2013 Expedition

2013 Expedition

2013 Expedition Plan

The shortest route to sump 9 is by using the Sotono San Agustin entrance located in a large doline below the village of the same name. Using this route there is 6km of cave to be traversed, a depth of 990m to be reached and 500m of underwater passage to be passed before sump 9 is reached. We will need to get a team of divers, their equipment and supplies to last…

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Live Updates

Live Updates

Follow our progress 'live'

Follow our progress 'live' via updates to our Facebook page which are re-posted here. In the lead up to the expedition we will be updating everyone as we prepare to depart. A lot of work, training and preparation goes into a large expedition like this and you can follow the team members as they get ready to head to Mexico in 2011.

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Background

Background

Background to Sistema Huautla

San Agustin 94 - After the Pena Colorada Expedition in 84 Bill Stone set about developing the CIS Lunar rebreather so that he could mount an expedition to the other end of the Huautla system and dive the main downstream sump. The shortest route to this sump was (and still is) via the Sotono San Agustin entrance. It took ten years of development and training before the expedition could finally be launched in 1994. It was probably the most hi-tech and ambitious cave exploration project yet attempted. With a team of 44 cavers and divers the spent three…

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What and Where is this cave?

 

In southern Mexico the impressive Huautla Platuea rises to over 2000m. Beneath the surface the limestone mountain contain a monstrous network of caves and passages cut by water, which stretch from the plateau down to the Santo Domingo Canyon 9 kilometers away.

Huautla is something special - this cave means a lot to cavers all over the world but particularly those in the U.S and UK. For the Americans who first came to the area Huautla became an obsession. It was discovered in the 1960's and soon became the deepest cave in the western hemisphere. It is perhaps the most complex of the world's deep caves with 17 entrances and numerous independent deep routes and has a current total depth of 1475 meters.

In 1994 American Bill Stone led an Expediton to Huautla to dive the then terminal sump. In order to make this logistically possible he develped the CIS Lunar rebreather which is now considered the forerunner of widely available commercial rebreathers. The 1994 Expedition was successful in that they passed the terminal sump and found over 3.3km of new passage. However the trip was maked with tragedy as during the exploration diving Ian Rolland died. When the 1994 expediton took place it was the largest and most significant cave exploration expedition ever conducted. The team gave up month and months to make it possible and Ian made the ultimate sacrifce. It is a testament to their acheivements that it is not till now that anyone has even contemplated returning.
  


At the other end of the Huautla plateau the in the Santo Domingo Canyon the water which runs though the Huautla system re-emerges to the outside world. Between the ends of these explored caves a gap of more than four kilometres exists and a connection would make the system 64 km long. In the Santo Domingo Canyon Cueva Pena Colorada intersects the Huautla water. A large expediton here in 1984 was the forerunner for the aforementoned 1994 expedition.

During the 1994 Expedition top cave divers including the late Rob Parker spent 4 months in the field exploring the cave. Ultimately it was the logistical pyramid required to moving diving cylinders to the final sump which brough the expedition to an end. This experience prompted Bill Stone to develop the CIS lunar rebreather but it was 10 years until it was ready for use in the 1994 expedition. 

 

Exploration in Sistem Huautla is steeped in history. The development of new techniques and equipment for this cave has paved the way for modern exploration and at the same time we will literally be treading in the footsteps of previous great cave explorers.