Trip Leader name: Jeff Crews
Trip date: 4-17-10
Project manager: Bob Lerch
Trip purpose: Survey in Upper Thunder Side Passage
Areas of Cave visited: Upstream Thunder
Trip participants: Brett Bradshaw, Peter Chollet, Tyler Allen, Laura Sisken
Entry Time: 12:00
Exit Time: 20:00
The trip report: After some bumbling around we were able to get on the road a little later than we wanted. We arrive at the shaft right at 11:00 and in an hour had our gear sorted out and the rope rigged. All of our gear was nice and clean since we had followed the FWS decon procedures.
We headed up river to the side passage we’ve been working on the last couple trips. We were able to find a well marked station and mapped about 70 feet of complex breakdown, crawl crounch, walk canyon. Survey was halted at a neat 4 foot water fall that required a tight squeeze to reach. Above the squeeze was some very sketchy breakdown with the lower part of a dome visible. It may be possible to move some rock and get into this dome, but it is very dicey.
We headed out the the big joint controlled dome near the beginning of this side passage complex to eat some grub and plan our next move. We decided to push into a small crawl that splits out of this room next to where we were eating. The crawl has a faily simple cross section so I let Brett work on his sketching while I nursed a growing headache with a cup of self heating coffee.
What is it about that passage and headaches? Jeff Bartlett totally migrained back there almost a year ago and here I was starting to feel it too. My bet is it’s the nerve wracking complexity we are trying to simplify and put on paper rather than bad air. My proof is that only the sketcher gets sick.
The team did well surveying 124 feet of semi-virgin to virgin cave before being halted by a pristine while stalagmite/flowstone mound that went wall to wall. Beyond the cave was opening up and going strong. Not having anyway to traverse the flowstone we called it a day with the plans to come back with some plastic sheeting or some other proteciton of the flowstone.
Total footage for the day was a whooping 197.8 feet. The good news is the side has drifted off of Ben Miller’s Sheet and on to mine, so now I have something to add to the map.