AMCS Activities Newsletter

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AMCS Activities Newsletter

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Title:
AMCS Activities Newsletter
Series Title:
AMCS Activities Newsletter
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Association for Mexican Cave Studies
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Association for Mexican Cave Studies
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English

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Regional Speleology ( local )
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serial ( sobekcm )
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Mexico

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Edited by John Stembel, 93 pagesContents: Mexico News, compiled by Bill Mixon Long and Deep Cave Lists, compiled by Peter Sprouse Sierra Los Llanitos, San Luis Potosí, by Tommy Shifflett Proyecto Espeleológico Purificación 1997-1999, by Peter Sprouse Dos Aguas Area, Michoacán, by Chris Lloyd Proyecto Cheve Update, by Nancy Pistole and Matt Oliphant Nita Nido and Nita Ntau, Huautla, Oaxaca, by Jim Smith Caverna de San Bartolo Tutotepec, by Ricardo Arias F. Lava Tubes of Cuernavaca, by Chris Lloyd Nita Nashi, Huautla, Oaxaca, by Jim Smith Cenote Ponderosa, Quintana Roo, by Trevor LoRe History: Visits of Cacahuamilpa, by Ulysses S. Grant and J Harlen Bretz Tocomán Project, Colima, by Peter Ruplinger Explorations in Hidalgo, by David Cole Boreholes and Zapatistas: Chiapas 1998, by Taco Van Ieperen Cartoon: Blindcat Research Team, by Jean Krejca Obituary: Rob Parker, by Bill Stone 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.
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Open Access - Permission by Publisher
Original Version:
No. 23 (1999)
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

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AMesACTIVITIES NEWSLETTERNumber23May1999(PublishedOctober2000)TheAMeSActivitiesNewsletterispublishedbytheAssociationforMexicanCaveStudies.ThisissuewaseditedbyJohnStembel,withhelpfromBillMixon,OscarBerrones,RobinHavens,JimKennedy,LauraRosales,andCathyWinfrey.TheActivities NewsletterseeksarticlesandnewsitemsonallsignificantexplorationandresearchactivitiesinthecavesofMexico.Photographssuitableforthecoversandotherfull-pageapplicationsarealsosought.Theyneednotrelatetoanarticleintheissue,buttheoriginalslideornegativemustbeavailableonrequestforprintingfull-pagephotos.AllmaybesenttotheAMCSaddress.ThoseplanninganarticlemaycontacttheAMCSforthenameoftheeditorandthescheduleforthenextissue.Betteryet,justsenditnow.TheAssociationforMexicanCaveStudiesisaninformal,nonprofitorganizationdedicatedtotheexploration,study,andconservationofthecavesofMexico.AllpreviousissuesoftheActivitiesNewsletterareavailable.Writeforalistofpublications.ASSOCIATIONFORMEXICANCAVESTUDIESBOX7672AUSTIN,TEXAS78713AMCS All rightsreservedPrintedintheUnitedStates of AmericaFront cover Fernando Vanoye approaches a rebelay in Pozo Adrenalina near Zaragoza,NuevoLe6n.PhotobyPeterSprouse.Back cover Deborah BrowninCuevadeConstantin,NuevoLe6n.PhotobyGeorgeVeni.Frontispiece Antonio Soriano inspects thebatthat gave its name to Idio nycterisCanyonin Sumidero Suchomimus,NuevoLeon.PhotobyPeterSprouse.

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CONTENTS4 locationmapfor articles 5 MexicoNews23deeppits list24longanddeepcaves lists26Sierra Los Llanitos, San Luis PotosITommyShifflett33 Proyecto Espeleol6gico Purificacion 1997-1999PeterSprouse40 Dos Aguas Area, MichoacanChrisLloyd48Proyecto CheveUpdateNancyPistoleandMatt Oliphant57 NitaNidoandNitaNtau,Huautla,OaxacaJimSmith60CavernadeSanBartolo TutotepecRicardoAriasF.62Lava Tubes of CuernavacaChrisLloyd66Nita Nashi, Huautla, OaxacaJimSmith72Cenote Ponderosa,QuintanaRooTrevorLoRe74History: Visits to CacahuamilpaWyssesS.GrantandJHarlenBretz77Tecoman Project, ColimaPeterRuplinger85ExplorationsinHidalgoDavidCole88BoreholesandZapatistas: Chiapas 1998TacoVanIeperen47 Cartoon: Blindcat Research TeamJeanKrejca92Obituary: RobParkerBillStone

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IT=-">-oooe::=1PLACESINTHISISSUEPURIFICACI6N SIERRA LOS LLANITOS\_ JACALA, HIDALGOc..s,>'.SAN BARTOLO TUTOTEPEC TECOMAN-,.<.(()Vl()::j:s'-3......t"T'lVl

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23MEXICONEWSCompiledbyBill MixonCAMPECHEPastbiologicalstudiesintheYucatan Peninsula focusedonlargearthropods.Twoexpeditionsin1996andtwoin1997exploredseveral caves, themostimportantofwhichwereXtancumbilxunaanand Actun-Kin. In all the caves,samplesofsoil, guano,anddetritusweretaken,andmorethanonehundreddifferentspecies ofmicro-arthropodswere found. Themostinteresting arePauropods,Diplopods,manymitesofCryptostigmataandMesostimataorders,andnewspecies of Collembola.Source:Jose Palacios VargasandJose Gamboa-Vargas,Proceedingsofthe12thInternational CongressofSpeIeology,vol ume6,page85,1997.CI-llAPASThe Italian Rio La Venta Project hasbeenexploringtheareainChiapascutthroughbythe Rio La Venta,aneighty-kilometer-longcanyoncutuptofourhundredmetersdeepinto the tropical for est, since 1994.Inadditionto cav ing, the project hasdonemuchar chaeological work.Duringthe 1997 expedition, ar chaeologistsfromtheCentroIta liano Studie Ricerche Archeologiche Precomombiane investigated sitesthathadbeenfoundbythe cavers,includingseveralcentersofthe Zoquesthatwerebuiltfromthe sixththroughtenthcenturies A.D.Manyarchaeological findswerealsomadein the caves,includingburials,andmostof the caves ex-plored,especially those in thehighcliffs,showsigns of occupation. Themaincave exploredisthe ll-kilometer-Iong CuevadelRio La Venta.Anothersignificant caveisEINaranjo,2.5or3.5 kilometers long,dependingonwhichsourceI accept. ThemostdifficultgoarhasbeentheOmbligodelMundo,theUmbilicusoftheWorld,anenormousblack holeinthe jungle. Becauseof the difficult country,withjunglevegetationoverheavilykarstedrock, the holewasonlyreachedattheendof the 1997 expeditionbya lOO-meterrappelofroma helicopter,butthe condi tionsatthebottomofthe holewereso difficultthatthe large caveatthebottomwasnotentered. Cavers from the project have alsoparticipatedinothercavinginChiapas,includingthe explorationandmappingofSimaDosPuentesintheCerroBlanco area,withitsinternal250-meterpit.Sources: SpeIeologia35, 1996 (fromwhichtheCuevadelRioLaVentafoldoutmaponpage17is taken);Proceedingsofthe12thInternationalCongressofSpeleology,volume6pages7-10(fromwhichtheareamapistaken),MatteoRivadossi,XTANCUMBILXUNAANrll,.,_j'io. ....,(...t."S....nS.61r\,,",.r:Simbologiaoo4ClU,.........-JmJ"ni.oCoa.C&,-Ra; 1Pt.......'.lDcntvco",","1-nwlU"'tcw-wptoc".,.,.._IT..,.....,.;":A,."Ut,,"""IIU4'..".$",doMrU07\'tl__5

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AMCSACTIV/TIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23lL SISTEMA CARS1CO01LOPEZ MATEOS (Chiapas Mexico)ooooOenomlnaziOnecaordinaleUTMSVtIuoDO11Cueva dell'An:o23.576 62.823230m12Cueva del Naranjo63.6102.500m13Cueva EI Dorado23.951 62.582350m14Cueva Saba24.568 63.133230m15Cueva Lucera25.23366.136220m16C.-adiLucas e Manuel22.961 63.772439m17 Cueva PaocadoRoo25.035 62.21080m10C.-adel Tiare25.085 62.207140m19C.-aMurcieleaas24.620 60.838140m20Cueva Monterosa 3A21.887 65.657240moOenominazionecoordinate UTMSV,IUODO1 Cueva delRioLa Venla25.784 71.5121'.000m2Sumidero2'25.33569.0253SOlano del Quetzal25.387 67.857340m4 Sumidero1-25.281 67.166600m5CuevadelTiarillo67.211200m6Cueva dal Rio Osman23.769 65.567880m7Cueva Eiidal2.100m8CuevedeLas CO/arr.s23.702 66.7049 Cueva del Caletal23.153 65.5111.000m10Cueva di PedraeManuel23.151 63.301550mO(116-'\\...6

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23I!/lAI?\??i....,.._''UII\.\ON)tl.I'IS10LEt\1.OllPllAH1,)1.tl.TAt1fO'lIO,llEUHlc..,pit,whichmayturnoutto be thedeepestinGuerrero,wasdescendedfor 40metersto aguanocoveredledge,butthegroupdidnothaveenoughropeto finish thedangerousdrop.Thatnight,somanybatswereflyingovertheircampthatrainflieswereneededonthetents. The next day, they visited thelowerpassageandveri fiedthattheledgewasindeedstill alongwayupthepit.Onememberofthegroup,whohadnotbeencavingbefore,camedownwithaost_)00-100GUERREROIn June1998apartyvisited abatcaveaboutanhourwestof Iguala,Guerrero,toattempttodescendanupperpitentrance. Themainpassageiswalkingandhasbeenminedforguanointhepast.Theremote,virgin,uninhabitedrainforestandits lackoftrails.Source:Taco Van Jeperen,MattOliphant,NancyPistole,andAlanCressler,NSSNews,July1997,Descent140,1998.Speleologia37,1997(whichincludestheSimaDosPuentesmap);Tullio Bernabei,Hades 1,1998.InthehillsaboveArroyoGrande, anewcavefoundnearby,EmbudoSimadeTresDias,wassurveyeddowntwoshaftsto adepthof 282 meters. In1996,JimSmithandTed Wilsonhadpartiallyexploredtwocaves,CuevadelaSelvaandCuevade6rbitas,inaremote,high-karstareaeastofArroyoGrande.Duringthefirstweekofthe1997expedition,AlanCressler,TedWilson,AndyPorter,andAnd y Zellnerdidthemulti-kilometerhike back tothatarea. Theysurveyedoverakilometerof mazepassageinCuevadela Selva,whereprehistoricIndianshad minedgypsumfromthewalls andsediments.Theyhaddugpits, built small walls,andmadepetroglyphsandpictographsovera kilo meter fromtheentrance,atadepthofoyer90meters.NearbyCuevade Orbitashasalsobeenmined,andthegroupdiscoveredtwoprehistoric burialsinCuevadelosEntierros. The largestvirgincave found inthatareawasCuevaArribadelAgua. Theteamexploredandsurveyedalmostakilometerofpassage to adepthofover120metersTheypenetratedamassivebreakdownandfound acontinuationof the main passage,butwerestoppedby a secondbreakdownarea.Theywereencouragedbythelargepassageandextremelystrongairflow. The cavewasnotcompletelysurveyedorexplored because of lack of time,andtheyneversawagainthe largeamountofwaterthatsinksintobreakdownbelowtheentrance.Duringthe week,theyexploredandsurveyeda total of six caves anddidanoverlandsurvey. Two weeks later,DougStraitandTedreturnedto theareaformorere can. Theydiscoveredandpartiallyexploredtwomorecaves.Theareaispromising becauseofthelargeamountofwaterthatdrainsoffanextensivesandstonemountain,buttravel is difficultbecauseofthe7

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23serious case of, probably, histoplas mosis aweeklater.Source:DavidJones.JALISCOIn July 1997, agroupofcavers, including several novices,wentto a hill called El Tapanco (the Attic)aboutanhourandahalffromGuadalajara. Aftersomevertical practiceonthe surface,theyclimbedthe hillthroughubiquitousdominguillaplants,whichstinglike nettles, looking forEIS6tanodelTapanco(whichwouldbetheAttic's Basement).Hislocatednearthe top ofthehilljustbesidea largeoutcropthatdisplayssomeof the finest"pricklyrock"youcouldhopetoavoidsittingon. Thepitentranceisa holeabout1by2metersthatimmediatelyopens into a long fissure. Asecondhole a fewstepsawayisonlya few inchesindiameter. The floorofthe pitis16metersbelowthe entrance,anda second,lowerpitischokedwithrocks a fewmetersdown.A treerootthatrandownthepitandlookedstrongenoughto climbwasgiven a playful tug,resultinginashowerof smallstonesanddirt.Aboutanhourlater,whensome one wasonrope, alargerock, evi dentlydisturbedbytheroot,cameoutof the wall, slightly injuring the climber. Fortunately, thoseatthebottomofthepitwereoutofthe way,buttheropewascutinto two 3D-meter pieceswheretherockhit the floor. Anewcave-safetyrule: leave therootalone.Source:John Pint.MORELOSIn the SuchiooclavaflowsnearSanJuanTlacotenco [seeAMCSAdivitiesNewsletter20],themajorcaves havebeengreatlyextended.CuevadelaIglesiaisnow5,145meterslong,andCuevadelFerrocarril,at5,623 meters,maybe the longest lavatubeinNorthAmerica.Source:RamonEspinasa.NUEVOLE6NOnJuly1,1998, agroupof caversstoppedatCuevadeEIEbanitointhe canyon along thehighwaywestof Linares. Thisisa significant wetweatherresurgencethatslopes8steeplydownto asump.Sometimeinthe1970s, Wayne Russelldovethesumpto aboulderchoke.Thistime,duetotherecorddrought,waterlevelswereverylow. Kevin Stafford rolled ahundred-kilocobbleoutofthewa)"andwecouldthendropdownanother5metersto reach thenewsumplevel.Wecouldseetheunderwaterpassage continuingdownagentleslope, 2meterswideand1.5metershigh,verydivable.It is asomewhattightsqueezethroughthe cobble choke, soitwouldbebesttodiveduringadrought.Cirolanidisopodswereseenin thesump.Source:Peter Sprouse.JimKennedyandother,mostlyAustincavershavebeensystematicallyexploringandsurveyingcavesnearthe villageofLagunadeSanchez,southwestofMonterreyandwestofthebetterknownPortreroRedondoarea. Theareawasinitially visited inDecember1996 toassistbiologistArnulfoMorenowithstudiesof the bats in the area,particularlyLep-tonyderis nivalis,adesignatedendangeredspeciesinboththeUnitedStatesandMexico. These bats feedonthenectarofagavesandgatherinElInfiernodelaCamotera[seeAMCSActivitiesNewsletter15]togivebirthandreartheiryoung.Throughexploratoryhikesandconversationswithlo cals,manyundocumentedcaveswerefound.The firstareacompeted,MesadelBarro, liesattheedgeof the villageandcontains six cavesandfourfor-the-record-onlyholes.Onlyonecaveisunmapped,and469metersofsurfacesurveytieseverythingbuttheunmappedcave together.MesaColorada,aborealkarstatabout2500meters,so far haselevennewmappedcaves,fourFROs,andanothereightorsounmappedcaves.Morethantwokilometersofsurfacesurveyhelpspinpointthe locations. AreturntripinMarch1999 willcontinuetheworkinthis area. LaCamotera,akarstplateaubetweenLagunadeSanchezandPortreroRedondo,hastheprevi-ously-mappedElInfiernoandoneothercave. Recent tripsdiscoveratleastfiveothers,andnumeroussinksandsmallentranceawaittheMarchtrip.Severalothercaves in the gen eralareahavebeendiscovered,andafewhavebeensurveyed.Themostinterestingleadisthesumideroatthebottomofthe polje. This10-meterpitwasgatedseveralyearsagobya public-worksprogramto alleviate periodic flood ing of the polje,butlackofanac cessdoorhassofarfrustratedattemptsatexploration.Othercavesremainingto be exploredandsurveyedincludeonereportedlyminedforguanoandanotherminedfor"crystals." So far,overthirtynewcavesandkarstfeatureshavebeensurveyedintheLagunadeSanchezarea,andapproximatelytwentymoreareknown,butsofarunsurveyed.Source:JimKennedy.TheTexas Speleological Associa tionconductedprojectsatGrutadelPalmitoinBustamanteduringtheLaborDayweekendsof 1997and1998. Palrnitoisaso-farrudimentarycommercialcave,withhugeformationsthathaveseenalotofvandalism,fortunatelymostlygraffitiratherthanbreak age.Thefirstprojectdealtwithtrashremovalandtheconstructionofconcretestepsdowntheslipperyentranceslope of the firstroom,theonlyonecurrentlylit.The1998 project focusedongraf fitiremoval.ManycaversfromTexasandMexicoparticipatedintheseefforts.Therearerumors,onceagain,thatmoneymaybeavailable for thecompletionof theroadto theentranceandapropertrail,whichwouldcircletheen tranceroomandalsogothroughthe PasodelaMuertetoanoverlookfor themassivebreakdownslopeofthemainpassage.Source:Bill Mixon. See alsoinformationonbatconservationatCuevadela Bocaattheendof"MexicoNews."OAXACAThejointSwissandAmerican

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23San Martin Caballero, Oaxaca, MexicoNITAGATZIGUINexpeditions totheCerroRaboncontinuedin 1997and1998.Amongthe finds in 1997wasNitaGatziquin,withits 200-meterdrop,andextensive verticalpassagebelowthe Electrolux BoreholeintheSoOnJan-KijaheXontjoasystem[seemapin the "MexicoNews"section ofAMCSActivities Newsletter 22].Thenewpits reached adepthof870 meters. The 1998expeditionoften caverswasgreatlyimpededbylack ofwaterandforest firesinthe region.Source:CatherinePerret,Cavernes1997number2;RomanHapka,Cavernes,1998number1.canyonandultimatelyextendedthesouthernmostsumpinthecave 400moremeterssouthtowardCheve.Explorationendedatawaterdepthof40metersina 20-by-1Ometertunnelwithveryclearvis ibility.Ittakes aside-mountstagedivewiththreetankstogettothatpoint.Thereismoreworktobedonethere. Therouteperiodically splitsintophreaticmazes,andit'seasytoblowanentirediveonadeadend.Kudosto the BritishdiversStantonandMallinson forsomefinedivingthere.Source:Bill Stone,NSSNews,July1997. InJanuary1997, Bill Stone, BarbaraamEnde, Brian Rennex,BartHogan, Bev Shade,JasonRichards, Jason Mallinson,andRickStantonset campinthe RioSantoDomingocanyononthenorthsideof the river,upstreamfromCuevadelMano.[The Rio TuertoExpeditionreportinAMCSActivities Newslet ter22containsareamapsandtells of earlierdivinghere.] There theypushedtheAguaFria spring,withbothclimbinganddiving gear. Threesumpsweredived.The firstwent300 meterstoadepthof30metersandlikely connects to theMarylandRoom. The second,justnorthof theNevadaRoom,about700metersintothecave,went400metersto adepthof50meters.Furtherprogresswashaltedbyzerovisibilitythatre sultedfromsiltpercolatingoff the ceiling. A verticalunderwatershaftatthe end ofthecave, 1.3 kilometersnorthoftheentrance,wasdescended in zero visibility to adepthof33metersataledgein a jagged fissure. Thepassagegoes,butisexceedinglydangerousowingto thevisibilityproblemsandthesharprock. BarbandBill tracedsomesurfacecanyonsheadingnorthintheareaandfounddirtystreamsinksincontactbandsin theotherwisemetamorphic-rockcanyons. Theseprobablyaccountfor the flowandthe mud. Given the little successonthenorthsideof the Rio SantoDomingo canyon, theyresumedpushingCuevadelMano,theCheveresurgenceontheothersideof theLength: 450m Depth: 246m Altitude: 1700mo251 1:."P20050M19

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23!(1)01i"g(/)..Jwz::JOcqa:!EON!0 0.-0oo..51:..-Z:xi(j\E0!0 0C\lIIE0 0 0<'"l,JlizE0 00'l".'j'"E00 0OrlOE0..g11//ii5./JVE0 010

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23TheaccompanyingZongolica-DEEPESTCAVESINZONGOLICAAREAareaprofilemapshowsthecavesexploredbyAustralianexpedi-OAXACAtions. Articlesornewsitemsonthose expeditionscanbefoundin(depth,lengthinmeters)pastissueoftheAMCSAdivities1 Sonconga 1014 2390Newsletter:Number15page11,16P 21,18P 40,19P 62,21P4,and22 2 GuixaniNdiaKijao 955 2292 P 85.Source:AlanWarild. 3 Nia Quien Nita / Nia Nga'co Nita 906 7148 4 NitaCho894 2467Duringexpeditions to theCerro5 Xoy Tixa Nita 813 1098Rabonbetween1991 to 1995, ar6 Sonyance 740 1782 chaeologicalmaterialwasfound7 Nita Xonga 739 1578 in several vertical cavesinplaces 8 YuaNita705 1260thatrevealed amasteryof vertical 9 R'jaManNita 609 2384 cavingbytheancientMazatecs.In10 Bita Chaki 486 1013Tilpan3,ceramicssuchasintact11Thi Kijao /ThaoKijao/TsaKijao 358 1870 vaseswerefoundto adepthof 150 12NitaSka 348 1208 meters, reachedafterdescending13 Stonindo 300 1166an80-meter shaft. Thereasonsthat14 Dachiki Nita 283 1719 encouragedtheMazatecs tosuch15NcaNita 258 368 perilous featsareunknown.Source:16 Chatsi Kijao 230 275 RomanHapkaandFabienne Rou17Sondanga230 339 vinez,Proceedingsofthe 12thInter-18 Cuetzo'ja Kijao 222 373national CongressofSpeleology,vol19 Na 'cha Jao Nita 220 349 ume3,page57,1997.20Ching'ya Nita 216 310PUEBLAThe BelgiangroupGSAB has Five expeditions from 1985 to 1996 beenworkinginanareainMexico DEEPEST CAVESINBELGIANAREAfortwentyyears.Itis located in thestateofPuebla,ontheborderPUEBLA ANDVERACRUZwith Veracruz,betweenthe Sierra Zon-golica tothenorthandthe(depth,lengthinmeters)mountains ofHuautlatothesouth.Therearenowmorethan120 1 Akemati..1226 4918 kilometerssurveyedinthearea, 2 Sis temadeOcotempa**1070 4720 three cavesmorethanonethou-3 Akemabis**1015 1505sandmetersdeep,andaboutten 4Akemasup"840 1100 between fivehundredandeight5 Sistema H31-H35 753 5745hundredmetersdeep.6 Aztotempa 700 4000 Thetwomainresurgencecaves 7 CuaubtempaSup"640 900 thatthey'vebeen exploring for sev8 Sistema Atlalaguia..623 4530 eral yearsareAtlixicaya,whichis9 MeadroqueCruca 588 2500now12kilometerslong,and10 Yometa 582721Coyolatl,whichisnow20 kilome-11Sistema H3-H4 430 1300 ters long. Themostrecent trips took12QuipaXitlama 339 450 place in 1995and1997. These ex13 S6tano del Rio Coyomeapan 337 3900peditionsfocusedontheresur-14Sumidero del Rio Xocola 323 1500 gence caves,whereprogressis dif15 Pomnosatl 310 580 ficultdueto the flowoftherivers 16 SumiderodeCampoNuevo309 824andtheriskof floods, soonly12 kilometersofnewcavewass ur17 Cueva Xantilco 300 1840 veyed. 18 Sis tema Ictla tlela 297 1835Theyplantoreturninearly1999 19 S6tano Atlalaquia..285 470andworkbothintheresurgence20OZ21280 2400 cavesandintheareabetween2200 AkematiandAkemasupareconnectedat-840 metersand3200meterselevation.Source:RichardGrebeude.Exploration continues in numbers1,3,6,16ItContains a pitchdeeperthan100 meters In thesummerof1998,emaillI*Contains morethanonepitchdeeperthan100 metllrs11

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23SOTANO DE LOS HERNANDEZProfundidad topogrcHiada: 417m Longitud: 100mRancho de los Hernandez Mpio. San Joaquin Ranas Queretaro, Mexico14.20ml:(,...17.17mf8.5tm;.CONTINUATopografia elaborada con cintaybrujula por Carlos GarciaG.Insituto Politecnico Nacional Febrero de 1998\Q"MVELDEAGUA..;.105M110.37mZONAPEUGROSAENEPOCADEllUVIAS411INto,messagesfromMikeBoonex pressedconcernabouttheconser vationofsomeof thecavesintheCuetzalanarea.WhenMikeandmanyotherspioneeredexplorationinthisareainthe late 1970s,Cuetzalanwasa ratherremoteplace,butnowtherearemanymorebusesfromMexico Cityandmanymoretourists. AgroupcalledOstoktakamej,Nahuatlfor"cavesandthe people," has claimedtherighttoenterthe caveswithtouristsandfestooned thetownwithpublicity. Boon reportsthatteenagersarepeddlingcave formationsintown,andthatguidesareallowing visitors to re move formationsfromtheentranceareaofSumiderodeAtepolihuit,themastercaveof35-kilometerSistemaCuetzalan.Heseeks helpinconvincing thetownandthe caveorganizationto betterpreservethecaves,withgating,bettercontrolofguiding,andso on.HecanbereachedatUstadeCarreas,Cuetzalan,Puebla,Mexicoormaseualsiua@laneta.apc.org.Source:Mike Boon.QUERETAROS6tanodelosHernandezislo catedinthemunicipalityof San Joaquin Ranas,Queretaro.Itwasdiscoveredandexploredin1977and1978byRoy JamesonandPatty Mathes.InDecember 1983,NoeDelgadoof theGrupoEspeleologico Uni versitariomadeasketchofthecave.Whenwereadaboutthes6tanoinLazcano'sLas CavernasdeLaSierra Gorda,wegatheredagroupofcaversfromtheAsociaci6ndeExcursionismoyMontafiismodelInstitutoPolitecnico Nacional to explore the cave.Wemappedseventeendrops,stopping becauseweranoutoftime. Below theeleventhdropwefound a beautifulturquoisepoolandwell-roundedwalls.Wemadeamapbecausewethoughtthatperhapsthesotanohadnotbeenbottomed.[Asmall scale sketch ofthecaveappearsonpage96ofvolume2 ofLascano'sbook,andboththebookandoldAMCSActivities Newsletterslistthedepthas 330 meters.] Perhapsour12

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23mapwillmotivateadditionalnewexplorationanddiscovery.WeweresurprisedbythelowtemperatureinthecaveinFebruary1998,whichreachedbelowfreezing. Thealtitudeof the en trance is 2430 meters.NearSanJoaquinandnext to thehighwaylies LaGrutadelosHerrera. This tourist cave has beau tifulandinterestingspeleothems.Abouthalfwayalongthepathof the tour,wesawa 30-meter pit. One of theguidestold usthata localpersonhaddescendedthepitand found a river,whichhehadnotexplored.Wedidnotconfirmthis. Permission todescendthepitcan berequestedintheoffice for the cave.Source:RicardoAriasFernandez.QUINTANA ROOTheverylongunderwatercavesystemsofQuintanaRooaremostly shallow. While therearedeepcenotesinYucatanandQuintana Roo,theyseldomconnecttoanydeepcavepassages.The longestunderwatercavesdo,however,havesomedeepparts.The Blue AbyssinNohochNahChichhasbeendivedto adepthof 70meters[AMCSActivitiesNewsletter20,page86]. In theDosOjossystem,ThePitwasdiscovered in 1994andpushedto adepthof75meters.Morerecentdiveshavediscoveredaverylarge room, the Wakulla Room,andatunnelatadepthof 101 meters. Dives in April 1997aredescribedinanarticlebyJillHeinerthinUn derwater Speleology,volume24,number3 (1997),anddivesinOctober1997aredescribedinvolume25,number4 (1998)ofthesamemagazineinanarticlebyAndreasMatthesandDanLins. The accompanyingmapbyMatthesisfromthatarticle. Pottery was sketchedandmeasuredduringadiveatChuu-Hacenote,Cozumel,onOctober6, 1995. [See also "MexicoNews,"QuintanaRoo,AMCSActivitiesNewsletter22.] Dr.DavidFreidel,professorofarchaeologyatSouthernMethodistUniversity, has iden tifiedthematerialas belonging totheCehPechtypefromthe Termi nal ClassicMayaperiod,aroundA.D.800-1100,duringwhichCoba, the massiveruinedcity inland fromTulum,reachedthepeakofitspowerandthendeclined. The three typesofpotteryseenareillustratedanddescribedinanarticlebyR.D. MilhollininThe Maverick Bull,December1996,reprintedSpeleoDigest1996,page393.TheYalahauArchaeologicalCaveSurveyisassociatedwiththe Yalahau RegionalHumanEcology ProjectoftheUniversityofCali fornia, Riverside,aninternational,interdisciplinaryresearcheffort fo.cusingontheancientMayaandtheirenvironmentinnorthernQuintanaRoo.Theyhavebeeninvestigating theregions'scavessince 1995. Theyhaveso farlocatedtwentycaves of\IThePIT-MapbyAndreasW.MatthesBUPROOMI--....,...--11----,-IRESlRIClIONa.M,B.1UNNEL313'331'13

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23archaeologicalinterestinthere gion. EvidenceofancientMayaac tivity includes pottery, architecture andothermodificationofthe cave interior,rockart,andthebreakingandremoval ofspeleothems.An cientstairwaysthatlead to pools ofwaterwithinthe cavearecommonly found. Ofparticularinter estisthe largeterracedstructureinActunToh.Suchlargestructuresareuncommonin caves of the Mayaarea.Source:DominiqueRissolo,NSSNews,June1998.The original explorations ofCenoteTortuga, in1992,requiredatwenty-five-minutehike, which, considering theweightofdivegear, required portersandmadea single dive take up a whole day. Thisdidnot make itaninvitingprospectfor visitingdiverswhowantedto make themostof their timeandinvestment. This cenoteisonthesamepropertyasCenoteVacaHa,ownedbyMayanrancherDonCamillo of Tulum. After yearsofgentleproddingbyvisiting cave divers,DonCamillo invested the timeandex pense toconstructaroadthroughthe rough jungle. This road hasnowbeen completed all thewaytoCenote Tortuga, adistanceofnearlya kilometer. Cenote Tortuga is a smallbodyof clearwatersurroundedbybeau tiful trees.Containinga plentiful population of tropical tetras,alongwithcatfish,thecaveentranceleads, in 5 meters of water,througha small,narrowpassage full of thick silt intothebeginning of ahugeroomatadepthof12meters. Themaindivelinegoes455meters, before reaching a large col lapsethatblocks the passage. This passageishighlydecoratedwithspeleothems,andtherearemanyoffshoot lines intosidepassages. The bestpartof this cavesystemis adeeperlevelthatgoesdowninto thesaltwaterzone. Thismazeoftunnelsoffto theeastof themainfresh-waterpassage has crystal-clearwaterandwhite limestone walls,andmanysections aredecoratedwithstalac titesandstalagmites.Depthsarearound25to30metersinthis area.14Today,over3000metersofpassagehavebeensurveyedinCenote Tortuga,andamapis avail able.Itis possible todrivewithinafewfeetoftheentrance.DonCamillo charges areasonable$5todiveonhisproperty.Source:SteveGerrard.ProjectNohochisanannualef fort to exploreandextendNohochNahChichandotherunderwatercaves in the area. [Seeanarticleaboutasimilarprojectin Sistema Dos Ojos inAMCSActivities News letter22.]The1995Nohochproject concentrated firstonconnecting thesoutheasternpartofthe cave toCenoteManatee,whichitself is connectedbya100meterpassageunderthebeachto a boil in thewatersofTankahBay.Eventually,thecenotewascon nectedbyan1800meterdiveto the Main VeinpassageinNohochNahChich,inaneffortthatwasreportedin a PBSdocumentaryvideo. Later, the project explored a kilometer ofnewpassages in theDarkSideoftheMoonareabeyondthe Tanks On-Tanks Off re striction.Theworkofthe1995projectwascutshortbyHurricaneRoxanne. The1997NohochProjectaddednearly5500metersto thelengthofNohochNahChich, making itsome68,370meterslong.Theyalsoputnearly16kilometers ofnewlineinothercavesinthe area,despitearelativelysmallteamofelevendivers.Sources:MikeMadden,Ex plorers Journal,fall1998;KarlShreeves,DeepTech12,secondquarter1998.SistemaSacActunhasgrownby3069metersofnewpassageina year.Thisincludesabout2300metersinthemaincave,plus770metersinthe Cenote Calimba sec tion, connectedin1996[seeAMCSActivities Newsletter22,page173J.Thenewlengthoftheunderwatercaveisover8500meters.Source:BilPhillips,Underwater Speleo-Iogy,volume25,numberI,1998.SAN LUIS POTOSIInMay1997,membersof theAsociaciondeExcursionismoyMontanismodelInstitutoPoli tecnico Nacional visited the Rancho Las Yeguas. Julian Avila,ourfriendandguide,invitedus to exploresomeofthecavesonhis property. In ElS6tanodelaEscalera,wefoundclaypotsthatmayhavebelongedtopeopleoftheHuastecanculture.Sr.Julianhadplaced aladdersothatwecoulddescendthe lO-meterclimbatthe entrance.IfyouareinterestedinvisitingRancholas Yeguas, beawarethatSr.Juliandoesnotlike foreigners.MentionthatyoucameonbehalfoftheJlespeleologosdelPolL"Source:RicardoAriasFernandez.TheNacimientodeCan-Jaisaresurgencecave locatedatthebaseofthemountainsthatcontainGolondrinasandGuaguas.Itwasexploredandsurveyedin1989through1992bymembersof AsociadonPotosinadeMontanismoy Espeleologia.Source:Raul Puente,Tsaval5, 1998.ThemapofS6tanodeRinc6ndelGatoalsoappearedinTsavalnumber5,1998,the bulletin the APME,whichalso contains adescriptionoftheexplorationof this SierradelAlvarezcavewrittenbyGerardoMorrillandSergioSanchezArmass.OnMarch7, 1998,whatwasthoughttobetheterminalsumpinResumideroEIBorbo1l6n[seeAMeSActivitiesNewsletter18)turnedoutto bethegateto anewsection268meterslongand142metersdeep,whichmakes the cave thesixteenthdeepestinMexico. Threeteamsfromthe Asociacion PotosinadeMontaflismo y Espeleo logiainSan Luis Potosienteredthe cave.GerardoMorrill,DavidSolis Jr.,andOmarandSergio SanchezArmasswereattheterminalsumpwaitingforthesecondgroup,RosaMariaBalbanera,SalvadorGonzalez,andLuis Lopez, toarriveinordertostartderiggingthe cave,whenSergiodecidedtotrytopassthesump.At thepointwherethe roofmetthewater,themuddyfloorwas80centimetersbelowthe surface. Afterashortfreedive,Sergio was in

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23100m50o20pasajedeloscristalesTiroMETROS+o10EILim6n, Municipio de Aquism6n San Luis Potosi, MexicoEILim6n, Municipio de Aquism6n San Luis Potosi, MexicoRINCONDELGATONACIMIENTODECAN.JASalClnOmarLongitud: 455m Profundidad: 26mR.Puente '94 SuuntosyCinta23Noviembre199121Marzo 1992TopograHatOscarBerronesLucilleBerronesDavidSolis(POlo)JuanCancinoZ.RosaMa.BalbaneraAntonioRamirezLopezDibujoJuanCancinoZapataLongitud195.93m.Profundidad102.10m.Juan Cancino Zapata, Martha Gonzales, Gilberto Torres, VikoAlejandro Benavenie, Raul PuenteyTeresa Williams15

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23CavesofRancho las Yeguas, Ejido Laguna del Mante, Valles, SLPA.E.M.I.P.N., May 1997. Drawn by Juan Hernandez G.CUEVAONCEMETROSA-A'plant.(ItperfilSPIT__15M60M20MperfilCAVERNA LOS BULTOSrOOI80M+---\CAVERNA LA ESCALERACAVERNAELFEO,??,"?--'/..---VENTANACAVERNALAVENTANA/AI16

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SISTEMARIOLAVENTAPIANI.A93'42'05'traforodiosmanriaSUMIDERO1DELTIGRILLO16'5;f14'W93'42'01',IUlrll...IUlll-----------1-1300--nl..1'11I1Cilti,er'atl?........16'53'35'W93'42'01'SOTANODELQUETZAL-----------+200------------njlSUMIDERO2-DELRIOLAVENTA--------------oA'AAAAA'AAAi:.:..'........0-re,i".1chc0._,-"-1_/="'.....r ...,o-(--'.._----------------------------------------,...1-ITALIARIVADOSSIM,\\\MEXICOCHIAPAS....=CINTALAPA127slIDrlnr'lIu.16'55'35"W93'41'49"CUEVADELRIOLAVENTAo20ESPLORAZIONEERILIEVOASSOCIAZIONELAVENTA1990-1994-1995TOPOGRAFIAACURA01RIVAOOSSIM,GIULIVOI.PEZZOLATOP,DISEGNOriolaSUMIDERO2TDIlL111mU IEITASOTANODELQUETZALCUEVADELTIGRILLOSUMIDERO1"L1\.VENT1\.EXPLORINGTEAMPROJECTORIOLAVENTAsEliDNEL0NGITUoINALE--0__-.1f-y...D.68....O '-'S!.!!!illL-_-@100=-0::fl7500sill1'I'lIca"l-.l1li11"500sill-------------------------+200IICI,'t.,'cler,rio

