Chris stands at the spot where we stopped our survey of virgin passage in Memorial Day Cave. We pushed the tight crawl at the bottom of Fasten Your Seatbelts Pit and got 501 feet of survey.

Memorial Day Cave Trip Report
March 12, 2011
LAJ survey
by Nikki Fox

Chris Coates and I ate breakfast at the Gateway and then proceeded to get underground a little earlier, opting to skip out the meet-n-greet at the fieldhouse. We got underground before 10 a.m., and to the Bison Room in less than 3 hours. With our leads gradually being surveyed, our plentiful choices were dwindling. So we decided to survey the crawling lead at the bottom of Fasten Your Seatbelts Pit (57 feet). Our only time there was with Aaron Moses and Abby Hohn, when it was rigged, back in August 2010.

Typically, the crawl to the top of the drop has had massive blowing air coming out of the pit. That day, there wasn’t too much airflow. We rappelled in and I had forgotten what a nice little pit it was. We paused for a snack and then began the LAJ survey, starting from LAF13.

The crawl was a little tight at first, with the tightest constriction nearly 10 feet into the crawl, I’m guessing about 9 inches tall. But afterwards, the crawling wasn’t too bad. We did a couple of shots before we made our way into a little dome room (LAJ3), about 9.5 feet tall. There was a small offshoot from the room that did not go. The passage became small again until it opened up into a bigger dome room (between LAJ 3 & 6) with a ceiling height of 37 feet. We could feel the air blowing upwards while standing in this room. We think there must be a level above us, but it would have to be bolt climbed to see for sure.

Our next shoot, to LAJ7 provided to be an interesting feature in the passage. There was a little mud mound in the middle of the room, seem to be formed by a massive flood. Around the next bend, the passage started to open up a little, more hands and knees crawling. After we hit our third ceiling dome (near LAJ11), we decided to break for lunch. Chris and I had to crawl back to our packs, which we left at LAF13.

After a couple more shots up the passage we had run into borehole (LAJ12)! We surveyed another 133 feet in three shots before calling it quits. I was getting tired and having a hard time concentrating on sketching. We packed up and headed out at a leisurely pace of 4 hours.

The numbers:
15 stations
501.2 feet of survey
14.5 hours underground

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *