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World's Deepest Cave Explored Further 261

Posted by Hemos
from the hardcore-spelunking dept.
DiniZuli writes "Australian Alan Warild led a 25-strong team of cavers from Russia and Ukraine on a world-record 1830-metre descent into the Krubera-Voronia cave in Abkhazia, Georgia. Read about it here (sacrifice of goat might be required). Here's a nice map of the cave."
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World's Deepest Cave Explored Further

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  • by crazyray (776321) * on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @01:46AM (#10370669)
    forget the sacrifice to a goat, lets safe our Aussie friends bandwidth by posting this here...

    [...]

    On the other side of the globe, nearly two kilometres beneath the earth, in a cold, gloomy chasm, you can find a small slice of Australia.

    The sheer plunge near the bottom of the world's deepest cave, in a remote part of Georgia, doesn't automatically instantly inspire comparisons with Alan Warild's home country. It's bitterly cold, forever dark and usually damp. But since the veteran caver climbed to its dank depths last month it has incongruously borne Australia's name.

    The 49-year-old from Newtown was invited to lead a 25-strong team of cavers from Russia and Ukraine on a world-record 1830-metre descent into the Krubera-Voronia cave in Abkhazia, Georgia.

    At the end of the nine-day journey down the corkscrew-shaped hole, the triumphant team told Mr Warild it would name the final drop "Viva Australia" in his honour.

    "One of the Russians had the idea to name it in my honour since I was the first to go down - I suppose I was pretty chuffed," the self-effacing caver said.

    "It's not my favourite cave, because it's about 3 degrees at the bottom and it's muddy and you have to dive in one part. But it's a great challenge and a bit of a thrill to stand somewhere where no human being has ever stood before."
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    The previous world record for the deepest caving expedition, 1710 metres, was set in the same cave in 2001. But Mr Warild and his fellow travellers took a different route, passing through a sump filled with icy water to descend 120 metres further. "We went as far as we could, we hit a pit full of water and decided to leave it for another trip."

    The Australian Speleological Federation said it had received an unconfirmed report that a team of Ukrainians was currently attempting to better Mr Warild's record. But the name for the drop would remain, it said.

    "People like Alan are the modern-day equivalent of the explorers in the 19th century, others like me follow in their footsteps later," said federation president, John Dunkley.

    "That name will stay and be put on maps of the cave in future. It's a significant achievement and shows the respect Alan has overseas. He's a well-known name and one of the top three in the world when it comes to deep and difficult caves."

    Mr Warild discovered his unusual hobby when he was 13, on a school excursion to the Wee Jasper caves near Yass. Since then he has explored deep caves around the world.

    "Australia doesn't really have any deep ones," he said. "The deepest is in Tasmania, almost 400 metres. The best, in my opinion, is Muruk, in New Guinea. It's about 1250 metres.

    "I grew up in the Sutherland Shire and I always loved the outdoors. I think that's the only way I can explain it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @01:47AM (#10370674)
    I never want to see 'deep caves' and 'goat' mentioned in the same paragraph....ever....
  • by Mondoz (672060) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @01:48AM (#10370679)
    In another interview, the lead explorer has revealed the discovery of the initials of Arne Saknussemm in one of the deeper caves...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @01:49AM (#10370686)
    ... don't want to end up like this guy.
    http://www.holyshiite.com/caver/ [holyshiite.com]
    • by jaxdahl (227487) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @03:00AM (#10371017)
      OH! MAN! That is exactly what I did not want to read late at night.. Man, the ending -- that's awful! Thanks a lot, now I'm going to be up all night, my heart was POUNDing POUNDing..
    • by tricops (635353) <tricops1111@yahoo.cFREEBSDom minus bsd> on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @03:41AM (#10371157)
      That was an interesting read.... it's just a story though, the original seems to be a story written by Thomas Lera, as seen here [dougaustin.com] in pdf format.
      • That was an interesting read.... it's just a story though, the original seems to be a story written by Thomas Lera

        That version has a more complete ending, for anyone disappointed by the rewrite, although I think I much prefer the newer web-journal version.

        And I must confess that the normal, caving claustrophobia [edaddyo.com] of the story is what I found most terrifying - I hate to think what it would have been like for the real-life record-breakers mentioned in the hallowed Article. :-)
      • Don't trust the moderation 'Informative' - I suspect the author was joking.

