Five Springs Cave Gate
5 September 2001
The gate at Five Springs Cave has been installed. The slaves were Larry Baer,
Devin Kouts, Rick Lambert, Phil Lucas, and Rick Royer. Phil had a 30-inch
culvert for an emergency such as ours. After loading it he took me around to
several other gates in the area and gave me some ideas on cutting down the flow
of cold winter air into the cave. The freezing air can crack the walls of the
entrance passageway. We already have one wall just inside the entrance, which
needs to be mortared up before it collapses on someone. Also, we dug through
scree formed by the freezing and thawing of the bedrock. I picked it up on
Tuesday the 27th and hauled it to a welding shop north of McDowell. After a
lot of explaining and drawing we had the design down pat. The owner of the
shop recommended several changes, which made the design harder to cut in to.
On Wednesday I traveled to Staunton to pick up a four-inch pipe nipple and
nipple cap to cover the hole in the gate to cut the airflow. I also picked up
two locks, a set of bolt cutters (to cut the locks if someone tampers with them
while we are in the cave), extra keys, and treated wood for the ladder. The
welding shop had the gate ready when I arrived with the nipple and we made a
few final changes and loaded it on my truck. At home I made and installed an
eight-foot ladder in the culvert to aid in getting in and out. I picked up
3200 pounds of concrete mix and packed one truck and one van of mine with
everything I could think we might need. Rick arrived sometime Wednesday night
and we made our final plans over breakfast at High's Restaurant. We hauled the
gear to Clover Creek where Phil, Larry and Devin met us.
We started by collapsing the root ball above the entrance drop. We then used Phil's block and tackle to pull the gated culvert up the hill to the cave entrance. We had to remove the nose of several rocks to get the culvert to set where we wanted it. We then deviated from my plan and angled the culvert to make egress and ingress easier. We then placed plywood and
rocks around the bottom of the culvert and poured concrete on top of them. The
concrete was to hold the rocks in place once the plywood rotted away. As we
went up we laid rocks in the concrete to make it go farther. Near the end of
the concrete mix we had a terrible thunder storm which soaked everyone. The
rain was so heavy Rick Royer reported they did not have to wet the mix with
stream water. Once we ran out of mix we covered the pour with plastic, locked
the gate and cleaned up.
The culvert is anchored, but still needs work on plugging the remaining air holes and anchoring the locking mechanisms. The survey teams this month will be made up of the people who worked on the gate and donated to pay for it. The remaining bodies will be on the surface finishing the work, cleaning up the Salamander Passageway, enlarging the tight spot, and chinking the fractured wall. So in addition to the six surveyors we need additional bodies to finish the hard work. We have raised $430.00, but have spent almost $600.00 and will probably spend another $100.00 or so. The smallest donation has been $50.00 and the largest $100.00. So, come and put in your time on the surface and reach into your wallets and send me a check, so we can get you underground.
Now for the cave, as we surveyed in we bypassed 12 "goes" and of course ended the survey in going, walking passageway. The working map is up to date and we are ready for the 4th weekend. Due to VAR being held at the RASS property in Green Valley we will also survey and work on the 5th weekend.
Rick Lambert NSS 12496 9-4-01