July 20, 2012

Vinton Fire Department; Vinton, VA - 7:30p



Mary Sue Socky – Vice

David Socky

Dusty Gulden*

Nicole Gulden*

Al Stewart

Marian McConnell – Secty

Carl Cornett

Morris Figueiredo  *

Susan Burr





June 2, 2012 – Tawneys – Nick went on a 5-hour trip with Sarah Iler, Elliot George, and Malinda Britt.


June 16, 2012 – McClungs – BRG Trip - Dave Socky, Joe Zokaites, Ricky Short, Alan Staton, Susan Burr, Nick Socky, Stephanie Petri.  Good trip with a great group.  No one had any problems during the vertical, either in or out.  The climb down was really easy with the cable ladder and the champagne squeeze was no problem.  Ricky and Susan took some really good pictures in the Tuffa Trail.  We then went to the second breakdown only to discover that Dave hadn’t looked at the map close enough.  The way to the leads he wanted to check were ¾ of the way back to the climb down into Freeman Ave.  They found the turn off to the lead on the left (going back).  It was a pretty tight belly crawl in sticky dry mud, but everyone fit. Even Joe made it, who was the thickest in the chest.  They found the most promising lead after going past it.  It was a wide crawl that got lower and lower.  Dave got to the point where he was starting to stick and knew he couldn’t go much further without getting stuck.  Ahead, in about 5-6’, was a 1” rib of rock in the ceiling which was perpendicular to the passage.  Dave knew he couldn’t make it past that.  But it did look like it might get a little better after that.  It did seem to keep going.  He backed out and shamed Nick into checking it.  He got past the rib and said it bent slightly to the right and got lower and narrower.  He said it was about 5-6” high and maybe 1-1/2’ wide.  There was no way anyone would fit in that crawl, and there was no air.  It was a dig at best.  They continued on in, climbing up through some breakdown and then heading S/SE towards Freeman Ave.  It looked like they would connect in. They had to go through a long 100’ belly crawl with a tight spot at the end, but then the passage opened up and then spilled out into the junction with Freeman Ave. – up at the ceiling, with a 70’ drop to the floor.  There was a piece of webbing with a carabiner around a rock, which had been used for a pull-down.  The rock was loose!  They took the webbing and biner out.  Needless to say they went back out the way they came in.  Rick took some more pictures in the Tuffa Trail and they were out at 6:30p.  It was a good trip.


June 17, 2012 – Dave Socky, Nick Socky, Mary Sue Socky, went to Natural Bridge VA for Father’s Day.  Walked under the Natural Bridge (prevented some redneck vandal from vandalizing under the bridge) and reminisced about being able to rappel the 215’ drop long ago.  Looked at Saltpeter Cave (owners no longer allow you under the drip line), and the Lost River (still low and every wet).  On the way back they checked out a hole in the hill above the port-a-johns; it would have been a very short thru-trip in a remnant karst feature, but no one wanted to disturb the spiders.


June 22, 2012 – Maxwelton Cave – WVACS Pre-Convention Cave Camp – Tom Malabad, Ellen Hofler, Amos Mircin, Shari Lydy, Peggy Palmer, Art Palmer, Dave Bunnell, and Dave Socky – a good 9-hour trip.  They went to the 12’ nuisance drop and then downstream Cove Creek for about 200-300’.  Good trip enjoyed by all.


June 23, 2012 – Catawba Murder Hole – Pre-Convention Trip – Dan & Marian McConnell, Jane Furkert, Mark & Jeri, and Fofo & Jen.  Dan was still recuperating from neck disc surgery, so he and Marian only went to the middle level.  The rest went to the lower level and had a great trip.  Left the rigging inside the cave for the next week’s trip.


June 23, 2012 – Mary Sue, Carol Zokaitis, let a Karst & Cave Seminar in the Lewisburg, WV Library to share information about cave conservation and safety for the general public.


June 25, 2012 – Culverson Creek/Wildcat – NSS Guided Trip – Dave Socky, Nick Socky, Dan Bishop (Rapunzel), Alan Staton, Jane Furkert (from New Zealand), Rick and Talon Speact, and 10 others (total of 17 people with 7 vehicles!).  The trip lasted about 5-1/2 hours.  The water was really low, with about 3 feet of air space into Dread Pool.  They all went together past Dread Pool and into the McLaughlin Passage.  After about 300’ they split into two groups because Gene, the older guy, was slow.  Alan and 4 others helped Gene.  The rest totaled 11.  They went all the way to the breakdown, at which point they decided to head back instead of trying to find the way through (they didn’t want to miss the Howdy Party).  Within 15 minutes they ran into the slow group, so they sat down and had lunch to give them a chance to get ahead.  They caught up with them just before Dread Pool.  Gene and 4 others headed out while the rest went down Death Canyon to the first breakdown. On the way back they stopped by the Lost Waterfall.  It was pretty cool, with nice warm water.  It was a good trip in spite of the large size.


June 26, 2012 – Mary Sue Socky and John Pearson led the JSS “Caving with the Prez” trip to Higginbotham’s #1 Cave, WV.  Mary Sue’s group did a through trip out Higginbotham’s #3 entrance (up the telephone pole).  They thanked the owner for allowing them to visit the cave.  (This note appeared in the Caver Codex daily newsletter:  “The older JSS kids did an outstanding job of helping the little ones cross the ‘scary’ places in Higginbotham’s #1 on Tuesday.  Be sure to praise the JSS teenagers; they are our future.”)


June 26-28, 2012:  Lots of cavers visited the CaveSim (portable artificial cave from Colorado) in the High School gym during the NSS Convention.  Thanks to BRG for donation $150 to help transport it there.


