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 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 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 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.

Attendees – Mike Broome, Hayden Holgate, Howard Holgate, John Plyler, Ken Walsh, Matt Jenkins, Diana Gietl, Dave Duguid, Vincent Santagata, Patrick Kraft, Mark Little, Matt Meyer After introductions, Howard jumped right into the Trip Reports part of the meeting. John Plyler described the contests at Old Timers Reunion. John won or placed in four contests (cable ladder, obstacle course, and 2 vertical competitions). Pete Hertl came in second on the 30-m climb. Anne Kehs placed in two of the beer chugging contests. Hayden and Howard Holgate described their trip to Hancock Cave and told everyone how dry the cave was. The entrance slope was just sticky at the bottom with no pools. The new people (Heather and Scott) caved just fine. Patrick Kraft described his survey trip to Perkins Cave. Robbie, Jason, and Patrick went surveying, but by the time they reached the lead two miles back, Patrick needed a nap while they surveyed. Perkins is located above the North Fork of the Clinch River. Diana Gietl described Big Run Cave as a nice little cave for an OTR Friday survey trip. She shared accounts of lots of slave failure and mentioned that the batteries were all likely bad. Those flashes have been sent to California for further testing. On Saturday Diana and Ken Walsh went with Bill Storage and Doug Medville to the Elk River area. Fortune Radish Cave was once again blocked with sediment. We went to Falling Springs Cave. Bill described the ceilings as 20 feet high when they surveyed the cave, but we were crawling because logging followed by a flood filled the cave. Near the back Bill said “Picture this: You’re in this large room and then there’s a pit here.” Now we stood near the ceiling with not so much as a depression. Diana described a beautiful entrance sinkhole with a waterfall that looked as though it dropped over tufa. However, the back entrance required us to dig our way out. Although Bill and Diana could’ve escaped in minutes, my size would’ve required hours for an extrication. Diana also spoke about her trip to Nelson Cave on OTR Sunday. They photographed this fracture cave with great success that day. John Plyler also talked about the vertical practice at Whitesides with 30 other people. Five ropes were rigged and looked as though they were hooked to the sky. Thick clouds made it easy climbing for those with acrophobia. Mike Broome had trouble with his access line and started to invert but managed to forget about hanging 650 feet in the air. The second day afforded plenty of sun and spectacular views. Dave Duguid described his trip to Grand Caverns with his two older boys. He described the damage to the cave lighting systems by a recent lightning strike. It blew out most of the lights inside and melted the transformers. He arrived late Saturday while the others were ridgewalking so was unable to cave that day. Sunday Scott Davis took them into Fountain and Madison Caves. Heading back home, they stopped at Crozet’s Tunnel. In terms of business, Mark Little described the TriTrog donation of door prizes for the VAR/MAR (four $50 donations to a conservancy/cave foundation of the user’s choice). Mark suggested that we might be able to find four different prizes, but no one presented any suggestions that gained strong support.
Ken requested that TriTrogs sign up for volunteer activities at the VAR/MAR.
Dave Duguid is renovating his house and was looking for volunteers to take over housing the library. Mike Broome volunteered. In terms of Upcoming Trips, John Plyler posted announcements for TAG Fall Cave In, the VAR/MAR (Howard, Hayden, John, Mark, and Ken all indicated their plans to attend), Bridge Day, Hancock Cave survey this weekend, and Rowland Springs Cave with Dave Duguid on October 27. After a short break, Ken Walsh shared a short presentation and quiz about identifying Eastern Cave Bats. Vincent, Howard, Mike, Mark, Matt, Matt, and Diana were all rewarded with cookies and a bat-danna.

With Howard Holgate presiding, the meeting began with a listing of upcoming trips:

  1. Anyone interested might still be able to make the last three days of the NSS Convention in Indiana if they hurry.
  2. Ken is planning a novice trip to Buckeye Creek Cave July 28.
  3. Keith and Lea Turner have invited the TriTrogs to join them for Wormfest with the Kentucky cavers, staying at the WVACS field station near Renick. It will be held August 17-19.
  4. OTR is coming up Labor Day weekend (Aug 30-Sept 3). Details at
  5. The Fall TAG Cave-In will be held Oct 4-7.
  6. October 12-14 marks the dates for the Fall Joint VAR/MAR cosponsored by the Philly Grotto and the Triangle Troglodytes. Several hundred cavers are expected to attend, and the TriTrogs are responsible for making sure that anyone wanting to cave Saturday can find a trip. Lisa Lorenzin is coordinating trip leaders and the caves, so contact her now to ensure you can be paired with the cave trip you want to lead.

