Caving Narrative 1987 - July 16

Jim Pisarowicz, Karen Rosga

Duration of Trip:
6 hours

New Cave Surveyed:
236 feet

Last Thanksgiving weekend, Karen, Dave Gerboth (MN) and I found a pit we called Five Finger Fall that led down to a maze of passages under the Fairgrounds. Later that winter Karen led several instructors from the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) into this area where they mapped 1100 feet of new cave. On that trip, one lead, going down another pit, was left unchecked as they were not carrying ropes with them. On this trip we were carrying ropes and other vertical equipment to descend this pit.

We began surveying toward the pit, lugging a pack containing 150 feet of rope, rappel racks, and jumars for climbing back up the rope. Ropes are not usually required in Wind Cave and when needed, more often than not, good rigging points are difficult to find. Fortunately we had to go back only 50 feet from the pit to find a suitable rock to tie off the rope.

After padding the rope at the lip, I rigged onto the rope and carefully began the rappel down the pit. Lots of loose rocks were along the 55 foot drop and after a few moments I was at the bottom. As Karen was getting set to come down I began checking out the area at the bottom of the pit which Karen christened Door #3 Pit. Soon I found evidence that we had descended into an area just off the Candlelight Tour route. We surveyed the pit, tied the survey to a previous point and then ascended the rope.

Another small passage was also entered but soon got too tight to continue. We named this The Sleeze because of its general nasty character.

Report by: Jim Pisarowicz

Last updated: April 10, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

26611 US Highway 385
Hot Springs, SD 57747


(605) 745-4600

Contact Us