• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

Caving Narrative 2007 - August 7

Participants:
Chris Amidon, Kristen Schulte, Scott Babinowich, Abby Tobin

Duration of Trip:
10 hours

New Cave Surveyed:
522.5 feet

Great Trip! Returned to NZ survey after a few months working another area. First mopped up a lead that was nagging me from the QC survey in 2004. It was pure mop-up--a 25ft belly crawl connecting two surveyed areas. Then went to NZ6 and started the QD survey as there was much to survey in the area. First lead went 90 feet and we named two rooms: Quick Discovery (QD3, QD7-QD8) because it was a quick find after a couple of shots where we could all stand. Then we pushed a belly crawl into a small chamber (QD6) where we could see an old yellow survey tag at the bottom of a small crack in the floor. I believe this is a 2004 QC survey tag, but I can't be certain. Abby crawled into the room, and then I followed to sketch. It was one of those moments of: "It seemed like a good idea at the time." There was decidely not enough room for two people. In order to get out the awkward crawl, Abby first tried pushing off my helmet with her feet. When that failed, she smushed herself against the wall, and I was able to slither out. For our struggles, we named the small chamber: "Quiet Desperation." We then went to NZ3 and mopped up a large lead. It dead-ended after one long 40ft shot. In the ceiling of NZ3 was a large difficult dome climb and a small hole on a ledge. After we climbed up the ledge and squeezed through the hole, we popped into some nice upper level domes along the chert layer. We assumed the dome and ledge went to the same place, but they did not connect; the dome did not connect into any of our survey, though we surveyed all around it. I presume, though do not know for a fact, that the done in NZ3 does not go anywhere. We named the small ledge and hole out of NZ3 "Paleo Falls" as when Abby climbed up there the first time, she dislogdged some chert, which caused a mudslide of paleofill over the ledge. At QD11-QD12, QD24-QD25, we named the area "The Minefield" as the area was riddled with chert blocks on the floor and ceiling. There were beautiful popcorn and frostwork crystals in these domes. We connected into many other surveys at NZ8, NF7A, and NZ25. We named the dome climb down into NZ8 "Spedoinkal Dome" as it was quite treacherous. "Spedoinkal" is a nonsense word from the musical "Hannibal the Cannibal". We felt "spedoinked" after the horrible climb down. Near the end of the trip, I misplaced my collection of maps and lineplots. Doh! We spent 30 minutes looking for it to no avail, retracing my steps. Losing the maps did not present a problem for exiting the cave as I know that area of the cave very well, but I was distraught by all the data I would lose. Just as I had given up searching, let out a loud sigh, and sat down depressed, Abby said: "I found it!" I thought she was kidding, but when she wasn't, I ran up and hugged her. We found the maps at NZ8. Abby said: "I don't know what possessed me to go up to that area, but I did, and there were the maps." Very starnge. I'm very thankful something did possess her to go up there. After having a good day of survey and finding the maps, we decided it was a good time to leave. Custer Pizza Works was calling our names.

Report by: Chris Amidon

Did You Know?

A picture of Alvin McDonald in his caving hat.

Alvin McDonald was the first systematic explorer of Wind Cave. He explored the cave from 1890 until his death in 1893. More...