September 27th Work Weekend at the Backdoor


Bernhard Arnold, Greg Buckley, Bill Copeland, Ashley Fleming,

Rick Hines, Dan Lamping, Ron Lather, Bob Lerch, Bill Pfantz, Richard Thompson, Aaron White, Joe Sikorski

Special thanks to:

Danny Schupbach, Phil Ming, Eddie Simmons

Tasks were accomplished in three general areas: a high rig point for rescue work, AC wiring and site cleanup.

High rig point

One of the main reasons for constructing a 16’ tall building over the Backdoor was to provide a high rig point to facilitate raising an injured caver from the shaft. Saturday we placed a 4” schedule 80 steel pipe through the walls of the silo and directly over the shaft about 15 feet above the concrete floor of the silo. A 4-to-1 block and tackle is now chained to the pipe and hanging directly over the hatch over the shaft. A SKED stretcher could easily be raised from the shaft and swung to the side and lowered to the concrete floor.

To place the pipe we first located the shortest chord directly over the center of the shaft. We cut appropriate shaped holes in the walls of the silo 15’ above the floor. The next trick was to thread the 18’ long 400 lb. pipe through the two holes from the outside of the building. We used the old tripod, two come-alongs, chains, ropes and ingenuity to accomplish the job. The chord length was a little less than 14’ so we left 4’ of pipe cantilevered outside one side of the silo. It will provide a good point to practice rope work. To finish the job Dan Lamping welded the pipe in place sealing off the gap between the pipe and the silo wall.

A special thanks to those that help get the pipe to the Backdoor. The pipe was donated by Danny Schupbach. Bill Copeland volunteered to pick it up but soon found it was too big for his truck. Eddie Simmons was able to borrow a larger flatbed truck from Phil Ming and loaded the pipe Friday night with Danny’s help. Eddie parked the truck at his house where Bill picked it up Saturday morning. Team work!

AC Wiring

On my way from KC to Carroll I took a slight detour to go by Wheatland and pick up the CCC’s chief electrician, Greg Buckley. We loaded up conduit and other electrical hardware at Greg’s place and hit the road. After getting to the silo Greg and Aaron White planned the wiring and went town to purchase the rest of the hardware we needed for the project. Lights, switches, and outlets were installed in the silo and the basement. We still have a little wire left to be pulled in the basement but the silo is wired and operational.


Ron Lather put together a crew to continue the clean up of the Backdoor site. Ron made good use of the flatbed and loaded all of the trash lumber, including the oak 2x4s used to floor the old silo, and moved them to the schoolhouse for campfire wood. A load of scrap steel was loaded and hauled off. Several large pieces of steel and some lumber remain to be dealt with next time.

I asked Bernhard Arnold to make a trip down the shaft to retrieve a tarp that had been left in the cave on a previous work project and to try to measure the water flow down the shaft. I hoped that with three buckets and a trap Bernhard would be able to measure the flow rate. Bernhard came up with the tarp and a story of about how measuring the flow was not a one man job, at least with the equipment we provided him. Next month I will be better prepared.

As the sun set Saturday we were treated to a very nice double rainbow, that faded into a single rainbow, that grew to form an almost complete arch.

I hope you will be able to join us October 25th for the next work weekend.

Rick Hines 913 897 4258