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23800April1998/C02detectedIn1996, theresurgencecave waspushedsome350meterstowheretheceilinghadpushedthediverdowntoadepthof55 meters,withnobottominsight. [EarlierdivesherearedescribedinAMCSAc tivities Newsletter 10,page28.] ThevisitinFebruary1997beganwithreplacingtheold lines whichhadbeentorntoshredsbythefloodsoftheprevioussummer.Evenbeginningtodiveisphysi callydemanding,asdiversmustcarryalloftheirequipmentupthe river,overthefalls,andinto theentranceroomlake beforeanyactualdivingisdone.Onceinthepassage,thediverisunabletoseetheoppositewall, the floor,ortheceiling of the largepassage,andthecurrentthatissucha challenge in reaching thedivesiteis allbutimperceptible. Thepassageinwhichthe maximumdepthwasreachedin 1996wasuncharacteristicallysmallandhadnocurrent,soitwasthoughtthatthemainroutehadbeenmissed.Probesfromtheendof thenewlineinvariousdirections, however, failedtolocateanythingbutsmall,restrictedpassages,andthefinal tie-offofthelinewasagainlocatedinapassagethatisheadingverti callytounknowndepth.Theteam200MembersoftheProyectodeBuceoEspeleologicaMexicoy America Centralhavebeenexplor ing theNacimientodelRioChoy. Sergiowentdownthe pit,wearingoxygen masks, tomeasuretheoxygenconcentrationthere.Itturnedoutthatthe levelwasthesameasatthetopofthe pit, soGerardowentdownwithouta tank.Theywereinachambercoveredwithleavesandmudthat, totheirdismay, led to a 10-by-6-meterpond.Nowthattheyweresurethattheycouldstandthehigh(about5 percent) CO2andlow(12 percent)afourthexpeditionwaslaunch ed.OnMay2, Francisco Ulderico Jones,SalvadorGonzalez, JorgeLanderos,andRicardoPeraltareached theedgeofthepond,andSalvador,onbelay,wenttotheothersideandfound9metersofmuddypassagewithtricklingwater flowing intoanothersump3metersin diameter. As hewasaloneandfeelingthelowoxygen level,hedidnottrytopassit.ResumideroEIBor-bollonisnow821.4 metersdeepand1650meterslong. As Borbollon isonprivateland, access is restricted,andthe APMEiscoordinatingac cess for the owner.Source:SergioandOmarSanchez-Armass.400600depth(meters)Oxygen concentrationofair plotted vsthedepthofthe cave.Resumidero EI Borbollon22212019181716151413121110I:...-.a....-.........L.-...............................--'---o.---'--''''''--'--.a....-...............................................--'-'''oawidechamberwithapassageonits left,wherethewaterfloweddownsmall steps.Heexploredit for 74 meters before he carnetoa lO-meterdropatthetopofa me dium-size chamber.Whenhe re joined hiscompanions,thefor mallyterminalsumpwasrenamedafter thegreatFrench speleologistNor-bertCasteret,whoenjoyedfreedivingsumps.Membersofthethirdgroup,Miguel Angel Blanco,DaianaandNathalyIbarra,GuillermoMartinez,andCuauhtemocSanchez,descendedthenewpitandfounda 40-meterdrop,butwereunabletogoall thewaydownbecausetheirropewas too short. Two weeks later, Miguel Angelmadea solo trip until heranoutofropeafterdescendingfive pits in thenewsection. Twelvehoursaf ter hehadenteredthe cave, SalvadorandSergiowentin,andaftersettingupacampat-650 meters, theymethimandsharedsomething to eat. As Miguel Angelheadedforthecamp, theothertwocontinuedex ploring. After a whiletheyfounda IS-meterdropwheretheynoticedthathighlevelsofCO2werepresent. Theydescendedanother20meters to thetopofanotherpit, where theydecidedtoheadbackbecause the CO2levelwaslikely to beevenhigheratthe bottom.Threeweekslater,Gerardo,Cuauhtemoc,andSergioenteredthecave again,carryingtwoSOO-literoxygentanks,kindly providedbyDavidSolis, as well astwobravemice, AleorandMizar.Throughoutthe cavetheytookairtemperatureandoxygenconcentrationreadings. They alsosurveyedthenewNorbertCasteretsec tion of the cave. Because the02levelatthetopof the pit was only 12 per cent, the micewerelow ered to thebottomof thedropfortenminutes. Sincetheybothsurvived,Cuauh-temocand19

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23teamhopes to be able topushonwithdiver-propulsionvehiclesifthecontinuationofthemainpassagecanbediscovered.Source:JimBowdenandAnnKristovich,Underwater Speleology,volume24number3,1997. (The cave is called"NacimientoMentiras"inthatarticle.)TAMAULIPASSotanodeVenaditois in theEIAbra range,nearthetownofElSalvador, Tamaulipas,justnorthofthe San Luis PotosiborderonHighway85.Itwasdiscoveredinthe late '60s by AMCS caversandsurveyed in the courseofseveraltrips. A 60mentrancepitisfollowed by sixsmallerdropsto abaselevel riverpassageat-160m. AmapwaspublishedintheSouthwest Texas Grotto Guide to Mexican Cavingin1971with the note: "While Venadito continues todefycompletemapping,weexpect it will be finishedsoon... The projectofcompletingtheVenaditosurveywastakenupbyDon Broussard,whohad participatedinthe initialwork.By the mid-'80s,Donhadresurveyedtheknowncaveandaddedagoodbitofnewpassageintheuppersec tions.HeandBillElliotthadalso found awaypasttheblindfish pools whichmarkedtheendof Venaditoontheoriginalmap.Theyreported"somedrywalkingpassagethenabout1000 feetofwetwalkingpassageendingatamudsump."Donreturnedin1991preparedto field two teamsandcomplete the survey. Thetwoteamsnevermetandleft ahangingsurvey. The followingyearDonwasre pelledbyAfricanized beesinthe entrance pit.Hewentbackthe next yearwithanimprovisedbeesuitandprybar.Althoughtheleatherbiker suit,neopreneglovesandbeekeeper'smaskoverhishelmetprotectedhimfrommostofthe stings, hehadn'tanticipatedthe need for a SCBA unit. Themassofbees covering hismasknearlysuf focated him. Theprojectwasabandonedfor several years. Joe Ivy, who hadbeenonthe201991surveytrip, askedDonto haveanothertryatVenaditoin1997.Theymadeextravagantplansfordealingwiththe bees, however, ahardfreezehadremovedthatob stacle. Whiletheyweredeniedthejoyoferadicatingthe hive,thecavewasbeckoning.Don,Joe,AlanAdams,andRebeccaJonessurveyednearly1000m to tie into thehangingsurvey.Theyalsofoundseveralpromisingsideleads.Donreturnedwithtwoteamsfor a "final"assaultonVenaditoduringChristmas1998. Joe, Alan,andRebeccawouldgobackto themainpassage,swim"just1000 feet" to thesump,andsurveyout.Don, DaleBarnard,ChristieQuintana,andDonCooperwouldmopupallthesideleads. Unfortunately,theAfricanized beeshadreturnedtotheentrance.Becausetherehadbeennobees the previous year,noone hadpreparedforthem.AfterhearingDon'shorrorstories, noonewantedtotemptfate.Toavoidthebees, alltripsinto thecavehadtogoinafterdarkandbeoutbeforedawn.At least theweatherwaspleasantandbreezy,butitwasa difficultscheduletokeep.Don'steamworkedonthesideleads.Theyconnected the firstoneintothemainstreampassage. Anotherisheadingupinaninterest ing direction.Donsuspectsit iseitheraninfeederoraconnectionwithunknownpartsofthemaincave.Muchmoreworkwillbeneededinthis area. Joe'steampushedthemainriverpassageanother1500m. At theendoftheswimmingpassagetheyfoundnotasump,buta tall can yon. All thewaterdropsdowna 30m pit. After severalsurveytripsswimmingwithflotationandsearchingin vain for asump,theywerenotpreparedfor a pit.Alantraversedpastthepitandfoundhimselfatthebottomofalargeinfeeder.Onceagain, S6tano Venaditodefiescompletemapping.Currently, the caveis197mdeepandmorethan3.5km long. Wehavenoexpectationsthatitwill be finishedsoon.Source:Joe Ivy. Sixteen cavers,includingthreefromMexicoandonefromCanada,participatedin theMarch1999 PEPexpeditiontoCuevadelTecolote, Tamaulipas. The objectiveofthistripwastoworkleadsaccessiblefromCampI,notoccupiedsince 1990.NomappinghadbeendoneinthecavesincetheCampIII trip sixyearsearlier.Oneleadofprimeinterest wastheclimb atJellybeanJunction. Thisledtothediscoveryofanewflow ingstream,theJellybean River.Itwaspushedsouthwardfor 1000m,inthegeneraldirectionofS6tanodeTrejo, to asump.Mostothermappingwas concentratedinthespinybrecciazoneoftheMickeyMouseMaze.TheMissouriCrawlwaylead developedintoanextensivenewsec tion calledSouthPark,with800mmappedandquitea fewleadsremaining.Abitfarthersouthinthemaze, theGargoyleGalleryextendedintotheTazmanianTrunk,whichwoundthroughnumerousloops to tie intotheChihueFreewaynearRuthy'sEarDuct.This created alargeloop,andnumerousnewleadsaswell.Altogether3918mwasaddedtothesurvey,makingthecave35,949m long. Agoodtime washadbyallduringthesixdaycamp, injurieswereminor,andlots ofcaversgottheirintroduction to themuddyjoysofTecolote. DiscussionswereheldwiththepeopleofEjido Los San Pedrosaboutprovidingthemwithgroundwaterinformationthatmayhelpthemdevelopbetterwatersupplies,apressinglocal problem. A follow-uptripisplannedlaterintheseasontocontinueexplora tionofaresurgencecave to thesouthwhichmaycarryTecolotewater.Source:PeterSprouse,ProyectoEspeleol6gicoPurificaci6nYUCATANTheAsociaci6ndeSpeleobuceodeYucatanwasformedin 1996 toexploreandconservethemany

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23NUKMISSILCHANMISSILCENOTEXCATIL MriCtnoIHInFebruary1997, agroupofItaliancavediversfromtheCommissioneGrotteEugenio Boegen visited YucatanandQuintanaRoo.Duringthetrip,theyexplorednumerouscenotesinandaroundthevillage of YokdzonotPresentados,southeastofTizimin, Yucatan.Theyalso visited theimportantcave-artsiteDzibichenthere. Perhapsthemostcuriousofthe cen otesisone they callCenotedelCinquePozzi,presumablyreally CenotedeCinco Pozos,whichisinthemiddleofthe villageandhas1,1999.%,----------i.PIlACHEH9lIrit AI(ACHfH SPEoRODZIBICHENXCA"1l.submergedcavesandcenotes in thestateof Yucatan.AmongthecavesinYucatanareCenoteChacsinic-che,inwhichawaterdepthof75metershasbeenreached,CenotePapakal,wherea largedryentranceroomleadstounderwaterpassagewitha maximumdepthof 35meters,andCenoteSantaBarbara,witha 20-meterrappelto thewateranda maximumwaterdepthofabout35 meters. ThepresidentofthesocietyisFernandoRosado(ferros@yucl.telmex.net.mx).Source:Andreas Matthes,Underwa ter Speleology,volume26,numberCENOTE CINCO POZOS21

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23five smallopeningsthatdropintoalargechamber.Source:ToniKlingendrath,Progressione36, 1997.BAT CONSERVATIONTheProgramaparalaConsevaci6ndeMurcielagosMigratorios,orProgramfor the ConservationofMigratoryBats,wasformedin1991andhas sincegrownto involve, besides BatConservationInternationalofAustin, Texas, anumberof universitiesandgovernmentagenciesintheUnitedStatesandMexico. Anumberofgrantsandgifts, including especially a 1996grantfrom a Mexicanconservationfund, havesponsoredfourteenresearchpro-jectsimportanttobatconser vation, as well as effortsateducation in the vicinity ofimportantbatcaves.CuevadelaBoca,NuevoLeon,formerlythehomeofoneoftheworld'slargestbatcolonies, hasbeenselected as a priority,andit is expected tobedesignatedawildlife sanctuary. Severalprogramsonbatshavebeenpresentedto localelementaryschools intheareaofthecaveinaneffortto fosterunderstandingofandappreciationfor bats.AnincreaseinthebatpopulationofCuevadela Bocafromonehundredthousandtofivehundredthousandis claimed as aresultofconservationeffortssofar.Programsandexhibitshavealsobeenpresentedin schoolsinEIAbraandElQuintero, Tamaulipas. Achildren'sbook,MarceloelMurcielago,abouta lovableyoungfreetailedbathasbeenpublished.ArnulfoMorenoandBCI's JimKennedydiscoveredthelargestknowncolonyofendangeredgreaterlong-nosedbatswhilesurveyingacaveinnorthernMexico. Thecolonymaycontainoveronehundredthousandofthese bats.Moreno'sdoctors-degreeresearchwill focusonthiscolony'simpactonthepollinationofagaveplants.ArnulfowastheauthorofMur cielogos deNuevoLeon,whichisillustratedwithphotographsbyMerlinTuttleofBCl. ThisbookwaspublishedaspartofthequadricentennialofthecityofMonterrey.Itdescribesthethirty-sevenspeciesknowninthestate.Sources:BatConservationInternational AnnualReport1996-1997;Bats,Fall 1996andSpring1998.Cuevade105Llanito5MesadelasTat>lss, COahuila,MexicoSee the article on the Coahuila highlands,AMeSActivities Newsletter22,page146.ele\,.mPLAN---t)Nmo5101520,5101520252.700,;:-;=:::-;:..IEsstI-lallUTMcoordinatesE240N2.797,6e.0Lenqth:361mDepth:26mSuuntoe.ndtapesurveyJuly19'/::'l:>yA.Co!?b.J.Foqarly.5La5ko.e>.Luile.QPuente.PSprou5e.CWinfrey.e.ndDZu(.k:erDY.nedbyB.llJl(e22

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23PeterSprouseDEEPPITSMEXICOApril1999OFDepthinmeters1ElS6tano (de El Barro)EntrancedropQueretaro410 2 S6tanodelasGolondrinasEntrancedropSanLuis Potosi 376 3 S6tanodeTomasaKiahuaEntrancedropVeracruz330 4Zacat6nEntrancedropTamaulipas329 5 S6tanodeAlhuastleP'titQuebec Puebla 329 6NitaXongaPsychoKillerOaxaca310 7 SotanitodeAhuacathinSeconddropQueretaro288 8 S6tano del ArroyoGrandeEntrancedropChiapas283 9 Sima DonJuanEntrancedropChiapas278 10 Sima DosPuentesLaVentanaChiapas25011Resumidero delPozoBlancoEntrancedropJa lis co 233 12 S6tanodelAireEntrancedropSanLuisPotosi233 13 Sis tema OcotempaPozoVerdePuebla22114 S6tanodelos PIanos PuitsTannantPuebla22015S6tanodeEladioMartinezEntrancedropVeracruz220 16 S6tanodeCoatimundiEntrancedropSanLuis Potosi 219 17 S6tanodeSenderoEntrancedropSanLuis Potosi 217 18 Resumidero el Borbo1l6n TiroGrandeSanLuis Potosi 217 19 SimadelaPedradaEntrancedropChiapas217 20 Sima delChikinibalEntrancedropChiapas21421Cueva delTizarThirddropSanLuisPotosi212 22 Kijahe Xontjoa SonOnJanOaxaca210 23 Nacimiento del RioManteMachoPitTamaulipas206 24HoyadelasGuaguasEntrancedropSanLuisPotosi202 25 SistemadelaLuchaEntrancedropChiapas200 26 SistemaH3-H4Puebla200 27 Kijahe Xontjoa Lajao SeOaxaca200 28 Sima LaFundaEntrancedropChiapas198 29 S6tanodeSoyateEntrancedropSanLuisPotosi195 30 S6tanodeAlpupulucaEntrancedropVeracruz 190 31CuaubtempaPozoconCarnePuebla190 32 S6tanodeTepetlaxtliNumber1EntrancedropPuebla190 33 S6tanodePuertodelos LobosEntrancedropSanLuis Potosi 189 34 S6tanodeHermanosPeligrosos SeconddropVeracruz186 35HoyadelaLuzEntrancedropSanLuis Potosi 180 36AhuihuitzcapaEntrancedropVeracruz 180 37 SimadeVeinteCasasEntrancedropChiapas180 38 Sistema SoconuscoDarwinEntranceChiapas180 39 Sima del CedroEntrancedropChiapas175 40 S6tanodelaCuestaEntrancedropSanLuis Potosi 17441Sima DosPuentesEntrancedropChiapas172 42 S6tanodelos MonosEntrancedropSanLuis Potosi 171 43 S6tanodeOtatesThirddropTamaulipas17144 El Socav6nEntrancedropQueretaro171 45 S6tanodeTepetlaxtli no. 2EntrancedropPuebla 170 46 S6tanodelosLadronesEntrancedropOaxaca170 47NitaDiplodicusEntrancedropOaxaca170 48 S6tanodeAguadeCarrizoFlipPitOaxaca164 49oesEntrancedropPuebla160 50 OC4EntrancedropPuebla 16023

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PeterSprouseApril1999LengthinmetersAMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23LONGCAVESOFMEXICO241 Sis tema Purificacion 2NohochNahChich 3 Cenote Dos Ojos 4 SistemaHuautla5OxBelHa6 SistemaCuetzalan7 Cueva del Tecolote 8 Kihaje Xonljoa 9 Sistema Cheve 10 Sistema Soconusco11Coyalatl 12 SistemaNaranjal(Najaron-Maya Blue)13Atlixicaya 14 Cueva del Rio La Venta 15 Cueva delAlpazat16 SistemaSanAndres17 SistemaPondazul18 GrutasdeRanchoNuevo(San Cristobal) 19 Cueva del ArroyoGrande20 Cueva delMano21EIChorroGrande22 Sistema Tepetlaxtli 23 CuevaQuebrada24 SistemadeTepepa(Niebla) 25 SotanodeLasCalenturas26 SistemadeAngel (Ehecoklh) 27 Sis tema Abejas 28 Sumidero Santa Elena 29 CuevaYohualapa30 CuevadelaPenaColorada31CuevadeComalapa32AcmnKaua 33 Sotano del Arroyo 34 Sistema Perri to 35 CuevadelaPuente36 XongoDwiNi 37 SistemaZoquiapan38 Cueva Vinata 39 SumiderodeJonotla 40 CenoteZapote41Sistema Sac Actun 42 Gruta del RioChontalcoatlan43 Sistema H31-H32-H35 44 Cueva del Ferrocarril 45 Gruta del RioSanJeronimo 46 Los Bordos 47 CuevadeAgua Blanca 48 Cuevadela Iglesia 49 Sima Castor SimaGrande50 GrutasdeJuxtlahuacaTamaulipasQuintanaRooQuintanaRooOaxacaQuintanaRoo PueblaTamaulipasOaxacaOaxacaChiapasPueblaQuintanaRoo PueblaChiapasPuebla PueblaQuintanaRooChiapasChiapasOaxacaChiapasPueblaQuintanaRoo PueblaTamaulipasPueblaQuintanaRoo Puebla Puebla Oaxaca VeracruzYucatanSanLuis PotosiOaxacaSanLuis PotosiOaxacaPueblaMichoacanPueblaQuintanaRooQuintanaRoo GuerreroPueblaMorelos GuerreroChiapasTabascoMorelosPueblaGuerrero 90470 68348 59436 55953 44500 34345 32031 25000 24300 21733 20000 18472 12200 12000 11903 10903 10318 10218 10207 9790 9650 9600 9000 8511 8308 8000 7965 7884 7820 7793 7750 7446 720071486793 6500 6489 6460 6381 6000 5876 5827 5745 5623 5600 5211 5200 5145 5100 5098

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PeterSprouseApril1999DepthinmetersAMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23DEEPCAVESOFMEXICO1 SistemaHuautla2 Sistema Cheve 3 Akemati 4 Kijahe Xonljoa 5 Sis tema Ocotempa 6 Akemabis 7 Sonconga 8 Sistema Purificacion 9 GuixaniNdiaKijao 10 Sistema Perrito11Nita Cho 12 SistemadeTepepa13 SotanodeAguadeCarrizo 14 SotanodeEIBerro 15 SotanodeTrinidad16 Resumidero el Borbollon 17 X'oyTixa 18 NitaKa19 Sis tema H31-H32-H35 20 Sonyance21Nita Xonga 22 Yua Nita 23 Aztotempa 24 SotanodelosPianos25SotanodeAlfredo 26 SistemaCuetzalan27 SotanodeTilaco28NitaNashi29CuaubtempaSuperior30Sistema Atlalaquia31CuevadeDiamante32 R'ja Man Kijao 33 NitaHe34 MeandroQueCruce (H54) 35 Yometa 36 SotanodelasCoyotas 37 Sotano Arriba Suyo 38 SistemadeAngel (Ehecoklh) 39 Sistema Soconusco 40 Sistema Tepetlaxtli41Sotano del Rio Iglesia 42 SotanodeNogal43 GrutasdeRanchoNuevo 44 SotanodeAhuihuitzcapa45SotanodelasGolondrinas46HoyadelasConchas47 Sotano del Buque 48PozodeMontemayor 49 Nita Chaki 50HoyadelasGuaguasOaxaca OaxacaPueblaOaxacaPueblaPueblaOaxacaTamaulipasOaxacaOaxaca OaxacaPuebla Oaxaca VeracruzSanLuis PotosiSanLuis PotosiOaxaca OaxacaPueblaOaxacaOaxaca OaxacaPueblaPueblaQueretaro Puebla QueretaroOaxacaPueblaVeracruzTamaulipasOaxaca OaxacaPuebla PueblaGuanajuatoSanLuis PotosiPueblaChiapasPueblaOaxacaQueretaroChiapasVeracruz San Luis Potosi Queretaro QueretaroNuevoLeonOaxacaSanLuis Potosi 1475 1386 1226 1209 1070 1015 1014 957 956 906 894 850 843 838 834826813 760 753 745 740 704 700 694 673 658 649 641640623621613 594 588 582 581 563 553 539 535 531 529520515 512 508 506 501 493 47825

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23SIERRALosLLANITOS,SANLUIS POTOSITommy ShifflettDuringMarch1998,caversfromVirginia, Georgia,andNewMexico (Tommy Shifflett, Phil Lucas, BenandCori Schwartz, Mike Ficco,andJohn Ganter)teamedwithcaversfromAustin,Texas(MelonieAlspaugh,PeterandColinStrickland) toreconfor cavesonthe Sierra Los Llanitos, akarstridgelocatedontheAlaquinesquadrangleinSan Luis Potosi. Inordertogettherewefollowed adirtroadforabouttwohoursheadingsoutheastfromCiudadDel Maiz.Ourdestinationwasa locationmarkedEl Tepozanonthemap.However,theroadfizzledoutatSan Gabriel,whichconsists of one residence locatedalongtherimof a closedkarstvalley.Wecrossedtwootherkars t valleys be fore reaching San Gabriel.Uponarrival,weintroducedourselvestoaSenorRodolfoRucobaandhis son, Aurielo,whowas visitingfromHouston,Texas.ThiswasconvenientbecauseAurielospokefluentEnglish.WesoondiscoveredthatRodolfowasthecaretakerof a 4,000hectareranch. BothSr.RodolfoandAurielowereveryfriendly.Theyshowedus a place tosetupcamp,andguidedusaroundtheareathenextdayinsearchof caves. At theendofthe tripwemettheownerwhowas also quite friendlyandshowedinterestinourcaving activities.Heextendedhispermissionfor us tocampandcave ifwereturn.Campwas in themiddleofthekarstvalleyunderaverylarge liveoaktree. The valley floorisbrokenbypasturefieldswithscatteredlarge liveoaktreesandnumeroussinkholes.Itis averypicturesquesetting. However, theidealnature. of thecamplocationwasoffsetbythe lack of availabledrinkingwa-26terandthehorrendousnumberofticks.Aftereachdaysouting,wehadtogroomourselves for ticks.Manyofthecavesthatwerefoundarelocatedaboutsixtymetersoffthevalley flooratthe footoftheSierraLosLlanitos.Thesewereusuallypitsorentrancesatthebottomof asmallsinkholeattheendof adrystreambed.Onepitthatwasfoundhasa largetenbyfive-meterwideopeninganddropsfree foraboutfortymeters. Atthebottomatightpassagecontinueswithaslightsucking breeze. Ahammerwill be requiredforpushingfurther.Mostofthecavesthatwerefoundaresmallwitha single 10to 20-meterpitwitha smallroomatthebottom.Twoofthe cavesthatwerefound,CuevadeSan GabrielandCuevadelos Ecos,hadmultipledropsdowntoabout90m. Both cavesendedinsumpsatwhatappearstobewatertable level. ThesumpinCuevadelos Ecoscontainedmanylargeisopodsatleastthreetofourcentimeters in length. Inadditionto theisopods,the caves containedwhatappearedto be largewolfspidersfromeighttothirteencentimetersindiameter. Twocavesthatwerefoundhadanactive colony ofvampirebats.FourtripsweremadefromthekarstvalleyatSan GabrielupontothekarstridgeSierra Los Llanitos. Thisrequireda significant hikeandassuch,onlya limitedareawascovered.Two sizeablepitswerefoundnearthevillage of Tepozan. The first pit, S6tanodeTepozan, is aone-and-a-halfbytwo-meterwideopeninginrillenkarrenlocatedwithinthevillage limitsandisusedas agarbagedump.Thepitisapproximately90mdeepandisbrokenupbytwoledgeswithsteepscree slopes.Thebottomof the pit is achamber15metersin diam eter. Thesecondpit, Tepozan Pit16,is a littleover60mindepthandislocatedabouttwohundredmetersfromthevillage. According to the localinhabitants,theseweretheonlycavesintheimmediatearea. The localsspokeofsomeothercavesthatwerelocatedaboutanhourorsohikefurtheraway. Thedaywasneartheendsowehadtohurryoffthemountainbefore thesunsetandfogcamein. In the foganddark,the trailscanbecomeveryconfusing.Thesamevillagerswhomentionedtheothercaves werenotseenagain.Itseemsthatafterthedaytheyguidedthewayto TepozanPit16,theyleftthevillage forCiudadMaiztoattenda festival.Onthelastday, a hikewasmadetocheckthelargesinkholeshownonthetopomaplocatedbetweenElTepozanandYerbabuena. Atthebottomof the sinkhole the terrainismadeupofruggedrillenkarrenandthickjungle. Hik ingaroundforopeningsbecame toodifficultataskfor adayhike soonlytheimmediatebottomwassearched;theperimeterofthesink holeremainsunchecked.Thelimestoneis thicklybeddedbothinthevalleyandontopofthekarstridge.Thedipisverysteepandmeasuresbetweenforty-fiveandsixtydegrees.The axis of the anticlineappearedto be located in thecenterofthekarstvalley. Only a fractionofthe totalkarstareawaschecked,mostlikelymanymorecavescanbefound.Judgingbythecavesthatwefound,bytheshallowdepthto thewatertable,andbythesteepdipof thebeddingplane,inall probability, thecaveswillbesmall.

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23,IIi:....I\I-IIIIo.....'A-ION ;Jf,I_..a.1Is0;ji27

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER234mNorthNorthScale2oProfile Viewlength12mdepth3mdrawnbyP.C. Lucas, July 22, 1998Scale6m90-degree Profile ViewSwarm CaveSanGabriel,SanLuisPotosi,MexicoUTM Zone 14E449920N2453595AlaquinesF-14-A-88compassandpacesurvey P. Lucas -21March 1998 UTM -Zone14 E449980N2453920AlaquinesF-14-A-88length5msurveybyP.Lucas, TShiftlett24 March 1998SecondTimeCaveSanGabriel,SanLuisPotosi,MexicoSotano de TepozanSan Gabriel S.L.P. MexicoApproximate North40\PLANvrEW\oScale10<--------JMeters60lffME1445124480N 2454897 Memory SketchBy:Tommy Shifllett March 20, 1998PROFll.EvrEWCueva de los EcosSanGabriel,SanLuisPotosi, MexicoPlanViewSheet1 of 2t.l'2mC:2mC//../i'"2mCz...Mud Pit From HellP7.8m0el__c::.cSi::==:::i10mEntranceP1.8m21-24March1998 M. FiccoJ.GanterP.LucasB.SchwartzC.SchwartzT.ShiffiettUTMZone14E449680N2454160Length:196mDepth:95mDrawnbyJ.Ganter28

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23PlanViewOPC3 CaveSanGabriel,SanLuisPotosi,Mexico4mScale2oEntrance90-degreeProfileViewNorthNorthPlan ViewT. P. CaveSanGabriel,SanLuisPotosi,4mEntrance-Scale2o270-degree Profile View UTM Zone14E448250 N 2455650 A1aquines F-14-A-88 lengtb 10m depth 8m compass and pace surveyP.Lucas 18 March 1998drawnby P.C.Lucas.July22.1998UTM-Zone14 E448320depth6m N2455120Alaquinesf-14-A-88surveybyP.Lucas.,T.Shifflett18March1998drawnbyP.C.Lucas. July 22.199831D-degree ProfileViewView\EDtraneeUTMZone14E 449630N2455500Alaquines F-14-A-886mBloodyFissure CaveSanGabriel,SanLuis Potosi,Mexicodepth 19.7mdrawnbyP.C.Lucas. July22,1998North Scaleo3surveybyP.Lucas. T Shifflett -18March1998Thiscave hascleanwashed walls withsharpedges.Itis awetweatherinputScaleo5 10m 2meter diameter black guanodeposit from vampirebatroostsurvey by P. Lucas. J. Ganter 25 March 1998 15 meter handline neededNorthUTM-Zone14E 449450 N 2454670 Alaquines F-14-A-88 length46mdepth27mVampire HoleSanGabriel,SanLuisPotosi,MexicodrawnbyP.C.Lucas.July22,199829

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23HarvestmanPitSanGabriel,SanLuisPotosi,MexicoProftle ViewtJUTM -Zone14E449700EntranceN 2453900/.r,)AlaquinesF-14-A-88'1/:.length28mdepth 12mNorthoPlan ViewScale2 4msurveybyP. Lucas, T Shifflett -25March1998drawnby P.C.Lucas, July 22. 1998PlanViewdepth12m270-degree Profile View survey by M. Alspaugh, P. Lucas -21March1998drawnbyP. C.Lucu.July22,1998EntranceNorthPlan View600Scale3UTM Zone14E448770N 2455600Ataquine.F-14-A-88Mosquito HoleSanGabriel,SanLuis Potosi)Mexicoosurvey byP.Lucas. T. ShiffJe([4mdepth1O.6mMisty Morning PitSanGabriel,e!)SanLuisPolosi,Mexico6tUTM -ZODe14E448390 N 2455350AlaquiDesF-14-A-88Entrancedrawn byP.C. L""as.July22, 19989O-degrecProfLIeView Scaleo2(2Hanging Root CaveSanGabriel,SanLuisPotosi,MexicoUTM -Zone14 E449680N2453780AlaquinesF-14-A-88Pack:Rat nestNorthlength36.500 depth600Scaleo10 20msurveyby, P. Lucas, T. Shifflett -22March1998ProfileViewLotsofroots 3ill4 melers long haollingdownthrough ceilingformationsdrawnbyP.C.Lucas, July 22.199830

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23P3,20m P4,6mP5,8m80305040P6,6mtopoffissureCuevaEntrancede los0Ecos10SanGabriel,SanLuisPotosi, Mexico20Mud Pit From HellP7,8mnarrow90100m135-degreeProfileView31

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23TepozanPit16Nm143mRCJo1020breakdownchoke 21March1998M.FiccoJ.GanterB.SchwartzUTME14451221 N2454754Length:80mDepth:63mJG40305060"152ln, I10o5compass and pace survey P. Lucas -20March 1998drawn by P.C.Lucas. July 22, 1998SierraLosLlanitos,S.L.:P.LaSierraLosLlanitos se encuentra a cercadedos horas despuesdemanejar hacia el sureste, a partirdeCiudad delMaiz,San Luis Potosi.Algunosespele61ogos ex ploraron partedeesta sierra encontrando en la proximidaddela comunidaddeSan Gabriel varias cuevas pequenas.Lamayoria son tiros poco profundos pero dosdeelias alcanzan una profundidadde90metros en varios tiros multiplesqueterminanenpozas,las cuales probablemente representan el nivel freatico local. Seencontraronis6podos grandes en la pozadela Cuevadelos Ecos yenalgunasdeestas cuevas viven tambien coloniasdemurcielagos-vampiro. Se visit6 la parte altadela sierra locali zandose el S6tano Tepozanyel tiro Tepozan 16,de90y60metrosdeprofundidad, respectivamente. Existenbuenasproba bilidadesdeencontrar mas cuevasenel area pero todas elIasmuypequenas. oScale2North4m 27o-degree Profile ViewLitleSpiderCaveSanGabriel.SanLuisPotosi.MexicoUTM Zone14E449610 N 2454390AlaquinesF-14-A-88length 10m depth8m32

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23PROYECTO ESPELEOLOGICO PURIFICACION1997-1999ACTIVITIESPeter SprouseIn thepasttwoyearsPEP cavers have ranged farandwideacross the projectstudyarea. TwoundergroundcampsinSistemaPurificaci6n haveaddedfive kilome ters to Mexico's longest cave. CuevadelTecolote,thesecondlongestcave in the area,hadnearlyfourkilometersaddedduringanotherundergroundcampexpedition.Across thestatelineinNuevoLe6n recent tripshavefinallyresultedinthediscoveryofmajorcaves, in cluding the longest inthatstate. More detailedreportsareavailable in the PEP journal,theDeath Coral Caver,available from:P.O.Box 8424, Austin, Texas 78713.slsTEMAPURIFICACIONIn December 1996,twentycavers establishedCampVII in the World Beyond sectionnearthe Brinco En trance. A series ofdropsstartedthe yearthattookoffhalfwaydownthe Angel's Staircase, calledtheEthiopianSponge,intersecteda horizontalpassage.Upstreamitwent60meters to ablowingflowstonepinch,whiledownstreamkept going to thenorth.AteamledbyJean Krejca wasmappingdownthiswhentheyheardashoutfromthebottomofa virgin pit.ItwasPeter Sprouse, whoseteamwassurveyingleadsup from thebottomof the Angel's Staircase. A large loopwastherebycreated. Halfwaydownthe Angel's Stair case ashortclimb led into a horizontalseriesneartheCanalofUlysses. This section, the ChuckleWay,lednorthto a blindpitandalsosouthtoapitas well. This re mains agoodleadthatcould be heading off into anewarea. Meanwhile,backupnearcampintheWorld Beyond, Tacovanleperenbecamecuriousabouta flows tonemoundononesideof thetrunkwhichcavershadbeenpassing for years. Atthetophefoundablowingleadwhichgaveaccess to anewstreampassage,BatwingBoulevard.Directionalhelictite flagsgavethepassageitsname.After abathtubsoakthepassagebeganclimbingupasteepdip.Acoupleofblindroutesfizzledoutbefore theairflowwasregained.Thepassagesplitandled to lead climbs. This sectionholdssignificantpromiseofleadingto ahigherentrancesince itisthe firstpassagein thesystemto have crossed the World Beyond synclineandisprogressingupthewestflanktowardsinks inNuevoLe6n.Altogether2298 meters hadbeenmappedduring the camp.InMarchof1997, fifteen caversmovedintoCampInotfar inside thelowestentranceto thesystem,Infiernillo.Muchofthefocuswasonthe Confusion Tubes,whicharealways apleasuretomapin. Thetubesareabraided,dippingmazein clean-washedbedrock.Wellovera kilometer ofnewtubesweremapped,includinganewconnectionbetweenthe easternandwesternsections called the Detente Tube.Tothe east, thedryupperlevel area called Arrakis was revisitedbySusie Laskoandcrew,with350 metersaddedintwotripsandleads remaining. West of theConfusionTubes an old lead calledNapoleon'sDomewasscaledusinga Hitachipowerdrill. This resulted in the dis-coveryofablowing,descendingpassagecalledtheWeston Way.HopesofbypassingtheInfiernillosumpsweredashedwhenitdegeneratedintotiny tubesandvarious digswhichproved fruitless. The effortsatCamponeproduced2245metersofnewsurvey.TheannualPEP"SummerCamp"1.ofJuly1997includedtwotripsintotheupperpartof the system. ViatheBrinco entrance, the EternityStreamwaywaspushed,yield ing 160metersendingatthe "90 KilometerPizzaRoom,"namedforthenewlengththecave,andforwhattheteamdidn'tgettoeatfor lunch.Enteringthe Franceses entrance ateamdescendedto the ValkyrieRivertopushacrawlwhichwouldhopefullybypasstheupstreamsump.TheFoghornPassagedidn'tregain the river,butleads remained. Sowhenalargecrewagain gatheredintheareainDecember1997,threeteamsreturnedto the ValkyrieRiver. Twopushedthe leads in theFoghornPassage,butthey allgotsmall.Thethirdteampushedacrawlwayoff theriverwhichrequiredtrenchingtogetinto.Itopenedup,andstill continues as theEmbouchurePassage.Nextto bepushedonthis expeditionwasthepromisingareaaboveBatwing Boulevard. The two lead climbrouteswereconnected,andthepassagecontinuedas a forty-fivedegreeramp.This leadmayhavetoawaitforanotherCampVII trip.SISTEMAPURIFICA06NAREAInDecember1996, the explora tion of cavessurroundingSistema33

