I N T E R C O M Volume 54, Issue 1 January February 2018 Iowa Grotto P.O. Box 228 Iowa City, IA 52244 Grotto Website: www.caves.org/grotto/iowa Coldwater Cave Project website: http://www.caves.org/project/ coldwater Membership Dues : due January 1, $15.00 per year and family dues are $18.00 per year. INTERCOM subscriptions are only $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 March 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: email@example.com 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 November 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. There is no December meeting. Cover Photo: "Arkansas Shelter Cave". Photo by Ed Klausner. Cover 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 54 Issue 1 ______________C O N T E N T S _____________ Meeting Minutes 2 Trip reports: Borneo Trip 3 Deer Cave 3 Cave of the Winds 5 Clearwater Cave 6 Deer Cave 7 Cave of the Winds 8 Clearwater Cave 9 Whiterock Cave 10 Winona Caves 14 Buffalo National River Caves 15 Mystery Cave 15 Ozark National Scenic Riverways 16 Jug Cave 16 Bay Branch Natural Arch 17 Honeycomb Cave 17 Crack Cave 18 Photo Gallery 19
__________CALENDAR___________ March Grotto Meeting Mar 28 Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall April Grotto Meeting Apr 25 Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall May Grotto Meeting May 23 Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall June Grotto Meeting Jun 27 Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall Minutes of the Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting: January 24, 2018 The regular meeting was called to order by Chariman Ed Klausner at 7:35 PM. Six members (3 via Skype) were present. Before the business meeting, Ed showed slides from recent cave trips of grotto members. The minutes of the November meeting were read and approved as corrected. Treasurer John Donohue gave the in the general fund and $103 in the Coldwater fund. Trip reports: Ed, Elizabeth Miller, Larry Welsh and Mark Jones did some ridgewalking on the east side of Backbone State Park in November. They mapped several small caves. Nearby Joy Spring State Park remains to be walked. Future Trips: Upcoming dates for more ridgewnalking of Backbone and a trip to Kemling Cave will be posted via the Grotto listserve. Old business: The current slate of officers has been reelected. Ed Klausner is the Chairperson, John Donahue the Vice Chairperson and Treasurer, Elizabeth Miller is the Secretary. New Business: Upcoming Programs. Elizabeth M. will contact Mike Lace for a date for a presentation on his recent work in the Caribbean. caveslive.org is a US Forest Service site with information on caves, and is a possibility for future grotto meetings. held at Forestville Mystery Cave State Park on July 13 15. Note the change from the usual date as well as the out of state location. We will try this change to see if it works out for members and guests. The meeting was adjourned at 7:55 PM. Minutes of the Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting: February 28, 2018 The regular meeting was called to order by Chairman Ed Klausner at 7:42 PM. Seven members were present. Before the business meeting, Ed gave a presentation on recent cave trips to Minnesota, Kentucky, and Arkansas and showed maps of the areas that had been surveyed. The minutes of the January meeting were read and approved as corrected. Trip reports: Ed gave trip reports during the slide presentation. Mike Bounk plus Gary Segwarth, and 3 others went into Spook Cave February and saw 4 living bats and one dead ry on why there were dead bats in entrances was that the bats may have gone out to feed in the winter and then came back and died in the entrance. The group plans to return this winter to see what has happened since. Future Trips: There will be a trip to Coldwater Cave in March. Trips to also planned and dates will be sent out in the listserve. Old Business: Skype was successful in its first use. It will be continued. The group looked over the resources available at caveslive.org on the National Forest Service website which was discussed at our last meeting. New Business: Elizabeth Miller will present a program on new media sources on caves and teaching about caves and caving. Other: Dr Zuercher from the University of Dubuque gave a presentation on bats at Niabi Zoo near Rock Island. He talked a lot about mist netting of bats. Mike Bounk asked about being able to know when a listservice reply had been sent. The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 PM.
Borneo January 8, 2018 By: Mark Jones Back during the 2016 July Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) Mammoth Cave Expedition I met two British cavers, Matt Kirby and Hugh St. Lawrence. We hit it off during the week being assigned to several of the same trips in the park. During our discussions they said that they have done quite a bit of expedition work in Borneo over the past forty years in Gunung Mulu National Park. They talked at length about the fantastic caves as well as the other aspects of the island. I casually mentioned that if they ever had an opening for one have an opportunity to go. Fast forward to the fall of 2017 when I get an e mail from Matt asking if I would be interested in participating in an long to respond with an enthusiastic kept me informed about the trip with updates and recommendations. Soon the framework developed for the January 2018 Mulu Caves Expedition under the auspices of the Mulu Cave Project. Our team would consist of six Brits (Ben Kent, Matt Kirby, Frank Pearson, Hugh St. Lawrence, Nick Williams, Dick Willis), myself as well as Rambli Ahmad of the Sarawak Forestry Department and Veno Enar, our fixer. Andy Eavis of the Union of International Speleology would be in the park during our stay with a group from the Singapore Zoo to do research for a multi million dollar cave replica. My adventure began on January 8 th ternational Airport with a fourteen hour flight on All Nippon Airways to Tokyo. From there it was an additional eight hours on ANA to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. The trip would extend over the International Date Line so I picked up another thirteen hours on the flight. Needless to say I was very tired when I arrived in Kuala Lumpur at 12:30 a.m. on the 10 th . Luckily I had another sixteen hours until the flight over to Miri on Borneo so I checked into the Sama Sama 9:00 a.m. I met up with Frank and spent the next eight hours in the airport waiting for the rest of the team. During this time we solved many world problems, unfortunately we didsoon appeared and took an early til after 4:00 p.m. that Dick, Hugh and Matt joined us for the two hour flight to Miri. Everything went off like clockwork and we arrived at the Dynasty Hotel by 9:00 p.m. A quick meal of satay (a sort of shish kabob) at a local establishment and we were ready for bed. January 11, 2018 The day started with breakfast at a local eatery before Veno took Dick, Ben and me to the Hypermarket to do the grocery shopping. A two week expedition for seven people takes a lot of food and supplies so we grabbed three shopping carts to transport all of the goods. I was amazed at the variety of foodstuffs available and not available. Not surprisingly much of the food originated in the nearby Pacific Rim area but items from the E.U. and the U.S.A. were for sale. The cost of shipping made buying the U.S. goods out of the range of most consumers in Malaysia dried cranberries for $15/pound, a box of cereal for $10, etc. The entire grocery bill totaled out at 2,241.20 RM ($600 US). Everything was boxed up for Veno to deliver to the airport to be transported by airfreight to Mulu. The remainder of the day was spent doing some personal shopping and making plans. Deer Cave Gunung Mulu National Park, Borneo January 12, 2018 By: Mark Jones
