Blue Ridge Grotto of the NSS


February 15, 2013 - 7:30p – Vinton Firehouse



Dave Socky –Vice                 Susan Burr                             Doug Feller                           Marian McConnell – chair                 

Joseph Caldwell                    Trish Geiger                          Mary Sue Socky – Sec.        Al Stewart             

Jen Perdue                            Stephanie Petri – Treas.     Bob Alderson                        Pat Sims

Alan Staton                            Greg McCorkindale             Carl Cornett                          *Ivy Lidstone

*Eric Hill                                                *Adam Dorris                 (Dusty & Nicole Gulden left before the meeting; Nicole was ill).

* denotes guest.


Trip Reports:

January 2013:  Bob Alderson, Mark Minton, Vonnie Droms, and James Madison U. Students. Two survey trips into Warm River Cave, VA.  (This cave is CLOSED.  Permission was granted for JMU students’ hydrology study).  They found virgin trunk passage. 


1/19/2013: BRG trip to Crossroads Cave, VA.  Dave Socky, Doug Feller, Brian Williams, Stephanie Petri, Susan Burr, Trish Geiger, Carl Cornett.  We did not do the 'Butt Puckering Ledge section.  Went into the maze and found the large long room and then got into some canyons and sections I don't think I'd been in before.  It was fun getting 'lost'.  Trish got concerned at one point that we would have to double all the way back, but we actually found our way to the passage just before the 'Butt Puckering Ledges'.  They encountered a large 'troop' of Boy Scouts.  They had two separate groups, which they took in one after the other (it was good they didn't overcrowd the cave with 30 scouts at once - but then again, they probably did that because they didn't have enough gear.  I counted 10 vehicles in the parking area (with two parked on along the dirt road).  We ate at Belle's Pizza in Clifton Forge.  Got back to Roanoke just at dark.


11/12/2012:  Bob Alderson, Mark Minton, Vonnie Droms did a survey trip in Fort Savannah Cave, WV.  Encountered potholes, canyons, and a waterfall room.  Mark Minton did a nasty traverse up the 60’ waterfall.  They surveyed 200’ to the upstream sump.


1/26/2013:  Dave Socky, Stephanie Petri, Joe Zokaites were planning on surveying in Gap Cave, KY, but the National Historical Park closed due to a winter storm.  Oh well….


2/9/2013: David Socky, Stephanie Petri, Gordon Cole went to Maxwelton Cave, WV for a 13.5 hour survey trip.    They went to the Cove Creek stream passage, got 3 stations and found we would have had to crawl in deep water, we decided it was time for wetsuits, or go elsewhere.  So, instead, we went past the Cove Creek Main Stream passage, through the crawl and through the Inverted Mushroom Room to a tight crawl that had to be dug out.  This turned out to be about 134 feet of passage which did end in mud fill.  We then went back and picked up some passage above the Inverted Mushroom Room.  358.2 feet of cave passage surveyed.  


2/9/2013: Susan Burr and Pat Sims took three Roanoke College Outdoor Students into Tawney’s Cave, VA.  Tawney’s had a LOT of water!  The normally dry “mud crack” room near the back of the cave (site of mock rescue) was a swimming pool! 


2/11/2013:  Bob Alderson, Mark Minton Vonnie Droms travelled to the Russian Rift area of Shoveleater Cave, WV.  They broke out in a cross canyon, with good airflow.


1/19/2013:  Mary Sue Socky, Pat Sims, Cyndi Hutchison, Bob Thren met with the rest of the group at Melrose Caverns.  They continued with photo documentation of historic signatures, cave conservation, and most importantly, took Craig Hindman (finally released from the hospital) on his first cave trip in a wheelchair!  Hopefully Craig will be walking into Melrose Caverns in the near future.   Or riding Tommy’s skateboard. 

Upcoming Trips:

·         Feb 16 – Grotto trip to Steele’s Cave, Monroe Co. WV.  (Note: this cave floods!)  Dave Socky is leader.  Although there was some interest, there was also mutiny afoot, and the cold wet trip was postponed until June 2013.  No alternate cave trip was suggested or scheduled.

·         March 16 – BRG trip TBA.  Marian will contact the Blue Ridge Vineyards owners to see if we can ridgewalk  and cave on their property.  



