incident at Shaft Cave

Publication
ACA 1973 page 16
Date
13th Oct 1973
Cave
Shaft Cave
State
Indiana
County
Unknown
Country
USA
Category
Caving
Incident type
Difficulty on rope
Primary cause
Exhaustion
Secondary cause
Group type
Cavers
Group size
Unknown
Aid type
Surface aid
Source
Third party
Incident flags
       
Data status
Complete

Injured cavers

Name Age Sex Injuries Injured areas
Wolf, Joe 30 Male Exhaustion Not recorded

Incident report

Two groups of cavers from the Windy City Grotto dropped the 76-foot pit of Shaft Cave. Below this is a 20-foot tight vertical crevice. Joe Wolf (30), who weighs 240 pounds, became stuck while climbing up the crevice. With considerable help from David Larson, he was able to climb out of the crack and into the bottom of the main pit. Because he had lost the strength in his arms, he was not able to ascend the rope.

Ed Pekin, an experienced vertical caver, started climbing out the main pit using bowline-backed ascender knots. About 50 feet off the floor, the top ascender knot became untied and Pekin flipped over, held only by his foot slings. With assistance from cavers above. Pekin was able to right himself, retie the knot, and proceed out. Wolf was then pulled out by 8 people on top.

Incident analysis

Wolf had recently lost considerable weight and was becoming reactive in caving. He had practiced vertical techniques outside before attempting the pit. Fatigue, caused by becoming stuck in the lower section of the cave, contributed to his inability to climb the rope. Pekin's incident was due principally to his haste in tying the knot in order to get out fast and start the rescue of Wolf.

References

Shofstall, Don. (1973) "More Cave Rescues." NSS News. Vol. 31. p. 215. Kentucky, Sloan's Valley Cave

This record was last updated on 19th Nov 2023 at 23:36 UTC.