Meeting Minutes

Jersey Lily’s Roadhouse Meeting Room


July 20, 2018


Bob Gulden – Chair                             Susan Burr – Vice Chair                      Mary Sue Socky – Secretary             

Dusty Gulden                                        Doug Feller                                           Marian McConnell

Nicole Gulden                                       Carl Cornett                                          Karen Kastning

*Odin Gulden                                       *Lauren Appel

(* guest)               


 Meeting began at 6:40p.  Welcome back, Chair Bob Gulden! 



6/16/2018: Butler Cave, VA. Participants included David Socky, Mark Hodge, Bill Koerschner, Susan Burr, Doug Feller, Trish Geiger, and Jeff Huffman. This trip was led by Mark Hodge. We went in the Sofa entrance and went Downstream Sand Canyon and then into the Lower Complaint section. There were some crawling and narrow canyons to get through this section. Trish complained light heartedly that if she wanted crawling, she would have just gone to a good PA cave. We went to the point where the rope hung down which leads to the Upper Complaint area, where I've surveyed before, getting in from Dave’s Gallery and the crawlway we had dug open. After Lower Complaint, we went back to Sand Canyon. We then went on a big loop where we visited the Natural Bridge, the Moon Room, The Hanging Dong, & the Rimstone canyon. There was lots of nice passage, some of it quite large. It was a fun and easy trip. Nice to be in a cave since it was pretty hot outside.


6/17: Warm River Cave, VA. Participants included David Socky, Mark Hodge, Phil Lucas, Maret Maxwell, Mark Minton, and Yvonne Droms. This trip was to make the new gate for Warm River Cave more secure and to block off the points where it could be bypassed. The gate looked good. It was my first look at it, since I had been unable to help with the installation. The gate is located just at the bottom of ladder and before the narrow 'slick and slides' slanted crawl. There is still more work to be done to finish the gate, mainly using the quick setting foam to lock in the rocks at the sides of the gate. After messing with the gate, Mark Hodge and I went on into the cave, down through the crawl through the breakdown & to the first point we get to the water. We wanted to see how high the water was. It was high. We figured the first low air spots would be open, but that the ones further in the cave were probably still sumped shut. On the drive back, I stopped at Falling Springs and confirmed that there was LOTS of water coming over the falls. Also, the outflow at Dam Cave was pretty high too.


6/17: Dam Cave, VA. Participants included David Socky, Mark Hodge, Phil Lucas, Maret Maxwell, Mark Minton, and Yvonne Droms. Mark, Maret, and I worked on Dam Cave while Phil, Mark Minton, and Yvonne worked on the dig further up the hollow. We set off two sets of straws and made some half decent progress, but the 18 inch drill got stuck in the chuck of Mark's hammer drill and he decided he didn't want to damage it further.


6/20/18: Karen Kastning took a long 3 1/2-hour solo hike, in the heat and humidity, up Trillium Gap Trail to Grotto Falls.  It is located off the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, in the Smoky Mountains National Park, TN.  There is a short 10’ shelter cave behind the waterfall.  Karen was visiting nearby Pigeon Forge, TN for a family reunion, and remembered the cave and hike from ~35 years ago. This time, it took her 6 1/2 hours round trip.  Her son Kass was very impressed at her hiking ability!


6/29: Carlsbad Caverns, NM. Participants included David Socky.  I went on the commercial tour, starting at the natural entrance. I did the full loop, looked at the gift shop underground by the elevators, and then went back out via the natural entrance. Elevation loss/gain on the trip is 800+ feet! In cave temperature was around 56 to 60 degrees F.


6/30: Lechuguilla, NM. Survey team 1 included David Socky, Jamie Moon, Scott Anderson, and Jen Foote. Survey team 2 included John Lyles, Kevin Manley, and Devra Heyer.  We surveyed in the lower end of Glacier Bay, only about an hour from the entrance. There were four drops; with the biggest being Boulder Falls at 155 feet deep. All of the vertical climbs were easy. The temperature was 68 degrees F at 98% humidity. As long as you were moving, you were sweating. Surveying was not too bad once you cooled down. It was a 12 hour survey trip where our team mapped 428 feet. The other team mapped around 285 feet. We didn’t see any huge gypsum chandeliers, but we did see some nice formations and lots of gypsum crust.


7/2: Sitting Bull Falls Cave, NM. David Socky visited a little cave behind the Sitting Bull Falls park waterfall.  The whole cave was about 10 feet long!


(BRG meeting 7/20/2018)                                                                                                                                                                  p2


7/12: Lowmoor Cave, VA. Participants included David Socky, Bill Murray, and Blake Jordan. We surveyed in the mine, including some cave passage we found near one of the truck entrances. The cave passage was very dry and loaded with raccoon and mouse scat. After surveying we then took a short tour of the cave, exploring to the Ship Room and coming back a different way. It was the first good cave trip Blake had done since moving to VA. The trip was 6.5 hours long with 960 feet of mine and cave passage surveyed.


7/13: Culverson Creek Cave, WV. Participants included David Socky and Nick Socky. We went to the high lead in the Wildcat side, which we decided to name Snake Canyon. I made it through all the narrow stuff until we got to a little climb up. Nick went up first and then started squeezing through a tight spot. He said "Hmmm I didn't remember this spot. It's a little bit of a chest compressor on me". That being the case, I knew I wouldn't fit. I didn't even try. We were three stations from where the survey would start. Oh Well. We took off our vertical stuff to go back, which made the narrow canyon a lot easier. We then went down Death Canyon and into the Williams Passage Extension. This time we found our way through with little problems. We went down the Extension passage until the mud mountain climbing got to be too much of a pain. We really needed a digging bar to make footsteps. On the way back, we stopped at the "Lost Waterfall" and cleaned off our suits. We made it back to the start of the WVACS Classic by 6pm.


