Warren Netherton, Karen Rosga
Duration of Trip:
New Cave Surveyed:
According to notes made this fall by members of a National Outdoor Leadership School trip into the cave, there appeared to be some leads worth checking off of Elephant Hall. This is a section of lower level cave located almost under the southeast corner of the Visitor Center. The route used to get to this area may be one reason that it gets less travel than other parts of the "Historic Zone" of the cave; it involves rigging a rope drop and rappelling about 50 feet down the drop. (According to old diaries and publications, this was evidently free-climbed down and up in the 1890s!)
Armed with map sections and notes we elected to rappel instead of climb, and upon reaching the bottom found that the passageway headed only northwest toward Monument Hall. Elephant Hall, which appeared to head southeast form the bottom of the drop on the map was nowhere to be seen!
We spent some time searching for old survey stations that we could begin mapping from, and generally "getting the lay of the land." Warren crawled down into a fissure marked with old pieces of string, twine, and candles, and found that the passageway continued underneath a false floor. This crawlway was quite muddy and we decided that we must come back to this and map it.
In another area off the northwest end of Monument Hall we encountered still more vertical fissures. As we wedged our way along them we found at one point Warren was wedged into the same fissure as I, only about 20 feet higher!
We plan a trip back into this area soon to survey and map the areas we explored.
Report by: Karen Rosga