The Texas Caver

The Texas Caver

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The Texas Caver
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The Texas Caver
Texas Speleological Association
Texas Speleological Association
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Regional Speleology ( local )
Technical Speleology ( local )
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United States


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Contents: Letter from the Chair / Gill Ediger -- Speleologicl Potential in Kerr County, Texas / William R. Elliott And Brian Vauter -- Minutes of TSA Winter Business Meeting -- Powell's Cave Project / George Veni -- Book Reviews / Bill Mixon -- News and Notes -- Marneldo Ranch Project / Chris Vreeland -- Trip Reports.
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Vol. 42, no. 02 (1997)
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Table of Contents 23. Letter from the Chair .. Gill Ediger 24. Speleologicl Potential in Kerr County, Texas .. William R. Elliott And Brian Vauter 31. Minutes of TSA Winter Business Meeting 32. Powell's Cave Project .. George V eni 38. Book Reviews .. Bill Mixon 39. News and Notes 41. Marneldo Ranch Project .. Chris Vreeland 46. Trip Reports Front Cover: "Litde Sinkhole," Kerr County. George Arredondo on left, Jim Normand on Right. Photo by Roger Bartholomew, late 1960's or early 1970's. The name and location of this cave were ascertained only as we were going to press. Back Cover: Bob Fleishman in the entrance to Moon Mountain (Sheep Trap?) Cave, Uvalde County. Photo By Chris Vreeland Submit! Mail, fax or e-mail article s or trip reports (photos encouraged) to the Editor, or to The Texas Caver, Box 8026 Austin, TX 78713 or e-mail TEXAS CAVER March/Aprill997 Volume 42 Number 2 A publication of the Texas Speleological Association Editor: Chris Vreeland h512-447-5987 w512-474-1709 f512-472-4317 Publications Committee & Staff Melonie Alspaugh Katie Arens Aimee Beveridge Gill Ediger Emie Garza Terry Holsinger Cammy Jones Jay Jordan Jim Kennedy Tim Stich David Tumer Chris Vreeland The TEXAS CAVER i s published 6 tim:.!; per year by the Texas Speleologica l Association (TSA) and distributed free t o 1 members. Membership in the TSA is $25 f o r individual members, $30 for Family Membership and includes the monthly TSA Activitie s Newsletter. Library rate i s $2 0 The subscription rate for the TSA Activities Newsletter only is $7 per year. Send y our name and mailing address along with a / check to TSA, Box 8026, Austin TX 78713.1


Letter from the Chair The Jack Baer Enigma by Gill Ediger About a year after I started caving in the late '60s, I ran into a caver from Baltimore who was stationed at Fort Sam in San Antonio. His name was Jack Baer, and he had one of the strangest ways of looking at situations, real and imag ined, of anyone I had ever known. I hadn't, of course, known very many people at that time, but you get the point, I'm sure. Anyhow, he impressed me then, and has had a contin uing effect on my thinking, such as it is, ever since. We remain friends to this day, nevertheless. There was a lot of talk in those days about "Solo Caving"-the (some would say foolhardy) practice of going caving alone. The rules, of course, say "Never cave alone." While Jack never openly promoted solo caving, he also never condemned it or denied practicing it. His philosophy was: Every caver is responsible for his or her own actions. Each caver determines his gear of choice-which hard hat, which descender, which harness, which light source, et cetera. Each caver also determines, after some training, what his or her own skill level is and what they feel comfortable with Each caver carries his or her own pack containing the contents of his or her choice, sufficient, hopefully, for his or her own life support during the caving trip. Each caver deter mines where to put his or her own foot every time he or she takes a step. In effect, each caver is doing his or her own thing; each caver is caving alone-solo caving. The only difference is that when there are other cavers on the trip, they are all solo caving; they are just solo caving in a group. The whole purpose of the rule to "Never cave alone" is not to prevent accidents. Indeed, the larger the group, the greater the chances of some caver doing some thing stupid, on their own. It is merely to assure that we have other cavers at hand to help out should that accident happen or assuring that we have a means of communicating with other cavers should we need to. And while underground, that need involves not just accidents, but training, techniques, equipment, and general caving knowledge. Being able to communicate in order to help each other is one of the most powerful benefits of caving together. It should soon become obvious to all new cavers that caving is not all about exploring caves. That may be the main draw, the lowest common denominator if you will, but the social interaction, whether it be in a large student Grotto with lots of energy, a smaller metropolitan Grotto, or just a bunch of friends who get together to go caving, counts for a large part of why most of us are cavers. From the social experience we learn how to explore caves-where to put one's foot, what to carry in one's pack, how to rig one's gear, and how to descend and climb a rope safely. From the social experience we learn about new equipment, about new techniques, and, more importantly about new caves. From the social experience we find new friends (and lovers), have new adventures, are introduced to new disciplines and learn new places and ideas we would otherwise never have known. Although we each do our own thing-just like solo caving-we do it in a group. As I indicated, there are several types of groups, and they range from your best caving buddy, to the close gang you usually cave with to the cavers in your Grotto, to the people you see and party with at TCR, to the Project people you cave with to the members of the TSA, and to the 10, 000 cavers who are members of the NSS That's a lot of cavers for you to communicate and interact socially with. Few cavers would argue with the concept that the more cavers you communicate with, the more you will learn about cav ing But, of course, you can't know them all. You can, how ever, make sure that you get maximum access to as many of them as possible. The way you do that is to join and partici pate in the several caving organizations that have the most immediate impact on you as a caver. Generally, the base level organization is the Grotto or Caving Club. At that level you support the local training program to insure that the cavers you go underground with are knowledgeable cavers. The next level up is the Regional organization-in our case here in Texas it is the TSA-the Texas Speleological Association. The TSA serves to bring together all of the var ious caving entities in Texas so that their many activities can be organized, coordinated publicized, and made to work in harmony for the betterment of caving in Texas. That means better caving for you-whatever your idea of better caving may be. There are a lot of other caving activities and groups in Texas that you can join or participate in if they fall within your sphere of interest. On the national level there is the National Speleological Society. It does the same thing and more on a national level that the TSA strives to do in Texas. If you are truly interested in caving to the fullest, then you should know that there are many, many aspects of cav ing out there in the world that might increase your enjoy ment as a caver. One of the ways you fmd out about those thinas is to communicate with a wider range of cavers, "' cavers who are operating on the frontiers of speleology, cavers who are developing new equipment and techniques cavers who are exploring and mapping the deepest and longest caves in the world, cavers who are working on high quality caving publications, cave divers, cave photogra phers, and many other disciplines. The way you get in touch with these cavers and communicate with them is by joining the TSA and the NSS. At that point, the door will be openit's merely up to you to switch on your lamp and get on with whatever part of caving interests you the most. I can just hear ol' Jack Baer saying it now, "You'll still be solo caving. But at least you'll be solo caving with the groups that can get you more of the things that you go cav ing for." Do you want to solo cave with your own little lim ited bunch of local cavers or do you want to expand your caving knowledge and experience to the max by going solo caving with a group that's on top of what 's happenin now? Get out of the local caver doldrums-join the TSA and join the NSS. The Texas Caver March/April 1997 23


Speleological Potential in Kerr County, Texas "Kerr County is located in the hilly country of central Texas. It is a well developed tourist resort area ... The area is among the best for deer and turkey ... The limestone is of the Cretaceous ... ln the southwestern part of the county the prospects for finding caves are good. At least one big cave has been found, and several others are thought to exist nearby. This county is bordered by Real and Edwards counties, which contain some large caves, so the prospects look good in this area. I would suggest that the caver trying to locate new caves start from Hunt, Texas, and work west along Texas 39. Then try 1340 from Hunt. By the time you have canvassed this area, you should have several dozen caves to explore. The whole county has potential, but I think that the big caves will be found in the areas above. From Mountain Home down Texas 41 is another good area, but not with the same potential, to my way of thinking. The Guadalupe River basin is probably the best area in the county, so expect to hear more of the caves of this area. This is particularly a ripe area for the cavers who live near San Antonio. It is only a drive of an hour or so to the town of Hunt, where many people can be contacted who know where caves are to be found in the area. -Bob Hudson, November, 1954 by William R. Elliott and Brian Vauter Texas Speleological Survey Forty-three years later Bob Hudson's words still ring true, but the speleological potential of Kerr County remains somewhat elusive. Hudson, one of the founders of the UT Grotto listed about 30 caves in Kerr. Cavers have not done a lot there since 1968, when the TSA held its convention in Kerrville We hope that this overview will assist cavers in systematically going out there and finding some interesting caves. Three-quarters of Kerr County is good cavernous lime stone (see geologic map), much of it traversed by the Guadalupe River and its tributaries, like Turtle Creek Where these streams cut through the Edwards Group limestones, there might be caves waiting to be explored. But no large stream caves are known in Kerr. Today we know of 93 caves in Kerr County, but we have good locations for only 24. The true count is unknown, unfortunately, because some information was never filed with the TSS. Fortunately, most cavers who visited the area have been good about contributing maps and descriptions for posterity, glory, and science! Geology of Kerr County Kerr County's geology consists of limestones, marls (crumbly rocks), and clays of Cretaceous age. The geologic 24 March/April 1997 The Texas Caver


