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Intercom is a publication of the Iowa Grotto of the National Speleological Society, Inc., an internal organization of the National Speleological Society (NSS). The Iowa Grotto, is dedicated to the exploration, study, and conservation of caves.
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Volume 52, Number 4 (August 31, 2016).
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I N T E R C O M Volume 52, Issue 4 July August 2016 Iowa Grotto P.O. Box 228 Iowa City, IA 52244 Grotto Website: Coldwater Cave Project website: coldwater Membership Dues : due January 1, $15.00 per year, includes INTERCOM and Hotline subscriptions. INTERCOM subscriptions only are $13.00 per year. The Iowa Grotto reserves the right to decline membership during or after a probationary period. Due Dates : for submission of material for publication in the next INTERCOM is October 1st. Send material for publication, e mail, disk or hard copy to: Editor and Typist: Scott Dankof 515 986 3219 410 SW Hickory Circle Grimes IA. 50111 E mail Coordinate photographs for publication in the INTERCOM with Scott Dankof, the INTERCOM editor. Cave Rescue : Contact the Kentucky Disaster and Emergency Services Central Dispatch at 502 564 7815 for cave emergencies only in the NCRC Central Region of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Iowa Grotto Meetings : are the fourth Wednesday of each month, third Wednesday in December at 7:30 p.m. in Room 125 or thereabouts of Trowbridge Hall on the campus of Cover Photo: Milkyway over the Coldwater Cave compound. Photo by Scott Dankof. National Speleological Society P. O. Box 228 Iowa City, Iowa 52244 Chairman Ed Klausner Vice Chairman/Treasurer John Donahue Secretary Elizabeth Miller Volume 52 Issue 4 ______________C O N T E N T S _____________ Meeting Minutes 80 Trip reports: Craters of the Moon Natl. Mon. 80 Lava Beds Natl. Mon. 83 Modoc Natl. Forest 84 Lava Beds Natl. Mon. 85 91 Iowa Grotto Picnic 2016 93 Coldwater Cave 93 Iowa Grotto Picnic 94 NSS Convention 94 Iowa Grotto Picnic 96 On Rope In Coralville 98 79


__________CALENDAR___________ Sept. Grotto Meeting Sept. 28th Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall. October Grotto Meeting Oct. 26th Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall. November Grotto Meeting Nov. 16th Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall. NOTE: THIS IS THE 3RD WED. No December Grotto Meeting No July Meeting Minutes Minutes of the Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting August 24, 2016 The regular meeting was called to order by Chairman Ed Klausner at 8:00 PM. Five members were present. Prior to the meeting, Ed Klausner gave a slide presentation on the NSS convention at Ely, NV and caving with grotto members at Lava Beds National Monuments, both in July, 2016. This was followed by a longer presentation by Mike Lace of his mapping and photography trips to Cat Island, and Rum Cay, Bahamas in February 2016 as well as Rock Art in Turks and Caicos Islands. The minutes of the July meeting were was not available. Trip reports: A number of trips went out on Saturday, August 6 from the grotto picnic. Elizabeth Miller led a trip to the Highlandville caves with a number of members and a dog. Three trips went into Coldwater Cave, one led by Ed Klausner, one by Scott Dankof and one by Mark Jones. Becky Reth led several people into Skunk Cave and a large group led by Mike Lace and Chris Beck visited Wonder Cave. Ed reported on a surveying trip to Lime Kiln Cave in Missouri with grotto member Mark Jones and several Missouri Cavers. Future Trips: A trip into Coldwater in October is planned with a number of County Conservation Officers, depending on water level. New Business: Approximately eight members have signed up for the two day September 24 vertical training in Coalville. The training will be conducted by grotto member Doug Schmuecker. The meeting adjourned at 8:15 PM. Craters of the Moon National Monument Blaine County, Idaho July 14, 2016 By Mark Jones Earlier in the year I had went caving with Ben Miller and he mentioned that Josh Brewer was planning a survey trip to Craters of the Moon National Monument before the National Speleological Society annual convention in July in Ely, Nevada. Since I was returning to Lava Beds National Monument in northern California after convention for a Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) expedition I could commit to the project. The other cavers were Ben, Josh, Jordan Brewer, Sarah Arpin and Jeremy Tallent. We met with Todd Stefanic the Wildlife Biologist from the Monument at 1:00 p.m. to cover our objectives and develop our plan of attack. Todd had a list of twenty high priority caves that a map would be beneficial. With so many options we decided to focus on a cluster of caves north of the visitor center. Antelope Cave We set off across the desert at 5:00 p.m. from the parking area toward the While Josh took Jordan and Jeremy (the J Team) to Screaming Jaws of Death Cave Ben took Sarah and me (the A Team) to a nearby ceiling collapse with three entrances; Antelope Cave, Ice Lake Cave and Spongy Floor Cave. Dropping down a ten foot rubble slope brought us to the bottom of a thirty foot diameter trench. The obvious sixteen foot wide by eight foot high entrance to Antelope Cave was off to the right. For this survey Ben kept book and sketched plan and profile views, Sarah sketched cross sections and read foresights and I set stations, 80


