Introductions

In attendance: Zeke, Peter, Ann, Ken, Mark, Stephan, Emily

With so few attendees, we delved into our deep, dark subconsciouses in a brief discussion of our cave-related anxiety dreams.

Business

  • Pay your dues online via PayPal. $15 for the year for individuals; $22 per family.
  • Annual grotto trip? Zeke says yes, we plan to have one. When? Late August? The officers will begin to discuss details at an officers meeting tbd.
  • Emily inquired about Wilderness First Responder (5+ days) and Wilderness First Aid (2-day) courses. Those present who had been WFR or WFA certified said it was worthwhile. [More information here.]

Trip Report

Stephan described the marauding, algae-killing mob of about 25 cavers that descended into Endless Caverns last weekend to slay the lampenflora. Armed with bottles of hydrogen peroxide and buckets of brushes, our heroes fought back the green stuff. Stephan likened the sizzle of dying mosses to the sound of a juicy steak on the grill. He recommends these conservation opportunities to anyone who has to fight a strong urge to step off the trail. See Ken’s trip report here.

Program

We watched a short video about the properties of silks used by glowworms and spiders.

Upcoming Things

  • May 20-22 – Spring MAR/VAR at Grand Caverns in Grottoes, VA (Pre-registration ends May 4!)
  • June 3-5 – Orientation to Cave Rescue in Upper Tract, WV
  • June 13-17 – NSS Convention in South Dakota
  • July 8-10 – Karst-O-Rama in Kentucky
  • July 15-23 – Cave Rescue Operations and Management Seminar in Covington, VA
  • July 24-31 – International Congress of Speleology in France

Introductions

In attendance: Zeke, Mike, Emily, Lisa, Erin, Elise, Lee, Ryan, Stephan, Katie, Andre, Louis, Diana, Peter, Ken, Martin, Ann

Our break-the-ice question: If you realized after exiting that you’d left something in the cave, what would you go back for?

Business

  • Pay your grotto dues! Only $15 for the year. Membership Info
  • Mike will catalog the recent gear acquisition and post photos of the available used cave suits.
  • Louis received an award for adopting a bat at Frick’s Cave. Carlin was not present to receive his award.

Trip Reports

  • Katie and Andre visited Lost Cave in Greenbrier Co., WV. They saw signatures dated 1890 and a lot of much newer graffiti. Other features included a busy waterfall and some brief crawls and breakdown passages.

Upcoming Things

  • Apr 23 Spring Restoration at Endless Caverns in Virginia
  • Apr 21-24 SERA Cave Carnival in Georgia
  • May 20-22 Spring MAR/VAR at Grand Caverns in Virginia
  • Jun 13-17 NSS Convention in South Dakota
  • Jul 8-10 Karst-O-Rama in Kentucky
  • Jul 15-23 NCRC Nat’l Seminar in Covington, Virginia
  • Jul 24-31 Int’l Congress of Speleology in France

Program

A video about The Formation of the Appalachians https://youtu.be/WROQIdM8YW4

Introductions

In attendance (via Zoom): Zeke, Robert, Peter, Stephan, Taylor O., Louis, Jack, Mike B., Emily, April, Jeramie, Skylar, Diana, Lisa, Michael E., Alec, Ken, Chris, John, and Hanna

Our break-the-ice question: While underground, what do you carry on your person (rather than in your pack)? A second light and food were the top responses. Pro tip: For a warm mid-trip meal, stow your sandwich in your suspension helmet.

Business

  • Pay your grotto dues! Only $15 for the year! https://www.tritrogs.org/meeting-information/membership-info/
  • A former TriTrog has donated a whole bunch of old gear to the grotto. Mike will be cataloging it with an eye towards what might be useful for loaner gear. In addition to the lights and helmets, there are some cave suits that the former member is asking $100 for.
  • Our Spring Restoration project will be held in April at a commercial caverns that is probably closer than the one we’ve been going to. More details to come. [Ed., may be farther away. TBA]

Program

Peter Hertl’s presentation “Vertical Caving in Mexico” covered his trip from December to Sotano de las Golondrinas, Hoya de las Huahuas, Cascada de Tamul, and Sotano de El Cepillo.