formations of greatest interest to cavers are the Segovia and the Fort Terrett of the Edwards Group The Del Rio Clay and Buda Limestone occur as erosional remnants within the far western sections of the county (see geologic map). Stratigraphically below the Buda and Del Rio is the Segovia, which crops out on the vast expanses of the Edwards Plateau in the northern and western parts of the county, and on ridgetops near the Guadalupe River and near Highway 16 northeast of Kerrville. Throughout Kerr County, the Segovia reaches a maxi mum thickness of 200 feet. Probably most of the known caves occur in the Segovia, which is limestone and dolomite (rock with high magnesium content) About 20 of the 24 plotted cave entrances occur within the Segovia Below the Segovia is the Fort Terrett, which occurs on lower valley slopes and on remnant ridges in southeast Kerr County The Fort Terrett consists of limestones and dolomites and may be anywhere from 150 to 200+ feet thick Within Kerr County the Fort Terrett approaches thick nesses of some 200 feet. Outcrops of the Fort Terrett may be found within the central and eastern sections of Kerr County Of the 24 caves with good locations, four have entrances in the Fort Terrett. Below the Fort Terrett is the upper member of the Glen Rose and lots of Quaternary alluvium (gravel) in the river valleys, which have poor cave potential. The Upper Glen Rose consists of alternating beds of limestones, marls and dolomites. Each of these types of rock possess different ero sional characteristics which lead to the development of a "stair-step" topography common on outcrops of the Glen Rose The TSS files show no known caves formed within the Glen Rose of Kerr County However a few tiny caves prob ably could be found there along river bluffs. The Lower Glen Rose, which is an excellent cave limestone, crops out much farther down the Guadalupe With all the limestone and streams, why does Kerr County have relatively few large caves? In nearby Bandera, Real, and Edwards counties there are some big caves, espe cially in the Devils River Limestone and in fault zones. Kerr has rather few fractures, so that may be the limiting factor. But it doesn't mean there are not some large, unexplored caves out there. Summary of the Caves TSS normally does not publish cave owners' names and exact cave locations, reserving that information for cavers running projects. However, in Kerr County many of the caves are named for ranches and ranchers, although many of those folks may be gone now, or the land changed hands. Table 1 is a list of the known caves with some pertinent details. For you adventurous types, relocating some of these old caves will be a challenge, but new ones will be found along the way! Please be courteous and cooperative if you contact some of these ranches. TSS has a data form that you can use to record information about the cave Use that to feed information back to the owners and the TSS. Only 13 of the caves have been mapped and there are a few sketch maps in the files Adam Wilson's Cave is the largest unmapped cave in Kerr County It may be 450 m long and contains a bat colony that is not well known. Stowers Cave is the largest in Kerr at 2391 m long and 38 m deep. A description and large map by Roger Bartholomew may be found in The Caves and Karst of Texas (Elliott and Veni 1994 ) It is a complex of large rooms an parallel passages and is the tenth longest cave in Texas. Other important unmapped caves are Wilson's Cave, which apparently is different from Adam Wilson's Cave; Y O Ranch Cave, which is a Mexican free-tailed bat roost; an unnamed bat cave shown to Brian Vauter several years ago ; and a lost freetail bat cave somewhere on the headwaters of Turtle Creek (called "Turtle Creek Bat Cave" here). Some of the ranches are known to have many small caves. Many caves were visited by cavers only once For instance six caves were mentioned by White ( 1948) in the famous NSS Bulletin 10, The Caves of Texas but we know of no one who has returned there. Comanche Caves Ranch apparently has not been checked by cavers, but is plainly labeled in Delorme's Texas Atlas & Ga z etteer. The ranch should be on the Fort Terrett and perhaps the Segovia limestones. The most recent work in Kerr County was in 1992 by Cathy Winfrey Allan Cobb John Fogarty, and Bill Elliott. They mapped Sue s Cave, and Winfrey published the map in 1994. They left Deutser Cave unmapped, and have not had the time to return to it. Deutser Cave would be a fun week end mapping project for a small group, but the cave contains M y otis velifer bats so it should be visited in the winter when the bats are gone. (TSS can provide the owner's name and phone to a responsible group of cave mappers ) In the TSS files we found a nice, unpublished map of Secrest Cave by Russell Harmon, from 1968 Elliott scanned and edited it and we include the map here. There is no writ ten description of this spacious cave, and we don't know where it is, but several groups went there in 1968 and some photographed it. Another intriguing "lost cave is T.D 's Blowhole, described as follows: Early in October [1967], Mike Collins and Stiles Roberts took six new cavers to Seeker's [Secrest] Cave and T .D. s Blowhole Cave, near Mountain Home. Mike was able to reach the bottom of a pit previously considered bottomless (about 150ft.) in Blowhole where he found a side passage blowing air vigorously, just large enough for his left boot. He plans a return trip with dyna mite (Anon., 1967). We have no record of the outcome of this effort by the UT Grotto, but TSS has the name of the owner if some competent vertical cave mappers want to go investigate. Cavers may contact the TSS c/o Bill Elliott, 12102 Grimsley Drive Austin TX 787593120, 512-475-8802 (office) or 835-2213 (home), welliott@mail.utexas edu The Texas Caver March/ April 1997 25


Buda Limestone and Del Rio Clay (undivided) Segovia Fort Terrett Glen Rose (upper) f:\ Number of caves within \.::_) general area Note : Quaternary alluvial depos i ts were not mapped, but may be expected along major rivers and creeks. 5 0 GEOLOGIC MAP OF KERR COUNTY, TEXAS William R. Elliott and Brian Vauter Texas Speleogical Survey April, 1997 5 10 ="-.....----.----=======::1=========:3 miles 5 0 5 10 15 20 kilometers Based on the Geologic Atlas of Texas, Llano and San Antonio Sheets, 1986, Bureau of Economic Geology University of Texas at Austin


IICBIIT CAVI Kerr County, Texas Brunton and tape survey by Texas Speleological Survey, 17 March, 1968. Drafted by Russell Harmon. Edited by William R. Elliott, 1997. 0 30 60ft. 0 5 10 15 20 m 4_/ Nm


Table 1. Kerr County Caves Reported to TSS. Lengths & depths may be from a survey or an estimate ; units are meters A check in the l ast column means that the cave s location is known within a few hundred meters and has been marked on a topographic map. CAVE: Other Names: Length Depth Mapped? Loc 1 Adam Wilson's Cave Adam Wilson's Bat 450 27 1959 ./ Cave, Bonn i e Hills sketch Cave Bonnie Hills Ranch Cave 2 Ahrens Ranch Cave 3. Ancient City Cave 4 Armadillo Cave 5 Bat cave visited by Brian Vauter 6 Bearhead Cave Cullum Cave No 2 9 3 7 Blowing Cave 8 Boxed Spring 9. Burial Cave Real Ranch caves 10. Canopy Cave Whitworth Cave N H 61 9 1969 .I Whitworth Ranch Cave #1? 11. Cave near Japonica Cave 12 Cave Spr ing Cave 8 13 Cave Swallow Cave 8 3 14 Comanche Caves Ranch 15. Contrary Cave 8 16. Cullum Cave Cullum Cave No. 7 61 8 17. Cullum Rattlesnake Cave Cullum Cave No 1 12 5 18. Dead Horse Cave 9 5 19. Deer Run Cave 21 10 .I 20 Deu t ser Cave 61 15 .I 21. Dry Pasture Cave Cullum Cave No 3 8 3 22 East Trap Cave 1976 .I 23 Elmo Wilson Cave No 1 30 5 .I 24 Elmo Wilson Cave No. 2 76 3 25 Entomology Station Cave 9 3 26 Excavation Pit 27. Fence Cave Cullum Cave No 6 6 6 28 George s Hilltop Cave Real Ranch caves 29. Goat Shelter Windmill Cave 40 12 1962 .I 30 Goat Trap Cave Goat Trap Goat Cave? 24 15 .I 31. Good Road Cut Cave Real Ranch caves 32 Hall's Cave Old Morris Cave, Klein 76 5 1993 ./ Cave 41229 33 Hays Hole 8 3 34 Hidden Hole .I 28 M arc h/ A pril 1 99 7 The Tex a s Caver


35. Japonica Cave 15 36 Johnson Ranch Sinkhole Johnson Ranch Cave? 38 8 37 Karger Cave 38. Kurt Probst Cave 39. Lehmann's Cave 12 40 Lightning Burn Cave ./ 41. Lin Sue Cave 30 6 42. Lost Key Cave 46 12 1969 ./ 43 Marion Cave Powder Horn Cave ./ N H Whitworth Ranch Cave #2? 44. Mingus Root Cave ./ 45 Mingus Swallow Cave 1968 ./ 46 Musk Hog Cave ./ 47. Nelson Ranch Cave No 01 53 48. Nelson Ranch Cave No. 02 9 2 49. Nelson Ranch Cave No 03 9 50. Nelson Ranch Cave No. 04 23 51. Nelson Ranch Cave No. 05 52. Nelson Ranch Cave No. 06 9 53 Nelson Ranch Cave No. 07 9 54. Nelson Ranch Cave No. 08 9 55. Nelson Ranch Cave No. 09 Cow Pen Cave No. 1 56. Nelson Ranch Cave No 1 0 Cow Pen Cave No. 2 57 Nelson Ranch Cave No 11 Cow Pen Cave No. 3 58. New Cave Cullum Cave No. 4 24 6 59. Panther Pit 9 6 60 Pinto Ranch Cave ./ 61. Possible caves on Johnson Creek 62. Priour Ranch Cave 183 63. Prieur's Pride 46 64. R.R. Merritt Ranch Cave No. 1 8 11 65 R.R. Merritt Ranch Cave No. 2 66. R.R. Merritt Ranch Cave No. 3 12 2 67. Rattlesnake Cave Kerr County Cullum Cave #2 12 68. Real Ranch caves 69 Ringtail Lodge Sinkhole 70 Schnurr Cave 6 2 71. Schwethelm Goat Sink Schwethelm Cave? 15 2 72. Secrest Cave Seiker's Cave, Sieker s 344 12 1968 Cave, Secor's Cave Bee Seeker's Cave, Little Sinkhole? 73. Seven Room Cave 61 5 1968 ../ 74. Skunk Cave 10 75. Smith Cave, Kerr County 21 12 1968 76. Snake Pit The Texas Caver M arc h/April 199 7 29


3 0 77 Spring Pasture Pit 14 3 78 Stowers Cave 2391 38 1968-78 79 Sue's Cave 40 5 1992 80 Swallow Cave Cullum Cave No. 8 18 81. T.D.'s Blowhole 46 82 Tick Cave 16 2 83 Trap Cave 84 Turtle Creek Bat Cave Turtle Creek Ranch 1971 Cave? 85 Turtle Creek Ranch Cave Turtle Creek Bat Cave? 40 6 86. Unnamed cave 87. Unnamed cave in a road cut 88. Unnamed cave near Hunt 89 W W Wilson Cave 122 12 90 Waterhole Pasture Cave Water Pond Pasture 98 5 1976 Cave? 91. Whitehorse Cave Cullum Cave No 5 46 92 Wilson's Cave 305 93. Y -0 Ranch Cave R efe r e n ces: A n o n 1 967. N ews, U. T G T exas C a ver, D ec pp 172-173. B art h o l o m ew, R oger. 1 994. St owers C ave. p 219 i n Elli o tt W ill ia m R and G eo r ge V en i (e d s ), The Caves and K arst of T exas. N atio n a l S p e l eo lo g i ca l S o ci ety, C o nv e ntion Guideb o ok 3 4 2 pp + v iii. D e l o rm e M a pping.1 99 5 T exas A t l as & G a z ettee r D e l o rme M a ppin g Fre e port M a in e Hud so n B o b 195 4 K e rr C o unty, T exas Unpubl is hed fil e r e p o rt in th e T exas Sp e l eo lo g ical Surv ey. Whit e, P a t rick J 1948. C aves of C ent r a l T exas Nat i o nal Sp e l eo l ogic al S ociety B ull., 10 pp 466 4 W i n frey, C a th y 1 99 4 Sue's C a ve T e xas Caver. D ec pp.ll6117. Dr. Will ia m Elliott i s a R esea r c h F ellow a t th e T exas M e m o ri a l Mu se um Th e Univer s it y o f T exas a t A u s t i n a nd TSS Ed i t or. Bri a n Va ut e r is a G eo l og i s t an d A ssist ant Man ager, N a tur a l Brid ge Ca ve rns. ./ ./ ./ ./ ./ 7 M arc h/ A pril 1 99 7 The Tex a s Caver