read backsights and shot photos. Although there were numerous bones strewn amongst the breakdown blocks they all seemed to be cattle rather than antelope. Woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat and middens were found everywhere on the survey. Unfortunately the woodrats enjoy nibbling on cactus pads leaving behind the cactus spines for us to pick up in our clothes and perform unintended and painful acupuncture. The first shot took us into a ten foot diameter tube that thirty feet later pinched down to a critter crawl. Three upper tubes connected to this lower level so our next task was to tie them in. Climbing up the first tube twelve feet we found a small room with an entrance crawl and a tiny crawl that connected with the J Team. A handshake connection was made between Sarah and Josh. Returning to the lower passage we shot into the second tube that terminated forty feet later in a room with a small skylight. The third passage proved to be the most difficult from a surveying standpoint. Sarah and I matter how much we moved up and down the line. Having worked in lava tubes before we knew that magnetism could play havoc with the instrument getting compass readings. Finally a bit of creative surveying brought us to an acceptable range. We finished in a nice six foot high dome room with a four foot diameter skylight. The total cave length clocked in at just over two hundred feet. Ice Lake Cave Just twenty feet from Antelope Cave we found the breakdown squeeze that dropped twelve feet down to a chilly, six foot high by thirty foot wide lava tube. Often times the ice in lava tubes is seasonal, retreating or disappearing altogether in the summer but this cave had a thirty foot diameter frozen pool. An air trap at the entrance prevents the cave from breathing resulting in a stable temperature. Some flagged monitors were found on the ice along the left wall set by monument personnel. While Ben and Sarah were busy working on the map I scoured the ice for the elusive Idaho ice cave beetle ( Glacicavicola bathyscioides Just past the ice lake was a smattering of ceiling breakdown on a pahoehoe floor. The tube ended when the ceiling drooped to the floor a hundred twenty feet from the entrance. Surprisingly there was extensive woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat and middens noted throughout the nippy survey. Although lacking length Ice Lake Cave offers an interesting insight into the ice caves in Craters of the Moon National Monument. On our return to the parking lot we were on the lookout for any Great Basin rattlesnakes ( Crotalus oreganus lutosus ) but thankfully we only found an eighteen inch Great Basin gopher snake ( Pituophis catenifer deserticola ) slithering under a sagebrush. Spongy Floor Cave July 15, 2016 For the second day at Craters of the Moon National Monument we returned to the same lava flow to continue fleshing out the lava tubes in the area. The J Team returned to Screaming Jaws of Death Cave while the A Team (Ben Miller, Sarah Arpin and me) returned to the same ceiling collapse as yesterday where Antelope and Ice Lake Cave are located. We started at Antelope Cave and surveyed thirty feet across the collapse to a breakdown squeeze similar to nearby Ice Lake Cave. Once again it was Ben on book and drawing plan and profiles, Sarah sketching the cross sections and reading foresights and me setting stations, reading backsights and taking photos. Interesting lava formations shaped the left wall of the fifteen foot drop with breakdown comprising the remainder. At the bottom was the largest mountain of debris comprised of w oodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat, midden and bones that I have seen in a cave (or anywhere 81


else). Ben disagreed with me saying Trench in the Lava Beds National Monument in northern California has out for myself. Beyond the debris pile is passage mirroring Ice Lake Cave six feet high, thirty feet wide and a breakdown covered floor to a pahoehoe terminus. The only thing missing was the pool of ice. Upon closer inspection we did find isolated pockets of ice along with a couple of flagged sensors in the folds of the pahoehoe. The cave survey totaled 146 feet. Low Tide Cave It was a short hike over to Low Tide Cave for the second cave of the day. A six foot wide by twenty foot long skylight collapse opened into a stoopwalking surface tube trending both north and south. We retained the same jobs as Spongy Floor Cave. Surveying the southern arm upflow netted two more skylights and eighty feet of passage before reaching a sharp 90° elbow that dropped down seven feet to a small balcony above a room. Poking around the hole revealed that vertical gear would be necessary to safely continue. Turning north we began downflow in walking passage that quickly became stoopwalking then hands and knees and finally bellycrawling. Since I was on point I had the opportunity to enjoy all aspects of the bellycrawl to the traversable floor made for a less than pleasant experience but we were rewarded with Neotoma sp.) scat and middens were ubiquitous in this lava tube. Tunnel Cave With plenty of daylight remaining the A Team (Ben Miller, Sarah Arpin and me) roamed across the lava flow to Tunnel Cave to knock off a smaller cave before calling it a day. On the hike over we stumbled onto the upflow end of the trench containing Fire Pit Cave, Shredded Knees Cave and Tunnel Cave. Passing the first two we began our survey at the largest of Tunnel the same survey responsibilities. This survey was basically around the perimeter of the collapse among breakdown blocks with the final shot thirty feet upflow to a critter entrance. This lava feature ended up totaling a hundred feet. In addition to the never ending woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat and middens Ben did find a cave millipede ( Chaetapis sp.) in a small side passage. Sandy Trap Cave After meeting up with the J Team for the hike back to the vehicles we found a shallow skylight entrance to Sandy Trap Cave. A quick peek showed a comfortable thirty foot slope leading to going passage. We plan on returning tomorrow to knock this one off. Taffy Top Cave Just a few hundred feet from Sandy Trap Cave I found two possible leads, one a surface tube and the other a lava blister about sixteen feet in diameter with a three foot diameter skylight. The plan is to return tomorrow while hiking to the known caves in the area. Low Tide Cave July 16, 2016 The last day at Craters of the Moon National Monument had Ben Miller and me returning to Low Tide Cave to wrap up the survey of a seven foot nuisance drop on the upflow end of the lava tube while the others went to Sandy Trap Cave to begin that survey. On this trip Ben kept book and read foresights while I set stations, read backsights and took photos. It seemed like a bit of overkill to drag our vertical gear for such a short drop but it would have been very difficult 82


with just a handline. Using the skylight entrance over the drop we rigged around the lava blister, crawled through the nearby skylight, rigged in and rappelled down to the balcony with Ben going first. Unfortunately I landed on a pile of woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat and middens filled with cactus spines. Once I removed the spines we continued the survey. Ben pointed out several thankfully avoided. From the balcony it was another ten feet down to the bottom of a ten foot wide by thirty foot long room. This was a veritable woodrat heaven with evidence of their activity all over the left half of the room. A variety of bones were found throughout this room and Ben discovered the desiccated remains of a snake at the bottom of the drop. Additionally Ben saw several small mushrooms sprouting from the organic debris. Over on the right side of the room I noticed some small pools in the pahoehoe folds of the floor. We closed the book on Low Tide Cave with the expedition. Fire Pit Cave Hiking over to Fire Pit Cave Ben and I broke out the survey gear to map the sixth cave for the A Team. A breakdown slope gradually angled down through an easy stoopwalk to a twenty foot diameter lava dome with a four foot diameter skylight. A six foot high pile of lava breakdown dominated the room with an obvious fire pit off toward the entrance. An interesting lava bench on the left wall led to a three foot high balcony room. A hot wind blew from the lava tube crawlway that sloped down forty feet before pinching down to a nasty crawl in cactus spines, scat and broken glass. The cactus spines and scat were the remains from woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) and pika ( Ochotona princeps ) usage. Someone could push this one foot high chist. As it was Ben and I spent the afternoon plucking tiny spines out of our bodies. Following a short break on the surface with the other team Ben and I returned to survey a pahoehoe crawlway on the left just inside the dripline. A cool breeze blew up the passage as we surveyed down to an we found quite a bit of unknown pelletized scat. When Ben sketched the Taffy Top Cave On the way back to the parking lot Ben and I stopped at a cave I found yesterday to determine if it is worth surveying. The droopy lavacicles gave the cave its name. After climbing into the domeroom I thought that it was too small but I found two bellycrawls that added enough length to be worthy of a map. But with time running out we closed the book on this survey trip to Craters of the Moon National Monument. The last thing we did was drive the seven mile loop to see the various lava formations within the monument. This was a great way to cap off three days of productive survey. Lava Beds National Monument Siskiyou County, California July 24, 2016 By Mark Jones Last Call Cave The July Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) expedition at Lava Beds National Monument had me joining six other cavers (Jenn Ellis, Ed Klausner, Elizabeth Miller, Kayla Sapkota, Dave West and Karen Willmes) for a week of surveying and inventorying the lava tubes in the area. Mary Sullivan, one of the seasonal rangers, wanted to accompany us so we were able to field two teams of four members. Team Ed consisted of Ed, Elizabeth, Kayla and Mary and hiked to cluded Dave, Karen, Jenn and me went to the lower flow of Balcony/ 83


