Blue Ridge Grotto of the NSS


September 20, 2013 - 7:30p – Vinton Firehouse


Meeting began 7:42p



Marian McConnell – Chair                 Dan McConnell                     Al Stewart                              Jen Perdue

Mary Sue Socky – Sec.                        Susan Burr                             Doug Feller                           Pat Sims

Dave Socky – Vice Chair                     Alan Staton                            *Heather Bostic                   *Jason Burke

Stephanie Petri – Treas.                     *Mariah Kelly                                                       * denotes guest.


Trip Reports:


6/23: BRG trip to McClung’s/Lightner Entrance, WV.   Went to 3rd Breakdown, found the map was wrong, found virgin cave, 10 ½ hr. trip.  Dave Socky was leader, Nick Socky, Stephanie Petri, Tommy Polson.  


7/3: Piercy’s Cave, WV. Dave Socky and Phil Murray.  It took 10 hours to survey 54’ of passage, and they did a lot of digging in the Airblower.


Stephanie Petri and Alan Staton at NCRC (New York).  Alan Staton was an instructor, and this was Stephanie’s first NCRC Week-long.  It was one hard week!

7/7: Clarksville Cave NY.  This cave actually flooded while Stephanie and NCRC folks were training in it.

7/9: Knox Cave, NY.  NCRC.  Stephanie was the “patient”.

7/10: Knox Cave, NY.  NCRC rigging and hauling class.

7/11: Clarksville Cave, NY.  NCRC did several “mini mocks” in this cave. 

7/12: Knox Cave, NY – this was the site of the “Mock Call-Out”.  The “patients” were all rescued. 


7/13: Maxwelton Cave, WV.  Yet another survey trip for Dave Socky, Errol Glidden, Harry & Larry Sowers,  Larry Fisher and Ken Haynes.  The 11 hour trip netted 174’ of survey.


7/19: While hiking in Maine, Dave Socky, Steve Palermo, and Bob Abbitt did a 30 min. trip into Ice Cave, ME, near Baxter SP.


7 /20: Stephanie Petri, Doug Feller, Susan Burr, Carl Cornett, Ivy Lidstone, David Tudge went to Steele’s Cave,WV. Ed Saugstad met them there.  Susan got stung by yellow jackets.  They needed a hand line to get in.  There was lots of biota in Steele’s :  lots of spiders, salamanders, crayfish.  Some sections were full of bugs/midges/gnats, etc. but, after all, this is a stream cave…the water was low… Oh yeah, they saw the other entrance, too.


7/21: Dixie Caverns Cleanup.  Stephanie Petri reported that participants: Mary Sue Socky, Marian McConnell, Heather Bostic, Stephanie Petri, Susan Burr, Cyndi Hutchison, Bob Gulden and Nicole Gulden spent 4 hours cleaning some gross stuff off the formations and walls throughout the cave. More always needs to be done at Dixie.  Thanks for your help!


7/31: Brian Williams, John Tinsley, Rebecca Stewart, Stephanie Petri did a tour of Cave Spring Cave, Rockbridge Co. VA & Crossroads Cave, Bath Co. VA to help with John’s USGS job to study speleothems & seismic activity. 


8/4: Dave Socky, Joe Schock and Miranda Schock visited Peiper’s Cave, PA.  (Dave’s first PA Cave)


8/7: Dave Socky & Charles Kahn did Cave Sim Cave at NSS Convention in Shippensburg PA.  See video on YouTube. 


8/10:  Aaron Moses took Stephanie Petri on her first bust ass cave trip in Memorial Day Cave, WV.  Stephanie hated the “Puppet Buster”, a 150’ keyhole from Hell.  Further in, they bolted a high lead, and closed some loops.  It ended up being a vertical, technical 10 hour trip, and Aaron’s first trip in since he broke his leg (rockclimbing).


8/22:  Carl Cornett and Dave Socky checked out 2 new caves in Botetourt Co. VA.  The owner’s son named them Church Cave and Little Pipe Cave.  The caves are not reported or known by the VSS, need to be surveyed.



(Trip Reports – cont.)


8/24/2013 Fountain Cave, VA. 6 hour trip. 386.3 feet Surveyed.  David Socky, Mary Sue Socky, Gretchen (Red) Schock, Carol Tiderman.  Started survey of Fountain Cave.  I did sketch, Mary Sue lead tape and back sites, Red front sites, Carol helped with tape.  We surveyed the front part of the entrance room


8/24:  Stephanie Petri, Doug Feller, Susan Burr, Heather Bostic, & Eric Hill had lots of fun in Rehoboth Church Cave, WV.  The mud slides were ridiculously slippery.  Heather got a little skinned up; she will be fine. 


8/29: Dan & Marian McConnell visited Mystic Caverns AR, during their vacation.  Mystic is very pretty. 


Brian Williams went CRF cave diving in Mammoth Cave, KY.  Stephanie Petri was a cave sherpa for the trip, where she met Pat Kambesis and many other CRF cavers. 

8/30: Stephanie &Brian visited Sand Cave, KY (at 8:30a) to sample a piece of history from the Floyd Collins tragedy. 

8/30: Gear haul-in Day to Roppel Cave, KY to set up at the Logsdon River sump dive.

