Qikeng Dong 2002 Expedition Logbook


14th September 2002 - 23rd September 2002: Travelling

Duncan Collis, James Alker

Arrived in Hong Kong to find it raining hard -- a soggy slog up to the Mt. Davis YHA with 2 rucksacks. Rained for the next 2 days, during which I applied for a visa, bought a bargain wetsuit and got all of my clothes wet. James showed up on the 18th, and the weather improved. Accomodation also improved as we moved into James' cousin's luxurious house for 2 nights. On the 20th we set off fto Guangzhou to catch the train to Chongqing.The entire journey went really smoothly -- from Hong Kong to Wulong, apart from 4 hours waiting for the train + the border crossing, we probably spent less than 5 minutes between different modes of transport. Arrived in the afternoon of the 23rd to find Brian + Erin festering, with some feeble excuse about flat batteries.

23rd September 2002

James Alker, Brian Judd

Stepped off the bus to find Brian desperate to get underground for a last trip before he has to go and Erin desperate to to get into bed with Duncan! So we had some food, kitted up and I walked with Brian the 10 minutes to Qikeng Dong in the dark, trying to remember the turns and wondering if this was such a good idea as Brian fell off a terrace in his slightly well oiled state. After many a muddy pitch with interesting rigging I felt quite tired and really began to wonder if I had done the right thing coming down so soon. After many, many more pitches and canyons I asked Brian for the 3rd time if this was now the top of the 160m shaft. "Nearly" he replied, after a 50m, 90m (spslit) and several more I asked myself if coming to China at all had been wise! Feeling sick and getting really annoyed with rebelays and my 2 tackle sacks I arrived at crawling passage! I met Brian coming to find me, saying the water had boiled and very soon I was sat eating and rehydrating in a luxurious camp. An hour later I felt much better and curled up in the dry, safe from flood camp, in a Judson hammock 2:30am slept.

24th September 2002

James Alker, Brian Judd

11am got up, found smelly cesspot + toilet passage. Finally left at 2pm ish. 1km of small, unimpressive passage, boiling in wet suits we arrived at a hole (pit). Down led to the sump but we were to go across and follow the fossil (!) level Tom had originally found to bypass the sump. Soon we reached the end of the survey (also rigged line over pit). I felt priviledged to be the third person beyond this point especially not having to rig the shaft and set up the camp, but a little hollow for not having done this. Anyway the passage got slightly bigger so more walking, clambering was possible. Brian took many photos of formations + pools. A final lake section brought us to the source of the ever increasing roar. We stood on a ledge about 8m above a canyon/streamway flowing right to left and the great news was Brain said the flow was much less than the first time he thought. After a quick scout around the base of the climb I rigged a safety escape line from the top just below a 3m fall incase the water increased and we couldn't get back, while Brian headed downstream rigging an 8m handline then continuing with float line into swimming in slow moving water. Amazing passage, great fun, from side to side the line went (left drill as got wet in dry bag!) always looking for escape places incase of flood. After about 150m the float rope ran out but the going was very easy, steping over, around, and through pools being a good temperature in our wetsuits now. At a set of small drops (Inca Steps) a ledge on river right traversed providing good escape route. I just said to Brian that the dip of limestone was excellent (10) and this could go on for miles when ... the floor started sloping and dropping more, the passage/canyon opened up, the air was filled with steam and noise. Traversing on the right a huge waterfall dropped into a black abyss! We were so deep yet this looked like another 50m drop at least, but who knows. So the cave was well into the minus 800's! With 2 slings, a 24m and 30m rope Brian rigged off threads and nodules, grinning as he descended. The waterfall unfortunately fell to the right very close to where Brian was on a ledge 25m down. He tried a few times but descided the risk of penduluming into the flow was too much. I think a long traverse on the other side with a big drop would be the way forward,, we'll see. So at 7.30pm we headed back up to the joining point of the streamway, reaching it very fast, maybe 15 minutes. We still had time and energy but no drill or survey stuff as it had all got drenched.

