I N T E R C O M Volume 54, Issue 2 March April 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 1313 245th St. Elgin, IA. 52141 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. If you would like to join the meetings through skype email Ed Klausner: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cover Photo: "Helictites in a NW Arkansas Cave". Cover and 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 54 Issue 2 ______________C O N T E N T S _____________ Meeting Minutes 21 Trip reports: Mark Twain National Forest 21 Buffalo National River 22 Barry County Caves 24 Three Forks Cave 25 Adair County Caves 27 Cook Cave 27 Carlsbad Caverns 28 Lava Beds 34 Shasta Trinity National Forest 43 Photo Gallery 46 __________CALENDAR___________ May Grotto Meeting May 23 Room E, 7:30 pm, Iowa City Public Library. 123 S. Linn St., Iowa City June Grotto Meeting Jun 27 Room 125, 7:30 pm, Trowbridge Hall July Grotto Meeting Jul 25 Cancelled. August Grotto Meeting Aug 22 Location to be determined.
Minutes of the Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting: March 28, 2018 The regular meeting was called to order by Chariman Ed Klausner at 7:30 PM. Eight members and guests in the Building and three members via Skype. The business meeting was preceded by a presentation by Mark Jones on his expedition to Mulu cave in Borneo. Secretary Lizzy Miller read the minutes of the February 28, 2018 meeting. They were approved as corport. Trip reports: Ed, Matt Frana, Chris Beck and Mike Lace went to Coldwater Cave in March. Matt Frana plus 4 others led a group from the Redwing Environmental Center group. Larry Welsh, Scott Dankof, Mark Jones, and Nick Schmuecker will be doing radon measurements in Coldwater cave the last weekend of March. Future Trips: A troop of older girl scouts was interested in going into Coldwater Cave. Ed put their contact in touch with Redwing Environmental trip, and a ridgewalking trip to Backbone forest and Joy Spring are planned for later in 2018. The grotto picnic will be held July 13 15 at Mystery Cave in Minnesota. The Mississippi Valley Old Timers' Reunion will be held April 21 23 in Steelville, MO. Watch the grotto listserve for up to date trip notifications. Old business: Call for ideas for meetings. New Business: Coldwater supplies are needed, particularly wet suits. Mystery Cave can no longer be entered during the winter. Mike Bounk mentioned that professors in the Geology Department have placed materials in the hallways on second floor that could be scrounged after the meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 8:10 PM. There were no minutes for the Iowa Grotto Regular Meeting on April 25, 2018. 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. Mark Twain National Forest Oregon County, Missouri March 1, 2018 By: Mark Jones Greer Spring On the way down to the Buffalo National River in Arkansas Scott House and I made a stop to look at Greer Spring in the Mark Twain National Forest in Oregon County, Missouri. I years and never to the spring. Ken Grush and Scott had recently surveyed the small cave near the upper spring so Scott stayed behind while I ventured solo down the trail to the spring. The hike was a mile down a gently sloping path that dropped 250 feet from the ridgetop. I heard the roar of the water well before I ever saw it. A well designed vista gave a good overview of the upper spring off to the left and the much larger resurgence on the right. Both of these combined release over 220,000,000 gallons each day! This is only second in volume in Missouri to nearby Big Spring and the largest spring within the National Forest Service in the entire United States. A stone staircase drops down to stream level where I got a closer look at these impressive features. The smaller spring on the left emanates from a rock outcropping in a narrow gulch and flows to the gushing resurgence on the right before heading down the hollow a mile where it joins the Eleven Point River. Greer Trail Cave, the thirty foot crawl that Ken and Scott mapped, is located at the base of the stairs. A fallen eastern phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) nest was found beneath an undercut ledge while in the
hollow. A visit to this impressive karst feature is well worth the time. Mammoth Spring Since we would be passing through Mammoth Spring, Arkansas on our way to the Buffalo National River Scott namesake. Located just to the east of the highway this is another must see spring in the Ozarks. The drainage basin that feeds this spring includes the geologically significant Grand Gulf State Park several miles away. The spring is surrounded by a nice city park and can be enjoyed from several viewpoints. Buffalo National River Marion County, Arkansas March 2, 2018 By: Mark Jones Sandstone Bluff Mine (K086) For the first day of the March Cave Research Foundation Buffalo National River expedition Scott House and I hiked down the ridge to survey Sandstone Bluff Mine. Unfortunately the thirty foot waterfall so we had to detour around the cliff until a climbable slope was found. Five minutes later we stood at the remnants of a trench that terminated at an eight foot wide by five foot high kept book and I set stations, shot the Disto X and recorded the cave biology. The cave extended a mere thirteen feet to a rock wall. Not much to describe here, no cave biota found. Everton Trench Shelter (S042) Less than a hundred feet around the bluff from Sandstone Bluff Cave we stumbled into an elongated eighty foot wide shelter that certainly qualified as a karst feature in the Ozarks. The floor consisted of a sharp gravel/soil mixture that has been severely eroded. Three finger passages extended twenty five feet into the bluff but continued only as a critter crawl. In spite of its limited length we were pleasantly surprised to find a pipistrelle or tri colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) clinging to the ceiling amid a clump of lush, green moss. In addition a long abandoned eastern phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) nest, an eastern woodrat (Neotoma floridana) midden and associated scat and a cluster of crumbling organ pipe mud dauber (Trypoxylon politum) nests were observed. Harris Cave (C283) Not far from Everton Trench Shelter we located the bellycrawl entrance to excited about its potential until I wriggled in to find it popped up into an unstable breakdown room in the Everton limestone formation. Carefully avoiding the walls and ceiling we surveyed two short crawls. Surprisingly a total of sixty feet was inventoried. This cave offered a nice selection of critters including two pipistrelles or tri colored bats (Perimyotis subflavus), a dozen camel crickets (Ceuthophilus sp.), a dozen orb weavers (Meta ovalis) and a host of tiny orb weaver hatchlings. A bit of raccoon (Procyon lotor) scat was also noted. Unfortunately one of the pips was suffering from white nose syndrome (W.N.S.) (Pseudogymnoascus destructans). Last Survivor Mine (K013) Further down the bluff a rocky outcropping revealed the stoopwalking entrance to Last Survivor Mine. An abandoned rusty wheelbarrow pan from the mining era sits outside the trench. Like Sandstone Bluff Cave there was a trench leading to the entrance. The passage gradually sloped down twenty feet to a solid wall. The only fauna found were a few flies (Diptera sp.) although we did find an unidentified vertebra (possibly a deer), an eastern woodrat (Neotoma floridana) midden and a few organ pipe mud dauber (Trypoxylon politum) nests. Bice Mined Cave (C282)
Cave. Yesterday we had surveyed six karst features in the hollow but had run out of time to address Bice Mined rived at the boulder that hid the narrow slot entrance at the base of kept book, Aaron shot the Disto X and I was on point setting stations. Starting at the edge of the boulder we dropped down through a breakdown constriction into a twenty foot diame t e r r o o m . S c a t t e r e d t h r o u g h o u t t h e room was an assortment of refuse we assume was deposited by the miners many decades ago. Rusty cans, broken glass jars, a cigar tin and even antique batteries were interspersed in the scree slope. We followed a narrow canyon off to the left twenty feet before it pinched down to a critter crawl. Off to the left was a dribble of water emanating from a small crack before disappearing down a minute drain. Returning to the room we surveyed up the right hand canyon until it split. A small, scat filled tube trended left into the hillside while on the right the canyon terminated in a pile of breakdown blocking a diminutive backdoor entrance. Bice Mined Cave ended up with a hundred feet of survey. Outside the entrance a breakdown very far. Around the corner and up the bluff Aaron found a triangular crawl filled with leaf litter that sloped down twenty feet to a canyon squeeze. Aaron tried his hand at sketching while I set stations and Scott reconnoitered around the bluff for some elusive caves. A surface survey was made to connect it with the main cave. The main cave yielded two pipistrelles or tri colored bats (Perimyotis subflavus), a terrestrial millipede and a few camel cricket (Ceuthophilus sp.). Signs of cave bio t a i n c l u d e d a n e a s t e r n w o o d r a t (Neotoma floridana) midden and extensive scat and a cluster of crumbling organ pipe mud dauber (Trypoxylon politum) nests. In addition several A hundred feet from Pompey Pillar Pit (L066) above three mining trenches at the base of the bluff was a large boulder that overshadows a small squeeze down through breakdown into a twenty foot diameter room. Two narrow canyons continue a short distance before pinching out. Since the sketching would take too long it was decided to set aside the survey of this cave until tomorrow. During this visit a pipistrelle or tri colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus), a cave salamander (Eurycea lucifuga) and a camel cricket (Ceuthophilus sp.) were seen. Miners Shelter (S027) Around the corner was the twenty five foot wide by fifteen foot tall entrance to a small shelter that extended forty feet into the bluff. The dusty floor was covered with an assortment of debris which included a pile of one inch dimension lumber, rusty cans and a rock fire ring. We assumed that the miners used the shelter as a storage facility for materials used for shoring up the pits. Signs of cave biota included an eastern woodrat (Neotoma floridana) midden and associated scat and a cluster of crumbling organ pipe mud dauber (Trypoxylon politum) nests. Cracked Bluff Cave (C280) The final cave of the day was also the most impressive. A thirty foot high narrow canyon ran past a funnel pit about eighty feet to a constriction where vertical gear will be necessary to drop the forty foot pit and the great unknown beyond. Altsurvey we did conduct a cursory biological inventory that revealed a lone pipistrelle or tri colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus). March 3, 2018 Bice Mined Cave (C282) The second day of the March Cave Research Foundation Buffalo National River expedition Scott House and I were joined by Aaron Thompson for the modest hike down to survey Bice Mined
