Near Perfection, 2190′ of new survey

Feb 1 2003 a date which will live in infamy.

Participants: Ron Lather, Matt Goska, Randy Bruegger, Jeff Crews, Tom Lounsbury, Brian Borton, Ben Miller, Dan Austin, Jessie Bebb, Bob Lerch, Roger Brown, Andy Lerch, Carl Wagner, James Corsentino, Eddie Simmons, Wayne Pierce, Andy Free

Never have I seen more dedication and sheer excitement about cave surveying than I have ever seen at this event this weekend. Arriving at the Schoolhouse around 9:00am Saturday I was greeted in the usual manner and I could tell right away attitudes were good.

Transit team

The transit team consisting of Ron Lather (book) Randy Bruegger (transit) Matt Goska (frontsight) Jeff Crews (backsight) were ready to go and it didn’t take them long to get up the hill and rig the drop. They rattled off 647′ of baseline and tied UL1. This is the first side passage now attached to the baseline. Estimations expect to tie with UL2 in one or two more good trips. Ron had his first experience at keeping book in the gigantic passage that only seems to get more massive as the transit slogs its way upstream. Ron did a better job than he gives himself credit for. He, like me is his own worst critique. Randy found out that transit work can be painful after 8 hours and he is the one that called the day. The transit team worked very well together. Matt is almost ready to begin his debut on running the transit.

UL3 team (see photos in Photo Gallery)

UL3 located a few hundred feet upstream from the Roundroom is where a great deal of excitement has been taking place. The passage has proved to be very complex and elusive in finding an end. This weekend was no different. The tasks of the UL3 team consisting of Team 1 Ben Miller, Jessie Bebb, Dan Austin and Team 2 Bob Lerch, Andy Lerch, Roger Brown was to clean up all known leads between stations UL3-0 and UL3-51 a total of 9 tie in stations were surveyed and one loop was closed at less than 1% of expected error. Fantastic work. After all leads were exhausted it was time to push on and hopefully south. Details can be read from the UL3 trip report. The two teams surveyed over 1200′ feet of new survey and added to the previous total we now have 2500′ of passage in UL3. the good news is Andy pushed his way into a small room with two going leads heading south.

UL1 Team

Consisting of our newest members to the survey clan Eddie Simmons requested special consideration to team size to allow more than 4 on his team. This was to provide added manpower to carry the wallboard used for traversing the gap across thunder River 25′ below UL1 side passage, and to allow Andy and Eddie some one on one with James Corsentino to get Eddie on the road to keeping book and Andy up to speed on the requirements of our standards for book. Andy was approved this weekend as our newest bookman. He does great work and will be an extremely valuable asset to this project. Not to lessen the value on any of the rest of the team it must have went well. They surveyed 218′ of slimy but pretty virgin cave. The good news is it still goes and appears to be getting bigger. Carl said it was one of the most gratifying trips he had ever been on. They all want to return on March 8th to continue the adventure.

After I made sure all teams were in cave and on their way Brian and Myself went to town to eat and get a clipboard I forgot at my house. I had made plans to field check the first quad to prepare for the final draft then to be approved by the committee for distribution and inclusion in the Missouri cave files. Brian and Myself dropped the pit around 2:00pm and after 3.5 hours we arrived at the Christmas lights just in time to see the last of the transit team climb out. I took Brian to see Thunder Falls. I climbed up and around the top and found a gigantic upper level taking off above the Thunder River passage. It goes 40′ wide and 20′ tall. This stuff was never mentioned to me by anyone so far and naturally is not included on the original survey. These upper levels will substantially add to the mileage of the cave.U1 is very complicated but Brian (world class caver) says the quad looks excellent and he thinks after the minor adjustments I made it is ready for the world to see. Look for the final drafts of all quads to be made available through the web site as they are completed. Working versions will be made available upon written request.

T. Lounsbury