Boulevard. Leaving the research center at 9:00 the short distance to our first objective. Dave had some erroneous compass readings on the surface that needed to be rectified so we broke out the tapes and recreated the stations to reshoot the compass. Once these readings were taken it was downflow past Himmel Cave to the trench collapse containing Last Call Cave and Closing Time Cave. Dave kept book and drew the plan view, Jenn read foresights, Karen set point and read backsights and I drew the profile and cross sections along with snapping photos. From the brass cap the girls zigzagged down to the breakdown collapse where the six foot wide by three foot high entrance sloped down to a goodly size room. Ceiling breakdown covered the floor of this twenty foot diameter, eight foot high room with a lava bench along the right wall. The lava bench was a three foot diameter scroll of lava that had separated from the wall and peeled off. The passage continued to the southwest another forty feet to a breakdown terminus. When Dave drafts the map the upflow breakdown choke of Last Call Cave should butt up against the downflow breakdown choke of Himmel Cave. We finished up by surveying along the edges of the trench collapse to flesh out the map. This cave clocked in at 99 feet. Addendum: Indeed when Dave plotted the stations in the Walls cave mapping program the downflow breakdown of Himmel is only five feet vertically away from the upflow collapse of Last Call. This is yet another example of the high quality surveying being done in Lava Beds National Monument by members of the C.R.F. Closing Time Cave With Last Call Cave finished we scooted over to Closing Time Cave on the north side of the trench collapse to begin surveying this little gem. We kept the same survey team with Broeckel joining us shortly after small room on the left and going passage to the right. Karen, Jenn and Dave were able to squeeze through a lavacicle choke on the right but Bill and I were unable to negotiate the route. The trio did suffer bumps and scrapes in order to reach the other side. It only took two short shots to finish off this lead when the passage pancaked down to a lava pinch, an indication that the flow terminated. Although there was some survey work to mop up in a lower level we were running out of time so we tied off later this week to put a bow on this small cave. Modoc National Forest Siskiyou County, California July 25, 2016 By Mark Jones Cascade Vent turned to survey the three lava fearidgewalking north of a small unnamed volcano in the Mammoth Crater Flow. Following a bit of navigational buffoonery we were soon hiking north along the west side of the small volcano to the twelve foot diameter ceiling collapse which was the ensurvey Bill would keep book and read foresights while I would set stations, read backsights and take photos. From the rim of the ceiling collapse we angled down a 30° slope off to the northwest for twenty feet to a breakdown/pumice floor. Here the pasnating in a woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) midden/scat crawl while the right arm ended in a lava pinch. A cloud of flies ( Diptera sp.) filled the air in this area. Returning to the surface we took a shot to the north into a five foot diameter balcony room filled with charred firewood. Once again we re84


turned to the first station and took a sixteen foot shot to the northeast to flesh out the rest of the balcony. With the balcony survey completed we continued eight feet northeast down a steep slope to the edge of an ice lake. Back in the spring the ice was much thicker preventing passage but it had receded over the summer revealing more of the cave. On the left an easy crawlway extended sixteen feet before abruptly ending while on the right a bellycrawl beyond the ice seemed to continue. raving the icy water I quickly slid through to find a surprisingly roomy ten foot wide by sixteen foot long alcove with an icy floor. The walls and ceiling were lava breakdown coated in icicles. Bill reluctantly acquiesced to my badgering and joined me in the chilly confines. This area was the highpoint of the survey. Although Cascade Vent has signs of visitation I doubt if anyone had pushed beyond the ice lake. When Bill totaled the numbers we had over 190 feet of survey, a very respectable length for a lava vent. Bill exited first to catch up on his sketching and discovered an American black bear ( Ursa americanus ) sow and her cub fifty feet away! The pair skedaddled before I had a chance to see them. It was probably all for the best because if they were hanging around for me to photograph them we were in trouble. Red Wall Cave Broeckel and I surface surveying downslope 120 feet to the narrow slot entrance to Red Wall Cave. A five foot drop led to a soft pumice floor that angled down ten feet to a long narrow room five foot high. Most of the south wall was covered in deep red lava resulting in that name. Two pinches at floor level revealed a thin passage that may continue but it will require more agile cavers to push. Total surveyed length was forty nine feet. The surface survey continued downslope another 240 feet to the uptied into the upper entrance and continued another twenty three feet to the larger, lower entrance. Unfortunately a nest of bees had laid claim to that general vicinity so we move cautiously during our survey to avoid riling them up. The ten foot wide by four foot high opening dropped down into a twenty five foot square room with a seven foot ceiling. All of the ice found in April had melted other than one small pocket along the wall. The extensive middens noted on our first trip had signs of recent usage. Swarms of flies ( Diptera sp.) filled several pockets in the cave. A single shot of 26.2 feet was all it took to survey this cave although that number dence of modifying the cave indicates A thorough inventory may shed more light on when it was occupied and by whom. With our objectives met we packed up the gear and returned to the research center. Another fine day of California caving. Lava Beds National Monument Siskiyou County, California July 26, 2016 By Mark Jones and I got out the door of the research center at 6:30 a.m. to reshoot some surface survey in the before the temperature climbed too high. The whole purpose of this survey is to tie in all of the lava tubes and features of the entire flow so they can be accurately placed on the map. While Dave kept book Bill and I leapfrog surveyed in hundred foot shots downflow until we tied into Nirvana Cave and then Purgatory Cave. When we returned to the research center Dave entered the 85


