The Kentucky Caver Quarterly Proceedings of the
Bluegrass Grotto: the North Central Kentucky Area Chapter of the National Speleological Society
page 18  [contents] (< prev) (next >)
 vol. 40. iss. 1, December 2005

Trip 5
- July 31. Chad Morgan, Peg and I returned to continue the resurvey to get to the going passage. After an 11 hour marathon survey (550ft) we set UP13, the first station past Mantelpiece Dome on top of the sediment fill climb. [Peggy’s note: This was an awesome day of survey. Within the first few survey shots, Chad’s frontsights and Ben’s backsights totally started to groove with hardly any error! Plus, the passage was much easier to sketch than the tight, vertical areas around the entrance.] After the survey, we continued to the junction and took a right to an area now called The Chocolate Factory. Here mud banks line the walls and the floor is a dry streambed full of cracked mud. We followed this to its apparent end, where a dome intersects the passage and breakdown blocks further progress. One off-shoot is a low crawl, filled with stalactites. After this we again returned to the columns, to show them to Chad, and then made our way out – how Chad managed to stuff his 6-foot-tall frame through St Peter’s Slot, we don’t rightly know. Also, the temperature this trip was very cold in the upper level; whether this is due to us altering the passage (which pretty much amounts to footprints and soot marks) or, as my father suggests, an opening and closing siphon elsewhere in the cave, I don't know.

Trip 6 – In early August Peggy, Mark Boehler, and I returned to continue the survey. After a quick instrument-reading refresher for Mark, we set off to the northwest from UP13. As the survey progressed I did my best to halt progress by running off every chance I had, to check leads. The first was a drain at the bottom of a dome next to the “Formation Crawl,” on the way to The King and His Court. Here the air smells dead, and no progress was made other than finding some really cool bacon.

Again I looked into a crawlway named the “Soda Straw Massacre” and after some very delicate maneuvering I passed a low crawl into another dome. Here I again dug at a drain for 10 minutes or so, quitting once it was definitely terminal. Again we continued to survey and finally made it to the columns. Here I checked a lead to the left which looked promising but ended immediately. I continued to another lead with Mark; this was a small drop on the right of the columns that continued down into a very tight squeeze, where Mark took a look and decided he didn't fit. I went and after scraping some mud off the ceiling slid into a short canyon that continued in three directions. While all ended in too-tight passage, one is definitely worth digging once other leads have been exhausted.

Peg wanted to leave as she had out of love participated, knowing she had a four-hour drive to Lexington that night. She was tired and was ready to leave, so we did one final shot and while she sketched I continued to push leads. I went to the end of the obvious passage, and here a dome again intersects. I poked and prodded dug a little and had no luck. But the entire time we had been in the area wind was blowing in my face, a lot of wind! Once I had climbed into a tight spot to the left of the dome I noticed passage to my left. As Peg ever full of patience noticed the time and realized she had to be out soon, she gave me five more minutes. I proceeded to this area and hidden under some breakdown was another junction! Passage continued in two directions. She and I crawled through a small tube on the right, bordered by flowstone of the purest white nicknamed “The Milky Way.” Here, climbing up a mound, we found a pool. I looked, said "Wow" – Peg looks – “Hey, it’s spar!" I continued past the pool into a dome, where after a quick three-sixty we departed to head to the surface.