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Mar 2003, Vol. 23, #3

TIDEWATER’S OOZE is the regular monthly publication of the TIDEWATER GROTTO of the NATIONAL SPELEOLOGICAL SOCIETY. If you have any words of wit, trip reports or any insignificant drool, e-mail it to the Editor or mail it all to the TIDEWATER GROTTO, P.O. Box 62642, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23466, and perpetuate your illiteracy!


Rita Klimas
3116 Sherwood Drive
Chesapeake, VA 23322
(757) 421-2613

Al Stubbe
(757) 485-0350

Joedy Klimas
3116 Sherwood Drive
Chesapeake, VA 23322
(757) 421-2613

Joedy Klimas

Vickie Paul
4387 Atwater Arch
Virginia Beach, VA 23456
(757) 621-1435

Joedy Klimas

Al Stubbe
713 Baywood Trail
Chesapeake, VA 23323
(757) 485-0350


The March Tidewater Grotto meeting will be held
7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 20th, 2003
at the home of:

Joedy & Rita Klimas
3116 Sherwood Drive
Chesapeake, VA 23322
(757) 421-2613

Weather permitting, bring your rappel gear and we
will climb up and rappel down our 40' ropes in our front yard.

Go straight to the directions to Joedy and Rita's  home!

Our grotto serves a very wide spread area and in an effort to accommodate everyone (if not on a regular basis, at least on a rotating one) we are still searching for a centralized location to conduct our meetings.  If you have any suggestions please contact Joedy Klimas via phone (421-2613) or e-mail  Please provide any contact information you may have including address and phone number of the suggested site.

February Meeting Results

Al Stubbe volunteered and was elected Treasurer.  Al will now serve as Director and Treasurer until someone volunteers to take over one of those positions.  The remaining officers were reelected to their posts as shown above.

Dues, Dues, Dues!
It's time for everyone to pay their Ooze dues ($10/person).
Please make your check out to Tidewater Grotto and mail it to our Treasurer, Al Stubbe, or
send it to our Grotto P.O. Box in Virginia Beach.

Orientation to Cave Rescue Class
Covington, VA
March 29th and 30th, 2003

The Falling Spring Rescue Squad located in Covington, VA is hosting an ER-NCRC Orientation to Cave Rescue Class March 29th and 30th 2003.  If anyone is interested in taking this class they would be glad to have them. The main reason that they are having the class in that area is to acquaint local rescue squads and fire departments in cave rescue.  They have 175 known caves in Allegheny County and area rescue squads haven't been called upon for a cave rescue.  If anyone is interested in the class you may contact Glen Hugus at 540-962-0213 or through this email  The fee for the class is $40.00 which covers the book and the proceeds go to ER-NCRC.  This is a worthwhile class and you might even get to go to a cave you have never been to before.

Wilderness First Aid Training

Anyone wishing to receive wilderness first aid training should contact George Gates at (804) 694-5653 or   The course will be held at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) in Gloucester, VA.  The course will cost $70.00 per person and will be held April 6, 12, 13 and 19 to complete 32 hours of instruction.  I recommend this training to everyone who caves.  I have been through the course several times.  I have had to use wilderness first aid a couple of times already.  Let’s face it, we do vigorous dangerous activities well beyond what could be called quick medical response.

Tentative April Trip

Weekend of April 18-20th
Thorn Spring Campground

Contact Rita for Information

Spring VAR
May 9th -11th
OTR Campground
Dailey, WV

Check the following site for VAR info:

Memorial Day Grotto Trip
May 23-26
Franklin, WV  


Contact Joedy for information

We hope to have several led trips of various ability levels, including vertical.

We will participate in the Butler-Sinks Expedition Weekend.

 Tidewater Grotto Web Page


If anyone has any articles or other input for the Ooze, please e-mail the information to

Recent Activities

Rita Klimas took a wilderness survival course in Pennsylvania and looks quite cozy in her makeshift shelter on the front cover.  She had a great time and met some adventurous people.

Tim Parker, Mary Jo Lehman, Katheryn McDonough and Rita Klimas ventured into Mystic Cave the weekend of February 8th.  Katheryn had a great first caving experience and Mary Jo has committed to getting some gear, so we have a few new cavers!!! 

