The 2017 Spring VAR will be held April 28-30 at Thorns Springs Park in Franklin, WV.


Preregistration is now open. Download the registration form and mail it in before you forget. Pre-registration is now closed. Please register on-site. Adults are $40 and children 6-16 are $30 at the door. Children 5 and under are free. Please make all checks payable to "Baltimore Grotto."

There are plenty of wooded campsites aroung the park, next to a babbling brook. Camping is included with registration. The campground has a bath house with flush toilets and hot showers. Seven electric hookups are available for campers and RVs for $5. No sanitation disposal is available. Fires are only permitted in the available fire rings, and firewood is available for $10 per wheelbarrow load from the park office. Please do not bring firewood from elsewhere to minimize the risk of spreading invasive bugs.

Thorn Springs has about 10 cabins, and the VAR has reserved most of them. 8 bunk cabins are $40 and 16 bunk cabins are $80 for the weekend. SORRY! ALL CABINS HAVE NOW BEEN RENTED.

There are 2 motels in Franklin, only a few miles away, if camping doesn't suit you.

Inner Mountain Outfitters will be coming, with every caver need from helmets to lights to vertical gear.
Speleobooks just confirmed they will also be coming, and will feature the Bob Liebman collection, which will benefit his cancer treatment.
We are still working on other vendors.

Wie will have a Make-Your-Own T-shrt Station with markers, paints, and plenty of cave-related stencils, etc. Bring your own blank T-shirt to start with. Michaels has plain T-shirts in a rainbow of plain colors for only about $5, sometimes as low as $2-3 on sale, Walmart also has cheap blank T-shirts, but not in as many colors.

John Fox spinning the tunes for dancing and socializing, cave trip sign ups

There will be a conservation project all day Saturday at the Trout Rocks Cave Preserve to fix fencing, plant tress, and remove grafitti. Fence fixers should bring gloves, heavy snips, and post drivers. Tree planters will need gloves, small shovel, and good boots with ankle support for the steep hillside. There IS poison ivy on the hillside. Wear long pants and bring antidote. Please RSVP to Earl Suitor (wvcaver at verizon dot net) if you plan to attend.

Please DO NOT contact trip leaders before the VAR. All signups will be at VAR.
Shoveleater (trip limited to 6, advanced vertical, will be vetted at registration)
Sites Cave (advanced vertical, and strictly limited)
Cave Rat Cave

McCoys Mill Cave is within walking distance of Thorn Springs.
Kee Cave is 5 minutes away.
Blood Cave is 5 mintues away.
The NSS Trout Cave Preserve is 5 minutes away. Come help with the conservation project!
Eliza Davis and other caves within 1/2 hour.

Seneca Caverns and Smokehole Caverns (both commercial) are both an easy drive.

Organizer Tommy Carpenter is actively seeking trip leaders. If you are willing and able to lead a trip, please contact Tommy at ibaskateboarder [at] yahoo [dotcom]

The ER-NCRC will be hosting onsite vertical practice to help you practice your techniques, or optimize your vertical system.

Dinner will be served in the big pavillion, which has plenty of picnic tables. After Dave Socky's presentation, the evening will continue with John Fox spinning your favorite dance tunes.

Dave Socky will give a presentation on Catawba Murder Hole and show the new movie "Murder Hole," which he filmed.

There will NO pancake breakfast Sunday, but we may have coffee for everyone - please bring your own mug.

VAR Business Meeting in the big pavillion.


Coming Up!

varLogoNew River Cave Workday

May 11, 2018, starting 11 AM

Contact Jonathan Roberts

Coming Up!

varLogoSpring VAR 2018
September 22-23, 2018

To be held at the New River Junction, Blacksburg, VA.

Template Settings


For each color, the params below will give default values
Blue Red Oranges Green Purple Pink


Background Color
Text Color


Background Color


Select menu
Google Font
Body Font-size
Body Font-family