Survey Report – December 7. 2002

Trip Report for 12/7/2002

By Ben Miller

We got into the cave around 11:30 am and Chris, Marsha, Jessie, Brian, Tom, and I headed for the Round Room. We paused briefly at Convention Hall to admire the formations and confirm with Bob our meeting time at the entrance for later that night. Made our way upstream with no major incidences except for a rotten ledge that collapsed after Chris jumped off. We arrived at the Round Room and I gave Tom a quick overview of what he had in store and basically where the room began. Then Chris, Marsha, and I headed on through the room and onto UL2. We paused at the entrance to the passage in order to get all the gear sorted out, assign jobs, and to put on some extra clothing. We headed into the passage, made it to our starting point for survey, and began getting set up. Marsha who was lead tape, grabbed the end of the tape and started off down the passageway. After some problems getting started we finally started surveying down the passage. Chris eventually took over lead tape as we began moved further into the passage, which was nice meandering canyon passage about eight feet tall and 20-30 feet wide. One cannot move throughout the entire width of the passage however as a ledge is usually encountered which makes the enterable passage approximately 6-8 feet wide. As time wore on we began to get cold and decided to take a break back at the start of the passage, the trip back helped warm us up as well. Chris and Marsha ate some warm soup and I walked around to get my feet warmed back up. After the break we headed back into the passage and began to survey again. Had some trouble with one of the batteries on the compass dying and another the switch sticking so we had to pull the clino and compass apart in order to get a light in to see with. Within a few shots Marsha was cold again and decided to crawl to the start of the passage and back to get warm while I sketched. Unfortunately she had not brought in any extra clothing to put on while surveying. Chris and I took one more shot, bringing the survey up to around 230 feet, and then went to check on Marsha. She was at the beginning of the passage still and said that she didn’t feel like she had enough energy to do anymore that day so we decided it was best to head out of the cave. We stopped in the Round Room on our way out and let Tom Panion know that we were heading out. He gave us a definite out time for his group and we started heading downstream. We somehow got sucked into a large meander just outside of the Round Room and ended back at the start of the room. Bumfuddled we got heading the right way and proceeded to Convention Hall, where I went up to tell Bob and Roger that out group was heading out. He said they still had plenty of energy and were staying warm so they were going to stay in longer as well. When we left Convention Hall the time was 9:30 PM. We made it to the entrance in another 45 minutes or so and everyone made it out of the cave by 11:45 PM.


I was concerned about couple of things that happened during the trip that I felt were unsafe and inefficient as far as the survey was concerned. Marsha was supposed to have been an experienced surveyor and Chris was to be our newbie on the team. When we started surveying it became obvious that Marsha had no previous experience with any sort of cave survey. Chris and I were forced into suddenly having to teach our experienced surveyor how to read instruments and explaining the concept of cave survey. She was also not adequately prepared clothing-wise or food-wise for a Carroll Cave trip. We explained at the beginning of the day that the trip would be long (14-15 hours) and she felt like she was ready for a trip. I believe there should be some sort of checking of experience with concerns to survey experience and hard caving experience as well if a “sponsored caver” is on a team with someone other than their sponsor or if the person has never been on a long Carroll trip.


The trip was a productive trip with over 200 feet surveyed. The passage we were in is getting larger and is changing into more complex, typical Gasconade dolomite sponge-work-like passage. The passage is still high and dry, heading almost directly south. There is another side passage we noticed as well which heads off in a different direction off the right side of the passsage. This was followed for a few hundred feet at hands-and-knees height crawling with no end being reached. Everyone on the trip was immensely impressed with Carroll and I as well cannot wait to get back.