NC Museum of Natural Sciences
March 27, 2012

General socializing 7:30 to 7:39
Meeting start 7:40

Attendees: 13 Cavers: Carlin Kartchner, Avery Chipka, Martin Groenewegen, Ava Pope, Riley Warhime, Hovering Head of Rob Harris (live via ethernet), Nick Henderson, Mark Daughtridge, Bryce Schroeder, Peter Hertl, Ken Walsh, Ryan Zelstead, Jacob Jackson

During Introductions every one told what State they were born in. Newcomer Avery just moved here from Florida and is a veteran cave diver and mentioned that it’s theoretically possible through a network of caves to swim all the way across that state underground. Surprisingly few of the TriTrogs are originally from North Carolina.

Old Business

New Business
(Officers are trying to handle any actual business outside of the grotto meetings.)

Trip Reports
Vertical Practice- about 9 cavers attended to learn and practice good techniques new to some- frog, rope walker, rack rappel, change over, etc. Included a rope on a pulley for continuous climbing. Hope to do again before convention.

“Memorial Day Cave”- (Carlin) cleanup, survey, ran out of gear to get to top, awesome looking lead up there. Too exciting of a climb, strait as a traverse. But got to old brittle flows tossed hammer as a grappling hook, tether to drill caught fall sixty feet up then. 200 ft climb led to 10 ft of passage. Long crawl w pack eating crack, 125 ft drop Other interesting passages. Just shy of 20 miles of cave so far

Wilderness First Aid- Up early for Martin, Class was worthwhile and enjoyed by Martin, Mark, Ken, Peter and Matthew L. plus 4 climbers. CPR training needed to round out, Avery CPR instructor, Avery and Martin to discuss options for group CPR training and rates

Ava- subway in NYC has soda straws forming on the ceilings

Norman Cave- (Rob) beginners, good group, cold water, some folks got cold, great white way target didn’t get to, WVACS was good place to stay

Upcoming Trips
March 31-4/1 small cave in Smyth county fluorescent light on inverter, photo trip, 1461 ft cave, still confirming trip w/ land owner, Contact Bryce or Matthew Weiss if interested. Day trip

March 30-Apr 1 Cave Rescue Class Harrisonburg, VA See See Mark D. Class reported as full

Apr 7–8 Grand Caverns Restoration Cleanup Weekend See Ken, clean formations, trash, change light bulbs etc Ava, Matthew Lubin, Bryce and Ken likely going. About 40 cavers total. Leave Friday night
4-14 Cyclops cave survey, Vertical 6 miles mapped so far, 11 short rope drops, waterfalls, re-belays, tyrolean/zip, to survey bottom of cave
Apr 20–22 Cold Sink Cave Survey- See Carlin. Jacob, Ken, Dave also going. Dress warmly. Vertical not required, but optional. Multiple survey teams. Leave/return times TBD by group.

Apr 27–29 Spring VAR Poor Farm Festival Grounds, Williamsburg, WV See
Good gear vendors- Avery going.

5/5 Dave Duguid, going on family trip w/ Dawson age 11. Others welcome. Zip line next day?, Cave TBD

5/4-6 SERA Summer Cave Carnival
May 25–28 Kentucky SpeleoFest
June 24-29 NSS Natnl Convention Lewisburg/ Greenbrier Cnty WV (5hr drive) See
July 13-15 Grotto Trip- good for beginners, fun, see Ken
Early Aug- Copenhaver’s Cleanup 8/11-12

Busted Turtle Cave map now published, Smyth county VA, (pit above Cotton)


Program – Peter Hertl on Biospeleology, PhD Dept Entomology NCSU
Basic Cave Biology
Books- used book stores- The Live of The Cave by Pulson, from 1966, still one of the best overviews $20 or less fun even as coffee table book good illustrations
Cave Live, by Culver, very technical, no photos, less fun

Distribution of caves- cool map of caves with bio distribution
Trogloxene- cave visitors, must return to surface (bats etc)
Troglophile cave lover can live whole life in cave but can also be outside
Troglobite, cave dweller ONLY.
Troglodyte- humans only cave dwellers stayed near entrances, example of trogloxene
Accidentals- like busted turtles, snakes, etc, deer, cattle etc. snakes may live a while but don’t thrive

Cave zones, entrance, variable temps, sunlight, green vegetation, can be large, often very small
Twilight zone less light, minor temp changes, minimal plant life
Dark Zone, no light, constant temp

Diff Habitats- Streams, pools, may or not be surface connected
Cracks, crevices,
Organic debris
Rock and formations- bacteria live in rocks miles underground. Crystal cave biologist searching for bacteria w/I crystals (see Nat geo video)
Temperate – little organic matter, seasonal bats, no flooding, only periodic flooding, low temps, hard living, low #, many adaptations, old guano hard and dry from former large populations of bats
vs Tropical caves- much organic matter, year rnd bats, much guano, rainy season floods, high temps, easy living, high numbers and few adaptations (many roaches etc)
factors for life- darkness, limited food supply, conservation of energy, pre-adaptation before they got into caves
Food pyramid outside vs inside caves
Food web based on plants outside, but no plants in cave.
In cave starts with material washed in from outdoors, bat guano, etc. no energy originates in cave.
Populations sparse and spread in caves
Typical modifications white, reduced eyes/eyeless, slow metabolism, omnivore/predator, elongated appendages- to detect predators or prey
Pigments for warning, attracting mates etc, protection from solar damage, camo, etc. pigment production takes energy so natural advantage to have no pigment or eyes.
Birds, shrews etc burn lots of energy and need much food and do poorly if in a cave

Preadaptation– echolocation in bats good example. Developed for foraging outside for nocturnal flight and finding prey
Other characteristics- nocturnal, non visual sensory systems, touch/chemo sensation/smell, tolerate or need moist environment- mostly damp in east/tropics, live in the region, slow metabolism, live in cracks, crevices or soil, feed on detritus, predators
What lives in caves?
Tartigrades- live in soil, interstitial liquids, water bearers
Mites- in all soil
Many others
We generally can’t observe the above.

