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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 5 (September - October 2016).
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I N T E R C O M Volume 52, Issue 5 September October 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 January 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 the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. Cover Photo: Formations in an upstream crevice in Coldwater Cave, Iowa. 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 5 ______________C O N T E N T S _____________ Meeting Minutes 104 Trip reports: Three Ropes and a Ladder 104 OTR, NRO and MVOR 105 Carlsbad Caverns Natl. Park 106 Potato Cave 109 Roppel Cave 110 Arkansas Fall 2016 111 Carlsbad Caverns Fall 2016 112 Grand Gulf 115 Blanchard Springs Caverns 116 Mystic Caverns 116 Maps: Schermerhorn Shelter 117 103


__________CALENDAR___________ Jan. Grotto Meeting Jan. 25th Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall. Feb. Grotto Meeting Feb. 22nd Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall. March Grotto Meeting March 22nd Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall. No September Meeting Minutes Minutes of the Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting October 26, 2016 The regular meeting was called to order by Chairman Ed Klausner at 7:45. Six members were present. Prior to the meeting, Ed Klausner showed slides from a Labor Day trip to Mammoth Cave, including pictures search Foundation including other Iowa Grotto members. The minutes of the September meeting report was not available. Trip reports : Brad Smith and Liz Robinson reported on several cave visits during their visit to MVOR in Kentucky. They visited Lone Star Cave and Preserve, Diamond Caverns, Horse Cave and Mammoth Cave. Mike Bounk reported on the Hodag Hunt held in Iowa in August, 2016. Brad and Liz then also reported on a tour of Secret Caverns with the NSS NE Regional organization. New Business: The existing slate of officers (Ed Klausner, John Donahue and Elizabeth Miller) have been renominated. If no other nominations are received, they will continue to hold office in 2017. Future Trips: The tentatively scheduled trip into Coldwater Cave with county conservation officers has been postponed until next year. Bob Storlie reported that there would be survey trips to Mystery Cave in Minnesota, but none have yet been scheduled. Coldwater Cave trips are scheduled for the third weekend of each month. Science Committee: Since no proposals for the research equipment grant were received during 2016, the Secretary will contact Jackson County to see if they can use money for equipment. Other Business: Ed gave information about the citizen science project used to ID bats from video recordings. The web site for the organization is arizona . Other Business: Mike Bounk has notified the members about the death of Don Koch, former State Geologist of Iowa. The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 PM. Three Ropes and a Ladder Mammoth Cave, Kentucky September 3 4, 2016 By Ed Klausner some confusing survey sketches and I could never really understand the relationship between the domes, and even the exact number of domes. Three ropes were rigged and left in the cave for the resurvey of the domes and checking some leads that remained. Elizabeth Miller, Eli Winkler our vertical gear on the first day of the Labor Day CRF expedition. We followed the familiar route to Ganter field Avenue and stopped for lunch in short distance to the southern most rope was rigged. We rappelled down the first rope, climbed the second rope into the second dome, then walked and crawled to the third dome, climbed the rope to the fourth and fifth dome where we started our resurvey. It turns out there were more connections between domes than originally surveyed and we resketched and put in some new survey. Still left to do are some leads 65 stations beyond where we stopped. This is over the famous Q87 station where a connection between Flint Ridge and Mammoth Ridge was attempted in the early The following day, Rick Olson, Eli 104


Winkler, Diana Tomchick and I borrowed an extension ladder from Chuck and Mary Schubert (they were working in the park that day and could not join us). We got the ladder to the and carried it to Gothic Avenue, down the old steps to the migrating canyon before Gratz Avenue (no small feat as the canyon was narrow), and down first of the three leads that we attempted was about 20 feet up. The ladder was perfect and we found about 50 feet of virgin passage. The passage ended in breakdown cemented together. The second lead was above the middle of Gratz Avenue, about 20 feet up. Again the ladder was perfect, but the passage went about four feet, turned and pinched down to 4 inches wide. The last lead was the waterfall lead up to the top of the waterfall, but that level was blocked by breakdown. We could, however, see that there was