Rich started rock climbing his first weekend of his freshman year at Pennsylvania State University. The following September, his younger brother, Alvin, joined him at PSU. In February, when it was too cold to rock climb, they tried caving with the Nittany Grotto. Their first wild cave was Milroy Cave, Pennsylvania’s muddiest.
After graduation, Rich was commissioned in the U.S. Army. His training included 5 months in Huntsville, Alabama, where each weekend Huntsville Grotto members took him to another vertical cave.
Rich assisted with the project that produced the “Into the Depths of Fern” slide show. The rest of Rich’s Army service was at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, where he continued rock climbing and caving on weekends. The gypsum caves near Carlsbad and limestone caves in the Guadalupe Mountains became his favorites.
After leaving the Army, Rich spent the next 4 years as a mathematics graduate student, first at the University of Colorado and later back at PSU. Rich spent most of his college breaks exploring caves – both near and far. Later he moved back to New Mexico and has lived in California since 1976. He led the mapping of Greenhorn Caves, which are tight, difficult caves in quartz diorite rock. He now lives in San Diego. Although devoid of limestones caves, San Diego County has many sea caves, caves in granitic rock, and “mud caves”.
Rich has explored wild caves throughout the US and in nine foreign countries. He compiled four issues of American Caving Accidents and authored Lost in a Cave, which was published by the NSS in 2012.