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2002 Yunnan Expedition Reports


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From Hilary Greaves, 25/9/2002.

Here's 2 updates for you:


Gavin and I just got back from 4 days in the hills. Gavin and Beardy had been up to 4100m and found a couple of draughting dig sites, so we decided that even if the caves didn't go we had a duty to comedy (and if they did go...). So last Sunday we bought a big crowbar and a bucket and went up to do our worst. Monday morning we dug Dig #1 (dry dig) for around 4 hours, until the dig collapsed, just a split second too slow to bury Gavin's legs. By this point we were both freezing anyway (rain/sleet and the fastest-moving clag I've ever seen) so we retreated to our mountain hut and lit a fire. The weather didn't improve so we couldn't face getting back into wet gear, besides which we now had one collapsed dig (dodgy) and one small stream sink (OBSCENELY cold), so that was the end of Monday's story. Tuesday morning there were 2 inches of snow on the ground. Funnily enough we still didn't feel overly inclined to dig stream sinks, so we decided to do a draughting holes recce - but didn't find any draughting holes. That bit of the area seems to have horrendously complicated geology, with a lot of the limestone heavily folded and large sections of schist, marble etc; added to that it's all very steep, and where it isn't steep it's forested. So we returned less than impressed with our bit of mountain.

Fortunately the other 2 had meanwhile been having better luck further south in the same mountain range, and they report a going cave at 4250m with a lot of flattish limestone plateau to the southwest that needs recceing...

So they've left their tent etc up there, and with 7 days of expedition left the 4 of us are finally all going to be in the same place (and other than in a bar) at the same time... Heading up to the hills for up to 6 days, will tell the final instalment when we get back!


Hi all,

Expedition has now moved into the final week and we have gradually narrowed down our search of this massive and difficult area west of Zhongdian. Hils and Gavin are still away up in the hills digging in a couple of large stream sinks at 4000m+ and myself and Beardy have retreated from our high level camp after getting rained on, snowed on, hailed on, soaked, and suffering from stove failure. We are now back in Zhongdian and have fixed the stove and dried all our gear off and are looking forward to getting back up the rather large mountain asap.

Before we jacked we did mange to investigate a cave that Beardy had located on a previous cave and we pushed this for a short distance to an 8m chossy pitch with largish passage leading off at the bottom. The cave draughts slightly outwards and is at an altitude of 4250m above sea level giving an estimated depth potential from there to the supposed resurgence level of over 2500m!!! Suck on that Krubera! The area beyond the cave and towards the resurgence area is a rolling limestone plateau that looks very exciting indeed. This should be much easier and also more fruitful cave hunting than the towering limestone peaks and sheer cliff that we have previously encountered elsewhere in this region. Fingers tightly crossed for our last recce...

Yours to the terminal sump -2750m