JANUARY 19, 2007



Marian McConnell                      Dan McConnell                          Dave Socky                   *Nick Socky

Mary Sue Socky                        Carl Cornett                               Trish Geiger

Chris Heptinstall                        Doug Feller                                Todd Martin

Greg McCorkindale                    James Maughan                        Susan Burr

Pat Sims                                   *Carl Alls                                   *Susan Neate

*Sam Aguilera                           *’Jimbo’ Poff                              Jen Perdue

Rudy Jennings                           *John Jennings                          *Barbara Jennings

Al Stewart                                 Jarrod Richards                          Jeff Richards

* Guest



12/2/06- Grand Caverns, VA  Pat Sims, Dave Socky, Susan Burr, Aaron Moses, Carl Cornett, Jen Neeman did a conservation trip to the New Section to attempt to remove the muddy footprints from white flowstone.  Attempts were not successful.  Try again, using different methods in 2007.  Mary Sue Socky, Carol Tiderman, ???, worked to pull old dead wire from sections of the commercial cave, widen a tight passage for explorers (still needs microblasting) and removal of coinage from pools beside steps.


12/16/06 Breathing Cave, VA.  Doug Feller, Dave Socky, Susan Burr, Pat Sims, Cole Frantz, John Layman, Hayley Grasty, Todd Martin, Sam Aguilera, Carl Alls, Jimbo Poff, Rick Shortt, Leanne Barley.  (Doug Feller, leader): We hiked, we caved, we hiked… pretty strenuous.  Went to the waterfall.  We missed several turns in the cave.  Jimbo (poff) is learning to take alternate “big guy” routes.  Met a BIG group of Boy Scouts in Breathing.  There were LOTS of hibernating bats.


1/6/2007 – Paxton’s Cave, VA.  Doug Feller, Dave Socky, Susan Burr, Pat Sims, Hayley Grasty, Cole Frantz, Rick Shortt, Leanne Barley.  Doug & Dave had great fun getting everyone “lost” in Paxton Cave.  We went back to the Christmas Room and explored the Western Maze, too.


1/6/07 – Grand Caverns & Fountain Cave, VA.  HS students Nick Socky and Elliot George visited Fountain and Grand to collect water samples for their science fair project.  DC Grotto, others spent day in Fountain Cave for photo trip. Bill Biggers swears he can feel fresh air coming out of a different crack in the “Blasted Passage” and wants to do another dig.  Carl Tiderman, Sue Biggers, and Mary Sue Socky spent day at the Rainbow Pool collecting coins.  Carol said over $100.00 has already been removed; manager is going to do a “what coins can do to the water” display to discourage tourists from casting coins in pools.


1/13/07: Dave Socky, Brian Williams, Larry Fisher, Gordon Cole surveyed 773’ in Maxwelton Cave, WVA.  Had problems with survey instruments agreeing. 2nd team was Errol Glidden, Vanessa Krabacher and Ed Saugstad, who had no instrument problems; they surveyed 1680’ of cave.  Both teams were underground for 13 hours.


1/13/07 – Trish Geiger and 3 other cavers (WVACS, XTR) went to the Lipps Entrance of Organ Cave, WVA in prep. For upcoming cave trip.  Trish was lost in the maze the whole time.  Trish also reports that owner of Organ Commercial entrance is uncooperative with cavers; don’t even ask her for access into or out of Organ Cave.


1/14/2007 – Poor Farm Caves # 1 & #2, Pocahontas Co. WVA.  Rick Shortt, Leanne Barley, Doug Feller, Pat Sims, Susan Burr, Don Anderson, Doug Dalrymple, Tommy Bell, Suzanne Clore, McKenzie WIlls, Bill Pond, Robin Brickey, Carolyn McCain.  This was a NRVG cave trip.  A flock of sheep greeted us; (perhaps they were looking for Al Stewart?)…good cave trip, a couple of scary spots, a pit, and mostly big booming passages except for the 40 ft. crawl.  Poor Farm #2 is wet, so Susan didn’t go too far.


1-14-07 – Vertical Practice @ RocWood Indoor Climbing Wall.  12 folks plus 3 instructors: Dan McConnell, Marian McConnell, Mary Sue Socky, Carl Cornett, Rudy Jennings, John Jennings, Hayley Grasty, Carl Alls, James Poff, Sam Aguilera, Susan Neate, Cyndi Hutchison, John Layman, Cole Frantz, Martin DiLeggi.  Split into 2 groups, basic and advanced.  The advanced group practiced changeovers and different climbing systems, while the basic group practiced rappelling and belaying. “Check and double check your gear before rappel”, “Rock site safety” (anchoring the rope for rappel or climb is more than just tying a rope around a tree) were repeatedly stressed.  Excellent class!  (Another will be offered in March 2007)




1/14/2007- Goodwins Cave, VA.  Dave Socky, Aaron Moses, Mary Sue Socky, Elliot George, Nick Socky ventured in.  Goodwins is WET; lake is at high level, and active stream through cave, sinking at the 2nd Room streambed.  Dave and Aaron double checked leads, questionable data for the new cave map; Aaron free climbed up the “dome pit” to upper level @ the lake and got info on that passage, then went all the way to the back and ended up surveying 80’ of virgin passage.  Nick and Elliot also went to back of cave, to get water samples for the Science Fair project.  Mary Sue stayed in 3rd Room with bats, crawfish and spiders and collected broken glass and rusted bottle caps.  The guys, immersed in stream crawl, all had mild hypothermia upon exiting; the gate proved balky, so one malfunctioning lock was removed for maintenance.


