Germany Valley Karst Survey February 2003
by Devin Kouts
A larger than usual turn out at Germany Valley this month with several new people
left us scrambling to cover all the projects and make sure the new folks would have some fun.
It was a challenge because most of the in cave work was beyond the reach of your average size caver.
The weather was very cold, so most people wanted to get underground. Many teams did just that but a few worked on or
near the surface on digs or ridge walking.
Rick Lambert, Rocky Parsons, Erik and
Tab Tesnau and others from the Highland County crew went back to Apex cave where they spent the day digging. The
cave gets deeper with each digging weekend and we hope it all pays off
soon. They saw some minor payback this weekend when they broke into the top of a small canyon, a few feet wide by ten feet deep.
All the air disappears through gravel in the floor, so that's where they'll go next.
Jared, Tom Barton and Sharid at a promising lead in Germany Valley. Copr. - D. S. Kouts, 2003
Another crew led by Tom Barton went to visit an airy hole that was
recently brought to our attention by a local caver. Their work managed
to clear the hole of trash and some rock protrusions. They worked on
the crack at the bottom of the cave for most of the afternoon and made
some progress, but it will require a return trip before this cave gets
The Memorial Day survey crew, Ralph Hartley, Miles Drake, Rick Royer and Pete Penczer
had another bang up weekend. They knocked
off more than 2450 feet to bring the cave to just over 1.6 miles in
length. They set 59 stations that day, and their average survey shot
was 41.5 feet! A second crew, Bob Zimmerman, Bob Robins, and Chris Newton,
doing some mop-up survey were disappointed
when their lead dried up in just one station, however.
Barry Horner, George Dasher, Bob Alderson and I headed over to look at
something a landowner had shown us last month. It's known to cavers
as Carcass Cavity, but it hasn't been entered in a long while. We were forced to dig through the brambles, snow, mud and rock
to gain access to the top of the pit. After all that it turned out to
be nothing more than a 25 foot dead bottom. Yet at the same time George
and Bob did a little surface walking in the area and came up with a few
nice potentials to check out in the future.
Barry Horner works to clear the entrance of Carcass Cavity. Copr. - D. S. Kouts, 2003
Mike Frisina, Kevin Flanagan and one other went back to Coon to
continue the efforts they started last December. They pushed the tight
blowing crack as far as they could and stopped at a narrow point. They
could see 30 feet ahead, but all of it just as narrow as where they had
stopped. The air moves, but the logistics of getting to the site make
it a pretty poor quality lead, indeed.
And finally Gordon Brace led a crew of Rick Orbin, Charles Kahn and Ben
Madore to continue work on a large dig in the middle of a wind swept
pasture. It's a promising thing with steam coming up from the dig face,
but still no cave yet.
Here's what Gordon had to say ...
"The ... dig is now around 12 feet deep. Still blows
amounts of air. I can't see it getting much deeper without hitting a
wall. As it is we are going to have to put in shoring next month just
it safe from wall collapse. The tripod that Tom Barton brought worked
once we removed the leg extensions. When they were attached it could
the weight of one of the heavier loads, and collapsed. One of the legs
Rick Orbin in the head. If Rick was not so thick skulled it could have
disaster. In the same collapse my foot got bashed by the pulley. I
now sport a
beautiful 3 X 4 inch bruise on my right foot.
A crew removes the bottom of a Germany Valley sinkhole, February 2003. Copr. - C. Kahn, 2003
I spoke to [the landowner] about getting a backhoe in to start the third
promising dig on his property. He does not think it will be much of a
getting his neighbor to drive it over. It will cost us about 100 - 125
for the rental. The amount of time it will save is well worth the
We will pass the hat much like when Pete was renting the air compressor
the initial MDC rock removal efforts."
On Sunday a group got together to check out some leads found by local caver Steve Rhodes. Here's what Gordon had to say ...
"On Sunday morning Tom B., Mike F., Steve and myself went to check out
finds of Steve's in the extreme southern end of the valley. Yep, the
man has a
real cave with REAL potential. The top of the ravine is located in the
Nealmont Formation. A few snow melting sinkholes were observed, but as
Nealmont sinkholes I would not spend much time on them. Nealmont grows
sinkhole, but a lousy cave. Just down from the rim of the steep sided
encountered the McGraw/McGlone formation. It was in the McGlone unit
found his new cave. Located about thirty feet above the contact with
Valley Formation. Much potential here. The ravine bottoms out in the
Lincolnshire Formation. The whole ravine is very reminiscent of
the ... Ruddle Cave
ravine, but much steeper sided. What is really neat is to have that
big of a
chunk of the strat column visible all at once. Impressive."
Standing by 'til next month.