bplist00__WebMainResource_ _WebResourceTextEncodingName_WebResourceData^WebResourceURL_WebResourceMIMETypeUUTF-8O__Near Normal Grotto

July 1997 NearNormal News


Jim Jacobs

I'd like to thank all of the folks who contributed to this issue. Since myschedule has been so full the last year or so, my personal contributions have,of necessity, been limited. No time for caving means no caving stories. HowI've been filling my weekends may make interesting personal conversation, but Ican't write about it in a caving magazine. I not only miss caving, but I misswriting about caving. But the NNN goes on and on! You hold in your hand a finebunch of stories, but one in particular, shines like a small jewel! New memberBRETT BENNETT penned a report of his first trip to Wayne's Lost, and it's afine article in its' own right. But he also includes a small sidebar storyabout his personal encounter with "crawlway anxiety", and how heovercame the problem with a little help from his friends that will make most ofus exclaim, "Yeah! I remember that! That's *exactly* how it happened tome! Wish I'd written that!" It's his willingness to put his own feelingson the line that make it an exceptional story. Thanks, Brett.

NNG members were treated to a personalized tour of the Brookfield Zoo inJune, with special emphasis on the bat exhibits. This trip grew fromconnections which we made at the Bat Symposium. JOHN MARQUART describes thisspecial trip for those of us who [alas!] were unable to participate.

LARA STORM attended the NSS convention. We didn't. She tells us about it. Wewish we had gone with her.

Much of this issue is comprised of first-hand accounts of the recentMcBrides' Cave rescue. Much more interesting than the newspaper accounts. (Theterrified spelunkers realized that death might await them). Sheesh!

The 44th Annual INDIANA CAVE CAPERS, sponsored by the Central IndianaGrotto, will take place Aug. 1-3, at Pic-A-Chic Farms, 10 minutes south ofBloomington, Indiana. I suppose that there are enough caves in that area tokeep everyone busy! Naturally, the fliers came too late to include in the previousNNN, and we didn't have a June meeting, so I couldn't hand them out. I have theinformation, so if anyone wants to go, contact me.

It's getting near to the time of year when we choose our officers for thenext year. It's not too early to think about, anyway. According to the NNGbylaws, President John Marquart will have to step down at the end of this termof office, since this is his second year. (Only the president is so limited.)John has led us to undreamed-of heights and honors, and has earned a veryspecial place in the NNG history. Thank you, John, from all of us!

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Brett Bennett


NNG Members: Norm Rogers, Greg Phillips, Chris Dinesen, Tonja Frazer, LaraStorm, Nick and Brett Bennett

What a weekend for firsts! Going to Waynes's Lost Cave, taking my son on hisfirst wild cave, and me trying to quit smoking. (Unfortunately, I have neverbeen able to drive for long distances without smoking. I'll have to try againwhen I'm not trying so many new things at once.)

We met everyone at McDonald's before 10 a.m., said our hello's and proceededto Bent Arrow to purchase some supplies. Greg and I needed to get halogen bulbsfor our Zooms. (Also got a few stickers for me and Nick.)

On to the cave. We parked along the side of the road and proceeded toprepare for Wayne's. You know, I need a mother just before entering a cave. Ialways forget something to carry in. This time it was my headband and bandanna.Oh well, I remembered the food and water.

For those who have not visited Wayne's, you enter an 18 inch square grate atthe base of a tree, then drop down 10 to 12 feet into the Old Wayne's section.This is kind of fun; climbing down using tree roots as hand holds then hittingrock. Greg was the first down then we lowered Nick. I was next, and I, in turn,helped everyone after me.

Now what stared us in the face is one of the most intimidating sections ofcave that there is. A 1500 foot crawlway. Do you realize how far that is? Well,get in your car and drive 3/10 of a mile. Most people don't like to walk aquarter of a mile let alone do it on hands and knees. Some places on the belly,because the ceiling is only 16 inches high.

It was decided that we would send Nick into the crawl with Greg and Lara,since they were the fastest crawlers. Norm also decided that I was to go last.(Real reason: If I got stuck, the rest of the group could finish the cave thencome back and unstick me. Ha-ha!!!)

