AMCS Activities Newsletter

Citation
AMCS Activities Newsletter

Material Information

Title:
AMCS Activities Newsletter
Series Title:
AMCS Activities Newsletter
Creator:
Association for Mexican Cave Studies
Publisher:
Association for Mexican Cave Studies
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Regional Speleology ( local )
Genre:
serial ( sobekcm )
Location:
Mexico

Notes

General Note:
Contents: México News / Peter Sprouse -- International News / Peter Sprouse -- Long and deep caves of México / Peter Sprouse -- Yucatán . . . by bicycle! / Jim Pisarowicz -- Sierra de Guatemala / William Elliott -- Nacimientos! / Sheck Exley -- 1979 San Agustín Expedition / Bill Stone -- Discovery in Cuetzalan / Peter Sprouse -- Cuetzalan-Spring 1979 / Steve Knutson -- Sótano del Buque / Robert Jefferys -- Cueva de Xocotlat / Atkinson, Forsythe -- Sistema Purifieación / Dale Pate -- Letters to the Editor -- Book Reviews. The Association for Mexican Cave Studies is a non-profit, volunteer organization whose goals are the collection and dissemination of information concerning Mexican caves. The AMCS publishes a Newsletter, Bulletin, and Cave Report Series which are available to any sincerely interested, conservation-minded person.
Restriction:
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
Original Version:
No. 10 (1979)
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
K26-00355 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.355 ( USFLDC Handle )
4630 ( karstportal - original NodeID )

USFLDC Membership

Aggregations:
Added automatically
Karst Information Portal

Postcard Information

Format:
serial

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:


Full Text

PAGE 3

Number 10AMesActivities NewsletterJuly1979EditorialASSOCIATIONFORMEXICANCAVE STUDIESP.O Box7672U. T. Station Austin Te xas78712Publisher WilliamRussellEditorsPeterS prouse, Terri Treacy Staff Maureen Cavanaugh, Gill Ediger DalePate MarkShumate, LisaWilkLayoutTerri Treacy, Peter S prouse San AgustfnlayoutbyBillStoneTheAMCSA ctivities New sletter i s publi shed atregular intervalsbythe A ssociationforMexicanCave Studies, a non-profit group dedicated toth ec onservationand study of the c avesofMexi co. Article s, map s, and photographs on ca ving and speleolo gy inMexicoar es olicited.Alistofpubli cation s andpricesisavailableonreque st. Peter Sprouse Pet er Sprouse Peter Sprouse JimPi sarowicz William Elliott Sh eck Exley Bill S tone Peter Sprouse S teve Knutson Robert Jeffery s Atkinson Fors ythe DalePatePrint edi n U. S.A.2MexicoNews 4 International News 6Longand deep cavesofMexico 8 Yucatan...by bicycle! 16Sierrade Guatemala 22 jNacimientos! 32 1979 San Agustin Expedition 60Discoveryin Cuetzalan 64 Cuetzalan-Spring197970 Sotano del Buque 76Cuevade Xocotlat82Sistema Purifieacion 102 LetterstotheEditor 103BookReviewsbytheS peleoPress With this issuetheActivities Newsletter reaches itstenthvolume What began asan informal seven page summary oftripreportshasevolvedintothejournalyounowholdinyourhands. While this has beentheresult oftheeffortsofa dedicated and enthusia sticstaffofAMCScavers ,thereal reason is the increase in significant caving activities inMexico andtheresultingdemandfor published information. Yeteventhoughthis issue contains adoz en times moreinformationthanthefirstdid,thereismuchthatisstillgoingunreported.Thoseofyouwhohave thingsthatshould be published(andyouknowwhoyouare), write itupandsenditin Anddon'tbedauntedbythegrandiose articles onsupersystemseventhesmallest cave occupies aplaceinM e xican speleology In this issueweare introducing twonewdepart ments. ALetterstotheEditorsection wehope will serveasan effective means of response totheNewsletter'scontents,aswellasa generalforumonMexi can speleology TheBookReviewscolumnwillpro videanoverviewofrecent publications of interest to AMCScaver s. Reviews from r eaders are welcome The focusofAMCScavinginthelast three years hasbeenon major ongoing projectsthathave resulted inMexico 's risetoa truly world classstatusintermsoflongandde ep caves.Oneofthese isth e Cuetzalan areainnorthernPuebla.Ourlasttwoissues aswell as this presentone,have featuredreportson Cuetzalan inanattemptto disseminate asmuchinformationas possible Thishasturnedouttobeanimportantfunctionforse veral reasons SeveralindependentgroupsfromtheU.S and Mexico havebeenactive inth e area, andoftenthese publishedreportsaretheonly waythatresult soffield work are getting exchanged. A glanceatthe area mapofCuetzalan in this issuewill showthatthemanycavesintheareawillmostlikely be joined onedayinanenormoussystem Thiswill require an organized survey coordination inorderto minimize resurveying and inadvertent duplication of effort. Ahigh quality cave system (as Cuetzalan most certainly is) deserves ahigh quality survey .. organize!PeterS Sprouse

PAGE 4

MexicoNevvsco mpiledL yP eterS.S p ro usekilometersdownstreamfromthecascada,thelargeentrancetotheNacimientodeAguaClaracarriesa 3m3/secstreamwhichsoonsumps.ItisbelievedthatthisistheresurgencefortheR10Galena.(Source:MikeSchulte)AgroupofKentuckycaversledbyDon CoonsandSheriEnglerhasfinishedthesurveyofBocadelR10Apetlanca,Guerreroat2750meters.Aftertheyfirstdiscoveredthesumideroentranceseveralyearsago,anotherentrancewasfoundover150meterslowerwheretheriverresurg-CaversallacrossMexicowereamazedattheseverecoldfrontthatblewinonNewYear'sDay1979.SnowfellinsuchdiverseplacesasthePurificacionarea,theSierradeGuatemala,SotanodelasGolondrinas,andSotanodelBuque.IntropicalCuetzalan,thefreezethreatenedthecoffeecropwhichisthelifelineofthelocalIndianpopulation.Liebman)WinterInApril1979,MikeSchulteledagroupofkayakersonthefirstsuccessfulboattripthroughthecanyonsoftheR10SantaMar1abetweenAyutlaandPuentedeD10ssouthofCd.Valles.Thesixdaytriptookthemthroughfourmajorcanyonsinvolvingmanyportages,somerequiringtechnicalclimbing. Caveentrancescouldbeseenhighinthecanyonwallsandseveralresurgenceswerelocatedonthenorthsideoftheriver.FivehundredmetersupriverfromthespectacularCascadaTamulisaspringflowinganestimated2m3/sec.TwotothreeClaudeChabertandmembersoftheSpeleoClub deParishaveexploredseveralcavesintheZongolica,Veracruzarea,includingamajorsumidero.SumiderodeAtlaquia,elevation1245meters,takesalargestreanandtheFrenchcaverswerestoppedbylackofequipmenttohandletheheavyvolumeofwater.TheriverisbelievedtoresurgeakilometerawayatElPrecipicio,395meterslower.(Source:GrottesetGouffresNo.68)FrenchcaversfromtheSpeleoClubdeParisreportthattheyhavesurveyedasidepassageoffoftheriverinGrutadelR10Chontalcoatlan,bringingthelengthupto5827meters.ThisenormousrivercaveisthesistercavetoGrutadelR10SanJeronimo,bothofwhichresurgeinthetwomassiveentrancesofDosBocasbelowGrutaCacahuamilpa.Don CoonsandcrewhavealsodonemoresurveyinginChontalcoatlanandhehopestopublishanupdatedversionofhismapsoon.(Sources:ClaudeChabert,DonCoons)2

PAGE 5

MexicoNe-w-sed.Pushingupthis,theywereeventuallystoppedbywaterfallclimbs.The sumideroentrancewassubsequentlypusheddownwaterfallcascadesandslidestoasump.Thecaversprobedthesumpbutcouldnotfinda wayon.Returningtotheresumideroentrance,theyscaledthewaterfallclimbsupstreamtothesumpand pop pedrightthroughitinashortduckofftooneside.(Source:DonCoons) Thefederalgovernmentisstudyingthepossibilityofestablishinga3500hectareforestreservenearRanchodelCielo,Tamaulipas.Thisisauniqueareaof"cloudforest"locatedonashelfintheeasternSierrade Guatemala 'at1200meterselevation.Thereareseveralcavesintheareaofbiologicalimportance. LanduseintheElCieloregionwas anissueinthemid-1960's,when FrankHarrisonofRanchodelCieloopposed a groupoflowlandagronomistswhowishedtodevelopthelandforagriculture.Harrisonmaintainedthelandwasunfitforfarmingactivitieswhich would dam agetheecology-apositionwhicheventuallycosthimhislife.Thecloudforestisnowonthevergeofreceivingtheprotectionhedesired.TheSecretariaForestalydelaFaunaplanstoestablisharesearchstationinthereserve-a"micro-regionunlikeanyinthecountry,withfourdifferentclimates."(Source:ElDiariodeCd.Victoria)A ceremonyhonoringAndresOrtega,guardianofthefederallyoperatedshow caveGrutasdeJuxtlahuaca,washeldrecentlywithnearly100personsinattendanceatthee-vent.Sponsored byJorgeIbarraSotooftheAsociacionMexicana deEspeleologia,representativesofMexicancavingclubsaswellasofficialsofthestateofGuerreroandtheSecretariade TurismopresentedSr.Ortegawithacertificateofappreciationforhisworkinpreservingthecave.JuxtlahuacaisknownasoneofthemostbeautifullydecoratedcavesinMexicoandalsocontainsmany01mecburials.Andreshasbecomeknown amongstcaversasaknowledgeableguidewhodelightsintakingtheadventurouswadingthroughguanopoolsintothefarreachesofthecave.Aplaquewasalsoplacedinsidethecaveduringtheceremony.(Source:JorgeIbarraS.)WhenMikeBoonlefthisoldcavingcarwithJerryAtkinsoninAustin,hecertainlycouldn'thaveanticipatedthechainofeventswhichfollowed.Dubbedthe"Boonmobile",JerryusedittodrivetoHuautla,Oaxacaforthespringexpedition.Oncethereherealizeditneeded anewsetoftirestogetitbacktotheU ,'S. That wouldcostmorethanitwasworth,hereasoned,soheleftitwithanthropologyresearchersCindy Perlman and CathyRountreetosell,iftheycould.Theycouldn'tfindabuyer,butmanagedtotradeitforaburrothe"Boonsburro"!Theburrodidn'tlasttoolonghowever, asitreceivedabrokenlegwhenkickedbyadrunkenIndianatatownfestivalandhad tobe"puttosleep."Thefamilyoftheborrachoofferedreparationintheformofagoatasareplacement!Andthenextincarnationinthechainofevents?lQuiensabe?!!3

PAGE 6

co mpiledL yP eterS S pr o u seAUSTRIAEuropeancaversarecontinuingtomakepushesintheupperreachesoftheamazingLamprechtsofen.APolishexpeditionhasreachedthreedifferentpointshigherthan1000meters:+1004,+1005and+1014 meters.Workintheseupperportionsrequiredathreeweekbivouac.Includingthe10metersbelowtheentrance,thismakesthesystem1024metersdeep.(Source:PaulCourbon)FRANCEAmajorriverhasbeendiscoveredinGouffredesVallondesSoufirsabovethefamousFontainedeVauclusenearForcalquier.TheVaucluseSpringitselfhasbeenthefocusofspeleologicalinterestforsometime,havingfirstbeendivedin1898to-23meters.Themostrecentdivewasin1967,when arobotdiver,the"Telenaute",stoppedinanarrowpassageat-106meters,stillgoingdown.Thespringhasanaverageflowof29m3/sec.IntheVallondesSoufirs,blastinginafissureat-30metersledtothediscoveryofa700metermeanderwitha10l/sstream.At-150metersthestreamtumblesdowna103metershaft,followedbyothershaftsdroppingtothe600meterlevel.Herealargeriver,"LeCollecteur",swellstheflowto100-200lis.Thisriversumpsout,butseveralunexploredpitsmayprovideabypass.Ifso,Frenchcaversmaybeabletodropthe220meterstotheVaucluseSpring.4AdivingattemptintheGouffreBergerinSeptember1978succeededinincreasingthedepthfrom-1141to-1148meters.PaulCourbon)USAWyoming'sFossilMountainIceCavehasbeenthesceneofrecentsignificantbreakthroughs.Cavershavesurveyed2530metersofpassagewithaverticalextentofover122meters.Goodleadsblowingaircontinueupward,towardaplateau250metershigher.InearlyJune1979,ChrisAlbersandWarrenAndersonenteredthecavebutwerehaltedbyaniceblockageinasmallcrawlwayfollowingtheseconddrop.Undoubtedlysignificantdiscoverieswillbemadelaterintheseason.(Sources:WarrenAndersonNSSNEHS)ThelengthofWestVirginia'sOrganCavehasfinallybeensettled,afteryearsofspeculation.OftenreferredtoastheIncredibleShrinkingCave,theD.C.Grottospent1-1/2yearscomputerizingthesurveydatatoproduceasurveyedlengthof57,376meters.ThismakesitthirdlongestintheU.S.andeighthintheworld.(Source:D.C.Speleograph)

PAGE 7

MappingeffortsinthesameareaofWestVirginiahavealsosentseveralcavesclimbingupthecharts.TheHole,inaremappingprojectbyWVACSandPittsburghcavers,topped33.6kilometersinMarch,withalotofpassageremaining.CulversonCreekCave,alsobeingresurveyedbyWVACS,nowstandsat22.7kilometers.InMcClung'sCave,anewentrancehasstimulatedmappingactivities,bringingthelengthuptoaround24kilometers.TheFriar'sHoleSystemsurveycoordinatedbyDugMedvillestoodat45.8kilometersinearlyJuly.Currentprojectsincludeexcavatingnewentrances.(Sources:BillFalvour,DugMedville,NSSNEWSJewelCave,theSouthDakotamazecaveexploredprimarilybyJanandHerbConn,recentlypassed100kilometersinlength.Thustherearenowfivecavesintheworldover100kilometerslong.(Source:NSSNEWS)InCalifornia,theBigfootCavesurveytotaledupto11,651metersattheendofthe1978season.ThispusheditpastLilburn'sCave,formanyyearsCalifornia'slongest.(Source:NSSNEWS)TheWorld's1000metersystems1.Complexe delaPierreSainte-Martin,France2.SystemeJeanBernard,France3.GouffreBerger,France4.Schneeloch,Austria5.SirnaGESM,Spain6.Lamprechtsofen,Austria13321298114810861074 1024Note:ThedepthofAustria'sHochlecken-Grosshohle,previouslylistedasbeing1022meters,hasnowbeenadjustedto890meters.(Source:PaulCourbon)5

PAGE 8

LongCavesofMexicoPeterS.Sprousel.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9.10.ll.12.13. 14.15.16. 17.18 .19.20.2l.22.23. 24.25.26. 27.28 .29.30.31.32.33. 34.35. 36. 37.38.39.40.41.42.43.44.45. 46. 47.48.49.50 .51.52.53.54.55.6SistemaPurificacion,Tamau1ipasSistemaCuetza1an,Pueb1aSotanodeSanAgustin,OaxacaLaGrieta,OaxacaSotanodelArroyo,SanLuisPotosiActunKaua,YucatanGrutadelRroChonta1coat1an,GuerreroGrutadelRroSanJeronimo,GuerreroGrutasdeJuxt1ahuaca,GuerreroSumiderodeAtepo1ihuit,Pueb1aCuevadelNacimientodelR10SanAntonio,OaxacaCueva de1aTinaja,SanLuisPOtOS1SotanodeJapones,SanLuisPOtOS1SumiderodeJonot1a,Pueb1aSotanodelRioIglesia,OaxacaSotanodeAguadeCarrizo,OaxacaCuevadelR10Ja1pan,QueretaroActunXpuki1,YucatanCuevade1aLagunaVerde,OaxacaSumideroYochib,ChiapasCuevadeE1Chorreadero,ChiapasSistemadeMonteci11os,SanLuisPOtOS1SotanodeHuitzmo1otit1a,SanLuisPotosiSotanodelTigre,SanLuisPOtOS1 BocadelR10Apet1anca,GuerreroActunLo1tun,YucatanSimaEsteban,Pueb1aGrutadeLaJoya,GuerreroCueva deJuanSanchez,Oaxaca-VeracruzGrutasdeSanCristobal(RanchoNuevo),ChiapasXocomanet1an,GuerreroGrutasdeEstrella,MexicoSotanodeYerbaniz,SanLuisPOtOS1GrutasdeTenextepec,Pueb1aCueva deLaMantilla,MichoacanCueva de1aPuente,SanLuisPOtOS1 CuevaTeco10,Pueb1aCuevaSanFrancisco,ChiapasSotanode Matapa1ma, SanLuisPOtOS1GrutasdeBa1ankanche,YucatanCuevadeLosSabinos,SanLuisPotosiZacateco1ot1a,GuerreroCuevadeTasa101pan,Pueb1aAguaCar1ota,OaxacaSumiderodeTenejapa,ChiapasGrutaCacahuami1pa,GuerreroK'ocho',ChiapasSumideroChicja,ChiapasSotanodeSauz,ChihuahuaSumiderodeCohuatichan,Pueb1aCuevadeLaPena,SanLuisPOtOS1SotanodelBuque,QueretaroGrutadelPrecipicio,NuevoLeonSumiderodeOyame1, Tamau1ipas CuevadelPorvenir,Coahuila27,96217,20012,3648,9137,2006,7005,827 5,6005,0985,0004,5704,5024,500 4,5003,800 3,7323,4403,3533,3503,3163,280 3,0223,0023,0002,7502,6822,5002,5002,493.2,2502,2232,1001,980 1,920 1,900 1,830 1,830 1,7501,7221,600 1,500 1,5001,400 1,4001,4001,380 1,3601,2701,2301,2001,2001,149 1,090 1,040 1,000

PAGE 9

DeepCavesofMexico1.SistemaPurificacion,Tamaulipas2.SotanodeSanAgustln,Oaxaca3.SotanodeAguadeCarrizo,Oaxaca4.LaGrieta,Oaxaca5.Cueva deDiamante,Tamaulipas6.SotanodeTrinidad,SanLuisPotosl7.SotanodelRloIglesia,Oaxaca8.SistemaCuetzalan,Puebla9.SotanodeNogal,Queretaro,10.SotanodelasGolondrinas,SanLuisPOtosl11.HoyadelasConchas,Queretaro12.SotanodelBuque,Queretaro13.HoyadelasGuaguas,SanLuisPotosl14.CuevadeSanAgustln,Oaxaca15.SotanodelBarro,Queretaro16.SotanoItamo,Veracruz17.Sotanode Tlamaya,SanLuisPOtosl18.Cueva deLaPena,SanLuisPotosl19.SumiderodeAtepolihuit,Puebla20.SotanodeLaJoyadeSalas,Tamaulipas21.Cueva deElChorreadero,Chiapas22.Cueva deXocotlat,Puebla23.GrutasdeSanCristobal,Chiapas24.SotanitodeAhuacatlan,Queretaro25 HoyadeZimapan,SanLuisPotOSl26.CuevadeSantaCruz,Oaxaca27.SotanodeJava1ln,Queretaro2 8.Sotanodelos Monos, SanLuisPotOSl29.SotanodeSoyate,SanLuisPOtosl30.CuevadelRanchodeAgua Amarga, SanLuisPotOSl31.SotanodeVasquez,Tamaulipas32.SotanodeHuitzmolotitla,SanLuisPOtOSl33.SotanodelMacho Rey,Queretaro34.SotanodeOtates,Tamaulipas35.PozoMelendez,Guerrero36.SotanodeOjode Agua,Queretaro37.ElSotanito,Queretaro38.SotanodeSendero,Tamaulipas39.SotanodeSauz,Chihuahua40.SotanodeCoatimundi,SanLuisPOtosl41.SotanodelaCuesta,SanLuisPotOSl42.SotanodeSanFrancisco,SanLuisPOtOSl43.SotanodelArbolSangre,Tamaulipas44 .SumideroYochib,C hiapas45.SumiderodeTenejapaPeterS .Sprouse893 861 848 760 621 559 535 530 529 512 508 506 478 458 455 454 454 448 4 43 376 345 339 330 3 20 320 314 308 291 2 87 2 83 275 245 244 244 229 228 225 223 220 21 9 217 2 17 2 162 132 09allunitsinmeters7

PAGE 10

/,/

PAGE 11

Yucatanbybicycle!JimPisarowiczThroughastrangesetofcircumstances(involvinganthropologists,Vietnamesewarrefugees,andpsychologists),IfoundmyselfgettingoffanAeroMexicoflightinMerida,thecapitaloftheYucatan,on March29,1978.Mytriphadbeenalongone,leavingDenverat4:00AMandinvolvinganelevenhourlayoverinHouston.TheflightfromHoustonarrivedMeridaat10:00PM.RushingdowntocustomsIsawabewilderedofficiallookingatmyluggage--twosmall,andoneLARGEbox.HemotionedthatIshouldopenthelargeone,whichIdid.bicicleta?",heasked."Si,"Ireplied.He wasconfused,butIwasnot,asmy meansoftransportationforthisbizarrecavingtripwastobeabicycle.ToexperienceanarealiketheYucatanabicycleisanidealconveyance.MygoalwastoseemanyoftheMayanruinsandtolocateandexploreanycavesthatIshouldfindintheprocess.SincemostoftheYucatanisjustoneflat,orattimesrolling,karstplain,abicycleprovidesaninexpensive,enjoyablemeansoftransportation.Bycombiningthisslowmeansoftransportationwithanalmostcompleteimmersionintheenvironment,theareasthatItraveledalongcouldbechecked,quitethoroughly,forcavesoranyotherinterestingkarstfeatures.FromMeridaItraveledsouthtowardthemajorruinsofUxmalandKabah.Fromageologicalpointofview,thiswasaspectacularride.FromMeridatoMunaonetravelsacrossavast,flatkarstplain.Herethesoilisonlyafewcentimetersthickandnosurfacewaterisseen.Dolinescanbeseenimmediatelytothesideoftheroadandoffinthedistance.SmallcaveentrancesdottedtheroadsidesandIstoppedtocheckseveralofthese.Mostweresmall,crawlingtypecavesthatpincheddowntonothingwithin10or15meters.AlongtheroutetoMuna Istoppedatmyfirstcenote-CenotedelaCulebraforaquickvisit.ActundeHenequenAlthoughIwasfindingmanysmallcaves,nothingofanysignificancewasfoundearlythatmorningofthefirstday.Butthen,whilestoppingtotakealandscapephoto(whichIneverdidtake)Isawalargeiguanarunacrosstheroad.ThinkingthatIcouldperhapsgetagoodpictureofitIfollowedhimofftheroadandintothethickets.About100metersfromtheroadIlostthecreature(orratheritlostme)butthereIfoundasmallsink-9

PAGE 12

holewitha3metercaveentrance.Iimmediatelycrawledinasfarasthesunlightwentanditobviouslycontinuedfurther.Iliterallyranbacktobybiketogetmycarbidelamp.ChainingmybicycletoasmalltreeinthethicketsIrushedbacktothenewlyfoundcave.ThereIfiredupmylampandprocededintothedarkness,nowlitbythewarm,familiarglowoftheacetyleneflame.ThepassagewasstraightforwardandIcrawledandwalkeddownitabout100meterswhensuddenlyI wasconfrontedbyahalfburiedwallbuiltoutoflimestoneblocks. TotherightthepassagecontinuedsoIfollowedthattrenduntilitwasgettingtight(perhaps50metersbeyondthewall).Beingalone,IdidnotwanttopushmyluckandIreturnedtothenowmysteriouswall.Sincewallsareusuallybuiltforareason,anditwasapparentthatIwasthefirstpersonintheforsometime,Iattemptedtogetthroughthewallbykickingitdown.Unfortunately,I wasonlywearingtennisshoesandwithsuchexcavationtoolsastheseIinitiallymade noheadway.JustasI wasabouttogiveupthisventure,therightsideofthewallfellin.Iquicklyenlargedtheholeandsquirmedmywaythrough.Thecavecontinuedoninthedirectionoftheentrancetrend.Withexcitementrunninghigh,IdecidedtoexitthecavetogetmySuuntosandmysurveyingchain(actuallya10metertapeonlymarkedeveryhalfmeter),forherewassurelyacaveworthmapping.Ialmostcouldnotfindmybicycleandhadtoreturntotheroadtogetmybearings.FinallyI wasbackatthecaveentrance,surveyequipmentinhand.Usingmybicycleleglightforthepointofthesurveystation,Icrawledbackandforthsettingstationsandsketchingthe10passageasI w ent.SinceIhadneversolosurveyedbefore,Ididnotknowwhatwouldconstitutea goodpace,butIthoughtthatI wasmakinggoodtime.Aftersurveyingtheentranceandtherighthandlead,Istartedthroughthewall.MypacenowseemedalmostfranticasI s huffledforwardandbackwardsettingstationsandtakingreadings.About100meterspastthewall,followinganeverdownwardtrend,Ienteredalargechamber.Thischamberwasabout20metersindiameter,andthereIimmediatelyconfrontedalargelake.ThislakeIchristenedthe"GrandeChen"(chenmeans"well"inMayan)-andaGrandeChenitwas.Itwasnearlyaswideasmysurveytapeanditlookeddeep.HerewasperhapsanotherentryintothefamoussubterraneanlakesystemoftheYucatan.SkirtingthelakeandsurveyingthelargechamberthatI wasin,I becameevenmoreexcitedwhenIdiscoveredaseriesofpictographsandcarvingsonthefarrighthandwallofthischamber.TheexcitementofthesefindswereintenseandIhadtositdownforafewminutes."IfIhadonlybroughttheflashformycamera,"keptgoingthroughmymind.Spurredonbythesediscoveries,Icontinuedmysurveythroughawidepassage,perhaps5metersinwidth.Forover200metersthiscorridorcontinuedinanalmoststraightline.Finallythismajortrendpinchedbutitwasapparentthattheterminalspotwasnearthesurface.Diggingwithmyhandsc onfirmedthisnotionasthesoilbegantofallintothepassagefroma bove.MinuteslaterIwaspullingmyselftothesurfaceandfoundmyselfinthemiddleofahenequenfield.OverjoyedattheprospectofatrulysignificantfindIburiedthehenequenfieldentranceandtrottedbacktomybicycle.WhenIreturnedtoMerida(inaweek),Ireportedmyfindatthemuseumofarcheologythere.