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23NoAirDig.Dug.DownProfile240Viewlleplh: 150mPEP#371'l1.1)"'.f'off"J"TinajasArea,NuevoLeon,MexicoPozo del LantriscoSunlo&tape survey 1/98 by : Cyndie Walck, Tim Palmer, Barbara Luke, Dan Green, 031e Chase, and Patrick Brady Drafted by: Cyndie Walck Staodard PEP symbols0-EntranceTag"""'-J,,-,-,WV/BollTwin PitsCueva Nadolig, a promising cave above Cuchilla,wasbottomedin July 1997atanextremelynarrowbeddingplane, 74metersbelowthe entrance. Farther south, near Revilla, anewpitwasshowntothecavers,whichthey named GrietadeLuisinhonorof the guide. Thiswentwell for fivedrops,finallypinchingat-96meters. Anumberofotherpitsintheareawere alsomapped,includ ing 70-meter-deep PozodeFlordeMayo. A local ladshowedaninteresting blowingcracktothecaversonthehilljustsouthofConradoCastillo. This looked hopeless togetinto,butthere wasanopencavejustbelowit. With thereturntripinDecember1997, this cave, Pozo Nueces, wasamongthe first checked. UnPurificaci6n continued. AnewpiteastoftheBrinco en trance, Pozo Raspacielos,wassurveyeddownseveral nice pitches to endat-77 meters. Efforts contin ued in S6tanodela Cuchilla toopenupthe blowingcrawlatthebot tom. In July 1997,aftermorediggingMaria Tehranywasable tosqueezethroughthreeconstrictionsintogoing passage. A seriesofmazypassagesandpitsweremappedfor 214 meters,withtheairseeminglygoing intoanothertinydiglead. Bev Shade led atripbackto this cave the nextmonth,wheretheyaccomplished alotofdiggingbutnotmuchnewlength. The December 1997tripconcen tratedoncompletingthesurveysin this area,butanewsidelead was also found. So Bev ledanothercrewbackinMay1998. In the bot tomareatheydiscoveredabypassto thedropinto theOrcaBattleground.They alsopushedaleadthatwentupwards,whichincludedsomewalkingpassageanda climb, theUrchinDome.Anotherdomeanda crawl leadremaininthis area. InNovember1998,diggingwasdoneonleadsatthelowestpointin Cuchilla. Twodigslookedprettygrim, while a third stillshowssomepromise.34

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23S'-"'L-EIHI1ETEIt:)5fortunately, it pinchedwithnogreatexciting leads. Anumberofothersmallcavesweredocumentedonthis trip, includingawet-weatherresurgencecavebetweenConradoCastilloandRevilla,CuevaAvispaAranaViudaNegra.This led to asqueezewhichwaspassed,andto the topofablowingdrop.Anotherwindylead wasEntradadelViento Alta, a leadleftoverfrom the 1970s. Susie Lasko led ateamwhichgotupadomeclimb in thiscaveto find atightstreamcrawl. Thisblowsgood,butwill need to beenlarged.Severaltripsinthe fallof1998spearheadedbyKevin Stafford exploredandmapped"DragonAntler"CavenearCuchilla,whichpinchedat69metersindepth.YERBABUENA AREAInDecember1996,aneffortwasmadeto locate anewentrancetoCuevadelRioCorona.Previousexplorationinthisresurgencecavehadendedwhenclimbshadreachedtheundersideofa trash-filledsinkwhichcouldn'tbedugfromunderneath.Withthe helpofasurfacesurveyandanItronixlaptopcomputerthe general location was establishedanddiggingbeganintwoadjacentsinks. In lessthantwohoursthe RioCoronahadthenewAnoNuevoentrance.Thismadefor amucheasierrouteintotheupperlevelsofthecavewhereamultiday,andultimatelyunsuccessful, bolt climb wasmadeinsearchofa connection to SotanodeLasCalenturas.AnewentrancefoundnearCalenturasdidresultin anewentrancetothatcave, called FlordePena.TINAJASAREAInAprilandMay1997 Julie Jenkins, William Russell,andCharleySavvassearchedforcavesaroundTinajas,NuevoLeon, fivekilometerswestofSistemaPurificacion.Theydiscoveredquitea few pits,mappingSirnaColgada(47 m)andS6tano del Pais tie(38m). Theirmostinterestingdiscoverywas a tiny holetakingahugedraftofair. This510Pozo de CornuallesLength:56.7 Meters Depth:54.7MetersTag1385DraftedByVivianLoftinMay17,1998NtPLANVIEWSC.ALE:III'-i015ME.TE.fl.:'Tinajas, Nuevo Le6nCompassandTapeSurveyDecember27,1997MelonleAlspaughPeteHamblyVivianLoftinPeterSprouse-y-{}PROF ILE.-25PLAH'J1t:.1-l"TE.HTfl....Hc.e-5Uo-55-So-30-20-15-to-3535

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AMCSACTIVITIES NEWSLETTER NUMBER23ENTRANCE,0it-10IL20Ir30[Iu".NOTTOO?:"WELLTOOPHARR P141SIMA CHUPACABLEPOTRERITOS, NUEVO LEONPEP 360 SUUNTOS AND TAPE SURVEY27-30DECEMBER1997PAffilCKBRADY, KATRINA HAWKINS, SUSIE LASKO, JEAN KREJCA, BARBARA LUKE, STEVE MULHALL, TIM PALMER, PETER SPROUSE, KEVIN STAFFORD, CYNDIEWALCKDRAWN BY CHARLEY SAVVAS AND PETER SPROUSE LENGTH;486METERS DEPTH; 402 METERS PROYECTO ESPELEOLOGICO PURIFICACION COMPOSITE PLAN VIEW?5 102.02,5metersENTRANCE<2)4:,''...u::__:_::--ALIENDROPP39u.mumuuu;;'--".--UUOSUCKgo..20mto4ump"IIP 16Lr)IrJUUDSUCKgo20mtoeumpmu'bPROFILE: 255" VIEWP25...ProWINDYWINDOWWELLP40TUG-().WARWELLP85,..300...370.,.'70... ...310l'30'50170..f:l'3036

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23wasdugopento a 15-meter pit, below which was a constriction into averydeeppit. ThiswasenlargedandCharleywasabletogetto thebottomof thispitchaftera 140meterdescent,onlyto findanotherdroptaking air. This cave,whichafter several it erationsbecameknownas SimaChupacable(IfRopeeater Pit"),wasthenthe focus of theDecember1997 expedition.Itwasmappeddownninedropsto-402meters,atwhichpointthe airseemedto belostupadome.Anastylowair spacemudduckwasexploredpastthe survey,downanother20meters to asump.Twenty-fourothercavesweremappedin the Tinajas valleyonthisexpedition.ThedeepestofthesewasPozodelLantrisco, a smallentrancethatwentdownseveralpitchestoadepthof150 meters. Simadelas Malas Mujereswas71metersdeep,andPozoCornualleswas55metersdeep.Pozo Sin Sexowasstillgoingwhentheexpeditionleft,andseemedto beatleast 60metersdeep.Likewise, ablowingcavenorthofthe village,CuevadeKatrina,wasleftblowingandgoing.Whenthis cavewasre visitedinDecember1998,itunfortunatelypinched.SOUTHERNKARSTS6tanodeSan Marcos, locatednearthesouthernextremeof the Purificaci6n karst,hadnotbeen visitedforfourteenyearswhenaneweffortwasorganized in March 1998.Previouslymappedat1019meterslongand126metersdeep,numerousdomeleadshadremained. Withthisinrnindsixcaversenteredthe cave for atwodaystay.Oneeasilyaccessible lead, the Jolly Rancher,wentdownashortdropto asumpas expected. Themaineffortconcentratedontwoleadclimbingprojects. At Moaning RockDome,Susie Lasko led thefirstpitchsuccessfully.PeterSprousebeganthenext one,butranoutofprotection.Fartherinto the cave was themainlead,FlatrockCanyon. Char leySavvasandTimStich bolted a longtraversetoreachgoingpas-METE RS5o101520 Profile View:255"Suunto andTapeSurvey October December 1995A.Dyer,M.Hardin.J.Hepler. B. Koeppen,T.Lanier,C.RoSers,e.Sawa.,K.Slafford,M.Stranon,S.Tallichel,J.Welf. DraftedbyK.Stafford-..-..Plan View: 255"10I/----'--.o.:t)....-....1...d-----..J'Cueva Cerceta del DragonConrado Castillo, TamaulipasPEP388Length: 130 M, Depth 70 MMETERSoI\.._--.",....,,'1.)....,-37

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23sage. Several free-climbs led to a largedomeroom,the Hall of the Blood-sucking Smurfs. Thiswasalso climbed,atleastpartway,towhereacanyonledoff. This becamepluggedwithnastyoverheadbreakdown,sothesmurfdomestillneedstobeclimbed to the top. Alsoonthis trip,thecavers wereshownanothercavejustupthe canyonfromSan Marcos,CuevadeAnastasio,whichwasexploredfor70meters to a crawl. Pictographswereseeninthe entrance. Atinyhole in thearroyobelowthis cave blows air,andmayconnectto San Marcoswhichisdirectlybelow it.InthedayspriortotheSanMarcos trip,anotherteamhadre visited a resurgencecavetenkilometerstothenorth,called Ojo Encantado. Thispreviouslysumpedjustinside the entrance,butduetodryconditionswasnowopen.JeanKrejcaandSteveTaylorwereable toswimacross a lake to reach a seriesofwaterfall climbs.Itwas left asgoingpassage,whichwehope topushagainin 1999 ifwaterlevels permit.Itishopedthatfurtherstudiesinthesetwosoutherncaves will help reveal the destinationofgroundwaterflowalongtheeastflank of theJaumaveValley.CUEVA DELTECOLOTESixteen cavers,includingthreefrom MexicoandonefromCanada,participatedintheMarch1999 PEPexpeditiontoCuevadelTecolote, Tamaulipas. The objective of thistripwastoworkleads accessiblefromCampI,whichhadnotbeennotoccupiedsince 1990.Nomappinghadbeendonein the cave since theCampIIItripsixyearsearlier.Oneleadofprimeinterestwasthe climbatJellybean Junction. This led tothediscoveryofanewflow ingstream,theJellybean River.Itwaspushedsouthwardfor 1000 meters, in thegeneraldirectionofSotanodeTrejo, to asump.Mostothermappingwasconcentratedin thespinybrecciazoneof the MickeyMouseMaze. The MissouriCrawlwaylead developed intoanextensivenewsection calledSouthPark,with800metersmappedandmanyleadsremaining. Abitfarthersouthinthemaze, the Gargoyle GalleryextendedintotheTazmanianTrunk,whichwoundthroughnumerousloops to tie into the ChihueFreewaynearRuthy'sEar Duct. Thiscreatedalargeloop,andnumerousnewleadsaswell.Altogether,3918meterswereaddedto the survey, making the cave 35,949 meters long.CRETACEOUS PARKTheDecember1998expeditionsetoff to check anewareaalongashalecontactnearGarza,NuevoLeon. Thesouthernsectionofthiscontact,informallyknownbycaversasCretaceousPark,hadyielded ahandfulofinterestingbutnotparticularlysignificant cavesovertheprevioustenyears.ThistimetheareanorthofInfiernoCanyonwasthetarget,wherenumerousstreamsinkscouldbeseenonthe air photos. Thesesinksprovedextremelyproductive,withnearlyeveryoneyieldingamajorcave, Atthesouthendofthe line ofsinksbythecanyonwasSumideroAnaconda,alargeentranceundera highheadwall. This cave featured aspectacularseriesofcanyonpassagesinterspersedwithnumerousropedrops.Itendedatadepthof 278metersinanunpromisingflowstonepinch.Lengthwas1246meters.ThenextbigcavealongthecontactwasSumideroSuchomimus,wherealargevalleydisappearedintotwoentrances.Onetookthearroyoina4-meterpitch, while theadjacentsecondentrancewasan80-meterdropwitha waterfall enteringpartwaydown.Thearroyoentrancewentdowna series ofshortdropsto tie into theotherentrancepartwaydownthedrop,formingthewaterfall.Numerousinfeedersoff thisrouteled tomajorcanyonpassagesandanotherentrance.Downstreamfromthebottomofthe80-meterpitastreampassageledtoanotherPeter Sprouse April 1999PURIFICACIONSPELEOMETRYLong Caves (Lengthinmeters) Deep Caves (Depth in meters)1Sistema Purificacion, Tamaulipas90470 1Sistema Purificacion, Tamaulipas9572Cueva del Tecolote, Tamaulipas35949 2Cueva del Tecolote. Tamaulipas424 3Sotano de Las Calenturas. Tamaulipas83083Cueva de La Llerona. Tamaulipas412 4Cueva de La Llorena. Tamaulipas3540 4Sima Chupacable. Nuevo Leon402 5Sumidero Suchomimus. Nuevo Leon2614 5Sumidero Suchomimus. Nuevo Leon3176Sotano delaCuchilla. Tamaulipas2505 6Sumidero Anaconda, Nuevo Leon2787Cueva del Rio Corona, Tamaulipas23017Cueva de las Calcetines Rosas, Nuevo Leon222 8Cueva Paraiso Dificil, Tamaulipas17998 Sotano de la Cuchilla, Tamaulipas2079Cueva del Borrego, Tamaulipas1354 9El Hundido, Tamaulipas18610Sumidero Anaconda, Nuevo Leon124610Cueva Paraiso Dificil, Tamaulipas17838

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23dropseries 100metersdeep.Beyond,a longstreamcanyoneventuallypinchedinflowstone. At 317 metersdeepand2614meterlong, Suchomimus is thelongestcave inNuevoLeon.TothenorthofSuchomimuswasanotherstreamsink,Cuevadelas Calcetines Rosas. Thisdroppedmoresteeplythantheothersthroughsteeplydipping,cleanwashedbedrock.Explorationstoppedat-223 metersatthetopofadeeppitwithariverbelow. This is headingtowardyetanotherarroyocave fathernorththatwasdiscoveredastheexpeditionended,SumideroTiranosaurioRex.Needless to say, this area willbethe scene of alotoffuturePEP activity.Proyecto Espeleo16gico Purificaci6n,1997-1999En el campamento subternineodediciembrede1996 al Sistema Purificaci6n se visit6 ''The World Beyond", ElMundodel MasAHa,topografiandose 2,298 metrosdenuevos pasajes. En marzode1997,del campamento cercadelaentradaaInfiernilloresultaron2,245metrostopografiados,induyendodentrodeestosmasdeunkil6metro dentrodelos Tubosdela Confusi6n. Dentrodeotras cuevasquetambien se exploraron y topografiaronenlos alrededores del sistema. Cercadela Yerbabuena se limpi6 una nueva entrada superior a la CuevadeEl Rio Corona.Seintent6 conectar este sotano al sistema pero sin buenos resultados. Despuesdeunavisitaenabril y mayode1997, se comenzo a trabajarenunanueva area cercana a TInajasdondese exploraron muchas cuevas, incluyendo la Sima Chupacable. Chupacable desciende caslenunangulodenoventa grados hastaunaprofundidadde402 metros. Despuesdeestos la cueva sigueporaproximadamente veinte metros mas porunpasaje pequeno y100080,sin topografiar, hastaunsif6n. En el campamento subtemineodemarzode1998 se adicionaron 3,918 metros mas a la longitud topografiadadela Cueva del Tecolote. En diciembrede1998 se visitounanueva area a10largo del contacto lutita-caliza, cercana a la comunidaddeGarza,NuevoLoon y al norte del Can6nElInfiemo. Varios arroyos sehundenal pasar el agua de la lutita a la caliza.Deentre estos el SumideroAnaconda alcanz6 una profundidadde278metros hasta terminarseenformacionesdecoladas estalagmfticas.ElSumidero Suchomimus tienedosentradas:unapequefiaquevienedeunarroyo yungrantirode80 metros. Este sumidero se topografio hasta 317 metrosdeprofundidad y2614metrosdelongitud.LaCuevadelosCalcetines Rosas, otro sumidero, desciendedeunaforma mas vertical que las otras ytOOavlatiene pasajes sin explorar aunaprofundidadde223 metros desdedondeunrio sigue auntiro profundo.39

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23DosAGUAS AREA, M!CHOACANChrisLloyd1996 1997 EXPEDITIONOverNewYears 1996-97 a"fastandefficientteam,"gatheredfromfour different Mexican caving clubs, convergedontheDosAguasareaofsouthwest Michoacan toconfirmthe existenceofareportedlybig river cave. Theareawas first identifiedbyPeterSprousewhopassedonthis tip to Mike Fischesserwhoorganized a cavescoopingexpeditionin 1984.Justbeforetheendofthistriptheywereled to acavethatlooked likeitwouldfinally be the"keyto theundergroundhydrology of thisvastarea."Intheirlastthreedaystheyscoopedsome3kmofbigpassageandvowedtoreturn.Anotherlargegroupreturnedin 1985 specifically to explore thiscave(namedCuevaDosAguasbythem;AMCS#14).After threemoretripsinto the cavetheypronouncedit"fully explored"andestimatedalengthof5km. Itreportedlycontaineda "fairsizedmountainstream"whichproved"verydemanding,sportingandchallenging" toexploreandcaused thescooperstosufferfromthe coldafteronlyfivehourseventhoughtheyallworewetsuits.Presumablythisisthereasontheydidn'tsurveywhattheyscoopedeventhoughitwaspresentedas"aworthysurveyproject,"butone"thatwouldrequirea fastandefficient crew." At leastCuevaDosAguasdidhave astreamandtheydidexploreamazingly close to5kmofpassages.Itwashardlyfinishedthoughandprovedto be a fun,thoroughlyen joyable cave tosurvey,anddefi nitely aworthyproject. In awrittenreplytomyrequest40forinformationonwhattheydidin the area, Fischesser expressed hisdisappointmentonwhattheyfoundandsaid"theydidn'tthinkthattheareahadpotentialtohosta big cave." Iwasn'tawarethatNorthCarolinawassowellendowedwithcavesover5kmlongandwithvirtuallyeverypassagebeingbig,easystompingpassagetogeneratesuchanattitude.Theyprovidedno infoonanyofthereportedlythirtypluscavesthey found,notevenavaguesketchofwheretheyweregenerallylo cated. With apreliminarysurveylengthof4.66km itisthelongestcave in Michoacanandevenplaces welluponthe listoflong caves in Mexico.Thatagroupwouldcomeall thewaydownfromthe States for asecondexpeditionspecifically toexplorethatcaveandNOTsurveyathingbogglesmymind(andthatisbeing polite).Ourgroupof nine cavers culledfromtheranksofSMES,UNAM,UdeGandZotzarrivedonDecember27thandeasilylocateda beautifulcampsitecompletewitharunningstreamthatsank150mpastthecamp.With localdirectionswelocatedtheentrancetoCuevaGrandedePuertoHondo(previouslyreferredto asCuevaDosAguasbytheAmericans)whichwasalovelyblackhole12by15macross(lessthanhalf thepreviousdescription)with roofpendantsjustvisiblefromthenearbyroad.Thesameafter noon Vicentestumbledacross a ver ticalcavetheAmericansestimatedto be 120mdeep.The firstdayundergroundhadateamriggingdowntotheriverwhileanotherbegansurveyinginfromtheentrance.MeanwhileVicenteandCurroweredroppingpitsinthecavetheyfound.ThelargeslopingentranceofCuevaGrandedePuertoHondoopenedupintoaconsiderableentrancechamber60mby40m acrossslopingdowntotheleft (south). A small inletcameinhighonthe right,andexitingoutdownontheleftwhichwerebothsurveyedaboutSOmtotheirends.Theupperonecouldpossiblybepushedfurtherthroughasqueeze.Themainwayonisstraightacross thechambertothetopofa7m-pitwhichoffers asurrealviewbackoutto the ferncoveredentranceslopepastspectacularroofpendants.A tall, fossilcanyonpassage leadsdownto theseconddropwhichlandsonalargesandpileaccumulatingfromasemi-activeinlethighupontheleft.Threewaysonpresentedthemselvesatthispointandwechosethelowcrawlontherighttoavoiddisturbinghibernating batsinthestoopingpassagesonthe left. Thisroutealsoseemedto be carryingthemostairflow. At theendofthecrawlanotherthreewayswerepossible, allleadingtodrops.Wechoosethemiddlerouteriggingoffnaturalanchorsdownpasta4mflowstonepitch. A littlestoopingbroughtus to the finalpitchorclimbdown.Wechooseto rigitfromaboltin theroofaswefigureda fair bitoftraf ficoverthe loose rocksonthe climbcouldled to apotentialaccident. Thisdropledusinto a tall, keyholeshapedcanyon,whichisanover flowbypassto themainstreamway.Fromhereteamspushedupand

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23downstreamthenext day.1led the firstupstreamforay in quite a literal sense asmyleadtapeperson(Nancy)hadneversurveyed beforeanddidn'tknowhowto swim! While Iwouldn'texactly callita"goodsizedmountainstream" (wellperhapsIwouldif I lived in the small hills of Carolinathatthey call mountains), itprobably hadabout0.5 cumecs of flow which definitelydidpondin places requiring swimming. Thefirstactualswimcomesabout15mafterenteringtheupstreamroute,butonlylastsabout20m. There follows nicewadinginknee towaistdeepwaterthroughtorturously, twistedandsculptedpassagesaveragingabout4mwideandatleast8mhigh. Generally the roofwasnotvis ible as a fossil phreatic section could be glimpsed above the tallcanyonwe were in. Even there thecurrentpresented noproblem-thoughit certainlysoundedlikewewereina ragingtorrentwhichwouldre veal itself asonlya O.5m-high cas cadethatechoed magnificentlyinthe tall passages. Nancygamelyfollowed inmywake wearingherborroweddiverslifevestwhile theonlychallenge the cave presented tosurveyingwasthatSorianohadtorememberthe compassandinclinometer read ings because the noise of the cas cadesmadeshoutingvirtuallyim possible. From theput-inwesurveyed780m up to the firs t inletandcalleditaday.Nomore realswimsbarredthewayaswecouldpushorpullourselves across along the wallofthe variousplungepools.Therewere three "tricky" cascade climbs,althoughtheywereeasilypassedontherightside, the tallestonebeingabout4mtall. A piece of ex tra webbing could be tied off to aid those followinganddidcome inhandyas thehardestpartwasfind ing agoodenoughhandholdsothatyou coulddrainthewateroutofyourWelliesandbe able then to liftupyourleg. Ramonandtheyounglads (Jesus and Tachi)pushedandsurveyingthe routedownstream.Theyen counteredmorein thewayof small cascadesandplungepoolsthoughalso notedthatnoactualswimmingwasnecessary.Thefirstandsecondsumpbypasseswerepassedandtheystoppedatthethirdsumpwhichwasclosed (asitwasonthe Americans first trip). Theydidman age to locate a likelybypassto thiswhichthe Americansdidn'tdescribe.Theynetted 773mbringingthe caveupto 1997mintwodays.In thissametime VicenteandCurrohadbottomedCuevadeVicente insevendropsfor a totaldepthof 95mandalengthof203m.Partwaythrougha largechamberwaspassedwithplentiful decora tionsandthebottomleftata small,muddyholewithno airflow. Thelastdayof the yearsawtwomoreteamscontinuinginthestreamwayandIwasimpressedthatweactuallygotundergroundwell beforenoon-quitea rarity for a caving expedition. Iwentupstreamagain, this time with VicenteandClaudia, also novicesurveyors, in their firstwetcave. Anhourofsublimesplashinggotus to the first inletandtheninto thestomping passage. Thisuppersection was slightlylargerandlacked the pools of theprevioussection.Fourto sixmeterwidepassagecruisedbyingenerallyankledeepwater.Weoccasionallybecameannoyedwhenthesurveylegsdroppedbelow20m. Thefurtherwewent, thebetterdecorateditbecamewithbeautiful flowstonesanddraperiescoating the walls. Occasionalstalbosseswouldalmostblockthepassagebutwecouldeithersneakbyorduckunderneaththem.Justbefore the secondinlet (actually the third,thoughthesecondhadnopenetrablepassage), a nicegallerywasloadedwithstalactites of all descriptions. After 1222mwecalled ahaltata rims tonedamandgourpoolsthatmarkedthemainsecondinlet.Notbecausewewerecoldortired, (it wasonly4.5hoursofsurveying)itjustseemedlike agoodplace to leave it (and Iknewwehadgottenourlkmminimum).Notabadwayto finishtheyearwithwhatispossiblymybestdayofsurveyingever,bothfor totallengthandpleasant, enjoyableandwelldecoratedpassage.Ramonandtheyoungladsdidmanagetobypassthe three separatesumpsthatmakeupthethirdsumpanddroppedbackinto the activeriverfrom20mupin thephreaticfossilbypass.Continuingdownstreampasta 20m tall,downclimbablecascadetheycameto thesamelowgravelcrawlwaythathaltedtheAmericans.Disappointed,theyfinished offbysurveyingall thesidepassagesinthedownstreamsection includ ing100mupthe Blackwater Inletwhichpassesrightbeneaththe en trancechamberlikelyonitswaytomeetupwithanactiveentranceabout200mfurtherupthemaindoline.Uponfurtherquestioning(andaftervariousfluid refreshments) itwasestablishedthattherewasindeedairflowintheirbypassroute(whilepassingtheantliontraps)andthatthefossilpassagedidcontinueacrosstheothersideof their20mdrop.Byboltingaroundthe wallitlookedhopefulthatawayoncanbe followed. Theamountofairpouringdowntheentranceseriesandthe sizeoftheupperphreaticpassagesabovethe activestreamwaybodeswell fortherebeingpassablebypasses tofurtherdownstreamsumps.Wewilldefinitelybeinggoingbacktoconfirmthathope.The finalmappingtrips concentratedonfinishing theupstreamsectionandthe inlet passages. IcommandeeredtheGourInletwithVicenteandCurroasourpreviouslook-seesuggestedthatthiswouldbe themorephotogenicofthe two.Itwas. TheslightlywarmerwaterwasactivelydepositingcopiousquantitiesofCaC03forming a stair caseofgourdamsthatwefollowedupforabout300m.Inplaces thepassagewasover10mwideandstillplentytall. Atonepointwehadto scale a4m-highverticaldamwhichfortunatelyhada calcitecementedslab projectingoveritsrimthatI was able to tie offwithwebbingto assisttheshortermembersofourteam.Eventuallytheceilingcamedownandwehadtosqueeze41

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23throughbreakdownblocksbeforeitopenedupagainintooneofthebestdecoratedgalleriesinthecave. We,ofcourse,hadleftourcamerasbackontheothersideofthesqueezes.Beyondthattheinletsplitandwecouldonlyfollowtherightbranchinstoopingpassagetoabreakdownblockage.About20mbefore theendasmallopeningontherightaffordedaccesstoamuddyclimboverbigblocksthatwouldappeartobeaccessingthespaceabovewherethebreakdownblocksattheendofthemainpassagehadcomefrom.Thatgaveusagoodobjective toreturnfor.Presumably,wewentpasttheMananaDomethattheAmericansdescribeastheirfarthes t point,surveyingatotalof422m.Wephotographedourwayout,thoughmostlywastedourtime,foras itturnedoutourcombinedflashpowerwasnotenoughtolightupthe large passages,evenwith400ASAfilm.Itwasalsoapparentthatputting flashesinthecenterofthepassagespointingoutatthewall ismuchmoreefficientthenthere verse.Ifwehadtakenthetimetouseatripodandthebulbsetting,thenwecouldhavegottenfineresultswithwhatwehad,butthatwouldhavetakentimethatwedidn'thave. BackinthemainstreamwaythepassagewidthscooperatedingeneratingsomedecentphotosandCurro,ourphotomodelandslaveperson,wasincrediblypatientinbeingaskedto"holdstill"for"justonemore"bythetriggerhappyphotographers.Ramon,meanwhile,hadfinished offthefirstinletas far as awetcrawl(about100mup)andthenCurroheadeduptofinishoffthemainstreamway(whichisprobablytheactualinlet,withthegourdamshavingraisedthelevelofthefloorsomuchtomakeitappearthatitistheinlet). Ihadtoldhimtolookfora flaggedstationnextto aflowstoneinletas hisstartingplacesohedutifullybegansurveyingatthesecondinlet(the false one)andthusresurveyedabout600mofmainpassagewaybeforegettingtohis42realstartingpointwhereIhadlefthimanote.Theystillmanagedto finishanother4S0m tothefirstupstreamsumpbeforecallingita day,leavingthebypassfornextyearsexpedition.Attheendof1996-97expedition,.l\thesurveyedlengthofthecavewas4666mwithmoretobedoneatboththeupanddownstreamextremities.Traveltimefromtheentrancetothedownstreamendisaboutonehourwhileittakestwohoursorsotogettothetopend.Nowherearethereanyseriousdif ficultiesorstrenuoussituationsasattestedtobythenoviceswhoparticipatedintheexpedition.We allusedwetsuitsinanticipationofthecoldwaterdescribedbythepreviousexplorers,butmanyofuswill forgothosenextyearinfavoroffurysuitswithaPVCoversuitasitjustisn'tthatcold.Wellieswithneoprenesocksisthefootwearofchoice asitshouldbeinanywetorcool cave.Infactinthiscavethecoldestplacewasfoundtobeinthelowerpartoftheentranceseriesbeforeyouevengotwet.Ifyouweresittingwhereourthirdpitchwaslocatedyouveryquicklygotchilled,whereasifyoumovedoverSmtothetopofoneofthealternativesyoucouldfeelthewarmaircomingupfromthestreamsectionbelow. VicenteandI finishedoffourfilmwhilede-riggingonthefinaldayandthensurveyed35mintothenearbyactiveentrancethatis likelythesourcefortheBlackwaterInletsurveyedupbyRamonandcompany.OnourwaybacktocampwepokedintoatightentrancethatIhadspottedblowingcold,wetair.ItimmediatelyopenedintoaSmpitbelowwhichcouldbeheardrunningwater. We leftitforthenextyearsexploration,alongwithtwoothermuchbiggerentrancesthatwerere-connedtowhererunningwatercouldbeheardas well. Allthesearewellsituatedtodropintothelowerdownstreamsectionwellpastourlimitofexploration.Soevenifourfourthsumpbypassdoesn'tgowestillhaveafewbackupswithexcellentpotential.Geologically,thelimestoneintheDosAguasareaispartoftheMorelosFormationwhichspansthewidepartofsouthernMexico fromChiapastoJalisco.Thissectionthoughisoneofthefewthathasrudistfossilsindicatingitsstatusasanactualreeflimestonethatappearstohavebeenbuiltdirectlyontopofbasaltandothervolcanic flows.Thefloorofthefurthestreachesofthemainstreamwaywasactuallyonexposedbasaltandotherexposuresofalteredintrusiverockswereseeninthemaindolinewewereworking.Theyweretooalteredtopositivelyidentify. Thesealteredintrusivesarelikelyresponsiblefortheupliftofthelimestonetothepresent2000melevation.Unfortunately,becauseofthestrongalterationaminingcompanyhasstakedalargemineralexplorationclaimoverthewholearea.So,inthenottoodistantfuturewerna yberacingadrillingcrewinthesearchforwherethecavesare. Becauseofthis,nonortharrowis plottedonthemaps.Theparticipantsfor'96-'97 were:ChrisLloyd,RamonEspinasa,VicenteLoreto,JoseAntonioSoriano,NancyTrego, FranciscoRuiz("Curro"),CladiaGaliciadeCurro,HumbertoTachiquin("Tachi"),andJesus Reyes ("Bruce").1997 98 EXPEDITIONTheChristmas-NewYears 1997 98holidayseasonsawareturnvisittotheDosAguasarea.Overatwoweekperiodagroupofuptoseventeencavers,fromthreedifferentcountries,managedtosurveyalittleover3kmofnewcavealongwithanother3kmofsurfacesurveytotiethemall together.WhileexplorationcontinuedinourmaincaveCuevaGrandedePuertoHondo,nowrenamedCuevaVinata, fiveothercaveswereexploredas well,someofthemwithsomeimpressivelylargepassagesandchambers.Themaintargetoftheexpeditionwasthehighlydesired,fourthsumpbypassinCuevaVinata.VinataisSpanishforanalcoholstill-theremainsofwhicharelocatedjustneartheentranceand

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SCALEo250mLenght: 4666mDepth:+17m.-103mPLANSECTIONCuevaVinataDos Aguas Area,Michoacan2Dd&-3rdCucadesSurveyedBy:S.Y.E.S.U.deG.U.N.!.MZotzDec.96-Jan.97Survey -BCRA5cDra1l'llBy:Chris Uoyd(l18in&Autoclld and Onstation)'"s:\)Vl\)...,.....<:::........,.....t"rlVl:z::t"rlVltt"rl...,...,t"rl:z::c:s:tx:It"rlNCAle,,,1.EE""'..........-....;:>"e-loI._p.......3rdCucadcsSump

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23accordingtothe localswholive clos est, give the cave itsname.The firstdaysawalargegrouprigging theentranceseriesandheadingdownstreamto takephotosandlook forthebypass.Wefound thewaterlevels to be abithigherthis year,probablyonly10cm,butenoughtomakethe small cascadesmoresportingandevenrequiring the riggingofanewpitchto avoid onenewcascade.Wemanagedto locate the bypassareabutnottheactualtraverse, theareabeinga multi dimensional antliontrapwiththree different levels.Thereturntripupstreamwas quite exciting especially for theshortermembersofthe crew.Inacoupleofplacesyouhadtolaunchyourselfacross apoolagainst thecurrentandtrytograba holdofthesmoothwallrightwhere the next cascadewaspounding.Nobodywasjumpingtogobackin the next day, thethoughtsofcoldwaterhitting thechestseemedto be the limiting factor. So agroupledbyRamonstartedtheexploration of CuevaAnoNuevo,with Taco and Vicente lead ingaheadto rig pitches. The caveimmediatelydroppedtwoshortpitches into a largedownslopingentrancepassagethatthenopensupintoaverylargeroomabout60by50bySOmhigh. At thebottomoftheroomcouldbeheardsoundsofrunningwaterinthe ac tivestreamwaywhile climbingupontherightled theteamtowhatlooked like thestartofa borehole passage.Theywereluredbythewaterthoughandheadeddownanotherdropoverbigbouldersin the bot tom of the bigroomwhichputthemin a Sm-widestreamwithreason ablecurrentandairflow. The excitementmountedas Vicenteshotoffdownthe right-side passageandthesurveyorsmappeddownthe largemaindrain.Passing nicedecorationsitonlywent150m beforehittingasump.The air flow haddisappearedsomewherepreviously,thoughtherewas a small holeabovethesumpthatlooked likeitcouldbehammered to al10w abodythrough.44With340msurveyedtheycalledita day,withlots left.Stillnobodywasvolunteeringtogodothescarybolttraverse,soteamswentoff to continueinCuevaAnaNuevoandtostartinCuevadeLos Tontos.Ramonheadedupintotheboreholewiththewomenwhile VicenteandNaborheadeddowntohammeropenthesumpbypass. Theboreholeturnedouttobyalmostfull to theroofwithflow stone,butclimbing thisgavethemaccess to theGoldfingerRoom.Sportingaprominentstalagmitewithagoldenhue, thestartofthispassagebeganwithstationnumber007. Theroomwas adeadend,figurativelyandliterally, assomebatboneswerefoundalongwitha lotofguano,suggestingthatthereusedto beanentranceintothissectionbuthas been filled inbythe copiousamountsofmudassociatedwitherosionfromthe loggingonthesurface.The major excitement for thedaywas Ixta's7mfalldownanearvertical climbuplooseboulders.Thefall was only slightlyarrestedbyasurveytape! Theotherendwasbeing heldbyhersisterllli-botharedaughtersofNaborwhowasdownwithVicenteatthetime.Naborhadarrivedthepreviousdaywithhis wifeandfouryoungdaughterswhosenamesatthe time wewerestilltryingto figureout.Thesetwowerenamedaftertwobigvolcanoes,onebeingIxtalcuataptloutsideMexico CityandtheotherIlIiminani in Bolivia,twopeaksNaborhadclimbedin hisyoungerdays.Ipersonallychose torappelbackdownthe climbandamamazedthatshewalkedawayfromit the fallunharmed.Vicentemeanwhilehadmanagedto pass thesumpthroughaverytightpinch,butonlyfoundabout30mmorepassagethatsumpedagainandhadnoairflow.Heemergedin time to join the s urveyorsastheyfinished off hissidepassagefromthepreviousdaywhichalsopinchedoutafter200m,althoughthey passed several climb ingleadsalongthe way. Vicentepushedupstreamforabout100m before hislightfailed, calling for aretreat.Overin thecenterpartofthedolineagroupheadedintoCuevadelos Tontos (Caveofthe Fools)andprobablyTacocanbestteUthe taleofhowthecavereceived itsname:"Itstartedinnocentlyenough.Twogrizzledveteransonnumerouscaving expeditions, Chris Lloydandmyselfwouldshow]azminhowcavingwasreallydone.So offwewenttodoavirginpitChrishadfoundtheyearbefore. The entrancewasexpertlyriggedoff aboulderandare-directionalsling, thepitexpertlydropped,andthen I yelleddownthe hole to Chris,'Iforgotthebolthammerbackincamp.'"Noproblem,wealreadyhadthepitchrigged.Wewouldcontinue. A10mdownslideChrispreparedtorig-atricky looking downclimb.Then]azminpassedhimbyanddescendeditwithoutproblemsandtheclimbwasleftnotrigged. Chrisshookhisheadsaying,'Imustbe losingmyability tojudgeclimbs.'"Wedescendedanextremelypleasantstreamwaydowninto ahipdeepwadein a tallnarrowrift. Twomoreturnslead to a pitch. Boltswereneeded.Wehadnone.Wedecidedtosurveyout.Atapewasneeded.Wehadnone.Ivolunteered torunbacktocamptogettheboltkitandsurveytape.I wasbackinthirtyminutesto find Chris fighting]azmin'snon-functioning,borrowed,ceilingburnerin the en trance chamber.Myelectric became]azmin'snewlightsource.Onwewent."Wesurveyedeverythingto thenewpitchwhichI rigged off two bolts. Wedroppeddowninto increasinglynicerstreampassageandcontinuedsurveyingin 3 to4mwideand10 to20mtallcanyonpassagewhichsuddenlyopenedupintoalargechamberwithnumeroussideleads."Thestreampassedthroughthischamberbackinto alowersectionwhichquicklybecamestoopingpassage,thencrawlinginthestream.Iscoopedaheada bit toconfirmthatitwasstillgoing

