BLUE RIDGE GROTTO of the NSS
Jersey Lily’s Roadhouse Meeting Room
September 15, 2017
Dave Socky – Treasurer Bob Gulden – Chair Mary Sue Socky – Secretary
Susan Burr – Vice Chair Lynn Ott Karen Kastning
Jeff Huffman Dusty Gulden Nicole Gulden
Doug Feller Keith Goggin Bob Alderson
Marian McConnell Trish Geiger Carl Cornett
*Odin Gulden *Joseph Darwin * guest
Meeting began 6:41p
After the meeting was called to order, VChair Susan Burr announced that BRG was going to begin imposing time limits for trip reports: 3-5 minutes per trip report with a 15 min. max. of reports per person. Everyone agreed.
8/20: Dave Socky and Bill Balfour visited Wildcat Cave, WV (Culverson Creek) to test Carroll Bassett’s lights for the video. We were only spent an hour or so in the cave. I found out, as expected, that mixing lights of different color temperatures just does not work.
8/24: Unnamed VA Project Cave. Participants included David Socky, Mark Minton, Yvonne Droms, and Zeb Lilly. Entered the cave 1:30am or so. We went back to the Conundrum area where we had left a good lead in the second canyon off the main room. Climbing up the canyon climb, doing the slimy slot, the floorless canyon, and everything else was just as annoying as we remembered it, but we eventually got to the lead. After about an hour of digging, we got through into going passage. It was a nice walking canyon which was covered in delicate popcorn, weird finger type formations, crystals, and hardened mud figures. Some of the coral was brown with fine white fingers on the ends. It was really cool. But the passage ended in breakdown with no really good place to dig. We returned to survey a side passage, but it turned into a tight high fissure. Mark Minton dug in the bottom of this until it got to the point it would need technical persuasion. It seemed to get bigger just a few feet in. There was little bit of air. Mark and Dave brought the survey to the dig and climbed out of the tight canyon with the help of a piece of webbing. There was one other lead left, which would require rope to get down. This was actually a nice lead, with water in the bottom of the 15 foot deep canyon. The trip was 10 hours and we surveyed a total of 534 feet.
8/30: Return to the unnamed “VA Project Cave“. Participants: David Socky, Mark Minton, Yvonne Droms, and Mark Hodge. We returned to the Conundrum section of the cave, but this time went to the eastern end of the passage where we had left a virgin pit and an easy dig when the section was first discovered 2 years ago. While Mark, Mark, and Vonnie worked on rigging and checking the pit, Dave went to the end of the passage into a short stoop way and started to dig down into the cobbles and dirt. The passage opened up a little just 10 feet ahead. It was easy digging with a hoe. After about an hour Dave was called back to help survey the pit, which didn’t go. Work continued on the dig - Mark Minton got through. The cave went! With just a little more digging we got everyone through. The passage was dry and opened up into near walking and about 12 to 15 feet wide. But it stopped after about 70 feet at another dig. Again, it was easy enough to get through and we were soon surveying walking passage. To the south east, it ended, but to the west, the cave continued as an easy hands and knees dry passage with much popcorn and sparkly stuff. We soon reached another junction where we decided to survey to the right. The passage eventually ended in a sandstone breakdown choke with a rainwell to the side. We left the left hand passage for another trip – more virgin passage which, hopefully, will go a lot further. We exited after a nice 10 hour trip with 455 feet of survey. (DRS)
September – Dan & Marian McConnell vacationed, rode their motorcycles to Branson, MO, to Top of the Rock Resort and went caving in Lost Canyon Cave in a golf cart and a took a side visit to the Bat Bar.
9/1: During OTR, some sad deluded fools went CAVING. Participants included David Socky, Errol Glidden, Larry Fisher, and Kelly McCarthy. We did a through trip in Simmons-Mingo Cave, WV, which was a very 'sporting' trip of 7 hours with plenty of funky climbs, crawlways, breakdown squeezes, and plenty of nice walking passage. Even some nice formations! This is not a cave for those who don’t have a head for heights or exposure. There were plenty of tricky little climbs, some of which included webbing and handlines to help. In one spot, there was 15 foot cable ladder climb. Besides the climbs there were a bunch of breakdown squeezes, some of which were very tight.
9/4- Lynn Ott and Gene Harrison went to the island of Aruba for a wedding. Lynn said the flight was horrible, but they missed the hurricane.
