NGUOM TU(Death cave)
This was the first cave that the two Vietnam virgins Watto and myself explored and we were certainly not let down by our Introduction. We had spotted the cave on the map, it lay in a depression several hundred metres away from the village of Lung Sum. The walk in alone was more than we could dream of. Passing through pristine limestone never touched by the hands of man, the climbing potential of Vietnam I feel, is as exciting as the caving potential. The endless amount of new route potential never ceased to amaze me, much to the team’s amusement.
Back to the caving however, a small path runs from the village of Lung Sum down stream through numerous paddy fields to an obvious entrance visible at the head of the valley. On Arrival at the entrance we were all suitably impressed, myself more I'm sure. This foreign lark was all a new game to me and much different to my usual dales grot hole projects. Although I love them all just as much, this was heaven to me, and the excitement of walking into 30 m high virgin passages for as far as you could see is enough for a boy of my standing.
We prepared surveying gear and pushed on down wading and swimming for a hundred metres or so. A large stream passage 30m high by 10m wide interspersed with ledges was followed. We passed an enormous sweeping corner w here the roof rose to about 60m high and the passage was now 20m wide. This was truly amazing! We pushed on swimming another hundred metres until daylight could be seen. This was the first time human kind had heard Watto whisper. Yes it is possible. For all you cynics, all you have to do is tell him you are near China, for some reason this has adverse affects on his vocal cords. We left the cave on the first day after surveying 450 m with a return imminent, as a continuation was inevitable. But first a check on the map to make sure that China was at least at arms length. This cave was entered many times after wards as it proved to be the only through way to the continuation of the system and the cave of Nguom Cang. It proved to be a fantastic intro to the caving of Vietnam. Fun was had throughout even when nearly killing our translator Mr Mau due to the cold and inadequate clothing, sorry Mr Mau!
This cave lays approximately two hundred metres from the Cac Hao entrance and was visible from several hundred metres away. After a day exploring Cac Hao Deb, Watto, Howard and myself went to explore this monster entrance. On first sight it appeared to be a certain winner. However as we closed in it became apparent that daylight could be seen at the other end of the cave. Although disappointing this giant entrance 50 metres high and 80 metres wide didn’t go, the vast size of the trunk passage it had bored through the tower karst was impressive in its own right.
The total length was only a couple of hundred metres long but in parts it reached nearly that in width, this was enhanced by the fact that you could see everything because of the daylight shining through. Obviously its not very often you get too see a passage of this magnitude in such detail.We were all suitably impressed. Not half as impressed as I was at Howard’s pencil finding skills in boulder ruckles, which Watto had so carefully lost for him, surely this wasn’t the only pencil you may say! Deb and myself carried on through the cave to try and find a continuation, this was not to be however. We dropped down into a huge depression 300 m further away through some entertaining jungle and found another entrance. This was not the continuation of Hang En but a series of shafts dropped down possibly one hundred metres to what we believe to be the main stream way of a cave pushed in 1999 by Martin Holroyd Mick Nunwick and Howard Limbert, named Nguom Lung Sum.