Trip date: 9 January 2016
Project manager: Bill Gee
Trip purpose: Data logger service
Areas of Cave visited: Convention Hall
Trip participants: Bill Gee, Ben Perkins, Amanda Perkins, Vic Bentele, Diana Bentele
Entry Time: 10:05am
Exit Time: 3:55pm
The trip report: This was the annual data logger service trip. A secondary goal was to introduce several members of OCDA (Ozark Cave Dive Alliance) to the cave with an eye toward doing a reconnoiter trip to the Lake Room.
Jack Peters and I drove down in the early morning. The roads were clear until Climax Springs. From there we drove in wet snow which finally started accumulating about the time we drove across Lake of the Ozarks. We arrived at the silo about 8:30am to find 3 or 4 inches of wet, slushy snow on the ground.
I have a 4×4 truck and so we had no trouble getting up the hill. Jack unlocked the cave and rigged the rope while I took care of downloading the rain gauge logger and changing its battery. We then both changed into our caving gear. I was in the back of my truck changing when the OCDA people arrived just a few minutes after 9:00am.
Jack went down the shaft first so he could help people get off the rope at the bottom. I stayed on top to help everyone get on the rope. As it turned out, all of the OCDA people were well able to deal with the rappel. I was the last one down to the cave at about 10:45am.
I downloaded the two data loggers at the ladder. The level of Thunder River was about 6 or 8 inches above nominal. We then went down Carroll Passage to the data logger in Carroll River. There were many deposits of fresh sand in boot prints and other depressions, some of them 4 or 5 feet above the stream level.
When we arrived at the data logger, I noticed that one of the upper guy wires was no longer attached to the stilling well. The other two were loose. Apparently the recent flood had caused one of the guy wires to come unwrapped. I downloaded the logger, then retied all three of the guy wires.
We arrived back at the shortcut to Thunder Falls about 11:45. Everyone took a trip over to see the falls. It was running rather strong, making an impressive sight! I stayed on top while everyone else free-climbed down the rock to the pool below the falls. They admired the view from below, then came back up the ladder.
We all went back to the entrance ladder and ate lunch. About 12:30 we left to go to UL2. On the way Amanda stepped wrong and twisted her ankle a bit. She walked it off and was able to continue the trip. We arrived at UL2 shortly after 1:00pm. A few minutes later we had the data logger downloaded, completing the main trip objective.
The group continued on to Convention Hall. Some people went up to the balcony overlook. The waterfall in Convention Hall was running at a good clip. On the way back we stopped at two formation areas to admire the scenery.
We arrived back at the ladder shortly after 3:00pm. Everyone geared up and was out of the cave by 3:55pm. It took about 40 minutes to change clothes, pull up the rope and lock up the cave.
The entire group went into Camdenton for dinner at El Caporal, a Mexican restaurant. The paved roads were completely dry and clear of snow.