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Wishing Well, April 3rd, 2011

Tough Guy Survey

April 3, 2011

Bill Murray, Nathan Farrar, Phil Lucas

Reporter:  Phil Lucas


On a Wishing Well trip Saturday, April 2 Nathan logged 12 hours in the Northwest Passage and carried Callie’s pack on the way out.   The very next day he pulled his gooey coveralls back on and put another 11 hours on survey this trip.  When asked for the name of today’s survey, it came quickly to me – Tough Guy!  Our destination was a lead off the Rotunda Room.  There is a fifteen foot nuisance drop to be climbed before you get there.  It is easily negotiated with a short cable ladder.  I wanted to avoid bringing a ladder each trip, so I made one to leave in the cave.  It is made of webbing and PVC pipe.  Nathan carried it.  The rungs are three quarter inch pipe with a half inch pipe inside.  Earlier, to insure its strength, Bill Royster and I tested a sample section of the ladder to destruction.  The rung of this sample was made using only 3/4 inch PVC pipe.  It broke at 1,100 pounds.  The final version with the 1/2 pipe inside the 3/4 inch pipe should hold 2,000 pounds but it was not tested, so no more than nine cavers should be on the ladder at one time (grin). 

Doing some mop up, we surveyed a connecting side passage where Nathan had crossed a pit from the opposite direction during the last trip to this area.  Then we proceeded to the Rotunda Room where I tried taking some photographs with my new camera.  I got lousy photographs.  For some reason I couldn’t get the slave flashes to operate properly.  As a result the photographs from this trip are skimpy.  The Rotunda is a grand room much better than my photo shows.  It has a high vaulted ceiling.  My disto was not strong enough to get a reading from the ceiling but we made a good estimate of 80 feet.  An intersecting passage part way up one wall makes an interesting window into the room and a stage for a posing Nathan while Bill aimed the spotlight.

We surveyed two leads off the Rotunda.  One lead was not noted on the previous survey and we followed it for about 60 feet into the bottom of a drippy canyon where Bill and I stopped.  We could see a passage at the top, but I decided it was too difficult for me to climb.  Nathan, acting the Spiderman role, climbed to the top and saw the passages continued.  Beyond was another canyon about 30 feet deep which he promptly jumped.  He did not push any of these leads very far.  They need to be surveyed.  A return crew to this area should bring rope and bolts.

Our final survey of the day was down a steeply sloping passage that proved to be another muddy canyon with a drain in the floor just beyond the wall of the Rotunda Room.  The passage appears to continue up a steep slope beyond the drain  but some climbing will be necessary and a belay might be useful.  The hour had grown late and we retreated.

No more 10 + hour trips for me - getting old.  (hum, I said that last time)

Numbers:  464.8 feet surveyed this trip.  Total surveyed to date are 4.5 Miles.  Trip lasted 11 hours.

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