June 27, 2012 – Windy Mouth Cave, WV – 3 hour trip by Nick Socky, Daniel Bishop, Jennifer Wagner, and Alex Booker.  Ended up swimming in the river to get there and was only in the cave about 1 hour. 


June 29, 2012 – Lost World Caverns, WV – Daniel Bishop, Jennifer Wagner, and Nick Socky went for 2 hours to get air conditioned from the heat.  They did the tourist trail loop 2 or 3 times.


June 30, 2012 – Catawba Murder Hole – Post-Convention Trip – Jane Furkert and Pat Sims led a group in, which was the day after the big wind storm (derecho).  Jane brought out a huge backpack of trash from the lower level, and also washed all the gear during the week afterwards.


July 4, 2012 – Smokehole, VA - 2-1/2 hours quick 4th of July trip to the lost section; cooled off in the water exit.  Tommy Polson, Nick Socky, Daniel Bishop.


July 7, 2012 – Smokehole, VA – 3 hours, went back to the big room and pocked around a lot.  Normal VPI trip; Nick Socky.


July 14, 2012 – Cricket Maze,  WV– with Kim Fleischman, Dusty & Nicole Gulden, and Jay Balakirski.


July 14, 2012 – Tawney’s – 2.5 hours – did normal tourist route.  Tommy Polson (Socrates, wanted to see the cave and complete his Bat Ranch Trio), good 2-person trip; did everything minus the basement and Falas room.  Lots of other groups in the cave.


Upcoming Trips:


August 4, 2012 – Fountain Cave dig and trail tweaking.


August 18, 2012 – Annual BRG Summer Party at Dan & Marian McConnell’s.  Those interested in practicing vertical work in the Daylight Cave of Catawba Murder Hole are welcome to come around 9a.  Party with Pot Luck from 2-6p.  Please RSVP to Marian at 540.309.4707 or

September 15, 2012 – Possible trip to Breathing Cave?


2.    PROGRAM:  “Mesa Juarez, Mexico” – This video won the 2012 Best of Show at the NSS Convention video salon.



Petty Cash             $115.00

General               $3,646.21

Conservation                   $266.59

Equipment             $225.36

Cave Bucks            $159.30

TOTAL                          $4,407.46


    1. Newsletter – No September newsletter.
    2. Membership – No new proposals. Tom Tracy moved to Charlottesville.
    3. ROCKS – Nothing new.
    4. Safety & Techniques – Practice opportunities at Murder Hole August 18.  We received a copy of the Basic Vertical Training Manual for our Grotto.





·         NSS Convention Wrap-Up – Jeff Bray reported that 1320 cavers attended the Convention in Lewisburg.  Those from BRG had a blast!  We entered some Carbide Dump covers this year but none won; however, Marian’s song “Mayacon Theme Song” won a Merit Award (1st Place) in the Cave Ballard Salon

·         $150 was sent to CaveSim for transporting the unit to Convention. 

·         August 11 – Annual Celebrate Catawba.  There is a $10 fee to have a table there; we have done this every year for the past 3 years – do we want to do again?  Yes – Marian will do and any BRG member is welcome to help.  It’s from 10a-3p at the Catawba Civic Center.  Lots of other organizations, vendors, music, etc.

·         Annual BRG Summer Party on August 18th at the McConnell’s.



·         Breathing Cave, VA – new access policy.  Do not part in the old parking area; use old trail or part of the road.  New homeowners are upset their land is being trespassed upon.  Use new parking area , trail only, or cave will be closed.

·         Fall VAR Dates have been moved again to September 21-23.  This conflicts with Whitesides pre-Bridge day final practice, BRG meeting/trip, Roanoke City Go-Fest, Perkins Cave, etc. 

·         River Rock Climbing gym – email came out about it today.  You can vote online.

·         Moved, seconded, and group passed unanimously to only keep sending potential members info for a maximum of 3 months.  If they want to join they can either be a subscriber or apply to be a member.

·         Carl moved and Susan seconded to cancel the September21 BRG meeting.  Passed unanimously.

·         Dan and Marian were visited on July 8th by Julia and Steve of Wilderness Adventure Eagle Landing; they inquired about taking their cave leaders on a trip in, as well as potential cave trips for intermediate cavers.  Dan and Marian shared with them their policies (no one in the cave without Dan and/or Marian) and no one in the lower level who is not vertically competent.  They expressed an interest in partnering with BRG (e.g. on rescues and training; especially since we visit some of the same caves) and sending someone each month to the BRG meeting – Marian gave them info about the BRG meetings and invited them to come.  Marian also discussed BRG policies about not giving out cave locations, etc.  Dan and Marian are taking their cave leaders on a trip into Murder Hole on October 21st.



·         Welcome back to Carl Cornett!

·         New book, Caves and Karst of the Water Sinks Area, by Phil Lucas, available for purchase (about $90) if you order by July 25th.

·         NSS website is great – check it out!

·         Recent cave rescue in Glade Cave, VA on July 16th; a guy got stuck behind some rocks for about 5 hours.  The cave is in Rockingham   County, VA, very muddy.

·         Recent caver obituaries:  Patty Daw and Tony McGee.

New WNS Decon protocols –

·          Submersion in Hot Water: Effective at sustained temperatures ≥50ºC (122ºF) for 20 minutes will kill WNS spores. (update from the NSS/USFW site 6/25/2012)

·         2012 OTR Info available at desk.  The theme will be the Knights of the Blue Moon with a Monty Python flavor.

·         Perkins Cave, VA Open House on September 22nd – info available to sign up.


  1. ADJOURNMENT:  Cold beer at 9p.