a void above but could not reach it. We may have to bring a second, smaller ladder to help us reach this higher lead at some time in the future. The ladder was no lighter or less awkward on the way out. OTR, NRO and MVOR Brad Smith, Liz Robinson and over 1500 people in Dailey, WV Brad and I went to Old Timers Reunion over the Labor Day weekend. On our way down we stopped in Xenia, Ohio and visited a caver friend who comes from a family that made equipment for circuses. It was not surprising that neighbors woke up to find elephants, acrobats or big cats in their yard. His mother even used the elephants manure to fertilize her garden. We also made a brief stop at the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum for a ride and to pay dues. At the work week before Old timers Brad and I worked together to put up the cold pool. During Old timers I also worked registration as I always do but our work shifts at the sauna were changed from midnights to 6 9 P.M. We found this pleasant because we got to work daylight hours. That meant we could leave when we pleased. The guy in charge is trying to break in some new duty people who are younger so that they can take the busier shifts, especially at night. The big news is that the old shower house will be torn down immediately after the event. It was becoming unstable. The other shower house was rebuilt the year before this year's reunion. We were also camping in a slightly different area of the campground since I had to have electricity for my CPAP. It turned out to be better, with more shelter from noise and light. Brad was unable to compete in the obstacle course this year when he burnt himself on one of the sauna stoves. It was serious enough that he needed to keep the injury out of the mud and dirt and also out of the hot tub. This also meant no cave trips. The theme this year was Animal House which was not everyone's cup of tea. Next year it will be Christmas. Attendance this year was up signifi105 Rick Olson checking a lead. Photo by Ed Klausner.


cantly over what it has been for several years. This was due to a good marketing program to bring in college students and people from the grottoes. This year during the Fun Run the biting dog was apparently confined. Brad took a stick with him in case he ran into it but he said that he was not approached by the dog. It was also a dry year with moderate temperatures. The rain occurred before the event opened and the nights were pleasant. The absence of muddy slippery roads was a real blessing. NRO After OTR, Brad and I had business in Watertown, NY that kept us until the 16 th of September. From there we went to the Northeastern regional caving meeting. Unfortunately we did not get into any cave trips but we did attend the business meeting and the bonfire afterward. The way the business meeting was conducted was quite different from the MVOR. Each member grotto had an appointed delegate who voted for the grotto. The rest of us where there as observers, although others were allowed to contribute to the discussion prior to the voting. Sunday we headed to Secret Caverns which I had never seen and Brad had not been to since before we met. We both enjoyed our trip. The cave is not extensively decorated but it has a lot of interesting passages. Its a real caver's cave. MVOR September 30 through October 4 we went to Kentucky to our regional caving meeting. It was held at the Lone Star Preserve near Bonnieville, Kentucky where Speleofest is held every Memorial Day Weekend. It is owned by the Louisville Grotto. We had planned to get there Thursday but were only able to get there Friday. We did, however get to the Howdy Party on time and we got on a cave trip to Lone Star Cave, which is the featured cave in the preserve. It was a very nice piece of trunk passage. We did see a few healthy bats hanging up and we enjoyed out rip. Diamond Caverns had an offer of a free cave trip for those in attendance, so we did that. Diamond is a cave near Mammoth but is not connected with it. It is owned by 4 caver couples. The day after the event closed we moved over to the Mammoth Cave Hotel and did two local caves in the area including Hidden River Cave. Hidden River is noted for having been highly polluted when it was used both as a community water resource and as a sewer. Eventually it was cleaned up and is now filled with all kinds of cave life including a cave crayfish which we saw on the tour. The cave still contains 19 th Century hydraulics equipment from its days as a power house and water resource. In addition we visited the Kentucky wonder Down Under where they have a small cave with a tour in which the visitors carry their own lights. It was a short tour of only about a half hour but it was nice. On our last day before traveling home we took two tours in Mammoth, the 2.5 hour Domes and Dripstones tour which involved going in the new entrance as it is called down a series of about 250 steps then heading for the Frozen