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Hang kilometre 14
 
We left the roadside through a barricade of head high vegetation and followed a mellow path. As the tree cover increased around us, the ground vegetation relaxed and I realised that our path was in fact an old jeep track. Evidence for this was the neatly arranged limestone blocks creating vehicular access over buttressed tree roots. As is usual on these walks, we soon left the easy track and followed a more sinuous route into the thick of the forest.
After much meandering we came upon a cliff and made the easy assumption that our cave objective would be nicely nestled at the foot of the rocks. Not so; we started to ascend. The initial easy angled ramp of boulders gave way to steeper going over jagged fins of limestone. The consequences of a misplaced footfall did not bear much thought. Eventually, as the angle eased, we made our way over a shoulder and traversed along the contour. To our delight more scrambling followed, this time downwards over razor sharp limestone. Then, the ground levelled out and a yawning hole appeared in front of us. At last!

The cave entrance was a typically enormous arch in the foot of a cliff, there was a scatter of boulders for us to rest on and a steep ramp down into the darkness. At the foot of the ramp the cave held a confusion of breakdown boulders and enormous calcite columns. We surveyed our way among these obstacles to a high point on a massive boulder. Martin C sought a way on by traversing to a step across boulders. The step was guarded by a curtain of calcite. He ducked and moved forward but caught the curtain with the bag upon his back. Crash. Martin’s hand prevented the falling curtain from damaging the rock beneath by cushioning the impact. Blood. John and Paul arrived with bandages and sticky stuff, but first of all they needed a photograph. A safer way on was found underneath the step and what appeared to be the end of the cave quickly reached.

Cave Entrance

The three of us split up to search the calcite covered slopes and alcoves for a possible way on. As we were about to admit defeat, a short climb was found to lead into a small grotto. Within the grotto a couple of high level windows emitted a draught and revealed a larger passage beyond. As before, an easy way through was found at floor level; this time by squirming along a body sized tube. A large sloping chamber was entered. Upslope over more calcite led to a series of blind alcoves with plentiful formations to view. Down slope led to a steepening, where rope was needed to allow further exploration. Sadly, on this trip, our rope was of insufficient length to reach the bottom. There appeared to be pools of water below and much evidence that this water would rise up to meet us in the wet season. Time to make our way back to daylight; but slowly as we made a photographic record of the cave and its formations. Our two guides had waited patiently at the entrance. They grinned as we shared our success and shared a drink of water. Another successful mission.

 
Martin Colledge

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