New faces at the meeting included Lee Marchman whose last wild cave trip was about 25 years ago and Ray Solo, a cave diver from Durham. Old faces at the meeting included Howard Holgate, Dave Duguid, Vincent Santagata, Matt Jenkins, Hayden Holgate, Mike Broome, Hilarie Nickerson, Ken Walsh, John Plyler, Linda Waters-Lindquist, Diana Gietl, Mark Little, Melanie McCullough, and Brian Bolt. Trip Reports began with Ken’s description of caving with the girl scouts during their summer caving camp. He met them during their wild tour of Appalachian Caverns, taught them a little bit about sketching cave maps in Renfro Cave, and showed them how to clean graffiti in Worley’s Cave. Dave Duguid and Diana Gietl described their photography and exploration of Rowland Springs Cave. Diana shared her preliminary photographs and described that she’d like to take a fall trip there to capture the natural light from the entrance. Dave Duguid described the survey down a pit into a stream passage. When the stream ended, the team headed up a slope into a fair-sized trunk passage where they stopped the survey and exploration. Good thing we surveyed down the pit on the way in. Mike Broome discussed his non-caving trip to El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. He, Lisa Lorenzin, and Peter Hertl rappelled and climbed the half-mile cliff in June. Mike talked about standing on the edge and the speed bumps along the rope splices. Pete Hertl climbed the rope in 67 minutes 3 seconds. Mike offered these teasers and promised a presentation about the trip in September. Linda Waters-Lindquist offered to re-solder Ken’s carbide lamp. Ken added an upcoming trip before the break. On August 11, he’ll lead a survey trip to Hancock Cave. Dave Duguid will lead a survey trip to the nearby Rowland Springs Cave on August 12. After the break Dave Duguid described cave diving, the equipment involved, and the safety measures he takes. He presented the information in a way that made us actually believe that sane people may choose to cave dive.

Participants: Mike Broome, Lisa Lorenzin, Ken Walsh, Howard Holgate, and John Plyler

The agenda was set to discuss programs, VAR, and money allocated but not spent last year.

Regarding the May meeting, John discussed the plans for the vertical training at his house. He will send out an email the Friday before telling people when and where to come and what to bring. He will put a notice with directions to his place on the museum after 5 PM. He plans to include Knots stations (double figure 8, bowline, and prussiks), climbing along the rope on a pulley, switchovers to stationary rope with rappel, and call signals for belay. He plans to make it available from 5 PM until 12 midnight. People will be encouraged to bring what they want to cook, and the officers agreed that the grotto can fund the cookout.

Regarding the Fall VAR/MAR event, Lisa is on the mailing list and following the Port-a-Potty discussions. The responsibility of the TriTrogs is the guided trips. Lisa is forming a list of cave trips, but the grotto members didn’t volunteer to help out. Lisa will continue to ask people to volunteer. Howard and Hayden will lead a trip to Mystic Cave and get in touch with the landowner in advance. If Philly Grotto wants to make trip signups available to preregistrants, Lisa will provide the lists to them. Ken told Lisa to contact Jim McConkey or Carol Tiderman to get the list of contacts at the I/Os when she asked. John Plyler volunteered to lead a vertical trip to Cass Cave but only if he can find a 200-foot rope. Ken agreed to lead a short survey trip to Middle of Nowhere Cave. Lisa will make sure that the signup list will likely go up with the setup. Regarding the cave guidebook, Lisa is getting Philly Grotto the descriptions but not the directions to the caves.

Ken brought up the topic of the things that the TriTrogs allocated funds for last year but never spent. The officers unanimously agreed to spend the following after a brief discussion: $150 for the Eight Rivers Safe Development Inc. (, $100 for the Southeastern Cave Conservancy, $100 for the West Virginia Cave Conservancy, affiliate membership up to $50 for the NCSU Outing Club, two new Apex LED headlamps (4 AAs and not as water resistant as Duos) for up to $140, and around $70 for the Cave Minerals of the World book Dave Duguid requested for the library.

Mike was concerned that the library usage wasn’t substantial, and he agreed to get the library list up on the web site. Dave Duguid should get the book, Howard will handle the lamps, and Mark Little can handle the charities and NCSU (check with Matt Jenkins for the NCSU contact person). Mark may donate some headlamps, but we still could use at least one new bright light. Mike reported that the helmets are still serviceable.

