Survey Trip Report
Area Mapped: Main Passage and UL3
Cavers: Roger Brown, Kim Chiles, Dan Isbell, Dan Lamping, Andy Lerch, Bob Lerch, Ben Miller, Matt Platter, Joe Sikorski, Nick Worden, Rita Worden
Team Leaders: Bob Lerch, Ben Miller
We got a late start into the cave since everyone wanted to sleep in. It was 1:10p by the time everyone was at the bottom of the entrance. We headed to the end of the main passage U survey to quickly tie it into UL3. At this point, Ben and 5 other people (Kim, Dan L., Andy, Joe, and Rita) headed into the UL3 maze to push the southwest leads (see Ben’s report). The goal of my team was to at least have a preliminary tie-in to UL3. That way, every upstream side passage we have been surveying would be tied-into the main passage, and we can let Spike, or someone, overlay line plots of everything surveyed to date on USGS topo maps for us.
Without any experienced transit people, except Dan Isbell, on my team, we decided to simply shoot instruments and distance without any sketching. We used the Disto instead of a tape for distance, and everybody got a chance to use it. It’s a great device, and accurately measures up to about 120′, if you give it a good target. A 3″ X 5″ flat surface works well as a station, which does make for some error because you can’t shoot to a pinpoint-sized station with the Distos. Holding it still on long shots is a challenge and usually requires two hands to steady it. However, a significant positive factor is no tape stretch, which is a major source of error on long shots when using a fiberglass tape. We knocked out about 800′ to the UL3 tie-in, had some hot food, and then, we headed into the south-central leads of the UL3 maze.
To give you an idea of how complex the maze has gotten, our tie-in station was UL3-57a9b1, and we had a sizable (5′ high X 15′ wide) upper lead to map, with side passages of its own. The station names can get out of control in here. We were faced with a passage that had two levels with periodic holes connecting them. So, we split into upper and lower level teams. The passage was mostly low and wide with a sand over clay floor. Where the lower level initially intersects the upper level, the passage enlarges to a walking canyon passage for about 80′ along the left wall (looking in). The upper level continued for several hundred more feet. At one point, you step across a pit about 20′ deep, another intersection with the lower level, and then the passage ends in a nice sized room (40′ wide and 3-5′ tall). Along the right wall was some very fresh looking clay and rock fill coming out of a small dome to plugged with debris to enter. The area around this new looking fill was quite moist whereas the rest of the room was dry. We mapped about 250′ total in the upper level. My team headed back to the 20′ pit to survey down it and tie-in with the lower level team. The pit proved to be any easy down-climb. The lower level team got about 150′ of mostly low, wide breakdown passage. The only going lead (almost due north) from the lower level was mapped for about 50′ where it forked. To the left was a small phreatic-looking tube about 1.5′ high X 4′ wide, heading northwest. The floor was sand over clay, but the clay was wet and sticky. To the left, was a stream level passage with a very muddy, wet clay floor, but it is sizable (3′ high X 6-10′ wide) going passage to the SE. There was one pair of footprints in the floor as well. At this point we had well over 400′ in the south-central area, and decided to call it quits after about 14 hours of mapping. Out tie-in station is UL3-57a9b5b6, I think… It took about 2 hours to go from the maze to the entrance, and it was 5:30-5:45 am by the time my team got out of the hole.
After seeing Ben’s data, we netted almost 1000′ of passage in UL3. The southwest and southeast leads have shutdown, leaving only the south-central maze area with going leads, other than mop-up.
Report #2 by Ben Miller
Carroll Cave Trip Report
We entered the cave around 1:00 PM Saturday afternoon. After everyone had entered we headed up to the UL4 entrance to the UL3 maze complex. My team (Kim Chiles, Dan Lamping, Andy Lerch, Joe Sikorski, Rita Worden) made its way to what was thought to be another major intersection where we were planned to push the passage to the southwest. Unfortunately we pushed this passage about 90 feet before the clay fill came up against the ceiling and made us have to dig our way through a super grim squeeze to another 75 feet of unimpressive passage. This last 75 feet still needs to be surveyed. After being shut down we decided to head to the south-central portion of the maze and start surveying a lead I knew of off the Burrito Breeze Room, the same room Bob’s team had started from. Well this passage shut us down as well after 75-90 feet. Both Andy and I super squeezed into terminal ends, only after we were in did we realize that it had been a bad idea to try. A little disgruntled we headed for the Canyonlands portion of the maze where I knew there was a paralleling passage that was “near-virgin”. We started surveying into this muddy canyon and were able to get several hundred feet surveyed before it became too grim for the team to be prodded any further. In the middle of surveying this passage we took a break and made our way back to our staging area outside the UL4 entrance. We had a hot meal and some drinks then it was back into the maze. Finally, after our team had finished with the mud canyon we made our way to yet another part of the maze, this time again in the south-west portion. We started surveying what turned out to be a 150 foot long loop. After tying both ends of the loop into known survey we decided it was time to head out of the cave. We gathered up our gear and headed for the hole. At the backdoor entrance we met up with the other crew. All of us exited the cave by 6:00 AM Sunday morning.