3/25-26/2011 – Arkansas Cave Pirate Weekend at Carroll

Permit #:  0311-1A
Trip Leader name:  Andy Isbell

Trip date:  3/25/2011
Project manager:  Restoration
Trip purpose:  Improve trail below Thunder Falls, Pirate intro
Areas of Cave visited:  CarrollPassage
Trip participants:  Patric Reedy, Holly Reedy, James McKnight, Sherry McKnight, Ben Porter, Susan Milum
Entry Time:  12:05pm
Exit Time:  6:00pm
The trip report:
Arkansas Cave Pirate Weekend at Carroll, March 25-26, 2011
Trip Report
By Rick Hines with Upper Thunder report by Bill Gee

Andy Isbell and I camped at the schoolhouse Thursday night in preparation for Friday and Saturday Carroll trips for the Cave Pirates, a group of Cavers I met at Ennis Cave in Arkansas.

Originally a nonmember trip was offered the Cave Pirates but due to their desire to take minors and do multiple trips the Pirates joined the CCC.  (The CCC policy on nonmember trips should be updated to clarify our policy on minors and multiple trips in a weekend).  Fourteen Cave Pirates joined the CCC.  The following eleven did one or more Carroll trips this weekend.

1      Sherry McKnight     CCC#415
2      James McKnight             CCC#416
3      Ben Porter        CCC#417
4      Doug Vanaman         CCC#421
5      Tammy Vanaman             CCC#422
6      Abbi Vanaman          CCC#423
7      Patrick Reedy         CCC#418
8      Holly Reedy         CCC#419
9      Susie Milum         CCC#411
10    Jessie Bridges         CCC#410
11      Susan Hopkins        CCC#414

Clint Milum traveled to Carroll with the Pirates but did not cave because he was feeling ill.

Friday morning Andy and I met the Pirates for a free breakfast at their motel in Camdenton.   After breakfast I called Eddie Simmons.  Eddie had arranged to take the Pirates on an optional Rattlesnake Cave trip and lead a trip into Carroll.  Due to the weather, Eddie’s truck problems, and the fact that Bill Gee would be leading a Biology trip on Saturday we decided Eddie should stay home and stay warm since we would have enough trip leaders to keep the Pirates entertained in Carroll this weekend.  But we do appreciate Eddie’s effort to arrange the Rattlesnake trip and offer to help lead trips if needed.

My plan was to start the first Carroll trip at 10:00 but we soon learned that the Pirates run on caver time, with the first Pirates arriving at the Schoolhouse around 10:45.  Then we had to deal with a locked minivan with the keys inside, but using a handy digging tool we were able to pry the door open slightly and guide a wire in to push the button to unlock the doors.   By about 11:15 eleven cave Pirates and Andy and I had arrived at the silo to start getting people down the shaft.  It was windy and slightly below freezing.  Bill Pfantz soon arrived to help get us safely down the shaft.  Since the Pirates were new to the shaft I rigged a gear haul rope through the pulley at the top of the silo and ran it through the lock access hole on the 3’ hatch over the shaft.  We hauled packs and photo gear.

Most of the Pirates are fairly new to repelling, having just recently purchased gear and done a few practice drops.   They rigged the hole and carefully tethered and checked each other for the descent.  All went well but the process was extremely slow.  With hindsight, we should have used two ropes to allow one caver to descend while the next person in line gets on rope.

By now the original plan for multiple trips on Friday was abandoned in favor of one trip of 13 including Andy and I as leaders.  Again, with the benefit of hindsight, it would have been better if we had done two separate groups so the first group of six of seven could have started caving sooner and avoided standing around and getting cold.  It was 1:15 before we were all down and started our trip up the Carroll Passage.  At the Water Barrier some of the Pirates wanted to continue through and some were ready to return.  Andy took Ben Porter, Doug Vanaman, Tammy Vanaman, Abbi Vanaman, Susie Milum and Jessie Bridges with him and headed through the Water Barrier with a plan to turn around within 45 minutes.  I took the others with me and headed back to the ladder.  Andy’s group turned a little sooner than expected and then caught up with my group at the shortcut to Thunder Falls.  Several of the Pirates had carried folding shovels in preparation for digging out the path below T
hunder Falls.  Andy led the diggers to Thunder Falls and the path beyond.   They moved an impressive amount of dirt.

