• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

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.

01/01/2003
Rod Horrocks, Laura Baker & Peter Hauser
Rod led this survey training trip to the Room Draculum area in the Historic Section. After mopping up a couple side leads off of the room, they climbed up into the Mock October Room area and mapped several parallel fissures that extend out over the Cataract Room and Room Draculum, with several unclimbable connections to the roofs of those lower rooms. They mapped 258 feet.

01/04/2003
Randy Macan, Patricia Malone, Mike Frazier, & Jim Lawton
Randy led a trip out to the Hard Hat Zone in the Half Mile Hall Section. They surveyed several modest discoveries for 543 feet.

01/08/2003
Marc Ohms & Seth Spoelman
Marc led a work trip to restock the water bottles in the rescue caches at the Club Room and Half Mile Hall caches.

01/23/2003
Marc Ohms, Matt Reece, Barry Oost, and Ryan Brown
Marc led a work trip to restock some supplies at the Club Room rescue cache.

01/10/2003
Rod Horrocks, Barry Oost, & Ryan Brown
Rod led an evening trip to the Mock October Room area in the Historic Section to continue pushing the parallel fissures he found on the 1st. They found several small virgin areas while mapping 157 feet. At the top of one dome above Room Draculum, they found an upper level passage with strange "bathtub rings", marking old pool levels that were higher than the spill over point? The Mock October Room area now has a total survey of 1,305 feet with numerous leads remaining.

Wind Cave Weekend 01/11/2003

Carl Bern, Mike Wiles, & Derek Wolfe
Carl led a trip to the Blind Faith area in the Southern Comfort Section to push their Rio Colorado lead. After donning a Tyvek suit, aqua socks, and clean gloves, Derek crossed the beautifully decorated area and determined that the lead "ended" in a dome that would be dangerous to climb. They surveyed 124 feet in another lead and then found something to survey on their next trip near Silent Struggle.

Kathy Petty, Sandy Kramer, & Bonnie Curnock
Kathy led a trip to the Giants Stone Quarry area along the Natural Entrance Tour Route to mop up some unsurveyed leads off the main trail. They surveyed 121 feet.

Jim Wilson, Marc & Rene Ohms
Jim led a trip back to his Kneebone Room area in the Historic Section. They found a lot of mud and some nice formations while surveying 423 feet.

01/25/2003
Rod Horrocks & Jay Kennedy
Rod led a trip back to the Mock October Room area in the Historic Section. However, after 53 feet of survey, the trip had to be called when Jay felt flu symptoms coming on.

01/29/2003
Rod Horrocks, John Scheltens, & Steve Baldwin
Rod led an evening survey to the Attic Area in the Historic Section. They surveyed a virgin dome area and then mopped up several scooped side passages for a total of 443 feet.

02/06/2003

Matt Reece, Barry Oost, Ari Juhala, & Bonnie Curnock
Matt led a work trip to check on the level of What the Hell lake. He found that it had dropped .04 inches.

Marc Ohms & Seth Spoelman
Marc led Seth on a work trip to collect some sediment samples for Dr. John Moore along the Bishop Fowlers Loop.

02/07/2003
Rod Horrocks, Seth Spoelman, Josh Hodorff, B.J. Archambeau
Rod led an evening trip to the Amphitheater Room area in the Historic Section to teach a couple potential cavers how to survey. They surveyed one virgin dome and mopped up several small passages for 219 feet.

Wind Cave Weekend 02/08/2003

Amy Bern, Dough Pflugh, & Tracy Copp
Amy led a trip to the Ton 80 Room area in the North Section to mop up the remaining leads. They surveyed 71 feet.

Jim Wilson, Greg Glazner, & Seth Spoelman
Jim led a trip to the Kneebone Room area in the Historic Section. They mapped a complex section of muddy virgin passages for a total of 332 feet. During the survey, Seth found a deep pit with numerous leads that appeared to drop into the lower level. Due to a tight entrance into this discovery, Seth decided to come back the next week with a group of really thin lead pushers.

Sandy Kramer, Kathy Petty, & Bonnie Curnock
Sandy led a trip back to the Giants Stone Quarry area along the Natural Entrance Tour Route. They mapped an additional 162 feet.

Rod Horrocks, Jay Kennedy, & Dan Wray
Rod led a trip into the Amphitheater area in the Historic Section. After surveying some balcony passages along the perimeter of the room, their survey passed numerous good leads before finally connecting with the Red Clay Room. Going to the extreme northeast edge of the cave, they then found a virgin bellycrawl that they were able to enter after moving a rock aside. Unfortunately, it ended after a small room and 40 feet of survey. They mapped a total of 499 feet for the day.