Minutes of the TSA Winter Business Meeting Powell's Cave 24 February 1997 The meeting was called to order at 9 : 37 by TSA Chairman Gill Ediger. In the absence of the Secretary, minute s will be taken b y tape recorder.The ViceChairman Dave McClung was present. Treasurer Christa McLeland was not present and the Secretary's office is still vacant. The Minutes of the previous meeting were read by the Chairman and approved by ac cl a mation. The Treasurer's Report was read by the Chairman for the Treasurer. As of deposits made last Thursday the TSA balance is $3222.86. The Land Fund totals $1244.47 at present. COMMITTEE REPORTS: Conservation Committee : No Report. Cave Rescue Committee: John Green: No report Chairman reported that there is a general consen s us that under current Texas law cavers don t have much legal ground to stand on if they effect a rescue and don t call 911. They can be prosecuted John is working on some ideas to make cavers recognized as a part of the Emergency Response System Membership Committee: Member s Manual to come out with the Jan/Feb Texas Caver. There are over 1100 caver s in the data base of whom more than 400 are paid TSA members Publications Committee : December is s ue is ready to print. Jan/Feb issue should be a few weeks behind it. We have tried to set up reporters in each Grotto a nd ca n contac t them instantly by e mail. This has had the side effect of bringing so me grottos back to life. Bookstore: We are looking for 3 or 4 cavers to run the TSA Bookstore at Convention and TSA to sell books, T-shirt s, bumper stickers, etc ., to make money and perform a caver service. Expedition Committee : Trying to get a few cavers to organize a couple of field trips a year to seldom visited big caves Constitution Committee: Copies of proposed constitution have been handed out and we are looking for suggestions for changes and input from cavers so a final version can be written We need wording of letters of incorporation to put into constitution PROJECT REPORTS Powell's Cave--George Veni : The entire datab ase i s being proof-read and reviewed to catch blunders. Holsing er: There were 90 people present this weekend and about 1650 meters were mapped. Elliott: Will try to have an updated line plot for each work weekend in the future Government Canyon--George Veni : The project is going well cavers are still welcome TSA is a member of the Cooperating Association and the annual report has been filed. Carl Ponebshek is our representative Honey Creek--George Veni: The project continues as an infor mal organization Mark Minton maintains caver/landowner liaison. Over 180 leads still waiting to be checked which should di s pel rumors that the cave is done or dead Owner requests visits be lim ited to no more than one per month. Colorado Bend--Dale Barnard: Every single team has gotten work done every single work weekend and documentation turned in. This has made the project look really good in fulfilling our obligations to the TP&WD. Participation has been between 25 and 54 persons. Now focusing on nons urveying ac tivities such as geol ogy, water sampling, relocating s urface surveying, although cave surveying is actively going on. Bustamante--Gill Ediger: Labor Day Project. TSA will spon sor or co-sponsor the project to clean up and restore portions of the cave. Details will be published We are also working out a sys tem so cavers as part of a "Amigos de Ia Gruta (Friends of the Cave) organization, can have unlimited access to the cave C avi ng trips to other local caves will be arranged The long range goal is to se t up a project in the entire Sierra de !guano Amistad Project--Gill Ediger for Cathy Winfrey : Contact s have been made and project dates will be announced in ne x t Newsletter New Mexico Projects will be included in TSA Activities Newsletter and The T exas Caver, since many Texas cavers partici pate in them ORGANIZATIONS Texas Speleological Survey--Bill Elliott : Publications are availab l e and the lis t will be published in The Texas Caver. The first of the Monograph Series has been issued Out of-print TSS reports will be reprinted Office help with filing, map drafting, etc is needed. TSS is cooperating with The Texas Caver to produce articles for that publication Texa s Cave Conservancy--Ediger for Walsh : Blowing Sink acquisition is on hold pending changes in the agreement. Spring Creek Cave is s till scheduled for donation Camp Wood caving area is still being explored by various grottos Pat Copeland is TCC caver/landowner contact person Real County-There was discus s ion of starting a Project in Real County and Bill Elliott reque s ted that anyone doing work in the area send reports to TSS Te xas Cave Management Association--Dave McClung : A meeting was scheduled for toda y but only 2 officers are present. 09 Well Upstream Project i s scheduled for May but no details are available. Association for Mexican Cave Studies--Gill Ediger: 1996 AMCS Activities Newsletter is in the fmal s tages of production b y Bill Mixon. Te xas Cavers Reunion--Gill Ediger : We are still looking for the perfect site Anyon e knowing of a location should contact Ediger. Announcements were only sent out in TSA publications l as t year, and attendance dropped from over 500 to 430 ANNOUNCEMENTS TSA Web Page--Terry Holsinger: The Web Page is on line More idea s and material are needed. Putting the TSA Membership List on the Web Page was discussed Access and security were the main concerns. Open House at Government Canyon--George Veni announced the Government Canyon Open House in ear l y April. It is not a cav ing event but cavers are welcome. New Cave Book--George Veni discussed his concerns about Blair Pittman s picture book on the caves of Texas. The Chairman agreed to look into George s concerns. TCR Cooks--Charlie Loving i ss ued a req u est for more cooks for TCR. He would like Grottos to ask their members if any would like to participate. Both males and females are welcome. TSS Monograph--Bill Elliott announced th a t anyone wanting a TSS Monograph can still order one OLD BUSINESS Election of Secretary--Troy Shelton was proposed and elect ed by acclamation. NEW BUSINESS Proposed sample constitution was pa sse d out and discu ss ed but no action was taken ADJOURNMENT It was moved and sec onded that the meeting be adjourned. Meeting was adjourned by acclama tion. Re s pectfully Submitted Gill Ediger Chairman The Texas Caver March/April 1997 31


Powell's Cave Project: Surveys and Digs and Culverts ... Oh My! by George Veni The Proof Is In The Survey Since 1989, cavers have come three times a year to Powell's Cave to explore and survey its complicated pas sages. The data would be entered into a computer survey processing program, and line plots of the maps generated to give a schematic view of the cave. Occasionally, something would look grossly wrong with the plots, and the data and accompanying sketches would then be checked for errors. However, considering the complexity of most passages, this was not done as often as it should have. Over the past couple of years, the survey of some sec tions of the cave were completed and discussion arose among folks about starting to draft those parts of the map. The drafting was delayed for several reasons, the main one being that the entire database needed to be proofread to con firm that the surveys were good and determine where cor rections were needed. In maze caves like Powell's, adjust ment of a loop in one area can affect other areas at consider able distances. No one would want to put dozens of hours into drafting, only to have to do it over again later. So why wasn't anyone proofreading the data? Three reasons. First was time (or lack thereof), second was that the files them selves needed to be better organized to facilitate proofing, and third was waiting for the right survey program to come along. For years, David McKenzie was known for writing ELLIPSE, a cave survey data reduction and plotting pro gram that ran on The University of Texas at Austin main frame computer. Surveys of some of the deepest and longest caves in the world ran on ELLIPSE. It set the standard in loop closing algorithms by distributing error in the most sta tistically sound way, thus maximizing the chance at produc ing the most accurate representation possible of a cave with the given data. When UT finally junked their old mainframe in the late 1980s, ELLIPSE, written specifically for that sys tem, went with it. With the advent of powerful personal computers, David began work on a program which would do all ELLIPSE would and far more. Enter WALLS. While there are many other fine cave survey programs available that can produce beautiful, multi-color plots, rotate the cave for viewing from all angles, and even give 3-D views (with special glasses) of the cave, WALLS does something critically important that the others do not. It provides a statistical system that ana lyzes your data and essentially verifies that your beautiful multi-colored plot is correct! WALLS identifies problem areas and likely problem vectors, gives suggestions on what the probable correct survey data should be for problem vec tors, and has other features crucial to proofreading and trou bleshooting surveys especially in caves as complicated as Powell 's. WALLS is also designed to accurately draw in the cave walls (an upcoming feature and source of the program's name). For more information on this fine program, See David's web site at ck/walls beta/. WALLS is free, and David welcomes input on what features cavers would like that would make the pro gram better. The Powell's Cave System quality control process began when Terry Holsinger came to the Texas Speleological Survey (TSS) office were he, Bill Elliott, and I began to fully organize all of the survey notes, archive the original notes (or best available copies) in the TSS files, and create duplicate field files for Terry to use at home and at the cave. We then began proofreading the data in the computer against the survey notes, and I ended up bringing the files to San Antonio where several cavers helped proof the data. We found many blunders. Some were data entry blunders; others were obvious blunders in the notes and survey that were eas ily fixed. Several errors were from a software bug in trans ferring the data from the SMAPS program, where the data were originally entered, toW ALLS. Many other errors could not be tracked to obvious blunders and would need to be checked and fixed in the cave, yet overall, the survey turned out to be in pretty good shape. In addition to proofreading the over 2,600 survey shots, we added copious notes identifying the survey teams, describing corrections in the data to know why the changes were made, highlighting leads and problems, noting infor mation on the cave's history, geology and biology, and adding any other information that would be potentially use ful. From this we created a 30-page list of leads to check and problems to fix, and printed it out in over 40 packets, each on a specific part of the cave, and with plots of those areas. These would be handed to caving teams so they could go directly to the areas in question and survey, resolve ques tions, dig open leads, etc. About 226 person-hours of total effort were spent in this quality control process, and I'd like to recognize and thank the following people for helping: Jerry Atkinson, Michael Cicherski, Bill Elliott, Dan Hogenauer, Terry Holsinger, Michelle Karle, James Loftin, Marvin Miller, Linda Palit, and Brian Vauter. Saturday, 22 February 1997 This was a busy day for the 24th Powell's Cave project. Carloads of cavers drove into camp through the night, and by morning nearly everyone of the weekend's 94 participants had arrived. We didn't realize it at the time, but this turned out to be a landmark weekend for four regulars, being the lOth trip for Marvin Miller, Bev Shade, Bill Stephens, and Joe Sumbera. They are welcomed to the ranks of the double digit Powell's-o-philes who are (since they have not been previously recognized): Doug Allen (19), Scott Caffee (11), Michael Cicherski (12), Sara Dierk (12), Bill Elliott (13), Keith Heuss (12), Terry Holsinger (24 gold star for perfect 32 March/April 1997 The Texas Caver