Upstream was a long pool, so after more photos we swam up to a bank 100m but very frustratingly on the otherside a sump, gutted. An inlet on the left up a meandering canyon for 100m led to a trickle falling into a hole in the floor. I looked in here hoping for a way around the upstream sump but 5m in found a small sump pool 0.5m across. Catching Brian up the canyon over some large blocks we were staning in base of a 30m diameter shaft, rising up like an industrial chimney going up to who knows where. The canyon continued but we only went a short way to a small chamber with some water falling in before turning back, it would need to be surveyed so I'd be back but unfortunately this was it for Brian after 6 trips to the Jiang Kou area since 19945 he was having to go home and leave this to others before downstream was probably flooded by the dam nearby. After more photos in the 8m drop and in the lakes which Brain thinks will be ace we headed out having to take back the drilll but leaving bolts, rope and some food. 1.5 hours back to camp was good and the comfy surrounds bar the smell of the cesspit.

25th September 2002

James Alker, Brian Judd

We aimed to leave at 10am, Brian left at 12:30pm ish, I about 20m ins later. I was a couple of pitches behind Brian for 2 hours then in the first canyon he went out of site, shortly after I ran out of energy, having nothing in reserve it seemed. I took it steady but bloody hell, after no caving at all for 4.5 months 707m of prussiking was bad. With no watch I felt like I was crawling but I had no rush, whereas Brian had to pack and catch the 6.40am bus to Wulong then Chongqing. I kept thinking I was nearly there but pitch after pitch kept coming and the mud was awful. My body was tired but finally there were more creepy crawlies, some wood I recognised what I thought was the penultimate pitch, 4 pitches later I got to the last pitch! A few bats and moths followed me up to the racket of sound being made in the tabacco field by thousands of crickets. I stripped off my sweat soaked clothees and in the wonderfully fresh tasting air, tried to remember my way back to the village. I found Erin, Duncan and Brian sinking the beers in the village restaurant. I could barely eat, let alone drink but after lots of water and soome food, we drank to what we hope is China's first km deep cave, not just the deepest. Brian must have been similarly tired getting out in 7 hours, me in 8.5 hours! But Brian didn't rehydrate but celebrate!

Later in the store house he could be found jumping on a thin bendy floor to test its strength, above the room storing coffins! Traversing the ouside of the house and drinking lots of Black bush. He passed out not surprisingly and the majority hooligan element (us!) drew all over him, (major mustache, ming beard, etc) he awoke with the horn of the bus at 6.40am, we helped him pack in 2 minutes and roared with laughter as he boarded the bus with a still drunk smile and wave, not realising what a tit he looked!

26th September 2002

Duncan Collis, Erin Lynch, James Alker

Spent the day nursing hangovers whils repeating (ad nauseum) our imitations of Brian's antics of the previous night, the highlight of which was his nocturnal attempt to go for a piss, oblivious to the fact that the reason he couldn't see was because of the gear-tape we'd put over his specs, lurching erratically around, stumbling into walls and falling over repeatedly.

27th September 2002

Duncan Collis, Erin Lynch, James Alker

Duncan spent the morning shiuttling between bed and toilet whilst Erin + James went into Jiang Kou to send emails and buy stuff. Discovered that the fault in the CCP drill is in the switch assembly.

28th September 2002

Duncan Collis, Erin Lynch, James Alker

Spent the day fettling stuff, drawing surveys, and packing ropes for Dong Ba.

29th September 2002

Duncan Collis, Erin Lynch, James Alker

Had the grimshits again in the morning, so elected not to go rigging down Dong Ba. Instead helped carry kit down to the entrance which is an impressive horizontal entrance ~ 10m wide by ~ 15 high. Bowels behaved themselves for the walk down and back up -- didn't know whether to be gladdened or annoyed by this; probably on the whole annoyed.

