The Kentucky Caver Quarterly Proceedings of the
Bluegrass Grotto: the North Central Kentucky Area Chapter of the National Speleological Society
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 vol. 41. iss. 1, March 2006
length, and the largest not more than an inch in diameter.

They also discovered a river in the cave flowing through the ledges of rock as crooked as  serpent and not more than three or four feet in width. The bottom of the river was not found.

The members of the party are J.C. Smith, L. Striker, C.C. Forrester, George Swain, rich Klotzbatch and O. B. Wheeler, who made the trip from Dayton to the cave in the gasoline launch 'Itsky,' which is owned by
Captain Smith."

Rescue from the Big Room
John LaMar Cole (BGG)

The greatest hazard in cave exploration is that of falling, and deaths sometimes occur from this cause.  Cave explorers rarely stumble into holes.  Most falls occur when inexperienced explorers use old ropes or ladders that they have found in caves, or when they descend ropes improperly.  Ropes and wooden ladders left by previous visitors should never be used, because the decay organisms which abound in caves rapidly weaken them without greatly changing their outward appearance.” 

from Speleology:  The Study of Caves, by George W. Moore and G. Nicholas Sullivan.

It had already been a trainwreck of a week.  Amazingly, it would prove a trainwreck without fatalities in the final sum, but with much havoc strewn in its wake, nonetheless.  However, when I received the urgent news—Man Fallen 70’ in Big Room, RESCUE IN PROGRESS, Status of Fallen




Unknown—the week's previous misfortunes were reduced to insignificance in an instant.  I thought, “Seventy feet...that’s not a rescue.  That’s retrieval.”

The grim vision of what lay ahead uncoupled its chaotic sprawl before me one boxcar at a time, each concealing an answer to some dread, unspoken question.  Still no caboose in sight, no signal of a limit to the disaster.  All was conjecture and anxious anticipation.  And strangely, within this clarifying urgency, I began to relax, focus, and ten minutes later I was on the road, Sloansward. 

I felt better, purposeful.  The exhaustion from a marathon retyping of the grotto newsletter slipped away like a shed skin.  I was reborn, filled with a purpose far outweighing my prior petty inauspiciousness.  And, despite the unattractive prospects in front of me, to be raised beyond the doldrums of quotidian misery was a welcome boon.  Though a tad behind schedule, everything thus far promised had been accomplished.  Against maddening and depressing vicissitudes (the disk containing the entire summer issue of the newsletter had been stolen when I briefly left the UK computer lab!), the Cricket had been compiled and printed, the meeting organized, replete with handouts.  And now this.  What better baptism from the trivial than an honest-to-God cave rescue?

Seventy feet—the figure kept thrumming through my mind as I slam-dunked my gear together—not even really possible in the Big Room without the most unlikely (e.g. insectivorous) locomotion.  But I assumed that this translated to “a real long way down.”  Certainly that was possible.  The South Overlook was my first suspicion, the North


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