In Attendance: Emily, Eric, Carlin, Martin, Kim

We discussed possible program topics for the year, including:

  • Knots
  • An intro to surveying
  • A night of gear trading
  • Salamanders
  • TBD creation by Pete
  • Convention summary
  • Halloween party
  • Cave gear comparison
  • First aid kits
  • Fossils
  • Possibly something by the International Association for Geoscience Diversity?

Membership list: Is there a need to have a membership form? It would include each TrigTrogs member’s address, what type of caving you are interested in, and experience thus far. Further, it may be possible to setup a google drive to document names and phone numbers to ensure security of the information and make trip planning easier.

Gear Sale: Kim will create a signup list to send out for the gear swap, which will be the April program

PayPal: Ideally, we would like to add a family dues option to the website. Also, this year’s website fees will be paid out of the PayPal account. Mark Little’s name will also eventually be removed.

A date for the grotto trip was established: August 24th – 26th

Martin will prepare a financial report to document expenses throughout the year

A discussion was started about the possibility of a scholarship to the Orientation to Cave Rescue class for non-officers.

The yearly NSS report has yet to be submitted to do to a lack of a response from Paul Winter. Emily will submit this year and Kim will submit in 2019.

Introductions

What would you do if you won the lottery? I think we all now agree that we would help Michael realize his lifelong dream of swimming through a silo full of coins.

In attendance: Ken, Zeke, Matthew W., Kim, Martin, Carlin, Ben, Brian, Michael M., Emily, Peter, Jenny, Eric, and Mark D.

Business

  • Happy new year! Pay your membership dues. Yearly individual: $15. Yearly family: $22. Pay one of the officers or via PayPal. If you pay via PayPal, please email the treasurer to let him know that you did.
  • Ken read a postcard from Amar and Bithika and young caver Pahi. Awwww.
  • Spring VAR event. April 27-29. Put it on your calendars and prepare to invent an excuse for why you can’t volunteer to help out!
  • Several members with finite storage space have expressed interest in a grotto auction or gear swap fundraiser. Kim has offered to start an online list of items that people might like to be rid of. Items should be limited to caving or outdoor gear. Date and location are still under consideration.

Trip Reports

  • Rappel in, walk out. Peter and Mark enjoyed rappelling into Lost World Caverns in Greenbrier County through the original, natural entrance drop and following the walking tour path out. The next day they went to the SSS (???) entrance of the Culverson Creek Cave system. It’s a low, stream crawl entrance, but it opens up into some large passage. They found some stuff to photograph and agreed that it would be worth going back there sometime. They did not navigate any passages that were very tight or very wet.
  • Rappel in, woodchuck out. Brian saved an enormous, lethargic woodchuck from the bottom of the entrance to Flower Pot Cave. [I can’t do this justice, so if you’re reading this and you missed the telling, track him down—Brian, not the woodchuck—and get him to repeat it.]
  • Giggle and bear it. Kim, Eric, Mark, and Ken went back to Paxton’s Cave for day one of the New Year’s weekend. The entrance was a cascade of giant icicles, and the air blowing from the cave felt relatively warm. They made it to the Throne Room in record time and spent the rest of the trip looking for the way to the Christmas Room. They didn’t reach that destination, but the rimstone pool filled with crystal candy corns that they found was the neatest thing Kim has seen in a cave. On day two, while looking for the entrance to Low Moor Cave, Eric discovered a black bear. Eric’s high-pitched scream and subsequent giggle unnerved the bear enough to do the trick, and it promptly left. Once inside, they did a lot of walking, saw a lot of graffiti, crossed a sketchy ladder over a pit, and got Eric stuck in an unnecessary, tight climb.
  • Crash course in frog. Dave and Carlin roped virgin surveyors Natalie and Andy into the Radon Cave survey trip. Carlin bolted a traverse and found that he could remove the former (20-year-old) bolts easily by hand. They descended a short drop and surveyed maybe 100 feet. There was a pinch that Andy wouldn’t fit through, but beyond it the others discovered the large room that they had been promised. No obvious leads off the big room, but it still needs to be surveyed.
  • Michael went to a much-visited, graffiti-riddled small cave behind a waterfall in South Carolina. Also, he definitely did not trespass in a [redacted] on [deleted] property in [omitted].
  • Peter startled a sea lion while cave snorkeling in Mexico.
  • Ben and his wife toured some caves in Vietnam. They spent much of one day hiking to and from a cave with an enormous entrance.

