Diana Gietl kindly volunteered to lead tonight’s meeting. She began by allowing everyone to introduce themselves: John Plyler, Jing Niu, Mark Little, Lisa Lorenzin, Mike Broome, Mark Dautridge, Diana Gietl, Hayden and Howard Holgate, Will Summer, Matt Westlake (late arrival), Ken Walsh, and Matt Meyers.

Mark Little (Treasurer) asked anyone who had not yet paid dues to pay them now ($8/half year, $15/year). Discounts for the grotto trip were based on the dues that were paid.

Ken announced that the August program would deal with the survey and cartography efforts associated with Hancock Cave. The final map will first be shown at the NSS Convention in Florida next month, and the local surveyors will be able to get their copies of the map at the August TriTrog meeting.

In thinking about future programs, Diana suggested that we consider a barbecue gathering in the early fall. Ken suggested an auction to raise money for research into White Nose Syndrome, and he shared some items that he thought would be good for the auction. Diana also offered to share her Greenland or France slide shows for a future meeting.

One of the auction items was a copy of the recent VAR/SERA guidebook, and someone asked if the TriTrogs could get a copy for the library. A motion was made and passed (with no opposition) to purchase a copy for the library.

Trip Reports
Mark Little talked about his trip to Perkins Cave (John Matthews of ACC invited him). The ACC meeting was held in an old barn that Tanya McLaughlin helped him find. John Wilson led Mark, Ellen Hofler, and Theresa Matthews on a cave trip. Mark described an elaborate entrance gate, ladders, and about ten miles of cave in Washington County Virginia. John Wilson has been adding ladders for people with short legs; snap-together ladder segments were carried in and through the drops into the first room. After the work in the entrance room, they went into the Humming Room. In one spot, the room actually hums with more than an echo, more like a reverberation of the walls. The group went through the entrance crawl (wide) and to the Junction Room where they crossed an exposed ledge. The ledge was rigged with three bolts and a rope. This led into the Toothpaste Crawl. The mud there is two feet thick, so they’ve added a plastic sheet to slide across. The ACC wants to make the cave available to cavers but still minimize the damage to the passages. The First Discovery Room is where they encountered the first really impressive white formations. The Forest Trail is a borehole passage through formations.

Mark mentioned the resurvey of Perkins Cave that is going on right now, and he was told to bring some TriTrogs back next time for the survey.

The minutes get sketchy on Ken’s trip reports (because I don’t talk and take minutes well simultaneously). I talked about my sport trip to Hancock Cave during the SERA/VAR (lotsa loops, the last dead end, and beer spray), Morrell’s Cave with Amar, Fayekah, and Avinash (climbing up to an out-of-the-way lead above the Waterfall Room), Rodas-Wolters Cave with Dave Duguid and Tanya (discovery, exploration, shingle cleanup, and survey all in one morning), Chip on Her Shoulder Cave (trip included river crossing, a skylight, stinging nettles, hissing bobcats at Five Goats Cave, wasp nests, ticks, and all the reasons not to ridgewalk in the summer), and Mosquito Den (a dead end after the rock was removed).

Upcoming Trips
There was considerable discussion about details for the upcoming Grotto trip. Mike expected 10-15 people camping at Douthat State Park in Virginia. He would begin emails between those persons discussing trips to Breathing Cave on Saturday and Crossroads Cave on Sunday. There is also the possibility of mountain biking or rock climbing (with poison ivy, mosquitoes, and ticks) nearby for Sunday. The camping and food costs would be covered for grotto members with a $25 fee for others.

The upcoming NSS Convention was covered in the meeting program so not discussed.

Mark Little mentioned an upcoming Explorer Scout trip for August 15.

Old Timers Reunion will be held Labor Day weekend.

The Fall Virginia Area Regional event will be held in Covington, VA September 19 weekend.

The NSS Convention next year will be held in Texas along with the International Congress on Speleology.

Susanna and Dave will share more details about the upcoming Hancock Cave cleanup trip in October.

A cave survey opportunity in Santee State Park in South Carolina might be coming up in September or October.

Diana may be going down to TAG in the Fall for cave photography for as long as a five-day trip. She may visit the Huntsville area or Scottsboro and maybe in conjunction with the TAG Fall Cave In.

Mike began the business by sharing details about the web site. He just needs a credit card number to go forward with the web hosting through Tiger Technologies.

Mike found a straightforward way within Blogger to link our trip report blog postings up to the list server. He could also make the blog appear within the TriTrog framework but didn’t see the need to change the appearance. Mike will post a trip report to the blog to test the list serve connection.

Mark shared a list of 2008 members that will be added to the grotto web page.

Mike shared a detailed trip report about his trip to the Butler Cave 50/40 Celebration. He began by describing Lisa’s shrimp cocktail (boiled shrimp, raw onion, pepper, and salsa) at Los Tres Magueyes but eventually arrived at the BCCS fieldhouse around 11:30 that night (after Ken’s car ascended the driveway).

