June 20, 2008


Pat Sims                       Al Stewart                     Mary Sue Socky                        Doug Feller

Susan Burr                    Carl Cornett                   Marian McConnell                      Todd Martin

Carl Alls                        * Amy Faub                   Cyndi Hutchison                        Aaron Moses

Chris Heptinstall dropped by for a moment to open the room for us.

* denotes guest.           





5/17:  Aaron Moses, Susan Burr, Pat Sims, Doug Feller, Cole Frantz and John Semones visited Pocahontas Poor Farm Cave, WV.  It was a good trip through the Junction Room and the Tight Squeeze and beyond.  Cole and John elected to stay on the entrance side of the Tight Squeeze.  Susan, Doug and Aaron played a while in the back, and took lots of photos.  This took a lot of time (it’s only worse on a photo trip!)  Cole and John finally came partway through the crawls, and the group reunited and moved to the main entrance rooms.  Cole and John left, and the remaining cavers explored the rest of the cave.  Good trip, a little exposure.


5/31: Doug Feller, Susan Burr, Carl Alls, Amy Faub, Paul & Melanie Stern, Chuck Waller and an intern named “Sunny” (nln) went to Porter’s Cave, VA.  They were taking the Sterns to the Keyhole, and beyond (test driving the cave for Fall VAR).  Paul and Melanie loved it.  The group went on several side trips in the maze cave, too.  Then, dinner in Clifton Forge, VA.  A group of non-caver strangers at an adjoining table accused them of taking a wristwatch, and the police were called.  BRG remains innocent.  (their accuser was an ASSHOLE).  Susan phoned trip callback Pat Sims, and said "...We are out of the cave & we're NOT in jail!"


SPRING VAR – June 5-8, 2008

6/6:  Perkins Cave, VA.  Pat Sims, Susan Burr and other VAR cavers went to this great cave.  It had gorgeous formations, and some scary stuff.  The “Swaygo Guys” were also on the trip.  Several groups were in the cave at the same time, so there was some congestion at times in the passages.


6/7: Morrell/Worley Cave, TN – Trish Geiger, Cyndi Hutchison, Mary Sue Socky, and the 2 Ralphs.  What a great cave!  Trish had us do a big loop.  Really pretty areas of giant formations, huge rimstone dams, nice cool water in the stream passage.  There were many groups in the cave, but everyone dispersed, and only occasionally met up another group.  It was nice!!  Afterwards, after lunch, Trish & Cyndi went swimming in an Elk    waterfall, it was 40’ high, with strong currents and hydraulics – several people have drowned in there.  Despite the dangers, it is a popular swimming area, with cold water for a blazing hot day. 


6/7: Hancock Cave, VA – Ken Walsh led the trip.  Dave Socky, Nick Socky, Susan Burr, Pat Sims, (who else?) went to this 2.5 mile long, jungle gym of a cave.  Lots of climbing, crawling, and chimneying to places named The Octopus Room, the Toilet Bowls, the Funnel Tunnel, and the Vertical Maze. Nick Socky and another teen irritated Susan – bad idea, guys!  She gets even. 


Aaron Moses, Doug Feller, Rickey Shortt, others visited these caves during Spring VAR:

6/7 - the Blowing Entrance of Omega Cave, VA.  Man, the air was blowing!  Nice 140’ drop.

6/7 – Parson’s Cave, VABIG booming passage.

6/7 – Spurlock Cave, VA – beautiful canyon water passage (see cover of the June CARBIDE DUMP)

6/7 - Franklin’s Pit, VA. The entrance looks like a miniature Neversink and there are intact saltpeter mining relics inside.

6/8 – Bailey’s Cave, VA, a 120’ drop.

6/8 – Caine’s Cave, VA with a 98’ pit inside the cave.  You access the pit via rebelay.

6/8 – Miller’s Cave, Scott Co. VA - they had to get through a squeeze, then a floorless canyon to get to the 60’ drop.  The cave was more trouble than it was worth.  (Orig. announced as Moore’s Cave, but the description fit Millers Cave in the VAR/SERA guidebook)


Carl Cornett and others also went caving during Spring VAR:

6/ 6 – three of them did Worley’s Cave, TN

6/7 – Berry Hill Cave, TN –they did the 105’ and the 98’ drop,

6/7 – Omega System, VA – they were exiting Omega/Blowing when Doug and Aaron were coming in.




Saturday 6/21/08– trip to Greenbrier Poor Farm Cave, WVa.  Leader -Doug Feller.  Trip leaves from HROM at 8:30a.


