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Gunung Buda Expedition 2000

News from Camp

Week 5

Feb. 25
Feb. 26

Feb. 27
Feb. 28
Feb. 29

Weeks 1 -3
Week 4 (Feb. 17-22)
Week 6 (Mar. 1- 8)

Meet the Camp Staff

Our Malaysian Colleagues

News from Camp - Week 5

There was lots of caving this week, but not all of it made it into the computer. Stay tuned. After we return to the States, we'll fill in the gaps.

February 25, 2000

Buda Overlook (Benerat Cliff), Deliverance, Snail Shell

Viv, Creature & Lynne returned to the climb at the base of the cliff on Benerat which they had started on the 23rd. Using the previously placed anchor, Creature lowered Viv while she pulled her way towards the entrance. On the first try, Viv reached a ledge 10' below the entrance, but could not find anything solid to climb on. A second effort was successful, & Viv fixed a static line for the others. The cave has one large room with a nice flat floor, and a couple of alcoves. It is completely choked with flowstone. Lynne sketched the Buda Overlook, as it was named, and they took some pictures.

Chris A. and Mark R. returned to camp briefly from their sojourn in Deliverance to recharge batteries for the "Annihilator" drill (used for placing anchors), and immediately left the following morning. In the previous 4 days, they surveyed 166m, almost entirely vertical. Feb. 21 was spent on reconnaissance, accompanied by guide Chris Ningkan. On the 22, Mark lead the first 15' up a sheer wall to access a side hole which gained an upper alcove seen from below. The area was highly decorated with calcite spar crystals similar to the aragonite typical of New Mexico caves. Many interesting helectites decorated specific locations. The following day they continued this climb, with Chris leading the second pitch through enjoyable solid bedrock. A swiftlet was seen each day passing up this tube each day, fostering the hope that they might soon reach major horizontal passage. With the battery for the drill nearly expired, they rigged 70m of static line and returned to camp, with going horizontal passage and 2 pits. Surveying this lead was accomplished on the 24th, with one pit returning to the previous climb, and the other, dubbed the "Coral Dome", having no obvious leads. With the only remaining lead being the 15m diameter ascending pit going beyond the scope of vision, Chris & Mark returned to base camp for a recharge.

Mark Fritzke comes through the squeeze in Snail Shell

Andy, Herb, Glen, Pete, Johnny, Carol, and Roland dropped a 17m pit in Snail Shell, landing in a muddy sump sewer passage, with a "U" shaped mud passage leading down to a hands and knees crawl through the "Plumbers Trap", to a large muddy passage across a small pool. Beyond this, a slick bedrock chute leads up 10m to a fun mudslide, and into very large borehole. Surveying east brought them to the base of a huge ramp borehole, which Pete and Herb had just descended after climbing about 60m up the ramp. They reported the ramp continued into darkness. Sustained 5.4-5.6 climbing. One slip would result in death.

 February 26, 2000

Spirit River Cave, Buda River Cave & Palaemonoid Palace, Babylon, Ridge walking.

Went to a new cave shown to us by Andrew. It had some human bones and broken blue & white pottery. We called it Spirits River Cave (Gua Sungai Roh), and looks to have excellent potential. We mapped 332m in 2 hours. This team included Andrew, Chris, Johnny, Herb, Glen and Steve. The plan is to put two teams in tomorrow to map as there appears to be at least several km of cave. The cave has a river system with several branches and collapsed entrances, and extensive biology potential, including numerous bats. Average passage diameter is approximately 10m x 10m.


Christopher, Creature & Viv to Buda River Cave for a photo-survey trip. Surveyed a lead which connected to the balcony over the river. Surveyed a side lead until it choked down to sub-human. Floating back down river towards camp, they checked out a little in-feeder slot canyon, and found a new entrance which was dubbed Palaemonoid Palace for the abundant shrimp inside. Scooped about 100M of nice borehole before floating home.

Andrea tubes in the Entrance to Buda River

Roger, Merrilee, Herb, Lynne, Carol & Jed dropped the pit at the end of the MC survey in Babylon, which connected with the A survey passage. This makes a second connection though we didn't survey it. Surveyed out to an entrance that Glen had visited before. Carol and Lynne dropped another pit that hit more A survey, and surveyed this connection, probably down into what is known as Don's Climb. The team set up a pull down rappel and exited at base level from the Disappointment entrance.

Andy Porter "went ridge walking today. Details to follow.

Mark R. & Chris A. departed for a multi-day push effort in Deliverance, in a effort to push high leads for a connection to Benerat Highway in Benerat Caverns on the south side on Benerat.

 February 27, 2000

Spirit River Cave, & Palaemonoid Palace

Glen, Lynn, Creature, Chris N., Carol, Steve, Jed, Roland and Andy spent the day surveying in Spirit River Cave. Two parties leapfrogged each other, starting from the resurgence entrance, and tying into the previous days survey. The passage is huge. Lots of 25m shots. At one point the passage was 30m wide. The limestone is not thick and the cave intersects large sinks that are full of jungle. Surveying around one such sinkhole, the "Little Sink of Horrors", produced another entrance, full of massive breakdown. Another lead to follow someday.

