S. Dakotan named World's top Spelunker Ben Shouse, ArgusLeader.com
A South Dakotan has won the world's top award for cave exploration.
Mike Wiles, 51, who works for Jewel Cave National Monument, accepted the Lew Bicking Award last month for his work as a volunteer spelunker.
This is the third time the award has gone to an individual or couple from South Dakota.
Wiles is one of a rare breed of explorers who clamber through Jewel Cave for up to four days at a time mapping passageways. Thanks to his time in its 140 miles of passages, the cave moved from fourth to second on the list of the world's longest.
"I started out as someone who just wasn't very good at anything," Wiles said Wednesday. "But I kind of fell in love with caving."