Caving Narrative 1988 - March 15

Erik Major, Jim Nepstad, Darren Ressler, Coleen Walter

Duration of Trip:
3-1/2 hours

New Cave Surveyed:
712 feet

Normally a survey in a cave (or anywhere else) should be done once and done correctly. It is rarely justifiable to resurvey anything. Occasionally, however, there are legitimate reasons for a resurvey to be done. The area involved here was a section that had been surveyed before but had been "tied" or connected to another survey for which we had no information. The survey itself also had been poorly done-we could not find any survey stations to use to make a connection to a known survey. Essentially then, this area had been left dangling with no connection to Wind Cave. As we were relatively certain that this was a part of Wind Cave, we decided to resurvey the area and make it an official part of the cave.

We started from the Council Chambers, climbed up the Alpine Way into the Attic. Very shortly after entering the Attic we branched off and began the new survey. After crawling through a small hole in the wall we were in the main passage that parallels the Attic. The first section was a large walking passage and by our fourth station we had already reached 20 feet and by our seventh, well over 300 feet. On we went through the cave-usually large enough to walk with only a very short crawls.

This was Coleen's first survey trip but she caught on very quickly and was soon running the tape and placing the survey stations. Between Coleen and Erik running the tape and myself reading instruments, Jim was kept very busy taking the notes and drawing the sketch as we leapt forward 30 to 70 feet with every shot. At one point Erik raced the tape as Coleen reeled it in and-after Coleen stopped laughing-we named this spot The Raceway.

After the Raceway, we came across a pocket of calcite dogtooth spar crystal that had the largest spar we had seen in the cave. Some individual crystals were 2 inches long and 1 inch wide! Very impressive. Finally we dropped down 20 feet into a room just above the Pearly Gates and finished our survey. In about 3 hours of survey time we had mapped over 700 feet and had added that "dangling" passage onto Wind Cave.

Report by: Darren Ressler

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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