Survey Trip Report Submitted by: Bob Lerch

Trip Date: 11/23/02

Cavers: Dan Austin, Roger Brown, Bill Gee, Bob Lerch (trip leader), Andy Lerch, and Ben Miller

Our primary goal for the trip was to continue the T survey. If it ended, our secondary goal was to start surveying side passages off upper Thunder River. Well, T survey ended, and we had a nice, but short trip, finishing off the last 80′ or so that remained. We loved the Angel Pool, and Dan took some pictures that hopefully came out well. We re-grouped back at the new entrance, where there was a lot of activity. People were working hard shoveling the blast debris out from under the new hole. All I could think as I put on my wet suit was that I’m glad to be surveying today.

The team of Roger Brown, Bill Gee, and Bob Lerch took the first passage left (now designated UL1) that heads to Convention Hall – a cave within a cave! We mapped about 250′ of winding stream canyon passage in UL1, with huge mud banks on either side, and possible upper leads on the meanders (sound familiar?).  This passage is really just a small version of the main passage in both shape and character. Tom Lounsbury says there may be 3000′ of passage with two or three good leads.  Sweet!!  I’m looking forward to getting very familiar with this part of the cave.

The team of Dan Austin, Andy Lerch, and Ben Miller headed further up stream to the Round Room. Somewhere near the Round Room, they found the next left passage and started surveying it (now designated UL2; note: it was incorrectly reported earlier that this team started UR1). They mapped about 400′ of going passage, and, in addition, there was a parallel lower level. There is a 20′ pit to gain access, so they will eventually be rigging it. For more details on this team’s findings, look for Ben’s upcoming report.

After surveying, we did a quick sight seeing tour to Thunder Falls, where several people took pictures and generally waded around in cold water. We headed out after about 11.5 hours underground. The trip went by incredibly fast, and next time we will probably try to spend more like 14-16 hours underground so we can start knocking off chunks of 1000′ and more per trip. This trip wasn’t bad, both teams mapped a total of about 730′, but with travel time and the complexity of the cave, it makes for rather slow mapping.