Cave Rescue, February 11, 1989
Paxton's Cave, VA


REPORT

On Saturday, February 11, 1989, a group of twelve cavers from Frederick Grotto were on a sport trip through Paxton's Cave in Virginia. Two cavers had visited the cave previously. Conditions were just a bit wetter than the previous trip three months before. All members were experienced cavers.

Tom Lupp (33) was leading the group as they headed for the main formation room. Approximately one hour into the trip the group was looking for the proper route in a breakdown area. Lubb climbed on a large slab, about 5 by 5 feet, to tie his boot lace. He sat there and talked to a companion for a minute when the rock suddenly began to slide. It moved about five feet and came to rest against another rock, with Lupp ending up between the two rocks. His only injury was a bruised left forearm.

Approximately one-half hour later, Tim Folmar (22) was climbing over some wedged chockstones. Most of the group had already climbed over, and as Tim pulled himself up, the rock fell down about 3 feet. He jumped to another chockstone only to have it fall away. He finally landed on a solid rock. Due to the presence of marks in the mud, it was obvious that the rock had been climbed over many times. Three and one-half hours into the trip, several members went through the gate which is near the back of the cave. Peggy Hurley (21) and Jeff Brandenburg (23) were standing near a wall. Hurley leaned against the wall and a rock slab came loose, falling to the floor near her heel and almost hitting Brandenburg's foot.

The group exited the cave without furhter incident.


References

NSS News, December 1990 (Part 2) V48N12, Page 335.

Thomas Lupp NSS Accident Report undated, 2pp.


Analysis

Lupp had heard no reports of loose rocks in this cave before. Furthermore, there were no signs of unusual weather or temperature conditions.