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National Speleological Society (Iowa Grotto)
National Speleological Society (Iowa Grotto)
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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 53, Number 4 (July - August 2017).
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I N T E R C O M Volume 53, Issue 4 July August 2017 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 May 1st. Send material for publication, e mail, disk or hard copy to: Editor and Typist: Jenny Hackman 319 290 9282 18801 345th Ave Cresco, IA. 52136 E mail: Coordinate photographs for publication in the INTERCOM with Jenny Hackman, 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 therea b o u t s o f T r o w b r i d g e H a l l o n t h e c a m p u s o f the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa. Cover Photo: Nick Schmuecker surveying 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 53 Issue 4 ______________C O N T E N T S _____________ Meeting Minutes 54 Trip reports: Roppel Cave 55 Colossal Cave 55 Great Onyx Cave 56 56 Crevice Cave (PRY010) 57 Valle Mines 57 Crevice Cave PRY010 58 Iowa Grotto Picnic 59 60 Coldwater Cave 60 Scott Dankof has been the Intercom Editor for about 20 years. He has done a great job getting trip reports, incorporating pictures and including maps. When he took over from Lowell Burkhead, the Intercom was printed and either mailed out or distributed at grotto meetings. Today, the Intercom is fully digital and is emailed, saving trees and saving the


grotto the expense. Scott has won several awards for his Intercom covers at the NSS salon. The grotto ship. Ed Klausner __________CALENDAR___________ September Grotto Meeting Sept. 27th Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall. October Grotto Meeting Oct. 25th Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall. November Grotto Meeting Nov. 22nd Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall. December Grotto Meeting Oct. 27th Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall. Minutes of the Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting: July 26, 2017 The regular meeting was called to order by Chairman Ed Klausner at 7:50 PM. Six members were present. Prior to the meeting, Ed Klausner and Lizzy Miller showed slides from a recent trip to a Salt Mine in Hutchinson, KS, and a survey trip to Carlsbad Caverns with Mark Jones and others. Ed also showed the picture of a new sinkhole that opened in a back yard in Dubuque. The minutes of the May meeting were read by Lizzy Miller and approved as amended. Treasurer John Donahue reported that there was $5,394.14 in the general fund, $132 in petty cash, $103.85 in the Coldwater Fund. Trip reports: Liz Robinson and Brad Smith visited Goose Grease, Lone Star, and Salt Peter Caves during the 2017 Speleofest held in Kentucky. Brad also described the preserve where Speleofest is held. Ed and Lizzy reported on recent trips during the slide presentation. Future Trips: The annual Iowa Grotto picnic will be the first Saturday in August at Tosanka Recreation area in Floyd County. The monthly Coldwater Cave trip will be the third Saturday of August. County Conservation officers are expected to come. MVOR will be held September 22 24, 2017. Old business: Work continues on the guidebook to Iowa Cave Life. New Business: The May and July meetings will be moved from Trowbridge Hall in the future. Locations will be announced several months ahead of the meetings. Announcements: Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, IL has added a bat colony. The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 PM. Minutes of the Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting: August 23, 2017 The grotto had the nearly annual house. Between visiting bee hives and the garden, eating, and visiting with each other, Ed Klausner called the meeting to order at 7 PM. Eight members and 2 guests were present. were not available. They will be read at the September meeting. Trip reports: Grotto members and guests visited a number of caves during the annual grotto picnic held at the Tosanka County Park in Floyd Cave. Doug Schmueker reported on a recent diving trip to Crystal River Spring in Florida and noted the differences in water clarity over the last decade. He also visited Dave Morrison Springs and the Santa Fe River, a disappearing river. Mike Bounk and Dee Suda visited Coldwater Cave on the third weekend in July. Ed and Mark Jones led trips with eleven new cavers from a group organized by Buchanan County Conservation on the August Coldwater weekend. Future Trips: The monthly Coldwater Cave trip will be the third Saturday of September. MVOR will be held September 22 24, 2017. New Business: The May and July meetings will be moved from Trowbridge Hall in the future. Locations will be announced several months ahead of the meetings.


