Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2014


Writer, scriptwriter and researcher Celeste Allegrea Adams was not a caver. She traveled around the world, exploring ancient and modern mythic traditions and ritual. Her passion for adventure and for understanding the mythology and spirituality of people in all cultures led to lengthy travels and pilgrimages to sacred sites around the world.

She passed away in 2009, but not before leaving a historical discussion that enlightens us on the relation existing between caves and certain goddesses. In her piece Cave Dwellers,The Magic of Living in the Earth, she explains:

"Before there were temples, religious rites were conducted in caves. In Sikkim, the gods and earth spirits were established in the Four Great Caves, oriented to the cardinal points. The Hindu Mother of Caverns was one of the oldest emanations of Kali, a matrikadevi (Mother Goddess) named Kurukulla. Her Phrygian descendant Cybele, the Great Mother of the gods who was brought to Rome in the second century BCE, was called…

Male Cave Photographers Support EWLS

Two superstar photographers so far are contributing to the All-Grrs-Cave-Trip Publication "Extraordinary Women Cavers" this year: Dave Bunnell and Kim Luper! To top it off last year another superstar caver (Brent McGregor) donated his photos in 2013.
All of you gentlemen rock. Thank you for supporting women cavers!


Mary Anning

Anning's life has been made the subject of several books and articles but little is known about her life, and many people are unaware of her contributions to paleontology in its early days as a scientific discipline. How can someone described as 'the greatest fossilist the world ever knew' be so obscure that even many paleontologists are not aware of her contribution? She was a woman in a man's England.

After her father died in 1810, the Anning family lived in poverty and anonymity, selling fossils from Lyme Regis, until the early 1820s, when the profesional fossil collector decided to auction his fine fossil collection and donate the proceeds to the Anning family. He felt that the Annings should not live in such "considerable difficulty" considering that they have "found almost all the fine things, which have been submitted to scientific investigation...".

Anning helped discover the first specimen of Ichthyosaurus to be known by the scientific com…

Vote for Amanda Lollar Lollar was born to a military family and raised on a farm but was forced to cut her formal education short at the age of 16 due to family illness. She later trained with an orthodontic specialist where she studied anatomy in her spare time. It wasn’t until she discovered a little bat, suffering on a hot Texas sidewalk, that the course of her life would be forever changed to a degree that would impact all of our lives. Amanda went to the library and read every bit of information she could find about bats. She quickly realized there was very little known about the most important yet the most aligned animal on the planet so she turned to researching both veterinary and medical books and began applying her self-taught knowledge to conserve bats, eventually becoming one of the foremost authorities on bats. In 1992 Amanda sold all of her worldly possessions and converted her furniture store into a bat refuge, establishing the non-prof…

Kelly Smallwood on the cover of NSS News

Kelly Smallwood takes the cover shot of the June 2014 NSS News, for her black and white photo, Caver’s Silence. This shot of Jason Hardy at Falling Cave (aka Balcony Sinks) in Jackson County, Alabama, also won a Merit Award in the 2013 Photo Salon.


Falls Creek area Cave Conservation Trip

Volunteers removed debris and non-native grasses that were dumped into this cave. EWLS officers and two Extraordinary Women Cavers (EWC's) featured in the 2013 annual publication participated in the event.

Photos Contributed by Nenita Luper

French Women Live in Cave to Escape Electro-Magnetic Rays

Anne Cautain and Bernadette Touloumond suffer from hypersensitive reactions to electro-magnetic radiations. The symptoms include unbearable burning and terrible headaches, so bad that they couldn’t stand to live in the outside world anymore. After trying several other options, a cave has become their ultimate refuge. Anne and Bernadette’s cave is located outside the town of Beaumugne, on the edge of the Vercors plateau range, in France. To gain access to the area, a small ladder needs to be scaled while clinging to a rope. A sign reading “Mobile Phones Prohibited” is displayed on the hillside. 52-year-old Anne says, “I can’t take any sort of electro-magnetic waves, whatever they may be: Wi-Fi, mobile phones or high-tension wires.” She was the first to settle down in the cave, and is now spending her third winter there.
For Anne, it all began with the burns. She couldn’t stand being in her apartment or at work anymore. A former employee of the University of Nice, she became allergic to…

800 Facebook Likes!

Yippee! EWLS fans are awesome! Thank you all so much for sharing and liking our FB page.