tion. Deer Cave, a popular attraction in Gunung Mulu National Park with the general public, is a four kilometer hike on a wooden boardwalk from the park headquarters. The boardwalk is elevated a meter over the swamp giving a good vantage point into the dense mass of greenery. Insects abounded as well as a fair number of skinks and even a chameleon. After crossing the Melinau Paku (a river) we immediately arrived at the base of the limestone mountains. Further up the trail we detoured up a steep staircase a hundred meters to see Stone Horse Cave. As often happens, this cave was discovered by chance rather than on purpose. A cool breeze emanating from the fifteen meter diameter entrance wafted down the valley prompting a curious visitor to inquire about its source. When an intrepid climber pushed up the nearly vertical slope he was rewarded with this hidden gem. We only popped under the dripline for a quick peek, but it extends for quite a ways. Returning to the main boardwalk we ambled up past Deer Water Cave, a flood resurgence for Deer Cave that does not humanly connect. Winding along the trail we eventually reach a clearing with seating for the evening bat flights. Several people were milling about waiting for the show. The awe inspiring southern entrance is in a sheer limestone mountain that abruptly rises out of the jungle. Actually there are two jaw dropping entrances separated by a significant pillar, the upper entrance on the right and the stream level off to the left. As we grew closer the first cave swifts darted around navigating by loud clicks. This form of echolocation serves them well in the massive caverns on the island. Under the dripline we were surprised to find a red postal box to mail postcards. postcard from this cave (I have sent postcards from the Big Room in Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico). Hiking along the stream it became obvious I A 9:30 a.m. flight had us up and about at seven to check out of the Dynasty Hotel in downtown Miri. Check in was a breeze and we sailed through security to the departure lounge where Andy and Rambli were already there with the delegation from Singapore. When we were called we hustled down a long corridor and down to the tarmac and onto a turboprop. It would only be a half hour trip so ing as the other flights. Our stewardess had us seated and we were soon ascending over acres of palm plantations that looked strangely like rows of cornfields in the Midwest. Much of the rainforest in Sarawak has been timbered resulting in ugly scars on the hillside while across the border in Brunei swaths of primary rainforests still remain. Low lying clouds obscured much of the scenery and resulted in the captain waving off on the landing for another go around. This attempt was also foiled so we headed back to Miri to await better conditions. With hopes of a later flight we sat down in the departure lounge for a quick snack and soon we were harkened back to the tarmac. The crew had been changed and once again we back in the air. Our steward was a very animated fellow that was confident that the pilot, a local flyer, would have no issue with delivering us to Mulu. Indeed we were on the ground in no time and grabbing our luggage and boxes of food to load in a truck that whisked us down the road to the roundabout at the entrance to park. After unloading gear at our chalet (a modern two bedroom bungalow) and having lunch at the Mulu CafÃ© we stopped by the research center where we sorted out equipment needed for teams had plans for the day Hugh, Frank and Ben would nip on up to Moonmilk Cave to investigate a nearby entrance lead and survey the passage while Matt would initiate me to Mulu with a hike up to Deer Cave. Dick and Nick would stay behind to prepare equipment for later in the expedi-
was in for a treat. The width of the passage is more than the length of 99% of the Iowa caves on record. The dimensions of the caves in Mulu are irrelevant when compared with nearly ure to explore. Suffice it to say that the leads here are often time borehole with no end in sight. Shining our lights into the water we spooked several small carp that quickly swam away. The unmistakable odor of guano wafted in the breeze and soon we were climbing an impressive slope covered in guano. The pile was alive with cockroaches that scurried under our headlamps beam. Flies of all sorts swarmed to the light resulting in my ingestion of same. Matt pointed out a feature from a balcony looking back at the upper entrance that was a perfect profile of the 16 th president of the United States. I normally would poo poo such a claim but it was indeed an uncanny likeness of Abraham Lincoln. For the next several hundred meters we followed the undulating boardwalk past vast guano piles to an overlook of the northern entrance five hundred meters away. With plenty of time we decided to scramble down the slope to follow the stream up to that entrance. Once again we were traveling among huge guano deposits that offended my senses. It was here that we spotted the mally these parasites cling to the seldom seen naked bat ( Cheiromeles torquatus) but occasionally they fall to the ground and attempt to get back them climbing up your neck. Thankfully this was the only one that we noticed. To make the journey more entertaining the floor was covered in sizable breakdown blocks in the stream that we had to weave through. As we approached the daylight the Garden of Eden, a limestone bowl several hectares in area, beckoned to hearty explorers. The park offers day trips to this natural wonder for the more adventurous visitors. We finished at a cobble strewn beach a hundred meters wide at the edge of the water. All of the stories about Deer largest cave chambers. Can a cave be first cave of 2018! On the return trip we heard the roar of the rain falling indicating price you pay for caving in Borneo. Cave of the Winds Gunung Mulu National Park, Borneo January 13, 2018 By: Mark Jones The second day of the Mulu Cave Project began with a nice breakfast at the Mulu CafÃ© before loading our gear in a longboat for a four kilometer journey upstream. Since the afternoon the Sungai Melinau was running very high and very brown. The longboat is just what the name implies a seven meter long boat that is wide enough for one person that can accommodate up to eight adults. fall in) we donned our life vests and were off. We passed the Penan settlement of Batu Bungan in addition to several scattered buildings on the left while the Gunung Mulu National Park was on the right. The Penan people were an indigenous tribe of nomads that wandered the area until the park was created. Since then they have lived along the banks of the river and working in the park. Many of the park personnel and guides were Penan. Above Batu Bungan the river hugs the base of the limestone cliffs adding to the already spectacular scenery. We whisked by the river level entrance to Cave of the Winds and soon were pulling up to the jetty for the Cave of the Winds trail. Waving farewell to our boatman we hiked up the boardwalk to the upper entrance of Cave of the Winds.
