The recent Shepton Mallet Caving Club expedition explored a cave in Nan to a new Thai depth record of -306m. This blog entry records this successful trip.
So that was the 2009 Shepton Thailand expedition. It successfully achieved the objective of descending the big pitch in Tham Pha Phueng making it the deepest known cave in Thailand at -306m with the cave continuing. In addition Fitch Pitch is the biggest pitch descended in Thailand. We also found two other caves that haven’t been descended, but have the potential to be as deep Tham Pha Phueng. This was achieved by a team with limited experience of exploring and rigging big Alpine caves, in particular having to hand drill the spits (a total of 12 were placed) as we didn’t have a battery drill. Jo and Andy were especially keen on their first trip to Thailand and went into Tham Pha Phueng every day except for the ‘rest day’. Plans are already being made for a trip next year.
We would like to thank those people who made this a successful trip. Yuphin Sopha organized the cooking equipment, food and booze, Eng Prommaviang did the cooking and Nom Hollis helped with cooking and shopping – without this ‘base camp staff’ of three, who made trips down the hill to restock with food, beer and ice, this expedition would have been a lot less fun for the cavers and their hard work is much appreciated by all of us; Yook for allowing us to use her cooking and dining facilities at the Project headquarters; Mr Phinit, Head of the Project, for allowing us to stay in the guest rooms free of charge; the Hmong villagers and farmers of Ban Mani Phruk for allowing us to wandering around their fields. A thank you also to the Shepton Mallet Caving Club for purchasing a 200m rope and CO2 meter as well as supporting previous Thailand expeditions which has resulted in a well stocked tackle store.
The cavers: Terry Bolger (Canberra SS), Jo Campbell, Phil Collett, Paul & Tiggy Dummer, Martin Ellis, Ivan Hollis and Andy Manners.