attendance!), Bill Koerschner (13), Mark Minton (14), Dale Pate (11), Chris Sobin (10), Bill Steele (11), Kevin Thuesen (10), and me (20). There were lots of things to do that morning. Bill Elliott brought a nearly 2-m long by 1.4-m-high plot of the cave, based on the recently proofed data. It of course attracted much attention, which was useful because it also attracted cavers to a survey calibration station Bill set up to check everyone's instruments, and to begin establishing a database to determine if variations between instruments is a signifi cant factor in survey error. Terry Holsinger did his usual excellent juggling act of organizing the 15 teams which entered the cave that day, plus introducing them to the new lead/problem packets that we had prepared in advance of the trip and making sure the teams understood the priorities in each packet. He also passed out detailed maps of the Entrance Maze so people would not get too lost, and page size plots of the cave. I made sure everyone signed release forms for the owner, and somewhere in all of the commo tion, a lot of visiting and reacquainting was accomplished. Team 1: During the proofreading of the data I found that the worst error in the cave was in the 7J maze which I had surveyed! I suspected it was a station naming error due to confusion of two overlapping surveys and one bad survey which was not used, but which used the same names as one of the good surveys. Tom Brown and Linda Palit joined me to sort it out. We first met up with the team headed for the Metro and led them through a short but complicated section of the maze to a spot from where the Metro is an easy, but a long crawl to find. We then checked an old survey shot near by where WALLS ("Wally" to its friends, Linda decided) said the distance in the database and survey notes was 1.4 m too long. Sure enough, Wally was proven correct when we remeasured the shot. From there we went to Station 3, the heart of the major error. We checked a few shots and found them correct, then found the series of station naming errors which had botched the survey. It took about an hour to sort out the correct names, then I had to re-sketch the plot we took into the cave in order to be effective at locating and sur veying some remaining leads The proofreading had shown that a compact network of unsurveyed maze existed between the 7J and L surveys. Surveyors from each area neglected those leads, assuming the other team would take care of them. Just as we were about to get started in that area, Jon Cradit mysteriously crawled out of the maze and joined us. We racked up 250 m of new survey, the most for the day and finished that section of maze during our 10-hour trip And the new plot looks good! Team 2: Splitting off from the 7J team, Dave "Cave" McClung led the charge to the back of the Metro the longest crawl in the maze. Will Harris Rae Nadler-Olenick Walt Olenick, and Troy Shelton joined him to check minor survey problems and to push some leads. They closed one loop through a dome, and checked nearly all of the listed leads, checked survey correction suggestions by WALLS and found them right every time except once and it turned out the loop closure through the dome corrected th a t any way. Will "Skinny" Harris pushed into the most distant lead at MET32 and found it will take a lot of work and more skin-ny cavers to push it further. The team exited after a 10-hour trip, grateful to stand up again. Team 3: Bill Stephens and Koerschners Bill and Kathy headed out to the Gamma Quadrant again to mop-up s ide lead s off the LK Survey 's Borta Borehole. They left no pas sa ble leads in that area; only two dig leads and a honey comb crawl that needs hammering. Retreating to the LG Survey, they pushed one passage about 60 m to impassable breakdown and left the cave after 12 hours and 126.6 m of new survey. Leads in this highly productive part of the cave are beginning to become scarce, but at least one more trip is needed before only dig s are left. Team 4: The Crevice is the key to the maze in Powell's Cave. All of the maze leads off of it so its survey must be top-notch. Unfortunately the proofreading indicated several problems in The Crevice. While most of it is in good shape, one of the biggest problems is that many Crevice stations were not marked to withstand the traffic found in the cave's busiest passage. Consequently it is not possible to fix prob lem vectors without resurveying major sections. Additionally, many maze passages that need surveyed tie-ins to The Crevice instead tie to other maze passages for lack of recoverable Crevice stations. For example, 26 passages cross The Crevice in one central part of the maze yet only six con nect to its survey. WALLS clearly shows the value of multi ple loop closures in improving the overall accuracy of a sur vey, which is currently not possible in the cave's most criti cal passage For these and additional reasons we decided that The Crevice should be resurveyed, and Brian Vauter volunteered to head up the job. He was joined by Jimmy Dreiss Dan Hogenauer Shari Lydy and Mo Tangestani. Dan and Shari headed down The Crevice while Brian Jimmy and Mo stayed in the maze and headed to East Broadway. En route they helped guide some other cavers to that area (despite a brief, but typical episode of maze disori entation). Their target was a hole in the EB Maze that dropped to The Crevice and makes an important loop clo sure. From there the maze trio backtracked to The Crevice and then headed down it to join Dan and Shari. The crew surveyed down The Crevice to where it ends at The Stream, and also tied into the Hilton Room survey through another small hole in The Crevice ceiling. After reaching The Stream they returned to the EB tie-in and began to survey up The Crevice ending at the main Crevice-EB junction with 235 m to their credit. Brian also made several geology notes, and the team set permanent station markers into The Crevice walls during the 8-hour trip. Team 5: Terry and I told them "As soon as you pop out of the entrance crawl into the maze tum right go to the first junction make another right, then follow the map to East Broadway ." Team leader Dottie Kern later wrote in her trip report that she followed others instead of our directions then thought "something was wrong with the map but it was us." But the maze is intimidating and preferring a guide to a map is understandable in this all too common scenario. Eventually Dottie Joe Golibart Don Muir, and their team of explorer scouts of Blanca Haro, Tyrone Johnson, Aurora Lopez Jesus Perez and Janie Rocha, were on the right track. This shaky start was made all the more auspicious when they The Texas Caver March/April 1997 33


ran (crawled, actually) into Bev Shade. They told her they were off to dig at a couple of leads near station R12, which raised raucous laughter from Bev who, between fits, exclaimed "You re going there!? I've been there twice before!" After a couple of hours of hands and knees and belly crawling, they found station R4. The passage got tighter by the time they reached R6 Realizing they'd have no strength to dig by the time they reached R12, they abort ed their plans and routed for the surface. A lot of grief was prevented by Logan McNatt, who coincidentally met the team and set them aright when they made a wrong turn near the entrance. Despite the ample thrashing through the maze, everyone swore they enjoyed themselves and looked for ward to another try next time. Team 6: A gaggle of Aggies crawled into the Hell Hole maze and worked as roughly three teams, overlapping their personnel as moods and needs dictated. Dennis Renner led a survey crew of Bobby Lewis Tim McGaughy Marlin Stout, Carey .Suehs Brad Wendt, and Jonathan Young. Tina Baron led the digging crew of Linda Parisian and Justin Teague, and split off a second dig team made up of Kate Baron Jerome Estrada, and Terry Holcombe Using the lead pack ets for the Hell Hole, the survey team discovered the prob lem with the lead list when they saw that there were fewer leads to survey than indicated Survey sketches from throughout the cave show open-ended passages without indi cating if the lead is actually passable, if it needs digging, or if it is too hopelessly small to dig. Notes that say "too small" also result in similar problems when it isn't clear if a dig should be attempted. Very little surveying was done as a result, but abundant notes were made on the actual status of other "survey" leads. The dig teams focused on leads at the back of the Hell Hole because the proofreading had unscrambled parts of the maze and showed the Third Crevice Survey as close as 12m. A connection would form a major and important loop. Leads at stations HH47 and HH49 were dug in this area and will need more digging on the next trip. HH47 has airflow, seems the most likely can didate for the connection, and will probably tie to leads at either TCB26 (40 m to the south) or TCB29 (20 m to the southwest). The team exited the cave after about 6 hours and deciding that the area lived up to its name. Team 7: Eric Flint, Liz Lightfoot, and Don Ross entered the cave with the intention of pushing the connection to the Hell Hole via the dig leads in the Third Crevice However, even the best laid plans and coordination are not enough to overcome the complexity of Powell's Cave They found The Crevice after 4 hours of searching, from which they could quickly reach the Third Crevice. The team made it through most of the Third Crevice toward their objective, but getting lost for so long can be incredibly demotivating. They retreated before reaching their objective, having spent 7 hours in the cave. They also had problems with locating themselves in the cave relative to the line plot. Some errors may exist in the plot that should be checked out during the next trip to this area. Team 8: Melonie Alspaugh, Andy Grubbs, Chris Knapp, Kathy Potter, Jean-Paul van Gestel, and Mei Zhou also headed to the Third Crevice to survey some leads close to The Crevice. They added 11 stations and 98 m of survey, mostly in a loop with a couple of spray shots. Everyone had a chance to learn to pull tape, read instruments, and sketch. Upon noticing the many fossil echinoids (sea urchins) in the ceiling, they conducted an in-cave "mini-symposium" on the stratigraphic control in Powell's Cave passage development. Team 9: The hardest part of proofreading was in decid ing that certain areas needed to be resurveyed. Fortunately this rarely happened, but the Hilton Room maze turned out to be one such area. The decision was inevitable; several minor problems existed, and loops through large sections of the cave pointed to significant errors in this area On previ ous trips, Dale Barnard had begun mopping up leads in the Hilton Room maze so he volunteered to lead the resurvey. Logan McNatt Christy Quintana, and Leslie Stout joined Dale for the 9.5-hour-trip. They made 22 shots, including some new stations, resketched the passages, and made many notes to be clear on how the new survey is conducted and referenced to the old survey stations Team 10: Undaunted by their previous abortive attempt to push to the upstream breakdown, Christie Rogers and Kevin Stafford returned to The Stream with Jennifer Cobb, Robin Havens, Bev Shade, and Tim Stitch. With a favorable cave breeze at their backs they arrived at the breakdown after about "5 hours of miserable crawling." Rather than continue the excavation of the breakdown at the end of the main Stream passage, as so many teams had before them, they attacked an upper level breakdown-choked passage and made an incredible 10 m of progress. The breakdown con tinued up into the ceiling and a body-sized passage could be seen to extend about 3 m higher but more digging will be needed to follow the air to the so close yet long elusive con nection to Silver Mine Cave. The team straggled out between 3:30 and 5 a .m. Team 11: About 600 m downstream of the breakdown Bonnie Longley and Mark Minton checked some leads in the area of The Stream that has yet to be resurveyed. A high level lead at old station V3, not found during the old 1960s survey, extended about 30 m to connect to a previously unknown passage near old station V8. They also found a 2m wide by 1-m-high passage, also not shown on the old map, that heads straight for over 50 m from old station V 10, without reaching an end, Several other upper leads up to this section of The Stream were also checked, but they found most to be short cut-arounds formed probably when The Stream flowed at a higher level, which has since been aban doned and truncated by it modem lower course. Team 12: A few hundred meters downstream of Bonnie and Mark, Steve Keselik, Jimmy Mcintire, and Joe Sumbera were joined by Micah Goldfarb to continue their upstream survey trip. "Team Troglobrau" also carried the cave radio to station UN25 to transmit its position to the surface. Due to problems with carrying the radio and possible leakage into its sealed case, they decided to leave the radio behind (to pick up on their way out of the cave) rather than carry it ahead for the planned transmission at UN77. They proceed ed to check a problem at vector UN45 to UN48 which turned out to be a mislabeling of the stations on the sketch Continuing upstream they picked up the survey at UN78 but 34 March/ April 1997 The Texas Caver


