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mulu2005logoAt the end of the 2005 expedition numerous large passages had been left unexplored in both Moon Cave in Benarat, and Whiterock Cave under Gunung Api. Whiterock in particular continued to provide a feast of exploration, outstripping even the momentous finds of 2005. But there were big gains in Benearat, too.

Marching passage in northern Whiterock - photo Robbie Shone

Marching passage in northern Whiterock - photo © Robbie Shone

A major lead heading north in Whiterock was explored for a continuous distance of over 5km and found to end just 373m from Camp 5 in a mass of calcite and boulders. Unfortunately no entrance was found and there was no sign of draughts, swifts, or other signs that access to the surface would be possible. This area proved to be very remote and an extremely arduous trip for the exploration team. A subsequent trip discovered another large passage 60m above this which almost duplicated the alignment of the lower passage and ended 360m from Camp 5 in similar calcite and boulders.

A large trunk route was also found heading south to rejoin the passages near Api Chamber, and with infilling of passages in the central area of the cave Whiterock had, in a matter of weeks, gained another 22km of passages. This pushed the Clearwater System to over 144km long and 10th longest cave in the world at the time.

The start of the Moonshadow connection to Cobweb Cave - photo Hugh St.Lawrence

The start of the Moonshadow connection to Cobweb Cave - photo © Hugh St.Lawrence

Over in Benarat the initially promisung leads in Moon Cave petered out. But a less obvious side passage which appeared to end in a choke gave way after a little digging to a wriggle through into larger tunnels. Several kilometres of cave headed south back towards the Benearat cliff face before abrupty turning west and north again to link into the high levels of Cobweb Cave. The Moonshadow Series now joined Cobweb with the Benarat Caves to produce a system over 50km in length. And only a short gap now separated The Benerat Caverns System from the 40km long Terikan System to the north.

Much effort was also put into attempting to find a norther entrance to Whiterock, now that its passages came so close to the Meninau Gorge. The northern slopes of Api were combed by several parties without success, although useful mapping and positioning was undertaken.

With Whiterock still boasting many large open leads, and the promise of a 100km long system beneath Benarat, plans were soon afoot for a return in 2009.

A beautiful helictite tree in southern Whiterock - photo Robbie Shone

A beautiful helictite tree in southern Whiterock - photo © Robbie Shone

Expedition Members

The 2007 team

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