He shared caves' beauty San Angelo Standard-Times (TX) DAN CIPRIANI Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Jack Burch helped make the Sonora caverns and other caves accessible to the public.
In 1955, a group of spelunkers got permission to explore an almost forgotten cave near Sonora. The reason it was largely forgotten is that there was a deep abyss with no way to cross it.
Using mountain-climbing techniques, the explorers carefully crossed the pit and found a way into a 45-foot crawlway on the other side. At the end of the long crawl, they found beauty beyond the wildest dreams of spelunkers — there were stalactites, stalagmites and, most unusual, helictites covering everything. Helictites that grow horizontally are a rare find. This cave had so many they were “common.”
Jack Burch and a friend, James Papadakis, heard about the discovery and couldn’t wait to explore it. After risking their lives inching across what is now known as the “Devil’s Pit,” they, too, were able to witness the beauty of the cave.