Niagara with an optional down to the bottom of the Frozen Niagara and back up. The we did the short Mammoth Passages tour which goes into the Historic Entrance and a short ways into the cave. On our way back we stopped at a shopping center that had several interesting restaurants, Peruvian, Ethiopian, Cuban, Japanese and Mexican. For the door prizes at the regional event Brad won 2 tickets to Speleofest for this coming Memorial Day Weekend. This means that we will not be going to the Renaissance Festival at the Amana Colonies this time around. Carlsbad Caverns National Park Slaughter Canyon Cave Eddy County, New Mexico September 29, 2016 By Mark Jones For the first day of the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) fall expedition at Carlsbad Cavern National 106


Park I accompanied Dave West, Karen Wilmes and Dwight Livingston in the half mile hike up to Slaughter Canyon Cave to wind up the survey and complete the map. Being from lower elevations we required a couple of breaks along the 500 foot vertical gain but soon reached the cave gate. Dave led us to a very high lead that Dwight and I would tackle using the Down the Subterranean Disaster passage forty feet above floor level was a lead behind a flowstone ledge. A solid balcony twenty feet up offered a secure spot to position the ladder for the assault. With a clear set of objectives Dwight and I set off to retrieve the ladder in the Tom Tucker Room while Dave and Karen went to survey down the Mole Run passage. and an assessment made of the situation. We decided to haul the ladder up to the balcony, extend it to the optimum length, secure it to the wall and make the climb. Having worked together in the original Ladder Company #1 we had the ladder erected and Dwight scurrying up to push the lead in no time. In spite of our wishes for a new overhead passage there was nothing behind the flowstone. Disappointed we carried everything out to the trunk passage before hiking down to the Pool Room at the end of Mole Run in search of Dave and Karen. A short confab resulted in Dwight and I packing our vertical gear to the end of the Monarch Passage to investigate an enticing high lead remaining from the spring 2015 C.R.F. off twenty two ladder leads with this questionable balcony lead in limbo. Having the rigging in place required us to simply put on our vertical gear reached the balcony Dwight began tossing a rope in hopes of snagging an anchor twelve feet above us. This approach proved unsuccessful so he switched to the lasso method. In no was soon standing above me in a large room. We broke out the survey equipment with Dwight keeping book and me taking shots. A 50° inclinometer reading was taken to a breakdown block perched on the shelf overhead. When I climbed up to join Dwight I found a twenty foot diameter room littered with chunks of breakdown littering the floor and flowstone covering the ceiling. At first our attention was drawn to the north in anticipation of going cave but we only saw an impossible crawlway. Figuring that would be the end of this lead we took a shot to the north to flesh out the room. About this time both of us glanced see a hallway off to the southwest! Excited about the discovery I reconnoitered it to confirm that it did go. Since we had a meeting time of 6:00 p.m. with Dave and Karen it was decided to tie off for the day and return later in the week. This was a nice way to start the week at Carlsbad Cavern National Park. Carlsbad Caverns September 30, 2016 Since Karen Wilmes and I were taking Saturday off to visit the Trinity Site in central New Mexico (the location of the first nuclear bomb detonation) we joined Ed Klausner and Chris Beck in checking high leads in Lower Cave of Carlsbad Cavern. Like Dave West, Ed had brought a ladder to access his overhead leads, unlike Dave, Ed had physical constraints that limited his options. First of all the ladder would have to fit the elevator and then it would have to flex around corners. Ed actually brought a four section scaffolding ladder that fit the bill perfectly. While I was with Dave yesterday the other team carried the ladder to Lower Cave and used it to successfully check leads. We rode the elevator down from the at 8:30 a.m. and were soon climbing down to Lower Cave. The first lead of 107


