March 21, 2008


Pat Sims                       Al Stewart                     Mary Sue Socky            Doug Feller

Susan Burr                    Dave Socky                   Carl Alls                        Trish Geiger

   Carl Cornett                   John Layman                 Cameron Hall


Pat Sims (VC) was acting Chair in Marian McConnell’s absence.  



2/23/2008: BRG Trip to Clark’s Cave, VA.  Doug Feller, Susan Burr, Pat Sims

They went straight down the cliff, found all SIX entrances, and had fun popping in and out of most of the entrances.  Susan said she always knew where she was.  Doug had a compass, just in case.  Climbing out with no vertical gear was a bitch.


2/23/2008:  BRG trip to Lightner Entrance of McClungs Cave, WVa.  Dave Socky, Carl Cornett, Rick Shortt.  They had a good 12-hour trip back to the Wind Tunnel, and beyond. 


3/1/2008:  Grand Caverns Weekend.  Mary Sue Socky worked with Carol Tiderman and Anya Crane, picking up broken light bulbs “off trail” in Grand Caverns.  Susan Burr & Pat Sims hiked up to Fountain Cave to help the Biggers Clan with their ongoing dig.


3/8/2008:  Cole Frantz, Rick Shortt and Leanne Barley went to James Cave, VA.  This was Cole’s first time in James Cave, & she enjoyed it.  5 hour trip. The cave was nicely decorated in areas, &was in good shape.  No vandalism, graffiti, or garbage.  They found some testing machine/rain gauge connected to stalactites in the cave!  (Dave Socky said it is a Ben Schwartz & CCV study to find how fast water percolated down through the cave. 



3/22/2008 – Susan Burr, Rick Shortt and Dave Socky lead a trip in Crossroads Cave, VA. 

3/22-23/2008 – Meredith Hall Johnson and Andy Reeder head up the Grand Caverns Annual Conservation/Restoration weekend.

4/5-6/2008 - Grand Caverns project. Contact Carol Tiderman &reserve a slot.

June 5-8, 2008.  Spring VAR/SERA, Bristol, TN. 


NEXT MONTH”S BRG TRIPGrapevine Pit/Lost World Caverns, WVa.  VERY EASY 120’ VERTICAL DROP onto commercial tour deck in cave.  Susan will make the contact with owner, and talk with Steve Silverberg about VAR Conservation work in the commercial cave. Trish Geiger recommends using walkie talkies to coordinate rappel and ascending.  (NOTE:  Bring BRG VOC headsets for the rappel.)


Alternate trip: in case of rain, will go to Poor Farm Cave, Greenbrier Co. WVA.  Susan Burr will make contact calls.


PROGRAM:  NSS DVD  “Hellhole”.   We could not get the program to play on the Firehouse DVD.  It played on Trish’s laptop, but we could not get sound.  Oh well.


Members DID vote for their “Favorite Five” of the 2007 CARBIDE DUMP covers.  The top five covers will be entered in the Graphic Arts Salon at the 2008 NSS Convention in FLA.  (See attachment)




TREASURER  3/21/08

General Fund       $ 4963.89

Conservation        $   476.09

Equipment Fund $    321.00

Cave Bucks         $     67.30

 Total:    $ 5,828.28


Committee Reports:


Newsletter:  Send in your artwork, photos, and articles.  Al Stewart complained that the February DUMP had January headers on each page.  Susan Burr complained that the March DUMP’s treasurer report was listed as January.  What do these people have against January??? We spelled it correctly!  Postage will be rising by 1 cent in May 2008. 

Membership:  Membership packets were handed out at the meeting.  Remaining packets will be mailed.  Extra copies of the BRG Membership List and Constitution are available at the front desk. 

ROCKS: Dave Socky, Doug Feller, Randy Michael, Mary Sue Socky checked out 4 caves in Botetourt Co. VA.  Previously numbered caves now have names.  Doug and Dave surveyed 65’ deep Black Forest Shaft, and “checked out” the others. 

S&T:  No report

Conservation: vacant

Ways & Means: vacant


Membership Proposals

Nothing tabled, nothing new.  NSS Membership brochures are at the front desk.

Cameron Hall paid his 2008 dues.  His contact info will be printed in the April DUMP (He missed the cutoff date for the membership list – sorry!). 



·         All Haunted Cave funds have been sent out to the various organizations.

·         BRG Website: The new website is AWESOME!  Check it out!

·         ICS donation:  BRG took out a ¼ page advertisement for $100.00, BRG logo will be listed in the ICS 2009 program. 

·         NCRC Cave Rescue – 2008 mini rescue info sheets have been distributed.  Note new numbers!  The BRG Call Down Lists have been updated for 2008, with those important new numbers.  The “Big” Lists will be given out to the BRG call down folk (Randy Michael, Al Stewart, Dan & Marian McConnell, Mary Sue Socky). 

