Cave Exploration - Herb and Jan Conn and Dave Schnute

Don Gillespie and Jan and Herb Conn in Wind Cave.
Don Gillespie and Jan and Herb Conn in Wind Cave.

NPS Photo by Dave Schnute

Jewel Cavers Breakaway

When exploration trips into Jewel Cave were restricted, Herb and Jan Conn, along with Dave Schnute, began to direct their efforts to Wind Cave. In 1963 they made a break-away from the known portion of the cave. This was the first breakaway in Wind Cave since the days of Alvin McDonald. Herb and Jan kept a diary of their explorations of Wind Cave.

 
Jan Conn by Calcite Lake
Jan Conn by Calcite Lake

NPS Photo by Dave Schnute

An Underground Lake

A crawlway near Rome led them westward into Omnibus Hall. Further explorations led them past the beautiful Frostline, beyond the Hornet’s Nest, down the Boxwork Chimney and into the complex Calcite Jungle. This eventually led them to Calcite Lake, the first lake discovered in the cave.

 
First Photograph of the Club Room
First Photograph of the Club Room

NPS Photo by Dave Schnute

Big Cave Discovered

Schnute and the Conns also headed west through the Roadblock, down Lonesome Road, to the Chinese Mushroom, and finding the truly massive Club Room.

From 1963 until their return to intensive survey in Jewel Cave in 1965, they surveyed 15,740 feet of virgin cave and set the stage for even larger discoveries to be made several years later.

 
 
Dave Schnute cave explorer and photographer.
Dave Schnute cave explorer and photographer

NPS Photo by Dave Schnute

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Hot Springs, SD 57747

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