Lounsbury, Borton, Bruegger, Isbell
Upstream Thunder main passage transit survey
Yet, another fine weekend of Carroll surveying.
The weekend started off as an ideal weekend weather wise for sublime camping at the world famous Sweat school house campground. Spirits could not have been better.
The transit team which was to consist of T. Lounsbury, B. Borton, R. Bruegger and Dan Isbell was forced to create a five man team due to the large number of cavers that were forced to abandon their commitment to participate in the March weekend. We found ourselves Saturday morning with an odd number of cavers ready to survey. I felt sorry for Bob because the participation list was huge and folks were being turned down as close as the 4th but due to the lack of participating bookman by the 7th it was clear we were struggling to field just two teams.
The transit team now consisting of all of the above plus P. Woods entered the cave at 10:00am and I for one thought the ladder swallowed allot of rappelling room but I soon found that if you placed your shins against the rails it was smoother sailing than actually without it. We all regrouped at the bottom after B. Bortons 600lb pack arrived and we divvied up the gear to proceed upstream to locate our starting station which was U39. I made a point to make sure our new surveyors were aware that avoiding the stream when ever possible was not an option. We made every effort to traverse the stream to one extreme side or the other only crossing it when absolutely necessary and I believe it made a remarkable difference. Unfortunately we only counted two fish all day.
The second team consisting of B. Lerch, M, Goska, D. Austin entered the cave shortly after the transit team and proceeded to UL1 to begin the next leg of the survey in that side passage. They placed a 2″ x 8″ walk board across the 6′ gap and rigged a hand line I provided to them. They found UL1-9 and began their survey. You can read their report for the details of the UL1 side passage.
The transit team was a superb example of what the transit team is capable of when everyone seems to be on the same page. Our lead tape (Paul) did a fantastic job setting stations and I could not recall one complaint from Randy who was shooting. We provided an opportunity for Dan Isbell who was chomping at the bit to get involved with the survey to get his hands dirty and learn the procedures for our transit work. He was a natural and surprised me very much with his accuracy and speed. His backsights were all within a half a degree of error and that was far better than some who have had allot more experience than he had. His eye sight was remarkable, and better than mine I will say. The passage did expand to almost 150′ wide but after 10 stations it started to become a manageable 100′ wide. Still difficult to sketch and nearly imposable to understand without the multiple splay shots we were forced to shoot for passage and wall control. The transit team stopped for lunch around 4:30 and those of us that brought heat sources cooked soups and stews to warm the bones followed by multiple rounds of hot coffee and cocoa. The warm food was a big hit and now everyone wants to start cooking from now on. Randy said this was the best he had felt on a cave trip of this length in 10 years, wow.
After lunch we had renewed our spirit and we rattled off another 14 stations to make a total of 25 stations and 1200′ of total survey for the trip It was indeed a great weekend and I will admit I was anxious to try this new ladder. I climbed aboard and was out in less than 3 minutes with two brief rest along the way. When I arrived at the top all I could think was the lady cavers are not going to like it at all. It does require a good deal of upper body strength to negotiate, everyone agreed though it was 50% easier and 70% more efficient than a ropewalker. I owe Rick a big apology for not being a little more open minded about it from the beginning. Sorry Rick you were right, I was wrong. It should help provide access to more cavers that are not so inclined to get on a rope. Try it you will like it I say.
I’ll see everyone on the 5th of April for another thousand feet. We are within 300′ of connecting to the UL2 survey that was started several months ago. I have completed the first quad (U1) and have started the second upstream quad( U2) and it will contain the newly finished UL1 survey. The first sizable side passage upstream from the new entrance. Thank you everyone who has made the new survey of Carroll Cave a great success so far. Without all of you it would not be possible.