Alpine Way Survey
Trip: On 3/13/2002, Rod Horrocks led John Scheltens to the Phototropic Passage in the Historic Section where they surveyed Alvin McDonald's 1893 discovery, Alpine Way.
Trip Report: Went to the Phototrophic Passage to look for leads. We found that the current AT18A-F survey of this passage was actually a resurvey of the LK survey. We located all of the LK points but could not find any of the AT18 points. We started our survey by connecting the LK1 station to F8, which was only 12 feet away and in line of sight. We decided to continue with the LK designation. We established our first station (LK10) at the top of an unclimbable fissure that opened into a room below. We found a parallel fissure that was climbable at LK11. At the bottom of this 20-foot climbdown, we found stair steps cut into a sloping calcified floor crust. The fissure had been heavily traveled. I realized this must be the "Alpine Way" named by Alvin McDonald in 1893 and the route he used to get from the Pearly Gates Route up to the Fairgrounds. I was surprised this hadn't been surveyed before. We then dropped another vertical shot down the unclimbable fissure. This shot was 26 feet and landed in the Council Chamber. We then surveyed a nearby passage that angled down into a low area with thick floor crusts. This area was heavily vandalized in 1897 or soon thereafter, based on the dated newspaper fragments we found there. Although this area ended, there are several nearby passages to survey. We'll continue the LK survey into those passages on a future trip.
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Did You Know?
Fire is an important factor in protecting the prairie. Historically, fires burned across the prairie every 4 to 7 years. Fires burn the small trees that would otherwise march across the prairie and turn the grasslands to forest.