Program:  the first half of video “Blanchard Springs Caverns, AR”.  Beautiful commercial cave, discovered in 1963.

Program: Vote for Your Favorite Five Newsletter Covers of 2012.  Thanks to Susan Burr for coordinating the voting 




TREASURER’S REPORT (Stephanie Petri):

2/15/2013 Balance Sheet

Petty Cash                             110.00

General Fund                    3,821.29

Conservation                        266.59

Equipment                             225.36

Cave Bucks                            164.30

TOTAL BALANCE:     $4,587.54



·         NEWSLETTER  Postage has gone up to .46 per stamp.

·          MEMBERSHIP – Pay your dues.  Cards, membership list, NCRC stuff will be mailed in March 2013.

·          ROCKS – nothing new.  Marian will see about getting permission to visit Blue Ridge Vineyards for ridgewalk.

·          SAFETY & TECHNIQUES – nothing new.  Dan is still recuperating from stents.


·          MEMBERSHIP PROPOSALS – none.



·         No May 17, 2013 BRG meeting.  Go to the Spring VAR instead.

·         Dixie Caverns is short staffed, will get back with us on when they would like BRG to come clean the cave, attack the green, and chainsaw the broken branches, downed trees along the entrance walkway to the cave (left over from 6/29/2012 Derecho).  BRG Sec. will send reminder letter to them. 

·         BSA Troop 221 (Cave Spring UMC) requested the BRG do a “caving program“ 2/11/2013.  Mary Socky did presentation, troop is interested in a wild cave trip now.  (see New Business)




·         BSA Troop 221 Scout Leader Bill Buckles liked the caving presentation on 2/11/13, he then “ordered two trips, back to back”.  Mary Socky will work with Susan Burr and Marian McConnell, and will work with Bill, discuss his options, see if he and T221 meet the requirements, are ready for a BRG trip sometime in the spring, or if they would prefer a RoCiP wild cave trip in the next month. 

·         Request made by Mary Sue Socky that BRG consider this a sanctioned trip, and will allow grotto equipment to be used for this BSA trip (if the trip occurs).

·         Mary Sue Socky has prepared a list of cave descriptions for the CARBIDE DUMP.  Here are 50 caves, YES SOME ARE CURRENTLY CLOSED that BRG has visited in the past decade.  Some descriptions need to be updated, too.

·         Marian McConnell made a proposal:  Would BRG consider financially supporting a member who wants to attend a caver training session, such as an NCRC weekend or Weeklong class?  (No “social sessions, like VAR, SERA, Banquets, etc.)  The recipient would be expected to share learned info with the grotto afterwards. 


New Business (cont.)


Marian McConnell proposal (continued from previous page): 


o     Alan Staton described the NCRC Weeklong as an example.  No nice dinners, No field trips.  You work 16 hour days; it’s hell, but you learn a lot.

o    Dave Socky, Trish Geiger thought this was a good idea, and BRG could release the money to the participant after they complete the class and have the certificate. 

o    Trish Geiger pointed out that RASS has a grants committee, they give grants for a variety of sessions, BUT the person must also have donated a lot of volunteer work to RASS or other cave related projects in order to receive the grant money. 

o    Marian McConnell will write up something to publish in the DUMP.  To be continued. 




·         New NSS website is great!  Take a look at it! 

·         NEW WNS Decon protocols – HOT water (122 F) for 20 min. will kill WNS spores

·         Spring VAR is now May 17-19, 2013, @ Camp Buckskin, near Marlinton, WV.  Hosted by Tri-State Grotto.

·         Spring MAR has moved its date to May 4-5, 2013 so it will not conflict with Spring VAR. 


·         River Rock Climbing Gym – says they will opening at the end of Feb. 2013. 

·         NSS Convention 2013 will be in Shippensburg, PA, Aug 5-9, 2013.  Forms on desk.  Mail in your registration with a check today to save the NSS money. Pre-registration special discount ends 1/31/2013.

·         MURDER HOLE book by Marian McConnell is available and is selling like hotcakes! 

o    Marians next book signing is March 2013, at the Fincastle Library. 

o    Marian’s next book signing is 7p, April 15, 2013, at the Salem Historical Society. 

o    NSS members can get discount if they order MURDER HOLE through the NSS Office.  


Meeting adjourned at 8:38p. 


Minutes Submitted by

Mary Sue Socky

BRG Secretary