Project SIMMER

Simmons-Mingo/Elk River Expedition

October 5-8, 1973

I first became aware of renewed interest in Project SIMMER when I read Steve Stokowski's request for inputs from SIMMER participants on the NSS discussion board in late January. Steve, a participant in the project, was looking for material to aid in developing a presentation he plans to give on the subject at the NSS convention this summer. I was a participant in the expedition but remembered little of it so, after some correspondence with Steve, I agreed to help out by researching the back issues of The Potomac Caver from that time frame. Ed Devine had already agreed to look through the PSC library for SIMMER materials.

The articles I found (provided here as Adobe Acrobat .pdf files) make for fascinating reading, though still far short of a complete story, so I thought it worth sharing to see if it jogs any old memories. In retrospect Project SIMMER might be seen as a classic case of over-organization, and that has likely shaped the thinking of many of those involved. At the time of course, it was not so evident that such a huge undertaking might be a bad idea, though there were some who dared to challenge the idea. The articles are all provided as Adobe Acrobat .pdf files

We start off in May 1973 issue of The Potomac Caver with two articles by Chuck Young and Lanny Lehto intended to answer the questions "What is an Expedition?" and "But Why an Expedition?". In the July 1973 issue we see the other side of the argument with Bob Thrun's article entitled "The Trouble with Expeditions".

As the big event neared, the September 1973 issue carries Bob Lutz's "SIMMER Information" detailing the ground rules for the expedition participants. Those interested in nit-picking the bureaucracy of the expedition can have a field day here. For a glimpse of those who participated in the expedition, check out the SIMMER Mug shots that Devin Kouts has posted (thanks to Ed Devine who found these tucked away in the PSC Library). I have contributed an alphabetical index to the people pictured if you are looking for someone in particular.

The October 1973 issue of The Potomac Caver brings a somewhat brief and light-hearted wrap up titled "The Party's Over!". The February 1974 issue follows up with a 3-page photo essay on the expedition. Strangely enough very little substantive information on the expedition appears in print for more than a year, when Bonnie Creed and Grayson Harding provided the first (and unfortunately last) installment of the Project Simmer history, titled "Can You Remember When ..." in the December 1974 issue.

Just to show that interest in Simmons-Mingo, and even some of the expedition infrastructure, didn't end with the completion of the expedition I have also included some snippets from 1975 issues of The Potomac Caver.

Bob Robins, PSC 255


Index to Project Simmer Mugshots

Alderson, Bob
Angle, David
Arnold, Susan
Banning, Rick
Bauman, Bill
Biggers, Bill
Birch, Mary
Bockhout, Karen
Bradshaw, Evelyn
Carts, Bob
Carts, Marty
Carts, Stan
Carts, Sylvia
Carts, Tony
Carts, Vonnie
Charlton, Jim
Charlton, Roy
Chute, Anne
Chute, Barry
Cole, Ray
Conefrey, Mike
Conner, Patric
Cooper, Pat
Coukouma, Euclid
Creed, Bonnie
Davis, Glen
Dawson, Jim
Day, Ed
Douty, Bill
Ediger, Gill
Ediger, Jill
Fink, Patricia
Fossett, Jeff
Fossett, Marcia
Hale, Gerald
Handley, Bob
Harding, Grayson
Harrison, Gene
Heasty, Rich
Hekhuis, Spider
Hill, John
Jack, Eric
Jack, Larry
Karcher, Dave
Keffner, Patte
Kidwell, Susan
Knight, Helene
Krause, Al
Land, Don
Lees, Lois
Lehto, Alan
Lehto, Anne
Lehto, Lanny
Logan, Carol
Logan, Steve
Low, John
Loyd, Ackie
Luke, Steve
Lutz, Bob
MacGregor, Kirk
May, Earl
McCloud, James
Mikesell, Bert
Mikesell, Ray
Miller, Bill
Miller, Brenda
Miller, Carson
Miller, Karen
Montgomery, Gene
Montgomery, Susanne
Ortiz, Keith
Overholt, John
Overholt, Robin
Parrott, Kathy
Patterson, Bruce
Pierce, Beth
Pierce, Bunny
Pierce, Debbie
Pierce, Tom
Pilsitz, Ed
Province, Del
Reich, John
Rhymer, Dan
Robins, Bob F.
Robins, Bob R.
Robins, Mary Anne
Roche, Bud (also in Sheet 05)
Roche, Bud (no nametag)
Russell, Jacki
Russell, Steve
Sanford, Dick
Stewart, Gary
Stokowski, Steve
Thomas, Greg
Topp, Loring
Vocke, Bob
Von Seggern, Dave
Votaw, Ruth
Watkins, Ray
Williams, Dick
Williams, Roberta
Williams, Tom
Wilson, John