| I crawled into the hole, which after a few
feet opened into narrow canyon which progressively stepped higher and
higher until I was stopped by a slot at the top of the canyon. I was
stopped by a large nodule of limestone on the right wall, and vowed to
return with a hammer, since I could see a drop-off of 10 feet or so on
the other side. Peg called and we continued out of the cave, marking
the lead with a cairn.
(click image to enlarge)
– On July 18 we returned and at the entrance began a resurvey of the D4
section, due to lost survey stations and notes that we found difficult
to read. The survey crew stayed the same with Peggy sketching, Tony
reading instruments and me as tape.
Despite the difficulty of
we managed to survey to our initial survey station and tied "AA" (our
survey line that went out into Alice’s Restaurant) into "A" (231 feet
of survey). Peg was totally brain fried, so we moved on to check the
previous trip’s lead. Thinking one small knob was stopping me I had
brought a baby sledge along. Once back to the slot, I banged on the
offending bedrock only to hear it reverberate around me and chip stone
into my ear.
Taking another look, I jammed myself into the slot and
after a 10 minute struggle managed to slide through.
through the slot the canyon continues, with a Y intersection. Taking
the right passage the canyon narrows and drops. After about thirty feet
I looked up to see a large chunk of coral sticking out from across a
20-foot dome. I muttered a loud "Wow" and called to Tony and Peg that
the slot was worth the effort. We continued to scoop for about 30
minutes with no end in sight. After "Mantelpiece Dome," the passage
continues as 30-foot-high canyon to a sediment fill climb, after which
it drops to a speleothem-congested crawl. Further ahead is a junction,
with passage running in both directions into the darkness. On this trip
we took the left-hand passage, and went until we discovered four
columns in a perfect row about 4 feet high, which were eventually named
“The King and His Court.” One note is that on this trip the temperature
suffered an abrupt and sudden change; once we reached the higher level,
the temperature rose significantly.
The tight slot in the canyon has
been named “Saint Peter’s Slot” because, like its namesake who guards
the gates of Heaven, it only lets certain people through. Peggy
sometimes calls it by another name – “The Icky Thing.”
(click image to enlarge)