Tim went to a Via Ferrata on Sunday at Nelson Rocks Preserve (NRP).  'Via Ferrata' is Italian for 'Iron Way'.  Via Ferratas are by their nature protected routes. Steel cables, metal rungs, and bridges, are combined to ease your movement and to add safety. They make areas accessible to those without technical rock climbing skills, providing exhilarating views and exposure.  Here's some information from the site: 


Nelson Rocks Via Ferrata FAQ

What does Via Ferrata mean?

VIA stands for "very intense adventure".  "Ferrata" is Italian for "like driving a ferrari".  Seriously?  No.  It's Italian for "iron road" or "iron way".  A via ferrata is basically a long climbing route with permanently fixed cables for protection.  Steel rungs are used on steeper sections to keep the difficulty of the climbing moderate, and bridges are often used. Where did the idea come from?  VFs have been used in the Alps for a century or more.  During the world wars, they were used to move troops easily through high mountain terrain.  VF climbing has become a popular sport in Europe, with dozens in existence and more being built all the time.  The Nelson Rocks VF is the first and only American-designed and built via ferrata in the world.  It includes a a 230' long, 150' high swinging foot bridge, one of the longest such bridges in the country.

Who can climb a via ferrata?

Anyone who is fit enough to handle rugged trail hiking. No rock climbing experience is needed. VF's are a way to experience the excitement, exposure and scenic beauty enjoyed by climbers, without spending the time and money necessary to become a skilled and equipped climber.

What equipment is used?

A standard climbing harness and helmet, and a double, shock absorbing lanyard specifically designed for via ferrata climbing, such as the Petzl Zyper. These items can be rented at NRP. How do you use the Zyper? Attached to the harness, it has two cords or lanyards with carabiners, used to anchor the climber to the safety cable and (sometimes) to rungs. As the climber moves past an anchor point on the cable, the two biners are unclipped and clipped on the other side of the anchor, in succession, so that the climber is attached with at least one lanyard at all times. On bridge crossings, the lanyards are always clipped to a safety cable overhead. Because a fall down the safety cable to the nearest anchor point can generate dangerously high forces, the Zyper is equipped with a load limiting (shock absorbing) device. Ordinary climbing slings are unsafe and may not be used on the VF.

Is the via ferrata safe?


What do you mean, no?

Via ferrata climbing is not like a theme park ride, where you're strapped in and your safety is guaranteed. It's potentially dangerous, not unlike skiing, boating, mountain biking and so on. It requires alertness and careful judgment.  The cable system is designed, when used properly, to prevent the climber from falling to the ground. Nevertheless, a fall from various positions on the VF could result in serious injuries. It is important to realize the differences between belayed climbing on a top rope (at a climbing gym, for instance), where the rope catches you immediately if you fall, and the VF system, where a fall will take you to the lowest point on the section of cable. Other dangers include rock fall, lightning, and a variety of other uncontrollable risks.  All of this is discussed at the orientation for first time climbers.

Real climbers won't be using the VF, will they?

Only if they like the idea of leaving the rope and rack in the car, climbing nonstop for a couple of hours without stopping to belay, and enjoying some of the most exposed and outrageous terrain in the East.

How scary is the VF for non-climbers?

Very.  It will likely be the most intense adventure experience you've ever had.

Why's it so expensive?  ($75.00/person)

It was expensive to build, as you'll appreciate when you see it. Trust us, it's worth it.

What should I bring?

Wear loose fitting clothing and good shoes (tennis shoes, hiking boots etc.; no sandals). Bear in mind that it's cooler and windier up on the rocks, so bring some extra clothes. A rain jacket is a good idea.  Fingerless gloves (a limited supply is available at NRP).  Water and food.  A small pack should be carried by at least one member of the party to carry items not in use; everyone will need their hands free to climb. Climbers may use their own harnesses and climbing helmets.

How long will it take?

Allow for 2-3 hours of climbing at a relaxed pace.

One word of warning, NRP has a disclaimer you must read if you want to be a guest.  For those with computers, you have got to read this disclaimer.  It's covers just about everything,  If the disclaimer doesn't scare you off, go for it.  All I've got to say is you've got guts Tim!!!!!