07/01/06 – 3M Passage (Meandering Muddy Madness) in UL2

Submitted by Bob Lerch

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Dates: July 2006

Area Mapped: 3M Passage (Meandering Muddy Madness) in UL2

Cavers: Team 1 – Amber Spohn and Andy Lerch

Team 2 – Dan Lamping, Bob Lerch, and Bill Gee

Time In: 10:00a on 7/1       Time Out: 12:00a on 7/2                Duration: 14 hours

July 1, 2006

We decided to head back to the UL290a lead (see Figure 1 below) after more than a year since the last trip out this way. The lead had been unenthusiastically described as going, but very muddy by the previous two trips in this side passage off of a side passage.  The trip to where the 90a lead goes off is a little over an hour of fairly easy caving, but once we were in it, we got worked hard for the next 45 minutes in this climbing, twisting, muddy, and some times crawling passage back to the lead at UL2-90a26.  We split into two teams for the leap-frog survey in modest sized passage (10-15′ wide and 6-7′ tall) with a small meandering stream.  We noticed several (~7) cavefish despite the very low flow conditions. The stream eventually got down to occasional pools, and three of the pools had a single cavefish each! As we mapped, the mud began to stick to everything, making our boots heavy with mud and covering instruments and sketching pages alike. It was difficult conditions to be sure, and our progress was slow, but it kept going. Eventually Team 2 leap-frogged Team 1, and we hit a fork in the passage, with the “main” part continuing west and a fork to the right heading south. We shot 3 shots into the south lead, and it also continued as generally wide, but low passage. At the end of the day, we named the passage the Meandering Muddy Madness, or 3M for short, because of the slimy, winding passage.  Footage totals for the trip: Team 1, 313.65 feet; Team 2, 307.97 feet for a total of 621.62 feet.
Figure  SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 1. UL2 Line plot showing the 3M passage extending to the west

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