Mark Daughtridge, Diana Gietl, Mark Little, Howard Holgate, Matthew van Fossen, Robert Harris, Pete Hertl, and Ken Walsh were in attendance. Howard Holgate presided over the meeting.

Howard mentioned that dues can now be paid at half price to Mark Little. Mike Broome had no news about he web site development, but Ken mentioned that new photos have been added to the online photo gallery.

BugFest will be held on Saturday, September 11 this year, and Pete Hertl encouraged the TriTrog members to sign up for two-hour shifts. If you work two shifts, you get lunch and a t-shirt. His display is about orthoptera–junping insects. Pete described the event, mentioned that the TriTrogs should be helping out the museum, and then discussions turned to insect consumption.

Dick Webb donated several books to the grotto, and Howard wants to send him a thank you. However, Howard hasn’t found him yet and would like help from anyone who might know him.

Hannah Reynolds solicited the TriTrogs a few months ago for information about WNS before a mycologist’s roundtable discussion. However, we never heardd back from her about how the discussions went.

Discussion turned to Final Jeopardy while we waited for Diana’s arrival.

Peter Hertl drove to the NSS Convention (2000-mile round trip). Pete arrived Sunday, participated in rope climbing the first two days, went to sessions on Wednesday, the photography salon, banquet, international exploration session, and rope training. He also described the stealth beer drinking from kegs in the parking lot and the bonfire that the fire department hosed down before 9:30 PM.

Upcoming trips include:
August 28—Lovers Leap Cave survey trip
September 2-6 –Old Timers Reunion
October 1-3—VAR/MAR at Friars Hole ($30 at–preregister by September 10 to get the guidebook and bring your own water)
October 9-11–TAG Fall Cave In
Conservation trip to clean up Hancock Cave—Diana is working on coordinating a date in early October or late November (likely Nov. 20)
July 16-22, 2011–NSS Convention in Glenwood Springs, CO (Howard may reserve a cabin)

Ken agreed to find the convention promotion video (youtube link at–under 14 minutes) and to bring the book Caves of Colorado to the next meeting. By the way, the book indicates that Glenwood Springs is the biggest cave formation area in Colorado.

After the break, we watched some of the Planet Earth video about caves.

Rob Harris, Mat van Fossen, Duke Dooley, Mike Broome, Pete Hertl, Mark Little, Ken Walsh , Brian Bolt, Diana Gietl, and Howard Holgate attended. Howard presided over the meeting.

Mike Broome mentioned that he has thanked Dick Webb on our web site for the new library books. Howard will track down Dick Webb’s address to thank him for his generous donation. Mike will update the online library catalog and post the Volunteer Values feature on the web site.

Rob Harris shared a description of the visit he and Ken Walsh took to the Old Lead Mine (actually graphite) inside the Raleigh Beltline. They traveled 60 feet to the back, and the walls were clay-like and soft with quartz veins. It’s said that it was an old Civil War Mine. Rob and Ken surveyed and photographed the mine.

Howard described the trip to Paxton Cave with Dave Duguid, Ken Walsh, and coworkers and family. Howard talked about the new cavers and not about getting lost. Howard brought the old sister and the young kids. Highlights included Hershey’s ice cream and smores.

Mike Broome described his BCCS trip over Memorial Day weekend to Butler Cave. Saturday they worked aboveground at the site. Lisa Lorenzin and he ended up going underground on the 30th around 9 AM. They went back to work on the Air Dig, a 100-foot long straight passage. The Air Dig turns and drops into a dig with air blowing. The diggers have added a pulley system with a suspended system (flying dragon) and a thin piece of webbing to pull the dirt buckets. The Flying Dragon runs with a 4-minute round trip, and they spent 8 hours digging— estimate of about 65 buckets (at 4 gallons each). Although Mike tried to lead the way out afterwards, Mike Kissler’s comments about the scenic route kept him on his toes.

Upcoming trips included the NSS Convention, Old Timers Reunion (Labor Day weekend), and a grotto trip during the MAR/VAR event at Friars Hole (October 1-3). In terms of cleaning out the back entrance of Hancock Cave, Diana will help coordinate a date in September.

Rob Harris shared a trip report and slides from his Nicaraguan trip to the Caribbean plate where he explored lava tubes. It was tough breathing at the top of the volcano, and he brought his own light into the lava tubes. He saw insect-eating bats, fruit bats, and vampire bats. Indian artifacts were found in the back of the lava tubes.