trail and was just beyond the first pool. The ladder was extended to its report going passage. This was tempered with the news that it had been previously surveyed. In spite of the old survey we needed to resurvey it since the information has been lost. the fact that past efforts often go unrecorded. For this survey Ed would keep book, Chris would set stations and I would read instruments. Chris anticipated a few shots so Karen could remain on the trail. A nicely flowstone decorated walkway greeted us but it soon narrowed down to a challenging canyon passage. The cave kept going, getting more decorated as we continued. About the time we felt bad for leaving Karen behind Chris announced choke. Our first lead yielded seventy feet of beautiful passage. The highlight of the survey was the two complete bat skeletons found embedded in a flowstone shelf. We were unable to confirm if our nearby second lead went since the three leads proved to be disappointing but Ed was happy to have them crossed off his list. We had no trouble with the ladder as we wound around the flagged trail in some very tight quarters. The last lead of the day was high up in a canyon alcove. I volunteered to check this lead, expecting little more than a shadowbox. When I topped need to break out the survey gear. Ed kept book, Karen set stations and I read instruments and did inventory while Chris stayed down below. Basically the passage was a virgin gnarly, high angle boneyard passage with a strong breeze. Most of the shots were less than ten feet since the tube kept twisting around. Eventually Karen pushed through a pinch that soon shut down. While Ed and I were waiting we found that a disappointing six inch diameter hole was the source of the wind rather than booming borehole. In spite of the poor results we still added another seventy feet to Carlsbad Caverns. Karen and I left at 3:00 p.m. while Ed and Chris mopped up other leads. Slaughter Canyon Cave October 2, 2016 After spending Saturday visiting the Trinity Site and the Smokey Bear State Museum, (both worth a visit) it was back to Slaughter Canyon Cave in Carlsbad Cavern National Park for another day of exploration and survey. Dwight Livingston, Dave West, Karen Wilmes and I trekked up to the entrance by 10:00 a.m. ready to tackle two C.R.F. expeditions to Slaughter Canyon Cave over two dozen high leads had been checked with only a few remaining. We quickly scratched off two Basement with the lower ladder section to one of the last high leads. To investigate this lead we anchored the rope and dropped fifteen feet to ment. The enticing lead was a ledge just out of reach on the other side of the room. It was no problem to acfoot ladder. At the lip of the ledge I wriggled onto a balcony and into a small decorated room. Excited to have virgin passage I returned to begin the survey along with Dwight. Once again Dwight kept book while I shot instruments, did inventory and photo documented our adventure. Unfortunately it was only a few stations before the room closed in. Highlights of the balcony area were some nice soda straws, a glittering rimstone Basement. us over to the end of Tom Tucker room to the last of the high leads. To reach this final objective we had to squeeze through a flowstone choke before sliding across a narrow ledge to a flowstone slope that angled down to 108


the bottom of a long gone pool. The walls of this once impressive seven foot deep pool were lined with beautiful orange tinged pool fingers. On the other side of the pool we tied off and rappelled twenty feet down to a lower level canyon. A thin crust of calcite coated the sandy floor but it was interesting to note that there of the hundred foot canyon fifteen feet overhead was the tantalizing lead. Dwight chimneyed up but was unable to confirm if the passage ended so we decided to return tomorrow with the bolting gear. We met up with Dave and Karen at 5:30 p.m. for the stroll down to the car. Because we were done with the high leads Dwight and I carried a section of the ladder down to the parking area where we stashed it for the night. Slaughter Canyon Cave October 3, 2016 Chris Beck joined Dwight Livingston and me in our bolting attempt at the end of the Tom Tucker Room in Slaughter Canyon Cave. We arrived at the cave gate at 10:30 a.m. and soon were packing the bolting gear through the squeeze out to the canyon lead. Dwight broke out the climbing equipment and suited up while Chris served as an anchor and I photo documented the attempt. Watching Dwight work his magic gave me an appreciation of the effort required in any bolting climb. Once five bolts were in place Dwight was able to scale the wall to evaluprise when he reported that the lead was a hard stop. With only the survey in the high lead at the end of the Monarch Passage remaining we decided to haul the remaining ladder section and all of the bolting gear down to the car. We were out the gate at 2:30 p.m. and back to the car in no time. Slaughter Canyon Cave October 4, 2016 For the last day of the Carlsbad Cavern National Park Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) expedition Dwight Livingston and I returned for one last time to Slaughter Canyon Cave with the hopes of putting the finishing touches on this survey. Picking up our vertical gear just inside the gate we hiked over to the Monarch formation and down to the end of the forty foot climb up to the Tiger Pasgranddaughter. and sketched and I set stations, did inventory, read instruments and took pictures. Starting from our last station from Thursday we took a terminal shot into a skylight alcove before turning our attention to the hallway to the