only extended it to UN87 before running out of steam after 106 m. Steve completed the profile from UN57 to UN78. Everyone agreed that the cave radio work is critically impor tant to the quality of the cave survey, but next time a sepa rate team should carry the transmitter, so the survey team can be more effective at surveying. Team 13: On the surface directly above the Stream team Bill Elliott coordinated the cave radio surface team of Terri Dreiss, Chris Murray, Jessica Snider, and Vicki Wurst to locate the signals. Unaware of the problems only 17 m under their feet, they moved after a successful location above UN25 to what they paced off should put them over UN77. There they waited fruitles sly over an hour and a half for the signal that would pinpoint UN77's location and eventually gave up and returned to camp They surface sur veyed the UN25 surface location to a nearby cairn that marks a location of a station in the entrance maze. The radio location for UN25 indicates that The Stream survey lacking the benefit of loops to adjust for and locate errors, plots about 9 m west of its actual location The radio location pro vides the closure needed to adjust the survey and additional radio locations will be important to maintain the accuracy of survey in this passage and also in the upper end of The Crevice. Team 14: Marvin Miller and Dan Sharon led Nina Antikainen and Chris Darilek to the Sink Maze to sort out some survey errors and loose ends They got more than they bargained for. Many of the early SM stations were marked with rock cairns and flagging instead of white plastic stakes as in most of the cave. The station numbers had been written on the flagging which has since deteriorated and is now illegible. It took detective work to be exactly sure where they were in the maze and which stations were represented by the crumbling orange plastic ribbons. While they added only 44 6 m of new survey they more importantly resolved sev eral survey problems (including more confirmations of WALLS suggestions of what should be the actual vector readings) and identified the work that needs to be done on the next trip to finish this area. The team returned to the sur face after 8 hours underground Team 15: Pete Strickland led a large group of mainly novice and young cavers through a few hundred meters of The Crevice Aimee Beveridge Don Cooper, Scott Leeper Emily and Kevin McGowan, Sheryl Rieck, Harrison and John Spence, Colin Strickland, and David Kyle and Meredith Turner earned their 15 minutes of fame as models for Pete's video camera. We hope they'll come back to Powell's to earn more caving fame on future trips As the teams climbed out of the cave throughout the evening and night, the ever-growing campfire crowd learned details of each group's exploits Some tidbits of biological information were also shared. A small number of bats were seen throughout the cave I counted six Eastern Pipistrelles in the small entrance room, but didn t see any further back. Bats seen farther in the cave were generally described as hanging alone which is typical of the pips, except that the cave in those areas is generally too warm for them. No rat snakes were seen, as on previous trips although a dead one was found in the maze. Two skunks were also found in the maze within a hundred meters of the entrance. One was dead ; the live one generated much more excitement. Sunday, 23 February 1997 Each trip to Powell s Cave is announced to cavers as all skill levels welcome" and that there is something for nearly everyone's interests. This diversity was never more evident than by the wide range of Sunday s activities. The day began with the TSA Winter Meeting. The min utes of the meeting will be reported elsewhere but I want to report some good and bad news relative to the meeting. The good news is that of the 94 cavers who showed up that week end by my rough count, only 15-20 attended the meeting This is great for the Powell s project because it shows the high level of interest and participation it attracts. The bad news is that the TSA meeting's low attendance shows poor interest in the operation of TSA, when other indicators show that a lot of neat and exciting things are happening in Texas caving I urge cavers to take advantage of the TSA meetings, learn what is going on, and become better involved in the process that results in good caving for everyone to enjoy like the Powell s Project. Several people went back into the cave Sunday morn ing. Most touristed The Crevice and other nearby areas. Brian Vauter also went to The Crevice to check some ques tions he had about his previous day s survey and to add more details and geology Lu his sketch. Steve Keselik and Joe Sumbera visited the GF section of the G Survey to con tinue their GFTB survey line. They pushed past the "Big Mother Breakdown and found several domes with loose fill while adding 35 m and 9 stations to the survey during their 4.5-hour-trip Meanwhile, cavers on the surface were paid a pleasant visit by the owner of the Meteor Hole This large collapse sinkhole (a geologic study conducted soon after its sudden appearance in 1938 found no evidence of it being an impact craterbut the legend and name live on) opened to an exten sive stream passage that has a good chance of being the upstream continuation of The Stream in Powell s Cave. From Meteor Hole The Stream would have to flow 1.95 km in a straight line to connect to Silver Mine, which is just on the other side of the upstream breakdown in Powell s Clearly there is a lot of caving to be done in Meteor Hole However, the sinkhole filled with sediment long ago, and digging with major earth-moving equipment would be need ed to gain access. Nonetheless these and other options were discussed with the owner, and Bill Elliott and Logan McNatt checked out a cave she described on her ranch Meteorite Ranch Cave was surveyed as a 1.5-m-deep pit into a 3-m wide 0.7-m-high by 7-m-long passage. Additional trips to the ranch are being planned. Most surface activities concentrated on further prepara tions for the entrance The artificially dug entrance pit to Powell's Cave has been the focus of repair and stabilization for several trips. A concrete box was built at the bottom to maintain access and to serve as a base for a series of !.3-m diameter concrete culverts that would be stacked on top. During the last trip a crane that would have lowered the cul verts into the pit was canceled due to rain. On this trip rain The Texas Caver March/ April 1997 35


was predicted for Monday, when the crane was scheduled to give it another try. But preparations were still made in hopes the crane would come and the rain wouldn 't. Gill Ediger, Terry Holsinger, Dave McClung, and Pete Strickland led a host of other cavers in the work. Two main tasks were targeted and completed. First, a rock saw was used to cut a narrow flange off what would be the bottom culvert so it would have a broader and sturdier base. Second, they chopped back rocks along part of the pit wall that would have kept the culverts from standing vertically, and cleared out rock and dirt from the box so it would be ready to accept the first culvert. By the end of the day, nearly everyone had gone home except for me, Ediger, Holsinger, and Bill Mixon and Jon Cradit who was responsible for not only finding a source to donate the culverts for the project, but in convinc ing West Texas Utilities to donate use of a crane as a public relations gesture. The question remained as the dark clouds gathered, could Jon pull strings to keep the weather dry enough to get the job done in the morning? Monday, 24 February 1997 Despite forecasts of rain, we awoke to cool tempera tures and only light mist and occasional drizzle. Damn, Jon's good! The crane was supposed to be at the gate by 10 a.m. When it hadn't arrived by 11 a.m I went into town to check with the company office. The staff was ready to go and wait ing for the <.:rane to arrive. A radio call confirmed it was nearly there. By 12:30 pm, everyone was assembled at the cave entrance and efficiently went to work. The first culvert to go in the hole took the most time. Everyone needed to see the layout of the entrance and under stand the exact plan. The crane then lifted all of the culverts upright for easier handling and to create more work space. The first culvert was hoisted over the pit, but the angle was not good so it was set back down, and the crane moved to a new position. We then checked the length of the rope (yes, the crane used an amazingly fat, stout rope, not cable) and chain and found it more than 3 m short of setting the culvert on the bottom. More chain was added to the end of the rope, but the weight and reach of the crane were pushed to its lim its. We would have to get it right on the first try the crane would probably not be able to raise the culvert out from the bottom of the pit. Terry mixed a bucket of grout to seal the base of the culvert. Gill took it with him to the bottom, set a rubber base where the culvert should soon rest, then ducked into the cave The crane groaned as it lowered the 3.1-met ric-ton cylinder into its permanent new home. Just before touching down we hollered to stop lowering. The culvert was more than a meter off from where it needed to be. A rope was looped about the crane rope in order to pull the cul vert into the proper position Gill crawled out of the cave, and under the hanging culvert, then set two 2-m-long wreck ing bars as a ramp to direct the culvert to ground zero With pulling, pushing, and grunting from all quarters, the culvert touched down within 3 em of its ideal position. Gill had built a lid for the culvert, which was lowered into place so that the ranch foreman, Jesse Ham, who had been patiently waiting i n his John Deere could bulldoze in rocks and dirt to hold the culvert in place Some of the fill came from what was left of the original debris pile from when the entrance was first dug open, perhaps 80 or 90 years ago no one is sure. However, years of rain and trampling by cattle and cavers had spread out the debris, so the pile near the entrance was not nearly enough to fill the pit. More fill from another pile at a nearby dug shaft had to be shuttled over. Terry and Jon climbed down the pit and evenly redis tributed the fill around the culvert. Then the lid, used to keep the fill out of the culvert, was lifted off so the second culvert could be set. The second culvert went in quickly and smoothly. Gill commented how nicely the male and female ends went together "as they were meant to join." A bad spot in the crane rope led to a pause in the action as it was replaced, but it gave Jesse a chance to catch up with the backfilling. The third culvert was then also quickly set up, and since it was getting near quitting time for our West Texas Utility friends, we opted to add the fourth and final piece even though Jesse had to leave and had not yet back filled around the third culvert. However, the last culvert would not fit. The male end was about a centimeter too big, so the crowning piece was laid back down next to the pit. It was late, wet, cold, and the end of a long weekend. The hard est part was done, and we could finish that loose end later. We plan to return and complete the job sometime before the next regular caving trip in late June. Sincere thanks are extended to West Texas Utilities, and their outstanding crew of Weldon Hampton (crane operator), Mondo Holguin, Bryan Spraggins, and Steve Terrell for their help in this project. Summary This was the third largest trip to Powell's Cave, and per haps the best organized. The entrance work was planned well in advance and went off smoothly. All of the work at proofreading data and creating lead/problem list packets and maps helped clear up a lot of questions and problems in the survey, and more efficiently directed all efforts. We even cut down tremendously on the number of people getting lost in the cave. The surveying tallied at 683 m of new survey and 467 m of resurvey. So how long is the cave? Well... that is one of the next steps in data management. Passages that have been recently resurveyed need to be excluded from the length count, but so do many spray shots, and vectors that overlap through a single stretch of passage But the rough count places Powell's at about 27 km long and within about 5 km of regaining the throne as the longest cave in Texas. I hope you 'II join in the fun and adventure. To Join The Powell's Cave Project: Cavers of all skill levels are welcome at Powell's. Many of our survey trips include teaching new cavers to sur vey. There are also lots of digs to be dug and with a maze like Powell s one breakthrough can lead into many places "where no one has gone before." For more information on the Powell's Cave Project, contact Terry Holsinger, 1007A Milford Way, Austin, Texas 78745, 512-4-43-42-41, 36 March/ April 1997 The Texas Caver


Silver Mine Cave Mud Puppy Powell's Cave Nt 0 100 200 300 m I I I I Thanks to the >500 cavers who have helped resurvey Powell's Cave. Entrance Maze Powell's Cave System Menard County, Texas Provisional line plot, May 2, 1997, by William R. Elliott, Cartographer Terry Holsinger, Survey Manager George Veni, Survey Liaison David McKenzie, Walls Program East Broadway Neel's Cave Downstream