Rob also shared some photos of the work to improve the gate at Tawney’s Cave. He carried cement up and water. They added 12-15 bags of cement so that no one can slip under the gate.

Howard Holgate then shared a great presentation titled “Saltpeter Caves: Strategic Assets in Early America.” We all learned a lot about the saltpeter mining industry in the United States, and we learned that “lixiviate” means “to leach.”

Diana Gietl, Hayden and Howard Holgate, Duke Dooley, Ken Walsh, and Dick Webb came to the meeting. Dick offered old books from his collection to the grotto library.

We had no discussion about improvements to the web site, but Diana noted that the Volunteer Values section of the web site has not yet been posted. Something was mentioned about cleaning old events off of the web page, but that may have just been the way the user scrolled through the Google calendar.

Diana mentioned that Hannah Reynolds of Duke University is headed for a mycology conference and is looking for input from the TriTrogs and the caving community about the WNS roundtable discussions.

Ken shared Dave Duguid’s trip report about bat observations with his kids and Mary Frazier (NCDOT) at the Cole Mill Road bridge in Durham. He mentioned that they saw at least 220 big browns in about 30 minutes as they emerged from the bridge expansion joints. If you know off any other bridges in the state with bat populations, Mary Frazier would like to know.

Duke Dooley described the difficulties with entering Lovers Leap Cave and talked about a squealing, flailing pig. He then shared that in Worley’s Cave we surveyed to the left side of the passage. Dave Duguid found his way into a small dig that led to 300 yards of passageway that he and Rob Harris explored. His muscles were too sore the next day to participate in the Easy Way Down Dig, so Ken described that muddy effort in very soft limestone that roots helped break into a nice slot. Unfortunately the current lack of air flow left it difficult to determine which way to go next.

Diana was in New Jersey recently and described digs near Albany, NY. Her friend Tony dug down 60 feet toward what will be a really big cave once they find their way in. He is convinced that there is at least 15 miles of cave beneath the surface.

We then began discussing the graphite mine inside the Raleigh Beltline, and Dick Webb shared where some of the former “lead” mines are. We also discussed the friability of graphite and the dangers of radon.

In discussing upcoming trips, Diana mentioned that she may decide to travel to the Vermont Convention, but it will be a last minute decision.

We then discussed the possibility of combining this year’s grotto trip to the Wildcat Entrance of Culverson Creek Cave with the VAR/MAR being held on October 1-3. The cool temps and low water levels should make the trip a good time for all, and no one would need to prepare the dinner.

When we began talking about a conservation trip, Duke Dooley asked if anyone had a flat trailer that could be pulled. We’re thinking about cleaning up the rest of the back entrance to Hancock Cave on a weekend when Duke’s truck could pull up the old appliances. Diana will propose some dates for the trip to Duke and try to get a date set.

Howard is looking for an easy caving trip in July for family members. I think he’s settled on Paxton’s Cave around July 24. Diana, Dave, and Ken may also go.

The meeting adjourned early, and much food was enjoyed at The Diner on Glenwood Avenue.

Mike Broome, Matthew van Fossen, Rob Harris, Duke Dooley, Lisa Lorenzin, Howard and Hayden Holgate, Diana Gietl, Mark Little, Mark Daughtridge, and Ken Walsh were in attendance. Diana Gietl presided over the meeting and announced that the evening’s video program would be “Tag, You’re It!” Attendees were encouraged to ask about possible future programs or volunteer to do them. The June slot is still available.

Mark Little accepted dues. Mike Broome announced that he began work on the Volunteer Values portion of the web site and that he hoped it would be available by the end of the week. It will likely be posted in the Members Only section or on the Trip Report page. Mike shared the Members Only section access information.

Diana sent out the letters regarding the CBD petitions on May 24. Only eleven people responded to her email requests, so she signed only her name as the TriTrog Vice Chair. She sent the letters to the Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Agriculture, Senators Hagan and Burr, and Congressman Price. Ken will send a copy to Congressman Miller, and Diana will send a copy to the NSS through Peter Youngbaer. This item will be taken off the agenda for future meetings.

Diana announced that there is still a Chair position available in the TriTrogs.