large piles of fur filled unidentified scat were found outside the entrance. We postulate that it may be a large feline. the base of the bluff so he recommended that we ascend to the top of the hill and search for them on our hike out. An extended view of the gorgeous Buffalo River was our reward for taking this detour in spite of the fact that there were no signs of any of the caves. Back at the Toney Bend house the faunal records were entered in the database. A fine way to cap off the weekend at the Buffalo National River. Barry County Caves Barry County, Missouri March 16, 2018 By: Mark Jones Slab Filled Shelter (BRY179) Eight cavers arrived on Thursday evening for the March expedition of the Ozark region of the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) in the Mark Twain National Forest. Mick Sutton and I were assigned to monitor and survey caves in Seligman Hollow south of Roaring River State Park. Slab Filled Shelter, the first cave of the day, was down the nose of a steep slope from the parking area. The only reason for our visit was that it was close to our main objective, Corner Crawl Cave. This thirty foot cave offered us little other than a decaying eastern phoebe (Sayornis phoebe) nest and some Eastern woodrat (Neotoma floridana) scat. Corner Crawl Cave (BRY180) Our main focus for the day was the biological inventory of Corner Crawl Cave. This little gem stands out as the best known cave in Seligman Hollow in the Mark Twain National Forest. Two years earlier Ben Miller and I had expected this cave to be like all the others in the area, thirty feet in length with a few speleothems and a couple of cave critters. Instead we stumbled into a fabulous cave over four hundred feet long. This past fall Ben Miller brought a crew to finish up the survey. With fauna we were returning to conduct a proper biological inventory for the cave files. A six foot diameter entrance quickly funneled down to a narrow bellycrawl at floor level. Beyond this point the cave alternates between easy crawls and stoopwalks for the next several hundred feet. Mick identified all kinds of cave fauna during the trip cave salamanders (Eurycea lucifuga), flies (Diptera sp.), pipistrelles or tri colored bats (Perimyotis subflavus), a fishing spider (Dolomedes sp.), numerous camel crickets (Ceuthophilus sp.) and even an aquatic Stygobiotic amphipod. Unfortunately at least one of the pips was suffering from white nose syndrome (W.N.S.) (Pseudogymnoascus destructans), but with the weather warming up he may have a fighting chance to survive. Extensive Eastern woodrat (Neotoma floridana) scat and some organ pipe mud dauber (Trypoxylon politum) nests were also noted. We spent two hours on our hunt. Argillaceous Alcove (BRY184) To reach the final objective Mick and I climbed back up the hill to the truck and drove south another mile to a Forest Service road which we took another mile west along the ridgetop to a parking site overlooking Seligman Hollow. According to the GPS coordinates Argillaceous Alcove was just down the hill another five hundred feet. Regrettably the cave wassteeper than hoped. We hiked down the dry, rocky floor of the hollow a quarter mile before finding the cave on the right. The GPS location was a hundred feet up the hill. The most impressive aspect of this cave was the low, forty foot wide entrance. An easy bellycrawl over thinly bedded shale terminated thirty feet later at a critter crawl. For the survey Mick was on book and I read instruments and stretched the tape. We were surprised to find three juvenile Western slimy salamanders (Plethodon albagula
or glutinosus) among the leaf litter. The only other fauna seen were a horde of flies (Diptera sp.). March 17, 2018 Brock Cave (BRY064) The second day of the Ozark region March expedition of the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) in the Mark Twain National Forest had three teams assigned to a variety of projects. Mick Sutton, Sue Hagan and I were tasked with biological monitoring of some caves north of Shell Knob. An easy quarter mile hike up a well used Forest Service road leads almost directly to the sinkhole entrance of Brock Cave. A thirty foot diameter sink funnels down to a six foot diame t e r o p e n i n g a l o n g t h e e a s t w a l l t h a t steeply angles down forty feet. The canyon passage runs over three hundred feet to the east with an undulating floor of debris while the ceiling remains relatively flat. Without vertical gear our trip only covered half of the surveyed length. An hour was spent in this interesting cave. Mick has the official biological inventory but my observations included ten pipistrelles or tri colored bats (Perimyotis subflavus), a cave salamander (Eurycea lucifuga), numerous camel crickets (Ceuthophilus sp.) as well as eastern woodrat (Neotoma floridana) scat. Buck Ridge Cave (BRY081) Fighting downed trees from a recent tornado and a steep scree slope we eventually climbed to the top of the ridge where a thirty foot diameter sinkhole bowl hides the inconspicuous entrance to Buck Ridge Cave. Sue remained outside while Mick and I explored the cave. A thick mat of oak leaves nearly covered the three foot diameter window that drops to an impressive canyon. While the ceiling remains relatively flat the floor drops at a 45Â° angle for a hundred feet to a small drain. Forest debris covers most of the upper slope gradually giving way to small cherty gravel and finally cherty cobble. As we moved down the scree slope we caused small avalanches below us. Getting back up this steep slope proved to be very interesting and it may be advisa b l e t o b r i n g t w o h u n d r e d f e e t o f webbing in the future. (The nearest solid anchor is quite a distance from the entrance.) Mick has the official biological inventory but my observations included five pipistrelles or tri colored bats (Perimyotis subflavus), a few camel crickets (Ceuthophilus sp.) and a dozen cave millipedes (Chaetapis sp.). Three Forks Cave Adair County, Oklahoma March 18, 2018 By: Mark Jones Brenda Goodnight and Dennis Novicky joined me for the first survey trip of 2018 in Three Forks Cave in Oklahoma for the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.). Back in December Clayton and Cynthia Russell, Ed Klausner, Elizabeth Miller and I pushed the survey to over 7,000 feet with plenty be arriving in the early afternoon our plans were to address some of the small leads near the Washtub Entrance. The joint controlled nature of the cave has resulted in focusing on the main trunk passages and bypassing some of the more heinous leads. These tend to be gnarly crawls, pancake ceiling crawls or terribly tight canyons. For most of the surveys Dennis would read foresights, Brenda would be taking backsights, Clayton would give moral support and I would be sketching. We started just northwest of the Grand Junction in a ceiling level crawl that Dennis pushed to a tight left turn that continued to an overlook of the main passage for a total length of twenty one feet. Next to this lead was a pancake crawl that bridged over the main passage on a thin slab of breakdown. Dennis was able to maneuver through this crawl but Brenda and I took an easier route up a ladder in nearby domeroom. We
surveyed sixty feet in a jumble of massive breakdown that pinched down to a raccoon crawl. The ladder was toted over to another high lead above the Waterfall Junction where Dennis attempted to access an upper lead. While he struggled against some soupy mud Clay larval salamanders in two nearby pools of water. In December we had seen them when they were just tiny salamander eggs. Unfortunately there them so they will resort to cannibalforts were successful only in getting himself slimed. I checked out a cherty stream crawl for ten feet but move. Continuing down towards the Submarine Entrance we surveyed a seventy foot crawlway that pinched down. Our final work was in a canyon sidepassage that Clay had visited several years ago. Actually it was primarily Dennis doing the work because the rest of us were unable to negotiate the seven inch canyon squeeze. As he called out the information Brenda related it to me and I drew the sketch. A hundred feet were added to the recsage. All told we knocked off six leads and racked up over three hundred feet of survey. Cave fauna observed included two pipistrelles or tri colored bats (Perimyotis subflavus), three dozen larval salamanders (Eurycea sp.), two western slimy salamanders (Plethodon albagula or glutinosus) and numerous orb weavers (Meta ovalis). March 18, 2018 fast Clay, Dennis and I suited up for our big dig trip to bypass the Guad. Ever since my first trip of Three Forks Cave out the Guad passage I have dreamed of an easier route to avoid the three hundred feet of the waist deep guano/mud mixture. A GoPro video of that trip was shot by Dennis and captures the essence of the pasone who has experience the Guad postulates on how to conquer this foul to the east and had high hopes for a room where a dig might be fruitful. According to an old map it was less than thirty feet between the two and beyond the Guad today. In spite of the recent rains the any worse than any other trip. Upon arriving at the Double Stalactiflat Dennis shed his pack and slid down a mud slope on the west edge of the room to investigate the possibilities. His lack of enthusiasm was palpable and when he told us there was no chance of digging we were disheartened but not surprised. Resigned to surveying on this side of the Guad we packed up the shovels and crawled back to a pair of leads above the Muddy Maze. Starting at the top of a mud slope at Station M41 Clay shot foresights, Dennis was on point and I kept book. We shot twenty five feet in the first lead into a low balcony alcove. From Station M42 we attacked a low crawlway to the north heading toward the faith in the passage but we soldiered on sixty feet to an intersection where the left hand crawl opened up into respectable walking passage that trended 160 feet to the northwest to the Rimdirt Room. Before going to the Rimdirt Room we surveyed a narrow hands and knees crawl on the left to a formation choke and another crawl on the right that we were able to tie into the Elephant Room at Station ER17. Our day ended in the impressive twenty foot wide by forty foot long Rimdirt Room. A total cave length of five hundred twenty three feet was surveyed during our seven hour trip. No known leads remain in this area. A dozen larval salamanders (Eurycea sp.) were the only cave fauna noted today.
