Buda Expedition 2000
from Camp - Week 6
the last week of the expedition started, with
numerous leads remaining, the pace of activity
picked up even more. Some people departed to hike
the Head hunter Trail to Mulu National Park. Those
who remained pushing harder each day to mop up the
leads that most interested them.
Spirit's River, Green Cathedral
Carol, Kate, Bill, Dick & Christopher (and
perhaps one or two others), conducted a photo tour
in Spirit's River. Starting at the Portal, they
meandered through the "A" survey, past Andrew's
Hall of Pendants, and into the "main" borehole. Saw
and photographed a very large Huntsman spider with
gray egg clutch in Hall of Pendants.
Jean and Fritzke went to Jeffrey's final passage in
Green Cathedral. The ropes were gone. Exited and
hiked up the mountain to find Sink City and Big
Root entrances that bypass the ropes. Found both,
but needed a traverse line to access the leads, so
exited and checked Loris/Turtle connection leads.
Buda River Area, Green Cathedral. Spirit's
Simmons accompanied the photo group to Deliverence
to get a GPS reading on the entrance. Satellite
coverage was poor , but he was able to get
reasonable reading by moving about 100' away.
group to Deliverance for photos and survey. They
waded the river, which was only knee deep, and
flagged the trail tenaciously (Steve though
excessively until later that night, when he
discovered how different the jungle is at night).
Steve and Andy took off for the "end" of the cave,
which has astoundingly large passage dimensions. To
get to the recently discovered area, you must cross
through some knee deep guano, then behind a 15 foot
stalagmite to find a hole in the breakdown with
good wind leading down to a climb which is much
easier with an etrier. At this point, Andy who was
wet and sweaty felt a burning sensation on his
skin, which he solved by washing his clothes.
Continuing through a series of rooms with breakdown
floors, they eventually found the dirt crawl way
leading to a room with a plethora of white
helectites, and beyond that another crawl way led
to a fault room with a wall incredibly adorned with
more helectites. Photographic efforts in this
wonderland consumed more than two hours, after
which they returned to base camp, arriving about 10
a second photo team, consisting of Bill, Dick &
Lynne continued taking pictures until 1 AM. They
headed out, derigging as they went and passed Jed,
Viv and Creature, bivied on the guano. After
showering in one of the waterfalls in the cave,
they camped near the entrance, getting to sleep
about 4 AM. After sleeping until almost 10:00, the
hike back to Buda Camp was uneventful.
& Peri started a surface survey to connect the
various pieces of the Buda River complex. They set
a GPS station in a clearing not far from Cascade
cave, and surveyed to both the insurgence and
resurgence, and from there on down the stream and
cascade into the main Buda River. They then began a
long overland survey back towards Little Buda River
and Buda River Caves, but stopped a few shots short
of the final tie-in due to impending darkness.
Joel, and Kate surveyed a lead near the Big Root
Entrance in S. Green Cathedral to a tight vertical
fissure. Fritzke pushed through but needed a rope
as the passage dropped down steeply and got bigger.
Left a large lead and air.
Chris A., Carol, and Roland picked up "end" of the
tube passage survey in Sprit's River, and continued
through small steamlet passage, and breakdown
rooms, to two more entrances, then up a corroded
flowstone slope. In a larger "U" shaped room, small
pebbles dislodged from the ceiling yielded the name
"Bats Throwing Stones." Surveyed more dolines,
pits, and meandering passage, eventually stopped by
a pit requiring rope, but the lead beyond appears
very good possibility for a N trending continuation
of the cave.
a long day trip to Compendium, Mike, Andrea &
Steve netted 575 meters in the ladders area, the
maze leading to the Happy Tubes, and a lead off the
happy tubes which was very well decorated passaqge
ending in stal-choke. The jungle was gloriously
dark, and relatively dry, during two hour hike back
to Base Camp.
Gill, Kate and Joel continued the Spirit's River
survey. One lead started as a small stream passage
going SE, then a large passage going S. to an
entrance. Several other entrances in the area. Then
SE again, andthrough nice passage, and eventually
tied to the "C" survey. Surveyed some side passages
and ended the day. Meanwhile, Glen, Carol and
Roland attempted to follow the "G" survey. Lots of
short leads, no air, and ugly breakdown blocks.