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23thoughinsimilarlyunpleasantna ture.Wedecidedtoheadoutintime for lastdaylightandsomehowmanagedtoemergewithoutkilling ourselves."Gettingoutearlyalsogaveus time topreparetoChristmasdinnerasistraditionallydoneonChristmaseveinMexico. A largesmokedturkey(not sotraditional,butappreciatednonetheless)washeatedupin the bonfireanden joyedbyalLEnjoyed toomuchas itturnedoutfornobodywentundergroundonChristmasday. Being well rested,volunteersfinallyemerged togotrythedreadedbolt traverse in Cueva Vinata, again, best describedinthewordsofTaco: "There Idangled,20mabovethe ragging river,tryingto figureouthowtogetacross the climb.MostpeoplespendChristmasholidayswithfamilyoronthe beach. Right now thisdidn'tseemlike abadidea."Aboutthreehoursearlier,RamonandIhadenteredthecave toattempta promising climb across apitwhich looked like itheadedoff into blackness,bypassingtheterminalsumpdownbelow.Thoughaproperlightdimmedourhopesquitea bit, the lead still looked like itmightgo.Ithadto, as there were nootherpossibilities to bypass thesump."The wallswereamuddy slime whichseemedtosticktoeverything. Progresswasmadebyhammeringin boltsandthentraversing across togetaccess tofurtherboltplacements.Mudcoated ev erything. "Three cows tails,twofootloops, a tether for the hammer,themainrope(bothattheboltanddanglingdown)wereall auniformmuddymess.AteachmomentI had to care fully trace the linesbacktomyhar ness so Iwouldn'tdosomethingstupidlike clip intomyfootloops. "Finally, Ihadplacedthree hor rible boltsandwasreadytotryandclimb the rest.Abovemewasa steepmuddyslope,20mbelowmethegappingmawof the pit. The laws of physicsweretryingtogetme to falldownthe pit.Myinten tions were different.Weonlyhad8mrn staticropeto climbonsoadoubleropewasneeded.Ihadto de-rigmyworking rope, pull it backinandtie thedoubleline to myself.Ramonbelayed.Islowlypickedmywayacross,andthenmadethe oldstepupthe crux. Thestreamroaredin excitement.Itwouldgetfed to day."ThenIwasup.Ihadonlyonebigsteptogoandonemeterofropeleft. Iwassafe. The leadwentupamuddy,steepslopewithlots oftrash(plastic bottles mainly).Itendedin aboulderchoke after 20m.Therewasnoapparentairflow. "Some yelling across thepitchled to a safereturntotheotherside. Ididn'tevenneed to leaveanygearbehind. Thestreamroared in frustration. The lawsofgravityandphysicsgottheirrevengethoughbymakingthepackssoheavythatitwashardtogetoutof theswimsandacross the pools agains t thecurrentall thewayout."Lateranoldmanwholivesoverthe hill fromourcampsitecamebytopointoutcaves to usandtold us a bit of thehistoryof this area.Itwasquiteimpressivetoheartheaccountofthewaterflowduringthehurricaneabouttwentyyearsagothatdirectlyhitthisareaandcausedthewaterto floodoutoftheentranceofCuevaVinata,whichissome80mabovetheregularstreamlevel.Thatcertainly explainsthelargemudaccumulationsin places like thefourthsumpnon-bypass. Thewaterpondedintheentrancedoline until it flowedupandoverto thesouthwhereitsankintoCuevadelos Tontos. Wow. Whilenewsofthisdisappointmentslowlysunkin,explorationcontinuedintheothercaves.VicentereturnedtoCuevaAnoNuevoandattemptedoneofthe climbsinthesidepassageoff theriveronlyto findanotherclimb requiringbolting above.Hefinished off thesurveyupstreamendingin asumpandbringingthecaveupto a total of 876.9m.Thebottomstreamway,sideleadsandbottomoverflowpassages inCuevadeLos Tontoswereallpushedtomuddyandtightfin ishes leaving a total for the caveof858.9m.The15mwideentrancerightnearcampwasexplored for 204minCuevadelCampamento.Itwasmainlya bigchamberhost ingvariousbats.Quitequickly the chances forgettinginto themaindrainbelowthefourthsumpnonbypasswerediminishing.Eventhecavethatisin the nextdolinedownhillalongthemainroadupturnedouttohavebeenexploredbycaversfromDraco forsome300m. Surfacewanderingsandsystematicsearchingbyourinjuredscout(Ruth Diamant) locatedoverthirtysurfacefeaturesandresultedinthedroppingofabouttensmallpits, all blind.Anotherpromisinglooking entrancelocatedbyRuthdowntheroadbyPinabetewentall of 39m,thoughtturnedoutto bethelocalhangoutforvampirebats. A breakthroughwasbadlyneeded.Fortunately themaincavewasn'tfinishedandrewardedthose whomadethe longtripupstreamtopushtheGaurPassage. A small hole in the wall located lastyearneartheendoftheGourPassagepoppedupintolargebreakdownpassage.This30mwideboreholewasmappedforalmost500monthe first go,mainlyupanddownoverthebreakdownblocks,withocca sionalglimpsesofthestreambe low. Thisstirredthe excitement as thesamedayRamonandI hadgonetocheckouta large inlet, referredtoasCuevaJumate, the oldmantold uswasthesourceof thewatergoingintoCuevaVinata.Itcertainlylookedtherightsizewithacleanwashed2m-widestreamwaydroppinginto a 15mwideentrance.Itwasblockedwithlarge logsatthebottomof the entranceopening,butsomepokingaboutandlogmovinglocated a little holethatdroppeddownintogoingcave. This restriction seemed tohaveprotectedtherestof thecaveanddownwewentfollowing thestrongairflow. Thismustbe theupperentrancewethoughtto the Gours. Nicewalkingpassagedegeneratedintocrawlingthroughsandin tubes,butatleastitwent.Somehowa logmanagedtogetinthat45

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23Cueva de Vicentenotcome tobe,all enjoyed theotherfive cavesexploredandslowly theundergroundpictureinthatdolineisbeingcompleted.Alsoonthe biology front,studyofthe differentbatswasinitiatedbyClaudia,whoisdoingherMastersonabatcave closer to Mexico City.Heresheidentifiedatleast three differentspeciesincludingvampiresbats. Afterthemajorityhadleft, the fiveCanadiansheadedoutvia Torrecillas,onthewesternedgeof the plateau,andspentashortdaymappingtheoddTorrecillas Cave.Usuallycavesweatherdownre cessively, leaving linesofsinkholesoropenairedcavesegments,butherethe bit of limestonewiththe cave in itwasa raisedridgehold ing the cave in it.Anuppersegmentwentupstreamundertheroadfor 86m in nicewalking/wadingcanyonpas sage. Followingthestreamouttheentranceandacrosstheopengrazing fieldyoucancontinuethrough72m oftheRemnantintheRidgewhichfeaturesnumerousskylights.Furtheracrossthefiledthestreamsinksunderneaththegazeof thetwintowersthatgives the Torrecillasdolineits name.Thereitstartsoutveryencouragingly,butslowlythe ceiling comesdown,thewatergetsdeeperandafter130mwewadedinto the terminalsump.Funwhile it lastedandsomewanderingsaroundthearearevealedotherentrancesthatwillhavetowaitforanotheryear. For '97-'98 the participants were:ChrisLloyd,Taco VanIeperen,MoniqueCastinguay, Kirk Safford,andChandraWongfromCanada; Vicente Loreto,RamonEspinasa,RuthDiamant,JazminGarnelo,Curro,ClaudiadeCurro,NaborCastillo, Illinza Castillo, IztacihuatlCastillo,IlliztCastillo,MistiCastillo,MariaCastillo,SergioNuno,XimenaFernandezfromMexico;andonelone Brit, NickHawkes.20mVlunlalorMo FranciscoRutz:Depth:94.7m length: 203 mPlan ViewDnwnBy:Vl&ClSwveyedBy:Extended N-S Section Looking Westcamedowngiving lessthanameterofspaceabovethewater.Wedecidedthatsurveyingoutwasa preferablealternativeto a full immersioninmuddywater,andnet ted 200m,butweredisappointedinourhopeofdroppinginonthosepushingtheGourInlet.NewYearsDaysawthelasthardpushandgotateampastthepoolweleftinJumate. Thepassagecontinuedthrougha seriesofsimi larlywet,muddypools foralmost150mbeforegettingintolargechambers.Asumpbarredthewayatwaterlevel, whileaboveaboulderchoke looked like itmightheaduptoanotherentrance. Looks like it willhavetowaitfor adryseasonpushto seewhereit goes. While thehopedfordownstreamcontinuationofCuevaVinatadidP12Pl.Dos Aguas Area, Mich.-60M -20M-Ban-40nOMfarandwehadtomoveitto con tinue along abeddingplanecrawlwhich seemed to betakingthe air.Oursuspicion was confirmedwhena1m-wideholeinthe floorwasfoundwithagooddraft.Itturnedoutto be a beautiful, straight,22mdropthatwe christened The Rifle Barrel. After15mina15mdiametertube theroofcutbackopeningupin to a sizablechamberwhichonecan enjoy astheyspinaroundontherope.Theobviouswayonpinchedoutingravelfillimmediately,butanotherrouteonwaslo cateddowna riftouttheotherside. Thisdegeneratedinto a series ofstoopsthroughsmallroomsflooredbysand.Thenthesandled into a poolofwaterwhile theroof46

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AMesACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23Area Dos Aguas, MichoacanEspele6logos, ensumayoria mexicanos, vistaron el areadeDos Aguas, Michoacandurantelas vacacionesdeinvierno 1996-1997 y 1997-1998.Suprincipal objetivo consisti6enexplorar y topografiar la cueva Vinata, visitadaen1985porespele6logos norteamerica nos pero todaviasincontar conunmapa. Despuesderealizar la topograffa se sabequeporesta cueva,pordondecorreunrio, tieneunalongitudde4666 metros. Se exploraron otras cuevasenel area incluyendo la CuevadeVicente, con 95 metrosdeprofundidad; la CuevadeLos Tontos,de860 metrosdelargo y la Cueva AnoNuevocon 870 metrosdelongitud. Las topograffasnoestan orientadas respectoalnorte magneticodebidoaqueunacomparna minera esta tambien explorando el area.l)UARiING(0.'111"iHROOJ(i.\fWIJlRfS,1TO"Et..E6ANIIO"(NlJfoffJ(..(0"1)47

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23PROYECTOCHEVEUPDATENancyPistole and Matt OliphantWehada mission: 1997wastheyearweweregoingto find the elu sivewaythoughthebreakdownattheendofCheve,andregainthe titleofMexico'sdeepestcave.Wehadreasontobeconfident.Onthelastpushtripin1995,wehadcrawled into apassageattheendof anewlydiscoveredroomin thebreakdown,andsawasmallsqueezewitha big, black,emptyspaceontheotherside.Ofcoursethishappenedonthelastdayofthe trip,andtherewasno time forfurtherexploration.HISTORYFirst, a briefbackgroundofthe ProyectoCheveandthefrustratingbreakdown.Themaincave, Cheve, wasdiscoveredin 1986.Inthe four years following, Cheve was acaver'sdream.Oneverytrip,weexploredandsurveyedkilometersofbig passagesanddeeppits. The cavewasmakinga beelinefor the resurgence, 17krn away.Severalotherentranceswereconnected,makingitasystem.In 1991, thesystemreachedadepthof-1,386meters,thedeepestinMexico.In1990,weencounteredabreakdownchokethatfilledanenormous passage,almostsevenki lometersfromtheentrance.Sincethereweremanyotherleads to check,oureffortswereturnedelsewhere. After all,whowantedtotraversesevenkilome ters of bigpassagejusttogrovelthroughtightbreakdown?In'91and'92,theotherleadswerechecked off,onebyone.Theterminalsumpwasevenpushed,butto no avail. Finally, the inevitablewasac cepted: all theairwentthroughthe48breakdown,andthatiswherewewouldhavetogotocontinuetowardstheresurgence.In 1993,twoweek-longundergroundcampswereset,withthespecificgoaloffindingapaththroughthebreakdown.Afterall,therewereseveralotherbreakdownchokesinthe cave,andwehadmanagedto find awaythroughthose (thelongestonerequiresa50mcrawl). Butattheendofthe'93 trip, thepassageweimaginedbeyondthebreakdownwasstillunknown.Allwehaddeterminedwasthatthisbreakdownchokewasvery,verybig.In1995, theplanwastoexpendall efforts topushinonedirection,taking thepathofleastresistance. Adedicatedgroupofcaverscampedundergroundforthirteendays.Inordertousethecampmosteffi ciently,weusedthe"hotbed"tech nique. While the firstshiftworkedonthebreakdown,thesecondshiftslept,andeverytwelvehoursweswitched.Thechosenpathheadedup, inanattemptto find a ceilingorawallto follow.Itwasgruelingwork-movingrocks,digging,hammering,andsqueezing.By theend,wehadpenetrated300mintothebreakdown.Alongthe way,wehadfoundseveralgood-sizedrooms,thelastone,andbiggest,measured80mbySOm.Itwasfromthisroomwherewesawthe black nesspastasqueeze.CHEVE1997InearlyFebruary, the firstwaveofcaversshowedupatthe"llano,"themeadowjustoutsidethemainentranceofCheve. Thecaveislo catedintheSierraJuarez,aboutthreehoursnorthofOaxacaCity, in thestateofOaxaca,atanelevationof2700m.Thellanois a beauti fulplacetocamp.Itissurroundedbyapineforest,andhasa waterfallandstreamrunningintothe cave. Weuseanoldloggingroadtogetclose to the llano,andthisyeartheroadhadbeenimproved.Witha littlemoreworkonourpart, wewereable todrivetowithinfiveminutesofthellano.Inthenextsix weeks, a totalofthirty-onecaverswouldshowupforvariouslengthsoftime.WehadcaversfromtheUnitedStates,UnitedKingdom,Mexico,Canada,Germany,andRussia. Evenwithapromisinglead,onlya few cavershadreturnedfromthe 1995 trip. Thiswasnotgoingtobeeas y work.Thefirstweekanda halfwerespentintheusualway-settingupthellano forcamping,rigging a tree forverticalpractice, rigging thecave,gettingreadyforundergroundcamps,andgettingused to thealtitude.Februarythatyearseemedto bewetterthannormal-itrainedabouteverythirdday.Wesetupa biggrouptentsowecouldcookandsocializeevenintherain. Anothertentwassetupforgroupgear,andthenindividual tents were scatteredalloverthellano.Weriggedtwotrees for vertical practice,completewithknotsandrebelays.Mostcaversrunthroughtheriggingtobrushuponvertical skillsandtomakesureall theirequipmentisworkingandadjusted correctly.Manyofuswerealso learning pick-offtechniques-waysof retrievingacaverwhogetsstuckonarope.Thisyearwealso rigged the

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23headwall, the biglimestonecliffthatholds the caveentrance.Thereisa rebelayatthe top, toprotectthe ropefromthe lip,andthenan86m freedrop.Ascendingtheropemakes agreatworkout,andtheviewatthetopisquiteareward.Becauseofthehighwaterin the caveduringthewetseason,wedon'tleaveanyofthedropsrigged.Itusually takesaboutthreekillerdaytripstogetall theropesinplacedownthroughthe Turbines.Thenthe restofthe cavecanbe riggedonthe trips in to theundergroundcamps. Oneofourothergoalsthis year, besides thebreakdownpush,was to replacemanyofthewell-wornropesandre-rig thedropsusingstainless steel boltsandhangers. When theentrancedropshadbeenrigged years before,nobody imag inedwhatathoroughfarethemainroutewouldbecome.Wewantedto rig thedropsto makeitaseasyas possible to safely negotiate thecavewhilecarryingheavycamppacks.Weusedagasoline-roweredhammerdrill to in stall / s-inch stainless steel bolts.WithageneroussponsorshipfromCancord, wewereable to re place the ropesonthedropsall thewaytoCampII.Abouthalfofthe ropes were replacedwithnylon, thestandardmaterial inusenowformostcaving rope.Onsomeofthewetdropsweused polyester rope. This polyesterropehasmuchlessstretch,evenwhen the ropeiswet.Itwas a pleasantsurpriseto beableto takeonesteponaropeunderastreamofwater,andalreadybeofftheground.Thedrawbackisthatpolyesterropehas toberigged extra carefully, since thereisalmostnostretch toabsorbasuddenshockload.ByFebruary12, the firstgroupwasreadyto go toCampII. Mike Frazier, Peter and Alec Hartley,andTodd Warren loadeduptheircampduffsandheadedin.TheirjobwastosetupCampIIsoitcouldbe used asanintermediatecamponthewaytoCampIIIattheendofthe cave.Theydidn'tknowwhattheyweregoingto find. AgroupofPolish cavershadbeenin thecavetheyearbefore,andsomeofourropeshadbeenstolen. Severalyearsear lieranothergroupofPolish cavershadusedtheCampIIspotandlefttrasheverywhere.Theywerepreparedtodoa bigclean-upifneces sary. Thegroupreturnedthe next day,andsaid itdidn'tlooklikeanyonehad been to thecampsinceweleftitin '95.CampIIwasnowstockedandready to go.Itwastime tosendthe firstbreakdownpushersontoCampIII.CAMPIIITwodayslater, LanceMattsonandMikewerepackedandeagertogetstarted.Theyplannedtospendthe firstnightatCampII,andthengoontoCampIII. BecausetherewereonlyfivesleepingbagsatCampII,caverswouldhaveto go ingroupsof fiveorless. The next day, Peter, Alec, Todd, Bob Riley,andDaniel Laos followedthemin. MikeandLancesetupCampIII.Whentherestofthegrouparrived,theyrealized therewereonlysix sleeping bags for thesevenofthem. Danieldidn'twanttoshareabagwithanyone,sohespentanuncomfortablenight,huddledonlyin hislongunderwear(atCampIIIitisBC).The next day,aftertwoyearsofanticipation,thegroupeagerlyheadedfor the lead. After alotofhammeringona rockyprotrusion,theyfinaIIygotthroughthesqueeze.Justashoped,the black nesswasagiganticroom,120mby90m. Evenmoreexcitingwasthatthe 40mhighceilingwassolid.Maybetheyfinallyreachedthe topofthebreakdownandcouldfind thecontinuingpassageontheotherside!Theymadeonelaparoundthenewroom,butdidn'tseeanyobviousleads. Theroomcontainedsomeoftheprettiestformationsin the cave.WhentheygotbacktoCampIII, Daniel was anxious to exit the cave. Since Bob, Mike,andTodddidnothavemuchvacationtime left,theyalldecidedto exit thenextday.Whentheygotto the surface, wewerethrilled tohearthe news. Thenextgroupstartedpreparingfortheirchancetoexplorefurther.THERESCUEThesamenightthefirstgroupheadedintoCamplItCarl BernandSteve Wellswentinto the entrancesectionofthecaveto find apassagecalledSanta'sWorkshop.Onthefirsttripsintothe cave in the '80s,quiteabitofpassagewasexploredneartheentrance.Santa'sWorkshopwasoneofthe fewthatwasheavilydecoratedwithforma tions.Theareaisverymazy,andnoonehadevergoneback, sincethatsectiondidnotleadto therestof thecave.CarlandSteveweretry ing togetoutofthebadweatheronthesurface,andthoughtitwouldbe agoodwarm-upcave trip to find the fabledpassage.Theyleftintheafternoon,andwerenotexpectedoutuntil lateintheevening.At 9:30PM,Stevecrawleduptoourtent.HesaidthatheandCarlhadbeenscramblingoversomebigbouldersthatbrokeloose.Hefellandsprainedhis ankle,butCarlwaspinnedbyaboulderandwasstilltrappedinsidethecave.MattandPage AshwellwentdirectlytoCarl.Theygotto him in lessthanhalfanhour,andwererelieved to findhimingoodspirits. Miraculously,theenormousboulderthattrappedhimhadagroovein it,andCarl'slegwasinthegroove.MattandPagewereable tobudgetheboulderjustenoughtorestorefullbloodcirculationinCarl'sleg.Meanwhile,abiggercrewonthesurfacegatheredmoregear-asleeping bag, food, scissorsjackrigginggear, etc. Joe Ivy, Becky Jones,John"Rocco"StembetandNancywenttothesceneloadedwithequipment.Theentireareaisfullofloosebouldersandexposedclimbs,soropeswereriggedalongthewaysonooneelsewouldgethurt.Afterexaminingthepositionof the rock,wedecidedthatitwastooriskytomoveit,sowestabilizeditwiththejackandsomerope.Thenwetookturnshammeringoff thepartsoftherockthatwere49

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23preventingCarlfromextractinghis leg.Inaboutanhour, hislegwasfree.Carl'scarbidegeneratorwasamangledmess,andthesteelshankinhisboothadalmostbeenfoldedinhalf,buthis legseemedtobeokay. WewerepreparedtohelpCarloutofthe cave,evencarryhimif necessary,butwhenhefoundhecouldwalkwithoutassistance,heheadedslowlyfortheentrance.Onthesurface,SusanSandershadpreparedabigpotofboilingwater,sowewerealltreatedtosoupandhotchocolate.Weexamined SteveandCarlmorecarefully. Steve's anklewasbadlybruisedandswollen,butwecouldn'ttellifitwasfractured.Carlhadanastycutonhis toeandalotofskinabrasion. Wewrappedandbandagedthemup,andthentuckedthemintheirtentswithpeebottlesnearbysotheywouldn'thavetogetupagainduringthenight.Whenthelocal clinicopened,CarlandStevewenttoseethedoctor.HetoldStevetostayoffhisanklefor aweek,andhedidn'tthinkanythingwasbroken(therewasnox-raymachine).Stevedidnothavethepatiencetostayoff hisankleforaweek,andtwomonthslaterhefoundoutitwasbroken(ouch!).Carlwasgivensomeantibioticssononeofthecutswouldbecomeinfected,andwasalsotoldtotakeiteasy.Hiscutshealedwithoutanyproblems,buthis legwassorefor awhile.THE SECOND PUSHOnFebruary21,Matt,Page,andGlennRandallheadedintoCampIII,withanovernightstopatCampII.Thenextday,DonBroussard,JoseSoriano,andJavierVargaswenttoCampII. Lance, Steve,andRobEvansleftthesameday,butwentdirectlytoCampIII toavoidasleepingbagshortage.Itwasalongtrip,andpainfulforStevebecauseofhisankle.WhenweallarrivedatCampIII,westartedshifts forhotbedding.Ourgoalsweretosurveyeverythingthathadbeenexploreduptothatpoint,andtofindaleadthatcontinuedoutofthenewroom,whichwewerecalling the, "Bigbettercavepassages."50EventhoughHarbingerHallisnotthatfarfromCampIIIindistance,thereis alotofhideouscrawlingandsqueezing,soittakesaboutthreehourstogettherefromcamp.SorianoandJavierhadplannedonvisitingWetDreams,thesectionthatleadsto theterminalsump,sotheyd idn'tgotoHarbingerHallatall.Therestofusspenttwodayssearchingthenewroomforleads,butwithnoluck.Theairdefinitelyflowsintotheroom,butabouthalfoftheroomiscoveredwithascreefloor,andweareafraidtheairisfilteringoutthroughthefloor. After threedays,Rob, Glenn,andPagehadhadenough,andtheyleftforthesurface.Don,Matt,andLancetookonemorelongtriptoHarbingerHallandfinishedthesurvey.ThenextdayDonandSteveheadedout.MattandLancewaitedtwelvehourstopreventapile-uponthedrops,thentheyalsoexitedthecave.THEPHONELINEOneoftheprojectswehadonthistripwastolayaphonelineintothecave.JoeandBeckyborrowedsomemilitaryfieldphonesandacquiredkilometersofindestructiblestainlesssteelcommunicationswire.Joewasconfidentthatwecouldlaythewireall thewaytoCampIII,butotherpeoplewerelessoptimistic.However,justabouteveryoneparticipatedonatleastoneofthemanytripsintothecavetolaythewire.Afterfourweeksofdiligentwork,over3.5kmofcomwirewaslaid toCampII.Themainideawastohavealinealreadyinplaceincaseanyonegothurtandarescuewasneeded.Becauseofthedurabilityofthewire,weshouldbeable touseitonfuturetrips.Luckily,wedidnotneeditonthistripfor arescue,butuseditinsteadtoinformthesurfaceofwherethecaverswereinthecave.Thenoveltyofthephoneneverworeoff,andwecameupwithendless jokeswhenweansweredthephone.Weusedeverythingfrom"Domino'sPizza"to"Yourpartyisunabletocometothephone.Pleasepressoneifyouwouldlike ... "THEPHOTOTRIPItwasfrustratingto findsuchabeautiful,bigroom,andyetnothaveitcontinue.Inthelasttwoweeksofthetrip,KenDavis,PeterHaberland,andIliaZharkovarrived.TheywereenthusiastictoseeHarbingerHallandtakephotos.OnMarch2,thethreeofthem,alongwithNancy,leftforCampII.Kenhadtakenalotofphotosin'95,andhehadcertainareasinmindtotakephotosonthewaytoCampIII.aUfothergoalsfor thetripweretotakeanotherlookatHarbingerHallforleads,andtopackupthecamps.Becauseofthephotos,ittooktwolongdaystogettoCampIII. WehadplannedonspendingthreenightsatCampIII,sowewouldhavetwodaystoexploreHarbingerHall.Thehassleofdraggingallthecameragearthroughthebreakdownchangedourminds,sowedecidedtomakeonlyonelongtriptotheroom.Wewerealsoatadisadvantagebecausenoneofushadbeentotheroombefore,sowehadsomeroutefindingtodo.WhenwegottoHarbingerHall,wemadethemostofit. Wepokedintoeverynookandcrannywecouldfindaroundtheperimeterandtookphotosuntilweranoutofflashbulbs.Theconclusionwasthesame-itlookedasiftheairwasfilteringthroughthefloor. TwentytwohourslaterwestumbledbacktoCampIII. Wehadagoodnight'ssleep,andthenpackedupCampIII. Wewerealreadyrunningbehindschedule,sowewerenotgoingtodilly-dallyonthetripbacktoCampII.Thefirsttimewesawthestreamonthewayout,wewereinfor abigsurprise.Thestreamlevelwasoverhalfameterhigherthanwehadeverseenit.Ithadalready beenhighonthewayin,andwehadseveralwatersectionstogothrough.Wedecidedtocontinue,assuredthatifwecouldn'tgetthroughapassage,wehadcampinggearwithus. WedidmanagetogettoCampII,butitwasnotaneasytrip.Smalltricklesofwaterhadturnedinto

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PROFILE VIEW OF UPPER SECTION 150 degreesWATER SURFACE -1362JohnSchweyen Tina Shirk Jim Smith Peter Sprouse Bill Steele Brian Steele Janet Steele JohnRoccoStembelBillStone Georg Tetzlaff Taco Vanleperen Carol Vesely ToddWanenNancyWeaverSteve Zeman Herb Laager Susie Lasko Lance Mattson Paul Medhurst Gary Mele Karlin Meyers Tom Miller Mark Minion Matt Oliphant Lee Perry Nancy Pistole Steve PorterPelerQuickBitsy Ray Susan Sanders HARBINGER HALL Mason EstesBIIIFarrMike FrazierEmieGarzaAndyGrubbsPeterHaberlandEdHalladay Louise HoseJoeIvyBeckyJonesPatKambesisPeterKeller Michael King Steve Knutson Matt KramarDrafted by CarolA.Vesely, 1993 Updated and prepared for publication by Nancy Pistole, 1997OAXACA,MEXICOMunicipio de CONCEPCION PAPALORolf Adams Stan Allison Bob Bennedict CarlBemJeb Blakeley Peter Bosted Don Broussard Harry Burgess Laura Campbell Don Coons Alan Cressler Ken Davis Michael Denneborg Ruthie Diamante Ram6n EspinasaTotal surveyed length: 24.3 kilometers Depth: -1386 meters Suuntos and tape survey from December 1986 to March 1997 by members of the Cheve ProjectSISTEMA CHEVEAVALON CONNECTION ROOMBLACKBOREHOLE PIT AFTER PIT FLOWSTONE DROPS BEYOND BOLD FALLS400300Viento Frio-Puente Connection14April'90LOWRIDER PARKWAYe:-l (WIDOW MAKER SHAFT200SCALEINMETERS100oMYSTERY DOME?SURPRISE STREAMPROFILE VIEW 240 degrees800600 200 40010001200SCALEINMETERSo1400NIGHTMARE FALLSSUMP -1386

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o-6-40-20-140-160Tree Entrance(dry)SumideroAguacateChapulapa,Oaxaca,MexicoPROFILEwest<-->eastPeter Hartley Joe Ivy Doug Pflugh Carol Vesely Chris Welsh depth: -174m"."sand;--mudr-.l"flowing streamttfIIPPpoolsiphon?unexplored leadTape and Compass Survey byProyecto Cheve in March 1994Total mapped length: 1053.8 m Survey Team: Harry Burgess Rich Close Chris Gibson Peter Haberland Cartography: Peter Haberlandcopyright 1997PLAN50meter40 Legendceiling height"'"'rbedrock..abrupt change of ceilingOQgbreakdown,.,.height: low-(high....dome......narrow jointy.....'11",-(....ceiling channel.L-sloping floor.......(0abrupt changeoffloor:TTstalactites rise1=drop pitlj'Tsoda straws dry bypass 3 meter fall 5 meter fall plan ref. FF'IIImap measurements in meterso5 10 152030?connecting dome-pit between upper and lower level waterfall bypass-80Q;0-FF".g.J1rlf/)-100t=:TreeEntrance(dry)-120'.........-..Stream Entrance(wet)',,-'--.....BB'12mdome10boulder & Ilowstone occlusionTerminal Siphon-140-1 0

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23ragingtorrentsinsomeplaces.Wecouldn'tresist taking"beforeandafter" photosofsomeofthestreampassagethatwehadshotonthewayin. WhenwegottoCampII,wecalled thesurface.Ouroriginallyscheduled five-day triphadturnedintosevendays,andKenhada flight to catch.WewerehopingthatwecouldleavemostofourstuffatCampIIandheadandthenanothergroupcouldcomeinandpickuptherestofCampII,butnosuchluck.Ithad beenrainingheavilyonthe surface,andmanypeoplehadalreadyleft.Wewouldhaveto breakdownCampIIandcarryeverythingoutourselves.Wedecidedto firstgetsomesleepandhopethewaterlevelwouldrecede. Afterwewoke up, we packedupCampIIandheadedout. Thanks to thephone,wewereable to makeelaborateplanswiththe surface.WecarriedtheCampIIphonewithus,sowhenwegotto the Turbines,wecalled thesurfaceandtold themwherewewere.MattmetusatthebottomofSaknussemm'sWell,andtookKen's pack. Thetwoofthemrushedoutof the cave,soKencouldpackuphistentandleave for his flight. Iliawasrightbehind them. PeterandNancydidn'twantto miss a farewell dinnerfor Ken,sowedroppedourpacksintheGiant's Staircaseandrushedout,too.Weallhadagooddinnerina restaurant,thensentKenonhis way.PALOMITASWhilesomecaverswerebusyattheundergroundcamps,severaltripswentintoCuevaPalomitas. This cavewasdiscoveredin1991,andislocatedabovetheChevehead wall. The cave has agoodflow of cold air,soweassumeditwouldconnect into themaincave fairly quickly. However,after900 metersofpassageand280metersindepth,itactuallystartedheadingawayfromthemaincave,withnosignof con necting,yettheamountofairwas indicativeofa big cave.Mostofthecaveiseasilynegotiable,exceptforonepartafterthe -60mentrancepitch. Thispassageisaptlycalled theGnarlyPassage,andweedsoutallbutthemostdetermined explorers.Itis averysinuousrift,withpopcorncoveredwalls.In1995, a seriesoftripswentinto the cave,butallendedbecauseofsomekind ofmisfortune,andverylittlesurveywasdone.Rocco, Glenn,andPaulMedhurstmadethe first forayintothecavein '97.Theythoughtitwouldbeagoodshakedowntripbeforegoingin toanundergroundcamp.Theygotto thestreampassageatthebottomofthe"100-MeterPit"(whichisreally 90 meters),andfoundthelastsurveystation.Theycontinuedonandre-foundthe nextdeeppit(foundbutnotdescendedbyCharleySavvas in 1995),whichlookedequallyasdeep.Ittookquiteaneffort to rig it safely,butthentheyranoutofropenearthebottom.Theyreturnedto the llanotwenty-fourhourslater,muddyandexhausted,butfullofstories ofgoingcave. RobandDavidQuillenwerethenextteamin.Theygota latestart,butmanagedto re-rig thenewpitwithenoughropetogetto thebottom.Aftertheyrigged the pit,theycamebackout.Ittookalmostaweektogetagrouptogetherforanotherpush.Paul, Rocco,David,andAngelaMorganloadedthemselvesdownwithropeandheadedin. After thelastbig pit,theyfoundmorepassage,andmorepits,anditkeptgoing.Theyfinallyranoutofropeandcouldn'tcontinue.Theyhadplannedonsurveyingthenewpassage,butbeingcoldandtired, theyheadedout.Anothertwenty-fourhourtrip,withmorestoriesofgoingpassageandlotsofair.Roccoestimatedthelengthsanddropsoftheroutetheyfollowed,anditlooks like Palomitas will connectwithChevemuchlowerthanweoriginallythought.PerhapsitwillconnectaroundSaknussemm'sWellortheSalmonLadder.Neartheendoftheexpedition, nooneelsewasmotivatedtogoona long,exhaustingcavetrip tosur-vey.DavidandAngelamadea gallanttripintoshuttleropethroughtheGnarlyPassage (by far theworstpartoftheordeal)sothatitwouldbereadyfor the next big trip.Weleftitas agood,goingleadwitha bigquestionmark.THERESURGENCEThefirstexplorationofthe resurgenceto theChevesystemoccurredbeforethemaincave wasevendiscovered.Bill Stone led alargeexpeditiontodivethe PefiaColoradaresurgencein1984, locatedonthenorthsideofthe RioSantoDomingoCanyon.Thegroupwaslooking for a connectionintotheHuautlasystem.Duringarecontripinthe canyon,severaldiversdovein a big, coldresurgenceonthesouthsideofthe canyon,whichtheycalled the WesternResurgence.Theyalsocheckedoutsomedryleadsclose by.Thediverssurveyed150mofunderwaterpassage,andcameupintoair-filledroomsseveraltimes.Althoughtheleadslookedpromising,theresurgencewasnottheonethegroupwas look ing forbecauseitwaslocatedonthe"wrong"sideofthecanyon,soexplorationwasnotcontinued.AfterCuevaChevewasdiscovered,thesearchfortheCheveresurgencestarted.The Western Resurgence,knownlocally as the Rio Frio,seemedtobethe likelyresurgence: coldwatercomingoutofacavedirectlyin linewiththenorthwardtrendoftheChevesystem.ThedistancebetweentheCuevaCheveentranceandthe Rio Friois17km.IntheSpringof1989,dyebugswereplacedinRio Frioandseveralotherresurgences.Duringthe expedition,opticalbrightenerwasre leasedintothestreaminCuevaCheve.Theretrievedbugstestednegative,whichwasdisappointingbutnotconclusive.Duringthebugretrievaltrips,explorationwaspursuedinthedrycavesaroundtheRio Frioresurgence.Threeentrancesweredocumentedthathadwalking-sizedpassageandblowingair.Inthemostpromisingofthesecaves,CuevadelaMano,almost53