Plan was to rig Dong Ba as safely/out of the water, as possible. So traverse line to first pitch (spanner pitch) the 10m pitch lands on rocky stream bed + almost immediately put in traverse line for next drop, Brian's old spit at ankle level from last year! Big block on waterfall edge, got as far out as possible but not great, 10m to pendulum in onto traverse (3 bolts), not to slag off last years rigging as it was very wet for them + dry for us but (!) one of their deviations can be seen right where all the water lands! 3m down from flowstone boss thing to final bolt in best position possible as lots of dodgy rock. Free hang down 22m (approx) but lands where water would land if wet so could do with a deviation or rebelay half-way down here. From here totally dry so Brian's horrible ducks are sandy crawls, short climbs where they used ropes are fine, put 3m handline on chockstone to help on one but with no water hard to guess where would need rope here. So 200m of crawls + climbs, left bend then to next pitch head. Erin rigged this but battery empty, fine once changed. I free climbed down to another sandy chamberette above another drop with boulders wedged above. Free climbed this to another pitch which needed a rope. Plan to come back tomorrow + put ropes on all these as will be impossible if any water comes. 30 minutes to get back to top of spanner pitch. 1 hour walk back under first clear night of stars and just managed to get some tea.

30th September 2002: Dong Ba

Duncan Collis, James Alker

Erin back in Jiang Kou to send emails and generally try to make sure that everything stays on track. James + I went down Dong Ba, and continued rigging. Not a friendly cave -- even in the big bits there's loads of flood debris stuck to the roof, but currently very dry. Nonetheless, we've been trying to rig defensively, as it's pretty obvious that it drains a large area.

Descended the final pitch rigged the previous day, then had fun dislodging the loose boulder at the head of the next, which was rigged off naturals + a bolt. Next pitch took ages because I discovered, in the course of swinging around after naturals, a small passage going off about 5m from the bottom (a Y-hang near here now), which draughts, but ends in a small chamber after about 30m where I couldn't find a way on. One more pitch, then James' turn to rig, starting with a looney traverse. Some big horizontal passage follows, with the possibilty of some leads. Found a climb up into a roof tube above the main passage, where a large, very lively rat was encountered. James rigged a line down a climb over a pool and 2 more pitches, then we blasted back out.

1st October 2002

James Alker

James pulled a couple of ropes up from Qi Keng for cleaning, Taco/Matt arrive.

2nd October 2002: Dong Ba Push

Taco van Ieperen, James Alker

Jet lag and heavy packs made for a fun trip. We descended the extensive entrance rigging with big piles of rope with the idea of rigging to the top of the 108m pitch. There was litle resemblance between the map and the "actual" cave. The 45m pitch ate 65m of rope to a ledge just above the bottom. Then a series of small drops led to a clean washed rift in a lovely white rock which opened up into a big pitch (30m?) into the first big passage. none of this matched the map which means we probably ducked into a side passage by accident.

On the way out we simplified the exit quite a bit by simply climbing up a bunch of pitches instead of following the rigging.

