Wind Becomes 5th Longest in the World
NPS Photo by Bunnell
Summary: On 1/8/2005, five survey trips were led into Wind Cave, elevating the Wind Cave survey past the Lechuguilla Cave survey and moving Wind Cave up in the rankings to the fifth longest cave in the world. Following are the trip reports from the five trip leaders that accumulated enough survey to reach this milestone.
1st Trip: Rod Horrocks led Ryan Sprouse, Ben Shouse, and Duff McCafferty on a survey trip to the E' survey in the Historic Section.
Trip Report: We were one of five teams in the cave that were each trying to get at least 350' of survey each, so Wind Cave could move up from sixth to fifth longest cave in the world. I decided to go to the E' survey to continue pushing off of that canyon. None of our nine leads that we checked went far. The longest was a virgin bellycrawl off of HD55, which was only 50' long. All together, we surveyed 378 feet, mapping up most of the leads off of the E'. On the way out, we relocated the G' survey, and surveyed up onto a balcony. We left station EK101 where it could be tied into when the G' is resurveyed.
2nd Trip: Ben Tobin led Andrea Croskrey and Carrie Musick to the Wall Street area in the Historic Section.
Trip Report: This group of Kentucky cavers surveyed leads off of the NYY survey. We named the Chocolate Sprinkle Junction after the wood rat pellets scattered around the area. We must have been near a blowhole entrance that the woodrats are using. Our survey eventually connected to the bottom of Quicksilver Pit (the NM4 survey). We mapped 460 feet. There are more leads left.
3rd Trip: Jim Wilson led Tim Moreland and Greg Glazner to the Elbow Room in the Historic Section.
Trip Report: We went back to the area we discovered in December off of the Elbow Room. We cleaned up most of the leads we left along the VW survey. We finished the gnarly area, mapping 394 feet.
4th Trip: Jason Walz led Ben Hutchins and Sara Booth to the Base Camp area in the Club Room Section.
Trip Report: We surveyed some Lower Level leads. The area around JB'18 is mazy and there may be a lot of passages to survey in the area. We surveyed 633 feet, including one 77-foot long shot. We left a few leads to return too.
5th Trip: Marc Ohms led Larry Shaffer and Rene Ohms to the House of the Fallen Snurd in the North Section.
Trip Report: We headed out to the North Section to some leads north of the Polar Ice Cap. We discovered what appears to be a small helictite bush about 10" high. We surveyed several leads for a total of 830 feet. There seems to be lots to do out there. It was Wind Cave Weekend and everyone surveyed enough to pass Lech!
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Did You Know?
Fire is an important factor in protecting the prairie. Historically, fires burned across the prairie every 4 to 7 years. Fires burn the small trees that would otherwise march across the prairie and turn the grasslands to forest.