Karla Whittenburg, Theresa Nowak, & Jamie Brocklehurst
Karla led a trip to the Dragons Lair area in the Colorado Grotto Section. Although they checked several leads they didn't survey anything.

02/09/2003
Marc & Rene Ohms, & Matt Reece
Marc led this trip out to an area north of the Chimera Room in the North Section. They surveyed a few leads for 350 feet.

02/16/2003
Marc & Rene Ohms & Seth Spoelman
Seth took the group back to his discovery from the previous weekend in the Kneebone Room area in the Historic Section. They surveyed through the tight spot and into a pit that led down to some lower level walking passages. They surveyed 512 feet of virgin cave, leaving some good leads for a future trip.

02/22/2003
Rod Horrocks, Seth Spoelman, John Scheltens, & Steve Baldwin
Rod led an evening trip back to the dome he had found in the Attic in the Historic Section on January 29th. The group had high hopes that the lead would head eastward, out over the lower level cave along the eastern edge of the cave. The lead corkscrewed up for 60-vertical feet, where they found an Alvin McDonald signature in the corrosion residue dated June 30th 1892. They found no evidence that any one had been back since that discovery trip. After surveying some upper level passages, they moved a rock aside in a crawl, and squeezed into an area that John Stabler had first explored off of Lonely Place in 1895. However, they were unable to connect with the Lonely Place survey due to a tight constriction. They surveyed 237 feet for the evening.

02/27/2003
Marc Ohms & Seth Spoelman
Marc led a resurvey trip to the PGB survey off of the Candlelight Tour Route in the Historic Section. They resurveyed 225 feet.

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.

03/05/2003
Rod Horrocks, Steve Baldwin & John Scheltens
Rod led a trip to the Attic in the Historic Section. They surveyed 240 feet off of the AT survey.

Wind Cave Weekend 03/8/2003

Kathy Petty, Bonnie Curnock & Sandy Kramer
Kathy led to the area of the Giants Stone Quarry in the Historic Section. They surveyed 193 feet continuing the OX survey.

Jim Wilson, Seth Spoelman, Stuart Marlat, & Howard Bartlett
Jim led to the Kneebone area in the Historic Section. They surveyed 505 feet cleaning up several leads off of the TX survey.

Tom Dotter, Carey Hunter & Tish Gance
Tom led to the Yukon Trail in the Club Room in the Club Room Section. They surveyed 225 feet in several leads out of the ceiling and left more for next time.

03/11/2003
Rod Horrocks, Steve Baldwin & John Scheltens
Rod led into the Historic Section to the AT survey, where they surveyed 294 feet.

04/08/2003
Rod Horrocks, Steve Baldwin & John Scheltens
Rod led to the Attic in the Historic Section. They surveyed 112 feet off of the AT survey.

Wind Cave Weekend 04/12/2003

Rod Horrocks, Dan Wray & Tim Moreland
Rod led to the Amphitheater in the Historic Section. They surveyed 461 feet in several leads. They found a nest of black needle-like features hanging ½" down from the ceiling, some of the longer ones had web-like filaments connecting them.

04/15/2003
Rod Horrocks, Steve Baldwin, Alexis Kumfur & John Scheltens
Rod led to the Attic in the Historic Section. They surveyed 220 feet near Plummer's Pit.

04/23/2003
Rod Horrocks, Steve Baldwin & John Scheltens
Rod led to the AT survey in the Historic Section. They surveyed 200 feet and discovered a gypsum beard.

 

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
Amy led a trip back to the Ton 80 Room area in the North Section to finish their remaining leads. They surveyed 244 feet before running out of time in going walking passage.

Carl Bern, Jeff Goben, & Mike Wiles
Carl led a trip to the New Realities area in the Southern Comfort Section. After continuing the flagging of the "Green Trail" out to Route 66, they mapped a lead off the Skinner. Their trip was cut short when their tape was dropped and became wedged out of reach. They surveyed 241 feet for the day.

05/14/2003
Rod Horrocks, Jay Kennedy, Steve Baldwin, & John Scheltens
Rod led an evening trip to the Golden Rope Room area in the Historic Section. They surveyed several fissures, closing several loops for 265 feet of survey.