southwest. Beautiful soda straws, stalactites and helectites lined the wall throughout the survey. We had to move carefully to avoid impacting the delicate calcite crust covering the floor. In six shots we inventoried the passage and reached a flowstone choke. Before closing down the survey Dwight checked a balcony lead, but quickly discounted this last lead. Since this passage might be used for research in the future we left the rope. By 2:45 p.m. we were out the gate and headed down the hill, the end to a successful week at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Potato Cave Mammoth Cave National Park September 3, 2016 By Mark Jones With the information from the 4 th of July Cave Research Foundation expedition to Potato Cave I was excited to continue pushing the cave. For this trip I was joined by Rachel Bosch and Tony Kroes. Rather than walk right to the cave from the parking area we decided to wander around a bit before 109


actually heading underground. Once hidden on a wooded slope. We rigged the rope on to a pair of solid trees for the first drop and rappelled sixty feet down a steep slope to a narrow canyon that dropped down twenty feet before angling down a steep slope of rocks and surface debris. At the bottom we scooted under a floor ledge over to the rigging point for the second drop. The bellycrawl above the drop made the rappel a bit more sporting but in no time we were down on the balcony where our survey began. Tony was on point, Rachel shot the Disto X and I was on book and took pictures. From station P12 we surveyed back under the upper level a short distance to the middle of a forty eight foot dome! It appears that this dome is directly under some of the overhead passages, once the passage appears to continue across the way in a hands and knees crawl but it will require a ladder to access. Dropping down a narrow slot we found an intersection (P32) and continued the survey in a clockwise direction until we popped out on a ledge just above the lowest level. the balcony and so we tied this survey into station P14. A total of seventy one feet was garnered in this loop. While down at this level we photographed some of the interesting formations as well as the line of rusty brackets that was rigged to climb up to the top of the sixty foot waterfall back in 1971. Tony also discovered a corroded hanger down in the drain. Meanwhile Rachel had decided to check out the drain crawl and was off to the races. Tony and I monitored her pace through the numerous windows until she disappeared completely. Eventually she returned with occasional carbide survey stations was far more work than we could complete on this trip we opted to return to station P32 and survey to the northeast. The remainder of our survey was in a relatively easy hands and knees crawl with popcorn lined walls. Shots varied from five to twenty feet due to the winding nature of the passage. After several shots the popcorn suddenly vanished and was replaced with gypsum. About when I was ready to close the book for the day Rachel shouted that she was at a hard stop just ahead. In four stations we wrapped up in a small elongated room with a sandy floor. This passage day. Hopefully the drain crawl can be finished in the near future. Cave fauna observed on this trip included two cave salamanders ( Eurycea lucifuga ), numerous camel cricket ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ) and some cave beetles ( Neaphaeps telemkampfi ). Roppel Cave September 4, 2016 By Mark Jones For the second day at the Labor Day C.R.F. expedition I was accompanied by Tammy Otten and Matt Keller on a resurvey trip of Walter Way off of Arlie Way. Several other vehicles were in the parking area so I had to door and hop out the passenger door. This would prove to be a problem later in the day. It just so happened that Dave Weller was doing some surface work so we chatted with him before climbing down the ladders to the spacious crossover to Arlie Way. Since Matt was here just yesterday he quickly led us down the passage. We even had time to take a little detour to do a bit of sightseeing before starting our work. Once finished we turned down Walter Way to begin the survey. Initially Walter Way is an expansive hands and knees crawl that eventually morphs into a stoopwalking canyon passage. A tight, lower canyon parallels for a couple hundred feet until 110


