Exploration 1995

Meghalaya 1995 - Caving in the Abode of the Clouds Project

The Christmas season saw the return of another highly successful month long expedition to the remote tribal hill state of Meghalaya in north east India. The Anglo-German expedition comprised members of the Bristol Exploration Club (Dr Tony Boycott, Estelle Sandford and Chris Smart), the Orpheus Caving Club (Simon and Jenni Brooks) and H Daniel Gebauer, who worked in conjunction with local cavers from the Shillong based Meghalayan Adventurers Association and the Tura based Association for the Protection of the Environment and Conservation.

The expedition made excellent progress, building on the successes of the 1992 and 1994 visits, as well as visiting several new and promising areas. (The results of the two previous expeditions were published in March 1995 as “Meghalaya - Caving in the Abode of the Clouds” ISBN 0 9525523 0 2 and available from Chris Smart, 7, The Cottage, Farleigh Wick, Near Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, BA15 2PU, UK priced £5 plus post and packing. Alternatively see the article in the latest International Caver (No 15) ISSN 0963-7095 published 1995).

In total 24 new caves were explored, photographed and surveyed giving just over 9 kms of new passage. 1995 finds included the spectacular 2.6 km long river cave of Krem Kat Sati where a 6 metre wide, 4 metre high canal passage was left unpushed after 200 metres of swimming and Krem Pubon Lashing where the largest cave passage yet found in the Indian sub-continent was surveyed at 50 metres wide. A lack of time meant that exploration is also unfinished in this cave.

In contrast to previous expeditions the use of single rope techniques was required and future visits will need a different approach as shafts of an estimated 60 metres depth were encountered. Tetengkol in the Garo Hills of West Meghalaya was extended further to 5335 metres and remains, currently, the longest in the Indian sub-continent, with the promise of even more cave passage.

The three expeditions have now resulted in nearly 33 kms of surveyed cave passage in Meghalaya and the prospects for considerably more are excellent. H Daniel Gebauer will return to the area in March 1996 but in the meantime we are confident that the training given and the equipment left with he two local groups will ensure continuing development in the rapidly emerging karst region.