Ken Bailey worked with Ben Shinaberry to set up another LIDAR mapping trip into Big Bat Cave. The group was quite large this time and we had plenty of people to carry gear. We are working to use the data to make some interesting photos and to explore the different ways LIDAR data can be used for 3d modeling of caves. As part of this we are exploring low cost software options and how to overcome the high price of professional grade software. This is making an interesting study, but it means photos will be coming in the near future. If you are in
As part of the ongoing Rope Training, a group of cavers got together over at Level 1 to do some rope practice. Ken Bailey and Stephanie Coffey were training newer vertical members on rappelling over a lip. At the same time Tim Stoops, Tim Miller, and Harrison Hyden worked on a more advanced topic of being able to do change-overs with a defective light.
Copperhead Consulting performed a Bat survey on 1/24/2014 in conjunction with another KKC trip. See the link for their full trip report: http://www.kentuckykarstconservancy.com/CopperheadBatSurvey
We've posted a link to the full survey trip report on a page of it's own due to the size of the report. Please follow the link below to see more!
On January 6th a KKC vertical class was held by Ken Bailey, Stephanie Coffey, and Harrison Hyden at the Level 1 Hackerspace. The purpose of this class was to go through the day one section of the KKC Vertical Class Section, adapted from the Dogwood City Grotto vertical training curriculum. The focus of this class was knots; covering variations of the figure 8, how to make a prusik, tying an etrier, as well as a couple other knots. In total there were 9 people in attendance. In addition to learning and practicing knots attendees also discussed other vertical components. A two prusik climbing system was discussed, which several members tried out, climbing about 3 feet up a rope while also using a webbing harness.
Report by: Stephanie Coffey
Ken Bailey worked to schedule Anmar Mizra to perform a cave first aid training for the KKC on December 15, 2013. The trip was originally scheduled to happen in the natural entrance of Big Bat cave, but due to weather the venue was changed to McCamish Crystal cave. Though the water was high from the day before, the weather that day was beautiful and the cave excellent for a training.
Anmar took our group of 15 through his renowned training which lasted approximately 5 hours. Some of the key points were when to self rescue versus send for help, how to treat for hypothermia, how to set splints from cave gear, and much more.
Dave Black took photos during the event and you can view them on his Flickr album. You will need a Flickr account to view them at the following link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/david_l_black/sets/72157639489355896/.
Adam Sampson led a trip into Big Bat with the intention of finding the end of their current map and determining whether we could survey from there. We took full survey gear with us with the intention of arriving at the Compass room within 4 hours and having time to determine a good starting point for survey from ceiling carbide marks.
Participants: Adam Sampson, Ken Bailey, Harrison Hyden, Tim Stoops, Stephanie Coffey, Annette Posani, Tim Miller
The plan for this trip was to enter the cave and locate the last survey marker in the vicinity of the "Compass Room" listed on our incomplete map. The plan was for a 12 hour trip and we set our call-out accordingly. We took survey gear with the intention that if we could find a reasonable last survey marker we would begin surveying.
We entered the cave around 11:30 and were on the mudslide leading into the three arrows room when Tim Miller had intestinal distress. He decided that based on a 12 hour trip plan that he needed to turn around. Harrison and Adam exited the cave with him and ensured that he had a ride coming to get him. We also increased our call-out time to midnight while we were top-side. Then Harrison and Adam returned to the group who was resting in the waterfall rooms just outside the 3 arrows.
The remaining group proceeded down lead 3 (mud crawling), turned into the M? survey (clean stone walking), and then turned again into the lead heading to the Compass room (possibly H2 survey?). After turning right at the first junction we soon got out of the clean stone walking passage and into mud slopes and we stopped for a long lunch on a nice mud bank. Where we stopped for lunch was not marked on the map but appeared to be a side passage that was barely mud-plugged and a very promising dig. Shortly after lunch we started to get into some nice fossils and formations. Then we continued out of those until we found a junction which might have been the last junction that we saw on the map. There were not any survey marks and the compass showed it was "possible" but not a dead fit. We decided to continue on looking for a survey marker.
The passage was walking passage except that there were mud slopes on one wall that made it so you had to bend over with your feet in the creek and your hands on the slope. This passage was very easy going and we continued because we didn't think there was any chance that hundreds of feet of semi-walking passage would have been left un-surveyed.
After a short while we arrived at a very nice room that had 4 leads at 90 degree angles...a dead ringer for something you would call a compass room. Two of the leads ended in under 50 feet, but one continued and oddly enough was the shape of a compass rose. We decided to check this lead for a survey marker before we had to turn around (we were at over 7 hours out of our 12 hour trip at this point). This lead was blowing a lot of cold air.
A quick investigation passed two leads and then found a beautiful room full of formations with a survey marker on the ceiling on a third walking lead. The survey marker was "11". There was no room for a letter between the circle pointer and the number. It was just survey marker "11". We were out of time to determine whether there was a place to start surveying, and had no time to survey even if we did determine where to start. This last room was one of the most beautiful rooms in Big Bat and sported multiple large sets of cave bacon, stalactites, windblown stalactites, and one area I referred to as the catholic shrine. There was also another lead out of this room that had a belly-crawl that was mud/sand filled and would require a very minimal amount of digging to get through to the hands and knees crawling...and this crawl was blowing slightly.