Fungi- may see them growing on organic matter, wood, extend mysillium out looking for other sources (looks like veins in lungs etc)

Terrestrial arthropods- many legs and crunch when squashed exoskeleton
Centipedes are predators some have poison jaws, one pair of legs per segment may see in houses
Red colors may warn of poison to other predators can get 30 in long in tropics
Millipedes, most feed on detritus, bacteria, fungi 2 pairs of legs per segment.

May be lots of very small entrances for critters much closer to what appears to us to be deep into the cave- tree roots etc from surface
Some true cave millipedes- white, antennae (not seen on outsiders)
Arachnids- spider like things. Includes scorpions, pseudoscorpions (very small)
Meta Americana a troglophile, – very sparse webs, wait and grab strategy, usually closer to entrance, small flies drawn in w/ airflow

Daddy long legs- in twilight zone in huge mass of 100 or so and come in and out of the cave
Can find mites on spider legs or other insects, could be feeding or just traveling with them
Ticks have 8 legs but very rare in a cave

Raccoons just visitors and would stay w/i twilight zone mostly.

Small Insects:
Cave Silverfish, very long antennae
Collembola feed on detritus, feces, fungus
May notice in large colonies. “Springtails” that they jump with. May see them on water surface 1/3 size of a grain of rice

Cave beetles, most are outsiders. Most predatory. Metallic, shiny, black in gardens, can be more reddish in cave types. Very small, feed on cricket eggs etc. have to look hard to find them

Cave crickets, related to camel crickets which can live in caves, like moisture, long antennae, very well adapted because like dark and wet

Aquatic cave invertebrates:
Isopods- pill/sow bugs example terrestrial isopod. All others live in water
Very small, white, long appendages, no apparent eye ¾ inch body length or less
Wait and stare at water a long long time to see them. Move slowly
Amphipods- small aquatic crustacean, very small < ¼ inch look a bit like shrimp, sea monkeys, brine shrimp Crayfish- water flows into/out of cave- crayfish can transition into cave from either direction, feed on organic matter, fish, etc, can be far back in caves but still brown. Wander for miles as long as find food. Lots of species of crayfish. Some nocturnal Troglobitic Crayfish- eyeless, pigmentless, very long antennae, extended more delicate claw
Do a lot of sitting around. Sit and wait for prey, don’t draw attention from predators

(Peter’s HS biology teacher was cave biologist. )

Kentucky Cave Shrimp

Cave dwelling vertebrates w/ backbone
Bats, rats, birds, amphibians, fish
Rats- tame same as pack rats/woodland rat, find nests sticks, film cans, beer tab, wrapper
Can be far back but usually near entrance
Less common now than past. Rodent diseases may have decimated, fairly cute so not hunted by people much

Only true cave dwelling bird is the South American Oilbird/ or Watchita (spelling?), see glow of their eyes like raccoon eyes, high nest above cave floor, over water . Can echolocate. Audible click
Oilbirds feed on seeds of tropical fruit trees. Wide ranging, spread seeds, vital to rare seeds. Sprouts in bird guano within cave even back in dark, grow a bit white/green and then die w/o light

Texas Cave Salamander one of most adapter.
Some highly/exclusively aquatic
Wait patiently for slightest vibration in the water and attack quickly
Were first discovered from wells

Tenn Cave salamander paddle like tail

Spring salamander in VA, NC, etc,
Neotenic- adults keep juvenile characteristics- such as gills normally lost in adults outside of caves
May only be white in larval or adult stage

Slimy Salamander- lays eggs on land, are accurately named. Can be up to 4 inches
Cave fish – (mammoth cave picture), just hover and wait
Chemosensory, lateral line- sensitive to vibrations

Threats to cave biota:
Mining and development
Siltation- dirt particles from land moving equipment
Pesticides, chemicals, fertilization
Pollution, industrial, human, animal waste
Sealing cave entrances- gating much better- all energy must come in from outside

Leave No Trace and watch where you step!!!

After the meeting– Armadillo Grill (no Armadillos or Cave Biota were harmed in the making of after meeting festivities.)

NC Museum of Natural Sciences
February 28, 2012

General socializing 7:30 to 7:35
Meeting start 7:35

Attendees: 21 Cavers: Carlin Kartchner, Mike Broome, Martin Groenewegen, Ava Pope, Mark Daughtridge, Howard Holgate, Hayden Holgate, Matthew Weiss, Ken Walsh, Bryce Schroeder, Peter Hertl, Bob Massengle, David Dicehurst, Rob Harris’ hovering head (via laptop), Riley Warehime, Nick Henderson, Jacob Jackson, Michael Caslin, Grant Molnar, Steve Molnar, Jordan Kendal

Introductions included each person’s favorite cave and favorite beer if any.

Old Business
T Shirts, patches or stickers- If interested in forming a committee to pursue see Carlin
Grotto donation of $200 to the Friends of the Museum has been completed!

New PO Box now posted on web
Payment of 2012 Dues – Mark L not able to attend, Ken collected dues
$15 for year Dues. Reviewed briefly what they are used for

Vertical Practice was set for Sunday March 4 after checking weather forecasts
Pete, Ken, Pete, Martin and Mark L have equipment for beginners to learn on. Pete targeting March.
(Addendum to minutes- practice was held Mar 4 with several exprienced and a few new climbers/rapellers attending and much was learned with hopes to do it again soon. Held at Peter’s house with a static rope and another on a pulley for continuous climbing as fed by belayer)

New Business
See article on flu affecting bats, different from WNS
Next month’s Program will be on cave biology!
Let Ken know program ideas

Trip Reports
Paxton’s Cave, Covington VA, 1-28 – Mark, Peter, Matthew W went, explored all new territory from 1-1 trip mainly in Helictite room, more details in program with photography

Feb 11 Survey Trip to Cold Sink Cave- Carlin’s project to Survey, started b/f Tgiving, continuing survey near Marion. 2 teams, down tight passage, squeeze skills valued. Dig section has water flowing, no crawling in ice cold water this trip. Snow outside, 450’ surveyed, 1300 total now, Dave Duguid also committed to it. Old bolt traverse rigged, may be ok, needs backing up, pit rigged already to traverse, need to explore expecting only 15ft, potential unfinished leads from old map. New virgin cave discovered. Digging works best with actual tools. Prolonged crawling 50 ft of very tight opens to 12 foot ceilings, vertical only needed for the next trip, most not needing vertical

