Flour Box North Discovery
NPS Photo by Carl Bern
1st Trip: On 3/24/2007, Carl Bern led Mike Wiles and Nick Smith to the Skinner area in the Southern Comfort Section where they discovered the Flour Box North area.
Trip Report: Did some scouting for a possible location for a camp site. Not much in the way of good flat spots. Returned to a short pit beyond the end of the Skinner on the ER survey. Enlarged a small hole so that we could fit. Felt some weak air flow and I think we are on the right track. We surveyed 331 feet. Although we did not pass the edge of the cave, we left several crawling leads that are continuing SW towards that edge. Because this passage has air and is 30-feet higher than passages on the edge of the cave to the south and 30 feet lower than passages on the edge to the north, there is great hope for this lead.
2nd Trip: On 1/29/2012, Carl Bern led Andrew Blackstock, Evan Blackstock, & Marc Ohms on the third trip to Camp Cosmos in the Southern Comfort Section to push the Flour Box North area.
Trip Report: After the great luck we had on the previous camp trip it is a little disappointing not to be reporting another breakout or significant extension of the cave. However, that kind of success depends heavily on what cave exists to be found. Based on the assessment that we have pushed the southern section of the area beyond The Skinner fairly hard, this trip focused upon the northern and central zones. Significant amounts of air have been noted in parts of these zones and I have occasionally felt it myself. We focused on looking at leads near where air had been noted and pushing them as if we might be the last exploration team to ever check them.
The result was 1,447 feet of survey, all of it in short sections off of existing passages and rooms, but no big breakout. The first full day of exploration was spent out at the furthest extent of the LLB survey and then working back down it. We eliminated quite a few marked leads, either by surveying them or noting that they did not go. Air movement was weak throughout the trip and we did not note major air movement in any leads we checked. The second full day of exploration was spent pursuing leads I had left from a previous day trip to the central zone beyond The Skinner. Most of these did not go far, but we did get into one complex of crawlways beneath The Skinner that yielded good footage, albeit in small sharp passages. We eliminated more leads than we created.
Camp Cosmos continues to function well. The sleeping bags held up just fine during an untouched year of storage. It would be useful to have one or two additional beds in camp to support larger teams, but there are still no great locations for additional beds and the benefits might not match the effort required to transport the new gear.
Click here to return to Caving Narratives.
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...