We started the crawl with Greg, Lara, and Nick in the first group. (Zoom!!!Gone!!! Didn't see them again until camp one.) Norm led the rest of us onward.He split it up into three sections, about 1/3 of the way each. In the firstsection, during the first tight squeeze, I had my head in the wrong positionand couldn't see but a few inches at a time for about 50 feet, except for thetimes when I kept running into Tonja's feet. About 10 minutes into the crawl Ihad my doubts about being able to complete it. (Details in attached story.)

We joined back up with the first group at camp one. Nick was feeling prettygood. I was relieved to just be out of the crawl. I was concerned that Lara andGreg might be tired of having Nick after that long crawl but Norm assured methat Nick would be okay. It's that thing with kids being much better when theirparents are with them. (Thank you Greg and Lara for taking care of him.)

At camp one, we rested for a while as Lara refilled her carbide lamp and Idug mine out for its' first use. After this short break, we made an assault oncamp two. (Some concern that this might be difficult was made known, especiallysince Norm got them lost the last time.) We climbed over, under, up and downbreakdown all the way. Past Fraternity Rock, Breakdown Mount, and crossing theNatural Bridge, we made it to camp two.

Here we rested and ate lunch. I noticed what was left of some graffiti.Someone said that before the restoration, that Wayne's looked like Buckner's. Ifound that hard to believe. (Buckner's looks like a subway train.)

After this break we went a little farther to get pictures in HelictiteHoller. This is where I saw my first formations. Helictites covering theceiling, the remains of a snowball, some gypsum formations and moon milk.Everyone turned off the lights as I took a picture of the milk, and it glowedafter the flash. (That was cool!!)

At about this time Nick decided he was ready to leave the cave. Now picturea 10 year old wanting to do something. They want it Right Now! No waiting, justNOW!! Greg kept teasing him about the elevator at the other end. (Oh boy, wouldNick be disappointed.) We turned around and headed back towards the crawl. Whydoes it take a shorter time getting back somewhere than it takes to get therein the first place?

We rested at camp one before we made our escape through the crawl. Same reststops on the way out but this time I asked which direction to put my head.[Note: In this section of the crawl. many of us REMOVE our helmets and pushthem ahead.-Ed] This really helped. Norm and Chris didn't wait for Tonja and Ithis time. They were gooonnne!!

We strapped our packs to our ankles on the way out. This helped a greatdeal. I was going to take a picture at the H-squeeze on the way out, Tonja evenreminded me, but as she said on the way in, "You won't want to on the wayout."

Norm was waiting to help us out. We started the crawl at 4:50 p.m. andfinished at 6:20 p.m. (Whoa, one hour and a half.)

I do know one thing, Nick doesn't ever want to go back to THAT CAVE.Overall, Nick did good. I'm real proud of him. Who knows, maybe we'll go backin September when Rich is healed. I'm even taking my wife, Angi. (Hope she getsover her claustrophobia.) Later, Cave Folk

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Brett Bennett


The Particulars:

Date: 5-31-97

Time: 12:15 p.m. CST

Location: Wayne's Lost Cave - Crawlway

Symptoms: Fear, anxiety, total lack of confidence in oneself.


This is not really a caving report, but it has to do with what I experiencedabout 10 minutes into the crawl at Wayne's Lost Cave. I was last in line toenter the crawlway that Saturday morning. This was determined because I had thebiggest proportions in the group. This was okay with me because I didn't wantto hold anybody up. After about 50 feet, it became tight. Butt rubbing on theceiling, head in the wrong position, not being able to see around the bends.Now, I'm not claustrophobic, but all this combined caused me to really start todoubt myself. I feared that I would not be able to make it. I was ready to turnaround, didn't want to go on, just knew I couldn't make it. Nope, not me. Selfdoubt? You bet. How does one deal with this? That tight spot didn't help any.1500 foot crawl! Who am I kidding? I don't even like to walk much let alonecrawl. No way!! Not me!!!

By now you must be wondering what made me change my mind. Well, my 10 yearold son was on the trip with me. No one wants to look like a failure to theirchildren. I sure don't. With a renewed desire and the encouragement andcoaching I received from Tonja Frazer, I continued on. With her encouragementan assurance I made it out of the crawl.

Later after we finished the crawl, I told this to Norm. He told me thateveryone needs some encouragement from time to time, and that someday it willbe my turn to coach someone through a difficult passage. You know, in a way I'mlooking forward to that day.

Thanks to all of you for the encouragement that you have given to me andothers.

