Monthly Meeting Minutes –  Jersey Lily’s Salem, VA

March 18, 2022



Marian McConnell – Chair                                 Dave Socky - Treasurer                       Mary Sue Socky – Secretary

Lauren Appel – Vice Chair                                  Trish Geiger                                          Nick Schmalenberger

Susan Burr                                                            Karen Kastning                                     Doug Feller

Carl Cornett                                                          Tom Beaman                                         *Mary Lou Holland

Lynn Ott                                                                 *Kelly Perkins                                       Jeff Huffman

Bob Alderson                                                        *Erin Bejjani       

                (* denotes guest)


Meeting called to order 6:34p  by Chair Marian McConnell.

Introductions were made, new folks welcomed


Trip reports:

2/19: McClung Cave, WV. Participants included David Socky, Brian Williams, and Nikki Fox on Team 1. Alex Faunce and Eric Landgraf were Team 2. Went to North Freeman Ave and finished off all the passage at the end of Freeman Ave. A bolt climb that Nikki Fox and Chris Coates did on Jan 1, 2017, at NBD10 needs to be reclimbed and surveyed. There is maybe 60 ft. of passage up there. Between the two teams, we surveyed a total of 1728 feet. Good trip.


2/19: Bob Alderson and Bill Koerschner went to CRF in KY to do a bolt climb and resurvey in East Salts Cave, KY.  They were also called to assist with a caver rescue in Floyd Collins Crystal Cave, KY (a caver had dislocated her shoulder on a CRF trip.  Rescue was a success.)


2/26: McClung Cave, WV. Participants included David Socky, Nick Socky, Nikki Fox, and Greg Springer. This was the trip to break 50 miles for the Great Savannah Cave System!!


3/1: Bob Alderson, Amos Mincin, Keith Sweeney, Mark Minton, and Vonnie Droms visited Wave Function Cave, Allegheny Co. VA.  They surveyed passage and corrected errors from previous survey trips.


3/5: Bob Alderson attended the Hellhole Bat Count, Hellhole Cave, WV.  The count was set up by the WV DNR and the F&W Service.  Bob’s group inventoried the north section of the cave.  The bats were not hibernating – due to abnormally warm temperatures during the winter, the bats are waking up.  The population seems to be doing OK.


3/5: Lynn Ott and Gene Harrison attended caver R. E. “Whitt”  Whittemore’s memorial service in TN.  70 -80 cavers attended. 


3/6: Cow Cave, VA. Participants included David Socky, Doug Feller, and Carson Leatherland. This is a small cave owned by Carson's family. The entrance was a 7-foot climb down, but Carson had put a ladder in place, which was nice. From the small entrance room was another 7 to 8 toot climbdown which was free climbable. At the bottom was a steep slope leading to a lower room. There was a final 4-foot climbdown where the cave ended in a small room with a dig lead at the bottom. The whole cave had lots of broken glass and old bones. There was no air. The three of us surveyed it with a total of 9 stations. Total length was 120 feet. Not bad for a Botetourt Cave.


3/7: McClung Cave, WV. Participants included David Socky, Carl Amundson, and Bill Koerschner. Went to the end of Lindsay Lane and surveyed to the end of the main trunk where it ended definitively in breakdown collapse. Then went to Seven Fingers proper and finished off the left-hand side lead off of the OCS survey. While we were doing that, the stream increased in level and became muddy, obviously from a rainstorm outside. We surveyed 1037 feet on a nice 10.5-hour trip.


3/9:  Bob Alderson went ridgewalking with Kevin Sweeny, an Alleghany Co. VA caver who is a great neighbor contact.  They checked out several sinkholes, etc.


3/12: McClung Cave, WV. David Socky, Nick Socky, Kelly McCarthy, and Paul Walko. We had spent the morning and early afternoon doing drywall work in the WVACS loft, so we got a late start. We were supposed to go to Brants Cave, but it was a blizzard outside, and the temps were 20 degrees and falling. We decided instead to go to McClung Cave. We surveyed the second left lead out of the Breezeway. It turned out nicer than I'd expected. Walking, stoop walk, crawling, but dry. No active stream at all. We did a couple of loops the old survey hadn't included and then at the end, we dug through the breakdown and were able to break into the room that leads to the Junction Complex. Another big loop completed and 195 feet of 'new' survey.


3/12-13:  Bob Alderson, Dwight Livingston, Vonnie Droms, Gabby Zawacki? did a long survey trip in Shovel Eater Cave, WV.  They went to 120’ Patrick’s Pit and did a dodgy dig with an unstable wall/collapse.  It was cool to the bottom of Patrick’s Pit. Outside, 14F temps and snow made it “fun”.  The strong winds almost blew the roof off the fieldhouse.


3/15/2022:  Mary Sue Socky reported on a BATS ZOOM talk on the Petra Project.  The talk was given by Katerina & Mike Ficco, two of the cavers who discovered “Petra” – fossil skeleton of an ice-age big cat – in a Lee Co.  VA cave.  “Petra” remains on display at the VA Natural History Museum, Martinsville, VA where conservators are working to clean the bones, carbon date and I.D. the species of cat. 



Tomorrow Sat. 3/19/2022:  BRG trip to James Cave, VA.  Sign up with Susan Burr.


Next Month’s Trip  To be announced.   