The facilities were most impressive with a little 100-year-old bunkhouse, added roof deck, hot shower, sandstone patio, and amphitheater. Mike, Lisa, Diana, and Ken camped on a hillside beside some heavy snorers. Fortunately Saturday morning treated us to blueberry pancakes. While Ken and Mike cleaned the dishes, Diana and Lisa headed off to scrounge up a trip. Any trip into Butler Cave requires at least one BCCS member to go along.

They managed to hook us all up on a trip for twelve led by Eddie Kehs into the Stubborn Old Farts Access (SOFA) entrance. A culvert leads visitors down wooden slats for an easy entrance to the cave. Mike and Lisa followed Lee back toward helictites near the original entrance, but they were further than they expected. They eventually joined the rest of the group who were escorting Roy Charlton (see The Caves Beyond) through the 90-Ugh crawl and down to Sand Canyon. Along the way the group learned that the original rappel devices were created by a few wraps around former bowling pins as Bill described how he made them.

From Sand Canyon most of the group headed to the Moon Room. Most of the cave isn’t highly decorated, but the Moon Room was well decorated. Mike described the Hanging Dong as exciting; it is a really massive folded flowstone formation that looks like a hornet’s nest 20 feet high. The group came back to the Sand Canyon and traveled rapidly upstream to the Natural Bridge where Mike and some others climbed up on it. The group left around 3 PM.

That afternoon a plaque was unveiled that declared Butler Cave a national natural landmark, and the Butler Cave Conservation Society received accolades from the Governor and the Virginia House of Delegates. At the homestead, the BCCS revealed a stone carved by Ed Kehs, Sr.

On Sunday Mike was planning to go caving on a through trip, and they worked that out around 11 AM. However, plans kept changing, so they went rock climbing instead. Other highlights included two free barbecue meals, a telescope through which they saw Saturn and M-81 and M82 galaxies. Sunday night Mike and Lisa went into a garage observatory with a full clock drive, 17” lens, and a fold back roof. They were able to see a doughnut nebula through it.

Ken shared a trip report about his trip to Hightower Cave, but I was too busy talking to take minutes.

Discussion then turned to upcoming trips, including the VAR/SERA event in Bristol, Tennessee, the Hancock Cave cleanup trip on July 19, and the NSS Convention in Florida (John and Pete might go). We also discussed the grotto trip on August 2. A special email will be sent out to members, and Mike will make the reservation for Douthat State Park. We’ll likely visit Breathing Cave, but the Sunday trip may go to one of Phil Lucas’s caves, Marshalls, or Aqua Cave, depending on interest.

Dave Duguid passed out the agendas and skipped the introductions (we went back to these later when all had arrived). Dave went straight into Business.

Dave shared that the Family Science Night at Wiley Elementary School was a success. The Veeliminator is a force to be reckoned with and attracted so many kids that we ran out of Pop Rocks in five minutes. Steve Simmons made the squeezes easier for some kids and nearly impossible for others. Hopefully the kids had a good time.

As a birthday treat, contributions to Susanna Clark’s annual dues were received by Mark Little.

Mike Broome had no statement to make about the web hosting transition but indicated that it should be pretty easy. Mark agreed to invite Mike to GoDaddy again. Mike will also look into the possibility of integrating the TrogBlog with the mailing lists so that a script will be sent out when an update is made. With the new web host, Mike may start to use alias email addresses for officers.

Dave will be working on a letter to be sent to lapsed members still living in the Triangle area, listing dates for big upcoming trips (Annual trip, conservation weekend, SERA/VAR, etc.).

Mike has made significant updates to the TriTrog web site, most of which are made on the Members Only page. That page now includes access to the membership list, library list, cave maps, and the available grotto gear (will be updated soon). Some of these may be moved out of the Members Only section, and Mark will update the membership list. Regarding the photo gallery, Mike fixed the dead link and is exploring ways to get the photo gallery back online.

Dave mentioned that he’d like to get more members involved with activities like the Annual Trip and caving. Ken Walsh offered a talk to a Raleigh Boy Scout troop to anyone interested. If not, he’ll plan his standard slides for April 21. If anyone has issues that they’d like brought up at the NSS Congress of Grottoes meeting this summer, bring them up with Dave.

Unlike the TrogBlog, Ken described the Shakespeare Caving weekend without subjecting the attendees to rhyming couplets. He talked about his cave restoration efforts at Grand Caverns Park, as well as the trips to see productions of Volpone and Macbeth at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton.

In terms of Upcoming Trips, the March 28 sport trip was cancelled because only three who prefer surveying had signed up. Dave will lead the April 5 survey trip to Rowlands Creek Cave (vertical experience required). For the April 19 weekend, Ken, Mike Davidson, his friend, and some Duke students are planning a novice trip (likely to Breathing Cave).