Announcements: According to Mike Bounk, the job of Bob Libra, formerly the State Geologist, was eliminated due to budget cuts The meeting was adjourned at 7:10 PM. Roppel Cave Edmonson County, Kentucky July 5, 2017 By: Mark Jones With other commitments I arrived in the middle of the Mammoth Cave National Park 4 th of July Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) expedition ready to get underground. Originally a group of six cavers were assigned to survey in Austin Avenue of Colossal Cave but heavy rains put a kabash on that so we regrouped to survey passage in Roppel Cave. Our late start had us at the down the ladder of the Weller entrance at 1:00 p.m. An easy pace was set for the trip out North Crouchway to Stonehenge. At this point we split into two teams of three with Bill Koerschner taking Katie Cappel and Andrew Wilkinson ahead to Chris Crawl and Alisa Cloutier, Karen Willmes and me staying in North Crouchway. For our survey Karen was on point, Alisa shot the Disto X and I kept book. From Station YA38 we trended north in a wide, sandy, stoopwalk with a smattering of gypsum formations. Fifty foot shots soon got us to the tie in of the Chris Crawl. We continued north another with the Fleeceway Passage. An interesting paleo floor channel cut by water action dominated the formations in this area. Rather than take the booming borehole on the right we turned to the left in an easy stoopwalk. Soon we saw a white clump of wispy gypsum hanging from the ceiling that defined the passage. (Karen Another fifty foot shot had us at Station YA45, the last station for the day with easy stoopwalking ahead. A small crawl off to the left awaits those of the diminutive nature. We returned to the cutoff to Chris Crawl where we met the other group for the return trip. While they had surveyed 605 feet we had tallied a smidge more, 608.31 feet! (Not that we rubbed it in.) We set a good pace out and exited the cave thirty five minutes later. Colossal Cave Edmonson County, Kentucky July 6, 2017 By: Mark Jones With the rains subsiding a group of eight cavers set off at 11:00 a.m. for Colossal Cave in Mammoth Cave National Park. After a thirty minute hike in high humidity a welcome blast reached the gated entrance to Colossal Cave. Inside the cave we dropped down to Grand Avenue and followed it into the Wild Goose Chase to New Austin Avenue. Most of this section was easy hands and knees crawling or stoopwalking with a bit of bellycrawling. Once in Austin Avenue it was an easy hike to our starting point at Station E64. John DeLong led Brandon Herrmann, Andrew Wilkinson and Dean Wiseman further in to start surveying at Station E48 while Elizabeth Guercio, Dave Simmons, Bill Steele and I would do a running profile from Station E64. Elizabeth was on point, Bill read the Disto X, Dave inventoried and I sketched. Since we only to rack up six hundred feet with fifty foot shots in this nondescript passage. Not much in the way of formations to add to the sketch but we did note horn coral fossils at every John had us jump ahead to survey back from Station E39. The nature of the passage changed from nondescript to a wide, pancake passage full of slabs of breakdown. Overwhelmed by the task


thirty students we packed into the vans for the short drive to Great Onyx Cave. Once all the cave lights were distributed and cave safety covered it was time to get underground. Inside the blockhouse we were greeted by a host of camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus gracilipes ) on our way down the steps. Soon we were surrounded by stalactites, stalagmites and flowstone. A lone cave salamander ( Eurycea lucifuga ) watched us pass. Rick explained the importance of karst in by humans. We lunched on the benches at the end of the old short tour before breaking out the surveying gear to explain how maps are drawn. Deeper in the cave we reached the Great Kentucky Desert where Rick explained how the sandstone cap changed the dynamics of the passage and influenced the cave biota. On the surface the students ground anytime soon but did appreciate the opportunity to visit a cave. Before sending them on their way I presented each of them with a copy of Mammoth Cave by Lantern Light autospired to meet the challenges of the future. Upstream in Coldwater Cave to Winneshiek County, Iowa July 15, 2017 By: Michael Bounk I arrived at Wanda's