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 Mark passed around a contact information sheet so that people could update outdated information.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.