November 21, 2008


Pat Sims                       Al Stewart                     Mary Sue Socky                        Dave Socky

Susan Burr                    Marian McConnell          Carl Cornett                              *Carol Massey (sp?)

*Ben Haseltine               *Laura Richardson         *Alan Staton                              Aaron Moses

Doug Feller                   *Nick Socky                  *Mike Hutchison


* denotes guest




10/18/2008: Higginbotham #4 Cave, WV, BRG Grotto Trip.  David Socky, Rickey Shortt, Aaron Moses, Susan Burr, and Pat Sims.  Found the Back Door entrance to #4.  It was a tight crack that led to a climb down into a room.  At one end of the room was a tight hole that led to a 35 foot drop.  Both tight spots where just big enough for Dave Socky.  The entrance was the smallest, although the hole before the drop was very awkward. We connected in to the main #4 stream passage about 200 feet from the 35 foot drop.  We went downstream to the end, then back to the entrance.  Aaron submerged himself in the cold water of the stream for pictures.

10/18/2008: Higginbotham #3 to # 1 Cave, WV, BRG Grotto Trip:  David Socky, Aaron Moses, and Rickey Shortt (Rickey did just one entrance.)  Aaron and Dave did a traverse from one entrance to another.  Consisted mostly of a hands and knees stream crawl except for one side lead which went for about 100 to 150 feet.  This side lead had a section were the floor was covered by hundreds of spherical rocks about .5 to 1 inches in diameter.  Almost like ball bearings.  They were 3 to 4 inches thick in one section.  At the end of the stream crawl, Dave Socky sat in the pool up to my neck for some pictures by Rickey.


10/18/2008: While the others were crawling over natures’ ball bearings, Pat Sims and Susan Burr visited the small but nicely decorated Higginbotham’s # 2 Cave, WV.


10/26/2008: Paxton Cave VA:  David Socky, Alex Sproul, Frank Long (friend of Bud), Bud Shaw, Tray (19 year old boy and boyfriend of Bud's second oldest daughter), Phoebe Shaw (13 year old girl, daughter of Bud).  This trip was to let Frank show us where a passage that no one knew about was located.  After getting turned around in the entrance maze, I found the way to the Register Room (the little mud slope climb up).  We made it to the First Formation Room where Frank realized that he really couldn't remember exactly where this passage was. We checked out the formations for a while and then headed out. It was a pretty short, but pleasant trip.

11/1/2008Dan & Marian McConnell took a NC BSA troop to the middle levels of Catawba Murder Hole, VA.

11/2/2008: Porters Cave, VA TV filming trip:  Alex Sproul, Dave Socky, Nick Socky, Susan Burr, Marian McConnell, Alan Staton, Casey Arc, Doug Feller, Pat Sims, Trish Geiger, Bob Thren, Cindy Hutchison, Gregory W. Harmon   (Boy Scouts), Denise Allen Membreno (Producer), J. Rodney Billingsley (Cameraman).  Filming for Cox Inside/Outside TV show.  Did some vertical with Doug Feller and Dave Socky.  When done filming, did the easy loop past the keyhole.  Then they went to Big Slit.  Pat, Doug, Dave, and Nick went up.  Everyone else took pictures.

11/8/2008:  Pig Hole fencing project part 1:  Mary Sue, Dave Socky, Rick Shortt, Leanne Barley and more cavers from JRG, VPI and NRVG cleared brush, dug holes and cemented upright posts for the Pig Hole fence. Don Anderson (NRVG) and Joe Zokaites (VPI) headed up the project.

11/9/2008: Mary Sue Socky, Susan Burr, Marian McConnell, Carl Cornett, Pat Sims and Nick Socky took members of BSA T-221 through Tawney’s Cave, VA.  Everyone did well, and Susan remarked that she had lots of fun on this BSA trip. 

11/15/2008:  Pig Hole fencing project part 2: Dave Socky, Carl Cornett, Aaron Moses, Rick Shortt, Leanne Barley, Susan Burr, Pat Sims and more cavers from VPI, NRVG, and JRG removed the old barb wire perimeter fence around Pig Hole entrance pit, put up new improved fencing and cross posts, set the new gate access to the Pig Hole Fence in rain and cold miserable weather.  The project is complete, and owner Cecil Porterfield is happy with caver efforts. Don Anderson (NRVG) and Joe Zokaites (VPI) headed up the project.