TriTrogs are planning to descend on the VAR/SERA event (June 3-5 in Bristol, TN-VA). The best parts are the caving equipment vendors, and Dave may tow the Veeliminator up for the event where up to 800 cavers are expected. Ken may head off July 4 week to join the Mammoth Cave CRF expedition surveying the park caves. Susanna agreed to put together a cave conservation effort this year, likely to Hancock Cave. Dave is still working to pick dates for the grotto trip, and the NSS Convention will be held in Florida in August. There will also be an NCRC weeklong training class from May 3-10 in Alabama.

After a short break Matt Westlake presented the group with 11-12 questions about caving safely. He drew some of the questions from the 2006 American Caving Accidents report just published by the NSS. A lot of discussion was going randomly around the table, so I’ll just give you some bulleted highlights (and preserve the anonymity of the commenters):
· Accidents in cases of insufficient light were common
· One “experienced” group carried just two flashlights for a group of five
· To find your way back out of a cave, feed your puppy cyalume sticks
· “Extra batteries aren’t necessary for trips under 100 hours if you use Petzl Myo LED lights” (pretty sure this didn’t come out the way it was intended as a discussion of emergency lamp settings)
· Strobe effects from weak batteries can create dangerous conditions
· No one presented an answer to the question about when to stop when you’re pretty lost but not completely lost in a cave. There was consensus that everything starts to look very familiar the fourth time you’ve passed it.
· An extended discussion found most in agreement that someone should always know when to expect you back from the cave and which cave you’ve gone to
· Matt suggested that a logbook outside the cave would be useful, and Ken thought a car served the same purpose. Others disagreed.
· One officer sometimes asks people about their medical history and first aid skills before trips because it’s worth knowing who can help him.
· Don’t drink cave water. Not as silly a statement as it sounds.
· Carry enough water with you. One current grotto chair recalled running out of water during a survey trip; fortunately Will Summers had ten gallons to loan him some.
· Kneepads are crucial.
· It’s wise to contact people before you leave for the cave area. Cell phones don’t always work near cave entrances.
· Where are the car keys? Everyone should know.
· Most caves were formed by water. Passages do flood. Cold water causes hypothermia. From the ACA reports, a pull-down vertical cave trip in a wet cave led to an accident.
· Army surplus wool pants are better than jeans. Long-sleeve shirts and layers—synthetic instead of cotton. Nylon works okay and helps one officer slide through passages. No clothes will be good enough to wear outside again.
· No Tevas.
· What goes into your first aid kit? Sterile gauze and bandages, tape–medical tape, CPR mask, gloves, handwarmers, old tube of triple antibiotic, ibuprofen, allergy medication, pencil and paper, shears, and alcohol wipes.
· Communication equipment discussion: at pit drops, you may need whistle systems and walkie-talkies.
· Leave a cell phone outside the cave for rescuers. They can determine how long you’ve been missing from the last made call.
· Backup equipment that is carried: extra polypro shirt, 2 extra light sources, piece of webbing (at a minimum 30’), carabiner, emergency harness, waterproof lights in wet caves, heat source such as a candle or carbide, handwarmers, extra gloves, 1-3 garbage bags as wind and mud barriers, space blanket, knife, leatherman mini, and spare glasses
· Duct tape is stylish
· A compass isn’t useful without a map. Flagging tape can help you recognize places after you’ve gotten lost, but wooden dowels are not recommended.
· When you enter a room, turn around and look.where you just came in.
· Carry a pack that doesn’t rely on zippers.

After-the-meeting meeting held at Armadillo Grill

Before the meeting began, our museum contact person taught Dave Duguid and Ken Walsh how to use the new A/V system. It’s easy.

Dave began the meeting by asking everyone to introduce themselves and tell him what our expectations are. Dave Duguid (Chair) has been caving for 4 or 5 years now. Howard and Hayden Holgate disclosed nothing about themselves. Ken Walsh was briskly typing as the TriTrog Secretary, and Zoey Shepherd introduced herself as a person who works with scouts. Diana Gietl cited her expertise as cave photography, and then we moved on to the back row. John Hennert was dragged along by Bob Smith, as were Jordan Diem and Caulfield Patrick (who had caved in an Austrian glacial cave). They hoped that The Descent was not an indicator of how our cave trips went, and this launched a discussion about the comedy The Cave. Bob Smith had done some lava tubing near Portland, Oregon but hasn’t yet been in a limestone cave. Matthew Lubin and Mark Dautridge were both on the trip to New River Cave, and Matt Westlake (Vice Chair) and Melanie McCullough wandered in late.