        Al Warild, apart from being a well known caver in Australia, is also the author of the book 'Vertical', which is held by many to be a somewhat seminal work on the Single Rope Technique - a method of descending and ascending static climbing ropes and something which I am sure he used quite a bit of during his visit to Krubera-Voronia. (Australians seem to prefer 'the frog' over that more favoured by Americans - the 'rope walker'.)
      • I found the ending to the weblog rather unsatisfying. Thanks for the original (and the ending!).
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Funny, I went to this exact cave a couple of years ago - didn't wenture through the tomb though. Just saw some gear and reckoned it was work in progress, didn't even imagine that someone had squezed throught that shit. I found a disposeable camera in there which I "borrowed" because it had only a few pictures taken on it and would soon be ruined in the damp conditions (I convinced myself)
      When I developed the film I reckoned it had belogned to some kids having fun making a halloween project or something, nev
    • Man, that story *needs* to be optioned as a screenplay. As long as someone can come up with a good ending for it...

      But it would work brilliantly as a suspense film.
  • Pffft... (Score:5, Funny)

    by conner_bw (120497) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @01:51AM (#10370696) Homepage Journal
    Now this may sound bit pretentious, but I used to do a lot of Spelunking [lemon64.com] when I was 9 years old. Diving through an icy pool to reach an 1830 meter decent barely compares with my bouts with boiling lava and ghost fans.
  • New record? (Score:3, Funny)

    by bornbitter (813458) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @01:54AM (#10370717)
    ...I don't know, I've seen Clinton dig himself out of deeper holes...
  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @01:56AM (#10370727) Journal
    Spinal Tap quote - applies to more than just album covers :-)

    "It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black."

    Sorry, off topic and all, but it cracks me up every time.

  • Bob Goatse is spinning in his grave if he has indeed lost that distinction.
  • New Species (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EvilGoodGuy (811015) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @02:00AM (#10370744)
    I find this to be pretty interesting. There are so many terrains on our earth that we have yet to explore. And I think there are deffinite chances of there being some extremely unique creatures at these depths of a cave. People go nuts over exploring Mars. But I think we should put some effort into Earth as well.
    • by 0racle (667029) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @02:25AM (#10370862)
      Look, if the devil has made one thing clear its that he's not a people person. I say we just leave him the hell alone.
    • And I think there are deffinite chances of there being some extremely unique creatures at these depths of a cave.

      Like grues [mrbillsadventureland.com]?
    • Re:New Species (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ravydavygravy (230429) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @03:39AM (#10371148) Homepage
      Check out the Movile Cave Project [geocities.com], a scientific project centering around a cave discovered by well drilling in Romania in 1986. The cave was significant because the life discovered in the water in the cave (which had no natural entrance and was so sealed off from the world) was based around a totally chemosynthetic ecosystem, where all energy came from chemicals produced and used by the creatures (no light involved - none available!). This small cave alone contained over 31 species that were new to science. It's pretty amazing what might be just under our feet...
    • I hate to shatter your illusions, but the chances of finding a new species in there are not great. You tend to get cave life if the conditions are mild (e.g. not too cold, not too much water flow) and if there is a steady input of digestible matter (e.g. vegetable matter or bat droppings) from the outside. This more likely to occur in a shallow cave than a deep one. In this case, the cave sump is very cold, and judging from the geometry, it probably takes major seasonal water flows; e.g. spring meltwater
      • I hate to shatter your illusions, but the chances of finding a new species in there are not great. You tend to get cave life if the conditions are mild (e.g. not too cold, not too much water flow) and if there is a steady input of digestible matter (e.g. vegetable matter or bat droppings) from the outside.

        Well, this [geocities.com] cave contains 46 different species, 31 of which were previously unknown, and the cave was entirely closed off from the surface.

    • by ayjay29 (144994)
      >>And I think there are deffinite chances of there being some extremely unique creatures at these depths of a cave.

      You'r right, they are called "Cavers", very frightning to run into in a dark enclosed space.

      • > > And I think there are deffinite chances of there being some extremely unique creatures at these depths of a cave.
        >
        >You're right, they are called "Cavers", very frightning to run into in a dark enclosed space.

        It is dark. You are likely to be eaten by a caver?

  • Outdoors? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Conor6 (11138) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @02:00AM (#10370745)
    I like how at the end of the article, the man who likes to run around underground talks about how much he loves the outdoors.
    • Sounds funny, but it's not. As a caver in California, I frequently find that I have to spend longer to hike to get to a cave than I do in the cave itself.

      Of course, California has a lot of fairly small caves, remotely placed. Other parts of the world have huge caves you can drive right up to...
  • 5 bugmenots didn't work. Created a new account. Twice. They still don't let me in. Nuts to them.
  • Short Cut (Score:3, Funny)

    by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@@@hotmail...com> on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @02:08AM (#10370781) Journal
    The sheer plunge near the bottom of the world's deepest cave, in a remote part of Georgia, doesn't automatically instantly inspire comparisons with Alan Warild's home country.

