Monday, September 2, 2013

A New "Low" in American Caving

The Men's Journal reports:

Since its discovery in 1965, Sistema Huautla, a cave system tucked into Mexico's Sierra Mazateca mountains, has lured explorers from around the world. ...
This year's expedition, organized by Jewell, a 30-year-old software consultant and caving enthusiast from England, had one objective: to go beyond [a] trench – called Sump 9, discovered in 1994 – and set a new record for the greatest depth ever reached in the Western Hemisphere. The only option? Dive into the murky water to see where it would take them. "... 
The seven-week trip began in late February. The 40-person international team slogged more than a thousand pounds of gear, including rope, wetsuits, and headlamps, into the cave. They spent two weeks rappelling to an underground camp about a half-mile into the Earth, navigating some of Huautla's 20 waterfalls as well as passages deluged with waste-filled water surging through the mountain from villages above. The cavers occasionally surfaced for cooked meals and rest, but the record-breaking portion of the journey began when five divers, including Jewell and fellow Brit Jason Mallinson, spent 10 full days underground exploring Sump 9. After locating an underwater passage, Mallinson plunged in, traveling a distance of 265 feet. With that dive, he reached a total depth of 5,069 feet, officially the deepest known point in the hemisphere.

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