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LANG SON PROVINCE

This area was first explored in 1992 in the districts close to the town of Lang Son with over 13km of caves discovered.In 2001 Lang Son was approached via the Cao Bang border and the potential soon realised and we were keen to return during the 2003 expedition.

COC CHI

We strolled through pleasant fields with a dry river bed lazily meandering along the side of the hill, appearing to sink in various places. However, our guide insisted we head for a group of boulders half hidden behind a clump of bamboo. Predictably our guide was right and a small entrance was revealed from behind the boulders and bamboo.

A short scramble over boulder filled chamber leads to a daylight shaft with large passage continuing straight into the hillside. We followed a large passage on the right taking a draught.This continued as amain fossil passage adorned with gours, stal formations and Chris’s clothes. Beyond a static pool a canyon cut down to the left leading steeply down to a muddy stream passage. A short crawl led to a small muddy sump pool and two high level leads were explored but connected back into the passage. Returning to the original junction the fossil passage continued with a noticeable draught. A small drop through a narrow passage was descended into a lower fossil passage that ended abruptly at an 8m pitch (rope useful).This dropped into a superb 10m wide dry river passage with a beautiful arched roof.

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Eagerly we set off surveying downstream in a passage of fine proportions for approx. 200m until daylight was reached. This turned out to be an entrance up a steep slope. 40m further downstream another entrance was passed. The passage continued in fine style through clean washed meandering tunnel. Beyond, a final exit was reached with a lake to the right. This finally sumped despite Sweenys attempt, having passed a short duck/sump with Deb acting as a floating belay. The art of chivalry died in this pool as Sweeny rewarded Debs’s aquatic deeds by urinating in the duck. Returning to the bottom of the 8m climb the streamway was followed upstream through a choke and a low crawl to pass yet another entrance. Beyond the passage continued low until a final exit marked the end of the cave. Chris returned through the cave to recover the rope and a wardrobe of clothes strewn throughout the system, the rest surfaced to work out our bearings on the surface.

Woody

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