Blue Ridge Grotto of the NSS


November 15, 2013 – Vinton Firehouse


Meeting began 7:32p  Dave Socky chaired meeting for Marian McConnell.  Present:

Al Stewart                                              Jen Perdue                            Susan Burr                             Brian Williams

Mary Sue Socky – Sec.                        Bob Gulden                           Nicole Gulden                       Doug Feller

Dave Socky – Vice Chair                     Trish Geiger                          Dusty Gulden                        Cyndi Hutchison

Stephanie Petri – Treas.                     Alan Staton                            Carl Cornett                          *Bill Walker

* denotes guest.

Trip Reports:

10/16: Alan Staton, Glen Hugus, Carlos Lao (from Puerto Rico) visited Warm River Cave, VA.  Recent talks with the new cave owner are moving in a positive direction. 


10/19:  BRG Trip to Culverson Creek Cave, WV.  Doug Feller, Stephanie Petri, Bill Walker and Susan Burr attempted a through trip from the Wild Cat Entrance to the McLaughlin Entrance.   They kind of did it…  Susan reported that when they reached a 3 level waterfall, it was decided they had missed the turn.  So, the group backtracked & tried to find the way, but couldn’t.  On the way back out we took a side trip to “the Lost Waterfall” section of the cave.  Took lots of pictures by the waterfall, really pretty in there.  The group climbed up the waterfall and continued a ways back, then turned around.  They ended up exiting out the Wild Cat Entrance.  Once out, they rode through the fields and found the McLaughlin Entrance from the surface.   They crawled a little ways in the McLaughlin entrance, but it was VERY stinky and wet, disgusting, so they didn’t push it very far. 


10/20:  Dave Socky, Brian Williams, and Stephanie Petri completed a survey of Church Cave, VA and Little Pipe Cave, VA; two caves new to the Roanoke Co. VA Survey.


10/26:  Porters Cave cleanup project.  Trish Geiger, Stephanie Petri, Brian Williams, Bill Walker, and Susan Burr participated, along with 17 cavers from RASS.  Susan Burr reports: “..story about the tree removal project is in the DUMP.  Afterwards, (BRG) went caving  In Porter’s (RASS cavers went on another trip). We went through the Keyhole, up into the Breakdown Room,& then went a different route than normal to another section.  Saw some pretties in the upper “helectites” section of the Breakdown Room.  Then we went down a different & kind of scary way, and explored in that section.  As we tried to find another route out of there, we ended up in a place I knew exactly where we were at, the Natural Bridge.  We came from behind it where we normally don’t go.  I then told the group I was pretty sure I could get them out the way we normally leave that room.  With a few minor detours I did it & we ended up back at the Keyhole.  We then went to explore all the other sections we go to & out.”  


11/2:  Cyndi Hutchison, Marian McConnell, Heather Bostic and Mary Sue Socky visited Island Ford Cave, VA.  This was a “teach Cyndi the cave” trip, and she did great!  They explored parts of the cave no one had been in for a while.  See article in DUMP. 


11/8:  WVCC Banquet.  Mary Sue Socky, Al Stewart, Bob Gulden, Dave Socky, Meredith Weberg,  Ed & Marianne Saugstad and a bunch of other cavers had a nice time at the annual dinner in Lewisburg, WV.  Anna Ziegler gave a pps on Conservation Land Trusts, and  Mike Futrell gave an excellent talk/pps on “Caving In China”.


11/8: Smyth Co. Cave Survey.  after negotiating a nasty, tight cave entrance, Brian Williams, Carlin Kartchner, Stephanie Petri and David Duguid spent 12 hours and surveyed about 650' in Missed Opportunity Cave, VA on Saturday and it's easily one of the most heavily decorated caves in VA.


11/9: Brian Williams, Carlin Kartchner, Stephanie Petri and David Duguid surveyed for 8 hours and got a little over 400' of passage in an unnamed cave with a 60' pit and the largest flowstone mountain Stephanie has ever seen at about 60' tall.


11/9:  Dave Socky, Tom Paulson, Joe Calderone , Larry Fisher, Chris Walsh, Ken Haynes, and Errol Glidden surveyed 660’ in the Cove Creek area of Maxwelton Cave, WV.