No Others

Upcoming Trips
Mar 8 – 11, Germany Valley Karst Survey, Vertical Required! See Carlin for details, (2nd weekend ea month)
Mar 9-10 Norman’s trip- See Rob Harris
March 17-18 Wilderness First Aid, Umstead Park, Raleigh, Special $55 pricing for TriTrogs!! Mark D, Pete, Ken, Matt L currently signed up. Room for more!! See Mark D.
March 30-Apr 1 Cave Rescue Class Harrisonburg, VA See See Mark D.
Apr 7–8 Grand Caverns Restoration Cleanup Weekend See Ken, clean formations, trash, change light bulbs etc

Apr 20–22 Cold Sink Cave Survey- See Carlin

Northern High School Adventure Ed looking for simple cave to do cleanup. Worley’s in TN suggested, Tanya M knows conservation opportunities too. 4-21to 22, 5/5-6 dates preferred See Ben Gaspar

4/27 – 29 Spring VAR Poor Farm Festival Grounds, Williamsburg, WV See
Good gear vendors

May 25–28 Kentucky SpeleoFest

June 24-29 NSS Convention- Lewisburg/ Greenbrier Cnty WV (5hr drive) See consider going beyond stated dates for geology, history, etc sessions,

July 13-15 Grotto Trip- good for beginners, fun, see Ken
Early Aug- Copenhaver’s Cleanup

Break (lots of side discussions on training sessions, trips, paying dues, etc etc etc)

Matthew Weiss photos of Worley’s (TN), lighting w/ inverter power. Also photos from the elusive Helictite Maze, Paxton’s Cave
Showed pics of Inverter for lamp he built and discussed power and light details capabilities. Cool pics with light in position in Worleys, TN, some with outdoor floodlight straps, good for easy passages, water/stream pics, wall texture
Has voltage meter etc
Nice formation pics, flowstone, 20ft high
Nice effects, flowstone w/ water in foreground
Olympus stylus point and shoot with night setting, 10 sec open
“Super photon cannon” light source
Large rooms show up well
Use painting technique of moving light around with, red glow from outdoor floodlight bulb
Boy scout guide was amazed to see room he’d not really seen as well on many prev trips
Wedding cake, bacon formations
Post manipulation of photos is cheating! says Matthew

Paxton’s friendly dog and cat shown as favorite features of the cave! Position of light matters
New breakdown, freshly cleaved, awesome formations, earthquake fractures in formations.

After the meeting– Food! Drink! Merriment! at Armadillo Grill

NC Museum of Natural Sciences
January 24, 2012

Previous meeting: November 22nd (Minutes available online)
Last “meeting” Holiday Party Dec 10th

Attendees: 18 Cavers: Howard Holgate, Greg Dahlin, Mark Little, Norm Bedwell, Jen Bedwell, Mike Broome, Lisa Lorenzin, Martin Groenewegen, Matthew Weiss, Michael Caslin, Carlin Kartchner, Peter Hertl, Ben Gaspar, Ken Walsh, Mark Daughtridge, Matthew Lubin, Bithika Khargharia, Amar Chawla

General socializing 7:30 to 7:41
Meeting start 7:41

Old Business
Discussed T-shirts and posting a voting mechanism on line.
TriTrogs are making a donation to our host, the museum. It’s ready just need to send it- Mark L
Vertical- Pete almost ready, needs a brief work day to setup new ropes etc
Pete, Ken, Pete, Martin and Mark L have equipment for beginners to learn on. Pete targeting March.
Review of Treasurer’s Report (Mark L) No questions were raised.
Payment of 2012 Dues (All, we hope) Many folks paid for 2012, please contact Mark L if you still need to pay dues for this year.
Join the NSS! Why to join, etc- A few folks mentioned good reasons to join such as the NSS Journal with great photos etc each month, contributing to conservation, eligibility for benefits such as some activities/caves that require it and discounts on others like convention etc

NSS Annual Report/Info Updates (Mark D) brief mention of how we update our officer info etc each year and the need for a new paper mail address to give them.
e-mail from Student, Amy Y. looking for March 10-18 cave trip (conservation) near Great Smoky Mts NP Ken and a couple of others have responded, mainly referring them to other grottos such as the western NC grotto Flittermouse.

New Business
Elections deferred to later in the meeting as a few members had called to say they were on the way.

Upcoming Trips1-27 Paxton’s again Mark D to lead, Pete, Greg, Matthew, Martin interested, maybe not this wknd though, some prefer 2/18
Feb 11 Survey Trip to Cold Sink Cave- stay at Tanya’s house in Marion VA, tight spaces/crawls for shots coming up. Possible digs/leads Carlin leading
March 29-Apr 1 Cave Rescue Class Harrisonburg, VA See Just the orientation, but full weekend
4/8 Grand Caverns Restoration –Easter wknd
Ben Gaspar- educator w/ Northern High School Adventure Ed , took 8-9 high school seniors to simple cave , looking for another to do. Worley’s in TN suggested, could do cleanup during the trip, Tanya M knows conservation opportunities too. 4-21to 22, 5/5-6 dates preferred

4/27 – 29 Spring VAR Poor Farm Festival Grounds, Williamsburg, WV See
6/24-29 NSS Convention- Lewisburg/ Greenbrier Cnty WV (5hr drive) See consider going beyond stated dates for geology, history, etc sessions,

Program (this month the program consisted only of trip reports over the 2 months since last meeting, as there was enough to discuss for the meeting after that interval)

Trip reports
Paxton’s – 10 TriTrogs descended on Paxton’s Cave near Covington, VA on January 2nd. Throne room had cool helictites, a small translucent drapery, and an impressive small bacon formation. Also a stalagmite that reportedly is crystallized enough to reflect very bright light for a second or so after they are extinguished. Without a powerful flash we didn’t get it to display this trait. We also visited the big room, found some cool fungus, and explored the breakdown room but failed to find the helictite room. It was cool to come out and find snow on the ground. The maze of this was fun challenge for navigating back to the waterfall entrance too.