PAGE 13

Returningtom ybicycle,Ipackedmycarbideandchangedintomycyclingshorts.Withtheenergythatcomesfromasenseofgreatexcitement,IbowledmywayantoHuna.Uxmal,ActunTreintaySeis.ActundeAbejaPicaduraAtMunatheflatcoastalplaiarisesabruptlyintothePuucHillsandthecountrysidechangestoarollingkarstplainthatgainsalti-tudeasyouproceedfurthersouth.Thisareawasapleasuretocycleastherollingexpaaseprovidesforavarietyofgearpushingandachangeofscenery.TwentykilometerslaterIwaspedalingupariseandthereinthedistanceIcouldseetheoutlineofthePiramidedelAdirino(PyramidoftheMagician),theprominentruinofUxmal.MinuteslaterIwaswalkinguptothetopofthisancientstructuretoagainexperiencethemysticismoftheancientMayans.FromUxmalmytravelscontinuedsouthforIwasheadingforthevillageofBolonchen(Mayan:"Bolon=nineand"Chen"=wells)tovisitthefamouscaves:theGrutasdeXtacumbilxunam.FortunatelythisroadnotonlytookmetoBolonchen,butalsobyseveralinterestingcaves.Mycavecounthadbynowreached35whenIchancedtoseewhatlookedlikeseveralinterestingcaveentrancesinaroundhillonlyhalfakilometeraway,Againhidingandchainingmybikeofftheroad,Iputmycarbidelamp,mybikelight,andsurveygearintomypackandstartedoffthroughthejungle,choppingmywaythroughwithmymachete.Halfauhourlater,Ifoundmyselfconfrontedbynolessthanthreecaveentrances.Sincethiswasmy36thcaveofthetrip,IdubbedthiscavesystemActtinTreintaySeis.WhenIenteredIwassurprisedtofindthatalltoreeentrancesledintoonelarge,lowceilingedroom.Thischamberwasfully100meterswide.Situatedbetweentwooftheentrancesinthislargeroomwasashortcolumn(seeminglyholdinguptheceiling).PiramidedelAdirinoatUxmal.(EdwardRanney,StoneworkoftheMaya)11

PAGE 14

Interestinglyenough,themajorpassageofthecavesplitintothreesectionshere,alltrendingdawn. 1chosetofollowthemiddlecorridor.30metersthisdeadended.Myhopesoffindinganothertrulylongcaveweremomentarilyshattered.Iheadedbacktothejunction.ThistimeIheadedright.ller ethepassagewasrelativelylarge(5neterswide)andIcouldnearlywalkastheceilingattimesapproached2meters.AgainIwentintomynowfamiliarshuffleroutinewithSuuntos,tape,andbicyclelight.Onehundredfiftysomemeterswerethussurveyedintherighthandpassageuntilbothgoingleadsattheendofthistrendgottight.Solocaving,faroutthejunglesoftheYucatan,arenotimeforheroics.SatisfiedwithmyprogressIagainreturnedtothejunction.Itwasnowtimetofollowthelefttrend.For75metersthesurveyingwaslikeabreeze.Thepassagewaswide(5meters)andnearlyhighenoughtostandin.Then Iencounteredarel-ativelylargebreakdownrOOm.Thisroomhadahigherceiling(5-7meters)andwasapproximately 20metersindiameter.Almostdecidingtoturnbackatthispoint,IinsteadcontinuedonthroughthebreakdownandagainfoundasimilarpassageastheoneIhadbeenfollowing.Thiscontinuedonforanother70metersuntilitagaingottight(butstillgoing).Idecidedtocallitaday.JustbeforeIcrossedtheborderbetweentheYucatanandCampeche,anothercaveentrancecaughtmyeye.Tearingoutmycavinggearonceagain,Iparkedmybicycleinthecaveentranceandstartedin.Withbicyclelightglowingred,Ishotaseriesofcompassbearingsbacktothetwoendsofthi. ssmallcave(totalsurvey107meters)andstartedout.UnfortunatelyIdecidedtoexitthroughthesecondentranceandranintoaseriesofbeehivesthere.Runningquicklybackintothedarknessofthecavedidnotstopmefromgettingstungseve ral,timesa ndthusthenameofthiscave,Abeja P'i.cadu r a. .\GRUTASXTACUM81NXUNANI(JimPisarowicz)12

PAGE 15

LaGrutadeXtacumbilxunamisrelativelyeasytofindsinceitisjustsouthofBolonchen2ndthereisasignpointingdown adirtroadtothiscave.Bicyclingdownthisroadwasnottoopleasantbutluckilythecaveisonlyonekilometeroffthemainroad.ThiscaveisrelativelyfamousinthisareaofCampechesinceinancienttimeswhenallthewellsinthisareawoulddryuppeoplewouldhavetoenterthecavetogetwater.Extensiveseriesofladderswerebuiltinthecavetogetdowntothewaterlevel.ArrivingattheentrancetoXtacumbilxunamIwasgreetedbyayoungMayanboywhoquicklypulledouthisflashlightandasked,"lGruta?"Myreplywasasimple,"5i."HethenmotionedthatIwouldneedaflashlightandIrepliedbypullingoutmycarbidelamp.TheboywasclearlyconfuseduntilIfiredupthelamp.Weboththenproceededdown aseriesofstepsbuiltinthelargearroyoinwhichthecaveislocated.Thiswastrulyatropicalcaveasbananatreesalmostblockedthelargecaveentrance.Downmorestairsbuiltintothecave,pastsomerelativelypoordisplaysofstalactitesandstalagmites,andfinallyintoalargechamber,IfollowedthisyoungMayan.ThechamberofXtacumbilxunamisactuallyquiteimpressive.Twoskylightsilluminatethechamber,drawinglightfromthesurface60to70metersabove.Toventurefurtherintothecaveyouneedtorappeldown ashortdropofonly12metersorso.Ididnothaveanyropewithmebuttherewasanoldwoodenladderleadingdownintothedepths.IwassogametogocavingthatIdecidedtotrytheladder.MyMayanfriendwastoofrightenedtofollow(per-hapsheknewsomethingIdidnot).Thatladderclimbwasoneofthealltimefrighteningcaveexperiencesinm ylifeandIwouldnotrecommendittoanyone.Buttheladderheld.Fromthebottomofthischamberapathleddown.Thispassagecontinuedandanotherladderwasencountered(ohwell,Ididthefirstonedidn'tI),andanotherandfinallydowntothewater.Ifiguredtheverticalreliefofthecavetothewatertobeabout125metersandaround400metersofcavetotraversetogettothispoint.Largestalactitescanbeseenonceyouareinthecaveandthiscavedeservesseriousconsiderationifyouareinthearea.Climbingoutofthecaveprovedtobeabitofaproblem,butsoonIrejoinedm y Mayancomradeandweproceededtogetheroutofthecave.Althoughtheboydidnotwanttobepaidforhisguideservice,(tom ysurprise),Igavehima5pesocoinandheappearedhappy.WhilebicyclingthroughCampecheIfoundoneothercavethatIsurveyed.Thiscavewasabout2/3kilometerofftheroadandIhappenedtoseeitwhilesearchingthehillsforlikelycaveentrances.Grabbingmymachete,itwasashortchopandajumptothiscave'sentrance.ThoughthiscavehadthreeentranceslikeActunTrientay5eis,itwasnotnearlyasextensive.Againallthreeentrancesledintoalargelowentrancechamber.Thisroomwasabout50meterswideand75meterslong.lwoleadsgooffthebackofthisroom.BothweretightwhereIgaveupsurveying.IcalledthiscaveCuevadePechsincewhenIgotbacktomybicycleIfoundthatIwascoveredbysmallticks(Pech=tickinMayan).1quicklydustedoffmypantsandthen13

PAGE 16

proceededtofind78ticksonm ybody.Twenty-threewereattachedandIhadtousemycarbidelamptogivetheman"assist"inexitingm ybody.Iactuallygotquitegoodatthistowardthelastandhardlysingedmybodyhair.AuthoreatinglunchataroadsidecaveinCampeche.(JimPisarowicz)CenotesFromaspeleologicalviewpoint,themostinteresting"caves"intheYucatanwerethecenotes(SpanishcorruptionoftheMayan"Tzonot").Thesefeaturesappeartobepondsofwateronthesurface,butthesepondsareactuallyverydeepandareessentiallyopenentrancesintotheYucatan'ssubterraneanwatersystem.ThemostinterestingcenoteI sawwasXlacah,locatedattheruinsofDzibichaltunjust20kilometersnorthofMerida.Thiscenoteisabout20meterswideand40meterslong.Thelongaxisisorientedeast-westwiththeeastendbeing14swampyandshallowwhilethewestendisdeep(40-50meters).Thuswithinarelativelyshortdistancethis"cave"dropsdown45meters.Whatisfascinatingaboutthiscenoteisthatthewaterissoclearthaty oucanseethebottomatthedeepend.SwimminginthiscenoteisSOmethingofanexperience.Idoveintothedeepsideandstartedtoswim downasfarasIcouldgo.Lookingofftothewest,underwater,wasagapingboreholetypepassagedippingdo wn. Icouldonly w ishthatI w ouldbearoundwhentheYucatanpeninsulagetsdrained.Whata magnificentcavesystemitwouldyield.

PAGE 17

CenoteSagradoatChichenItza.(JimPisarowicz)TheothermajorsurfacecenoteIvisitedwasatChichen-Itza,whichwasusedforsacrificialpurposes.Itwasbelievedthatthegodofrainlivedhereandhumansacrificeswereoftenmade.Contrarytothestoriesyoumayhaveheard,youngvirginswerenotthesubjectsinthesesacrifices.Unluckily,theGrutasdeBalankanchewerenotopenthedayIspentatChichen-Itza,butitwasagreatspeleotouroftheYucatan.CenoteXlacahatDzibilcaltun.(JimPisarowicz)15

PAGE 19

TheSierradeGuatemalamountainrangeofsouthwesternTamaulipaswasamongthefirstmajorkarstareasinMexicotobeinvestigatedbytheAMCS.Yetitstillremainslargelyunexploredforcavesandhastremendouspotential,particularlyfordeepcavesystems.WilliamElliottandJamesRedellarecurrentlyintheprocessofcompilinginformationontheknowncavesofthisimportantarea,forfuturepublicationasaBulletin.RecentissuesoftheActivitiesNewslettercontainaccountsofexplorationintheSierradeGuatemala.IssueNo.8describesaMay1978triptoSotanodeLaJoyadeSalas,andthefirstdivingattemptintheNacimientodelRloSabinas,amajorkarstspringatthebaseoftherange.IssueNo.9recountstheseconddiveintheRloSabinas,andthisissuecontainsSheckExley'sarticleonthedivingofthesamespringtoaphenomenaldepthof95meters,aswellasaninvestigationoftheNacimientodelRloFrlo,anotherresurgencefortheSierradeGuatemala.(Ed.)SierradeGuatemalaWilliamR.ElliottOntheeveningof28December1978DavidMcKenzie,FrankEndresandIarrivedatafavoritecavercampingspotalongtheRloFrlonearGomezFarlas.InthemorningweunsuccessfullyattemptedtolocateCuevadelRloSabinaswhichisreportedlywestofElEncinoneartheNacimientodelRloSabinas.So,thatafternoonwedecidedtogetalocalguide.WemetMariodeLeonCastillowholivesonaranchonorthofLaLibertadandknowsofseveralcavesinthearea,oneofwhichhedescribedashavingpictographsinit.Heandsomehuntingcompanionsagreedtohelpusandsobeganourjourneydownstreamfromthenacimiento.Aftera45minutehikeinvolvingtworivercrossingswearrivedatCuevadeElCharcodelaCabeza,whichbylegendwaswheretheskullofamurduredman wasfoundmanyyearsago.Thecaveliesonthenorthsideoftherloabout20metersaboveapool.Thiswasn'tthecavewewanted,butitlookedgood.Theentrance,about3metersindiameter,isbarelyvisiblethroughthetreesfromtherloandisatthebaseofaprominentwhitebluff.Alleightofusentered,andaboutonehourofbiologicalcollecting,photographyandexplorationensued.ThecavewasnotableforitsmanylargemothsandCtenusOpposite:SecondlakeinCueva deOjodeAguadeManantiales.(WilliamElliot)17

PAGE 20

spidersonthewalls,andablindgryllidcricketwastakenaswellasotherfaunatypicalofthearea.Aschizomidwasseenbutitescaped.Davidsketchedthecave,whichinclinesupwardatabout35foradistanceofabout175meters.Thepassageisgenerally5meterswide,2to5metershigh,andisflooredwithflowstoneandsomebreakdown.About50metersinsideisaskylight.Attheend,ashortclimbupleadstoatightsqueezetotheleftthatevensmallFrankhaddifficultypushing.Hewentforabout10meterstowhereitwastootighttogoon.CuevadeOjodeAguadeManantialesThenextphaseofourtriptookustoEjidoManantiales,MunicipiodeOcampotore-visitCuevadeTresManantiales.Thisi sacavewhichhasbeenvisitedmanytimesinthepastbycaversbutnevermappedorfullyexplored.Welearnedfromavigorous57yearoldlocal,AntonioBarragan,thatthecaveis'actuallynamedCuevadeOjodeAguadeManantiales.Itistheonlysourceofwaterfortheejidoformilesaround.Atrailleadsabout50metersintothecave,pastan8meterhighskylightentrance,toanarrowfissureslopingdown9metersintoalargelake.Overthefissureisawoodenplatformandasystemfordrawingwaterbucketsalongastandingwirewhichinclinesdowntothelake.Wespent4daysheremakingbiologicalcollections,photographing,exploringandmappinginthecave.Thecaveentranceliesatthesouthwestandlowestendofalargecultivateddolina.Itisapicturesque,6meterdiameterarchsurroundedbyfernsandelephantears.Afterphotographingtheentranceswebegan18thesurvey.Wemapped downthewaterfetchingtrailtothefissureabovethelake.Wefounda10to15meterropesufficientfordescendingthedropintothelake.Thelakecanbecrossedbycrouchingunderaceilingdroptotherightandcreepingaroundtherightperimeterwhiletryingtokeepfromslidingalongthemuckybottomandoffintodeepwater.Abetterstrategyistouseaninnertubeandpaddlestraightacrossfor16meters.Thelakeisabout4meterswideandquitechilly.ThecavestrikestotheSEfor84metersbywayofavadose-modified,mudbankedfissuretoanintersection.Straightonisascouredflowstoneandcementedbreccia-linedcrawlwaywhichturnsleft(NE)after73metersandbecomesa0.3meterhigh,muddywatercrawl.Wecouldseefor10metersintothisbutdidnotexploreit.Backattheintersection,themainroutebecomesacobble-floored,joint-controlledsubwaywhichgenerallybearsNE.Extremelystrongjointingisevidencedbythehigh,zig-zaggingfissuresandstrikingintersections.Theceilingisabout12metershighhere.Atmostjointintersections,wheretherouteusuallyturns,onecanlookupandseeadeeplyincised"X"intheceiling.About95meterspasttheintersectionwecametoa2meterclimbdownovercleanflowstonetotheedgeofadeep,clearwaterpassage.Wetubedacrossthe19meterlong,3meterdeeppool,andwereonceagainincobble-flooredfissure.Amajorintersectionlies13metersonandtheroutetakesalefttotheNW.Westoppedafter50metersatthetopofaslopingdrop,endingtheday'ssurveywith422metersmapped.Thenextdaywephotographedtheareaneartheclearlake,andcontinuedthesurveyatthedrop.Thefissuredescendssteeplyandweriggedaropearounda1meterdiametercobblewhichiswedgedandcementedataconstriction.AISu....._ .._
PAGE 21

meterlong,9meterdeep,slopingdropthenfollows,anda20meterhandlinecanbeusedhere,althoughwefoundaTexasprusiktobehelpfulonthewaybackout.Aftersome morezig-zagsthecaveheadsNEagainand25meterspastthehandlineitgetsinto30+meterhighfissure.Another25meterslaterweriggedtoasmallloopholeintheleftwallfora6meterdrop.Aneasy80meterstrollledusintoLaSalaGrande,amajorjointandpassageintersection.Thisroomisonlyabout10by15meters,butfromavantagepointatthetopofahighmudbank,the25to30meterceilinglookedimpressive.Wefollowedthemainrouteintoa290meterlongsectionofmeanderswithmudandcobblebanks--easymapping.Atourlaststationtheceilingdroppedtolessthan1meterandwewere790metersfromtheentranceand44metersbelowit.Frankcrawledonforabout30metersandcouldseeanother12metersorsoasthepassagemeanderedbacktotheleftwithanundulatingmudfloor.l-lelefta smoked "X"forourlaststationonthefaceoftheceilingdrop.Figuringthatthecavecouldcontinueforhundredsofmeterslikethis,wereturnedtoLaSalaGrandeandsurveyed30metersupandoveramudbanktotheheadofastreampassagewhichstruckofftotheSEforabout30meterstowhereitturnedleft.ItliketubeswereinorderandOursweretwopitchesbackatthelastlake.Tired,hungryandchilledwedecidedtoendoursurveyhere.Wehadmapped 468meters,bringingthecavelengthto890meters.Itwasagreedthatwetsuitsweredefinitelyinorderforthiscave.Infact,arecordcoldfronthadblowninandthelackofwetsuitsconvinceduStoabandonthesurveythistripandmoveontoanotherareaforourlasttwoinMexico.Cueva deOjodeAguadeManantialeshadbeencollectedinbefore,David M cK en z ieInM anantiales. ( WilliamElliot)butIfoundt wospeciesofpseudoscorpion,anExochodriluscricket,andperhapsa f ewotherthingsnottakenbefore.RanchoManzillasW edecidedtocheckasotanoleadatRanchoM anzillas, w hich i slocatedinthenorthernmostSierradeElAbraatthebaseoftheescarpment.Avaqueroledu s2 0metersuptoSotanode RanchoManzillas,whichDavidandI s pentaofhourschecking.Itisactually twosinksconnectedb y awindow-likeslitthroughawallbetweenthem.Thefirstsinkis2 0b y 30meters,witha5meterpitattheSEend.David19

PAGE 22

rappelleddownandwalkedthrougha 10by14meterroomandthenoutthroughalowerentranceinthebottomofthesink,about10metersbelowtheupperentrance.Acoupleofsheltersinthewallslednowhere.Thesecondsink,justupthehilltotheNW,is15by40metersandis10to20metersdeep.Iclimbed10metersdowntheeastsideonsomelargerootstothefloor.Halfwaydownthereisa2meterdiameterentrancetoasidepassage.Thisgoes3meterstoanunexplored6meterdropwithavisiblepassageatthebottomparallelingtheNW-SEaxisofthesink.About2metersinfromtheentrancethereisa roomontheleft,about2metersindiameterand3metershighwithasmalltunnelslopingdowntotheeast.Thiswasnotenteredasaloudhissingnoise,ratherlikeamadBoa,precipitatedmyretreat.AtfloorofthesinkIsawalarge,grayiguanaperchedonaroot.AttheNWendofthesinkIclimbedupintoafissurewhichsoonsplitintwo,theleftbranchsoonpinchingoffandtherightcontinuingsteeplyupoverflowstonetoaskylight.OnthewestsideIenteredan8meterdiameter,6meterhighroomwhichlednowhere.TheSEendledintoafissurewhichdropped6meterstothefloorofa10meterdiameter,10meterhighroom.Ienteredthisbytakinga10meterlong,floor-lev-elcrawlwayonthewestside,butIexitedbyclimbingupflowstoneandbetweensomecolumns.Isawanowlhidingamongrocksonthewestsideoftheroom,havingleftits2eggsand2chicksintheirnestontheflooroftheeastside.ThewindowopenshighintheSEwalloftheroom,ontotheprevioussink(Iassumed).WesketchedtheplaceuponreturningtothetruckandreturnedtotheRloFrloforourlastnightinMexico.Inthemorningwecrossedtherloonthehandtrolleyandvisitedthenacimiento.ThatafternoonwewerebackinHarlingen,Texas.ContinuedfieldworkintheSierradeGuatemalaWehopetoreturntoManantialesandfinishthemapthissummer.ThereareanumberofotherknowncavesandpitsinthelowlandSierradeGuatemalawhichareunmappedorincompletelyexplored.Caversinterestedinassistinginourworkinthearea:;houldcontactme,FilliamTtsumPesticide152E.Stenger,SanBenito,Texas78586.20Author'sNote:"Manantiales"ontheLomaAltatoposheetisactuallyaplacecalled"Corrales"(forthestonecorralsthere),andtherealvillageofManantialesisinthelargedolina5kilometersbyroadtotheNWofCorrales.WelearnedfromlocalsthatthebestwaytocomefromChamalisviaCoahuila,thennorthtoCorrales.

PAGE 25

Divingthebig springs oftheSierraMadreSheckExleyOur5-vehiclecaravancrossedtheborderatMatamorosonSunday,18March,1979.Whileitwasn'tplannedthatway,mostofthetopdeepcavediversintheU.S.werealong.Thisturnedouttobeaverygoodthingsincemostofthenacimientosthatwevisitedwerequitedeep.OurteamincludedTerryMorefromMichigan,DanLenihanfromNewMexico,FrankFogartyfromKentucky,PaulDeLoachandKenFulghumfromGeorgia,andDaleSweet,SteveForman,JamieStone,CarolVileceandmyselffromFlorida.Asidefromasmallmordida,thebordercrossingwasn'tmuchofahassle,thoughthesuddenappearanceof87scubatanksdidcausesomeconsternationamongtheFederales.Thefollowingisa summaryofourinvestigationsintheunderwatercavesofnortheasternMexico,duringwhich32scubadivesweremade.Theterm"depth"referstoverticaldistancebelowthewatersurfaceunlessspecifiedotherwise,andtheterm"penetration"referstotheoneway swimmingdistancefromtheunderwatercavemouth.NacimientodelRioSabinasWeselectedthisspringforourfirstdivenotonlybecauseitwasthenorthernmost,butalsobecausewe tlad anexcellentdescriptionofitfromaccountsofpreviousdivesbyBillStoneandNormPace.Anticipatingdepthsinexcessof55meters,wedivedtwin100cu.ft.steeltanksfilledto3000psig(givingeachdiverapproximately227cu.ft.ofair,enoughfor7-1/2hoursatthesurfacebutonly70minutesat55meters)andputacoupleofcylindersofpureoxygeninshallowwaterfordecompression.Oxygenismuchmoreefficientthancompressedairwhendecompressingtopreventthe"bends",andwewereverymindfulofthefactthatthenearestrecompressionchamberfortreatmentwasinSanAntonio,Texas.OnthefirstdiveDan,Jamie,Carol,PaulandIquicklyfollowedthelarge,slopingconduitofthespringtothe55meterlevel,wheretheslopesteepenedsomewhat(asBillStonehaddescribedinAMCSActivitiesNewsletter#9).Unfortunately,atthispointthepassagewaslessthan1/2meterhigh-toolowforuswithtwinlOa'sonourbacks-Opposite:1893photoofNacimientodelR10Choyshowingoriginalrailroadbridge.23

PAGE 26

soPaulandIstarteddiggingatthecobblefloor,releasingvastcloudsofsiltintheprocess.Afterseveralminutesofthisweseemedtobemakinglittleprogress,soIgrabbedthespoolandtriedoverneartheleftwall,whichseemedtobealittlehigher.Sureenough,Imanagedtoplowonthroughandthefiveofusswamonintoaslopingpassage10meterswideby4metershigh,tyingoffontheflooratadepthof85meters.AssoonasIfinishedtheknotsat85meterstherewas aloudblastaccompaniedbyasharpconcussionasoneofmytwosealedbeamprimarylightsimploded.Thisisafairlycommonoccurrence,astheslightestscratchorimperfectionwillgenerall:causeasealedbeambulbtoimplodebelowadepthofabout60meters,butwasnonethelessdistressingsinceitthoroughlytrashedthelightandIhadtospendacoupleofextraminutesgatheringupthepieces(wedon'tliketrashingupunderwatercavesanymorethanwedoair-filledones).Ourexitwasmarredbyabottleneckofdiversatthe55meterconstriction,wherezerovisibility(asopposedtothe15metervisibilitywehadenjoyedcomingin)madefindingthebestrouteoutdifficult,evenwiththeaidofthewell-belayedguideline.Sincethewaterwaswarmerthanwehadanticipated(about19C)andIwastryingoutmynewdrysuit,thetwohoursofdecompressionstopswerequiredbeforesurfacingweren'tt.oobad.OnourthirddiveDale,SteveandKenextendedthelineanother18meterstoadepthof95meters(atotalpenetrationof175meters)reportinganotherlowareajustahead,beyondwhichtheslopeappearedtosteepenagain.Wenamedtheimpressiveareabeforethe55meterconstrictionSaladePiedra,andthelargeareabeyonditthePacesetter'sPassageinhonorofthetwooriginalexplorersofthecave.NacimientodelRioManteSincethereissomeabove-watercaveattheentranceandplentyofmountainbehindit,wewerehopefuloffindingsomebigstreamwaypastashort,shallowdiveattheRioMante.However,ondivenumber4(thefirstdiveatMante),FrankandTerrypulledtheirwa yalonga5-8meterwideby5meterhighconduit60meterstoadepthof13 meters,atwhichpointthebottomdroppedout!Theonlyroutecontinueddownalong,narrowpit30-50metersby2-4meters,fromwhichalloftheconsiderablewaterflowwasgushingatarapidrate.Theyhaltedtheirverticaldescentdownthepitatadepthof85meters.Decompressioninthewarm(27C)waterwas24madeinterestingbythecalcitecrystalwallsandasmalltroglobiticisopod,whichwassightedneartheentranceatadepthof6meters.Ondive#6,PaulandIranabranchlinehorizontallyatadepthof55meters,thendescendeddiagonallytoadepthof85meters.Ondive#8,FrankandTerrydescendedtothesamepoint,wheretheysightedseveralmoreoftheisopods(preparingtodineonourline?).Ondive#9,PaulandIextendedourbranchline18meterstoadepthof101meters,atwhichpoint(168meterspenetration)wecouldseethenear-verticalpitcontinuingto

PAGE 27

AerialviewofNacimientodelR10Mante,Tamaulipas.(WilliamRussell)plungedownwardatleast9metersdeeper,makingtheverticalextentofthepititselfontheorderof102metersasmeasuredfromtheroofaboveitatadepthof8meters.*WedubbeditMachoPit,thinkingitironicthat,inthislandofdrypitsmorethan4timesasdeep,thisrelatively(asfarasweknow,sinceweneversawbottom)shallowpitmaybethemostdifficulttobottom!PerhapsFrank,whohasdonesomemixedgascavedivingintheOzarks,willreturnsomedayanddothetrick.NacimientoMediaLunaEventhoughweweretryingtorotatethefirstdivesateachsitetodifferentpeopletokeepeveryonehappy,nooneseemedtobeinterestedindivingthenightwearrivedatMediaLuna,soDan,PaulandIfoundourselvesmakingdive#10here.Thewatertemperaturewasquitecomfortable,28 Catthesurfaceand30 Cbelowatadepthof30meters,andvisibilityapproached30metersofopenwateratthelargestofthe6springventslocatedtherein.Unfortunately,theonlycavelocated-themainspringwassmallandshort.extendingtoadepthof48metersbeforethestrong*Ed.Note:Interestingly,thistotaldepthof110metersputsit20metersbelowsealevel,astheelevationofthesurfaceofthespring1S90metersasl.25

PAGE 28

currentmadeitimpossibletocontinue.Thecavewas,however,loadedwithpottery,smallfigurinesandbones,whichgreatlyexcitedDan,ourexpeditionarchaeologist.ThehighaltitudemadeourdecompressioninterestingsincethestandardU.S.Navydecompressiontablesandcorrespondingstopdepthshadtobemodifiedconsiderably.NacimientodelRioVerdeWhiletheothersloggeddivesinMediaLunathenextday,PaulandI amusedourselvesfreedivinginthespringbasinuntilIsurfacedunusuallydizzyafteradiveto21metersanddecidedthattheremaybesomethingaboutholdingone'sbreathataltitudethatisn'theal-thy.Accordingly,wespenttherestofthedaylookingforthissmallspring,whichdefinitelywasn'tworthit.Anycaveatthissmall,shallownacimientowilldefinitelyrequireextensiveexcavation.NacimientoVerdeOnthewayfromVallestoRioVerdewehadcrossedanunusuallyclearstream,sowestoppedonthewaybackandrepeatedfortheumpteenthtimetheonlySpanishweknew,"l.Dondeestaelnacimiento?"("Whereisthespring?").Toourdelightwelearnedthatthespringwaslessthan0.5kilometerfromthehighway,atthebaseofanicehill.Accordingly,whiletherestofuswentofftotheR!oHuichihuayan,Ken,FrankandTerrymadedive#18here,penetrating262meterstoadepthof47meters.Ondive#21thenextdaytheyextendedexploration27metersfurther,ascendingtoadepthof27.meters.Eventhoughthevisibilityherewasonly3-5metersandthetemperature23C,thislocaleisveryinterestinginthatitisoneofthefews.itesinvestigatedthatshowssomepro-miseofcomingupintoairwithintherangeofcavedivers.NacimientodelRioHuichihuayanJamieandCaroldidthehonorsherewithsingletanks,attemptingondives#16and17tofindaroutethroughthecavewreckageattheheadofthispicturesqueriver.Unfortunately,theywereunabletoprocedefurtherthan30metersunderwaterordeeperthan9meters,26r "l_1-._\ 1I1_"+-_u _thoughJamiedidreportthatatonepointhemighthavebeenabletocontinuefurtherifhehadremovedhistank.Thisspotalsohadthecoolestwaterthatwedivedinthewholetrip,l8C,whichstruckusasoddbecauseitwasalsothesouthernmostsitevisited..... ,.........4 1-1V ..... .... .... .......:__

