Jim Nepstad, Jim Pisarowicz, Darren Ressler
Duration of Trip:
New Cave Surveyed:
After procrastinating as long as possible we all sucked in our bellies and dropped down into the Blowhole. The Blowhole is the second known natural entrance to Wind Cave and involves about one hour worth of flat out belly crawling.
Last year when Jim and Jim attempted a Blowhole trip, they watched as a clumsy rattlesnake plopped right down into the hole and effectively cancelled that excursion. The memory of that incident is always in the back of your mind as you squeeze down through the entrance area.
We squirmed our way down into Santa's Frosted Forest and further down the passage into an area where a previous explorer had reported a large room headed to the west-off the map. We checked leads along the western wall of the passage only to find ourselves reconnecting to previously surveyed areas. Finding this hard to understand we finally decided to consult our compass. We had been checking leads along the eastern side of the passage-180° off! All three of us had been totally confused as to which direction was which. Wind Cave once again proved itself to be a very frustrating place.
We returned to an area closer to Santa's Frosted Forest and began surveying through a fairly large walking passage. We clambered down a 20 foot climb which we named The Flying Zambino-the walls were very crumbling and threatened to turn you into an impromptu acrobat. Continuing on through a crawlway which was covered with very soft and powdery soil (The Featherbed Crawl) we eventually found ourselves back in a previously surveyed room-a large room named House of the Fallen Snurd.
Altogether we surveyed a little over 500 feet of passageway in what was a relatively short trip. We wriggled our way back through the Blowhole emerging from the world of darkness out into the dazzling sunshine.
Report by: Darren Ressler