The Triangle Troglodytes elect officers each year during the January grotto meeting. Offices are held from January to January. There are no term limits. Only the votes of current members are counted.

ChairKen Walsh
Vice ChairStephan Francke
SecretaryEmily Graham
TreasurerMike Broome
WebmasterTaylor Tibbs

Introductions

In attendance (in person or online): Louis, Ken, Ashwin, Emily, Taylor T., April, Taylor O., Stephan, Peter, Robert

Business

  • It’s time to pay your yearly dues again! Dues are a mere $15 per person or $22 per family (people living under the same roof). Pay in person by throwing your money at an officer or pay online via PayPal.
  • Look for a Treasurer’s report in your email soon.
  • Last year the NSS revamped its website, and now some things may not be where one expects to find them. There are some new pages, though, so head over to caves.org to look around. Also, the next time you’re on YouTube, be sure to check out the NSS’s Virtual Topics in Cave Rescue playlist and the NCRC’s videos.

Trip Reports

  • Stephan joined Peter et al at Lost World Caverns where Stephan enjoyed rappelling and climbing rope in a cave for the first time. They had intended to visit Organ Cave afterwards but found it still permanently closed. What they did find was a small museum that contained, among other things, a list of saltpeter caves. The group then visited Bone Cave, which was dry and dusty enough that they were happy to wear masks. Peter had forgotten about the nice walking passages – and about the crawling passages in between. They did the Devil’s Pinch into Norman Cave, then turned around and came back. The first bat that they encountered in Bone had obvious signs of WNS. There were dozens of bats, many flying around, farther inside. When they arrived at Bone, there was a beam of sunlight reaching about 200 ft inside.
  • Stephan went into a frozen glacier cave in Iceland. It was absolutely awesome and beautiful and he recommends it to anyone who visits Iceland between November and March.
  • Ken and Emily were joined by Laura of Virginia on a bat count at Hancock Cave. They saw only six bats, but that’s not disappointing when they’ve been there and seen zero. In addition to the usual bat count route, Ken led them into the Vertical Maze which was both vertical and mazy. Escaping from the cave proved more harrowing, or at least more muddy, than usual given that it had been raining into the entrance all afternoon.
  • April dragged her coworkers to Great Canyon Cave in Kosovo. Yep, Kosovo! It had been raining so the waterfall near the back of the cave was really gushing. Her coworkers had not believed that it was possible to get muddier than they had on their previous cave outing and had perhaps unwisely brought along a nice camera and camera bag.
  • Peter went caving in TAG, but he’s unwilling to share any more at this time.

Upcoming Events

  • JAN 28 – sport trip to Low Moor Cave
  • APR 22 – Earth Day Restoration (sinkholes) near Covington, VA
  • APR 21-23 – Orientation to Cave Rescue in Elkins, WV
  • MAY 12-20 – weeklong rescue training in Mentone, AL
  • JUN 26-30 – NSS Convention in Elkins, WV

Elections

We held elections. The 2023 officers are:

CHAIR – Ken W
VICE-CHAIR – Stephan F
SECRETARY – Emily G
TREASURER – Mike B
WEBMASTER – Taylor T

Introductions

In attendance: Zeke (Dead Air), Emily (Lowmoor), Michael (Boone’s Cave), Erin (Enchanted Caverns), Peter (El Sapillo “the brush”), Louis (Worley’s), Stephan (Devil’s Ear), Ken (Death Pit), Mariana (Golondrinas), Robert (Clover Hollow)

Program

The Name That Room challenge. Louis and Ken were in cahoots. Oh! I’ve got dibs on ‘Cahoots’.

Business

  • Dues reminder
  • Holiday party! December 10 chez Carlin and Laurel.
  • Donation to RASS and … officers to convene

Trip Reports

Emily, Ken, and Vardell surveyed 468 ft or so in Perkins Cave. The mice would have been cute if they hadn’t started following us around in gangs. Ken posted a trip report.

Erin and Michael recently went to Boone’s Cave near Lexington. They also did some urban tunneling near DC, which doesn’t even involve digging.

Upcoming Things

  • December 10 – Holiday party in Durham
  • January 24 – grotto elections
  • April 21-23 – OCR in Elkins, WV
  • May 12-20 – Weeklong NCRC training in Mentone, AL
  • June 26-30 – NSS Convention in Elkins, WV

Introductions

In attendance: Zeke, Mark, Jack, Louis, Stephan, Ken, Diana, Emily, Peter, Mike B, Lisa, Jeno, April

Program

Brandon Kowallis, cave photographer, gave us “6 Ways to Improve Your Cave Photography”. You can read an article written by Brandon in the August 2019 issue of the NSS News. Visit his website to see some of his photos.

Business

  • Dues reminder
  • Holiday party
  • Diana has a really nice quality 4 season 2-3 person tent with 2 large vestibules that needs some TLC that is free to a good home.

