Monthly Meeting Minutes   via Zoom

May 21, 2021


Marian McConnell – Chair                                 Lauren Appel – Vice Chair                  Dave Socky – Treasurer

Mary Sue Socky – Secretary                              Meredith Weberg                               Bob Gulden & *Orion Gulden

Lynn Ott                                                                 John Fox                                                Nick Schmalenberger                         

Susan Burr                                                            Jeff Huffman                                         Doug Feller

Jen Suggs                                                               Kevin Johnson                                      *Carrie Doupnik  

*Carol Tiderman                                                  *Larry Manning                                    *Brianna Bennett                

*Mark Minton                                                      *Vonnie Droms                                    *Brian Bailey

                                                (* denotes guest)


Meeting called to order 7:03p by Chair Marian McConnell.

After introductions, there was a short run through of recent cave trips:


4/17/2021 – BRG trip to Lowmoor Cave, VA.  See article in May 2021 CARBIDE DUMP.  


4/17: McClung Cave, WV. Participants included David Socky, Nikki Fox, and Jay Hedemann on Team 1 and Nick Socky, Alex Faunce, and Eli Meyer on Team 2. Team 1 surveyed the missing section of the entrance canyon while waiting for the other team. Then we all headed to the start of Seven Fingers off Freeman Ave. Team 1 team started at the junction, while the other team went in to the first major junction and surveyed toward Team 1. Nick and team surveyed until about 6pm at which time they had to leave. Nikki and Dave continued surveying for another couple of hours. Good trip. Surveyed 1042 feet in 11.5 hours.


4/18: Lowmoor Cave, VA Survey Trip. Participants included David Socky, Mark Minton, Yvonne Droms, and Bob Alderson. We surveyed cave passage at the top of two high leads in the mine. These were high leads that Mark, Vonnie, and Bob had bolted up to a couple of years ago, but never surveyed. We did some lead checking too, but nothing really went without digging. It was a fun day in which we surveyed 600 feet on a 7-hour trip.


4/24: Dry Cave, WV. Participants included David Socky, Nikki Fox, and Carl Amundson on Team 1; Nick Socky and Eric Pelkey on Team 2; Greg Springer, Chris Coates, and Ethan Bohyer on Team 3. Surveyed a total of 2300 feet between the three teams. The water was lower this time and the survey in the upper levels at the First Bypass was a lot warmer. Carl Amundson, Nikki Fox, and Dave surveyed 776 feet of complex first level rooms and passages. We must have done about a dozen loops. And what we did was just the tip of the iceberg. It was a good 11-hour trip. Dry Cave is now 8.34 miles.


4/25: McClung Cave, WV. Participant: David Socky. Solo trip to correct an error in the PSS survey. PSS4 to 5 had a foresight & backsight error of 14.5 degrees. Found out it was the backsight that was incorrect. I was in the cave for 40 minutes. The survey was at the start of the first canyon section of the entrance canyon. Surveyed 44 feet on a 40-minute solo trip!


4/28: Kelly Knob Caves 63 & 67, VA. Participants included David Socky, Bob Alderson, Bill Koerschner, and Mary Lee Hendricks. Hiked up the AT from a dirt road past Clover Hollow Cave. Went north on the AT for 2 miles to Kelly Knob. At the Kelly Knob overlook are a lot of big rocks and in the big rocks are several talus caves. We surveyed the two largest caves. The first one was long enough that we were totally out of the twilight zone. We spent all afternoon looking for caves and surveying the two largest. Between the two caves, we surveyed 315 feet.


5/1: Maxwelton Cave, WV. Participants included David Socky, Nick Socky, Kelly McCarthy, and Nikki Fox. Sweetwater camp trip! We surveyed loops and upper levels in downstream Sweetwater in the Electric Slide area. After exclusions, we got 1009 feet of new survey. Saturday was a long 11-hour day. Travel time to and back to the Electric Slide was long - close to three hours. We were almost to the camp near the downstream sump. We were in the cave for a total of 45.5 hours.


5/8: McClungs Cave, WV. Participants included David Socky, Nick Socky, David Smallwood, and Marty Abercrombie. We surveyed the big side passage to the west past the 30-foot drop after the Dad Crawls (near Crystal Canyon). Big borehole passage. We got enough new footage to push Great Savannah Cave System to over 47 miles. We surveyed a total of 1531 feet for a good 11-hour trip.


5/12: McClung Cave, WV. Participants included David Socky, Bob Alderson, and Bill Koerschner. We surveyed the north extension of Outer Mongolia. It started out big, but soon got to a series of tight crawls and small rooms you could stand up in. We finally got to a crawl Dave couldn't fit in. It was about 9 inches. It was decided it would take too long to dig out, so Bob and Bill went ahead and surveyed while Dave waited. They took a loooong time and for only 9 stations. We surveyed a total of 594 feet for a long 12-hour day.


5/19: Mark Hodge Dig, VA. Participants included David Socky, Mark Hodge, Amos Mincin, Keith Sweeny, Rick Lambert, Mark Minton, and Yvonne Droms. This was a dig on the Carmichael property, only a mile or so from Mark Hodge’s house. There had been two other digs and this one we used about 15 or 16 straws and opened things up where we were at the top of a narrow deep canyon. Rocks rolled down for a long way. The canyon is too narrow to fit in but shouldn't take much to get through. One more dig session according to Rick Lambert. It was a fun and productive 8-hour day.



