Geary Schindel
PresidentNational Speleological Society

Folks,

As the coronavirus spreads through our communities, it is very important that we follow social distancing guidelines. As much as we may want to go caving or attend a grotto meeting, practicing self-restraint is important to minimize the spread of the virus. Remember that most caves have limited airflow and create close quarters. Cavers may be at heightened risk because of limited exchange of air and close contact with other cavers. Just riding together in a car for a few hours to your closest caving area creates a risk. However, ridge walking with house mates may be an acceptable undertaking. Getting out and getting fresh air and sunshine, where allowed, can be good for your health and your soul.

Be vigilant and careful. In the event of an accident (car or cave), response times and personnel may be very limited. Doctors and hospitals are being inundated with Covid-19 cases in many areas and may not be able to quickly or effectively treat you.

So, here are some recommendations:

  • I’m encouraging our NSS members to stand down from caving for a few months as we get control of this pandemic and can get back to a new normal quicker.
  • After your basic needs are met, use this time to draw your cave maps, write a grotto or NSS News article, work on your vertical gear, clean and organize your equipment (or house), watch many of the excellent webinars on the NSS website, prepare a talk on your favorite area or project, or write a paper. Remember that many of Isaac Newton’s greatest contributions to science were formulate while he was escaping the plague.
  • Sort your photographs, scan your slides, write a friend, reestablish old friendships, give blood, check on your fellow grotto members, recycle or re-purpose some of your old camping and caving equipment, practice your presentation skills.
  • Attend an online grotto meeting – offer to make a presentation. Just because we are social distancing doesn’t mean that you can’t reach out and socialize.
  • Fact check everything you see on the news and on the internet – especially social media and try and maintain a good attitude and sense of humor.

Don’t forget the NSS. The society can use your help in many areas. Volunteer, renew your membership, and donate.

I promise to give you all a hug when this is over.

Geary Schindel
President
National Speleological Society

The National Speleological Society 
6001 Pulaski Pike, Huntsville, AL 35810

Following March’s cancelled meeting, and due to continued concerns about public health, the Triangle Troglodytes will not be meeting Tuesday April 28, 7:30pm for the monthly meeting. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

We will continue to monitor COVID-19 via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), and will post any updates concerning the TriTrogs.

Follow WHO and CDC GUIDELINES regarding COVID-19; including:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough by flexing your elbow or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Avoid handshaking or cheek-kissing as greetings – use the elbow or fist bump.

Until next time, get a Flu shot, and happy caving!

-TriTrog Officers



Due to concerns about public health, the Triangle Troglodytes will not be meeting Tuesday, March 24 at 7:30 for the monthly meeting. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

We will continue to monitor COVID-19 via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), and will post any updates concerning the TriTrogs.

Follow WHO and CDC GUIDELINES regarding COVID-19; including:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough by flexing your elbow or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Avoid handshaking or cheek-kissing as greetings – use the elbow or fist bump.

Until next time, get a Flu shot, and happy caving!

-TriTrog Officers

TriTrogs and BCCS cavers got frosty before digging in
Butler Cave on 1-18-20 for Butler Project Weekend #205
and
Exploring Low Moor Cave on 1-19-20

By Elise Sanderson

Party Members:
Walsh, Lisa Lorenzin, Megan Junod, Axel Ribeille, Elise Sanderson.

Chris Flannagan joined on 1-19 for Low Moor Cave.

The first Tritrog trip of the year almost began bust with plans changing, cavers having to cancel, and injuries aloof. As Mike, Lisa, and myself were going to be at BCCS doing project weekend, and Mike was out with an injury, we melded 2 trips into one successful excursion with 5-6 cavers.

We stayed at The Roost Friday, and with a VERY cold humid start to the Saturday morning, we made our way to the homestead to plan out trips. With ice covering most surfaces, we had to be careful. Changing clothes outside with ice on the ground in open air was quite a blast, and the SOFA entrance to Butler Cave was very reassuring warmth. Looking back, this was my first cold weather caving, and it was a totally new experience. This cold reminded me of the miserable desert mornings before the 130 degree sun came up in Afghanistan, only with ice everywhere, and little sun to warm.

Around 15 people had stayed at the homestead, and a few BCCS members (Max, Mark, Nathan, others) joined us on the tour before the digging commenced. We started into Butler Cave to do the see the Bean Room Overlook with a gnarly 100+ft drop then through to 90 Ugh to Sand Canyon. We went to the natural Bridge upstream, which is where the dry cave portion ended. Before this trip I’d freshly bought and then promptly forgot my Wellies in my car, in a different state (NC). To boot, Max and I had non-waterproof vented combat boots, so on the way to the air dig things got interesting.