Upcoming Trips and Events

  • April ? Spring Restoration at ?
  • May 20-22 Spring MAR/VAR at Grand Caverns in Grottoes, VA
  • June 13-17 NSS Convention in Rapid City, SD
  • July 8-10 Karst-O-Rama in Mt. Vernon, KY
  • July 15-23 NCRC National Seminar in Covington, VA
  • July 24-31 International Congress of Speleology in France

Grotto elections are held yearly at our January grotto meetings. Officers serve from January to January.

This year each office had exactly one nominee, so we voted to accept the slate as a whole. Our 2022 officers are:

Chair:“Zeke” Van Fossen
Vice-Chair:Louis Le
Secretary:Emily Graham
Treasurer:Mike Broome
Webmaster:Taylor Tibbs

Introductions

In attendance (via Zoom): Andre, Bram, Carlin, Elise, Emily, Janell, Joanna, Kelly, Ken, Lee, Lisa, Martin, Mike B., Peter, Taylor, Zeke

There was a lot of discussion here, but I didn’t take notes. As I recall, it ranged from Lisa’s bad knitting to Andre’s illicit climbing locations to Zeke’s unusual headwear (ran out of tinfoil).

Business

Our treasurer, Mike, reported on our finances. We collected dues for 23 members last year. We already have 21 paid members for 2021. To pay your dues, visit https://www.tritrogs.org/membership-info/ or contact Mike at treasurer@tritrogs.org.

Elections

Each office had exactly one nominee, so we voted to accept the slate as a whole. Our 2021 officers are:

  • Chair: “Zeke” Van Fossen
  • Vice-Chair: Taylor Tibbs
  • Secretary: Ken Walsh
  • Treasurer: Mike Broome
  • Webmaster: Elise Sanderson

Trip Report

Bram spent a week in TAG doing lots of rappelling. He shared some really nice photos.

Introductions

In attendance: Mike B., Taylor, Ken, Zane, Lisa, Ann, Diana, Peter, Skylar, Emily, Lee

Business

We will send out a Doodle poll before the November meeting to try to nail down a day for the December holiday Zoom party/meeting.

Pay your dues so that Mike B. can afford to send our grotto donations.

Some of the NSS websites will be changing as they switch over to … yeah, I dunno, something. Just be patient if you encounter broken links and what not.

Program

Skylar presented Survival of the Fattest, a program about the science of White Nose Syndrome. Don’t disturb hibernating bats; she mentioned that bats wake up slowly, so just because you don’t see them stirring doesn’t mean they won’t as soon as you walk away. Also, maybe don’t eat the cave-aged cheese.

Knot of the Month: Prusik

Carabiner of the Month: Bent Gate Carabiner

Trip Reports

Michael, Elise, Michelle, and Elena picked up trash outside the entrance of Hancock Cave. Using river rocks, Ken and Emily built a couple dozen steps leading up the hillside along the new trail to the entrance.

Skylar went to New River Cave. There were cave goats!

Introductions

In attendance and fun hats: Michael M., Emily, Ken, Mark, Mike B., Bram, Skylar, Elise, Taylor, Diana, Janell

Business

  • Nikki Fox was looking for nice photos of Hancock Cave for the WVCC website (wvcc.net).
  • Feel free to pay your dues via the PayPal link on our website. Mark Little’s name shows up on the receipt, but the funds really go to the TriTrogs.
  • According to Michael M., Dec. 12 is an NSS HQ work day. If you’re interested in heading down to cave country (in Alabama) and doing some hard labor, he might be going.
  • Got any ideas for a TriTrogs holiday pandemic party?

Program

Mike Broome presented Vertical Techniques, a Brief Overview of Vertical Caving and SRT. For related information, check out the tome On Rope: North American Vertical Rope Techniques and the NSS Vertical Section website.

Carabiner of the Month: Modified D Carabiner

Introductions

In attendance (remotely): Michael M., Elise, Ken, Lee, Taylor, Mark, Janell, Rob, Mike B., Diana, Skylar, Elana, Emily, Lisa
Attendees were encouraged to show off their favorite bat items. These included (in no particular order) dresses, a bandana, masks, a towel, a headband, a coaster, a magnet, a bumper sticker, a stuffed animal

Old Business

  • The decision to donate $200 to Bat Conservation Intl was approved.
  • Mike will send out a check for our previously approved donation for Cyclops Cave.
  • If you need to know whether you’ve paid your 2020 dues, contact Mike B. Dues pay for caving-related stuff.

