Caving Narrative 2007 - June 5

Chris Amidon, Erin Niedringhaus, Alison Carlyle

Duration of Trip:
7 hours

New Cave Surveyed:
165 feet

Returned to the NZ survey. Tried to squeeze through a tight lead left by previous survey with Bonny and Andy Armstrong (NZ21P). No could fit as the squeeze was around 7" with a slight bulge in the middle over the breastbone. The room through the squeeze seemed to dead end (but you never know). Checked a lead off of NZ21G which Bonny previously had said did not go. It did go and we surveyed a loop into NZ21E, then surveyed beneath the NZ18 room connecting eventually into NP5k. Named one room "The Solifluction Room" (NZ21Z). This is the geologic term for permafrost melting and ground slowly moving. For some reason all the breakdown goo reminded Erin of this process. Also found some slickensides in this room indicating fault movement, which is probably why the paleofill was so "goo-like". Lastly we surveyed off of NZ23. There was good airflow in this passage and beautiful popcorn. Named NZ21B-NZ21G "The White Whale" because of the beautiful white formations and the airflow led us on an exciting chase of cave passage before suddenly slamming shut. The air could fit, but we could not. We felt like Ahab chasing the fabled "Moby Dick"--constantly teased by the air, but to no great avail. We left two leads off of the NZ23 letter survey with decent potential. There's enough here for a return trip.

Note: There is a typo on the drafted map in the VIP Center. The VIP Map says NZ2Q instead of NZ24. I've crossed out the incorrect name in pencil and written in the correct survey designation.

Report by: Chris Amidon

Last updated: April 10, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

26611 US Highway 385
Hot Springs, SD 57747


(605) 745-4600

Contact Us