12/01/2007 – Carroll River Side Passages (Lerch)

Carroll Cave Survey Trip Report
Submitted by Bob Lerch CCC#140

Date: December 1, 2007
Areas Mapped: Carroll River Side Passages
Cavers: D. J. Hall, Bob Lerch, Ben Miller, Joe Sikorski, Amber Spohn, and Roger Webb
Time In: 12:00p on 12/1 Time Out: 8:00a on 12/2

Duration: 20 hours


Our objectives for the trip were to finish the Turnpike survey, completing the longest loop in the cave at more than 5500′ long, and begin surveying as many of the numerous side passages in the Carroll River arm of the cave as possible. We broke into two teams: Team 1, D. J., Ben, and Joe; and Team 2, Amber, Roger, and Bob. Team 1 was going to survey side passages between the Turnpike (the end with the ladder) and the Mountain Room. Team 2 would finish the Turnpike, correct a bad shot on the C survey, and then begin CR4, which is a short distance from Paradise Passage (CR3). Recall that our naming convention for side passages is relative to the backdoor entrance, not the natural entrance.


Although surveying of the Turnpike was dreaded by many because of its muddy pools, it actually turned out to be fairly pleasant and easy. We mapped it at 1″=40′ scale because the passage dimensions were large enough to justify this scale, and therefore, the sketching went fast. We surveyed almost 400′ in about 4 hours, and took a break in the Lunch Room before heading downstream towards CR4. We corrected the bad shot from C88 to C89, and continued the slog on to CR4. After searching awhile for tie-in stations, we eventually got started on CR4. It is a nice-sized passage about 11′ wide and 7′ tall at the entrance, with a very muddy little stream. After about 100′ of medium-sized canyon and knee-deep mud, the passage gets lower, but keeps going. We decided to leave the small stuff for another day, since we were looking at a 15 hour trip by the time we all got back to the surface.


Team 2 started their long day in the DTW side passage (not yet sure if it is CL5 or CL6) which tied-in at C162, near the Mountain Room. Ben noted “R 10” smoked on the wall near the entrance to this side passage, indicating the 10th side passage on the right from the natural entrance. The passage was narrow and winding, but generally went to the east of the main passage. After 22 stations and over 300′ mapped, it ended in a grim, low crawl. Next, they headed back towards the Turnpike, to a larger side passage going to the north of the main passage. They designated it BC, for Big Canyon (turns out to be CL3), where they reeled off another 11 stations and just under 350′ of new survey. It continues as nice walking passage, but after 18 hours, they were all falling asleep and decided to head out. We broke D. J. in pretty hard, with a 20 hour trip his first time in the cave, but he reportedly did well and will be back for more. Footage totals: Team 1, 504.15 ft; Team 2, 686.25 ft; Total, 1190.4 ft. (0.23 miles). As mentioned above, the completion of the Turnpike completed the longest loop in the cave. Here are the loop data: distance, 5570.7 ft; number of shots, 97; loop error, 0.23% or 0.12 ft/shot. This error rate computes to a total error of only 11.6 ft out of 5570.7 ft!!