    Probably explains why he was trying to find a short cut home...
  • When going down the Rabbit-Hole^W^W Krubera-Voronia, did they meet Alice?
  • Bill Brasky (Score:3, Funny)

    by Jeffus (783068) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @02:14AM (#10370807)
    Did I ever tell you about the time Brasky explored the world's deepest cave? To Bill Brasky!
  • BASTARDS! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @02:30AM (#10370879)
    World's Deepest Cave Explored Further

    She's my ex-girlfriend, and I still hate her, but DAMN I never expected to hear about her private parts on Slashdot.

    • World's Deepest Cave Explored Further

      Sorority girl: (condescending giggles)
      Frat boy: What's so funny?
      Sorority girl: I've never experienced such a small organ before
      Frat boy: Well this is the first time my little organ has ever played in such a vast cathedral.
  • NetHack (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jeremi (14640) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @02:54AM (#10370982) Homepage
    Man, I feel a sudden urge to play NetHack...

  • I shudder at the thought of all the goatse jokes that this submission seems to be inviting
  • by blake182 (619410) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @03:14AM (#10371056)
    "I smell a wumpus."
  • the map is missing the accompanying module guide but that's ok, i found the key. here's the guide to the area around that underground stream on the map:

    A long shaft rises up out of the water into the ceiling of this cave. The sides of the shaft glisten; jagged shards of wet ice coat every surface.


    At the top of the shaft lies a cave coated with ice. The ceiling is thick with particularly large stalactites.

    The walls of the shaft are coated with ice, so the Climb DC is 30. Further, a character touching any of the surfaces including the floor, walls, and ceiling in the hidden cave, must make a Reflex save (DC 20) or slip due to the slickness of the ice.

    Trap. Unless the PCs locate a hidden stone lever at the bottom of the shaft (DC 30 to do so) and pull it down, the stalactites immediately above the shaft in the cave are rigged to fall when anything passes 20 feet above the surface of the water. Anyone struck by these falling stones while climbing must make an immediate Climb check with a -4 penalty or fall.

    Falling Stalactites: CR 5; Falling mass of rocks (10d6); Reflex save halves damage (DC 15); Search (DC 28); Disable Device (DC 24).

    Treasure. Within the largest stalactite that remains held fast to the ceiling is a secret compartment (DC 28 to find) that is locked (DC 30 to open -- the key can be found in Area 7). Within this compartment, Charasta keeps a special treasure: a white diamond worth 5,000 gp, which the dragon's mother gave her from her own hoard.

    Charasta's Tactics. Charasta can appear here in a smaller form. She does not come here when threatened and, in fact, will teleport away rather than be cornered in the hidden cave.

    Creatures: A middle-aged female frost giant named Grunhilde (the jarl's mother) works here as cook, along with two ogres. Grunhilde hates her son; instead, she treats all the ogre servants as her "children." For their part, the ogres make poor servants (though Grunhilde loves them anyway) and take great fun in making the giants angry, then hiding behind Grunhilde's protection. They also enjoy tormenting the cryohydra in Area 7, pelting it with rocks, then darting away from its frost breath.

    Grunhilde: Female frost giant; CR 9; Large giant (Cold); HD 14d8+70; hp 125; Init ?1; Spd 40 ft.; AC 8 (touch 8, flat-footed 8); Atk +9/ 4 ranged (1d6+9, rock); Face/Reach 5 ft. x 5 ft./10 ft.; SQ Cold subtype, darkvision 60 ft.; AL CE; SV Fort +14, Ref +3, Will +4; Str 28, Dex 8, Con 20, Int 11, Wis 11, Cha 12.

    Skills and Feats: Climb +15, Hide ?5, Jump +15, Spot +6; Cleave, Great Cleave, Power Attack, Sunder.

    Cold Subtype: Immune to cold damage; takes double damage from fire unless a saving throw for half damage is allowed, in which case it takes half damage on a success and double damage on a failure.