data with much better loop closure. It was a good start to the day. Glaeser 85 Cave For the third day at Lava Beds NaFoundation (C.R.F.) expedition I was with Ed Klausner and Karen Willmes in the continuation of surveying lava picked up this area last year but this would be my first trip to minute hike over the broken lava fields to our starting point. It just so happened that the first cave we stumbled upon was not in the monubit further to find Glaeser 85 Cave. According to a February 24, 2013 arJuillerat, the Regional Editor for the Herald & News in Klamath Falls, Oregon Walter Glaeser was contracted in 1936 to locate the caves in Lava Beds National Monument. His work was to build on the information from J.D. documented 110 caves but currently only 74 are known. We were going to 110. The brass cap over the entrance served as the first station for the ing and doing book, Karen setting stations and reading backsights and myself reading foresights and taking photos. This six foot diameter surface tube had sharp rocks littering the floor for its entire fifty feet. A breakdown slope led to a skylight exit not far from the entrance. A lava pinch sealed the back of the tube bringing our survey to an abrupt end. Pika Nests Cave With the location of Glaeser 85 Cave identified we returned to the unknown cave to survey and inventory it for the records. We retained the same crew as the last survey. A four foot diameter ceiling collapse dropped down two feet to a wide pancake passage running in two directions. Surveying downflow we got a twenty foot shot of crawling to a wall of lava. We were more successful upflow with over thirty feet of crawling before we ran into another lava wall. Although this surface tube possessed some nice lavacicles the most interesting find were the two pika ( Ochotona princeps ) nests located near the upflow end, hence the name. In addition we found numerous flies ( Diptera sp.) hanging on the ceiling. Once the cave was surveyed we took a surface shot over to the brass cap of Glaeser 85 Cave to tie this cave into a known location. Lucky Star Cave & Meta Stella Cave Less than two hundred feet from Glaeser 85 Cave we found Lucky Star Cave as well as nearby Meta Stella Cave. It was hard to miss Lucky Star Cave since it was a big entrance smack dab in the middle of a forty Trench) Keeping the same survey positions we began by tying into the brass cap and worked our way down a forty foot slope of ceiling breakpainted on a ceiling block and a large rock with Lucky Star Cave painted on it. This marking was done by none other than Walter Glaeser back in 1936. At the time this was an acceptable method of identifying the cave but today it would be considered yond defacing the cave in the name of exploration. While Ed was sketching the entrance area Karen and I began reconnoitering the edges of the lava tube for any additional passages. Karen soon discovered a crawl through some big breakdown that connected to Meta Stella Cave. Since Lucky Star Cave would require more time than we had it was decided to survey Meta Stella Cave. Four short crawlway shots eventually popped into the main part of the cave. Basically this cave is a twenty foot wide by seventy foot 86


87 long rectangle with ceiling heights varying from two to five feet. Oh, and lots of big breakdown covered in layers of woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) scat. Near the back of the cave is a jumble of breakdown to the surface that serves as a route for the woodrats to come and go. We finished off three chance of crossing off several more caves. 1 I.C.U. Grotto July 27, 2016 The trio of Dave West Karen Willmes and Mark Jones hiked out to mop up some small caves with Dave on book, Karen setting stations and reading backsights and me reading foresights and taking photos. To begin our day in the Balcony/Boulevard downflow area we did a surface survey over to a little lava feature that Dave deemed important for the overall map of the flow. This surface tube registered just over fifteen feet so it was named 1 I.C.U. Cave. An I.C.U. is Iowa Cave Unit which is fifteen feet, the minimum length for an Iowa cave but less than the minimum set for Lava Beds National Monument. Tiny Bridge Cave Bridge Cave and a quick peek showed here. A six foot diameter ceiling collapse dropped down three feet to a surface tube that trended both north and south. We surveyed six feet to the north (downflow) to the other side of the bridge, another small ceiling collapsed and then turned east to follow a bellycrawl that wrapped around counterclockwise. The lava soon filled this crawl to the ceiling ending our downflow adventure. Then we surveyed upflow (south) into a roomy crawlway with a wormhole continuing south to another chamber. It took only two shots to finish the upflow but Dave required a bit more time to sketch out all the particulars. What was supposed to be a simple lava feature ended up being a real life cave with over fifty feet of passage. Band Shell Cave After a lunch break at the research center we were back at the Balcony/ Boulevard flow to survey a cave that this past April. Hopes were as high as the temperature (90°+) as we tried to survey into the cave. Unfortunately the magnetism in the lava was causing an erroneous compass reading forcing us to remain on the surface trying to match numbers. By moving the station we were finally able to move out of the sunlight and into the shade of a surface lava tube. Once in the cave the temperature dropped immediately giving us relief from the oppressive heat. Another plus was that the lava tube was twelve foot wide and arched up four feet giving us plenty of room to maneuver. With a forty three foot shot to the north (downflow) over a pahoehoe floor I was looking forward to several shots before terminating but instead it was only another fifteen feet before pinching down to an impassible crawl. The passage opened up downflow but we Returning to the entrance we took one more shot upflow of twenty eight feet that just wrapped around to another entrance. The cave was named for the band shell shape at the entrance. Indian Well Cave Since Jenn Ellis and Kayla Sapkota would be flying out on Thursday they had wanted to see a couple of the caves near the Lava Beds National Monument visitor center. A short hike from the research center took us up the hill to Indian Well Cave. A concrete sidewalk dropped down a huge collapsed trench to the sixty foot wide by thirty foot high entrance. Ceiling breakdown covered the entire