We then discussed the Wiley Elementary School’s Family Science Night. Several members met before the meeting to plan for the event. This year’s event will be more interactive for the kids and parents with 4-5 stations, each one with pertinent cave information. Topics include conservation, cave formation, erosion, habitat, and formations. Zoey suggested that we could push chairs together to teach the kids to go over and under, but we also plan to have the crab trap and a squeezebox. Howard will bring a projector and last year’s slide show.

Dave announced that the officers plan to buy new headlamps for the grotto loaners and are looking for suggested models. Three-watt LEDs are sure to blind the surrounding cavers, and Howard described headlight etiquette to the new people. Zoey pointed out that Energizer lamps can be purchased at Walmart and Lowe’s for just $15. Jeff Howe has volunteered to donate some helmets to the grotto, but we don’t have further details.

Dave also announced that he plans to buy Cave Minerals of the World for the grotto library.

Grotto members who did not pay their dues should expect a reminder from Mark Little.

Mark, Matt, and Matthew described their trip to New River Cave. After the train finally went by, the trip got to be a lot of fun. They enjoyed the six-mile long cave with lots of interesting sections, including a 100-foot high waterfall. The group climbed 20 feet up the waterfall to reach the tightest squeeze of the day; unfortunately the big room it led to was filled with fog. The group belayed each other down the waterfall and also followed the stream way down where the formations were impressive. Diana pointed out that the last thing you want in a cave is an accident. The trip lasted just under eight hours with about two miles of caving. It’s always challenging to see everything. The group saw a few bats covered in dew and knew it was dusk when the bats were waking up. Mark also added that he could smell the outside as we approached the entrance and found it a good way to navigate.

Howard and Hayden described the trip to Paxton’s Cave after sharing Ken’s photos on the new screen. They described the cave as a huge maze and shared the map. This somehow led into a discussion about finding human remains in caves, and Diana mentioned that she had seen some ancient remains in Russell Cave in TAG.

Some formations will never come back because water flow stops, but others can grow back at a centimeter every hundred years. Howard shared that the group took the opportunity to see a lot of the maze through quite a few loops in the 7.2 miles of cave. To find our destination, we had to choose one side passage among thousands. There was little vandalism in the cave, and everyone was encouraged to treat caves like their grandmothers’ living rooms.

Upcoming Trips
March 14-16 NCRC Weekend orientation. Diana suggested that everybody should be in the stretcher at some point during the weekend.
March 21-23 Grand Caverns/Fountain Cave cleanup—Ken may join this with a trip down to the American Shakespeare Center.
March 29—Venture Crew trip to Breathing Cave
April 19—Sport trip for novices
June 5-8 VAR/SERA event in Bristol, TN
July 4-Mammoth Cave survey with CRF
Aug 11-15 NSS Convention—Dave Duguid

Dave will be pushing more caving trips this year of various types: conservation trip, vertical trip, photo trip, more sport trips. He encouraged members to keep trips on the calendar.

Zoey added that she plans to lead a Girl Scout trip to four different caves, including sleeping overnight in Lost Cave. She needs help at Appalachian Caverns on the Saturday, August 2 trip with the kids. She is also planning a second trip the weekend of October 3-5.

Dave announced that the Annual grotto trip will be chosen from 3-4 weekends that work best for members.

After the break, Ken introduced the group to TriTrog Hoopla. We learned that:
1) Zoo-ie Shepherd doesn’t recognize her own name.
2) Hayden likes ferocious cave turtles.
3) Gibbs ascenders go Clang-Clang-Clang.
4) Croll sounds like crawl.
5) The Eiffel Tower is built from French tinker toys.

[Action items shown with the designee’s name in bold]

Dave Duguid, Matt Westlake, Mike Broome, and Mark Little were all in attendance at the Tandoor Indian Restaurant in RTP, NC.

We began the meeting with discussion about the web issues. Mike described the web site transition as involving two elements: updating the website (all content is in hand) and handling the web hosting. Mark suggested that GoDaddy may offer a discount and offer 4-5 email addresses. Mike described setting up alias addresses (e.g., chair@tritrogs.org) as a way to handle the web pages long term and suggested that the list serve may actually be run through such an address.

After the discussions, the officers authorized Mark to get paid for the domain name. Mike is authorized to make the transition for web hosting and will do it in March. Mike will aim for the end of March so that we’ll be sure to have the system altered before the rtpnet account runs out in May.

Later the officers discussed new ideas for the web site. Dave suggested that the Members Only section should add locally produced cave maps. Mike will look into integrating the mailing list with the blog so that notices of new postings are sent to members. Matt suggested Flickr for the photo gallery, but the upload time of the current photo gallery might be restrictive.

The officers also discussed more participation from past and present members. Those members who don’t show up for the next meetings will get a dues reminder from Mark. In terms of reaching back to older members, the officers have chosen to send invitational letters to those we can still reach. Mark will provide addresses, Dave the form letter, and Ken the personal notes.

