THE DISCOVERY AND SURVEY OF NEVADA'S LIBERTY CAVE

November 07, 2016

Laura Sangaila conducted the survey of Liberty Cave.  If you will like to learn more about Liberty Cave or have any other inquiries please reach out to Laura. 

Nevada has exactly 314 mountain ranges which is quite impressive with the sheer number of opportunities to climb and scramble in the high desert mountains of this state but I am most impressed with, is the amount of cave and karst regions to explore among the limestone regions within the stare. This has become even more of a reality for Laura and I after we met with the members of the Southern Nevada Grotto.  We attended a Southern Nevada Grotto meeting and Bill Christy (vice president ) gave a presentation on a new cave discovery on a limestone mountain range in Nevada. We were Eager to help, so Laura and I volunteered to help photo and map the cave system.
Liberty Cave, Nevada
 Bill Explained that the cave is around 8500ft. of elevation and there is more cave to push which meant that this system might also go for some distance.

Laura Sangaila, Tom Madsen, John Leonard, and Billy Christy at the cave entrance of Liberty Cave in Nevada
There was also some discussion about a large room, formations, and white walls covered with moon milk which was quite interesting to hear but the actual scale of the main room was not known so flash bulbs and flashes were added to the pack to make sure I was able to light up the room.
Laura Sangaila, Tom Madsen, John Leonard preparing for the survey in Liberty Cave , Nevada
Laura is an excellent caver with amazing skills in cave survey, sketching, and the overall Cartography aspect of creating a solid cave map and she led the project to completion.


 We were able to borrow a Suunto Tandem from Ron Davis, and the rest of the crew was able to bring two disto's which helped made the survey efficient.  

Bill Christy entering in Liberty Cave,  Nevada
We all show up in the early afternoon to setup a camp site and soon after, we quickly made our way to the cave so we could rig and determine our objectives for the day.
Laura Sangaila starting the sketch for the survey in Liberty Cave, Nevada
The cave itself rests in the corner of a cliff almost at the top of a mountain which gave us some impressive views from the entrance out into the valley below.
Liberty Cave, Nevada
We rigged two lines for safety and efficiency and soon after, we started the survey from the top.

Bill Christy in his new cave discovery, Liberty Cave in Nevada
Laura did an amazing job taking the lead in the survey as the rest of us assisted with setting up line shots, survey stations, measuring inclinations, distance, and compass readings.

Laura managed all of the data and sketched the cave along as well as mentored the rest of the team with utilizing the tools and techniques in cave survey. 
Bill Christy in a white dome of moon milk in his new cave discovery in Nevada
I helped a bit with the surface data points but I mainly focused on photography and capturing everyone else on the survey as well as capturing a few photos of Bill in the cave since this was his discovery.  

Bill Christy in his new cave discovery, Liberty Cave, in Nevada
Soon after the entrance was plotted, I went down and started to set up some photos of everyone so once people were moving, I would be able to get some photos of them without too much interruption.
Laura Sangaila working on the Sketch in the newly discovered Liberty cave in Nevada
Tom Madsen and John Leonard worked the instruments on the survey as Laura organized the data and tied the data in with a sketch what was done while I got some photos of the rest of the team. 
Laura Sangaila working on the Sketch in the newly discovered Liberty cave in Nevada
The entrance pit came out to around 40ft.and the total depth of the cave came out to 62ft.
Laura Sangaila working on the Sketch in the newly discovered Liberty cave in Nevada
Bill wanted to make sure that he got to see the rest of the cave but we did not want to interrupt the survey team because they had a great rhythm going and their data points and survey stations were accurate and efficient, it was a well oiled machine.
Laura Sangaila working on the sketch with Bill Christy in the foreground in Liberty Cave, Nevada
The decision was made for me to put down the camera and Bill and I proceeded to do a hasty push into the remaining cave to see if there were going to be any relatively easy breakout points.   
John Leonard, Tome Madsen, Laura Sangaila discussing the survey with Bill Christy  on the left in Liberty Cave, in Nevada.
After 30-45 minutes pushing dead end leads and sections that were too tight, Bill concluded that the leads were looked at, with the exception for a few, and the cave ended in a chimney down climb into a small dome.  
Tom Madsen working survey instruments in Liberty Cave, Nevada
flowstone and stalagmite formations in Liberty Cave, Nevada
upon our return, the survey team was working around the large room and Bill headed out of the cave to meet up with Jenn at the car and so he can prepare a campfire for our return back to the campground.

Laura Sangaila working on the Sketch in Liberty Cave,  Nevada
After the survey team finished off the main room, we headed out of the cave and de rigged just in case we decided not to come back the following day due to weather.
Adam Haydock near the flowstone and roots at the top of a passage Liberty Cave,  Nevada
The winds were howling at the surface but it was not too cold once we got out which gave us enough time to derig and hike back to our cars before the temperature dropped.
Bill Christy in his new cave discovery in Nevada
Back at camp we all shared a few stories and got to sleep so we could wake up early and get back into the cave.  The next day, we woke up to light rains and howling winds with the minor but real threat of thunderstorms heading our way. 
Liberty cave
We decided to abandon our efforts and make a return trip the following weekend to finish the survey. 
Bill Christy in his new cave discovery, Liberty Cave, in Nevada
The Following weekend, Laura and I returned to the cave to finish the survey and complete the sketch, which was successful.

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