at about 9PM. The lights were still on in the living room. I quietly knocked on the door, Wanda's sister opened it, and told me Wanda had gone to bed. I gave hare a pint of our just extracted honey for Wanda, and told her our plans. I got the keys, and headed for the compound. The next morning, Dee Suuda arrived at 11:15 AM We entered the Cave at Noon, and after checking the stream level(~.95'), we headed slowly upwe began by defining the right wall and working to the left. The Disto X made the operation much easier since distance and angles could be taken quickly from any point. Sketching to the right of the survey line was finally completed but the left side was much more difficult. It was over forty feet from the station but splay shots would be necessary to confirm the wall. Breakdown blocks and ceiling ledges conspired to prevent an accurate inventory so rather than have a hanging survey we worked to wall consisted of huge slabs of breakdown collapse while the left wall eventually angled in close enough to be identified as bedrock. The two surveys connected at Station E42 and matched up well. We tallied over 150 feet in our survey in the plan view but still need to sketch the cross sections and profile. Several leads in the breakdown that may offer access to other passages were pushed and several have good potential. Smaller, more agile cavers will be necessary to investigate these passages. At 8:00 p.m. the trip to the entrance began with the group breaking the surface at 9:30 p.m. Great Onyx Cave Mammoth Cave National Park Edmonson County, Kentucky Cave Research Foundation Expedition July 7, 2017 By: Mark Jones My third day at the July expedition of the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) at Mammoth Cave National Park had me working with minority students participating in a United States Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.) outreach program. Last year I enjoyed assisting Rick Toomey in presenting this cave program through Tennessee State University. With twenty seven years of teaching high school agriculture I was happy to oblige. After an orientation meeting at Hamilton Valley with the


stream. This was Dee's first time beyond the Jump in off Point. When we arrived at the mouth of Pete's Pipe Passage, we were noticing an increase in the noise of running water. It had been years since I had been up to this area, so, we decided to head out. The water was staying clear, and not rising. We returned to the shaft, the water level was the same as before. We exited at ~4:30 PM. There were no other cavers there, this weekend Sunday morning, we returned the keys and left. We did not meet Wanda this trip, but spoke to her by telephone later in the day. Crevice Cave (PRY010) Perry County, Missouri July 15, 2017 By: Mark Jones Paul Hauck invited me down to Crevice Cave for a tour of the longest surveyed Missouri state at over 31 miles. Also along on the trip were Gary and Elizabeth Keene, Caleb Schlager and Richard Young. A short hike to the sinkhole entrance was followed by a fifty foot crawl that popped into a meandering stoopwalk. Soon we were walking in a roomy canyon for several hundred feet before dropping down through a pinch to a lower passage. We chimneyed along the top of a narrow canyon a hundred feet to the beginning of a very long meandering tube. For the next 1.5 miles we slogged through ankle deep mud/water slurry in relatively nondescript cave. A few formations popped up occasionally but were often coated in a thick layer of mud. Along the way Paul pointed out some of the secondary passages leading to various parts of the system. Just when the fun of wallowing broke into the main trunk of Crevice Cave. Instead of stoopwalking in gooey mud we were walking on gravel in booming borehole. Downstream awaits several thousand feet of resurvey. Today we went upstream to see the beautiful speleothems in the Paradise Room. Before we arrived at the formations we had to climb a mountain of ceiling slabs. As we topped the breakdown slope a stunning curtain of orange drapery appeared. Strange stalactites dotted the ceiling with the corresponding stalagmites on the floor. On the other side of the breakdown slope was an immense orange column surrounded such rich color over such an expanse. Following a short snack break we retraced our steps back to the entrance. Total cave