Since last February when we announced 700 likes, we have gained a blog and our annual event is ramping up for some major festivities. Please check out our Extraordinary Women Cavers (EWC's) who will be featured in this year's publication and sign up so that you can get in on these limited caving trips to gated and protected caves in the Magic Valley area of Idaho!

Have a great day everyone and thank you for supporting women cavers!

Annual Event:
Annual Event FB page:

Patricia A. Beddows

Cave-diving scientist Patricia A. Beddows of Northwestern University is a contributing scientist for the Hoyo Negro site, where one of the oldest human skeletons in North America was found alongside at least 16 other animal species. She fluent in English, Spanish and French and has contributed to numerous scientific publications related to caves and karst. She is the Assistant Chair and Assistant Professor of Instruction Director, Environmental Field School for Northwestern University Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Her research in the karst Yucatan Peninsula began in 1996 as an assistant to researchers from the Mexican National Autonomous University. This impressive experience directed her career path with both her Master of Science (McMaster, Canada) and her Ph.D. (Bristol, UK). She has explored the hydrodynamics of the most extensive flooded cave systems in the world, found in the Yucatan. Her research continues today with students and projects dedicated to assessing c…

Mary Anning born May 21, 1799

The NSS 75th Anniversary Convention Facebook page posted a video about Nevada's Berlin–Ichthyosaur State Park in honor of Mary Anning's birthday yesterday. The post read:
Mary Anning was a British fossil collector, dealer, and palaeontologist who became known around the world for important findings she made in the Jurassic marine fossil beds at Lyme Regis in Dorset, a county in Southwest England on the coast of the English Channel. Her work contributed to fundamental changes that occurred during her lifetime in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the Earth. Anning's discoveries included the first ichthyosaur skeleton correctly identified, which she and her brother Joseph found when she was just twelve years old.

Learn more at:
SOURCES NSS 75th Anniversary Convention Facebook Page

Patricia A. Beddows Announces Cave Discovery of 12,000 Year Old Skeleton

Cave-diving scientist Patricia A. Beddows of Northwestern University is a member of an international team of researchers and cave divers this week announcing the discovery in an underwater Yucatán Peninsula cave of one of the oldest human skeletons found in North America. Now covered by water, the girl’s skeleton is between 13,000 and 12,000 years old and establishes a shared ancestry between the earliest Americans and modern Native Americans. Genetic analysis shows the prehistoric girl and living Native Americans came from the same place during the initial peopling of the Americas. The near-complete human skeleton — with an intact cranium and preserved DNA — was discovered lying 130 feet below sea level near a variety of extinct animals, including an elephant-like creature called a gomphothere. These remains helped scientists establish the age of the skeleton.
Details of “Naia,” a teenage girl who went underground to seek water and fell to her death in a large pit named Hoyo Negro (“…

Inspirational Women Cavers of the 70's

In the 1970's a survey about women cavers was created by NSS members Angie Martinez and Anne Whittemore. Out of 100 surveys that named the applicant's most inspirational woman caver this list was made. Do you have a woman caver that inspires you? Why don't you tell her by tagging her here in the comments?!

LINDA STARR, Sandia Grotto in Albuquerque NM

Linda's caving history dates back to 1968 in Washington D.C. when she wrote a trip report in the DC Speleograph about her first grotto trip to the Breathing Cave, WV, and was elected as Recording Secretary for the DC Grotto. Soon she moved to NSS Office in Huntsville AL with her caver husband  and NSS Office Manager Doug Rhodes, then to New Mexico in 1972, all the while gaining experience in caving, climbing, conventions attending, while also working for the Cave Research Foundation and contributing to the NSS. She is the co-developer of Speleobooks. "The first Speleobooks ad appeared in the December 1972 NSS News. " Linda says. "Later, we developed Speleobooks into a second entrepreneurial endeavor, Adobe Press, and began printing the NSS News for the editor Charlie Larson. I did all the typesetting and layout for the NSS Bulletin for several years using primitive graphic arts technology." Speleobooks was signed over and sold to Emily Davis at the Texas Conve…

