Meeting Minutes

July 17, 2020



Attendance (Jersey Lily’s)

Susan Burr – Chair

Trish Geiger – Treasurer

Marian McConnell – Secty

Doug Feller

Bob Alderson

Nick Schmalenberger


Introductions & Trip Reports: 


March 1-17 – Carlsbad Caverns, NM – Bob Alderson went with Dwight Livingston, Mark Minton, Yvonne Droms – Mystery Room. Found canyon with huge dogtooth spar. Did get photos.


May 23-24 – Roppel Cave – Bob Alderson went with Bill Koerschner, Dave Socky, Nick Socky, Alen Founco.


June 9 – Lowmoor – Bob Alderson went with Bill Koerschner, Dave Socky.


June 11 – Windy Mouth – Bob Alderson went with Bill Koerschner, Dave Socky.


June 13 – Lambert’s Air Blower – Bob Alderson went with Rick Lambert, Kyle Mills, Mark Hodge, Amos Minice. In Germany Valley, put in culvert and did 380’ of surveying in trunk passage.


June 14 – Butler – Bob Alderson went with Mark Minton, Yvonne Droms, Dwight Livingston.


June 26-29 – Mammoth Cave – New Discovery – Bob Alderson went with Bill Koerschner, Hannah Haffring. New Discovery – with Rachel Sakar, Miko Raynard, Bill Koerschner, Mike Titzer, Jen Tison. New Discovery – with Bill Koerschner, Rachel Sakar, Mike Ketzner.


June 27 - Patton Cave, WV – Jeff Huffman & Bill Walker- leaders, Susan Burr, Trish Geiger, Nick Schmalenberger, Sharron Vass, and Chuck Vass. “Doug Feller was originally going to be our leader. Friday night he called me to let me know his helper may have been exposed to COVID-19, so he felt he should stay home. This left us in a bind since I can't read a cave map & I was the only one left who had ever been to the cave before. The last time I was there was back in 2014. I sent Jeff an email of the map & he agreed to be our leader with the help of Bill Walker. We never did find the only room I actually remembered in the cave, the Football Room. We will have to go back with Doug sometime to find that! We did see several nicely decorated areas. We had a good 3 hours & 45 minute cave trip.” Note:  Owner passed away and cave is now managed mainly by the woman owner who is very nice.  Susan left a nice thank you letter after the BRG trip; the woman called to check on the trip and Susan learned she does not leave at the house where the letter was left.


June 30 and July 2 – Roppel – Bob Alderson went with Bill Koerschner, Rachel Sakar, Mike Ketzner.  Then with Bill Koerschner, Tim Green, and Bob Thurne. Noisy with complaining by the ladies who brought very large packs with climbing ear; had to move through very narrow and “bottomless” canyon passages. Named the canyon “Princess Bitch Canyon.”  Bob ended up carrying 3 packs.


July 3 – Ferguson – Bob Alderson went with Aaron Bird, Alex, and Rachel Sakar. Aaron had a drone flying over the sinkhole. 60’ drop. Surveyed 80’.


July 4 – Colossal – Bob Alderson went with Tom Bucker, Bob Thurne. Went in to correct survey on Bedquilt.


July 12 – Lambert’s Air Blower – Bob Alderson went with Rick Lambert, Mark Minton, Yvonne Droms.


July 13 – Windy Mouth – Bob Alderson went with Bill Koerschner and Dave Socky.


July 15 – Catawba Murder HoleMidd Hunt (now from Herndon, VA) explored the cave while at Roanoke College in 1960-65. Caving turned out to be his primary vocation for many years.  In 2018 he shared some photos with Marian, and said he brought an editor of National Geographic and they rappelled down the 120’ foot side.  He said, “This photo and other cave photos to follow were the beginning of my full career in professional photography.  I was an early member of the Potomac Speleological Society (PSC) based in NOVA. My extensive cave photography was so well thought of that National Geographic offered me a job right out of college at Roanoke College in 1965.”  In one photo was Andy Park, whose father, Ted Park, was at National Geographic and later with Smithsonian magazine. Midd also took photos of New River Cave and Clover Hollow. Midd and his friend Darrell ride motorcycles and recently rode through the area and came up to see the Murder Hole cave on July 15th from the driveway.  Unfortunately due to COVID-19, Marian was not able to offer them lunch, but she was able to “visit” with them from her front porch. [Marian sent this and photos to Dave for possible article in August Carbide Dump.]


July 18 - Norman Cave, WV - This Month’s BRG tripwith Susan and Doug. Norman is managed by WVCC.




Treasury Report – Trish Geiger, Treasurer  7/14/2020


Cave Bucks  -                          0

          Conservation -                         0

         Equipment –         133.87

         General -                    2,969.45

          TOTAL                      $3,103.32



·         Newsletter – CARBIDE DUMP July was published. Thanks to all who contributed.

·         Membership – None; however, Sharron Vass who has started coming to our meetings, used to lead trips in Radford into James Cave and apparently has some cave safety and rescue training?  May possibly be interested in joining.

·         ROCKS – Nothing.

·         Safety & Techniques – None at this time.


Membership Proposals:


Old Business

·         Resuming in-person meetings at Jersey Lily’s as of the July meeting.

·         2020 BRG Rescue Roster - Randy Michael wishes to step down as Rescue Contact.  He has given BRG a year to find his replacement. [Perhaps Sharron Vass?] Ideally, BRG should have 5 contact people on the list. A contact person:

o   Needs to know the BRG cavers, and can make decisions on who to “call”, and can quickly and discretely contact those cavers who can respond to a rescue.

o   Does not necessarily need to be a responder; a less active caver can help the grotto by coordinating from a phone.

o   Knows how to work with BCRG, NCRC, and local rescue agencies.

o   Knows how to work with media inquiries.

·         Caves are slowly re-opening for those who want to go caving. Caves on VA, WV State and Federal lands remain closed to ALL caving (science and recreation).


New Business

·         Could we have in-person BRG meetings offer ZOOM, too? Would offer the dozen or so BRG folk who cannot attend the meetings a chance to be active in the grotto. Are there ZOOM capabilities at Jersey Lily’s? Does not have to be ZOOM; can be a phone-in, etc. Those present discussed this; but it is probably a Dave Socky item since he’s tech savvy. We don’t know about the WiFi at Jersey Lily’s or if this would work. Stick with in person meetings for now.

·         Goodwin Cave, VA, has a new owner.  New owner has not contacted BRG.  Mary Socky has asked previous owner for new owner’s contact info.

·         Has anyone who has been on the Goodwin Property, or in Goodwin Cave in the past 6 - 9 months and seen a carbide lamp?  Lee Slover (former owner) has misplaced his carbide lamp and thinks he may have left it on the property or in the cave.

·         VDWR (formerly DGIF) still refuses to allow caving on their property, but does not have authority to close caves on private property – see Wil Orndorff’s email (Wil’s Take).


  Announcements (also see announcement packet & Caver Calendar on back)

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

·         Al Stewart is now living at the Cave Spring Assisted Living facility on Brambleton and cannot currently have visitors due to COVID-19, but enjoys cards and phone calls (540-989-0483) before 8p. [Or if you send flowers, be sure to sign your name on the card!)

·         Next BRG meeting is August 21st.

·         Mountain Lake Lodge Resort – the lake is filling back up again! This is a geologic event; lake went dry around 2010.

·         Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been cancelled!

·         NO OTR, Fall VAR, Bridge Day or NCRC-OCR weekend classes.


Program:  None                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Cold Beer at 7:38p.    




·         NSS 2020 Virtual Convention on line – it is FREE.  You do not have to be an NSS Member There will be awesome content presented all week!!! !  You can check out the sessions any time at Dave Socky, Meredith Weberg and Rich Geisler have worked SO HARD on this once in a lifetime event!