88 floor ranging from pumice to massive blocks. Near the back of the three hundred foot cave a steep forty foot breakdown slope rose to a five foot diameter exit to another trench collapse. A thirty foot alcove extended beyond this point but we opted to take the trail over to Mushpot Cave. Mushpot Cave Mushpot Cave serves as a great introduction to the lava tubes in Lava Beds National Monument. A well light concrete trail ran three hundred feet to a lava pinch. Signs along the way explained how the lava tubes were formed, types of formations and cave fauna in the area. Mushpot Cave contains a wide variety of lava formations that visitors might see in the caves. This is certainly a good place to begin any trip to the monument. Skull Cave After a fine tuna dinner (My brother Dave caught and Elizabeth prepared) Jenn and Kayla wanted to see more caves in the monument so we drove down to Skull Cave. The entrance is at the east end of an impressive colwide. According to Selected Caves and Lava Tube Systems in and near Lava Beds National Monument, California U.S.G.S. Bulletin 1673 description: trenches that begins along the east base of the large cinder cone and agglutinate cone named Bearpaw Butte. The collapse trenches were formed by the collapse of roofs in a system of two to three or more lava tubes stacked above one another. These tubes served as feeder conduits through which molten lava escaped from a former lava lake fed by Mammoth The first five hundred feet of passage is basically a huge tunnel, tensive breakdown from the walls and ceiling covered the floor although a paved trail runs along the right wall. The upper passage abruptly ends when the lava broke through to a lower level indicated by a frozen lava fall. Thankfully a sturdy staircase made the descent a snap. As we climbed down the temperature dropped forty degrees. At the bottom of the stairs a bat gate prevents access to the ice floor. Prior to its installation visitors had traipsed over the ice scattering dust and debris which accelerated the melting process. Just outside the gate Kayla noticed a skull from a large herbivore (bovine?) resting amongst the breakdown. The lower passage extends a hundred feet upflow beyond the ice floor and three hundred feet downflow but we had other plans. Merrill Cave The final cave Jenn, Kayla and I visited was Merrill Cave which is two miles upflow from Skull Cave. A short hike took us to the staircase in a twenty foot diameter roof collapse. Upflow the passage extends eighty five feet as a natural bridge while downflow a boardwalk protects the small hole in the floor. A robust ladder led to the lower level where a raised balcony overlooked a fifteen foot hole. Not very different from other breakdown pits in lava tubes frastructure is that until 2000 a massive block of ice covered the floor. A sudden change in the air sump resulted in a melt off that depleted the ice. It will require an extended period of unusually high rain and snowfall combined with a cooling of the cave for the ice floor to reform. Pancake Cave July 28, 2016


89 With Jenn Ellis and Kayla Sapkota traveling home we were left with Ed Klausner, Elizabeth Miller, Dave West, Karen Willmes and me for the remainder of the July expedition of the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.). We were fortunate that Dave Riggs, a physical science technician for Lava Beds National Monument, had three interns that were interested in accompanying us into the field. Ed and Elizabeth had two go with them while Dave, Karen and I were joined by Lindy Cain to make a foursome. We hiked down past Obsession Cave to begin our day at Pancake Cave. I had stumbled across this hidden gem back in 2014 while scouting out the downflow termination of the Balcony/ Boulevard flow. A strategically placed sagebrush covered the crawlway entrance down to this surface tube. We began the survey with Dave on book, Karen on point and reading backsights, Lindy conducting a biological survey and me taking foresights and shooting photos. Two short shots took us into a low ceiling (two foot high) passage with very wide walls, in essence a pancake cave. Hence the name. Lindy observed dozens of spiders during the first fifteen minutes underground. One species appeared to encase their eggs in a protective coating of 30 to 40 pumice granules that hung from their web. The amazing thing was that the spider was about the same size as the pumice. A thirty four foot shot downflow defined this arm of the lava flow so we retreated to the entrance area and continued down a convoluted crawlway to a parallel passage. When a lava reason for the higgledy piggledy nature of the cave as the liquid lava cools and solidifies. Since Lindy had completed her bio survey I taught her the finer points of lava tube surveying so that she could experience the joys of taking compass readings while trying to avoid the magnetism of the surrounding rock. She caught on so quickly that I was soon replaced. The next several shots were in a comfortable (?) crawl that wrapped back around to the entrance. While they completed the survey I exited to locate a couple of small skylights from the surface. With lunchtime approaching we of survey and only one bellycrawl left to finish. Arroyo Cave Since Lindy Cain wanted to cave after lunch we gladly added her to the trio of West, Willmes & Jones to begin the survey of Arroyro Cave. Upflow from the Balcony/Boulevard complex this three hundred foot long lava tube has several ceiling collapses interrupting its length. For this survey Dave drew the plan view, Karen set stations and read backsights, Lindy read foresights and I kept book, drew the profile and shot photos. Starting from the main entrance collapse we surveyed upflow over a pahoehoe floor in an easy crawlway a hundred feet to a lava choke. Turning our attention downflow we surveyed past the ceiling collapse to the second segment of the tube that extended another forty feet to a breakdown squeeze. A shallow ceiling collapse full of vegetation separated us from the third section of Arroyo. was time to knock off for the day so we tied off and hoofed it back to the car. We hope to finish this cave later this week. Addendum: Evidence of fauna usage of upper Arroyo Cave included woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) and pika ( Ochotona princeps ) scat. Arroyo Cave July 29, 2016 Dave West led Karen Willmes and me back to continue the survey of Arroyro Cave, one of the many lava tubes in the Balcony/Boulevard flow. survey and our hope was to push to


90 the end of the downflow tube. With Dave drawing the plan view, Karen setting stations and reading backsights and me sketching the profile and cross sections, reading foresights and taking pictures chances were good that Arroyo Cave would be last station (AR8) we had a fifty foot shot down an easy stoopwalking tube to the third ceiling collapse where we surveyed thirty feet of lava skylight to the last section of cave. By now the lava was losing steam as the passage was becoming flatter and lower. Forty feet later the floor rose up to the ceiling at a skylight collapse putting a kibosh on Arroyo for the day with a two day total of discovered that on the other side of the skylight collapse is a continuation of the flow in a rocky bellycrawl. Although it is obviously a continuation of Arroyo Cave it was considered a separate cave and named next year to be entered in the books. Addendum: At the beginning of the survey we saw an unidentified bat and a sagebrush lizard ( Sceloporus graciosus ) utilizing the cave. Evidence of fauna usage of lower Arroyo Cave included woodrat ( Neotoma sp.) and pika ( Ochotona princeps ) scat. Ohio Cave Following a quick lunch break I abandoned Dave and Karen to team up with Ed Klausner and Elizabeth Miller leaving Saturday morning. From the hiked a quarter mile under a blazing hot sun across the broken lava field to the ceiling breakdown collapse of Ohio Cave. We knew it was the right cave since Ohio Cave was painted in red on the wall by Walter Glaeser back in 1936. Ed would keep book, Elizabeth would read foresights and take pictures. Starting at the brass cap (E570) over the entrance we surveyed upflow thirty feet in a six foot diameter lava tube to a breakdown pile at the edge of another ceiling collapse. Going downflow we found an interesting upper level tube that curved around clockwise to rejoin the dominant flow. In the main passage a rocky crawl angled for eight feet to another ceiling collapse that also had two entrances to Tri State Cave, another significant lava tube in we closed the loop successfully and continued downflow in an easy walking lava tube with a ropey pahoehoe floor. The most impressive formation of the day was a raised rafted block that resembled an Egyptian sarcophagus. While Ed finished sketching the map Elizabeth and I wandered downflow to reconnoiter for the next trip. Below this point the tube slopes down sharply resulting in a frozen lava cascade floor. Once the tube levels out the passage widens and then becomes a hands and knees crawl for a hundred feet to a ceiling collapse entrance. On the downflow end of the collapse an unnamed lava tube bellycrawl continues thirty feet to yet another ceiling collapse entrance. have to wait until 2017 when Ed returns to conclude his work in this fascinating cave. Pancake Cave July 30, 2016 Ed Klausner and Elizabeth Miller needed to leave for Iowa City to set up for the annual Iowa Grotto picnic so that left just Dave West, Karen Willmes and me for the last day of the July expedition of the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) at Lava Beds National Monument. Hoping to leave early Sunday morning I was glad Dave had planned for a light day of caving, knocking off by the middle of the afternoon. Since we had two caves