Book Reviews On Rope. North American Vertical Rope Techniques. Bruce Smith and Allen Padgett, with illustrations by Ron Buffington. National Speleological Society, Huntsville, Alabama; 1996. 382 pp hardbound. $30. New revised edi tion. Reviewed by Bill Mixon. This book is an embarrassment. The authors are genuine experts in the field, but they sure could have used a lot more help from their editors. You probably won't find anything really dangerous here, but there is a lot that is confusing, dis organized, or incomplete. Whole paragraphs appear where they don't make any sense. The section on bolts assumes that hand-driven self-drilling bolts or a power drill are the only choices. The text says to use a pry bar to remove a self-drill bolt, but the referenced illustration shows how to do it with a wrench. Rather than accept the common usage of "knot" to cover all of knots, bends, and hitches, the authors pioneer the use of "tie" as the generic term, something that doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of catching on. They call vertical cavers technicians, something that might succeed in sound ing snooty if the word hadn't already been applied to every mechanic and repairman in the country. The Bachmann hitch is mentioned one place in passing, but it isn't in the chapter on "ties," nor is it in the index. (It is in the glossary, though, which also lists BFR as meaning Big Friendly Rock. I'll bet!) Figures 3-8b and 3-9b are supposed to be different knots, but they show the same knot and are in fact the same drawing. The layout is not quite as weird as that of the first edition, but it still often leaves the reader searching for the following text, and highlighted blocks of text are used incon sistently, sometimes being asides from the main text and other times being part of it. I could go on like this practically forever, at least if I ever manage to force myself to read the rest of the book. The NSS spent something like eighty grand publishing this new edition of On Rope, and I wish I could say some thing good besides that it is fat and heavy. It does succeed in telling the vertical caver willing to wade through it all more than he wants to know about the subject. It is advertised as covering such other rope-using fields as window-cleaning, tree-trimming, and stage-rigging. While there isn't enough about these things to be really useful to their practitioners, there is enough to be interesting to a caver, so I guess the caver won't object to this little fraud, especially if it helps the NSS get its money back. But did the country need a nearly four-hundred-page, thirty-dollar book on vertical caving? No, and especially not this one. The Caves and Karst of Colorado .. A Guidebook for the 1996 Convention of the National Speleological Society. Rob Kolstad. ed. National Speleological Society; 1996. 214 pp softbound. $15 plus $4.50 shipping from NSS Bookstore (NSS members only). Reviewed by Bill Mixon Colorado is not an especially cavey state, and this guidebook contains fewer cave descriptions and maps than many. The road logs and explanations for the traditional Sunday field trips, for example, are essentially devoid of karsts and caves. Also, a lot of the material on caves are nearly smothered in spelean history; the 70 page section on the caves of Williams Canon, near Colorado Springs, con tains only two cave maps. The 50 pages on others caves, though, have more traditional content, and they include descriptions and maps of many of Colorado's largest or best known caves, including Groaning, Fixin' -to-Die, Fulford, Spanish, and Spring Cave. Only about a hundred copies were left over, so order yours now. Speleo Digest 1995. James Adams, ed. National Speleological Society; 1996. 602 pp softbound, $19.95 plus $4.50 shipping from NSS Bookstore. Reviewed by Bill Mixon. This is the 40th issue of this annual compilation of the best material from American caving newsletters, or at least it will be when certain slothful editors fill in the missing older issues. Over half of the book is cave descriptions and maps; there are 511 entries in the cave index at the back. The rest consists of sections on equipment and techniques, sci ence, history, fiction and humor. With over 600 pages of small type, this is the largest Speleo Digest ever, and the vast amount of the material has been published in a very timely manner. The price is the highest ever, too, but $20.00 is not a bad price for so much about caves and caving. 38 March/ April 1997 The Texas Caver


News and Notes GUIDELINES ON RETIRING ROPE by Clyde Sole s --reprinted from N y lon Highway, "When should I retire my rope ? The best answer is, when you don t feel comfortabl e about it. When you're out there on the sharp end pushing your limits, hands sweating, legs shaking, with big air below you confidence in your lifeline i s essent i al. Keep tabs on the condition of your rope by inspecting it each time you belay and rappel. Feel for bumps thin s pots, or changes in stiffness; these indicate it h a s been severely stressed Look for s igns of he a vy fuzzing (50 % of s heath fibers are cut) and puffs or bulges of the white cone material showing through the sheath Any of these indicator s means the rope should be retired Even if your rope appears to be in good shape if it ha s held a long, severe fall (fall factor greater than one), there 's reason for concern. Inspe c t the rope carefully for irregulari ties, and record the fall in your logbook. Sport climbing is essentially hard on a rope. In the BlueWater tes t a 10. 5-millimeter rope lost 32 percent of its tensile strength after 25 short fall s ( 176-pound weight falling 5.2 feet every minute) and the impact force climbed 25 percent. After 125 drops the rope lost 63 percent of its tensile strength You're better off using a fat-heavy rope for working that crux and occasionally a lternating ends of the rope to give the nylon a chance to recover. If you u s e your rope daily for heavy-duty functions such as guiding or sport climbing, manufacturers recommend retirement after three to six months. Weekend warriors who also take climbing holidays should expect one to two y ears of use If you onl y get out occasionally, your rope should be good for two to four years. Ropes that have had no obvious abu s e still wear out. (Ideally ropes would come with a freshness label like carton of milk but so far only PMI and Beal have taken thi s step.) We tested an 11-millimeter rope that was virtu a lly unused and had been properly stored for about 20 years To look at it, you'd think it was in great shape, and you proba bly wouldn't hesitate to climb on it. To be safe a rope that s been shelved for five years should no longer be trusted for leading For those who are good record keeper s Edelrid has the following advice Multiply the number of feet climbed by .33 and the number of feet rappelled lowered and jumared by 1.66 keep a running tally of total usag e Retire a 10-mil limeter rope when it ha s accumulated between 5 000 and 15,000 feet a 10. 5 millimeter rope after 23, 000 to 33, 000 feet, and for an 11-millimeter rope aft e r 36 000 to 63, 000 feet. Opt for the lower number if it received hard fall s or i s lightweight. When it's re a lly dead, cut the rope up so that you or someone who doesn t know better will not be tempted to use it. "The A s hely Book of Knots illustrates way-cool floor mats you can weave from ropes COULD THIS BE THE LONGEST CAVE? [AP Cairo Egypt 31 Aug 95] Submitted by Will White in Volum e 43, number 4 20 January 1997 Nittan y Grott o News Six people drowned Monday while trying to rescue a chicken that had fallen into a well in s outhern Eg y pt. An 18year-old farmer was the first to descend into the 60-foot well. He drowned apparently after an undercurrent in the water pulled him down police said. Hi s sister and two brothers none of whom could swim well went in one by one to help him but they als o drowned. Two elderl y farmer s then came to help but they apparentl y were pulled down by the same undercurrent. The bodies of the six were later pulled out of the well in the village of Nazlat !mara, 240 miles south of Cairo The chicken was also pulled out. It survived. IN SUPPORT OF THE NATIONAL SPELEOLOGICAL SOCIETY by Marc Hament Summer 1996 Ro c ky Mountain Ca ving While at the Salida NSS Convention this summer I found out what I needed to do s ome laundry After finding the Laundromat in Salida and while waiting for my wash to fini s h I was chatting with the owner who was very friendly I wa s then approa c hed by a couple of gentlemen Phil and Joshua Strang a father and s on from Illinois who said they were in town for the FourWheel Drive Convention Phil said his son Josh was intere s ted in learning about the NSS and caving. After chatting with them for a while and seeing how interested Josh was I took them out to m y truck and got out my NSS M e mbers Manual and looked up the grotto s in their area. They took a couple of photos of me and my truck and thank e d me for all the information I gave them. When I got back to the campground I went to the reg i s tration tent and picked up a NC Bookstore catalog with an NC application in the back. I drove it over tot he Four Wheel Drive Convention and dropped it off for them. Shortly after returning home from the NC Convention I received a letter in the mail from Joshua Strang: Dear Mr. Hament: I would just like to thank you for the information you gav e my father on becoming an NSS member. In case you don t remember w e met you a t the Laundromat in Salida during your National Convention and our Mile High Jeep Club s All 4 Fun We used your card to get into the s chool where we were greeted and signed up by the kind and helpful people of the NSS. Once again thank you for all your help and I hope to run into you again at the next convention in Sullivan Missouri in 97. Jo s hua Strang NSS Memb e r #43073 The Texas Caver March/April 1997 39


As a member of the NSS, I feel that we are all ambas sadors for the Society. I was deeply touched by Josh's reply. I feel that promoting the NSS promotes proper and safe cav ing. BODY RECOVERY, BLACK CAVE, GILA COUNTY, ARIZONA Ray Keeler, NSS 232245, D.C. Speleograph-February 1997 Three cavers visited Black Cave on Saturday, December 14, 1996. The party included Bill Graff (Coshise County Cavers (C3) member and also a member of the Southern Arizona Rescue Association (SARA, an MRA team), Dale Green (CCC Chairman), and Elizabeth Robb (C3 member and am ember of the Cochise County search team. The cave is horizontal, mazy and tight in many places with several passages not being visited for long periods of time. On the way in they discovered a wheat lamp, keys and personal arti cles in a passage. They continued on their trip and on the way out, decided to explore other passages near where the keys were found. They found a body a short distance away down an extremely tight, down sloping side passage. they took pictures and extracted the keys for identification, left the other evidence in place and reported the situation to the Gila County Sheriff Office after the six hour trip. Then the authorities wanted to send an officer to the site. The cavers went down the line pointing out "You won't fit. You won't fit. You won't fit." An officer was selected, and the body was confmned that night (three-hour trip). The officer determined they were unable to reach the body in the 45 degree down-trending passage. It is seven inches at the widest at the top, then down vertically to a wider spot. The subject was crouched here, four feet below. The site is about 50 minutes from the entrance. Traverse distance was less than 400 feet, 84 feet below the surface. A missing person report for Thomas Edward Bining (sic) was filed in April, 1995. The 5 foot 7 inch white male, 150 pounds, Globe res ident had been in the cave several times before. His vehicle was found in the vicinity. The county SAR coordinator sent teams to the entrance area of the cave six times during the search effort. They did not know the extent of the cave. On December 15th, a five-hour extrication attempt using a hose around a wire as a noose, and a grappling hook was made. The effort allowed removal ofthe subject's head. Neither of the law enforcement personnel involved with these two trips wanted to return to the underground. On December 16th, Ray Keeler (Central AZ Mountain Rescue Association (CAMRA, an MRA team), Central AZ Grotto (CAG)) called Tucson on another matter and learned of the discovery Talking with Graff and having done the map of the cave allowed pinpointing the subject within a few feet over the phone. The next day, Keeler contacted Detective Tom Rasmussen, Gila County SO and a meeting followed that evening The December 22nd extrication attempt involved a surface command post and seven cavers underground (Graff, Keeler, Bob Buescher (SARA), Bill Loweii-Fritt (CAG Chairman), Bruce Thompson (Arizona Regions Chairman, CAG), Bob Mitchell (CAMRA Op Ldr), and Dr. Robert French (ER Physician, CAMRA). Both Loweli-Fritt and Thompson had extensive time on the mapping project. The nine-hour trip with seven hours on site produced access to the body, but no extrication. Equipment and methods used included a sledge ham mer, chisels, a battery-powered drill, pry bars, and a 2x4 A 4-to-1 mechanical advantage (MA) was set up on the haul line and a 3-to-1 MA for the redirect line. A bolt was drilled for optimum angle. Nothing worked. The passage was hammered open enough to allow tight access to the waist by someone going into the passage head down, held by their ankles. The body bag, pathogen exposure, and extrication equipment were left on sight. Mummification of the body had been complete in the twenty months following his dis appearance. He weighed about 30 pounds. January 4, 1997 involved a full joint command post (Gila County SO and Maricopa County SO) supporting 18 people underground; nine for extrication, nine for communi cations and electrical. Twelve were CAG members. Phone lines were laid between the CP, Entrance, Relay Point 1, Junction Room, and Subject site. The phone lines were duct-taped to 550 feet of heavy gage electrical chord allow ing a 15 pound impact concrete drill with 18-inch long, one inch diameter bit to be powered. The extrication team con sisted of small people: four weighed 20 pounds or less, and heights ranged down to five foot-three inches. They were able to access the body and chisel rocks but make little progress after three hours. The drill was used to remove access restrictions. However, with the subject's joints frozen at angles, dismemberment became the only option left. Permission was received after almost six hours of working other methods. Masks and gloves were used while cutting and working near the body All personnel and equip ment were out of the cave by 20:30 A debriefmg and check of the body for "foul play" were performed at the Gila SO The team was treated to dinner and dispersed. I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the CAG members who helped in this effort. Your conduct was exemplary during the entire mission. At the Tuesday, January 17th CAMRA meeting, I was asked to pass on their appreciation. After the meeting I was pulled outside and given some additional information: Gila County was extremely impressed at the professionalism of the mission. The person telling me had been contacted by someone in the Gila County SO who talked for over an hour on how well everyone worked together. He was especially amazed at the objectivity of the debriefing session where people could get a better understanding of how it all fit together, as well as discuss what went right and what could be improved. I would also like to apologize to those grotto members for whom I left messages during the callout, to which they changed their schedules to attend, and then were told that all of the slots had been allocated. Thank you for making the effort. It was a touch confusing during the week prior. One last note: If something goes wrong on a trip, we all know who is going to be corning to get one of us out. Each Arizona's county sheriff's office has the legal responsibility to effect a rescue. They also have the structure, resources, and contacts to support a cave rescue. We have the knowl edge and skills to implement a safe rescue. Again, thank you all for a job very well done. 40 March/ April 1997 The Texas Caver