05/31/2003
Rod Horrocks, Sean Foster, & Amanda Scott
Rod led a survey training trip to the CM survey in the Historic Section. The group surveyed a dome that Rod had noticed on an earlier trip. It led into a new area that appears to be heading into a blank area on the map that Rod had been trying to penetrate for several months. They surveyed 210 feet.

06/18/2003
Marc Ohms, Art & Peg Palmer, Philippe Audra, & Philipp Hauselmann
Marc led a trip to What the Hell lake in the Lakes Section to check on its level. He found that it had not moved since April.

06/20/2003
Rod Horrocks, Art & Peg Palmer, Philippe Audra, & Philipp Hauselmann
Rod led the Palmers and the two Philipps on a geological observation trip to some features he had found during his surveys in the Historical Section of Wind Cave. After looking at a pocket of iron oxide pseudomorphs after pyrite, they looked at some iron oxide rich filaments in a Mississippian-aged pocket in the Upper Middle Level. These needle-like filaments were the first confirmed occurrence of these features in Wind Cave that were not covered by quartz crystal growths, like the Crown Jewels or Bed of Nails.

06/23/2003
Art & Peg Palmer, & Philipp Hauselmann
Art led a geological mapping trip to the North Section. They were able to sequentially date the zebra rock to pre paleofill, genetically relating it to the orange calcite spar.

06/26/2003
Rod Horrocks, Art & Peg Palmer, & Philipp Hauselmann
Rod led the Palmers and Philipp on another geological observation trip to the Historical Section of Wind Cave. After looking at a Cenozoic-aged cobble deposit in Room Draculum, they photographed some worm burrows. They finished by looking at some pool levels and a gypsum rope in the Golden Rope Room.

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.

07/01/2003
Rod Horrocks, Chris Amidon & Meredith Dreyer
Rod led to the Golden Rope Room, not far from the Candlelight Tour in the Historic Section. They surveyed 252.6 feet in two leads.

Wind Cave Weekend 07/12/2003

Rod Horrocks & Justin Kindred
Rod led to the Super Eight area in the Historic Section. They surveyed 119 feet of virgin cave off of the CM survey.

07/16/2003
Rod Horrocks, Chris Amidon & Meredith Dreyer
Rod to the Mock October Room in the Historic Section. They surveyed 218 feet and left several leads to return to.

07/23/2003
Marc Ohms, Meredith Dreyer & Chris Amidon
Marc led to the Club Room to place petri dishes for a dust accumulation study and to replenish the rescue packs with new items.

07/29/2003
Marc Ohms, Sara Petite & John Curtis
Marc led to the Citadel in the Colorado Grotto Section to place petri dishes for a dust accumulation study.

07/30/2003
Marc Ohms, Meredith Dreyer & Chris Amidon
Marc led to Half-Mile Hall to place petri dishes for a dust accumulation study and to replenish the rescue packs with new items.

08/16/2003

Sandy Kramer, Kathy Petty & Pat Jablonsky
Sandy led to the Crossroads area in the Historic Section. They surveyed 162 feet and noted many historical artifacts and some bat bones.

Rod Horrocks & Kali Pace
Rod led to the Mock October Room in the Historic Section. They surveyed 287 feet tying the NS to the UQ survey.

08/21/2003
Marc Ohms & Kali Pace
Marc and Kali went to What the Hell in the Lake Section to measure the water level of the lake. It was down 0.02 feet since June.

08/29/2003
Mary Laycock, Eric Grunwald, Casey Varick, Abigail Wurzel, Meredith Dreyer, & Noelle Theres
Mary led a recreational trip along the Bishop Fowler’s Loop in the Historic Section.

08/31/2003
Mary Laycock, Amy Dozier, Erin Niedringhaus, Mary Eury, Chris Amidon, and Chris Wonderly
Mary led a recreational trip along the Bishop Fowler’s Loop in the Historic Section.

 

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
Amy led a trip to the Ton-80 Room area in the North Section to finish a walking lead they had left on their last trip. The lead only went 60 feet. Moving on, they mopped up some loose ends on the way out of the area, surveying a total of 238 feet.

Carl Bern, Derek Wolfe, & Paul Fowler
Carl led a trip to the Other Side in the Southern Comfort Section. They mopped up some loops before discovering a new passage heading north. They surveyed 356 feet, leaving some leads for their next trip.

Jim Wilson, Bill Yett, & Howard Bartlett
Jim led this trip to finish checking some loose ends in his Kneebone Room area in the Historic Section. They surveyed 135 feet and finished all of their leads, bringing the total surveyed length of the Kneebone Room area to 2.64 miles.

