More trip reports...
1 December 2009 – Tham Sing Toh, Chaiyaphum
The walk in was further than I remembered, but Steve Smith and I eventually got to the entrance after 30 minutes. There is plenty of orange cloth tied to trees to mark the path. Once inside we made our way to the main chamber. The fixed metal ladders are long and bendy which caused some concern.
At the main chamber we surveyed our way up and to the right and then descending into the next, smaller chamber. Here we were stopped by a pitch which appears to land in much larger passage which has been reported to go for around a kilometre. There may also be a pitch bypass in the form of a descending hole into the boulder floor near the pitch.
We surveyed just over 200m of passage to bring the length of the cave up to 625m. 4 hour trip.
2 December 2009 – Tham Yai Nam Nao, Phetchabun
With Steve Smith. We were stopped at the 'CO2 Sump' which this time was sumped with water. As Steve has a good, bright caving light we spotted a passage above the sump which could be reached by an easy traverse. Surveying our way in we were stopped at a drop down into the passage the other side of the sump which required a rope.
Heading back out the high level passages and oxbows between the sump and the low muddy crawl were surveyed. A bit further out we surveyed the high level boulder passages and oxbows above the show cave, but couldn't get up to the bat chamber below the skylight entrance.
A total of 539m of new passage was surveyed in the first 700m of the cave in 5 hours! This has brought the length of Tham Yai Nam Nao up to 10,105m
3 December 2009 – Tham Yai, Wat Tham Pha Sawan, Loei
Again with Steve Smith visited this cave on top of the hill above Wat Tham Pha Sawan on a 4.5 hour trip). To our surprise we surveyed 630m of passage, with the survey remaining incomplete. In one place we were stopped by an 18m pitch down into a series of high canyons and in another place we ran out of time to survey a descending passage. A return is required to finish the survey and drop the pitch.
15 December 2009 – Tham Nam, Chae Son National Park, Lampang
A surveying trip with Dane F Joseph (San Diego Grotto) and Jackie Jaskowiak to some caves at the northern end of the Chae Son National Park. This resurgence cave unfortunately sumped after 35m.
Tham Pha Ngam
The entrance to this cave is just above the car parking area at 47Q 560098 2112598. A 400m long easy walking passage ended at a squeeze over a mud fill with a strong draught coming out. Surveying out the cave we quickly had a look at descending, vadose passage that went down a couple of climbs. This wasn't pushed to a conclusion and may join the active cave underneath.
Tham Luk Kae
This cave is a few metres above the track just before you reach the ranger station at 47Q 560926 2112989. With Dane and Jackie the 300m of easy walking passage was quickly surveyed.
16 December 2009 – Anxiety State Cave, Crazy Horse Buttress, Mae On, Chiang Mai
Another surveying trip with Dane F Joseph and Jackie Jaskowiak to this cave at the well known rock climbing venue. The 100m long cave, with 40m pitch in from a collapse entrance, is in the same hill as the well known Tham Muang On shrine and tourist cave. Other caves are known in the gap between the two caves.
25 December 2009 – Tham Yai Nam Nao, Phetchabun
A return trip to attempt to rig the 'CO2 Sump' accompanied by Ivan Hollis (Shepton Mallet CC). At the entrance a new GPS fix was obtained with a newer GPS unit (47Q 767333 1874888) and then we poked around between the tourist entrance and the bat chamber – there must be about 100m of unsurveyed passage here and another couple of entrances.
At the sump bypass we couldn't get up to where Steve had climbed on 2 December so had to put in a spit to hold a foot loop in the stal bank. This successfully put Ivan on top of the climb looking down into the passage. The spit was removed after this - don't put them in stal to belay an SRT rope! A rope was lassoed around a stal column at the top of the flowstone which allowed Ivan to get down the drop, but the rope was too short for the mud slope. The rope has been left in place to help the next attempt when we hope to instal bolts at the top of the drop.
On the way out found a dead rat in the bat chamber that was removed from the cave to have it's photo taken. It was probably a Berylmys species, not the cave rat Leopoldamys neilli which is half as big again than the one we found. (Thanks to Alice Latinne for the identification).
3 and a half hour trip.
26 December 2009 – Tham Phat, Phetchabun
We (Ivan and I) had intended to go to the Tham Sombat hill, but a temple fair blocked the road. The fall back position was Tham Phat a bit further away towards Phetchabun. This cave is below a large Buddha on top of a small limestone hill. To our surprise the survey revealed 94m of passage. If we had know this when we were there we'd have found another 7m leg to take it over 100m.