time was six hours. A small amount of life was noticed on the trip five grotto sculpins ( Cottus carolinae ) , a couple of white sculpin ( Cottus sp.), a six inch catfish ( Ictaluridae sp.) , a couple of minnows ( Phoxinus phoxinus ), a goldfish ( Carassius auratus ), six larval salamanders ( Eurycea sp.) , two pickerel frogs ( Rana palustris ), a bullfrog ( Rana catesbiana ) and one planarian ( Sphalloplana sp. ). Valle Mines Ste Genevieve County, Missouri July 16, 2017 By: Mark Jones Since I was in the St. Louis area I joined Jeremy Weih for the second day of surveying in the Valle Mines. Earlier this year some of the entrances had been gated which had been an impetus to put the extensive passages on a map. Valle Mines are a special type of underground void in that they were formed and eventually became filled with a high grade lead ore. Jim Sherrill of the SEMO Grotto has researched the mines and is a good resource on the history of the area. Jeremy and I drove up to the cupola of the Little Bill Shaft of the Big Lode Mine at 8:15 a.m. where we donned our vertical gear and opened


up the gate. This ninety foot pit was dug to access the lead ore and haul it to the surface. On the way down we passed two large anchors used in the mining operation. At the bottom of the drop we landed on top of a twenty foot tailing pile that sloped down to passages in all directions. When the lead ore was carved out the mud and rock were packed in previously mined sections. Throughout the main trunk passage we passed dozens of filled crawls on our way to the major lead northwest. An easy fifteen minutes stoopwalk brought us to Station D19 where we broke out the survey gear to begin our work in the E Survey. At the D19 intersection the previous survey continued to the right leaving the left hand branch for us. Jeremy was on point and read backsights with the Disto X while I sketched and shot foresights. Almost immediately the stoopwalking dropped to an undulating hands and knees crawl for the remainder of the day. Nearly all of the stations were between ten to twenty five feet with a few shorter shots. For three hundred feet we trended westerly before making a right angled turn to the north for the next three hundred feet. On our way we passed dozens of small leads on both sides that we noted for later exploration. As we passed six hundred feet of survey the passage angled up to a pancake room at a tailing pile of a filled shaft. A tight bellycrawl continued but would require modification for me to pass. With an out time of 5:00 p.m. we packed up and scooted back to the entrance. The ninety foot climb capped off an excellent trip. Crevice Cave (PRY010) Perry County, Missouri July 29, 2017 By: Mark Jones Paul Hauck wanted to continue the resurvey of Crevice Cave upstream of the Eternity Room so Caleb Schlager and I met him at the Park et Diner for a hearty breakfast in Perryville before heading to the cave. It was shaping up to be a gorgeous day on the surface which boded well for our trip underground. Using the same entrance as earlier in the month we crawled, stoopwalked, chimneyed and ambled the 1.5 miles downstream to the main trunk passage. Very little had changed along the way as far as the nature of the mud and the level of the stream. diameter borehole it was an easy jaunt downstream two thousand feet toward the Eternity Room. Along the way we scaled three impressive mudbanks, each twenty feet wide and over three hundred feet long. The recent flooding has saturated these banks resulting in an orgy of wriggling earthworms. (In fact several pairs were observed exchanging genetic material.) All kinds of critters seemed to taking advantage of the situation bullfrogs, salamanders and an assortment of fish. Our survey back upstream began on the top of a twenty foot high mountain of rimstone dams. Rather than the usual broad sweeping terraces these rimstone dams were nearly vertical. A stream percolated out of a side passage at ceiling level and cascaded down a series of waterfalls thirty feet to the floor. We began the survey at Station E48 with Paul on book, Caleb on point setting stations and me reading the compass/ inclinometer. Halfway through the survey Caleb and I switched positions. To better define the passage we surveyed along both walls for the first two hundred feet until the passage narrowed. For the next four hundred feet we were in a nondescript thirty foot high canyon with a meandering stream over a gravel floor. We wrapped up at Station E59 where we set a permanent station for the next trip. It took a bit over two hours to exit the cave for a total of ten hours. The most exciting aspect of our trip was the extensive fauna seen throughout the day. Crevice Cave