Back at the ladder at about 5:00 I sent Patrick up the ladder first to help get the others off the ladder safely.  Next some of the faster climbers and girls that were starting to get cold followed.  We did not have enough safety ascenders for the entire group so gear had to be lowered for reuse which slowed things down.  Climbing out was a slow process as usual.   With all but about four of us out I got word via the “phone” that the silo was locked and they could not get out and some of the girls were getting very cold.   I climbed out to see what the problem was.  The Pirates had been unable to open the silo door to get to their cars and warm clothes.  They got very cold as they waited for someone to open the door.  When I got to the surface I found Abbi and Susie M standing in a space blanket bag shivering.  I lowered a 300 watt light into the bag with them to start warming them up as they explained that the silo door was locked on the outside.  I went to the door and
turned the knob counterclockwise while pulling the knob inward and the door opened!  Soon Bill Pfants arrived and explained he had closed the door after we were all down the shaft to help keep the relatively warm cave air in the silo.

Note:  The Silo Door – The latch on the outside of the door can be difficult to open from the inside.  When closed the door has a natural spring force pushing it outward away from the silo.  This force tends to cause the latch to stick and make it hard to turn the small T handle on the inside.   If you know the “combination”, i.e., pull in and turn counterclockwise it is easy to open (unless someone did lock it on the outside).  If you do not know the “combination”, pushing and hammering on the door with anything and everything in the silo does not help.  If the temperature is nearing freezing and you are wet and cold, as was the case Friday, panic can set in.  Fortunately the CCC rescue cache in the silo contained space blankets that the Pirates found and used to prevent this problem from becoming more serious.  The Pirates returned the used space blankets to the metal storage trashcan and left a note explaining what they opened and then resealed the can with duct
tape.

What to do to prevent future door problems – I applied WD40 that helps a little.  We could place a sign by the door with the “combination”.  But if someone actually locks the door with someone still in the cave a sign will not help.  Do we really need to lock the silo door?  Should we cut off the latch so it cannot be locked?  Should we remove the existing latch and as Bill Pfantz has suggested, install a standard padlock hinge and loop hardware mounted with wing nuts on the inside silo door so that even if locked on the outside a person on the inside could remove the wing nuts and open the door?  I will bring this up for discussion at the annual meeting July 30.

Andy was the last one up the shaft a little after 6:00 pm.   By 7:00 we were all in dry clothe and headed down the hill in warm vehicles with a plan to meet at Senior Peppers for dinner.  At the Schoolhouse we found Bill Gee in his camper having dinner so we left him and headed to town.  The Pirates bought dinner for Andy, Bill P and me.  After dinner we made plans for Saturday’s Carroll trips.   Andy said his trip to Upper Thunder was starting at 9:00 AM but I had a feeling the Pirates were not buying it.

Since Andy had had a cold unrestful night in the back of his truck Thursday night he accepted my offer to let him sleep in my heated camper.   Overnight it dropped to 28F outside with more sleet.  Also overnight Chandra Ruff    and Andrew Mason arrived and set up their tent.

Pirates, Sherry, Ben, and Patrick arrived around 10:30 and informed us that Jessie was lost somewhere on Carroll Cave Road.  I took Sherry and Andy and went looking for her.  We found her and led her back to the silo.

Bill and Andy led a biology trip up Thunder River to monitor bait sticks in Convention Hall.  Chandra, Andrew, Sherry, Ben, Patrick and Jessie helped.  They were all in at 11:15 AM and out at 6:00 PM.

Report by Bill Gee
On Saturday I was first down the hole at about 11:15. Andrew and Chandra quickly followed. Since they did not get to see Thunder Falls on their first Carroll trip back in January, the three of us took a quick trip over there. The stream was flowing about 2 or 3 inches above normal.