Upcoming Trips and Events

  • Feb. 24 – Low Moor Cave survey trip (contact Ken)
  • Mar. 16-18 – Florida Cave Cavort
  • Mar. 16-18 – Chattanooga area survey trip (contact Brian, vertical required)
  • Apr. 21 – Grand Caverns spring cleaning (VA)
  • Apr. 27-29 – Spring VAR at Hungry Mother State Park (VA)
  • May 3-6 – SERA Cave Carnival (AL)
  • May 12-19 – NCRC cave rescue training seminar (AL)
  • May 25-28 – Speleofest (KY)
  • July 28-Aug. 4 – NSS Convention (MT)
  • Matthew W. wants to lead a photo trip in Tennessee on some 3-day weekend.
  • Ken will lead a photo trip closer to home if there’s interest.

Elections

Officer elections took the place of a meeting program. The 2018 officers are:

  • Chair: Emily Graham
  • Vice-chair: Eric Williams
  • Webmaster: Carlin Kartchner
  • Secretary: Kim Parks
  • Treasurer: Martin Groenewegen

 

Introductions

In attendance: Pete, Mark “The Chalk”, Ken, Michael, Carlin, Emily, Natalie, Mike, Dave, Zeke, and Mark “The Talk”

Business

  • Peter’s trip report from the annual grotto trip was submitted to RASS; some day the rest of us might get to read it.
  • We received a certificate for buying an engraved brick as a donation to the NSS headquarters.
  • We’re throwing a grotto holiday party. There might be a slack line and an accordion, but people should come anyway. Someone will resend the signup email.
  • Zeke is now NSS member #68716! Congratulations, Zeke!

Trip Reports

  • Almost caving: Michael’s girlfriend recommended Bowden Cave, having been there many years ago. They got there to discover it’s been closed.
  • Almost connecting: Mike participated in a dig in the Complaint section in Butler Cave, hauling rock out of a narrow canyon passage. They were puzzled when Mike found a survey station marked F5 in a pit beyond the squeeze; it failed to match the location of the F5 in the old records. As it turns out, a few years’ worth of metric surveying needs to be converted. On the bright side, correcting the old numbers will lengthen the cave.
  • Almost fitting: Michael’s first visit to Hancock Cave exceeded his expectations. He got to see a lot of the cave but was forced to surrender to the Funnel Tunnel. He settled for photographing fossils and a long-dead bat while listening to the gleeful cries that emerged from the other side of the belly crawl. After watching others tackle the awkwardness of the Comic Book Hole, Michael chose to forego that experience in favor of his role as videographer. He’d like to go back and bounce around in the Breakdown Staircase area.
  • Almost memorable: Natalie couldn’t recall as many details about her group’s visit to Hancock Cave, but she does remember spotting two live bats, which is great since we call it the Hancock Cave bat count and graffiti cleanup. Speaking of graffiti, she discovered that boot soles excel at carrying extra mud that can be used to mask etched signatures. So does Ken’s face. Although she found the Funnel Tunnel exciting, the Breakdown Staircase was Natalie’s favorite part of the trip. Read Ken’s trip report here.
  • Almost comfortable: Mark’s group also approached the Funnel Tunnel in Hancock Cave. After some cajoling, even the most nervous new caver made it through and they were all rewarded by the pretty decorations beyond.
  • Almost surveying: A group returned to SnoCone Cave with five 4-foot segments of scaling pole and good intentions of surveying beyond a long wet crawl. A hundred feet from the entrance they took the opportunity to check out a high lead above some flowstone. After assembling three of the sections, Mark climbed to the top but still couldn’t reach his target. The scaling pole then bent and quickly deposited Mark on top of Carlin who, having drawn the short straw, was minding the bottom of the pole. No one was injured, but the survey couldn’t go on. At that point they left the cave and did some ridge walking which, even in hunting season, seemed safer than scaling poles.
  • The day after the SnoCone adventure, the group surveyed about 300 feet in Radon Cave. The entrance feature is a blowing, very tight crawl. There’s another 100 feet or so to survey before a traverse and then the back section of the cave reportedly opens up. Some existing rigging, likely from 1990, clearly needs to be replaced. Carlin retrieved the cave registry which was last used in 1995.