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John R. Marquart


Our story really starts at the 26th North American Symposium on Bat researchheld in Bloomington, Illinois last October. It was there that some of us NearNormalites met Jim Rowell, the bat specialist for Brookfield Zoo, formallynamed the Chicago Zoological Park. Jim was there to represent the zoo and serveother functions, such as making the official video recordings of the talks. Jimis a very friendly and open person whom we got to know quite well. When theSymposium closed on Sunday, Jim joined the group that we escorted to see ourhandiwork at the Blackball Mine as the official field trip for the Symposium.Tonja Fraser and I talked with him about the bats at Brookfield Zoo and hegraciously invited our grotto on a VIP behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo. Weappreciatively accepted his offer and decided to make it a grotto field trip tothis world-class, 216-acre zoo in the spring.

Finally, after what seemed like a never ending winter, spring came and Tonjamade the arrangements that Saturday, June 28 was to be our field trip toreplace our regular Friday monthly meeting. It was 11:00 a.m. on thisbeautiful, sunny Saturday that 30 some Near Normalites and their families andfriends converged at the south parking lot of Brookfield Zoo. Jim Rowell met usthere for "Jim's Bat Tour." I had been expecting that all the batswould be lined up in cages in one building so you would see this bat and thenthat bat, all in a neat, but unnatural row. That wasn't the case at all. Thelive bats were spread throughout the zoo, with each species mixed with livevegetation and other live animals in its own environment. It is a great way toshow us how bats really live and interact with the ecology and it is great forthe bats to be able to continue to live in such a natural way, instead of beingcaged as freaks on display.

Jim led us from building to building as we toured a wide variety ofdifferent environments, from desert, to rain forest, to wetland swamp. At eachstop Jim pointed out the bats that reside there and provided details aboutthem. The bats were hard to pick out. Nature had endowed them with naturalcamouflage and they would hide in dark places, like inside dead trees. StillJim showed his expertise on the subject of bats by quickly telling us where tolook. The "Swamp: Wonders of Our Wetlands" was a particularlyexciting experience. As we walked along the spongy path into a dark, mistyroom, bats were all around. They hung from trees and flew close to our heads.No bars or glass separated us from them here. I overheard one lady repeat thewell known, (and wrong) tale that you should, "Look out, they get tangledin your hair". Other more malicious slander was voiced by otheruninformed. Here we also saw many other nocturnal animals, like owls, being activein this artificial nighttime. We visited the rain forest of Australia, or atleast a close resemblance to it. I didn't even know Australia had rain forests.There we saw herds of huge Flying Fox bats hanging from tree limbs and flyingover our heads. Then came a real thrill that the usual tourist doesn't get. Jimtook us into a special room and had a lady attendant bring in a live Flying Foxfor us to examine. She explained that some of them were so friendly that when aslice of fruit was held out, they would come land on your arms to feed. Thisbeauty, with its smooth brown fur and pretty fox-like head and face, was one ofthose particularly friendly ones. The bat kept her four-foot long wings foldedas she fed undisturbed while we closely examined and photographed her. Nicebat, but don't plan on having one for a pet. It's illegal, without a specialpermit. Jim said that someone did steal one by carrying it out, but it wasrediscovered later. Apparently, the thief either got worried about being caughtor had a bad conscience about his/her misdeed. I was with my son, Bob, and histwo youngest, Robert, Jr. - 7 and John -6. With regret, we had to comply withtheir impatience when we saw the long line waiting to get into our next stop. Ibelieve it was the "Seven Seas Panorama." The afternoon heat wasgetting to the kids, me too, and we decided to leave the group and see a fewlarge animals before heading home. The star of our side trip was "TropicWorld" with "Binti", the 8-year-old mamma gorilla who rescuedthe 3-year-old boy in August. The news media gave Brookfield Zoo someworld-wide fame when the boy somehow climbed the 3-1/2 foot guard railing tofall a good twenty to thirty feet into the gorilla enclosure. With her own17-month-old infant on her back, Binti picked up the unconscious boy andcradled him in her arms as she took him to the access door where parkattendants could get him to safety. We saw Binti below still gently cuddlingher baby gorilla and were told that gorillas have a long nurtured childhood. Myown grandsons climbed up to get a better look and were quickly chastised by anexcited guard. No more fame for Binti if they could help it! Julie Angelexpressed deep feelings when she saw Binti softly stroking the head of her babyjust as a human mother would do. It made us all realize that we are not thatfar separated from these wild creatures in spite of all our"civilized" human devices. That was a realization to ponder as wedrove the long way home and I mean the LONG WAY! With Bob driving and me navigating,we got very lost and saw lots of west Chicago that wasn't on our planned tour.Julie made the mistake of following us. She had to since she had agreed to haulmy grandson, John, with her to keep her own youngster, Michael, company. Whenwe finally found our way to I-57 over an hour later, she was laughing heartily.Earlier, we had made fun of her for getting lost on the way up and ending up atO'Hare Airport. Who has the last laugh now?