Upcoming Trips:

·         11/16:  BRG trip to Paxton’s Cave, VA.  Doug Feller is leader

·         December BRG trip (12/21) No one thought of a cave, or a leader.  To Be Determined…


 Program:  Brian William’s slide show of a cave they are surveying in Smyth Co. VA.  Great program, Brian! 


(Carl Cornett left early, left his signed ballot/proxy with Dave Socky.)



TREASURER’S REPORT (submitted by Stephanie Petri):

11/15/2013 Balance Sheet

Petty Cash                             110.00

General Fund                     3,583.19

Conservation                        266.55

Equipment                             235.36

Cave Bucks                            194.30

TOTAL BALANCE:     $4,389.40


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

MEMBERSHIP –Pay Yer Dues (18 folks have already). Bring folks interested in caving to BRG meetings. 

ROCKS – BRG cavers finished surveying 2 caves; they need to ridgewalk, look for more caves on Jamie Sachs’ land. SAFETY & TECHNIQUES – Dan & Marian have set up a vertical training session at RiverRock Climbing Wall. 

MEMBERSHIP PROPOSALS No other new membership proposals. 


Old Business

·         Porter’s Tree:  (Final Report) Susan Burr said the tree over the Porter Cave gate has been removed, as well as another fallen tree across the path to the cave.  Thank You BRG Cavers for volunteering. 

·         BRG BASH Kit – (final report) Alan Staton reported he thought the BASH Kit was 10 years out of date.  Alan returned the “New and Improved” BASH kit, along with an OLD (out of service) phone number and 35 cents taped to it – he had found the card in the old BASH kit.  Update the rescue card, keep the coinage, many times there is no cell phone service where the caves are.   Thank You Alan! 

·         Roanoke GO-Fest was fun.  Jen Perdue tried the “Big Jump”.  Pat Sims rode through on his bike.  Mary Sue Socky wandered about, talking with vendors and taking notes. There were lots of “for profit outfitters”.  If BRG were to join the fun in 2014, it would have to be a Sat and Sunday setup/takedown, and the caver kiosk would need to be ‘manned’ by a group of cavers.  Finally, BRG would need to be ready for an influx of new cavers; be prepared to meet, greet, and introduce them to safe caving in an appropriate cave. Note:  Stephanie Petri & Mary Sue Socky have volunteered to man the kiosk.  Anyone else?

·         Want to buy a Bridge?  Natural Bridge of Virginia, the hotel, and cave are to be auctioned Dec. 18, 2013, 2pm.  

·         BRG Cave Owner Christmas Cards:  No new artwork available; Marian suggested that we recycle an old design.  Put a bunch of old BRG Xmas Cards out, told cavers to vote for their favorite three designs.  “Santa Claus Free Climbing a Chimney in a Cave” was the design chosen to be reproduced.  (NOTE: BRG mailed 73 cards in 2012; 3 came back.  So order 70 for 2013.)  



·         Dan & Marian McConnell have been talking with the River Rock Climbing Wall folks (River Rock had a booth and a climbing wall at the GO-Fest).  Dan gets to offer two classes on SRT, up to 8 participants per class, Classes are FREE, 10a – 5p.  Dates are Sundays: Dec. 29, 2013 and January 26, 2014.  Let Marian know if you are interested in participating.

·         BRG Officer Elections:  It was quick and mostly painless.  Susan Burr motioned the suckers be re-elected by acclimation for a second term.  Trish Geiger seconded.  Everyone voted for except Stephanie Petri and Dave Socky.   MOTION PASSED.

·         Mary Socky turned in an additional $17.99 receipt for Membership cards.  Dave Socky was repaid.

·         BRG Members wish to have a Xmas Party.  Dave & Mary Sue offered their house, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013,  1p-5p.  Potluck, BYOB. 



·         Alan Staton has volunteered to be the guest speaker at the January 17, 2014 BRG meeting.  Alan’s topic will be "Bleeding Control in the Wilderness Setting"

·         There will be NO BRG MEETING in DECEMBER.  Come to the Party instead!  Next meeting will be 1/17/2014.

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

·         Please record what kind of bats, and how many you see underground, and tell Wil Orndorff!  Scientists can use this info to keep caves open for cavers. 

·         NSS Convention, July 14-18, 2014 will be in Huntsville, AL     it’s going to be a GOOD ONE!!

·         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 9:08p. 

Minutes Submitted by

Mary Sue Socky  BRG Secretary