Upcoming Trips and Activities

  • Dec. 5 – NSS CaveNet webinar about ropes
  • Dec. 9 – grotto holiday party
  • Dec. 30-31 – Old Year’s caving trip (Ken)
  • Jan. 20 – Smyth County survey (Dave)
  • Apr. 21 – Grand Caverns restoration
  • Apr. 27-29 – Spring VAR at Hungry Mother State Park

Program

Peter gave a fascinating presentation about cave biology!

Introductions

Mark led us off with a discussion about the benefits of being an NSS member. In attendance were: Mark (61461), Martin (63470), Zeke (n/a), Kim (new!), Diana (29990), Mike B. (54738), Natalie (n/a), Lisa (54739), Russell (n/a), Mike M. (65541), Ken (27597), Emily (26175), Eric (68186), and Carlin (60593).

Business

  • Dues. Pay them if you haven’t.
  • Holiday party. Dec. 9 at 6:30 pm at Mark’s house. Kim has emailed out a link for food/beverage sign-up. If you have an aversion to sign-up sheets, just bring a dessert! There will be awards and (family-friendly) entertainment of some sort.
  • Ken brought along a sign that can be re-purposed by the grotto for placement outside the museum on meeting nights. It’s not blinking neon or anything, but it is big and collapsible. Natalie volunteered to try to paint something appropriate on it.

Trip Reports

  • Carlin and Diana went to Watoga State Park and met up with some Quebeckers who were well-equipped with food. On Saturday they went to Friar’s Hole via the FH entrance. A camera was lost and, after some extra crawling, found again. On Sunday they went to Norman Cave. The area was extremely dry.
  • Mike and Lisa went to the BCCS annual meeting. While there they delved into the historic section of Butler Cave, did the sketchy God Is My Copilot climb, and made it to the foot of the old historic entrance. That area of the cave is not accessible from mid-October to April because of bats.
  • Michael M. went to TAG Fall Cave In. He took some younger cavers to a few suitable caves (Bible Springs, Mountain Cove Farm #1) on Thursday, thought twice about Neversink and chose a different pit. Friday he visited War Eagle Cave with a different group. Saturday he got past the Sometime Sump in Ulla Cave despite some light rain. Ulla has a lot going for it, including some of the most decorated passage he’s ever seen and rooms big enough for a helicopter to fly through them. He left TAG before the bonfire and, more importantly, the incoming tropical storm.
  • Ken wanted to try out his new camera equipment, so he and Diana, Emily, Ava M., and Pete went to Smokehole Cave. It was a fun trip with a lot of photography, and his new lens did really well. Read his trip report and see photos here.

Upcoming Trips and Activities

  • Nov. 4 – Perkins Cave survey
  • Nov. 11 – Hancock Cave bat count
  • Nov. 18 – SnoCone survey trip
  • Dec. 9 – Holiday party
  • Feb ? – Frick’s Cave in TAG region
  • Apr. 21 – Grand Caverns restoration
  • Apr. 27-29 – Spring VAR at Hungry Mother State Park

Program

Ken talked about several caves in the Virginias that are owned and managed by groups of cavers.

Introductions

Who are we (and what do we like about the holiday season)?

Martin (getting time off work), Zeke (leaving town), Diana (eating crazy food), Emily (wearing costumes), Carlin (making piñatas), Kim (matching socks), Michael (costuming the cats), Eric (making food green), Natalie (having dinner with friends), Ken (hibernating), Mark (taking a week off), and Peter (single-ply)

Business

  • The museum has moved next year’s Darwin Day event from February to November, 2018.
  • Please email Martin if you pay your dues via PayPal so that he can add you to the list of members.
  • If you have feedback on this year’s annual grotto trip, send it to a grotto officer.
  • Officers had another meeting immediately before the September monthly meeting. See website or check your email for those meeting minutes.