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23350mweresurveyed,withmanyleads remaining.Althoughthe Rio Frio hadnotbeenconfirmedas the Cheve resurgence, itwasobviousthattheareahadalotofpotentialfornewcaves.THE FIRST BIG TRIPInFebruaryandMarchof 1990,elevencaversfromtheUnitedStatesandCanadaspentelevendayspushingtheknowncavesbyRioFrioandlooking forotheren trances. The hikeintothecanyonisoversix kilometerswithmorethana 1200-meterelevationloss,soburroswerearrangedtocarrythegroupgearandfood, whilewecar ried allourpersonalgear.Campwassetuponthebankofthe Rio SantoDomingo,close to the Rio Frio. Allthreecaveentranceswerewithin fiveminuteswalking dis tance. Thecavingroutinewasveryregular.Threeorfourcavingandridgewalkinggroupsexploredand surveyedduringthe day,thenwesharedourdiscoveriesintheeveningduringdinner,andplans weremadefor the next day. CuevadelaManowasthe biggestof the three caves found. By the end ofthetrip,wehadsurveyedoversix kilometersofpassageinMano,witha totalpenetrationintothemountaintowardCheveofjustoveronekilometer.Oneoftheotherentrances,namedCuevadelMonofor the monkey facecarvedintoacolumnin the entrance, connected in to Mano. The third cave,CuevaMari posa,hadover650metersofpassage beforeendingin asump.ManoandMariposaweresimi lar innature:bothcontainedmazypassagesofdifferentcharacterssomemuddy,someclean-washed-andbothcaveshadmanyfor mations. Theaveragetemperatureof the caveswasapleasant16C.Whenasumpwasreached,check ing for apassagegoingupthepredominantdipandtothesoutheastwas usually the key for find ing a bypass. Ridgewalkingwasthemostdif ficult activity ofall.The areaistropi calatelevationofonly300meters.54Therearemanytypesofcactiandotherspinecoveredflora, as well as snakesandscorpions.Wefound severalothercaves, thebiggestbeingBuena Vista. Thetwoentrancesto Buena Vistaare60metershighona cliff face,withspectacularviews lookingbothupanddownthe Rio SantoDomingoCanyon.Therewasalotofevidenceofprevioususebythepeopleinthearea-stonebarriers,abandonedtools,andmarkingsonwalls-butno signs ofrecentuse. The caveisallwalkingpassage,withbigrimstone darns and flows tonedraperies.AnothermajorfindwasAmontilado,butwediscovereditneartheendof the trip.Therewasnotenoughtime tosurveyit.Mostoftheothercavesthatwefounddidnothaveblowing air,andthere forewerenotconsideredveryimportant.Duringthe trip, JimSmithre leased fluorescein into thestreaminCuevaCheve. Aftereightdays,the fluorescein wasunmistakablydetectedatthe Rio Frio resurgence,confirmingthatitwasconnected to Cheve. The elevation differencebetweenthehighestSistemaCheveentranceandthe resurgeneeisover2500 meters.PERMISSION DENIEDAnothertripwasplannedforChristmasof 1990,butwhenwearrived,thetownthatcontrolstheaccess to the resurgence area, SantaAnaCuauhtemoc,wouldnotgrantpermissionforanyoneto godownintothecanyon. Afteroneandahalfweeksofrunaround(more letters ofpermission,visitsfromofficialsfromTeotitlan, etc.),wefinallyranoutof timeanddidnotgetinto the canyon. InMarch1991, a smallgroupof caverswentto SantaAnato talk to thepresidenteandto make friendswiththe town. Thetownspeoplegavetheimpressionthatthe caverswerewelcome,butthepresidentestilldeniedaccess to the canyon. In 1992,twomorecaversreturnedto SantaAnawithhigherlevel letters ofpermission,butthepresidentewasn'tthere,soagainnoonewentintothecanyon.InJanuary1993, Louise Hose and a few caverswerein the Cheve arearecordingthe locationsofcave en tranceswithtwoCPS units. Anewpresidentewasin office,sohopewasrenewedforpermissiontogointothecanyon.With help from agovernmentofficial from Oaxaca,twocaversweregrantedpermissionfor adayhike into the canyon,andarrangementsweremadefor abiggergrouplaterinthe season. Amonthlater, five cavers from the USandtwoMexicanmembersof theCruzRaja of Oaxacaspentfivedaysattheresurgence.Mostoftheexplorationtookplace inAmontilado,and916 meters of passageweresurveyed.CPSreadingsweretakenforthreedaystogetanaccuratepositionto tieinthecaveentrances.Thereweren'tenoughpeople norenoughtimetodoextensiveridgewalking,somostof the timewasspentcleaningupandaddingtothesurveysdoneonprevioustrips.Onthelastcavingday,twopeoplewentto one of the far leadsinManotocheckthesumps.Whiletheywerethere,theynoticed astrongbreezecorningfroma small fissure.Withthehelp of a hammer,theywereable tosqueezethroughthe fissure,andfoundabout200metersofpassageandasmallstream.Dueto lackoftimeandsurveyequipment,theyhadtoturnaround.Thiswasthe firstrunningwaterfoundinanyofthe resurgencecavessofar.THESECONDBIG TRIPAfteroursuccessfultripin 1993,weplannedanotherbig trip forApril1994. Sixteen caversshowedupinSantaAna. Thetownspeoplewerefriendly,andwehadnotroublegettingpermissionandarrangingmulesandhorses tocarryequipmentandsupplies.WespentelevendayscampedbytheRioSantoDomingo,ridgewalkingandexploring caveseveryday.Thefirst lead to be checkedwastheonefromthepreviousyear-theonewithrunningwater. Unfortunately, it quickly narrowedinto atightsqueezeandwas

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23impassable. According to thedata,ManoandAmontiladowereveryclose.Whenwewere exploring Mano,wefoundthatif a passageendedinasump,it couldusuallybebypassedbybacktracking a bit,thengoingupdip. Since Amontiladowasontheupdipside,wewereconfidentwecould find a connection. Tripaftertripintobothcavesdidnotproducea routebetweenthem. By theendofthetrip,almosttwokilome tersweresurveyedinMano,andanother120metersinAmontilado,butnomajorleadswerefound.Wecheckedmostof theareafornewcaves in 1990,butnowwewantedtomakesurewehadn'tmissedanything.Withasetofwalkie-talkies,twogroupssimul taneously hikedonoppositesidesof the canyon.Itwaseasierto see cave entrancesfromadistantvantage point,andthenonegroupcoulddirecttheothergroupto the entrance. Anewcave called VientoCantandowas reached this way. The entrancehadbeenspottedin '90,butitwasona cliff face.Withthe radios,weknewwheretorigtheropeabovethecave,andthenhowfar to rappel. VientoCantandoturnedoutto berathershort,only400m long,butverypretty. Theentrancesec tion hassomepotsherdsanddrawings,andthen atightsqueezelead ing to a big passagewithsomeveryprettycolumnsanddecorations. Thestagnantairconvinced us the cavedidnotconnectinto the resur gence s ys tern. However,attheendofa long crawlway,wefoundasmallroom,andatthebackof the room,wecouldhearwindblowing.Itwascomingfromasmallflowstonecrack.Wecouldn'tfeel it,butitwasdefinitely air, sowenamedthe cave "Singing Wind."Atthesametimewewerecampedinthecanyon, Bill Stone and hiscrewwerecampeddownstreamdivingintheHuautlare surgence. Since thetwocampswere lessthana kilometerapart,wevis ited eachotherseveraltimes. Bill Fareborrowedsomeof theHuautlaProjectequipment,andmadea seriesofdivesintheCheveresurgence. Thewaterthatemergesfromthe cliff faceactuallycomesfromdeepdown.The pools ofwaterthatareexposed inthecaves havenocurrent-theyareoverflowpools. By theendofthetrip, Billhadlaidmorethan500mofdiveline.Onthelastdive, hefoundthestrongcurrentagainina niceunderwaterborehole.MOREUNDERWATER EXPLORATIONBill Stoneanda smallgroupofcavediverswereinthecanyoninJanuary1997,doingsomerecon naissanceonsomeothersprings.Whentheirleadspeteredout,theyreturnedto theCheveresurgence. First,theypushedtheendofBillFarr'sleadanother300m.Theyfoundanairbell,andweredisappointedto also find apinksurveyflag. AfterstudyingthemapofMano,theyconcentratedtheir ef fortsonthesouthernmostsumpinthe cave.Theydidn'thaveenoughdiveline topushveryfar,sotheyhadtoretrievedivelinefromsomeof thespringstheydoveearlier.Theyextendedthesouthernmostsump351meters.Explorationended(duetoairlimits)ina12mby10mtunnelwithveryclearvis ibility,atawaterdepthof-33 meters.THEMIDDLE KARSTSoon afterChevewasdiscovered,andevenbeforeitwascon firmedthattheresurgencereallydidbelong to theChevesystem,caversstartedatthe"Middle Karst." This 60km area extendsfromtheedgeofthehighlandplateaujustnorthofthemaincaveentranceto Santa Ana. Because thereisa lotmorewatercomingoutoftheresurgencethangoingintothehigherentrancesof the cave,itseemslogical toassumethesystemcontinuestocollectdrainagealong itsroute.Wehopedthatwecouldfindotherentrancesinto thesystem,andtheMiddleKarstwasthe place to look. Smallrecontripstookplacein1988, '89,and'90. Anumberofcaveswerefound,butmostweresmall, tight,andwet,andsoonbecameimpassable.Since there wassomuchtodointhemaincaveatthis time,notmucheffortwasputintosystematicallyexploring the area.In1992, a localhuntershoweda sinkhole to asmallgroupofcavers.Hesaidthatsteamrosefromthesinkoncoldmornings.After alotofdigging,theybrokeinto thetopofadomethathadgoodairflow.TheycalledthecavePalomora,namedafteranearbyranch.Moreexplorationrevealeda tight,canyonstreampassageandseveralshortpits. Twohundredfiftymetersofpassageweremapped,to adepthof-142meters.Thecaverswerestoppedbyanarrowbedrocksqueeze,butthecaveheadeddirectlytotheprojectedpathoftheChevesystem.THE1993 TRIPSixcaverssetupcampin theMiddleKarstfortwoweeks.Theirgoalsincludedpushingsomeleadsfromearlierrecontrips, includingPalomora,andtosystematicallylookfornewcaveentrances.Duetolackofproperpermissionforcertainareas,theycouldnotexplore Palomora. Instead, theypursuedaleadthatwasfoundonthe'89 trip.Thenotessaidthecaveendedinanear-sump,whichturnedouttobeapuddle,sotheycalledthecaveCharco("puddle"inSpanish).Itisobviousthatthe cavedrainsa fairamountofwater,andthereisgoodairflow,butthe passage alter natesbetweentight,wetcrawlsandnice-sizedpits.Atabout-200meters,thereisa big 33-meter pit.Theywerehopingthatthis indicatedthecavewouldopenup,andwouldgeteasier.Nosuchluck. At thebottomofthepitthepassagegetsevensmallerandrequires a bellycrawlthroughastream.This iswherethesurveyendedfor the year.Thecavewas735meterslongand269metersdeep.Ridgewalkinguncoveredanumberofnewentrances,butmostofthemhadlittleairflowandquicklyended.Theamountofareato exploreisenormous,andthegroup55

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23hadbarelyscratchedthesurface.THE 1994 TRIPItwastimetodosomeseriouslooking intheMiddleKarst. Wewerefrustratedbythebreakdownchokeinthemaincave,sowehadevenmorevividdreamsoffinding the magictunnelintheMiddleKars tthatwouldbypassthebreakdownandleadusdeeperintothe system. Twenty-five caverscampedinanoldschoolhousefortwoweeksinthesmallvillageofLaHierbabuena.Everydayforthefirst week,groupswentoutcompletelyscoutingtheareaaroundthetown.Sincemostoftheareais farmed,ourbestleadscamefromthe localfarmers.Theyshowedusmanyobscurepitsandcaveentrances,althoughfewofthemhadanyairflow.During thesecondweek, theweatherturnedbad.Itwastoohardtoridgewalkinnearzerovisibility,somoreeffort wasputintothe going caves. Onecavethatseemedpromising,calledAguacate,hadbeennotedbycaversonprevioustrips to the area. TheAguacatestreamflowsintoa pit,andthereisevi dencethatthecavetakesonlargeamountsofwaterduringthewetseason.Thereis aspringabout500 metersdownthe valleywitha com parableamountofwaterflow. Itseemedreasonabletoassumethetwowereconnected,butwewantedtoconfirmtherewerenootherleadsinthecave.En1997serealiz6 otra expedici6n a la cueva Cheve, en el estado de Oaxaca.Serearm6lacueva usando nuevos anclajes (bolts)ycuerda de nylonySeprepar6elCampamentoIIcomounlugardedescanso al entrarysalirdelacueva desdeelCampamentoIII.Yainstalados en el CampamentoIIIlos espele6logossededicaron a buscarlacontinuaci6n al agu jero oscuro" dentro del De rrumbeFinal.Estaposible continuaci6n aIacueva fue encontrada enelviajeanteriora1area, en1995.Este paso aIaoscuridad sigue haciaungransa16n,de90por120metrosycon un techode56Formorethanaweekcaversexploredandsurveyedfartherintothecave,andfoundsomenicesizedpassage(10 to12mwideinplaces)andbigpits.Butafteronekilometerofsurveyand-174meterdepth,thestreamthecaverswerefollowingwentdownintoanarrow,muddy,foamysump.Therewerenootheruncheckedleads.Theintriguingpartisthatthecavetrendedfor 400metersinawest-northwestdirection-awayfromthespringandinthedirectionofthe projected lineoftheChevesystem.Charcowashighonthe listofcaves tobepushed.Thefirs tgroupinplannedtosurveythroughthebelly-crawlstreampassageandcontinueexploring.Thecrawlwasashideousasitwasdescribed,butfinallyopenedup. Thepassagecontinuedinthesamefashion as be fore:tight,miserablesqueezesopeningupto fair-sizeddownclimbs.Itwashardtopersuadea secondsurveyteamtocontinue,becausethewordgotoutonthetruenatureof the cave. Thesecondteamfoundmoreofthesame,andfi nallyturnedaroundataverticalflowstone crevicethatwouldallowonly thesmallestofcaverstopass.Severalhundredmetersweresurveyed,bringthetotallengthto 940mandthe finaldepthto -316m.Evenwiththe nicebreezeandwaterflow,weestimatethatwewillneedtogotoatleast-500minthatareatoreachthemainsystem.Another200mdepthin typicalCharcoProyecto Cheve, Oaxacaroca s6lida a40metrosdealtura, sin derrumbe. Desgraciadamente noseencontraron posibles continuaciones a este sal6n.Seretras6 el viaje para fotografiar el CampamentoIIIyel nuevosa16ncuando alregresoaument6 el nivel del agua. Mientras tanto, un espele6logosefractur6 un tobillo y otro mas estuvo brevemente atrapado enelderrumbe porunbloqueflojoenunarea compleja cercana alaentrada. Esteultimorue rescatado conheridasmenores. Se explor6 a partirdela superficie la Cueva Palomitas sin tener exito en conectarla con Cheve.Enel areadelaresurgencia, a10largo delRiostylecouldonlybepushedbythemostmasochisticcavers.TheotherleadtocheckwasPalomora.Thetightpassagethathadstoppedthepreviousexplorerswaswidened,butitneedsmoreworkbeforeacaverwillbeable togetthrough.Thecavestill has en ticing airflow.AlthoughourdreamcavewasnotfoundnearLaHierbabuena,therearestillmuchmoreoftheMiddleKarstto check. At leastwecancrossoneareaoff themapforpotentialleads.ACKNOWLEDGMENTSProyectoChevehasreceivedgenerouslong-termsponsorshipandsupportfromtheRichmondAreaSpeleological Society (RASS), theDogwoodCityGrotto,andthe NSSInternationalExpeditionSupportFund.Onthemostrecenttripwereceivedmuch-neededhelpfromCancordRopeInc.,GonzoGuanoGear,andtheHuntsvilleGrotto. WewouldliketothankthetownspeopleofConcepcionPapalo,SanJuanBautistaCuicatlan,LaHierbabuena,andSanMiguelSantaFlor for their kindcooperation.Wewouldalso liketothankLie.DiodoroCarrascoAltamirano(GovernorofOaxaca), Dr.GermanCruzMartinez(DirectorofCivil Protection),andtheCruzRoja ofOaxacafortheirinterestandassistanceinhelpingusworktowardsourgoals.Santo Domingo, se topografiaron poco masdedos kil6metrosdepasaje f6sil en la CuevadeLaMano.Deesta misma cuevasecolocaron mas de800metrosdelineadebuceo enlaresurgencia activa.Sebusearon tambien, sin exito, otras posibles entradas al sistema Cheve en el karst loealizado entrelacuevaysu resurgencia. Deestas entradas, Agua cate fue la mas profunda eontando con174metros.EnCharcoseavanz6 hasta llegar a una profundidadde316metros encontrando todavfaunbuenflujodeaireperounpasomuypequeno ydiffcil.

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23THEDISCOVERY AND EXPLORATION OFNITANIDOANDNITANTAU,MUNICIPIODE HUAUTLA DE JIMENEZ, OAXACAJames H. SmithJr.Duringthetwo-month1985 Expeditionto Sotano SanAgustina considerable effortwasputforth to findnewcave entrancesthatmaybetributaryto thethen33.7 kilometerlongand1252meterdeepSistemaHuautla.Ridgewalkingwasconcentratedon the ridgebetweenthecommunities of San Agustin / SanAndreasandPlan Arena / Plan Carlota in the vicinity ofNuevoProgresso. Ridgcwalkinginthesameareaonearlier expeditionshadyielded the discovery of the 848-meterdeepSotanodeAguadeCarrizoandSotano MolinodeCarne.ThecommunityofNuevoPro gessowithitsnumerousdolinasissituatedovermanysubterraneancanyonsandwetdomesof La Grieta, a 760-meterdeepcave.Ifluckwaswiththe expedition, a higher entrance to La Grietamightbe found.On April 13, 1985,FrankBogle,JimYoumans,RichardSchreiber, Jeb Blakeley,andEdHolladayhikedovertheridgethatseparatedthe SanAgustinDolina from the La Grieta Dolina into thecommunityofNuevoProgresso. The 1:50000 scaleHuautlatopo graphicmapindicatedthatthere were large dolinasnearthe village. The dolinaswereespeciallypromising since theyarelocatedoverthetopofLaGrieta'slowerreccesses. Theexplorationof La Grieta in 1977identifiedmajorinfeedingstreamsfromdomeslike the000DaDomeat-500 meters.Asluckwouldhaveit, theteamdiscovered a walk-inentranceonthe side of a largedolinainNuevoProgresso. The cavewasnamedNitaNidofor aNidocan(driedpowderedmilk) found in the en trance. Theteamexplore the cave as far as the firstdropthatlooked to be 4metersdeep.Thestrongwindin theentrancehadall the signsofanentranceinto SistemaHuautla.Theteamof Frank, Jim,andRichardreturnedwithropeonApril23rd .Theteamexploredeightshortdropsof4,3,4,5,4,6,4,and6 meters. Theyscoopedabouthalf akilometerofsteeplydescendingstreampassageandstoppedatthetopofadeepshaftwithairflow. Bogle recalled,thattheentrancesectionwasgoodsizepassagefor itisashighas it was wide.Therestofthe passage was of comfortable size walkingpassagetothetopof thedeepshaft. Theshaftappearedtobeverylargeindiameterandbeamsfrom their headlampscouldbarelyspottheoppositewall. The tie-off for theeighthdrophad a rigpoint15mfromthe lip.Nearthe lipwasanintricate formationwhichlooked likeanupsidedownElk Antler.Itwasaccidentallyandregretfullydestroyedbythesidemotionoftheropestretchingoutwhenthedropwasdescended.Theformationwastheonlyoneseeninthecave. Thetriplastedeighthours. The next day, Frank, Jim,andRicharddidanoverlandsurveytoNitaNidofromMolinodeCarne.MolinadeCarnehas apermenantsurfacesurveytie-in station.OnApril25th,Frank, Jim,andRichardbegansurveyingNitaNido.Theteamsurveyed63stationsin526 meters oftraverseto thetopofthe bigshaftwhichtheynamedtheTAGShaft.Theyhadbroughtinpushropestodropthe big shaft.Theyrigged a22mdropto a ledge.Fromtheledgetheydescended64 meters,buttheendof theropeswungfree. Thecavingtriplastedelevenhours.OnApril 27th,Jim,andRichardfinishedthesurveyandexplorationNitaNidoonanotherelevenhourtrip. TheirregularlyshapedTAG Shaftwasfinally bottomed.Theupperportionwassloppingandagainstthewallwithbladesoflimestone projecting from the walls. The TAG Shaftwasa largeovalpit, 50metersindiameter. Bogleremembered,"While Iwasclimbingupthe TAG Shaftmyfootstruckabladethatappearedto be solid. Abodysizechunkrock beganslowlytopeal off the wall.Iheldit in place for a few secondswhileIscreamed,'ROCK!'atYoumansandSchreiberwhoranfor cover."Ifinallyhadto let therockgo. IthoughtforsurethatYoumansorSchreiberwouldbeflat rockedortheropewouldbe cut.Thankgoodnesstheywereokayandtheropewasnotcutordamaged."Theysurveyedtwelve stations tothebottomoftheTAGShaft. Thebottomofthe TAG Shafthada flat floorandthecavestreamdisappeareddownahorizontalfissure tootightto follow.Mintonrememberedatthebottomofthepitthecaveendedina tallnarrowcrackonlycentimeterswide.Itlooked to be this size for 3 to 6metersbefore it took a turn. Thecrackappearedto be developedalonga fault.Therewasgoodair blowingfromthe crack.Itwould be alargeminingjob to extend the57

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NITA NIDO&NITANTAUNu.voProgro,Oaxaca,MexicoMunicipiod.HuautladeJimenez:::.'"'..m:.',"H',,'"::;;:{j,rI-"I'"ITAGI"APT/1I17_Al"I'ProJ.ct.dProfll.45D.gr.-HUAUTLA PROJECTSuuntoaandTapeSuneyMay1185Frank801leMarkMintonRicherdSchrieberNancyWeav..JimYoumanaTotalDepth:310met..eTota'Trav....:121.meteraDranedbyJameeSmith,1188DataReductionandPlottlnlbyElllpaeDepthofahanaehownonprofile.ASSOCIATIONFORMEXICAN CAVE STUDIESMIlIlllIto.JI....s::nVln....,......:s....,......h"lVlh"l:2Vlt-
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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23cave deeper. The totalsurveyedlength for the cavethusfarwas756meterswithadepthof 310 meters.OnApril30th,FrankBogleandMarkMintonfoundNitaNtau(WindCave)whileridgewalking in the vicinity of Nita Nido. With difficulty,Markfree climbed the firsttwodropsof 4and5metersbeforebeingstoppedatathirddrop.The walk ing passagehada smallstreamandtremendousairflow. The following day, Frank, Jim, Richard, Mark,andNancyWeaver de-riggedNitaNidoandchecked leads in theupperpartof the cave. They found 100 to 200m of large passage (notsurveyed)thathadair flowandsurfacedebris,butendedinbreakdown.Theendwasprobably a collapsed entrance, althoughnodaylightwas visible.AllbutYoumans thenproceededto NitaNtauto begin exploration. The team exploreddowndropsof4,5,9,5,4,12, 12 metersaftersomedifficultinroutefinding. Theystoppedatanotherpitwithgreatair flow.Theyexited the cave after three hours.OnMay 3rd ,MarkandNancydid a surfacesurveyfromNidotoNtau(a fewmeterslowereleva tion), then begansurveyingNtaufrom the entrance. Frank, Jim,andRichard contin ued the explorationthathadendedatthetopofa 14-meterdrop.Theyriggedonemoreshaftof 7metersbeforetheydiscoverahugeshaft. Rock fallindicatedthatitwasdeeperthanthe TAG Shaft.Outof rope, theteamstartedtosurveyedout.Theirmechanicalpencilsstoppedworkingafteronlytwelvestationsofsurveyingsotheyheadedout.TheymetMarkandNancyjustas theywerefinishing theirownsurveyof22stationsand149metersoftraverse.MarkandNancygavetheirpencils to Frank,Jim,andRichard,whoturnedaroundandcontinuedtosurveybacktowardsthedeepshaft.Theyset25stationsandsurveyed235 meters of traverse. SomecontroversyeruptedbecausesomeoftheTAGcaverswantedto rescindtheuse of thenameTAG Shaft inNidoanduse it insteadattheevenmorespectaculardropinNtau.A fieldplotbyMintonshowedthe bigpitinNtauwasdirectlyoverthe TAG ShaftinNido,soit'sprobablyamootpointMarknotes.OnMay5th,Frank, Jim, RichardandMarkfinishedNtau.At thetopof the bigpitwasanalcovewheretheysettwo3/8-inch bolts to rig the pit. Richardwasfirstdownandrappelledto theendofthe rope. Aropewassentdown,andhe tied asecondropeto the firstandtoreachthe floor.OnbottomSchreiberimmedi-atelyrecognizedthatthey were in thesameTAGShaftasthesurveyhadpredicted.A freedrop,the TAGShaftwasmeasuredto be a totalof130mdeep.The ceilingisatleast25metershigherthanlip,andcouldhaveleads. Alargerstreamenteredthepitabouthalfwaydownthedrop.Theteamsurveyedthe closure toNido'stie-instationandderiggedeighteenropesonaneighthourtrip.ThetotalsurveyforNitaNtauwas540metersoftraverseandadepthof307meterdeep.The totaltraversefor theNido/Ntausystemis 1296 metersandtotaldepthof310 meters. Acoupleofteethfromapotentiallynewspeciesofpeccary (accordingto Dr.ErnestLundeliusatUniversityofTexasatAustin)werefoundintheNtauentrance,andafurthercollectionofremainswouldbewarranted.REFERENCES Bogle, Frank, 1998,personalcommunication.Minton,Mark,1985, cave journal.Minton,Mark,1985,HuautlaConnection-LaGrietaandSanAgustinLinkUp,AMCSActivi ties Newsletter#15,page59.SmithJr.,JamesH., 1985,Huautlacavejournal.Youmans, Jim, 1998,personalcommunication.NitaNidoyNita Ntau, Huautla, OaxacaNitaNidoY NitaNtause encontraronduranteuna busquedadeentradas superiores aLaGrieta, cercana a Huautla. Al explorarytopografiar estas cuevas,duranteIaprimaverade1985, se conectaron enuntiroquemide130metros a partirdeNtau.59

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23CAVERNADESANBARTOLOTUTOTEPECRicardo Arias EGeocultural areas of Hidalgo:1.La Huasteca.2.La Sierra Alta.3.LaSierraBaja.4.La Sierra Gorda.5.La SierradeTenango.6.ElValledeTulancingo.7.La Comarca Minera.8.La Altiplanicie Pulquera.9.LaCuencadeMexico.10.ElValle del Mezquital.CAVERNA DESANBARTOLO TUTOTEPEC, HIDALGOEn1991espele6logos del GEMydel AEMIPN exploraronytopografiaron lagrancueva localizadaenSan Bartolo Tutotepec, Hidalgo. Esta cueva consiste principalmentedeungran sal6nde411metrosdelargoycercade20metrosdeancho conunlago interno.In 1991, members of theGrupoEspeleologico Mexicanoandthe AsociaciondeExcursionismo y Montaftismo del Instituto Politec nico Nacionalmappedanewandvery interesting cave in the karst of Hidalgo. JorgedeUrquijo Tovar was the first to explore the cave and motivate the rest of us. Profes sor Alberto Meraz Lara wastheteam'spreciseandexcellentsketcher, assistedbyJose Guerrero Alegria,whomadethe cross sec tionsandaddedother fine details. Other companions were SamuelSerratos,MartinDario,PedroQuezada,andAlejando Villagran.Wegreatly appreciate the support, respect,andsincere interest of the authoritiesinSan Bartolo Tutotepecandits kind people,andwehopeourwork creates more public inter est in this beautiful town.10San Bartolo Tutotepec isinthe SierradeTenango, a chaininthe Sierra Madre Oriental. Tutotepec comes from a Nahuatl root,andit meansthe pigeon mountian. The area hasanaverage temperature of16degreesC.Summers arewarmandhumid, with a lot of rainandfog. The region is filledwithgreat forests ofoakandocote. The caveislocated in theINEGIl:50,000mapF14D73, Pahuatlan, at 20'37" Nand98'36"W,1400meters above sea levelinthe Cerrodela Gruta, which is visible from the center of town. The karst in which the cave is located is formedinthe Lower Jurassic Huayacocotla formation. The Totolapa formation of similar age is nearby.TheroutetothecavefromMexico City passes through Tulan cingo, Poza Rica,andMetepec.FromMetepec,aroadcan takeyou40kilometerstoSanBartolo Tutotepec. The cave is wellknownto the inhabitantsofthearea. They visitthecave for magicandheal ing purposes. Theseceremoniestakeplaceinthe entrance area,whereit is possible to find offerings from the cer emonies. Some people say that lo cal soldiershidinthe caveduringthe revolution. The cave is mostly a borehole411meters longandabout20meters wide,withanabundanceof flow stoneandformations.Ithas two seasonal lakes. Themainpassage continues to a waterfall,atthe base of which begins another branch that is dangerous to visitduringrainy periods because of floods. At theendof the cave, a climb will takeyouto another20meters of small passage with pretty formations. Themappedlength of the cave is 437 metersandthedepthis11meters. There are still somesidepassages tobemapped.Duringourvisit,wefound troglobitic shrimp in one of the lakesandbatsinthe entrance area. San Bartolo Tutotepec is one of the rainiest places in Mexico andthewettest place in Hidalgo that has limestone, sowecan assume there are other caves to be explored.Thereis anearbycavenamedCaverna del Zopilote that hasn't been explored. Translated from SpanishbyOscar BerronesandrevisedbyBillMixon.Mappreparedfor publication by Jim Kennedy.60

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CAVERNA DE SAN BARTOLO TUTOTEPECMunicipiodeSanBartoloTutotepec,EstadoHidalgo,MexicoTopografla grado5.Brunton y Clnta25y26de Mayo de 1991. Alberto Meraz, Jose Guerrero, Samuel Serratos, Martin Castillo, Pedro Quezada, Alejandro Villagran DlbuJado por: Alberto MerazLongitud topografida:436.68mts. Profundidad:-11mts.Ramaldel Fondaa2,3msabre efnNeldeIa.s.1J3Ramaldel Cawboy12a15m3Jturasobreelpiso/acx:es"oRamalCawboyo25 50escalaenmetrosResumideroentradadelratrM/infMio,100Mltradarllmal derechoIRegaderaI/...Zona de 'Gurs" B6veda Baja'/ovv"uaN;:t..s::(")Vl;:t..("):::l.....:::lt'T':IVlZt'T':Itt'T':I""'3 ""'3t'T':IZO:lt'T':IN(.u0\...

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23LAVATUBESOFCUERNAVACAChris LloydNOVEMBER 1996: Ijustgotbackfromaweekendofmappinglava tubeswithRamonEspinasajustsouthofMexico City.Hehadtemptedmewithprospects ofpushingcrawlsinthetopof his secondlongesttubecavebutfor tunatelydecided(atmyprompting) toaskandseeifthereweren'tsomenewentrancesthathehadn'tseen beforeandwhichwouldlikely be easier to explore. Sureenough,about300metersfrom thecar(whichwasparkedoverthebottomendofhis biggest tubesystem-CuevaIglesia)weaskedthelocalresidentsiftheyhadanyentrancesin theirbackyardandreceived a positive reply. Afterseeingthatone(called CuevaMinabythem)weaskedifthereweren'tanymorearoundmightas well findoutwhereweare going to comeoutbeforewegoin!Soknowingthatwehad this one tocomebacktowewentdownhill insearchof theobviousen trance after thewaterpipe."Youcan'tmiss it,"wewere told. Andwedidn't-fora change.Itturnedoutto be apitentrancethatRamonandI lookedatandfiguredonfindinganeasierwayinto.ButwehadyoungTatchi along. Ramon had firstmetTatchi sixyearspreviouslycomingoutof theothertube(CuevaFerrocarril)onRamon'ssecondexplorationtripto the area. Tatchi was 13atthe timeandsokeentogetoutexploring caveswithreal caversthatheskippedschool the nextdaytogoupanddiscoverthe entrance toCuevaIglesia,nowthe longestintheareaat3.1km.Hejustproceededtodownclimbinto62itpronouncingitquitedoable,whichit was.Ittrendeddownhillatasteady20degreesinmainlywalkingorstoopingpassage.Andyousuremadesureyoustoopedwhenit was necessary for therearenonice brittle, fragile, calcite stalactites tobreakoff-intheselavatubes there are solid, pointy,andsharpbasaltstalswhichdrawbloodforthoseunwiseenoughtobumpthem.Therewerealsosomenice leveestructuresleftbehindas thelavaflowed along as amoltenmassandthebankscooledleavingtheequivalentofmudbanks.Eventuallywefound themudfor realafterabout400mdownhillinonesingle, non-branching tube.Growinginthemudatthebottomwererootsthatlookedverysimilarto a prickly cactus. Goinguphillfromthe entrance,butstill in the cave,wepassedsomeinfill volcanicashsedimentwhichgotRamonquiteexcitedashe isdoinghisMastersthesisonthese cavesandthismightgivehimanopportunitytodatetheeruptionthatdumpedtheashandthushelpbracketthe age of the caves. A few weekspreviouslyIwentthroughthetouristcaveofCacahuamilpawithRamonandsawa volcaniclahar(amudarockflowproducedbycataclysmic eruptions) plastered to the wallswhichhadcomefromavolcano50kmupstreamandwhichpassedthroughthe caveandcontinued30kmfurtherdownstream.Wethenpassedunderneatha skylight entrancethatshowedflowmarksindicatingthatsurfacelavaflowed into thisentranceandwecould see the horizontal lineswhereithadpondedbeforedrainingoutthebottom.Verysimilarto the waterfeaturesthatyousee in limestonecaves,buthere the evidenceissolidified inrockfor posterity.Neatstuff.Shortlyabovethispointthe lava flowedrighttotheroof,andthuswehadfinishedCuevadela Tuberiaat428m longand116mdeep.Havingknocked offthatpartandstillnotreachedthe first en tranceweheadedbackthereandsurveyeddownwhatissurelythesametubethatunfortunatelybecameblockedbya lava plug. Noeasydiggingfor a connection here. Asidepassagenearthe entrancebeckonedusupintoa crawlway.HavingcomeallthewayoverfromGuadalajara(a seven-hour, overnightbusride) expectingtopushcrawls, Ishouldhavebeenin there like ashot.Butafteralmost500m ofeasystuffJwasn'ttoo keen todonatebloodto this cavedespiteRamoninsistingthatthis wasonlypahoehoelava. Well Ihadtoconcedethatitwasn'taalava(sonamedbecauseyougo"aaaa"ifyousteponit), it stilldidn'tlooktoo friendly for bellycrawls.Aswecould seeatleast15mthatwaspassable, I relinquishedtheleadtapepositiontoRamonandvolunteeredtorecordthedistancesastheyshoutedthemback. As luckwouldhavethoughin hisshoutingI could tell hehadbrokenoutinto amuchbiggerspaceanditwasgoingstrong.ThroughJ went. Thingsstartedgetting bigandcomplicatedastubesbranchedoffinmultipleheadings bothupstreamanddown.Wepushedonupwardstryingtofigurewhichwasthe big-

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23..-.. ..............................'CuevaChic ade Marcelo... .-. .-..-. .....................................................................-................................................Cueva de Marcelo.................................................COlap\so:.-:.:-:-:.:-:-:.:.:-:-:-:.:.:-:.:.:-:.:-:.:-:-:.:-:-:-:-:.......................................................-'.'....-_--..--. ...........................::::::::::::::::::::::::Cuev'a'de::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::Cuevadel Ferrocarril---..-..-.................................................................................................... ................................. ................................. ................................. ................................. ................................................................................................... ................................. ............................................. ......-._...................................................................................................................................... ..................... .UUHn:HHnHn::,..........................;jii[[[ijj;jj;;jj..':":"..':":"..on,:":"'.... :....N......::::::::::::::::::::.:::::::::................................. ............. ...................................................... ........................................................".....-................................................................ ................................ ........................-........................................ ............................................................................................ -. ...:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::63