to two groups of three Hugh, Matt and Frank would be setting permanent stations and erecting two anemometers while Ben, Dick and I would be using the Disto X to establish a line plot of the cave. Once the particulars were sorted out we were off to the races. Dick set stations, Ben recorded data with a PDA and I would be shooting the Disto X. Using a Bluetooth connection Ben was able to sync the two devices and download the three readings from each station for greater accuracy and efficiency. From the dripline we followed the being careful to avoid the magnetism of the railing. There were many nice formations along the route but a fifty meter high skylight before the sive to that point. At the beginning the balcony to start of the Adventure Caving experience in The Not Before Time passage. The size and scale of the passage is simply indescribable say that often times the walls and ceiling were at the limits of our lights. For the next four hundred meters we were scrambling up and down boulder slopes using an occasional handline until reaching a balcony ledge on the left. We stayed at this level (Overtime Passage) for another four hundred meters passing many formations that reminded me of the grotesqueries on Isla de Mona in Puerto Rico. A surprising breakdown slope actually forced us to remove our packs and wiggle up into the Illusion Passage. I was not prepared to be overwhelmed when I popped into this massive room a hundred meters floor to ceiling, wall to wall! Off to the right was the gigantic Babel Room with kilometers of cave beyond. After a lunch break we turned left and crossed an expansive breakdown field for the next four hundred meters on the way to Wan Way Street. This entire section was decorated with a dense forest of the most interesting pleasure to see. With time running out we tied off the survey and retraced our steps to the jetty. Arriving a bit early for the boat Matt, Hugh, Ben, Frank and I hiked three hundred meters on the catwalk above the Sungai Milanau over to Clearwater Cave. In spite of its name the recent precipitation had Clearwater Branch running deep and dirty out of the spring entrance. We ascended the nearly two hundred steps to the top of backslope entrance to Clearwater Cave. An equal number of steps descended on the other side so Frank and I opted to stay up top while the others nipped on down to reconnoiter We returned to the dock at 5:30 p.m. to find our boatman ready to depart so we hopped on board for the fifteen minute ride back to park headquarters. We dined at the Mulu CafÃ© that with ice cream and big plans for the morning. Clearwater Cave Gunung Mulu National Park, Borneo January 14, 2018 By: Mark Jones brating my birthday caving with Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) in Missouri but for my 58 th birthday I would be breaking that streak since I was with the Mulu Cave Project in Gunung Mulu National Park on the island of continue the line survey from the Clearwater entrance and connect to anemometers as well as putting in some additional permanent stations. After a late breakfast we packed up our gear and met the longboat at the going upstream but today we would be dropped off at the Clearwater Cave jetty. The river was running a bit clearer and lower with an occasional boulder or gravel bar visible. In not time we were deposited at the dock with a return trip scheduled for 5:00 p.m.
Scaling two hundred steps we topped the rise where I marveled at the floral covered stalactites stretching over a hundred meters wide. Over the coated stalactites at entrances but never this much greenery. Of course this is one of the most expansive entrances Hugh would be surveying the line plot while Matt, Frank and I would be sinking permanent stations and route finding. We dropped back down the stairs to stream level in what has park. By standard I mean from twenty to forty meter diameter borehole with significant balconies scattered along the walls with an impressive skylight thrown in for good measure. A swath of interesting phytokarst on the wall had been formed by the sunlight focused through the entrance opening in the twilight zone. The new twist was that we would be weaving in and out of a respectable river in flood for several hundred meters. Over the years the water has scoured the bedrock razor sharp forcing us to move cautiously. Handlines were set along the route in several places making it safer on some of the trickier terrain. At the first water crossing the river was running chest deep which ing. When we reached the Balcony Series it was obvious that it would be unwise to attempt fording the river since the water was running both deep and swift. A route through the Balcony Series was indicated on the map but alas after ninety minutes of fruitless searching we were stymied. The most amazing aspect of these balconies was the deep conglomerated river cobble far above the streambed below. Regrouping we decided to abandon from this direction and hike back out and to retrieve the anemometers from the Cave of the Winds entrance. Ben and Frank volunteered to pick up the equipment while Matt and Hugh would roundabout at the end of the tourist trail circles around a photogenic collection of grotesqueries and totem poles along with some nice stalactites. It was only a short while before Ben and Frank rejoined us for the trip back to the dock. We met our longboat at 5:00 p.m. and were ferried back to park headquarters to clean gear and shower. Once again we dined at the Mulu CafÃ© followed by birthday ice cream. What a wonderful way to spend your birthday! Deer Cave Borneo January 15, 2018 By: Mark Jones Rambli Ahmad of the Sarawak Forestry Department took the time to give a small group a guided tour of the canopy walk in Gunung Mulu National Park. This four hundred meter loop starts at a wooden tower and runs from tree to tree in a series of suspension bridges. We had a nice morning to wander but very few creatures were stirring. The view from ten meters up gave a great vantage point of the jungle below. Signage provided good information about the trees and some of the wildlife found inn the park. We spent ninety minutes enjoying the casual pace of the tour. Having missed the evening bat flight earlier in the trip I took the opportunity to hike back out to Deer Cave in Gunung Mulu National Park accompanied by Rambli and Dick. A lively discussion made the four kilometer boardwalk hike go quickly. We arrived at the viewing are at 5:00 p.m. as the sun began setting behind the mountains. Half an hour later the first few of over two million bats the blue sky much to the appreciation of the thirty people below. Small clusters of bats, perhaps five hundred to several thousand, trickled out building up for the grand finale of a stream of untold bats. We were-