We also discussed the program for the June meeting. We have the Grand Caverns video as a backup and discussed the possibilities that were discussed in last year’s officer meetings. Hopefully Howard can talk Dave Duguid into giving a cave diving presentation in June.

Introductions of the fifteen attendees went quickly and smoothly once we determined that Howard was unlikely to show up.

Regarding the old business of redefining the officer’s role, the officers reported that it was a work in progress begun on email thread with a knot tied in the end. Howard had proposed a conference call defining officer’s roles and conducting other business. He apparently skipped the meeting for a cold.

It was suggested that the annual TriTrog trip should be held in late July or early August.

Next month the meeting will be held at John Plyler’s house instead of at the museum. Folks will learn to tie some knots (including a double figure 8), climb rope, switch over, belay, and cook out on a grill. Look for an announcement from him with times and directions.

Diana Gietl and Dave Duguid went caving with Tanya McLaughlin to Rowland Springs Cave. Dave wanted to confirm the upper connection, and they found a big room in the cave. They surveyed a lot of side passages. After the mapping, Diana would like to go back for a photo trip in this dolomite cave. There was a 48’ drop, and the rope was just long enough. Tanya had no vertical gear with her, so Dave and Tanya left Diana at the bottom while they left the cave and went around the other way. They let Diana rig the cable ladder and drop it down to them from the middle level. Cave access is very convenient, and there are probably at least two more survey trips to go.

Upcoming Trips
Spring VAR (April 27-29)
Memorial Day trip likely organized by Ken
[SERA Summer Cave Carnival (May 31-June 3)]
[Weeklong NCRC training in Salem, VA (June 16-23)]
July 14-15-Girl Scout camp—Blountville, TN area. Saturday on a wild trip into Renfrew Cave. Graffiti cleanup. Slides of bats Saturday night. Spend the night in Lost Sea Cave. Ten girls signed up.
Indiana Convention—Diana described the convention experience in detail and how it’s about learning. John mentioned the vertical climbing contest.

As the program, John Plyler shared his slides from the high and low points in Mexico. He described the accommodations and costs in a handout and shared his driving routes. Between his three-LED light and the GPS, John found his way solo up to the glacier at 2 AM to get an early start before the faster hikers. Other groups said that it was too icy, too soft, or too cloudy as reasons why they skipped climbing to the peak. John found that the clouds on the glacier helped avoid sunburn. He also shared photos of the concrete gardens that were obviously built by someone on drugs, all the way down to the concrete bamboo. At Golondrinas Pit, the locals brought you morning coffee for a fee. It only cost five dollars to camp and drop Golondrinas. One of the amazing sights were the chimney swallows and parrots.

Howard Holgate presided over the meeting. Attendees included Mike Broome, Lisa Lorenzin, Matt Westlake, Matt Jenkins, Gordon Bolt, Melanie McCullough, Mark Little, Hillary Nickerson, Chris Richter, Dave Duguid, Dawson Duguid, Ken Walsh, John Plyler, and Hayden Holgate. To begin, Howard announced that tonight’s program would be Caves of the World from the Planet Earth series, to be aired in April in the USA. Mark passed around a contact information sheet so that people could update outdated information.

Matt Jenkins described the cave trip that didn’t go. First Douthat Campground was flooded, then the cabins weren’t available, then they found a campground buried in three inches of snow. Linda Waters has threatened to reschedule her trip with the NCSU Outing Club, so everyone should beware of that weekend.

Matt J. and Gordon then described their trip to Hancock Cave. The group entered the cave, headed to the Octopus Room, and turned left to head to the Funnel Tunnel. There was little to no air space in the Funnel Tunnel, and Bob Alderson began digging out the stream while the teams relaid their plans. Ken had left the survey notes for that side of the cave back at Tanya’s house, so the leads were less obvious.

Fortunately Matt, Gordon, and Bob found that ladder acrobatics weren’t necessary to cross Not-in-the-Face Pit. They covered just sixty feet of survey in seven hours of a passage that Gordon thought they were smart to mark as just a lead eight years ago. The drop was miserable and not quite vertical. It led to a very muddy passage with dripping water.