3rd September 2002: Dong Ba Push

Taco van Ieperen, James Alker

James feeling rundown so late start, left village 12.15pm, arrived cave 12.45 in steady drizzle. 1pm start down cave, aims today are to finally adjust rigging already in place, look at all leads down to the bottom, sketch pitches (rigging topo -- see other book) and push the bottom till we run out of rope which should take up to last years end point. Becoming well practiced on pitches now and Taco found much easier. So spanner pitch, offensive defense pitch, flat battery pitch, boulder pitch, side passage pitch, the acrobat series, rat pitch, approach pitch and downtime pitch, hang 7 pitch, the wet series, ... and here Taco did a lttle re-rigging with the new slings. It should be said and some names may reveal that on reflection the cave is totally over rigged and we had many a long discussion on defensive/expedition/flood/speed rigging, so make your own mind up but if the water suddenly rises you'll be stuck behind the sump near the entrance, difficult re-belays in water are the main cause of death on pitches, We're exploring in the dry season and if it does get wet I'll not be going down! you can have many a heated debate but its been rigged as much out of the water until downtime pitch when it became obvious we were rigging in the same spots as the team who were here in the wet and as we were now getting deep and the cave will become impossible in high water and was impossible to rig high we just went for the direct fast approach but obviously keeping it safe for the current conditions. Rat pitch now has a 4m line where the water goes and the rest can be easily free climbed which saves a lot of time and energy but the flood rigged route is still in place. The rat for people who like cute furry things lives in the roof tunnel above the pool with a short handline, found by Duncan in a nest of plastic and leaves, very friendly but another reason for not drinking water in the cave. Below the wet series Taco climbed up high in the beautiful white rift immediately at the bottom of the last drop on the wet series, you stay high in this for about 20m when you go down the obvious climb with a cairn at the base. Another 50m of stunning rift led to a belly crawl eye hole or body tube eye hole at the end of "the white rift" Taco rigged with the 45m rope down past a huge tower, a few re-belays next to the old spits and a few big drops using the 106m rope (our last) meant we were definitely on the big drop, named "tower pitch". A rub in a 8m rebelay section needs fixing. So with time running out we quickly rigged the undescended pitch immediately after this (didn't need to cut the 106m rope). To give the 10m "Shattered drop" another 10m ledge/rift to the head of more adventures for the next team. So its all now sorted after 4 satisfying trips for me for someone to push on to the streamway in Qi keng and the ultimate exchange trip! We got out in 3 hrs, (free climbing many of the short pitches after the acrobat series), the walk back (1 hour) was eventful as the rain had brought out the crawlies, I nearly trod on a coiled scary snake (with spade head + zig-zag stripes!) and a huge toad with yellow/white mouldy belly. So walking back in the dark has its problems as well as getting lost. People should consider their trip length and exit time as we were walking through local peoples front gardens at 10pm when many were asleep, but all were woken by their barking dogs (luckily all on chains), it was a novelty for the Chinese likely but this may change if it happens again and lead to problems and is obviously rude so timings are:

  • village to cave half an hour
  • kitting up 15 minutes
  • 2 hours down to "shattered drop" if you know the way.
  • 3 hours up from "shattered drop" to entrance
  • 15 minutes changing
  • One hour walk back to village (tiring after long trip).

So 7 hour trip with no time at the bottom. So 3 hours pushing from shattered drop leaves a 10 hour tip. To get back for dinner at 8pm need to have left village by 10am at the latest, all fairly obvious but thought it should be written down to make it clear. I can't go back there for about a week now so I hope its still going where I get out. Good luck.

2nd October 2002: Qi Keng Dong

Duncan Collis, Matt Ryan

Set off down the pot at 6:30pm (after an 8am start....) and marvelled at the astonishing, endless series of rebelays. Pitch Out of Time superb, but impossible to get a true sense of how deep it is due to its bends. Campsite salubrious, although the hammocks are not compatible with a 6'2"er's long legs.

Apart from the fact that the clino was full of condensation and totally unreadable so that we couldn't survey anything, the trip went smoothly in all respects. Went to have a look at the main streamway; Losing My Religion turns out to mostly be nice passage, and would not be out of place in South Wales. The main streamway was rather less impressive than Brian's "8m wide river" suggested, and reminded us both of Peak Cavern.

As it was only mid-afternoon, we returned to camp, ate some grub, drank all the remaining whisky, and prussiked out in 4.5 hours, hitting the surface at 10-30pm.

4th October 2002: Jiang Kou

Matt Ryan, Taco van Ieperen, Erin Lynch

Got a Y10 per person lift down in a bread van mid-morning and went to read e-mail. No free computers so plugged laptop in + got fast connection and no charge. Taco + Erin went + bought duvets, phone sims etc. then food + Erin off to Wulong. Taco + I eventually went up the hill on back of two bikes with bundles of stuff. Back at farmhouse Duncan + James had visitors from a Chongqing outdoor shop who played drinking games with them into the night.