8/31: Dive Day in Roppel Cave, KY.  The sherpas stayed until the 3rd diver submerged.  The divers had a very successful trip.  They checked Swicegood Ave., Simmons Pit, etc.; were in the cave (both air and water) for 22  hrs.

8/31: Bat Night at Mammoth Cave, KY.  Infrared goggles were provided at the Mammoth Cave Historical Entrance, so the cavers could really get to see the bat colony emerge from the cave entrance! 

9/1: Divers emerged around 11a, exhausted.  Pat Kambesis, Stephanie Petri & other sherpas went in and totally derigged the cave.  They were finished & OUT by 4p.  Brian, other divers did not have to go back in to help de-rig.


9/2: Dan and Marian McConnell visited Onyx Caverns, AR.  It is a tired old commercial cave, but it’s still cool.


9/5:  Dave and Mary Sue Socky took a commercial tour of Wind Cave, SD.


9/8: Brian Williams and Stephanie Petri led a BRG float trip to the Smith River, VA.  Also on the water were Susan Burr, Carl Cornett, Ivy Lidstone, Doug Feller, Nicole and Dusty Gulden, Jen and Robert Perdue, Heather Bostic, Eric Hill.  They all had fun on 6 miles of cold river. 


8/23: Not Quite Caving but Crazy Anyway: Dave Socky, Stephanie Petri and Rick Shortt did the “Triple Crown” Hike.  Leaving at 4:30a, they hiked for 17 hours and summited Dragon’s Tooth, McAfee’s Knob, and Tinker Cliffs”.  Yup, that’s 34.2 miles of hard hiking, ending in the pouring rain after dark.  


Upcoming Trips:

·         9/21:  BRG trip to Maxwelton Cave, WV.  (Non-Vertical).  Stephanie Petri, Dave Socky are leaders.

·         9/21:  Melrose Caverns project, VA. 

·         9/27-29:  VAR/YTR held at Poor Farm Festival Grounds, Williamsburg, WV.  Hosted by VPI Cave Club.

·         10/5-6: Grand Project.  Last weekend Fountain Cave will be open until the spring. 

·         10/10-13:  TAG

·         10/19:  BRG trip to Culverson Creek Cave.  Doug Feller will be leader. 


Program:  Guest Speaker Alan Staton on “Heart Attacks and How They Pertain to Caving”.  Excellent PowerPoint!

Extra:  Dave Socky’s 3-minute video of the “Night Blast Celebration at Crazy Horse Monument, SD.”  





TREASURER’S REPORT (submitted by Stephanie Petri):

7/20/2013 Balance Sheet

Petty Cash                             110.00

General Fund                     3,797.69

Conservation                        266.55

Equipment                             235.36

Cave Bucks                            194.30

TOTAL BALANCE:     $4,603.90





NEWSLETTER –Thanks for the articles!  We need covers.  Extra hardcopies of the DUMP are available at meetings.

MEMBERSHIP – membership lists are available at meetings.  Bring folks interested in caving to the BRG meetings. 

ROCKS – 2  new caves in Botetourt Co. VA to be surveyed soon (DRSocky).  Some leads in Bland Co. VA  (SPetri)

SAFETY & TECHNIQUES   no report.


MEMBERSHIP PROPOSALS Heather Bostic, sponsored by Susan Burr.  2nd by Stephanie Petri, MSSocky.  Heather’s membership letter was accepted, tabled until October 18 meeting. 



·         Porter’s Tree:  Glen Todd (RASS)  Oct. 26, 2013 to remove the tree over the Porter’s Cave Gate.   Meet at cave 10a, be prepared for digging, cutting, dragging, and caving afterwards.  Contact Susan Burr to volunteer.

·         NSS Fundraising  (Final Report )–Steph. Petri has send off the payment and wording for the BRG brick. 

·         BRG Cave Trip Guidelines  (final report)   no further revisions, updated document will be printed, available for members.  (

·         Donation to Vinton Firehouse (final report). – Steph. Petri will send check to them as soon as she gets the address.  (Note:  MSSocky wrote letter, SP wrote check, stuff was mailed 10/2/2013)

·         BRG BASH Kit – Alan Staton volunteered to look at it, will recommend on restocking.  (Thanks, Alan!)




·         Roanoke City Go-Fest is Oct. 18-20.  Does anyone want to “man” an info booth?  Stephanie Petri will inquire.  

·         Want to buy a Bridge?  Natural Bridge, hotel, and cave are to be auctioned 11/14.  (Note:  date has been changed to Dec. 18. )

·         Does BRG want to send out Cave Owner Christmas Cards this year?  If so, designs are needed.   BRG will send out 2013 cards.  Bring your designs, photos to the Oct. meeting.

·         BRG Officer nominations are in October.  




·         Former BRG member & past BRG President Leonard C. McGann died.  Al Stewart and Randy Michael, representing the cavers went to Leonard’s memorial service. Leonard was 61 yrs. Old. 

·         3-D Maze Cave is closed.  Owner is in nursing home, kids are afraid of lawsuits.  (orig. Nikki Fox)

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

·         NSS Convention 2014 will be in Huntsville, AL     It’s going to be a GOOD ONE!!

·         TAG Fall Cave-In will be Oct. 10-13 on Lookout Mt. GA.

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

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


Meeting adjourned at 9:18p. 



Minutes Submitted by

Mary Sue Socky

BRG Secretary