PAGE 29

NacimientodelRioCoyOn Monday, 26March,wegotpermissiontovisitthisspring,andJamie,CarolandDancheckedthespringbasin,(findingnoroutethroughtherubblethere),whilePaulandIhikedashortdistanceuptheadjacenthilltocheckoutacavethatwentdowntowaterlevelashortdistancetoanicesubmergedpit,whichwebottomedatadepthof58meterssame79metersfromthepointatwhichthecavewentunderwater.Thisexcitedtheotherthree,whotediouslyhauledtwinlOa'sandfullregaliaintothecave,onlytofindtheirpathhaltedondive#20byexcessivelystrongcurrentascant18meterspastwherePaulandIhadstopped.Danlocatedpotteryhereontheslopeabovethepitduringdecompressions.Besidesascatterofsherds,therewaswhatappearedtobeanintactceramicvesselwiththebottomknockedout.Itwouldhavebeennecessarytodisturbthecontextofthematerialtobesurebutiti spossiblethattoisitemrepresentedaritually"killed"pot.Allceramicsfoundhereandinotherspringsonthetripseemedtobenon-glazedutilityware.Itisi nterestingtonotethatt hedryportioHofthecaveleadingtothiswaterfilledfractureisapparentlyservingasashrineofsomesortatthepresenttime.Han yofthelimestoneprojectionswerec overedwithfreshlylaidgreenleavesandmodernMexicanmoney.Therew asconsiderablesmokestainingofthec eilingovertheseareasindicatingthatcandleshadbeenfrequentlyburntneartheapparentotrerings.W edisturbednothingandexitedwi.taduehasteuponrealizingthepossiblesacredsignificanceo fthecavewewerein.OjodeAguaOneofmany"eyesof.water"inthearea,thissmallintermittentspringashortdistancesouthwestofCd.ValleswascheckedwhilewewerelookingforPuentedeDros(whichwelaterfoundoutwasnotaSpringbutashortbridgeovertheRioSantaMaria).Whilethewaterinthe4meterpoollookedaniceclearblue,itwasalsothesourceofdrinkingwaterforthenearbyvillage.Sincew eweren'ttoosure howthelocalswouldreacttoourmuddyinguptheirwater,wedecidedtoskipthediveandNacimientoTaninulThisisoneofthreespringsadjacenttothebeautifulHotelTaninul,noneofwhichlookedverypr.omising.Thereappearedtobeacaveatadepthof7metershere,butitischokedwithdebris.27

PAGE 30

NacimientodeMoisesAnotherofthespringsattheHotel,thisoneiscompletelyenclosedbyapicturesquespringhouse.Althoughthewaterwasquiteclear,itwasallcorningfromacrackonly30centimeterswidewithamaximumdepthof2-1/2meters.NacimientodeGargaleoteThezerovisibilityinthishotsulphurspringenclosedbyaswimmingpoolattheHotelTaninuldiscouragedanydivinginvestigationsonourpart.Themanagerofthehotel,Sr.Medelas,andalsotheowner,GastonSantos,relatedthatthespringclearsupconsiderablyduringthesummerrainyseason,whenmostoftheotherspringsgetmuddy.LaterSr.Santos,reputedlyMexico'spremierbullfighterofthePortuguese(onhorseback)style,inviteduStoaverypleasantdinnerathishugeranchwhenhelearnedofourinvestigationsatN acimientodelRroChoy.NacimientodelRioChoyInanearlierAMCSpublicationIhadreadwherethisspringwasdescribedasoneofthepremierswimmingholesofthewesternhemisphere,andaftervisitingitImostwholeheartedlyagree.Fortunately,weavoidedthe55meterrappelfromtherailroadtracksoverthespringbyobtainingpermissiontousethehotel'sprivateroadtothespring.Onaquickrecondive,TerryandKenranalinefromadepthof15meterssome30meterstoadepthof38meters,suggestingthatthiswasjustanotherdeepMexicanspringandourattemptstofindanicehorizontalsystem,hopefullywithair,wouldoncemorebethwarted.However,ondive#25,JamieandCarolinstalledapproximately183metersoflinealongthebottomofahighcanyonpassage,findingnothingdeeperthan40meters.28Eventhoughvisibilitywasonly4-6meters,thiswasexcitingnews,soDan,PaulandIquicklysuitedupandenteredthewater.Divingwithonlypartiallyfilledtwintanks,wewerenearingourturnaroundpointonair,(forsafetywealwaysallowatleasttwiceasmuchairtocorneoutonasweusein),withnosignoftheendofJamieandCarol'sline.BecauseofthisandthefactthatIwascuriousabouttheunseenceilingaboveus,Ielectedtostartabranchlineandswamupdiagonallyfromadepthof28metersatapenetrationof187meters.Afteranother50meterswewereatadepthof5metersandthetelltalequicksilverglimmerofanairspacewasaboveus!After10minutesofjubilantdecompressionat3metersitwassafetosurface,andwefoundourselvesinashorelesslakeroom morethan20

PAGE 31

Entrancechamber,NacimientodelRloChoy.(BillStone)meterslongby5ffi2terswidewithaconstant6metersorsoofairaboveus.Noair-filledleadswerevisible,sowetiedoffat267meterspenetrationandout.ThefoLLowi.ngdaythethreeofusdecidedtorunanewlinealongthetopofthecanyon,bothtoconserveairandtocheckforanymoreairspacesthatmightbelocatedalongtheway.ThingsgotofftoastartwhenDan,wearingtwinlOa's(whichweighover100lh8.),t.ookatumblewhileclimbingthe2-3meterfallsintherunbelowtheheadpool,slightlyinjuringonearm.Fortunately,hefeltgoodenoughtodiveafterabriefrest.Despiteourintentiontostayshallow,wehadtodescend-toadepthof24metersneartheentrancetofindaroutelargeenoughtocom-fortablyswimthrough,butthereafterneverhadtoc1esceEdbelowadepthof12meters.MeamJ:,ile,wefoundfivemorelargeairspacesonthewaytotheonewehaddiscoveredthepreviousday.Wealsofoundthatthepreviouslydiscoveredsixthairspacewasmuchlatgerthanwehadpreviouslysupposed,mostofits90meterlengthhiddenbyanoffsetjustpastwherewehadstoppedthedaybefore.Attheendoftheairspacewedroppedallthewayto40metersbeforefindingawayon,ontheascentfromdepthitappearedthatashallowerroutemightexistalongtheleftwall.Thetieoffat379metersrepresentedthemaximumpenetrationthatwasattainedonthetrip.Eventhoughitcostusagreatdealofaddeddecompressiontime,weelectedtotakeadeeprouteout29

PAGE 32

fromthesixthairspacetoavoidthesiltwehadriledupalongtheshallowroutegoingin.Wediscoveredanotherisopodonthewayout,andspentmuchofdecompressioninthespringbasinexaminingtheremainsofaformerrailroadbridgethataccordingtoSr.Santoswasdynamitedduringtherevolution.IalsodiscoveredtomysurprisethatIcouldnothearthewaterfallwhileunderwaterabovethefalls,eventhoughitisveryaudibleabovethesurface.Wehadpreviouslysupposedthatwewouldbeforewarnedastotheexistenceofwaterfallsbeyonddownstreamsumpsfromthenoiseunderwater,butnowitappearsthatthismaynotbetrue.Sumpdiversbeware!Ondive#32Jamie,CarolandFrankextendedthedeeplineanother45meterstoadepthof43metersandapenetrationof254meters.MostoftheparticipantsfeelthattheChoydefinitelywarrantsfurtherinvestigationandmaysooncomeupintosignificantair-filledpassage.NacimientodelRioFrioWecheckedtheheadspringsandsnorkeledthelowerspring,butneverfoundanycaveheredespitetheconsiderablevolumeofwaterintheriver.MappingtechniquesandExpeditionnotesNaturally,underwatersurveyingdoesnotproducethedegreeofaccuracycommontomostAMCSmaps.Nevertheless,thecompassand" knottedline"methodweemployisprobablymoreaccuratethanmostcaverswouldsuppose.Onereasonforthisisthatsignificanterrorsinlinearmeasurementcanbedetectedeasily.Eachlengthofthelineismeasuredagainstasurveyingtapeandknotted'atprecise10footintervals,andtheresultingtotalsupplyoflineisofaknownlength.Thus,ifa 600footlengthoflinewaslaidinthecave,thesurveyshotsshould30total600feetifnoerrorsaremade.AcompactSuuntodiver'scompassgraduatedinincrementsof5degreesatintervalswideenoughtoestimatethenearest2-1/2degreesisusedfordirection.Ascertainingthedepthofeachstationsowecanconvertourdistancesto"truehorizontal"isaneasy,clinometer-lesstask,thankstoourdepthguages.Gettingaccuratesurveyshotsbetweenstationsinpoorwatervisibilityisnoproblembecausewecanlineuptheedgeofthecompassagainsttheguidelinetoobtaintheproperazimuth.

PAGE 33

WediscoveredasourceofcompressedairatInfraon704AvenidaEjercitoNacionalinTampico,buttwoofthefivesetsoftwintankswehadfilledtheresmelledlikeeaudeGreyhoundbusandgavePaulabadheadacheonadiveattheChoy.Itshouldalsobeaddedthatcavedivingtodepthsinexcessof40meters,asdescribedinthisre-port,isaverycomplicatedactivityrequiringy earsofexperienceandhighlyspecializedprocedures.ItisonlybecausetheAMCSActivitiesN ewsletterisnotcasuallyavailabletosportdivingenthusiastsandthefactthattheinformationisofspeleologicalvaluethatwehaveincludedthedepthsofthedeepestdivesinthisreport.TheCentralSea.(Riou,fromJourneytotheCenteroftheEarth)31

PAGE 35

By1979thereseemedonlytwowaystogodeeperinHuautlaDiveorClimbbyBillStoneWhentheSotanode Agua deCarrizoexpeditionreturnedtotheStatesinJune1978itleftmanyofuswonderingjusthowwehadmissed.... .

PAGE 36

SteveZemanrappelsintotheSalaGrandeenroutetoCampIII(overleafopposite).(BillStone)HalLloydtacklesatypicalpitchintheGrandCascadeat-700m(overleaf).(BillStone)Theproximityofthethreetoeachothersuggestedthepossibilityofalink.Astheywereperchedonanascendingplateau,aconsiderabledifferenceinelevationexistedbetweenthehighestknownentrancesandthosedownatthebottomofthedolines.AtripleconnectionfromSetanodeSanAgustrntoLatoAguadeCarrizowouldyieldasystemapproachingthePSMindepth.Therewasalsoageneralfeelingthatpassagesexistedbothaboveandbelowtheknownextremities.Thequestionthenwaswheretodirectthenextattack.Aseachpossibletargetwasgoingtorequireamajorexpeditionandthousandsofmanhoursunderground,weponderedthequestionconsiderably.Guidedbywhatweknewofthehydrologyandthecomputerizedmapofthesurveydataweslowlybegantopiecethepuzzletogether.Asthe1979seasondrewnear,theobjectivescrystalized.ThetargetwasSetanodeSanAgustrn,themassivesumiderowhichbarrelleddownfortythreeshaftstoadepthof859meters.Explorationhadbeenhaltedtherein1977 whentheleadteamencountereda sump. Thelurewasthatthiswasthelowestknownpointinthesystemandtherewasstill500metersofverticalpotentialdowntowherethewaterburstfromthemountaininagiantturquoisespring.Divingthe859 sump,however,wasnoeasyproposition.Togetdowntherewithfullscubagearwouldrequireasuccessionofundergroundcamps.Justashighaltitudemountaineersprogressinstagestothesummit,wewouldhavetoprogressinstagestothesump. Thefinalstage,CampIII,wouldbeoneofthedeepestundergroundcampseverset.Thedivewouldbethe34world'sseconddeepest.Weexpectedtobeundergroundforasmuchasthreeweeksduringthefirstpush.Inadditiontothis,weplannedtooptimizetheeffortbybringingenoughrockclimbinggeartobeginanupwardseigetowardthehighsystemsshouldthedivebeunsuccessful.Frame onaxle,thefirsttruckleftAustinonFebruary19tobeginthefourdayjourneytoHuautla.TommyShifflett,HalLloyd,SteveZeman,DinoLowereyandIwerethelivecargo--theadvancerigginganddiplomaticteamfortheexpedition.Ourtaskwastohandlepublicrelations,rentafieldhousetobeusedasasurfacebasecamp,rigtoCampIIat-536metersandestablishanequipmentdepot.ThiswouldbethestagingplatformforCampIII.ThemainassaultwouldthenbeginwhenthesecondteamarrivedinearlyMarch.Despiteallthisplanningtheexpeditiongotofftoaratherinauspiciousstart.AdayandahalfoutofAustin,wellintoMexico,weexperiencedourfirstmishap.WehadjustpassedSanLuisPotosiandwereontheroadtoQueretaro.ItwasnotthebestengineeredbitofpavementsoSteve,whowasatthewheel,andIhadrecentlyfastenedourseatbelts.AfewkilometersfurtheronIwasengrossedina magazinewhenmyattentionwasabruptlysnappedtotheleft."Thatbutt'sgoingtorunusofftheroad,"Steveshouted.Thingshappenedfast.Asemiwastryingtopassusonaknoll.Weweresidebysidewhenanoncomingsemiappearedatcloserange.Thepassingtruckveeredright.Inaflashwewereforcedofftheroad,narrowlymissingadeeparroyo.Wearchedbackontothepavement,slidingsideways.Thentherewasajoltandsuddenlywewerehangingbythoseseatbelts,slidingdowntheroadupsidedown.I rememberdistinctlywatchingthepavementgoingbyonly

PAGE 37

MinordelayinSanLuisPotosl.(DinoLowrey)inchesaway.Strangelyamusing.ButthenDinowasshouting,"Everybodyoutquick!There'sgascorningin!"IrolleddownthecabwindowandSteveandIcrawledout.Allourplansandpreparations.Allthatanxietywhilepacking.Alltoendhere,wheelsintheair,ourcarefullyplannedexpeditionlayingintheroad.Itseemedthetruckwasnotdestinedtoexplodeinflames.Wetookaheadcount.Miraculouslynoonehadbeenhurt,sowewentaboutpullingeverythingpossiblefromthewreckagewhiletryingtokeepaneyeonthelargecrowdoflocalsthathadshownup.Acoupleoftowtrucksarrivedaboutanhourlater,rolledthetruckupright,andtowedustoTooursurprisethisincludedahealthysumtobepaidfor"roaddamages."FortunatelyourMexicanautoinsurancecarnethroughandafteramerefourdaysofnegotiationswewerepermittedtodriveourheaptothenearestmechanicforrepairs.Theequipmentwasnowstackedinagreatwallinthedetainmentyardandrequiredconstantvigilence,lessfromthelocalsthanfromtherats!Inthespaceofalongdayofwelding,burningandboltingweresurrectedthephoenixfromashestothepointwhereitlookedlikewecouldreloadandcarryon.AcallwasmadetoAustinforthesecondteamtobringdownreplacementsfortheessentialequipmentthathadbeendestroyed.Therestofrhp;I1rnp"UT.T;r"h""t-;,..,,...;riant-

PAGE 38

noproblemandweweresoonfourwheelingupthelastninekilometerstoSanAgustin.PabloandFelibertoEscudero,oldfriends,greeteduswhenwearrived.TheywereintheprocessofbuildinganewhouseforFelibertoasheneededmorespacewiththetwo"gringas"livinginhisoldhouse.The" gringas"wereCindyPerlmanandCathyRountree,AmericanswhohadbeenlivingtheresinceNo-vemberdoinganthropologicalstudiesonaFulbrightscholarship.UponinquiringaboutrentingahouseintownPabloimmediatelyvolunteeredhisfieldstoneandthatchdwelling.ItwasperchedontheridgeoverlookingboththeR10IglesiaandSanAgust1ndolinesandofferedamagnificentview.Weaccepted,spendingtherestofthedaymovingin.Thenextfewdaysweretobespentorganizingthehouseandrepairingequipment.Aswewouldberunningaskeletoncrewforthefirstcoupleofweekswesparednomeasureinthereplacementofwornslings. .Therewouldbenomarginforerrordowndeepthistime.CAMPIIFinally,on Marchthird,wegotintoit.Twentyropes,totalling700meters,hadbeenmeticulouslymeasuredoutandlabeledfortheknowndropstoCampII.Thoseforwhichwedidnothavetheexactlengthwerecutfromnew200meterspoolsthathadbeenhunginthelofton broomhandles.LloydandIarrivedattheentranceearlyintheafternoonandbeganstringinglines.Astherewasgoingtobeacontinualflowoftrafficalongthisrouteinthecomingmonthsweweretakingconsiderablecarewiththerigging.Besidespaddingthesharpplacesaroutehadtobepickedouttoavoid36awkwardmaneuversforanyonecarryingaload.Forthemostpartwewereabletoaccomplishthisusingnaturalanchors,buteightratherwickedspotsrequiredboltsforoptimumpositioning.I wastakingcareof.thischoreandsowasovertakensoonbytheothers.Stevemovedoutaheadtakingcharge.Downthemarblecorridorourtraindescended,rappellingwith70poundcoilsofrope,padsandboltgear.Wehltthewaterat-250metersanddonnedthewetsuittopswe'dbeencarryinguptillthen.Thebottomswerealwaysnecessary,ifonlyforpaddingwhenyoufellonaslickboulder.Fromhereonwerappelledpitchafterpitchdownamassivefissure,buildingournylonhighway.Bythetimewereachedthe-350meterleveleveryonewasbecomingfatigued--wehadbeenunderforelevenhoursalreadyandthiswasonlytohavebeenanacclimatizationtrip.Ashortstrategysessiononaspraylashedledgeconcludedw ithTommy,DinoandStevebeginningtheascent.HalandIdecidedtocontinueriggingforawhile,possiblytoCampII,soastoavoidabottleneckontheropesabove.Wemanagedtodescendanother120metersbeforereachingasixtymetershaftrequiringanaidtraversetorig.Duringthe1977expeditiontheteamexitingfromCampIIhadfoundtheropenearlycutintwobysharprocksherebeforeaproblemwasdiscovered.Withdueintenttoavoidarecreationofthatincidentwebeganabolttraverseoutalongtheleftwalltoapointwherethelinewouldhangfree.Ourprogresswasshortwhenthebitcloggedandfrozeuponthedriver.Bythattimewewereabitpunchyfromlackofsleepanddecidedtoleaveitforthenextpush.Sixhoursand17pitcheslaterwestaggeredupthemistfilleddolineatdawn. ThefollowingmorningwebeganpreparingropeandprovisionsforthedepottriptoCampII.Wehadmade

PAGE 39

anextensiveswitchtocompressedfreezedriedfoodthistimeinanefforttocutdownontheungainlyweightofthecannedprovisionswe'dbeenusinginpreviousyears.Theadvantagegainedwasimmediatelyapparentwhenitwasallbaggedup-oneandonehalfduffelsheldallthefoodforfivepeopleforatwoweekstayatCampIII.AshorterpushfromCampIIinLaGrietain1977haddemandedfour70poundduffelsbedraggeddown23pitchesandthreekilometersofverytightpassage.Thathadnotgoneovertoowellwiththesherpas, TheafternoonofMarch 6foundHalandIbackattheentranceagainwiththefood,fortypoundsofcarbideandanticipatingaslowtripdown.Inallwefiguredwewerecarryingaround140poundsofequipmentoneachofus--boltkit,Nicadbatteries,standardkit,allonanammobelt,plusverticalgear,wetsuit,helmet,lights,andthena70-80poundduffel.Coming downthefarendoftheentrancecorridorat-140metersIhitaslickrockanddidafullforwardsommersault,landingonthepackafewmetersdowntheslope.Needlesstosayouragilitywassomewhathgmperedbytheload.Once wereachedthefissurethingspickedupforwecouldsuspendtheduffelofftherappelrack.BythetimewehadcompletedthebolttraverseatourstoppingpointSteve,TommyandDinocamecheerilyslidingaownthebigshaftandplunkedsixhundredmetersofropeatourfeet.Fourhundredmeterswerecutandlabelledforknowndropstothe-859metersump. Theremainderwasforthepushshouldthedivebesuccessful.Twopitchesand80metersbelowwefinallyintersectedthem!:l,.."hl&:>;7&:>r!I"'!:ln'Tnnr!nT.1nrnadvantagegainedwasimmediatelyap-parentwhenitwasallbaggedup-oneandonehalfduffelsheldallthefoodforfivepeopleforatwoweekstayatCampIII.AshorterpushfromCampIIinLaGrietain1977haddemandedfour70poundduffelsbedraggeddown23pitchesandthreekilometersofverytightpassage.Thathadnotgoneovertoowellwith..._StonesettingboltsbelowCampI(SteveZeman)fromjetblacktoorangeandcreamwhite.WedumpedeverythinginagreatheapatCampIIandrelaxedabit,pleasedthatwewerenowpoisedforalongstayunderground."Objectivesmet,"St.eveLsvoiceechoedacrossthechamber.'Duringthenextthreedayswepreparedasfornoothertrip.Wehadstillreceivednowordfromthesecondteam,whichwasnearlytwoweeksoverdue,anddecidedtogoaheadwiththediveat-859meters.Inplanningforthiswehadamassed

PAGE 40

Schreibernegotiatingthetensiontraverseat-450m.(BillStone)diver'ships.Besidesbeingabovetoquicklystopafreeflow,thisalsoallowedforeaseoftransportationtothesump.Twooftheseweretobeusedequippedwithdualregulatorssothata100%backupsystemwasmaintained.Forweightsweplannedtofillahippackfullofstreamcobbleswhenwegotthere,forwesurelyhadplentyofweightalreadytobedraggingleaddownthatfar.AndforlightsweplannedtousetwoNicadpoweredWheat Lampswithdualfilamentbulbs,mountedonthehardhat.Inshort,wewerecuttingtheweighttotheabsoluteminimumwhiletryingeventthatthedivepannedoutandwehadtostartscalingincomingshaftstofollowupstreamroutes.Eachpersoncarrieda minimumoffiveascendersandsomesix.Thatwasourbasicgear.Ourlastdayonthesurfacewasspentloadingcamppacks.Steveastoundedusbycompressingallhiswoolcampclothes,afiberfillsleepingbagandoneofthetanksintoonestuffsack.Thisspacesavingwastonoavailashesoontoppedouttheduffwithstoves,pots,medicalsuppliesandthelike.By2:00PMMarch11allwasreadyandwestackedeverythingalongthefrontwallofthehouseforalastminutecheckout.WesaidgoodbyetoPabloandBernardo,hisfather,assuringthemwewouldbebacksoon.Felibertohadcomebyaswellandbeganaskingquestionsaboutthecomputerprofilewehadoutonthedraftingtable.Wehadplacedtwopinsinthemap,bearingtheslogans,"Wearehere,"and,"Welcome,youarehere,"eachattheproperlocationontheplot.Felibertolookedatone,thentheother,thenthescale."AndhowlongareyougoingforGuillermo?"heasked."Twoweeks."Hewalkedoff,headshaking,saying,"Well,ifyousayso,OK."CAMPIIITherainhadreturnedandtherewasaheavyfoginthedoline,sotherewaslittlereticenceinleavingthiswretchedweatherbehindfortheserenityofCampII.Onebyonewecrawledthroughthetunnelandintotheverdantvoidoftheentranceshaft.Despitealltherain,thewaterfallwhichusuallycascadeddownr'\1"J.'i'Jl.".RJd'"\7uJ.basicgear.Ourlastdayonthesurfacewasspentloadingcamppacks.Steveastoundedusbycompressingallhiswoolcampclothes,afiberfillsleepingbagandoneofthetanksintoonestuffsack.Thisspacesavingwastonoavailashesoontoppedouttheduffwithstoves,pots,medical

PAGE 41

Schifflettat-520monthesecondriggingtriptoCampII.(SteveZeman)ropeItosseduptohim.Afterpullingtheropesuptotheplatformwereturnedtocamp. Onceoutoftheclammywetsuitsthingstookonafarmorebenevolentatmosphere.Inthecomfortofdrywoolenswesurveyedwhatwastobeourhomeforthenextfewdays.CampIIwasperchedonaflatmesa some6metersaboveanarrowstreamchannelalongRoute'68.Thewind,drivenbythebarometricdifferential,seemedchanneledbytheunusualgeometryofthepassagesothatoneT\O,...""An'magnitudeseasierinthelowerparts.Thingswentswiftlyfromthere.WeregroupedatCampI(-250meters)topickupwetsuittops,leavedryshirtsandgenerallytrimupforthestuffahead."ThreeandahalfhourstoCampII.We'rehustlingthistime,"Stevedeclaredwhen wereachedtheequipmentdepot.Abriefdiscussionensuedconcerningwhetherornotweshouldpushonfortheendofthewalkingpassagebeyondcampwiththeropes."Goforit,"seemedtheunanimousdecision.Route'68,discoveredattheendoftheCanadian-Americanexpeditionof1968,wassomethingunexpectedfortheoriginalexplorers.Aftercrashingdownalongseriesofshaftstheyhadcomeuponthisgallerywhich,atadepthofwellover500meters,wasgoinghorizontalinsteadofdownfromCampI.TheyhadmappedoverakilometerbeyondCampIIbeforebeingstoppedbyaibleclimb.ThiseventuallybecametheprimaryroutewhichweweresoontofollowtoCampIII.However,attheendofthe1977expeditionthederiggingteamhadpulledoutalltackle,includingthestandinglineattheclimb.Sowehadtore-climbtheobstacletocontinue.Whenwearrivedatthecornice,TommyandIwentaboutsizingitup,lookingforapossiblefreeascentroute.HetooktotherightwallandItheleft.BeforelongIglancedaroundandHalcalledout,"He'sgotit!",andtomyamazementTommyhadgainedastancea goodsixmetersoffthefloorwithonemovetothetop.Aftercleaningoffaledgehebridgedovertoit,thenwentbackfortheotherwall.Hisr{ghthandsuddenlyslipped,andinavoiceofdesperationheshouted,"whoa...WHOA!"I knowallfourofusbelowsuckedinaloadofairastheadrenalinrushed."Pleaseno,notanaccidentr"....0toCampII.We'rehustlingthistime,"Stevedeclaredwhen wereachedtheequipmentdepot.Abriefdiscussionensuedconcerningwhetherornotweshouldpushonfortheendofthewalkingpassagebeyondcampwiththeropes."Goforit,"seemedtheunanimousdecision.Route'68,discoveredattheendoftheCanadian-Americanexpeditionof1968,wassomething

