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. 3, September 2006
maw of stygian darkness (getting scared yet?) requires multiple parallel rappels with brand new gear through a waterfall onto the dry floor below. Once in the cave, the leader’s Zippo lighter flame points the way.

When the screaming quarrels quiet enough, the party follows the leader. “Are we there yet?  Why the f___ not!!!.  Oh mygod! We’re in the wrong cave!!!!”  When the party hits the first big room the leader pops a red highway fuse.  The party moves on before the smoke creates a mass coughing fit. Their many biners and ice axes clank and bang.  Wait! What is that rumbling noise that is shaking the camera?

You may have guessed, as the leader does, that a cave-in has blocked the way back.  No need to investigate, press on. The screamers come upon a ledge where one of the cavers nearly falls in because her light has a pencil-thin beam.  The music tells us this is no time to loiter. One impatient Class VI climber launches herself across a roof, forcing in $537 worth of climbing cams and etriers.  Her dangle and thrash maneuvers impress everyone and probably break a fingernail.  The others come over on a Tyrolian traverse.  This is a crux point: “I’m gonna clean the route – we may need this stuff later,” says one climber as she removes all the protection, leaving no means of retreat.

You may think that is bad practice, but until you have lost $537 worth of new hardware in a cave, you will not understand the wisdom of her ethical decision.  Chopping the pitons and bolts is a cool moral act, regardless of what the next guy thinks.

Guess what – we are not alone!  Without spoiling the story, there are other life forms beyond the shadows.  It is a damned good thing they brought ice axes, but a little sad that they have forgotten “The Prime 


Directive.”  Because you have been so emotionally involved in the gripping story, you probably did not see all the instances where Ergor’s new rules of caving are applied at every turn.  The survivor has employed all the new rules, not once, but many times over.

How is it that the Brit cavers stay so thin?  Is it that when they stop to eat they whip out an apple?  And how do they wriggle through a near sump without ending up in muddy wet clothes?  Oh, I know, they probably use high tech Teflon spray on their clothes.  After all, this is a movie and these cavers are really actors.  They may not all emerge as friends, or even alive, but think of the adventure they have given us!

I cannot wait to apply my new rules.  Think of how my stories of upcoming adventures will liven these pages.  Think of the thrills!  Imagine the terror of unmitigated doom!!!  Can’t you just hear those grotto members trembling in fear, wretching in horror, when they read my next trip report?  I urge you to apply these rules, too.  Your editor will thank you. Which brings me to say, I’m seeking companions for a trip to Doom Cave in Skull County, KY.  Please meet at the Chat’n Chew Restaurant in Somerset at 6:00 am next Saturday.  Oh, and please, wear a red shirt.

Show Cave Visits: Cub Run Cave, KY and Bluespring Caverns, IN
Hilary Lambert

I took the time, and paid the money, to go on a couple of commercial cave tours recently. One was astonishing and exciting, with a very weird conservation ethos; and the other was just plain distressing.

Cub Run Cave
Cub Run is a crossroads village on the north side on

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