harbors quite a list of inhabitants, both native and invasive. These included a dozen banded sculpins ( Cottus carolinae ) and grotto sculpins ( Cottus sp.) , two catfish ( Ictaluridae sp.), four minnows ( Phoxinus phoxinus ), two goldfish ( Carassius auratus ), two unidentified fish (perhaps perch?), a dozen big bullfrogs ( Rana catesbiana ), a dozen pickerel frogs ( Rana palustris ), a couple emaciated green frogs ( Rana clamitans ), a wayward Eastern American toad ( Bufo americanus ), a cave salamander ( Eurycea lucifuga ), a dozen long tailed/dark sided salamanders ( Eurycea longicauda ), a spotted salamander ( Ambystoma maculatum ), six larval salamanders ( Eurycea sp.), an orgy of earthworms ( Aporrectodea tuberculata ), two planarians or stygobitic flatworms ( Sphalloplana sp.), oodles of aquatic amphipods ( Crangonyx sp.) and aquatic isopods ( Caecidotea sp.) and an epigian leech ( Hirudinea sp. ) . For further information on the fauna of the cave refer to The Journal of the Missouri Speleology Survey Volume 54 Crevice Cave Biology by Michael R. Suttons, PhD. Iowa Grotto Picnic Iowa Grotto Picnic, August 2017 Floyd County, Iowa By: Ed Klausner Another successful Iowa Grotto picFloyd County at Tosanak Recreation Area, a new site for Floyd County at a former Boy Scout camp. Unfortunately, there was both road construction and a 5K race in the area, so getting to the park was interesting. The weather cooperated and those who camped stayed dry despite the chance of rain for the area. Some cavers also stayed in cabins at the park. Four trips went out on Saturday. Mark Jones led Ellen Moser, Crystal Moser, John Donahue, Jenny, Jamie and Joel Hackman to Wet Cave in Floyd County. It lived up to its name as the recent rains made for thigh deep water. On the way back to the picnic made Cave. Mr Hoppe mined this create a storage site. He just kept on going for 135 feet. Doug Schmuecker led Randy and Liz Hayungs, Bill Mulder and Jeff Bushman Cave. They spent more than an hour trying to find the cave with the help of Bob Wahlstrom and C. Jung, both of whom live nearby and have been to Floyd Cave before. No luck. Finalthen went over to Jesse James Cave, less than a mile away. Bob Wahlstrom also led a trip to Jesse James cave and was joined by Joe and Jacob Dixon, Scott Dankof and Brad Smith. Homemade Cave in hopes of finding a second cave on his property that was supposed to be shorter, but was unsurveyed. It was 24 feet long and Chris and I surveyed it. The auction was a hit as usual and many fine items now have a new home. Mark Jones again proved his skill at auctioneering. The squeeze box had three winners. In the adult category, Elizabeth Miller won at a height of 7 1/2 inches. There was a tie in the kids category. Both Jacob Dixon and Page Dixon made it through 6 1/4 inches. Congratulations to you three and thanks to Chris Beck for making the squeeze box and bringing the heavy Jaws of Death to the picnic. Thanks for all the auction donations and purchases, the auctioneer, those who brought food, cooked, led trips, went on trips, went hiking, and found their way to the park. Wet Cave Fayette County, Iowa August 5, 2017 By: Mark Jones For the annual Iowa Grotto picnic I was assigned to take a small group of cavers to Wet Cave in Fayette County. Those on the expedition with me included John Donahue,


Jamie, Jenny and Joel Hackman and Crystal and Ellen Moser. Under the best conditions it was going to be an hour drive from the campground but we also had to contend with extensive road construction with the associated detours. Thanks to a good topo map we arrived in good shape for the quarter mile hike across a field of foot high corn. The maze of narrow rows made for an interesting fifteen minute jaunt down to the grass waterway leading to the stream emanating from the cave mouth. The ten foot diameter main entrance foyer only extended thirty feet before ending in a mudchoke but a watercrawl off to the right continued several hundred feet. The six inch deep stream