We turned around and began the trek back to the exit. Three of our group changed in the cave while the rest returned to the cars. By the time I was able to get out of my wet clothes and walk up the hill to get cell phone reception, our call-out was at 11:37pm. Just in time.
Lessons for next trip: The compass room in Big Bat cave is a long trip. In order to survey we would have needed to have a better account of the last survey marker (or time to do some deduction), at least 10 hours travel time round trip, plush survey and rest time. We think that any future trip will plan 10 hours travel, plus 3 hours sleep, plus 4 hours for work. Guess we will have to plan an 18-24 hour trip to better understand this lead.
Ken Bailey set up a trip this Sunday with a local archaeologist Kathy McGrath from Corn Island Archaeology. The trip was planned to visit 3 caves in Jefferson county and determine their value from an archaeological perspective. We also knocked on the door of the owner of a 4th cave, but they were not home for us to help her make contact with.
Participants: Ken Bailey, Kathy McGrath, Jeanie Baliey, Wes Tutt, Lore Berglund, Adam Sampson
Report by: Adam Sampson
Little Spring Cave
Our first stop of the day was to Little Spring Cave. This is a cave that was found a couple years ago by Tim Stoops while hiking with Adam Sampson. Adam led the trip to the cave and it was quite easy to find with Ken saying, "that's a really odd stream". The cave is a very small spring cave with an 8'x10' structure out front.
The structure out front is relatively modern. It has a concrete floor and sawed lumber that uses tongue and groove joints. The nails used are wire nails and the roof and door (no longer attached) are made with corrugated tin. There is a stairway leading down to the trail from the shed, but the concretes steps are mostly covered by dirt and the distance between the shed and trail are completely overgrown with no sign of any trail (other than the partially buried steps).
The cave itself is a fracture formed cave that we would estimate at approximately 40 feet long (eyeballed). The opening is about 5.5 feet tall and 5.5 feet wide. It has a small stream coming out of it and was flowing at between 10 and 15 gpm (eyeballed) on the date of our trip. This cave is clearly a raccoon den and has dig marks and significant amounts of scat. The cave was remarkably free from graffiti or damage. There was one brown crayfish inside the cave about 10 feet upstream.
Leven Jones Cave
Our next stop was led by Ken Bailey to Leven Jones cave. When we arrived at the cave we took some pictures out front and discussed the geology of the cave. The cave is a joint formed cave and the entrance is a crack about 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide. However, the entrance is only passable on approximately the bottom 40 inches. The entrance to the cave is an overflow outlet for the main stream passage in the cave.
Kathy McGrath and Adam Sampson made their way into the cave up until the first junction (eyeballed at about 30 feet). At the junction of the cave there are a lot of signatures carved deeply into the wall. Kathy took some photographs and then we turned around (this is a very tight cave). On the way out she inspected some rocks and other things, but the primary sign of humans was the signatures and the broken beer bottles.
Springhouse Cave (unknown name)
The third cave of the day was led again by Ken Bailey. Arriving at this cave we were welcomed by a large shelter opening with a block wall shoring up the entrance to the cave. However, the doorway was completely open. Between the overhang and the downward slope there was a small block dam that was used for unknown purpose. This cave was a solution formed cave and there was evidence that there were other small holes on the cliff face where water had seeped out.
The beginning of the cave was a shallow creek bed about 4 feet wide and 5 feet high with smooth floors. As you progress into the cave it becomes quickly smaller and the creek bed is full of cobbles and fossils. At the first major turn in the cave there is a rimstone dam with flowstone below it. There are also a number of old (dry) formations. Just another dozen feet in you start getting into wet formations including flowstone, mini dams, soda straws, and small popcorn. This cave also had at least 4 cave salamanders that we saw. The cave was pristine inside which is surprising given its location in the city. We turned around when it became a belly crawl and it appeared to end about 15 feet after we turned around.
Ken Bailey led a KKC cleanup of a pit in Hardin County. Working with Kathy Sweet to set up this cleanup, he arranged for the group to meet there with vertical gear and a will to clean. While Adam, Harrison, and Tim cleaned up an adjacent sink hole, Stephanie and Lore got on rope to pull trash out of a pit before it had a chance to fall deeper in. Ed, Alex and Ken helped pull the trash up and to the trailer that Kathy provided. Sariena took photos and videos throughout and help act as a much needed foreman. After the cleanup we were fortunate enough to take some time to drop the newly opened pit as well. It was an beautiful day with excellent people and a mission well accomplished.
We hope you all enjoy seeing some of what we did. We are looking forwards to our next project!
Anyone who went through this gate before December of 2012 will remember the heavy gate door with the chains that threatened to bring 60 pounds crashing down if you stepped on them. With the modifications we made to the gate it is much safer and more enjoyable to go
The Kentucky Karst Conservancy is a group dedicated to protecting our natural resources for preservation, scientific, education, aesthetic, and recreational purposes.