PAGE 42

keepanaccuratefixonwhetheritwasdayornightonthesurface.Thiswindcyclewastoactasanunusualchronometerbywhichwecouldcompareourgraduallydilatingworksleepcycleoverthenextfewweeks.AtdinnerStevephilosophizedon Tommy'shairraisingclimb."In1968theygotthereanddecideditwasnotclimbable.In1976theycameback,decideditwasstillunclimbableandfoundawaydownthroughthebreakdown.In1977theyputanaidrouteupit.Andin1979somecrazybastardfreeclimbsit.Cavinghaschanged."Thefollowingmorningsaw uspolishoff10quartsofoatmealinanunparalleleddisplayofgluttony.Weweregoingtoneedeverycalorie.ThefoodforCampIIIwasdividedintothreeduffelsforSteve,TommyandI.HalandDinobroughtcarbideandothergearthatwouldnotbeneededatCampII.WeshuffledthistotheendofRoute'68andpickeduptheropes.Theoverheadcontinuationfollowedalongalargecanyon,droppingdownsharplyjustthirtymetersfromtheclimb.WhiletheothersworkedtheirwayalongtothatpointIshuffledtheropesovertoaplateofbreakdownperchedontheedgeofthenextpitch.Onthesurface,TommyhadcarefullylabeledeachoftheropestoCampIIIinsequence,sothatwhenwegottodrop#16say,thenallwewouldhavetodowasfindrope#16andrigon.Unfortunately,inhandlingandtransittothatpointallthenumbershadbeenwipedoff.Ihadalsoforgottentobringthelistofropelengthsneeded,soeverythingfromthereonwouldhavetobeimprovised.Asitwasdifficulttojudgetheexactdepthofthedropsinsomeinstanceswewouldinvariablythrowdownalongropeweknewwouldsurelyreach.ThenSteve,bringinguptherear,whackedofftheexcessand40broughtitalong.Theonlydrawbacktothisplanwasthatsoonerorlaterwewouldcometothepitchwhereallthosesawedoffpieceshadtobetiedtogether.Wecontinueddownalongrubbleslope,brokenattheendbytwotwentymetershafts.Thelastofthesedumpedusprecipitouslyintoalargelakeatthe-648meterlevel.Astheduffelshadbeenpackedairtightinpreparationforthis,theyfloatedquitewell.Bargestyle,wepushedthemacrossthelaketoasandybeachtwentymetersdistant.Alongseriesofcanalsfolloweduntilthemainpassagewasabruptlyclosedoffbyamassiveceilingcollapse.The1976expedi-tionhad,ontheirfinalpush,managedtofindaroutethroughthisboulderpilewhichhadledontoaspectacularstreamcanyon--the"gorge."Inordertogettheequipmentthrough,westrungoutinachainandpassedtheduffelshandtohand.FivecyclesbroughtUStotheheadofthegorge.FollowingeachcycleIscoutedonaheadmakingsureoftheroute.DuringthistimeIstumbleduponanunexpectedfind-alargeupstreamgallerywhichwefollowedforahundredmetersbeforerunningintoanothercollapse.Weleftitforafuturepush.Backatthegorgewezippedupforsomeheavywater.Atenmeterclimbdownthesculpturedpolishedwallbroughtustothewetstuff.Theriverthunderedasitshotoutofasluiceaboveusandcrashed,turbulentandfoaming,intothefirstplungepool.Thus weproceeded,frombasintobasinofazuretintedwater,tossingourpacksinandhastilyfollowingbeforetheyweresweptoverthenextfalls.W esooncametoanarrowgutwherethewaterfunneleddownandshotoutoveratwentymetercascade--thefirstpitchinthisseries.Asadirectdescentwouldhavebeenfoolhardy,wetraversedtherightwallalongaseriesofsolutioncarvedpotholes___...___...............-..1.........._...,V... ........................'-_u11.....;..t'1IIIIII....LT"ru,....NnIIT1rrC!lron

PAGE 43

ZemancrawlsthroughalowspotinRoute'68.(BillStone)toadryerrigpoint.Intheprocessofshufflingthegearacrossthetraverseahundredmetercoilofropewasinadvertantlyknockedoffthepile.Uponhittingthewateritwasimmediatelysweptintothechaosbelow.Realizingtheimportanceofeverymeterofropeatthatpoint,HalandTommystrungalinedownthewallintotheplungepooltoattemptaretrieval.WhileHalwasgettingbuffetedagainstthewallbythewaves,Tommydovedownpushingoffwithhisbootsandmanagedtohookthecoilwithhisfoot,fourmetersbelowthesurface.Thingsproceededsmoothlytillthe"GrandCascade."Here,bysomequirk,thewaterhadpunchedaholeheadthewaterwasforcedoutintoahorizontalplumewhichroaredintothe25metervoidbelow.Thewallsreponated,seeminglytunedtothedin.Again,atraverseoutalongthewallwasnecessary,exceptthatthistimeitwasblank--smooth,andvertical.Iputaboltinattheheadofit,rappelleddowntowherethewaterstartedslappingtheduffel,thenpendulumedaroundthecorner.Here,bypivotingonanetrier,Iwasabletodriveasolidboltwelloutontheface.Thisservedasthefarendanchorforthetensiontraverse.Therappelthencontinueddiagonallydowntowherethestreamwashedusunderalargeboulderandintoaspray

PAGE 44

wehadfinishedthelastoftheropeworkforawhileandcouldditchverticalgearandwetsuittopsforthefinalstretch.AtthispointourcascadecanyonjunctionedwithalargetrunkpassagedubbedtheMetro.Theriverquietlyranalongthefloor,givingamomentaryrespitefromthethunderabove.Abriskhikedownstreambroughtustoanotherjunction,thisonedwarfingthefirst,whereagreattaluspilefiftymeterswideshotupintotheblackness.CampIIIwassomewhereupthere.None ofuswhohadbeentherebeforehadreallyscopeditoutthoroughlysoacampsitehadtobefound.Wedumpedthesuppliesonanerodedflowstonebankhalfwaytothesummit,thenwentforit.Tooursurprisethetopwasfairlyflatandflooredwithsiltysand.Spaceprovedtobenoprob-lemasthenearestwallwasfortymetersaway. Thecascadingofthedistantriverfilledthechamberwithasoftrumblingsound.CampIII.Backatthegearwetookanap,wakinganhourorsolatershiveringinourwetsuits.WithdueintenttowarmupwesplitforCampII.Afterfifteenpitchesand19hoursonthego,westumbledintoourwoolens,made somechowandcrashed.Itseemedaneternity.Icouldsleepnolongerandopenedmyeyes.Nothing.Thentherewasadullpoppingofacarbidelampbeingignitedinthedistance.Tommywasup,writinginhisjournal.Dinofiredoneupaswell.Icalledout,"Steve,whattimedoyouhave?""Nine"i'Isthatdayornight?"Iqueried."Nine,"herepliedsomewhatamused.Ibacktrackedmylog,knowingfullwellwehadn'tsleptonlyninehoursafterthattripofyesterday.Thewindwasblowingthewrongdirectionaswell.Wehadbeenasleepfor21hours.Twenty-onehours!Weslowlypackedup camp.Ev-42erythinghadtobemeticulouslyquadruplewrappedinplastictrashbagstomakeitthroughthegorgeintact.Weleftanoteforthesecondteamshouldtheyarriveinourabsenceandaonedaysupplyofprovisionsfortheretreat.WiththatwebidadieutoCampIIforthenexttwelvedays.Despitetheload,thetripdownwasoneofthebestwe'dhadtothatpoint.WithineighthourswewerehikinguptheslopetoCampIII.Westoppedattheequipmentdepottoexchangewetsuittopsandverticalgearforfoodandcarbide,thenmadeourwayupthefinalstretch.Uponcrestingthesummiteveryonedumpedtheirloadsandscoutedoutalikelyspottosackout.TheplacewassospaciousthatHalestablishedhisownsub-campsomefiftymetersfromtherestofus.Steve,DinoandTommytookthe"hilltop"areawhileIdugoutafurrownearthekitchen.Asthefloorwascoveredwithathicklayerofsiltysandwewereabletotravelaconsiderabledistancefromcampinbarefeet.Itwasdifficultatthatpointtoreallythinkabout,orworryabout,thecaveabove.Wehadbeentravelingforfourdaysundergroundnowandfinally,nearlya monthafterwehadlefttheStates,wewerewithinstrikingdistanceofourtwoprimaryobjectives.Wegatheredaroundforabullsessionwhiledinnercooked.Conversationcenteredonthehighleadwhichloomedaboveusattheendofthecampchamber.Wasitjustadeadend,orthemaintrunkpassagewhichthechamberwewerecampedin?WebrokeoutaWheatlampandfocusedthebeam.Itlookedprettyawesome--agoodsixtymetersaboveuswiththefinalfortymetersgoingupasheerwallofmudcoveredbreakdown.Itwasgoingtobeasportingclimbtogetupthere.FollowingbreakfastthenextdayTommyandIclimbeddowntherubble

PAGE 45

LloydontheGrandCascadeTraverse.(BillStone)ofcarbide.Theceilingwasfestoonedwithcrystalwhitehelictites.Itwasverydryhere,veryquiet.Thepassageledsteeplyupward,gettingsmalleraswewent.Iwasjustabouttosay,"Well,thislookslikeit,"whenmyWheat lamppickedoutablacknessaheadthroughalowarch.Wehadbeenmovingfastalready,butforthenextfiveminutesitwas amaddashforthetopofthistaluspileintoanincrediblyimmense room.Blacknesseverywhere.Echoesjustwentandwent.Istartedupathirtymeterhighridgeoftaluswhichboretotheleft.Tommydescendedright,toaflataleolakebedwhichstret-...._.;1.__':"''1..-':''__....._Twosolidpinsandtwentymeterslaterourauspicious"chuteroute"hitabadoverhangandIwasforcedoutontotheface.ThiswasconsiderablymoreexposedandIusedupallmyprotectioningainingastancethatwasstilltenmetersfromthetop.Icalledoutfortenmetersofslack."Notenoughrope,"echoedthereplyfrombelow."Howaboutuntyingtheline?""I'mdoingthatnow,don'tmove,"wasthereply.BythetimeIhadyankeduptenmetersofline--thefrictionwasbadbetweentherunners--Tommycalledoutthatitwasoffthefloorandupthechute.Hetriedclimbingtoitbutslipped,banginghiselbow.Cursingsoftlyhecalledout,"Wegoodvarietyofpins,mudtons--60 cm aluminumanglespikes--boltsandslings;plentyforanygoodsolidwall.Buteverythingseemedtobeheldtogetherwithmud.Welocatedanarrowchutealongtheleftwallandkeyedthisoutasourroute.Tommyfoundatieofffortherope,clippedinandfedthelinethroughhisbelayplate.piletothedepottopickupbolts,ropeandverticalgearfortheclimbupthewall.Westoppedbrieflyincamptopickupourstandardkitsandwereoff.Wehadaforty-fivemeterGoldlinewithusaswellasa goodvarietyofpins,mudtons--60 cm aluminumanglespikes--boltsandslings;plentyforanygoodsolidwall.Buteverythingseemedtobeheldtogetherwithmud.Welocatedanarrowchutealongtheleftwallandkeyedthisoutasourroute.Tommyfoundatieofffortherope,clippedinandfedthelinethroughhisbelayplate.ANTHODITEHALLneedanotherrope.Hey,couldsomebody downincampbringuSalongerrope?"Noreply.Again.Halseemedtobewalkingdowntogetone.IntheinterimIhadgrownrestlesswaiting.The summit wasonlyashort,butexposed,scrambleaway. Iwentforit.Afterpullingthelineupthroughtheprotection

PAGE 46

tance.Thiscontinuedforsome 280meterstowherethetworoutescurvedaroundandjoined.Webacktracked,lookingforanexit.Noluck.Wewerereturningviathehighroutewhen,quiteunexpectedly,wewereconfrontedwiththemostdazzlingdisplayofAnthoditecrystalseitherofushadeverseenorreadabout.Absolutelypurewhite,andsomewerenearlyameterlongand60emindiameter.Abreathtakingchamber,butunfortunatelyit.wasnottherelict"down"routewehadbeenhopingfortobypassthe859metersump.Infactthesurveywaslatertoshowwehadclimbed134metersverticallyaboveCampIIIatthetopoftheroom.WechristenedthefindAnthoditeHallandreturnedtocamptodeliverthenews."What'sfordinner?"Icalledoutfromtherope."Whatdidyoufind?"camethereply.Stalemate.Weclimbeddownthetalusleavingthestaticlinerigged.Overtheroarofthestove,muchlouderthantheriverdownthehill,werelatedthescoop.Surveyandrechecktheedgesseemedtobetheconsensus.Thiswasdulydonethefollowingday,yieldingthesameprognosis:Nogo.ThehighpointoftheventureoccurredwhenHalmanagedtodetonateSteve'sspentcarbidebottlewhileattemptingtoburnaloosestringfromhispack.Stevewasnearlyknockeddownbytheblow,andwithabearlikegrowlsetoffafterHaldownthetalusforretaliation.Thebootfounditsmark.DIVINGTHE859SUMPWiththeupperleadfinishedweturnedourattentiontothemainobjective--the859metersump.IttookUSquiteawhiletobreakcamp.Therewasatwocoursechowdownthatlastedthreehours.Wewereenter-44tainingthoughtsofrunningoutofropebeyondthedive,justaswehaddonetwoyearspreviousinLaGrieta,andwerepackingdownthecaloriesforathirtyhourpush.Thewetsuitswentonamidtheusualexpletives.Lookinglikesomerag-tagmilitiawedescended,bearinglefttowardalargewaterfall.Directlybeneaththecascade,soakedfromtheimpactspray,wefiledthroughthebouldersandintoanarrowcorridor.ThewallswerecarvedfrDmjetblackmarble,webbedwithwhitestreakswherethefractureshadfilledwithrecrystallizedcalcite.Tancoloredflowstonedepositsmade afleetingattemptatcoveringthefloor,butweresodissolvedbythehighpressuremonsoontorrentssothatonlyoccasionalremnantsremained.Thiswas noplacetobeinthesummer.Wecontinuedtoaledgeoverlookingastrikingshaft.Thewatersplit,roaredoutandricochetedoffthefarwallwithfirehydrantforce.Therewasnoavoidingit."Thewashingmachine,"Halcalledoutwithagrimace.Thenhedisappearedintothemaelstrom.Thefamiliarfourblastsfromhiswhistlesoonpenetratedthedin.Offrope.Weregroupedbelow,clingingtothesideofimmensepotholesboredintothefloor.Stevewasahead,scoutingtheroutealongthegreaseslickwall."Thisway,"hecalledout.Wewerescreamingtocommunicate.Theroarfromtheshaftabovewasminorcomparedtotheriverthatsoonsmashedinfromtheright.Theentirepassageshook.Weweredealingwiththricethewateroftheuppergorgeinapassageathirdaslarge.Iterodedourconfidence.Thepassagebeyondwasthemostdifficult"inthecave.Heavywaterpounding.Plungepoolswhereallyoucouldseewasfoam.Andtheclimbsavoidingthemnearlyasbad--glasssmoothrockbellingouttowardthewater.Wewerestringinglinesalltheway.Inoneplaceweriggedafreehangingdiagonalropeoutoverthreeparticularlybadfalls.

PAGE 47

ChowdownatCampIII.(BillStone)Halhadconsiderabledifficultyde-.scendingwithaJumarsafety.Steveyelled,"Checkthisout,"andproceededtoslidedownthelinefiremanstyleonaharnesscarabiner.Aheadthecascadesstoppedandwewereswimming,sidebyside,downalongcanal.Theroarofthewaterfallfadedtoadistantthrobbing.Thecanalgotwider,deeper.The sump.Wewere859metersbelowtheentrance.Perchedinasmallsidepassageweorganizedourequipment.SteveandIunwrappedthevalveprotectorsfromthetanksandcheckedthepressure.2800inboch.IbuckledthetwinNicadpacksaroundmywaistandfeedingouttheline.Onejerk;stop.Twoormore;nogo,pullmeout.HalandIswamtowheretheceilingmetthewater.Therewasagoodledgeforhimtositwithouttreadingwater."Readyontheline,"Icalled."Goforit,"hegrinned,andIkickedthroughtoasmallbellchamber.ThishadtohavebeenwhereJimSmithstoppedonhisfreediveattemptin1977.Theceilingdroppeddownagain.SixmeterslaterthelightreflectedoffamirroredsurfaceandIpoppedupintoanotherairbell.ThisonlylastedashortwhileandIwasnowunderforgood,regularlycheckingthepressuregauge.Pinnedtotheceilingbythepositivebuoyancyofthe

PAGE 48

TalussummitatthebeginningofAnthoditeHall.Themainchamberistotheleft.(BillStone)waterwasveryclearatthispointIcouldseea goodtwentymetersdownandstillnobottom.Thirty-fivemetersinIrecheckedthepressuregauge.Below2000anddropping.Enoughtogo maybeanothertenmeterssafely.Ihungmotionless,playingthetwinbeamsoftheelectricacrossthevista.Theceilingwasdroppingrapidlyandtherewasnoindicationthatthetrendwassoontochange.Iwasfarbeyondanythingwecouldsafelyfreedive,whichwouldhavebeentherequisiteforanyseriouspushonourpart.ItookonelastlookatthebottomSanAgust1n,thenturnedandgavethreeyanksontheline.TherewasBackatthesidepassagewewerepreparingtocoiltheropewhenStevecastoverhisshoulder,"There'sa sumpupthispassageyoumaywanttolookatbeforeundoingyourkit."HalandIswamtotheendandsureenoughablackopeningledoffbelowthesurfaceofthepool.Iturnedtheaironanddroppedunder,thistimecrawlingalongtheceilingupsidedown.EightmeterslaterIcaughtareflectionandheadedup.Upstreampassage!ReturningIgaveatanktoHalandwebothwentthrough.Togetherwesawagoodhundredmetersofwaterypassagebeforeitswungtotheleftanddived

PAGE 49

THEUPSTREAMCAMPAIGNThefollowingdaysawusbackatthemarkingtheheadofthe859passage.Thestreamcamefromablackgallerytwentymetersaboveandwewerepreparedtoaidupthewallifneedbe.ThisprovedunnecessaryasImanagedtoputinafreerouteuptherightface.Theotherswereupthestaticlineinaflashandwepushedon.Thoughthepassagecarriedastrongbreeze,itsoongotverywetforcingaretreat.Wehaddonetheclimbincampclothesandoptedforareturnwithwetsuits,andsurveygear.OurnextforayintothissectionsawHalandIoutinfrontclangingaway,heavilyladenwithropeandclimbinggear.Theotherswereshootingthesurveyinonourheels.Shortlythegallerysplit.Theclimberswentright,thesurveyorsleft.Twotwentymeterclimbsand300metersofswimmingbroughtanendtotherighthandbranch--upstreamsump. Theleftcontinuedasatallcanyon.Aconsiderableamountofmanmadedebrisclungtothewalls."Thislookslikethetown dumpfromSanAndres,"Steve. sai.dwryLy,Laterwestumbledacrossanoffcolorbasketballlayingonthefloor.Thepassagethuslygainedtheappellation,"RedBallCanyon!"Inevitablyweranoutofropeafterscalingtwo moreshaftsandhadtoleaveitforthenextpush.Onreturningtothejunctionwehadashortconference.Steveandcrewvolunteeredtosur-veytherighthandbranchprovidedHalandIderiggedthe859passage.Asmoreropewasneededfortheupstreampushthepactwasagreeduponandthedeedsdone.Atallywiththecalculatorbackincampshowedwehadbombedoutnearlyakilometerintoa 859passage.Thestreamcamefromablackgallerytwentymetersaboveandwewerepreparedtoaidupthewallifneedbe.ThisprovedunnecessaryasImanagedtoputinafreerouteuptherightface.Theotherswereupthestaticlineinaflashandwepushedon.Thoughthepassagecarriedastrongbreeze,itsoongotverywetforcingaretreat.T.To,.11"\,...,0t-ho1"'1;".,h;,...,I"'ll"\t-he:>cAnthoditeclustersalongtheNorthwall.(BillStone)AgainmybackwasachingandI knewwe'dbeenlayingthereforonehellofalongtime.Steveconsultedhiswatch.ItwasMarch22andwe'dbeensleepingfor26hours.Planforthedaywasaphotographictriparoundthebigchambers.Wepackedoffwithatrashbagfullofpress25bulbsintendingtoturnthelightson.EverybulbStevesetoffbroughtaroundofapplausefromtherestofus.Noonebulbwouldhavephasedtheroom,sowemountedthecameraonatripodandlockedtheshutter0en.Thenforthenext__

PAGE 50

source,akilometerandahalfupstream.Wewereeventuallyhaltedatthebaseofasmoothfifteenmetershaft.Thewaterdroppedinfromabove.Atbreakfastweheldastrategysession.Wehadbutthreemealsleftandmuchtodobeforeexiting.Thefinalplanagreedupon wastogofortheendofRedBallCanyonwitheverythingwehad,untilwecametoanimpassableobstacle.Inessencewehadtodothat,foroncewepulledoutforCampIItheleadwasbeyondtheenduranceradius.Andthereisnothingworsethannotbeingsureaboutapassagethatremote.ItmightmaketheconnectiontoLaGrietaorAguadeCarrizo.IfthepushwasshortwewouldattempttotakeallextrahardwareandtackleuptoCampIIthesameday.Weateheartily.BackinRedBallCanyon,HalandIadvancedtotheleadagain.Highabovethewaterfallwhichhadhaltedthepreviouspushweclimbedupabulbousflowstonefacade.Anarrowfissureloomedinthedistanceacrossthegulf.WithHalbelaying,Isetarouteoutalongthewall,gainingthefissurewithoutcomplication.Wedroppedafixedlineandtheotherswereupshortly.Allthiswastonoavailasweencounteredanothersump200metersfurtheron.LackingdivinggearwecommencedaseriesofpulldownstoCampIII.Atthedepotweloadedropes,tanks,regulatorsandtrashintoourdufflesandpackedoffforCampIII,arrivingeighthourslater.Famishedfromtherunwecannibalizedasackofgranolafromthefoodstores.Ourappetitesstillunabated,IwenttoopenthebagforasecondtimewhenInoticedsomethingoddaboutthecamp.Itwasasifsomeonehadthrown3"diametercottonballsallovertheplace."Bygod,it'stheattackofthefungus,"someonechuckledovermyshoulder.48Eachbitoffoodwehadspilledtendaysagohadyieldedafinecropoffuzz.Wecastasideallnotionsthatcavesaresterileenvironments.Thewindwasnowblowinginprettystiff;morningtopside.Aswehadditchedourwetsuittopsatthe-648lake,webegangettingcoldandbeataretreattoCampIII.Another19hourtrip.Another21hourssleep.Wewerereallyoutofsyncwiththoseupstairsnow.Overfourteendayshadpassedonthesurface.Yetourgrouphadonlyseenitasten.MichelSiffre'spredictionsonfreetimecycleswerebeingborneout.EXITTOBOREHOLEWithmostoftheheavyequipmentnowatCampII,andthefoodgone,ourpacksweredowntoareasonableweightforone.Butbythetimewehadascendedthefinalpitchinthegorgewewerereadyforabreather,anddecidedtospendahalfhourpokingaroundinthebreakdowntoseeiftherewasanoverheadcontinuation.Tommyhadpreviouslyseenablackholeintheceiling,lendingcredencetothistheory.Aswell,RichardSchreiberhadremarkedoncethatinpushingthebreakdownin1976theyhadheardlongechoesabovethem,butwereunabletoreachwhateverwasupthere.Atfirstwetriedtoclimbupthroughtheholeintheroof.IgaveTommyaboosttowherehecoulddefinitelyseethattherewassomethingverybiguptherebutthattheholewastootight.Heclimbedbackdownandretreatedtowardtheduffelshopingtofindanalternateroute.StevemeanwhilesetabouttryingtohammerhiswayupthroughtheholeTommyhadtried,usingalargerockashisweapon.Hehadscarcelybegunwhenweheardanechoing,"Damn.ThisisthebiggestpassageI'veseeninthiscave!"Andweknew

PAGE 51

Tommyhadmadeitthrough.HecameovertotheholeZemanwasworkingonandpulledoutthekeyboulderblockingprogress.SteveandHalslitheredthrough.DinoandIgrabbedthepacksthathadbeenleftandfollowedTommy'sroute. Bythetimewehadcrawledthroughintothebigstuff-20by30metertrunk-SteveandHalwereoffinthedistancehootingandhollering.Borehole!Noothernamewouldfit.Weseemedtohavepoppedupatsomesortofjunctionfortherewerethreemassivepassagesleadingoff.Oneapparentlyconnecteddirectlyoutoverthegorgetforwecoulddistinctlyheartheriverroaringbelow.Withthewindatourbackswerandownagood800metersofpassagethatafternoontstoppingonlyforlackofrope.WestillhadalongtriplefttoCampIIandsoreturnedtoourpacks.Onethingwascertaintourshortdiversionhadchangedthecourseoftheexpedition.Thefollowingmorningwebeganour16thdayintheholeanditwashightimetoleave.WiththeadventofthenewdiscoverYtCampIIwasleftintactforthereturnpush.Wepackedoutthefinal20pitchescarryinggarbagetspentNicadpacksandwornoutequipment.IslowlypickedoutthetumblersonthelocktothehousewiththedimglowofHal'scarbide.Halmadeadashforthefoodstores.BeforeIgotto,thecannedpeachesI'dbeendreamingofforthepastsixhourst Inoticedanassortmentofletterspostedtothedraftingtable.Freshwordstosavor!ImusthavereadthemfourtimesbeforeHalcalledittomyattentionthatIwasstillinmywetsuitandmightbegettingcold.InourabsencewehadbeenvisitedbyErnieGarzaandBlaneColton.BerpllinamprPTthathadbeenleftandfollowedTom-my'sroute.Bythetimewehadcrawledthroughintothebigstuff20by30metertrunk-SteveandHalwereoffinthedistancehootingandhollering.Borehole!Noothernamewouldfit.Weseemedtohavepoppedupatsomesortofjunctionfortherewerethreemassivepassagesleadingoff.Oneapparentlyconnect-_-l.3.:.&..1.&...&..1-___-c_ShifflettandLloydat-760mintheMetrotheadingforCampII.(BillStone)wasscheduledtoleavetheStatestandwouldnotbeoutofthecasttilllateApril.Thiswasablow.Thehappeningsofthenextfewdayswerequitediverse.ThelongawaitedreinforcementsfromGeorgiaJimSmithtJillDormanandRichardSchreiber-arrivedonthe29thofMarch.SomefriendsfromMexicoCitYtGerardoFernandezandGonzaloHerrerathadalsocomeupforavisit.AnacclimatizationtripwasinorderforthenewcomerstsoRichardtTommyand