Adair County Caves Adair County, Oklahoma March 20, 2018 By: Mark Jones Don Cave After two days of crawling around Three Forks Cave we were ready for a change of pace so Clayton suggested that we survey Don Cave, a small cave nearby. In addition to surveying the cave we GPSed the entrance to accurately place it on a topo map. Hiking up to the top of the bluff we soon came upon a shallow twenty foot diame t e r s i n k h o l e w i t h a t e n f o o t w i d e breakdown slot entrance to the west. Today had Clayton serving as guide, Brenda reading foresights, Dennis on point and reading backsights and me keeping book. While the sandstone cap ceiling remained level the floor sharply dropped from six to eighteen feet high. The twenty entrance slope of small breakdown was covered in surface debris whereas the remaining main passage had large ceiling breakdown strewn around a clay floor. The twenty foot wide passage trended westerly for a hundred twenty feet and then made a sharp right turn for another twenty feet before abruptly terminating. Retreating to the entrance area Dennis wiggled down a dry drain crawl for another hundred feet. Total cave length was 266.2 feet. The cave fauna report included ten pipistrelles or tri colored bats (Perimyotis subflavus), an Ozark big eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii ingens), a cave salamander (Eurycea lucifuga), a western slimy salamander (Plethodon albagula or glutinosus), fifty camel crickets (Ceuthophilus sp.) and a cave webworm (Macrocera nobilis), a larva of the fungus gnat. Sand Cave Around the bluff a short distance from Don Cave, Dennis and I found and GPSed the hands and knees entrance crawl to Sand Cave. We were in a dusty crawl for thirty feet before it opened into a more respectable canyon. Our reconnoiter revealed four pipistrelles or tri colored bats (Perimyotis subflavus) but alas two were suffering from white nose syndrome (W.N.S.) (Pseudogymnoascus destructans). Three Forks Cave The final task undertaken for the day was to GPS the entrances of Three Forks Cave Breathing, Submarine, Washtub and Gargoyle. These locations will be put on a topo map along with the line plot of the cave to accurately portray the system on the map. It was another successful expedition for us in Oklahoma. Cook Cave Reynolds County, Missouri March 20, 2018 By: Mark Jones On my way back home I met up with Mick Sutton to evaluate the gate protecting Cook Cave in the Mark Twain National Forest in Reynolds County. Rather than risk getting bogged down in a mud pit we opted to hoof it from a parking area further up the road. A pleasant quarter mile hike along the river brought us to an expansive gravel outwash that is well used by the four wheeler crowd. Since the river hugged the bluff on the left side we waded across and continued downstream another quarter mile where we once again waded back across. The sixteen foot wide by six foot high mouth of Cook Cave abutting the river is an inviting distraction in the summer for the floaters. With a significant gray bat (Myotis grisescens) maternity colony the cave was gated many years ago to protect them. The ten foot tall fly over gate is located thirty feet under the dripline where the passage is twenty five feet wide by sixteen feet high. The ten foot vertical section of the gate appears to be stable but the expanded metal balcony has issues. Flooding over the years has deposited vast amounts of debris on the expanded metal causing it to rust and deteriorate. Several obvious holes entice those foolish enough to attempt to squeeze through. Temporary patches
have been made but a long term solution would be best. Measurements and photographs were taken to strategize a plan. Initially I had thought we would remove the old expanded metal and replace it with a thicker mesh but upon review I believe that we would have the same problem of rusting. A better option would be to replace the mesh with the the rest of the gate since the flood debris would not accumulate. The structural soundness of the entire gate would have to be inspected and possibly reinforced but it would be worth the effort. Dennis Novicky and I will return later this year to evaluate our options. Carlsbad Caverns Carlsbad Cavern National Park Eddy County, New Mexico April, 2018 By: Ed Klausner Lower Cave Lower Cave is a section of Carlsbad Cavern that I have been mapping for the past few years. In the hopes of finishing up at least part of the remaining leads, a number of CRF cavers planned a 6 survey day trip. Dave West would be working in the Music Room, Dwight Livingston in the Mystery Room and John Lyles in Lechugilla Cave and I would be working in Lower Cave. Elizabeth Miller, Karen Willmes, Chris Beck, Jeannette Muller, William Tucker, and Tim Bilezikian joined us and survey parties were changed daily depending on abilities and interest. For Lower Cave, I had 75 leads plus expect much survey as leads have proven to be a few stations at most. As the lead list dwindles, the difficulty of reaching the leads increases, the number of leads knocked off per day decreases and the pain inflicted by the small passages increases. For the first day, Elizabeth, Mark and Chris joined me in the Central Boneyard area of Lower Cave. Our first objective was 3 leads that proved to be too difficult a climb and too small a hole to get through. We spent quite a bit of time trying to find a different route, but finally decided the best way would be to look at the line plot in the evening and try a different route later in the week. There is, indeed, a different route and we succeeded reaching and surveying these leads later in the week. The second objective netted us 66.6 feet of new survey close to the tour trail in Lower Cave along the long loop. Next was a number of leads in the LH survey. This, too, proved to be difficult to reach as there was a difficult climb and the walls had few hand and footholds past 20 feet up and we had to go up at least 40 feet. This time, we were in luck and eventually found a different route (not trivial, but good hand and footholds. Chris Beck climbing to a lead in the Central Boneyard of Lower Cave. Photo by: Ed Klausner
It was too late to do these 5 leads so we went to a lead at LH170. This lead was looked at by Karen last June but she needed an etrier or at least a handline as she could not see the LH170 and not much room to get a good view of the hole. Elizabeth worked her way there but could not see the bottom. We made an etrier out of webbing and then tied this to a second piece of webbing, but Elizabeth could not see that it reached the bottom. I traded places with her but could not fit down the hole, my leg bones were too long to make a bend. This lead needs to be checked by small people with perhaps a harness or an etrier or a cable ladder. Since we had time left, we started replacing some of the flagging tape along the long loop of Lower Cave as requested by the park. We replaced 6 rolls worth of flagging tape and took the old, stiff flagging tape out with us. On the second day of the expedition, Jeannette Muller and William Tucker joined me on the alternate route to the leads that thwarted us the first day. We were able to complete three of the remaining leads. The first lead proved to be way too tight for us and for anyone in camp. trusions making the usable space considerably less. The second lead was small and we got four shots in before it became less than 6 inches wide. Lead three was the most successful one as we were able to tie into the old CFB survey and thus will be able to use it (the sketch looked good). Day three consisted of Elizabeth Miller and Karen Willmes joining me in one of the boneyard areas along the Lower Cave tour trail. This area is reached by climbing several levels through boneyard. There were 7 leads in the area. The first proved to have been already surveyed. The second led to 3 