1990 was a year of enormous change at Wind Cave National Park. A marked trail system, closely modeled after one successfully used at Jewel Cave for several years, was installed. In all, six heavily traveled routes were marked, providing access to the entire system. In addition to protecting the cave form unnecessary impacts by concentrating traffic along narrow paths, the trails also drastically simplified route finding in this exceptionally mazy cave. In less than one year, the number of cavers capable of leading trips anywhere into Wind Cave has grown from fewer than 10 to more than 50. With the help of cavers from Colorado, Minnesota, and South Dakota, work at Wind Cave has accelerated tremendously. The purpose of this semi-monthly column will be to keep interested cavers up to date on progress at Wind Cave.
On November 1, 1990, the surveyed length of Wind Cave was 53.9 miles. By December 31, 1990, it had grown to 55.4 miles in length. During these two months, more cave was surveyed than in the previous year and a half. A mile of cave was inventoried, not including the 1.5 miles of cave inventoried during the above surveys.
Stan Allison, Mary Laycock and Jim Nepstad; Karen Hirschy, Sue McDonald and Jamie Wolfe
Stan Allison, Mary Laycock and Jim Nepstad surveyed 154 feet into a pleasant walking size upper level passage they found while searching for a bypass to the Frostline. Later that evening, they were joined by Karen Hirschy, Sue McDonald and Jamie Wolfe in surveying the remaining distance required to bring the cave over the 54 mile mark. A previously unsurveyed connecting passage between two parts of the Fairgrounds tour route was surveyed entirely by the lights from the tour.
Kevin and Steve Smith, Bill Hawn and Robert Phillips
Kevin and Steve Smith, Bill Hawn and Robert Phillips inventoried the BB survey form BB8 to BB35. They indicated good leads were in the area, but recommended limited travel due to fragile floors.
Wind Cave Weekend 11/10/1990
Ted Lappin, Tim Moreland, Skip Withrow and Jim Wilson
Ted Lappin, Tim Moreland, Skip Withrow and Jim Wilson headed to the Chimera Room area and surveyed 499 feet off of the KN survey, consisting mostly of smaller passages with little additional potential.
Robert Phillips, Doug Kent, June Golaz and Carl Pagano
Robert Phillips, Doug Kent, June Golaz and Carl Pagano visited the Mystic Hall area and inventoried KP1 to KP13. In addition, they flagged off the bat skeleton in the Figure Eight Room and finished the last 300 feet of flagging on the green trail between Half Mile Hall and the BM survey.
Bill Yett, Kevin and Steve Smith and Bill Hawn Bill Yett, Kevin and Steve Smith and Bill Hawn traveled to the Snowdrift Avenue area and inventoried the UR, US and UT surveys, as well as parts of the C survey near Snowdrift Avenue. They also spent some time flagging off some of the delicate spots nearby.
Ed LaRock, Mike Behn and Barry Berg
Ed LaRock, Mike Behn and Barry Berg headed for the XS survey in the Colorado Grotto area of the cave and surveyed 220 feet into an upper level area despite battles with old confusing surveys and a defective measuring tape. Time was also spent looking for thrust faults in the Xerox Room, with none being found.
Pat and Bethany Jablonsky
Pat and Bethany Jablonsky spent some time route finding from the Amphitheater to the E survey area.
Jim and Greg Nepstad, Stan Allison and Paul Burger
Jim and Greg Nepstad, Stan Allison and Paul Burger went to a new area off the east side of the Club Room and surveyed 1647 feet of new cave, most of it below Jeez Pit, and eventually tied into the Winding Stair area.
Garry Petrie, Pat Seiser and Norm Thompson
The most exciting find of the day was made by Garry Petrie, Pat Seiser and Norm Thompson. After squeezing up through a tight opening in the ceiling near the start of the XD survey in the Colorado Grotto area of the cave, they entered a new upper level crawl which eventually led to several large rooms, including the STP Speedway. The new area, which is on the eastern edge of the cave, contained considerable airflow and was well decorated with various forms of aragonite. Large dry lake beds, unusual for upper levels in Wind Cave, were found in several areas. 820 feet of cave was surveyed with many large leads left unexplored.