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23gesttubeandthushavethebestchanceofgoing the furthes t before choking.Weaddedanother200morso beforerunningoutofsteam.Caving forsevenhourswithno fluid intake isnotagoodidea. I wasquitedehydrated,while the othersdidn'tevenhaveenoughfluid left topeeintheirgeneratorsandwerethusgettinglowonlight. AgooddaythoughinthenewCuevaMinaandwedecidedagainstpushingadomeclimb the nextdayin a limestone caveinfavourofcontinuedmappingin thisgrowingsystem.Sundaymorninghadusgoinginto yetanothernewentranceoverby thetopendofCuevaFerrocarril. This onewasonly8mawayfromanotheronethatRamon'sbrotherhadfoundfromtheinsideofFerrocarril. BeingprettysurewecouldeasilyconnectwithFerrocarrilbelowusweheadedupstreamagain. Lots of comfort able walking passagewithbranches anastomosing alloverthe place. Againwetriedtofollow theonemostlikely tocontinueandendedupsurveyinga fewloopsas the likelyonedidn'tgo. The genesisofthispartofthesysteminvolves the flowinglavameltingthroughitsownwallsandbreaching into a neighbouring tube. Thismayresultin itcuttingoff the old one,orthenewonewithits leftoversolidified lava.WealsosawevidencethatsupportedRamon'searlierthoughtthattheyalsomeltthroughtheirownfloorcreatinganevenlargertubeprobablydueto thenewincreaseinfresh lava. Afteranother4-500mwewereinanareaoflargewidetubesandwecouldhearthesoundof music.Thenwecouldhearfootstepsofpeoplerunningoverhead! The roofmustbeonlyameterorsothickandwewere obviouslyunderneaththe town.WhichmeantalsothatwewereverynearCuevaIglesia,whichwehadsuspectedanyway.Onetubehadparticularlynice leveesanda flowthatwrappedneatlyaroundaheartshapedrafted block. Truly thiswastheheartof thewholesystemandwasthusnamedtheHeartRoom.Shortlyupstreamitpincheddownagain,butthistimeinasoftmudfloor,justliketheoneRamonrememberedbeingin thebottomofCuevaIglesia. Oh, so close.Sowedecidedtoheaddownstreamontheeasternsideof theheartwherethetubesseemedto split,onehalfgoingdownthe FerrocarrildrainageandtheothergoingdowntheCuevaMinasidethatwehadjustmappedyesterday.Weagreedontenmorelegs asfunnyenough,wewereoutofwateragain(thosetwonothavingbroughtanyagain!). Thetubesherewere15mwideandsome10mhighandatreatto cruisedown.Infewerthantenshotsweconnectedinto the linewehads urveyedthedaybefore confirmingthatthedividereallydidexist.SoquitechaffedatthisweheadedbackdowntomaketheconnectionwithFerrocarril.Ram6nEspinasaApril 1999LONGLAVATUBESOF MEXICOLength,depthinmeters1Ferrocarril-MinaInferiorVolcanSuchioocMorelos5623722Iglesia-Min aSuperiorVolcanSuchioocMorelos5145543CuevadelDiabloVolcanSuchioocMorelos2020704CanadadelosPastoresRayonSan LuisPotosi1882435CuevadeHuesitosVolcan Xitle1792186CuevadelArbolVolcanSuchioocMorelos14801187ChimalacatepecVolcanSuchioocMorelos13882018CuevadeMarceloVolcanSuchioocMorelos1268629PedroelNegroVolcan Xide11323510CuevadelAire Volcan Yololica10838711LosCuicillosRayonSan Lu isPotosi9761412SierraPartidaOcampoTamaulipas8506513CuevadelSalvialRayonSan LuisPotosi79614 14CuevadelCocodriloVolcan Xitle7252115CuevadelVolcancilloToxtlacoayaVeracruz68513964

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23Aftersurveyingacoupleofdeadendswe finallycrawledthroughintosomegoodgoingpassage.Whichkeptgoingandgoingandgoing. Wherewasthenextbloody entrance?WeknewthatRamon'sbrotheronlywent50morsoandwehadjustsurveyedclose to a 100mwithtubes stillgoingoff invariousdirections.Onejunctionhadsixpassagesleadingawayfromit!Ramonwasreallywipednowsowesatandwaitedwhilethesuperkidranupanddownandbackacoupletimestryingto locatethatelusiveentrance.Withno luck. So closeyetagain.WemustbeunderneathorbesidetheupperpassagesofFerrocarril,buttheconnectionwill have towaituntilanothertrip. Idon'timaginethatRamonwillhavetoomuchtroubleroundingupanewcrewthis time asjoiningthesethreecavestogetherwillcreateoneofthetoptenlongestlava tubesintheworld.Notabadweekend.UPDATE TO 1999:Thatweekenddidindeedprovidethe incentive togettheprojectgoingagainandoverthenextyearaboutSkmmoreoftubesweremapped.Ididonemoretrip, whileothervisitingCanadianssuchas Taco VanleperenandKirk Safford alsohelpedout.CuevaIglesiaandFerrocarrilwentfrombeingabout3.1kmand3kmlongrespectivelyto 5.145and5.623km.WehadgonerightbytheconnectionintoTubosdelavaenCuernavacaFerrocarrilthedayIwasthereas itturnedout.Despiteall theworkthough,thetwomaincavesremainunconnected.Slowlytheavailable tubesarebeingcrossedoff.ThemostrecentattemptwasbyRamon'sbrotheronceagainandresulted inhimpoppingoutyetanothernewentrancethathappenedto be averysmallenclosurefor aratherlargebull.Needlesstosaythissurprisedthe bullenormouslyanditactuallyjumpedrightoutoftheenclosureandwentragingthroughtown.Thisdidnotgooverwellwiththe localresidents,particularlythebull'sowner.Luis figuresitbesttolettheconnectionsearchwaitfor ayearortwobeforereturning.En 1996 elautorvisito, junto con Ramon Espinasa,tuhosdelava formadosenunflujo del Volcan Suchiooc,enelestadodeMorelos. Esta exploracion continuo hasta 1999. Lasdoscuevas mas largas, IglesiayFerrocarril, permanecenaunsin conectarse.65

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23EXPLORING HEADWALL CAVE-NITANASHI,MUNICIPIODE HUAUTLA DE JIMENEZ, OAXACAJames H. SmithJr.NitaNashiwasdiscoveredin1980duringthe Rio Iglesia ExpeditionbyMarkMintonwhileridgewalkinginthevicinity ofPlandeEscoba.Markwasparticularlyinterestedinfinding ahigheren trance to Sotano SanAgustinwhich couldonlybe locatednorthofthe villageofSan Agustin. From thetownonecouldsee kars t peaksover400metershigherin elevation. Thegeologyalso indi catedthatthehighpeakswerelikelyapartofthesamekarstgroundwaterbasinSotanoSanAgustiniswithin. Located halfwaybetween thehighpeakswereLa GrietaandSotano AguadeCarrizo, exploredduring1977and1978. Theirsurveysindicateda hy draulic connectionwithSOtano San Agustinalthoughnophysical con nectionhadbeenmade.Nashihadbeenonlycursorilycheckedwithexplorationjustventuringbeyondthesightofdaylightto the first drop. The exploration of Nita Nashiwouldhavetowaituntil 1982. Minton'sotherdiscovery, Nita Nanta, locatedatthehighestpossible elevationof2060meterswasexplored to -525 meters. Themainthrustofthe1980expeditionwasinLiNita,whichwasexploredtoaconnectionwithSotanoSanAgustinandsubsequentlywasMexico's first 1,000meterdeepcave.RememberingtheNitaNashileadandbeckoningairflow, Mintonorganizedanexpeditionin thespringof1982 to explore the cave. Theexpeditionconsisted of DarleneAnthony(TN), Mike Doe (AZ), EdHolladay(TN), Chris Kerr(TN),HalLloyd(TX),Mike66McWhirter(TX),MarkMinton(TX),Lisa Wilk(TX),Ted Wilson (IN),PamDuncan(TN),JimSmith(TN), Bill Steele (TX), Richard Schreiber (GA), Dale Weisman (TX),HansBodenheimer(AZ), Chris Albers (WY),ScottDavis(AZ),DougPowell (AZ),andRick Rigg (ID). The firstattemftatexplorationoccurredApril 7.Inbroaddaylight, Mike Doe,HalLloyd, MikeMcWhirter,MarkMinton,JimSmith,andLisa Wilkcrossedthe sinkhole valleyofPlandeEscoba forNitaNashi(Head wall CaveinMazatec),butwereturnedbackbydrunkandnon-Spanish-speaking localsatthe entrance. Thiswasthe firstindicationthatthePlandeEscobacommunitywassomewhatunfriendly.Theydidnotwantcaversgoingintotheircaves.Tocomplicatematters,amajortrail lead toNashi'sentranceas itwasa localwatersource.Wedecidedthatthe cavewouldhavetobeenteredandexitedatnight,sowecouldslippastthehousesnearthe en tranceundercoverofdarkness.Severaldayslater, Chris Kerr, Ed Holladay,andHalLloydwentintoNashiat4AM.Theyexploreddownthe first fivedropsof10,15,15,6,and7meters.Theobviousrouteleddownthreeshortclimbdownsto aroomwithonelead--a9-inchby15-inch holewhichdroppeddowna holewhosedepthwasundetermined.Chris rigged arope.Halsqueezedthroughandrapelledintoa2mby5mroom.Heexploredfor fifteenminutesbeforereturning.Meanwhile, Chrisriggedanotherropethroughawindowinthesideof thepassageandfoundthatthe cavecontinuedin"theusualover-flowpassage."Theteamrigged ropesdropsof4,5,4,and3.5metersanddiscovereda bigbreakdownpassage.Theyhadalsodiscoveredapromisingcampchamberifcamptripswouldbeneededto fully explorethecave.Nearthedropinthemainpassage,Chris found anicegrottonearlychokedwithhelectitesandstalactitesandmassivecolumns.Headingdeeperinto thecavetheycrossedoverbreakdownpilesintoa large chamber. At first itappearedthatthe cavehadended,butalongonewall coveredinflowstoneandstalactiteswasaledgeoverlookinganestimateddropof20 meters. Since theteamwasoutofrope,theyclimbedaroundtheedgeofthedropandsawadarkvoidabove.Theyfree climbeduptwoclimbs of 10and6meters.Chriscompletedthe last climb toemergeinto ahugechamber.Hal'ssketchmapcalledit theMonsterRoom.Tremendousairflowanduncheckedleadsrequiredareturntrip,sotheyexitedthefollowingmorningat1:30.OnApril 12th,Scott Davis, Mike McWhirter,andMarkdida surfacesurveytoNashi,butthetie-in was lefthangingacoupleofshotsfromtheentranceduetounfriendlylo calsatthe cave. The notes indicatedanuncheckedsinkattheendofsurfacesurveythatshouldbechecked foranotherentranceto the cave.Itneverwaschecked.OnApril13th,anotherlatenightentrywasmadebyScott Davis,HansBodenheimer,andHalLloyd.Theyreturntothe20mdrop.Halwrote,"Atthebottomoftheshaftwefollowedthepassageuntil it

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23became too tight. Thefoundalowbreakdownflooredroom.Ononeside ofthisroomstrongairemergedfromanareatootightto fit."Theysucceedindiggingthrougha couple ofbodylengths longcrawlofhardpackedclaytogoingcave. The air wassostrongthatdiggingproduceda hailstormofdirtandgravel. Thedigwasknownas the"BrownBelly Blues."Theteamemergedinto largewalkingpassage. A smallstreamenteredfroma smallsidepassage.Theyscoopedhalf a kilometeroflargewalkingpassagewithcascades.Theydescendedtwoshortdropsof3and4 meters.The"ArizonaExtension," asitwascalled,endedin a largechamberdubbedtheSupaiRoom(for itsredcolored walls)measuring40by20meters.Theycontinuedtofollowthestreamwadingthroughpoolsandcanyon passage requiring stooping. The passageseemedtodoa 180degreeturnfor 100metersto the nextdropwheretheyendedtheexplorationforthatday.Halwrote,"1lookedoutovera small wallovertheedgeof thedropacross thevoidandpannedmywheatlightbeamacrossthewallsanddownthe shaft. Itrulyfelt a senseofawe.Theprospectofthe cavebeyondfilleduswithajoyoussenseofanticipation ... thebedrockwallswerewhiteandsolidnotcrumblyanddarkasintheprevioussectionsofthe cave."Theex plorersattemptedtosurveyout,butthemechanicalpencilshadfouled.With thebreakthroughbytheArizona boys, astrongteamwithmountainsofropeenteredthe cave beforesunriseonApril 16th TheteamconsistedofMike Mc Whirter,HalLloyd, Scott Davis, Hans Bodenheimer,andChris Kerr. There wasevidenceofa"Mazatack"attheentrance-itsmelledofburntcornstalks. TheMazatecshadtried tosmokeoutthegringos.Theteamretracedtheirstepsto the beginningofanewshaftseries. Theteamriggedsmallwetdropsof6,4,6,5,4,7,3,and5metersto the topofadeepdrop.Halwrote,"Thepitwasahugeshaftanestimated100metersdeep."Theshaftwasbrokenbyledgesandriggedorredirectedsoeachteammembercouldscoopadrop.Thepitdropswere25and19meters to adeeppool.Theshafthadbeenbottomedwithnowaytocontinue.Christookoneendoftheropeandclimbedacrossthewall to alargewindowinthesideofthe shaft.Herigged a Tyrolean. This led to 13,11,and13meterdropsandadepthof-325 meters.Mintonwrote,"Theendofthe firstshaftseries led to abeautifulbuttreacheroussteeplydescendingchertledgepassage."Theteamsurveyedoutandexited thecaveaftertwenty-fourhourtrip.OnApril 22nd,Scott, Ed,andMarkleft forNashiat3AM.Markreported,"Fine Cave!Quitelargeforridgecave.Muchgypsum.Weincreasedthe sizeofacoupleofdigsandmovedaduffleofropeto -325meters,thenexploredtheChertLedgePassageandthreedrops-thedeepesta40-metershaft."RanoutofropeatthetopofanotherestimatedIS-meterdrop.Surveyedout.Scottwasillonwayoutbutmadeit okay.Theteamex itedafteratwentyhourtrip,thenwefinished theentranceandsurface tie-in survey.Returnedto fieldhouseaftertwentyfourhours."OnApril25th,MarkplottedtheNashidatato reveal adepthof450meterswiththecaveheadingintoablankareaofmap.Thenearestpotential connectionwasthe V-surveyofLa Grieta,butitwasoverakilometerawayand150metersdeeper.ThatnightScott, Ed, Hal, MikeM.,andLisaheadedforNashiinthemiddleofthe night,butreturnedbecausetheyforgottotakeasurveytapeanddidn'thavetimetogetoneandstillgetundergroundbeforedawn.On April 27th,the previousNashicrewgottheirsurveytapeandmadeittothecavebeforedawn.Theydidthreemoredropsof27, 25,and10metersandthenwentbombing offsouthin relatively horizontalpassageas cavehitthe re-gionalshalelayer.Halwrote," Asgoodluckwouldhaveit, thedrop1gottoscoopwas10mdeepandintothebeginningoftheSixHourPassage."EdandHalscoopedaheadleaving the othersfor sixhourswithoutfinding the end!Halcontinued,"Edwasnext todescendthedropandsooncaughtuptomebecause1hadto negotiateahairyfreeclimboverapitto thepassageontheotherside.Oncebeyondthis obstacle, we feltsupercharged,gazingintoboomingboreholebeyond."Wewerequicksteppingdownthevirginpassage.ItwasobvioustomethatEdwantedtorunahead,ashetriedtolungepastme1hadtosidestepintohimdeliveringa wellplantedshoulder/elbowslamintohis chest."Laughing,hestumbleddownononekneeand1gainedmoreground.Atonepointtherewasasplitinthe passage:onewetandonedry.Edtookthedrypassage,thebiggerofthetwo,andforgedahead."Atanotherpoint1grabbedEd'sankleandwrestledhimdownandregainedthelead!Inacoupleofspotsthedownclimbswerehairy.Weclimbedonesmalloverhangingdropusingourseatharnessesasriggingandetriers."Theirbootyscoopendedata climbupthatEdwasable climbbutHalcouldnot. Ed yelled "BootyHo!,"butonlyscoopedanother30metersofpassage.EdhadthreatenedtocontinueonsolobutHalhadthreatenedtoshortropehim.Hal,again,"Wemadeourwaybacktothedropandfoundabitternotestating,'YOUSURVEY IT!'"Therestofcrewweresuperbummedoutandonlysurveyed48stations, asmallpartofthe scoop.Giventhecompetitivenatureofthescoop,theotherteammemberswouldhavebeeninvolvedin abrawiforbootywiththetwobootyscoopinggladiators.Thelastpersonexitedafteranepicthirty-twohours!OnApril 28th,ChrisAlbers, Rick Rigg,andMarkwentto takesponsorshipphotosinNashiat5AM.Theymetasurveycrewontheir67

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23NITANASHIPlandeEscoba,Oaxaca,Mexico MunicipiodeHuautladeJimenez::,Su.mp ScallopedSubwoyI/"DryBypus=-26mArizoaaExteusioDI.,.3,.BrowD BellyBtunHUAUTLAPROJECTSu.atosaDdSunyApril1982 HaDsBodealleimerSc-ottDavisEdUo."doyClansKerrHoi LloydMarkMiatODMikeMcWbirterRickRig.TotalDepth:641MetersTo.alTnnnc:3.514 MetersDnftedbyJamesH. SmUb, 1998DataReductio.aDdPlottiacbyEllipseASSOCIATIONFORMEXICANCAYESTUDIESChris'sClimbPROJECTEDPROFILE45DEGREES300 200600METERS NolDivnbk68

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SuuntosandTapeSurveyApril 1982HansBodenheimerScottDavisEd HolladayChrisKerrHal LloydMarkMintonMikeMcWhirterRick RiggsTotalDepth: 641MetersTotalTraverse:3,524MetersDrafted byJamesH.Smith,1998DataReductionandPlotting by Ellipse ASSOCIATIONFORMEXICANCAVESTUDIES.,...!!6Entrance./"oNITANASHIPlandeEscoba, Oaxaca, Mexico MunicipiodeHuautladeJimenezArizona Extension SixHourPassage HUAUTLAPROJECT50 I 00METERSPLANSCALE:;z:----..SCALEo10METERSI ,Natural BridgesChertLedgePassage"-641? "..........-SumpTooNarrowNot Diveable

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23wayout. Theytooklots of picturesandgotas far as the Tyrolean.Onthewayouttheyexploredupstreamfrom theBrownBelly Blues for200meters.Theystoppedatacrumbly4-meterwaterfallwithgoodwindinmostlywalkingpassage. WhiletryingtoplotupnewNashi data,Markdiscovered a use lessazimuthonthesecondshot.Thatshothadtobere-shot,andsubsequentlyadded75meters ofdepth.Thethirty-twohourtripmeantonlyonerecourseandthatwasto camp. Theendurancelimitfordaytripshadbeenmet,andthiswouldeliminatetheneed formidnight trips.OnMay1"t,Scott, Ed, Hal, Mike M., Mark,andRick left for a oneweekNashicampat9PM.Ittookonlyanhourandahalffromthe entrance tocamp(lessthan100 meters deep),includingre-rigging a couple ofdrops.Itwasagreatcamp---asy water, nicedirtsleep ing area,veryprivateshitter.Halevenbroughtanextra"luxuryduffle." The next day, thecampcrewsplit intotwoteams. Scott, Ed,andHalbegansurveyinginattheirprevious scoop.Halwrote,"Everyonewas pissed offatEdandI so forpunishmentwegottosurveytheSixHourPassage. EdandIgotto enjoy a realgoodlookatourscoopandit wassheerjoy for us." Mintonwrote,"Mike M., Rick,andIwereloadedforbearwithpushropes. Ahead,werigged aclimbpreviouslydoneonharnesses,andexploredfurther. After onlytwomoredropsof12and20metersitnearlysumped,thenjustbeyondwasagenuinesumpandnarrowpassage."Itdidn'tlookgoodfor diving. Somehighleadsfurtherbackwereleftandonlypoorlychecked.Wesurveyedout41stationsandmettheothercrewastheywerefinish ingafter167 stations!Itmaybea record: 208surveystationsbeginningover500metersbelowstartpoint.Welostthe airandcouldn'tdeterminewhenorwhere.WithnogoodleadswederiggedbacktostationMG1onatwenty-fourhourtrip.Manygotbadgritrashes."OnMay3rd,Chris AlbersandMike Doe visitedtheNashicamptosaythey woull be leaving forhomeearly, alongwithLisa. Rickdecidedtojointhem.May4thwasagonkdayincamp.Markreducedsurveydataandfoundtheyaddedalmost1.2km of traverse, to adepthof641m. The cavehadturnedwest,awayfromLa Grieta,andendednearlyundertheentranceto Li Nita,butover650metersdeeper.OnMay 5th ,thecampcrewbeganderiggingbelowcamp.Markchecked leadsonwaydown.Theonlyonethatwentwasa parallelpassageatMF34. After ashortdis tanceitled to a 6-meter pit,whichprobablycameoutabovedropatMF14. The leadwasnotpursuedfurther.MarkgrabbedaropeduffleatMG1andheadedup.EdandMike M. followandderiggedthethirdpitseries. ScottandHalderiggedthesecondpitseries. AsMarktookaropeduffleonuptotheseconddropstashpoint, EdandMikekeptpullingropes until thesecondcrewmetthem.All ropes exceptMark'sduffle leftincamporatthestashneartheseconddrop.OnMay6th ,EdandMarksurveyedpassageupstreamfromNitaNashi,Huautla,OaxacaBrownBelly Blues:over200 metersin22stations.Passagewasenlarg ingwheretheystoppedata water fall.Theyalso checkedaninfielderintheBRoomwhichdidnotgo.OnMay7th,thecampcrewwasupat2:30AMtogetoutof cavebydawn,buttheywerelateandexitedat7AM.Somelocalswerearoundbuttheyhadno hassles.Theycarriedtheirduffles as far asLiNitawheretheystashedtheminthe entrance,thenwalkeddowntogetthebusanda ridebacktotown.Hal(withtwoduffels!)andMike M.bypassedLiNitaandendedupcarryingtheirs all thewayhome.MostoftheropeswereleftstashedattheseconddropinNashiuntil1983.NitaNashiwasexploredtoadepthof641metersandalengthof3,524 meters. As apostscriptto the explora tion,dyetracingperformedbyJimSmithin1988determinedthatthewaterinNitaNashientersSotano SanAgustinattheScorpionSump.IfNashiwerephysically connected to SistemaHuautla,Nashiwouldbeapproximately1100metersdeep.REFERENCES Davis, Scott, 1999,personalcommunication.Lloyd,Hal,1999,personalcommunication.Minton,Mark,"1982-83 Journal."Minton,Mark,AMeSActivitiesNewsletter#13 (1983),p.26-27.SmithJr.,JamesH., caving journal, 1982. SmithJr.,JamesH.,Hydrogeologyofthe Sistema Huautla Karst GroundwaterBasin, Sierra Mazateca, Oaxaca, Mexico.Masters thesis,December1994.Lacueva Nita Nashi fue descubiertaen1980, en el areadeHuautla, Oaxaca.Seexplor6 y topografi6 durante abril y mayode1982.Este proyecto incluy6uncampamento subterraneodeuna semanadeduraci6n. Nita Nashi alcanza hasta elmomento641y 3,524 metrosdeprofundidadylongitud,respectivamente.71

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23ABOVEANDBEYONDTHECHAPEL,CENOTEPONDEROSA,QUINTANARooTrevor LoReItwasinJune1990thatNancyandTony DeRosa first entered Cen ote Ponderosa,nearAkumal,in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Initial explorationofSistemaPonderosabeganwithNancyandTonyDeRosa (owners of AquatechIVil las DeRosa)andSteveGerrard.ThiswasindeedabonanzaPonderosaisbothapunonthe DeRosas'nameanda reference to theTVseriesBonanza.Currentlythe CenotePonderosaCaveSys tem hasover12,000metersofunderwatercavepassagesurveyedwithconnections toatleastnine teen cenotes.Itwouldbe acoupleyearslaterthatIwoulddothethirty-fiveminutedivereachingthe large, ob longfreshwaterroomnamedPool Hall. At therearof thisroomisanair filleddomecontainingthousandsof live stalactites. ThiswasnamedTheChapelbythe original explores. I was able toreturnagaininDe cember 1995. This time, afterswimmingto theChapelIwouldexitwithmyfriend, Brian Kakuk,andspendthedayexploring thedrycave passages.Brianandfellow cavediverPatPrecinhadexploredsomeof thepassageduringa visit in1994.The 1995 explorationwouldtake adifferentroute,startingsixtymeters from thebeginningthrougha .5mby.5mrestriction. Afteranotheryettighterrestric tion wasmaneuvered,crawlingoversmooth,hardflows tone, we entered a smallbuthighlydecoratedroom.Wewereunabletostanduprightas theheightwasonly a littleovera meter. Aswecontinued,weeventuallyfoundourwaytoyetanothersmall room.72Thisroomhada3-meterhighdomeshapedceiling,allowingustostandup-awelcomechange!Itlackedanyspeleothemformations, however, the wallscontainedre mainsofcoral reefinthe limestone.WewouldnamethistheCoralRoom.Another60mbeyondthisroomwouldbeourturningpoint.InDecember1997, Iwouldreturnyetagainwithmycavedivingpartnerandmother, Connie LoRe. She is aguideforAquatechIVillas DeRosainthe Yucatanandhas ledmanycavediversto the Chapel to witness this huge,highlydecoratedair chamber.However,thiswouldbeherfirst experienceatdrycaving. Shewasexcitedandyet a littleapprehensiverecognizingthatthementalandphysical challenges ofdrycav ingwouldbesomewhatdifferentthancavedivinganda totallynewexperience for her.Weweresupplieddiverpropulsion vehiclesbythe DeRosas to has ten the thirty-fiveminutediveto thestartofouradventure.Inaddition toournormalcavedivinggear,webroughtallthespelunkingequipmentthatweneeded,plusdryclothesandfood. Ihadconstructedadrytube using6"PVCpipeandamonitorwellplugwhichworkedreasonablywell EarlyonaDecembermorning,weenteredthewateratCenotePonderosa. AshortdistanceonthemainlineandwereachedCenoteCorralatwhichpointwewouldrunagapreel to make ajumpto a cave linethatwouldtakeusto the Chapel,some750mfromourentrypoint. Afterremovingourdivinggear,weclimbedoutof thewaterontoalimestoneledgeandstrungupa clothesline utilizing a safety reel. Wehungupourwetsuits,securedourcavedivingequipment,andchanged into/Idryclothes."Itwouldnotbemorethantwentyminuteswhenwewerenolongerdrydueto the 100%humidityin the cave! Athermometerleftinthe Chapeldomeshowedairtemperatureat29.5C. Theroomsweencounteredaveragedsix totwelvemeterswideandameterto ameteranda half in height. Thecaveconnecting theseroomsaveragedslightly lessthanameterhighandwide.Roots fromthejungleabovecamethroughthe ceilingandintothefloor. Thedrypassagesoverlappedthesubmergedpassages,givingthecavesomeveryuniquefeatures. Inmanycaseshighlydecoratedfracturesin the limestone ceiling caughtourattention.These fractures alsorunalongthefloor,whichgaveussmallglimpsesof thesubmergedcavebelow.Thefloorofthe cave was largelycoveredbyclay.However,insomeareas, flowstonecompletelycoveredthefloor.Muchofthis explorationwasspentcrawlingonourstomachsthroughwetclay asweslitheredthroughsmall,tightpassagesandtunnels.At timesitwasnecessaryto removeourwaistbelts inordertosquirmthroughrestrictions. Occa sionally,whenwepausedto take a few photos,itwasdifficult to find adryandsomewhatclean piece ofclothtowipeoff thecameralens.Mudandclay coatedusandall ofourequipment.Oftentherewereleadsgoing in

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23several directionsandwespenta considerableamountof time "wall ing out," retracingourstepsandtryingotherpassages.Weencounteredonlythree smallroomsorareasinwhichwecouldstand.Be ing able tostanderectandstretchwas amostenjoyabletreatafterhours of crawlingandsquattingSeveralhoursinto the explora tion we came to a largeroomthatmeasuredtenmetersbyfifteen meters, with a floor to ceiling height of only ameterorso. Approxi mately one-third of the floorwasasmoothflowstonewiththe remainderclay.Wenamedthis the "Pan cake Room." Thenorthendoftheroomwashighlydecoratedwithstalactitesandcontained a freshwaterwindowto thesubmergedcave below.Therewasa small vertical creviceatthispointwhichledintoaverysmallchamber.Wedecidedtorestin the Pan cake Roomandwashoffsomeoftheclayandmudthatbynowcoatedalmosteveryinch ofourbodies. Aswerested,wediscussedthedifferencesandsimilarities(bothmentalandphysical)incavedivinganddrycaving.Weknewthiswouldnotbeourlastjoint experience asweplannedfuturechallengesandventurestogether. Two bats circled theroomandus, their visitors, aswedecideditwastime to starttheworkofsurveyingout.Uponsurveyingout,Conniekeptmumblingin disbelief, "Areyousurewearegoingtherightway?Icanhardlybelieve Iwentthroughthatrestriction!"Otherthanthetwobatsinthelastroom,spidersweretheonlyotherformoflifeencountered,andtheywerealwaysgiventherightofwayin thepassages.After sixhoursofexploring,weemergedwithjustunder300mofsurveyeddrycavepassageWejumpedintothewaterattheChapeldometo rinse off,andagaindonnedourwetsuitsandcavegeartobeginthedivebackto Cenote Ponderosa.Thedivebackto thecaveentranceremindedmehowscooteringthroughawaterfilled cavesurebeatscrawlingonyourstomachinwetclayandhigh hu midity.Whenwefinallysurfacedattheplatform,wesmiledtoeachother,knowingwewouldbebackagain.Cenote Ponderosa,QuintanaRooTrevor y Connie LoRe exploraronendidembrede1997 el Cenote Ponderosa,enel estadodeQuintana Roo. Durantesuexploraci6n topografiaron 300 metrosdepasaje seeoqueeneontraron despuesdebueear750metros.Lamayoriadelos pasajes eran pequefios y lodosos y en algunos lugares se alcanzaba a observar,enla parte inferior, los pasajes llenosdeagua.73

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23HISTORYSOME VISITS TO CACAHUAMILPAUlyssesS.GrantandJHarlenBretzIn1848,duringthe armistice fol lowing the Mexican-American War, Captain UlyssesS.Grant, after an attempt to climbPopo,decidedto"visit the great cavesofMexico, someninetymiles[distant]ontheroadtoAcapulco." The cave visited was prob ablyGrutasde Caca-huamilpa in Guerrero. He described his visittothe cave in hisPersonalMemoirsof U.S.Grant,publishedin1885.(The material hereiscopied from articles in theJournalofSpeleanHistory,vol ume 20,1986,and the November 1993NSSNews.)Atteraday'srestatCuernavaca,rlourpartysetoutagainonthejourneytothegreatcavesofMexico.Wehadproceededbuta few mileswhenwewerestopped,as before,byaguardandnotifiedthatthetermsoftheexistingarmisticedidnotpermitustogofurtherinthatdirection.Uponconvincingtheguardthatwewereamerepartyof pleasureseekersdesirousofvisitingthegreatnaturalcuriositiesofthecountrywhichweexpectedsoonto leave,wewereconductedto a largehaciendanearby,anddirected toremainthereuntilthecommandinggeneralofthatdepartmentcouldbecommunicatedwithandhisdecisionobtainedastowhetherweshouldbepermittedtopursueourjourney.Theguardpromisedtosendamessengeratonce,andexpected areplybynight.Atnighttherewasnoresponsefrom thecommandinggeneral,butthecaptainoftheguardwassurehewouldhaveareplybymorning.Againinthemorningtherewasno reply.Thesecondeveningthesamethinghappened,andfi-74nallywelearnedthattheguardhadsentnomessageormessengertothedepartmentcommander.Wedeterminedthereforetogoonunlessstoppedbya forcesufficienttocompelobedience....Thatnightwerestedatalargecoffeeplantation,someeightmilesfromthecavewewereonthewaytovisit....Thenextmorningwewereatthemouthofthecaveatanearlyhour,providedwithguides,candlesandrockets. Weexploredtoadistanceofaboutthreemilesfromtheentrance,andfoundasuccessionofchambersofgreatdimensionsandofgreatbeautywhenlitupwithourrockets. Stalactitesandstalagmitesofall sizeswerediscovered.Some of theformerweremanyfeetindiameterandextendedfromceilingto floor;someofthelatterwerebutafewfeethighfromthefloor;buttheformationisgoingonconstantly,andmanycenturieshencethesestalagmiteswillextendtotheceilingandbecomecompletecolumns.Thestalagmiteswereall a littleconcave,andthecavitieswerefilledwithwater.Thewaterpercolatesthroughtheroof, adropatatime--oftenthedropsseveralminutesapart-andmoreorlesschargedwithmineralmatter.Evaporationgoesonslowly,leaving themineralbehind.Thisintimemakestheimmensecolumns,manyofthemthousandsoftonsinweight,whichservetosupporttheroofsoverthevastchambers.I rec ollectthatatonepointinthecaveoneofthesecolumnsisofsuchhugeproportionsthatthereisonlyanarrowpassageleftoneithersideofit.Someofourpartybecamesatis fiedwiththeirexplorationsbeforewehadreachedthepointtowhichtheguideswereaccustomedto takeexplorers,andstartedbackwithoutguides.Comingtothelargecolumnspokenof,theyfollowed itentirelyaround,andcommencedretracingtheirstepsintothebowelsofthemountain,withoutbeingawareofthefact.Whentherestofushadcompletedourexplorations,westartedoutwithourguides,buthadnotgonefarbeforewesawthetorchesofanapproachingparty. Wecouldnotconceivewhothesecouldbe, for allofushadcomeintogether,andtherewerenotbutourselvesattheentrancewhenwestartedin. Verysoonwefounditwasourfriends.Ittookthemsometime toconceivehowtheyhadgotwheretheywere.Theyweresuretheyhadkeptstraightonforthemouthofthecave,andhadgoneaboutfarenoughtohavereachedit.HenryHeth, a memberofthe party, also mentioned the cave in his mem oirs:Therewasnothingworthmentioningaboutthiscaveexceptitsimmensesize. Wewereinformedthatitsentirelyhadneverbeenexplored.Allcavesareprettymuchalike;stalagmitesandstalactitesabound,differingoninthequeershapes,whichtheyassume.r-r'/1e geologistJHarlen Bretz is1.knowntomost cavers mainlyasthe authorofCavesofMissouriandCavesofIllinois,and perhaps for the important1942paper, "Vadose and Phreatic FeaturesofLimestone Caverns."HevisitedtheGrutasde Cacahuamilpa and vicinity in the early

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER231950s and wrote thepaper,"Cavern Making in aPartofthe Mexican Pla teau" for theJournalofGeology,1955, from which the accompanyingareamap is reprinted. The following is from part 1ofhis memoirs,Some Recollectionsofa GeologistonEnteringHis90thYear,informally published in1972bythe author and the geology depart mentatthe UniversityofChicago.This time,whenIventuredoutof U.S.territory, Itookcare to have local geologistsaspartof thegroup.Colliers Magazinewantedastoryoncave exploration. "Yes," I said,"ifyouwill choose a cave I haveneverseenandthe origin of which will involvesomenewcombinations of genetic fac tors."WesettledonLaGrutaCacahuamilpaonthedropofffromthe Mexicanplateautothelowerbananabeltcountry, a cavereputedto possess the largestknownroomsofsolutionaloriginandtohavehadintimateifnotcontemporaneousrelationswithvolcanic action. The relationsdidexist, I found,buttheywerenotatallwhatIhadanticipated.LaGrutaCacahuamilpaisenterednotfaraboveflood levelsofthedeep,narrowvalleyofRioAmacuzacbutwasa perfectlydrycavernwithno traceofanyformervadosestream.Itwasreportedto us as being 100meterswideand60metershighwithanexplorablelengthaboutthreetimesthatofCarlsbadand"ending"in a huge, impassiblebreakdown.Dripstoneaggregateswereofdi mensions fittinglyhugefor the immenseverticalproportionsofthecavern.Nobranchingtributaryordistributarysystemwasapparent;itwassimplyoneenormouselongatedsubterraneanroom,justify ing the local beliefthatitwasthe hallofformergods.Despite thesemagnitudes,itwasa realdisappointmentin its lackoffeatures torecordits genesis.Ourattentionwasdrawnirre sistibly totwocavemouthsalmostattheverybottomofthe Amacuzacgorge,eachdischargingalmostatubefullofroaringmuddywater,eachasubterraneanrivertributarytoandmorethandoublingthe volumeoftheAmacuzac.Add tothatsurprise,eachwasrolling big bouldersofigneousrockoutof the entrance(orexit)ofcavesinlime stone.Andwhohadeverseenanycavestreamofmuddywater?Thesepuzzleswereresolvable-_...ltaUlt'jtnCaye,tdtGt\ce75