Even after getting home hours late, all we could think about was what agreat time we had! We really appreciate Jim Rowell for doing all that for us.We expect to be seeing more of him too. I invited him to come to one of ourgrotto meetings to give a talk on bats and he agreed. We can look forward toanother interesting and educational experience from a bat pro.

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Lara C. Storm


The beginning of the 1997 NSS Convention held in Sullivan, Missouri wasmarked by a heavy rain producing floodwater that prevented several registrantsfrom reaching the campground. Coming from Kentucky, I arrived in Sullivanaround one o'clock Sunday morning. I ended up sleeping in the school gymnasiumalong with a few others that night. The next morning, the backroads of Bourboncould be taken to reach the soggy Blue Springs Campground.

I ended up camping with the Ohioans because I already knew one of them fromthe Western Kentucky caving course I had taken the week earlier (Speleologywith Roger Brucker). On Monday morning, I accompanied one of the Ohioans to atalk entitled Electronics and Communication. The most interesting topicdiscussed in this talk was a small video camera/VCR that could be attached to along pole and used in caves to find out if a lead goes (specifically, to findout if a lead, to tight to fit in, goes). The contraption was demonstrated, anda video tape of its use in the cave was shown. The most significant event ofMonday was the Howdy Party. It began at 6:30 p.m. with a nice dinner which wasfollowed by socializing and dancing.

Every morning there were talks that could be attended, displays to view,contests to participate in (or watch), workshops to go to, vendors to shopfrom, or cave trips to go on. Conventioneers could either visit commercialcaves or lead their own trips into wild caves nearby. On Tuesday evening, therewas a hoe-down. On Wednesday, the MCKC hosted a pasta dinner under one of thepavilions in the campground. On a walk back from the dinner to my tent, I gotcaught (and soaked) in a rainstorm. During the day on Thursday, there was ablood drive at the convention headquarters in Sullivan. I participated in theblood drive-- for thirty minutes as others came, gave, and left-- and feltsurprisingly weak for the rest of the day. After giving blood, I attended atalk on cave survey software which included some very interestingdemonstrations of the computer programs. Later, I went to listen to a talk onIllinois Biospeleology. That evening was the Photo and Video Salon, an awesomepresentation of some of the talents of the members of the NSS.

Thursday evening, at midnight, a very strange event occurred. People fromall over the campground gathered around a small baby pool, full of multiplepacks of cooked Ramen noodles, to witness the bizarre occurrence. Persuasionwas necessary to get

volunteers to participate in the competition, the Ramen noodle wrestling.The rules were simple: no shoes, no jewelry, and if you fall out of the babypool it starts all over again. Observing, it seemed amusing and strange.Participating, it was a lot of fun.

Friday was the last day of the convention. That night there was an awardsbanquet to honor many special members of the National Speleological Society.What a week! I learned a lot, I met new people, and I had a lot of fun. Thiswas my first convention, but it is not my last. It is one of those greatexperiences in your life where you wonder why you never did it sooner. Iencourage everyone to give it a try. . . the 1998 convention is in Sewanee,Tennessee. . . I hope to see you all there.


