By Bill Steele
In 1960, cavers checked out a small cave on a ranch near San Antonio, Texas. Other cavers had been there before, but they pushed harder, and made the discovery of some of the largest, best decorated cave passages in Texas. A few years later it opened as a show cave and is well known and very popular. No new passages had been discovered in the cave since the late 1960s.
In October 2018, Bill Steele arranged with one of the original explorers of the cave, Orion Knox, now in his late 70s, to join and narrate a special tour of the cave for members of the Texas Chapter of The Explorers Club. At the visitors’ center after this tour, standing at a map of the cave on the wall, Orion was asked if any leads remain in the cave. He smiled and pointed to the Dome Pit, a 100+‑foot-high dome with a possible passage at the top. It was thought to not be climbable due to the limestone being too soft, so it had never been attempted.
Steele said that the best cave wall climber in the USA, Lee White of Georgia, would be with him following the 2019 Huautla expedition. In May 2019, White climbed the wall and the passage at the top led to an extension of the cave with pits; well-decorated chambers; experiments with flying drones underground, netting much media attention; and now a planned new shaft entrance into the new discoveries.