Mameldo Ranch: A New Project Begins. by Chris Vreeland In November of 1996, Bat Conservation International received a phone call from one of its long-time supporters, Ron Herman. He had been talking to some of his neighbors who owned a cave known to them as Barnyard Club Bat Cave, and Ron thought that B .C.I. should check it out. The landowner proved amenable, so Jim Kennedy was assigned to visit the cave. He called me on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and said ''I'm gonna go check out a new cave tomorrow in Uvalde county, near Concan you wanna go?" Of course I said yes as this is an area I'd been interested in for the past year or so, and this was only the second or third ranch anyone had gotten any kind of access to in a while You never know what to expect when you go onto a new ranch, and we were taken completely by surprise when the owner Todd Figg, not only thanked us (!) for coming, but introduced us to his family as "cave experts," drove us all over the ranch, showed us to the cave (we took his broth er-in-law in with us), then fed us dinner and forced us to drink several frozen margaritas. Folks we have a winner here. Entrance room Moon Mountain (Sheep Tra p?) Cave Photo b y Chris Vreeland The ranch is just north of the Balcones Fault Zone prop er. The creek valley floors and the first fifty feet or so of the hills are Upper Glen Rose and the ridges which are quite wide and flat topped here are capped with between two and three hundred feet of Devil 's River limestone. There doesn't appear to be any major faults in the area ; the bedding planes just seem to slope off gently towards the south. The bat cave no longer harbors a colony, but at one time had quite a sizeable population. We strolled pleasantly in the dark through high-ceilinged, meandering canyon pas sage for over a thousand feet. It 's a pretty interesting cave, despite the relative paucity of active formations There are a few wet spots here and there but by and large what forma tions the cave does have are dry and ancient. They a l so appear to be eroded in the lower half of the cave suggesting a discrete second period of flooding that did not fill the cave entirely, after the formations had grown. At the back of the cave, the passage intersects an unclimbable dome-pit that appeared to have leads at the bot tom. Jim rigged a handline-etrier out of webbing and checked it out, but no go We re still a tad mystified by this abrupt ending to such a large passage. We l eft the cave at about 2:30 p m and did a bit of ridgewalking above a spring that was indicated on the topo map and almost immediately found two more s mall caves: Superfly Jive Cave and Pet Cemetery Pit. Figuring the ratio of acres of hilltop visited to caves see n at 1/1, plans were hastily made for a return trip after deer season. We returned with Justin Shaw Eric Flint and Sheryl 41


Ducummon on the 18th and 19th of January to explore and survey Pet Cemetery Pit (7 meters), as we had not had time to rig it on our previous trip. As I reached the bottom of the cable ladder, I was awestruck by what appeared to be large borehole passage heading off into the hill. Much to our dis appointment, however, it pinched off after only 70 or 80 feet. We spent the next couple of hours belaying most of the Figg family, as well as a few of their friends, and showing them their new cave. They were all duly impressed by the cave s main attraction--a five-foot totem pole smack dab in the middle of the room. Mr. Figg spent some more time with us driving around the ranch and pointing out various holes in the bluff faces. Most of them didn't amount to much, with the exception of Falling Animal Cave, which contained a couple hundred feet of hands-and-knees crawling, according to Jim, who checked it out. We also went in search of a previously known and described cave called Grape Hollow Cave which, despite good directions written by James Reddell in the 70s remained elusive. We made another tourist trip to the big cave which, after doing his research over at the TSS, Jim had determined to actually be Santleben (sant-LEE-ben) Cave, named after the original land owner from the 1880s The cave has been known since that time and has been mapped twice once by the Balcones Grollu, which was the map we were able to get ahold of. The TSS also had a pretty good written description, as well as a short biological survey. Apparently there weren't any bats there in the '70s either. A couple of the Figg girls had found a cave right up the hill from the house and they showed it to Eric and Justin on Saturday. It was a short climb-down into a good-sized room, with a couple more climb-downs through breakdown into two smaller rooms. We are still trying to determine if this is another previously known cave called Sheep Trap Cave, or if it s a new one and we still have yet to relocate Sheep Trap. If it does tum out to be previously unknown, the owner wants to call it Moon Mountain Cave, after the ridge in which it lies. The third trip in March, Jim and I were joined by Patty Kennedy, Felicia Vreeland, Erin Vreeland, London Traverso, Eric Flint, Bob Fleishman Mark Kiser, Christie Rodgers, Aimee Beveridge and David Turner. We managed to get a little more ridgewalking done as all the obvious leads had been checked. Friday afternoon, Felicia, Erin and I took a hike just to look around, and Felicia immediately stumbled upon Arbor Cave. It took me about five minutes to dig enough gravel out of the entrance in order to slide through into one small room with no leads. Jim, Felicia and I set out to look at some more dark spots in the bluffs on Saturday morning, but kept coming up empty. After about three hours, we were all beginning to get tired, hot and frustrated when Jim began hollering from off in the distance. He had found a nice six-foot-deep sink that led into a long, low room formed between bedding planes. We named this one Margaritaville Cave after a request of Mr. Figg's, and partly because of its proximity to the house and frozen margarita machine. While we were busy on the ridge to the west of the house, Eric Bob and Christie were working along a bluff face to the north, and came across Bob s Burial Cave. Reports vary as to the size of the cave, but it contains bones that (despite our early thinking that they were human) are most likely Bear. All in all, we have ridgewalked less than five percent of the ranch and already have ten caves. Some barely qualify as such, but with one over a thousand feet in length and three others in the 100-200 foot range, we feel that with due dili gence other significant caves will be found in the area. For information on future trips to the area, (we re hop ing for 4-6 a year, if possible) talk to Jim Kennedy at (512)443-8198, or e-mail him at: Jim Kennedy ins pect s a bat roost in S a ntleben C a ve Arbor Cave 10 Meters 42 Uvalde County,TX Sketch (memory) by Chris Vreeland 4-14-97 March/April 1997 The Texas Caver


The caves of Marneldo Ranch and the surrounding area, Uvalde County, Texas Descriptions by Jim Kennedy and Chris Vreeland, Apri/1997 Arbor Cave A crawl-in entrance in the side of a low hill leads in to the cave's one room, a dirt-and-cobble-floored chamber five meters long by ten meters wide that is 1.5 meters high at the center. The cave appears to be almost plugged with surface fill, and digging in the loose gravel at the back of the room could yield more passage. There is a small (0.1 m) skylight one meter from the entrance. Bob's Bone Cave An obvious collapse sink on a hillside is filled with large breakdown blocks. At the very back of the sink it is possible to crawl into the entrance room approximately seven meters wide by four meters Old speleothems and a fissure to the lower level are found at the back. An easier way to get to the lower level is to climb down some large breakdown and stalagmites to the left of the entrance. Small, walking height rooms are encountered about two meters below the entrance room. Bones identified as bear and goat, were found at the north end of the cave. Passages also trend so uthward under the entrance room but all end in a short distance. Total length of the cave is about 30 meters The cave was discove red by Bob Flei s hman and explored by him and Eric Flint in March 1997 Cedar Brake Cave* Two sink entrances lead down a 50 breakdown slope into a ten meter wide room, two meters high A 0.3 m crevice extends more than 6 meters into the ceiling. A slope leads on down into a 0 6 m high by 10m wide room and ends. Note: Due to a mixup in records in 1976 this may actually be the description for Grape Hollow Cave. Falling Animal Cave The one meter wide round entrance is high in a cliff and can be seen for at about a kilometer The crawlway pas sage heads into the cliff, gradually getting lower and dustier. After crawling past bones and scat for about 18 meters a cross-passage is encountered and a floor fissure begins to develop. The cross-passage rapidly becomes too tight and shows many signs of being used as a den by a variety of animals. The main passage continues for another twenty meters or so, occasionally as narrow walking passage. A tight squeeze at the end gives access to another two meters before pinching out. The cave was solo explored by Jim Kennedy who named it for the large raccoon and porcupine that he had to crawl under. Grape Hollow Cave* A small crawl-in entrance leads to a three meter drop into an elongate room 25m long. A second drop of three meters leads to the true floor of the room. The room ends in a high upper-level dead end crawl. Along the left side of the room are two pits, separated by breakdown dropping 6.5 meters to a 15 meter long room. Total depth of the cave i s about 15m. Note: Due to a mixup in records in 1976 this may actually be the de scri ption for Cedar Brake Cave Margaritaville Cave A rectangular sink on an otherwise flat ridgetop contains the low entrance to this newly-discovered cave. The passage is generally low (up to one meter) but is floored with soft sediment. Many speleothems can be seen, and so me are still drip ping Abundant life was noted, including a frog several bats Rhadine beetles millipedes, spiders, and two porcupines one still alive. The cave was discovered by Jim Kennedy and explored by him and Chris and Felicia Vreeland in March 1997. It was named in honor of the owner's famous frozen margarita machine. Moon Mountain Cave (Sheep Trap Cave) The entrance is in a sloping sinkhole low on the side of a hill. A two-meter drop just inside can easily be free-climbed on the right. The cave immediately opens to a five meter high passage twenty meters long. It ends in breakdown and flow stone. Two leads on the left side of the passage lead downward through breakdown to lower level rooms which do not con nect. A small maze of crawlways and fissure are in the rear lower room Small bat roosts were noted in the cave. This may be the same cave as the "Sheep Trap Cave in the TSS files. The description, directions and map are so crude as to leave some doubt so it is being referred to by its location on Moon Mountain ," the owner 's name for the hill It was The Texas Caver March/ April 1997 43