5th October 2002 - 7th October 2002: Journey to Tian Xing

Andy Harp, Chris Densham, Bill Miners, Harvey Smith, Martin Laverty,

Left home at 4.00 AM, drove down to Stansted, picking up Chris in Oxford along the way. Flight at 10.20 to Amsterdam, 1600 -> Hong Kong (11.5 hours) Met up with Bill in HK. Some emailing to sort out where Bill Farr was, discovered he may not be coming out after all.

(6th Oct)

Took the bus from HK airport to Shenzhen airport. Very easy -- they stick a badge on you and then guide you into & out of the various customs checks. Flight to Chongqing , where we were met by Erin, who had kidly come to meet us. We then took a bus & taxi to a scungy guest house -- I've no idea where it was (other than near Madame Tang's). We met up with 3 Chinese cavers who are keen to go down Qikeng Dong. They took us out to dinner and plied us with booze. By this time, due to jet lag & no sleep, we were fading fast.

After a brief walk to get out some cash, we crashed out. Harvey: "It'll be nice to go to sleep and not have anyone wake you up to give you food". After we got to sleep, a woman woke us up to demand passports (12:15 AM).

(7th Oct)

Bus to Jiang Kou & then pick up to Tian Xing.

8th October 2002: Prospecting

Duncan Collis, Erin Lynch, Martin Laverty, Lenik anak Saymo, Harvey Smith, Chris Densham

Sat around all day and eventually we went to QiKeng to watch Bill +Matt playing with cave radios. A mass of locals gathered to watch also; Erin asked them about other caves in the area, and was told of some, but the radios were too interesting and no-one wanted to take us to the holes, so we set off anyway, and our guides suddenly got up and followed.

They led us to 2 caves in an area of vicious pyrocanthes bushes below the road downhill of QiKeng. The first was a flat out entrance which appeared to diminish in size -- this was not entered (short + Tshirt, no lights). The second look longer to find but was a round entrance about 1m diameter. Initial exploration by Erin, Martin + Duncan by the light of a mobile phone and a flashgun revealed a rift heading off. Duncan scampered off to get Erin's headtorch, which was eventually persuaded to work. The cave was pushed for about 10m, enlarging to a pitch/climb. Later Erin spotted a suspicious dark hollow in the trees on the far side of the valley. This was confirmed as a cave by a local woman, so we went for a look. A good path lead almost to the edge where a quick bash through undergrowth revealed a dusty slope down to the edge of a drop of maybe 30m or more, and of considerable width.

9th October 2002 - 10th October 2002: Harvey's 1st Rigging Trip Da Keng

Matt Ryan, Andy Harp, Harvey Smith

Having never used a through bolt/drill before I thought it would be good to have a go sticking a couple in on the surface. Somehow found myself decorated with lots of other bits of metal & string, and after having a couple of attempts at remembering how to tie a bowline, was traversing along a ledge to far more precarious places to put bolts in. Apparently my climbing antics make good entertainment but my attemts to fix mself to a piece of rock drew an amazingly large crowd considering there'd been no-one in sight when I started.

I'd told Erin I wanted to "step out of my comfort zone" & be "stretched", and with my thin oversuit and thermals giving little protection from my harness, & the only bit of solid rock in a most inconvenient place, I definitely felt I had achived both objectives by the 1st rebelay.

So, I'd managed a traverse, 'Y' hang & rebelay, & what I didn't know was that on my 1st rigging attempt, I'd managed to position a 60->80m free-hang. I think this is called 'throwing yourself in at the deep end'.

Rocks fell for 6 seconds
I ran out of rope
The pitch was f*cking huge!

October 2002:

Duncan Collis, Matt Ryan

16th October 2002: Liang Feng Dong

Andy Harp, Matt Ryan

October 2002:


October 2002:


20th November 2002: Dong Ba Survey Orgy

Duncan Collis, Erin Lynch

After a huge amount (several days) of festering and record low enthusiasm (which we attributed to cold weather and Matt being ill) 2 finally set off on a drizzly afternoon intending to camp 2 nights down Dong Ba.

The plan was to move camp forwards to the corner where the main passage swings SouthEast,; there is aa large area of flat, dry mud and a good area of drips in this location, an impressive campsite high ona hill with walls and ceiling only vaguely visible.