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23onlybyexplorationofthecountryupstreamfromthebocas(cavemouthswithmuddywaterfilling them)andoverlyingall caves,wetordry.Itturnedouttobeacountryoflittlefarmsonaplainofweathered igneousrockwhichwasinterruptedbymountainsoflime stone risingabovetheplain. And thisplainalsowascutbytwodeepvalleys, their rivers flowingtowardtheoutcroppinghillsandlowmountainsoflimestone. Atapproximatelythecontactoftheplainagainstthehigherhill land,eachstreamplungedintoa caveandobviouslycontinuedundergroundto theroaringbocas alreadyseen.Wewereinformedthatinextremelydryperiods,daringboyshadwadedandswamthe entiresubterraneanrouteofeachstream. Today therainyseasonhadbegunandeachstreamjustaboutfilled itscavetoits ceilingatbothbocas (exits)andresumideros(en trances). Theplainofigneousrockwasanancientvolcanicmudflowwithdebrisofall sizes.Farmenclosureswere wallsofbouldersavailable inmanyplacesonthesurface,car ried there floatingonthemudflow. Buthowdidthosetworivers(San JeronimoandChontalcoatlan)evermaketheirlongtunnelsthroughtheigneousagglomeratethathadfilled aformerlowlandalongsideoftherangeoflimestonehillswhichitpartiallyburied?Ifoundtheanswerwhenwedescendedinto theresumiderowherethe SanJeronimoentereditstunnel. Theopeningwasinlimestone,ahigharchedopeningatthebottomofthe volcanicagglomerate,whereacascadeoverfallen blocksandasheerplungeoutofsightfromtheoutsidewassendingusaloudroar. The SanJeronimohadfoundatunnel-waycavesuitedto itsgradientalreadywaitingfortheriverwhenithaderodeditsvalleydeeplyenoughdownintotheagglomerate.Acaveofpre-igneoustimeandsuitablyorientedhadbeenburiedbythe volcanic rock.Webridgedthecascadeoverthewelterofbouldersandbypassedthe20-footsheerwaterfallto find a fairlycapaciouscavesystemolderthanthe igneous filling, theCuevadela Estrella,onlythelowestpartofwhichwasusedbytheSanJeronimo.Weexploreda fairly ex tensive cave,entirelyemptyexceptfor theroaringriverbelowthewaterfalC acavesystemwithoutatraceofrunningwaterofthe past, acaveentirelyphreaticin origin.Thusitwasclearthatoriginallythewatertablehadbeenhigherin theolderlimestonethanitnowwasintheagglomerateandtheCaveoftheStarhadbeenburiedbythegreatmudflow.TheJeronimooritspredecessorhadhadtobeginanewtrenchandhadthusdiscoveredaphreaticcavesystemalreadywaitingto beusedbythevadosewaterofanentire river.Thatriver,ingoingunderground,haddeepenedwhatitfoundandhadrolledoutattheJeronimobocatheigneousboulderswehadalreadyseen. Brieflystated,wealsoidentified the prediscoverycourseoftheJeronimoandourinterpretationwascompleteandconsistentexceptonlyforthehuge,dry,higher-lyingCacahuamilpa.For it,weassumedonlythatinpostigneoustime,nosurfaceriverhadhappenedtocrossthecourseoftheburiedCacahuarnilpa.Onlytwo(SanJeronimoandChontalcoatlan)suchearlypost-igneousstreamshadhadthatfortuneandthusobtainedsomemilesofsubterraneanrouting.Nootherlogicalsequenceofeventsseemedpossible.Algunasvisitas aCacahuamilpa,Guerrero.El General UlyssesS.Grant describi6 ensudiario la visita que realiz6n en1848a las GrutasdeCacahuamilpa, Guerrero.EIfamoso ge6logoJHarlen Bretz discute la geologiadelas cuevas Dos Bocas enunartIculo publicado en1955y en sus memorias.76

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23TECOMAN PROJECT,COLIMAPeter RuplingerIt was asuperproject.Inadditiontoexploringandmappingfourteen pits,weexperienced a volcaniceruption,anearthquake,monstrousspiders,andbeingwokenbymachinegunwieldingpoliceattwoin themorning.That'swhywewentto Mexico.Ifwewantedsomethingordinarywewouldhavegoneto theEpcotCenter. Preparationsbeganlastsummer.PeterSprousesuggestedtheareato me.Hesaiditwaspromisingandunexplored.The nextseveralmonthswerespentcollectingmaps,makinglocal contactsandgatheringinformation.Twocaversin Colima,ManuelGallegosandMitchell Ventura,wereespecially helpful.Manuelscoutedaroundaskinglocals if theywereawareofcavesandpreparedseveraIexcellentmaps.Healsoadvisedthemayorof Tecomanthatwewouldbein theareaandnottoworry.MitchellmetusinColimaandshowedusanexceptionalareaclose toColimawhichwemayexploreonournexttrip.OthercaverswhoassistedinpreparationswereJohnPint,anEnglish teacher inSaudiArabia, and Chris Lloyd, aminingengineerinGuadalajara.TwoUtahcavers,ClairCallandWayneBodily,generouslydonatedapproximately $200worthofnewandused cavingequipmentto be uti lizedbyMexican cavers.RonBird, a localbusinessman,donatedtwolarge casesofschool supplies. Theirthoughtfulcontributionsweregreatlyappreciated.Imadea trip to Tijuana in Sep tember toobtaintopographicandgeologicalmaps,andinOctoberorderedandpaidforanadditional$50worth,directfromtheMexicanInformationBureau.Fourmonthslater,theystillhaven'tarrived.Weallacquiredrespiratorstoprotectusfromhistoplasmosis,butcavesweresohot(typically 27C)thatweneverusedthem.Wewouldrathergethistothansuffocateinthemasks.Fourweeksafterreturning,itappearedthatnoneofus havehistosymptoms.The pitswevisitedwereallCretaceousformin theagewhenthelastofthedinosaursroamed.Theterrainwastypicalofkarstwithlargebouldersprotrudingaboverichsodwheredecomposingvegetationhadeatenawayatthesurroundinglimestone. Often thekarstbouldersweresharpandspiked,sometimesupto ameterandahalfaboveourheads.Inotherareastheyweresmoothdomedmonoliths.Wewerefortunatetohaveanexceptionalteam.Ourmemberscouldbecategorizedintotwogroups:the collegestudents,andthe geriatrics.DougZeddis,mybrotherMike Ruplinger,andIareourearlyfifties.Mike,whohadlived in Latin America foroverten years,wasavaluableteammember.Doughadextensiveexperienceinsearchandrescue.Helookedlikeanex-marineormercenaryandattractedconsiderableattentionatthenumerousmilitary checkpointswherecounterinsurgentforcesweresearchingforarms.TheywouldtypicallypassmeonanddetainDougfor athoroughsearch.Inadditionto beinganEMT,ShayLelegrenwasexceptionally skilledinverticalwork.BrandonKowalliswasfluentinSpanishandled us to apromisingleadwhichheheardaboutnearpatzquaro.HisbrotherKory,wastheyoungestmemberofourteamandreally fastonrope.DaveHarriswasourbiologist. Icallhim"Mr.Personality."Henevercomplained,wasanxious to help,andgotalongexceptionally wellwitheveryone.Gettingtherewasalongtoughdrive.WemetforbreakfastthemorningafterChristmasandhittheroadat5:30AM.ThatwasourlastAmericanmealfortwoweeks. Someonesuggestedthatwecallourventurethe "TacoManProject."WecrossedtheborderintoMexicoat7:00thatevening.TheMexicanborderinspectorswereofficiousandmeticulous.Myinterrogatorwasaprofessionalyoungmanwithhornedrimedglasses,andslick black hair.Hewasdressedin asleekjetblackuniform.Ialmostexpected to seeSSlightningboltsonthe shoulder.Afterstudyingmypassport,birthcertificate,andautoregistrationforovertenminutes,Iwascoldlyinformed,"Mr. Ruplinger, IamsorrytoinformyouthatyoumustreturntoUtahtoobtainyourmarriagecertificate." Afterconsiderablepersuasion,he finally agreed toletmego.Onceacrossthe border,ourfirstsurprisewasthatgaswas$1.65pergallon,not80ll:as expected.Nextwelearnedthatthenumeroustollroadswerealso pricey, to talingalmost$200percar. At least the hotelswerecheap.77

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23Progressingsouththeterrainbecamegreener.TheareaaroundTepic inNayaritwasplushwithsugarcane.Guadalajarawassurroundedbyrollingbrushcoveredhillsandfreshhumidair.Itremindedmeofthe foothillsthatIroamedas a childnearSan Diego.AsweapproachedColima, the settingsunhadadramaticredhuefrom theashoferuptingVolcan Colima Sur. Aswecrossedadeepgorgeandroundedabendinthe road,weweretakenbackatthe impressiveviewofthe active vol cano,andhersleepingsisterashortdistance to thenorth.Fromthisspotwecouldn'tsee lava,justaspireofsmoketoweringintothe sky.Laterwewouldgetamuchcloser look.Wearrivedatourdestination,Tecoman,intheearlyevening.Manuelhadthoughtfullymadereservationsatmotelonthe beach. Iwasn'thappywithit.Itwaspricedright,andtheownerswereespecially nice,butitwasrathertrashy,hadnophone,andwastooremote.Whatbotheredmemost,wereseveralshamelessAmericantouristswhowereblatantlysmokingpot.Weleft firstthingTuesdaymorning. Ididnotwantlocals to associ ate caverswithpot.NearthecenterofTecomanwelocatedanidealmotel.Ithadabathwitheachroom,wasclean,andpricedatjust$3.50perperson.Like theothermotels thebedwasa thinmattressonaconcreteslab,andtherewasnohotwater,nortoilet seat.Therewereno screens either,butalizardonthe ceiling controlled insects. A lovelywhitedovesatnesting in thebathroomwindow.Inthe centerofthe hotel a tropicalgardenwas thehometo colorful gec koswhichrestedinthepalmstoweringthroughtheroof. Theownerwasquiteaccommodating,perhapsbecausewewerenearlyheronlyguests,orbecauseshefoundus tobesuchacuriousgroup.Shedidn'tminduswashingourownclothesandhangingthemtodryonthe roofandseemedamusedwhenwetiedaropearoundthewatertank,drapeditovertheroofedge,downintoher78tropicalgarden,andthenbeganclimbingupanddown."Whydon'tyouusethestairs?"sheasked.Perhapsthelizardswereequallyamused.A wellhumoredteenage, Javier,wastheredayandnighttoacceptourpaymentsand,ifweremindedrum, toprovideuswithtowels. Atnighthesleptonthelobbycouchandsupposedlykeptaneyeonthe place. Regrettably,wefoundlater,thathe wasmuchtoodeepasleepertoprotectanything.Wedidn'twastetimeingettingstartedcaving.BrandonandKoryleftthatmorningtopickupShayattheGuadalajaraairport.FromtheretheydrovetoPatzquarotocheckouta lead afarmerhadtoldBrandonabout.Itturnedouttobeagoodleadinasmallareaofkarstsurroundedbylava.Thecavewasblowingmuchair,butunfortunatelydidn'tgofar.Therestofourgroupstayedin Tecoman to checkoutapitreportedto beabout50mdeepwitha "lake"atthebottom.So,offwewentto findSenorBalleza, the owner.Westoppedonthewayatausedtire place tobuyaninnertube. Isuspectedwemayhaveneededtodosomeswimming.Senor Balleza is arespectedandgraciousbusinessmanin Tecomanandalso theownerofa 2,500 acreranch.Hewasn'tathis officewhenwearrived,buthistwopoisedandattractiveyoungsecretarieswereable to locatehimontheradio.Hesaidhewouldbethereimmediately. Whilewewaited,oneofhis sec retariescautionedusthatthe pit,orcenote as they call it,wasa fright fulanduglyplacethatwecertainlydidn'twantto enter."Whydon'tyouniceAmericanboysjustgoto the beach?"sheasked.Aspromised,SenorBalleza arrivedpromptly,andescortedusto hisspaciousoffice.ThedecorwasSpanishcolonialwithanopenbeamedceilingandrustic tile floor. Tworemarkablyrealisticpaintingsofhis favorite horseshungbesideaphotoofhis wife.SenorBallezapointedtothepaintingsandcommentedthattheworldwouldbe asplendidplaceifonlypeoplewereashonestas horses.HeseemedreallypleasedtophavecaversfromNorthAmericavisiting. Occasionally, hissecretarieswouldinterrupttosaythathehadanimportantphonecall,buthewouldaskthemto postponeit. Beforeweleft, hegaveusanotetopresentto hisranchforeman,Octaviano.Itwastoolatetogocavingandtooearlytoreturnto the hotel,sowetookthesecretariesadviceandwenttothebeach.Itwasa beauti fultropicshore.Jetblacklava separatedcoconutgravesfromthe crys talclearwater. Thesandwascoarseandheavy.Itfelttherapeutictoourtired feet.Thebeachwasanadventuresomenewexperience.I'veheardaboutriptidesallmylife,butneverhadtheexcitementofexperiencingone.Whileourgroupfrolicked in thewavesbetweentheshoreandthe crests, Iventuredfartherout.Shortlyafterpassingtheareawhere thewaveswouldtypically crest, Iturnedtolookbacktotheshoreandsawtomysurprisethatthepalmsnowappearedminiaturized. Ihadbeenswiftlycarriedperhaps400metersout.RememberingwhatIhadbeentoldaboutriptides, Iswamuptheshorea 100metersorsoandthenbackto safety.Abouttwentyminuteslaterthetiderippedmeoutagain.Itwasnowdark.I was a littleworried,asweremyfriendsonshore.Without difficulty Iswambackas before.Laterthehotel managertoldusthatthebeachwasnotoriousforriptides,andmanyuninformedpeoplehaddrowned.WednesdaymorningwereturnedtoSenorBalleza'sranch.Weenvisionedfinding theranchmanagerresidingin a lovelyadobecottagebesideasprawlingcolonialhacienda.Tooursurprise,wefoundthatOctavianoresidedwithhiswifeand15yearoldson, Jose, in themosthumbleofabodes, asimpleshackofstickswitha corrugatedmetalroof.Octavianowasn'tthere.Josesaidhewouldleadus tothepit. Josewasahandsomebutsadlysolemnyoungman.Hesaidhenot

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AMCSACTTVITTESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23Tindarapo(taillesswhipscorpion).Brandon Kowallis.like livingontheranchandwasotherwiseratherquiet.Hedid,howeverseemespeciallyproudofanddevotedto a wellgroomedandtrainedhorse.Wedidn'tseemanyhorses.Mostpeoplehadburrows. JosesaiditbelongedtoSenorBalleza.Hewasobviouslyveryproudtorideandcareforit.Laterhe became a littlemoretalkativeandwasquitepleasedtohavemetake hisphotowiththehorse.WewouldneverhavefoundthepitwithoutJose'sassistance.Itwasfar into themountainsonaroadthatwasalmostcompletelyovergrown.In route, Mike'struckbecamehungupontheonlylargerockintheroadandhopelesslystuck. As hestruggledwith a blockandtackle to free it,severalBrahmabullsslowlyventurednearto take acuriouslookattheintruder.Mikewasbecomingsomewhatfrustrated.Fi nallyItook aballpeenhammerfromhistoolchestandcrawledunderthe truck. Withjusta fewhardblows,therockcrumbledandthetruckwas free. Thepitlayinthebottomofacanyon,surroundedbythickvegetation.Itwasabout7by20mwideattheopen-ingandthenfunneleddowntoabout3by3m.Weweretoldthatduringtherainyseasonthepitwouldfillentirelywithwater,andduringthedryseasona lakeatthebottomprovidedaneverendingsourceofwater. Severalyearspreviouslytheyhadusedtwopumpstosupplywatertomelonfieldsinthevalleybelow.Whenthemeloncontractended,thepumpswereremoved.Directlyabovethepithunga largewaspnest. The localsreferredto thistypeofwaspas"AvispaBorracha"or"DrunkenWasp."Several farmersinformedus-withallsobriety-thatwhenstung,thevictimwouldfallintoadrunkenstuporandstumblearoundaim-lesslyashisthroatswelleduntilhechokedtodeath.Therewas,however, asimpleremedy:"Throwajugofwaterintothevictim'sface,andhe willquicklyrecover!"Thisbizarrereactionandantidotewasrepeatedto ussomanytimesthatI'minclined tobelieveit.Dougtied offour90mropeto atreeandasDougwasabouttodescend,wehearda vehiclecrashingthroughthebrushtowardsus.Itwasatruckwitheightangryfarmers.Theyhadheardthatweplannedtodescendintothecenoteandwantedtoknowwhatwewereupto. Likemost Mexicans,theyfounditincrediblethatanyonewouldtraveltoadistantlandandgodownapitjustforthefunofit.Theyseemedcertainthatwewerelookingfortreasure.Afterexplaining tothemthatweweremembersofanationalcavingclub,andsimplywantedtotakephotosandmakeamap,theyquieteddown.Afterallowingmeto take agroupphoto,theywenthappilyontheirway.Davewasall excitedandwantedtobefirstdownthe pit.Halfwaydownhehadasuddenchangeofattitude."Ohmygosh!ThisisthebiggestspiderI'veeverseen!"heshouteduptous.Isuspectedhewastalkingaboutaharvestmanortarantula,untilhesaiditwasoverafootacross,andhadhugepinchers.Thiswasreallypuzzling."Coulditbea freshwatercrab?"Iwondered.AfewminuteslaterDavewasatthebottom.Hewasclearlyfrightened,"Thespidersareeverywhere!They'reovertwofeet across!I'mcomingbackuprightnow!"Ithinkhemadeitbacktothesurfaceinrecordtime.Ontophetoldusmoreaboutthespidersandhowtheyseemedtosneakuponhimwhenhewasn'tlooking.1wasanxiousto see for myself.Iputonmyascendingequipmentfirst.Ididn'twantto befumblingaroundwithchestharnessandstirrupsinthepitifgiantspidersweresneakinguponme.Ididn'tbotherwithmyrespirator.IwasafraidthatIcouldn'ttellifsomethingonthebackofmyneckwasaspideroranelasticstrap.Ididn'ttakemybackpackfor thesamereason.AllItookwasmycameraanda club.Dougscolded,"You'renotsupposeto killanythingbuttimeina cave!"Iresponded,"Ifdozensofgiantspidersareambushingme,I'mgoingtostartswinging!Sorry!"HalfwaydownthepitI realizedthatDavewasnotexaggerating.Hiddeninacrackwasamonsterofaspider.Yes,itdidindeedhavesevencentimetermandibleswithsharpprotrudingspikes,andlegsperhapsfifteencentimeterslong.WhenIreachedthebottomthereweremanymore,andtheywereevenbigger. Iestimatedthatthelargestcreatureshadlegs close tothirtycentimeterslong. Isuspectedthattheywerenottruespiders,buttheydefinitely hadeightlegs.Sharpspikesprotrudedontheirinwardedges.Between thepinchersweretwoblackappurtenanceswhichlookedlike .fangs. I79

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23f?1"1.R"r':"Jer::roseDoCJ3cede:!:$HQI'"I'"'",sfI,I7..I1I-nne/arcaFe>$'dvenor!hHeproudlyannouncedthatjustafewweeksago, San Gabriel hadbecomesomewhatof atouristattractionwiththeirownspecialcave. Thegovernmenthadassistedthemininstalling atwentymeterspiralstaircasetothebottomofapitwhichreportedlyled to a largeroomfilledwithimpressiveformations.Thecavewascalled"GrutadelaHiguera,"or"Fig TreeCave,"becauseofthelarge wild fig treegrowingnearits opening.Therootsofwhichdescendedthepitwall,andcouldbeclimbeddownbythemoreagile city residents.WewalkedwithIgnacio to the pit.Itwasjustas he described.Atthebottomasmallpassageled to aroomapproximately10mby20mwithspectaculardraperiesonmostwalls.Evena fewshieldsonone wall.Theroomhadapparentlybeenusedas awatersourcebypriorcivilizations.Accordingto30DecCenofeVreCo<.'We leftearlyThursdayfor thetownof San Gabriel.WehadheardfrombothManuelGallegosandChris Lloydthattherewerecaves there.Itwasa beautiful drive. Theroadfromthe valley floor to themountaintops waspaveden tirelywithcobblestones.Plushvegetationlinedeachside.WearrivedatSan Gabriel to find atownofapproximatelyfifteenhomesandaoneroomschool.Itwasasmallroomatthat,butveryneatandwell kept.Mostof thehomeswereborderedwithcolor ful bougainvilleas. Inthecenteroftownonewoodenbenchsatbeneathanincredibly large tree. Thiswasthe plaza.Charmingchildrenwithhugebrowneyesandbig smilesplayedwitha turtle. Youngmenwereapproachingwithrifles. Theyhadbeenhuntingiguanas.Itwasplainto seethattheyweredisappointedwiththehunt.NeartheplazawefoundthehomeofIgnacioDenisVerdusco.SanGabrielwasn'tlargeenoughtohaveitsownmunicipalpresident,butIgnaciorepresentedthecommunityinthecouncil.Wewantedhimtoknowwhatweweredoingsothattherewouldbenoconfusionorrumors.Ignacio waspleasedto have us there. thecave'snamewas.Allthefarm ersagreedthatithadnoname.Everyonejustreferredtoitas "EI Cenote,"or"thespring."Later,welearnedthatthe localshaveanamefor largespiderlikecreatures.Itis"Tindarapo."Consequently,wechose to call the caveCenotedelosTindarapos.couldn'ttell for certain. Icouldseenothingresemblingeyes.Theywere, as near as Icouldtell,completely blind. Theymovedslowlyfromspottospotanddidn'tseemto notice when I shinedmybrightheadlamponthem.Theyweredefinitelynot"sneakingup"onme. I feltquitecomfortable in theirmidst.OncewhenIapproachedwithina few inches to take a close-upphoto,thecreaturebecamealarmedandquicklyranaway.Isuspectitsensed theheatfrommylamp.Itrantotheareaofanotherarachnid whichimmediatelyen gaged itinbattle.Theywavedtheir claws frightfullyateachother, un til thetrespasserretreated.I no ticedthatnoneof thenumerouscreatureswerewithinameterofeach other.Theyareclearly terri torial. I noticedthatonedownnearthewaterhadwetfeet. Perhaps theyaresomewhataquatic,oratleastventureintoshallowwaterin searchoffood.Uponourreturntothestates, I inquiredwiththeUniversityof Guadalajara as towhatthese crea tures were. I received areplythe next day. Biologist,HugoFierro Lopez,saidthatwhatIsawbe longs to fourgenusof thephrynidaefamilyoftheamblypygiorder. TherearefourteenknownspeciesinMexico. In Americawecallthemtailless whip scorpions.Theyarenotscor pionsanymorethantheyarespiders.Hesaidthatmostspecies dwellonthe surface,buta fewaretroglobites. ThebottomofthepitwasanLshapedwaterfilledroomaboutfive by twelve meters.Therewasonlya small area tostandwhile off rope,anditwasdifficult togetto. Once off rope, I yelled toDoug,andhe camedown.While Iwaswaitingfor Doug, Iworkedmywayoverto lookaroundthe comer. Regrettably, theroomdidn'tgofurther. At the farend,the crystal clearwaterwasasdeepas Icouldsee,atleast six meters.Itwouldbe a funandpossiblyrewardingdivefor a SCUBAteamtopush.Before the farmersdeparted,wehad a lengthy discussion as towhat80

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23Ignacio, thestonestairsandsmallretaining wallnearthelowerportionoftheroomwerebuiltbypreColombians.Weasked Ignacioandotherlo cals ifanyothercavingtearnshadvisitedtheircommunity.Theyassuredusthatwiththeexceptionofa loneFrenchman,nocavershadventuredintothepits.Theyaddedwithdisgust,thattheFrenchmanonlywentinto thetouristcave,wherehescratchedhisnameonthe wall. "Isthatwhattheycall a ,spelunker'?"Ignacioandhis neighbor,Antonio Paredes Ramos,werepleased toshowuseightotherpitsinthe area.Theywereexceptionallygracious, refusing toacceptpaymentfor their assistance,butpleasedto acceptsmallgifts. IbroughtalongSwissArmyknives,andschoolsuppliesjustfor thispurpose.Wesuspectsix,possiblyseven,of the pits tohavebeenvirgin.Noneofthemhadimpressivefor mationsorculturalartifacts.Mostof themhadbadair.Mosthadlarge bats,butlittleguano.Twoofthemdeservefurtherexploration.Thereareatleastthreemorepitsin theimmediateareawhichwehopeto150morlongerrope.JusttwentymetersorsoeastofCaradeTigreis apitwhichlookedpromising,butwasonlyabout7mdeep.Itsopeninglooks like agiantscorpionhole,sowecallitPozodelAlacran.Incidentally,inthesummermonthsscorpionsareabundant.Theirstinghas killedchildreninthecommunity.AnotherpitwhichIwantedtoexplorefurther,butjustdidn'thavethetimeis a fewmeterssouth ofHiguera.Brandon,Kory,andDougvisiteditwhileShay,DaveandIwereatCaradeTigre.LikeHiguera,itwentdowntwentymetersandhadsmallsidepassages.Brandonreportedthatas hepeeredinto apassage,hewasmetbymorethanonelarge,black,harryandfrightfultarantula.Thismadethetightcrawlverydistasteful. Friday, Shay, Kory, MichaelandBrandonwentwithIgnacioSr.to thesiteofanexceptionallydeeppit.Theairwasbad,andtheydidn'tlike itatall. Likemostpits in thearea,mappingwaseasy,justoneshot,straightdown.Thedepthwas85.3meters.Atthebottom,allwerebreathingaboutthreetimesthenormalrateandanxioustogetout.Otherthandraperiesalongthesides, theIgnacioSr.inGrutadelaHiguera.Peter Ruplinger.exploreonournexttrip.OneofthemostpromisingpitsisCaradeTigre.Ignaciotookus to itonthefirst day.Theentrancelooks like asmallshelter,onanexoticplanet.Itis nestledamongsharpspikykars t rocksandtropicalplantswithsnakelike sterns.Thelocals calltheplants"CaradeTigre"orTigerFace.WeknowthemasPhilodendron sellourn.Outsidetheshelterwefoundthe remainsofaclaywaterjug.Ifwehadateamarcheologist,Isuspecthewouldhavepreciselypinpointedthejug'sageas"possiblyoverfortyyearsold,butdoubtfullyovertwothousandyearsold."Intheflooroftheshelter,wefoundtwosmallpassageswhichled to ahugepitalmostasbig indiameteras theentireshelter. Alotofairwasblowingupthepit.Shaytiedoffa90mropeandwentdownthe fulllengthitsknot-tedend.Itwasn'tanordinary90mdrop-itwasextremelyhot!Shayhada fewminormechanicalproblems,andofall places,hadtochangehisheadlampbulb.Ittookhimquiteawhiletogetbackup,andhedefinitelydidn'twanttogodownagain. With his exceptionallybrightheadlamp,bewasnotabletoseethebottom,soitmustgodownatleastanothertwentymeters.Onournext tri pwewill take ade:3JDec:98T5h-oc.IIledqeShe>."1l.-e'e<':ire"1P.Izedd.'sDc.eJ-.I<:>jr.jr.,':5?\IItI81

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23TheonehumblehomeinPicachowasoccupiedbyMagdalenoContreras,afriendlyfarmer,whowaspleasedto tell uswheretolookfor pitsonhisproperty.LikemanyMexicans,Magdalenobadworkeda fewyearsin the states,butreturnedto Mexico.HelaboredincentralCaliforniacultivatinghops,andspokea little English. Offwewentona trailwhichled afewkilometersdownthe hill to a polje-likebasinwithasmallcornfield.Ontheway,wemetMagdaleno'sdaughterwhowasleadingtwoborrowsupthe trail.Theywereloadedwithlargebagsofcorn.Ontheeastsideofthebasinweretwopits,only5morsodeep.Bothlooked liketheymightgofurther,witha little digging. As I foresaw,justa littlefurtherto thewestwasanotherbasin. Ithadacornfieldalso. Kory, Brandon,andShaywerequicktoscouttheperimeter,andfounda largeandpromisingpit. Itwas25mdeepandapproximately13mwide.Onthe farsidetherewasalargepassagewhichregrettablywentnowhere.So,afterspendingouren tiremorningdriving,andspendingtheentireafternoonhiking to findthreeinsignificantpits,westartedback.Higherupontheeastridgetherewereobviouslymorepits. From theroadwecouldsee several.Itwasbeginningtogetdark,sowedidn'thavemuchtime,butinjusta fewminutesridgewalkingwefoundanimmensepit.Itwasapproximately4mwideandfromthesoundoffalling rocksatleast a100mdeep.This willbeoneofourfirstpitstomaponafuturetrip. It ispossiblethatthepithasbeenpreviouslyentered.Ontheroughdirtroadjust70meterssouthofthepitis a smallshrineofSanRafael. Mexicans typi callyerectsuchashrineatthe siteofa fatalaccident.Itispossiblethatsomeonefell into the pit,orperhapstherewasanautoaccidentatthatspot.Isuspectthe lo cals know.Wetentativelycall thispitPozodeSanRafael.OurSundaywake-upcallwasasmallearthquake.Brandonmentfor acoconutprocessor.Justfor fun he caves,andoccasionallyteaches classesonverticaltechniquetorescueworkers.Hewasaccompaniedbyoneofhisstudents,Carmen.WedrovefromColima to theCerroGranderegion.CerroGrandeisnotedfornumerousdeeppits.Intheearly'80s,thedistinguishedMexicangeologistandcaver,CarlosLascanoSahagun,found79 pits,andmappedallbut15ofthem.Thedeepest,ResumiderodelPozo Blancodescends233m.Lascanoexploredonlythewesternportionofthe region.Weplannedto take acursorylookatjusttheeastportion.Aswebeganourclimb into themountains,shiftingbecameincreasinglydifficult. Ijustcouldn'tfindthegears. At first Ithoughtit wasbecauseofCarmen'swidehipswhichweresomewhatin the way. Finally I realizedthattheclutchwasgoingout.WithMikeandDoug'shelp,anda little timeunderthe truck,weweresoonoff again.Theroadswerereallybad,butfinallywemadeitto theonehometownofPicachoontheeastridgeofCerroGrande.AsweapproachedtheridgewewereconfrontedbytheimpressiveviewoferuptingColimaSur,justsevenkilometers tooureast.Wecouldn'tsee flowing lava,butatregularintervalswewouldseeanimmensepuffofashas alandslidecascadeddownthe hill. Afterdark,onourwayhome,wecouldsee flowing lava,andthe occasional fireworksdisplayas a boulder, perhapsaslargeas a house,wouldbethrownoutofthe volcanoandburstintoradiantpieces as ithitthegroundbelow.DdlSJ..qik01-<1ko'--'e<1/,'$S".e.....
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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23delNo.cjmre,,+o[/QveHtf,-r;sSh .,RlJf../3,...."<1.:-,,/{Q'1KO"""QII:swas46.9 mdeep.Liketheothers, ithaddraperiesonthe walls, andbadairinthebottom.A passage led offfromthebottomtoanotherpit,butitwasmuchtoosmallto enter,andIdon'tthinkanyonewouldwanttodigbecause of thebadair. Ididn'tfeel uncomfortableorweakatthebottom,butIdidhavetobreathaboutthreetimes fasterthanatthe top.Approximately4metersdownfromtheentrancewasasmallsidepassagewithanalterlikedepressionin the wall,andfourstalagmiteswhichhadaresemblancetoanativityscenewithJoseph, Mary,theinfant Jesus,andashepherd.Shaycrawledinto thepassageandfoundthatitdidnotgofurther.Wenamedthe pit PozodelNacimiento. Antonio appearedtobeespeciallypleasedwithourexplorationandname.TuesdayIgnacioSr.tookus totwomorepits.Itwasaarduoushike togettherethroughshoulderhighgrassinfestedwithbodysnatchingthornbushes.Theywouldliterallygrabus.Itwas quitedifficulttogetloose. Thesmallthornswouldpenetrateourskinandbreakofftofester fordays.Thefirs tcavehada small opening,Aftertheforms,weJ:lheadedbackto San Gabriel. Antoniotookus to apitonhis property.Itmass wasaboutto begin, the chapelwasfilled toovercapacity.Neatlydressedyoungfamilieswereonall sides. AtoddleronthepewdirectlyaheadturnedaroundtolaughasImadefunnyfaces.DuringthemassIlearnedthatitwasthe FestivaloftheThreeMagi.UsuallycelebratedonJanuary6th ,butmasshonoredonthe closest Sunday. Assoonasmasswasover, anewgroupofyoungfamilies beganfilinginfor asecondmass.EarlyMondaymorningwewereagainawakenbya surprise. At 2:30,twopolicemenwithmachinegunscametoDoug'sdoor.Nota pleasantway togreetthe morning!Theyannouncedtha t hiscarhadbeenbrokeninto.Thehotelmanger,Javier,whowassupposeto keepaneyeonthingssleptthroughtheentireevent. Naturally, thiswasdisheartening news,butallworkedoutwell.Thethreesmashandgrabthieveswereapprehendeda fewminuteslater. Mike,DougandIhadtogoto the policestationandfilloutvoluminousforms,buteveryonewashelpful.Wewereaskedtoreturnagainat9:00inthemorning. Asweapproachedthe police station,perhapstento fifteenblueuniformedmenwerewavingandwhistlingatus."Hownice,"wethought,"thepoliceareallsohappytoseeus."Strangely,theydidn'tlookhappy.Thenwere alizedthatweweredriving thewrongwayonaone-waystreet.Onceagainweeachfilledoutvoluminousforms. Tuesdaymorningwehadtoreturnfor thethirdtime to filloutmoreforms,butwereturnedwithallourstolenbelongings. MikeandDougdrovetoColimathatdayandgotthewindowreplaced forjust$55.00. took the hint,andsuggestedthatinstead of cavingwegotochurch.Mike, Dave,andIvisited the Mormonchurch.Itwasa lovely little chapelwitha large wellkeptlawninfront,anda basketballcourtinback. Thememberswereexcep tionallyfriendlyandpleasedto have us visit. Shortlyafterthe servicebegana largemanwithabrightpurplesweatshirtenteredthe chapel. Hisshirtwassilkscreenedin English, "Behindeverygreatwomanisher self."Hewasobviouslyintoxicatedbutenthusiasticallyannouncedthatbe hadjustovercomehisdrinkingproblem,andwantedto join the church.Hethen pulled a pieceofelectri calconduitfromhis pocket.Ithadbeen fashioned into a flute.Heofferedtoaccompanythecongregation'ssinging.Notsurprisingly,nooneencouragedhim.LaterinthedayI visited the Catholic church. I love old colonial churches. Regrettably,onewasnotto be foundinTecoman.Theyhavea largechurchofincrediblymundanearchitecturejustelevenyears old. Itsonlynotable featuresarethe threemeterhighdoubledoorsandpewswhicharefashioned of beautifully polished solidwalnut.Thedoorshavesixteencarvedpanelsdepictingthelife of Christ. Thechurchappearstohaverunoutof fundsbeforeconstructionwas complete. Itstowersbarelyex tend abovetheroof.Thecrossover, hasanabundanceofbellswhichoccasionally clangoutlivelymelodies,butregrettablybeginbangingeachmorningat4:00.Theysoundmuchlikesomeoneclean ingoutatrashcan. Despite themundanebuilding, I was touchedwiththedevotionof the parishioners.Theybeganfiling in long beforemassbegan. Sur prisingly there weremorementhatwomen,andnumerousfamilygroups.Manydevotedworshiperscrawledontheirkneesupthefiftymetertile aisle to the altar. A teenage girl enthusiasticallysprintedonherknees all thewayto the frontandthenbackagain.Itoccurredtomethatshewouldmake asupercaver. By the time83

