Eight day walk

RB, DL, HL, PM, TW 1.04.-8.04 2010

Ten minutes had passed on landing in Son Trach and Howard was looking at me enthusiastically, “you’ve not been up to Hang En yet have you!”

“No” I replied “but I’d love to”

“Great were going in the morning looking for some high level stuff above Hang Khe Ry. 8 days, get your shit together and well have a leisurely start in the morning”

Day 1.

Admittedly a steady walk into the impressive valley of Hang En. A through trip with Snablet and an early night in the outrageous Hang En.

Day 2

Forward to Airplane cave. Howard had visited this cave in 2007 and gave us a blow by blow account of the walk up which turned out to be almost factually perfect. Had it not been for the fact the path had overgrown somewhat over the last two years, the journey would have been navigation problem free. Much scratching around in the undergrowth and traverses over razor sharp pinnacle Karst we arrived at Airplane cave unscathed.

“Has anyone any water left” said Trevor (or Spuff as he likes to be known)

“No” I replied

“It’s ok we can get drips from the roof” Said Howard

“What fucking drips” said Trevor?

“Oh yeah, shit” said Howard.


Several frantic minutes passed looking about for Gour pools full of water from the last monsoon season, no water was to be found so we placed every empty vessel we owned under the ten drips the 100 meter wide cave was delivering to us. A quick tally up of our total water supply gleaned we had one and a half litres plus Howards half a bottle of coke. Brilliant!

Two hours later our wonderful porters got us sorted after constructing drip collectors out of shower curtains. A whole pan of water was available for our evening meal, plus half a pan for a brew! An evening foray into the cave to look at a suspicious passage left in 2007; ended thanks to the power of Hope Light Technology.


Day 3; search for Hang 1990

The drip collectors were eagerly inspected at 7 am they had collected enough for a breakfast and a brew plus a litre maybe two... for our days walk. Several hours over varied terrain including vegetated pinnacle Karst, many short climbs and continuous up and down hills brought us to a small clearing in the Jungle. On inspection of the map Snablet informed us that we had covered a grand total of 400 metres in just less than five hours, a trend that would prove to continue. Another trend that continued was the fact that that we had another camp with no water. Several hours of water hunting and still no water, don’t panic reader we were in the capable hands of porters who clearly knew how to find water via many other methods other than the conventional western tap. A small logging campaign was launched on the surrounding Banana and vine population, by noon we were bathing in purple liquor spewing from the latter. (Banana trees rock, Vines roll)


Day 4

Search for a cave last visited by Kang twenty years ago, Hang 1990, to quote Sweeny “What could go wrong” well nothing actually. Another walk through vegetated pinnacle Karst a through trip en- route and we arrived at a rather large entrance. A steep descent down through house sized boulders dropped us into a large chamber surveyed for several hundred metres; sadly choking with large amounts of old calcite forming huge flow stone pillars columns and blockages. A high level passage 30 meters of the floor enticed the way on but without a bucket of sky hooks and a flying carpet it was not to be. Return to camp to bathe in the purple liquor of the banana plantations, and maybe a vine night cap, hoorah!


Day 5

Locate another blip in the memory of Kang, twenty years previously he had also visited another two caves in the near vicinity of Ho Nui. We set forth again across unrelenting terrain via many sporting climbs, caterpillars, and spiky stuff until we arrived at another impressive entrance. An afternoon trip into Hang 1987 rewarded the team with many impressive formations and large passages again sadly ending in large flow and calcite blockages. However we were lucky boys and girls this cave had many old Gours holding litres and litres of Nouc Lan. After drowning our prune like bodies in tang we stayed up and partied till 8pm!


Day 6


A day trip to Hang 1989, after a short traverse over razor karst vegetation and the odd climb ( not that odd just slightly odd ) and another fine entrance another near Kilometer of old fossil passage ended up in a calcite choke. Again the team was rewarded with superb passage formations and atmosphere in large 30 x 50 Quang Binh Cave. Return to Hang 1987 for refreshments and packing for home! “God I’m enjoying this” said Trevor


Day 7

Return home via pinnacle Karst, climbs, rattan and scrub, home being Hang En


Day 8

Son Trach; Nems, Bah Bah Bah and chips “God I’m enjoying this said Trevor”



8 days were spent walking, crawling, stumbling, climbing, hopping, around in a kilometer square exploring caves between 500/ 550m always approached via a 700 meter col,all ending in large blockages of calcite flows, gours and stal build up. A remote, beautifully superb part of the Ke Bang massive explored “that’s that bastard ticked off” said Robbie.

Rob Burke


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