Caving Narrative 1986 - May 13

Greg Nepstad, Jim Nepstad, Jim Pisarowicz

Duration of Trip:
7 hours

New Cave Surveyed:
183 feet

Connection fever was running high as we entered the cave. From the previous trip, we figured only about 20 feet separated our new discoveries from known passages to the west. If we could connect it would be the first new route to the west since the original discovery over 20 years ago!

We headed immediately to the Laugh Track as that room appeared to be the furthest west. Greg and I went into a west trending passage but that soon got too tight.

Jim pushed into a lead going north which looped back into Happy Hollow. There he discovered another crawl. Moving aside a few chunks of chert that had fallen into the crawlway he squeezed his way through. There he found a rock that had an arrow smoked on it pointing west. Someone had pushed into this crawl from the other side but had not gone far enough!

Zooming back through the crawl we all were together again as excited as three people could be. Taking out the surveying equipment we went to work mapping the new route which we called the Happy Route.

Just beyond the arrow we entered a very large room where we tied our survey into a previous point-KY357. We celebrated by eating a short lunch and then took a couple of pictures of the historic connection. We then headed out of the cave for a real celebration with friends over a large pizza.

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