HANG DONG/PITCH CAVE
In 1994 Pitch cave was explored, which formed part of the upstream Hang Vom system. At the time many of the team expressed how remote they felt deep into the jungle and beyond a number of caves. Mixed reports of a large entrance above the then exit of pitch cave that had been entered but not fully explored fuelled a further look in 1997. However the lure of pushing further upstream of the Hang Vom system meant only a brief look was made and as the 1997 team also used a second exit to by pass the pitch meant that the ‘large entrance’ was never found. Again in 2003 we were curious to find the entrance and further interrogation of the original explorers convinced us that we should at least attempt to penetrate the inhospitable terrain clad in wetsuits to try and find the elusive entrance.
Our fortune at finding the Hang Ho camp meant that we enjoyed a pleasant trip through the stunning Hang Ho as opposed to three caves including the complex MazeCave. The downside was that we had to fight our way through a combination of dense jungle on a steeply sided valley and scramble over huge boulders littering the riverbed. Approaching the area where the original explorers must have ‘popped’ up into the jungle we could see a dark shadow in the cliff, by climbing up over house size boulders and a leap of faith we found ourselves staring into an enormous entrance chamber. They had, after all been right. Eagerly we set off into the cave night surveying as we went. Our excitement soon dwindled as the passage climbed a steep calcite slope but trended in the direction of Pitch cave. After only a short distance barely out of sight of daylight we hit a large junction. Our worst fears were confirmed when Howard and Martin recognised this as PitchCave. The original explorers must have only been a survey leg short of connecting the two. At least a nine year mystery had been solved.