In terms of officer meetings, everyone was happy with quarterly meetings after work, accompanied by dinner. Other club members are encouraged to attend. Dave will try to have an agenda beforehand and will poll officers for input to the meetings.

Mike will handle ordering two new (electric) lamps for the grotto supplies and an Ecrin Roc helmet.

The officers talked about the grotto library holdings and their lack of a lot of recent material. Mike expressed that the library storage bin is heavy. Dave asked the NSS about electronic media for the library and will ask again to better store the information. The officers agreed that Dave could purchase the copy of Cave Minerals of the World he was authorized to buy several years ago. Mike assured the officers that the list of the library materials would be going on the web with the updates. There was also a discussion about getting NSS county bulletins for nearby states and a cool book that Mark saw offered by the NSS.

Mark indicated that the outstanding money promised to conservancies as VAR/MAR door prizes but never claimed would remain on the books for one year.
Rosters need to stay more up to date for the active members, and Mark agreed to continue making updates.

Discussion of officially changing the officer descriptions in the Bylaws was tabled until the next officers meeting.

Ideas were passed around for upcoming meeting programs: Knots, the V-squeezebox, Ken’s team trivia twist, lessons in hypothermia, A/V programs from the NSS, and white nose fungus. Ken will handle the February program while Dave and Matt figure out the new A/V equipment. Ken shared the contact information at the Museum with Dave and Matt so that they can learn how to use the new equipment at the museum.

To prepare for the Wiley Elementary School Science Night, Ken will hold a dinner immediately before the next meeting to discuss. The officers approved reimbursing that group up to a set amount if they have any production costs for materials that can be reused at future outreach events.

A brief discussion was held, asking whether the grotto should assist with the production costs of cave maps. However, the cartography production discussion was tabled until a future date.

Some discussion was had about promoting more caving activities this year, especially getting people underground. Perhaps through more conservation trips, a grotto annual trip, quarterly photography trips, or other such activities.

The officers discussed outreach to the rock climbing community. Matt asked if trips had been advertised with the Climbing email group, but Mike responded that we had not tried this yet and should accompany it with an announcement of novice trips. The mailing list includes hundreds of people, so the trips may have to limit numbers. At a minimum, the TriTrogs should likely post a flyer at the local rock climbing gyms (“Helmet too shiny and clean?”).

Mark Dautridge and Matt Westlake had discussed caving one day and then climbing the next for some weekend trips. Mike added that caving weekends have been combined with hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking in the past.

Officers feel the need to push more grotto members to get involved and lead caving trips. They then engaged in a short discussion about how to make this happen. Matt suggested that we set up a system to allow people to sign up for trips instead of responding to the planner with emails, and Ken made a wise crack about putting the signup sheet outside the museum. Officers generally agreed that Evite is not the system to use, but some of its features might be worth emulating.

Dave stated that setting up a trip isn’t that hard and only entails picking a location, date, and overnight accommodations, as well as arranging landowner permission. He suggested that the grotto should have more sport trips going out. Mike has some novice friends that he wants to take caving, so he’ll set up a trip after April. He wants to navigate via the cave map.

The officers discussed how to approach members about leading trips. Making the trip you’re soliciting into a reality includes specificity about the type of trip (vertical, photography, etc.) and getting a tentative date set.

The conversation then turned to different types of cave trips. In terms of conservation/cleanup efforts, the trip to clean up Hancock Cave’s back entrance began the discussion. We might propose half a day cleanup followed by half a day caving on the property. Dave asked if there were any possible cleanups that might help the TriTrogs gain access to a closed cave, and Ken suggested Flat Ridge Cave. There was also interest in visiting a cave multiple times for cleanup trips, but no cave name was suggested.

Dave volunteered to organize a kid-friendly trip for parents and their children. Target ages would be under ten years old. Howard and his coworkers may be interested in getting some teen trips on the calendar (which may still involve some parental supervision).

The officers plan to hold the traditional TriTrog parties again this year (Pool Party, Halloween Party, and the Annual Holiday Party) but did not want to start having food and drink at the museum meetings. The feeling was that the After-the-Meeting Meeting is an important part of the club activity, and we should not take away from its time.

Grotto auctions aren’t necessarily good fundraisers, but they can be entertaining programs. However, there wasn’t much enthusiasm about having one this year unless meeting attendance increases. The officers expressed that they would rather see Charles McEachern at a meeting than his gear (for auction). The officers did not show interest in obtaining his vertical gear for use or profit. Officers agreed that they’d rather focus on outreach than fundraising this year.

