Caving Narrative 1987 - November 18
Duration of Trip:
New Cave Surveyed:
With the excitement of the last trip's finds still fresh in our minds we had a rocket trip back to Half Mile Hall. With only a short rest stop at the end of Hobson's Choice and in the Club Room we were sliding into the south end of Half Mile Hall only an hour after entering the cave. Twenty minutes later we were in our new area trying to decide which way to go. We named that junction room Tough Decisions.
Like all good cavers we went for the largest passage with what looked like the most darkness. This lead us through a fairly nice sized passage which unfortunately connected back to the Figure 8 Room.
It seemed for a while that every hole we poked into kept reentering Half Mile Hall somewhere. One reentry point was up a crumbly climb that kept crumbling back down on those below the climber. It became Crumble Up, Crumble Down.
We had had it with this connecting and reconnecting to the same room so we backtracked to another area which our notes from the previous trip indicated had several leads. While deciding which of the really promising leads to push, Bob and Jim Nepstad poking into an obscure looking lead. Fifteen minutes later they returned saying that the passage just kept on going and they have even gotten momentarily turned around (i.e. lost) in one of the rooms on the way back. Without a second of hesitation we started into this lead.
This passage was fairly good sized but was coated with boxwork which had extremely thin fins and the walls were incredibly weathered. Traveling through this passage made one feel like the bull in the China shop so we called the passage Bull Run. In one section of Bull Run the walls were weathered in bands of brownish-red and black. This type of rock is occasionally found in sections of Wind Cave and is usually referred to as zebra rock. Because there was a large rock of this zebra rock in the middle of the passage we called it the Zebra Rock Rock.
By now it was past noon and we were all getting hungry. We all decided that the next room we came across we would have our lunch. Before we knew it we were in a sizable room and after taking our measurements and finishing the notes we all gathered for lunch. The previous week Darren had been in Phoenix and had brought back a large bag of bagels. We all had bagels for lunch with cheese. The bakery where he bought the bagels was called Chompies, so our new lunchroom quickly became Chompies' Shop.
From Chompies' Shop we entered an area with incredible frostwork. The crystals hung in wonderful cluster over 4 inches in diameter all over the boxwork and walls of the room. Because on this day in 1820 Antarctica was discovered we named the room Antarctica.
Everywhere we looked the passages just kept going off to who knows where. In one room Darren had crawled off, only to return several minutes later to declare that it "goes, and goes, and goes!" We named that room The G String and never even got into mapping that set of leads.
Later in the day we did reconnect to Half Mile Hall again but this time in the far northwestern part of the cave. Again it was not possible to survey all the new discoveries we had made on this trip. After mapping a couple more leads we decided to call it a day. Still lots of going cave and we will be back to continue the exploration in the near future!
Report by: Jim Pisarowicz
Did You Know?
Lewis and Clark, while on their journey up the Missouri River in 1804, noted that this "wild dog of the prairie...appears here in infinite numbers." More...