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Alan Cressler (Atlanta, Georgia)



This is a factual account of the events last weekend at McBrides Cave. (Atleast my version)

The group consisted of Andy Porter, Andy Zellner, Brent Aulenbach, NancyAulenbach, Shane Snyder, Gary Chambers, Steve Collins, Gerald Moni, ForestPlatt, Doug Strait, and Alan Cressler. Our group was looking for a wetmultidrop to do on Saturday that would not take all day so we could get backfor the evening events at SERA. McBrides was the cave of choice because it wasa pull down and easily done in high water. We were WELL aware that there was agood chance of rain and that it would be a high tide trip. NOAA weather radiowas consulted on several occasions before we left for the trip and on the wayto the cave. There is some discrepancy as to what I heard and what Andy Porterheard. I was listening to the forcast issued out of Morristown, Tenn. A flash floodwatch was issued for east Tennessee, Western North Carolina through southernVirginia. The Tennessee counties that were listed were Hamilton, Bradley, Polk,Mcminn, and Monroe. I personally heard no counties listed for the CumberlandPlateau. Andy says he heard the Cumberland Plateau listed in the watch. Hecould have been listening to station out of another city. Of the people on thetrip, I had been through the cave at least a dozen times, several of which hadbeen high tide trips. Andy P, Andy Z, Gary, Doug, Steve, and Gerald has beenthrough the cave on one or more trips. Gerald was on the connection trip fromthe upper cave and lower cave. After getting permission from Mrs Lloyd to dothe cave, I went to look at the lower entrance. There was water issuing fromthe entrance but that is not unusual after a rain. I had done it several timesin that condition. When we got to the upper entrance, there was plenty of watergoing into natural bridge sink and the first few drops were wet. That is alsonot unusual. The outside ravines were not flowing and there were no signs to methat the ground was as saturated as it was. Everyone was having a great time inthe water. When we finally reached the main stream, it was flowing pretty good.I knew it would be challenging but still was not worried. The first problemhappened above the 90 ft pit. Andy P. went down the 8 ft climbdown first and Ijumped into the plunge pool next. This is the same pool that Darcy Duin brokeher ankle in two years ago. I didn't hit anything and even though Forest wasdirected on where to land, she hit the same thing that Darcy hit and damagedher ankle severely. Forest was given the option to climb back to the big roomand wait for the upper cave to be rerigged for an escape out the upperentrance. She opted to continue out the lower route. After dealing with thatfor a while we rigged the 90 ft pit with a single line and everyone got down.Doug rigged the double line and made it down with out too much trouble. Wepulled down the rope and continued. The next two drops were done with eitherGary, Shane, or myself assisting Forest. At the bottom of the 7th drop, thereis a ~50 ft crawl that leads to a difficult lip at a 9 ft pit. In normal water,one crawls in and riggs to a rope rigged through a loop about one ft from theedge. I rigged the drop with assistance from Gary but realize that it would beimpossible to rig a rack because of the water flow. I used another techniquethat I done before. Since it was only 9 ft, I just grabbed the rope and swungaround and lowered myself to the ledge. That worked fine. The method wasexplaned to Forest and with my assistance did the same thing. I spotted Garynext. After we were all down to the ledge, I went down the next 9 ft section tothe bottom of the drop and spotted Forest followed by Gary. We moved Forestinto a nice dry area out of the water and airflow. In the meantime, Andy P camedown unassisted and made it to the bottom of the drop. We had 4 full sets ofvertical equipment on the trip and Gary had a set. As he was about to climb therope to help spot others down the 9 ft pit, we heard distressful calls fromGerald. Gary climbed the rope to find Gerald on the ledge with a broken leg.Although communications were poor, Gary managed to convey to me that he had abroken leg and that we would not be able to move him down the rest of the dropand into the dry area. (I estimate the air space at the top of the 9 ft dropwas 6 inchs when we did it. The air space got lower for the last people to comethrough. One rumor that I heard was our group was scattered and separated. Thiswas not true. There were lag times involved in that many people doing two closedrops with an difficult spot between them.) Gary made the decision that arescue needed to be called out. I cut off a piece of that pull down rope tostatic rig the 9th drop and began to move Forest and Andy P towards the lowerentrance. There was about 200-250 ft of low crawling with a 4-5 inch air space.That was easily done and we made it to the 9th and last drop. I static riggedthe pit and backed it up to the pull down rig. All the water went down a 3 ftdiameter hole so it was sporting. Gerald was injured about 1630 EDT and thethree of us made it out of the cave by 1730 EDT. We had no major problems onthe traverse but we were slowed by Forest having to crawl or float the wholeway. It was only towards the lower entrance that I noticed a flood pulse wascoming through the cave. The water was charged with organic debris and therewere pressure spouts from formations and flowstone was flowing. We never lostairflow in the cave although it was weak. The outside temperature was only 58degrees. When I went to the Lloyds house and explained that there had been anaccident, they called 911 before I could dial the number to the ScottsboroRescue Squad. 