PAGE 52

consistedofadustydrycorridorbombingdown19dropsintoamassiveterminalroom.InT-shirtswe movedfast.Someoftheothershadexpressedadesiretodoittheingdaysotheropeswereleftplace.AprilfirstsawTommyandtheMexicanspackupanddriveoffforD.F.Tommyhadtoreturntotendtopersonalmattersandweweretomisshimgreatly.DuringtherestofthemorningpeoplestraggledofftowardtheCuevaforthederigging.WellintotheafternoonIporedoverthesurveynoteswlthacalculatortryingtofigureoutjustwherewehadbeendownthere.Pablosteppedin,askingwheretheothershadgone."OvertotheCueva,"Itoldhim,notelaborating."LaCueva deSan......S""h1"derepinacknowledgement.WhichremindedmethatIhadbestbeonmywaytohelpwiththederig.Idescendedtothe300meterlevelandsackedoutinthesand.ShortlyIsawalightflickerinthedistanceandheardRichard'svoice.Afterthinkingaboutitawhile,Icouldnolongerresistplayingapracticaljoke.Ipulleduptheropewithoutfurtherhesitationandscuttledbackaroundthecorner,watchingasthelightdrewnear."Whatthehell?" Hepacedbackintotheothercornerlookingsomewhatstunned,.thenreturnedconvincedofhismemory."Ithastobehere.Damn,Where'stherope?Itwasherewhen Icamein.Oh,you'vegottobekidding."Pause."Waitaminute...Guillermo.GUILLERMO"Iclickedonmyelectric."AprilFool,Richard."Thefollowingdaywaschaotic.Therewasgearscatteredfromendtoendinthehousewithpeoplerunningaboutinafrenzyofactivity.ThemenuwasplannedforatendaystayatCampII.WiththefoodpackedImadealistofcoordinatesfrom50themasterprintoutonthesystemofvariousstationsintheneighboringcaveswhichwemightbelikelytoconnectwith.Therewas ageneralairthatwewerefinallyontosomethingbig.RETURNTOCAMPIITheafternoonofAprilthirdfoundusonceagainonthatfamiliarsandpileat-536meters.Schreiberwaxedeloquentonthevirtues.ofthevariousundergroundcampshe'dbeenin.Somehadwaterfallsroaringinthedistance.Somehadhorriblesmellsfromthelatrine.CampIIIbelowushadalongruntothewaterhole.AtCampIIinLaGrietayoucouldfalloutofyourhammockintothewaterhole.Indeedthecampswereasvariedasthecavesthemselves.Ourfirstforayintothenewgallerynettedaratherunexpectedconnection.Atthejunctionchamberwesplitintotwoparties:Hal,SteveandJimtothesouth;Richard,JillandItothenorth.Thenortherntrunk,neverlessthan20by30meters,shotupasteeptaluspilefor300meterstowhereitappearedto"T."TotheleftRichardpointedoutafaultwherethepassageterminated.Highandtotherightawaterfallwasaudible.Uponclimbingthehilltowardthefalls,wefoundourselvesconfrontednotwithanunclimbabledomebutagapingpitwithwaterflutedwalls.Wetossedarockinandcountedwhileithissedintotheblackness.Foursecondslatertheimpactechoedfrombelow.I'dsaywebettertietheseropestogether,"Richardsaidwithagrin.Wehadaroundsixtymeterswhenthatwasdone,buta goodbitwasusedupintherigging.Heputafigureeightknotintheend,JUU

PAGE 53

Route'68,mainpassagetoalllevelsbelowCampLI.(BillStone)shoulditbetooshort,andtosseditin.Asexpected,Ifoundmyselfswingingattheknot,lackingsometwentymeterstothefloor.WiththeelectricIsearchedtheareabelow.Itlookedvaguelylikepassagewe'dseenbefore--thecanyonbeyondtheendofRoute'68.NotquitesureofthisIthoughtaboutdroppingaglovetomarkit,butoptedinfavorofayellowplasticbagIhappenedtohaveinmypack.Scrapingsomespatteredmudfromthewalltoweightit,Iletitfly.Asexpected,wefoundthebagatthebaseofalargedomeonourreturntocamp.Thisnowopenednorth.Therewasakilometerwideblankspotbetweenthereandthenorthernsystemsandintuitivelywereckonedtherehadtobesomethingbiginthatvoid.Despite26hoursinthesackwewerenotquiteuptofacingthewetsuitsagain.Theywereindeedveryfoulodoredandhadtobescrubbedwithsoapaftereachtrip.Wewerehowever,firedupfordoingsomethinginourcampclothes.HavinghadanotablesuccessintheupstreamRedBallCanyon,wedecidedtohavea goatpushingtheCampIIwaterholesource.Withsomeluckandformationlassoingwewereabletoscale

PAGE 54

Therewasmuchspeculationaboutthenexttrip.Weplannedtoputtheentiregroupoutinthesouthernbranchasnearly800metersofpassagehadbeenseendownthisrouteandseveralleadsremained,allofwhichwerepoisedforpossibleconnectionstonearbySotanodelR!oIglesia.Jim,JillandStevetookaslingofclimbinggear,adynamicropeandwenthigh.Richard,HalandItookeightcoilsofstaticropeandwentdownanarrowstreamcan-yon.Below,thingssoongottightandwefoundourselvesinchingalong,religiouslyshootingthesurveyaswewent.Weshortlybegandescendingaseriesofsteepchuteswiththestreamdisappearingandreappearingthroughslotsinthefloor.Istoppedatonepoint,bridgingoversomedeepflutedpotholestochangecarbide.Richardwastiminghisburnstomineandpausedashortwaysaheadtochangeaswell.Indoingsohemanagedtodropthegasketintoasmallplungepool.Ninety-ninepercentofthetimeapoolthatsizewouldnothavebeenbutaquarterofameterdeep,butthisoneseemedbottomless.Iwentaboutclosingupmypack,assuminghewouldjustdigoutaspareandcarryon.ThroughthecornerofmyeyeIwatchedwithdisbeliefashetookadeepbreathanddoveinheadlong.SoonHalandIwerebothstaringattwobootsandlittlemorestickingoutofthistinypool.Thirtylongsecondslaterhepoppedbackout,beamingandholdingthecantankerousgasket.AshortwaybeyondHalcriedout,"Ropedrop,allright!"Allalongwehadentertainedthethoughtthatthismightbethebypasstothe859 sump,buttodothatwehadtostartdroppingrapidly.Thisdropappearedtobethesignwewerelookingfor.RichardandHalrappelledinandwerewaitingonaledgebelow.AssoonasIrackedsomethingstruckmeoddlyaboutthisplace.ThefeelinggrewasIdescendeduntilfinallyI52wassure."Connection,"Icalledout."Where?"Richardfiredback."UpstreamMetro."ThiswasthefurthestpointofpenetrationreachedbyTommy,HalandIonourreccefromCampIII.Wetiedinthesurvey.Backattheropeinthemaintrunkwefoundanote:"Mappedroughly175min22stationsintothebreakdown.Climb upthewallsuccessful.Nopassageontop."IpassedthisalongtoHalandclippedonmyascenders.Theropewasgrosslymuddyanditwasthecaseoftheoldtwostepsforwardandonestepbackwardasthecamsfailedtocatch.Ienvisionedslidingallthewaytothefloormorethanonce.UptopI wasconfrontedwithyetanothernote."Offrope,"Icalledoutandlookedatthepaper."Amigos:Estamosrigosroposondroposconboing-line.Soavoidoslagos."MeaningapparentlythattheyweregoingtotryandrigYellowBagDomewiththeirdynamicropeandusethisshorterroutebacktocamp. Muchtooursurprisetherewasnoropeintheshaftwhen wearrived."Shortropedagain!"Ithought,knowingwhatmusthavehappened.Againwetiedeverythingtogetherandtosseditin.Thistimeitreached,althoughitwas abumpydescentwiththreeknots.Iclimbedupthebreakdownawaytogetoutoftheblastzoneandwaitfortheothers.AboutthistimeIglanc-edtotherightandnoticedafissurewhichhadpreviouslycaughtmyeye.CuriousIthought,aseverythinggoinginthatdirectionmysteriouslystoppedatalllevels.Richardhadbynownegotiatedthefinalknotandboundedtheremainingtwentymeterstothefloor.Heundidhisrackandstumbleduptheslopetowardsme.1"'1111r ."""1rlO(I!'-i'HI

PAGE 55

"Richard,"Icalled,"What'sthestoryonthispassage?""Goesinaways,twentyorthirtymetersatanyrate.Thengetstight.Youshouldgocheckitthough,tosatisfyyourself."Thenhecontinueduptheslope.Ibeganpokingaround.Therewereafewholesinthebreakdownatthebeginningbutitquicklynarrowedtoapopcornencrustedriftslicingnorthwardstraightasanarrowforsixtymeters.Therethethingwaspluggedrighttotheceilingwithroundedboulders.ThecrawlRichardmentionedcontinuedalongthefloor,anditwasunquestionablyimpassable.BridgingbetweenthenarrowwallsIforcedmywayupward.Thereappearedtobesomesortofholeatrooflevel.Ipaused,watchingmybreathstreamtotheside.GoodbreezehereTherewasapassagealongtheroofbutIwasonlyabletomanagethreemetersbeforeitbecamehopelesslytight.PushingmyhelmetthroughthetinyholewhichledonIyelledtoseeifitgotanylarger.VeryfaintlyIcouldhearanechocarryingoffinwhatsurelywassomethingverybig.Gettingthroughwasgoingtorequiremorethanhumanforcethough.DormanandSchreiberswimmingthe648mlake.(BillStone)b :,.nl'UPKINEPAKKANYONbroken600meters,nottomentionthedepthrecord.Wewerecontenttoleaveitatthat...for1968anyway.Andyouknowhow.thelocalsituationdeterioratedfool:'thenexteightyears,"hefinished.Inodded.BackinCampI,IdiscussedmyfeelingaboutthecrawlwithHal.HeseemedagreeabletotheplanIhadinmind.IcaughtupwithRichardinRoute'68.Alonga lowsectionwherethewindthreatenedtoextinguishourflames,IqueriedhimaboutsomethingIhadlongwonderedabout."Youmusthaveknownthispassagecontinuedin1968,Richard,"Isaid."Sure,"hereplied,"butitwasalongtripthentoo.Rememberwesurveyedfromthebottomofthehundredmetershafttoherethesameday.Wehadallagreedtostopwheneverwecametoaropedrop.Theclimbattheendneededarope.""Whydidn't,,-----0isfyyourself."Thenhecontinueduptheslope.Ibeganpokingaround.Therewereafewholesinthebreakdownatthebeginningbutitquicklynarrowedtoapopcornencrustedriftslicingnorthwardstraightasanarrowforsixtymeters.Therethethingwaspluggedrighttotheceilingwithroundedboulders.ThecrawlRichardmention-

PAGE 56

turningtoCampIIwefoundRichardandJimstaringatusgroggily.Richardrelatedthattheyhadreturnedonlyafewhoursagofromalongsurveytriptowrapupthecrawlsoffthebigpassage.Itseemedeverythinginthewayofopenleadswasfinished.Weweredowntodesperationstrategy.WhiletheotherswentbacktosleepHalandIcontinuedondownRoute'68.AttheendofthefissureIprimedtwosticksandstrungoutthewire.Itseemedlikeanaltogethersinisteractivity.Hallookedatme,Iathim."Don'tdropit,"hechuckled.HisgrinfadedwhenIlaiditinhishandandsaid,"When Igettothetop,passituptome.CareIchimneyeduptotheheadofthecrawl,gotthechargefromHal,andeversocarefullyincheditalonginfrontofmetowardtherockswehadtomove.W itheverythinginplaceIretreated,unravellingtheyellowandorangeleadwires.Uponconnectingthistothelongwirewescamperedouttoitsendandpressedourselvesintoasmallrecessinthewall."Ready?"Halnodded.IopenedmyNicadpackanduntwistedthewires."OK,"Isaid,"f" fh ".lve,our,tree,two,one.Likeacannon,rockdustflewdownthefissure.ThewallsshookandtheechocrashedoffdownRoute'68.Smokesoonengulfedus,drivenbythewind.Wehardlynoticedforbothofuswereuncontrollablylaughingreleasingallourpentuptension.Tooursurprisenotasmuchoftheobstaclehadbeenremovedasweexpected,butitprovedenoughtogetthrough.Asixmeterclimbfollowedandsuddenlywewerethere.Twentybytwentymetertrunk,andwind.ByJove,thewindwasroaringdownthispassage.Icouldhearapowerfulrumblinginthedistance.Arivertoo.Westoppedshortlytorecarbide.Therockwasdarkcoloredandwejustcouldn'tkeepalongenoughflame.54_ ..J _ ..J -Movingfastwetraversed800metersofbreakdowngalleryuntilitjoggedtotherightandintersectedanarrowstreamcanyon.Theplacewasthickwithakinoliths--razorsharprockflutespeculiartotropicalcaves.Thusourg oingwasslowedaswehadtotesteachprecariousholdlestitcrumbleunderfootdroppingusontotheblades.Afternearly120metersofupsanddownsinthecanyonwecametoalarge,crystalgreenlake." Upforaswim?"Iqueried."Youtryitfirst,"camethereply.Byclingingtofingerholdsonthewallwetraversedfortymetersaroundthecornertoasandyshore,managingtoatleastkeepourshirtsdryintheprocess.Thebigstuffpickedupagainandthistimereallytookoff.Weranforwelloveranhourbeforecomingtoalargecollapsechamber.Thewindwhistledthroughthebreakdown.Wehadseenenoughforoneday.Ourderiggingplansweresubsequentlyabortedandthenewpassagesurveyed.Armedwiththisdataandahandcalulatorwewereabletopinpointourlocationattheheadofthebreakdown.W ewerestunnedwhenwefoundthefurthestpointofpenetrationtobeonlytenmetersfromtheendofLaGrietaandthirtyfromAguadeCarrizo.Allthecavesseemedtoenterthesamecollapsecomplex.Wewereontopofthegrandjunction:atripleconnectionthatwouldformthethirddeepestcaveintheThefollowingdaywereturnedtothebreakdowntoattemptaconnection.Aftersixhoursofwetsuitrippingcrawlingamongtheboulders,Jim,SteveandHalpronouncedthepileimpassableandreturnedtocampleavingRichardandItopondertheproblem.RichardrecountedhisimpressionsofthehighmazeattheendofLaGrieta;everythingtrendingdownwaspluggedinbreakdown.Butuphightheairwentthroughaseries

PAGE 57

TypicaldimensionsinKinepakKanyon.(BillStone)ofdomes.Beforeheleft,Jimhadindicatedthatthereappearedtobesomethingneartherooflevelontheeastwall.IncontextwithwhatRichardhadjustsaidwehypothesizedthatifwecouldn'tcrossovertoLaGrietadownlowinthebreakdownwemightbeabletodoitoverthetopthroughthedomes.Indeed,therewerequiteanumberofincomingshaftsonthisside.Wefocusedourelec-tricsontheeastwallandsureenoughtherewassomethingblackupthere,thoughweweredeniedaclearviewduetoathickmistwhichhungneartheceiling.RichardreadiedthebelaywhileIrackedmyclimbinggear.De-andthecarbidedied.Wewerefindingsubterraneanclimbingtobefullofnewtwists.Ieventuallytoppedoutat35meterstofindtheblacknesswasbutadeceptionprojectedbyawideledge.Thiswasnottheway.OursecondattemptwasfurtherdownthepassageupatoweringshaftwehadoflatebeencallingBBDome.Thisonewasbyfarmorepromising.andwithinashorttimewehadrappedoutfortymetersuptheflutedwall.Thingsabruptlygroundtoahaltwhentheroutegaveoutatasixmeteroverhang.Nofreerouteoversonam

PAGE 58

Wehadbarelysleptthreehourswhenaflurryofactivityeruptedoverthecamp. Theotherfourwerepackingupforajourneytothesurface Andwithgoodreason.Ourfoodhadalreadybeenstretchedfourdayslongerthanintended.WhenSchreiberandIexitedtothethunderofaviolenttropicalstormadaylatertwoweekshadpassedsinceourentry.ItwasthenightofApril16.ACLIMBATBBDOMEDuringthenextfewdaystheteamwasinastateoftransition.SteveandDinoreturnedtotheStates.JerryAtkinsonjoinedus,havingjustspenta monthcavinginnorthernMexico.Then,whilereturningfromtown onaresupplytripApril17,mishapnumberthreestruck.JimSmithfellfromtheroof,break-inghisankle,whenthetruckcametoaroughstop.Thisreducedourleadteamtofourandtherewasseriousspeculationthatwemightnotbeabletopulleverythingoutbeforetherainyseasonhit.TheafternoonofApril21sawRichard,Hal,JerryandIagaindroppingtowardCampII.Weintendedtobreakthederiggingoperationupintothreephases--CampIIItoCampII,CampIItoCamp1/2,Camp1/2tothesurface.IttookusalongdaytobringallthetackleoutfromCampIIItoCampII.ButafterthatwewereconvincedthatwewouldhavethedrivetogetitouttherestofthewayandthusfocusedourattentionbacktotheclimbatBBDome.PerspiringfromthethreehourrunIrackedmyclimbinggear,thenclippedinandjumareduptowherethelinewasanchored.Richardarrivedshortlywithhisantiquated56threeknotprusiksystemandtiedhimselfintothewall.WiththebelayreadyhegaveanodandImoved uptotheroof. Totherightwasanoverhangingflowstonefacethatlookedlikeafeasibleroutearoundtheslababoveme.UsingahealthynumberofslingsloopedthroughshortcolumnsIwasabletoaidacrossituntilitgaveoutinafortymeterfreedroptothefloor.InvainIboltedupthreemeterstowhereIcouldseethatthisrouteledtonothing.Thewallwentstraightintotheceiling.ReluctantlyIresignedmyselftotacklingthemainroofdirect.Schreibercalledupinanimpatientvoice,"Areyouinastablespot?""Yes,"Irepliedafterclippinganetrierintothepinsintheceiling."OK.I'mgoingtochangecarbide."Thisdonehesearchedtheoverhanglookingfora weakpoint."Canyoutraverseoutthatbuttressoverhead?Itlooksgoodfromhere."Thelookrequiredaboltandafourpointaidtraversebutitwaswellworthit.Wehadsurmountedtheoverhang.SixmeterslaterIclimb-edovertheheadofthebuttress.Thetriumphwasshortlivedforinsteadofaboomingpassagewewereleftstaringupanother50metershaft.Andsoitwent.Finally,atapoint120metersverticallyabovewherewehadbegunweintersectedalowcrawlandtheclimbsceased.Ahundredmetersfurtheronwecrossedthebaseofan immense dome--atleastashighaswhatwehadclimbedalready--andsuddenlythewindreverseddirection.Ithadbeenatourbacksthroughthecrawl,urginguson.Yetnow,descendingtheopposingcorridor,itwasinourface."Crossingthedrainagedivide,"Richardsaidquietly.Wefeltasurgeofconnectionfevercomingon.Ourforwarddrivewasstoppedshortbyafifteenmeterpitjustaroundthecorner.Wehadno morerope.

PAGE 59

TwodayslatersawHal,RichardandIbackwith150metersoflinedeterminedtomaketheconnection.Sevendropslaterweranoutofropeandbegansloggingalongalowpassagewithkneedeepmud.Steamyandtiredwehopeditwouldsumpoutsoonsowecouldfinishthesurveyandgetout.Mostofuswereonourlastburnandanticipatedreturn-ingtocamponwhatdubiouschargeremainedinourNicadpacks.Twentytwohourshadpassed.Thereseemednoendtothemud.Suddenly,Halcalledback,"Hey,somethingbigupahead.Ihearalargestream.Really!"Itwasabigtwenty-fivebytwenty-fivemeterborehole.Justliketheonein..acoldwaveofperspirationsweptoverme.JustliketheoneinSanAgust1n.ItwastheoneinSanAgust1n.Stunnedsilence.Wehadloopedaround.Wesatdownonarocktoconsoleourselves.Whatalousyquirkoffate.Andworse,itwasn'toveryet.WewerenowdowntoahalfchargeofcarbideeachandaswiftretreattoCampIIwasofparamountimportancemeaningwewouldhavetocomebackoncemoretopulltheropesoutlesttheybeblowntoshredswhentherainyseasonhit.JerryandHalleftforthesurfacethefollowingdaywithtightlystuffedduffels.RichardandIprocrastinatedforseveralhours,finallyovercomingourlassitude.Once more weslidintothosewretchedneopreneskinsandforthesixthtimeheadedforthatremotedomecomplex.Fifteenhourslaterthedourdeedwasdoneandfollowingarelativelyshortsleepwebegancleaningcampup.Allwellandgood Ithought.We'dspent39daysatorbelowCampIInowanddiscoverednearlysevenkilometersofnewpassage.Toremainanylong-'-Ao.............,-6......:-......---bb-!--o-n----o-r"_ _..-sagewithkneedeepmud.Steamyandtiredwehopeditwouldsumpoutsoonsowecouldfinishthesurveyandgetout.Mostofuswereonourlastburnandanticipatedreturn-ingtocamponwhatdubiouschargeremainedinourNicadpacks.Twentytwohourshadpassed.Thereseemednoendtothemud.Suddenly,Halcalledback,"Hey,somethingbigupLloydde-riggingaboveCampI.(BillStone)felbagsofequipmentbetweenus,wemanagedtoderigeverythingtothe400meterlevelthatday.Theeffortleftusquitewindedandwefoundourselvescrawlingmeterbymeter,upthelastdropstotheSalaGrande.Haditbeennight,Iwouldhavebivouackedrightthereonthetrailwe'dwornintothehillfromcountlesssupplyruns.Insteadweweregreetedwithablazingsunrise.....'-""""'"'-; 11\t:!-

PAGE 61

,denotenewNote:Boldfor1979discovenesProfilebyEllipseComputerBtllStoneDraftingby1RioIglesia<)"d..'-k?-r-r-fI/1,___f__._,Cuevader'---,"--""SantaCruz:1-340-530eHall{III-710CampISan,Agustin500CarrizoLaGrieta-848level-760level1979aProfile1AreHuauta.2250RightOrientation//-859

PAGE 62

NCampIIITheHuautlaSystemPlan1979AGUSTIN(-474)+-f-.j-f-f-+.,.SOTANODELRIOIGLESIA(-535)...CUEVADESANTACRUZ(-314).....L-.----'..oIKILOMETERS23

PAGE 63

LaGrietaKBoreholeLaGrietaToRoute'68ToKinepakKanyonKinepakKanyonSanAgustinKBoreholeBypassLaGrietaQuadrantFramePlotbyELLIPSEDraftedbyBillStoneJuly1979'*LevelWRTSanAgustinEntranceNumbersonpitchesindicateroperequiredforriggingLoggerheadHallSanTerminusLaGrietaJanuary1978HuautlaAreaProfileQuadrant181800RightLaGrietaFractureoftheDeep:UpstreamSumpSanAgustin570Level*-550m630-848mCarrizo/TerminusJune1978SotanodeAguadeCarrizo-650m50!100!Meters

PAGE 64

translatedfromtheMazatecbyCathyRountreeSong,tunelostVibramprintsuponthepath.Thecaversareintown.Bleachedoutbodiesatthebath.Thecaversareintown.Dotheycomeforburiedjewels?Isthereoilinhiddenpools?Aretheymad,oronlyfools?Thecaversareintown.Wherehaveallourchildrengone?Thecaversareintown.Whosewerethosefootstepsjustatdawn? Thecaversareintown.Newwavesarrivingeveryday;Howlongdoyousupposethey'llstay?IheardthetidegoesoutinMay. Thecaversareintown.Storesandgossipsoverstocked.Thecaversareintown.Tavernsrumblewithtoughtalk.Thecaversareintown.Didyouseethebatteredtruck?Raggedsacksofflattenedstuff?Who'dtheypissofftoearnsuchluck?Thecaversareintown.They comeeachyear,likesummer'srains.Thecaversareintown.Likecloudsoflocustso'ertheplains.Thecaversareintown.Wetriedtofrightenthemaway.Cutropes,wrotelaws,butstilltheystay.Atleastwe'velearnedtomakeitpay.Whencaversareintown.59

PAGE 66

DISCOVERYPeterSprouseWhilstonacavingpilgrimageacrossMexicoinDecember1976,TerriTreacyandIstoppedinatPeterandSueLord'shouseinMexico,D.F.tocheckontheircavingprogressintheCuetzalan,Pueblaarea.Ihadsuggestedareatothemayearbeforeasapromisingcaveareawithineasydrivingdistance.Theywaxedenthusiasticovertheplace,findinggoingcaveeverywheretheylooked.TheyinvitedustojointhemthatweekendincheckinganewpitthatMikeBoonhadfoundandhadassuredthemwasatleast400feetdeep.On December17,wedroveeastwardpastthevolcanosofIxtacclhuatlandMalinche,andnorthwarduntilreachingthevillageofZacapoaxtla,onthesouthernboundaryofthecavingarea.HereIwasamazedtospotAustincaverDavidMcKenziewalkingdownthestreet.HehadjustdrivendownfromTexaswithJamesReddell,CarmenSoileauandAndyGrubbs.Weagreedtojoinforcesinourexplorationsinthearea.WeparkedthevehiclesatItzacamelandsetoffwalkingalongtheaqueductthatleadstowardsthetremendousSumiderodeCohuatichan.Thenewpitlaytotheleftoftheaqueduct.Ithadacircularentranceabout6metersindiameter,whichweimmediatelyrigged.Peterdescendedfirst,thenSue,Terri,Carmenandmyself.Thedropturnedouttobeonly35meters.Atthebottomwas alargepassagetrendingSW-NEwithasmallsidepassageheadingoffNW.Terri,CarmenandIbeganthesurveywhilePeterandSueexplored.TheNEsectioncontinued100metersinlargepassagebeforeclosingdowntoanarrowtube.Thiswenton30meterstoadeadend.TheSWextensionofthesamepassageclimbs20metersupaslopetoapinch.ThesmallNWpassageofthebottomofthepitprovedtobetheinterestingone.Wesurveyed10meterstoatightsqueezetakingair,throughwhichthesoundofawaterfallcouldbeheard.PetersqueezedaheadandIfollowed.Webrokeintoadomewithawaterfallcomingfromabove.ThestreamroutepinchedoutdownstreambutPeterfoundaclimboverit.Be-yondwasanothersqueezewhichhedidn'tpush.ThispitisknowntothelocalpeopleasSimadelosBueyes,forsomeoxenreputedtohavefallentoit.AfterexitingthecavewecontinuedondowntotoSumiderodeCohuatichan(interpretedbyalocalasmeaning"snake-water")totakeaquicklookatalowerlevelofftotheleftthatPeterhaddiscovered.61

PAGE 68

/to TeteclllaoRESURGENCE CAVECuetzalanArea//////IIII)Puebla,MexicoAdaptedfromP.Lord(1978)andN.Davis(1974). Additional information fromS. Knutson, P. Sprouse, D.McKenzie,andaerial photographs. Compiled anddrawnbyP.SprouseJuly,1979. Piloztoc Zoquiapan connection notshown. Locations approximate.---\C'EVAPlLOZTOCSUM'DERODE'\CHICHICASAPANCuetzalan,SIMAZOQUIAPAN CUEVAZOQUIAPAN CUEVADELARBOlDERESISTOL ATiSCHALLA SUR CUEVADELA PROVIDENCIA CUEVA SINNOMBRE SIMA DELOS:ySUMIDERO.J'DECOHUATICHANr\((.......J /I(JSYMBOLSrentranceIpassagestream,./roadtoRioApulcoCUEVA DETASALOLPAN GRUTASDE ATEPOLIHUIT.//'_,Tuzamapan\\\II(,\)III\\\\\\I \II,IJonotlaII //I//IGRUTASDE0/JONOTLAIIII'\.ISUM'DRQ DEJONOTlA-,-,""toRioApulco.sa:GRUTASDE CUEXALOCSTOC"'0,tf1KM

PAGE 69

TASALOLPANCUEVADEcue tzaran.pueblaJ.Reddell,C.Soileau.oMCKenzie,bAGrubbs,.5 rveyed 23Dec76ysuuntoclinometer.utripod,tape, Brunton. .PSprouse.DraftedbyD.McKenzie,. Drawn byD.McKenzie.Entranceulead(inlet>lead-topossibletranceE-meterslead(inlet>explored200m'\lead(inlet>fold.7mdisp.inletlead?

