Meeting Minutes

Jersey Lily’s Roadhouse Meeting Room


May 18, 2018


Lynn Ott                                                 Dave Socky – Treasurer                      Mary Sue Socky - Secretary

Gene Harrison                                      Marian McConnell                               Carl Cornett

Karen Kastning                                     Nicole Gulden                                       *Odin Gulden

Dusty Gulden                                                                                                        (* guest)               

 Meeting began at 6:38p.  Treasurer Dave Socky was in charge of meeting.  Chair Bob Gulden was ill.



4/22/2018:  BRG trip to Lost World Caverns, WV.  Marian McConnell reported it was great getting back into caving, meeting new cavers Lauren Appel and Nick Schmalenberger.  In addition, Marian’s boots had dry-rotted, and Marian lost her sole.  Thanks heavens for orange duct tape!


4/22: Lost World Caverns, WV. This was the BRG Grotto trip to the wild section of Lost World Caverns. Participants included David Socky, Mary Sue Socky, Susan Burr, Doug Feller, Trish Geiger, Marian McConnell, Nick Schmalenberger, and Lauren Appel. Jeff and Hillary Huffman showed up too, but Jeff pulled his back and decided he best not go on the trip. First, we did photography in the pretty portions of Lost World. We then took Marian and Trish back to the point where they could safely get to the commercial section. The five of us re-entered, found the lower level and the stream passage. It involved going through a 50 foot long low crawl, but eventually opened into a nice room. We found the stream passage and the small 12 inch slot through the water. Dave was the only one willing to get wet; he squeezed through the tight, awkward spot. He got through with minimal problems. Immediately after the tight spot was a crawl under a waterfall, so he got soaking wet. Then it opened up to walking passage for another 60 feet, ending in a flowstone choke. Water was heard through cracks along the right wall, but there was no way to get to the water. Definite end of the downstream passage. We went back via a loop, crawling through the water and squeezing through a tight pinch. It was tighter than the downstream passage slot, but doable. We were back in the tourist section in 15 minutes. Fun trip.


4/27:  Marian McConnell, Lynn Ott, and Gene Harrison gave a MURDER HOLE presentation to 45 -50 people at Natural Bridge State Park Visitor Center.  People were very receptive and interested in the video. 


4/28: SnoCone Cave, VA. This was a led trip from 2018 Spring VAR. Participants included leaders Stephanie Petri & Brian Williams, plus  David Socky, Sandy Knapp, Jose Martinez, Mark Hodge, Bill Walker, Paul Allen, Doug, Taylor Love, River NLN, plus one other caver. It was a fun cave with tight squeezes, slippery mud slopes, big rooms with beautiful formations, webbing climbs, belly crawls through the water, and a big waterfall in the back with possible virgin passage at the top. Did anyone bring a climbing pole? Scaramouche Crawl was the wet belly crawl and the Rhapsody Room was the formation-filled room after the crawl. It was a great 4.5 hour trip


4/28: During Spring VAR Mary Sue Socky and Carroll Bassett drove to nearby Saltville, VA to visit the Museum of the Middle Appalachians.  This regional museum features Pleistocene fossils found in the salt lagoons – including a complete Mastodon skeleton on display, a Mammoth skull, and bones of musk ox, short faced bear, etc.  The museum also contains a mineral section, a Native American artifact section, Civil War and Saltville history.    


5/2: Helectite Cave, VA. Participants included David Socky, Phil Lucas, Mark Hodge, Amos Mincin, and Jim Redington. This was an exploration/familiarization trip plus a photo trip. We went across the hairy traverse to get

back into the Canyon Maze. I had forgotten how many formations were back there. The main goal was to find the

'Conference Room', which Mark had tried to find last week. We found it with Phil’s help.  There were lots of really

nice formations. We tried to do a loop, but were stopped by a pit, so we had to retrace our steps. It was a good 7.5 hour trip with lots of photos taken.



 (BRG meeting  5/18/2018)                                                                                                                                                                p2


5/5:  WVASS meeting @ WVACS fieldstation. Lynn Ott attended, brought back a bundle of WVCC brochures for BRG.


5/5: Cave Hollow Arbogast, WV. Participants included David Socky, Jay Balakirski, Dave West, Karen Willmes, Aaron Bird, Katie Bender, Wayne Perkins, and Dennis Melko. It was a rainy weekend. We found the entrance to Cave Hollow, but our keys wouldn't fit the lock on the gate. We did find that someone had breached the gate by digging under the grate. By removing a bunch of rocks under the grate, Katie was able to get in via the same way and verify that our keys wouldn't fit. We aborted the trip through Cave Hollow and we couldn't go in Arbogast because of the bats. We ended up ridge walking, so I was able to get the other entrances marked on my GPS. We found Manhole, Vampire Pit, Ribcage, plus a cave that had been surveyed but didn't connect into the system.


5/9/2018:  Tom Gerow, Don Anderson, and Karen Kastning visited Ruebush Cave, Pulaski Co. VA.  This is a new cave.  In the past, this sinkhole had been used as a rubbish pit; the residents finally burned the brush, found $250 worth of recyclable steel and a LARGE cave entrance.  A neighbor fenced the sinkhole.  Owners contacted cavers, wanted to know “if the land was stable”.   During the visit, they noted cave passage at the intersection of two obvious fractures, &  a “natural bridge” (2’-3’ wide, 6’ long, with cracks in the rock on the bridge underside).  The cave was mapped in April 2018 by VPI cavers and has approximately 200ft. of cave passage.  There is a refrigerator and LOTS of broken glass and crockery fragments still waiting to be removed.   