7/19/08 – July BRG trip to Buckeye Creek Cave, WVa.  Mary Sue Socky is leader. 


Program:  “The Spirit of Exploration” Carlsbad Caverns, NM.  We saw the first half of the DVD.  Good history, safety, conservation message, good footage.





TREASURER  6/20/08

General Fund       $ 4624.92

Conservation        $   251.09

Equipment Fund $    341.00

Cave Bucks         $     82.30

 Total:    $ 5,299.31



Committee Reports:


Newsletter:  Hope you liked the cover of the June CARBIDE DUMP.  It’s a picture of Aaron Moses, with Susan Burr’s eyes!  (Susan screamed) Thanks for your submissions! Send in your artwork, photos, and articles. 

Membership: nothing new. 

ROCKS: no report

S&T:  no report.  Marian reported that Dan still wants to do a training session at RocWood climbing wall – sometime…

Conservation: vacant

Ways & Means: vacant


Membership Proposals

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




BRG Website: The new website is AWESOME!   Other grottos, cavers are checking it out for Fall VAR info.

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 said it is coming along well.

  • Thanks, everyone!  We probably have enough pop-up tarps to create a nice registration area. 
  • Doug Feller will check on the site’s electrical plugs for the vendors.
  • 15 led cave trips have been scheduled.
  • Susan Burr, Pat Sims and Mary Sue Socky need to work on the guidebook.
  • Koozies – the company Susan intended to use was under water due to the Midwest floods, so we have to go with another company.  New company offers koozies in only a few different colors,with white artwork/lettering.



White Nose Syndrome (WNS)   nothing new to report.  Scientists still DO NOT know what is sickening, killing the bats, or how it is spread.  .

  • Check VAR Limited Access Cave List for new updates and “gear cleaning” recommendations.  Several closed caves have been opened for the summer to cavers.


VA Museum of Natural History in Martinsville, VA  6/14/2008.  Marian McConnell and Mary Sue Socky talked with town residents about cave safety, and more importantly, BATS.  Lots of people in Martinsville have bats in their houses!  We worked beside Brian Williams, and got to see the William’s new house – beautiful!


BRG Pool Party.  Will be Aug 16, 2008; rain date Aug 17.  Please sign up!


Dixie Caverns Haunted Cave 2008 – Is a GO.  The 9 nights of Hell will be held only on Friday and Saturday nights for the entire month of October this year. (Those nights have been the only money-makers for the caverns).  Mary Sue Socky will coordinate the cavers; David Hawks will be Haunted Cave Director.   Oct. 3, 4,10,11,17, 18, 24, 25, 31.  Mary Sue Socky is hoping to visit with other area grottos to talk up Haunted Cave.





Banner Design - Susan Burr laid the groundwork a year ago.  Marian McConnell proposed 2 different banner designs (see June DUMP).  Banner would be 2’ wide X 5’ long, outdoors grade vinyl. Most of local sign companies have quoted $90 to $100 and will 24 hrs. to 3 weeks to make. 


MOTION:  Susan Burr motioned that BRG choose the banner with the all-white background.  Carl Cornett seconds.  Vote:  6 for, 3 against.  Motion passes. 


We will get a few more quotes, get banner done in time for Fall VAR. 


NEW VAR CLOSED CAVE LIST is available.  We have a few hardcopies for folks.  Some caves have re-opened for the summer. 


Marian McConnell, Dan McConnell, and Carl Cornett will be leading 12 beginner cave trips through Roanoke City P&R this summer!  They are caving lots, even if we don’t see them that much, and they are “taking some heat” off BRG getting numerous requests for beginner cave trips.  The trips are in Island Ford and Tawney’s, and are for beginners and conservation clean-ups with summer camps and Girl Scouts.


Goodwin’s Cave, VA – status has been changed to “open all year” in the VAR Closed Cave list.  The bats never “repopulated”; a few bats use the cave in winter.  Dave Socky also made DVD of the old footage and gating of Goodwin’s” for its current owner (Mr. Drewry)





  • Thank You letters for BRG’s generosity with 2007 Haunted Cave funds from SECCI & NCA.
  • NSS Convention 2008 (Lake City FL) Aug. 11-15, 2008 registration info.
  • 2008 Nittany Grotto 60th Anniversary/MAR preregistration form. (Oct 10-12)
  • Available from NSS Bookstore:  “Vertical Bill: The Story of Bill Cuddington and the Development of Vertical Caving in America”.  On sale $28.00 - $32.00



Meeting ended 8:50p.


Minutes submitted by

Mary Sue Socky

Secretary, Blue Ridge Grotto.