Qikeng Dong 2002 Expedition Info for members

Info for members:

  1. When are we going?
    Now to end of October
  2. What visa do I need?
    30 or 60 day, single entry, tourist. On your visa application don't mention caving. Just put that you're going to be visiting Shenzhen, Chongqing, Wulong, Jiang Kou, Tian Xing as a tourist.
    For more info, see the Visas section
  3. Where should I land in China?
    Most people are flying into Hong Kong, taking the ferry from Hong Kong to Shenzhen airport, then flying to Chongqing from Shenzhen. Brian Judd bought internal tickets in Chongqing for 1100Y one way. For future reference, the travel agent needs your full name as it appears on your passport and your passport number in order to buy tickets in China.
    Otherwise, there are direct flights from Hong Kong to Chongqing.
    For the truly adventurous/experienced, there is a direct train from Beijing (takes one day) and one from Guangzhou (city near Hong Kong, takes 2 days). They are much cheaper (200 to 400Y) but I wouldn't advise it if you're on your own with a lot of baggage.
    For more information, see the Before you go travel section
  4. How cold is the cave?
    In June Qikeng Dong was British in temperature. Maybe 7C? But Qikeng has warmed up dramatically over the summer, and I expect the higher temperature will linger into the early fall. It is 14 degrees now. While I was comfortable in a furry and TSA in June, now I am wearing a cotton boilersuit and thick leggings (mostly just to pad my harness a bit). It's warm enough that with the addition of a balaclava and thin thermal top I was quite happy sitting in an alcove for 30 minutes.
  5. Do we need to worry about flooding?
    Not in the shafts. Qikeng has a small stream that does react quite dramatically to heavy rain, but the passage is so big in comparison to the size of the stream that we have rigged traverses to keep out of the full force of the water and mostly out of the spray.
    After that... well, that's why we want a cave radio. Brian thought it doesn't look like it floods to the roof, so we'll just have to make sure that the traverses are nice and high.
  6. What's the surface temperature and weather?
    Occasionally 40C in the summer, and in the winter above about 1100m it gets cold enough for moderate amounts of snow. It has been very dry and mild so far this September. Technically the rainy season should slack off in September and end in early October, but with global climate change all bets are off.
  7. What's the elevation?
    To the nearest 100m: the entrance and village are at 1200m, the showcave Furong Dong is at 400m, and the river is at 200m..
  8. What's the surface approach like?
    From the village it's a 15 minute walk along a fairly level dirt road/track.
  9. Where are we going?
    Chongqing Municipality (formerly the eastern part of Sichuan Province), in the southwest of China. We'll be in Wulong County's Tian Xing Village, which is a short drive from Jiang Kou Town.
    For political and topo maps of the area look here. Additionally, Brian Judd has a topo of the area on his website
  10. What vaccinations do I need?
    The standard ones: Tetanus, Hepatitis A and B, Diptheria, Measles, Mumps, Rubella. Plus: Typhoid, Rabies, and Japanese B Encephalitis.
    For more information see the Health section.
  11. Do I need malaria pills?
    No. Chongqing is too far north for malaria.
    For more information see the Health section.
  12. Who's going?
    Dates indicated are arrival/departure from China, not from home countries. After the 28th of October, some people (Erin, Duncan, Matt, James?, Taco?) are planning to move to a nearby caving area for further exploration.
    Erin Lynchxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Brian Juddxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Duncan Collishhhhtttttxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    James Alkerhtttttxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Matt Ryanhhhtttxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Taco van Ieperinxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Chris Densham xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Andy Harp xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Martin Laverty xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Lenik anak Saymo xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Harvey Smith xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Bill Farr xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Bill Minershh xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Flight details:

    • Duncan: arrive HK Sep 15, train to Chongqing
    • James: arrive HK Sep 18, train to Chongqing w Duncan
    • Matt: arrive HK Sep 25, train to Chongqing on Sep 28, meet Taco on Sep 30
    • Taco: arrive Chongqing Sep 30 17:50 (Air China 1409 from Beijing)
    • Bill M.: arrive HK 4 Oct, Shenzhen to CQ flt 3455, 6 Oct 16:10
    • Bill F.: arrive HK 6 Oct 5:30am, Shenzhen to CQ flt 3455, 6 Oct 16:10
    • Chris, Martin, Lenik, Harvey, Andy: arrive HK 6 Oct, Shenzhen to CQ flt 3455, 6 Oct 16:10

    Canceled: Chris Andrews, Mark Rosbrook, Heidi Macklin

  13. What should I bring?
    Caving gear: SRT kit (check for tears/wear before you leave home) plus at least one spare bobbin, foot jammer if you have one, thin wetsuit, lightweight ripstop nylon oversuit (if you don't have one, bring both a cotton boilersuit AND a PVC suit), 2 sets of lightweight thermals, wetsocks, wellies, pulley and spare jammer, spanner, balaclava, survival bag, iodine tablets, etc.

