Please Click Here to Contact Chris Nicola

Please Click Here to order a signed copy of "The Secret of Priest's Grotto" by Peter Lane Taylor with Chris Nicola. Offered in both hard and soft back editions.

See a special NBC Today Show video about the amazing cave survival story featured in the "The Secret of Priest's Grotto".

See a trailer from the 2013 documentary, No Place On Earth about Chris' trip back to Ukraine with some of the original Survivors from the "The Secret of Priest's Grotto".

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New River Bridge, WV 10/21/00 - Photo by Madeline Li

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Photo by Tonya Smothers


Caving & Exploration Affiliations, Positions & Honors

(updated 12/10/13)

  • The Science Museum of Long Island  - 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award Receipient.
  • New York Caving Meetup Group  - Founder, Chief Recruiter and Organizer.
  • Ukrainian American Youth Caver Exchange Foundation  - Founder, Board Chairman, Vertical Instructor, President and NSS Project Director.
  • No Place On Earth  - Subject of the 2013 Holocaust era cave survival documentary of the story featured in The Secret of Priest's Grotto.
  • The Explorers Club  - 2013 Certificate of Merit Award Recipient.
  • The Haiti Jewish Refugee Legacy Project  - 2013 Tikkun Olam Award recipient
  • Proyecto Espeleologico Sierra Oxmolon - Current Executive Board Member.
  • Antonio Nunez Jimenez Fundacion de la Naturaleza y El Hombre of Cuba - Current U.S. Representative.
  • NSS Metropolitan Grotto (MET) - Former Chairman, Executive Board Member, Activities Chair, and newsletter Editor & Publisher.
  • Co-Author of "The Secret of Priest's Grotto" - An amazing true story of cave survival
  • NSS Northeastern Regional Organization - Former NRO Chairman, and Organizer of the Spring 1999 NRO Event.
  • Boy Scouts of America- Head Scoutmaster and Founder, Explorers Post 2050
  • Explorers Club 2009 Flag Expedition-co-organizer/member: Floyd Collins Crystal Cave Restoratioin Project (in cooperation with the US National Park Service)
  • Explorer's Club Public Lecture Committee - Former Committee Member
  • Uni Paulista de Espeleologia of Brazil- US Representative
  • Northeastern Cave Conservancy - Former Executive Board member
  • WVSS - Mott Hole Exploration and Cartographic Team Leader for West Virginia Speleological Society's (WVSS) Monroe County Bulletin Update Project.
  • Explorers Club 2005 Flag Expedition-organizer/member: Western Ukraine Optimist-Ozynernaya Cave Connection Project
  • New River Bridge Rappel Team; in 98, 99, 2000(NERDS Team), 2002 (VBATS Team), and 2003 (UAYCEF Team)
  • Membership in the National Speleological Society (NSS), The Western Ukraine Ternopol-Podilskyi Speleological Association, Proyecto Espeleologico Sierra Oxmolon , NSS Vertical Section, NSS Northeastern Regional Organization (NRO), West Virginia Area Cave Studies Association (WVACS), US Cave Conservancy (USCC), The Northeastern Cave Conservancy (NEC), Ukrainian Speleological Association, Antonio Nunez Jimenez Fundacion de la Naturaleza y El Hombre of Cuba, Uni Paulista de Espeleologia (Brazil pending), the Cuban Speleological Society, SEENI (Puerto Rico) and the following NSS Grottos;
    • MET - Metropolitan Area Grotto (New York)
    • NNJG - Northern New Jersey Grotto (New Jersey)
    • BEG - Bald Eagle Grotto (Pennsylvania)
    • NAG - Northern Arizona Grotto (Arizona)
    • CCG - Central Connecticut Grotto (Connecticut)
    • HHG - Helderberg Hudson Grotto (New York)
    • BATS- Battlefield Area Troglodyte Society (BATS) (Virginia)
    • NJTSSS - Tri-State Speleological Society (New Jersey)

Media Coverage

NBC Today Show

National Geographic


New York Daily News

National Public Radio


World Jewish Congress

Montreal Gazette

The Jewish Exponent

Miami Herald (11/03/07)

School Libray Journal (4/1/07)

Ottwa Citizen (6/18/07)

The Communicator

Publishers Weekly (3/15/07)

Readers Digest (Jan. 05)

Publishers Weekly

Outside Magazine

The Queens Courier

The National Speleological Society News (Jan. 05, Page 6)

Natural History Magazine (Dec. 07 - Jan. 08)


  • Electronic Technician
  • BA - Physics
  • BS - Criminal Justice
  • BA - Forensic Psychology
  • MA - Criminology
  • MS - Forensic Science*
  • Post Graduate Study - Criminology PhD Program

Employment: Over 30 years combined experience in the below listed areas of government service:

  • Corrections
  • Labor Relations
  • Law Enforcement *
  • Teaching
  • Investigations *

     Caving Experience:


  • Over 30 years of experience
  • Leader/Organizer of over 40 International Expeditions
  • Caving in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Oceana and Asia
  • Cave Diving experienced
  • Vertically Competent (ref. to use of ropes in climbing & rappelling) 

*current pursuits

Professional Organization(s):


       New York Academy of Science

       Archeological Institute of America

       American Association for the Advancement of Science

       The Explorers Club (Fellow)






  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Skiing
  • Photography
  • Rafting
  • Judo
  • SCUBA Diving
  • Caving/Splunking
  • Writing
  • Hiking/Camping

Meet Chris Nicola  Through Speaking Engagements, Private Dinners, Adventure Trips, Workshops, Scouting, and Scientific Expeditions

Please Go to the UAYCEF Homepage and click on the "Contact Us" link on the upper right corner of the page in order to send an email to Chris Nicola.