PAGE 70

SimadelosBueyescuetsatan.puebla,MeXicoS.unto&Tape Survey by:CarmenSoileau PeterSprouse TerriTreacyDecember 1976Draftedby:T Trec:cy1,tla<..o2410152025.......135Meters

PAGE 71

SteveKnutsonCuetzalanSpring1979MassiveentrancetoSumiderodeJonot1a.(SteveKnutson)AtvarioustimesinlateMarch1979agroupofWesterncaversarrivedatthecaverhouse,CasaCarmen,aboutamileuptheroadfromCuetza1an,foracoupleweeksofLieberz,ErnieGarza,Al1ejandroVillagomez,DavidJohnson,andNormPacebyplaneandbus.Cuetza1anisonakarstupland,Spring1979

PAGE 72

tothenorthbytheR!o Zempoa1a(Tecuantepecononemap)andtothesouthbytheRio Apu1co. Thedipofthebedrockissomewhatvariedbutisgenerallytothenorth,andthecavestrendinthatdirection.Pitsarenotcommonasmostentrancesareofthesumiderotype.SistemaCuetza1an(andseveralcloselyrelatedcaves)liebeneaththetownofCuetzalanandvicinity.Thehighestentrancetothisisatabout1300 metersandthelowestpointisthebottomofaseparatecave,Atepolehuit(whichisthelocalIndianwordforSumidero)atabout500meters.Thisgivesadepthpotentialforthesystemofabout800meters.JoeLieberzhastakenoverthecoordinationofcavesurveysfortheareaandthisisnowbeingcomputerized.Thisspring,however,theworkoflocatingstationsinthecavesfromthefieldnotesofpriorsurveyshadnotbeendonesothereseemedtobelittlepointinexpandingSistemaCuetza1anwithnewsurveysthatcouldnotbelinkedtotheold.ThusweworkedonafewothercavesintheareaandenteredSistemaCuetza1anonlytodosomephotographyandpokearound.SumiderodeJonotlaSumiderodeJonot1a,locatedabout4to5kilometerseastofSistemaCuetza1annearthetownofJonotla,hadbeenknownforseveralyearsandpartiallymapped.Ithasahugemainpassage.Afewhundredmetersalongthisalargesideleadtakesoffonahigherlevel.Wepushedandmappedboththesideleadandmainpassage.Thelatterinvolveda numberofswimsandsomeverticalwork,andagroupfinallycametoasumpwithahighlevelby-pass.Thisdroppedbackintothemainpassagebutropeforthisdropwaslacking.TheconsiderableairflowandthegeneralNWtrendofJonot1aleadsustobelievethatthisisthebackofthecavewhichNevinDavisreportedin'73,calledCuexalocstoc.ThisopensonthecanyonoftheRioZempoala(Tecuantepec)northofthetownofZoquiapananditspassageisreportedlyhugesuchthat350metersinonestilldoesn'tneedalight.Atthispoint500metersfromtheentranceasumppoolwasencounteredwithanunreachablehigherlevelfromwhichairwasissuing.Thus,aJonotlathru-tripseemsalmostareality.Astreamcaveabout3kilometersfurtheruptheCanonZempoa1afromJonotla,calledXi1iapa-Cecclabylocals,was mappedfor800meterstoadropwhichrequiredrope.ThisseemstotrenddirectlytowardthesideleadareaofJonotla,whichalsocontainsastream.About1.5kilometersseparatesthetwocaves.65

PAGE 73

Thirtymeterpitchintocanalsection,Jonotla.(NormPace)CuevaWhileobservingtheplantlifeinafieldbelowSumiderodeJonotla,caversweretakenbyayouthtoacaveentranceintowhichastreamwasflowingandwhichwascalledCuevaTecolo.Thiswaspushedonaninitialtriptoashort,overhangingfalls,Tecolothentoa50meterborehole,andfinally,onthethirdtrip,caversemergedfromamodestopeningintothehumidnightandlushgrowthonthesideofCanonZempoala.CuevaTecolowas mapped(includingonemajorsidepassage)toalengthof1830meters.Therearestillafewleads.66Opposite:PushingupstreaminCuevaTecolo.(WarrenAnderson)

PAGE 76

ENTRADASUPERIOR20METROS4060?SUPERFICIETERRENAAPROXIMADAPROYECCI6NALLADODERUMBODE120GRADOSTECOLOENTRADACANONAo20o501001:-:-:...t:.-.::::.=-:_:-=:.:==_.:..:.::::fMETERSMAG.NCUEVAESTADADEPUEBLA,MEXICOPLANOPORCINTAPARAMEDIRYCOMPASASOCIACIONPARAESTUDIOSDECUEVASMEXICANAS4-2-79W. ANDERSON. D.JOHNSON.B. LIEBMAN, N.PACE4-4-79W.ANDERSON,E.GARZA.D.JOHNSON,S.KNUTSON, B. LIEBMAN, A. VILLAGOMEZ4-6-79S.KNUTSON.D. LAFORGE. N.PACE TOTALDELARGOES1830METROSTOTALDEHONDURAES52.5METROSuElINEACIONPORSTEVEKNUTSON,MAYO,1979SECCIONTRANSVERSALESDOSVECESESCALACANONZEMPOALAt:.:..t(TECUANTEPEC)

PAGE 77

bouldersmixedwithsilt.ChichicasapanapparentlydrainsintoAtepolihuitandthis,atitsbottom,continuesinaterriblecanyontakinga"Yochib-like"quantityofwater.Wheredoesthisresurge,andatwhatelevation? TherumorwasthatitcontinuedtothenorthtoCanonZempoalawhichreportedlyissowildanddifficultofaccessthatevenlocalIndiansquestionedknewnothingofitsbottom.Whatachallenge!Accordingly,onerestday IdrovedowntotheferrynorthwestofTetcilla(aboveReyesdeVallarta)atthemouthofthecanyon,atanelevationofabout100meters.Theriverwaslow,ataguessabout10CFSorless;perhapsenoughtobedescribedasYochib-likeifconfinedinacavepassage.Thecanyonwasnotcliffsdowntothewatersedge,soImadem y wa yupstreamwithlittledifficulty,crossingalmostatwillandnevergettingmorethancrotchdeep.About800-1000metersupstreamtherewasobviouswaterenteringfromthesouthandpokingaroundIfoundacaveentranceofwalk-insizewithcoldairflowingout.MyflashlightrefusedtoworksoIdidn'tgofarin,butitseemedtogo.Thewaterflowoutdidn'tseemmorethan1-2CFS.About2kilometersupstreamfromwhereIstartedIcametoanotherferrycrossing(theseferrysarejustboatsforfoottravelerspoledbackandforthataquietplaceintheriver).ThesecondferryisatrailcrossingbelowTuzamapan,atownontheroadIhaddrivendown.HereIturnedbackafterexaminingacollapsedspringopepingonthenorthsideoftheriverrightatthecrossing.About2-3CFSwastheflow.Atnotimewas Ioutofsightofapersonorcornfieldonthewayupstream.Somuchfortheterriblecanyon.ThetrendofSistemaCuetzalan(andAtepolihuit)makesitseemun-likelythatitsresurgencewouldbefurtherupstream.Ifitwere,mostoftheriver'sflowwouldhavetobetheflowdescribedforAtepolihuit.AnotherpossibilityisthatthesystemresurgesinalessercanyonoftheR10 Toxanjusttothesouth.Accordingtothemapswehad,thiswastoohighintheareawherethecavesshouldcross,butafterthatitloseselevationandenterstheZempoalabelowReyesdeVallarta.Soanotherday,LaForgeandIdrovedowntheroadbelowCuetzalanthatskirtsthesouthrimoftheR10 Toxancanyon.IdroppedDickoffabout3kilometersdown-hetookatrailintothecanyonatapointabovewherethecavesystemshouldcross.Icontinuedontowheretheroadwasblockedbyaslide.ThereIcontinuedon,hikingalongtheroadandcheckedtheToxanandanothercanyoncominginfromthesouth.Icametowherethesetwojoined,abovetheirconfluencewiththeR10Zempoala.Bothwerequitedry.InterestingsinceDickfoundtheToxantohaveseveralCFSofflowhigherup.Icontinuedon,outontothecoastalplainwhichpresentedastrangeappearance.Asfarasyoucouldseewasalandscapeofrolling,steep-sidedhillocks20to30metershigh,coveredwithgreengrassandoccasionaltreesandcows.Betweenthehillswerenostreamchannels-itwaskarst.ButwheretheroadIwasfollowingcutintothesehills,theywereshowntobesand.Apparentlytheoceanoncelappedagainstthebaseofthemountains.Sowestilldon'tknowwheretheresurgenceis,butmyguesswouldbeeithertheR10ZempoalanearReyesdeVallartaortheedgeofthedunekarstsomewhere.Ifso,thedepthpotentialofthesystemissomethinglike1200meters.IftheresurgenceisfurtheruptheZempoalathanthecrossingbelowTuzamapan,thenthepotentialis1000to1100meters.69

PAGE 79

S6tanodelBuqueRobertJefferysSotanodelBuque w asdiscoveredaspartofanAMCSprojectintheSummerof1972,inaregionlocatednorthofAhuacatlannearLaCienega.Buque wasthemostsignificantcavemappedwhilesystematicallyrecordingthespeleologicalfeaturesofthearea.Thetotaldepthwasmeasuredat502meters,makingBuquethefourthdeepestsysteminMexicoatthetime.Subsequently,thesurveynoteswerelostandamapofthislargecavewasneverpublished.Thursday,December29,1978m y Chevyvan,dustcoveredfromtwothousandmilesoftravel,hitthetownofAhuacatlan,Queretaroandturnednorthonaonelaneshelfroad.OnboardwereViandDaveAllured,(CO),JohnEvans(MA),GerryMcCollum(MA),andmyself(CT).ArmedwithatonoftackleandinformationfromKirkwoodcaversourgroupplannedresurveying,photographingandpushingtheterminalsumpinSotanodelBuque.Manykilometerslater,wefoundthattheroaddidnotgotoSantaAguidaashadbeenthought.Notthisyearanyway.Onquestioningtheconstructioncrewbuildingtheroad,welearnedthatSantaAguidawas6kilometersfarther.Thismeantthetruckcouldnotbetwokilometersfromthecaveasoriginallyplanned.Therefore,wearrangedwithJuanFlores,ofElPino,tohireamanandburros.Wespentthenightinthehutofoneofthelocalsandw ereonthetrailshortlyafterthesunrose.Allofusfoundtheburrodriver'sbriskpacetiringundertheweightofourheavypacks.Gerry,whoistotallyblind,soonfoundtherockstrewntrailmorethanhehadbargainedfor.Amanwashiredtocarryhispack.Gerryenduredhisbumpsandknockswithhisusualg oodspirits.OnreachingElPino,wepreparedtospendthenightinthemunicipalbuildingattheinsistenceofthejefeFelicianoEspinoza.Then,forthenextfewhourshisEnglishspeakingnephew, Jimmy,plieduswithcervezaswhile wecomparedculturalnotes.B ymiddaySunday,wehadfinallyreachedBuque.Abovethedryentrancearroyo,webegantosetup campinthesamesheltercavesusedbytheoriginalexpedition.Opposite:ArroyoentrancetoSotanodelBuque.(JohnEvans)71Ir....I I;-'IIIJI LI V11'"'11..Lt'::ILLIC,::")l..LlJ..Lu,;:,c;..cl...L...l...

PAGE 80

MuchofthetemporaryconfusiononDeltaandsubsequentdropswasduetomymisreadingofaprofileviewoftheoriginaltraverserunin1972.SomeonewhoapparentlyhadneverbeentoBuquehadnumberedthedrops:dropone,droptwo,etc.throughdropten.WesoondiscoveredBuquehasfourteendistinctdrops.Ashort,trickytraverseskirtingapoolbroughtustoanenormousdomepit,The337.SinceIhadmisreadtheprofile,thepitwasthoughttobeThe200,sowelowereda 300foot(90meter)Bluewaterrope.Johnslunga150(45meter)Bluewateroverhisshoulder,rackedinandenteredthedome.Afteranunsuccessfulattempttocommunicateoverthethunderofalargevolumeofwatersheetingdownthepit,twowhistleblastsrangout.Iproceededdown Thenextseveralhourswerespentplacingamultitudeofbolts.Two1/4inchboltswerepoorlysetandourhomemade1/2inchdriverbecamestuckhalfwaythroughaplacement.Itwasnotasightofengineeringbeauty,butreinforcedbyGoldlineslungoverapassagesizechockstonewedged 5metersoffthecanyonfloor,itwassecure.Wefoundthatinmostcasesourcanvasandcarpetpadsweresuperfluous.Theoverabundanceofsmoothflowstonekeptropeabrasionlow.Ontheotherhand,the5/8inchrubbergardenhoseleftunsplitandslippedontheendoftheropeswasinvaluableforprotectingropefromwearatroughtie-offpoints.Fromthis"ChristmasTree"arrangementofboltsweriggedthenextthreepitchesinasingleshotwithonerope.Becauseofitstendencytospiraltotheright,thissectionwasquicklydubbedTheCorkscrew.Onourinitialinvestigationofthecave,wewereimpressedbytheentrancepassage.Also,theviewfromthetopofthefirst15meterpitchintothenextenormous room,theIcebergRoom,wasspectacular.Thewelllitentrancepassagecontainsscatteredstagnantpoolsthatsupplythelocalswithdrinkingwater.Thiswouldbeourwatersupplytoo,butweusedcoffeefilterstostrainoutthesiltandbugs,thenaddediodine.TheIcebergRoomconnectswiththeupperverticalentranceshaft.Thesunbeaminginatnoon wastrulyasight.Thenexttwodayswerespentriggingandmappingtothe200meterlevel.ThepassageaftertheIcebergRoomwashighfissuretype,averaging5meterswidewithshortdrypitchesclosetogether.Thisleadstothebiggestinteriorroom,theDryRoom. Attheendofthischamber,awelldecoratedarchwayledtoDeltaDrop.Pastthispointthecavewaswet;allpitcheshadwater,andwallsshowedsignsofseasonalflooding.Thetripswerekeptshortandnon-taxinginanticipationofnecessarylong,harderoneslater.RiggingOnTuesday,weawoketoadrasticdropintemperature.Therewas acoatingoficeandsnowblanketingeverything.Thisunusualclimaticchangecaughtusunpreparedclothingwise.Naturealsoseemedunprepared.Itwassadtowatchmanyofthetall,majesticpricklypearcactusbreakingoffundertheburdenoftheice.Ouroptimisticgoalforthedaywastofinishriggingandbottomthecave.Thesoonerwesawthewholecavetheeasieritwouldbetoscheduletheworkforourremainingdays.Slowly,onebyone,thecrewmembersdraggedthemselvesoutoftheirwamsleepingbagsandenteredthecave.Weall72gatheredintheourwetsuits.ropelengthsonthirdtime.DryRoomanddonnedThen,weswitchedDeltaDropforthe

PAGE 81

therope.WhatJohnhadbeentryingtotelluS becameobvious.Hehadreachedasmallledgeandjudgingthemainlineasbeingtooshort,hetiedonthe150foot(45meter)Bluewater.Afterhegotoffropeonthebottom,theropeapparentlyshiftedmakingitimpossibleformetogetanythingbutmytoesontheledge.IhadabriefconversationwithJohn,andwedecidedtotryagaintomorrow.Iswitchedovertoascend.Weallmadeourwaybacktothecoldsurfaceair.ThesumpAfteramuchneededdayoff,wefinallybottomedBuqueonThursday.Westartedbyswitchingallourmisplacedropes.AfewpacesfromthebottomofThe337weencountereda5meterflowstoneclimbdown.Wefounditsafesttoperformoneprecariousfrictionmoveinthemiddleoftheclimbwithassistancefromapartner.Justbeyondtheclimbdown,weencounteredanotherlargedomepit,The200 .Aftersettinga3/8inchboltnearthelip,webackedupa300foot(90meter)Bluewatertoasolutionhole.Daverapelled.Atthebottom,confrontedwithadeepplungepool,heclawedhiswayalongthewallandsqueezedthroughanarrowcrack.Daveusedtheexcessropetopulltherestofusin.Then,tiedoff,weusedthesameropetodroptwo5meterslopingflowstonepitches.Shortlyafter,wefoundtwooverhungcascadedrops.Tospeedthingsup,onlyJohnandIcontinued.Thehorizontalsection,MainStreet,thatfollowedprovedtobearealenergydrainer.The dynamicwetcanyoncontainedmanyshortclimbdownsandamultitudeofpotholesandcanals.Onreachingthefinalpitch,weluckilyfoundatie-offpointnearthelip.Barringcuttingoralongwalkbacktothetruck,thiswasourlastropeandhadtobelongenough.Johnbeganhisdescent.Momentslater,twowhistleblastsechoedindicatingthatbothJohnandtheropemadeittothebottom.Irackedin,thenrappelleddowntherope.Soon,Ireachedwalkingpassage,withaplungepoolbelowme. Igotoffropeandwandered100metersdownalargemuddygallery. NotfindingJohn,Ireturnedtothepit.Hewasatthepooledge6metersbelowme,havingmadehiswaythroughthelow,wetsumppassageclearingdebrisashewent.Bydriftingthroughashortstretchwithhisearinthewaterhepoppedupthe theTerminalSumpRoom. Thesumpmeasured2meterswideby0.7metersinheight.Ibeclearsilt-freewaterwouldmakeita gooddive.Paddlingandclimbingourwaybackup MainStreet,weweresloweddownbyoneclimb.Johnwadedoutintothepooluptohisneck.Climbingupontohisshoulders,Ipulledmyselfupoverthelipofthedrop.WedgingmyselfintoapotholeIloweredapackstraptoJohnandhepulledhimselfout.Onjoiningtheothers,weallstartedthearduoustrektothesurface.ThesurveyAfterawelldeservedR&Rday,wejoyfullymadeourwaythrougha nowtotallyriggedcave.WeslunganetrierontheclimbdownthathadgivenJohnandmetrouble. Thentoentertainmyfriends,Idroppedmycarbidelampina3meterdeeppool.WithDave'slargewaterprooflampinhand,Ihyperventilatedanddove.Igraspeditwithmyfingertipsonly73

PAGE 83

BOB'SLOSTPASSAGELAMPDROPPOOLMAINSTREET45040025020050350300100500150METERSo-506PROFILEBUQUEJune1979DELEXTENDED22.4mJanuary1979 TotalTraverseLength1149metersTotalDepth506metersARROYOSURVEYbySUUNTOANDTAPESURVEYbyV.AlluredG.McCollumDRAFTEDbyJohnEvansD.AlluredJ.EvansR.JefferysG.McCollumCORKSCREW LEDGEELPINO,QUERETARO,MEXICOSOTANOTHE" 337"102.8mICE8ERGROOMTHE"200 "53mCASCADEDROPSDROP4 HOYADELAGRIMA THECORKSCREW10075Nm50METERS25oTHE" 120"36.8m

PAGE 84

TheBozoBus,laidtorustDecaysinumberhuesThoughoxidedothcorruptthefleshThemettlestillshinesthrough.Althoughthebody'sbentandcracked,Agapeateveryseam,DespitetheaspectwornandwrackedTheengineblockstilldreams--ItseesthedistantwindingroadWherecloudsandmountainsmeetWhererl0sflowtosotanosTocuttheirpathwaysdeep.ThecarburetorconjuresupMemory'sfadingfumes--Hairpincurvesandslip'ryslopesBeneathablindfishmoon. Andsometimesinthetwilight'sgloomOrsunrise'srosyglowSparkplugssputteroutoftuneThissongofjoysandwoe:"Ahundredtrips,tenthousandmilesItraveledinthecauseWithwoundsboundupwithbailingwireMybodythickwithscars.IthrivedintimesthatwouldhavestilledToyotas,JeepsandRamblersWhenbrokenglassandairlesstiresWereevery-dayencounters.IcarriedtonsonbrokenspringsAndpretenseofsuspensionBrakelinesfrayedtoraggedstringsSustainedthedeepdeclinsion.UndauntedtilthesuddenflipThefinalfatalblow--ThatloosedtheenginefromitsmountOilunstintedflowed.ItmarkedthestartofmylasttripTrackingsilentsotanosIwasmartyredtotheundergroundSacrificedbybozos."AndthenthepistonssoftlypoundAslowandsolemndirgeThatfillstheairwithmournfulsoundsAllechoedbythebirds.Ohstranger,ifyouknowitnotTisaworthyshrinetovisitYea,onceitwasaMightyBusWithnonebutBozosinit.CathyRountree75

PAGE 85

CUEVADEXOCOTLATintroductionbyGeraldAtkinsonThisy ear'sexpeditiontotheSierraNahuatl,Pueblahadatwofoldobjective:topushCuevadeXocotlat(OverflowCave)*andtobeginexplorationofthenearbySumiderodelRloXocotlat,bothofwhichhadbeenpartiallyenteredonprevioustrips.(SeeAMCSActivitiesNewslettersNos.5&8).Unfortunately,ourplansweresomewhatabbreviatedduetolocalhasslesandonlytheoverflowcave,Cueva deXocotlat,wasbroughttoasatisfactoryclose.Hopefullythefuturewillbringbetterrelationsandgreaterdepth. ThediscoveryandearlyexplorationofCueva deXocotlatencompassesatwoyearperiod,describedb yPrestonForsythe.ShariLarasonattheentranceofCueva deXocotlat.(PeterStrickland)76

PAGE 86

InitialexplorationsCuevadeXocotlatwasdiscoveredonJanuary8,1977byfollowingtheRioXocotlattrailupstreamfromourcampattheSumiderodelRioXocotlat.ANahuatlIndianalongthewayindicatedthattheriverresurgedfromacave.Althoughwedidnotreachthispoint,duringthesearchawalk-inentrancewasspottedbyShariLarasonaswesmelledoutthecaveinasteepcanyon.Theentrancewas1.3metersabovetheriverlevelandapparentlyoncetookaportionoftheflow,andmaynowduringfloods.OnJanuary9,1977,BillMayne,PeterStrickland,ShariLarasonandImadetheinitialtripintothecaveriggingfivedropsincludingadifficulttraverseoverthethirdpitch.Billwentdownthelastdropforthedayandreportedthecavestillgoing.Marbling,asreportedinothercavesofthemountainstothesouth,wasbeginningtoappearinthelimestone.TherewastimeforonlyonetripasSomehadtoreturntotheUSforclasses.JimRodemaker,BillMayne,BrianClark,JocieHooperandIreturnedtothecaveonDecember25,1977.Theleadriggersarrivedatthetopofthethirdpitchtraverseinshorttime.Bysqueezingupandchimneying-traversingacrossthetopofthe*Ed.Note:Thiscavewasincorrectlylistedas"CuevadeCoyamilpa"inthedeepcaveslistinActivitiesNewsletterNo.9.PrestonForsythepit,anaturalriggingpointwasreachedwhichmadethedropeasier.AtthebottomofthepitchJimspottedadeepdryshaftwhichIdescendedapproximately60metersbeforeencounteringasmallwallpocket,awaterfall,andtheendoftherope.AtthispointBillandJociedescendedthreemorepitchesinanothersectionofthepassage,thefirsttwoofwhichincludedaheavywaterfallandthethirdbeinga65meterdrop.Afterwardsweascendedandexitedfortheday,havingafairlyshorttripwithalongenjoyablehikebacktocamp. ThefirstsurveytripwasmadebyPeterStrickland,JocieandIonDecember28,1977,whileBill,JerryAtkinsonandHenrySchneikerriggedonahead.AbovethethirddropBill'sbatterypackfell,nearlybeaningHenry.Shortoflight,Billleftthecave.ThesurveywassteadyandeventuallycaughtupwithJerryandHenrywhowerechilledfromwaiting.Henrydescendedthe65meterpitchinawaterfallpassingaledgehalfwaydown. AsidedomewithwaterwasnotedtointersectthisshaftnearthebottomandthiswassuspectedtobethepitthatIhaddescendedpreviously.Henryreportedthestreamflowingawayinalargepassageatthebottomofthedrop.OnDecember30,1977,FredPoer,Jim,andMike Boonleftcampbeforesunreachedourcamp.Theirtripmusthavebeeninterestingastheyassumedotheridentitieswhileinthecave.Belowthe65meterpitchthere77

PAGE 87

wasasizablehorizontalsectionwhichturnedintoanarrowdowncuttingriftandthenchangedtoavaststeeplydescendingcascade.Mikeledsomedifficultunropeddownclimbsinwaterandheavysprayandwasfinallystoppedbyasheerdropastheyhadlongbeforerunoutofrope.Fred,Jim,BillandIgaveCuevadeXocotlatonemoretryonJanuary2,1978.Withplentyofropewehadnoproblemindescendingtwoadditionaldropsatthebottomofthecascades,rappel1ingdownbeautifullyencrustedflowstonewallsintoalargedividedroom. Onesidecontainedamudsumpwhiletheotherledtoa1by2meterpassagewhichtwisteddownashortwaysbeforebecomingengulfedinwater.Awaterfallfilledhole!ThenameTurbinehadpreviouslybeenappliedtoafeatureinnearbySotanode Coyomeapanandthetermfitherealso.FredandJimcarefullyscoutedthenewobstacleand'decidedtoreturnduringadriertime.Wethensurveyedouttothetopofthe65meterpitchderiggingaswewent,leavingthecavewithadepthof283meters.InsearchofhiddentreasureGeraldAtkinsonTheChristmas'78expeditionfound14caverscampedinagladeaboveXocot1at.PermissiontocavehadbeeneasilygrantedatZoquit1anthepreviousday.Color5x7photosofSotanode CoyomeapanandacopyofNewsletterNo.8seemedtopleasetheyoungpresidentewhoalsoranthejunkrepairshop.Ourentrancetotheareaseemedwellreceivedandmuch goodwillgenerated. fromtheMexicanofficialsanyway.Ignorantofanypossibleproblemswewentaboutourbusinessoftransportinggearandsettingupcampinthevalley.Campwas avastimprovementoverlastyear'sdampandsunlessswamp. Thesunactuallyshonebeforenoonanddriedoutyourwetsuit.CuevadeXocotlatwasaninteresting5minutewalkaway,aswasdrinkingwater.Firewoodwaseverywhereandofavariedsort,althoughsomepreferredusingwetpitchpine.Itburnedwithaferocioussputteryieldinggrandquantitiesofsmoke;earlyonwesettledanymosquitoproblemwemighthavehad.Cavingstartedoutwithawhimperashalfthecrewwasstrickenbyturistaorbronchitis(malairenodoubt).Despiteallthis,Cueva deXocotlatwasriggedtothepreviouspointofexplorationandpartiallyresurveyedbythe26thofDecember.DinoLowery,SteveZeman, MikeMcKee,andJocieHooperextendedthesurveytotheterminusofriggingonthe27th.OnthewayoutOpposite:RioXocot1atwithCueva deXocotlatinbackground.(PeterStrickland)78

PAGE 90

EntranceThe300SeriesCascadeSeries30I20Meters10MM.oCuartodelLago-TerminalSumpThe300SeriesCuartodelLagodeXocotlatFlowstoneCascadeSeriesTerminal SumpIdealizedProfileMunicipiodeSanPabloZoquitlanPuebla,MexicoASSOCIATIONFORMEXICANCAVESTUDIES-1979Suuntos&TapeSurveybyAMeS1977-1978DatareductionandplottingbyELLIPSEDraftedbyG.Atkinson&D.Pate-1979Cueva

PAGE 91

werestoppedatthebrinkofanotherwaterfallwhereitseemedthatquiteafewboltswouldhavetobeplaced.Thewaterwasfunnelingdownintoyetanotherofthe"verticalsiphons"thatarebecomingsocommontoZoquitlancaves.Theafternoonofthe31stsawalloftheropeandgearatZoquitIanreadyforpackingintothetrucks.Ourdeparturewasnottobeunflawed,however.Thepresidenteandhismenshowedup,insistingonsearchingourduffelsbeforeweloadedup.Wehadbeenpreparedforthiseventuality,butitwasapissertohaveallyourstuffgonethrough,preparedornot.Likeabordercrossing,onlywithmuchmoredireconsequencesifwedidn'tpass.Wedid.SummaryCuevadeXocotlatispresently339metersdeepwithatraverselengthoflessakilometer.Furtherexplorationwillrequiredivingthesumpduringthedryseason,preferablylatespringwhenthereisthepossibilitythatanairspacemayexist.SumiderodelRloXocotlatwaspusheddownfivewetdropstowhereanintenseboltingsessionwillbeneededtobypasstheriver.Thecaveisabout60metersdeepandlessthan300meterslong,A lthoughitre-mainstobesurveyed.TheZoquitlanregionistobeconsideredasensitiveareaatpresent.CaversareurgednottoentertheareauntillargeamountsofPRarepumpedintothelocalgovernment.Animpromptushowingofwhatwouldappeartobegold-seekinggringoscouldseverelysetbackanyfuturenegotiationsthatwillbetakingplace.Formoreinformationonthearea,contactG.Atkinson,c/oAMCS,P.O.Box7672,Austin,TX78712.Andiftherebeadifferenceinthought,Concerningwhere-inliesthebitterend,Yousayitbeinthesumpsinkydepths..., Isayitlieatsweetairsend.Anon.81