Having donkeyed all the tackle sacks we need to the fampsite, we first headed for Toenail Passage, and eastward-heading lead of fthe main trunk beyond the first place when its necessary to go under and between boulders. Sadly, this pleasantly proportioned passage (for 2-person surveying) promptly petered out in a mud choke after only about 100m.

Next we backtracked to where one emerges from the boulder in the main trunk, and headed north in huge passage with an agreeable flat md floor. After a fewmore legs, the big passage ended with an aven, but a smaller (~6m wide) passage continued straighht ahead, descending gently. This was draughting outwards in a most encouraging manner.

After a few ups and downs, the passage suddenly turned big, and we were faced with a huge boulder slope climbing up and the sound of water. However, the draught was coming from a passage on the right, half obscured by the foot of the boulder slope. This looked much better than a steep hike up wobbly rocks, so off we went. Soon the passage turned right (East) and left the boulders behind. After a short section of meandering canyon, the way was blocked, at first glance conclusively, by fallen rocks. However, 4m up there was a small hole straight through to the other side, where ~6m wide passage headed off both North and South.

Qi Keng Dong lay to the south, and as we were supposed to be connection to it we went that way first. Unfortunatley, after a failry short distance th way on was blocked by a choke. Some exciting climbing around here got a long way up the boulders to where the choke became overhanging, but htere was no way through.

To the north we reached a junction after only 1 leg, with straight ahead and left both inaccessible due to drops, and further drops visible beneath us through the 'floor' of breakdwon. A clamber down took us out a passage to the right, once more heading East, where the draught was now stronger than ever in a stooping-height 10m wide passage. We romped off with visions of popping out of the side of the hill kilometers away, but were soon stopped by another confusing junction with lots of boulders and possible ways on which we couldn't reach. The draught was issuing from a passage to the right, but to get there would require very vigorous flapping of the arms. A hole in the floor was descended for ~6m, where there was a further climb up to the right. Duncan shinned up this on a series of small cantilevered gours which had a tendency to come off, and was disappointed to end up in a vadose canyon with no draught rather than the windy phreas that had been seen earlier. The passage promptly hit another climb, this time unassailable due to a complete lack of holds, although only short.

At this point we had quite a decent haul of survey data (just short of a kilometre) and decided to head back, intending to chuck a few legs up the boulder slope on the way.

At the top of the slope we found a huge void. "Er, I think this might be our campsite" suggested Erin. We had to be pretty close, but the scenery just wasn't right. We decided to start surveying along the wall to the west, and soon found a 30m wide passage heading off. This ended at a 55 rubble slope downwards, where we could hear what sounded exactly like drips falling onto a pig Vegetable Fresh Keeping Bag, just like the one we were using to collect FIXME ACCIDENTALLY DELETED

??th November 2002: Gooseberry Sump

Matt Ryan, Erin Lynch, Duncan Collis

Still feeling shit but enthused by Erin + Duncan's finds I finally headed back down Dong Ba with them and was knackered (as were all three stops) by the bottom of the pitches. Undetered plodded to the start of Naked Desire and changed into wetsuits have thrown out the idea of doing it in the buff again -- expecting to need them in Qikeng to retrieve the gear. Dropped the pitch which Duncan had managed as a handline then down the handline climb Duncan had freeclimbed to the edge of a lake. I swam across with the end of a tape to discover, despire it being in pretty much exactly the same place as the lake in Dark Side of the Moon in Qikeng, it was in fact a sump. Spent a while swimming around to make sure and feeling underneath with my wellies before giving up and taking a leg anyway. There was an impossible looking climb of a lead which we sent Duncan to, reckoning he'd have fractionally more chance of getting up than me but even he pronounced it impossible although at least managed to climb high enough out of the water to land witha splash. We managed to talk Erin out of free diveing it blind and surveyed a side passage we knew was blind + heading the wrong direction instead. Headed back towards the main passage looking at every possible lead + eventually settled down to attempt some sleep while Erin + Duncan surveyed a rift for several hours.

