The latest news from China:
40m deep and going in Zhongdian
August 5, 2003 During a recent prospecting trip to altitudes over 4000m, the Yunnan 2003 team found a number of shafts and sinks. One shaft was descended to a depth of 40m and is still going. The expedition plans to establish a top camp at 4000m for a week-long assault on caves in the area.
Major resurgence in Zhongdian
July 30, 2003 The Yunnan 2003 expedition to Zhongdian recently found an exciting resurgence with an estimated discharge of 4 cumecs. Located at 1900m, Shui Lian Dong (Water Curtain Cave) is believed to drain an area encompassing a 4000m+ limestone plateau. At present upstream in the resurgence is not passable, but a return is planned for January-February 2004.
Extreme excess baggage
July 22, 2003 If you've ever been worried about excess baggage flying to China, you'll be glad to hear that Matt Ryan recently brought 92 kg on a flight from the UK to Hong Kong and didn't pay a penny extra. He check a rucksack and a ski-bag full of tackle sacks (for which he expected to pay 10GBP, but was not charged). During check-in Matt's brother hid his 2 carry-ons and laptop (which does not count as a carry-on) around the corner, so he was not charged for being above the limit there either.
New longest, deepest conglomerate cave
May 27, 2003
Dejavu in Lushan
May 26, 2003 Long Men Dong's Marvelous Streamway continues to yield sporting passage. The main stream degenerated to a number of small, tight inlets 356m above the cave's terminal sump, but farther downstream a high level passage led to a previously unnoticed major inlet. The inlet continues to the north where Marvelous Streamway turns west. Slightly smaller but very similar to upstream Marvelous, the Dejavu Streamway was left at a drafting (leech filled) crawl less than 300m horizontally from a surface shaft.
Lushan streamway update
May 7, 2003 Long Men Dong is over 8.8km long now. The latest trip pushed the far reaches of Marvelous Streamway. The stream has continued it's rapid ascent towards the surface, and now gains 230m in elevation from the end of the showcave trail, making it the highest point in the cave. Weather forecasts for continuing rain make exploration of the streamway a high priority.
Prison streamway in Lushan
May 3, 2003
Sporting streamway in Lushan
April 27, 2003 Exploration in Lushan's Long Men Dong started off with the unenviable task of resurveying 2.5km of developed showcave, but now the cave is beginning to yield a large number of interesting leads. The most exciting prospect is a very sporting streamway which is heading north into blank space. From the end of the showcave trail we've followed it up a series of cascades, climbs, and traverses over deep plunge pools to gain over 100m vertically. At various points the streamway has intersected large high level fossil passage which we are confident is virgin.
Hong Meigui in the news
April 18, 2003 This month's issue of Descent features a 3 page article about the exploration of Tian Xing's Qikeng Dong and Dong Ba. While in Beijing, City Weekend magazine recently contained a full-color article about Hong Meigui and caving in China. Read the text here.
Long cave, deep pitch in Guizhou
April 14, 2003 News just in that the recent 14 member French PSCJA expedition to Guizhou led by Jean-Pierre Barbary surveyed a whopping 35 caves for a total of 52,314m. The expedition was split into two parts, with the first half in the Zeng'an, Xishui and Suiyang counties of northern Guizhou. There they pushed Shuang He Dong in Suiyang, Wenquan to 54,356 meters, making it by far the longest cave surveyed in China.
During the second half of the expedition, the team worked in the Shuicheng, Pu'an and Panxian districts of western Guizhou. In Panxian the team descended Baiyu (White Rain) Dong's awesome 424m shaft, le puits Christinette. This shaft is the longest internal vertical section known in a natural cave (not to be confused with a surface shaft). While it is possible to rig it as a free hang, the pitch was rebelayed for convenience. In total, Baiyu Dong went to -560m, making it the third deepest in China. The cave has a kilometer of depth potential, and although there is no way on at the bottom of Christinette, a lead remains at -400m.