Caving Narrative 1984 - May 21

Andi O'Conor surveying through the Wretched Hole
Andi O'Conor surveying through the Wretched Hole

NPS Photo by Jim Pisarowicz

Mary Laycock, Warren Netherton, Karen Rosga

Duration of Trip:
8 hours

New Cave Surveyed:

This trip covers virtually the same ground as the May 21, 1984 trip that Andi O'Conor, Jim Pisarowicz, and I took. Since the area is unsurveyed, it is very difficult to describe where the features are. The passageway leading to this area extends off the west end of the Xerox Room.

A short belly crawl must be negotiated in order to get to this new section of cave. It is named The Wretched Hole. The problem in getting through is that the rock is sharp and clothing readily catches on protrusions. The tight section is only a foot or two long. On the other side of this hole is a lot of cave.

Passages appear to be at the contact of the upper and middle layers of the Pahasapa. In most places the floor is breakdown with calcite cementing the rocks together. Good airflow throughout the area.

On this trip we poked a number of leads. Most were too small to enter or looped around to the main passage. One however, led off 150 feet to a room 20 feet high, 20 feet wide, and 30 feet long. Passages extended off from there. Someone had been there before. The room has moist air and seems of a little different character than the other sections; less breakdown, well defined passages. It is interesting to note that the lead extending to this room is around 10 feet wide and 6 feet high where it leaves the main route, yet it was overlooked on several exploration trips to the area in 1982. It looks like it is part of the main route with a pillar of rock in the middle, but it is not.

Report by: Warren Netherton

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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