Dwight's little album of a very memorable Gangsta weekend in January, 2002, at Cassell Cave in West Virginia. All photos are used with permission: copyright 2002 Thomas Kornack; duplication without permission forbidden.
|Friday night Gangstas arrived at the Depot in Durban, WV, and began making plans for the next day's surveys. Snow had started, and more was in the forecast. Here with me are Dave West (left) and Bob Hoke (center).
|Here's me, Charles Danforth, and Mike "Tiny" Manke gearing up for a snowy rappel. Given the slippery conditions around Odey's Pit, everyone was clipping on rope up at a tree where the line was anchored. The rappel now included a few yards of steep, black-diamond slope (8 inches fresh powder) before dropping the 96 foot pit.
|Thom Kornack's feet blend chameleon-like with the cave. After a long wait for the Notwurst survey crew to finish a few shots, Dan rigged the Skeleton dome with a cable ladder to begin our PQ survey. The drop measured 30 feet - no fun for self-belayed cable climb. At the dome's top we entered the Bratwurst Passage, reportedly unvisited for 30 years. The little stream passage yielded both an interesting form and much handsome flowstone.
|Near where we ended our survey, the passage opened up. Erosion had cut bone-like structures out of the limestone, some extending yards into the room. Flowstone hung everywhere, like this odd pendulum we called the dinosaur, based upon a fair resemblance to an inverted Barney head.
|Heading out around 10:00 that evening, we found a line waiting at the pit bottom. What with the arctic air wafting from above, I got pretty cold sitting. The climb warmed me up again completely, enough to sit in the snow and strip off well-muddied gear and suit. Dan de-rigged the pit, and we made dinner by 2:00. Excellent trip. Thanks to all the Gangtsas and to those on the PQ survey.