Wind Cave Trip Reports - 2003
January and February 2003
During January and February of 2003, 18 survey trips were taken into the Historic, North, Half Mile Hall, Southern Comfort, and Colorado Grotto Sections of Wind Cave. During those trips, cavers surveyed and inventoried a total of 4,504 feet, or 0.85 miles of passage, with an average survey length of 250 feet per survey. An additional 225 feet from a problem survey was resurveyed. Other off-trail trips included 4 work trips. The new survey raised the official length of Wind Cave from 106.66 to 107.51 miles.
Wind Cave Weekend 01/11/2003
Carl Bern, Mike Wiles, & Derek Wolfe
Kathy Petty, Sandy Kramer, & Bonnie Curnock
Jim Wilson, Marc & Rene Ohms
Matt Reece, Barry Oost, Ari Juhala, & Bonnie Curnock
Marc Ohms & Seth Spoelman
Wind Cave Weekend 02/08/2003
Amy Bern, Dough Pflugh, & Tracy Copp
Jim Wilson, Greg Glazner, & Seth Spoelman
Sandy Kramer, Kathy Petty, & Bonnie Curnock
Rod Horrocks, Jay Kennedy, & Dan Wray
Karla Whittenburg, Theresa Nowak, & Jamie Brocklehurst
March and April 2003
March and April did not see a lot of activity in Wind Cave. Nine survey trips surveyed 2,450 feet bringing Wind Cave to over 108 miles in length.
Wind Cave Weekend 03/8/2003
Kathy Petty, Bonnie Curnock & Sandy Kramer
Jim Wilson, Seth Spoelman, Stuart Marlat, & Howard Bartlett
Tom Dotter, Carey Hunter & Tish Gance
Wind Cave Weekend 04/12/2003
Rod Horrocks, Dan Wray & Tim Moreland
May and June 2003
During May and June of 2003, four survey trips were taken into the Historic and Southern Comfort Sections of Wind Cave. During those trips, cavers surveyed and inventoried a total of 960 feet, or 0.18 miles of passage, with an average survey length of 240 feet per survey. Other off-trail trips included 3 geological observation trips. The new survey raised the length of Wind Cave from 107.92 to 108.10 miles.
Wind Cave Weekend 05/10/2003
Amy Bern, Barbara Smith, & Skip Withrow
Carl Bern, Jeff Goben, & Mike Wiles
July and August 2003
July and August of 2003 were rather quiet at Wind Cave. There were only five survey trips, four work trips, and two recreational trips during that period. The total survey for the two months was 1,039 feet.
Wind Cave Weekend 07/12/2003
Rod Horrocks & Justin Kindred
Sandy Kramer, Kathy Petty & Pat Jablonsky
Rod Horrocks & Kali Pace
September and October 2003
During September and October of 2003, six survey trips were taken into the Historic, Lakes, North, & Southern Comfort Sections of Wind Cave. During those trips, cavers surveyed and inventoried a total of 1,481 feet (0.28 miles) of passage, with an average survey length of 246 feet per survey. Other off-trail trips included one trip to check the lake level of What the Hell. The new survey raised the length of Wind Cave from 108.40 to 108.68 miles.
Wind Cave Weekend 09/13/2003
Amy Bern, Skip Withrow, & Doug Pflugh
Carl Bern, Derek Wolfe, & Paul Fowler
Jim Wilson, Bill Yett, & Howard Bartlett
Christa Schneider, Karla Whittenburg & Teresa Nowak
Wind Cave Weekend 10/11/2003
Jim Wilson, Tim Moreland, & Greg Glazner
Marc & Rene Ohms, & Chris Beck
November and December 2003
Twelve survey trips were taken into the Historic, Half Mile Hall, Southern Comfort, Colorado Grotto, & Club Room Sections of Wind Cave. During those trips, cavers surveyed and inventoried a total of 4,655 feet, or 0.88 miles of passage, with an average survey length of 387 feet per survey. The new survey raised the length of Wind Cave from 108.68 to 109.56 miles.
Wind Cave Weekend 11/08/2003
Amy Bern, Skip Withrow, Barbra Smith, & Jeff Goben
Randy Macan, Mark Rosbrook, & Pete Graham
Marc & Rene Ohms
Jim Wilson, Bill Yett, Howard Bartlett, & Christa Schneider
Carl Bern, Mike Wiles, & Jacob Hoffman
Wind Cave Weekend 12/13/2003
Jim Wilson, Skip Withrow, & Barbara Smith
Chris Amidon, Ben Tobin, Jeremy Tallent, & Yancy Moore
Rod Horrocks, Heather VeerKamp, & Andrea Croskrey
Marc & Rene Ohms
Evan Anderson, Steve Lester, & Shawn Kramer
Christa Schneider, Jeff Goben, Karla Whittenburg, & Theresa Nowak
Tom Dotter, Kim McVey, & Beth Carbone
Caving at Wind Cave National Park in 2003
The majority of the caving at Wind Cave National Park during 2003 took place in Wind Cave, where 2.91 miles were surveyed and inventoried during 54 trips. The new survey footage increased the length of Wind Cave from 106.65 to 109.56 miles. The average survey length per trip was 285 feet, down 45 feet from the previous year’s average survey of 330 feet. This increase in total survey was enough to maintain the caves place as the sixth longest cave in the world. During 2003 one new cave was discovered in the park by ridgewalking.
The majority of the survey work in Wind Cave took place in the Historic Section. In descending order by number of trips, the survey efforts were in the following sections: Historic (40 trips), North (5 trips), Southern Comfort (4 trips), Club Room (2 trips), Half Mile Hall (2 trips), and the Colorado Grotto (2 trips). There were no survey trips to the Lakes, Silent Expressway, or Western Fringe Sections.
A total of 70 cavers participated in the 55 survey trips conducted during 2003. The six most active out of state surveyors for the year were: Jim Wilson (6 trips), Kathy Petty (5 trips), Sandy Kramer (5 trips), Amy Bern (4 trips), Carl Bern (4 trips), and Skip Withrow (4 trips). The eight most active in-state surveyors were: Rod Horrocks (23 trips), John Scheltens (10 trips), Steve Baldwin (10 trips), Marc Ohms (7 trips), Rene Ohms (5 trips), Seth Spoelman (5 trips), Chris Amidon (5 trips), and Jay Kennedy (4 trips).
Although there were no significant extensions beyond the known boundaries of the cave, there were a few minor discoveries in the interior of the cave. These include, in chronological order:
Filamental Bacterial Strands – Rod Horrocks, Tim Moreland, & Dan Wray found a nest of black needles with interconnecting webs in the Historic Section that turned out to be 300 million year old fossils of iron-fixing bacterial strands. These were the first discovery of these features in the cave that were not covered by quartz crystal growths, like the Crown Jewels or the Bed of Nails. Dr. Art Palmer made a trip to the Park to document this find.
Twilight Zone – Rod Horrocks and Chris Amidon found a new area below the Artifact Room in the Historic Section that they named the Twilight Zone.
Puzzlement Room – Jim Wilson, Skip Withrow, and Barbara Smith found a large room with numerous radiating leads that they named the Puzzlement Room.
The Swamp – Evan Anderson, Steve Lester, & Shawn Kramer found an extensive area above the Elephant Trunk in the Half Mile Hall Section that they named The Swamp.
Other Park Caves – Marc Ohms located one small cave while ridgewalking in the park in 2003. This new cave was named Raptor Cave and was surveyed to 61 feet in length, which brought the total number of caves in the Park to 26.
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.