·         July 26, 2008  Va Museum of Natural History Family Fun Festival.  BRG will be represented; Marian McConnell and Mary Sue Socky will attend.


Hosting Fall VAR 2008 (Susan Burr) Site is Covington Moose Lodge.  Date:  Sept. 19-21.  BRG and JRG are co-hosting the 2008 Fall VAR. 

  • Susan still needs to do a final walkthrough with the Moose people and sign the contract.
  • April-May: time to contact cave owners, get permission for led trips.  We Still Need Volunteers to lead cave trips!
  • Need an after dinner program/guest speaker.  (D. Socky recommended Phil Lucas, Ben Schwartz, Wil Orndorff as guest speakers)
  • Does anyone have access (through work) to some door prizes for Fall VAR?
  • Pre-registrants for Fall VAR can sign up for cave trips when they pre-register.  (“Give us your first, second, and third choices…”)  A few spaces on the trips will be held open for latecomers…
  • There is a snag with the “JRG Tree Climbing Class”.  Class may require a fee…
  • JRG also wants to make, sell T-shirts.  BRG does not want to (pain in the ass, money pit).  Purchasers will have to make a separate check to James River treasury. 


White Nose Syndrome (WNS)   Virginia Cave Board prefers it be called WHITE NOSE CONDITION (“syndrome” sounds contagious).  Scientists still DO NOT know what is sickening, killing the bats, or how it is spread.  VA Cave Board made a “vanilla” statement about WNC.  Please see websites, etc. to stay up to date on what has been found, and current proper caver “gear cleaning” recommendations. 



  • None (* see last minute request below)




  • Thank You letters from WVCC, ACCA, VSS, NSS, etc. for BRG’s generosity with Haunted Cave funds. 
  • 2008 SERA/VAR brochures, describing the upcoming weekend in June 2008.
  • NCRC Weeklong Preregistration May 3-10, 2008, Mentone, AL.

ANNOUNCEMNTS (continued)


  • NSS Convention 2008 (Lake City FL) Aug. 11-15, 2008 registration info.
  • Clean Valley Day April 5, 2008.  Does anyone want to do a cleanup somewhere? 


*Last Minute request:  Dave Socky enticed the cavers to “re-enact” a meeting so he would have footage for his ICS video.  15 minutes later…FINALLY…


Meeting ended 8:45p.


Minutes submitted by

Mary Sue Socky

Secretary, Blue Ridge Grotto.







Attachment 1:

VCB statement




  • The Virginia Cave Board supports the scientific studies being undertaken to determine the cause of "white nose" in bat populations.
  • The Cave Board endorses the on-going policy of seasonal closure of caves where large numbers and/or legally protected species of bats are hibernating or have summer maternity or bachelor colonies, as identified by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
  • The Virginia Cave Board encourages cavers to follow gear disinfecting protocols between cave trips.
  • The Cave Board asks that cavers, in the normal course of caving, report any bat mortality, anomalous behaviour, unusual appearance, or high bat concentrations to Rick Reynolds at the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (, 540-248-9386).





Attachment 2

Voting for the Favorite Five DUMP covers of 2007:






Everyone vote for their “Favorite 5” CARBIDE DUMP newsletter covers from 2007 at the upcoming March 21 BRG meeting.  We have some winners here!  The top picks will be sent in to the NSS Graphic Arts Salon in Lake City, FL. 


3   Jan ’07  Dante’s Inferno Rimstone Pools.  Grand Caverns, VA.  Photo by Nick Socky.


6   Feb ’07  Vanessa Krabacker Sketching, Maxwelton Cave, WVa.  Photo by Brian Williams.


4   Mar ’07  Dave Socky ready for ‘cold’ caving, Maxwelton Cave, WVa.  Photo by Brian Williams.


10  Apr ’07  Leanne Barley squeezed in Crossroads Cave, VA.  Photo by Pat Sims.


7   May ’07  “Velcro Ceiling”  Hayley Grasty in Poor Farm Cave, WVa.  Photo by Pat Sims.


7   Jun ’07  Jeramy Sims & Karla Teeter in New River Cave, VA.  Photo by Pat Sims.


5   Jul ’07  Two Fools on Flowstone” Dave Socky and John Layman in Cave Spring Cave, Lexington, VA.  Photo by Pat Sims


5   Sep ’07  “Virgin No More”.  Susan Burr looks out from virgin passage, Grand Caverns, VA.  Photo by Pat Sims


2   Oct ’07  Topless Caving”  Dave & Ryan Wickersham in “Spooky Slot Canyon”, UT.  Photo by Dave Socky


6   Nov ’07  Rimstone Pool in Grand Caverns, VA.  Photo by Elliot George.


2   Dec ’07  The 2007 BRG Christmas Card,  photo by,,,,, artwork by Marian McConnell



Note:  The February, April, May, June and November 2007 DUMP Covers will be entered in the Graphic Arts contest.  (MSSocky)