Trip Reports

  • Grotto trip: Ken, Mark, Peter, Kim, and about 15 other people went to Porter’s Cave. They spent a good bit of time trying to find the cave entrance despite having both accurate directions and GPS coordinates. Ken was glad that he had spent so much time studying the convoluted cave map in the fieldhouse, because it helped him determine that they wanted to get down to the lower level early on. There were lots of pretty formations, even some hanging from the pendants. They also encountered low crawls, chimney climbs, keyhole passage, and some mazey areas.
  • Grotto trip: Meanwhile, Zeke, Diana, Emily, Eric, Lilea, and the Clawson family went to Blowing Cave. Due to the pinchiness of the pinch, three of the Clawsons backed out early in the trip. As Zeke put it, the map was from 1939 and didn’t show anything that we saw. Mud was the most noteworthy thing about this cave. We almost lost the remaining Clawson when he stepped and sank into a puddle of muck and it took three of us to free him. There was no decoration and no cave life.
  • Grotto trip: Kim, Matthew, and others went to Island Ford Cave. Kim reported that this short cave was not just easy to find, it was impossible to miss due to the large entrance. They took the dry passage on the way in, stopped when they got to the wet crawls, and took the stream passage on the way out. They saw a few salamanders and surprisingly little graffiti for such an accessible cave, and there were some formations in the smaller side passages.
  • On his trip through South Dakota, Mark saw a Townsend’s big-eared bat in Jewel Cave, lots of boxwork in Wind Cave, and lots of algae in the commercial Black Hills Caverns.
  • Mark and Rob attended CaveFest in Tennessee. Mark’s first trip was to Cedar Ridge Crystal Cave. With no natural entrance, it’s very well decorated and hot. His second trip was to bounce a 180-foot pit at Cagle Chasm. His third trip was to Gourdneck Cave which had a pretty waterfall and some nice formations. It also had a large PVC pipe running through it that carries water to animals but gets in the way of cavers.

Upcoming Cave Trips and Activities

  • Nov. 11 – WVCC annual banquet
  • Nov. 18 – cave survey trip to maybe Perkins or SnoCone (Carlin)
  • Nov. ? – Hancock Cave bat count (Ken)
  • Dec. 9 – Holiday party at 6:30pm at Mark’s (Dancing bears?)
  • Feb. – Frick’s Cave (TAG)
  • Apr. 27-29 – Spring VAR at Hungry Mother State Park

Program

Martin presented a program about headlamp batteries.

In attendance: Mark, Ken, Carlin, Martin, Emily

  • We agreed unanimously to make a $100 donation to RASS.
  • RASS requested a trip report that could help them promote use of their property. Ken suggested that Peter might be willing to share one, and Mark agreed to ask him.
  • Officer feedback on the annual grotto trip:
    • Someone on the trip should be prepared to collect and keep track of money from attendees.
    • The campground and facilities were great and were close to the caves.
    • According to Ken and Mark, Porters Cave was worth going back to at some time.
    • The organizers should choose caves that someone there has been to before.
  • Martin has a list of the grotto members who have paid dues this year. He’ll send it out to the other officers.
  • Grotto gear:
    • Martin has reimbursed Mark $40 for the four headlamp cases purchased for the loaner headlamps.
    • We decided that Mark should purchase two 4-packs of the Petzl headlamp clips for helmet-mounting at $5 a pack, for use on the grotto loaner helmets that don’t have built-in clips.
    • Mark suggested and we agreed that the grotto should buy a new Princeton Tec Vizz from him for $36 to replace the broken loaner headlamp.
  • Officers finally chose the wording for the engraving on the NSS headquarters brick that the grotto agreed to buy for $100 last year. Mark will submit the form and payment.
  • The grotto holiday party will be held December 9 starting at 6:30 pm at Mark’s house in Durham. Potluck. Send party theme or award ideas to Mark.

Introductions

The break-the-ice question had something to do with toilet paper and eclipses. Answers ranged from “2 ply” to “100 feet” to “5 hours.”