91 that were partially done (Pancake and Damocles) we wanted to finish them up so that Dave could have them drafted for the monument. We began by hiking down the Balcony/Boulevard flow past Obsession Cave and down to a small skylight that dropped down to the discombobulated passages of Pancake Cave. Again today Dave was on book and sketching, Karen was on point and reading backsights and I shot foresights and took pictures. This section of cave also contained a goodly amount of spiders. We had only a dusty bellycrawl remaining and I figKaren had other ideas. After the second shot she had squirmed past a lavacicle constriction into more bellycrawling. Unfortunately/fortunately so it was up to Dave and Karen to finish the survey. Having retreated to the surface I was able to find the skylight above where Dave was laying. We were all of twelve inches apart but could not complete a handshake connection. While I waited outside they racked up fifty feet of survey in one of the dustiest crawls of the week. Pancake Cave weighs in with over 180 feet of surveyed passages, nearly double of what I had originally estimated. Last Gasp Cave Rather than hike all the way back to the car and over to Damocles Cave Dave thought that surveying the last know lava tube at the lower end of the Balcony/Boulevard flow would be a better choice. I was pleased with his idea so we shot a surface survey from Pancake Cave over to Last Gasp Cave. At the ceiling collapse entrance Karen crawled under the ledge to set a station to shoot both upflow and downflow. When I got under the rim of lizard ( Sceloporus graciosus ) tucked away in a ceiling joint. This is the tube this week so they are apparently casual visitors to the caves. Downflow was a dusty crawl that quickly pinched out. Upflow this lava tube had a very pancake shape with a gnarly pahoehoe floor and a grabby ceiling, not at all inviting. Although we could see well beyond the narrow windows there was no way anyone was going to fit through the squeezes. A surface survey downflow took us to the other side of the pinch at a narrow lava bridge so we surveyed that feature to include on the map. Finally a short surface survey thirty feet downflow ended at a three foot wide lava bridge. It seems that we have inventoried all the lava tubes at the lower end of the flow, a great way to end a very productive week at Lava Beds National Monument. Lava Beds National Monument Tulelake , California July 24 29, 2016 By Ed Klausner Combining a trip to Lava Beds with the NSS Convention in Ely Nevada seemed like a good idea, so Elizabeth Miller, Dave West, Karen Willmes, and Mark Jones planned on meeting at Lava Beds on the evening of July 23 rd . Joining us were Kayla Sapkota and Jenn Ellis. Later in the week, Bill Broeckel joined us for 3 days. On day 1, I took Elizabeth Miller, Kayla Sapkota and Mary Sullivan (a seasonal at the Monument) to Hat 35,000 year old flow that consists of basalt of the Mammoth Crater. This flow was good at producing lava tubes. We finished Hat cave (187 feet of survey) and still had time, so we headed east to Right Field Cave. We put in 86.5 feet of survey before running out of time. Right Field Cave is a complex, multilevel cave. On day 2, I returned to Right Field Cave with Elizabeth and Jenn Ellis. We completed the survey by adding 229.2 feet of survey making the cave 315.7 feet long. On the third day, Mark Jones and


92 Karen Willmes joined me in search of Glaesers 85 and nearby caves. We found it without a problem and also found a new cave (Pica Nests Cave). Glaesers 85 was 59.2 feet while Pica Nests was 55.6 feet. We found two pica nests, hence the name. From there, we quickly found and started surveying Lucky Star Cave. While sketching the first shot in the cave, Karen checked the walls for additional passage and found that the right side (heading into the cave) continued on into Meta Stella Cave. We took the survey line there and surveyed the whole of Meta Stella Cave. 276.6 feet were surveyed in the (2 named but the same) cave. Day four saw the return to Lucky Star Cave. I was accompanied by Elizabeth, Kayla and Jenn. We put in 299.4 feet. We found what we though were some small, calcium based stalactites in a drippy area near the back of the cave. We have a breakdown area left to survey on the left hand side near the back. Elizabeth, Chelsea Collins, Genome Rodriguez and I headed back to Lucky Star Cave on our fifth day at Lava Beds National Monument. Elizabeth and I were teaching Genome and Chelsea how to survey and the lead left in Lucky Star was no place to learn. It was small, twisty and quite cold. We spent the morning getting two shots when I thought it would be more productive to go to another cave. Both Chelsea and Genome are interns at the Monument. We headed to Fumerole Cave and conditions were much better for learning how to survey. We finished the cave in five survey shots and got 88.4 feet of survey. We still had time and headed over to Coral Cave for a more challenging survey. The cave started out spacious, but the last two shots involved a very tight belly crawl. Elizabeth and I were the only two to go down the passage to finish up the survey. We put in six shots for a total of 94 feet. On our last day, Lauren Van Fleet (an intern in Interpretation) joined Elizabeth and me for a short trip to Lucky Star Cave. Lauren had to be back by noon and we just made it after surveying 39.6 feet. We got a final 4 shots in twisty breakdown passage to complete the cave survey. In the afternoon, Mark Jones joined me and Elizabeth and we went to start the Ohio Cave survey. We found the cave quickly and put in 181.1 feet of survey before running out of time. and it took three days to drive home to make additional arrangements for the grotto picnic. Elizabeth Miller in Lava Beds National Monument. Photo by Ed Klausner.


