Caving Narrative 1990 - July 28
Duration of Trip:
New Cave Surveyed:
It has been a month since Jim Nepstad, Tom Kopp, and Stan Allison had discovered going virgin passage off of the Chimera room. Several trips had been planned to follow up on this tantalizing lead, but none had materialized. On the appointed date of this trip our third person failed to show. Luckily we were able to convince Brad Stephenson that he would much rather spend his day off bashing his body underground, rather than relaxing on the surface.
So finally our long awaited trip began. We quickly made our way out past the Club Room and to the Chimera Room, arriving in one hour and fifteen minutes. Once in the Chimera Room we broke out the survey and inventory gear and began surveying and inventorying our way into the blank spot on the map east of the Chimera Room. After 200 feet of survey we reached the point of my previous penetration. Ahead lay virgin walking passage. This was not to be for long; as usual Wind Cave had other things in mind. The passage shrank to crawling size. Paul dropped down a tight hole and discovered the Jigsaw Puzzle. The Jigsaw Puzzle is a room with many breakdown blocks lying scattered about like a jigsaw puzzle waiting to be solved.
Exiting the Jigsaw Puzzle, the excitement of virgin passage was tempered by the need to be careful in a pristine area completely lined by frostwork up to four inches long! One misplaced hand or foot in this area could have obliterated these delicate formations never seen before by humans. After pushing all of the leads in this area to an end we decided to survey a side lead further back.
Shortly after beginning the survey of this side lead we came to a crawl with loose blocks of chert hanging menacingly from the ceiling. In order to pass through this it was necessary to crawl without touching the walls. I decided to name this hazard Can't Touch This. After roughly eighty feet of survey in this side lead we connected to station KYA-5 which is in a passage to the east of the Chimera Room.
On our way out I decided to check a lead heading northwest. After following approximately 200 feet of walking and crawling passage I came to a formation area with a three foot long soda straw stalactite, as well as many other formations. Due to lack of time we were unable to survey this area. It took us an hour and fifteen minutes to exit the cave. Once again we will anxiously look forward to the next trip to survey the tantalizing leads that are remaining in this area.
Report by: Stan Allison
Did You Know?
Alvin McDonald was the first systematic explorer of Wind Cave. He explored the cave from 1890 until his death in 1893. More...