Trip report by Mike Kovacs

Trip Leader name: Mike Kovacs
Trip date: 2024-05-19
Trip purpose: Recreational

Trip participants: Candace Kovacs
Mike Kovacs
Becca Marlin
Tyler Marlin

Entry Time: 10:00am Exit Time: 3:00pm

How far: The group visited Thunder Falls, Lower Thunder River (roughly to the The Angel Pool and passage beyond the Angel Pool to the terminal of the passage and the Large Guano Piles past the Water Barrier in Carroll Passage.

Injuries: No injuries to report on this trip.

Trash: Mike Kovacs collected a Vice-Grip tool at the Ladder staging & sitting (Backdoor Entrance) area where teams drop their vertical gear. I assume this tool was accidentally left behind or alternatively, it may have been placed purposefully in anticipation of removing the cable. Regardless I packed it out to the Silo and placed it in the CCC Sign In Box for safe keeping to avoid rust etc. so it will remain functional and al that jazz..

Mike Kovacs and Tyler Marlin found what appeared to be a red felt piece of material near the data log station at the bottom of thunder falls perhaps from a shoe or backpack resting on a wall ledge. Mike Kovacs collected it and discarded it topside.

Biology: Bioata:

1 deceased ring snake- location: Ladder
1 Camel Cricket – location: Ladder
3 Grotto Sallies – location: Ladder
2 Cave Fish- location: Carroll passage; past the Water Barrier moving towards the Guano Piles

The trip report: This trip was a modest group of 4 team members. Becca and Tyler Marlin arrived Saturday night (5/18/2024) around 10:15pm and setup camp so they could be well rested from their long drive to Carroll Cave for this trip. Mike and Candace Kovacs arrived at Carroll Cave the following morning at 9:00am.

Mike Kovacs had to make a stop at a Walmart in Lebanon Missouri to get some wool socks because he was afraid he might have been short a pair as he was on a map QC & cave monitoring mission the day before. As it turns out Mike Kovacs actually had a backup pair in his gear-set so the stop at Walmart was NOT mission critical :-)….oops.

While the Marlins were awaiting our arrival Tyler Marlin was motivated to mow a nice 15 foot wide strip (of what I’m calling a Nice Driveway) from the last gate as you enter the Silo area to the Pavilion as the grass was very overgrown…like 3 ft tall!

After the 4 of us exchanged pleasantries Mike Kovacs assisted Tyler Marlin with getting those pesky shipping container doors closed to secure the riding lawn mower.

At 9:15am we all suited up and regulated our vertical gear and Mike Kovacs hauled the tethers, rope pads and rope into the silo to get the vertical rigging done. Tyler Marlin assisted the rigging & placement of the rope so we could get going and make the drop into Carroll. After discussing the delicate nature of rope-work, e.g. how to rig a micro-rack as well as a bobbin etc etc.

-we were “good-to-go” at 9:35am.

Candace Kovacs was the first to rappel into the cave followed by Tyler, then Becca and finally Mike. Mike Kovacs made sure the hatch was closed and the lights were turned off. As this was Mike’s first trip as the permit holder he wanted to make sure (hopefully) all the boxes on the checklist were ticked!

The group descended at their own pace and the entire team was subterranean at 10:00am.

Candace & Becca used a Figure 8, Tyler used a BMS micro-rack & Mike Used a Petzl Simple w/Frieno (friction carabiner).

Upon landing into the cave and removing our vertical gear the 1st tick on the agenda was to initiate a Step-Log mission (for personal use) to document relative time and location to Thunder Falls from the ladder in a written format (in a PDF document with images) as a supplemental reference to existing map(s).

The first order of business was to make our way East towards the twin side passages in Carroll Passage to access Thunder Falls of what we are calling “the Dry Route”. Alternatively the team also tracked the relative time & location to reach Thunder Falls via (what we are calling) the “Wet Route”, simply meaning we just followed the river to Thunder Falls.

The team spoke of a quite obvious & present odor (aroma/scent?) that was ultimately defined as a guano aroma . Becca Marlin is to thank for that. Perhaps the heavy rainfall is responsible for this not because of water flow but because of increased airflow due to elevated water levels? <–curious .

-This supplemental navigational data could be beneficial to those that aren’t familiar with reading & interpreting cave maps. Plus this type of data explains the actual walking path within a cave. A map shows the cave itself without the true meander of the path. Honestly I like to use maps but some people are not visual learners so this type of data could be useful especially as a supplemental reference.

As the team was small and tidy the Step Log mission was completed quickly and somewhat efficiently so we still had plenty of time to check out the cave.

Since we were already at Thunder Falls I felt that inspecting Lower Thunder was appropriate since the access of this trunk is literally right there as well as the fact that no one on this trip had ever been in this section of Carroll, so… when in Rome right? After inspecting Thunder Falls the team meandered through Lower Thunder River almost, ALMOST to DL1. However we decided to turn back because the journey was unremarkable (e.g. mud, water, mud water, mud, water I in perpituity ) thus far & Candace didn’t want to push Lower Thunder as she had just had a recent meniscus surgery recently.

The group made the way back to Thunder Falls and pressed on back to the Ladder. We all had a quick lunch at 11:45am to 12:15pm.

Since we are back at the Ladder for lunch and this was our base in effect we decided to go check out the Angel Pool. As is was not far and easy to find as well as Tyler has never visited this area we pressed went to seek it out towards & into the Upper Thunder River area. The group found it and inspected it and we decided to push to rest of the passage where we monitored a LOT of pretties especially a nice pristine (but small) white & pure rimstone dam under a similarly pristine flowstone cover that housed a pool containing a plethora of cave pearls Subsequently there was a flowstone-pit that was equally beautiful about 10 feet away.

The interesting thing about the passage that continues past the Angel Pool is that it seems to have a possible connection to the Land Of Shock And Awe in UR1 according to the map which is badass fantastic!

After the Angel Pool mission we regrouped at the ladder around 1:00pm and headed towards the Water Barrier via Carroll Passage. The group pressed through the Water Barrier to monitor the Guano Piles beyond the passage of the Water Barrier.

-No bats to report and no new guano on the measuring disks respectively.

After reaching the largest guano pile we decided it was time to head back to the Ladder and exit the cave.

The team arrived at he Ladder at approximately 2:30 pm and we were all up and out of the cave at 3:00pm

-so to summarize we dropped in explored all 3 main trunks of Carroll based from the T-Junction.

We were all topside by 3:00pm. We changed clothes, dried out and warmed up in the 89 degree Fahrenheit temperature and cruised home.