Participants: Bob Kobza, Jim Pisarowicz, Karen Rosga
Duration of Trip: 7 hours
New Cave Surveyed: none
This trip was an attempt to find an easier way into the interior of Wind Cave by using the Blowhole (Snake Pit) Entrance. Because of the cold weather and the snow on the ground, we figured that we did not have to worry about rattlesnakes in the cave.
Using the new plot of the cave based upon the radio location work on 1985, it appeared that the Blowhole route went directly under a large room just north of Santa's Frosted Forest. We trucked down the crawls to B-20 and then down toward B-24. This is a very interesting passage in that the lower sections are completely clay-filled. Bob and Karen initially checked the passage and indicated that it did not go. I then had a look at it and noticed that there was some air movement. I followed this air movement only to discover that all the wind went up through two small holes in the ceiling. One of these holes is large enough to look through into what appeared to be a large room. I am sure that it was the room just north or Santa's Frosted Forest. There is no way that a person could get through these holes short of blasting you way through. The only good point of the trip was that we confirmed that the maps were probably accurate in indicating that B-24 was under the WU survey in the large room.
We saw a bat above B-20, many small flying insects, some spiders and a few isopods all along this passage. There were small sections of tumbleweed blown all the way down to B-20.
The passage was very windy on the way out and everyone had their lamps blown out at one point or another. If the cave were inhaling cold outside air at such a force, the wind chill in the passage would be been -20°F or colder. This would be an important consideration on winter trips using this passage. The threat of hypothermia should be considered because the crawling is very slow in some places.
Report by: Jim Pisarowicz