We arrived back at the ladder to find the last of the Cave Pirates coming down. Eight people made up the biology trip – Andy Isbell, me, Andrew Mason, Chandra Ruff, Jessie Bridges, Sherry McKnight, Ben Porter and Patrick Reedy.

The group left the ladder about 11:45 heading to upstream Thunder River. We stopped to examine the tiles at two locations. There were very small snails on several tiles but no isopods. We saw a few fish but were not specifically looking for them.

We arrived at the UL2 entrance about 12:30. I took everyone up the hill to look at the white formations, then we went on in to UL2. There is a set of tiles which we examined, finding more snails.

We arrived at Convention Hall about 1:00pm. The waterfall was flowing freely
and making a lot of noise. Everyone had some lunch. I examined the bait
sticks. The fungus halo is completely gone. There was not much happening on
the sticks – they are pretty well used up. I saw a few springtails and
nothing more.

The Pirates all went up to the overlook to get another view of the room. When Jessie came back down, she and I went over to the Conference Room to look at the bait sticks there. That set of sticks had a few more springtails on them. The waterfall was flowing. We went back to Convention Hall and the entire group headed out. On the way out we stopped at a formation area so everyone could get a look. Back at the main passage around 3:00pm, we decided to keep going upstream to the Round
Room. Sherry took a bad step and twisted her foot, but said she could keep going.

Everyone got to Flat Rock Falls without a problem. There is a set of tiles and sticks there. Two of the tiles are missing, probably in the pool below the falls. I found a few snails. The black rock had a few isopods, but not nearly the number we usually see.

We got several hundred feet farther upstream when Sherry decided her foot was not going to make it the rest of the way. After some discussion, we split into two teams. Andy Isbell took Andrew, Ben and Jessie and headed for the Round Room. I took Chandra, Patrick and Sherry and headed back for the ladder. Sherry took a couple of ibuprofen before we left.

The trip back was slow and cold. Sherry was not moving fast, and the stream was rising. I figure the stream came up about 6 inches between when we left the ladder and when we got back. It does not sound like much, but it made the deep spots much deeper. Even with three shirts and a balaclava I was
shivering.

We arrived back at the ladder shortly before 6:00. Chandra was first up, then me. Sherry and Patrick climbed much slower. Just as they were starting to climb, the other group arrived back at the ladder.
(End of BillGee’s report)

Other Pirates were still interested in a trip later in the day.  Sherry left them a phone message that I would lead a trip at 1:00.

At 1:00 Doug and Susie Hopkins arrived for a trip.  With only three on the trip I stayed close to the ladder.  First we moved to the end of the breakdown pile near Angel Pool Passage and tried to find large rocks for a step to make the four foot ledge at the end of the breakdown easier to climb up.  Most of the appropriate sized rocks were stuck in place by mud and could not be moved.  Doug found a large rock that was just right for the step that we were able to move.  We rolled it to the edge and then pushed it over and watched it slowly roll on down the mud bank and splash into Thunder River.  This project will require a pry bar or as Andy suggested we could use a short section of the ladder that came from the original silo demolition.   After giving up on the step we moved on to Angel Pool Passage.  The Pirates enjoyed seeing and photographing the formations.  Ninety-four lb Susie checked out some of the holes at the end of the passage looking of a connection to the known
passage beyond.  No luck.  From Angel Pool Passage we dropped into Thunder River and moved down stream to Thunder Falls.  Thunder River was up several inches so the falls were louder and more spectacular than normal.  Back at the ladder I sent Doug up first followed closely by Susie.  They sent down the haul line and I hooked up the packs and camera gear and then climbed out to help pull up the gear.

Bill and Andy’s trip returned to the surface about 6:00 PM.  After the trip Andrew and Chandra packed up and headed home.  The rest of us made plans for Dinner at Captain Ron’s on Lake of the Ozarks.   We kept Bill up past 11:00 PM!

Bill was headed home early Sunday morning.  There was snow on the ground but the roads were clear.  Before heading home I made a trip to the silo to pick up paperwork, look for lost gear, and clean up the silo.

Thanks to the Pirates for joining the CCC.  Thanks to Andy and Bill for helping lead.  Glad Andrew and Chandra were able to make it down for the Biology trip.  Hope to see the Cave Pirates back in Carroll soon.

