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2002 Yunnan Expedition Reports


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From Hilary Greaves, 21/8/2002.

Hi all,

Just got into Zhongdian after 2 days trekking and cavehunting with Xiao Gang. He's excellent, a really useful contact who understands both what we are about and how the Chinese/locals work. We've been in an area about 20km SSE of XiaoZhongdian, which is a town about 30km SSE(ish) of Zhongdian (for those with TPC charts: XiaoZhongdian Ho makes 90deg bends from running south to running east in 2 places northwest of tuguancun; we were inside the northerly of these 2 bends). Depth potential of the wider area is ~7000ft if westward drainage down to the yangtze, but our microarea drained to the nearby XiaoZhongdian Ho, hence only ~300m. Nevertheless it was encouraging to see real cave development in the area: the caves we saw, notwithstanding mediocre depth potential, were good. One stream sink, 15m pit with water disappearing down a horizontal passage plenty more than caver sized from the bottom; and one dry vertical shaft with 4sec stone rattle. We don't have SRT gear with us, so we only investigated as much as we could on local polyprop lifeline (couldn't fully descend either shaft). Also we were shown 2 other caves, that didn't go.

The 2 interesting caves are (very) close to a Tibetan village where we were made very welcome. Rich is writing a poetic piece about the village, and yesterday's exploits, so I won't attempt to describe that further... They did however say that if we wanted to come back and explore the caves, we would be very welcome to use their village as a base camp (and believe me, you couldn't possibly wish for a nicer base).

Xiao Gang has had to go back to Kunming (today), so we are on our own again. Next plan is to take the bus from Zhongdian to Deqin (leaves tomorrow morning, arrives tomorrow afternoon), looking out of the window en route for interesting areas. Xiao Gang says a lot of the mountains north of here "are no trees, only stone" (ditto the mountains around Baoshan in "area G"). We'll then recce around Deqin, and at stopoffs on the way back to Zhongdian if we see anything interesting on the outward journey. Now aiming to get back to Kunming Tuesday 27th, go to Nu Jiang 27th or 28th.

Beardy, can you bring TPC charts H11A and H11D? We only have 10B and 10C, but Xiao Gang has pointed us at an area further east (directly north of kunming - I don't have guidebook to hand and can't remember the name... and we don't have a map with it on...).