PAGE 93

DalePate1979SPRINGPROJECTPlansweremadeinearly1979toreturntoConradoCastilloandSistemaPurificaciontlocatednorthwestofCd.VictoriatTamaulipastforanextendedstayinthemountainsandapushon Someofthemorepromisingleadsinthecavesystem.Thegoalsforthespringweretoextendthedepthandthelengthofthesystem.ThepotentialisdefinitelytheretforbelowdeepestknownpointinInfiernillOtthereare600metersofexposedlimestonebeforetheclosestknownresurgenceisfound.Eighthundredmetersabovethehighestknownportionsofthecavesystemisanextensivekarstfieldwithliterallyhundredsofuncheckedpits.Anymajorfindgoingupordowncouldresultinanewdepthrecordfortheworld.Whenthe1978pushtoconnectBrincotoInfiernillowasinfullswing,therewereseverallargepassagesthathadbeenpartiallyexploredbutnotmappedduetolackoftime.Oneofthegoalsforthespringwastomapasmanyofthesepassagesaspossibletaswellasan y newdiscoveries.Quiteafewpeoplewereinvolvedintheactivitiesforthes pringanditseemedthat4-wheeldrivevehicleswerearrivingordepartingalmostweeklythroughouttheexpedition.AsofearlyMarch,theofficiallengthofthesystemwas21,055meters.CavinginConradoCastilloSpringactivitiesgotofftoastartonSaturday,March 10 when twovehiclesarrivedinConradoCastillo.InPaulFambro'struckwerePaul,NyeNestman,LisaWilk,KurtSchultz,DalePateandGeraldAtkinson.InJimRodemaker'struckwereJim,DennyBarnes,TerriRaines,PeterSprousetLeslieTurpinandTerriTreacy.Theensuingweekssawquiteafewthingshappening.On12March,TerritLisa,Dale,Peter,Leslie,Paul,NyeandJerryenteredthesystemthroughtheCueva deVaporentranceandpro-ceededtothePhreaticPreatticRoomwheretwomappingteamswereformed.This'largechamberwas mappedaswellaspartoftheAtticRoom.SeveralleadswerepushedtincludingonethatheadedupwardabovetheAtticatthetopofalargeflowstoneformationaround7metershigh.ThisturnedouttobethepassagethatHalLloyd,JimSmith,andJillDormanhadfoundovertheChristmasholidays.On March14,Peter,LeslietTerriandDalereturnedtotheA tticRoomviatheVaporentranceandcompleted_ _.a.... _____L _ _"-1 _Opposite:(PaulFambro)8 3

PAGE 94

InthedelicaterecessesofValhalla.(PaulFambro)thesurveyabovetheAttictoasmallroom namedtheRootsRoom,whichisthehighestknownpointinthesystematthistimeat893metersabovetheInfiernillosumps.Peterdugtwohoursinafissurefilledwithsurfacedirt,treerootsandleaves.Fromthere,theteamreturnedtotheAtticRoomandmappedtheAin'tBadHelictiteRoom,theHelictiteJail,andtheSevenTotemsRoom,allofwhichareadjacenttotheAtticRoomandareverywelldecoratedwithlotsofhelictitesasthenamessuggest.Duringthistime,TerryRaines,Denny,JimKurtweretakingphotographictripstotheHistoricSectionandtheWorldBeyond.On March 13theyheadedtoCuevadeInfiernillowheretheyexploredseveralnewpassagesneartheBalconyBorehole.TheyreturnedtothefieldhouseinConradoCastillothe84nextdayandthenon March15,theyonceagainreturnedtoInfiernilloalongwithPaul,LisaandNyewheretheydidaphotographictriptotheNetherhall.Whileinthecave,Nyeslippedwhiledoingaclimbdownandbrokehisrightwrist,buthewasabletoreturntotheentranceandtraversethehiketothevehiclesunderhisownpower.Onceagain,anotheraccidentshowsthatalltheclimbsthroughoutthesystemshouldbetakenseriouslybyanywhoenter.ThesesixthenheadedoutofthemountainsandbacktotheStates.March 14sawthearrivalofMarkShumate,whohadcometostayforthedurationofthespringproject.He wasdrivenuptoConradoCastilloby"LarryClayandacoupleofhisfriends,whostayedafewdaystovisittheHistoricsection.By March 17Peter,Leslie,Terri,Jerry,Dale,andMark

PAGE 95

weretheonlyonesleftatthefieldhouse.AlltheothershadreturnedtotheStatesandpriorcommitments.PlanstocampinInfiernilloforaweekwerepostponedwhenTerricame downsick,soonceagainmostoftheeffortswereputforthworkingintheupperreachesofBrincoandtakingdayhikesinthegeneralvicinityofConradoCastillo.On March 16Mark,Leslie,andPetersurveyedattheendoftheHelictitePassageinBrincoforatotalof140meters.ComputerplottingshowsitpassingunderneathTinCanAlley.Thenextday,Peter,Leslie,andDalewentintoValhallaviatheVaporentrancetocontinuemappingwindyleadsoutoftheAtticarea.The y mapped upasmallstreamnamedCalciteRiverforthecalcitecrystalslaidoutontopofsomesticky muddepositsinthefirstsection.Theyfollowedthis150metersthroughsomenicelydecoratedpassage,whichincludedthefirstcavepearlstobefoundinthesystem,toaboulderchokeveryclosetothesurface.Abreezecouldbeheardblowingthroughthepinetreesafewmetersabovetheirheads.Rat'snestsinthisareahadgreenleavesinthem,otherindicationofbeingclosetothesurface,soitwasnamedtheRat'sLoft.ThebreakdownpilewasimpossibletodigthroughfrombelowsotheyreturnedtothesurfaceviatheVaporentranceonceagain.ThefollowingdayJerryandMarkdidasurfacesurveytolocatetheareaabovethisnewsectionofcave.Itwasleftasagooddiggingtobepushedlaterduringthestay.Severaldayhikesweretakenintheimmediateareaoverthenextfew NyeNestmanintheEntranceCrawl,CuevadeVapor.(PaulFambro)85

PAGE 96

appearedtonotbeenoughtimetoaccomplishthisgoal,sothefollowingmorningPeter,Jerry,andMarktalkedtosomelocalsatthesawmillaboutthecanyonandcavesinthearea.Theyweretoldthattheriverinthecanyoncameoutofacaveandthataguidetothecavecouldbeobtainedonaweekend,butnotduringtheweek.Theywerealsotoldofalargesotanonearbythathadanarroyoemptyingintoit.Thissoundedlikeamorefeasibleproject,soafterbreakingcamp,thesixhikerswereledtoSotanodelasCalenturas.Itwasindeedalargeimpressivesotanowithanentranceapproximately10metersby15metersand20metersdeep.Largeboulderscouldbeseenonthefloorbelow.Usingtheonlyavailablegear,Mark,thenJerry,rappelledintothecaveandspent3days,andapushonEntradadelVientoBajawasmadebyJerry.Heexploredthecavethroughsomeverytightcrawlwaystoa3meterdropwherethepassagecontinuedonwardwithgoodOnMarch19,Jerry,MarkandDalediscoveredasmallcavenearthesummitofCerroZapatero.ItwasnamedCuevadeCoralforthelargeamountsofcavecoralfoundthereandthefactthatMarkleftshreddedpiecesofhiswoolshirtthroughoutmuchofthecave!Itwasestimatedtobe50meterslong.AnewfindLeslieonlyhadafewdaysleftbeforeshewastoreturntoOhioandTerrihadrecoveredfromherillness,soa3dayhiketotheloggingvillageofYerbabuenawasplanned.Onaprevioustrip,PeterandTerrihadreportedseeingwhatappearedtobealargeblackholeinamassiveclifffaceclosetoYerbabuena.ThecliffsaresimilartothoseInfiernilloislocatedin,sowithhopesoffindinganotherlargecavesystemthecrewofsixbegantheirhikeonMarch22.Followingoldloggingroadsandcrashingthroughtheforestforpartofthedistance,thehiketoYerbabuenatookapproximatelyeighthours.Onesmallcave,CuevadeMusgo,wasdiscoveredonthehike.Thecavewasverysmall,buthadsomeinterestingfaunainit.Whilewalkingdownoneloggingroadthatwasvirtuallyblastedoutofa100meterhighcliffface,themagicalsoundsoftheRioCoronadriftedupfromthecanyon400metersbelow.Sinceitwastheheightofthedryseason,thismeantthatthestreammightbeemergingfromaverylargecavesystem.ThisgaveeveryoneaddedenthusiamandtheyarrivedinYerbabuenaatduskandproceededtosetupcamp.Theoriginalplansweretohikeintothecanyonandsearchfortheblackhole,butthere86SotanodeLasCalenturas.(DalePate)

PAGE 97

to4hoursexploringandsketchingverylargetrunkpassages.Theyexploredapproximately750metersandleft4majorleads,mostwithgoodairflow.Itwasalsoevidentthatthecavetakesenormousamountsoffloodwatersduetothefactthata10meterlongtreetrunkwasfoundwedgedhighupinalargepassage.OnepassagehadasteepslopeoflargeroundedcobblesthatMarkdescribedas"justliketryingtowalkupapileofbigmarbles."Sincethehikewasonlyforreconnaisanceandaminimalsupplyoffoodandgearhadbeenbrought,itwasdecidedtoleaveforConradoCastillothenextday.Thecrewdepartedandfollowingamoredirectroute,arrivedatthefieldhouseinlessthansixhours.EveryonewassurprisedtofindagroupfromKentuckycampedonthedoorsteps.PhilO'Dell,DanQuinlan,andRickwerecleaningandrearrangingtheirgearwhileDonCoonsandSheriEnglerhadgoneintoBrincoinsearchoftheWorldBey ond.Theyturnedbackinasmallmazyareawithoutreachingtheirgoal.ZonadeManantialesPeterandLesliecaughtaloggingtrucktoCd.VictoriawhereLesliecaughtabusboundfortheStates.PeterwastoreturnafewdayslaterwithlotsofprovisionsnotavailableinConradoCastillo.Meanwhiletherestofthegroup,whichnowincludedTerri,Dale,Mark,Jerry,Sheri,Don,Phil;DanandRicksolidifiedplansforahiketotheZonadeManantialeslocatedinCauonlosHervores,some1500meterslowerinelevationthanConradoCastillo.Thisresurgenceisthoughttobeoneof,ifnotthemainresurgenceforthewatersthatflowinSistemaPurificacion.Itisapproxi-mately600metersbelowthelowestknownpointinthesystemandseveralkilometerstothenorth.OnMarch26,everyonepiledintoandontoPhil'struck,andafterstoppingbrieflyatanairplanecrashsite,theyarrivedatthetrailheadthatleddownintoCanondeInfiernillo,whichultimatelyintersectsCanonlosHervores.Thetrailwaswellmarked,andinslightlyoveronehourtheentirecrewwassittingamidthebouldersofCaliondeInfiernillo.ThetrailcontinuedupwardandonwardtoCanonlosHervoresandfurthertosomemines.Atthispointthough,itwasdecidedtoabandonthetrailandboulderhopdownstreamandseveralhourslatertheycameuponthecrystalbluewatersoftheRioPurificacionasitflowedfromCanonlosHervores.TherehadbeensameconcernastowhethertherewouldbewaterflowingintheRioPurificacion,soitwasawelcomesighttoseethebeautifulpoolsandcascadingwaters.Someelectedtotakeaquickswimfirst,whiletherestimmediatelybeganthehikeupCanonlosHervoresinsearchofthemanantialeswhichweremarkedontheCETENALtapamapsasbeingperhaps200metersupstream.Thegeologyofthecanyonwassameofthemostincredibledisplaysofitskindeverseen.Chevronfoldingwasveryprominentonbothsides,withonehighwallhavingatleastsevenChevronfolds,onenexttotheother.Thecanyonwasexploreduntilitnarrowed,anditwasapparentthattheonlywayonwardwastoswim.Apoolstretchedfromwalltowallandturnedabendtocontinueoutofsight.DarknesswascLosirigin,socampwasmadebackattheintersection.Thenightsweredefinitelymuchwarmerhere,1.5kilometersinelevationbelowConradoCastillo.ThefollowingmorningsaweveryonebutRickattemptingthelongswim.Itpromisedtobeanexcitingday87

PAGE 98

withwhateveryonehopedwouldbethediscoveryofalowerentranceintoSistemaPurificacion.Unfortunately,beyondthefirstswimtherewasanotherone,evenlonger.Beyondthat,anotherpoolandthen.another.Afterabouttheseventhswim,thesundisappearedbehindthecloudsanditbecameevidentthatthegroupwouldnotreachtheirgoal,atleastatthistime.Theyreturnedthroughthelong,coldswimsbacktocampafterhavingexploredcloseto1kilometerofcanyon.CanonlosHervoreswasincrediblybeautifulandwildlifeaboundedinthepools,inthetreesandbrush,andintheair.Atonepointinexploringthecanyonitsoundedasifafreighttrainwasbarrelingdownupontheswimmers,andwithinafew moments apairofMilitaryMacawscame s creechingbyoverhead.ThiswasthethirdattempttoreachtheZonadeManantialesandwasunsuccessful.Sr.GrimaldoofLaCurvahassaidthatthereisacaveinHervoresanditmaypossiblethatthespringsflowfromanenterablecave.Thisareaisoneofthemoreimportantobjectivesandhopefullywillbereachedonthenextattemptintothecanyons.Backatcamp,everyonepackedandheadedupandoutofthecanyons,reachingthetruckarounddusk.Afteralargemeal,everyonewasgettingsettledinwhentheunmistakeblesoundofaloggingtruckwasheardgrindingupthemountain.Ashorttimelatertwotrucksappeared.OnehadPeteronitreturningfromhisjourneytocivilizationinCd.Victoria.Mark,Terri,Jerry,andDalepiledontothetruckandwithina fewhours,thefivewerebackinConradoCastillo.Donandhiscrewleftthemountainsthefollowingday.ThomasMooreandBeckyBellhadarrivedatthefieldhousesometimeduringthecanyontrip,sothisbroughtthetotaluptoseven.TheirvehiclehadnotmadeitpastLaCurvaandSr.88_ --" 1.,Grimaldo'shouse:Infiernillo-CampIOn March30,everyonebutThomasandBeckycaughtaloggingtrucktoLaCurva,whereafterbrieflyvisitingwithSr.GrimaldotheysetoffforInfiernillo,arrivingtherebythreeintheafternoon.UnlikethetripoverThanksgiving,thepoolatthebaseofthecliffwascompletelydry.Withtheaidofatyroleanline,everyone'sgearwashauleduptheentrancedropandthetrektoCampI wasuneventful.EveryonerootedouttheirfavoritecampingspotsandthenatripwasmadetotheMain Sumpforwaterandtocheckonthewaterlevel,whichturnedouttobefairlylow.TheobjectiveforthisfirstweeklongstayinInfiernillowastocatchuponsomelooseendsandtopushasmany downwardandwestwardtrendingleadsintheCamp.1areaaspossible.Saturday,March31wasthefirstworkdayinsideInfiernilloandthefirstorderofthedaywastoremap(forthethirdtime)fromtheFourWayJunctionintheMainPassagedowntheWestLooptoatie-instationonthePuentedeOztotl.Fromthere,thegroupheadedtothetheBalconywhereMarkandDaletookasmallrighthandpassagethatJimRodemakerhadreportedleadingupintheBalconyBorehole.Territookalefthandpassage,whilePetertookamiddlepassage.Therighthandpassage,namedtheThruTube,ledintoasmallmazeareathateventuallyendedupintheBalconyBorehole,justlikeJimhadsaid.Themiddlepassagejoinedtheleftpassage,connectedovertotheThruTube,andalsoledtoapitCharlesFromenhadseenon anearliertrip.ItwasnamedLostPit.Afterthisinitialexploration,thecrewoffivesurveyedtheThruTubeandtheBalconyBorehole.Five

PAGE 99

personsworkingonthismappingteamwentsmoothlywithDalebeingtheroutefinder;Jerry,theleadtape;Terri,readingSuuntos;Peter,thesketcher;andMark,thepermanentstationmarker.Ithasbecomeapolicythatwhenmapping,apermanentstationisleftateachpassageintersection.Apermanentstationisa1/4"diameterdrilledholedeepenoughtodistinguishitfromanynaturalholesorcracksintherock.Thoughittakestimeandenergy,itisamustforanytypeofcontinuousmappingprojecttosucceedinthissystem.AstheteammappedtheBalconyBorehole,MarkclimbedintotheComplexDomeattheendofthispassageanddiscoveredseveralsmallerpassages.Soonhefoundhimselfhighabovethefloorinalarge,drypassagecirclingaroundtheComplexDome.Thisareaappearstobeverycomplicated.Meanwhile,themappingteamwascontemplatingsendinginasearchpartytolocateMark.Afteronlylookingforanhour,though,hefinallyfoundhisownwaybacktotherestofthecrew.Theteamsurveyedslightlyover600metersfortheday.April1,(AprilFool'sDay)sawthecrewoffivestoppingintheWestLooptochecktheCobbleLeads.Immediately,themainleadsplitinthreedifferentways.Markcrawleddownonetubeandwasnotheardfromforanhourormore.Hehadahabitofdisappearinglikethisforlongperiodsoftime.Theothert woleadscametogetheratthebottomofa10meterpitenteringfromthemainpassageaboveandcontinued.ThepassagegotlargerandaholeontherightwallledupintotheWorm Dome,CalcitebandingintheMainPassage-WestLoop.(ThomasMoore)8 9

PAGE 100

a10meterwideroomcoveredinsiltydirtandmud.Continuinginthepassageashortdistanceonward,itendedinapileoflargecobblesandboulders.IndicationsarethatitendsundertheCobbleDrainintheWestLoopofthemainpassage.EveryoneregroupedintheWestLoopandcontinuedtotheBalconyRoom,wheretheydividedintotwosurveyteams.PeterandJerryleap-froggedaheadtotheLostPitareaandstartedtheirsurveyinatubetakingalotofair,'Terri,Mark,andDalestayedbehindandsurveyedthroughLostPittotheotherteam'sbeginningpointandthensurveyeddowna3meterindiametertubenamedtheAprilFool'sTube,alsotakinglotsofair.Itwasevidentthatthepassagewastotallyfilledwithwaterduringheavingfloods-tinyscallopsintherockcoveredthefloor,walls,andceilingaswellasanybouldersthatweretoolargeforthewatertopushthroughthepassage.Aftersettingmanypermanentstations,theystoppedthesurveyandcheckedahead.Afewmetersfurtheralong,theybrokeoutinaverylargepassageheadingdownwardandtrendingnorthwest.Wasthistheelusivepassagethatwouldtieintothesystembelievedtobetothewest?Theexcitementranhighasthethreeranseveralhundredmetersdownthismajortrunkuntiltheycameuponafamiliarlandmark,thePuentedeOztotl.ItwasindeedAprilFool'sDay-theywerebackinthemainpassage!ThepassagesPeterandJerryhadmappedconnectedintotheThruTube,withseveralgoingleadsalongtheway.OnthewaybacktheyenteredtheWestPassage,offoftheWestLoop,tolookattheblowingcrawlattheendofit.Peterremoveda fewrocksandtheyenteredvirginpassage.Theyfollowedastoop-way50meterstowhereacrawlcontinued.90_.......1.1_ _MoriaOnApril2twomappingteamswentout.Terri,Dale,andMarkheadedbacktotheBalconyBoreholeandsurveyedtheShoetube,atubethathadbeenexploredoverThanksgivingtoasmallstreamnamedtheRloShumate.AttheRlo,theteamendedthesurveyandre-exploredanoverflowroutethathadbeenpartiallyexploredbyRodemaker,Raines,Barnes,andSchultzafewweeksbefore.Itwasfoundthatthisconnected. intothepassagescirclingtheComplex Dome. TheyreturnedtotheRloandfolloweditdownstream.Thepassagesplitintoseveralsub-humansizeholes,alltakingair.PeterandJerrytookofftopushthecrawlattheendoftheWestPassage.But,halfwaythere,downaslopealongtherightwall,JerrynoticedatremendousblastofairblowingoutofsOmebreakdown.Afteracouplehoursofmovingrocks,atightverticalsqueezewasopenedupandtheydroppedintoalargepassageheadingdownward.Thisnewareawas namedMoria,asitseemedtobeheadingdowntodeeperlevels.Ithadlotsofmudandsedimentsthroughoutmostofthepassage.They mappedtoanintersectionwherea3meterclimbdownledofftotheright,andthenleft50meterstoa15meterdropintoasizeableroom.Lackingverticalgear,theyreturnedtotheclimbdownwherePeterexploredintoseveralroomsconnectedbycrawlways.AsthetwoteamsheadedbacktoCamp,theyheardthedistinctivesoundsofaharmonicaandfoundthatThomasandBeckyhadarrived.Thedreamsofthegroupthatnightwereprobablyallofbreaking

PAGE 101

FifteenmeterdropinMoria.(ThomasMoore)depthrecords,forMoriawasthebestleadfoundyetonthetrip.Thefollowingday,April3,allsevenincampgatheredtheirverticalgearandheadedthroughtheGatesofMoriatothe15meterdrop.Jerryrappelledin,complainingoflotsofmudandthenDale,followedbyPeter,Becky,Thomas,andTerri.Themostobviouswaywasaduckwayontheleftwalloftheroomthatledtoanotherhighceilingedroomalsocoveredinmud,andabreakdownchokethattookairintoit.Thisisapromisingleadifthebreakdowncanbepushed,sinceitisheadingwestintounknownterritory.Backatthedrop,ontheoppositesideoftheroom,wasanotherpassagethatcouldbeseen.Itwas5metersuponthewallandaftertryingseveralroutes,thepassagewasreached.The5by5metertunnelslopeddownwardata30anglefor20meterstothestillnessofalargepoolnamedTheBlackLagoon.AirrushedacrosstheLagoontounseenpassagestheyhopedwouldleadwestward.AsellidisopodsresemblingthosefoundintheMainSumpwerefound,whichindicatesthepossibilityofahydrologicalconnection.Noonefeltlikeswimmingthe15Cwater,sotheyreturnedtomapping.Peter,Jerry,andDalemappedeverythingbelowthe15meterdropandconnecteditintothesurveyofthedaybefore.Thentheyproceededtomapandexplorewhatlaybelowthe3meterclimbdown.Theypassedagoingcrawlontheleftandthemainpassagewasfollowed150meterstowhereitappearstohavecomeoutundertheCobbleDrainintheWestLoop,similiartotheendoftheCobbleLeads.91

PAGE 102

Bedrocksolutionandflowstoneremnants,PuentedeOztotl.(ThomasMoore)Terri,Mark,Thomas,andBeckyreturnedtoabovetheGatesofMoriaandcontinuedmappingintheWestPassage.Theymappedittotheendofexplorationandstoppedatthelowcrawlwhichcontinuedonwithslightairmovement.Theeffortstogowestward,atleastforthetimebeing,haltedoncemore.April4,Jerry,Mark,andPetersurveyedthel7-HourTubeintheConfusionTubes.ThiswasatubethatCharlesFromenandseveralothershadprovedconnectedtotheBalconyBoreholeovertheThanksgivingholidays.ItwasalsothetubeMikeConnallyandCharleshadbecomesofamiliarwithlastyearwhentheywerelostfor17hoursintheConfusionTubes.Terri,Thomas,Becky,andDalereturnedtotheAprilFool'sTubetotieitintotheWestLoop.'Theytookseveralphotosinthatarea.92Thefollowingdaywastobethelastdaytomapandexplore,soPeter,Terri,andDalewentfurtherintothesystemtoJerseyTurnpikewheretheyaddedmoredetailtotheoriginalsketchandsetafewmorepermanentstations.AtTurkeyLake,Terridecidedtogofortheswimandwithonlyboots,carbidelight,helmetandacyalume,sheswamanestimated150metersmoretowherethepassagecontinuedasaswiminanarrowchannel.Therewasnoairmovementinthisarea.OnthewaybackthroughJerseyTurnpikemoretubeswereexploredthatledtomoretubes(they'reeverywhere!),andsomehadairflow.ThegrouppackedandheadedoutofthecaveearlyFriday,April6.Theteamhadaddedslightlyover2kilometersofpassagetothemap.