shown to us by the owner's daughter in February 1997. Obvious Caves #1 and #2 The entrances to these caves are large openings in a cliff easily visible from the old Santleben log cabin. Both caves are filled with old speleothems and goat bones, and are probably remants of a once-larger cave Neither is more than about 10 meters long, although both have short side crawls Pet Cemetery Pit The entrance is a narrow pit, 0.5 m by 1.5 m, along solutionally enlarged joints about midway up a ridge The seven-meter pit can be free-climbed but is best rigged with a cable ladder. The floor of the passage is breakdown and soil. It extends toward the edge of the hill nine meters as a crawl and low room. Into the hill it is walking pas s age, six meters high by three meters wide. After 12 meters a 1.6 m totem stalagmite marks the beginning of a series of short formation climbs before ending in a formation plug. Guano deposits and roost stains indicate that at least 10,000 bats used the cave in the past. None aparrently do so now. Pet Cemetary Pit was discovered by Chris Vreeland in December 1996 and explored and mapped in February 1997 It is named for nearby Pets' Repose," the final resting ground for Figg family pets Santleben Cave There are three entrances to the cave near the top and end of a narrow ridge. The cave trends south from the entrances for more than 300 meters. The cave is mostly flat-flooredwalking passage, becoming increasingly damp and muddy toward the back. The white limestone walls and occasional speleothems make this a nice beginner cave. The only technical spots are a 4 m climb about 70 m from the end (surmounted with an aluminum ladder), and the domepit that marks the end of the cave. There are no natural anchors at the pit; rigging requires a long anchor rope or permanent bolts Santleben Cave is named for the Santleben family, early settlers in the area. It was first visited by cavers David McKenzie, John Porter, and James Reddell in 1965 It was mapped by Reddell and John Fish in August of the same year and remapped by John McDowell, Mike Moore, Freddie Poer, and Derrick Hilfer in March 1975 It is also known as Sandtleben Cave, Barnyard Club Cave, and Davy Crockett Cave. Early biological collections included both eyed and blind species of Rhadine beetles, blind phalangids (harvestmen) blind silverfish blind isopods, and blind millipedes, Cambala speobia. At one time the cave must have contained substantial population s of bats, probably M y otis velifer. Many large roost stains and guan o deposits indicate a maternity colony of at least 100,000. No cause for abandonment has been determined, but recent clearing of brush from the cave's entrances may entice them to once again take up residence. Superfly Jive Cave A large collapse low in a cliff face disguises the entrances to this s hort cave. The lower entrance is a six-meter crawl to a low room, about eight meters in diameter. A climb through breakdown takes one to the upper entrance, an exposed perch above and to the left of the lower entrance Back in the room, a low row of speleothems can be found along the far wall. There are no leads. The cave was discovered by Jim Kennedy and Chris Vreeland in December 1996 It was named for the approximately 10 000 flies covering the low ceiling and annoying the explorers Wire Pen Pasture Cave* Two entrances lead down a breakdown slope into a large chamber. From the left side of the entrance a fissure-like slope leads down to a narrow sloping passage which ends. Along the back wall a small stream of water emerges from a hole and disappar s into the floor after first being ponded Caves marked by an asterisk have not been relocated by current workers. Descriptions are from the TSS files 44 March/ April 1997 The Texas Caver


Elephanrs Foot 9 _.......-(calcite pendant) SANTLEBEN CAVE UVALDE COUNTY, TEXAS Brunton and Tape Survey by James Reddell and John Fish University of Texas Speleological Society 14 August 1965 Draft by John Fish and Charlie Loving Redrawn July 1997 by Jim "Crash" Kennedy scale in feet m


Pet Cemetery Pit Uvalde County,Tx .. N (J Trip Reports Galveston Grotto reported by J on Wilson and Greg Cotten. Participants : Shawna Hampton, Jos h Nickel Josh Clem, Jonathan McLeroy, Chris Yarborough Jennifer Ferro, Greg Cotten, Jonathan Wil so n The 1997 Galveston Grotto Mexico Caving Trip was a complete success Thi s trip would have scared the pants off my mother. The 1 0-day trek so uth of the border revealed one wonder after another. 2-3 Jan 97 The group left Galveston and he a ded so uth to San Luis Potosf. Twenty some hour s later we met our con Plan 10 Meters Profile ,...,. --Surveyed By: Justin Shaw Chris Vreeland 18 Jan 1997 Drafted By: Justin Shaw April 1997 tact, Vico Jones. Giving new meaning to the phrase "mi casa es su casa," Vico's mother fed the crew with a bountiful Mexican spread. Vico took u s east to the mountains. Spending the night at a friend's camp, we awoke ready to drop into the Mexican underground. 4 Jan 97 The first pit was called S6tano de los Chivatos. The floor, 54m (178ft) down, was illuminated with enough s unlight so that no light was needed Later that evening we continued to Sotano del Tepoz n Leah was the fust down the rope. She was stopped short of the bottom by a large knot. Changing over to her ropewalker, L eah returned top side. Resetting the rope, Greg Cotten Josh Nickel, Jonathan (stache), and Jonathan Wil so n dropped an incredible 87m (287ft) to the floor of the decorated pit! 5 Jan 97 Ricardo, the owner of the camp, g uid ed us into S6tano del Joconstle. After only a I km hike from the camp we found o u rselves at this hole in the side of the mountain. A two-pitch drop totaling 65m rewarded the crew with some beautiful formations 46 March/April 1997 The Te xas Caver


6 Jan 97 Leaving the vehicles with Ricardo, the group jumped the 5:00 AM bus for Mexico City and on to Teotihuacan. Spending the day exploring the pre-Mayan civ ilization ruins was awe-inspiring. We climbed the Pyramid of the Sun which is the third largest in the world That night we solved the problems of the world pool-side at the Club Med resort. Only the best! 7 Jan 97 The group returned to San Luis Potosf and recovered the vehicles. We headed east toward the caves of Cd Valles Outside of Rio Verde we stopped at La Media Luna. The water in this 30 m (90 ft) cenote (water-filled cave) glows bluer than the sky above. Looking out over La Media Luna, my vision was filled with beautiful hues of blue, only cut down the middle by a jagged line of green from the distant mountains. Finally we made it to the water falls of Pago Pago [Micos, ed ] and as hoped, our friend Guadalupe was there for us. 8 Jan 97 The following day, we ventured south to the Castillo de Sir Edward James commonly referred to as "the Bird House." This eccentric English aristocrat s play house can perhaps be described as a creation of M. C. Escher. With stairways that well, don't go anywhere, path ways through the tropical forest of Xilitla Alice and Wonderland motifs, champagne dreams and caviar wishes if this guy thought of it he built it... You had to have been there. 9 J a n 97 The crew bushwhacked its way through the jungle to a cave called Arroyo. There is a lot of poison ivy in the cliff-faced stream bed that leads to the entrance of the cave. We did the first two out of four drops. The first was about 10 m and the second about 25 m After exploring the many side passages at the beginning of the cave we decided to go back to the cascades and enjoyed Guadalupe s food at the bottom of the falls. 10 Jan 97 Some couldn't resist the good buys and spent the morning at the mercado ." The afternoon however, was filled with a relaxing climb of the picturesque cascades singing Pink Floyds' Wish You Were Here. None of us knew that by the time we hit Houston some twenty hours later the highways would be full of ice! North Texas Speleological Society Compiled from Volume 16 Number I March 1997, CAVER'S ECHO Gary Mahan Walk Up and Little Crystal On February 2, 1997, Gary Mahan Donna Mosesman, Vickie Williams, Paul Rodrigious, Nino Cavender Tom Bone Petty Bone, Don Ross Gloria and Richard Baritieu and son, Bryan and Brandon Alley made the trip to Walk Up and Little Crystal. Little Crystal s entrance is a head-first crawl with no room to tum around. They found three bats in the entrance, each about one-inch long. The entrance widens into a big room in which you are able to stand. However the front room looked like it was getting unstable perhaps due to the heavy rains the past two summers The crawl to the next room is only six feet and the room is about 30 feet in diameter and seven feet tall. The passage to the back of the cave is mostly walking with serpentine pa s sage. Opening up some where there was a lot of break down the water apparently widened the passage as it flowed around the breakdown Crystals have begun to grow over the last ten years with some reaching almost an inch long and are still actively growing. The entrance to Walk Up is a ten foot drop But using both walls is an easy climb They found the water level to be down through most of the cave. They saw several clumps of bats (150 to 200 bats per clump). Some exited the cave via Pirates' Crawl while others exited the run off entrance. They found a new crawl which they named Pirates' Cove since it came out near the Pirates Crawl entrance. They found another entrance that goes but did not have rope or vertical gear to drop the drop. They worked on the end of the cave to remove graffiti which was successful though there were many layers of paint to work through Midnight Cave Groups of caver s met at Midnight Cave on February 8 1997. Besides, Gary Mahan a group came from Houston (Roger Moore Tom Barton David Locklear and Don & Sydney Formanek), Bill Sawyer arrived from Sonora and Meliene Davis came from Oloney. They found that the entrance to the cave had been mod ified with a cylinder for crawling into the cave The gate required someone with long arms to unlock it, and Tom Barton fit the bill. After gaining entrance to the cave they took video of the formations as they went and it seemed that the break down from the ceiling covered the entire floor. The forma tions were found in protected areas away from the rock fall. As they neared the back of the cave, the formations were more numerous and spectacular. Then came the corkscrew And the crawl was worth it, because the room was jam-packed with formations Bill found a Gyp Crawl in the back of the cave and thinks there is more passage since air is blowing through the crawl. The Texas Caver March/April 1997 47


THE TEXAS CAVER P.O. BOX 8026 AUSTIN, rEXAS 78713 BULK RATE U.S. Posta g e PAID Austin, Texas Permit No. 118 1

Contents: Letter from
the Chair / Gill Ediger --
Speleologicl Potential in Kerr County, Texas / William R.
Elliott And Brian Vauter --
Minutes of TSA Winter Business Meeting --
Powell's Cave Project / George Veni --
Book Reviews / Bill Mixon --
News and Notes --
Marneldo Ranch Project / Chris Vreeland --
Trip Reports.


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