9-/4-10: Bob Alderson went backpacking with his sister Mary Lee Hendricks and cousin Laura Belk to Isle Royale, MI. It was a 2 hour ferry ride to the island. They did lots of backpacking and checking out the high basalt cliffs
9/9: Lower Fuller’s Cave, WV (Culverson Creek). Participants included David Socky, Dave Colatosti, Aaron Thomas, Brian Williams, Steph Petri, Mark Hodge, Nick Socky, Errol Glidden, and Jenn McGuire. It was a great trip to the Dragons Breath Room. We filmed Aaron, Brian, and Steph discovering Mud Everest. We filmed for 4 hours and got usable footage. Nick and Mark Hodge did a great job setting nails for the climb through the breakdown. We didn't get as much done as hoped, but it was good. The water levels were pretty low, and there was no foam or fog at Dream Lake, which is not good for filming there. It still took a total of about 7 hours travel time to get in and out of the Dragons Breath Room. Trail improvements through the breakdown really helped. We were in the cave for about 11 hours, getting out at 10pm
9/10: BRG members Susan Burr, Doug Feller, Jeff Huffman, Bill Walker and Greenbrier Grotto combined forces to visit Organ Cave, WV. 18 people total. Cliff Lindsay was leader. They entered via the Historic Entrance, and followed the commercial trail for a bit. They took a side trip to the saltpeter vats, went to the Waterfall Room.
This Month’s cave trip – Paxton Cave, VA. Doug Feller is leader.
Next Month’s cave trip – Saturday 10/21/2017, to___TBA_____.
September 15, 2017 BRG Treasury Report
$ 74.64 Cave Bucks
$ 160.64 Conservation Fund
$ 235.36 Equipment Fund
$ 3063.08 General Fund
$ 0.00 Joe Fagan NSS Brick Fund
$ 3533.72 Total Funds
Newsletter – Thanks for the articles & photos! Large Sept. issue (extra postage) we will miss the Oct. issue when Dave is out of town.
Membership - 56 members, 3 subs for 2017.
ROCKS - Dave Socky – more survey in one cave next week; Lowmoor survey is inactive.
Safety & Techniques --- no report
Membership Proposals: None.
(Business Meeting cont.)
· Nominating cavers for NSS awards – Please send your updated nominations, letters of support in before the November deadline.
· BRG has renewed with WVCC at Institutional member rate $50.00 per year. (NOTE: some of the proceeds of MURDER HOLE sales are donated to WVCC, too.)
· BRG has bought a “Brick” in memory of Joe and Sue Fagan for the NSS Headquarters. Brick # 618, $100.00.
· Remember to nominate NSS cavers for NSS Fellow or the other national awards NOW. If you have previously nominated someone, send a “reminder letter” to the person in charge of the award. THE DEADLINE IS Nov. 15.
· Donation time! BRG renewed with WVCC (above). MAKC dues ($50.00) are now due. After discussion, the membership decided to renew dues to current organizations we have previously supported.
· The Treasurer will also print a list of what organizations we have supported and what we donated to in the past, so we can better determine where our dwindling funds will go.
· BRG decided that Christmas Cards will be sent to landowners for 2017. Please send in ideas.
· Helmet Lifespan – How old are the current ‘loaner’ BRG helmets? Although helmets are inspected before and after every use, the plastic shells do deteriorate over time. Should we replace our current helmets, and what will the cost be? (Item tabled until data on helmet age, etc. has been compiled.)
· Please submit written cave trip reports to the secretary. Thanks!
· Fall VAR is next weekend (Sept. 22-24). Gorgeous site! Hope you can make it!
· WVCC Banquet Nov. 11, in Lewisburg, WV. Preregistration required. $35.00 per person. Deadline Nov. 7.
· VA Cave Board Meeting will be
· April 2-6, 2018 – Sinkhole Conference in Shepherdstown WV. www.sinkholeconference.com
· Day After Christmas 2017 – Bonfire on the Farm (Keith & Lisa Goggin’s place). Bring your old papers, documents, and we’ll have a ‘burn party’.
· Check out VA-DCR’s “Guide to Sinkholes”.
· MURDER HOLE DVD is now available, $1 goes to WVCC. See Marian McConnell or Dave Socky.
Program: Abaco Blue Holes Expedition Live, by Jill Heinerth. 27 min program on cave diving.
Meeting ended 8:12p
Minutes by BRG Secretary
Mary Sue Socky
Revised Order of Business
6:30p BRG Meeting begins
6:30 -6:45p. Order dinner.
6:45p – eat dinner during meeting, announcements.
7:30-7:45p – Program (after business meeting)