1/17/07 – Al Stewart and Mary Sue Socky visited Goodwins Cave to install the “cleaned up” lock and lube the other locks on the gate and bridge cable.  Goodwins Cave is fine.


Upcoming Cave Trips:

Tomorrow – 1-20-07 Marshall’s Cave, VA.  Leader is Doug Feller.  Advanced cave trip.

Tomorrow – 1-20-07 Rapp’s Gating – BRG decided not to go, it will be too cold.

2/3/07 – Grand Caverns and Fountain Cave – work in the Blasted Passage.

2/17/07 – McClungs Cave, WVa. Vertical. Dave Socky and Rick Shortt are leaders.

2/17/07 – Porter’s Cave, VA. Leader is Doug Feller, co-leader is Susan Burr.

TBA – Dixie Caverns Cleanup – we need to pick a date!

TBA – March, on a Sunday – RocWood Vertical class


PROGRAM – The Best of the 2006 NSS Video Salon  (17 minutes)

Al Stewart was given a card and several gifts to celebrate his recent (Jan 8) 77th birthday.




General Fund       $ 4745.39

Conservation        $   575.00

Equipment Fund $   242.00

Cave Bucks         $     61.30    

 Total:    $5623.69


Committee Reports:

Newsletter:  January was a short newsletter ‘cause both editors were sick.  Dave Socky promises to include the photos you send him in future DUMPS, or at least on the eDUMP page.


Membership:  For 2007, we have 39 members and 1 subscriber


ROCKS: Perry Saltpeter Cave, Botetourt Co. is better protected thanks to Botetourt Planning Commission 

  • 1/27/2007 – Survey in Turtle Shell Cave, VA will continue. (vertical)
  • Aaron Moses is drawing up a nice new map of Goodwins Cave (from the survey we finished 10 years ago)
  • John Layman knows bunches of karst areas & intriguing springs in Botetourt Co. VA.


S&T:  Dan McConnell is planning another vertical session at RocWood in March 2007.


Conservation:  we need to set up a Dixie Caverns cleanup.  No dates chosen yet.  (Wash formations, moss control, get the mud dumped by maintenance workers off the flowstone!  Maybe construct a “wishing well” in the cave entrance lobby where tourists can toss their coins THERE, instead of in pools in the cave.


Ways & Means:  Auction of a SECCI T-shirt with map of South Pittsburg Pit on the back.  Bidding was fun, Fossil # 1 bid the highest for the shirt = $ 9.00, will go into Conservation fund.


Membership Proposals

John Layman, NSS # 57912, sponsored by Susan Burr  (John had to work, was Voted In, in abstention) 

Hayley Grasty, NSS # 58321, (as of 1/23/07) sponsored by Doug Feller.  Voted in

(John still needs to pay his dues.)  No other membership proposals.


Old Business

·         BRG Xmas Party – 34+ folks in a tiny room @ Rancho Viejo.  Will try Italian in 2007, Mama Maria’s in W. Salem supposedly has a great banquet room.  Susan also wants to check out Blueberry Hill Restaurant off Williamson Road near Happy’s Fleamarket.

·         NSS I.O. Report, 2006, for BRG has been sent in (D. Socky).

·         Grand Caverns – muddy footprint eradication – VAR wants us to try again, says they have a portable wet/dry vac that may do the trick.  Susan & Pat say they will be available to try in March 3, 2007.

·         Mt. Pleasant BSA Cave trip – still in limbo.  Mary Sue has not gotten off her lazy ass and done anything yet!

·         Goodwin’s Gate Improvements – Mary Sue Socky has talked with Mr. Drewry, has sent him Craig Hindman’s gate plans so Mr. Drewry and son-in-law Lee can look over and play with them.

·         Eight Rivers Environmental Group – Not much happening, Spring VAR will be held very near this site.

·         Perry Saltpeter Cave – Dave Socky - The Bot. Co. Planning Board rejected the proposed subdivision that threatened the cave.  The cave owner (who now lives in FLA) has given permission for a cave assessment.


New Business

·         Rufe Caldwell Sinkhole Cleanup – Joey Fagan is getting Marian McConnell and Mary Sue Socky to contact, work with landowner to set up the cleanup.  Arrangements for a backhoe will be needed.  Landowner can use caver volunteers as her part of the cleanup, and not have to pay much, if any money for the cleanup.

·         Endless Caverns Controversy – new owners want to do megabucks development, neighbors oppose, are concerned about water rights and groundwater quality issues.  BRG cavers will be kept informed, but cautioned to remain neutral or all access to currently ‘caver friendly’ Endless may disappear (we don’t want a repeat of hostile letters to the quarry owners that resulted in the complete closure of Hellhole, WVA)

·         Science Fair Project – Nick Socky gave a brief report on his and Elliot George’s science fair project on collecting water samples from caves and testing the pH, see if it differs with the limestone substrate.  Chair Marian requested that Nick & Elliot share their project results with BRG. Grand Caverns also would like a copy of the project results.  Carl Cornett offered to take water samples for them in Marshall’s Cave, VA during the BRG trip – Nick took Carl up on his offer.



·         Caverns of Sonora Butterfly deliberately broken in Nov. 21 – report.

·         Island Ford Cave – sandy banks around the spring appear to have collapsed in; natural or man-made vandalism?  And who put the trout in there?  e-Report from Bob Thren, 12/5/2006.

·         Easter Conservation weekend Apr 7-8, 2007 at Grand Caverns

·         Spring VAR Pre-registration forms.


Meeting ended 9p.




Minutes submitted by

Mary Sue Socky

Secretary, Blue Ridge Grotto.



Corrections in blue.