    Underground camping gear: See group gear. We will try to coordinate a camp for 4, so not everyone need bring a rollmat, etc.

    Above ground: sleeping bag and rollmat (there is plenty of floor space, but only 5 double beds in the farmhouse. We will investigate additional accommodation across the road. Do not bring a tent), mosquito net, surface clothes for warm weather, a Chinese phrasebook, a book to read, a few CDs.

    Lighting: Tian Xing has good, but not 100% reliable mains electricity, so it is best to either bring an electric caving light that will run both on rechargeable and non-rechargeable cells or bring enough spare rechargeable batteries. Duncan and Erin are using Speleotechnic Ions, Harvey has a FX2. We will try to coordinate chargers. The society has several multiplugs units with Chinese plugs on them, so we can plug British chargers into the farmhouse mains without any problem. We will not be using carbide.
    For more information see the Equipment section.
  14. Can I get flatpacks/AAs out in China?
    Flatpacks cannot be obtained easily or cheaply in China. However we do have a supply of Duracell AAs out here.
  15. What should I do about money?
    Bring an ATM card and a credit card. It is cheaper to use Traveller's Cheques, BUT you cannot cash traveller's cheques in China on weekends or after bank hours. Because we will be moving fast, plastic is the way to go. There are a few ATM machines in Chongqing which accept foreign cards. Tian Xing does not have a bank.
    We recently discovered that it's possible to change US dollars at the China Construction Bank in Wulong. No idea about traveller's cheques, cash advances on credit cards, or other currencies there.
    For the gory details see the Money section.
  16. How much will it cost?
    It should be: flight to Chongqing + 100 GBP (or 150 USD) for group gear + no more than 5 to 6 USD per day.
    There are also expenses for insurance, visas, new personal gear, etc.
  17. What about group gear?
    The gear deposit is 100 GBP or 150 USD per person, and this covers 12 months of caving with Hong Meigui. (The idea is to encourage people to come out more frequently and for longer periods of time, and at the same time build up a cache of gear to make it easier for groups to come caving in China.) Qikeng Dong is very gear intensive (lots of bolts, wear on the ropes, dehydrated meal, camping gaz, etc.) so we're going to struggle to cover our costs on this one. Scrounging/begging for sponsorship/etc. is strongly encouraged.

    Here's a rough overview of what's available and what we need. There is more gear with Hilary in Yunnan, but it probably won't reach Chongqing until mid-October.