spectacle as two bat hawks weaved through the throngs of wrinkled lipped bat ( Chaerephon plicata ) to snatch a meal. Certainly this rivals the bat flight at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. Cave of the Winds Gunung Mulu National Park, Borneo January 16, 2018 By: Mark Jones The plans for the next three days was to push deep into the Clearwater Cave system to establish a base at the Scumring camp and explore and survey in the Red Dwarf Chamber before leaving through the Clearwater entrance. The return trip would be dependent on the water level in two days as high water would preclude exiting through Clearwater. Each of us would be lugging eleven to fifteen kilo packs filled with personal gear, food, vertical gear and anemometers. Rambli Ahmad, Ben Kent, Matt Kirby, Frank Pearson, Hugh St. Lawrence, Dick Willis and myself arrived at the longboat at 9:30 a.m. for the fifteen minute ride up to the Cave of the Winds landing where we disembarked for the short hike up the boardwalk to the entrance. Having visited the cave twice in the past few days we were well acquainted with the boardFrom here we followed the Adventure Caving trail through The Not Before Time Passage, Overtime Passage, Illusion Passage and Wan Way Street. A huge breakdown pile appears to be the end of the line but back in 1989 a group of British cavers spent two days poking around this chamber before finding a squeeze along the left wall that slalomed down twenty seven meters to join Clearwater Cave. It took us quite some time to pass packs down through the Connection Choke to the rope ladder at the very bottom Maze. When this passage was discovered a British cave biologist was chased by a particularly aggressive cave racer snake and so was named after a snake character from a comic book (AD2000) of that era. Soon we were in the undulating mud mounds of Hyperspace Bypass and on through Infinite Improbability Drive. until this point but the extensive boulder field sapped my energy rather quickly. The most frustrating aspect of caving in Mulu is the fact that are relegated to caroming among never ending mountains of rock. Thirty methan a Missouri bellycrawl if you have fight for every step. Needle sharp rocks tore at our boots, slick mud slopes challenged our footfalls and loose scree disappeared underfoot. Another downside is the fact that it takes so much energy to deviate off trail to investigate any lead. Even on Isla de Mona I never sweated as much as in the caves of Mulu. With a mean temperature of 23.7 Celsius and a 100% humidity I was drenched from head to foot whenever on the move. At this point I was questioning the sanity of these British cavers. Slogging away for the next hour we eventually reached Junction Cavern. This is a significant point where one can choose to exit through the Cave of the Winds entrance, Clearwater entrance or take Revival Passage out to the Snake Track entrance. In this area was an impressive flowstone mound perched on a five meter high rimstone terrace covered in a thick, brown mud. We picked up the Revival Passage on the way to the Volcano Series where we negotiated up the largest breakdown ever seen in a cave. At over a hundred meters high and at an acute angle it seemed to take forever to ascend. Thankfully we were almost to our objective of Scumring camp. Just fifteen minutes around a corner was the unusual mudflat of Scumring where we be based out of for the next couple days. The room itself was forty meters long by ten meters wide with a twenty meter ceiling. Off to
the right a trickle of water dribbled down a flowstone wall into a two meter deep pit 10 meters long by 2.5 meters wide that disappeared down a small drain. During heavy rains the pool overflows leaving a bathtub ring of debris, hence the name. Everyone staked out a site for their sleeping bag and personal space with a common kitchen area in the middle. Cave swifts darted about overhead constantly chirping their presence. These birds use a form of echolocation to navigate through the caves often building nests far from any entrance as is the case here. An evening meal of ramen noodles and tuna was taken at 8:00 p.m. before people began drifting off to sleep. After three kilometers of energy draining fast asleep. Clearwater Cave Gunung Mulu National Park, Borneo January 17, 2018 By: Mark Jones Camp began to stir at 8:00 a.m. with a hot meal cooked up before heading out to the objectives. Dick would be staying in camp, Frank and Hugh were going to do some lead checking in Armistice Passage while Rambli, Ben, Matt and I would be pushing on toward the Red Dwarf Chamber. From Scumring we ascended a handline ten meters to the aptly Snow Slopes. Actually the huge white mounds were not snow but fluffy piles of cave swift guano. The soft slope reminded me of the gypsum crystal floor in the Talcum Passage in Carlsbad Caverns. From the massive mounds been utilizing this passage for many centuries. Eventually we got to a vertical climb that we were belayed up to access the upper levels. Very few formations were noted in the Snow Slopes but that all changed now. A nice variety of columns, drapery, stalactites and stalagmites pulsated down the passage until we scramble up a hundred meter breakdown slope into Armistice Passage. Words cannot describe the length and breadth of the boulder field from this balcony overlook. It took an hour to navigate through the jumble of rock littering the floor. The boulder fields continued for another two hundred meters to to drop a thirty meter pit fifteen meters in diameter sections of rope the Cairn Farm. Currently this is the only known route to this portion of the cave. Standing there on the lip of the pit it is unthinkable the amount of planning, hauling, rigging and de rigging just to check this one lead. ore boulder field lay ahead until we reached the Road To Hell. For it was given that name because it was the most decorated part of the cave there has only been one other group to this part of the cave on the discovery and survey trip in 1989. Stalactites, stalagmites, columns, totem poles, drapery, helictites, gypsum needles, popcorn, soda straws, flowstone, pool crystals and more were everywhere in a rainbow of colors. The beauty in this area certainly puts it in a league of its own. I opted out of dropping down a handline to the Red Dwarf Chamber while the others forged on to look for leads. I spent the time photographing some of the fabulous formations surrounding me. An hour later they returned with news that no new discoveries were made. We retraced our steps back to Scumring for a well deserved meal after a three kilometer roundtrip. The rest of the party was already in camp with hot water on the stove for drinks and dinner. Following a quick cleanup I was off to bed with high hopes of exiting through the Clearwater entrance rather than hefting our packs back up through the Connection Choke on the way to the Cave of the Winds entrance. I was soundly asleep when I saw the lights of the others frantically scrambling around a substantial