The discussion then turned to awarding grotto members for active participation in the grotto. Mike mentioned that he was willing to provide homebrews for trip reports as he has done in the past, and the grotto could reimburse him. Dave and Ken also presented the notion of a point system with awards when the grotto members each reached a benchmark, perhaps something to celebrate 20 years of TriTrogs. Mark played off of this idea and suggested Appreciation Awards that could be given for the overall points winner, who led the most trips, etc. He suggested that an awards ceremony could be held (perhaps in March each year) to honor the previous year’s recipients. Ken compared this to some awards for Best Teacher, Best Photographer, etc. that the grotto has awarded in the distant past. The feeling was that it is healthy to acknowledge participation and encourage some competitive spirit, and possibly offer gift certificates as awards. Mike might ask Matt Jenkins about ways that scores could easily be tracked and posted online for the grotto membership. This awards process would best be handled by a committee separate from the officers, and Dave plans to try to establish an awards committee at a future meeting (March at the latest).

There was a short discussion about a grotto calendar and how that might fit in with a photo salon program, but no action items were raised.

The meeting closed shortly before 9 PM.

Triangle Troglodytes Treasurer’s Report

21 January 2008

(Mark Little, Treasurer)

Item Amount ($)

Beginning Balance (January 31, 2007) 2170.13


Membership Dues 312.00
Checking account interest 1.00

Total Income 313.00


Newsletters 0.00
Programs and trips 0.00
P.O. Box Rental 40.00
RTPNet (Website / Mailing List) 60.00
Donations (WVCC,8-Rivers,SECC) 350.00
Mar/Var door prize (Donation, WVCC) 50.00

Total Expenses 500.00

Net Income -187.00

Ending Balance (January 21, 2008) 1983.13

Less Liabilities (Mar/Var door prizes) 150.00

Net Assets 1833.31

John Plyler presided over the meeting and apologized for his triple email reminding the listserve of the meeting. The meeting began with Introductions from John Plyler, Mark Little, Ken Walsh, Matthew Lubin, Andrew Donadio, Randy Bernstein (Venture Crew 888), Michael Harrington, Aaron Bernstein, Matt Westlake, Dave Duguid, Melanie McCullough, and Jennifer Bonacci. John reminded members to pay dues to Mark before the elections began. Mark gave the Annual Treasurers Report and mentioned that the income came mostly from dues and the grotto had only minor expenses. We donated approximately $400 to cave conservancies, and Mark explained that cave conservancies serve to protect caves from development and keep them open to cavers. Ken has to submit the Annual Report this month to the NSS. He thought that he’d need to submit more information about the outreach and conservation efforts, but the NSS no longer asks for that information. John thanked Mark and Rhonda Little for hosting the holiday party this year. If anyone is interested in developing a grotto patch, Ken can put them in touch with the person offering some good deals. Ken mentioned that the 2005 Speleodigest will publish two maps and a cover photograph from the 2005 Troglodyte Tribune, as well as our logo. Wiley Elementary School has invited the TriTrogs back again for their annual Science Night on March 13. Dave Duguid and Ken were tossing around ideas, and they may have a good place to rig a cable ladder. Steve Simmons indicated that he’d be willing to bring the squeezebox and/or the V-squeezebox if someone helps him. John Plyler suggested that prussik knots could teach the kids, but others thought that might be too much work. Andrew Donadio said that he’d be willing to come out to help, and John Plyler volunteered his big outdoor lights if we needed them. When we moved to Trip Reports, Dave Duguid began by describing the small project of Rowland Springs Cave that he started a year and a half ago. The surveyed cave now exceeds a half mile. On this particular trip the first weekend in January, the cave had a lot of air movement, and the crawl below the bottom entrance was frozen. The stream was two feet deep and very cold. We did mop up survey. Mike climbed across with a belay that could have been a ten-foot drop. Ken sent Lisa into a narrow crack where she couldn’t quite fit. We ventured back out through the water, but Dave managed to keep his feet dry. Sunday morning we went to Hancock Cave’s back entrance and surveyed into the cave. We ended up just fifteen feet from the known surveyed cave inside, but a mud plug blocked us. It was cold and rainy that day. Randy asked where cave maps ends up, and long-time grotto members answered that they go to the NSS, the regional cave surveys, the US Geological Survey, and publications for cavers. We next went into a discussion about what people should wear underground. Thoughts included helmet, three light sources, a pack, water, food, warm clothes, kneepads, and shoes with tread. John then listed the upcoming trips: February 2- Birmingham Grotto’s cleanup of Graves Cave February 2- Horizontal sport trip for newer people in the grotto February 12- Second Tuesday lunch February 23 – Cave photography trip Looking for a volunteer to coordinate a Spring/Summer Hancock Cave cleanup trip (we should invite Birmingham Grotto) March 28-30 –Hillsborough Venture Crew 888 is looking for help leading 15-20 people caving NSS Convention –Aug 11-15 Lake City, Florida 8.5 hours away. Jun 5-8 SERA/VAR in Bristol, Tennessee We took a short break while everyone introduced themselves and signed up for trips. Elections went quickly, and the slate was accepted by acclimation: Chair – Dave Duguid Vice Chair – Matt Westlake Secretary – Ken Walsh Treasurer – Mark Little Editor – Mike Broome John concluded the meeting by asking people to recall things they carry underground that have been very useful on occasion. John described his flagging tape, Mark his biner and webbing, Ken his shoestring around his neck and the nylon webbing bag use to hold a boot together, Melanie her yoga mat to make kneepads for her suit, John his Zippo lighter that works after being underwater, and Matt recalled Bob Alderson’s rock hammer to make steps in the mud.