    • drills: have 2 w/incompatible batteries. 1 old-style w/3 batts (needs new switch), 2 new-style w/1 batt each
    • drill parts: need grease (moly??), drill bits (Matt)
    • tackle sacks: many naff ones, will cope
    • rope: large amount of thick rope. Need 8mm for pushing (Martin--now 9mm)
    • M8 thrubolts: Need as many as possible (500-1000?) Chris
    • hangers: 20 in WL, need more (Andy)
    • maillons: 10 in WL, buy 150 (Bill F. and Andy)
    • slings: in short supply. buy 100m (Taco)
    • krabs: 12 in WL, ?? in TX, short supply, will cope
    • hammers: TX: all naff. 1 from Taco, bring/buy proper ones.
    • rope protectors: 12 in TX/WL
    Underground Camping
    • 1 bivi bags: Erin, others deemed unnecessary
    • 3 sleeping bags: 3 constructed from Chinese duvets-- work okay
    • 1 rollmat: will use to supplement hammocks
    • gaffer tape+tarp hammocks: have 4, sorted
    • tarp: bought in TX
    • stoves: 2 gaz ones in TX, 1 in unknown condition from Matt?
    • water filter: good idea for drinking underground.
    • camping gaz: 33 canisters in TX
    • hot meals: some in TX, Taco to bring more Pasta n Sauce, will source pot noodles, sausages, hot breakfast locally
    • dry bags: some thin ones in TX, most ripped. Need repair tape (Hils).
    • pots and pans: some in TX, bought more in TX
    • instruments: Erin, Taco, Martin, Bill F., maybe Dunks?, others?, 4 sets a good idea
    • tapes: 4 in TX. Martin 1
    • paper: lots in TX
    • binders: 3 in TX, can make more out here
    • pencils: one more pack of Bic mechanical pencils with erasers would be good
    • graph paper: plenty
    • computers: laptop (Matt), scanner (Matt), USB printer in TX, psion in TX for point calculation, but does not display or print.
    • walkie talkies: 4 in TX, one broken
    • buoyancy aids: 6 in TX, some slightly naff, 2 from Matt.
    • BDH's: 4 large, 1 small in TX
    • Darren drums: 1 in TX, 2 from James
    • float cord: 1 km of thin stuff in TX
    • wetsuits: some bits in TX
    First Aid/Safety
    • cave radio: Chris (does anyone know how to use it?)
    • lots of bandages, needles and splints in TX
    • short on Ibuprofen, Paracetamol, anti-inflammatories
    • more duct tape, gear tape, araldite etc. is always useful
    • cave food: need snack foods. Suggest begging flapjack from local bakeries
    • SRT spares: need spare stop parts. Bulk order?
    • nylon oversuits: Who wants one? Bulk order from Dragon/Warmbac?
  18. What is the accommodation like?
    We'll be staying in a farmhouse we share with a large number of spiders and a small number of mice. There are 5 beds, plenty of floor space, and not much privacy. The loos are in the pig sty and showers haven't made it to the village yet, but there is an electric twin tub that we can use to wash clothes and undersuits. Mrs. Wei cooks 3 hot meals a day for us and provides entertainment in the form of rice alcohol at breakfast.
  19. What is the "game plan"?
    Establish the camp. Push downstream as a priority, then upstream. Derig by the end of October.
    If Qikeng comes to an end before the end of October, there are several other leads in Tian Xing as well as half a dozen nearby caving areas with a wide variety of exploration options on offer.
  20. What's the exploration history?
    See the Tian Xing history page
  21. Is there internet access in Tian Xing?
    If someone brings a laptop we could conceivably have internet access at th farmhouse. Otherwise it's about 1.5 hours in a bus to the nearest town (Jiang Kou) where there are a few internet cafes. There's a bus down at 7am and another one up around 2pm, so it's a reasonable thing to do on a rest day. The round trip journey costs about 2.5 USD. If 4 or 5 people want to go to Jiang Kou together we can hire a minibus for about the same price per person. Internet access is about 0.3 USD per hour and is neither blazingly fast nor crawlingly slow. Some news sites are blocked.
  22. How do I contact the expedition?
    Contact numbers are as follows:
    Fiona's Youth Hostel in Hong Kong: 
    +852 28175715
    Chongqing/Wulong/Tian Xing numbers.  If calling from Chongqing, leave off 
    the (023) or (0).  If calling from abroad, replace the (023) with +86 23. 
     I don't think you can call mobiles from abroad:
    Farmhouse at Tian Xing: 
    (023) 77746011
    Mr. Li, english speaking Huibang guy
    (023) 77727625 (office)
    (0) 13320377007 (mobile)
    Mr. Yang Wei Hu, Huibang General Manager (no english)
    (0) 13908381433 (mobile)
    Mr. Luo Da Lin, Huibang Assistant Manager (no english)
    (0) 13320377077 (mobile)
    Guang Ming Zhaodaisuo (cheap hotel in Wulong):
    (023) 77725489
    Madame Tan Kinou
    Chongqing 401147
    Wuling Lu #210 (located in Song Su Chao district)
    Jinsha ZhaoDaiSuo 
    (023) 67600701 (hotel)
    (023) 67616283 (family)
    Susan, english speaking member of Chongqing Exploration team:
    (0) 13983031419 (mobile)
    (023) 655468018 (home)
  23. Is there any more information about this area?
    Try the following links:
    Brian Judd's website
    Tian Xing main page
  24. Why is Tian Xing cool?
    At -768m, Qikeng Dong is the second deepest cave in China. (And to be fair the "deepest" cave includes 600 vertical meters of very wide doline, so we like to think that doesn't count)