NPS - National Park Service

11/08/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/08/2019 19:15

Wind Cave's 150th -mile event ends with donation of 30-year old cave pack

News Release Date:
November 8, 2019

Contact: Tom Farrell, 605-745-1130

WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, S.D. - Concluding the park's recent celebration of mapping the cave's 150th mile, Rachel Cox donated the cave pack she used the day she was lost 30 years ago in Wind Cave.

'Throughout the day, we had cave explorers telling the story of the exploration of Wind Cave,' said Vidal Dávila, park superintendent. 'The day's events ended with a banquet whose keynote speaker was Rachel Cox. She told a pretty intense story of what it was like being lost in the cave in 1989.'

Ms. Cox was an 18-year-old National Outdoor Leadership Student (NOLS) in 1989 when she became lost in the cave for 36 hours, generating the largest search and rescue effort in the park's history. Her talk centered on what she experienced and how she tried to find her way through the cave without a light.

'This event gave some of the rescuers from thirty years ago an opportunity to actually meet Rachel, something they hadn't gotten to do originally,' Dávila said.

The story of the cave's exploration continued over the weekend with survey teams mapping approximately a half mile of new cave. It is estimated there are over two thousand unexplored passages in the cave. Something that wouldn't surprise Alvin McDonald, the cave's first systematic explorer, who wrote in January of 1891 that he had, 'given up the idea of finding the end of Wind Cave.'