Rob Harris reported on a Raleigh mine near Ridge Road that he explored as a child. It was supposedly a graphite mine from the Civil War. Duke suggested that Rob consider a Geiger counter to screen for radon. Rob may have a look at the mine this week.

In terms of trip reports, Ken Walsh and Rob Harris reported that Piercy’s Mill Cave was in flood stage, so Phil Murray instead led them to Higginbotham’s #4 Cave. Rob decsribed Higginbotham’s #4 as mostly walking through water and it got colder. His shoes are still really wet, and the water was thigh deep. He learned to carry extra clothes in plastic bags. Conversation then turned to how to get water out of boots. Diana advised that one never remove all of the water, but leave a little bit in stay warm. A second flush of cold water in a stream is not the result if one leaves some water behind.

A side discussion arose from there about the grotto ordering neoprene and making our own pieces at a tech shop. A parachute rigger may have access to neoprene, and rubber cement might work as a sealant after the stitching.

Mark Daughtridge described a cave he found near a Mt. Mitchell footbridge near I-80. It was filled with water but looks like it goes back a ways (at least 20’).

Upcoming trips were discussed:
—Lovers Leap and Easy Way Down in Marion, VA on June 11
—SERA Summer Cave Carnival in Monteagle, TN on June 17-20
—NSS Convention in Essex Junction, VT (marble caves) on August 2-6
—Grotto trip–possibly to the Wildcat Entrance to Culverson Creek Cave

Diana introduced the TriTrogs to the Quebec Vertical Training School. It has a weekend training class in French (maybe next year a class in English) and features a wall bolted many different ways. Classes will teach you how to be autonomous on rope, how to rig, how to self-rescue, and both horizontal and vertical rescue techniques on different weekends.

The program was the TAG–You’re It! video from the NSS Library.

The after-the-meeting meeting was held at The Diner on Glenwood Avenue.

Rob Harris, John Plyler, Howard and Hayden Holgate, Matthew van Fossen, Peter Hertl, Mark Daughtridge, Ken Walsh, Rob Phelps, Mike Broome, Matt Jenkins, Trina, and Diana Gietl were all in attendance.

Before the meeting began, Rob Harris described caves in Raleigh he remembers from his childhood. This possibility intrigued grotto members, and Rob agreed to check into which neighborhoods he might be remembering.

Everyone introduced themselves, and Mike Broome agreed to collect dues in the absence of the Treasurer.

Mike announced no changes to the web site. However, the Volunteer Values signup is the next item to go up on the site and will keep a log of volunteer activities over the year. The NSS gets grants based on volunteer hours. Members should look for an email across the list serve when it’s ready for use.

Diana acknowledged that programs from grotto members are better than those from the library, but she asked that people suggest topics of interest for future programs that may come from the grotto library.

Regarding the Center for Biological Diversity, Diana has been working on the letter to government officials in the Department of the Interior and Fish and Wildlife Service. It will also be sent to Senators and Congressmen for the local area, and she’ll cc the NSS. She passed the draft around for comments. Discussion then turned to the best way to share the letter with the government officials. I think we ended up deciding that Diana will share the letter with the entire list serve and invite members to add their names and addresses as signatures. Diana will then send the letter out electronically.

There is still a spot on the executive committee. Howard will take over in July as the Vice Chair. Diana will be arriving later at the next two meetings so will be unable to run the meetings.

There was discussion about how to treat the remaining grotto materials that came out of Brian Bolt’s house. Look for an announcement about organizing it, indexing it, serving it with beer or a cookout. We’ll rip out the cave maps and throw the rest on the grill. Mike will kill us if we wait 2-3 more years. Look for an announcement soon.

Mike read an email from Dr. Elwyn Simons about collecting giant lemur skulls from the pits in Madagascar. Ken filled in the rest of the details about how Dr. Simons plans to take two cavers on the August expedition, and he and Linda Waters put their names on the grant proposal Tuesday morning. Others were interested in traveling as well [sorry but Dr. Simons said that there are reasons he needs to limit the expedition size beside expenses].

Diana began the trip reports by describing how Dave Duguid, Ken, and Tanya McLaughlin went to document an historic saltpeter cave. Despite stories of an elaborate works, they found only old signatures and wooden plank boards. Dave and Ken surveyed just 350 feet of total cave while Diana and Tanya photographed.