In attendance: (Other) Mark, Emily, Lauren, (Other) Mike, Ken, Peter, Diana, Eric, (Other) Steve, Kim, Tim, and (eventually) Andy

Business

  • Ken reminded us to pay dues if we haven’t this year. Dues are $7.50.
  • Peter made an announcement about BugFest, an event happening at the museum on Sept. 16. Peter is looking for volunteers for his orthoptera table. No experience needed. Take two shifts and get a free BugFest shirt.
  • (Absent) Mark has purchased cases for the grotto’s loaner headlamps and should have them in time for the grotto trip.
  • Peter has some old incandescent headlamps that he’s ready to part with, in case the grotto wants such things. Ken recommends we bring it up with the other officers (and possibly with gearkeeper Mike).

Trip Reports

Oddly, among those present, there have been no trips to report since the last meeting!

Upcoming Trips and Activities

  • Aug. 25-27 – Annual grotto trip
  • Sept. 1-4 – Old Timers Reunion (WV)
  • Sept. 1-5 – CaveFest (TN)
  • Sept. 21-23 – Virginia Regional Meeting (Pendleton Co., WV)
  • Sept. 30? – possible photo trip (Ken)
  • Oct. 5-8 – TAG Fall Cave-in (Lookout Mtn, GA)
  • Oct. 14 – Nov. 5 – NCRC Cave Rescue Operations & Mgmt seminar (Blacksburg, VA) ncrc.info
  • ??? – Perkins Cave survey trip (Carlin, Ken)
  • Nov. ? – Hancock Cave bat count (Ken)
  • Also, Other Mark is willing to arrange cave trips to eastern Tennessee.

[Meeting interrupted by museum fire alarm and evacuation]

Program

How to Pick Among Your Best Cave Shots

by Ken Walsh and Diana Gietl

Grotto Trip

After the program, we spent approximately 15 minutes discussing the meal plans, among other details, for the upcoming grotto trip.

Introductions

In attendance: Mark, Jared, Charles, Jake, Zeke, Marlis, Mike M., Lenny, Eric, Andy, Peter, Emily, Mike B., Kim, and Ken

Our favorite leaves, respectively: [On second thought, this has been redacted due to gratuitous word play.]

Business

  • Mark is going to order some cases for our grotto loaner headlamps.
  • September 16 is BugFest. Peter will be running an exhibit and looking for volunteers to help show off the wonderful world of orthoptera. This is a great way for us to give back to the museum which provides our meeting space each month.

Trip Reports

  • Mike B. and Lisa introduced Mike’s dad and sister to Butler Cave for their first wild caving experience. They went in the SOFA (Stubborn Old Farts Access) entrance and got as far as the 90-Ugh Crawl before turning back.
  • Mike M. visited five caves in Walker County, Georgia: Petty John’s Cave (with two young kids), Anderson Spring Cave (which had a good salamander population), Natural Waterfall Pit and Cave (where they saw some bats and lots of fossils), and a horizontal trip through Ellison’s Cave. There was lots of water in all the caves. They encountered more bats in Ellison’s than they have in recent years.
  • Emily joined Mike B., Connor, and Nicole for a weekend at the Butler Cave homestead. Mike led them and a couple from Pennsylvania on a four-hour trip in Butler Cave. It was a relaxed trip but they covered a lot of ground, especially considering there were two non-cavers along. After exiting and resupplying, Emily, Mike, and Connor went back in for another four hours. After exiting again and opening but not drinking a beer, Mike couldn’t resist the opportunity to go drop the vertical entrance of Barberry to help with a dye trace. The next day, Keith W. led Emily, Mike, Connor, and Hal through the woods to three small caves: Black Root (pristine blockage), Bone (pile of leaves and, yep, bones), and Birthday (so many bugs).

Upcoming Trips and Events

  • Aug. 22: monthly meeting
  • Aug. 25-27: Annual Fun Grotto Trip
    • We can park on the upper field where we’ll be camping.
    • Trips will be tailored for novice to intermediate cavers.
    • Visit our FAQ page for a list of recommended gear.
    • Caves on the agenda are Porters, Blowing, and Island Ford.
  • Sept. 1-4: Old Timers Reunion (Dailey, WV)
  • Sept. 1-5: Cave Fest (Sewanee, TN)
  • Oct. 5-8: TAG Fall Cave-in (Lookout Mountain, GA)

Program

As our scheduled program presenter was absent, Ken showed some old photos of Butler Cave while Mike B. narrated. Then we adjourned to the Oak & Dagger.