Located many entrances, but surface scouting around
entrance dolines and cliffs found no additional
entrances. Glen complained about the "misrable
survey total", in contrast to Joel's team, which
got about 450M, bringing the total for Spirit's
River to 4746M.
& Peri went to Twilight Cave to take panorama
photographs for a virtual-rality representation of
the cave. Shot 8 panoramas, and mislayed one Sunpak
444 strobe. Saw pig tracks in the cave, a few bats,
and some swiftlets.
canabalized the water channel in a stal and
destroyed it from within
River (Gua Sungai Iken Baong), Wot Wot Frog
Andrea and Steve conducted a day trip to check some
ramps in Catfish River. While Mike climbed the
first one, a huntsman spider about 4 inches in
length fell off the ceiling onto Andrea - who
launched into the freakout spider dance. When she
finally stood still, it was still on her arm and
Steve said "Don't move!" This prompted another
movement of the jig, which ended with the huntsman
nowhere to be found. Steve pushed a second lead but
stoped at a 10 foot chimney with slick walls,
leading to large breakdown chockstones.
a previous survey trip, Mike & Andrea had
surveyed from a lower entrance to Sistem Assam
Bukit, dubbed "Wot Wot Frog" for the vocal local
denizens. Mike had climbed to an upper entrance
with a rotting nesting pole leading up into a large
passage. Now, Mike, Andrea and Steve returned with
rope to scoop the booty beyond. The first obstacle
was a formation projection, which drooped down to
form a shower head. This was about 12 feet high,
with steep-sloping, snot-slick, moonmilk flowstone
dropping another 25 feet down into a blind room.
When this had been surveyed, they climbed around a
large column and found the name "Jalen - Feb.
1996". Surveying continued. The guano on the floor
was quite active with beetles, and a junction room
with large fruit bats also hosts a questing leech,
causing Steve to reroute the survey though some
stal into a flowstone balcony overlooking a pit.
Without rope there was no way to continue, so they
called it a day.
Wot Wot Katak
Andrea and Steve were off again on the Happy Camp
Trail, heading to Wat Wat Katak to drop the pit
that stopped them yesterday. Funny how the two hour
hike gets longer each time. Steve rappelled first,
somewhat diappointed that a 15 foot drop lead to a
another 40 feet down flowstone stair steps. Up the
ramp on the other side, a diagonal slot lead to a
continuation of the borehole he had just left.
Disappointment forgetten, he ran back to collect
his gear, the survey tape and his booty buddies,
and they were all soon running doen borehole
setting stations as fast as they could.
one point, Steve encountered a wide bat roost and
look up to see "to my horror hundreds (and I shit
you not) - hundreds of leeches hanging on the
ceiling. Some were squirmy, some were still and
shriveled up (i.e. hungry). I said something
obscene that got Andrea's attention and scrambled
back to a relatively "leech free" area." Surveying
the "Path of Leech Resistance" involved racing
between stations to avoid a serious case of the
rest of the day was spent following big wind and
borehole, leaving big leads untouched. At one point
the wind was so strong that 2 meters of flagging
tape was blowing horizontally. Nester's footprints
and grafitti were everywhere, and the Muslim call
to prayer could be heard from a radio in a camp
below one of the many entrances. Where the nesters
had marked "No. 1" the intrepid trio ran down the
passage, survey tap in hand, keeping their
cartographic commitment happy with lots of numbers.
Then, horrors, they had to crawl (or at least
stoop, for 10 feet, before intersecting alarge
walking passage with the words "X-file" on the
wall. More walking passage, fissurely ramps, and
tricky climbs followed, and once again good leads
were left behind, until, with the hour getting
late, they turned around and headed out, taking a
few more survey shots as they went, exitingthe cave
walk back was enlivened by an encounter with a
viper, residing at thigh level, not 6 inches from
the trail, and a swarm of ants on a critical
handhole during a short climb. The crew returned to
base camp at 2:30 AM, dehydrated, and happy. Survey
total? 1.3 km!
comments, suggestions and inquiries