Christa Schneider, Karla Whittenburg & Teresa Nowak
Christa led this trip to mop up some leads off the BG survey near the Candlelight Tour Route in the Historic Section. After replacing a broken compass, they surveyed 224 feet for the day.

09/18/2003
Rod Horrocks & Chris Amidon
Rod led Chris to the Artifact Room in the Historic Section to teach him how to sketch. After redoing some shots in a bad loop, they discovered a virgin area at the bottom of a pit. They started the TZ survey and named the area the Twilight Zone. They surveyed 310 feet for the day, leaving some intriguing leads for a later trip.

Wind Cave Weekend 10/11/2003

Jim Wilson, Tim Moreland, & Greg Glazner
Jim led a trip to the UK survey in the Historic Section to check leads. They mopped up 218 feet for the day and tried to take a shortcut out of the area, but ended up retracing their step due to a tight chimney.

Marc & Rene Ohms, & Chris Beck
Marc led a trip to What the Hell to check on the water level. They found that the lake had dropped 0.05 feet since August.

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
Amy led a trip to the KXB survey in the North Section. They named a tall passage completely covered with frostwork, “Little Lech”, as it reminded them of passages in the North Rift area of Lechuguilla Cave in New Mexico. They surveyed 338 feet for the day.

Randy Macan, Mark Rosbrook, & Pete Graham
Randy led a trip to an area south of the Wind Gate in the Half-Mile Hall Section. They surveyed 471 feet of fissure passages closing several loops along the BWA survey.

Marc & Rene Ohms
Marc led a trip to the Dreamland area in the Historic Section to follow up on some of their leads. Their first lead led to 200 feet of new cave but completely ended. The second went up a series of domes, but ended in a blowing lead that was too tight. They surveyed 406 feet for the day.

Jim Wilson, Bill Yett, Howard Bartlett, & Christa Schneider
Jim led a trip to the UK survey in the Historic Section to survey some leads. They surveyed 222 feet for the day.

Carl Bern, Mike Wiles, & Jacob Hoffman
Carl led a trip back to the Other Side in the Southern Comfort Section to continue pushing the north trending discovery they made in September. They surveyed up into a 20-foot diameter room with several radiating leads. They mapped a total of 408 feet of new cave, finishing the area.

Wind Cave Weekend 12/13/2003

Jim Wilson, Skip Withrow, & Barbara Smith
Jim led a trip to the AI survey in the Historic Section to check some leads. They found a large room that had not been surveyed, which they named the Puzzlement Room. They surveyed 431 feet and left numerous leads for their next survey.

Chris Amidon, Ben Tobin, Jeremy Tallent, & Yancy Moore
Chris led this trip to the E survey in the Historic Section. They found a 40-foot chimney which they named the Kentucky Chimney and a 20-foot diameter room with many leads for a future trip. They mapped 405 feet for the day.

Rod Horrocks, Heather VeerKamp, & Andrea Croskrey
Rod led a trip back to the Twilight Zone in the Historic Section that he had discovered in September. They surveyed 205 feet of new cave. Moving on to the UQ survey, they mopped up some side leads before starting a new survey off of the Cataract Room Balcony for a total of 349 feet for the day. They left several leads to return to in this area.

Marc & Rene Ohms
Marc led a trip back to the Dreamland area in the Historic Section to continue pushing the breezy leads along the eastern edge of the cave. The surveyed several small leads to their bitter end, surveying 237 feet for the day.

Evan Anderson, Steve Lester, & Shawn Kramer
Evan led a trip to the Elephant Trunk area in the Half-Mile Hall Section to look for a theorized upper level. They surveyed 340 feet of fissure passages off of BX62 and then found an extensive new area off of BX218, where they named the Swamp, Fallopian Tube, and Stolen Election Staircase. They left numerous leads off their GN survey discovery for a future trip. They surveyed 1,139 feet for the day.

Christa Schneider, Jeff Goben, Karla Whittenburg, & Theresa Nowak
Christa led a trip to the Red Crystal Canyon area in the Colorado Grotto Section. They surveyed three leads for 225 feet, leaving numerous leads to return to next trip.

Tom Dotter, Kim McVey, & Beth Carbone
Tom led a trip to the AA Route in the Club Room Section. They surveyed one lead for 66 feet.

Caving at Wind Cave National Park in 2003
Rod Horrocks, WICA Cave Management Specialist
01/13/2005

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 on the prairie

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.