Garry Petrie, Pat Seiser, Ed LaRock, Mike Behn, Ted Lappin, Miles Hecker, Bob Kobza and Jim and Greg Nepstad
With a passable major breakthrough on the east side of the cave, an exception was made to the normal once a month visits of the Colorado Grotto. Garry Petrie, Pat Seiser, Ed LaRock, Mike Behn, Ted Lappin, Miles Hecker, Bob Kobza and Jim and Greg Nepstad returned on November 17 to the STP Speedway area. Jim, Greg and Bob busied themselves flagging off the fragile parts of the area while the rest split into two groups to survey. In all, an additional 1275 feet of passage was surveyed, with few remaining possibilities.
The Minnesota Speleological Survey returned for their annual Thanksgiving weekend visit. A few representatives of the Windy City Grotto, as well as the Colorado Grotto, were also present for the purpose of "getting to know each other".
Matt Kramar, Randy Waslien, Rich Ness, Dave Trumm and Rick Nelson
Matt Kramar, Randy Waslien, Rich Ness, Dave Trumm and Rick Nelson traveled to the New Lakes region beyond Windy City Lake and surveyed 175 feet of water leads in the Mammoth's Backbone area. While snorkeling, they reported finding large flooded passages extending to the south. If the present rate of lake level decline continues, these passages may be enterable in five to ten years.
Gene Kremer, Mark Wickham, Any Clark, Anne Ness, Becky Schmidt, Jan Harms Dave Gerboth, Naomi Burtnick, Greg Brick, Jim Edberg and Bob Lenz
Gene Kremer, Mark Wickham, Any Clark, Anne Ness, Becky Schmidt and Jan Harms finished inventorying the Lakes route with the help of another group consisting of Dave Gerboth, Naomi Burtnick, Greg Brick, Jim Edberg and Bob Lenz. Close to 1000 feet of cave was inventoried.
Bill Yett and Pat Jablonsky
Bill Yett and Pat Jablonsky led two trips into the E survey area in the northeastern part of the cave.
Wind Cave Weekend 12/08/1990
Jim Wilson, Dave Lester, Bill Yett and Tim Moreland
Jim Wilson, Dave Lester, Bill Yett and Tim Moreland went to the Coke Room area and inventoried from MP22 to the Coke Room. They also surveyed 117 feet in the area.
Ted Lappin, Steve Reames, Bethany Jablonsky and Stan Allison
Ted Lappin, Steve Reames, Bethany Jablonsky and Stan Allison surveyed a total of 546 feet in the Winding Stair and Club Room areas.
Kevin and Steve Smith, Bill Hawn and Jerry Hassemer
Kevin and Steve Smith, Bill Hawn and Jerry Hassemer led an inventory trip into the area beyond the infamous Wretched Hole. They came out with a record 74 stations of inventory. Their only comment on the trip report was "the Wretched Hole is wretched".
Pat Jablonsky, Lonny Haynes, Bob Stucklen, Clarence Williams and Tom Briardy
Pat Jablonsky, Lonny Haynes, Bob Stucklen, Clarence Williams and Tom Briardy inventoried 23 stations along the E survey in the northeast part of the cave.
Bob Kobza, Mike Paulike, Jim Nepstad, Marc Lamphere and John Scheltens
Bob Kobza, Mike Paulike, Jim Nepstad, Marc Lamphere and John Scheltens traveled to the BP survey (along the green trail) below Half Mile Hall. Once there they divided into two groups and surveyed 1800 feet of passage.
Stan Allison and Paul Burger
Stan Allison and Paul Burger led trips into the Chamber Pot Room and Mound Builder's Rest areas of the Historic zone, and surveyed 230 feet of passage in the Club Room area. They also checked a blowing lead located only a few feet into the Snake Pit Entrance which heads north. Strong airflow was noted, but the passage becomes breakdown choked. On the same day, they reported observing wind exiting the Snake Pit while the natural entrance was blowing in. It was an exceptionally cold day, and the cave apparently set up a chimney effect (the Snake Pit is roughly 200 feet higher in elevation than the Natural Entrance). This was the first recorded occurrence of the phenomenon at Wind Cave.