111 it rose up to our level. From the last BA station we trended northeast with Matt setting stations, Tammy reading instruments and me keeping book and taking pictures. Most of the shots ran about twenty feet in a popcorn coated meandering canyon with a few short shots along the way. A tiny stream trickled past us for the first three hundred feet before being pirated by a low hands and knees crawl down to the left. In this area we found Station B32, the only carbide station we saw during our survey. The remainder of the day was spent in relatively dry, walking canyon passage. While I put the finishing touches of the sketch Tammy and Matt reconnoitered ahead. They found a continuing canyon with several sporting side passages up ahead. Total survey footage for the day was 434 feet. An easy pace was set for our departure and we reached the ladders lickety Dave still topside but thankfully he opened the driver side door the lights had remained on for the past six hours draining my battery. Knowand Krista Bartel were kind enough to park their vehicle where I could use kindness later with a stop at the Mexican restaurant in Cave City. Arkansas Fall 2016 By Ed Klausner The CRF board of directors meeting and the members meeting was held in Harrison, Arkansas at the end of October. Besides the talks on new technologies for surveying and cave development in the Ozarks, Dr. Dito Dr. Morales is an assistant professor of art history at the University of Central Arkansas and has travelled throughout Mesoamerica researching Mayan Cave Art. From Harrison, many of the board members plus local Arkansas and Missouri cavers went to Steel Creek in Buffalo National River for the CRF Annual Expedition. The first day was devoted to Mike Slay, the Ozark Karst Program Director of The Nature Conservancy. He gave a presentation on cave biology in the Ozarks. In the afternoon, we went to Campground Cave to apply our newly gained knowledge and do a biological inventory of the cave. We found 15 species, 4 of which were cave adapted. The following day, Elizabeth Miller, Mark Jones and I went to Erbie and hiked along Cecil Creek to Cave X. We found it easily and did an inventory and found a bat and cave salamander along with many invertebrates. The next cave on our list was not at the GPS location reported and we spent quite a bit of time searching. Finally, we gave up and searched for Greenbriar Cave instead. We found it, but not where it was reported to be. It was a small (30 foot) cave that we surveyed and inventoried. We found a single cave salamander. On Wednesday, Mark, Elizabeth and I hiked to Cliff Hollow with Brandon Van Dalsem and Ethan Brown. We stopped at Wrap Around Cave and I helped Brandon with the sketch while Elizabeth and Mark inventoried and monitored a close by cave. Later that morning, Mark, Elizabeth and I headed up the hollow and found two additional caves to survey plus surveyed a known cave that Brandon had found a few months previously. We passed two caves that would have counted in Iowa, but were too short for Arkansas standards. On our last day, Elizabeth and I hiked to Hideout Hollow and surveyed Schermerhorn Shelter. The shelter never gets very deep (about 25 feet), but was quite long and had a nice waterfall coming over the top.


112 Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Fall 2016 By Ed Klausner A number of high leads in Lower Cave (a section of Carlsbad Cavern) have eluded survey as they are difficult to reach. I brought a folding / extension ladder to alleviate this difficulty. It was surprisingly easy to get the ladder to Lower Cave since it folded down to a manageable size. On September 29 th , Elizabeth Miller, Chris Beck and I used the ladder to check the first of the leads. The ladder proved very useful, but the first and the second leads were only small pockets and they are now sketched in. Discouraged, we moved on to the third lead and were more successful. We put in several survey shots and left a lead higher up that survey (only 22 feet), but this is often the case when the main passage is surveyed and only small or high leads remain. The lead in which we could see flagging tape (another annoyance for me as I wondered how they got there) proved to be unreachable, even with the ladder. The ladder made it to the lip where the flagging tape was hanging, but it was very steeply inclined after the lip and there was sediment and loose rocks leading up to what could possible by more passage. This will remain as a lead. The next lead in the same area (known as the LA survey which leads to the Naturalist Room) was surveyed with one shot. This exhausted our ladder leads in the area and we next moved on to the passage from the ladders into Lower Cave to the Rookery and the bottom of the Jumping Off Place, known as the L survey. Chris Beck doing inventory in Lower Cave. Photo by Ed Klausner. We set up our ladder on a lead on the left, not far from the permanent ladders leading to Lower Cave. We put in three survey shots to map this nicely decorated area with a pool, nice formations, and left a delicate lead that we did not want to damage. Our final lead for the day was on the opposite side of the main passage and we put in three survey shots (33 feet) before the passage got too delicate for us to continue. We could see ahead about 10 feet and then it looked as if the passage also got too narrow. By the end of the first day, seven high leads were checked and 4 provided enough passage to survey. That alone made it worth carrying the ladder to Carlsbad Cavern from Iowa.


