Buda Expedition 2000
Expedition Comes to an End!
8 LIMBANG: Gunung Buda Expedition 2000 is now
officially over. This morning, the remaining
participants packed their bags, load them into a
gigantic dump truck, and headed for Star Gate. Six
or seven crane loads later, all our equipment,
expedition members, and staff were safely on the
east (or north) bank of the Limbang River. Leaving
Buda Camp was difficult. In the last days, a major
breakthrough in the Wot Wot Frog Entrance to Sistem
Bukit Assam left major borehole unsurveyed, with
untapped leads everywhere. When Mike and Andrea
Futrell and Steve Smith returned from their
marathon trip at 2:30 AM, they posted a sign that
said it all.
About Sistem Bukit Assam
6 & 7
there's still work to do in Compendium, Hornbill,
Snail Shell, Green Cathedral, and Turtle, just to
mention a few. And the discovery of Spirit's River
opens the the potential for major karst features
where the local geology maps show no limestone at
all. Plans for the next Expedition have begun, even
before this one is finished.
that the Expedition is over, some members are
headed home, while others are traveling throughout
the region, playing tourist, and seeing the sights.
As we trickle home over the next few months, this
web site will continue to expand, with more logs
from the Expeditions, and with additional stories
from further travel.
16 - 22. We now join the Gunung Buda Expedition
2000 at the start of the 4th week of the
Expedition. During the first half of the
Expedition, "News From Camp" was posted by the
Gunung Buda On-line Educational Project. The
members of the Educational Project have now headed
home, and we pick up where they left off. To read
about the first three weeks, see
GUNUNG BUDA DAILY
Expedition participants wrote trip reports at the
end of each day. These logs are derived from those
reports, and represent only a small portion of the
actual activities of the team.
are all the pictures? We've been taking lots of
pictures, but technical problems prevent posting
them just now. We'll get them up as soon as we can.
the way to Buda Camp
trip from Limbang to Buda Camp takes about 3 hours.
From Limbang we go by 4WD to Star Gate, where the
logging companies transfer logs across the Limbang
River by cable. If the cable is running, we can
ride across, otherwise we cross by boat. Once we're
across, it's another hour by 4WD to camp.
new arrivals late in the evening. Dave Cowan, Steve
Smith, Andy Porter, Chris Andrews and Peri Frantz
bounced into camp, minus Dave's Big Duffle which
ended up in Madras, India, thanks to the airlines.
We expect it to catch up any day now. For the time
being he's got his cot, the clothes on his back, a
loud pair of shorts purchased in Limbang, plus what
he can borrow.
a large departure planned for 4:00 AM tomorrow.
Joel, Deebel, Fritzke, Viv and Creature are going
off to Sabah for other nature viewing, and plan to
return. Robert, Sean, Brad and Mary are going to
Sabah and then heading home.
and Buda River Cave. Still no sign of Dave's
Steve, Andy, Mark R., Herb, Chris A., entered Snail
Shell via the Three Little Pigs (Piglet) entrance
to climb a lead left by the 1997 expedition. Herb
has been talking about this climb all week, and he,
Mark & Chris will make the climb. The others
followed to take pictures of the action, and to
observe the biology. Chris lead the climb, setting
six bolts. 160' (55m) up, the lead tapered into a
highly decorated room. Chris has named this section
of the cave Chutes and Ladders. The team saw
several spiders, black and blond cockroaches, and
some beetles. Andy took lots of pictures.
Christopher, Bill & Peri were off to Buda River
Cave to see if the main stream flow was down enough
to survey. It was, just barely, and with the aid of
inner tubes, we started at the end of Mark D.'s
survey of the Little Buda River, and surveyed up
the main stream. Current was swift enough to
present a challenge, but we stuck to the main
stream until people began to get cold. An alcove in
the left cave wall provided access to a dry upper
complex, where the survey continued. This brought
us to a balcony over the main stream, with a view
upstream of a stunning karst window into the
Jungle. Beyond the balcony, the passage returned to
stream level again. Surveyed 330+ meters, and
there's still lots to do. Returned to camp by
floating down the Sungai Buda, first through steep
sided limestone canyon, and then through
R., Pete, Chris A., returned to Piglet to survey
Chutes and Ladders, and continue the climb. Along
the way were massive arrays of pure white
helectites, a large shield on the ceiling, and
profuse strange directional dendritic popcorn.
