• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

Caving Narrative 1988 - November 30

Participants:
Jim Nepstad, Darren Ressler, Bill Rodgers

Duration of Trip:
12 hours

New Cave Surveyed:
333 feet

In our efforts to slowly work ourselves into shape for a Silent Expressway trip we chose an area beyond Half Mile Hall for today's jaunt. The known cave south of the Elephant Trunk extended down what is known as the BW survey into a passage that went well past any surrounding area. We found our way relatively quickly out to where we wanted to begin-about 3 hours after entering the cave we were at the bitter end of the BW passage (having discovered along the way that the passage is much larger than it appears on the map). After lunching on bagels we found that the bitter end was not quite the end. The first crawl we tired led off under a false floor. Jim mentioned that leads under false floors "Never go anywhere"-so since the 706 feet we surveyed on this trip was found (more or less) from this crawl, we named the area Never Goes.

After the crawl was a small room from which another crawl followed by a short 7 foot climb continued on. As I was negotiating this climb Jim was beginning to come through the crawl beneath me. At what turned out to be a most opportune time, a large chunk of wall crust came off beneath my hand and crashed down straight on Jim's head. Jim was only partially through the hole so his hard hat took the full brunt of the falling rock. We all agreed that this was the largest rock we had ever seen fall on someone's head and that hard hats are certainly handy to have. We named this spot the Hard Hat Area. Recovering from this excitement, we continued the survey until we came to a T junction in the passage. Leads took off in both directions. As Bill was leading the survey with the tape and was the first to see this junction (which meant that we had lots more to survey) we dubbed this Bill's T.

Two leads off this passage connected back to the BW survey but the major passage-going through a very wet area with small pools of water-seemed to continue. At the end of the walking passage was a low belly crawl over a cracked, plated floor. After grunting my way through the crawl (not expecting it to go anywhere) I popped out above an impressive 30 foot pit. This pit became Belly Crawl Falls. After delicately down climbing the pit we were in large, walking passage with leads heading off in all directions. Surveying back and forth through this area we connected to the BW survey again, ran into the BX survey near the Elephant Trunk, and looped back on our own survey at one point. Many leads were left unsurveyed and not completely or even partially checked on this trip. Plenty of mystery for more trips in the future.

Report by: Darren Ressler

Did You Know?

Field Milkvetch

The Field Milkvetch has a colorful flower which is often overlooked because it tends to grow hidden in the grass. Color can vary to reddish-purple. More...