In the absence of Howard Holgate and John Plyler, Lisa Lorenzin volunteered to chair the meeting.  She began with introductions, and the following persons were in attendance at the meeting: Zoey Shepherd, Mark Little, Diana Gietl, Dave Duguid, Christine ___, Brett ___, Matt Westlake, Mike Broome, Lisa Lorenzin, Pete Hertl, Ken Walsh, Gordon Bolt, Theo Bolt, and Uncle Brian.

Lisa pointed interested cavers to the trip calendar at the web site.

Mark Little announced that the Holiday Party would be held at his home on December 8. He and Howard will coordinate the food for the potluck supper that evening through the list server.

Lisa also mentioned the TriTrogs listserve as a good way to get information about upcoming activities; it has no archives and would be considered low traffic. Mark and Mike then discussed the future of the TriTrog web services. Because of the shutdown of the server for the photo gallery, we need more space than rtpnet will offer. Mark has registered the tritrog.org as a web domain that links directly to the web site, and Mike is investigating the migration of the web site, list serve, and photo gallery to a single new server that should cost about the same amount that the existing web site is offering.

The TriTrogs offered $200 in door prizes for cave charities at the recent VAR/MAR, but only $50 has been claimed so far.

The officers agreed to leave the wear-and-tear fees for borrowing equipment from the grotto at their current levels. The TriTrogs could use more equipment to borrow, so Howard is buying two new lights and a new headlamp. John Plyler withdrew his request that the grotto purchase a rope. The new web site will also advertise the equipment and the grotto library contents.

Howard Holgate is working to fill the slate of nominees for officers for next year.

Ken will share the NSS email about its new Conservation network across the listserve.

Ken mentioned the 15th International Congress of Speleology, to be held in Kerrville, Texas, is allowing grottoes to buy advertising space in the program.

In terms of Trip Reports, Gordon described his efforts during the final survey trip to Hancock Cave. He said that Ken tried to make every blowing lead into new cave. Ken and Gordon drew the extended profile while the another group of cavers managed to fall on their tailbones in a debacle trip. Gordon’s wife didn’t like the Toilet Bowls and left the cave shortly after she entered.

Cutting back a few weeks earlier, Mark Little, Melanie McCullough, and Ken went through the Funnel Tunnel for a survey trip. Ken has crawled it both forward and backward now, and Mark’s ass is getting bigger than it was when he first surveyed through the tunnel. Diana made some observations about the shrinking nylon fibers in cave suits.

Dave Duguid went into Atwells Tunnnel to dive the sump. It dropped 24 feet and pinched out into something small. This effort ended that task in Atwells Tunnel. Dave, Brian Williams, Tanya McLaughlin, and Dale Lofflin checked out some leads on the same property and found a 35 foot-long cave.

Dave also described a trip to Rowlands Spring Cave on Sunday he took with Brian Williams, Robbie Spiegel, and Ken Walsh. We finished off the low leads out of the big room. He still has one more pit to check out and some other leads.

Not many upcoming trips were announced for December, as per usual. There was a Grand Caverns project weekend on December 1, and Dave may not lead another Rowlands Spring Cave trip until 2008. Ken offered to lead a trip the weekend before New Years.

Lisa talked about Wide Mouth Cave and the possibility to explore some virgin cave there for small people.

After a short break, Mike Broome and Lisa Lorenzin shared pictures, videos and amusing anecdotes from their trip to rappel and ascend El Capitan (2650' drop) in Yosemite National Park in June as part of the Extreme Rappels 2007 expedition.

Participants: Howard Holgate, Mike Broome, Mark Little, John Plyler, and Ken Walsh

Jerry Reynolds of the museum is changing our meeting location to a third floor classroom this month only. We’ll need to post someone at the door. Mike will send out the meeting location change along with the notice.

Regarding running the photo gallery again, Mike discovered that we can do it with some new servers but not with RTPNet because they don’t offer enough space (we need 500 Mb). RTPNet has three different levels but never enough space (only up to 100 Mb). Mike found one place that uses Matt Jenkins’ gallery program company for $6/month with a two-year contract. We could have our own domain name with siteground.com. The price is good, and Mark said that we should register our domain name. Registration is on the order of $10/year. We should square all of that away. Our current registration with rtpnet.org goes through May, so we could have a link to the new site until then. The officers figured that the TriTrogs would be okay budgeting $100/year for web services.