survey shots for 25 feet of new survey. The last shot was along a low (<1 foot) wide area that sloped down. At the far end there appeared to be a hole down, but with a have to go down head first to a hold The other two areas we surveyed did not add much footage, but the leads are off the list. We got 18 feet in one and 13 feet in the other. Finally, we left a lead that goes at least to survey this lead. It should be done by small people on the first or second day of an expedition. Finally, Elizabeth determined that the lead at Lower Cave trip were sore from the small passage with sharp protrusions plus Dave West needed help with the Music Room, so the Music Room became Beck, Jeannette Muller and me to the overlook to the Main Corridor where he wanted the length of the drop. Dave left us with a two way radio and worked his way down to the bottom of the overlook. We weighted the end of the tape with a battery attached with duct tape so we could throw it past the ledge below. Once Dave radioed that he was in place, we took two tries to get it past the ledge and taped it at 100 feet. We rejoined the rest of the group and me the notes for part of the MA survey. His notes had almost no floor detail, showed solid wall where there was actual passage, plus showed almost none of the ledges and ceiling changes. Chris and I spent several hours annotating the old sketch. We returned via the Guadalupe Room trail rather than the the way we came from On the 5th day of the expedition, Chris Beck, Jeannette, Mark Jones, Karen Willmes and William Tucker and Talcum Passage. This consisted of a corkscrew climb and then climbing some fixed ropes past four rebelays. Our plan was to split into two groups, one surveying and one checking leads. This worked well. We finished all seven leads in the Talcum Passage with 97.4 feet of new
survey. In addition, we did a cross section of the Talcum Passage to add to the map. We also finished four On the last day, Elizabeth Miller, Chris Beck and William Tucker joined me in the Nicholson Pit area of Lower Cave. We went to the balcony overlooking the lights out area of the Lower Cave long loop trail and found the rope up to a higher level. We corrected some of the sketch and then continued up the same rope to a higher alcove. There were two CFK survey stations there and we tied to them in two places so we could use the old survey (assuming the park has copies.) Finally, we continued to replace the flagging tape marking the long loop trail of Lower Cave at the Before the trip started, there were 75 leads, 8 re sketch areas and one cross section to do. We completed 21 leads, 2 re sketches and 1 needed cross section from previous survey and replaced much of the flagging tape along the long loop of the Lower Cave trail. Carlsbad Caverns April 7, 2018 By: Mark Jones For the first day of the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) Carlsbad expedition I joined Ed Klausner, Elizabeth Miller and Chris Beck in Lower Cave to do some lead checking along the Wild Cave Tour route. With the elevator out of commission we hiked down from the natural entrance at 8:30 a.m. arriving at the Lunchroom just after 9:00 a.m. Weaving around the flagged trail of Lower Cave in the Boneyard we reached the first objective at Station LDD10 in a thirty foot high slot canyon. While Ed consulted his notes Chris wedged himself up quite a way before running out of quality handholds. We pondered the connection between Station LDD23 and LDD54 for fifteen minutes before realizing that there was no way for all of us to make the climb without vertical gear. Retreating back to the trail we located a passage around Station LDD2 and were able to garner new survey. Ed was on book, Elizabeth shot the Disto X, Chris recorded the inventory and I set stations. This survey ran from LDD131 to LDD134 for a total of sixty six feet. The next leads were high in the Central Boneyard with some of the most convoluted passage in the cave. This confusing 3 D puzzle proves challenging for not only the survey team but also the cartographer (Ed). From Station LH1 Chris again scaled up another slot canyon to the right but again was stymied after twenty five feet. I climbed up to the left in the canyon to a balcony where the cave broke out into Swiss cheese passages radiating out. While I climbed up and around to the left Chris followed a meandering tube off to the Photo by: Ed Klausner
right. All I found were more surveyed convoluted crawls but Chris was able to access the lead area through a narrow canyon climb. Without enough time to address these leads we opted to push a small tube in one of my passages. Actually it would only be Elizabeth as it was too small for the rest of the team. Attempts to make either a voice or light connection with lower passages were both unsuccessful. To finish up the day we removed and replaced the aging flagging tape used to mark the trail. Six rolls of tape were used in this operation. Knowing entrance we started out at 3:30 p.m. bat flight. Upon returning to the house Ed researched his notes and was able find a better route out to the first lead beyond Station LDD54. Ed will be returning later this week to investigate these leads. April 8, 2018 To prepare for the Lechuguilla Cave trips later in the week seven of us met with Erin Lynch, a Carlsbad Caverns National Park cave technician, for an orientation and overview of the cave. During the meeting she coved to this precious resource. Once the meeting had broken up we split off for different objectives. I hiked down the natural entrance of Carlsbad Caverns to the Music Room area where I immediately saw the beth Miller and Karen Willmes. Dave was in the process of sketching the Last year Dave had succeeded in finmoving downward. This area of the cave has extensive boneyard passages tions so it is often difficult to deing. Sizing up the options Dave decided to finish the passages that connected into the lower level of the Music Room. With Dave sketching, Elizabeth doing inventory, Karen on point and me shooting the Disto X we set across a rather drab canyon that suddenly burst into an explosion of formations. Numerous photos were taken for the remainder of the survey. After tying into a station in the Music Room we followed the left wall until reaching the balcony overlook high above the tourist trail. Several small pools were scattered along the floor that were not present last year. Once this area was done we retreated back and surveyed yet another parallel crawlway that also popped into the Music Room at floor level. With time running down the survey was ended with even more leads than at the beginning of the day. Such is surveying in Carlsbad Caverns. Today we added 226 feet to the cave length. April 9, 2018 Lechuguilla Cave Eight excited cavers left at 8:00 a.m. to do some resurvey work around Glacier Bay in Lechuguilla Cave. The first crew led by Erin Lynch, a Carlsbad Caverns National Park cave technician consisted of Chris Beck, Tim Bilezikian and Dwight Livingston would be working in the upper level while the second team of John Lyles, Jamie Moon, Austin McCrary and me would be underneath in The Land Down Under. An easy mile hike in the high desert brought us to a break in the ridge where we put on our vertical gear for the first of several drops. The rocky floor gradually sloped down thirty feet to a rebelay that continued down as a free hang sixty feet to a detritus mound with a thirty foot pit off to the right. Avoiding the pit we detached from the rope to rerig a fifteen foot nuisance drop to the stainless steel airlock. A double door system allowed the air to equalize to access the cave beyond. Without this airlock it would be impossible to either close or open the door with the dramatic barometric pressure shifts that occur. A four foot diameter stainless steel tube angles down thirty feet into a short breakdown crawl.
