At the beginning of April, CMRCA sent a team Doi Ankhang to continue exploring the cave systems. The focus of this years caving expedition was to re-explore and map known passages from the last years expedition, explore and survey new parts of the Elephant Tusk Cave.
We got in late the first day to Sui Tang but were able to meet with the village head. After sharing a few cups of local tea we were given permission to enter Elephant Tusk Cave. We were anxious to get underground and entered as the sun was setting. Our main objective for day one was to make sure there was no debris in the passage and to set up some of the rigging to the lower passages.
The next few days consisted of getting to last years low point, pushing the cave past a waterfall pitch, survey, and re-exploring known passage in the attempt to find any overlooked passage. We were able to locate some possible leads, however the best lead was over the waterfall. So we drilled some holes and rappelled down. After pushing the cave for about 10 meters it became evident the passage petered out. Upon heading back out we saw a small passage above a large mound of mud and guano, we proceeded directly up. The passage above turned out to be a fossil passage, which is essentially a passage that is no longer active with high water flow. These passages are exciting due to the amount of features present in them. Without frequent water running through the passage the speleothems are able to grow without interruption.
Among goals of this years caving expedition was to conduct a cave survey. Many caves here in Northern Thailand have never been seen by human eyes and as cavers we have a responsibility to collect as much data as possible, not only for future cavers but also the local community. Having proper maps has many uses including information on what gear will be needed, where cave systems interconnect, alternate entrances, dangerous areas, and many other bits of crucial information. Data was collected and we hope to enter the information info a specialized caving software to give a 3D view of the cave system.
I experienced an amazing atmosphere of teamwork. Working together as a team and depending has inspired me a lot.
I worked with Taw and EQ to set-up the rigging for the expedition. The challenge for me was to not knowing what was coming next in terms of the rigging. How to set-up the systems while being safe, fast and efficient. I gained a lot of new knowledge.
For me the highlight of the expedition was the waterfall pitch that Taw and I rigged. We rappelled down right next to the waterfall.
This was my first proper caving trip, and as such I was a bit nervous going into it. These nerves stemmed from my lack of experience caving, but I was able to spend the week prior to the expedition practicing single rope technique.
Once everything was underway I could really feel the sense of camaraderie that expeditions create, it had been awhile and it felt good. Everyone had my back and I had theirs.
Check out more images from the expedition in the CMRCA Image Gallery.