pool that an hour before was empty. Removing my ear plugs I heard a waterfall rumbling that had replaced the tinkling dribble. Evidently a substantial rainstorm had set in giving us a rare view of the Scumring pool overflowing. Numerous photos were taken of this impressive event. Unfortunately we had to move our bedding and kitchen to avoid being drown. Matt and I challenged the water by remaining at a lower, muddy level while the others took to higher, rocky ground. In hindsight we made the right choice since the water crested just shy of our sleeping bags while the others endured the rocky ground under the cave swift nests (and their droppings). January 18, 2018 After the deluge the previous evening it was obvious that the Clearwater entrance would not be an option and the Connection Choke would be too taxing so it was decided to use the Snake Track entrance. Although an unfamiliar route it would be substantially easier than wrestling packs through squeezes. Another drawback was the fact that there would be a three kilometer trek through the jungle back to the Sungai Melinau to meet the longboat. We broke down the Scumring camp at 9:00 a.m. and were on our way out by 10:00 a.m. It was a slow and tedious process descending the steep hundred meter boulder slope to the Revival Passage. Unlike the boulder strewn Infinite Improbability Drive we were strolling down a relatively easy muddy floor for much of the way in Revival Passage. Not that scrambling but it all seemed a bit too easy until we reached the End of the World. A very steep scree slope forced us to move singularly down the incline to the Snake Track Passage. After fifty two hours underground I was getting entrance fever and ready to get back to the bungalow at park headquarter. Up ahead Matt spotted a shaft of light high above from a skylight indicating that we were close. Unfortunately no one had been in this area for quite some time and the final hundred meters to the entrance was well disguised. Finally Hugh was able to find the pinch and we were out into the jungle. Since Rambli had a park radio we called to inform them of our plans and scurried down to the floodplain below. By this time I had figure the hardest work was behind us but how wrong I was. It seemed like we walked forever in a in hot, humid green maze of spiky rattan and fetid undergrowth over slick swampy ground being pursued by all sorts of biting bugs. shared what they had left to keep me going. At one point I felt a little like Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen. river I was completely spent and collapsed on the bank. I drank the last the water. About this time Ben announced that he had a leech which caused me to scan my body for the sites so felt pretty smug. Luckily a passing longboat notified our boat where we were and soon we were onboard. Just before docking at park headquarters I discover I was dripping blood from my shin, a sure sign thing. When I got back to the bungalow I found another leech had just detached from my other shin! I quickly dispatched him but still bled for another half hour. Dang thee guys are stealthy! This was an epic trip in every sense of the word. Thankfully to recuperate. Whiterock Cave Gunung Mulu National Park, Borneo January 21, 2018 By: Mark Jones Steve, our chef for the week, had crepes and eggs prepared at 8:00 a.m.
for our dining pleasure. At 9:30 a.m. our bags were packed and Veno led us four kilometers and one hour back down the trail to a footpath off toward the limestone escarpment. Bushwhacking for the next two kilometers through dense undergrowth he deftly wove a path across the swampy ground to the base of the climb. Here Veno departed for Camp 5 while we continued up the slope. The weathering of the hillside had resulted in gnarly, sharp, nasty limestone that ripped at flesh and tore at our clothing. Adding to this was the rotting vegetation that camouflaged these dangers. Up, up, up for the next 115 meters rising high above the floodplain below. Frank zigzagged up to the nominally ten meter opening of the Midnight Entrance to Whiterock Cave of the Clearwater System. An hour had passed since leaving the main trail. This is a very special cave to Matt since he and Richard Chambers discovered this cave back in 2003. At over a hundred kilometers it is currently the longest component of the Clearwater System. The first objective was reached when Hugh deployed the anemometer in a passage choke to monitor wind data for the next four days. This area is well visited by the cave racer snakes that pluck the cave swifts out of the air as they negotiate through the constriction deeper into the cave to nest. The only detectable breeze we found in the cave was here. The next several hundred meters we scrambled over mountains of ceiling breakdown in expansive chambers. Climbing down a flowstone mound we continued down to the Keel Passage, so named for the numerous draperies resembling boat keels poking down from the ceiling. While Frank did some photography work the rest of us settled down to grab a bit to eat. About this time I noticed a large bloodstain on my pants indicating that I had been visited by a leech. When I removed my boots an engorged leech plopped out, rather than dispatch him I left him to fend for itself in the dark recesses of the cave. Ben also found a few small ones crawling around his ankles but Matt had six of the little buggers around the top of his socks. In spite of all my precautions I was still attacked but take a bit of comfort in the fact Further down the line the Zebra Ramp, a sixty meter slope down to the Lower Entrance, beckoned to those brave enough make the climb. We stayed in the upper level for several hundred more meters traversing over undulating mudslopes past the Up and Running Junction and into Africa. On a map this section of cave roughly resembles said continent hence the name. It was here that the formations blossomed into the Crown of Thorns. The ceiling exploded with a profusion of helictites, stalactites and drapery of exquisite beauty. Many photographs were taken in this area. Deeper into Africa we passed numerous flowstone mounds and massive columns before reaching a small waterfall cascading down manganese coated flowstone. We went a short distance beyond here to reconnoiter a campsite for later in the week. On the rebound we detoured down the Daydream Believer Junction and another several hundred meters in huge passage over dissolving flowstone and piles of breakdown to Daydream Believer Passage. This huge chamber is dominated by beautiful totem pole columns and towering stalagmite mounds. Ben set a nice pace for the exit out with hopes of spotting a cave racer perched on a ledge at the constriction. No snakes were found until Frank spotted two of them on rock outcroppings in the twilight zone. Several photos were snapped before they became irritated and we moved on. This was a nice four hours introduction to Whiterock Cave. The descent required less energy but proved more dangerous than the climb. Back in the floodplain Ben led us down the footpath and directly to the main trail with little fanfare. By this time I was wiped out and my feet were aching so the four kilometers to Camp 5 proved to be a chal-