    Ogres (2): hp 26 each, see Monster Manual, page 144. Each ogre carries 5d10 gp.


    http://www.gamespp.com/cgi-bin/dungeonsanddragons. cgi?dnd:::http://www.wizards.com/dnd/article1.asp? x=dnd/oa/oa20010608a,3 [gamespp.com]

    http://www.gamespp.com/cgi-bin/dungeonsanddragons. cgi?dnd:::http://www.wizards.com/dnd/article1.asp? x=dnd/oa/oa20020329a,3 [gamespp.com]
  • Interesting! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Underholdning (758194) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @03:36AM (#10371139) Homepage Journal
    All the goatse jokes aside, I find this very interesting. I still remember the impact Jules Vernes "A Journey to the Center of the Earth" had on me when I was a kid. I so wanted them to find som eerie remains of some unknown creature at the bottom of the cave.
    When I read stories like this, I get an urge in my stomach to give up life as a geek and become an explorer. I reckon I'm not the only one, since the story was posted on slashdot?
    /me walks out of the office "So long suckers!"
    • The thing the article didn't mention was that the team kept on finding these initials ("A.S.") along the cave walls periodically.
  • better link (Score:5, Informative)

    by 095 (710782) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @03:39AM (#10371146)

    Here is a link with better spelling and geographical accuracy (Abkhazia is not in Georgia) : http://www.bask.info/exp/read.php?id=43 [bask.info]

    And here is a blog : http://speleolog.ru/news/10krubera/ [speleolog.ru]

    Did anyone else notice that this is two months' old news?

    • Did anyone else notice that this is two months' old news?

      Then it should be removed from /. at once. After all this can only be of interest if it happened yesterday.
  • Just like blind archery enthusiasts, "xtreme-bungee jumpers" and "xtreme spelunkers" really should keep themselves out of the genepool.

    You know it makes sense *snip*.
    • Nah, caving ("spelunking" to those of you who aren't cavers) is actually quite safe when done prudently.

      Now, cave diving is just batshit-insane.
  • Just be careful not to wake it.

  • by se2schul (667721) on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @07:35AM (#10372033)
    Interestingly enough, the longest cave penetration was made in a completely flooded cave using scuba (rebreathers). They are the EKPP http://www.ekpp.de/projects/doux02/index.html [www.ekpp.de].
  • The cave explores YOU
  • by alpinekarst (200743) <mprice@alpinekar ... inus threevowels> on Tuesday September 28, 2004 @08:16AM (#10372240) Homepage
    For anyone interested, Bob Guilden of the National Speleological Society (NSS) keeps a list of the worlds deepest caves on his website at:

    http://www.pipeline.com/~caverbob/wdeep.htm

    and the NSS American Caving Accidents website always makes for a realistic read.....

    http://caves.org/pub/aca/

    If you really are interested in caving in North America, instead of taking the joe sixpack approach, contact a local grotto: you're bound get taken on a real caving trip.

    http://www.caves.org/io/grottos.shtml
    or
    http: //www.cancaver.ca/canadian.htm

    cheers

    • Thanks for the links!

      Does anyone else find it interesting that of the 162 deepest caves listed, none are in the continental US or Canada? I could have missed one, but I saw a bunch in Mexico and one in Hawaii, and none up here. Is there a geological reason for this or is it just a coincidence?

  • It might be the most deeply explored cave, but how can they be certain it's the world's deepest cave?
    • Because if no one has seen it then there's no evidence it exists.

      Also it's not clear from the articles if it is the deepest cave, the measurements seem to be taken from the cave mouth which is up a mountain in a mountain range so I think that there may be other caves which extend deeper into the Earth ( e.g. any caves at the bottom of deep ocean trenchs would certainly be deeper ).
  • "On the other side of the globe, nearly two kilometres beneath the earth, in a cold, gloomy chasm, you can find a small slice of Australia."

    At first i thought they had descended through the whole of the earth to emerge at the other side. Kangaroo's and other wildlife were happily humping around the cave's exit. Word from an australian spokesman "We are very happy with this tunnel from Australia to Georgia. Free trade through the tunnel is to be expected starting soon."

    I shouldn't drink so much coffee bef
  • I mean, what's the point if you don't bring the amulet of Yendor back out with you?
  • I thought this was going to be an article about the Sotano de las Golondrinas [teambuildingnews.com] cave in Mexico. It's a pretty spectacular geological formation. It's a cave so large and deep that people can skydive into it. It's depth is greater than the height of the empire state building, which can actually fit inside the cave.
  • The name Tolkien gave to his deepest cave seems like no coincidence.
  • or they'll make the same mistake the dwarves did, and awaken the Balrog.
  • Damn it, they're practically knocking on the door of my secret lair. They probably followed the ethernet cable... Stupid underground wireless restrictions.

  • Australian Alan Warild led a 25-strong team of cavers from Russia and Ukraine on a world-record 1830-metre descent into the Krubera-Voronia cave in Abkhazia, Georgia.

    I read somewhere [wikipedia.org] that at one point while exploring the cave, they heard a hollow voice say, "plugh". Pretty bizarre stuff.

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