There were also columns, totem poles, and rimstone
pools. After completing the survey, the climb
continued another 60' (20m), to a dome shaped room
trending north/south. A promising lead with good
air, continues from this wet, active, area, but was
left for another day.
in Babylon, two survey teams began working in
opposite directions. Steve, Andy, and Bill started
off down nice walking passage, through a stoopway,
and up a climb. As the passage continued through a
constriction, they spotted a cave racer on the
ceiling. After slogging through a mud stoopway they
also observed a white crab. Steve continues, "The
passage beyond was very drippy and the conglomerate
floor has been washed away. A few vertical shafts
plunge down here - we left them undropped since we
- of course - had no rope that day. Then a small
showerhead and bathtub ... I enlarged a small
constriction and pushed to a junction. To the left
was a passage largely choked with stal, but
nevertheless traversable." (to be continued.)
Roger, Merrilee, and Herb formed the other Babylon
team. (details to follow).
duffel arrived at last, along with Mike &
Andrea returning from a side trip to Sabah.
and Buda River Caves
to Babylon: Merrilee, Herb, Glen, and Roger
returned to Babylon to push some far leads.
Merrilee writes "Picked up where MA survey left
off. ...We had hoped to find continuing big passage
at the end of the cave, and planned to spend all
night surveying accordingly. Although there is
large passage out here, we didn't have any air to
follow. We surveyed some smallish stuff, eventually
hooking back into earlier survey survey, then left,
slowly backtracking and checking side leads. Most
of the passage we surveyed was very close to the
start of that survey! Passage is another parallel
rift intersected by sloping pancake passages, and
lots of pits in the floor. Glen squeezed through a
small hole in the floor and continued to an
entrance, which we estimate to be up the hill and
further south than the Disappointment entrances.
... Cave racers of a slightly different variety
noted several times at Snake Junction. Left the
cave at 6:15, just shy of 500 m. Interesting to
spend the night (awake) in a cave."
river passage in Buda River Cave offers
Dave, Bill and Peri continued the
exploration of Buda River. A mud bank on
the left hand bank bore the tracks of a
large monitor lizard. Five toed feet,
about 5 inches long, with prominent claws;
stride about 15-18 inches and a sharp
groove from a prominent tail keel. Didn't
see any signs of the creature, however.
Also observed bats, swiftlets, several
large (6" to 9") Huntsman Spiders (their
bite is rumored to put you in a coma for 2
days), crickets, land crabs, fish,
isopods, and a strange critter called an
amblipigyd, which is rather like a cross
between a cricket and a crab.
Andrea, Steve, Andy and Pete left for Happy Camp,
where they intend to spend several days. We won't
know what they find until they return.
Buda River, and arrivals/departures
R., Chris A. and one of the Malay guides, also
named Chris departed today for a multi-day push
trip in Deliverance. They hope to connect all the
way through Benerat (that's the next mountain south
of Buda), to a known cave on the other
Christopher, Bill, Peri and Johnny (a local
Bornean, and son of Hassan, who lived near Turtle
Cave), returned to finish the survey in Buda River
Cave. We tied in the missing segment of the river,
and surveyed 2 major side leads on upper levels.
There's now over a kilometer of passage here, and
while the big stuff is pretty much wrapped up,
there's still lots of little leads to do.
Vesely and Lynn Jesaitis arrived today, accompanied
by Viv and Creature returning after a fantastic
break in Sabah. They spent a lot time playing with
crabs on the beach. Peri and Bill took advantage of
the transport to head for Limbang.
Turtle Cave & Web Posting
Creature, Christopher, and Dave Cowan went to Upper
Turtle Cave. Dave took a short fall when a
perfectly good looking handhold broke loose, but
apart from being shook and scraped up was fine. The
group made a brief trip to Palm Beach Rising and
looked for, but failed to find Water Works
and Bill stopped in Limbang on their way to Sabah,
in order to post to the web. Crossed paths with Jed
who was returning early from Sabah due to flooding
at Uncle Tan's Jungle Camp, which made the wildlife
viewing difficult, and the accommodations damp.
Photography for News from Camp by Andy Porter and Peri
comments, suggestions and inquiries