11/15/2008: WVCC Banquet, Lewisburg, WV:  David Socky, Mary Sue Socky, Nick Socky, Al Stewart drove up for the evening of food and 3-D caving.  Good to see others from WVCC; Alex Sproul, Meredith Hall Weberg and Bob Thren were also in attendance.  On the way home, Dave’s red Honda Civic attacked yet another deer. 


Nov. 23 (Sunday) – It’s a GO!  Dave Socky and Phil Lucas set up a BRG trip to the “Water Sinks” Cave, on Phil & Charlotte’s property.  We will meet at 8:30a HROM on Sunday, 11/23/2008. 


Dec. 20 – BRG trip to Porter Cave, VA.  Dave Socky is leader.  Destination:  Straight up into the Big Slit area!!


PROGRAM:  Two excellent slide shows.  1) Pig Hole Fencing Project, photos by Leanne Barley.  2) Adventures in TAG, narration and photos by Aaron Moses.  (Everyone was encouraging Aaron to submit his photos to the 2009 NSS Members Manual.)





TREASURER  11/21/08

General Fund      $  6745.11

Conservation       $    106.09

Equipment Fund  $    341.00

Cave Bucks         $       98.30

 Total:    $ 7,290.50


Committee Reports:

Newsletter: Keep the info, photos, and excellent articles coming in!  Dec. cover will feature the BRG Christmas card. 

Membership: Pay your 2009 dues!

ROCKS: nothing new

S&T: vertical training session (Rockwood?) sometime in January 2009.

Conservation: vacant

Ways & Means: vacant


Membership Proposals

Nothing tabled.  NSS Membership brochures are at the front desk.

NEW! – Alan Staton, NSS 58584 RE, submitted his membership letter (in verse).  Alan is sponsored by Dave Socky, seconded by Susan Burr.  Alan’s proposal is tabled, to be voted on in Dec. 2008.



BRG Website: grotto website is doing fine.  The 2008 Fall VAR website has gone away. 


Haunted Cave 2008 – was a success.  Four grottos raised $2000.00 for cave conservation. 

JRG- 10 volunteers provided 30% of haunting, earned $600.00

NRVG – 2 volunteers provided 3% of haunting, earned $60.00

VPI – 18 volunteers provided 28% of haunting, earned $560.00

BRG – 16 volunteers provided 39% of haunting, earned $780.00


In addition, Dixie Caverns sent a gift of $700.00 to BRG saying “Thanks for being our local grotto”.

Next year’s volunteer coordinator will be Jen Perdue. 



PIG HOLE FENCING:  Is completed.  Owner is very happy.  BRG donated the additional $50 we proposed if needed, to help with the over budget expenses.  VPI alumni will probably take care of remaining expenses. 


WNS – Marian sez, check cave updates on the VAR Limited Access Cave List, avoid closed caves, and CLEAN YOUR GEAR to prevent the spread of White Nose Syndrome in bats.  Scientists have discovered a previously unknown fungus that may or may not be the cause of what is killing so many hibernating bats.


BRG Christmas Dinner – Friday, Dec. 19, 2008 @ Mamma Maria’s.  $16.00 per person. You have to pay extra for your own drinks.  We need 25 people pre-registered to get our $75.00 deposit returned.  Please sign up, pay treasurer.  Thanks!  The 2008 Buffet menu has been chosen: 

Lasagna, Fettuccini Alfredo, Meatballs, Sausage Napolenta. 


2008 Christmas Card design – “Caver Snowman with Bat” submitted by Marian McConnell.  Marian and Mary Sue will get together, get cards printed, mailed to landowners in the next few weeks.




No new nominations. Slate is closed. 

Two absentee ballots were received.

Pat Sims proposed that BRG vote on the current slate of officers as is stands.  Al Stewart seconded motion.

8 voted to accept the slate.  1 voted against.  PASSED.


The NEW BRG officers for 2009 are:


Chair:                Susan Burr  NSS # 53888

Vice Chair:        David Socky, NSS # 16334

Secretary:         Aaron Moses, NSS # 54801

Treasurer:          Carl Cornett, NSS # 56641





  • 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
  • NEW VAR CLOSED CAVE LIST is available.  We have a few hardcopies for folks.  There are updates, winter closures, and new info on WNS.  .


Meeting ended 8:45p.


Minutes submitted by

Mary Sue Socky

Outgoing Secretary, Blue Ridge Grotto.


Free!  Free At Last!!!!!!