Trip Report for 4/5/2003

Area surveyed UL2 side passage

Trip Leader : Ben Miller

Other surveyors: Jessie Bebb

Roger Brown

We entered the cave around 11:30 am and arrived at the side passage about an hour later around 12:30 pm.  Bob Lerch showed us where to start, which was a small meander off of the left/south side of the main UL2 passage.  We started surveying this meander but almost instantly became aware that this was not going to be a simple meander.  The walls most of the time were deceiving, either not being the true wall or being angled at such a way that the wall was not visible.  About halfway through the meander we found an upper level following the side of the main UL2 passage upstream.  This upper level consisted mainly of a medium sized dome room with a spur leading to a flowstone balcony overlooking UL2’s stream approximately 50+ feet below us.  After surveying this upper level we finished the rest of the meander connecting into our tie-in stations.  One thing that we had not totally checked out was a lead about 5 feet off the ground near one of our previous stations in the meander.  While investigating this side it was found to actually “go”, continuing south.  We took a small break to get our gear together, eat something, and leave a note for the transit team, who was supposed to come and find us whenever they were finished.

Up in the new lead we continued surveying in hands-knees crawling passage, not as big as could be desired but it was dry, increasingly rare in UL2.  This led to a tight squeeze into a 15 foot-tall canyon, so narrow however that we were forced to stick near the ground.  After many short awkward shots we finally reached a dome room.  This room had an unusual feature, no ceiling.  We could look up through a hole into a large room with a ceiling another 35-40 feet above us.  After a very tricky climb up into this room we started setting up for splay shots around the large room which was about 35 feet tall and 80 feet wide.  The room was completely filled with breakdown, the large majority of this being made up of large flat pieces of chert.  There was a waterfall, as well, falling out of the highest point in the ceiling.  We definitely hit some sort of geologic or geographic boundary.  Only one very tight crawl was found leading off the room, which Roger followed for about another 100-150 feet before it shut down.  After completing the survey of the room we decided we were all tired and it would probably be best to head out.  As we were getting our gear together back at the main UL2 passage we heard Bob coming up to find us, what luck we had all decided to end right at the same time.  We then all exited the cave and enjoyed the rest of the evening around the warm campfire.