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23PO't;OdelS<:<..foPk...et:de>GJan"19tn:hepe+erR....,.!..,rBrdhdo>'"Kot",/-5o.....,oll.'sDoc;-'%;e&h$H"......:$5'h
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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23NEWEXPLORATIONSINTHESTATEOFHIDALGODavidColeTheauthoratthetopof S6tano La Palrnilla.OvertheChristmasHolidaysof1998, asmallcrewconsistingofGeraldMoni(TN),DavidCole(TN),andAaronAtz(IN)headedsouthinhopesoffindingtheeverelusive BigOne.WeheadedfirsttothevillageofJoyadeSalas in Tamaulipas towrapupa seriesofrecenttripsthere.We checked onelastsinkspottedfromtheair,whichdidn'tgo.Next,wedroveinto the village itselfandasked iftheyknewofanycavesotherthanthelargepitentrancetothewellknowncave,JoyadeSalas.Wewereguidedtoanumberofsmallcaves,butmostdidnotevenqualify.Thosewhichdidqualify included40mlongCuevadeCarmen,ahorizontalcave150metersabovethevillage.Theen trance was 6by6m,andprovideda scenicviewofthecornfields below.Wethenexploredthe 135m long,Cuevadelos Leones, acavejustoutsidethe village,andatthevalley floor. Acolonyofvampirebatswerenotedaboveanin-cave11mpit,witha significantamountof blood yguanobelow.Thatnight,AaronandItouredthe firsttwodeeppits in JoyadeSalas.Wecouldn'tfindanyonewhoknewofmorecaves,sowedecidedtoheadtoanotherareaofMexico.The nextmorningwegotupanddecidedtodriveeighthourstothesouth.WewenttoCuestaColorada,asmalltownontheInner-AmericanHighwayinthenorthernpartofHidalgo.GeorgeVenihadturnedinabouttenpitstherefifteenyearsago,butcavershadnotspentmuchtimein theareaatall. Wedrovethroughthenighttogetthere,anadven-tureinitselfthroughdensefog.Thevisibilitywasdowntoabouttwometersformuchofthedrive.As apassenger,Ijustkeptmyeyesclosedandfingerscrossed.WedecidedtolookforcavesjustnorthofPinalito,furtherdownthehighway.Aftertalkingto anumberofpeople,wegottheideathattherearepitseverywhere.WefirstwenttoS6tanodeRamos, a nice43mpitwithbadair.Thenwehikedoffthemountainandwenttoa28mpit, S6tanodelAlambre,rightnexttoa cornfield. Wegotanotherguideandweretakento averynice50mpit,S6tanodelasAguilas.Theentrancebelledoutinto a 25m-diameterformationchamber.Thatnight,weexplored apitthatd rains averylargearroyo.This 24m pit.S6tanodelSavila, was unfortunatelyfilledwithtrashatthebottom.Wewouldendupcampingbythepitformuchof thetrip.Earlynextmorning,whileAaronwaspiddlingatthetruck,GeraldandIwentcaving.AmantookustonearbyS6tanodeTanque,a nice38mpit,withanaturalbridge.WethenwentbackacrossHwy85 toanareawehadpreviouslyvisited. Wehiked125metersuptoS6tanodel Chilar, a 43m pit.Ourguidecouldnotfindthemainobjective, adeeppitthatsupposedlytookwater. WesoonfoundS6tanoPequeno, a16mpit.Arockdislodgedas Iclimbedoutofthis one, hittingmeontheshinandfillingmyrubberBatabootwithsomeblood.NextGeraldandIwalkeddownto the85

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23valley floor to S6tanodelMalalar.A 23mpitthatsmelledlike Iwasexploring atunapackagingplant,the horror!OnChristmasday,weheadedto anewareaafewkilome ters away. I wasdelightedtorappeldowninto a32mshaftto find a fat, bloatedChristmaspig.Wecalled thisHoyoIndecente.Wewerethenguidedto a nice cave 300metersbelowasmallvil lage,northtowardstheRio Moctezumaandthe XilitlaPlateau.This 110mlongcave,CuevaMorelos,hada10mwideentranceoverlook ing the river,over1,000metersbe low.Wewerehopingtoemergeinthis riverafterexploringto the bottomofthis cave.Anin-cave 14meterpitled toanotherroomwitha fair-sizedvampirebatcolony.Thatevening,weweretakentoanotherpit,S6tanodelasEnramadas,a nice34mpit. Early the nextmorning,weweretakenbacktothesamearea,andwentto S6tanodelLorensillo, a 14m pit.Wepickedupapreviousguideandwentto averynice bellshapedpit, SOtanodelLorensillo. The8mdiameterentrancedropped65metersintoa40m-diameterchamber.OnthewaybackwefoundCuevadeAguilas, atight23mpitthathadto beearned,andS6tanodeGlietz, a17mpit.Thatnight,whendrivingbacktoourcamp,wecameuponamanlyinginthemiddleoftheroadwho didnotmove,andwasunconscious.Uponcloser inspection,wespeculatedhewasdead-thepuddleofbloodwasa big clue,sowe drovearoundhimandonward.JustanotherpartofagrandMexi can cavingadventure.Bynowwefigured theoddswereinourfavorfor a big one. The nextdayaformerguidetookusto anewareatosomepitshesaidwere "jMuy, muy,profundo!"Wearrivedatthefirst pit,whichhesaidwasnotthedeepestonehewas going to takeusto.The7Sm-ropewehaddidn't86comeclose toreachingthebottom,sowewouldreturnto thisonethenextday. Blacknessbeckonedbe low. Sowepushedon,andclimbedoveramountaintoS6tanodeMuytimes,a nice 43m pit. Thenextdaywereturnedto thedeeppit,carrying275m ofropeupthemountain-webroughtextrasowewouldn'twastetimereturningformore.Wecalled thispitS6tanoLa Palmilla.The205mwideentrancedroppedfree, 146masa beautiful, big riflebarrelshaft. Acolonyofbatswereroostingfivemetersbelowthe lip. Afterwedidthis pit,wewalked15metersoverandfoundanotherpit,the34mdeepS6tanodeChaves.I alsoexploredS6tanodela Roca, a23mpitaboveChaves.The nextdaythesamemantookusto anumberofsmallerpitsandonecave,including12mdeepS6tanodelCarvonera,18mdeepS6tanodelDifuntas,SamlongCuevadePuertoDeltoro,21mdeepS6tanodelAngelito,anda12mpitS6tanodeNevro.Wewenttoanotherarea, furtherdownthesamedirtroad,overlookingtheRioMoctezuma.Atiendaworkertookusto S6tanodeMorelos,aspectacular,open-air40m pit, litteredwithformationsatthebottom.Wethenhikedtoacavethatwasin a scenic 100mwide,Samdeepsinkhole.Itprocesses a lotofwater,butS6tanodeAibinoendedafterSam. The nextmorningwecontinuedtheonslaughtof"quotacaving."WewenttoavillagecalledEIS6tano,southeastofourcampingspot.After IknockedthehelloutofGerald'sbumper,wehiked to S6tanodeGualut,whichwasadecent31mdrop,butithadbadair.Gerald'snotesread,"Thispitfuckingsucks,"writtenbyAaron,butcrossedoutbyGerald.Ourguidetookus totwoothercavesatthevalleyfloor:20mlongCuevadeAriosto,andSOmlongCuevadeMagorga--afun, 43mdeeptubularclimbdowncave.Wethenwentto SOtanodePaila, a64mpitturnedinbyGeorgeVeni,butnotexploredbyhim.DrivingbacktothevillageofEl S6tano, Iclimbeddownintoasinkandfounda nice,in-cave,36mpit,CuevadelTanque.Wecontinuedourexplorationsinthisinterestingareathenextday. WedecidedtoridgewalkonourownandfoundS6tano delHuizache,sotanodeCanales,twonondescriptshortpits,andS6tanodelRodada,a nice8mdiametershaftthatwas35mdeep.Ifoundamanchoppingwoodinthewoods,andhetookmeto adeeppit.IquicklyconcludedIdidn'thaveenoughrope,soI hiked tothetruckformore.At 104mdeep,RojoProfundawasanunexpectedlydeeppitformedin a rift.Thatnight,whilepullingoutfromarestaurant,I accidentallyranrightintoAaron.Thefollowingday,anotheryoungmantookus 200metersupamountainabovethevillage ofEIS6tano.Weexplored19mdeepS6tanodeMaxorga,and18mdeepS6tanodeZacatito,twomorenerdholes.ThenwewenttoS6tanodelAlanito, a S4mdeep,riflebarrelshaftwithverybadair.Nearbywasyetanotherdeeppit, for whichwerealizedonceagainthatwedidn'thaveenoughrope.Webottomedthe105mdeepSOtanodeMolinaearlythenextmorning.Ithadagreatdealofguanoin thelowerhalfofthe pit.Thenextday,beforeheadingbackto thestates,wedida littleridgewalkingaroundRojoProfunda.Weexploredthreemorepits in the20mrange: SOtanodeHebilla,S6tanodelEbanos,andapithammeredopen,S6tanodeTepetare. Ithoroughlyenjoyedthe trip.Everydaywasexciting,andfull ofadrenaline.As Iwritethisreport(3-99),Geraldhasreturnedfromthissameareawithamuchlargercrewofcavers,havingexplored96newcaves,including31pitsatleast 30metersdeep.Withanyluck, we will findsomedeepcaves,notjustpits, here.

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23Caves Foundinthe Jacala Area of HidalgoDecember1998/January1999CompiledbyGeraldMoni
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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23BOREHOLESANDZAPATISTAS: CHIAPAS1998Taco Van IeperenAsourtruckroundedthe corner, Iknewthatwewerein trouble. Illuminatedinourheadlightswereseveralmeninblackskimasks.Theyhadguns.Thiswasnotthe local welcomewagon.Wehadgottenintothesituationinnocentl y enough. Afterfouryears of explorations in SoconuscoandArroyo Grande, Chiapas,ourworkwas nearlydone.Theglorydaysofsurveyinghugepassagesuntilwewereexhaustedwereover. Sure, therewerestill alotof leads,buttherewasa generalimpressionthatthemajordiscoverieshadbeenmade. Thiswasgoingtobethewrapupyear.Wewouldfinishsomeofthe remaining leads,trytoconnectthe twomainsystems,andthendoa littlescoutinginsomeextremelypromising areas nearby.Ithadbeenthree years sincetheZapatistare bellion,andwefeltthatthe politi calsituationwasfinallystableenoughtoallowus togointo the remotemountainareas safely. In Mexico, however,planscanchange rapidly.Mereweeks before wearrived,forty-fivepeoplenearthe villageofChenalhoweremassacred,rightin theheartof Chiapas cave country. Tensionswereatanall-time high. Thiswasnottheyearto bewanderinginthebush.Soweheadedacross themountainto the cavers'hutthatweallknowandlove. TheexpeditionconsistedofCa nadians,B.c.caverKirk Staffordandme, sixAmericansfromthe Cheve expedition,andfour Italians.Ourhosts, as usual,wereRubenandMichelle Coms tock,whoareinstrumentalinmakingcavinginthe area possible.Mythanksgoout88tobothofthemfor all of their help.Thefirstdaysawtwoteamsheadinginto Aire Fresco, themainresurgencecave,andoneteamheadingto Soconusco to checkoutagoingborehole.MattOliphant,MichelleComstock,andNancyPistolewereoff toanextremelypromisingpassageatthetopofaSOmdomewhichMatthadboltedupthepreviousyear. Iwasoffwiththe Italians topush"Nightmare:HellonEarth," apassageinAire Fresco towhichIhadswornnevertoreturn.Itstillseemedthe likelies t place for a con nection to7km-longSistema Soco nus co, however,andovertimeIhadforgotten themuddyrift, theslipperyGuanoClimb,andthegripping40m free-climb. Ishowedthe Italians thelastsurveystation,andthensoloedbackoutofthe cave.Nosensehavingfouronasurveyteam,andIhadpushedthispassagetodeathseveral years ago.MattandNancyreturnedto the cavinghutjustafterIdid.Theirpassagehadendedinanotherclimbwithgoodairafteramere40morso.Thereweresomeplantsgrowingatthebottomandtheyfelt asurfaceconnectionwasimminent.Mattwasnotkeen togobackanddoanotherboltclimb, soscratchone lead off the list.Thenthe secondteamreturnedfromSoconusco.Theirpromisingleadhadendedafteronly 20m. Thingswerefizzling fast. Eighthourslater the Italians returned.Theyhadconnected Aire Fresco to Soconuscoafteronlyfivesurveystations. I felt amixtureofjoyandhorror. Aftermanyyearsofwork,wehad a 21-kilometer sys tem.Ontheotherhand,wehadaccomplishedallourmajor expedi tiongoalsonthefirstdayof theexpedition.Whatwouldwedofortherestofourtime?Therewasageneralconsensusthatwewouldgoandlookfornewcaves asoriginallyplanned.Wedecidedthataslongaswewerecare ful,wecouldprobablydosomeexplorationsintheneighbouringtownswithouthavingtoomanyproblems.Joe, Nancy,andI allspokegoodenoughSpanishtocommunicateourintentions,andwehadplentyofexperience deal ingwiththeconvolutedMexican bureaucracy.OurfirsttripsawusheadingupthemountainsnearJitotoldeZaragoza,about15kmdowntheroadfromtheComstock'shouseatYerbabuena.Onthe firstdaywefoundsomenice looking sinks,andthelocalsseemedprettyfriendlyonthewhole.Manyagreedthatthe place togowasatowncalledCalidowherethereweresomere allybigcaves. Aswedrovefurtherinto the backcountrytowardsCalido, the receptionineachtownwaswilderandwilder.Dozensofchildrenwouldcomerunningfromallsidesto seethestrangegringos,andmobs ofpeoplewouldfollowusaswewentto looking forwhomeverwas inchargeoftown.Calidowasaprettyweirdplace,somewhat reminiscentofthe movieDeliverance.Beckysaiditbest:"Thesefolksain'tquiteright."Aftersomesearching I found the commissionerandhetookmeinto aroomwithsomeofthetownelders,whereIspentaboutthirtyminutesexplainingwhatwe

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23wantedtodo.At theendofthisheagreedtoallowustovisitthelocalcavesthenextmorning,andpromisedthathewouldarrangeguides.Elated,wereturnedtotheComstock'shouse. The nextmorningwearrivedinCalido toquitea scene.Thecommissionerhaddecidedthathecouldscoresomequickpolitical pointsbygettingustobuyanewbell for thechurch.Iexplainedthatwewerenotinthehabitofmakingdonations, especially religious ones,andofferedtoleaveifweweregoing to causehimpoliticalproblems.Finally,wenegotiatedadealthatif the caveswerereallygoodandweweregoingtospendsometimethereexploringthem,wewouldmake adonationtothe schoolwhenwereturnedfor a fullexpedition.Grudgingly,heagreedtoallowusto continue. A typicalcomponentofeveryChiapastripIhavebeenonis the"DeathMarch"toahugecavewhichisjustafewminutesaway. RuralMexicansseemhavetwounits tomeasuretime: "fifteenminutes"and"verycloseby"bothin dicate a hikeofonetofourhours."Fourhours"and"faraway"bothindicate amulti-dayexpeditionbestdonebyhelicopterorhorseback.The firstcavewas"fifteenminutesaway"andaftermarchinga fairdistanceintheblazingheatwearrivedataverynicelookingen trance. Unfortunately, therewasno airandthecavesumpedaftera fewhundredmeters.Thatwasto bethestoryoftheday.Wedescendedthreepits, allofwhichwereblind,andenteredthree largewalk-inentrances,noneofwhichdraftedandonlyoneofwhichcontinued.Allinall,notenoughtobotherreturningto, es peciallygiventhemoneyhassleswewouldundoubtedlyface.Wefinishedthedaybydrivingfurtherdowntheroadto seewhereit led. Itendedatasmalltownin the valleybottominthatstandardMexicanfixture,thebasketballcourt. JoeandIhadashortconversationwiththeonlySpanishspeakers in town,twoteacherswhocommutedeighthoursfromTuxtla ev-eryweek.Aprettybigcrowdformed,morecuriousthanhostile,butsincewedidn'tspeakanyKek'Chiandtheyappearedtobeevenmoreinbredthanthelastbunch,wedecidedtoleave.ThenextdayMariaandMatteo(bothfromItaly), Ruben,andIdrovetocheckoutagreatleadRubenhadheardabout.AspectaculardrivethroughsomeofthemosthairyroadsIhaveeverseengotustoourdestinationinaboutfourhours.Everyoneagreedtherewasonlyonecavein theareaworthvisiting,andaftersomeworkwelocatedamanwhoactuallyknewhowtogetthereandwaswilling toguideus.Hetoldusitwasaboutonehourhiking,soIwascompletelyconfused,notknowingwhetherhemeantfifteenminutesorfourhours.Aseconddeathmarchensued,andby4:00intheafternoon,aftera littlemorethanonehour,surprisinglyenough,wewerestandinginthelargeboreholeentrancetoCuevadeDolores.Wehadabouttenpeoplewithusbythisstage,asall of the kidsfromtheranchnearbyhaddecidedtotagalongto findoutwhatweweredoing.Theplacereekedofbats,buttheurgetoexploreoutweighedthefearofhistoplasmosis,andinwewent.Several kids followeduswithflash lights. We followed a fairlengthofflatwalkingpassagewhichwoundbackandforth.Itwasverynicelydecorated,flat floored,andbig.Therewasevenahumanskeletonlayinginthepassageatonepoint.Thelocalkidstossedtheskullarounda bit. Finally,wehitariftwithastreamway,andMatteodownclimbedintoitonlytoencountersumpsinbothdirections.Wesurveyedout,gettingabout800metersofsurveyinadditionto the 300orsometersofunsurveyedstreamway.All in all, apleasantdaysworkandaverynice cave.Onthewayback,thefogwassothickthatatonestageIhadtowalkinfrontofthecarsowedidn'tdriveoff the 600-meter cliffalongtheedgeoftheonelanedirtroad.Flushedwithourinitialexplora-tionsuccess,wedecidedtogoforthegoldandvisitKarstMountain(ournameforit).JustoffthehighwaybeforeBochilisan800-meterhighlimestonewall,leadingtoanuncutvirginjungleplateauofpinnaclekarst.Thetopomapsshowsinksupto100metersdeep,as wellasalargeresurgencenearthebase.Thisistheareawehadallbeendreamingaboutsince firstseeingthemapsseveralyearsago.WhileIwassurveyingCuevadeDolores,theothershaddonea preliminarytri pintotheareato seehowitlookedandtogetsomeideaofwhatthelocalswerelike.Whenwereturned,theywereallravingaboutincrediblekarst. Bestofall,theyhadlinedupa localguidein LaGuayabatoshowthemsomecaves.Ouroriginalplanscalled for us tosplitintotwogroups,buttheroadtoLaGuayabawasblockedbyatruckwithabrokenaxle. Weweretoldbythepeopleworkingonthetruckthatweweren'tto entertheareawithoutpermission,andthatweshouldreturnat6:00PMtotalktothelocal commissioner. Wewenttothenextvalley,andIwentwithonegroupto seesomecaveswitha localgentlemanwhileMattandNancywentdowntocheckoutsomeobvioussinks.Thefirstcaveourguideshoweduswasahuge60-meterwideborehole,whichendedtragicallyinbreakdownafteronlyashortdistance. Still,thiswasall themotivationweneededtostartdreamingofthehugemastercavewewouldnodoubtsoonfind.Wespenttherestofthedayhikingfromentrancetoentrancewithanever-increasinggroupofkids.Wefounda niceinsurgenceandresurgencewithareasonabledraft,which,nodoubt,formedashortthrough-trip.Wealsofoundnumerouspits,thoughnonelookedtoopromising.Wedecidedtocomebackthenextdayandtrythethrough-trip.WehoppedinthetruckanddrovetoLaGuayabatotryandgetpermissionfromthecommissioner.Thetownandsurroundingkarstwereeverybitasspectacularas Ihadbeentold,butthereceptionwasdecidedlycool.However,after89

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23spendingsometimetalkingto thepeopleinthelittlegeneralstore,theydecidedthatwewereokayandbecamequitefriendly."No,thecommissionerwasn'taroundyet,butifwewaitedhewouldshowup."Thepeopleinthestorewereprettycuriousaboutourequipmentandwhatweweredoing,andIwenttosomelengthto assurethemthatwehadnoweaponsandweremerelytheretoaskpermission.QuiteahordeoflocalmenwasgatheringatthetruckandIwentoutto talk tothemacoupleoftimes. Theywereprettyunfriendly,soIfinallygaveupandwecontinuedwaiting in the store. Finally,asnightwasstartingto fall,wedecidedto beproactiveandwentinsearchofthe commissioner.Nobodyseemedtoknowwherehe/shecouldbefound,andeachtimeIhadtogothroughmyexplanationofwhatwewanted.Aboutthefifthtimethroughmyexplanationoftheappealsforcaving,anextremelyunfriendlyguy(who Isuspectwasthecommissioner), toldusinnouncertainterms,thatwewerenotwelcome.Therewasnosolutionbuttoleave, soweapologizedfordisturbingthemandheadedbacktothetruck.BynowI wasgettingsomeprettybad vibes,andweturnedthetruckaroundandheadedbackdowntheroadasquicklyaswecould.Andthatwashow, tenminuteslater,weendedupmeetingtheZapatistaarmy.Therewereaboutten ofthem,inblackskimasks,armedwitholdbolt-actionrifles. Theyhadclosed agateacrosstheroadandtheleaderhadaradio.Wehaddiscussedthepotentialfor thistypeofthinghappening.OurgeneralfeelingwasthatwewerequitesafefromtheZapatistaarmybecausetheywouldnotwantto loseinternationalsympathybykilling us all.However,withforty five oftheirpeoplerecentlymassacred,wewerepicking abadtimetotestthis theory.Thegunmenmotionedusoutofthe car.Westeppedoutof thecarwithourbiggeststupidgringogrins,knowingthatifourtheorieswerewrongtherewasagoodchancewewouldallgeta bullet in theheadinthenextcouple90ofminutes."Tranquilo,nadavaapasar,"saidthemaskedmanclosesttome."Calm.Nothing'sgoingtohappen."OntheothersideofthetruckJoewasshakinghandswiththeleader. Inoticedthatoneofthesoldierswasawoman.Ibreathedasighofrelief. ThiswasreallytheZapatistaarmyandnotsomecrazymilitiagroup.EverythingIhadreadindicatedthatwewouldnothaveanyproblemswiththeZapatistas.Theypolitelysearchedourtruckandinquiredwhatweweredoingin thearea.Whentheyweresatis fiedthatwewerewhatweclaimedto be,theyexplainedrepeatedlythatthepavedroadsandmajortownsarepartofMexico,butthatthehighlandsaretheirlandandnobodyisallowedtotravelinit.Theyaskedfor 1000pesostoletusgo,butwebargainedthemdownto 700 ($125)andwereallowedtoleave.Wewerecarryingfarmoremoney,nottomentionalotofequipmenttheyfoundwhilesearchingthe vehicle,soIthinkwegotoffprettyeasily.Ourscoutingstoppedafterthat,andeveryonestartedtopackupto leave. I stillwantedtosqueezeinonemoredayofcaving,though,soIwentwiththe Italians topushthe leadwhereMattandNancyhadturnedaroundin Aire Fresco.Matteo'sgasoline-poweredhammerdrillmadeaquicktwentyminutesworkoutofthe 25m bolt climb,andleftmewithamajorcaseofdrill-envy.Toourdelight,thepassageopenedimmediatelyinto acomfortablywalkingsize,whichjustkeptgoingandgoing.Fromthe increasingamountofsurfacedebrisweknewwewereheadingtoanupperentrance,butthecaveshowednosignofendingandwescoopedwalking passage foralmostanhour.Thenwenoticed leaves.Nextwenoticed branches. Afterthatwenoticedrootscomingthroughthecracksintheceiling. Finallywenoticeddaylightcomingthroughthebreakdown.Yellingandholleringatthetopofourlungswedugoutjustin time to catch thelastbitofdaylight. Fortunately,therewerenolocalsaroundtowitnessourtriumphantexit,asthesightof us diggingoutofthegroundyellingandscreaminginjoywouldnodoubthavespawnedgenerationsoflegendsofhorriblecave-dwelling crea tures. Wefiguredwehadscoopedoverakilometerofpassage.Unfortunately, thiswasthelastdayoftheexpeditionasthe ItalianshadtogetbacktoTuxtlathenextmorningtocatchaplane.Therewasno choicebuttosurveythecavethatdayifweweregoingtodoitatall. Since allthesurveygearwasbackincamp,wehikedthefortyminutesbacktotownandhireda localladytocookussomesupper.Then,atabout10:00PM,weallreturnedtothecaveandinamarathonsix-hoursession,wesurveyedalmostlkmofpassage,de-riggedthe cave,andreturnedtotownjustacoupleofhoursbeforethe6:00AMtruckleftfor Soconusco. LocalswalkingthroughthecolddrizzlethatmorningwouldhaveseenastrangesightinthebackofthetruckinearlymorningColectivo.Lyingbetweenthestackedcoffeebagswerefourgringos,coveredheadto toe inmudandwearingstrangeclothes. AnotheryearofcavinginChiapashadcometoanend.ReprintedwithpermissionfromThe Canadian Caver,29(1), Spring 1998 (www.cancaver.ca)

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23Upper left: Dan PachandTacovanIeperen, well dressed Chiapas Cavers.MoniqueCastongay.Upper right: TacovanIeperen in Aire Fresco.DanPach.Below: The death-march trail below Lazaro Cardenas.TacovanIeperen.Chiapas1998En el primer dfa se conectaron Aire Fresco y Soconusco formandounsistemade21kil6metrosdelongitud. Al ser alcanzado el objetivo principaldela expedici6n elgrupodeespele61ogos participantes revis6 otras posibilidadesenlas montafias.Seencontraron algunos sOtanos y b6vedasgrandesperocortos. Sin embargo,nosiempreeranbien recibidosenel area por los pobladores.Seles pidi6 que salierandeLa Guayaba y al bajar la montana fuerondetenidosporungrupodezapatistasarmadosquerevisaron las camionetas y preguntaron el motivodesuvisita. Alfinallosdejaron ir sin ningu.ndanodespuesdepagar 750 pesos. Este fue el finaldela busquedadenuevas areas. El ultimo dfa se encontr6 y topografi6 alrededordeunkil6metrodepasajequeconduce a una nueva entrada a Aire Fresco.91

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23ROBPARKERREFLECTIONSBill StoneIlearnedofRobParker'sdeathfromWes Skileswhophonedafterreceiving a callfromthe Bahamas. Parkerandfiveothers,includinghisdivingpartnerDufferMalloneandRobPalmer'swidowStephie, were there toshootadocumentaryfilmaboutBlue Holes inhonorofRob Palmer,whohimselfhadmysteriouslyperishedduringadiveinto the Red Seasomefourmonthsearlier. Parkerandtheothershadbeenworkinghardfortwoweeks,divingdailyoncompressedairto 60mdepths.OnAugust17,1997, MalloneandParkerdecidedtomakeanexplo rationdiveinFourSharks Blue Hole, a wellknownoceanhole whichcontinued,unexplored,atsubstantialdepths.Becauseofanarrowrestrictionat-50mtheydivedopencircuitsidemountrigswithonetankeachoftrimixandair.Theystagedbottlesofoxygenat-10mandnitroxattheconstrictionfordecompression,andthencon tinuedonthroughthe fissureandinto a large rift.Theretheydescended to adepthover100mandintovirginterritorywheretheyex ploredsome120m before calling the dive.Duringthe ascent, the trimixgassuppliesranlowandaswitchwasmadetocompressedairatadepthof 67m. ShortlyafterthisswitchMaHoneobservedParkerto be fall ing, uncontrolled,backdownthe shaft, unconscious. MaHonemadeadesperatedescentto 80m,breathingair, to re trievehimandsucceededingetting thebothofthemback to the head of the restriction.Hebelieved Parker tobeawake,thoughdrowsy,atthattime. The restriction,unfortunately,precludedside-by-sidepassage.MallonemotionedtoParkerthathe wasgoingthroughfirstandthatParkershouldfollow.Onthe en-92trancesideofthe restriction, Parker failed to materialize.Mallone'sgassuppliesweredepleted(dueto theemergencydescent)andhewasforced toascendtodecompress.ThebestanalysisoftheaccidentindicatesthatParkerblackedoutfromseverenarcosisafterswitchingfromahelium-basedbreathingmix tocompressedairat67m. DespiteMallone'srecollections, it appearsthatParkerneverfully regainedconsciousnessafterthatmoment.Hewaslaterfoundwedgedinthe fissure.IfirstmetRobParkerin Jackson ville,Floridain theautumnof1983.Hehadcometojointheteamreturningto theCuevadela PenaColoradaonthesouthernflanksoftheHuautlaplateau.Thatprojectrequiredararemixofskills includingcave exploring,rockclimb ing, SCUBA diving,andlongrangecampingbeyondsumps.Thelatterhadneverbeforebeenattempted.Young Parker,thenjusttwenty-one,hadshownupwithminimumtraveling kitandapersonalrecommendationfromMartynFarr. BeingsometenyearstheelderI initially lookedonRob asanen thusiasticrookie-tobegood-spiritedlyexploited forhaulingtonsoftackleunderground.Itd idnottake long beforeeveryonerealizedthataprodigywasamongus.OnourwaytoHuautlaatthe beginning of the four-month project the8-tontruckcarryingourequipmentbrokedown.Partsweresentfor,butin Mexico,nothinghappensswiftly.Parkercameupwithamoralebuildingdiversionandrigged a 100-meterropetyroleanacrossanearbycanyon.Peoplewerestillridingthis as thetruckpreparedto roll on. ItwasathreekilometergearladentrekinFebruary1984fromourbasecampupadryriverbedfilledwithtable sizeboulderstotheentranceofthecaveweintendedtoconnectto theHuautlasystem,andthroughwhichwehopedtoestablishtheworlddepthrecord.Ittooktheaverageteammemberninetyminutesupandsixtyminutesback.Parker,beingthenimbleathlete,soonobservedthatitwaspossibletorunfrombouldertiptobouldertipwithfar lessenergyexpenditure,albeitwithmoreadventure.I noticed this tooand,withoutsayingaword,a silentcompetitionbeganwhereinwemightindependentlymakethatrunandthenwalkintobasecampandmutteranumberto the other, thenumberbeingthelatesttime inminutes.By theendofthe projectParkerproudlyannouncedthenumber"Fifteen/'whichwaslittleshortofOlympicspeedoverboulders.Thiswouldnotbeourlastcompetition.HeandIbecamefastpartnersonthattrip,eachmatchedto theother'sskillsandstamina.Weexplored,sidebyside,territoryneverbeforeseenbyhumans.Of tenclimbingwasinvolved,andhe was very,verygoodatthat. I wouldalwaysbethe belayer,hethe leader.Onedayheledanexceedingly dif ficultrouteupablank70m-highsectionofcanyonwaltwhereuponweenteredanewcavernwenamedVineCave.WhenIarrivedRobwaslookingstunnedandthoughtful."What'swrong?"Iasked.Hepointedsilentlytothefloorandthere, imprintedintothehardeneddirt,werebarefootprints...nodoubthundredsifnotthousandsof yearsold.WhenIaskedhimhowsomeonewithoutthebenefitofmoderntechnologyhadmanagedto"scoop"hisroute,henoddeda few timesinrespectandsaid, "Reli gion,man...religion."OnthatsameexpeditionRob

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AMCSACTIVITIESNEWSLETTERNUMBER23pioneeredtheclimbsleadingtoNarrowsCave,CuevadelAltar,andGourdCaveas well asthefirstexplorationofSumps3and6 in the PenaColorada.Robwasnotwithouthislimitations.Wesoondiscoveredhisone,his only, phobia: peas.Yes,I'mtalk ingaboutthe littleroundgreenvegetable.Thereensuedgreatdebateamongseveralteammembersas tojusthowsincere, clinical,andsensitive thismaladywas. Seeing ashowmanyof uswerescientists,wesetoutonadevious,multiyearseriesofexperimentsduringwhichwetestedthehypothesisundercontrolledconditions.Weinjectedsauteedpeas,powderedfreezedriedpeas,cannedpeasandjustabouteveryotherpossiblepermutationthatcouldstillbecalledpeas-intovariousfoodstuffs-alltobedetectedbyParker'sunerringsensethatsomethingwasnotrightwiththeworld.Theultimate"ParkerandthePea"storywashis discovery,withoutsomuchas a quaff,ofasinglepeaatthebottomofapintofGuinness.Hadwebeenable to isolate thisdetectionmechanismwecouldhaveallretiredrich.Robwasalwaysadeptatunorthodoxmeansofgettingbybetweenexpeditions.Heoftenbuiltfurniturefor his foreignhostsinordertoearnmoneytopurchaseareturnplanetickettoEngland.Andheknewhowtoturncountybridges intospiderwebs(for the sakeofa fewpoundsfromthelo cal televisionstationthatwasrunning a sciencestoryaboutspiders),andchurchesintoclimbingcenters(whichhelaterturnedinto ahandsomelyprofitable business). But al ways, his lifecenteredonbeingoutthereonthe frontier,onexpeditionswiththefewpeoplein theworldwhoreallyunderstoodwhatmadehimtick.Overthecourseoftimeourpersonal"competitions"becamethesubstanceof folklore intheexploration community.Noprojectwentbywithoutsomesortofchallenge-whetherseveralhundredpush-upsoverpoolsofsweatinthe40CswelterofRIOSantoDomingobasecamp,push-upswithSCUBAtanksonourbacksinFlorida,orpull-upsfromthedivingtoweratWakullaSpringsin fulldress,withtheloser(thatis to say, me) fallingunceremoniouslyeightmetersintothedrinkaftermatchingParker'scount,butnothis ability togetbackontopoftheplatform!UsuallyRobwon,butImanagedtocatchhimoffguardonjustenoughoccasionstokeephimonhis toes.Andso,whenthe Britishpressaskedhim,ontheeveof hisrecordbreakingdescentintoWookeyHolein1985,"Howlonghaveyoubeenenteringintothesecompetitions?"webothwonderedhowthepaparazzihadcometolearnofourpUSh-upcontests.AfterhispioneeringworkatWookey,Rob'snameanddeedsspreadfarandwide.HewasaleadingexploreroftheBlueHolesoftheBahamasalongwithRobPalmer(alsonowdeceased),andpioneeredtheexplorationofsuchplaces asConchSound,Stargate,MarsBay Blue Hole,andscoresofothers.Hewasa keymemberofthe 1987 projectatWakulla Springs, ledthefirst cavedivingexpeditionto China,andwasflowninbymilitarytransportsinvariouscountries to assis twithrescuesandre coveries. HistapedaccountsofthefirstmissionsupB-TunnelinWakulla in 1987 stillmakeforrivetinglis tening.Inhis joking,self-deprecating manner, hewoulddescribeunderwatervehicle collisions,unintendedbarrelrolls,camerasnags,catastrophiclossofbuoyancycontrolandotheradventuroushappeningsatmorethan100metersunderwater-whilestillcompleting the explorationandfilming mission-withsuchrunawayenthusiasmthatyoubelieved inyourheartofheartsthatthismanwasnotonlyindestructible,hewasalsototallyunflappable.OtherstookstockofRob'sgrowing talent. Sheck ExleyoncetoldLeoDickinsonthathadRob lived in Florida,insteadofEngland,thathewouldlikelyhaverisentothestatusoftheworld'spreeminentunderwaterexplorer.Sevenyearslater,atthirty-twoandamemberofthe 1994SanAgustinexpedition,hewasfarmoremature,yetjustascapable.Havingbusinessmatterstoattendtowithbothhis successful climb ingcenter-"probablythebestplywoodcragintheworld"-aswell asbecomingatalentedadventurecinematographer,hearriveda fewweekslate. Wewereshortofpersonnelattheexplorationfrontandwerebehindscheduleinthetransportofheavyequipment.Withinadayofhisarrival,andwithnoacclimatization, hepersonallybroughtdowna 30-kilogramhydroelectricturbineanddepositeditattheCamp3depotalongwithahumorousnote,andthen,withoffhandedease,proceededtorockettothesurfaceinthreehoursflat.Lessermortalstookbetweenten totwelvehours.WhenwereturnedfromCamp5laterthatdaytodiscoveryhisdeliveryandnoteI rememberwritinginmylogthatnight,"ThecavalryhasarrivedandtheyareBritish!"Overthefollowing years Rob diversifiedhisinterests.HeclimbedEverest,becameanextremetech nicalrockclimberwhotouredtheworldinthatpursuit,andshotfilmsofsharks.HisclimbingbusinessinBristolhadbecomesosuccessfulthathewasfreed of therequirementsofworkingaregularjob.TofillthegaphehadbecomeLeoDickinson'sprotegewithaneyeonasecondcareerinadventurefilmmaking.InAprilof1997werenewedourfriendshipata technicaldivingcon ference in Coventry, England.Overmanypintsofstoutanda fewnapkins forsketchpadsweplannedboldfutureexpeditionstobothWakullaSpringsinFloridaandareturntothePenaColoradainHuautla.Iwasgreatlylookingforwardtoworkingwithhimonceagaininthefield. Icouldsensethatwebothknewthatsuchprojectswerewhatwelived for: tochartnewterritoryinextremelyremoteplaceswitha few closefriends.Thatis, in fact,whathewasdoingonAndros.93


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Edited by John Stembel, 93 pagesContents: Mexico
News, compiled by Bill Mixon Long and Deep Cave Lists, compiled
by Peter Sprouse Sierra Los Llanitos, San Luis Potos, by Tommy
Shifflett Proyecto Espeleolgico Purificacin 1997-1999, by
Peter Sprouse Dos Aguas Area, Michoacn, by Chris Lloyd
Proyecto Cheve Update, by Nancy Pistole and Matt Oliphant Nita
Nido and Nita Ntau, Huautla, Oaxaca, by Jim Smith Caverna de
San Bartolo Tutotepec, by Ricardo Arias F. Lava Tubes of
Cuernavaca, by Chris Lloyd Nita Nashi, Huautla, Oaxaca, by Jim
Smith Cenote Ponderosa, Quintana Roo, by Trevor LoRe History:
Visits of Cacahuamilpa, by Ulysses S. Grant and J Harlen Bretz
Tocomn Project, Colima, by Peter Ruplinger Explorations in
Hidalgo, by David Cole Boreholes and Zapatistas: Chiapas 1998,
by Taco Van Ieperen Cartoon: Blindcat Research Team, by Jean
Krejca Obituary: Rob Parker, by Bill Stone
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.


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