911 did patch me over to the Squad and I talked to a person whosname I don't remember. He paged Milton Polsky who called me back within a fewminutes. I explained the serious situation and told him that Hamiliton CountyCave and Cliff Rescue, Huntsville, and Walker County Rescue should be involved.After hanging up with him, I called Doranne Lane and got Buddy's car phonenumber and Dennis Curry's number I left messages at both places and within afew minutes Buddy called me back. I explained the situation to him. In themeantime, Milton showed up and offically invited the other rescue squads. About1 hr and 15 minutes after we exited the cave, Nancy, Brent, and Doug exited thecave. One of them will have to post their experience. I borrowed a yard stickfrom the Lloyds and Andy and I set up a crude staff gauge at in the creek tomoniter the rise and fall of the creek. We started monitering at 1800 EDT.There was a slow rise for two hours with a gain of two inchs. It crested around2000 EDT and began to slowly fall about an hour later. It dropped about 4 inchsby the time that Gerald was brought out. Cavers started showing up about 2 hrsafter the first call. John Stembel, and Jack Thomison were the first followedby Marion Smith, Don Coons, John Swartz, people from the Scottsboro RescueSquad and Chattanooga Squad. I am not going into the chronology of the actualrescue nor what the events were for the four people left in the cave withGerald over the next 12-15 hours. That would best be done by one of them.Gerald was brought to the lower entrance around 1515 EDT on Sunday and airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. After talking to Jackie Lloyd, hesaid that a hard and steady rain began about 1530 EDT and lasted to 1600 EDT.It was still lightly raining when we first exited the cave. On saturated groundthat was all it took for a flood event. During Saturday night and Sunday theNational Weather Service had placed the Tennessee portion of the Plateau in aflash flood watch calling for 1-2 inchs of rain. Fortunately for the operation,it never seriously rained any of the time. Mr. Lloyd had internet access in hisoffice and we monitered the rain with radar images from Intellicast Weather. Itis true that poor judgement was used in the choice of doing any wet cave in thePlateau area. It is fortunate that we didn't choose an in-and-out cave. Itwould have been impossible to climb against the water in any cave, especiallysome of the ones that were offered. We should have been more aware of thesaturated nature of the ground although some of the telltale signs were notreally evident, flowing surface ravines, flooded field, etc. The ground justlooked wet. I should have never let Forest jump into the pool. It requires anaccuracy and percision that she missed although people jump into it all thetime. It is fortunate that if someone had to break a leg it was Gerald. He isprobable the only one who could have survived 15 hours on a ledge in awaterfall. We had a great deal of experience of our side. When the siturationturned nasty, everyone handled themselves in a highly competent manner and noone panicked. We just did what we had to do, including Forest. If Gerald hadnot broken his leg, we would have all made it out with a good scary story. Iwould like to lastly say that I know many people will criticize us for thisblunder and that is appropriate. However, there is some extremely goodexperience that can be gained from a situation like this. This is my third suchexperience with a flood pulse in a cave. They can usually be perdicted andavoided in most cases however they can strike at any time in ones cavingcareer. It is better to have some experience in dealing with one than to notknow at all. If a person decides to do this kind of caving, that person is atrisk from these events. All eleven of us have a little more experience of howto survive and help others survive this kind of event. I would also like tothink a large group of people who are the best at what they do--the RescueSquads. If it were not for these dedicated people, the rest of us might as wellstop caving. Alan McBrides is not closed. Jackie Lloyd said that it will bebusiness as usual except that no one will be allowed to enter the cave after orduring periods of rain. It is a very nice and friendly cave that everyoneshould experience (deep vertical cavers anyway), except when it is in flood.