113 Ed Klausner checking a lead. Photo by Elizabeth Miller. On day two, Karen Willmes, Chris Beck and Mark Jones joined me in a continuation of our ladder lead surveys in Lower Cave. We picked up in the same area as yesterday and put in six survey shots for 65 feet of new survey. This is a good way to start a day. The passage continued, but was too delicate to continue the survey. Our ladder proved to be too short to reach the neighboring lead. It would be very difficult to bring a bigger extension ladder here. It might have to be (carefully) lowered from the Jumping Off Place by rope. Lead three was just a pocket in the long loop of Lower Cave and was as a lead on the map. The next ladder lead was checked by Chris Beck in aqua socks to prevent damaging the flowstone. It was too delicate to survey. One more lead turned out to be a small pocket before we found a surveyable passage along the long loop. We put in 8 survey shots for a total of 87 feet in this small, twisty pasameter) hole that was blowing air. Finally, we went to a confusing area along the long loop and resketched a portion that was not clear from the original survey notes. At the end of the second day, we checked five additional ladder leads and had one to go.


114 On day three of our expedition, Chris Beck and Dwight Livingston joined me to work on our last ladder lead plus some additional leads in the area if good think I had additional objectives as the ladder lead did not go. That was a total of 13 ladder leads crossed off the lead list. Very close to the last ladder lead was listed a small person lead. I checked it and people and we put in 14 survey shots for a total of 132 feet of new survey. We left a lead that was too difficult to reach. It will take a lead climber to rig a hand line to reach this lead. On the way back to the Lower Cave entrance ladders, we stopped to survey a high lead (not requiring a ladder) in a boneyard area. This led to five survey shots to tie back into the main boneyard area and we added 47 feet of cave to the length of Carlsbad Cavern. There were also five additional leads that we checked. All were either subsequently surveyed Mark Jones at the beginning of an 87 foot passage. Photo by Ed Klausner. from when the original survey was done or were too small to enter. On October 2 nd (day four of our expedition), Chris, Elizabeth and I headed for the Naturalist Room to draw a cross section of the room and check a small lead. On the way there, we checked a lead and found it went less than five feet, so it is now sketched in. After a cross section of the Naturalist Room, we found that Chris would not fit into the lead listed as boneyard with a possible Palace 300 feet above. Since that survey was not possible, we went to a boneyard area (there are lots of them) along the long loop. We checked eight leads and fixed a compass foresight / backsight error on a previous survey. None of the eight leads went or had been subsequently surveyed or were too delicate, or too tight. Chris was traded for Karen on day five so Elizabeth and I could survey the small lead near the Naturalist Room. Once past the tight spot, it was considerably more pleasant. We got 127 feet of new survey in this area and saw what was later identified as a Pallid bat. The tight spot was a bit easier on the way out and noticed a delicate formation which I photographed. Before heading out, we cleared up some questions on a different boneyard area off the long loop. What becomes confusing is two different surveys in the same room where the two clarify what is going on is to look at it in the cave. Our last day had to be short so we could scan all our notes and clean the apartment before leaving early the next morning. Dave West joined us to help carry the ladder out of the cave. Elizabeth, Karen, Chris and I then continued to a small lead along the long loop and surveyed two areas requiring aqua socks. We put in 117 feet of new survey and still had time to check some leads on the way up to the Talcum Passage. Those leads were