The same group also checked for bat activity near the entrances of Buchanan Saltpeter, Marion Quarry, Worley’s, Hancock, North Fork, and Little Hancock. We saw bats near the entrance during our ½ hour stops but no activity indicating a chance of WNS. We also found out that the owner of Buchanan Saltpeter is amenable to letting trips visit the cave.

Mark Daughtridge and Matthew van Fossen gave a brief story of the sport trip to James Cave.
We were in Virginia. They went hiking at 1 AM. We made it to the cave by 1 PM.
We ate at a Mexican restaurant. Mark’s group couldn’t find our group. Mark kept us waiting while their group tried to find their way out of the cave. Fun trip.

A discussion about the Anabat training on May 5 in Asheville then began. Bat species may be separated by voice, but no one knew if such a device could be used as a remote bat counter at a cave entrance.

Dave Duguid will let us know if he hears more about a bat count at a bridge in Durham.

Other upcoming trips:
May 8—VAR Cleanup of Crystal Caverns
May 15—NRO in Cobleskill, Scoharie, NY
May 22—Spring VAR
June 11—Surveying Worley’s/Lovers Leap Caves and maybe some digging too
June 17-20—SERA Summer Cave Carnival
August 2-6—NSS Convention

After a break and a few switches in projectors, Peter Hertl entertained us with stories about his February trip down Fantastic Pit in Ellison’s Cave.

The meeting adjourned to The Diner on Glenwood Avenue.

Attending: Ken Walsh, Diana Gietl, Mark Little, Mike Broome, Mark Daughtridge, Howard Holgate, Hayden Holgate, Zeke van Fossen, Pete Hertl, Melanie McCullough, Brian Bolt

The meeting began when Mark Little shared membership lists with everyone present, and he copied down updates that were shared. The updated membership list will be posted to the web site.

Regarding web updates, we discussed the inclusion of a new feature where members can enter their volunteer hours. The NSS uses this information when it applies for grant monies, and it’s important for the grotto secretary to report the numbers for conservation, exploration, survey, and outreach. Mike Broome will develop something that matches the NSS Volunteer Values spreadsheet, but we’ll need to announce it to the membership in general and remind them to enter their numbers.

Pete Hertl will share the April program about his recent trip to Ellison’s Cave in February 2010. Photos will include the North Pole and Angel’s Paradise, and Diana agreed to add some photos of her own.

Discussion then turned to some of the upcoming national and regional events:
NSS Convention in Vermont—August 2-6
VAR—May 21-23 in Lewisburg, WV
SERA Summer Cave Carnival—June 17-20, Monteagle, TN
Kentucky Karst-o-Rama—July 15-18

When asked about how cavers have been received outside the Northeast, Mark Daughtridge (?) suggested that “WNS is just a polite way to say “Yankee”.”

Diana Gietl has worked on a WNS letter from the TriTrogs and will send out a letter to some members for corrections. The NSS has made a formal notification to the US government about its current recommendations for WNS research and a public-private partnership. Ken mentioned that the TriTrogs continue the WNS monitoring efforts in Smyth County, Virginia and outreach to scouting groups (3 groups with more than 75 scouts so far this year).

Ken announced that Dave Duguid has identified several bat monitoring efforts with the state DOT biologist for bats, Lisa Gatens. [Dave later sent out an update with some limited dates]

Diana found no interested members to fill the remaining spot on the executive committee.

Regarding trip reports, Diana announced that the blizzard predictions prevented the bat count project in February. Pete Hertl will talk next month about his February trip with John Plyler to Ellison’s Cave in Georgia as a program.

Mike Broome and Lisa Lorenzin joined the BCCS for a trip to Burnsville Cove. They attended the pancake weekend to raise money for the fire department and found themselves digging on the surface. Forty people met there for five to six days. Mike and five others dug in a scary pit on Phil Lucas’s property that dropped 10 degress in temperature as one descended. Four large rocks were supported with bolt hangers. Mike broke big rocks into smaller rocks, but the dig needs a backhoe to go further.

Mike then went to visit the Wishing Well dig, just off the road next to a house. The dig was opened up and then closed to be considerate of the nearby neighbor. However, the owner is anxious to discover cave. On the third visit, they dug Wishing Well with a backhoe. It’s now a forty-foot pit that starts with an oil tank atop a culvert, with a winch and hauling system to pull up the rocks. A very big rock pile is now on the front yard beside this posh dig.