93 Iowa Grotto Picnic 2016 Coldwater Cave, Winneshiek County, Iowa August 5 7, 2016 By Ed Klausner Yet again, we managed to have great weather for the Iowa Grotto Picnic. The 2016 picnic was held at Coldwater Cave in Winneshiek County. There were many new cavers this year. Counting cavers and non cavers, we had 60 people participate over the weekend. There were six cave trips, three into Coldwater itself. Mark Jones led Tyler Williams, Brad Smith, Zack Lorenz, Wayne Miller, Becky Reth, Jamie Fidler, Bret Parkhill and Jeff Bushman on a trip upstream as the water level was high. Jeff Bushman later joined a group that I led that consisted of six County Conservation officers. For most of them, this was their first cave trip and they were quite surprised at what lay underground in this part of Iowa. Scott Dankof also led a photo trip downstream, but he, Scott Falkingham, Jesse and Matt never reached their objective due to high water levels. Elizabeth Miller led Jose Klausner, Michael Bounk, Liz Robinson, Dave West, Karen Willmes, Gary Engh, Phil LaRue, Joel Hanckman and Jenny Hackman to the dozen or so caves known as the Highlandville Caves. Most also included a stop at the Whipy Dip in Decorah on the way back to Coldwater. Mike Lace and Chris Beck led a trip to Wonder Cave. Randy Hayungs, Liz Hayungs, John Kjome, Ashley Haight, Jordan Kjome, Joe Husak, Lea Husak, Jim Roberts, Larry Welch, Matt Frana, Amber Seitz, Nic Frana, Bill Mulder and Sarah Knight participated. Many of the participants dropped the dome pit at the back of the cave. Later in the afternoon, Becky Reth with the help of Richard Reth led Ashley Haight, Jordan Kjome, Amber Seitz, Nic Frana, Matt Frana, John Donahue, Stefan Donahue, Jenny Hackman, Joel Hackman, and Zack Lorenz to Skunk Cave for a quick visit before the potluck. The meal, as usual, was great and there was too much food. Special thanks to Phil LaRue for getting the meat and cooking if for us. Mark Jones once again proved himself to be a proficient and entertaining auctioneer. The grotto made about $600. There were many treasures and many items that will appear again at a future auction. The famous squeeze box was put to good use. There was only one kid in the kids category; Jose Klausner and Nick Schmuecker and Nic Frana. Congratulations to all. Thanks to everyone who participated and brought food for the potluck. Apologies to anyone I left out or name I misspelled. Of note is the distance travelled by three of our cavers: Scott Falkingham from Manitoba and Dave West and Karen Willmes from Baltimore. Hope to see you all at the next picnic, the site has yet to be determined. Coldwater Cave Winneshiek County, Iowa August 5, 2016 By Mark Jones When I arrived at the Coldwater Compound for the annual Iowa Grotto picnic on Friday evening Zack Lorenz had wanted to drop down to catch a preview of Coldwater Cave before tomorcheck the water level since Winneshiek County has had quite a bit rain to Jumping Off Point we opted to wear suited up we climbed down the shaft to the platform to find the water turbid and rocking along at a depth usual August levels. During our trip I told Zack about Coldwater exploration and some of the lore related to the cave. We admired the Crinoid Beds before doubling back to the platform. A nice ninety minute trip.


94 Iowa Grotto Picnic August 6, 2016 By Mark Jones The attendance for the 2016 Iowa Grotto picnic in Winneshiek County, Iowa proved to be the highest in recent memory. Several dozen people gathered in the Coldwater compound to sign up for a variety of trips from a family friendly trip to Highland Caves to a vertical trip into Wonder Cave to a wetsuit journey in Coldwater Cave. Eight people joined me at the bottom of the ladder on the platform to trek up to The Spong. Those on the trip included Jamie Fidler, Zack Lorenz, Wayne Miller, Bret Parkhill, Becky Reth, Brad Smith, Tyler Williams and me. Recent rains had pushed the water level well above the but we were still able to offer a chance to see quite a bit of the upstream section. The water had dropped a smidge from last night, down to The stream visibility had improved markedly in just twelve hours which gave us greater flexibility in our movements. We climbed up and over several large breakdown blocks before wading up to the Crinoid Beds. At Jumping Off Point we left the roomy canyon passage for an easy oval stoopwalk for the remainder of the trip. A short detour was taken up mainstream where we stopped in the Blue Room for a photography shoot. Further upstream we passed the rare stiletto formation, a Barbie shoe wedged between two soda straws. Throughout the trip I explained how the original explorers adapted to the extreme environment of Coldwater Cave. At the Rock River Formation we turned left and climbed over some breakdown blocks to the entrance of The Spong. Several people slipped down to have a peek at the five hundred foot watercrawl but were disappointed that it was sumped after only twenty feet. Hopefully this winter point. On the rebound we stopped at North Snake where Jamie, Brett and Brad clamored upstream to experience the watercrawls that dominate the system. Back at the platform Jamie, Brett and Brad decided to continue downstream to The Gallery to photograph Big Bertha. A number of photos were taken of this impressive formation. A total of four hours were spent in the cave with everyone planning to return in the future. NSS Convention Week of July 17 By Liz Robinson Brad and I took the train on this trip. We left Galesburg, IL. on July 9th and headed out to Emeryville/ Oakland, CA, the end of the line. We spent a few days in the Bay area and then doubled back to Reno where we picked up a rental car. From there we went to Carson City where we rode the Virginia and Truckee Railroad to Virginia City, where we took a gold mine tour. Our tour consisted of ourselves and the guide but the next tour was booked full. The tour showed us all kinds of machinery that was used in the mine as well as original timbers used to shore up the walls. Methods of mining were also covered. We stayed over in Carson City and headed off to Convention the next day. One of the interesting things was the steel sculptures along the Interstate overpasses and along the walls. They were silhouettes of Nevada scenery from lonely. Yes, from Fallon to Ely there were only three or so communities and no air conditioned rest stop but the changing scenery was enthralling with hills, high desert, and interesting geology along the way. Outside of Fallon we encountered salt flats. The vegetation varied as well and we passed some ghost towns along the way (No ghosts at home, sorry.) This was the 75 th Anniversary convention so we knew it would be something special.