Burnsville cove- Lisa & Mike, layers of limestone, looking at exposed rock, geology survey, no drilling, are looking @ road cuts etc. old books disagree about how formed. USGS geologist there. Butler cave and others in area had sandstone cap, multi layer, showed them 6hrs on surface 1hr underground tidal flats, fossils, where layers of cave ceilings and floors emerge aboveground outdoors, will name some rocks after the area possibly.

Carlin- Thanksgiving wknd, went to Santee Lakes State Park , SC found some sinks, ridgewalking, were ½ mile off from where cave turned out to be. Cave closed by USFS. Very wet at entrance, largest cave in SC? Other sinks nearby.

Carlin reported on Germany Valley- camped in cave, had a great lead climber who helped set up water collection system. Huge room with 300 foot ceiling, 600 ft below ground, lead in nearby dome room explored too. Carlin’s 1st camping trip underground. Need experience and vertical experience w/ re-belays etc. for this cave
On way back stopped by Smokehole caverns commercial, didn’t do the tour; Luray- did do the tour, wishing well impressively full of coins, donated to charity

Carlin also showed pictures from a southwest cave he’s been meaning do for a while, Southern AZ, near Mexican border, Alan Pressler only one he knew who’d been there. Very deep, Havelina droppings outside, not sure if animals inside cave such as rattlesnakes. Large bat- Townsends? 7” or so? Nice fossils, one team member studying climate change/cave research, one mine engineering, so good info. Dolomite rock. Found scorpion in the wall crack. Found fox skeleton in cave
Very tricky vertical pit, tight, 325 tied to 125, with decent place to do knot crossing.

N. Raleigh hole discussed on e-mail turned out to be small and probably from storm drain leak

Michael and Matthew described Worley’s TN trip with great pics with portable flood light

Election of Officers (Howard)
With the last 3 members now present we quickly elected a new slate of officers for 2012:
Carlin Kartchner- Chair
Ken Walsh- Vice Chair
Mark Daughtridge- Secretary
Mark Little- Treasurer
Mike Broome- Web Editor

Meeting done at 9:30
After the meeting– Fox and Hound at North Hills, courtesy of Matthew Lubin! Thanks! About 10 folks went and enjoyed free wings, pizza and non-free beer.

Recorded by Ken Walsh (Secretary Mark Daughtridge unable to attend but added minor edits to this post)

NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Attendees (14): Steven, Travis, Ava, Howard, Hayden, Mark L., Bryce, Laurel, Allison, Carlin, Pete, Ken, Steve and Grant attended the meeting. Rob’s floating head in Charlotte appeared on Ava’s screen and occasionally spoke.

Howard Holgate led the meeting and conducted the business in short order. The Holiday Party on Saturday, December 10 will once again replace the December meeting. Howard plans to host the Holiday Party again this year at his home nestled amid Cary/Holly Springs neighborhoods. He will send out an Evite to the TriTrogs list serve to ensure that he doesn’t end up with the multitude of desserts that were generously provided last year (and left at his house). The leftover desserts did apparently find their way to a sorority house during Finals Week.

Howard plans to display the potential T-shirt designs at the Holiday Party and have everyone vote on their favorites. [He did not mention whether or not he is still accepting submissions for designs]

In terms of upcoming trips, the following two were discussed:
December 3 – Travis is planning a sport trip, possibly to Worley’s/Morrell Cave in Tennessee
December 31 – Ken, Steve, and Grant may be planning a sport horizontal trip

Ken mentioned that the grotto had not made a charity donation this year. Suggestions were made to donate money to WNS research, the museum where we hold meetings, or cave conservancies. After a short discussion and a proposal, the TriTrog members voted to donate $200 to the Friends of the Museum. Pete H. will get Mark L. in touch with the right person.

Carlin shared a trip report about surveying in Cold Sink Cave (Smyth County, VA). His weekend plans had fallen apart, so he contacted Dave Duguid about joining that trip. The cave had been listed as Big Spring Cave on previous maps, but the lack of a spring or even a resurgence point suggested that this title had been a misnomer. The frost in the sinkhole at 11 AM on a warm fall day warranted the name change to Cold Sink Cave.

Carlin reported that two teams began the survey on Saturday and that they returned to the cave on Sunday. They netted roughly 850 feet of surveyed passage, with Rob always crawling backwards as he surveyed. The D survey (Snail Shell Squeeze) ended in a wide passageway that was only six inches high and likely connects with a surface sinkhole.

On Saturday Carlin dug at the C Survey passage with just a rock, trying to reach the sound of flowing water. On Sunday he easily cleared the mud away with a crowbar in less than fifteen minutes. Rob and Dave had to dig fifteen minutes more before they could join him. They found a passageway with flowing water, but the leads from there are additional digs.

Grant and Steve described their trip during the bat count at Hancock Cave. Two groups had little success at finding bats (only 4 or 5 were counted all day). The scouts were especially impressed by the Breakdown Staircase, and Preston led them into small squeezes (including the Flying Zamboni Passage), including one that led to an overlook that dropped down fifteen feet. The scouts crossed the Toilet Bowls but found water filling the Funnel Tunnel. The Comic Book (Cartoon) Hole offered amusement, and the scouts found navigation (even with a map) a challenge when they were seeking the exit.

Rob Harris shared a brief version of his bat count team’s experience in Hancock Cave. They found it tough to go up the Breakdown Staircase, and one member refused the climb up. One at the top refused to climb down. To reunite their team, Rob discovered that 30-foot deep fissures would not work. Instead he relied on the scouts’ team to lead them to the Corn Cob Crawl (a difficult climb up) to get them back together.

After a two-minute break, Howard lowered the lights and introduced the program. Ken Walsh shared a presentation by Dave Socky about the CRF exploration of Gap Cave, Virginia, formerly known as Cudjo’s Cave.

After the meeting gathering was held sitting outside in balmy November air at Armadillo Grill.

NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Attendees: 18 Cavers: Mark Daughtridge, Howard Holgate, Ava Pope, Hayden Holgate, Gordon Bolt, Carlin Kartchner, the hovering head of Rob Harris, Martin G, Mark Little, Brian Sakofsky , Steve Molnar, Grant Molnar ,Bithika, Ken Waslh, Lisa Lorenzin, Mike Broome, Matthew Lubin, Scott Bellavia

General socializing 7:30 to 7:41
Meeting start 7:41

Old Business- T-shirts- Art submissions!! One more from Martin, one from Mark D, Howard suggested delegating it to a committee, but none was appointed or further discussed. Suggestion to use online polling software to finally settle the question.

New Business- Holiday party to be determined by e-mail

Trip Reports-
Carlin went to TAG. 1100 ft of rope work including Fantastic Pit . Balcony is sketchy for rigging rope, bolts have moved due to fracture, rig off BFR (Big Rock) instead. Cemetery pit, other lesser known pit. Slot rock

Mark Little ACC board mtg Bristol plus 1.5hr drive. Reopened caves, not requiring decomm between- applies to ACC owned caves- Gilley cave. Visited Gilley with extremely elaborate, impressive welded gate, tricky to open/find locks. Lock caves behind them as they go in- made nervous about getting stuck so someone stayed behind. Few thousand feet explored, nice formations, pictures. Near entrance has been vandalized with graffiti etc. 115 miles beyond Marion VA. Near Pennington Gap, VA Key got stuck in lock when re-locking for about 30 minutes.

Rob Harris went w/ VPI grotto near Blacksburg, VA, trip leader injured at a party so changed caves to SmokeHole, wet exit about 300 ft of swimming in cold water to go out that way. Boot driers worked well, Rob enjoyed the dip. Pack stayed fairly dry.

Upcoming Trips
Nov 5 Hancock bat count
Nov 6 Lovers Leap/Worley’s survey
Nov 12 WV Cave Conservancy Banquet
Nov 19 Survey trip? Dave Duguid organizing
Nov 19 Cavers Learn WNS in TN- see e-mail. Eastern TN see TriTrogs site for details

Vertical training- date to be determined
First Aid 10 interested, TBD

Carlsbad Caverns- video of swallows emerging
Cave Research Foundation. Well lit pictures with electric lights (parts commercial, Ken got into wild parts too.)
Sulfuric acid formed the cave so unique formations very different from East Coast
CRF founded in 1957. Cooperates w/ Nat Park Svc, Dept of Interior
Gates, monitoring, surveying, cataloging entrances, restoration trips, etc.
Membership required, Svc hours from cavers count toward grant proposals for NPS

Active projects listed
Re mapping because 1960’s map was done quickly and lots of errors
Natural entrance zig zag to big pit. Carved a new entrance. Hotel right above the natural entrance

Nice weather in late Sept. Big Ampitheatre near it. Walkways steep
Bat flight at night viewed from ampitheater no cameras allowed at all!
Lots of Guano and cave swallow droppings. Hosed down every Wednesday
Desert Centipede seen.
Cave over 27 miles long. Some still not explored yet. Most exploration is going on in Lechuguila
Papoose room lots of cool formations. Surveyed .
Queens Chamber. Tours stand in the dark for 15 minutes while rangers lecture, so no surveying or lights allowed during that time.
Helictites, covered in gympsum
Sten lights made great pictures long exposures
Kings Palace room also impressive
Some leads in Carlsbad are stout climbs.
7 people on the survey
Had to leave someone on the trail to keep visitors on track.

Boneyard section was lots of round solutional holes, hard to photograph, leads to lower levels without rappelling.
Looks a lot like Swiss cheese.
Appetite Hill formations stalagmites very sharp and straight come up and covered and water evaporates quickly. Humidity about 60% in Lechuguila, unknown in Carlsbad

The BIG Room Largest Cave chamber in the US by area. lists all the superlatives for caves.
Surveying the big room, lots of time for good Photos

Used Aquasocks to protect floor formations in some spots. Shoes were clean each day, white dust fell off easily, and no brown mud anywhere

Cave Trays. Maybe form on top of water on shields? Shelf hanging from stalagtite
Celery stalk, Lions Tail, very unique formations
Resurveying is improving the trails already.
38 foot high totem pole formation
Breast of Venus formation about 8 ft across
Final survey stations good shots.
White sands New Mexico just acres of gypsum, powdery sand.

Applause for the presentation
Some survey stations marked with embedded brass markers.
Surveyed 1/5 of mile and ½ big room trail. All together mapped about 2 miles of easy survey. Did not inventory formations. Used Distos and tape. Ceilings over 200 ft high, disto couldn’t go quite that high.

Next month, more depth on Gap cave by Ken, another ACC owned cave

Meeting done at 9:04
After meeting meeting was held at Armadillo Grill.

NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Note: There was no August 2011 meeting as a rousing pool party was held instead. Trip reports from August include that no one tripped and fell into the pool. A couple people may have been pushed but most jumped in willingly.

Attendees: 15 Cavers: Howard Holgate, Ava Pope, Hayden Holgate, Bryce Schroeder, Carlin Kartchner, the hovering head of Rob Harris, Martin Groenewegen, Peter Hertl, Brian Sakofsky, Neil Brooks, Cassandra Houston, Steve Molnar, Grant Molnar, Amar chawla, Mark Daughtridge

General socializing 7:30 to 7:44 including Howard manning the door since guard was away and we didn’t have the sign to call the room Ken normally posts, but we made one on the fly and stuck it up just as the guard came back and Howard went down to start the meeting anyway.

Meeting start 7:45

Old Business- T-shirts- Art submissions!! 3 are in from Martin. Others originally due and decision to be made by September Meeting.- Extension of 2 more weeks to submit designs to Howard by e-mail. Then e-mail voting will commence!
Receipts from Grotto Trip still to be re-imbursed

Red Cross training desired 8 people at previous meeting would be interested in a course. Mark D will ask Danny M about options, cost, dates, locations 10 tonight expressed interest, assuming that includes the original 8.

