• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

Cave Exploration - Paha Sapa Grotto

John Scheltens

John Scheltens

NPS Photo

Most Black Hills cavers are members with the Paha Sapa Grotto of the National Speleological Society which is associated with the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City.

Reunion Under the Black Hills

In 1977, former Windy City Grotto member, John Scheltens moved to Hot Springs to become its city engineer. A year later Dave Springhetti, another Windy City Grotto member also moved into the area. Together with members of the Paha Sapa Grotto, Scheltens and Springhetti renewed their explorations in Wind Cave.

 
Dave Springhetti

Dave Springhetti

NPS Photo

Starting where they had left off, Scheltens and Springhetti teamed with members of the Paha Sapa Grotto, occasional cavers from the Colorado Grotto, and with other cavers they explored and mapped passages between the historic section of the cave out to Half Mile Hall and beyond.
 
Mike Wiles

Mike Wiles

NPS Photo by Jim Pisarowicz

The Silent Expressway

On October 8, 1980 Scheltens along with Paha Sapa Grotto member and Jewel Cave ranger Mike Wiles, former Wind Cave ranger Tom Miller, and Peter Shiflett pushed beyond any passages yet discovered when they first entered the Silent Expressway. Although strong winds flowed along Silent Expressway, this discovery marked the deepest penetration in Wind Cave until 1991.

 
 
Map of Wind Cave Showing the Silent Expressway Zone in Yellow
Map of Wind Cave Showing the Silent Expressway Zone in Yellow

Did You Know?

fire on the prairie

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.