Taylor Run Cave Survey / Project Home

Project History

Caves: Across The Gulch , Fuzzy Naval , Gnarly Tree , Green Snake , Horner's Headwall , Reisenschein , Spring Cave , Taylor Run #1 , Taylor Run #2 , Twisted Fissure

Latest News: Taylor Run Project coming to an end!!

The project has enjoyed seven years of fantastic success, racking up more than five miles of virgin passage surveyed over five large caves and several minor ones. Recognizing the need to finish up and publish the data at some point it has been decided that December 2001 will be the last scheduled Taylor Run Project work weekend. Key contributors to the project have recognized the fact that there are simply too many leads left to work in the area and demands from other caves have gone unanswered for too long. Seven years is long enough.

The To Do list below has been split into two parts, the near term, to be completed by the end of the year, and the long term, to be taken up by some enterprising group of cavers should they choose to do so. If anyone moves into the area in future years a simple request from the orginal Taylor Run Project crew would ask that you contact us and fill us in on the news of your efforts (you might even be able to recruit some help). Email contact for this project will always be: devinkouts@yahoo.com

Other News: Tourist Trips to Taylor Run during OTR this year were a huge success! Groups of cavers visited Twisted Fissure, Taylor Run#2/Smashed Finger, Across The Gulch, Reisenschein and Gnarly Tree. Without exception I think everyone found something memorable in their cave experience. Among the biggest smiles were those who did a reverse Tyalor Run #2/Smashed Finger trip. Thanks go out to Ralph Hartley for his usual application of sick humor to the sport of caving. In original style Ralph led the first ever through trip from Smashed Finger to Taylor Run #2, carrying ascenders all the way. His folks definitely took the prize for gleaming grins through muddy faces.

The Taylor Run cave survey project is an ongoing effort, since 1994, to explore and map the caves of the Taylor Run region in Randolph County, West Virignia. The project meets the first weekend of each month, and with the permission of the local landowner, works on caves located on the flanks of Middle Mountain. The accomodations are rustic camping on immediately adjacent National Forest property, next to Gandy Creek. Caving activities include those listed here.

List of things to do:

Near term -

  • Survey leads in Taylor Run #2
  • Sinkhole cleanup near Taylor Run #2
  • Dig in Middle Finger/Trailer Pit, possible connection to Twisted Fissure
  • Help Mud Ducks survey Gnarly Tree
Long Term -
  • Dig lead in Reisenschein
  • Deep Fist survey in Twisted Fissure
  • Dig lead in Beneath Breakdown
  • The Red Ledge dig
  • Other blowing dig leads
  • Surface Survey and Ridgewalk


Penelope Pooler steps off the ledge
at the top of the drop in Reisenschein.
Copyright - Ed Devine

Weather threatened the June 2001 weekend but all in all it turned out very nicely. Cold and wet in the evenings, the days were wonderful, and fantastic progress was made on the Beneath Breakdown dig. Others worked on Trailer Pit while still another crew got started with the Gnarly Tree survey.

It's good to be back. The May 2001 weekend was incredible, with huge turnout and lots of progress, in Reisenschein, Beneath Breakdown, Trailer Pit, Middle Finger and other unnamed digs. An unexpected development was the new CJ1 entrance to Twisted Fissure, dug by the Mud Ducks during the winter months.


Paul Gillis (right) and Peter Penczer
(background) follow Devin Kouts (out of
view on left) through the A survey in
Twisted Fissure, 1994.
Copyright - Devin Kouts

Peter Penczer rappels Bobcat Dome in Taylor Run #2
as Sheila Underwood looks on. Copyright - Paul Gillis
Click for high res image (600k).

A small hardy band of cavers emerged from the summer heat to whack three succulent leads off the project lead list. Read all about it in the August 2001 report.

The July 2001 focused on three caves, Beneath Breakdown (so close to breaking through to big cave), Twisted Fissure (taking tourists on the through trip) and the neglected Taylor Run #1.


Paul Gillis checks out the waterfall
in Reisenschein Cave.
Copyright - Paul Gillis

The November 2000 weekend had smaller attendance but still racked up some great virgin passage in Taylor Run #2.

The October 2000 weekend racked up more than 1100 feet of survey in virgin passage in three caves, Reisenschein, Taylor Run #2 and Fuzzy Naval. The next Taylor Run Project weekend will be November 4th and 5th. After that only one scheduled weekend remains for this project season, December 2nd/3rd, but there is a possibility for project work on January 6th/7th, 2001. February through April project weekends are not normally scheduled as the weather on the Alleghany Front typically makes conditions uncomfortable in the extreme. Project weekends will resume in May, on the first full weekend of the month; May 5th/6th 2001, to be precise. The January weekend will be subject to review as the date draws closer.


Miles Drake and Dave Crenshaw
take a break at Bat Junction,
station R61, in Twisted Fissure, 1994.
Copyright - Devin Kouts
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