7/14/18: Mary Sue Socky led the beginner trip to Higginbotham’s #1 -#3, Cave, WV.  Claire Frostick, Chuck Frostick, James Hack, David Mueller, Dianne Mitchell, Melody Avery, Ashley Hitchcock, Vanna Hitchcock, Adele Springer, Josh Welshams, Emma Bullock, Emily Calvert, Jacob Curry all came along for the fun in this easy, wet cave.  No one was lost this time!!! Everyone exited via the #3 (McClung Entrance/Exit). One injury – Emma bumped into a limestone anastomoses, nicking the bridge of her nose just below her glasses.  Head wounds are amazing!  James Hack taped her up, and she was fine.  The water was very low in the upstream sump.


7/14: Maxwelton Cave, WV. Participants included David Socky, Louis Mozzano (book), Taren Woelk (book), Valerie Garrison (front sights), Anna Reachmack (front sights), Rob Woodell (back sights & point), Marissa Loftus (observer).  Vanessa Krabacher, Jenn McGuire, and Philip Moneyhun were on a separate survey team that did the cross canyon just upstream of the Latte Room. They were in the cave for about 6 hours. They made it back to the WVACS Classic in time for dinner.



(Karen Kastning mentioned Adams Cave, VA (near Radford) would be good for a short grotto trip.)


·         BRG trip to Higginbotham #4 Cave, WV, next weekend 6/28/2018.  Contact Susan Burr for info.

·         Aug BRG trip is TBA. 

·         Sept. 21-23 Fall VAR in nearby Blacksburg, VA, down by the New River! 





July 20, 2018 BRG Treasury Report
Fund Amounts

$   106.64              Cave Bucks

$   160.64              Conservation Fund

$   185.41              Equipment Fund

$ 2900.46              General Fund

     $ 3278.15     Total Funds       David Socky, Treasurer


Doug Feller was reimbursed for the 4 new AAA light systems. 




Newsletter – July/August 2018 DUMP published. No newsletter until September. 

Membership – There may be a change soon.      

ROCKS –Marian is hoping to talk Spencer Frantz about getting ridgewalking permission from Botetourt Co. landowners.

Safety & Techniques --- Nothing yet.



(BRG meeting 7/20/2018)                                                                                                                                                                  p3


Membership Proposals:  Lauren Appel has applied for BRG membership.  Her sponsor is Susan Burr.  Marian McConnell seconded, Lauren’s proposal is now tabled for a month, BRG will vote on her membership at the next (August) meeting.


Old Business

·         CaveSim says THANKS for $$.

·         NCRC says THANKS for $$.

·         NO Sept. 21 BRG meeting – go to VAR!

·         Karst Day, Sept. 18, 2018 @ Heritage HS, Lynchburg, VA.  Will be an all-day event for the school science classes.  So far Marian, Dave, Mary Sue, Carl are interested.

·         MAKC sent a Thank You letter to BRG for donating $$.


New Business

·         Cave and Karst Trails – VA Cave board has had signs created, will be placed at various Virginia show caves and karst areas, battlefields, etc.  The info can be accessed at

o            Mary Sue Socky gave out “Virginia Cave & Karst Trail” stickers (miniature versions of the C&KT signs).


·         Thai Cave Rescue.  Discussion over the two week long, miraculous rescue of 13 members of a boys’ soccer team trapped in a monsoon-flooded Thai cave.  It was amazing that the team was found alive, AND ALL were successfully rescued.  Thousands of volunteers. One fatality – a Thai SEAL diver died while replenishing air tanks along the rescue trail.  Two hours after the soccer team was removed, the water pumps had a catastrophic failure, and the cave began flooding again.  The order was given to get out – British volunteer cave divers lost personal dive equipment, rescue equipment, air tanks.   MOTION:  Mary Sue Socky motioned that BRG send $25.00 (US Dollars) to the British Cave Rescue Council.  2nd by Bob Gulden.  Motion passes by acclimation.


·         Unsolved Mysteries and Unknown Sightings – this group, based in Salem, VA, contacted Marian McConnell about the big cave on her property.  They want to monitor CMH for the possibility of paranormal activity.  Marian wanted to know if BRG folks wish to help. Cavers would do the setup -position monitors in Daylight Cave and to the top of the Ski Slope, and then retrieve equipment several hours later.  There is interest – Carl, Dave, Mary Sue, maybe Susan and  Doug – so Marian will contact the group for project dates. 


Meeting ended at 7:28p, followed by


ProgramCreepy Stories in Mammoth Cave (surveys)

Karen Kastning related a creepy story about being on a survey in Floyd Collins Crystal Cave, KY, and hearing an eerie sound deep within the cave passages they were surveying.  It turned out to be a woman playing an Indian flute by Floyd’s glass casket. 


Bob Gulden told of surveying in Mammoth Cave KY in ‘the old days’ when NPS insisted that cavers become invisible, hide behind rocks, down passages so as to NOT Disturb or be seen by the tour groups.  If you were spotted, the park director was very displeased.   Later, policy and procedures changed to where the park rangers would announce “survey party from the bottomless pit” was approaching, and the pack of tourists “parted” to photograph and let the cavers through.


Karen Kastning remembered a trip when her survey team had to hide behind rocks in a room when a Mammoth Cave tour group approached.  A bouncy kid on the tour zipped off trail, behind the rocks and was startled by finding the hiding cavers – he screamed!  So much for quietly hiding from tours and waiting for them to leave…


Susan Burr hopes to have her slide show on “Name That Cave Entrance” cooperating by next month. 



Minutes by BRG Secretary,


Mary Sue Socky