New Business- none

Trip Reports
OTR- Brian reported on another trip to Shovel Eater cave
Peter talked about his OTR experience too, competed in vertical skills and did a few hours of caving

Carlin went to Gap Cave – gear provided including new vertical gear. Vertical section only open 4 months a year. Historic signatures beyond the gate, civil war era etc. Surveyed, documented pictures, long 3.5 hour retreat with a strained shoulder. Gap Cave is near VA/KY/TN border

Upcoming TripsGrand Caverns trip with Baltimore Grotto 1st weekend of October- survey training

10/6-9 TAG Fall Cave-In (

10-14 to 16 Fall VAR- Bath County, marvelous caves- Breathing Cave,Wishing Well, etc
11-5 Hancock Bat count
11-19 Cavers Learn WNS in TN- see e-mail.

Vertical training- date to be determined, Pete and Mark D
First Aid 10 interested, TBD, Mark D.

Bryce presented on Lava Beds National Monument.
Elevation 4000 ft? orhigher. In CA near Oregon Border. Nearest city is Klamuth Oregon, 40 min away
Volcanic activity as recently as 1000 years ago. Most tubes 30-40K years ago. Come vertical connections with collapses between.
Historical artifacts, lots of Native American activity historically
Lots of Bats, packrats, and some snakes
World’s only confirmed site of aerosol rabies from Mexican Freetail bats. That cave is closed!

North of Modoc Nat. Forest
Caldwell Trench is a collapsed lava tube about 60 ft deep at some spots. Open top now with vegetation
750 caves in the area
Soil is pumice and terrain above is desert, high elevation and cold
Several developed caves along cave loop road. CCC put in trails, stairs, rails etc in 1930’s. Also brought in pumice which moved around and detracts form caves’ natural beauty
Caves still being discovered.
Holes around above ground so be careful. Deer fell into one developed cave and distressed tourists.
No gold, only algae.

A few formations, and a few secondary from later water flow, but nothing like limestone caves
Lava tubes are newer and still collapsing, and more dangerous. Older caves have had eons of earthquakes etc to stabilize them
Lava sicles like ice cicles of rock. Neat webbing patterns
Some caves have chimneys built as lodges or smoke houses.
Bat Superhighway is one cave name.
Rare rubber boa snake that only eats crickets.

Sentinel was hot. Caves small enough to vary with outside temp. Most very dry unless it’s actually raining.
A few caves have year round ice, but closed in summer to protect the ice
Don’t rely on cheap helmets sold in the gift shop

Meeting done at 8:52
After meeting meeting was held at nearby watering hole of Armadillo Grill which seemed to lack the normal kitchen staff but managed to feed us well anyway.

NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Attendees: Mark Daughtridge, Ken Walsh, Mark Little, Howard Holgate, Lisa Foley, Ava Pope, Matthew Lubin, Hayden Holgate, Bryce Schroeder, Yuan Li, Carlin Kartchner, and the hovering head of Dr. Robert Harris attending via Skype from Charlotte

General socializing 7:30 to 7:37
Meeting start 7:38

Old Business– T-shirts- Art submissions!! 3 are in from Martin. Any others designs to be considered will be due and decision to be made by September Meeting.

Receipts from Grotto Trip still to be re-imbursed

New Business
Red Cross training desired? 8 people would be interested in a course. Mark D will ask his friend and ARC instructor Danny M about options, cost, dates, locations
No NCRC Training announced currently.

New members should give Mark L. membership forms
Matthew Lubin will mail check to Mark L. for dues.

Trip Reports
Carlin went to Germany valley Karst survey at ShovelEater Cave in West Virginia near Hell Hole cave. Went to end of diamond canyon. Long crawl/chimney, goes to station 43 as a crawl. 52-60 year old tough, good cavers. Followed stream passage, broke through to a pit but no way beyond that. Used micro blasting for a bit but now not even plausible for that.
Got to see the nice parts of the cave too. 14 hour trip. Had to pull fixed rope on the way out. Mark Minton, Bob, Dwight Livingston also on the trip.

Bryce presented Martin’s pictures of the grotto trip. Formations, salamander, kitten, muddy cavers, foggy shots, stream, Caleb the exotic bird on arms- from nice cave owner lady. Luna moth. Again, a good trip with good food.

Upcoming Trips
8/6 Fountain Cave Photography trip – Ken shared photos that they want to re-shoot with better technique. With Ericka Hoffman (near Grand Caverns commercial open since 1804) easy cave, nice formations. Access to Grand Caverns too. In Grottos, VA Pictures given to the cave establishment. Possible midnight tour with history of Grand.

9-1 to 9-5 Labor Day weekend OTR- Old Timer’s Reunion, Thurs-Sun 8 hour drive from Raleigh, lots of vendors, bands playing music, lots of caves around, $35 covers it all including beer. Must register early. See for details. Peter will most likely go. Need to go as a guest of a TRA- Robertson Association member to restrict to cavers.

Setp 17 Bug Fest contact Pete Hertl to volunteer
September 24-30 Kan is going to Carlsbad Mapping with CRF
10-14 to 16 Fall VAR- Bath County, marvelous caves- Breathing Cave,Wishing Well, etc
10/6-9 TAG Fall Cave-In (
11-19 Cavers Learn WNS in TN- see e-mail.
6/25-29, 2012 NSS Convention (West Virginia TBD)
Vertical Training -? Pete and Mark D to determine dates
Red Cross Training?- Mark D. to get details from Red Cross

2nd half of National Geographic Special on “World’s Largest Cave”

After meeting meeting was presumably held at a nearby watering hole although the humble TriTrogs secretary did not make it to the post meeting festivities.

NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Attendees: Mark Daughtridge, Ken Walsh, Howard Holgate, Hayden Holgate, Bryce Schroeder, Peter Hertl, Zeke Van Fossen, Ava Pope, Martin , Patrick Craft, Bithika Khargharia, Amar Chawla, Carlin Kartchner, Mike Broome, Matthew Lubin

Welcome 3 new members!! Bithika, Amar, and Carlin!!
We had 4 members total pay dues this meeting.

