Showing posts from 2014

Caving With Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania Council 11-18-18

Yes, they were at it again. This time there were two new Troops to introduce to caving. Eastern PA Council set this one up at the same time as the one in October. This trip originally had sixteen people, but one Troop backed out at the last minute. It’s a shame because they missed a very good time with these girls. Maybe they’ll come out again when they can. We have been having a tremendous amount of rain and unprecedented snowfall for this time of year. As a result the cave actually had a good bit of water in it.

I like to use this cave for beginner trips because it is stable. But I’ve never seen this much water in this cave. Parts that usually have a little sticky mud had water over the top of my thigh. I choose to avoid the lower parts of the cave. For most of the girls this was their first wild caving trip. I didn’t want to take any chances with them and I didn’t want anyone cold and miserable. But they all got very muddy, and had a blast. How could I tell? Watch the video. L…


November 17, 2014

I was trying hard not to chuckle as I heard the familiar complaints: “Dude, that is not my foot!” and “I am pretty sure there is no way out of here!” I was perched in a small tunnel opening in the lowest chamber of a cave that we take the Calvary Temple youth group into. We were 100 feet underground about two hours from Calvary Temple in Sterling Virginia (link).
I was trying to be quiet so that I don’t give away my position. Caving Pancake room Even more than the rappelling, chimneying, navigating the pancake room, or lunch, I enjoy the “lights out” challenge the most. The kids are taken to a “safe” passageway in the cave where there are no cliffs or otherwise dangerous drops and then they must turn of their lights, choose a leader and proceed to find me hidden in the tunnel. The roughly 50 yard journey only takes about three minutes with the use of a light but in the chaos of total darkness it can take 20 to 40 minutes.

Now if you are imagining a large cave with …

Crew 363 Lock In

Crew 363 has been doing the Lock In for 3 years and used the Squeeze Box for 2 of those to help them recruit and show how much fun their Crew is. This year I stayed to help.
For those who don’t know what a Squeeze Box is, it’s a tool that cavers use to see how small of a space they can get into, and out of again. It’s also a lot of fun to play with and the kids enjoy this as much as adults do. Probably more. They try to beat each other’s record and try to beat their own previous smallest squeeze.

The one thing I forgot about with Lock Ins is that nobody really sleeps. It was tough to keep up with them.
Questions?If you want more information about taking youth groups caving, or you’re just curious about what’s involved with getting kids underground, visit the National Speleological Society Youth Group Liaison Committee at Or you can email me directly at I’d enjoy hearing from you.

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Argenta Cave Trip Report

June 14, 2014
Troop 214 from Helena, Montana participated in a caving trip to the Argenta Cave in Southwest Montana. This trip was the end goal of the Venture Patrol that began last year with a presentation on caving from Vern Bowden, a member of the National Speleological Society, an introductory trip to the Dragon’s Breath Lava Tube in Idaho, several training sessions to practice rappels and vertical rope climbs.
The trip to Argenta started with mapping the location on the USGS quad map with coordinates provided by Vern. Most caves are no longer shown on quad maps due to vandalism. It is recommended to contact the local Grotto to find out more about caves in your area and to enlist a caving guide to assist with training, cave etiquette, and proper cleaning procedures to limit the risk of diseases to bats.
The two hour trip brought the Patrol to a primitive campground after seeing elk, deer, jack rabbits, and a bald eagle. Bear scat was evident in the area and numerous wildflowers…

Dragon’s Breath Lava Tube Trip

By Ethan Wheeler, Life Scout, Troop 214, Helena, MTI was elected Patrol Leader of the Venture Patrol and was challenged with coming up with a high adventure activity. I talked to the patrol about some options and they voted for a caving trip. We were connected to Vern Bowden through a message left with the Northern Rocky Mountain Grotto.On September 25, 2013, Vern came to a meeting with the scouts planning on going. He brought lots of interesting pictures, brochures and a slideshow explaining the rules and concerns with caving. He also handed out equipment lists for the trip. He explained what to expect at Dragon’s Breath, and we were excited to check it out.The actual caving date was set for October 18-19, 2013. We ended up having 6 scouts and 2 adults go on the trip, plus Vern. We followed him out to the camping spot. The area seemed like a desert wasteland. It was hard to imagine anything interesting being out there. We set up camp and cooked dinner. There was an awesome…

Youth Groups Liaison Committee (YGLC) Report Q3 2014

Youth Groups Liaison Committee (YGLC) Report Q3 2014
Regional Reports ·Arizona Regional Association – No RC ·Mid Atlantic Region – Allen Maddox Caving Program for CampHorseshoe at a stalling point. Checked-in with Grottos about putting YGL information on their web sites. Some have responded positively, but I haven't seen changes yet. There was some interest in a cave geology program in a NJ school. There is an interest is a caving program for BSA Area 6 V-Week (summer camp). I have solicited to a local YMCA camp to help develop a caving program for their summer camp. ·Mississippi Valley-Ozark Region – No RC ·Northeastern Regional Organization – No RC ·Northwest Caving Association – Debbie Spoon ·Ozark Valley Region – Eric Edelman ·Rocky Mountain Region – No RC ·Southeastern Regional Association – Lewis Baker ·Southwestern Region - Deanna Younger ·Texas Speleological Association – Mark Alman Pretty quiet summer here in Texas. My kids and I took a local DFW Boy Scout Troop caving in Austin in August a…