Loose Cannon Run Discovery
1st Trip: On 9/2/2000, Rod Horrocks led Derek Wolfe and James Lawton to the Club Room Section where they discovered the Loose Cannon Run area.
Trip Report: We went to the Karlian Crawl area to push a tube in the ceiling above WX22H. The tube zigzagged up into a dome with five passages radiating off of it. The first ended after a few shots and one had air but was too tight for me to fit. Another passage paralleled Hobson's Bypass heading east. This tube followed a series of paleofilled domes. We quit surveying at PA110. Our thinnest member said the crawl connected to PA50 a few shots ahead.
We then left that soft-floored crawl and climbed down to PA93 along the AA survey. We shot a couple of shots into an upper and lower crawl heading south. Both ended quickly. We then surveyed into a pit I found along the east wall. This dropped to a chockstone floored passage with 50-foot deep pits in-between the blocks. These pits were unclimbable without ropes. They presumably connect to the Multipurpose Room area. After finding some clear 1 3/4" nailhead spar, the largest I've seen in Wind Cave, I named the area Spar Heights. Surveying around the biggest pit to the south, we followed Derek into a tight vertical slot that we named Woop-Dee-Do Crawl. When it opened up, Derek took off and was gone for 20 minutes. I decided to name the passage he ran down Loose Cannon Run after him. This passage parallels the Loose Screw Room. We ran out of survey tags and time after two long shots in this new area. We left five continuing leads in a mazy area. We also left a tight lead at the end of Spar Heights that Jim and I couldn't squeeze up through. We'll be back next month to continue the survey of the bigger leads.
2nd Trip: On 10/14/2000, Rod Horrocks led Derek Wolfe and Jonathan Brinson on a survey trip back to the Club Room Section where they continued the Loose Cannon Run survey.
Trip Report: We went back to the Loose Cannon Run area to push leads. The first led into some upper middle cave and a room with a 30-foot deep pit in it. We named it Loose Cannon Pit because Derek, our "loose cannon," who wanted to climb down the scary-looking pit. I had to stop him. We continued our survey out of this "drippy" room to the SE where we found ourselves on a balcony overlooking a large passage. We dropped the survey down a parallel pit and into a small room with three leads. The NE lead quickly ended, while the NW led to a fissure passage that intersected a walking passage. We later named this area, The Thousand Foot Maze, since I had my first 1,000 foot survey day in Wind Cave in this area.
A small pit at PA185 led down to a large canyon that must be surveyed, but we couldn't find any stations. The maze eventually connected to LS10 in the Multipurpose Room. We then surveyed a fissure passage at PA188 that had a couple of scary traverses over 30-foot deep pits. We named this passage Pee Heights, because one five-foot wide bridge was nearly scary enough to scare the pee right out of me, especially since the footholds were on exceptionally large pieces of boxwork and the walls belled out below the boxwork ledges. This passage ended on top of a chockstone, 30-feet above the canyon that we had found earlier. We then wrapped up several short crawls in the Thousand Foot Maze area. One fissure (at PA178) dropped us down into previously scooped, but unsurveyed cave.
The north end of this passage intersected the canyon again and the south end deteriorated into some small tubes. Derek managed to fill his pee bottle and one of mine and then Jonathan's too, much to our amazement (he is such a small skinny kid; I don't know how he could have so much in him). We decided to name the area Pee Run in his honor. We started today with five leads. The first lead led to 1,100 feet of survey and added 38 leads to the list in this area! We will definitely be back! It turns out that 900 feet of the passage we surveyed was virgin, with only Pee Run having been previously scooped.
3rd Trip: On 4/13/2002, Rod Horrocks led Dennis Laird, Darren Wells, & Stacy Tostrup to the ACA survey in the Club Room Section where they continued the Loose Cannon Run survey.
Trip Report: We went to the Loose Screw Room and continued the ACA survey. Our first lead started as a crawl and got smaller. We quit after 46 feet. Moving on to a pit at ACA16, we surveyed through a short crawl and up into a room. The west wall was a balcony overlooking the Loose Screw Room. Five leads radiated off this 20-foot diameter room, which we named Tosty Overlook. Tosty is Stacy's family nickname.
We started surveying into the SE lead. We were really trying to find something that went east into a blank area on the map. The first lead opened into a short dead-end walking passage. The second lead was a bellycrawl into a round, dead-end room. We then encountered three deep pits into the Loose Screw Room. We left a small dome lead above one of the pits unchecked. We then surveyed down into a pit trending SE from Tosty Overlook. This opened into another overlook in the Loose Screw Room to the west. To the east, it entered a deep virgin canyon.
We started by chimneying down 25-feet to the bottom of the fissure where we found a too-tight hole with air that continued down a long ways past the constriction. After shooting a shot to the SE end of the rift, we dropped into a hole heading NW. This entered a tube that went 70 feet before connecting to the SL survey after a real tight squeeze. We tied into SL3. Climbing back up to the upper canyon, we named it Climbers Delight after Dennis commented, "Now this is real caving" and because three members of the party are rock climbers. We bypassed the 18-foot high continuation of this canyon and ducked into a wide, mud cracked passage. This connected into a 30-foot diameter room that we named the Lander Room, because two of our party are NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) instructors from Lander and because they are the ones that called me and set up this trip.
We skipped the NW trending passage, which is 20' x 10' and surveyed south into a 15-foot wide and up to 30-foot high canyon. The entire SW wall is composed of large breakdown blocks. When the main canyon ended, we surveyed west into a vertical breakdown maze. It reminded me of a boulder cave inside of a solution cave. A lot of survey in and around the blocks could be completed if someone wanted to do it. We crawled upward until we entered a huge borehole, the LS survey, somewhere between LS18-20. We decided to call the canyon, Boulder Canyon and then quit for the night with 636 feet of survey. This survey brought the total survey in the Loose Cannon Run area to 2,444 feet.
Click here to return to Caving Narratives.
Did You Know?
White Penstemon is the most widespread penstemon or beardtongue in the Great Plains. The insides of the blossoms are bearded and often spotted with purple. More...