Regarding upcoming trips, the list below reflects those mentioned:
March 27 trip to Smyth County, VA for bat counts and documentation of saltpeter cave — contact Ken Walsh
March 27 trip with Venture Crew 469 cancelled
April 10—Sport Trip with Justin Noia and Duke students to James Cave
May 8—VAR Cleanup of Crystal Caverns
May 22—VAR in Lewisburg, WV
NSS Convention in Vermont—August 2-6

The March “program” of Archive Digging involved file cabinets of information from the grotto archives. Meeting attendees were encouraged to route through old materials from other grottoes, the NSS, the TriTrogs, and other sources to find historic artifacts, cave maps, and general interest materials that would be useful to grotto members. We pitched a lot of materials and had some interesting finds that brought back fond memories.

Rob Phelps, Mike Broome, Ken Walsh, Jon Plyler, Ko Takamizawa, Joan Johnson, Warren Pusak, Pete Hertl, Howard and Hayden Holgate, Brian Bolt, Justin Noia, Charlie ?, and Diana Gietl were in attendance. Vice Chair Diana Gietl presided and welcomed the former VPI cavers.

In the absence of the Treasurer Mark Little, Mike Broome agreed to collect dues. A brief discussion established that an updated members list needs to be compiled by the Treasurer and posted on the web site. Mike will send out a notice when the new list is posted.

Mike reported no recent changes to the web hosting. Diana reminded members that they could find a calendar, trip blog, meeting minutes, and the photo gallery all at

Diana introduced the open Chair position as an Administrative figurehead with no duties other than running meetings, but this approach did not result in volunteers. She threatened to draw a name out of a hat at the next meeting if no volunteers come forward.

In response to January petition of the Center for Biological Diversity to close American caves to prevent the spread of WNS, Diana and Melanie previously volunteered to help draft a letter to Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of the Interior. Their effort will focus on making a letter more personal to the Triangle Troglodytes’ past and present conservation efforts (e.g., Hancock Cave). Diana plans to share the draft with select grotto members and then the whole grotto. She emphasized that the caving moratoria in the East Coast already has limited caving activities by NSS members and asked TriTrogs to contact her if they want to help more.

Pete Hertl shared some communications that he has had with the museum’s mammologist, Lisa Gatin, as she makes preparation for the arrival of WNS in NC. She asked the caving community to share landowner contacts and cave locations. Even a few NC contacts would help them get started. Pete also passed on that bat biologists want to work with cavers as they face the WNS threat. Diana mentioned that several Flittermice members have been active on the cave chat forum and would likely be helpful contacts for Pete to connect the museum to.

Ken mentioned that the NSS Safety and Techniques Committee has developed an online survey about grotto training techniques. He asked if anyone in the grotto would be interested in being the TriTrog contact point for this NSS committee. He also offered contact points for the conservation and youth group committees.

Brian mentioned that the grotto owns two two-drawer filing cabinets that are located in his garage with materials before 1993. He asked that the grotto find a solution as to where it should reside so that members can actually access useful information. Brian agreed to bring the contents to future meetings so that TriTrogs could help empty the cabinets.

Pete Hertl clarified some points about his friend Dave Lent looking for worms. He is looking for someone to take him to a cave entrance with a stream and leave him at the entrance to dig for this worm species. Ken suggested the caves in Sugar Grove might be good.

No one shared any trip reports.

Upcoming trips include:
Bat checks at cave entrances for the Feb 27 weekend
Venture Crew 469’s trip to Cribb Cave on March 27 (Warren has gotten permission and will post a notice asking for volunteers to help out)
Duke students caving on April 10-11 weekend (led by Justin Noia; Howard suggested they consider going to New River Cave for some adventure)
Grand Caverns Restoration weekend sponsored by the VAR on April 3-4 (Easter) — expect good food and no caving gear required
VAR cleanup of Crystal Caverns near Strasburg, Virginia on May 8

After a short break, Diana Gietl shared her slides from her exploration of Greenland ice caves.

Mike Jones, Warren Pusak, Mark Daughtridge, Mike Broome, Pete Hertl, Jon Plyler, Diana Gietl, Melanie McCullough, Dave Duguid, Ken Walsh, Howard Holgate, and Matt Westlake were in attendance.