Trip Reports

Ken and I got roped into a (ropeless) trip to Crossroads Cave by Miles Drake and his Terrapin Trail Club members. They all took to caving very well and had no problems at all. We were under for about 5 hours.
At VAR Mark got to hear a first-hand account of a couple people who spent about 20 hours in Crossroads once because they were lost. He went to Subway Cave and to Watersink. Watersink is fairly short and mazy. There’s a little squeeze followed by some nice clean formations and flowstone. Subway looks like a huge volume of water drains through it. There were some fossils and nice formations, too.

Upcoming Things

  • Oct 29 – Perkins Cave survey (Ken)
  • Nov 12 – Darwin Day
  • April 21-23, 2023 – Orientation to Cave Rescue in Elkins, WV
  • May 12-20, 2023 – Weeklong NCRC in Mentone, AL
  • June 26-30, 2023 – NSS Convention in Elkins, WV

Introductions

In attendance: “Larry” (green), Joe (purple), Maria (purple), Stephan (mud), Louis (navy), Michael (orange), Matthew (red), Matthew L (cerise), Emily (cornflower), Ken (Zoom, no), Mike B (Zoom, slate), Lisa (Zoom, purple), Mark (Zoom, pumpkin spice), Peter (Zoom, green), Lauren B (blue), Lee O. (Zoom, yellow), Carlin (late)

Program

Dr. Hazel Barton gave a presentation on her research into microbial communities in cave environments.

Business

  • Dues reminder
  • A holiday party

Trip Reports

Stephan drove down some crazy long road in Idaho, but first he went to Lewis & Clark Caverns in Montana. It’s a really nice cave and he recommends it. He then visited Craters of the Moon and went into the 800-ft Indian Tunnel lava tube. It was good to get out of the heat.

Carlin went to New England with his family and caved in ME, NH, and NY. In Maine, they went to a sea cave called Anemone Cave in Acadia National Park. All the sea caves there were short. There was not much limestone in NH, but talus fields with granite caves. One of the polar ice caves still had ice in it. In NY, they went to Howe Caverns and another show cave that’s a hippie-esque UFO-ology vibe cave called Secret Caverns. The wild caves they visited were Bentleys and Spider Cave. Gavin gives caves a thumbs down. Spider Cave has a gorgeous entrance. I guess that makes up for the name.

Upcoming Things

  • Oct 1 Sinkhole cleanout in Leesburg, VA
  • Oct 6-9 TAG Fall Cave-in in Menlo, GA
  • Oct 21-23 Fall VAR at RASS Field Station
  • Oct 29 Perkins Cave survey (Ken)
  • Nov 12 Darwin Day
  • June 26-30, 2023 – NSS Convention in Elkins, WV

Introductions

In attendance: Zeke, Emily, Louis, Taylor O., Ken, Mike (new guy), Stephan, Martin (Zoom), Mark (Zoom), Peter (Zoom), Kyle Compare (Zoom)

Program

FSU PhD candidate Kyle Compare gave us an introduction to Karst Hydrogeology and told us about some of the research he’s been doing. Just like everything else, the stuff that water does is even crazier in Florida!

Business

  • Dues
  • Bugfest
  • Darwin Day

Trip Reports

Breathing Cave – There were five of us, and we all agree that the hike was all uphill the whole way to the cave and most of the way back. Stephan posted a trip report. He’ll be more suspicious of obstacle names now that he’s encountered the nutcracker. Turtle hiking?
Crossroads Cave – Ken duped Zeke into going down some passage. Again.
Blowing Cave – Mark, Jack, and Stephan went to Blowing Cave. Afterwards, Stephan found online a paper than included an actual surveyed map of the cave. Mark appreciated the tilting of the rock layers and the mud. He wants to push some high leads and find a lot of cave. “Lots of pretty stuff in there, especially if you like mud,” said someone.
Perkins Cave – Mike the New Guy went to the ACC open house and enjoyed the Ghost Town.
Sink hole near Lexington – After a recon mission to this ginormous sinkhole from hell, the VAR conservation committee will probably not recommend a full day of 40 people cleaning it up. Also, there’s no indication of underlying cave.

Upcoming Things

  • Survey trip to Perkins some time in the future
  • Sept 1-5 – CaveFest (TN)
  • Sept 17 Bugfest
  • Oct 21-23 Fall VAR at RASS Field Station
  • Nov 12 Darwin Day
  • June 26-30, 2023 – NSS Convention in Elkins, WV

Introductions

In attendance: Zeke, Emily, Stephan, Peter, Ken, Lisa, Mike, Mark, Alex, Maria

Business

  • Dues are now half-price! $7.50 for individuals, something else for families.
  • The annual grotto trip will be the weekend of August 13 at RASS Field Station. The sign-up sheet will be e-mailed this week.

