• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

Caving Narrative 1987 - March 21

Participants:
Greg Nepstad, Jim Nepstad, Darren Ressler

Duration of Trip:
6-1/2 hours

New Cave Surveyed:
400 feet

On tonight's trip we planned to survey more of Dreamland up into the Cakewalk area from the 50 foot fissure climb we had found two nights ago.

We got into the cave at 5:00 pm and arrived at the Gypsum Palace by 5:30. We made our way through the crawls and back to the 50 foot fissure. Surveying through this area went quickly and we found our way up into the Cakewalk by 7:30. Our first survey shot to the left, down the Cakewalk was 94 feet. Our second shot to the right was exactly 100 feet-the entire length of the tape!

After surveying in the Cakewalk we decided to push some of the leads which were headed to the east. Exploration in this part of the cave has, in the past, been stymied by a fault which cuts across the eastern part of the cave system and very effectively shuts down the passages as it intersects the cave. We believe that if we can find a route through the fault the possibilities of finding large areas of undiscovered cave is very high.

At the eastern end of the Cakewalk the passage is choked up with a large pile of breakdown. At this point, a large portion of the ceiling has collapsed totally blocking the passage. We found two leads headed off further to the east. We pushed both leads but both narrowed to a point where we could not get through. One of these passages still holds promise-even though it got extremely narrow, the right contortionist moves might get a small person through. The breeze continued to blow in our faces as we turned back to check other leads.

While Greg and I checked the area around the eastern end of the room, Jim went to the western end and crawled through a low passage and found where the Cakewalk continued on the far side. The passage at this point has one of the strongest breezes blowing though it that we have felt in this part of the cave.

After hearing this good news I climbed up into a side fissure which was leading away from the Cakewalk. About 30 feet down this passage I found another room very much like the Cakewalk. It was at least 150 feet long with even more side fissures headed to the south.

By this time we were all very tired as we decided to head out. So far, every trip into Dreamland has resulted in even more cave being discovered. This area appears to be extremely promising and we will return very soon to continue our exploration.

Report by: Darren Ressler

Did You Know?

Stemless Hymenoxys

The scientific name for the Stemless Hymenoxys is Hymemoxys acaulis. Acaulis means "stemless" and referes to the leafless stalks which bear the flower heads. More...