PAGE 103

FrenchdelegationarrivesAfterseveraldaysofrest,itwastimetoreturntowork,soJerryhikeduptoCerroZapaterotoworkonthegeologyoftheareaandTerri,Peter,andDalewentintoCuevadelBorregotobeginitssurvey.BorregoislocatedclosetotheuppersectionsofValhalla,andduetoitscomplica-tednatureitcouldpossiblyconnectintothesystem.Aftermappingonlyafewstations,thetrioelectedtoexploreaheadandfoundittobeaverycomplexareawithairflow.Returningtothes urvey,theystartedmappingdownanothersectionandonceagainstoppedtoexploreahighl ydecoratedarea.T hehighlightwaswhenPeterfoundacalciteformationhedubbed"TheTacoHeproclaimedittobearivalto"TheButterfly"inCavernsofSonora,TX. T hatnightDickCruseandKa yNullfromHoustonshowedup,indicatingthatCharlesFromenandHarryW alkerwereclosebehindwiththeFrenchcavers,PaulCourbonandClaudeChabert.Sureenough,thenextdayCharles'4-wheeldrivetruckarrivedwithHarry,PaulandMoniqueCourbon,ClaudeChabertandNikiBoullier.PaulandClaudehadmadepriorarrangementstogoonathroughtripfromtheBrincoentrancetotheInfiernilloentrancewithPeter.Thiswasalongawaitedtripandwasthefirstopportunityforman y whohadbeenworkingintheSistematoseethemiddleportionsofthec ave.ThissamedayJerrycaughtaridedo wnthemountainandspentthenextmonthorsocavinginsouthernMexico.Anticipatingtheneedtohavea vehiclefortransportingpeopleinafterthethroughtrip,CharlesofferedtodrivehistrucktotheInfiernillotrailheadandleaveitthere.DickandKayofferedtofollowhimthereandgivehimaridebacktotheConradoCastilloarea;thosetwothencontinuedwestwardtoDulcesN ombrestochecksomepitsinthearea.Whilethevehiclemaneuveringwa stakingplace,s everalotherstookahiketolookatman yofthecavei ntheConradotilloarea.PaulandClaudeshowedalotofinterestinthedigattheRat'sLoftandmadeplanstodigitoutafterthethroughtrip.TherewerehintsofaFrenchConnectionintheAthroughtripApril11arrivedandeveryonew howastogoonthethroughtripwerepackingandpreparing.Only t wol ioursbeforethey He retoleave,Peter,w ho h ad c limbeduponthesundeck,y elled,"OHTheHogofSteel"Muchtoeveryone'samazement,BlakeHarrisonhadarrivedwithGillEdiger,PeterKeys,RandyRumer,StevePitts,KaseyandGinnyReel.Blake,Gill,Steve,andPeterdecidedtojointhethroughtrip.Thenextcoupleofhoursweremasspandemonium.Thisbroughtthetotalto13,anumbertheFrenchthoughmightbeunlucky.Makingthetripwerethefourmentionedabove,plusPaul,Claude,Peter,Dale,Terri,Thomas,Mark,Charles,andHarry.ThefirstofthegroupenteredBrincoat2 :00PMandthelastarrivedattheentrancetoInfiernillo23hourslaterat1:00PMonThursday,April12.Thegroupstayedfairlys trungoutthroughtheChuteAreaandallthewaytotheHalloftheAngels,alargeroomintheWorldB eyondseveralkilometersintothesystem.Edigerbecameweakandillatthispoint,butgotdecidedlybetterandcontinuedon.Harrybeganlosinglotsofhisstrengthlessthanhalfwaythrough93

PAGE 104

thetrip,butfortunatelyhewasabletofinishthetripunderhisownpower.Claudewastestinganewascending/descendingdeviceonthetworopedropsinthecave.Heclaimedithadafewmoreproblemstoironout.TherouteleddownLisa'sLampfallandthenintotheConnectionPassage,andfinallytheArneSaknussemBorehole,(ASB)andintotheCommunionHall,whereeveryonetookalongrestandatetheircavefoodgoodies.FromtherePeterSandPeterKtookPaulandClaudetotheNileRivertomapupstream.However,theinstrumentswerenotinworkingorder,sotheyexplored300metersppstreamthroughfineswimsbeforerejoiningthemaingroupintheFoggyMountainBreakdown.TheNetherhallwasnextandbeforethelastechoeswereheardinthelargechamber,thefirstofthegroupwereskiingdownthemassivebreakdownpileheadingtowardsCampIIandIsopodRiver.Edigerhadseveralcommentstomakeaseveryoneclamberedthroughthe600metersoftheMonkeyWalk.EveryoneregroupedatthebeginningoftheBreakdown. Mazeandcontinuedon,stoppingatCamp1-1/2torestbeforetacklingthe"everypassagelooksthesame"ConfusionTubes.HerePeterStookPaulandClaudedownthe17-HourTubeandtheBalconyBorehole.Heshowedthemthesumpsalongthisroute,whiletheothersheadedfortheentranceviatheEastLoop.Attheentrance,onceagainregrouped,everyonecomparedtheirwet,soggy,wrinkledfeet.Claude'sweredeemedthegrossestasheemptiedthewateroutofhisbootsforthefinaltime.By3:00PMeveryonewaspackedinCharles'truckforthedriveuptoConradoCastillo.Severalhourslaterthe13extremelyhungryandtiredcaversarrivedatthefieldhouse.Thosewhohadstayedtherecommentedthateveryonelooked20yearsolder.BythetimeHarrylefthewasalmosthisnormalselfagain.AncientrivercourseintheMainPassage-WestLoop.(DalePate)94

PAGE 105

FrenchConnectionFridaythe13thsawalmosteveryonediggingontheRat'sLoftdig.tryingtoopenupanew,easierroutetotheValhallaarea.Twodigswerestarted,theAmericansvs.theFrench;but,asluckwouldhaveit,PaulandClaudehadpickedthebestspot.Infact,itwasprobablytheonlyspotabreakthroughcouldoccur.Fourhoursafterstarting,SistemaPurificacionhaditsfourthentrance,aptlynamed LaEntradadelosFranceses.Peter,Paul,andClaudetiedinthisnewentrancetothesurveystation5metersinside,andthenitwastimetocelebrate.TheCuevadeVaporentrancebecameobsoletewiththeopeningofthisnewentrance,foraccesstotheentireValhallaareawasmucheasier,andthenewentrancewillundoubtedlybeamajorfactorinthefutureexplorationofthislargemazearea.OnApril14Charles,Harry,Paul,Claude,Monique,Niki,Kasey,andGinnyheadeddown"themountain.TheFrenchwereboundforPa1enqueandthenbacktoFrance,whiletheotherswereboundfortheU.S.The samedaysawPeterS.Randy,Blake,andDaleheadedfortheup-persectionsofValhallaviathenewlyopenedentrancetochecksomeofthehighleads.Closeinsidetheentrance,Randy madethemistakeofputtinghishandonalarge150kilorockonlytohaveitimmediatelyshiftandpinhimtothepassagewall.Withthehelpoftheothers,hewassetfree,buthecouldn'tbelieveithadhappened.Therockisnow knownasRandy'sRock.Continuingon,thefirstleadledtoafairsizedroomwithseverallargeExcavatingtheboulderchokeforanewentrance.(Thomas Moore)95

PAGE 106

SurfacesurveyingaboveValhalla.(PaulFambro)columnsreminiscentofCarlsbadCaverns.ItwastooniceaplacetocallCarlsbad,soitwasnamedtheCarlsgoodRoom.Severalotherleadswerepushedtonoavail.ThenextcoupleofdayswerespentbymostofthegroupdoingsurfacesurveysandmappinginsomeofthesmallercavesaroundConradoCastillo.TerriheadedtwoseparateteamswhichmappedCuevadeTecoloteandmostofCuevadeDesmontes.CuevadeLosSierpeswaspushedandallthecaveentrancesintheareaweretiedtogetherwithasurfacesurvey.OnemoretripwastakenintoValhallabyPeter,RandyandPeterwheretheywounduppartiallyexploringandmappingwhattheyhopedtobeanew,easierroutetotheValkyrieRiver,discoveredlastJuly.96Infiernillo-CampIISixcaversweretocampinInfiernilloforanotherweek.Blake,Gill,andMarkdroveTerri,Peter,Randy,Dale,Peter,andStevedowntothetrailheadtoInfiernillo.Onthedrivedown,severalcaveswerediscoveredatGalindo,includingonethatwasbasicallyonelargeroomwithalow,flatceiling.BlakedroppedthesixoffandreturnedtoConradoCastilloafterstoppingatthesawmillforlumber.Everyoneelseheadeddownthetrailandbythetimethearroyowasreached,ithadbeguntorainasithadforthepastfewafternoonsinConradoCastillo.Peopleclimbedintothecaveandhauledgearup.CampIwasreachedwithnodifficultiesand

PAGE 107

everyonepreparedforthehiketoCampIIthefollowingday.TheMainSumpwasdownameterormorefromtheprevioustripintothecave.Ittookapproximately6hourstoreachCampIIwiththelargeduffelsandonceagaincampwassetup.UnlikethesilenceofCampI,thesoundsofIsopodRiverfilledtheareaaroundCampII.NileRiverApril20sawthe"wetteam",consistingofPeter,Peter,andRandy,whowouldbedoingthewetsuitcaving,andthe"dryteam"whichconsistedofTerri,Dale,andSteveheadingfortheCommunionHall.Peter,Peter,andRandybeganthesurveyfromapermanentstationattheHoreshoeBendoftheNile.Theymappedashortwaydownstreamtothebeginningoflowairspace,thenattackedthemainobjective-upstream.Oneshottookthemacrossalongpoolandup aclimbtowidesandyflooredpassagelackingthestream.Aheadthestreamflowedinanarrowchannelalongtherightwalltoenteraparallelsidepassage.Thispassagewassurveyed100metersorsoandcontinues.Thestreamsumpsinapool,jogginginahiddencourseovertothemainriverpassage.Continuingupstream,(north),theriversoonmadeanother1800bendtothesouth..Hereswimmingbecamenecessaryforlongdistancesthroughdeep,greencanals.ThisprovedinterestingforPeterS,whowassketchingandhadtokeepthebookdrywhiledoingso.Atonepointintheswimtheceilingdippeddowntowithin40cmofthewaterandagoodbreezecouldbefeltblowingoutofthepassageahead.Eventuallyasmallislandprovidedrelieftotheswimmers,andPeterKtookoffdownasidepassageontheright.Heran150metersdown asouthtrendingtunneltoaforkbeforereturning.Theyelectedtocontinuethemainriversurveybeforemappingsideleads.Atalargesandchamber(namedAlexandria)theriveragainreverseddirection,flowingfromthenorth.After100metersorsoofwading,theteamwasconfrontedbyanotherdeepswim.RandyandPeterK swamaheadtodiscoverablankwallwithnocontinuationoftheriver.Highoverheadyawnedawidedome,butthewaterapparentlyflowedthroughasumpunderoneofthewalls.LeavingLakeVictoria(sourceoftheNile),theyreturnedtoPeter'ssideleadandmapped500metersorsotothesouthinblowingpassage,namedNeverStopsGoing.Theyendedthesurveyataclimbdown,whichPeterKexploreddowntoatightcrawlblowingairthatwouldneedtobemodifiedtopermitexploration.TheASBThe"dryteam"begantheirsurveyingatthepointwheretheConnectionPassagebreaksintotheASB.Theymapped400metersdowntheASBtoashort5meteroverhungdropwhichrequiredsometypeofclimbingassistance,andthenexploredinseveralpassagesrunningofftheASBleadingintoatube-likearea.Onesmallstream,Riverdale,wasmappedtoalso.ItissuspectedthatthismightbeanoverflowroutefortheNile.Totalsurveyedlengthbetweenthetwoteamswas1500metersfortheday.CampIIsurveyThenextdaythe"wetteam"stayeddry.Theirfirstprojectwastoresurveythesouthcontinua-97

PAGE 108

tionofthelowerIsopodRivertrunk.Itbasicallyparalleledthemainpassage(CampII)for150meterstoa sump.ResurveywasalsostartedinSheila'sLeadoffthemainroutejustnorthoftheMonkeyWalk .Itforksafter40metersandtheytookthesurveyleft.Thiseventuallyledtoawindybreakdownzonewheresomereconinvestigationwasrequired.PeterKdisappearedforquiteawhileandtheothersfinallyheardadistantyell."I'vefoundtheMonkeyWalk,"wasthemessage,indicatinganewloophadbeendiscovered.Theysurveyedthroughcomplexbreakdowntotieinto-theMonkey WalksurveyneartheSevenLeadsRoom. The"dryteam"mapped 5loopsinthelargepassagesclosetoCampII.Totalsurveyedlengthforbothteamsthatdaywas 946meters.IsopodRiverApril22wastobethelastfulldayofmappingintheCampIIarea,sothe"wetteam"returnedtothewater-IsopodRiver.ThefirststepintheIsopodRiversurveywastomapdownstreamtothesumpdiscoveredbySmith,Lloyd,KerrandStoneinNovember'78.Twoshortloopsweremappedalongtheway,andtheapproachofthesump wasannouncedbytheaccumulationofcalciteiceonthewatersurface.Fromthesump,thesurveyproceededintoarighthandsidepassagewhichsoonledtoabreakdownchokeblowingastiffbreeze.PeterKandRandyexploredintoit.removingobstructingrocksastheywent.SoonhistoryrepeateditselfwhentheyagainpoppedintotheMonkeyWalk,creatinganotherlargeloop.Whenthissurveywastiedin,theyreturnedtoSheila'sLead.inordertosurveytherighthandfork.ThisledthroughstoopwaystotheshoreofIsopodRiver98downstreamfromthesump.Surveyingupstream,thepassagemadeabriefjogtotheright.Atthispointahighleadcouldbeseencontinuingontheoriginaltrend.andKdaredatrickyclimbtogetintoit.Heexploreddownawindypassagetoanareaoftubes.Togetbackdownofftheclimbheleapedintothedeepriver,makinganenormoussplash.Fromthatpointon,theriverwasallswimming. Theleadsurveyorsmappedaheadcallingsurveydata.whilePeterSplottedthefiguresuntilaplacecouldbefoundtosketchfrom.Thenheswamaheadmemorizingthepassageshapetobedrawnwhilecrammedintoawallalcove.Aninnertubewouldcertainlyfacilitatethistypeofsurveying.Eventuallytheyreachedthesump,andtheteamretreatedbacktowherethey'dbe-guntheriversurvey.Thedownstreamriverbeckoned,soPeterKandRandy swama100meterlaketoyetanothersump.howeverRandydiscoveredanupperlevelpassagewhichmayprovetobypassthesump.Buttimewasrunningshortanditwasleftforanothertrip.WindsumpThe"dryteam"startedatthelatrineandmapped apassagethatloopsoverIsopodRiverandconnectsbackinaboveCampIIandthencontinuesastheWindSumpPassage.Thispassagewas mappedtoitsendwherealargemassofbreakdownfillsthepassage.Thewindcouldbeheardhummingoutitssongthroughthesmallcracksinthebreakdown.Severalleadswereleftinthepassage.ComputerplottingputsthisWind SumpveryclosetotheNetherhallandisprobablypartofitsmassivebreakdownpile.Totalsurveyedlengthforthetwoteamsforthedaywas1279meters.1.-.......n, __

PAGE 109

butonlycontinuedexplorationwillrevealthetruereasonsforthisOccurence.April2 4 tthe"wetteam"swamtheMainSumptodoublecheckforanypassagesleadingwest.Findingnothingsubstantial,theywenttoMoriaandswamtheBlackLagoon.UnfortunatelYtitwasfoundtobea sumpalso.PeterKdidahightraverseleadingintoseveralvirginroomsandeventuallyconnectedintotheSandSlide,apartiallyfilledsandroomdiscoveredbyPeterSandJerryontheinitialtripintoMoria.Stevehaddecidednottomapthatday,soTerriandDalemappedandexploredasmalltubeareathatloopedofftheEastLoop.IttiedbackintotheEastLoopfurthera-TerritDaletandStevereturnedtocampfirstandchangedintotheircampclothestoawaittheothersreturnbeforefixingsupper.Soon,threeblackcreatureswithstrangeheadsandonelargeburningeye,andagreen,glowinglightabouttheirchestsenteredcampwhoopingandscreaming.Thethreeatcampweregladthatthey knewwhothesestrangelookingcreaturesWetsuitsdefinitelygivetheirwearersadifferentlook.LaterthateveningtitwasnoticedthatIsopodRiverhadrisenacoupleofcentimeters.BacktoCampIApril23wasthedaytoreturntoCampIandtheytookonly3-1/2hoursgettingthere.Theduffelbagshadgottenlighteritseemed.UponarrivalatCampIttheMain Sumpwasvisitedanditwasnoticedthatthelevelofthewaterhadrisenameterormore.Anotherinterestingfactthatwasnoticedwasthewind.Whenthegrouphadenteredthecave,ithadbeenblow-ingintotheInfiernilloentranceanddidsoforseveraldaysmore.BythetimethegrouphadarrivedbackatCampI,thewindshadcompletedtheirswitchwhichhadstartedthedaybeforeandwerenowblowingouttheInfiernilloentrance.Unlikethewindsinthemainportionoftheknowncave,thewindsblowingacrossCampIneverchangeddirections.Infact,ithasneverchangeddirectionsasfara s anyoneknows.ItalwaysblowsacrossCampIinthedirectiontowardsthesumpsanddisappearsupsomeverypromisinglookingdomes.ItisthesewindsthatindicatethatthereisSometypeofpassagetothewestthatisnotaffectedbynormaloutsidetemperaturesorpressures.Ofcoursetthishasledtomaydifferentspeculations,TheConfusionTubes.(PaulFambro)99

PAGE 111

SISTEMAPURIFICACIONMunicipioVillaHidalgoITamaulipasIMexicoPreliminary PlanBasedonaSuuntos,Brunton,andtapesurvey1973-1979bythePROYECTOESPELEOLOGICOPURIFICACIONLENGTH:27,962m DEPTH:893m DRAFT:PeterSprouse-JULY1979JERSEYTUIRNPIKE1000I900I8001700I500!METERSISOPODRIVERENTRADADEa LOSFRANCESES CUEVADELBRINCOPROYECTOESPELEOLOGICOPURIFICACIONASSOCIATIONFORMEXICANCAVESTUDIES

PAGE 112

ResultsoftheSpringProjectThespring1979projectwasveryproductiveasalotofworkwasaccomplished.However,therearemanylifetimesworthofworkstillremainingtobedone.ThediscoveryofSatanodelasCalenturasandrumorsofalargeresurgencecomingfromthecaveinCanonelOlmosuggeststhatanotherlargecavesystemexistsjusttothesouthofSistemaPurificacion.ThewatersoftheRloPurificacianinCanonlosHervoreswereestimatedtobe6to8timestheamountofflowinIsopodRiver,whichindicatesthatpassagedevelopmentintheentiredrainagesystemcouldbethatmuchgreater.DrainagepatternsinthecavearesuchthatthewatersappeartobeslidingofftothewestandonlyusethemaintrunkofInfiernilloforanoverflowrouteduringmassiveflooding.Nostreaminthesystemhasbeenfollowedtoitsconclusiveendasofyet.TheValkyrieRiverinlowerValhallahasnotbeenfollowedormapped,butitmaywellbethestreamthatisfoundintheWorldBeyond.TheWorldBeyondstreamdisappearsneartheendofthistrunkpassagebutmayappearfurtherbelowastheNileandevenfurtheralongasIsopodRiver.Thecomplexitiesofofthepassagesevolvingaroundthesestreamsandothersthatmightnothavebeendiscoveredasyetmakeitdifficultatthistimetounderstandthehydrologyofthesystem.Thereareundoubtablymanyfactorsthatenterintoourunderstandingofthishydrologicsystemthatweknownothingof,andonlywithcontinuedexplorationandmappingwillwebeabletoviewthissystemasawhole.ThecurrenttraverselengthofSistemaPurificacionis27962metersandthenumberofleadshaveincreasedto732.Thedepthiscurrently893metersinverticalextentofwhich885metersarebelow0datumatEntradadelosFranceses,and8metersareaboveadatum.ThesystemremainsthelongestandthedeepestinMexico.Thepotentialofthecavesystemandoftheareais,indeed,awesome.Workhasjustbegunonboth.101

PAGE 113

LetterstotheEditorTotheEditor:BecauseofsomerecentacrimoniousdebateaboutcaverescueingeneralandtheDecember1978Brincorescueinparticular,theNationalCaveRescueCommission(NRC)hasbeeninvitedt oc ommentonthesubjecttoActivitiesNewsletterreaders.Cave-relatedaspectsoftherescuewerediscussedinanexcellentarticlebyGillEdigerinActivitiesNewsletterNo.9anditisnotmyintenttoquibbleoverdetailstherein.Someoftheassumptionsandconclus ions,however,deservecomment.Wethinktherescuewentverywell,allthingsconsidered,andweagreewithGillthatthatresultedprimarilyfromthecaliberofpeopleinvolved.Therearestillsomeimportantlessonstobelearnedfromtherescue,however.Beforegettingintospecifics,Ithinkitisnecessarytomakesomegeneralpointsaboutrescues.Everybodyhastorealizethatin-caveoperationsareonlypartoftheoverallrescue.Governmenttypes,localofficials,non-cavingsearchandrescuegroups,etc:,arenevergoingtodothingsentirelytoourliking.Theyare,ingeneral,eagertolistentocompetentadvice;but,theyjudgecompetenceonthebasisofcertifications,AirForceRescueCommunicationsCenterrecommendations,personalcontact,andothersuchthingsthatareoflimitedinteresttomostcavers.Anytimetheworldofofficialdomgetsinvolved,theyhavetobeinteractedwithinamannerthatmakessensetothem.Thatmeanstheywantacontactwhounderstandstheirjargonandtheirproblems.Hindsightisalwaysbetterthanforesight,butonehastoactuallyactonthebasisofinformationavailableatthetimedecisionshave102tobemadeandlivewiththeconsequences.Decisionmakersthereforetendtobehaveconservativelywhentheycan.Ifyouwanttodosomethingunusualinahurry,likeflyatruckandcaversintoMexico,y oumusthavealreadyestablishedcontactswithhighlevelsofofficialdom ,andtheyhavetoknowyouwellenoughtotrustyou.NoW,letmetrytoclearupsomespecificitems,withrespecttotheBrincosituation.Whatfewproblemstherescuedidencounterstemmedprimarilyfromthefactthatnobodyatthecaveknewmuchaboutthe"official"versionofsearchandrescueoperations.TerryJonesmayormaynothavebeenneededinthecave,buthewasneededonthesurface.Bettercommunicationsfromthecave,usingequipmentthatwasrightthere,couldhaveavoidedsendinginthebackupgroupandwouldhaverelievedalotofanxietybackhereintheu.S.Theresourcesatthecaveturnedouttobecapableofcopingwiththeproblemsencountered,buthowmuchmarginwasthere?IfChrishadbeenhypothermic,unconcious,orhadabackinjury,wouldeverythingstillhaveworkedoutaswell?Gillconcludesthatthesuccessoftherescuewithouthavingaleadershowsthatleadershipand"rescuesquadmentality"areunnecessaryorevencounterproductive.Iwillconcedethatinthisparticularsetofcircumstanceswiththatparticulargroupofpeople,itworkedatleastadequately.Implyingthatsuchaprocessisbestforothersituationswithotherpeopleistotallyunjustifiedandevendangerous.Ithinkthatwhatweshouldlearnfromtherescueisthe"THE S YSTEM",imperfectthoughitis,works.NeithertheNCRCortheAirForcehadeveractuallyplannedforarescueinMexico,butmostoftherightpeopleandequipmentweredeliveredtotherightplaceinprettygoodtime.Themorethatcaversarewillingtoorganizealonglines

PAGE 114

that"THESYSTEM"canrecognize,themorecaverswillbeallowedto-controlthings.PEACE,RickRiggDeputyDirectorNCRCPOSTLOG:FlyingvehiclesandcaversintoMexicoisnotsomethingwecandependonbeingabletodo.IhavemetwithMexicancaversandrescuepersonnelandhaveconcludedthatwewillbeonourownforawhileyet.ThereisagroupofdoctorswithairplanesinMexicothatmaybewillingtohelpwiththemedical,communications,andtransportproblemsinherentincaverescueinMexico,butweneedvolunteerswhospendtimeinMexicotodevelopthecontactsandprocedures.Ifyouwantabetterrescuesystem,pleasehelp.BOOKREVIEWSBolet1nNumeroUno,AsociacionMexicanadeEspe1eologla,A.C.1978.EditedbyJorgeIbarraS.andPeterLord.AvailablefromAME,GeneralCanolOa,Mexico18,D.F.,Mexico.Price$2.00percopy.Introducingtheirfirstbulletin,theAMEmakes aneloquentpleaforcommunicationandcooperationamongcaversinMexico.TheenormouscaveresourcesofMexicoarerecognizedaswellasthegrowthofsportcaving,el"cavernismo."TheeditorspointoutthatrivalryandlackoforganizationinhibitthegrowthoftheMexicanspeleologicalcommunity,andthatbettercommunicationsneedtobeestablishedwithAmericancaverscavinginMexico.Towardthislattergoal,theAMEhasdonethisbulletincom-pletelybilingual,inSpanishandEnglish.IncludedareaccountsofAMEactivitiesinseveralareasofcentralMexico.VicenteSilvaEstradadescribestheexplorationandsurveyofCuevadeLaMantilla,Michoacan.AlongjourneybyjeepandburrowasrequiredtoreachtheR10deLaMantillawhichflowsfromthecave.Amainrivergallerygoes2kilometersupstreamtoaboulderchoke/sumpareawhichmaycontinue.AMEmembershavealsomapped2.5kilometerlongGrutadeLaJoya,nearTaxco,Guerrero.Asinkingstreamentersthecave,whichwasexploreddownthreedropstoafourthpitchof50meters.Belowthataterminalsump wasencounteredwhichshowedsignsofheavyflooding.AMEcavershavealsobeenquiteactiveintheCuetzalanareainPuebla,inpartnershipwithAmericancaversoExplorationsinGrutasdeTenextepecandSumiderodeJonotlaaredescribed,aswellastheconnectionbetweenSimaEstebanandCuevadeGuayateno.PeterLordsummarizesexplorationsinthecomponentsoftheextensiveSistemaCuetzalan.CuevadelArboldeResistolwaspushedupstreamtoaconnectionwiththeAteschallasystem,whichwasthenconnectedtoSumiderodeChichicasapantoformthepresentSistemaCuetza1an.BoletlnNumeroUnoispackedwithcavinganditishopedthatfutureissueswillfollowtodocumenttheeffortsoftheAME.CaverswhosupporttheAMCSareurgedtolendtheirsupporttotheAMEalso.CooperationbetweenthetwogroupsisessentialtothefutureofMexicancaving,atatimewhenthegovernmentisjustbecomingawareofMexico'soutstandingcaveresources.PeterS.Sprouse103

PAGE 115

ATLASDESGRANDESGOUFFRESDUMONDEbyPaulCourbon.EditionsLAFITTE,2,placeF.Chirat,13002Marseille,France.February1979,199p.softbound.ThelongawaitedsecondeditionofPaulCourbon'satlasofdeepcaveshasfinallyappeared.ItwasoriginallyscheduledtobepublishedinEnglishandotherlanguagesbyanAmericanfirmin1977,whodroppeditafterbeingunabletomakethetranslations.However,theauthorwasabletokeepituptodateuntilitwasfinallypublishedinFrenchinearly1979.SincethefirsteditionoftheAtlaswaspublishedin1972,thenumberofdeepcavesintheworldhasincreasedphenomenally.Whilethe1972editioncontainedmapsof57systemsover500metersdeep,the1979editioncontains94.Thesemapscomprisethebulkofthebookandareinvaluablereferencematerialforanyoneinterestedinthemajorcavesoftheworld.Mexicoiswellrepresentedwitheightcavemaps,althoughunfortunatelythemapsofSistemaPurificacion,Mexico'sdeepestat893meters,andSotanodelBuque,506meters,werenotreadyintimeforpublication.TheAtlasalsocontainsadditionallistscoveringmanyaspectsofspe1eo1ogy.Includedarelistsof:theworld'slongestcaves,deepestshafts,caveshighestabovesealevel,largestchamber,deepestthroughtrips,andmore.Manyfascinatingfactsmaybegleanedfromthismoundofinformation.Forinstance,thelongestd yetracingrecordedisfromHomatBurnutoYediM iyar1arinTurkey,adistanceof75kilometers.Thelargestresurgence,alsoinTurkey,isatDuman1iwithaflowof50m3jsec.ThedeepestgypsumcaveintheworldisItaly'sPozzaAat-200meters.RikhiotPicCave on NangaParbatintheHimalayastandshigherthananyothercaveat6600metersabovesealevel.104AtlasdesGrandesGouffresdu Mondeisamustforthelibraryofanycaverinterestedindeepcaves.WhiletheFrenchtextwillnotbeofmuchusetotheEnglishspeakingreader,thelistsarequiteunderstandableandthecavemapsspeakforthemselves.TheFrenchprintingisgood,althoughthehighcostofprintinginFrancewillprobablyputthepriceatabout$30.00U.S.PeterS.Sprouse


Description
Contents: Mxico News
/ Peter Sprouse --
International News / Peter Sprouse --
Long and deep caves of Mxico / Peter Sprouse --
Yucatn . by bicycle! / Jim Pisarowicz --
Sierra de Guatemala / William Elliott --
Nacimientos! / Sheck Exley --
1979 San Agustn Expedition / Bill Stone --
Discovery in Cuetzalan / Peter Sprouse --
Cuetzalan-Spring 1979 / Steve Knutson --
Stano del Buque / Robert Jefferys --
Cueva de Xocotlat / Atkinson, Forsythe --
Sistema Purifieacin / Dale Pate --
Letters to the Editor --
Book Reviews.
The Association for Mexican Cave Studies is a
non-profit, volunteer organization whose goals are the
collection and dissemination of information concerning Mexican
caves. The AMCS publishes a Newsletter, Bulletin, and Cave
Report Series which are available to any sincerely interested,
conservation-minded person.


printinsert_linkshareget_appmore_horiz

Download Options

close
Choose Size
Choose file type
Cite this item close

APA

Cras ut cursus ante, a fringilla nunc. Mauris lorem nunc, cursus sit amet enim ac, vehicula vestibulum mi. Mauris viverra nisl vel enim faucibus porta. Praesent sit amet ornare diam, non finibus nulla.

MLA

Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.

CHICAGO

Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.

WIKIPEDIA

Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.