• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

Caving Narrative 1987 - March 18

Participants:
Jim Nepstad, Darren Ressler

Duration of Trip:
4-1/2 hours

New Cave Surveyed:
none

This trip was a short, after work trip. We were headed out past the Breezeway to the Gypsum Palace intending to check out some leads which Jim remembered from trips he made into the area last year.

The area is of particular interest because of the fairly strong breeze that can be felt as you move through the passageway. When exploring in Wind Cave these light breezes are one of the more important indications of large passageway (or simply a lot of cave!) Quite often in the past, by following the breezes in the cave, explorers have made important discoveries. Some efforts had been made in the past to find the source of the breeze in the Gypsum Palace and Blue Bayou Avenue area, but no one had been able to find exactly where the breeze entered the passageway.

Once we got into the Gypsum Palace, Jim climbed up into a chimney which he had noticed last year. While waiting for Jim, I decided to take a "I vote you do it!" From this 'group decision' the name Darren's Democratic Discovery was arrived at.

After pushing the lead some 40 feet through extremely low and nasty crawlways I entered a low room (3-4 feet high). From this room, after 30 feet of careful maneuvering over false floors, I found two large fissure passageways headed toward the south. Since I have been gone nearly 30 minutes I decided I should turn back and report the good news to Jim

Even though I have not seen anything extremely promising, there was probably at least 300-400 feet of passage. Something that, at least, had to be surveyed. One thing which did seem promising-I could still feet the breeze moving through the fissures when I turned back.

After I got back to the Gypsum Palace and took a short breather we headed for home. Plans were made to come back the next evening to survey what we had found.

Report by: Darren Ressler

Did You Know?

Sign used at Wind Cave in 1903 when the cave became a national park.

Wind Cave is the first cave in the world to be designated as a national park. That occurred on January 9, 1903.