115 either too small or needed vertical gear. Grand Gulf Oregon County, Missouri October 25, 2016 By Mark Jones Ken Grush had told me of Grand Gulf, an interesting karst feature situated in a state park in Oregon County just west of Thayer, Missouri. According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources: a long history as a geological curiosity. It is a spectacular sight and is a true chasm, deeper than it is About 10,000 years ago nearly all of three quarters of a mile cave collapsed leaving only a 250 foot natural bridge and a shelter to the downstream section. The floor of the fifty foot wide canyon is actually the remains of the ceiling. The sheer walls are over a hundred feet high along most of the canyon. Hiking the perimeter of the north canyon branch gave me a good feel of the former cave passage. A staircase at the end of the south canyon branch dropped down seventy feet to the upstream floor giving a nice perspective of the cave. Back on the ridgetop an overlook perched above the downflow drain gave an idea of the water flow that flows six miles down to Mammoth Spring. Mammoth Spring Fulton County, Arkansas October 25, 2016 By Mark Jones A short drive southeast from Grand Gulf took me to another impressive Ozark karst feature, Mammoth Spring. Just across from the Missouri state line the spring pops out of the base of a bluff into a hundred foot diameter pool. The spring emulates from a


116 astounding nine million gallons of water per day! At 58° it would be might chilly to take a plunge. If recommend a stop at Grand Gulf and Mammoth Spring. Blanchard Springs Caverns Stone County, Arkansas October 26, 2016 By Mark Jones Having never been to Blanchard Springs Caverns I had the opportunity to visit this Arkansas gem. With the bats hunkering down for the winter the Discovery Tour was off limits so the only tour available was the Dripstone Trail Tour. Our small group of to the tunnel that was blasted over to the big room. A sixteen foot high arched bridge spanned a breakdown canyon into a room over a hundred feet wide and eleven hundred feet long! An overview of the cave and its formations was given at a breakdown balcony before winding down through twenty foot totem poles and flowstone walls. An explanation of the trail engineering to preserve formations was quite interesting. Oodles of beautiful formations were clustered throughout the trail as we pass through a tunnel over to another room. Although not as big as the first room it did hold its own with its formations. A nice discussion about white nose syndrome (W.N.S.) ( Pseudogymnoascus destructans ) in on returning soon for the Discover Tour to see more of this fascinating cave. Mystic Caverns/ Crystal Dome Newton County, Arkansas October 26, 2016 By Mark Jones With plenty of daylight remaining I stopped at Mystic Caverns/Crystal Dome just north of Jasper, Arkansas before meeting for supper with Mike Lace. I joined three others on the short hike over to Mystic Caverns where a short tunnel led to a balcony into the cave. During Prohibition the cave was one of many caves used as a speakeasy and even had a dance floor. Patrons had to climb down a twenty foot pit to enter the cave. Eventually a tunnel was blasted and the cave was commercialized becoming part of Dog Patch, a nearby theme park park succumbed to Branson, went into foreclosure and closed down. The reshacks of Dog Patch can still be seen on nearby Hiway 7. The balcony offered the best overview of the cave with flowstone formations covering most of the wall. Weaving down to the right we circled around a huge twenty foot high column to a nice cluster of helectites tucked away in a little alcove. Although the cave once had numerous stalactites covering the ceiling most of them had been broken off for souvenirs by early tourists. On the way to the wishing well (site of the dance floor) we passed an impressive twenty foot column that had broken under its own weight. During Prohibition the alcove at the back of the cave was used to distill moonshine but when it ended the operation was quickly shut down. It was a short hike on the surface through the gift shop and down the hill to the tunnel leading to Crystal Dome. This cave was discovered when the bulldozer broke through the cave ceiling while building the road up to Mystic Caverns. Since this cave had any vandalism before it was commercialized. Inside the cave numerous six inch alabaster soda straws dotted the ceiling with a smattering of stalactites and stalagmites. The ceiling dropped down gradually due to layers of rock flaking off until reaching a sixty foot high dome room. A beautiful flowstone formation covered the far wall in a multitude of colors. Although the cave continues the tour stops at this point. Ninety minutes was spent at these caves.




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