Yunnan 2002 Expedition Expedition report

Expedition report:

The full expedition report is available for download as a PDF (168kb).

Summary

Yunnan 2002 was a 4-man, 8-week expedition to the north of Yunnan Province, China, aliated to the Hong Meigui Cave Exploration Society. The expedition looked at substantially new potential caving areas, carrying out a large amount of surface reconnaissance work across a wide area of the province, with a particular interest in areas with depth potentials in excess of 1500m.

The expedition had its work cut out. Topographic and geological maps suggested several areas as potentially interesting from a speleological point of view, but for the vast majority, very little more was known by the caving community or by researchers at the Yunnan Geographical Institute. It was a case of looking and seeing, and the small and highly motivated team spent most of its time travelling in separate teams of two for efficiency's sake, walking the mountains and valleys and riding the bus routes to piece together a caverís assessment of the area.

The expeditionís major success story lies in a mountain range 10km west of the town of Zhongdian. Following early signs of promise in this area, Yunnan 2002 devoted some 64 man days - over a third of its manpower - to this mountain range. A lack of detailed maps, steep ground, high altitude and a large area to cover combined to make reconnaissance in this area, as in so many others, extremely hard work. The rewards lie in two caves found at an altitude of 4200m, one still going as of October 2002, and a large resurgence at the level of the Jinsha Jiang (Yangtze) some 2200m below, leaving extremely exciting exploration prospects for 2003. We will be back!