For the next several hundred feet we were in undulating passage decorated with a bit of popcorn, flowstone and a few stalactites. Past the Liberty Bell flowstone mound we were on rope for another short nuisance drop quickly followed by another. Soon we were at Boulder Falls rigging zipped down in no time on my new stainless steel rack on the recently replaced 11 mil rope. Near the bottom I pendulumed over to a massive breakdown pile to avoid going down too far. We stashed our vertical gear for the return trip. Following the flagged trail in an expansive passage for a few minutes we soon arrived at the ceiling level of Glacier Bay. Here the cave opened up to a hundred feet wide by two hundred feet long and twenty feet high although these are deceiving numbers. Drill holes in the gypsum floor created random seventy foot pits leading to The Land Down Under. Our team continued along the flagged trail to a series of gypsum steps eroded by eons of dripping water. Down, down, down seventy feet to a tie in station where the survey gear was broke out. Jamie would be sketching, John would be doing the inventory, Austin would be reading foresights with the Disto X and I would be on point reading the compass/ clino. Our task would be to resurvey the CB survey in The Land Down Under using recovered stations and push any leads that we found. Using notes from the previous survey we were able to successfully tie in nearly all of the old stations. Navigating through the fragile gypsum proved to be difficult but we strove for the minimum impact in the passage. Other than along the walls there was plenty of vertical relief with the thirty to forty foot ceiling. Several gypsum crusted crawls were checked but one by one were knocked off. Although most of the room was dusty dry water trickled down a dark flowstone wall to a small pool. This water action had created cave pearls. A good lead was noted twelve feet above the floor in this area but was inaccessible without vertical gear. In the center of the room we were intrigued by a mound of flowstone formed by falling water. Peering up we could see a hole in the ceiling that led to the upper level. Austin and I worked our way back up top and quickly located the opening in the floor. Disto X readings of nearly a hundred feet from floor to ceiling and seventy feet from the rim of the pit to the floor were recorded. Two more pit connections were identified during the survey. Over five hundred feet of survey was achieved in The Land Down Under. After the survey borehole photographs were taken by Jamie. Our last objective was to hike out to The Rift to determine the feasibility of pushing a high lead. On the way we saw site balloons as well as more snow white gypsum. Photos of the lead showed that it is indeed possible to explore the upper boneyard lead. Nipping down to The Rift I was in awe of the sheer dimensions of this fracture one to eight feet wide but up to two hundred feet high! Rejoining the other team we returned to Boulder Falls, slipped into climb up. This was certainly the most exhausting aspect of the trip. I was never so happy to see John at the top of the rigging point. As others ascended Boulder Falls we slipped off to make the other climbs. John and I reached the entrance as dusk settled in at 8:00 p.m. with the others hot on our heels. A quick family picture was snapped and we were hustling down the trail to the vehicles. A fantastic introduction to a truly world class cave! April 11, 2018 Ed Klausner wanted to address some Caverns so he put together a team consisting of Chris Beck, Jeannette
Muller, William Tucker, Karen Willmes and me. An hour after entering from the Natural Entrance we were heading off trail in Lower Cave to squirm up a hundred feet through boneyard and up a series of four rebelays to Marest of us pushed the crawls. Four but alas none went. We finished with a cross Room before making our way over to the Talcum Passage in search of more cave. Most of the time we were searching for tie in points from which to find the leads. This effort garnered a sixteen foot crawl, a drop too delicate to drop, an unriggable drop and finally a twenty six foot shaft through a giant gypsum block to a lower level. Most likely these drops connect with Lower Cave. Another cross section was sketched before packing it in early and out the Natural Entrance at 5:30 p.m. April 12, 2018 Following breakfast two teams were ready to address more cave leads in Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Ed Klausner would be leading a group down to Lower Cave and Dwight Livingston would be heading the other team to below the Music Room. At 9:00 a.m. Dwight, Tim Bilezikian and me sauntered down to the Natural Entrance just beyond the twilight zone where we detoured off the trail to the right our objective. Before surveying we wandered over to The Music Room so that the others could marvel at the beauty of this room. It was well worth the time we spent here. We were surprised to find a lone pipistrelle or tri colored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) clutching the ceiling near Station MA32A. Back at Station MA3B8 we broke out the survey gear with Dwight on book, Tim reading foresights and me setting stations and reading backsights. The first shot was a nearly vertical reading down a slot canyon fifteen feet to a forty foot east west canyon in boneyard. Tim found a previous survey station in a parallel passage to the north but we decided to follow a dusty crawl in a hole down to the south. Almost immediately the crawl opened into roomy boneyard that continued sixty feet southwest to a spectacular balcony overlook of the Main Corridor. In this general area we discovered two more small balconies with equally impressive vistas. One of the balconies was a mere sixteen feet above the Main Corridor. As that just a few feet away for civilihere we followed the boneyard westerly forty feet in another dusty crawl that surprisingly popped into a long to find a nearby station (MA427) where we tied off for the day. With just under two hundred feet of survey we closed the book on a very productive trip. We exited the cave at a leisure pace and were back at the house at 3:00 p.m. April 13, 2018 While most of the expedition crew leaving Dwight Livingston and Tim Bilezikian were staying for another day of work in the Mystery Room of Carlsbad Caverns so I joined them for a bonus day of caving. After bidding adieu to the others we hiked down the Main Corridor of the Natural Entrance at 8:30 a.m. to the turn off to the soon at the ladder leading to the Mystery Room. There was a short traverse over to an overlook where we began chimneying and scrambling in undulating passage up a hundred foot mountain of breakdown where we began our day. Dwight sketched the east/ west running profile while we took Disto X shots. Ceiling distances varied from ten to one hundred fifty feet from the various stations scattered around the room. Four hours were spent on this endeavor with complete success achieved. The expedition wrapped up at 2:00 p.m. with high hopes to return soon.
Lava Beds Siskiyou County, California April 18 24, 2018 By: Ed Klausner Downflow Post Office Cave year old flow consisting of basalt from Mammoth Crater. I had also mapped Post Office and Silver Caves in a different flow because they are part of the Inventory and Monitoring program of the park system. The monument asked me to submit an application for a research permit to continue surveying the caves down flow of Post Office Cave. I did so and was given a research permit for this project as well. Dave West and I held a joint expedition to Lava Beds National Monument for six survey days. I worked on my two projects while Dave West worked on Balcony/Boulevard flow. We were joined by Elizabeth Miller, Karen Willmes, Mark Jones and Paul McMullen. Survey teams were determined by interest and ability each day. On day one, Elizabeth and Paul viously systematically walked the and surveyed all the caves in this section with the exception of three. One of them was Monument Road Cave and since it was cold and snow was predicted, this was our objective. of the parking areas in the monument. This cave goes under the monument road, but there was very little traffic and we never heard a vehicle above us. With 22 feet of overburden between the cave ceiling and the pleted the survey with 371.25 feet of in cave survey and 217 feet of surface survey. The surface survey we did was from the down flow entrance, back over the road to the monument (brass cap). The temperatures were dropping and it was snowing, so we headed back to the Research Center earlier than planned. On the second day of the expedition, Paul McMullen and Mark Jones joined me in a trip to Post Office Bridge to survey the cave and tie it into Post Office Cave for a running profile of the flow. We surveyed the cave for 461.4 feet of survey and then did a profile through the trench to the down flow entrance of Post Office Cave where we tied into a survey station at the dripline. Next, we surveyed over the top of Post Office Bridge to show the overburden on the profile view. We had time left, so we headed down Cave, Sconchin Cave and Sconchin Well. We also noted a cave beyond Schochin Well but it did not have a brass pin. Finally, we surveyed through he trench from the down flow entrance of Post Office Bridge to the up flow end of the tench that had the entrance to trench and a 100 required. In addition, there is a On day 3, Elizabeth, Mark and I rewent to Frogs and Ferns, the second of the three caves that needed to be surveyed in the area already searched for caves. We got 111.0 feet of survey. The last cave not surveyed from the previous systematic search was Stanolly Cave. We put in seven survey shots to map this 82 foot cave. With those out of the way, we continued the systematic search and found a new cave, Delta Cave, a 42.3 foot cave which we mapped. Finally, our systematic search led us to Arizona Cave. We started the survey but ran out of steam after 186.2 feet of survey. We left an easily recoverable station and planned on finishing the survey later in the week. On the way back to the car, we continued our systematic search and found another new cave, Flying Buttress Cave, which we did not survey. Day 4 was a great day for finding caves. On the way to Arizona Cave to