General socializing 7:30-7:49
Meeting start 7:50

Old Business– T-shirts
Pete rigging rope at his house, near fairgrounds for vertical training/practice

New Business
NSS Member Manual discussion, general consensus is that we would be in favor of on line version with pay for print option.

VA big eared bat count largest population ever recorded there since 1983 in Sinnett-Thorne Cave.
BugFest- Peter could use volunteers. No caving/bug knowledge needed, Peter will teach what you need to know. This is reciprocal for the museum allowing us to use the space. Sept 17 2 hr shifts 9a-7pm needed. Get Bug Fest T-shirt and lunch and/or dinner (pizza, sandwiches etc) here at the museum.
Had 35,000 visitors last year.

Trip Reports
6/25 -26 TriTrogs Grotto trip – Ava reports it was really fun, asleep by 1, breakfast tacos, caved all day in Buckeye Creek Cave, soaking wet, couldn’t go through due to sump. 11 people attended. Cool Formations, side passages. Bryce and friend made awesome huge dinner- amazing stir fry. Food was great all around. Facility great and in good shape, weather was also great, mid 70’s outside. Resident there had several large exotic birds. Saw a salamander, pigmented crawfish, etc, they get washed in from outside or migrate upstream.

New River cave- Ken, Martin, others went. Navigation was interesting and challenging. Waterfall was flowing well. Martin’s new powerful 3xpG home made light doubled as a laser cannon. Camped at Claytor Lake. Ava warns of the shower on the left being temperamental. Trash, squirt gun, golf ball etc found in cave. UVA has sensors in there now.

Carlin visited lots of national park and other caves on the way while moving to Raleigh/Durham. Did a restoration trip in one cave with lighting. “Beware” Cave only 50 ft but lots of water in Utah near Nevada. Near Crystal Ball cave.

Upcoming Trips
Vertical training- date to be determined

7/18-22 NSS convention in Colorado, Glenwood Springs, in mid western CO. No one from TriTrogs currently planning to go.

8/6 Fountain Cave Photography trip With Ericka Hoffman (near Grand Caverns commercial open since 1804) (in August to avoid the Civil War re-enactment event at Grand in July which may also be of interest to some) easy cave, nice formations. Access to Grand Caverns too. In Grottos, VA
Pictures given to the cave establishment.

Labor Day weekend OTR- Old Timer’s Reunion, Thurs-Sun 8 hour drive from Raleigh, lots of vendors, bands playing music, lots of caves around, $35 covers it all including beer. Must register early. See for details. Peter will most likely go.
10/6-9 TAG Fall Cave-In (
6/25-29, 2012 NSS Convention (West Virginia TBD)

Patrick Craft talked about Cave Rescue, Medicine and Safety.
Patrick is a family Doctor, has his own practice and works for Duke.
Brief highlights from the slides and discussion follow, Patrick can share copies of the slides if interested.

Perkins Cave owned by ACC, Washington Co VA
11,000 NSS members 80 commercial caves
8600 in TN.
4378 in VA
White Nose Syndrome discussed briefly, no affect on humans
Difficulty with Cave Rescue- patient status- ambulatory, pre-existing conditions, hypothermia, consciousness,
Guy fell 600 feet (tumble) rescue took 11 hours on Mount Hood, similar or worse in caves
Caves dark, wet, cold, long, deep, breakdown, chimney, crawling, swimming, vertical drops,
400ft from entrance took 1 hour in one case
Communication, cave navigation, time of day/night to get resources in rural area, rescuers struggle to find entrances
Floyd Collins story mentioned
2007 Union County TN near Knoxville
27 year old fell 80 feet, head injury, many mistakes made
Simmons Mingo cave near Snowshoe WV, injury, those who went for help got lost in cave. Wearing cotton,
Lost for 2 days before found
“Daring” Cave Rescue in Orme Tenn. Couldn’t do the climb out.
Claxton TN- Guy breaks leg 1hr to go 400 ft
VT Student in Feb 2011 in Stay High cave, wedged in v shape crack, 12 hour rescue, crush injury
Emily Mobley in 1991- in NM, broken leg
Cave Fatalities. Nutty Putty Utah

Getting a litter out very difficult.
Incident Commander
Organization communication, scene control
Personnel-Equipped? Trained?
Equipment- litter, 1st aid kit, packaging, ropes, hardware
What is the cave like?
See Auerbach- Wilderness Medicine
Gave Cave rescue contact #’s
Call 911, NCRC, and local known cavers. Can get local politics etc involved

Possible medical issues associated with caves:
Rabies, Lassavirus, 55K deaths /year, mostly in India. Raccoons most common vector in US, and skunks
May be possible to transmit through feces etc. vaccine only lasts a few years.
One bad case from 5mm bat bite not treated at first ended up in medically induced coma to save the girl. Became same temp as the room- ambithermic. Recovered but with some long term problems like speech.
Working on better vaccines.

Histoplasmosis (Ohio Valley Fever)
Can seem like common cold. In soil, bat litter, chicken litter etc. Treated with anti-fungals. Usually not serious, most likely in those with other complications. One variant causes permanent partial blindness.
Bad Air
Volcanic gases- Mt Hood asphyxiated some. Flame test- candle extinguished at 15% Oxygen
Rarely in limestone caves

Hypothermia- kills folks in SE
Described several methods of losing heat
Air draft, direct contact, etc
Mild: body temp 95-89; moderate: 89-78.9; severe:

NC Museum of Natural Sciences
Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Attendees: Howard Holgate, Hayden Holgate, Zeke VanFossen, Martin G, Luke Mitchell, Bryce Schroeder, David T., Ava Pope, Mark Daughtridge, Lisa Foley, Robert Harris, Ken Walsh, Peter Hertl, Melissa Swazey, Marcie Rush, Trevor Rush

General socializing 7:30 to 7:41
Meeting start 7:41

Old Business– T-shirts- no real progress, still want a design
Pete rigging rope at his house, near fairgrounds for vertical training/practice details still TBD

New Business
Bryce asked about getting carbide through the mail? May get in small quantities through special shipping. Miner’s grade is good, nut grade is less desirable. (Used for light underground, dirty burn but bright.)