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Dean Wiseman (Indianapolis, Indiana)



I've read about the McBride's Rescue involving Gerald and Forest, and I'dlike to make a point: Often times, we tend to think of hypothermia and reducedbody temperature as our enemy in the cave. But in this particular situation, Iam inclined to think that hypothermia may have SAVED Gerald's life, and mayhave been key in allowing Forest to exit at all.

I'm not sure as to the nature and extent of Gerald's leg fracture, but Isuspect from the description that it was a femur fracture, or possibly a severetibial fracture. In both cases, it's not unusual for an injured person to losea liter or more of blood inside the leg, even if the skin is not broken.Cooling the body's core temperature causes a heat conservation response wherebyblood supply to the extremeties and exterior of the body is greatly reduced. InGerald's case, less blood circulation in his legs may have allowed him tomaintain a reasonable blood pressure during his ordeal. Think of it as kind oflike applying a very large ice pack. It just kept the swelling (blood loss) atbay.

Hypovolemic shock is, by far, a much greater threat than hypothermia, interms of how quickly it can kill. That's part of the reason why splinting inthe field is a very good skill to have, because splinting can help reduceinternal blood loss from a bone fracture.

The same thing applies to Forest as well. One side effect of hypothermia isa reduction in nerve function, and while she was still in a heck of a lot ofpain, the cold may have helped reduce the effects of injury just enough for herto tolerate movement and facilitate a "rapid" exit from thecave--avoiding a much more complicated rescue situation. In a warmer situation,Forest's injury could have quickly swelled resulting in a total loss of abilityto move. I'm never going to say hypothermia is necessarily a "good"thing; Loss of muscle coordination and strength from hypothermia may havecaused Gerald's mishap in the first place. However, in this case, I hope youcan see that perhaps hypothermia can be beneficial at times.

GET FIRST AID TRAINING, OR BETTER YET, BECOME AN E.M.T. IF YOU ARE TRAINED,PRACTICE YOUR SKILLS!!! Don't wait for the real thing to bite you in the ass.

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Bill Putnam (Lawrenceville, Georgia )


Here they are folks, straight from the Home Office

in Stevenson, Alabama:

The Top Ten Comments Overheard on the McBride's Cave Rescue!

(as recorded by hidden microphone)

Number 10:

Well Alan, what were you guys doing in there?

Number 9:

Rain? What Rain?

Number 8:

Now I know what Salmon feel like.

Number 7:

!@%$ &!$#%^! !%$#@$ (and various other obscenities from Marion Smith)

Number 6:

Hey Zellner, are you Break Dancing or just shivering?

Number 5:

Tell Dennis to stay out of Gerald's drugs.

Number 4:

No, he isn't closing the cave, but he's really pissed about

the naked cavers on the front porch.

Number 3:

I don't like the looks of that waterfall - let's go home.

Number 2:

What do you mean, you didn't bring your wetsuit to the rescue?

And the Number One Comment:


Finally, just in case you have forgotten (or joined Tag Net after it wasposted a couple of years ago) here is item number 5 from the famous (orinfamous) presentation of the "Top Ten Ways to Buy the Speleo-Farm - andsome tips on how to avoid it" by Bill Putnam, caver, rescuee, and (thistime) rescuer:

Top Ten Ways to Buy the Speleo-Farm (and some tips on how to avoid it)

#5) Drowned while exploring river cave in monsoon season

- Always check the weather before going caving.

- Look for signs of previous flooding (logs on high ledges, etc.

- Be aware of specific danger points, like crawlways & pits.

- Wait it out or run for the exit? It depends on the cave.

- If in doubt, stay out!

And from Kim Grossman and Seamus Decker (who know a thing or two

about rain and wet caves...) in Tag-Net #1099 on Friday,

May 30 1997 (in retrospect, could this have been an omen?):


(By Kim Grossman and Seamus Decker)

... the trip leader says he checked the 5 day weather forecast... 5 daysago. [or the forecast says "rain yesterday, rain today, rain tomorrow,followed by more rain"]

... you see throngs of Lemmings rushing towards the cave entrance.

[in this case, I guess 11 cavers = 1 throng]

... the trip leader has a bumper sticker that reads "A bad weekend offlood entrapment in a cave is better than a good day at work!" [but I don'tthink Gerald had this in mind...]

... the only pre-requisite for the trip is that you know how to swim. [orfree dive sumps...]

To which I would add one more:

You decide to do a wetsuit pulldown trip because it's raining too hard toenjoy the party at SERA [or MVOR].

(Just kidding guys... *(:-) Seriously now - this rescue was an outstandingoperation, and all the rescue teams and cavers involved were fantastic. I amreally sorry for Gerald and the others who were injured or trapped, but I dofeel really good that I (who benefitted from a big rescue in 1987) was

able to return the favor for some friends. But it looks like Gerald and theothers will all be OK, as I am, thanks to our fellow cavers - especially theones who plan, train, organize, and serve on the cave rescue teams around TAG.We all know who they are and every one of us owes them a lot more appreciationthan they usually receive.

