Spring VAR Registration

Registration for Spring VAR is now available! The link and further information can be found on the Spring VAR page here on our site: Spring VAR 2018.


Spring VAR 2018

Walker Mountain Grotto is hosting Spring VAR on April 27-29, 2018 at the Hungry Mother Lutheran Retreat Center, a private camp located adjacent to Hungry Mother State Park.

Additional details and registration information is available on the Spring VAR page on this site.

New T-Shirts

Our new T-shirts are here! They are Gildan cotton shirts in assorted colors with the Grotto logo on the back and “Walker Mountain Grotto” printed on the front. Available in medium, large, and extra large, $15. You can pick up one up at a grotto meeting or see us at one of the events we frequent, like Abingdon’s Earth Day celebration, OTR, or VAR.

New T-Shirts

Bats and Bedrock Extravaganza, pt. II

Four of the caves I had targeted are on the same landowner’s property. Unfortunately, he  had a death in the family which pretty much meant these caves are on hold.

Next, I had another cave but it’s a wet cave. The landowner says “you’ll need a boat to get back in there.” Inner tubes? Deep water, short cave, but unmapped.

Ambitiuous as it was, this was the initial list:
+Catron’s Cave – in progress, needs to be finished;
+Cave School Water Cave – see above: short, wet, deep water;
+Dix Cave – wet, short?
+Brushy Pit – not supposed to really be anything per reports, but promise of a dig?
+Betty’s Trap – vertical, loose rocks, unlocated. Permission granted!!!
+Hilltop Cave – vertical, est. at 350 plus;
+Little Brother Cave – same property as Hilltop, not fully located. Lot’s of ridge walking possibility. We have full run on the property.
+Julia Crockett’s Cave – short, lots of trash – mostly a clean up in progress for now. Owner says “it blows” so possibility of a dig and more cave if/when the trash is out.
+Minnie Corvin’s Cave – wet, short, semi-located.
+Speedwell #1 Cave – poor map, 750′-ish, needs a new map.
+Speedwell #2 – working on permission.
+Reed Creek Cave – ?

Busted (for now)
+ Ball’s Cave/Chockfullofit Cave – no go. Bear.
+Ball’s #2 Cave – just discovered/no VSS record (woot!) Bears ARE on the property. Not willing to chance it this time of year.
+Sutherland Saltpetre Cave – closed indefinitely. Filled in with trees and brush due to high exposure and trespassers. 😦 Doubtful it’ll be re-opened in the foreseeable future.

On hold due to the owner having suffered a death in the family
+ Blue Grotto Cave ;
+Slit Holt Cave;
+Cregger’s Cave;
+Reed Creek Water Cave.

Possible alternatives/back-ups
+Venrick Cave/Skeen’s MIne – needs to be re-located, needs to be mapped.
+Venrick Run – needs to be re-located, needs to be mapped.
+Dead Air Cave in Smyth Co. needs a real map. Extant map in Holsinger sucks

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    intrepid VPI grotto members

Final results: For the Bats and Bedrock Extravaganza there were 18 caves initially targeted for location and/or survey. Of that number 11 caves were located, as were two additional previously-unreported caves. Two caves, Venrick Run Cave and Betty’s Trap, were not located. The remaining five caves were stricken from the list at the last minute and are on hold for now.

Brush Pit, Hilltop, Minnie Corvin’s, Hide-E-Hole, Dix, and Venrick Caves were surveyed to completion. Catron’s Cave added another 925.3 feet to the on-going survey for a grand total of 2634.05 feet, making it the longest cave (to date) in Wythe County! Additionally, a resurvey of Speedwell Cave was started, which racked up 1226.25 feet, out of an original 750 feet map. There is still more to survey in Speedwell Cave.

Over the course of the event, survey teams racked up an impressive total of 3482.87 feet. Additionally, Skeen’s Mine Cave, Little Brother Cave, and Chockedfullofit Cave were accurately located and await surveys.

VSS 2016 Annual Meeting

The Virginia Speleological Survey held its annual meeting October 15, 2016, at Natural Bridge Caverns, Natural Bridge, VA. The Walker Mountain Grotto was qwell-represe nted. Members Bill Grose, Tanya McLaughlin, and Jason Lachniet are respectively, the VSS county directors for Wythe, Smyth, and Washington Counties. Between the three of them, five new caves were reported – one in Wythe County and four in Washington County, four new maps (one on Wythe, three in Washington) were submitted and a fourth Washington County map was reported as in-progress. A new map and report for a previously known Washington County cave was also submitted, along with updates on two ongoing projects. Total new survey footage for Washington County for the year was 4,674 feet. I addition to an update on the Catron’s Cave survey in Wythe County, photographs of suspected boxwork from Catron’s Cave was also presented; the VSS directors’ confirmation was a satisfying conclusion to the general business meeting. In other VSS news the current number of Virginia caves now stands at 3951, with a current total of 562.4 miles having been surveyed. (Obviously, more awaits the intrepid surveyor.) For more information, please see: http://virginiacaves.org/

January 2015 updates

Tonight’s meeting was a good one. Congratulations to the 2015 officers:

Jason Lachniet – President

Bill Grose – Vice-president

Tanya Mclaughlin – Treasurer

Alec Larkin – Secretary

Steve Ahn – Director at Large

Additionally, the grotto voted to hold a monthly sport trip, scheduled to occur on the Saturday immediately following our monthly meeting. That means this month’s sport trip is scheduled for Saturday, January 24, 2015. We’ll be going to a cave near Marion that is an easy, family-friendly cave. Plan on about a three hour trip (give or take.) Check your email for particulars about meeting location and time.

Next month’s sport trip is tentatively scheduled to coincide with the annual bat count at Hancock Cave.