Tomorrow Sat. 5/22/2021: McClung Cave, WV.  This is NOT a beginner trip.  Email Susan Burr  to sign up.

May 2021 Grotto trip – to be announced.  A lot depends on the weather.



5/21/2021 BRG Treasury Report, – Dave Socky, Treasurer


Cave Bucks          $   196.00

Conservation     $       0.00

Equipment          $   133.87

General                 $3,453.31

Total                      $3,783.18


*Cave Bucks:  All Cave Bucks donations are voluntary; funds go to cave conservation programs.



NEWSLETTER (Dave & MarySue Socky) got out the May 2021 Carbide Dump. Thanks for your support; please send in articles, photos, and reports!  FYI, there will be NO August newsletter.

 MEMBERSHIP –BRG currently has 55 members and 5 subscribers (total of 60)  for 2021.  Best of all, new folks are interested in caving! 

ROCKS – (D. Socky) nothing.

SAFETY & TECHNIQUES – (D. McConnell) Nothing.  Dan will be getting a hip replacement in July 2021. 





·         Grotto meetings – would you be willing to attend an “In Person” BRG meeting?  People seem to be looking forward to meetings.  So much that it was decided to make our next BRG meeting 6/18/2021 a “real” meeting. 

o    Marian or Mary Sue will contact Jersey Lily’s-Salem to see if we can have our old room back.

o    Will BRG be continuing the Zoom meeting format at the ‘sit down’ meeting?

§  Dave was unsure of the meeting room Wi-Fi capabilities, but he will try to hold a Zoom meeting concurrent with the regular monthly BRG meeting. 

o    If you can find a different place for the BRG meetings, let Marian McConnell know.


§  Proposed Grotto Get-Together at the Rowland family’s Mill Fall Farms, near Bedford Lake, VA.

Dave Socky sent a survey to BRG members to see what dates were preferred.

Respondents overwhelmingly chose Saturday, August 7, 2021 with a rain date of Aug. 8. 


§  Meredith Weberg was very pleased with the seven Zoom talks on caves and bats for the International Year of Caves & Karst (IYCK), held on May 8, 2021. Meredith Weberg, Janet Tinkham, Carol Tiderman, Vonnie Droms and Mark Minton were some of the speakers.  .  The talks will be posted to




§  BRG has received membership renewal notices from WV Cave Conservancy (WVCC) and the American Cave Conservation Association (ACCA). 

o    After some discussion, Dave Socky moved and Meredith Weberg seconded that BRG renew both memberships with the same rates as the previous year.   WVCC, as institutional member for $50.00, and basic membership $25.00 in ACCA .  MOTION PASSES.


§  Calendar conflict:  Sept. 17, 2021 is the date for the monthly BRG meeting and the start of Fall VAR. 

o    The membership decided NO September meeting; see you at Fall VAR!


§  Meredith Weberg brough up the useful Caver Alert Information Sheet, adopted by NCRC and it also has a link through the NSS website. Be prepared!  Please use this for your cave trips.    (see attachment)




§  NSS BOG Voting deadline is May 25.  Vote!  The NSS needs good leadership.

§  The NSS is planning an on-line auction during Convention. Details will be announced soon. 

§  OTR 2021 – WILL HAPPEN!!!!!  

§  Pandemic Caving –Let’s be healthy going underground .  Rules have been posted in the Carbide Dump.

§  Switching from winter to summer cave closures for bats (maternity colonies).  Other caves may be open for summer visitation.  please respect all cave closures.

VA -  Summer closure dates - Apr.15 - Oct.15     WV -  Summer closure dates:– May 15 - Sept.1



·         May 28 -30, 2021 - Salem Rock and Mineral Show @ Salem Civic Center Tickets $7 adult.

·         May 28-30, 2021 – Speleofest, in KY, hosted by Louisville Grotto.  

·         June 6-12: VA Cave and Karst Week.  Stay tuned for info on outdoor talks!

·         Next BRG meeting is June 18, 2021 In Person!  6:30p.  We will try for Jersey Lily’s- Salem. 

·         July 16, 2021 BRG meeting, 6:30p.  We will try for Jersey Lily’s- Salem. 

·         July 25 – July 30  2021 NSS Convention will now be virtual only.

·         Aug 7 – Grotto Get-Together at the Rowland’s property near Big Island, VA (Bedford Co.)

·         Aug 13-15, 2021 Karst O Rama @ Great Saltpetre Cave Preserve, Mt. Vernon KY

·         Aug 20 – BRG meeting, 6:30p, Jersey Lily’s-Salem.

·         Sept 17 – NO BRG meeting!  Go to Fall VAR!!   

·         Sept 17-19, 2021 Fall VAR @ RASS Fieldstation in Bath Co., VA

·         Oct 1-3: NCRC Orientation to Cave Rescue (OCR), Martinsburg, WV. 



Meeting adjourned 7:36p.  Followed by the program, “Team Mex 1982 – A Caving Adventure in Mexico”.  Narration by Dave Socky and Doug Feller, photos by Dave Socky.


  Cold Beer!


Minutes Submitted by

Mary Sue Socky, Secretary,

Blue Ridge Grotto of the NSS