The Kentucky Caver Quarterly Proceedings of the
Bluegrass Grotto: the North Central Kentucky Area Chapter of the National Speleological Society
page 25 [contents] (< prev) (next >)
 vol. 40. iss. 1, December 2005
The hour was growing late, though, so we packed up our stuff (much to my chilly delight) and retraced our steps.

Back at the bottom of the drop, I promised Jim that I wouldn’t get mud on his brand-new truck, and he gave me permission to open it up and change inside. Nothing had chewed on the rope and everyone made it out, despite intrusion by a neighbor (the entrance is in a sub-division so neighbor is a relative term) and her dog, with protests of “You really go in there!” So off to bed we head, with thoughts of new bolts and future trips. 

So far, we’ve surveyed a total of 2,271.1 feet inside this chunk of the Dunbar system, bringing the cave to nearly 8.5 miles. Since this “Project,” as we are loath to call it, has a working map, it will follow in publication once we find a scanner big enough. The map is currently spread over 5 quadrangles at a scale of 1” to 20 feet, drawn in pencil.

Roppel Cave Trip Report (November 12, 2005) Hilary Lambert (BGG & KEEP)

Participants: Jim Currens, Trip Leader; Peggy Renwick, Ben Currens, Hilary Lambert.

We met at the Bel-Aire Restaurant on Route 70, just off I-65 in Cave City. I (Hilary) was a half hour late, Jim was an hour early, and Peg and Ben were right on time. Together we  ate our way through large breakfasts and then headed for the Bunker Entrance to Roppel Cave.

This notorious or famous entrance to the Roppel Cave system is just east of the Mammoth Cave National Park boundary on private land, and was blasted open by Dave Weller. However you may feel


about the environmental aspects of this action, the results are admirable, and the cave itself is, relatively speaking, protected. And the descent – down four long steel ladders and two shorter ladders, about 120 feet total – is thrilling. This was my second visit, so I was fairly well prepared mentally. A person with a ‘heights issue’, like me, has to really want to go on this trip.


click to biggin'

As we suited up, Pat Kambesis and three students from WKU arrived, zipped past us and into the cave, to do some resurveying. We clambered into the small windowless hut, locked the door behind us, and signed in. A metal plate was lifted from the floor to reveal the first ladder. It is perched on a platform, and the second ladder descends via a square door in the platform. The second ladder is the long one, and it bows a bit with your weight – as you brush past the walls behind you. Between two of the ladders is a brief, steep slither down a small canyon – easy enough on descent, but a bit lively, mentally, when headed back up.

At the bottom of the second short ladder, we worked our way through a beautiful sculpted gleaming narrow canyon and walking, scrambling breakdown – finally emerging from a brief scuttling crawl into the bottom of a handsome dome that loomed above and out of sight, in the direction whence we had come.