Stargazer Hall Discovery
Photo by Harris
Trip: On 8/25/07, Rod Horrocks led Roger and William Harris to the Long Loop area in the Historic Section where they discovered Stargazers Hall.
Trip Report: We went back to the Long Loop to continue pushing leads. Starting at FL5, we shot into a side passage that went up a dome after a single shot. At the top of the 10-foot high climb, we found station F27F and connected into it. Sandy Kramer and Pat Jablonsky showed up at this time to survey the leads off of F27F, so we retreated and went to our next lead, at FL8. We closed three loops while surveying this dome complex. We left a lead near FL8D. Although the traverse and bridge into the lead didn't look too bad (exposed though), it looked like it would be difficult to get back out of.
Near FL12, Roger found four historic cave tickets sitting next to the wall. We could still see the printing on one of the tickets, which said, "ADMIT ONE, TICKET 50cents, TAX 10cents, TOTAL 60cents". Apparently, whenever the cave tickets were only 60cents, the guides would take people off trail too. Or maybe, the guides went exploring after the tour, leaving the tickets for others to find; who knows. Near FL8F we found some nice mud curls, moonmilk blebs, and frostwork. We then shot up into a dome above FL12 and shot three shots in an upper level passage that reconnected in three other places. After tying into FL14, we went to our good lead at FL21. Surveying down the pit, we entered a passage that had some IZ41-44 survey markers in it that were not on our lineplot. One of them said, "IZ44 2-2-87". These markers are interesting because that IZ survey, done by Jim Pisarowicz, was never used for some unknown reason.
Passing under some very nice quartz rinds, we dropped into a long hall. We quickly found station UY10D above a small pit on the southern end of the hall and tied into it. I was disappointed because I had hoped that we had found an unsurveyed room. Going down the hall to UY18, we were getting ready to survey some unsurveyed side leads when I happened to look up and was blown away by the ceiling. The entire ceiling was a flat, sloping chert layer that was covered with a thin black manganese film. Small white concentric moonmilk rings covered much of the ceiling. It looked like stars against the night sky. Will suggested that we name the room "STARGAZER HALL" if it wasn't already named. I assured him that the passage was not named. I liked the name. After shooting into four dead-end side passages, we moved ahead to FL8F, which we had set earlier, and shot across a passage and into an unsurveyed side passage. Shooting down a steeply sloping tube, we connected to AJ99, a survey Chris Amidon had just done in the last couple of weeks. After Shooting in the opposite direction, we connected into F28B, which was located right next to the paved trail.
As we had made a loop back almost to our starting point, William asked if we could call it a day, even though it was only a little past 4:00 PM. I assured him that the leads were not going anywhere and that would be fine. We ended up surveying 403 feet for the day. I've now surveyed just over 2,000 feet in the Long Loop area. Until next time.
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...