November 18, 2011 – 7:30p – Vinton, VA Fire Department


Pat Sims – Chair

Mary Sue Socky – Vice Chair

Trish Geiger – Treasurer

Marian McConnell – Secretary

David Socky

Al Stewart

Carl Cornett

Stephanie Petri

Joseph Caldwell

Alan Staton

Randy Michael

Susan Burr

Dan McConnell – Safety & Techniques





a.      Grand Caverns, VA – 11/5/11 – Mary Sue Socky went through the cave identifying signatures, checking on leads (nothing went), removing flagging tape, and picking up trash (and put it on top of the emergency box to prove to those who said there wasn’t anything to pick up).  Hoping to get into Fountain, pending DCR assessment.

b.      Gap Cave – 10/29-30/11 – David Socky, Bob Alderson, Joe Zokaites, made their call-back time with 20 minutes to spare.  Did a 19-hour trip and surveyed 240’ (just 20’ short of making the cave 17 miles).  Average survey shot was 7’; tight, small, muddy, wet passages.  Saw bats and no WNS.

c.       Tawneys, VA – 11/12/11 – Marian McConnell and Carl Cornett led a Roanoke City Parks & Recreation Trip for a large Boy Scout Troop from Raleigh, NC.  Took them caving in 2 groups.  Although Marian sent the list of what to bring and wear and went over the list with the Scout Master, many were not prepared.  One father showed up wearing “feet” shoes; he got exhausted just walking up the trail to the cave so he wisely decided not to do the trip.  Saw one bat in Pancake Alley.  We did not go past the well; the hibernaculum is off limits.

d.      Alan Staton is working with landowners to set up a possible trip to Warm River Cave, VA in Bath County.  It has been closed about 10 years.  There is bad air in the very back so a meter (or canary!) is highly recommended.

e.      Susan Burr presented a gift certificate for $35 in gas to Alan Staton on behalf of the group for his help on 9/17/11 when Stephanie Petri injured her leg on the BRG trip.  Alan is a medic and assessed her injuries, helped her out and took her to see a Sports Medicine friend in Covington, and then drove her all the way back to Roanoke (Jessica drove her car for her since it was a stick-shift).

f.        Trish Geiger went to Iceland but did not get to do any caving.

g.      Vertical rope practice at the Socky’s on 11/19/11 beginning around 10:00 am.  Mary Sue will be working with Nicholas and Elliott on their techniques; others are welcome.

h.      Maxwelton Cave, WV – BRG trip on 11/20/11 – meet at HROM at 8:30 am.  13 people are signed up; Aaron Moses and Brian Williams know the cave so will probably split into two groups – one for photography.  The entrance passage is called “Heaven.”

i.        Grand Caverns/Fountain Cave, VA – 12/3-4/11 – possible.

j.        Catawba Murder Hole, VA – 12/17/11 – Daylight Cave only; vertical practice from 10a-5 before the Christmas Party.

k.       Ridge Walking on 1/21/12 to check out caves on the property of Blue Ridge Vineyard near Eagle Rock, VA.  Marian McConnell will confirm with the owners who say there are definitely caves on the property.


2.      PROGRAM:  First half of “13 Bak’Tun” – the Mayacon 2012 convention video by David Socky about the upcoming Convention in Lewisburg, WV.



Petty Cash             $    100.00

General                 $4,759.56

Conservation         $    266.59

Equipment             $    246.12

Cave Bucks            $    143.30

TOTAL                   $5,515.57


4.       COMMITTEES:

a.      Newsletter – got one out for November. 

b.      Membership – pay your dues for 2012 (25 have paid.)

c.       ROCKS – ridge walking in January.

d.      Safety & Techniques – Practice in January at Murder Hole.

e.      Membership Proposals – None.



a.      Christmas Cards – Marian brought 2 samples, but the group finally decided to use a photo from last year with BRG members wearing Santa Hats in a cave.  David Socky will send the photo to Marian to have the cards made up.  Marian will provide the group with the final cost info for 75 cards (with envelopes).

b.      BRG Christmas Party – 12/17/11 at the McConnell’s house; pot luck, BYOB, and can bring videos or photo CDs to show.  Party starts at 5p.  There may be music as well.



a.      Grotto Equipment Inventory – Currently there are 9 helmets with functioning LED lights, 1 helmet with no light, and 2 non-functioning lights.  The group voted unanimously to purchase 1 light with chin-strap for the naked helmet to bring the total to 10 of functioning helmets, and to purchase 2 $12 light energizer lights to test them.  Mary Sue and Pat Sims will look at prices and compare for best deal.

b.      Heads Up -- Mary Sue was contacted by a guy [Cleave Grimes] who is contacting various Grottoes to try to get cave locations.  Is not an NSS member but has complained to NSS that Grottoes are not being friendly so he says he wants to start his own Grotto; yet won’t attend one near him.  Please be careful about giving out cave information to people you don’t know!

c.       Vote for BRG Officers – Motioned and passed unanimously to keep the current slate of officers, since no one else volunteered or nominated anyone new. 

Pat Sims – Chair

Mary Sue Socky – Vice Chair

Trish Geiger – Treasurer

Marian McConnell – Secretary

d.       List of cave organizations to donate to in 2012 – will be provided and voted on at the January meeting.



a.      No BRG meeting in December due to the Christmas Party.

b.      Action to protect the Virginia Cave Board – thanks to all who commented.  So far the Board is safe.

c.       Spring VAR 2012 – 4/27-29/12 hosted by Tri-State Grotto; site TBA.

d.      SERA Cave Carnival at Estill Fork, AL 5/2-6/12.

e.      NSS Convention in Lewisburg, WV, 6/25-29/12.

f.        Back Country on Apperson Road will give a 10% discount to anyone with BRG or NSS membership card (current) per Stephanie Petri.