Cave Survey Report Sand Cave

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Cave Survey Report Sand Cave
Location McKittrick Hill
Author TTU Students Elizabeth Hash, Harrison Lobb, and John Turner
Date 8.25-27.2014


  • We planned to leave Lubbock at 3:00 p.m. Harrison and John thought we were supposed to leave at 2:00 and they were wrong. Elizabeth arrived promptly at 3:00 as planned, despite the denial of the boys.
  • We left Lubbock at 3:30 with the intention to arrive in Carlsbad by 6:00. Alas, much to our great dismay and shame, we arrived in Muleshoe at 4:00 p.m. and began rerouting to the other side of New Mexico. Let the record show that John was driving.
  • Arrived in Carlsbad at 7:30 p.m. After John consumed a $15.00 sandwich at Subway, we met up with the great and patient Cave Mom Lee Ann and the grotto on McKittrick Hill.


  • We awoke around 9:00 a.m. and ate a delicious and wholesome breakfast of bacon, egg, and sausage burritos with cheese and hot sauce.
  • Surveying began around 10:30 a.m. We divided into two groups. In his group, John was bestowed the job of ???assistant lead taper???. He was delighted.
  • Harrison and Elizabeth were allotted the jobs of fore-sight and back-sight/lead taper in the A-team (the other team was definitely the B-team). Elizabeth was definitely better at instruments even though Harrison denies it. William, Michael, and Joseph trained us on instrument accuracy, and eventually Harrison attained Elizabeth???s level of skill and they were nearly spot-on every time.
  • A-team did have a rocky start with a 40+-foot shot between points, but this was later clarified as an intentional teaching moment by Michael, not a mistake. We learned that ideally, survey points should never have more than 30-feet between them. We also learned that points should be placed strategically, to be used in multiple different directions.
  • Harrison and Elizabeth then got fleas.
  • Tammy was Elizabeth and Harrison???s inventory member. She identified different types of formations to us, such as helectites, fried eggs, popcorn, and draperies. We also learned about cave preservation and safety.
  • Surveying for the day ended around 4:00 p.m.
  • That evening, we participated in a bat count. John and Harrison recorded bat count at McKittrick Cave [1 bat]. Elizabeth, with Lee Ann, Michael, and Joseph, recorded bat count at Endless Cave [approximately 118].


  • The group decided to cover a few more feet of surveying before leaving Carlsbad. The group divided into two again, and Elizabeth and Harrison switched places and crushed it. In a successful, good cave-preservation-etiquette kind of way. John???s group played in the ???attic???, tearing pants, exploring, and covering some good ground.
  • Overall, the experience was extremely rewarding. We not only learned a lot about accurately surveying, but got to actively practice our skills ourselves. The grotto???s patience and willingness to teach us and enable us were extremely appreciated. We sincerely hope to be invited back for the next survey, and also to redeem ourselves by not taking a detour to Muleshoe this time.

Thank you, Lubbock Area Grotto!