lenge. When I finally stumbled into the clearing it was with considerable relief that I sat down in the Milanau thirteen kilometers of jungle trails plus another couple of kilometers in the cave. Revived after fifteen minutes I took a long, cold shower before joining the others around the dining table for a fine meal. Veno brought everyone over a warm Tiger Asian lager and we celebrated the day. Ten minutes later I was fast asleep. January 23, 2018 While Matt stayed in camp to nurse a nasty gash Ben, Hugh, Frank and I headed back to Whiterock Cave to give Ben and myself another peek at the cave and further orientate ourselves to this section of Clearwater Cave. Our plan was to set up camp in the Africa Passage and make a loop through the Ancestor Passage and return via Daydream Believer Passage. Our packs were quite a bit heavier with camping gear than two days ago but we scooted right down the Camp 5 Trail. Four kilometers later we cut off toward the limestone bluff crossing two kilometers of swamp. The asthe Midnight Entrance. When we passed the anemometer tripod the small pressure/humidity sensor had been dislodged indicating that either a swift had hit it avoiding being eaten by a cave racer or a cave racer had slithered up to await and eat a swift. We replaced it back on the tripod before moving on. Ben made a beeline for the Keel Passage followed by the Zebra Ramp, the Crown of Thorns, beyond the small waterfall and into the Africa speak of, a fairly level, muddy floor just wide enough to stretch out a bedroll and enough room for the stove. Certainly not as spacious as Scumring in Clearwater Cave last week but there was very little chance that Once gear was unloaded we struck off to the south deeper into Africa. Once again it is hard to describe passage so big other than to focus on the immediate area. With massive shattered ceiling breakdown covering In places the rock was coated in thick layers of popcorn or calcite needles leaning in the direction of the wind flow. Soon the floor changed into a never ending cobble expanse. The stones range from pebbles to soccer ball sized loosely cemented together. Since we were in an upper level this rock would have been deposited well before any of the lower cave was formed. In several spots drains had formed deep pits revealing the true depth of the cobble. At over ten meters thick the cobble was laid down by a river that must have been truly magnificent. When we reached a steep slope that spanned the width we rigged a rope for a handline to descend the frail cobble wall. No soonthan we were scaling back up the other side. Continuing on for several hundred meters at ceiling level we eventually reached Propeller Camp. This is an important site during push trips into the unknown northern reaches of the cave. A quick inventory of supplies was taken before climbing up and around a scree slope that we promptly climbed down into the Ancestor Passage. Delicate calcite crystals decorated much of the breakdown in this area. Hugging the left wall we slowly zigzagged down to a narrow canyon with clusters of stalactites dotting the walls. Looking closely I discovered to my surprise that they were being deposited on the same cobbly walking on. Further down the line a ramp split up into the darkness. Hugh and Ben decided to survey this area while Frank and I opted to sit tight and discuss rock n roll. An hour later we were back on our way. Almost immediately the floor dropped off steeply down a rocky chute. Obviously this is a conduit for the water down to lower levels. At the top of
the chute an interesting narrow three meter tall column caught my eye. It looks like a soda straw that has been cut vertically leaving just a thin outer layer. On the opposite wall were a series of mud/flowstone clusters that stair stepped up the wall last. The wonders never end in Mulu. Dropping the chute we were up and down steep, undulating flowstone/ breakdown slopes coated in a broccoli shaped flowstone with no end in sight when the passage finally mellowed out. Ahead Hugh pointed out the most amazing biological find and the passage name a calcite coated monkey skeleton! I was flabbergasted to even think that a potentially distant rela t i v e w a s h e r e a v e r y l o n g t i m e a g o . pressive seven meter column called Long Tall Sally. This is an important landmark at the intersection of the Ancestor Passage and Daydream Believer Passage. Turning right we entered the surreal world of Daydream Believtice in words I will make a feeble attempt. A fifty meter wide, twenty meter high tube with an intermittent sandy floor covering massive breakdown extends for over a thousand of meters. Formations were randomly scattered throughout but nothing truly spectacular until we reached the forest of columns and totem poles loop in one of the grandest cave in the world in five hours. Within fifteen minutes we were back at the Africa Camp having a spot of tea along with ramen noodles and tuna. Reflecting on the day I realized that the 226 kilometers (140 miles) of surveyed cave passages of the Clearwater System is more than all of the known caves in Iowa! January 24, 2018 I got a respectable sleep at the Africa Camp and although mighty sore ready to have some breakfast before ambling out the Midnight Entrance. Another ramen and tuna meal was on the menu along with a drink and some snacks. The first objective was to tie in a survey near camp. The survey team consisted of Hugh, Ben and Frank while I dawdled along with my camera to photograph some of the formations. A flock of cave swifts chattered away in a nearby chamber as the survey began. At one point Ben found a solitary bat low on the ceiling so I rushed over to snap its picture. This long eared fellow was of blocky build and an interesting face. When we get the identity of this little guy. On the way out Hugh and Ben dropped down to a mid level passage to record two hundred fifty meters of new survey with going passage. Meanwhile Frank and I went up to the Crown of Thorns Ceiling where I got some additional pictures. We regrouped at 2:00 p.m. for a nice saunter to the entrance passing by the anemometer where once again the pressure/humidity sensor had fallen off the tripod. Approaching the entrance I realized that during this expedition I had traveled twenty five kilometers of the system seeing sixteen kilometers of passages but had crawled less than fifty meters! A break was taken at the entrance followed by the 115 meter climb down to the floodplain. An afternoon shower had increased the sportiness of the descent as well as the two kilometer slog across the swamp. Back on the Camp 5 Trail I set a slower pace for the hike to camp arriving fifteen minutes after the others. I immediately jumped into the river to rinse the mud off the gear and knock the grime and sweat from my clothes. A long, cool shower rejuvenated my spirits followed by a tasty hot meal that nourished my body. Around dusk a drenching rain set in that pounded on the tin roof and raised the river over a meter in two hours. Hugh had left his boots on the beach and it was too late by that time. The Melinau raged a dirty brown all night long.