I experienced a number of moments of great pride and gratitude as I workedon my tasks during the operation, and I appreciate more than ever the folks whocame in and got me out 10 years ago when I suffered an injury simlar toGerald's. Seeing Gerald come out of the cave and take off in the helicopterbrought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes, as I remembered my ownexperience.

For what it's worth, I understand that several thousand dollars worth ofrescue equipment and supplies were expended, destroyed, or lost in this rescue(which is not unusual in one of this magnitude). You might want to considermaking a nice donation to your local cave rescue team or to the Jackson County,Hamilton County, Huntsville, or Walker County units (among others) who expendedgear in this operation. After all, you really do want them to have all theright stuff available if

YOUR number ever comes up..... I'm sending a check tomorrow morning and Isuggest you all do likewise. Even a small contribution will be appreciated andput to good use.

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Gary Chambers (Nashville, Tennessee )


Misty & I took Cecile to the Hospital to be with Gerald and waited forGerald to come out of Surgery. The doctor reported that his break was extremelyclean with no excess tissue damage. A pin was installed in the bone through hisright butt cheek!! ( the horror ) We spoke a few words with him when he wasbrought to the room but we must have been boring him as he started snoring onus in mid sentence. So we left the hospital to head back to Nashville withMisty driving my car and me driving Gerald's truck home.

We drove a couple miles from the hospital looking for the express way butneeded directions so we randomly pulled into a convenience store and by hugecoincidence out walks the pilot from Gerald's helivac helicopter! We chattedfor a while and then followed his directions back to I-24.

In talking with Gerald today and has been told that he can put ALL of hisweight on his leg already! :-O ( limited only by pain ). A good indicator thathe is doing well. I think his biggest inconvenience excepting his leg is thathe has no clothes. He is wearing 2 gowns .... one in front and one in back ...and they are both too short. :-O . Gerald will be returning home on Wednesday.

I spoke with P.K. tonight and discovered that Forrest Platt's (aka SweetPea) sprained ankle (as diagnosed by the North Jackson Hospital, AL) ... wasx-rayed today by a real hospital in Atlanta after she found herself in adisproportionate amount of pain last night and was discoved to have a brokentibia. Thankfully she has finally gotten proper diagnosis and treatment!

So bottom line, everyone is doing fine and MANY MANY THANKS to everyoneinvolved!

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May 23, 1997


Present: John Marquart, Julie Angel, Beth Reinke, Mark Belding, Don Coons,Jim Jacobs, Lara Storm, Rich Bell, Brett & Nick Bennett, Kevin Rasmus,Brian R. Braye, Earl Neller, Dave Carson, Angie Carson, Norm Rogers, ChrisDinesen


Called to order at 7:13 by President John Marquart.


OFFICER REPORTS: Minutes of previous meetings accepted as printed in theNear Normal News. The treasury was audited by Mark Belding and pronounced ingood shape. The report was approved.


OLD BUSINESS: The Burton Cave gating was postponed indefinately. Evidently,there was an old report that there *may* have been some gray bats there. Morediscussion on the Waiver of Liability forms. Current Web address of the NNGhome page, as maintained by Len Storm.


Send info on current trips to Len for posting on the Web.

NEW BUSINESS: Don Coons is hosting Chinese Cavers - potluck dinner at theRutland American Legion (formerly the Sunset Cafe).


TRIP REPORTS: The IDNR Field Trip to La Salle Co, IL 5/17. 200 cars, 365people. The Monroe County trip totalled around 420 people.


TRIPS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS: Wayne's Lost trip by Norm Rogers [see report, thisissue-Ed.]. USDA Forest Service Fire Training Course, June 6-8. NSS convention.Invitations to cave in Perry County by the Mark Twain Grotto. Contact DaveMahon or Patty Daw. (Pattydaw@aol.com). Fogelpole cleanup 8/2/97. BCI Bats& Mines Workshop, Harrisburg, IL Aug. 12-14. The Special Tour of BrookfieldZoo replaces the June NNG meeting.


Don Coons presented the program; a slide show of caves of Puerto Rico andVolcanos in Mexico.


respectfully submitted,

Jim Jacobs


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_1http://www.eiu.edu/~physics/nngrotto/july1997.htmYtext/html &DVe{__2_f _p