back until after 7:30PM. Meliene Melynn and Mark went with Ed Young over to Lemon s Ranch Cave to do some restoration work there Some formations near the back of the cave had gotten muddied up from people visiting the cave (the park gives crawl ing tours of the cave). 32 liters of water were taken into the c ave and although some good was done, some of the mud had a lr eady stained the formations. P a t Copeland and Tom Kaler a l so led a few tours up to Gorman Spring Four tours were taken over the course of the day (about 40 people) Jim and Patty Kennedy showed up a nd did an excellent job with their presentation on bats Pat Cope l and did a great job with her slide program on cave cons ervation and restoration Ken Langley also showed up and took some s lid e s of the various activities taking place. That same evening, Keith rigged a handline to Gormlette Wate rfall Cave The cave i s situated just southeas t of Gorma n Fall s along the same cliff. The cave is quite int e res t in g, a s it was formed in travertine when Gorman Fall s poured over the cliff here The cave has two fairly large room s a nd i s well decorated with travertine dams, flowstone s tal a ctit es and small helictite s Sunday morning K e ith and Christopher Heuss, Melynn, M elie n e, Mark Rebecca Dan and Tom all went over to Pr e tt y Spl e ndid Cave (Sweet Cave). It took severa l tries b e f o re K e ith and Tom finall y found the entrance. Pat. J e ff and Mary Ann e joined us later after cleaning 42 Jun e 1996 The Texas Caver


the conference Center. Several of us then went sw immin g over at Spicewood Creek befor e l eav ing. A few of us met at Pizza Hut in Lampasa s for dinner before going our own ways. I want to thank everyone who helped at out Earth Day Project ; your effort made it all possible. I also want to thank Robert Basse Ed Young and Nikki Cockrell for their assis tance. We enjoyed working with them all. .Caving in San Saba County Whiteface Cave, unnamed cave, and Travis Cave Participants: Pat Copeland, Michael Dawson and Tom Kaler March 9-10, 1996 by Tom Kaler Pat and I left Friday night's CTG meeting at about 10:30 pm, and headed out to the Sloan Ranch in San Saba County. Just outside of San Saba, we saw a very bright meteor streak across the dark sky, It took several seconds before fading away. I took this as a good omen for this weekend's trip. That night it got cold very cold. I slept in the back of my truck. It was so cold that a full quart bottle placed next to my sleeping bag the night before had almost completely frozen solid by morning. So much for good omens. We left our campsite on the San Saba River at about 10:30 am for Whiteface Cave I rode with Pat, and we took our time getting to the cave, sightseeing on the way. Whiteface is one of the deepest caves in the state and is also important because it has a direct underground entrance into the Ellenburger Aquifer. The entrance is located in a 1 0foot diameter sink on the side of a hill. Pat rigged a handline for the 45 degree slope down into the cave. Deep inside the cave, you encounter a lot of guano. Must be a large bat colony here during the summer. At a depth of about 200 feet, you reach the stream passage. Pat showed me where a cave diver had descended 117 feet before having to come back up because his air was running low, and he still couldn't see the bottom! Pat and I waded (and swam) along the stream passage looking for any previously overlooked leads. The seat of Pat s pants had ripped open, so she generously allowed me to lead the way out. By the time we made it back to our campsite it was 3:30 pm--two hours later than the time we had agreed to meet Michael Dawson there. Not bad for cavers! The three of us soon left to go check out a cave on a neighboring ranch As far as the rancher knew no one had ever been in the cave before. Michael and I climbed down and s tarted crawling along on our hands and knees. I caught a glimpse of something ahead, but I thought my mind was playing tricks on me. It wasn 't. There was not one, but two sk unk s, right in front of me! It's amazing how fast you can ge t out of a cave when you have a little encouragement. We d ec ided to save this one for another weekend. While dri v ing back to camp, we saw an incredible num ber of deer grazing in the dis tance. We built a campfire and talked for hours. It wasn t actually as cold as it was the night before but our campfire s ure felt good. Sunday morning we went to look at a cave Pat had talked about. There was a huge sinkhole with a mountain of trash dumped inside Old refrigerators TV 's, tire s, and dead animals all sat around the edge. It's incredible that people st ill do this so rt of thing Pat showed us a nother cave nearby that s he called Travi s Cave. It was severa l hundred feet long mo s tly hand s and knees type crawling, before ending at a neat little room A hole at the bottom i s just begging to be dug out. The cave trends toward the big trash-filled sink mentioned above. We ended the day by driving over to a b ea utiful set of cliffs next to the San Saba River for some vertical practice. Michael got to try out his new frog system and I got to try out his Petzl Stop descender. The sun was sett ing while we were loading up our vehi cles to leave. A nice finish to our weekend; we just wish more people could have come out to enjoy it, too .co ntinu ed from page 29 slows or stops the internal bleeding by constricting the bro ken blood vessels. In the event of a really serious bruise (i.e. falling onto a formation nubbin from a 2-meter height) direct, generalized pre ss ure will help lessen the bleeding as well. Obviously if you are underground you prob a bly won't have ice with you If there i s a chilly cave strea m that will do If no cold stuff i s ava ilable the best thing to do is to head out for someplace that does have ice s ince the affected area is only going to get stiffer and more painful as time goes by. After a couple of days, you can start applying warmth to the bruise to speed reabsorption and healing All of this advice i s for those of you who will be caving way out in the middle of nowhere such that you won t hav e a doc you can get to rig ht away when so meone gets hurt. I once again recommend Wilderness Medicine: B eyond First Aid by William Forgey, MD as a must to have along when doing this kind of caving since it tells you all of thi s and more in a simple, easy-to-read format. That's it for this month. Next time with any luck, we 'll have a full-blown article on how to do a pickoff with the Frog s ystem A pick off i s when someone becomes incapacitated while on rope and you mu s t climb up pa ss them, transfer their weight to your gear then rappel down with them to the bottom of the pit where you can deal with their problem If there are any technique s you would like to see cove red in this column plea se write me at Coordinator's Corner, 40 I Rhode s Lane Wimberley, TX 78676 or e mail me at joeivy @ inter serv. com .The Texas Caver Jun e 1996 43

Contents: The Editor Speaks, again / Chris Vreeland --
1996 TSA Winter Meeting: Powell's Cave / George Veni --
Grotto Reports / Tom Kaler, Jay Jorden --
Book Reviews / Bill Mixon --
Coordinator's Corner / Joe Ivy --
Notes on the Masterson Ranch / Mike Walsh --
Ukraine Underground 1995 Expedition / Ben Church ---
The Inquisition / Joe Ivy --
Reports: Illusive Pit / David Locklear --
Earth Day Project, Colorado Bend & Caving in San
Saba County / Tom Kaler.