Dave Duguid began the meeting by thanking Mark and Rhonda Little for hosting the 20th Anniversary Party that went late into the evening. Mike collected dues during the break and agreed to send them to the absent Treasurer.

Mike entertained discussion about changes to the TriTrogs web site. We talked reinstating the WNS links, the web site introducing the officers, and how the emails will be forwarded to officers.

Ken mentioned that the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) has petitioned the U.S. government to close all American caves and mines indefinitely because of the WNS threat. Included in their petition would be the closure of all caves on Federal lands (including places like Carlsbad Caverns), the criminalization of any landowners who allow access to their caves, and the acquisition of caves with significant bat populations. Dave shared a letter written by Peter Youngbaer, NSS WNS liaison, to the CBD. Diana described six web pages on the CaveChat forum dedicated to this one action and described that the NSS has asked grottoes to send letters to the Departments of the Interior, Department of Defense, and the Fish and Wildlife Service to block the action, as well as a letter to the CBD.

The absurdity of enforcing the proposal was discussed with speculation of police stationed at tens of thousands of cave entrances and descriptions of cave gates being destroyed month after month in New York.

The TriTrogs discussed informing the state fish and wildlife organizations about this petition. Diana agreed to draft letters to the Federal agencies, and Dave said that he will apprise Mary Fraser and the museum about the situation. Melanie agreed to help draft a press release, but we will likely hold onto it until a story develops through other challenges.

Mike Broome agreed to reply to Bill Bussey’s offer to share his old caving publications. The TriTrogs would be particularly interested in adding WV cave maps to its collection. Matt Westlake suggested that a university library might be interested in the old publications, but other members noted that libraries no longer accept such donations.

Mike Jones had asked if grotto members other than Steve Simmons have squeeze boxes that could be used at a scout meeting. No one knew of other local squeeze boxes, but we began discussing the construction of them in the grotto.

From the mailbag, Mike mentioned a SERA Summer Cave Carnival survey. He also suggested that extra money could be spent on the 3000-sq.foot residence in Highland County, Virginia as a fieldhouse for just $1.3M.

Pete Hertl mentioned that Dave Lennott is working with a guy on worms (mostly aquatic in moist environments) and is interested in looking in cave waters. Seeps and springs would be okay too. Pete asked if we thought that we could make a list of caves where they might find mature specimens. Members rattled off several possible locations.

With regard to trip reports, Dave Duguid described the trip he and Ken Walsh took to Smyth County on January 1. More details are in the Trip Report blog. Dave added the details about his cave suit freezing to his body in 6 degree weather. When discussing Easy Way Down Dig, grotto members starting discussing the possibilities of using electronic equipment to explore before people move enough rocks to get inside.

Upcoming trips include:
Feb. 27 return to Smyth County with Diana, Ken and Dave
Mar. 27-28 trip to Cribb Cave with Warren Pusak and his venture crew
May 22 Spring VAR in Lewisburg, WV

During the break, members paid dues.

Elections pulled Diana Gietl and Howard Holgate into the positions of co-vice chairs. Mike Broome, Mark Little, and Ken Walsh will continue their roles as editor/webmaster, treasurer, and secretary. A chair will be elected at the February meeting. The February meeting may include a Greenland program from Diana Gietl.

We adjourned to the after-the-meeting meeting at The Diner, a tasty new place on Glenwood Avenue.

Warren Pusak, Ken Walsh, Mark Daughtridge, Zeke Van Fossen, Matt Jenkins, Diana Gietl, Gordon Bolt, Lisa Lorenzin, Mike Broome, Pete Hertl, Brian Bolt, and Mark Little attended.

To accommodate Warren’s schedule, Mike and Lisa began the meeting with their program describing Burnsville Cove surveys and the exploration of Basswood Cave so far. Lisa also indicated that they have been together as a couple a long time when she described her anniversary gift to Mike. More photos of the Butler Cave system can be found on John Sweet’s web site.

Warren Pusak proffered that former member Bill Mattocks is willing to teach TriTrogs more about safe rock climbing techniques (e.g., proper rigging), if anyone is interested.

Mike and Lisa offered to host the 20th Anniversary/Holiday Party on December 12. Gordon suggested that the program include puppets, and Mike and Lisa insisted that they would not accept pee gifts under their tree.