Winona Caves Winona, Missouri January 12 15, 2018 By: Ed Klausner The Cave Research Foundation had the use of the Powder Mill facility of the National Park Service at Ozark National Riverways. Unfortunately, severe flooding recently damaged the building and CRF materials (computers, maps, cave files, etc). Fortunately, Scott House was able to obtain use of a National Forest Service facility in Winona. A week long expedition at Winona brought cavers from surrounding states to monitor caves in Mark Twain National Forest, Ozark National Scenic Riverways, and some private land. On the first day, I went out with Kayla Sapkota, Joe Sikorski, and Eric Fleck to monitor several caves and survey one newly found small cave. Our first pair of caves (Lower Panther Cave and Panther Cave were easily found and we started our day by doing a detailed bio inventory and noted other issues such as fires and mation is provided to the land managers so they can patrol the area and hopefully avoid future damage. After these two caves, we went to Root Cellar Cave. Kayla and Joe stayed to do the monitoring while Eric and I went off to find and map have the GPS location, we would never have found it. It was tight (mostly less than a foot wide) and had sharp bends every body length, so it made survey awkward at best. In 4 survey shots we got 21.5 feet of survey before it was too narrow to continue. We rejoined Kayla and Joe and completed the monitoring of Root Cellar Cave. There was one more cave in the area to monitor, Sunset Cave. We eventually found it and completed the monitoring. The last two caves to monitor were back down the hollow and along the Eleven Point River. One was easily found and was monitored, Whitten find even with a GPS location and a written description. Snow was falling on the second day, but the forecast said it wouldheaded east to three caves he had vey gear with him. The first, Spout Spring Shelter was 25.4 feet long, the second, Martini Cave was 17 feet long and then third, Pine Ridge Shelter was 30.1 feet long. We mapped all three. Next we went to another area we went to a lead reported by the Forest Service that turned out to be un enterable. Weather forecast was originally for a winter storm on the 15th, but we lucked out and had just flurries and mild temperatures (25 degrees). The forecast for the 16th was 9 wind chill, so instead of caving on the Spike crews at a cave entrance. Photo by: Ed Klausner from Winona Caves in Missouri.
16th, Jim Coolie and I opted to check out a lead from the forest service. We were able to travel on forest roads to within a half mile of the lead and hiked through the national forest to the lead. It turned out to be a sinkhole, but only 4 feet deep. On the way back to where we parked, we travelled a different route lookBuffalo National River Caves Buffalo National River, Arkansas January 26 27, 2018 By: Ed Klausner Elizabeth and I headed south to Steel Creek near Ponca, Arkansas, for a cave survey and monitoring weekend with the Cave Research Foundation. We actually arrived a day early after making arrangements with Danny and his daughter, Arin Vann for an extra day of monitoring and surveying. Kayla Sapkota sent some objectives, so we first went to an area west of Ponca to search for two caves, get an accurate GPS reading, photograph the entrance, do a bio monitor and survey the caves. We got to the reported GPS location and spent over an hour looking for, but never finding the caves. Discouraged, we went to an area east of Ponca for the next objective. This time, we went to the reported GPS location and easily found the 40 foot wide shelter. It was about 45 feet deep, a bit unusual for a sandstone shelter. We photographed the entrance, did a bio inventory and surveyed it. The following day, 4 trips went out. Danny, Arin and I went to Stockman Cave without Elizabeth. Her knee was bothering her, so she decided to let us go without her even though she wanted to know what happened to the passage she found on our last trip to Stockman. It had rained overnight and was very overcast in the morning. We hiked the two miles to the cave in heavy mist and started on the several objectives that I had in the cave. The first was to figure out what was going on along the east wall. It was confusing trying to figure out the survey notes, but taking some time to look at the area helped me understand it. I put a cross section through it as it shows three distinct passages through a breakdown area. Next was close to where Elizabeth found passage last time, but going the opposite direction once we dropped down a level. This was similar to the opposite side of the cave, lots of breakdown and a distinct lower level. We found several bear beds, they were. There was a recent bear footprint near the entrance, but no other signs of recent activity. We put in 110 feet of survey before it got too small to continue. During a break, I checked the other small noted leads and they were too small to get into more than a body length or two. Finally, we headed down the passage Elizabeth found and put in a terminal shot of 69 feet. The passage continued, but was not quite 7 inches tall and it would break formations if you tried to get through. The hike back to the car was in full sunshine without a cloud in the sky. A beautiful, mild day in January. Mystery Cave Forestville Mn, Fillmore County February 1, 2018 By: Ed Klausner For our anniversary, Elizabeth and I decided to spend the day surveying in Mystery Cave. We met Chris Beck plus three people from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Bob Storlie, Dawn Ryan and Mark White. Our objective was to continue the survey of Cathedral Passage which will become a new part of the tour trail. The goal was to capture the passage before the infrastructure is added. We tried this on our last trip but ran into trouble with the low voltage lines used for lighting. They threw the compass readings off. These wires were recently removed and when we started the survey, we got
good agreement between fore and backsights (usually 0 to 0.5 degrees.) Chris read instrument, Elizabeth was on point, I sketched, Dawn did inventory and both Bob and Mark worked on plans for the new infrastructure. We got to Cathedral and spent quite a bit of time in the large room. Two passages in breakdown were surveyed as well as the room itself. Once that was complete, Mark, Chris and I dropped down to the lower level of the passage where a stream enters, flows a few feet in the passage, and then exits through a small hole on the opposite side. This was not flowing when we first came into the cave in the morning, but by mid afternoon, it was flowing, probably due to ice on the surface melting enough to allow the water to enter the cave. We took a few survey shots to finish up the lower section and then attempted to get back up the muddy canyon. In retrospect, it was humorous, but at the time I just wanted to get out. With the help of Chris and Mark, I got back up and they decided to climb out a different way that proved to be easier. The unfortunate part of the trip (or any trip) were the number of dead bats by the entrance. All had evidence of White Nose Syndrome. Many of the living bats near the entrance also had obvious White Nose Syndrome. Healthy bats are normally not close to the entrance in the winter, but further back in