5/9: Owl Cave, VA. Participants: David Socky, Phil Lucas, Mark Minton, Yvonne Droms, and Amos Mincin. We dug at the Tweedledum dig. By late afternoon, Amos Mincin was able to squeeze through into 20 feet of virgin cave with formations, and a 10 foot deep pit. We opened it up enough for everyone to fit through and check out the discovery. More digging will be required - most likely in the pit, where it seems most of the air is coming from.


5/12: Windy Mouth Cave, WV. Participants included David Socky, Joe Zokaites, and Silas Springer. Also, Nick Socky, Kelly McCarthy, and Marissa Loftus went in with us as far as the E Survey turnoff. They surveyed 380 feet of virgin cave above the bolt climb at the end of the E Survey. Our team continued on to the Second Canyon, where we found station HN11 and continued with the HP survey. After 7 hours, we reached the end of the main Second Canyon passage. There were LOTS of formations - rimstone, flowstone, draperies, dog tooth spar pools, helectites, and anthodites. Most of the whole survey was well decorated. We exited the cave at 12:20am. It was a 12.5 hour survey trip in which 841 feet of nice passage was surveyed.


5/18:  Dave Socky, Bob Alderson, and Keith Goggin visited Lowmoor Cave, VA.  Sandy Knapp had reported on having a rope left in the cave being used as a handline break on her during a previous trip (no injury).  They found the break and determined that the rope failed due to either rock fall or rats. 


May??2018: Marian McConnell visited Sharon Keith’s H.S. English Lit. classes, who were studying ‘legends’.  MURDER HOLE was the legend of the day. The students were spellbound, and loved interacting with Marian. 



·         NO BRG trip this month.

·         May 19, 2018 Over the Edge, the Last Rappel of Patrick Henry Hotel, downtown Roanoke, VA. 


Next Month’s BRG trip – undecided, to be announced.



May 18, 2018 BRG Treasury Report
Fund Amounts

$   100.64              Cave Bucks

$   160.64              Conservation Fund

$   235.36              Equipment Fund

$ 3002.79              General Fund

     $ 3499.43     Total Funds       David Socky, Treasurer


(BRG meeting 5/18/2018)                                                                                                                                                                  p3


(Note:  Marian McConnell donated $1; Dave Socky donated $5 to Cave Bucks after the report. Add $ 6.00 to total above)



Newsletter – MAY 2018 DUMP published. The newsletter editors will not publish in August 2018.

Membership – No change.  BRG has 56 members and 4 subscribers for 2018.   

ROCKS – Nothing new. 

Safety & Techniques --- no report

Membership Proposals:  No proposals at this time. 


Old Business

·         Gene Harrison, Mary Socky & Trish Geiger will volunteer at Over the Edge for the rappel @ the Patrick Henry Hotel.

·         Troutville Trail Days folks were notified that BRG would not be hosting a booth at their weekend fair.      

·         Virginia Cave Week Apr. 22-28, 2018 went well.  The word is getting out about the neat field trips offered.

·         No report on purchase of 4 new headlamps for BRG helmets.

·         No report on recent BSA cave trip to Crossroads Cave, VA.  Doug Feller, Jeff Huffman, Bill Walker were to lead. 


New Business

·         ACCA sent BRG a ballot to vote on their slate of directors.  All were acceptable; the ballot will be mailed in. 

·         MAKC sent a request for donations.  Much discussion, Karen Kastning motioned that BRG send in $50.00. Someone pointed out that BRG had recently paid MAKC dues, and some of proposed properties MAKC wants to buy/lease have a hefty price tag.  Maybe BRG can make a donation at a later date.  Motion did not pass.  It was decided to table the request, and print the MAKC letter in an upcoming DUMP so BRG members can make a better decision. 

·         NSS request for funds to tear down the White House on NSS property above Shelta Cave.  (NSS has been cited by Huntsville for a condemned structure.  City is threating fines a/o jail term.)  This is an old, unlivable building with asbestos.  NSS says it will cost $12,000.00 to safely tear it down.  Discussion ensued.  At one point Karen Kastning motioned that $25 be sent in.  Marian McConnell, figuring that there were 200 active grottos, did the math, and suggested that each grotto should “do its part” and send $60.00.  Karen Kastning withdrew her original motion.  New Motion:  That BRG send $60.00 to NSS headquarters, earmarked for ‘white house demolition”.  Carl Cornett seconded; vote was unanimous, passed.    

·         VAR Wrap-Up:  279 attendees. Walker Mt. Grotto says “THANKS!”  VAR Vice Chair and Treasurer wish to step down.   New cavers think old cavers are dour, so “Don’t Look Old and Grumpy”.   Fall VAR = Sept. 21-23, 2018.  Spring VAR = April 26-28, 2019 @ Camp Powhatan, Pulaski Co. VA 



·         Please limit your trip reports to 3-5 minutes per trip, with a 15 minute maximum of reports per person.

·         Please submit written cave trip reports to the secretary.  Thanks!

·         Please sign Bob Gulden’s get well card. 

·         May 18-19 – Over the Edge “The Last Rappel” off Patrick Henry Hotel, Roanoke, VA.

·         May 24-28: Friar’s Hole Swine and Dine, hosted by Baltimore Grotto.

·         June 30, 11a - VA Cave Board meeting at the Natural Bridge State Park Visitor Center.  (NEW)

·         July 28-Aug 4, 2018: NSS Convention in Helena, MT

·         Sept 21-23, 2018:  Fall VAR, at New River Junction.  Hosted by VPI Cave Club.   


Meeting ended 7:49p, followed by


Program:  Slide show of Dave Socky’s recent cave trips. Cool!

Gene Harrison’s slide shows, including a 1980’s era 1000’ Tyrolean Traverse at Seneca Rocks, WV.  Amazing!


Minutes by BRG Secretary,


Mary Sue Socky