Rick Hines

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Permit #:  0311-1C1
Trip Leader name:  Rick Hines

Trip date:  3/25/2011
Project manager:  Restoration
Trip purpose:  trail improvement
Areas of Cave visited:  CarrollPassage
Trip participants:  Susan Hopkins, Tammy Vanaman
Entry Time:  12:50pm
Exit Time:  6:00pm
The trip report:  See report for 0311-1A

—————————————————

Permit #:  0311-1C-2
Trip Leader name:  Bill Gee

Trip date:  3/26/2011
Project manager:  Gee, Biology
Trip purpose:  Monitor tiles and bait sticks
Areas of Cave visited:  Upstream Thunder, Convention Hall
Trip participants:  Andy Isbell, Sherry McKnight, Ben Porter, Patrick Reedy, Jessie Bridges, Andrew Mason, Chandra Ruff
Entry Time:  11:15 AM
Exit Time:  6:00 PM
The trip report:  On Saturday I (Bill Gee) was first down the hole at about 11:15. Andrew and Chandra quickly followed. Since they did not get to see Thunder Falls on their first Carroll trip back in January, the three of us took a quick trip over there. The stream was flowing about 2 or 3 inches above normal.

We arrived back at the ladder to find the last of the Cave Pirates coming down. Eight people made up the biology trip – Andy Isbell, me, Andrew Mason, Chandra Ruff, Jessie Bridges, Sherry McKnight, Ben Porter and Patrick Reedy.

The group left the ladder about 11:45 heading to upstream Thunder River. We stopped to examine the tiles at two locations. There were very small snails on several tiles but no isopods. We saw a few fish but were not specifically looking for them.

We arrived at the UL2 entrance about 12:30. I took everyone up the hill to look at the white formations, then we went on in to UL2. There is a set of tiles which we examined, finding more snails.

We arrived at Convention Hall about 1:00pm. The waterfall was flowing freely
and making a lot of noise. Everyone had some lunch. I examined the bait
sticks. The fungus halo is completely gone. There was not much happening on
the sticks – they are pretty well used up. I saw a few springtails and
nothing more.

The Pirates all went up to the overlook to get another view of the room. When Jessie came back down, she and I went over to the Conference Room to look at the bait sticks there. That set of sticks had a few more springtails on them. The waterfall was flowing. We went back to Convention Hall and the entire group headed out. On the way out we stopped at a formation area so everyone could get a look. Back at the main passage around 3:00pm, we decided to keep going upstream to the Round
Room. Sherry took a bad step and twisted her foot, but said she could keep going.

Everyone got to Flat Rock Falls without a problem. There is a set of tiles and sticks there. Two of the tiles are missing, probably in the pool below the falls. I found a few snails. The black rock had a few isopods, but not nearly the number we usually see.

We got several hundred feet farther upstream when Sherry decided her foot was not going to make it the rest of the way. After some discussion, we split into two teams. Andy Isbell took Andrew, Ben and Jessie and headed for the Round Room. I took Chandra, Patrick and Sherry and headed back for the ladder. Sherry took a couple of ibuprofen before we left.

The trip back was slow and cold. Sherry was not moving fast, and the stream was rising. I figure the stream came up about 6 inches between when we left the ladder and when we got back. It does not sound like much, but it made the deep spots much deeper. Even with three shirts and a balaclava I was
shivering.

We arrived back at the ladder shortly before 6:00. Chandra was first up, then me. Sherry and Patrick climbed much slower. Just as they were starting to climb, the other group arrived back at the ladder.

——————————————–

Permit #:  0311-1D
Trip Leader name:  Rick Hines

Your Name:  Rick Hines
Phone:  913 897 4258
Email:  rickhines@aol.com

Trip date:  3/26/2001
Project manager:  Restoration
Trip purpose:  Trail improvement
Areas of Cave visited:  Upstream Thunder
Trip participants:  Doug Vanaman, Susie Hopkin
Entry Time:  1:30 PM
Exit Time:  4:30 PM
The trip report:  See report for 0311-1A

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