Early Roubidoux Spring Cave Exploration

The state of Missouri is a hidden gem for cave & cavern scuba divers. Waynesville, the heart of Missouri cave country, is also home to Roubidoux Spring. Roubidoux Spring is a notable landmark freshwater spring. It is often mentioned as one of the best cave diving springs in the country and is routinely allowed to QUALIFIED and certified cavern or cave divers. ALL DIVERS must register with Waynesville Police Department (573.774.2414) before entering.

Roubidoux Spring at Laughlin Park in Waynesville, MO. Image courtesy of Connie Feighery. The underwater cave at Rouibidoux Spring is a favorite dive location in Missouri for certified cave divers.

Roubidoux Spring at Laughlin Park in Waynesville, MO. Image courtesy of Connie Feighery.

The following article was published in “History Pulaski County Missouri, Vol. II, 1987”. Special thanks to Pulaski County Museum and Historical Society for allowing us to share it here.

“Roubidoux Spring
Summary of Exploration thru Sept. 18, 1977

Prior to September 1977 several people had made relatively short penetrations into the upper level passage of Roubidoux Spring- Carlson, Delaney, Rimbach, and Tatalovich.

During the summer of 1977, Carlson and Delaney made several dives to the limits of the then known passage in an effort to extend penetration. Their maximum penetration was 425 feet and a maximum depth of 120 feet.

On September 3, 1977 Miller and Fogarty made their first dive in Roubidoux Spring. They reached the end of the Carson-Delaney line, found the lower level passage, and added 570 feet of line for a total penetration of 995 feet. The lower level passage runs at an average depth of 140 feet and ranges from 5 feet high and 12 feet wide to 20 feet high and 50 feet wide. On the afternoon of September 3, Miller and Fogarty made a second dive and added another 435 feet. The new penetration was 1430 feet. The passage size, direction, and depth were holding a relatively constant at termination.

A cave diver at Roubidoux Spring in Waynesville in Pulaski County, Missouri.

A cave diver at Roubidoux Spring in Waynesville in Pulaski County, Missouri.

September 4, 1977: Miller and Fogarty made a survey trip into the lower level, starting at the end of the Carlson-Delaney line surveying 535 feet. They also removed 35 feet of line to center line in the passage.
A minor decompression accident occurred on this dive causing Miller to be hospitalized for a short period. This delayed further exploration for two weeks.

September 17, 1977: Miller and Fogarty pushed to the end of the line in Whichaway Ave. and started adding line. They immediately entered the “Big Room”, which is 40 feet high and 80 feet wide, depth on the floor was a constant 160 feet. The floor was smooth hard silt with very little breakdown in contrast to the floor in Whichaway Ave. which is all porous breakdown. 225 feet of line was added, making a total penetration of 1620 feet from the entrance and a maximum depth of 160 feet. The Big Room was remaining constant at the termination of the dive.

September 18, 1977: Miller and Fogarty made a survey dive and routinely surveyed the back part of Whichaway Ave.

September 18, 1977: Miller and Fogarty made a survey trip on the Carson-Delaney section of the line, completing the survey of the known passage.

On each dive into the lower level passage blind cave crawfish and blind fish were sighted. No more than three of each were ever sighted on a given dive and their size seemed to be small.”

Exploration of Roubidoux Spring Cave has progressed since this survey was done in 1977.

Exploration of Roubidoux Spring Cave has progressed since this survey was done in 1977.

This survey from 1997 shows two areas, "Room O' The Endless Line" and "Big Cave Country" that were not known at the time of the 1977 survey. This image has been altered to highlight these additions. For the complete map visit http://cavdvr.tripod.com/images/roubmap.jpg.

This survey from 1997 shows two areas, “Room O’ The Endless Line” and “Big Cave Country” that were not known at the time of the 1977 survey. This image has been altered to highlight these additions. For the complete map visit http://cavdvr.tripod.com/images/roubmap.jpg.

The 2008 Old Settlers Gazette, published by Old Stagecoach Stop Museum & Foundation, features an article and historical photographs of Roubidoux Spring. It can be read in its entirety at: http://www.oldstagecoachstop.org/webgeezer/Gazette08/TheBigSpring.pdf

Roubidoux Spring Cave will be offered during the National Speleological Society (NSS) Convention, hosted in Waynesville, Missouri July 13 -17, 2015.

The 2015 NSS Convention "Hitchhikers Guide To Missouri Caving" logo includes Missouri cave diving in its design.

The 2015 NSS Convention “Hitchhikers Guide To Missouri Caving” logo includes Missouri cave diving in its design.

Stay connected with Pulaski County Tourism Bureau & Visitors Center by visiting our website (www.PulaskiCountyUSA.com) liking our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/PulaskiCountyUSA) or following us on Twitter! (twitter.com/PulCoUSA)

Stay connected with Pulaski County Tourism Bureau on Facebook & Twitter!

Stay connected with Pulaski County Tourism Bureau on Facebook & Twitter!

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2 thoughts on “Early Roubidoux Spring Cave Exploration

  1. Fantastic reading. Hats off to everyone that had a hand in supplying this articles information, and those that made the history. The NSS convention in 2015 will be the icing on the cake! What an insightful way to show off Pulaski County Missouri. Way to go Pulaski County Tourism Bureau & Visitors Center and especially the ones that worked so hard to get the NSS here!

  2. Pingback: 2015 National Speleological Society (NSS) Convention To Be Held In Waynesville, MO | Pulaski County USA

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