Trip Reports
Spring VAR 4/29- Amanda went.
Ken, Dave, Tanya- Worley’s survey continued, new section sloppy, low getting in, but opened up after. Live raccoon blocked way to waterfall. New section smelly, raccoons have been living there. Map shaping up, runs along a straight plane, about 23 degrees, lots of chert, 23 stations, 300ft of survey. Racoons seem far from any entrance or light source. Landowner suggested new cave possibilities too including other landowners, including a sinkhole that locals have cleaned out for scrap metal. They pulled out 15 cars. Now clean enough to clean further and look for entrances.
Also explored other minor caves in the area and a nice hiking area on Sunday.

Robert knows a guy who thinks he may have caves in his land.

Upcoming Trips
Vertical training- date to be confirmed
May 28th weekend, Lost World Caverns in WV celebrating a long time caver who died of old age recently.
5/26-28 Kentucky Speleofest
6/4 Ken wants to go caving. Anything but vertical

6/25 -26 TriTrogs Grotto trip Howard and Bryce organizing, cave TBD, fun, horizontal about 6 people say they can go.

SERA summer cave carnival in TN, in mid July

Gilleys, part of ACC is closed for WNS, so that trip won’t go.

7/18-22 NSS convention in Colorado, Glenwood Springs, in mid western CO. Howard is going, Ken probably going, Peter might. Howard can pick folks up at airport.

8/6 Fountain Cave Photography trip With Ericka Hoffman (near Grand Caverns commercial open since 1804) (in August to avoid the Civil War re-enactment event at Grand in July which may also be of interest to some) easy cave, nice formation
Labor Day weekend OTR- Old Timer’s Reunion, Thurs-Sun 8 hour drive from Raleigh, lots of vendors, bands playing music, lots of caves around, $35 covers it all including beer. Must register early. See for details.

Program World’s Biggest Cave video
Watched the first half (20 min), 2nd half for next month.

Meeting ended with some folks heading for food and beverage.

TriTrogs General meeting
NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Attendees: Howard Holgate, Mark Daughtridge, Lisa Foley (1st meeting!), Robert Harris, Ken Walsh, Susanna Clark

General socializing 7:30 to 7:45
Meeting start 7:45

Old Business– Nothing new on T Shirts or Vertical Training/practice
New Business– None

Discussion of gear and other things to know for new cavers. List of gear is on the web site.

Trip Reports
Lover’s Leap- Ken, Mike, Lisa See trip report on web site. Very interesting surveying in the deep slot. Pretty formations within the slot. Found 2 more pits at the bottom . About 30 feet of floor between the new/lower pits. Surveyed 2 other leads, one concludes, one needs digging. The other passage went to a nice room with 12 foot ceiling and small drain hole. Rain outside made it very tricky getting back up the hill outside the cave. It snowed as they descended the hill to drive to Pizza Hut.

Near Pittsboro/Siler City old Iron Mine- Revolution/Civil War used, about 12-18 mines on Conservancy land to look for bats and identify which species if any. Old iron furnace. Pics on web site. Potentially good place for vertical training? Spotted about 9 bats, and some turkey vulture eggs underground. A vulture startled Ken as it flew out. All bats were Tri-Color bats (Eastern Pipistrelles). No evidence of WNS was found.

Upcoming Trips
This weekend:
Spring VAR 4/29
MVOR Missouri 4/29
Dave/Dawson 4/29 may go caving/ridge walking

Survey trip for 5/8 or 5/15?? Dave Duguid considering
Vertical training- date to be confirmed
5/26 to 28 Kentucky Speleofest
6/25 TriTrogs Grotto trip Howard and Bryce organizing, cave TBD
Mark Little to look into Gilley’s Cave for some future trip.
7/18-22 NSS convention in Colorado, Glenwood Springs, in mid western CO.
8/6 Fountain Cave Photography trip With Ericka Hoffman (near Grand Caverns) (in August to avoid the Civil War re-enactment event at Grand in July which may also be of interest to some)

Howard previewed the NSS convention in Colorado
Glenwood Springs was a mining town in 1890, changed from “Defiance” to GS at request of a homesick resident
Large geothermal pool there was used to treat TB, hospital for WWI and II.
One of first electrified hotels is there, Hotel Colorado. Teddy Roosevelt enjoyed the area.
Glenwood Canyon Highway construction started in mid 1960’s and is most expensive per mile in US. Has a heated road surface reportedly. Rafting/canoeing, bicycling in the area.
Airports in Grand Junction, Denver (cheapest), Montrose. Nice drives from the further cheaper ones. Nice gold mine in Idaho Springs on way from Denver
Commercial Glenwood Caverns is nicely decorated and has tourist and wild trips.
Doc Holiday’s Grave is up on the mountain, high lake, and gondola rides to top of mountain.
Part of Green River formation. Huge Oil deposits in Shale, difficult to extract
An experimental nuclear explosion was done there to try to extract the oil.
Wild horses and other interesting natural resources atop Grand Mesa and beautiful views. Good trout fishing in the lakes
Marble Colorado is there, best marble in world. (Says Howard who grew up there :-)) Used in Tomb of unknown soldier and lower half of Washington Monument. (finished with cheaper marble from Alabama). Town was wiped out repeatedly by avalanches, floods, etc. Scary gravel road to the marble quarry. Redstone Mansion is there, home of mine baron. Checkered past, not sure if it’s open to tourists now.
Colorado Monument in Grand Junction, cowboy museum, dinosaur museum.
Dinosaur National Monument park is a day’s drive away in Utah
Aspen is 2 hrs north with Maroon Bells park etc.
Convention provides cheap camping, cave gear is available to rent- check the website and avoid bringing protentially WNS infected gear.
See details of convention at
Geology field tour precedes convention. Lots of educational sessions at convention. Fascinating new exploration reports, technical sessions, cartography, etc , etc Thursday night slide show competition is great. Big banquet on Friday night with awards and great food. Hosts are very welcoming. Lots of vendors for gear discounts. Howard will be out there early and can pick us up at closer airports.

After the meeting dinner was at Armadillo Grill on Glenwood at about 9:30 pm