Christopher, Roger and Viv returned to survey Palaemonoid Palace, with Christopher sketching for the first time. Surveyed the trunk passage, which had been scooped the day before, plus several side leads. Most choked out but one lead to a 2 new entrances, and 2 still going leads. The new entrances open into a beautiful doline on top of the limestone block. Good potential for connecting to Buda River Cave.

 February 28 2000

Spirit River, Deliverance, Barking Deer Doline

Andy, Glen, Herb, and Pete returned to Spirit's River and surveyed down 10-15m wide by 3 -10 m high borehole. Mostly they set 20+ m shots. They came up an entrance and surveyed down into a borehole passage that appeared plugged, however Herb found it was not plugged, leading to the name Porter's Plugged Passage. This led to more big passages that had multiple leads, more entrances, and a total of 1.1 km of survey for the day. Great Day!. Meanwhile Steve & Ron were taking pictures, including several multiple exposures and entrance shots. According to Steve "Ron then entertained us all with new variations of assemblages of profanities after his strobe discharged a stout burst of electricity into his nose. Quite a wordsmith that Mr. Simmons can be."

Mark R. & Chris A. returned from four days in Deliverance, having surveyed 43 stations for a total of 320.4m. After determining that the planned climbing lead had poor potential, they turned to the breakdown in the terminal room, and following air flow through tight squeezes until the passage opened up significantly. A final vertical squeeze brought them to a continuation of the main borehole. "Winds of Change" began with 16 stations and several great leads descending adjacent fissures. The following day, they continued this survey, dropping a hundred foot deep fissure off the main passage, into the "Stellar Cellar". The survey continued through several large rooms, and seemingly ending in a large room with lots of mud. The apparent sound of turbulent water gave inspired a push along the continuing trend. The room was named the "Resonance Chamber."

Steve Smith in "Euphoria"

Digging in a mud filled tube at the end of the Resonance Chamber lead to a very nicely decorated room, and more digging opened into a clearly fault oriented terminal passage with hundreds of clear and white helectites, soda straws, aragonite porcupine quills, and antler helictites. The aptly named "Euphoria' is one of the most unique passages in southeast Asia. Few, if any at all, specimens of aragonite or anthodites have been previously recorded in Borneo. Several promising leads remain along the way to Euphoria, however there were no leads at the terminus. The aptly named "Euphoria' is one of the most unique passages in southeast Asia. Few, if any at all, specimens of aragonite or anthodites have been previously recorded in Borneo. Several promising leads remain along the way to Euphoria, however there were no leads at the terminus.

Johnny, Jed, Carol, Andrea and Mike walked up the North Camp road and took a side logging road to Barking Deer doline. The Happy Camp crew had also attempted to reach this feature approaching from the south and crossing a low ridge but the karst was too brutal. You access this doline, which appears on the topo as a valley, walking through a short cave (still unsurveyed) in the ridge. Jed and Andrea did a short swim to several climbs in the resurgence cave at the northeast corner of the doline. This cave has very little air. One wall is bedrock, the other is breakdown blocks and cemented mud. Even though it doesn't look good, Andrea doesn't think it's been pushed to the bitter end. Nesters had written on the wall "Ara-Ara Pian Hotel", loosely translated as "I don't like this place" or "Fish Hotel," and drawn pictures of fish and a bird with an arrow pointing up by it. The presence of nesters is a good indication that there may be caves nearby. although ridge walking both sides of the resurgence cave at base level and up on the karst found nothing. Lots more of the doline area still needs to be walked, especially up on the karst.

 February 29, 2000

Water Works Cave, Spirit's River

Andy, Pete, Creature, Steve and Dick (a.k.a. Ricardo) went to Water Works to push a lead which Ron had previously noted. Pete lead the climb to a large oval walking passage 15 feet off the floor of a dripping dome room. This passage lead 40m to a down sloping blind pit, with lots of air falling out of cracks in the ceiling. With a boost from Pete, Andy free climbed 15 feet up into a crack, and pushed a series of rift cracks perhaps 100 feet to a ramp which lead another 50 feet up into larger passage. The rifts still need to be surveyed, and there are lots of going leads.

Steve Smith chimneys a dripping rift in Water Works Cave

On day 4 of the Spirit's River sage, Glen, Viv, Christopher, Carol, and Jed mopped up miscellaneous leads through a variety of fissures, muddy walking passage, large breakdown rooms, and crawls. One complex breakdown area harbored a bat nursery which was not surveyed. "Thunder Ally", a 4m by 3m trunk with good airflow and a guano covered floor, gained its name as conditions outside made themselves heard.

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