finish up, Mark, Paul and I found several new caves. Wake Up Cave was the first and we mapped it at 65.9 feet. We also found Sleight of Hand, Yet Another, and Skink Caves. Three of them were surveyed later in the day, after we finished Arizona Cave and its annex. We finished Arizona Cave with three survey shots, and then tied to the Annex with a 29 foot shot. The Annex was 62 feet of survey. Excitable Boy Cave was the most interesting, so we headed there next. It took eight survey shots and got 74.7 feet of survey. Sleight of Hand Cave required four survey shots for a total of 45.6 feet of survey. We tied it to Low And Slow Cave (5 survey shots for 70.1 feet of survey) with a single survey shot. With the arrival of John Tinsley Head Cave), Mark, Paul and I headed easy and we took a vertical shot from the up flow of the trench in front of was a cave there and we decided to investigate later in the day. Next we and put in five shots before we got too cold. Ceilings were 50 50 feet high and the passage was as wide as 70 feet. After lunch, we surveyed the trench to the up flow end and then started surveying the newly found in story, not the anatomical feature). We surveyed 158.4 feet and did not finish because we wanted to have Head and tie into the station we left on the bottom of the balcony. We conEd Klausner surveying at Lava Beds. Photo by: Mark Jones
tinued surface survey across the balcony and called it quits for the day. With only one day left of the expedition, it looks like the continued Tale Caves will have to wait for our next trip. On the last day of the expedition, Karen and Mark joined me to try to survey some of the caves we found on this expedition. Later in the morning, Bill Broeckel joined us and still later Karen and I returned to the Research Center while Bill and tinue mapping caves. Our first few noted leads were not long enough to be counted as caves. We then mapped a known cave that needed to be surveyed, Hooked Cave for 51.1 feet. We then mapped Easy Peasy Cave (45.1 feet), followed by turns out that Skink Cave is really Cave. Finally, we looked at a lead noted from a previous expedition and found that it was 74.6 feet, so we surveyed it and named it Little Critter Cave for the small, white, winged insects that we found on the wet mud near the back of the cave. Karen and I left and found another cave on the way to the parking area. pedition. Mark and Bill found B cave (no monument, but it was in the correct location on noted in the past). They got 167.6 feet of survey. Finally, they surveyed Flying Buttress Cave at 65.2 feet. It was a good trip with 18 caves surveyed (two not complete) and ten of them newly found caves. We hope to return in the fall. April 18, 2018 Thorny Situation Cave By: Mark Jones After a day of recuperating at the Cave Research Foundation Research Center of Lava Beds National Monument we were ready to trek in search of lava tubes to survey and inventory. With nasty weather forecast we opted to avoid being exposed to the wind and snow. Ed Klausner took Elizabeth Miller and Paul McMullen up to MonuThis large lava tube would require at least a day to survey. Meanwhile Dave West would be leading Karen Willmes and me to some smaller surface tubes were out the door at 9:00 a.m. and soon wandering about the lava field looking for a crawlway entrance to a lead from last year. Dave found the entrance and quickly determined that it was less than a body length, so we noted that information and moved on. The second lead was a surface tube ceiling collapse that was worthy of a survey. Dave kept book, Karen set stations and read backsights and I shot foresights with the Disto X. A thorn bush at the entrance gave the cave its name Thorny Situation Cave. From the narrow ceiling collapse opening we crawled twenty feet downflow to another ceiling collapse entrance where two splay shots were taken in low pancake rooms. Returning to the upflow entrance we took two more shots upflow to a terminal ceiling collapse. Total survey length was 88 feet. Little Pillar Cave Following lunch Dave, Karen and I Mouth Cave in search of more leads to survey. Fifteen minute later Dave had located three entrances. We decided to begin with the entrance furthest downflow and work out way back. A brass cap was discovered above the labeled FHWA 2308 Denver Colorado. Karen soon found a yellow rectangular identification tag stating it was property of Federal Highway Administration, Direct Construction, 555 Zang St., Denver, Colorado. This made feet from the road. Obviously this surface tube became FHWA Cave. Once again Dave kept book, Karen set stations and read backsights and
I shot foresights with the Disto X. Tying into the brass cap we surveyed into a narrow ceiling collapse entrance that terminated thirty feet downflow as a wide pancake passage and continued in a roomier crawl upflow. The flow widened but alas there was no vertical relief. The pumice floor made for a nice change from the sharp breakdown crawl but after twenty feet we were bellycrawling with lavacicles poking our backs. About this time the temperature dropped significantly and snow began to fall. A pair of skylight openings offered an exit to only the smallest of our party (Karen) but she continued past a squeeze upflow another thirty feet before being denied by breakdown near the upflow entrance pinch. I retreated out of the cave and found the upflow opening where we finished the woodrat (Neotoma sp.) scat were noted in the crawls. As we closed the book on FHWA Cave the snowfall obscured nearby Schonchin Butte, it was time to call it a day. Addendum: Unfortunately this cave was already named Little Pillar Cave although I like our name better. April 19, 2018 Post Office Bridge Cave For the second day of the Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) Lava Beds National Monument expedition Ed Klausner would be leading Paul McMullen and me downflow of Post Office Cave to begin the survey of the significant lava tubes in the trench. Our first objective would be to survey Post Office Bridge Cave. We searched in vain for the brass cap Down Flow Post Office Bridge Cave. Photo by: Ed Klausner
of the small room above. A popcorn decorated lava tube trended to the north down a steady slope leading to a basement level. About this time we were getting cold so we tied off the survey with plans to return later this week. A total of 186 feet of survey was garnered during our visit. Plenty of woodrat (Neotoma sp.) scat was observed in this cave. April 21, 2018 found a crack in a surface tube that may or may not lead to more cave. Ed was unable to squeeze through so we GPSed the entrance for those of smaller stature and moved on. While beating the sagebrush Paul and I had wandered unintentionally beyond Arizona Cave. This serendipitous mistake resulted in some great discoveries. First I fumbled across the skylight entrance to a surface tube. A quick peek revealed a pancake crawl that we named Low & Slow Cave. Not twenty feet away was a dome collapse with passage beyond that we called Sleight of Hand Cave. Hiking past a couple of old junipers I found an interesting cave that got me wound up so I called it Excitable Boy Cave. Meanwhile Paul located a tight bellycrawl just over the hill that became finding virgin caves was getting to be stale so five minutes later when I found the next cave I simply called it Yet Another Cave. A hundred feet A Pleasure Cave. Not fifty feet from here was the last new cave for the morning that was named Skink Cave for the western skink (Eumeces skiltonianus) hanging out at the entrance. cause he was getting the GPS readings while Paul and I were zipping around. Exhausted from discovering all these new caves we settled down and hiked over to Arizona Cave to complete yesoff as many of these caves as we can after completing the Arizona Cave survey. Arizona Cave At Arizona Cave we slipped down to the last station from the previous survey where we started down a lava tube slope. Unfortunately the magnetism of the rock was giving my Disto X a fit with wonky readings. Eventually Paul and I solved the problem and were able to take the last three shots to a mound of gnarly clinker that clogged the tube. Back on the surface we surveyed from the Arizona Cave brass cap across the dome collapse to a small annex. Although no longer connected with Arizona Cave it will be included with that map. Towork Arizona Cave clocks at nearly Excitable Boy Cave With Arizona Cave completed I wanted to explore Excitable Boy Cave so we strolled over to survey this new find. Ed was on book, Paul was on point and I read foresights. From the five foot diameter main ceiling collapse entrance we climbed down into a small room with an eight foot high lava fall that dropped to a basement where the passage continued as a floor level bellycrawl for another ten feet. An interesting feature in this area was a two inch thick sheet of lava tube lining that had separated from the wall and was suspended above the floor. Back at the main entrance we surveyed a dusty crawl past a porthole blowing cold air. Too small for a person to negotiate, the hole opened into a room seven feet beneath us. With no hope of reaching this room we moved on. Eight feet later we passed an intersection where some creature had stuffed large sticks into the sidepassage. A cool breeze wafted from this direction but the sticks were so thick it was impossible to remove them without raising a cloud of dust/scat. We finished at a surface tube that intersected at a right angle with openings on either end. A total of 75 feet was added to a very interesting cave. There was no short-