Mark and Rhonda Little graciously volunteered to host the Holiday Party this year on December 8 beginning at 6 PM. It will include a potluck dinner, and the food is expected to be a highlight, as it has been in recent years.

Regarding the TriTrog donation to the MAR/VAR, Barry Horner was the only person who claimed his door prize so far. Therefore, to date the TriTrogs only paid out $50 to charity (WVCC) instead of the $200 budgeted.

The officers agreed to keep the same system for borrowing grotto equipment with a wear-and-tear fee. Helmet and lamp are each $3 for the weekend. Howard did order the new Princeton Teks for the grotto but kept them for himself (no grotto reimbursement). Because we only have 3 helmets and 2 working lights, the officers agreed to buy two new lights (Princeton Tek) and a new helmet to raise the available equipment count to 4.

John Plyler posited the possibility of the grotto owning a rope. He agreed to contact VPI, Gordon Birkheimer, and the NSS to find out if this could cause any complications.

The officers concluded that no change in dues would be necessary this January. The dues should remain the same, but the surplus should be spent more freely in the coming year (parties, outreach, etc.).

The officers concluded that the TriTrogs should be recruiting more heavily. We’d like to be a larger grotto but need to figure how to accomplish that. Howard proposed a committee to increase our exposure in the local community and said that we should run more trips, including more beginner trips. We should also add the fact that we have a library and equipment for loan to the web site.

Regarding Officers and elections, the idea of Board members didn’t work as well organizationally as it did in the past with an established Chair. Officers felt that the best plan would be to return to the more traditional roles. The duties of the officers didn’t need to change much, but the Treasurer is certainly the keeper of the membership list. The TriTrogs officially have an Editor as a position, but that job likely needs to change to a sys administrator. Should we make that a formal role? Should we think about web master as an officer’s role? The jobs of a sys administrator doesn’t necessarily have to be an officer’s role, but the officers acknowledged that the traditional newsletter with upcoming trips, announcements, and written trip reports probably won’t return based on the success of electronic media.

Howard would like to see a full slate of potential officers by the November meeting, and John concurred. Volunteers to fill the officer slots will help the grotto do more, more effectively. Some officers volunteered to serve roles next year and will be soliciting individuals to fill the roles in the upcoming year.

1. Mike will note that the meeting room has changed when he sends out the description of the description of the program.
2. Change the web site and mailing list over to a new service. Register a domain name for the TriTrogs.
3. Howard will solicit non-chefs at the next meeting to find out who would like to bring paper products, utensils, sodas, and/or ice to the Holiday Party on December 8.
4. Mike will add the December 8 holiday party at Mark’s house to the grotto Google calendar.
5. Howard and Mike will coordinate ordering two new lamps and a new helmet for the grotto supply.
6. John agreed to contact VPI, Gordon Birkheimer, and the NSS to find out if grotto rope ownership could cause any complications.
7. Howard will start a thread on the list serve before soliciting individuals to volunteer to serve in offices next year.

Attendees – John Plyler (Vice Chair), Kathy Thompson, Matthew van Fossen, Samantha Keating, Pete Hertl, Dave Duguid, Mike Broome (Editor), Howard Holgate (Chair), Hayden Holgate, Ken Walsh (Secretary), and Will Summer

John Plyler called the meeting to order and initiated introductions of those present. He announced that we’d be holding the meeting after the meeting at Armadillo Grill.

Mike Broome announced that Matt Jenkins’ great photo gallery site for the TriTrogs was not going to be available any longer because the server was gone. Mike had them all on CD and agreed to look into options for getting the photos on another site linked to the TriTrog web site.

Mike had also received an email from Duke’s TIP program looking for caves to lead teenagers to in the NC mountains; he pointed them to the Flittermice Grotto for more information about the appropriate cave to visit in that area.

We scheduled a vertical practice for 10/25/2007 at 7 PM at John’s house in Raleigh (Will and Ken joined John for the practice).

Pete Hertl shared his trip report about his VAR/MAR trip. After prerigging the day before, he ran a five-hour trip for seven people. They didn’t have to rush through the cave and went to the back where he saw more bats than he’s seen in the last few years combined. He also described large salamanders at the bottom of the drop and a climb on a static rope that almost imitated a dynamic’s spring.

Ken talked about his VAR/MAR trip that no one wanted to join him on (survey in Middle of Nowhere Cave), so he signed up instead for the through trip traveling to Alpena Cave. Barry Horner had surveyed, modified, and explored the new sections of the cave, so he led an excellent tour for six along and in the stream that is Alpena Cave. Ken mentioned that the delay in putting out signup sheets until 10 PM allowed people to arrange their own trips before the signups went out, but Pete thought that the mad rush at 10 PM was a bit extreme.

Mike and Pete also described their rappel at New River Gorge that went smoothly with no incidents.

The featured video was The History of Vertical Caving from the NSS Library.