95 We arrived in Ely Saturday night the 16th and ran into some Windy City people and joined them for dinner afJailhouse Motel. Sunday we did not do much but relaxed at bit after our trip. We did however get tickets to the 9am. long tour at Lehman Caves in Great Basin National Park. Before we Pass, as a friend calls it, at the Herbert Hoover Historical Site in West Branch, IA, It meant both of us could get the half price discount on the tour. The tour began with us decontaminating our shoes from the gold mine tour we had been on. The tour was excellent and very nicely done. Plenty of time for taking pictures and questions answered well. No colored lights and no per recorded shows which pleased us both. We would liked to have had more time at Great Basin. We were given a warning that with the altitude of more than 6400 feet above sea level to be careful about proper hydration and not getting enough rest. In addition we were warned to stay out of old abandoned mines, avoid hiking at dusk and dawn when the mountain lions are out and to check underneath vehicles when outside of town as snakes find the that underneath a vehicle is a nice cool place to rest in daylight. We attended some sessions at convention including the History section, exploration, Caver Villages, Lightning Talks, and other sessions as well as the second photo salon arts salon, and the Howdy Party and Banquet. The Howdy Party was very meager and starchy with child sized servings that many people complained of. The Banquet was about the same with no seconds. The caterers were even taking food away and packing it up even through people were asking for seconds. I found it interesting that the Howdy Party entertainment was the New Christie Minstrels which is for an older generation but it was also interesting to me how large a percentage of conventioneers were an older generation. Fortunately Brad and I had had a nice lunch before the banquet at the old fashioned soda fountain in town. There was a mural on a wall in the center of town painted by Carolina Shrewsbury that we saw along with other murals in town. One of the highlights of Convention was a geology tour aboard the Nevada Northern Railroad situated in Ely. The railroad served as an ore carrier, school bus, and shopping transportation for the people in town before it ended service. However because of the extensive documentation it had, plus the original steam and diesel engines and facilities that were left intact it was declared a National Historical Monument. The train ride consisted of a 14 mile trip aboard one of the historic steam engines with a geologist commentator. The commentator pointed out geology of the area, active mines, and ghost towns. At the end of the ride we were all given small bags with rock samples including a sample of Garnet Hill with tiny garnets. Brad and I joined the museum in order to support the preservation and educational work it is doing so we took the same ride again the next day and the diesel ride on Friday morning. The diesel ride took us in the opposite direction as the steam ride so we got to see different things. We got to ride in the Caboose as well which gave us a view from over the train. We also bought a geological guide to US 50 in the gift shop. We were given a tour of the repair shop and engine house by one of the members which was also very interesting. We were disappointed that the National Security Site tour had been canceled as we were looking forward to this but we did get our refund. We were hoping that we would also have a chance for some dark sky observing for which the Great Basin in well known for but the full moon took care of that. We tried to get a chance to visit the new Great Basin Observatory in Great Basin National Park but unfortunately visitors were not allowed since it was still considered a construction site pending First Light in late August.


96 The weather was indeed hot and dry and we saw our share of dust devils, However the lack of humidity which was probably not popular with the mosquitoes. No rain hit the ground while we were there, but we did see a storm east towards Ely. Next year's convention will be a half hour north of Albuquerque in the end of June. We registered for the convention at Convention prices and are again looking forward to taking the train to this convention in 2017, as well as the 2018 Convention in Whitefish, MT. We hope to see you there. There were rumors about not yet official bids of 2019 in Tennessee and 2020 in WV at the OTR Site which we hope to attend as well. Iowa Grotto Picnic August 5 7 Coldwater Cave, Ia. By Liz Robinson About 50 people in attendance. Brad and I attended this picnic arriving Friday night. We stayed in a nearby Cresco motel as there is no electricity on site and I needed power for my CPAP. We did bring a graduate student, Tyler, from the University of Iowa with us. As it was on our way it certainly was no problem for us and we were glad for the company. The day before Brad picked up a wet suit that he rented for the trip into Coldwater. As I was having a lot of issues with the recurrence of the tendonitis in my right arm as well as the bad left knee I damaged in January 2005 from a fall, I decided not to attempt that 100 foot ladder into the cave. When we arrived after a meal stop in Oelwein, IA it was pitch dark and the stars were like nothing we have seen in a long time. The Milky Way was clear and visible overhead and there were meteors from the start of the Perseid meteor shower visible every few minutes. After delivering Tyler to camp and saying hi, we went to our motel which was only about a 30 minute or so drive. We got up the next day and got to the cave entrance in time to sign up for trips and to deliver the hamburger patties that were our dish to pass. Brad suited up for Coldwater and I went on a cave trip to some small caves, Highlandville Caves, about a half hour or 45 minutes from the campground. This trip was led by Elizabeth Miller. I enjoyed my trip and getting underground however my boots were eaten up by the cave so that all I had left were the inner linings and the tops. That precluded my doing any of the other caves on this property. I had not much time to grab something to wear for the trip and these boots were apparently more cheaply made than I had anticipated. At any rate we got back to the campground and waited for all of the people to return from their cave trips. Brad was the last person to come out of Coldwater other than the trip leader. He said that he had a fabulous time and it was a great introduction to the cave. He and I went back to our motel to shower and clean up from our respective cave trips. After we returned dinner was ready and after dinner there was the Grotto Auction and the Squeezebox. (I think people would get through the Squeezebox at small levels if this competition was held before rather than after dinner but it is traditionally after dinner on a full stomach when the competition is held.) At any rate we had an item in the Grotto action that sold and after most people had gone or gone to bed we stayed up to visit with the few remaining people and look at the night sky watching for meteors. It had clouded up during the day but by nightfall it was clear and dark and the moon had already set. Viewing was magnificent! I am hoping Brad will write his own trip report complete with the pictures he took on the trip. This was our first picnic in which we had stayed both nights and had gotten to go underground in a long time and I look forward to next year.


97 Festival of food at the Iowa Grotto Picnic. Photo by Ed Klausner. Mark Jones does his best Kukla, Fran and Ollie impression during the grotto auction. Photo by Ed Klausner.


98 On Rope in Coralville September 24 and 25, 2016 By Elizabeth Miller Doug Schmuecker, assisted by Nick Schmuecker, Mike Lace, Ed Klausner and John Donahue, conducted a two day training class on single rope techniques for cavers at the Coralville Fire Department training center on September 24 and 25, 2016. Grotto members Stefan Donahue, Liz Hayungs, Randy Hayungs, Jordan Kjome, Elizabeth Miller and Bob Storlie began with a knot tying review accompanied by rigging concepts and rappelling on the first day. In between a lot of amusing or grim stories about cavers being either very stupid or very clever, everyone got a chance to try out rappelling down the outside of the training facility on a warm sunny September day. We gathered again the next morning for ascending techniques and practice as well as some instruction and practice on basic rescue techniques. The group left looking forward to more practice underground and thanked Doug and his assistants for the training. Jordan Kjome on rope. Photo by Ed Klausner. Bob Storlie descending the tower. Photo by Ed Klausner.


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