photo sharing and upload picture albums photo forums search pictures popular photos photography help login
Type your message and click Add Comment
It is best to login or register first but you may post as a guest.
Enter an optional name and contact email address. Name
Name Email
help private comment
C. G. Anderson | profile | all galleries >> Caves and Caving >> Webster Cave Complex Imagery and Visual Trip Reports >> Webster Cave Complex Visual Trip Reports >> North Bore Survey Trip, Webster Cave System, KY (US) tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

North Bore Survey Trip, Webster Cave System, KY (US)

This last Sunday, October 16 2005, an important milestone was reached in the continuing Webster Cave System survey. This date, a team of cavers consisting of Andrea Croskrey, Melissa Hendrickson, Steve O’Nan, Pat Mudd, and myself, successfully negotiated and mapped the Mulu Sump of the North Bore trunk.



Four of us met at about 0800 CST at the Webster Post Office, and headed off to the cave. The water in the first lake, and in the entire cave, was exceptionally clear. It seemed a shame to muddy it up! We quickly made our way down Webster Avenue, past Blindfish Boulevard, and into the Middle Section of the cave. We soon heard our fifth member, Pat, shouting at us from a distance away. Pat had been delayed by a fatal crash on Dixie Highway, and had to take a huge detour to get to the cave. He eventually caught up with us about 4000 feet in. Then five in number, we proceeded to the face of the sump.

The Webster area, and in fact much of Kentucky, has been gripped by a semi-drought for the past month or so. This has allowed the level of water in the sump, sensitive as it is to even small amounts of precipitation, to drop sufficiently to allow access. After about 2 hours of fast paced caving, we were ready to push the sump and start the mapping.

Today, Andrea and Melissa were handling the sketching. I handled the compass and inclinometer, and Steve was on tape. Pat had the dumb end of the reel, so naturally we let him go first into the sump! Mapping in such a low airspace is difficult to say the least. Fortunately, Andrea and Melissa were able to keep the paper notes dry for the most part (“Rite in the Rain” sure, but in a sump?). They stayed out of the sump as we yelled data back to them. The rest of us spent much of an hour stretching tape and reading instruments in the horribly low air of the Mulu sump. In places here, the space is a scant three inches. There is no way to negotiate it without just holding your breath and pushing ahead to higher spaces. Note that by higher spaces, I mean those with just enough air to get at least one eye and your nose out of the water.



We slowly made out way through, mapping as we went (damned reverse shots!). Stations were set on the ceiling, obviously, and the survey went slowly. Soon the gale of wind blowing through the sump had us chilled to the bone. Pat had the hardest job trying to navigate through and set useable stations at the same time. Eventually, we made it past the low stuff and into some nice 8-12 inch relief. Andrea and Melissa then came through, making mental notes as they went (and completely submerging the paper I recall!). On the other side and in more hospitable surroundings, we warmed up. Here, North Bore is a beautiful trunk over 20 feet wide and eight feet high. After cleaning up the gear, we proceeded deeper in, down North Bore.



After about 1000 feet, we made it to our second hurdle, the junction with the Mulu trunk. We stopped here for a bit of food and rest, then continued on up North Bore. This section of cave has never been mapped before. Within several hundred feet, the passage really opens up. Forty-foot ceilings and piles of breakdown punctuate the passageway. By now it was nearing 4PM, so we decided to end the survey here. While Andrea caught up on sketching, I quickly ran down an additional 1000 feet of stream passage before reaching an area of low ceiling height. I also saw the largest blindfish I’ve ever seen here. It was at least four inches long and an inch wide at the gills! There is still a great deal of exploration and survey that needs to be done here. Hopefully, we can squeeze in a few more trips before the sump is flooded shut for the next 8 months.



We turned around and quickly made our way back to the sump. I went out first and set up the camera to capture images as the rest of the team exited. Everyone soon followed, and after some fun in the water, we gathered our stuff and headed for the surface. We paused once again to take a group shot at Epitome Lake, and reached the drip line just after sundown, having been in for over nine hours. The near full moon was rising in the east (it was setting this morning when I left for the cave).

In all, we mapped about 1200 feet of passage, which brings the total now to over 19,600 feet. There was small talk of a Halloween trip, and also a survey trip on November 5th. Additionally, the StenLight's that both Pat and I used performed flawlessly, even after being totally submerged for extended periods of time in the sump. Further, the two 15 degree collimators I installed (in place of the stock 5/15's) also worked out very well.

C.G. Anderson
previous pagepages 1 2 ALL next page
Steve O'nan at Webster's Main Entrance
Steve O'nan at Webster's Main Entrance
North Bore Survey Team
North Bore Survey Team
Andrea Negotiates the Mulu Sump
Andrea Negotiates the Mulu Sump
Melissa Sumping
Melissa Sumping
Melissa Taking Notes
Melissa Taking Notes
Melissa and Andrea
Melissa and Andrea
Andrea Sketching
Andrea Sketching
Steve in Repose
Steve in Repose
Lunch Break at Mulu
Lunch Break at Mulu
Casual Steve
Casual Steve
Violent Pat
Violent Pat
Patience
Patience
previous pagepages 1 2 ALL next page