Getting to the air dig requires going down an underground stream, which everyone loved Max and I rock hopping along. But, full admittance, at the end with no dry rock in sight.. Lisa wanted to carry me, but I wouldn’t let her since she weighs 30 pounds less than me, so Axel carried me downstream. Then Max got carried by Ken, and we were at the air digsite shortly after. Ken made the comment that the Marine and Naval Academy Midshipman (Student) had to be carried over water, which was a great look back at the traversal.

The digsite is exceptionally well thought out, designed, well abused, and the most fun ive had working underground yet. Phil Lucas’ system is smart and fun to use for sure. The system takes at least 8-10 people to operate, uses a sled on PVC tracks in one section, and an overhead hoist line and pulley system on the other half. We worked the dig with more BCCS members Mark Hodge, Amos Mincin, Sarah Xenophon, Eric Pelkey, Daniel Tucker, Nathan Roser. Amos and Sarah had just popped a big rock, and after clearing that debris we made a few feet of progress on the face. When we collectively stopped digging for the day, the tunnel had visibly changed direction twice, chicaning to the right, then left and continuing straight. This is big news in a tunnel that has been going almost totally straight for 15 years of digging!

Fun fact, trash bag waders don’t work for very long on rocks, as I found out the hard way on the way out. We egressed with some fun crawling on the Blue Ribbon Loop, and upon exiting every grass blade was frozen and the cars were almost fully iced shut. This made stripping wet clothes off exceptionally fun, as everything you could lean against while mostly naked was frozen and ice cold. After we all got back to the roost, Lisa, Megan and myself went back over to the Homestead to hang out with everyone before heading to Low Moor in the Morning.

—Low Moor Mine and Cave—

The five of us met Chris Flannagan, who drove up from Durham, at Penny’s Diner which made our party six. The drive to the mine was short, and driving into a mine to park before caving is pretty wild. Low Moor mine and cave consists of vast hollowed open area 30+ vertical feet of open mine topside, then below ground a miniature “Mines of Moria” with vast open areas 100+ft tall, with even bigger pillars holding it steady. Sadly Durin’s Bridge must have been skipped in this mine, or Gandalf already remodeled here. No signs of a Balrog either thankfully, just some crappy graffiti vandals.

The cave has wide passages with lots of eccentric hurdles to navigate, and small passages linking other similar passages. Occasional calcite features scatter the area, all semi to fully covered in soot from heavy equipment diesel making them black. There is gypsum flowers and other crystalline features in both Low Moor and Butler Caves. After Lisa, Megan, and myself called it good for the day, Ken, Axel, and Chris proceeded to let us know there was plenty more caving to be had, as they learned after we stopped. I’m excited to go back to discover the plank and other features, maybe when I wasn’t exhausted from digging.

This was great first trip of the year, with getting to meet many people and getting away for a bit. HUGE thanks to all involved in making it happen! Sorry about the delay in the report, information and names were being collated!

Elise Sanderson

The National Speleological Society will be having it’s 2020 National Convention in Elkins, WV this year from July 27th -31st! This is likely the closest the convention will be for a few years, as next year’s event is on the west coast.

Keep up with upcoming news at their announcements page, and register for the event. The 2020 convention facebook page is also linked here for ease of access.

Pre-Registration is $225 for NSS members, and $275 for non-NSS members.
After June 30, 2020 you will need to register on site.

However, you can register for the NSS for a year for only $40, with a $10 one time fee and save $ all year. Registering at the event is $50 extra on those prices, so go join the NSS! There’s more information about all of the events on the registration page.



The address posted for the 2020 NSS convention is:

100 Kennedy Dr,
Elkins, WV 26241

Hello VAR/MAR cavers. 
This years Spring VAR/MAR will be hosted by Charlottesville and Seven Valley’s Grotto’s at Grand Caverns Park in Grottoes, Virginia. Campers are welcome (sorry boondocking only, no hookups). Very easy to get to, only 7 miles from I-81 in the Shenandoah Valley. 

VAR/MAR 2020 dates are: May 1st-3rd, 2020


Price is $33 for adults and $25 for children, $5 higher if you register on-site.


Snail mail ONLY and pre-registrations must be postmarked by April 15, 2020.

The registration form is now up on the VAR website:

Please pre-register to be guaranteed a dinner on Sat. evening.

If you have any questions you can email Scott Davis or Anne Moses

Hey everyone, the gear swap for JUNE 2020 is up and live!!!! So head on over to the main navigation bar or click here to be taken to the page. There is a linked Google Sheet that will allow anyone to add to it, please do so as you can. The meeting time and date is in the link, you’ll not find it here.

We look forward to seeing everyone and what you’re keen to swap around! All proceeds go to the Triangle Troglodytes Grotto Treasury, so your after-meeting food won’t be paid for by gear sales. Remember that bringing unused gear for others may enable cavers to go further safely, and since you’re not caving alone (RIGHT?!) you need more caving partners!

I’m flattered you’re still here, but you missed the link.

-Elise S.