Program – Crayfish

a.k.a. Crawfish, a.k.a. Cave Lobster
Presented by Taylor

New Business

  • Programs: Contact Taylor if you have a particular topic you want to hear about, or if you’d like to present a program. Diana suggests incorporating online material from the NSS convention into a future program.
  • Elise is working on a new logo for the grotto and is open to ideas.
  • Knot of the Month: figure 8, follow-through and on a bight
  • Carabiner of the Month: standard D carabiner

Trip Reports

Janell, Bram, Tanner, Mike, and Lisa drove up to Butler Cave. J, B, and M went caving first, to the historic section. Then B, T, M, and L went back in for two more hours to the Moon Room etc. Everybody wore masks in the cave with varying degrees of success due to fogging glasses. While Mike stopped to look at the map, Janell pulled out a book to read. Presumably “How to Survive Underground on the Stuff in Mike’s Pack” (Spoiler alert: The first step is burning the map for heat).

Skylar had to shut herself in her closet for a recent recording for Science Friday, and that was the closest she’d gotten to caving in months.

In attendance (remotely):
Taylor, Michael M., Mike B., Elise, Emily

Business

  • Donations
    • Emily has started researching bat-related organizations for the grotto to donate to this year. Bat Conservation International may be the winner.
    • Mike B. has not yet sent the donation to SCCi for Cyclops Cave.
  • Programs
    • Taylor should be able to give her presentation on crayfish in August
    • Ken is willing to do a program on cartography software
    • Mike and Lisa will try a vertical demonstration program
  • Taylor has figured out how to share her screen and how to ditch zoom meetings. She practiced both with us.
  • Elise can give a presentation about the NSS diversity committee.
  • Thing-of-the-Month
    • Michael M. will kick off each meeting by featuring a different carabiner.
    • Elise will follow up with a different knot each month.
  • Logo
    • Elise wants to crowd source options for the TriTrogs logo she’s creating.
    • Michael M. wants to hide a t-rex in it, which sounds ridiculous, but then he showed us the logo for Catawba Brewing Company.
When inverted, the mountains in the logo form the states of North and South Carolina.

Introductions

In attendance (remotely): Michael M., Taylor, Emily, Carlin et al., Mike B., Elise, Ken, Zeke, Diana, Lee, Rob, Martin, Lauren, Mark
Attendees were encouraged to wear their favorite helmets. Someone forgot to specify caving helmets.

Business

  • Pay your yearly dues. Dues are $7.50 for individuals ($11 for families) through the end of the year. Payment via PayPal is preferable.
  • The NSS virtual convention can be viewed by anyone for free. Visit nsscon2020.org or the NSS YouTube channel.
  • Check the TriTrogs Google calendar for upcoming cancellations. As always, the calendar can be found on the TriTrogs.org home page. In short, all mass in-person events have been cancelled or postponed.

Trip Reports Whaaaat

Elise took the train to Pennsylvania to go caving with friends there. As guides at Laurel Caverns, they have access to the otherwise closed cave. Laurel Caverns claims to be the state’s largest cave, but that’s not enough, so they spent four hours digging for more.

Michael M. reports signs of traffic in and around Hancock Cave. He found some trash as far inside as the Funnel Tunnel, and shoelaces tied together leading down the Breakdown Staircase (I have so many questions). He also noticed evidence of trail upheaval outside, leading to the entrance.

Michael has been doing some TAG (Tennessee-Alabama-Georgia) caving.

Martin ventured under his house a few times. Rob watched a cat come down out of a tree.

Upcoming Trips?

Ken says the map of Big Sink Cave is nearly finished. He thinks maybe one more short trip is needed.

Program – Caving and COVID-19

Without encouraging or discouraging the act of caving during this pandemic, Michael M. pulled together some current information from the websites of the states that most often host our caving trips. We also briefly discussed the following considerations.

  • travel and carpooling
  • caving injuries and response resources
  • transmission from humans to cave-dwelling species
  • campsites and lodging
  • state and local mandates
  • private landowner and conservancy guidelines
  • restrictions on travel and on gathering sizes
  • importance of avoiding cave closures