Anne Whittemore

Anne Whittemore was the Holston Valley Grotto secretary for over 10 years in the 60's and continues to be active in caving today. "The most interesting thing I discovered about Anne in my studies is that, despite her age, she is very active on technical levels in social media and internet resources." Said Lisa Bauman, Women Caver's News Reporter. Her commitment to caving is so inspirational that in 1976 she was named as the 3rd most inspirational woman caver in a 1970 survey among the limited women cavers of the NSS at the time. Around 1968 Whttemore contributed to the mapping of Lost Mill Caves over a two-year period with 68 stations and over 12,000 feet of survey. In 1977, when Whittmore was chairperson of the Holston Valley Cave Club, Margie Miller of Kingsport Times News interviewed her. Miller reported that despite her efforts to promote conservation of caves Whittemore, in her 15 years of caving experience, had the air let out of her tires and a …

Suzie Tenhagen

Suzie Tenhagen is currently the Remittance Clerk for Timpanogos Cave National Monument, and through a unique partnership agreement, also for USDA Forest Service Pleasant Grove Ranger District. This is her sixth season here with us; many of you may recognize her from previous seasons working in the American Fork Information Contact Station at the entrance of American Fork Canyon.
Suzie is married with 5 children and 1 grandchild. She loves hiking, kayak fishing, ice fishing, snowshoeing, and camping. In her spare time she volunteers with Buffalo Blessings, a non-profit organization that takes food and supplies to the Hopi and Navajo Indian Reservations in Arizona. She is also a paranormal consultant, Reiki Master and Shamanic healer.


Florence Guillot

Guillot, speleologist for the past thirty years, is co-responsible for the speleological expedition IOWA 2014 in Papua-New Guinea, taking place this very moment! She is the only female of the team of 15 and the first female instructor of the French Federation of Speleology (FFS). Guillot has a PhD in History and is an archaeologist and director of research programs and the head of the Heritages House in Auzat. She is an expert in surveys, vertical techniques and cave rescue (having participated in many trainings). She is also a technical consultant in Ariège. This extraordinary woman was awarded by France its highest honor, when she was made a member of the Ordre de la Légion d'Honneur  (Order of the Legion of Honor) for her investment in Cave Rescue. She is co-author of the guide Spéléo Guide en Ariège Pyrénées.

Her speleological explorations have taken her to France, Spain (Picos de Europa, -1000m, 7 expeditions), Turkey, Indonesia, Thailand, Burma, Laos (2004, 2006, 2011, 2013…


We are pleased to announce the publication of "L'histoire des grottes d'Haiti, racontée par la petite goutte d'eau", "The story of the caves of Haiti, told by the little water drop", a bilingual children's photo book by photographer caver Carole Devillers - 62 color pages, horizontal format 7"x10", soft cover - published by EducaVision in Florida. It can be ordered through EducaVision. Presently in French/English, this book will also be published in French/Creole and English/Creole for children of Haitian origin living in the USA/Canada.


Kirsten Alvey

Kirsten Alvey, retired chef, past president of Chouteau Grotto, and now founder of the Missouri Bat Census, has been caving since she was 5 years old. “I love the adventure of the unknown,” she says. “It is just part of my life, always has been.” After more than 30 years of caving, this volunteer educator and chef by trade at Summit Lake Winery, goes caving two to five times a week.  Alvey is often called the "Lady Caver" by landowners and other grotto members. She has found over 35 Missouri caves and also conducts bat, amphibian, and cave surveys.



Verena Dubacher

In 2008, this 68-year-old woman was the first woman in 600 years to hold the position as official hermit to live in a cave in a protected monument at Verena Gorge in Switzerland. She recently had to step down on 'health grounds' after five years as the official hermit. Applications for the position close this week.

Read more here:

Janet Tinkham

Nevada daily says Janet Tinkham keeps a shovel in her car. And when she approaches kiosks or pavilions, she always checks for bats. Tinkham is a caver.

A self-proclaimed cave enthusiast for 32 years, she even met her husband while caving. Together they founded the Front Royal Grotto in 1991.

Janet Tinkham, chair of the Front Royal Grotto, points to areas on the map of the karst trail at Skyline Caverns. The group will hold a Cave and Karst Fest at the caverns on April 26, which will kick off some of the improvements they hope to make to the trail in upcoming weeks. Katie Demeria/Daily