age of woodrat (Neotoma sp.) scat in these passages. Sleight of Hand Cave Knowing that there was no way to today we focused on Sleight of Hand Cave and Low & Slow Cave since they were in the direction of the car. Since it was a short surface tube Sleight of Hand Cave only required Ed on book and me on Disto X to inventory. In the meantime Paul wandered about the surface in search of more booty. A short crawl extended upflow a short distance from a partial dome collapse and continued down a steep slope as an easy hands and knees crawl terminating at a lava pinch. Sleight of Hand Cave took four shots to inventory for a total of 45 feet. Woodrat (Neotoma sp.) scat was noted in this cave. Low and Slow Cave The last survey of the day was at what I thought would be a slam dunk a short vertical shot with a shot to the southwest and a shot to the northeast. But we were soon to be surprised by this surface tube. After the three foot vertical shot from the skylight collapse it all fell apart. The bellycrawl to the southwest belled out into a sixteen feet diameter room with tiny surface tube windows scattered throughout. I assumed the northeast bellycrawl terminated in the same fashion but further investigation proved that it continued much further. In fact at the lower end of the tube Paul shone his light down a ceiling crack nearly fifty feet from the entrance. Low & Slow Cave lived up to its name but it did tap out at an impressive seventy feet. Cave will have to wait for another day to be surveyed. We swept the area for more caves on the hike out and found another possible small lead not full of surprises. April 22, 2018 Dragon Head Cave Ed Klausner wanted to return to the Post Office Flow to begin surveying Dragon Head Cave so Paul McMullen and I joined him on this endeavor. Armed with the normal survey gear we also stuffed vertical gear into our packs down into the lava trench. Anchoring the rope on a sturdy juniper we suited up and were soon on the floor of the trench amid a jumble of breakdown. First we tied into the surface with vertical shots from either end of the flow before starting the cave survey. Ed was on book, Paul on point setting stations and reading backsights and I would be reading foresights with the Disto X. The sixty foot wide by thirty foot high passage trended easterly over a breakdown floor that taxed many rocks that Paul suggested that Ed use a rock stamp to save time. While Ed was occupied drawing Paul and I poked around the edges for side we did locate the Dragon Head moniker written in green paint. Not far into the cave several mounds of amberrat were noted. Amberrat is the result of woodrat (Neotoma sp.) urine crystallizing into black goo that hardens over the years to resemble asphalt. Not the most appealing find for the day. One hundred reached a narrow thirty foot long slot opening in the ceiling leading to a balcony overlook from an upper level collapse. At one time the Civilian Conservation Corp (C.C.C.) had constructed a thirty foot ladder/ tower down from the overlook as well as a trail deeper into the cave. Wire, nails and wood from the structure were strewn about the floor intermixed with bone fragments from unfortunate animals that had fallen into the cave. Just past the balcony skylight the floor fell fifteen feet in a boulder breakdown funnel that spanned the passage. We tied off the last station where the massive pas-
sage constricts down to ten feet high causing a venturi effect on the air and chilling out the sketcher. We surveyed 285 feet with plenty left to do. Beyond here the C.C.C. trail meanders into a huge dome room with a sixty foot ceiling begging the questrail suddenly ends a hundred feet later at a wooden barricade with the ABRUPT END DANaround the hurdle to investigate a sizable pit. The Disto X revealed that it is forty feet deep and extends a considerable distance. It appears that it can be entered down a steep slope although a hundred foot hand line may be in order. (The sixty extra feet is to insure a proper anchor point among the floor of breakdown debris.) Two unidentified bats were observed flying in this area. Following our adventure in Dragon Tale Cave (see next report) we did a surface survey 130 feet from the brass cap of Dragon Head Cave over to the skylight entrance. A twenty foot drop shot put us in position to tie into a station below the skylight. All these measurements will flesh out the map making it more useful and recognizable for park personnel and researchers. Dragon Tale Cave After a lunch break in the trench we did a profile survey of the trench up flow to the far end where a thirty foot section of ceiling of the trench separated it from the trench collapse on the other side. With less than thirty feet of horizontal between the feet of survey. Upon approaching the dripline it was obvious that we could get at least fifty feet along the edge of the shelter to a balcony alcove plus there was a crawlway amidst the breakdown. Retaining the same survey assignments Paul struck out on point. Following some issues with magnetism affecting the Disto X we shot into the breakdown crawl for what we all assumed would be a terminal shot. Au contraire, Paul popped into a roomy intersection with a ten foot pit on the left, a breakdown room ahead and a rubble corridor on the right. The pit dropped down to a rock choke but the Disto X revealed that it continued another ten feet but was not accessible. The breakdown room also shut down abruptly after fifteen feet with light streaming it through several gaps in the breakdown, obviously the down flow collapse of the other trench. The rubble corridor was another story; it split with an upper crawl on the right wrapping around back out to a large balcony with a nice view of Dragon Head Cave down flow and a lower crawl on the left. Slaloming through the breakdown Paul found himself at yet another intersection, only it was even roomier! The passages follow the wall of the lava tube with large breakdown forming the other wall. Resigned to the fact that there was much more cave to do we opted to tie off to return at a is currently at 167 feet, not bad for an obvious cave that was not on the cave list. As with most caves woodrat (Neotoma sp.) scat was found throughout our survey. April 23, 2018 Easy Peasy Cave a.k.a. Thomas Run Cave Ed Klausner wanted to get as many of the caves found this past week surveyed so to that end Karen Willmes and I joined him in that endeavor. We started with a cave found on a previous expedition to the east of reconnoitered it I commented on how easy peasy it would be Ed latched onto it for the cave name. Ed would be sketching, Karen would be on point setting stations and I would be shooting the Disto X. A roomy hands and knees crawl entrance slopes down twenty five feet to a lower belly crawl entrance where the tube takes a sharp right turn for another twenty -
five feet before running out of steam. A small skylight opening availed itself to a humorous photo shot Ã la Thing from The Addams Family. Woodrat (Neotoma sp.) scat was the only sign of cave faunal usage. Addendum: While looking at the data later Ed found that this cave was already named Thomas Run Cave. Little Critter Cave Paul McMullen had discovered another tight entrance tube not far from Hook Cave just a few days ago that he thought might qualify for surveying so Karen wiggled in and quickly announced that it was a worthwhile venture. It was a bit tight for me but Ed had no issue squirming through the breakdown. The first impression once in the foyer crawlway was that there sure was a lot of mud in this cave. Mud is normally not found in Lava Beds simply which to become mud. A thick, brown paste similar to Missouri mud stuck to my kneepads and clothes. There were two crawlway options with the one on the right pinching down to a gnarly floor while on the left a tube lined in pahoehoe broke out into a sizable alcove. Once again there was plenty of mud coating the floor. In fact Karen found some interesting 1 mm bugs that were right at home. Photos were taken to assist in identifying them later. The only other sign of life were several spider (Theridiidae sp.) pumice encased eggs hanging by a thread from the ceiling. Evidently this cave is too wet for woodrats. Total footage was a respectable 75 feet, none too bad compared with some nearby caves. Addendum: The 1 mm critters were springtails (Tomocerus sp.), a hexapod (six legged) distributed throughout the world. Flying Buttress Natural Bridge Cave Ed and Karen decided to return to the Research Center to pack up their things for their departure tomorrow so with plenty of daylight Bill and I continued on our quest of mapping sory sweep of the ground on our way to the Flying Buttress Natural Bridge but did give us a better understanding and appreciation of the flow. With a GPS waypoint taken a few days ago we had no trouble walking right to the cave. Bill assisted with the shots while I sketched. This was another surface tube with more openings than cave but we did register 67 feet of survey. The most prominent feature is a flying buttress (duh) supporting one wall. Glaeser X B Cave On our way to Flying Buttress Natu r a l B r i d g e C a v e B i l l s p i e d a k n o w n but undocumented cave on our list Glaeser X B Cave. Since our last surthis would also be a cinch. A small skylight entrance dropped down to an easy hands and knees crawl with breakdown windows just upflow and going cave to the north. A twenty foot alcove to the left distracted us from the main flow for just a few minutes. The pahoehoe floor gently sloped away from the ceiling giving us a short bit of actual walking passage. That soon came to a screeching halt and we were back down on our knees. Ahead the tube appeared to be closing in but Bill wanted to make sure so he inched his way forward only to discover that instead of terminating it opened back up! In fact after twenty feet of belly crawling the floor fell six feet at a nice lava cascade resulting in a nine foot ceiling. Alas definitely quit twelve feet later in a lava drain. Rather than a run of the mill surface tube we ended up with a respectable 167 foot cave. Satisfied with ourselves we called it a day and headed for the Research Center for the last communal meal of the expedition. April 24, 2018 Starfish Cave With everyone else leaving for parts unknown it was down to Bill
Broeckel and me for the final day of the April 2018 Cave Research Foundation (C.R.F.) Lava Beds National Monu m e n t e x p e d i t i o n . E d h a d e n t r u s t e d u s with surveying Starfish Cave in scour the trench for other cave possibilities. Again we set a course across the lava field in hopes of turning up other unknown caves. The and down clinker slopes and the general difficulties brought to mind a book at the Research Center that i l e g e t o v i s i t n e a r l y e v e r y s q u a r e case then we should contact him for all of the lava tube locations. Trench where Bill led us directly to the breakdown entrance along the wall of the trench. He had found this cave last year and wanted to be part of the survey. Bill would be on book and I would be setting stations and reading the Disto X. The first shots were down a rocky climb twenty feet to a respectable talus room with a breakdown squeeze leading to another room. I wiggled through the constriction and was flabbergasted to be in walking passage that extended over seventy feet! We were giddy with excitement until my light caught the reflection of an aluminum tag etched that anyone else had taken our route and no light could be seen ahead. To solve this riddle I reconnoitered ahead a hundred feet where I found a sliver of light shining down from had found a backdoor into this well known cave. Discouraged at this revelation we continued with the survey to the mainflow where we set a cairn to tie into the future. A look at the current map will help us decide how much (if any) of our survey is new. During our survey we heard a woodrat (Neotoma sp.) scolding us from afar. The extensive piles of scat everywhere in the passage attest to its popularity with woodrats. Addendum: Ed Klausner referred to found that we had added fifty feet of tag. This will be incorporated in the new map. April 25, 2018 Skull Cave After closing up the Research Center I had plenty of time to wander around Lava Beds National Monument so I struck off to have a look at caves in the Mammoth Crater Flow south of Schonchin Butte. Starting at Skull Cave I waltzed down the well designed Civilian Conservation Corp (C.C.C.) rock stairway and trail built back in was in a forty to sixty foot diameter lava tube before reaching the staircase that descended forty feet past a natural bridge to the lower level. The temperature dropped significantly on the way down. Further exploration is denied at the bottom by a bat gate to prevent damaging the ice deposits beyond. This is an excellent example of a significant lava tube that is open to the public. Big Painted Rock Cave Next on my agenda was a stop at Big Painted Rock Cave where an informative National Park Service sign explained the importance of this site to the Native Americans. A rock stairway descended into a large lava tube trench collapse of breakdown rock. The trail continued into a forty foot diameter lava tube and wound around two hundred feet to the back wall where a small hole led to a lower level. An encouraging breeze blew out of this hole but since this is a sensitive site I did not continue. pictographs but on the rebound I was able to discern a handful of them on some of the larger breakdown blocks. Without the benefit of the signage at the entrance I would have been hard pressed to find them on my own. Symbol Bridge