There was a brief discussion of the TriTrog Facebook site and how open its content should be (it was already fully open). Dues are half price now, and Mark Little agreed to start accepting 2010 dues now.

There will be no December meeting. January’s program will include elections and discussion about a topic (e.g., choosing a helmet for beginner caving). Lisa suggested that the February program could be a discussion of the effectiveness of WNS decontamination techniques.

Matt Jenkins shared a description of the closed caving signs placed before Aqua and Marshalls Caves. Although the caves were not obvious before, the signs make the entrances easy to find.

Pete Hertl described his trip to the NSS Convention. He won vertical competitions and found the facilities really nice. Instead of taking his regular cave gear along, he visited Goodwill and visited some “nasty, dusty caves.” When they entered the last one, they were told “By the way, this cave has potential for bad air.” On the way in, everyone started panting. They labored to breathe in the warm caves. When the group was ready to turn around, the formations were still much further down the passage. The healthy ones took a run into the cave and saw the formations. Pete did get a headache and bruised his shoulder when racing along. He concluded his trip report with “Why even go to a known bad air cave with all the caves in the U.S.?”

Upcoming trips include:
A New Years weekend trip to Smyth County to look for active bats and ridgewalk
An Explorer Scout trip to Cribb Cave on March 27 (volunteers are welcome)
Possible vertical practices this winter

Dave Duguid, Diana Gietl, John Plyler, Mike Broome, Warren Pusak, Ken Walsh, Dawson Duguid, Pete Hertl, Matthew Lubin, Mark Daughtridge, and Martha were in attendance.

The 20th Anniversary celebration is set for December 12 . It was suggested that we continue to promote the event bigger with past members. Dues are still half price.

Mike Broome affirmed that the new web link is working. He will work on a new pics notification that gets sent to the membership. He will also post links to the Virginia WNS protocol and the FWS decontamination protocol.

The November program from Mike Broome and Lisa Lorenzin will examine exploration in the Burnsville Cove area and promises to be a dynamite presentation.

The Trip Reports portion of the meeting began with Mark Daughtridge’s photos from caves in Washington State. He was able to ascend to 8000 feet but not summit Mt. Shuckson and Mt. Baker because of weather. So he drove further east to the impressive scablands where he visited Polluz Falls and Soap Lake. Mark visited the Lake Lenore Caves that were once used by Native Americans. He went looking for leads in the biggest one he found there, and he decided that one diggable spot held promise. Mark also visited Boulder Cave in Natches, Washington to find popcorn on the ceilings, a gated bat colony, and some trash that he removed.

Matthew Lubin and Ken Walsh shared a report of their survey trip to Lovers Leap Cave.

Dave Duguid described his recent trip to Busted Turtle Cave with Tanya McLaughlin and Robbie Spiegel. Several big leads just didn’t go, but they managed 370 feet of survey. One passage had many helictites and other formations, but one wall was totally cleaned of the formations. Tanya wants to place a sign there about the Virginia Cave Law protecting the cave from vandalism. There are still several leads left to explore, with some especially for small people. One corner needs some work to get past, but it lies in two inches of water.

Dave spent Sunday ridgewalking in gorgeous fall colors but still found it very vegetated. With a little digging, he managed to find a cave in a spring. Explorers will get wet.

Mike Broome talked about his rappels at Bridge Day. It was a cold nasty wet weekend with Pete Hertl and snowflakes.

The previous weekend Mike Broome and Lisa Lorenzin went to the Burnsville Cove area and entered Basswood Cave on Saturday afternoon. They went to survey into the Little Girls Room and started from the base of a cable ladder. Lisa found a wet puddle at the beginning of the trip, so she wasn’t with the guys when they found a tall narrow passage that doesn’t give up its secrets readily. Mike had to go past two-foot long soda straws in the narrow passage. It led to a walking section with a 15-foot high flowstone formation that was perfectly white. They surveyed 240 feet of passage.

Regarding upcoming trips, Ken mentioned that he may help the Virginia cave biologists collect samples in Hancock Cave in November. He may team that with a trip back to Lovers Leap Cave. Warren Pusak is planning a Cribb Cave trip with scouts on January 30 or February 20.

Dave Duguid shared a program about Cave Diving.