scoured the rocky passage of any sediment making for a very clean but painful crawl. A smattering of nice flowstone formations dotted the wall in an otherwise barren cave. After a hundred feet of crawling the passage morphed into a narrow canyon before terminating at a breakdown collapse. More cave exists beyond this point but the unstable nature of the rock prevents anyone from venturing past this point. Following our exit we spent quite a bit of time photographing the entrance and the stream. We made a beeline back to the vehicles and chatted with the landowner before Floyd County, Iowa August 5, 2017 By: Mark Jones On the return trip to the Iowa Grotto picnic at the Tosanak Recreation Area we (John Donahue, Jamie, Jenny and Joel Hackman and Crystal and Ellen Moser and me) stopped by Cave in the metropolis of Floyd. ited a cave excavated by the landowncloset door. In this case the entire cave length of 134.52 feet was dug out to be used as a root cellar. In dug into the wall. Most of the passage is stoopwalking in tacky mud with the last thirty feet in a shallow pool from an adjacent spring. It took less than fifteen minutes to see the entire cave. We returned just in time to enjoy a scrumptious potluck meal followed by the annual auction and topped off with the Squeezebox of Death. Coldwater Cave Winneshiek County, Iowa August 19, 2017 By: Mark Jones The Iowa Grotto had an introductory caving trip planned for Coldwater Cave so I drove up to assist Ed Klausner in giving tours of this natu r a l w o n d e r . O t h e r I G m e m b e r s i n a ttendance were Elizabeth Miller, Liz and Randy Hayungs and Jenny Hackman. Our guests included Jeanette Collins, Nydel Cromwell, Chantel and Scott Hall, Derek Hoff, Brice Jefferson, Monica Lindstrom, Michael Maas, Brandon Mize and Lisa and James Ridgeway. After explaining the caving basics and the particular nuances of Coldwater Cave we suited up and began climbing down the shaft. The water level was running Ed led the first group upstream as those remaining assembled on the platform. I was the last of the cavers down the ladder while Elizabeth remained on the surface. We trekked upstream in the cloudy water stirred up by the others. We were soon scrambling over the massive ceiling breakdown and at North Snake, the first major infeeder. A short detour was taken for a hundred feet in this mud filled stoopwalk. Back in the mainstream we continued up to the crinoid beds and then stopped at The Jumping off Point. The roomy boxy canyon abruptly ends but the passage resumes in an easy stoopwalk. Shuf-


fling in knee deep water for the next thousand feet we eventually reached off to the right. A few people ventured up a couple hundred feet in this mud filled tube before retreating to the mainstream. The beautiful Blue Room was our final stop before retracing our steps back to the platform. After a short break we waded downstream to catch a glimpse of The Gallery. We stumbled downstream in cloudy water to Big Bertha, an impressive massive flowstone mound. Our venture ended down at Pothole Country before rebounding back to the platform. Total cave time was three hours. Everyone agreed that this was a very productive trip. Coldwater Cave Winneshiek County, Iowa August 19, 2017 By: Ed Klausner fect conditions to take a group from Buchanan County Conservation on a trip into Coldwater Cave. Details were worked out with Michael Maas and he rented wet suits for his group of ten. In addition, Jen Hackman brought along an army friend, so we had eleven new cavers. Fortunately, Mark Jones, Randy and Liz Hayungs and Jen were along to help guide and Elizabeth Miller provided surface watch. The water level was perfect at 0.75 feet at the gage. With so many people, we wanted to avoid a bottleneck at the shaft, especially if some people got cold and wanted to get out quickly. I took half the new people upstream before the second group assembled at the platform. We went down Blacksnake Passage before continuing upstream and two new people continued upstream the rest of us headed back downstream. Some of the new cavers were getting cold and it was time to get them up into the sunshine. Spreading out the group worked well and there was no bottleneck at the shaft. Mark led those interested downstream into the gallery section before exiting.


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