Gene Hancock, The Daily Astorian's Internet designer, has been a member of the Oregon Grotto, a caving club that explores and maps the hundreds of lava tube caves on Mount St. Helens, for six years. Hancock and the Oregon Grotto are also members of the National Speleological Society.

In addition to exploration, the Oregon Grotto arranges Boy Scout tours of caves and spearheads conservation efforts to preserve the caves for future generations. To see photos of the group's explorations, go to

The Ear has learned that Hancock has made a slide show of his own experiences on his last caving trip July 28. "I really enjoy being involved with an organized club that has access to all those hidden caves." said Hancock.


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