Symbol Bridge was the final cave on this trail and it was certainly the most impressive. Again an N.P.S. sign proved helpful in enlightening visitors with the value placed on this site by the Native Americans. As I climbed down the rock stairway I spotted a dead chipmunk (Neotamias sp.) in the middle of the trail, assuming that it could have succumbed to hantavirus I took a picture and moved on. The entrance of Symbol Bridge was yet another large opening probably thirty feet in diameter with a similar feel to Big Painted Rock Cave. Unlike that cave the pictographs here were very distinct and easy to identify. Each wall near the entrance had an extensive panel of prominent pictographs. I spent fifteen minutes photographing these exquisite drawings. As I was preparing to leave a young woman and her father in law appeared at the lip of the trench. We were exchanging pleasantries as I was climbing the stairs when I heard a distinct rattle. There amongst the rocks above the stairs was a two foot long rattlesnake! It has over a dozen common names and locally it is known as a western rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis). He was not happy! Thankfully he let us know he was there. By about now my little brain was connecting the dots and the presence of the irate rattlesnake and the dead chipmunk were not unrelated. Evidently chance to swallow his prey and wanted meal. We gave this venomous pit viper a wide berth and departed without incident. Fleener Chimney To cap off my Lava Beds experience for the week I drove up to the Fleener Chimneys where I picnicked before ascending the rock stairway up past the forty foot long Dragons Mouth lava tube to the base of the chimneys. Flow this impressive mound of lava was formed during the last gasp of the eruption. Although there are very few known caves from this flow the three chimneys have some vertical entrances that drop down thirty to forty feet into some small rooms. According to an informational sign visi t o r s t h r e w r o c k s a n d t r a s h i n t o these holes until they were filled to group of volunteer cavers removed thirty five tons of material one bucket at a time from just a single chimney! A fine overview of both the Trench is afforded from this vista. Ed Klausner has a lot of territory to cover just to reach this point. Shasta Trinity National Forest Siskiyou County, California April 26, 2018 By: Mark Jones Roadside Complex Cave #1 Bill Broeckel and I set off on a beautiful sunny day with high hopes of surveying a few caves in the Shasta Trinity National Forest in Siskiyou County. Our itinerary had to be very flexible due to the unknown factor of road closure due to snow. Bill was surprised that we got quite a ways up to Medicine Lake before the snow curtailed our drive. Retreating just a bit down the road we parked just above the Roadside Complex Caves to survey a nearby cave. While Bill was suiting up I zipped on over to the caves to have a peek. Numerous sizable openings and collapses of a related flow had created at least six distinctive caves. I crawled around Cave #1 and found it to be quite accommodating with a couple hundred feet of passage and several interesting features. Piglets Cave & Warthog Cave vey a fascinating deflated dome where he had found a respectable little cave he called Warthog Cave. He was unable to investigate the other holes along the wall and wanted to see what they did. The deflated dome was thirty feet in diameter and fifteen feet deep with sheer walls all around save
a breakdown slope to the south. Scrambling down to the floor we decided to start with a rocky bellycrawl to the east. Bill would be on book while I set stations and shot the Disto X. This insignificant crawl wrapped around the edge of the dome thirty feet to an ice covered floor and exited in another rocky bellycrawl. To the southeast we found two more associated entrances that also piddled out after a few shots for a grand total of 83 feet. Dissatisfied with this outcome we slipped on over to Warthog Cave that actually was a fine little cave that was basically an elongated room along the perimeter of the deflated dome. Little popcorn bumps along the wall gave the cave its name and seasonal ice features added a nice touch. Eleven Pillars Cave Intent on stopping by a thousand foot lava tube up flow we were hiking back to the car when both Bill and I became interested in a couple of openings into a blobby surface tube. Poking our heads into separate entrance we discovered that there was enough passage to survey so we delayed our trip up flow to knock off this cave. From a third entrance we discovered we set out to define the outer limits and fill in the middle. Weaving around counterclockwise in a very grabby gnarly crawl we were certainly surprised when we encountered several pillars dividing up the room. I pushed the survey until I deemed it prudent to retreat for both my sake and the sake of the formations. The Disto X works fabulously in defining distant walls as well as their azimuth in these situations. Eventually we tied in four separate entrances and finished at a tight belly crawl pancake room that I had announced terminated. I took some Disto X shots, exited the cave and waited for Bill to join me. While outside I wandered over to a little lava bridge. (see next report) Twenty minutes later Bill finally comes out and informs me that the tight bellycrawl continues a substantial distance! With dinner waiting we opted to close the book for today and Bill will return at a later date. A post trip analysis lars and mapped 359 feet and counting. We never did make it to the big cave up flow. Pillars Cave While waiting for Bill to finish sketching Eleven Pillars Cave I bopped over to check out a nearby lava bridge. As I stood on the bridge I spied a surface tube collapse that looked awful suspicious. What I found was a larger twin to Eleven Pillars Cave seventy feet away. This surface tube had more hands and knees crawling and less belly crawling with all sorts of interesting features. This cave may have six hundred feet or good day of surveying to account for all of the alcoves, pillars and rooms hidden here. Oregon Caves Oregon Caves National Monument Josephine County, Oregon April 27, 2018 By: Mark Jones I had been invited to the S.A.G. Shasta Area Grotto April meeting along the northern California coast on Saturday and will no direct road there from Yreka I drove up into Oregon to swing around from the north. (The other option was to swing in wide from the south.) One of the bene f i t s o f t h i s r o u t e w a s t h a t I c o u l d take a twenty mile detour to visit Oregon Caves National Monument. This is truly a destination attraction since it is located at the end of the road near the top of a mountain. With no time constraints the winding road proved to be quite fun with no other vehicles but I imagine in the summer it could be quite hectic with traffic. From the parking lot it was a thousand feet walk up to the Visitor Center and ChÃ¢teau. The beautiful four story century old ChÃ¢teau was being renovated to restore it to its former
glory. The hotel and dining room are scheduled to be open the first of May until it closes for the season in October. I paid $10.00 for the ticket and just made the 10:00 a.m. cave tour which was assembling in the foyer. A group of fifteen tourists listened intently as the ranger explained the basics and gave a general overview of the tour. A short hike up a gentle slope brought us to a bridge over a rushing stream emanating from the marble entrance. A chilly wind blew out dropping the temperature of the cave dramatically from the ambient temperature outside. Ascending a series of steps we followed the concrete trail through some decorated rooms to a tunnel cut through to an airlock. This barrier had only been installed in the past few years to return the air exchange to a more natural flow. Back in a canyon passage we soon arrived at an upper level adit which was the halfway point in the tour. No one opted out here so we continued down into The Signature Room where the original tour ended. An intrepid guide a century ago decided to enlarge a small hole in the floor to access the nicest section of the cave. Once the passage was enlarged a trail was laid out for the tour. BeRoom and Paradise Lost all areas that exemplify the beauty of marble caves. Especially interesting in the Ghost Room was a nine inch crack in the marble that lava intruded along with sulfide minerals. These sulfides mixed with water and bacteria to form sulfuric acid which etched out the marble to create the chamber. Cave fauna observed on the trip included a few unidentified bats (Myotis sp.) and an indigenous harvestman (Leiobunum sp.). This half mile tour was certainly worth my time and money. If in the area when the with a cave trip to enhance the experience.
Photo Gallery Top: Cave Pearls in Lower Cave. Bottom: Karen Willmes labeling a station in Lower Cave. Photos by: Ed Klausner
Top: The Music Room in Lower Cave. By: Ed Klausner Bottom: Mark Jones and Ed Klausner at Lava Beds. By: Paul McCullen
Top: Ed Klausner at Lava Beds. Bottom: Lava Beds. Photos by: Mark Jones
Top: Elizabeth Miller at Lava Beds. Bottom: Ed Klausner surveying at Lava Beds. Photos by: Mark Jones