The topic then turned to crossing You-Don’t-Know-Jack Pit in Hancock Cave, and Matt and Gordon described the need to pound rebar stakes into the mud for the crossing. Matt and Mark reminisced about crossing the pit with an ice axe and a “for-comfort-only” belay.

Dave Duguid and Ken Walsh then described their descent down Hickory Dickory Pit in Hancock Cave as an annoying set of lips, and they descended about ten feet too far. Dave then stated that the Whine Cellar is an aptly named pit. He traveled up and down it until convinced himself that the crack at the bottom was the way to go. He slipped out of his vertical gear and descended the last ten feet in a ten-inch wide hole. He found that it connected to Linda Waters’ fist lead.

Dave Duguid also talked about the survey trip to Rowland’s Spring Cave. He, Tanya McLaughlin, and Ken Walsh surveyed the grand large entrance at the top of the cave. He mentioned that there were still a couple of leads left to survey, and it should take at least one or two more survey trips. When Lisa asked, he mentioned that the tight lead at the back is still there to be surveyed, but the low area at the top is surveyed.

Howard mentioned the article in Sunday’s News and Observer and the Science Night presentation at Wiley Elementary School.

We then moved to introductions. The new folks have caving experience, Chris Richter from his middle school days and Hillary Nickerson recently in a lava tube at Mount Lassen. Dawson Duguid described what he saw in the caves as well.

Next month John Plyler will present slides from Mexico. After the break, we watched a well done film that exposes us to many cave creatures around the world that most of us have never seen.

(minutes recorded by Mike Broome and transcribed by Ken Walsh)

Sixteen TriTrogs attended the February meeting, welcoming new member Erin Amadon from Hanging Rock. She joins us from NNJG.

Mike Broome mentioned the updated web site. Many are impressed, but others lamented losing the bouncing bats. Mike will look into the possibility of a cookie that will allow users to turn on/off the bats.

In her final act as Treasurer, Lisa Lorenzin shared the Annual Treasurers Report. It took almost four hours to compile, partially spent finding the bank statements. The TriTrogs Treasury holds a balance of $2169.97 currently.

Lisa also shared details about the Fall VAR/MAR that the TriTrogs are co-sponsoring with Philly Grotto. The celebration of Philly Grotto’s 60th anniversary will be held at the TRA site, and the TriTrogs are responsible for finding trip leaders. Philly Grotto requested that the TriTrogs man a security gate, but no one at the meeting felt that the TriTrogs could pull this off (and didn’t know if a security gate was necessary). Lisa still needs to discuss whether the TriTrogs might receive a cut of the proceeds, but we would likely just earmark it for a charity.

Howard discussed the Wiley Elementary School’s Science Night and the fact that he, Diana, and Ken will be manning a cave station there. He discussed the planned demonstration for March 15.

Some survey notes from Worley’s Cave in Rich Valley, Virginia were returned to Ken last month, and this should allow continued exploration and mapping of this cave. Anyone interested in leading the novice cartography effort should contact Ken.

There was a prolonged discussion about the traditional TriTrog format of meetings and the executive board’s role. We discussed the NSS requirements, low meeting turnout, the possibility of alternate social occasions, how to inform people about alternate meeting places, why it’s good to have officers handle business, and our relationship with the museum. The consensus of members present at the meeting was that monthly meetings should be continued with the existing format and officers should start to define the executive committee roles differently in the electronic age. This will be handled by an interested group at a future date.

After a short break to pay dues, we discussed upcoming trips:

  • Aqua Cave with Matt Jenkins on Mar. 17
  • Rowland Springs Cave and Hancock Cave on Mar. 10 with Dave Duguid
  • Spring VAR in Durbin, WV on April 27-29
  • Girl Scout trip on July 15
  • Fall VAR/MAR on Oct. 12-14
  • Grand Caverns survey on Mar. 3
  • Easter Restoration weekend at Grand Caverns April 7-8

Cave trip reports were then shared:

  • Howard Holgate described his trip to Mystic, New Trout and Hamilton Caves with Ken, Hayden, Rick, Ericka, and Steve.
  • Ken put off his discussion of Australian caves to the program.
  • Pete Hertl and Mike Broome discussed trips to Organ and Grapevine Caves with Bob Handley.

Officer elections were held with the following slate winning by acclamation: Mark Little (Treasurer), John Plyler, Mike Broome (Editor), Howard Holgate, and Ken Walsh (Secretary).

Ken shared a program called Summer Caving in January, with cave slides from his trip to southeastern Australia and Tasmania.