Trip Reports

Peter and Stephan went to try to unclog the Spencer entrance to Buckeye Creek Cave. The effort was unsuccessful, but they made a trip into the other entrance which was nice if you’re willing to get your reproductive organs wet. From there they went to the dry end of the cave and saw some incredible formations of hexagonal shapes. They also went to the Norman side of Bone-Norman Cave where they also got to walk in a stream passage.

Upcoming Things

  • July 30 – Horizontal sport trip to Breathing Cave
  • Aug 13 – Annual Grotto Trip
  • Aug 20 – ACC short tours at Perkins Cave
  • Sept 1-5 – CaveFest (Tenn)

Program

Gear Swamp! Swap!

Introductions

In attendance: Zeke, Emily, Stephan, Peter, Ken, Lisa, Alex, Diana, Louis, Carlin, Mike, Taylor O., and Ann

Business

  • Yearly dues go to half-price at the beginning of July: $7.50 for an individual or $11 for a family.
  • The grotto officers will have a meeting primarily to discuss the annual grotto trip scheduled for the weekend of August 13.

Trip Reports

Peter, Ken, and Stephan went on a sport to Hancock Cave. Stephan found it easier getting in than coming out. It probably didn’t help that he had formed himself into a spineless corkscrew at some point in between. They went to the top of Witch Glob Pit to see if anything had opened up near the surface; nothing had.

Mike and Lisa went to Gneiss Cave at Chimney Rock State Park. They appreciated the shade.

Mike and Lisa explored Blue Grotto, a sea cave in Italy. They had to lie down in a rowboat to get inside. The guides sang.

Upcoming Things

  • July 30 – Horizontal sport trip (see Ken)
  • Aug 13-14 – Annual Grotto Trip
  • Aug 20 – short tours of Perkins Cave (offered by ACC)

Program

Louis conducted a casual interview with 2nd and 3rd generation cavers Taylor Orr, Carlin Kartchner, and Emily Graham.

Introductions

Triangle Troglodytes in attendance: Zeke, Emily, Peter, Ken, Stephan, Mark, Taylor O., and Howard

Business

  • As always, a dues reminder. Pay your annual TriTrogs dues now or wait until July and pay half-price! Here is our PayPal stuff.
  • NSS dues range from $20 to $140, depending on how nice you are. Find details at this link. (NSS = National Speleological Society)
  • Annual Grotto Trip! Those in attendance agreed on the weekend of August 13. The location remains up in the air.
  • Louis asked for suggestions for future meeting programs. Stephan may be willing to present some of his cave diving photos, and Mark suggested a rundown of caving-related feature films (think The Descent, Sanctum, The Cave, etc).
  • Free loot! Howard gave away two gently used wetsuits and two tins of carbide.

Trip Reports (VAR Edition)

We went in. We came out. We had fun.

Stephan F.
  • Return to Endless Caverns: Stephan and Peter went on a tour of the wild section of Endless Caverns. They encountered small holes, crawling sections, pits to avoid, pits to descend, and even some water.
  • Ken worked on a project to rebuild the trail to Madison Saltpeter to make it less noticeable from below. In addition to the trail project, the Cave Conservancy of the Virginias hopes to reclaim the Cave Hill Natural Area Preserve from the invasive species.
  • Taylor O. visited small, well-decorated Massanutten Cave, which operated as a commercial caverns once upon a time. They were warned that the lower, wild level sometimes floods, and it had, so it was a short, wet trip.
  • Ken attended the Sunday VAR meeting. Among other topics discussed, Southeastern Cave Conservancy (SCCi) has acquired Salamander Cave, a vertical maze cave over 2 miles long in Giles County, Virginia. Also, there is again and always some discussion about gating New River Cave.
  • On the way home, Ken, Stephan, Peter, and Taylor walked through Crozet Tunnel (aka Blue Ridge Tunnel). They refrained from scraping the lampenflora off the walls and enjoyed the respite from the heat.

Upcoming Things

  • June 11 – sport trip to Hancock Cave
  • June 13-17 – NSS Convention in Rapid City, SD
  • July 8-10 – Karst-O-Rama in Mt. Vernon, KY
  • July 15-23 – NCRC Cave Rescue Seminar and Training in Covington, VA
  • July 24-31 – International Congress of Speleologie in France
  • Aug 13 – Annual Grotto Trip
  • Aug 20 – Led trips at Perkins Cave in Washington Co., VA

Program

We watched a video about an electrical resistivity project in Bracken Cave, roosting site for millions of Mexican free-tailed bats. The project is billed by the National Cave & Karst Research Institute as the world’s first geophysical survey of bat guano. The purpose is to find the perfect location from which to take a core sample of guano, for analysis of the bats’ diets throughout the ages.

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