Caving Narrative 1989 - January 18

Mammoth Backbone
Bob Kobza (left) and Karen Rosga (right) in the Mammoth Backbone

NPS Photo by Jim Pisarowicz

Bob Kobza, Darren Ressler, Michael Ryan, Jim Pisarowicz

Duration of Trip:
10-1/2 hours

New Cave Surveyed:

Because it had been well over a year since anyone had been down to what we call the New Lakes area, we decided a lead checking trip would be in order. We had a slow, leisurely trip down to City Hall - after two hours we stepped up to the shores of Windy City Lake. During our last trip to the lakes we discovered that our raft-the only way across the water (short of swimming)-had a fairly substantial leak in it. So after eating a little lunch and patching up our transport we hopped in and floated our way to the other side of the lake. At one point the raft no longer fits through the fissure and you have to climb out of the boat and begin straddling the water to get to the far side. After making the required fancy maneuvers we found our way to the White Guano Climb and Jim-Bobs Plunge where high climbs over the water must be negotiated to continue on. At one point where the way across involved skirting an exposed drop we paused to install a hand line to make the traverse a little less unsettling.

We then continued through the Mammoth's Backbone and on to the eastern side of the new area-sightseeing along the way. After checking a few crawls in this area (all of which dead ended) we decided to head for Atlantis and the northern section of the new area. The possible leads at this point also dead ended after short sections of tight and nasty crawlways.

Having been rebuffed in our attempts to find undiscovered new areas we began the long trip out-disappointed in a fashion but satisfied with the trip nonetheless. We had seen a distinct and incredibly beautiful section of the cave-an area where less than 10 people have ever been. Knowing this and knowing that the cave shares its secrets according to its own plans, we were reminded that our desire to discover some of those secrets is always of secondary importance. We wandered home with tired smiles on our faces.

Report by: Jim Pisarowicz

Last updated: February 7, 2018

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