the cave. This is the third year of WNS in the cave and is typically the year that a significant die off is observed. Ozark National Scenic Riverways Shannon County, Missouri February 26, 2018 By: Mark Jones Scott House invited me to join him down in south central Missouri for a few days of caving ahead of a weekend of caving down in Arkansas on the Buffalo National River. Arriving at noon on Sunday I spent the remainder of the afternoon inventorying gear and preparing for the next day. That evening Brenda Goodnight and Dennis Novicky stopped by to visit so we formulated a game plan for the Upper Current River within the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Since Dennis be just Brenda, Scott and me. The first item on our agenda was a quick stop to look at the facilities at the Current River State Park for the Fall 2018 Missouri Speleological Society (M.S.S.) meeting. While looking at the site Scott regaled us with the history of the park and the buildings associated with it. Heading south on Route 19 we pulled off the highway to monitor Jug Cave. Jug Cave (SHN343) Shannon County, Missouri February 26,2018 By: Mark Jones Under sunny skies it was a pleasant quarter mile hike downhill to a shallow ravine that we followed down to a rock outcropping off to the right. A gently sloping apron angled up to an obvious ten foot square entrance into the ridge. Immediately the ceiling opened up into a fifteen foot domeroom decorated with an assortment of flowstone. The recent rains turned the normally dry floor into tacky clay. For the next fifty feet we alternated from easy hands and knees crawls to ten foot domes before the floor sloped up and transformed from clay to flowstone. A reached the skylight entrance room. room with stalactites, soda straws, popcorn, drapery and flowstone scattered throughout. The floor continued to rise for another twelve feet before it pinched out into a critter crawl at the ceiling. Daylight could be seen on the other side but it wasdred foot cave was a great way to start the day. Cave fauna recorded included two pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ), a big brown
bat ( Eptesicus fuscus ), an unidentified bat, hundreds of camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus sp.), a fishing spider ( Dolomedes sp.) and a slug ( Megapallifera sp.). In addition we spotted an eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) midden and an eastern phoebe ( Sayornis phoebe ) nest. Bay Branch Natural Arch Cave (SHN150) Shannon County, Missouri February 26, 2018 By: Mark Jones North of Eminence we parked along the Current River for an easy half mile hike down to resurvey Bay Branch Natural Arch Cave within the Ozark difficult to find since there was an obvious ATV trail right up to the entrance in a rocky outcropping. The recent rains had the normally trickling ribbon of water flowing fast and wide. A thin natural arch spanned a six foot high by sixteen foot wide by twenty foot long tube where we began our survey. Scott took book, Brenda set stations and I read the Disto X. Under the arch was a twelve foot length of four inch diameter pipe that served as a drain for a concrete dam for some long forgotten purpose. A catastrophic collapse exposed the next thirty feet of passage with only the left wall remaining intact. The cave dimensions at this entrance are six foot high by twenty feet wide with a flat ceiling and a steady stream flowing over a rocky floor covered in thick mud. Remnants of ceiling formations were coated in a thin veneer of brown muddy paste. A hundred feet of walking passage morphed into a formation laden stoopwalk for another sixty feet before terminating in a rocky critter crawl gushing water. The new survey totaled 220 feet compared favorably with the 1980 survey total of 225 feet. With plenty of daylight to burn we did a surface survey over the cave and discovered that the water in the critter crawl was being pirated from a hollow just ten feet above. Cave fauna recorded included eight pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ), two big brown bats ( Eptesicus fuscus ), a couple dozen camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus sp.) and a bullfrog ( Rana catesbiana see any eastern phoebes ( Sayornis phoebe ) we did hear they distinctive chirp as they scolded us from afar. Two old phoebe nests were found inside the cave entrance. Honeycomb Cave (ORE160) Mark Twain National Forest Oregon County, Missouri February 27, 2018 By: Mark Jones It was down to Scott House and me for a day of surveying in northern Oregon County, Missouri on the Mark Twain National Forest. Following a bit of map reading buffoonery we arrived at the parking area and headed west along the ridgetop road for a quarter mile. We cut off the road to the north and angled down an increasingly steeper slope of slippery gravel. Near the bottom of the hill we were drawn to a rocky outcropping infested with holes. None proved to be accessible until Scott slid around the corner to find the five foot high by twenty foot wide main entrance. This cave had the appearance of Swiss cheese with a multitude of entrances and winding passages. As Scott groused about sketching this mess I broke out the tape and Disto X. For book and I would be shooting instruments. The cave basically has three fingers each forty foot in length that radiate out from the main entrance. First we defined the left wall in a crawlway and worked our way to the right. Stubby amalgamated passages slowed down our surveying pace. The middle finger was a five foot tall, narrow canyon that pinched down to a critter crawl. The right hand crawl branched with three distinct entrances and numerous karst windows along the bluff, all within forty feet. We nearly doubled the
cave length from an estimated eighty feet to an actual 155 feet. This was an interesting if not simple cave. Cave fauna recorded included oodles of camel crickets ( Ceuthophilus sp.) and a swarm of flies ( Diptera sp.). Once again we were admonished by bashful eastern phoebes ( Sayornis phoebe ) chirping from the trees. Two old phoebe nests were found inside the cave entrance as well as an eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) midden and associated scat . Crack Cave (ORE159) Mark Twain National Forest Oregon County, Missouri February 27, 2018 By: Mark Jones Dropping down to the floor of the hollow I was impressed with the aftermath of flooding evident by the debris hanging in the trees high above the ground. In spite of last much as a puddle of water to be seen. We hiked a half mile along the dry streambed until finally reaching a bluff on the east bank where we found Crack Cave. The cave trended east northeast for forty feet retaining a four foot high by sixteen foot wide dimension to a terminal breakdown pile. Long dead flowstone covered the wall on either side throughout while the ceiling was dotted with small stalactites. It took two shots to survey this cave. In spite of its diminutive size this cave boasted four pipistrelles or tri colored bats ( Perimyotis subflavus ) and a cloud of flies ( Diptera sp.). An eastern woodrat ( Neotoma floridana ) midden and associated scat were also noted.
Photo Gallery Top: Kayla Sapkota doing inventory. Bottom: Fishing spider commonly found in Missouri Caves. Photos by: Ed Klausner from Winona Caves in Missouri.