Depth through thought

OUCC News 10th October 2007

Volume 17, Number 21

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Editor: Peter Devlin:

Note from the editor

Here are the weekends for next term

A quick update from China

Rich Gerrish

Miao Keng was rigged quickly and the connection to Qikeng was soon found at around -680m. Underground camp at -715m was established in Qikeng Dong and furtling and pushing began in earnest. A second Miao Keng was explored only 20m from the first but instead of dropping in quickly it rambled off in the opposite direction getting steadily deeper and harder. The aid climb over the top of Miao Kengs 491m deep shaft proved difficult coated in thick mud and was eventually abandoned short of it's goal.

As a hoard of hard Russian speleos descended on Tian Xing with numerous bottles of vodka Duncan Collis and Rob Eavis emerged from a camping trip to break the news that they had made the connection to Dong Ba. Thus making the system the first 1Km+ deep cave in China. Much drinking and falling over ensued.

Waves of Russians applied themselves in Miao Keng part II and this was eventually forced into Qikeng too, bringing the total number of entrances upto 6 and the overall length approaching 35Km.

Rob Garrett and I developed a side project... "Shitty back door cave"... we had intended to connect this quickly into Qikeng thus making a glorious connection upon which we could retire and bask in the fame, money and super models that would be heaped upon us. Alas it was not to be and we were "Phar Garaud". That is what it is called when you set off down a cave hoping to kill all the leads as quickly as possible only to find that you are standing at the top of a 30m pitch holding nothing but a 4m rope. Most likely, this cave now does the same as every other cave that reaches this depth in Tian Xing and will plummet downwards for 500m!!! This cave is now well placed to be of interest regarding a connection between the Tian Xing System and Da Keng but has been derigged as there are too many other leads on the go... something to return for then?

The expedition is still in the field and still kicking ass and taking prisoners. An utterly top expedition fuelled by cheap beer, boiled rice and deep caves. If you haven't been yet you are missing out.

Entering the Stone

Vrinda Manglik

Just came across this beautiful essay about caving. The woman's a great writer, and her piece has a really soothing tone. It has a lot of sensory details, and allusions to The Odyssey, Buddhism, and her own childhood memories. Apparently, this is an excerpt from her book: "Entering the Stone: On Caves and Feeling Through the Dark" which came out 4 years ago.