Introductions

The break-the-ice question this week: Red or green?

  • Team Green: Matthew L., Robert, Eric, Andy, Kim, Carlin
  • Team Red: Emily, Jim
  • Both: Mark, Dana, Mike
  • Colorblind: Mike B.

Business

  • Grotto Trip: There will be hot running water for showers! An online poll will be sent out soon. [Update: The poll has now been sent out.]
  • Dues have been reduced to $7.50 for individuals who want to join this year.
  • Carlin has updated the website somehow and has added it to be indexed by Bing and Google.

Trip Reports

  • Eric and his five-year-old joined Ken, Tanya, and Emily for a trip to Stone’s Cave No. 1 so that Ken could check out the last leads before making the map. While Ken went ahead, the rest of the group (joined by a local friendly dog) went as far as the hot air balloon formation. On the way out, Eric’s daughter slipped and took an unintended puddle bath. After acquiring some dry gear, the group went to Speedwell Cave, an easily accessible cave with a few rooms and some crawls that a five-year-old doesn’t blink an eye at. Eric kept a wary eye on the dodgy-looking cows in leather jackets across the road. Read Ken’s trip report.
  • For her first proper cave trip, Dana joined a group that Mark led through New River Cave. They did lots of crawling and got to see some pretty formations. They made it back to the waterfall and still got out in time to drive home at a reasonable hour.
  • Mike and Lisa had a project weekend at Butler Cave. There’s a very newly discovered cave on some neighboring property. The owner told the trackhoe where to dig and voila they hit pay dirt (air): Maiden Hair Cave. Lisa dug away in the tip of the 80-foot cave while Mike hauled spoils out of the entrance culvert.
  • Carlin went to Perkins Cave and surveyed. Read his trip report.
  • Jim went to Worley’s Cave in Tennessee with a scout group. They had a commercial guide and the kids enjoyed it. They saw at least ten cars parked outside the popular cave.

Upcoming Trips and Events

  • July 23-29: International Congress of Speleology (Australia)
  • Aug 25-27: Annual Grotto Fun Trip (VA)
  • Sept 1-4: Old Timers Reunion (WV)

Program

Grotto members Rob, Mark, and Carlin showed caving-related and other photos from various far-off lands.

Introductions

In attendance: Ken, Emily, Peter, Zeke, Eric, Mike, Mark (via Skype), Andy, and Kim

Business and News

  • We’ll travel to Bath County, Virginia, for the annual grotto trip and stay at the RASS field house. It has flush toilets, showers, picnic tables, and no alcohol restrictions. Saturday we’ll cave somewhere, and then Sunday we’ll cave somewhere else. Porters and Blowing Cave are two possibilities.
  • The nice owner of Mystic Cave in Pendleton County, WV, died and the family might like to rent the home to cavers as a field house.
  • Monongahela National Forest is considering reopening caves to scientific pursuits.
  • The Triangle Troglodytes are in the current issue of Walter magazine.
  • The museum has asked for feedback to help justify events like Darwin Day and BugFest.
  • Interested in cave surveying? Lowmoor Cave has an ongoing survey.

Trip Reports

  • Scouts after caving

    Girl Scout trip to New River Cave

    Emily, Ken, Lisa, and Diana took six Girl Scouts and two Scout parents to New River Cave. The group originally planned to visit Rehoboth Church Cave, but the weather had other ideas. The Scouts had a great time despite the onslaught of trains, rain, and frigid temperatures the previous night. A few are eager to go on another trip. The parents, though they have a new appreciation for cave exploration, less so.

  • Mark and six others went to Paxton’s. They were having so much fun avoiding some water and a few difficult climbs that the trip lasted a couple hours longer than anticipated. They came across some salamanders and a turtle who got washed in. One of the landowner’s dogs peed on Rob’s pack.

Program

Cave Art – presented by Emily Graham

Cave Art