.. (same day)th November 2002: Bit On The Side

Erin Lynch, Duncan Collis

Leaving a recumbent Matt to catch some Zs. E&D set off along the narrow, muddy, southward continuation of Naked Desire. Duncan had just scooped this for a couple of hundred meters to check that it went, as the first 50m were distinctly uninspiring, being coated with damp mud and consisting of a succession of annoying clambers over constrictions.

The going gradually improved, and it soon seemed likely that the passage was in fact the bottom of the deep rift which had stopped progress in the southern end of the main high level trunk. The passage was amazingly straight, with compass readings within a range of about 6.

Suddenly the passage swung left (East) and went up a series of climbs, with traverses over blue-green pools before a climb down into a large passage heading North-South.

The southern branch was followed into an area of paralell rifts and breakdown, where there was a profusion of ways on. Eventually knackeredness and loass of the route among the profusion of leads lead to an end of the trip.

So no connection there either. Collection a rather cold Matt on the way back, all tha tremained was a long slog back to camp in the side passage above Frog Sacred.

Back on the surface, it transpired that this bit of cave went over the top of Qi Keng, running directly above Momentary Lapse of Reason for some distance. It seems likely that the Northern branch just beyond the climb up and the pools should intercept the big aven north of the swimming duck in Momentary Lapse.

: Dongba Streamway

Duncan Collis, Erin Lynch

After the non-connection we slept, then slept some more, and then slept even longer. We'd planned a long sleep, and wanted to get up at midnight but in the end we rolled out of camp at the crack of noon. Matt stayed behind to keep the Chairman company.

At the bottom of Frog Sacred we were pleased to find a bolting kit that had been missing, but we had a hard time finding the final downstream survey station. The streamway was delightful -- the same polished-smooth grey-brown rock we'd seen in Qikeng. The stream was slightly smaller -- a candy-wrapper estimate gave 0.5 m3/s. On thw W side there were a series of ledges -- we douldn't follow any of them, so a sump bypass may have been lurking up there. The stream went N, 4m wide and easily wadable, with the occasional scramble over/through boulders. Alfter a couple of hundred meters the passge opened out to wide gravel banks and the inevitable sump. It was more impressive than the one we'd seen in Qikeng -- it was a good 30m across and looked quite deep. I went for a quick swim. After a max leg I rounded a corner and passed under a low arch to a 50m diameter flooded chamber. There was no way on, and it was fiarly eerie being there, since it was probably sumped off most of the year. Right before the sump 2 small inlets entered, but they looked too small to follow and only carried a timy volume of water, so we did an about-face.

In the streamway we saw several blind fish similar to the ones in Naked Desire.

Upstream it was much easier to find the tie-in station. At stream level there was no way on , so Duncan did an entertaining climb up, and we surveyed down through boulders along the W edge of the ruckle, popping out ina section of open passage to a bit with nice meanders between gravel banks. Unfortunately the stream disappeared through boulders and we couldn't find a way on. We hypothesized that the passage near camp would bypass the choke, but by then it was rather late and we had a long derig planned for the next day.

I had seen a climb up to the W when we'd emerged from the boulders. I went up to have a look/scoop, as Duncan's 2nd Ion had failed after a miserable 5 hours, and he needed to conserve batteries. The passage started as a 4m wide dry inlet, ascending rather steeply with lots of dry pools and high traverses along rock with a thin coating of dry red-brown mud. After 50m it intersected a second passage which I believe connected back to the top of the large passage we'd surveyed. 100m or so further along, the passage started trending downhill, and curiously the flow in the now-dry pools appeared to change direction. I can only assume it was a very old flood-overflow passage or that I'd missed somethin. I so wish I'd had a compass, but I lost my wrist-compass in a pool in Qikeng, so I can only gues it was trending SW. It was gutting not to have time to survey the 300m+ that I'd romped along. If they ever drain the dam, I recommend having a look here for a choke-bypass.