Speleofest 2023: The Lonestar Luau May 26-29
Early Registration Ends May 12, 2023
Speleofest is an annual caving event in Kentucky that takes place on Memorial Day Weekend. It was started in 1972 by the Louisville Grotto and has continued ever since. Proceeds from the event have allowed the Louisville Grotto to purchase the Lone Star Preserve in Bonnieville, Kentucky, which functions as a permanent location for Speleofest and a year-round educational facility for caves and karst. The Lone Star Preserve has grown to 126 acres in recent years and has 6+ caves on the property, 3 of which have over 500 feet of passage.
The event kicks off on Friday night with a bon-fire party in the evening to get acquainted; drinks and snacks supplied by the grotto. Saturday evening there is banquet dinner( limited seats preorder to get a spot), guest speaker, and a door prize give away. On Sunday afternoon there is a Wine and Cheese party, which is followed by music and dancing at the shelter house. There are other unscheduled games and activities on site as well.
Need help packing see our what to bring page.
What about caving?
Caving is a staple of Speleofest. Trips are led by volunteers who are able to guide teams of cavers to various cave locations in the area, usually within an hour drive of the preserve. There are caves available for a range of skill levels. Participants are expected to be prepared with proper gear and knowledgeable on safe caving techniques; please see the guide to responsible caving for more info.
In addition to off-site trips, there are 6 caves on the preserve available for self-led exploration. A couple of them are sporty and you could actually spend a day or two just exploring these caves if you want to stay on site.
What is the camping like?
The Lone Star Preserve has plenty of shady camping areas. There are primitive showers on site and ample port a potties, which are serviced regularly throughout the weekend. The weather can be overly dramatic so be prepared for Cold, Rain, and Heat all on the same day. You can style your best rubber boots and not be out of place.
Trailers and RVs are welcome and there is an area on property that does not involve the very steep hill but there is no electric or sewer hookups available.
Ropes course by the Gauntlet team
The Gauntlet is a technical Alpine SRT ropes course with examples of nearly ever possible rigging feature you could encounter in cave from straight climbs and rebelays to j-hangs and Tyrolian traverses (and even some water obstacles…) The course is designed for beginners and seasoned vertical cavers alike and is split up into two sections: practice obstacles, where you can tune your setup and learn or refine your Alpine SRT skills; and the full course, where you can put all your skills together to compete with friends and attempt to put down the best course time. The gear required to be on rope: a helmet; an SRT setup, i.g. Frog, Texas, Rope Walker, etc. (ideally your own); and rope gloves. https://www.facebook.com/thegauntletsrt
We will have the following vendors on site to bolster your gear cache and repair your broken equipment
On Rope 1 , Toxic Frog Gear, Missouri Bat Census, Batty Bags, and Assorted Grotto crafts Booth.
Lots of great hiking nearby at Mammoth Cave Park, Munfordville, and Elizabethtown. Printed maps are available for self-led trips. Some of the routes in the Mammoth Cave area are truly epic and won’t be found in any hiking books. There is a few hiking trails on site at the Lone Star Preserve as well.
The Green River and Nolin River nearby have several classic sections of class-1 boating for a satisfying day trip. Nolin lake is nice as well. Some years there are led kayaking trips if there is interest; follow the Speleofest Facebook page for updates. There are printed maps and directions available on site for most of the popular kayaking routes if you wish to plan a self-led trip.