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
Robins, Bob F.
Robins, Bob R.
Robins, Mary Anne
Roche, Bud (also in Sheet 05)
Roche, Bud (no nametag)
Von Seggern, Dave