3/18/2022 BRG Treasury Report – Dave Socky, Treasurer

Fund Amounts

$       0.00            Cave Bucks

$       0.00            Conservation Fund

$   104.12            Equipment Fund

$ 4185.20           General Fund

     $ 4289.32     Total Funds


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



Newsletter – Another successful DUMP. 

Membership – BRG has 56 members and 5 subscribers.  There is a membership application tonight. 

ROCKS –  Surveyed Cow Cave, VA.  Susan Burr is organizing a trip to a cave in Fincastle, VA. 

S&T -  Dan’s shoulder replacement operation is March 24; he will have a 6 month’s recovery after that. 


Membership Proposals:    Pat Banks, one of Al Stewart’s students and member of VWCCC (1960’s).  Pat has shared many of his photos of past caving adventures with Al Stewart, Tom Beaman, and Barry Ferguson.  Pat could not attend this BRG meeting. Mary Sue Socky is Pat’s sponsor; 2nd by Tom Beaman (“Fossil # 2”).   Pat’s membership is tabled until the April 15 meeting. 


Old Business:

·         BRG Call-down rescue list updates.  Although (Blacksburg Cave Rescue Group) BCRG is responding to most cave rescue calls, keeping our BRG info updated helps them with first responders.  Our current mini call down list is out of date and only has 3 contacts.  Would anyone consider volunteering to be on the BRG call-down-list?  (Note: no response so far…)

·         Show Cave conservation cleanups – updates.

o    Endless Caverns, VA cleanup will happen April 22-23, 2022. You must pre-register.

o    Dixie Caverns, VA welcomes caver conservation efforts.  Jenna has taken over operations of Dixie Caverns.  A future cleanup (fall 2022) may be planned. 

·         Vote For Your FAVORITE FIVE!!!  Vote well and vote often!  Voting ends April 1. 



New Business

·         VAR Pre-registration is open!  See the March CARBIDE DUMP or

·         Upcoming BRG meeting conflicts – two caving events are also on BRG meeting nights.  May 20 is also the start of Spring VAR.  The June 17 date is during the NSS Convention in S.D., where three of the officers will be attending.  

o    Trish Geiger motioned that May 20 meeting date be cancelled so people can attend VAR; Susan Burr? seconded.

o    Trish Geiger motioned that the June 17 meeting date be kept, so people can attend.  Susan Burr? seconded.

o    9 people voted for both motions – MOTIONS PASS.  MSSocky will cancel the May meeting with JL’s.


·         (MedWAR) Nick Schmalenberger and Mystik Miller have signed up to be part of a team  for the MedWAR Race on Apr. 9, 2022, @ Wilderness Adventure in New Castle, VA.   MedWAR is a wilderness adventure race paired with medical challenges that test participants’ knowledge of wilderness medicine.  They need one more person to round out the team.  See    Please contact Nick       < > ASAP if you want to be a part of this event .       

·         Karen Kastning made two reports:

o    Caver Don Anderson is doing well.

o    (John Fox) Betty Jones, John’s wife, is setting up a memorial service for John Fox.  It should be held the 4th weekend in May (May 28/29, 2020).



·         Spring Restoration will be held @ ENDLESS CAVERNS Apr. 22-24, 2022.  You must pre-register so there will be a head count for Saturday dinner.  

·         CaveSim  is coming to VA and MD this fall!  No date yet.

·         NCRC Scholarship Application is available.  Limited funding.  NCRC Weeklong will cost $625.00.

·         Pandemic Caving – let’s be healthy going underground.  Rules have been posted in the DUMP.

·         The upper entrance to Boar Hole, WV, is very closed.  Use the Radio/Culvert entrance on Carroll Bassett’s property instead!

·         Winter closure for bat caves in West Virginia is Sept. 1- May 15. 

·         Winter closure for bat caves in Virginia is Oct. 15 – Apr. 15.   

There are summer cave closures for bat maternity colonies, too.  Please respect all cave closures


Calendar 2022:

·         Apr. 9:  MedWAR race @Wilderness Adventure, New Castle, VA.  

·         Apr. 15:  BRG meeting.

·         Apr 22-24:  VAR Spring Restoration @ ENDLESS CAVERNS, VA.  Free tent camping. Contact Meredith Weberg.

·         Apr 30:  Silers Cave Open House.  Contact Jim McConkey for more information.

·         May 3-4:  Something cave-related will be taking place in Dublin and Pulaski Co. VA all day.  There will be two field trips on Saturday.  Wil Orndorff is involved.  (Hopefully someone will send me some printed info on this event – Sec.)

·         May 20: NO BRG Meeting – go to Spring VAR!!

·         May 20-22, 2022 – Spring VAR/MAR, @ Grand Caverns.  Pre-register for discount and to secure a Saturday dinner.

·         May 28 or 29 – John Fox Memorial.  More info soon. 

·         June 5-11  Virginia Cave Week.

·         June 13-17, 2022 – NSS Convention, Rapid City SD.

·         June 17:  BRG meeting.

·         Jul 16- 21, 2022 – NEW!  NCRC National Weeklong, which will be held in Covington, VA. 


Meeting adjourned 7:51p, followed by  Guest Speaker, Nick Schmalenberger, on his 2021 Project Cave adventure in Mexico.  Great talk, Nick!  Thanks!!


Cold Beer!


Minutes Submitted by

Mary Sue Socky, Secretary