Well, we are back into Lima from our 3 weeks or so in Yauyos. What a time, and interesting situations!
We pushed hard, dug, had some chest hurting squeezes, ducks, multiple 20+km hikes (with 1000+ m elevation gain and loss’), and we made it back. Team members experienced sorejche, snow storms, exposed climbs, cold swims, etc to name a few of the many hurtles faced with while tracking down those elusive high altitude caves. Some of which we found adjusted the normal expectations of our speleogenisis (ie. a 120+m long active stream cave in a tufa dam and granite boulders).
Camping at 4600m did give us an advantage once acclimatised. So we were better equipped to cover more ground, and prussik out of the numerous shafts the team explored. On average they tended to be -50+m, the deepest explored was -115m. We also explored some horizontal caves, one note worthy cave consisted of pheratic passages displaced along the bedding as if the upper section of the tube passage stayed put as the lower section shifted sideways (or vise-versa) to create an”S” shaped cross section. All members of the team has repeatedly pointed out the tortured geological history of the Andies adding an other challenge to the high altitude caving we were here to do. We did get to experience this first hand on more than one occasion when we had some minor earthquakes.
On finishing up some of the 2004 expeditions leads we noticed that the elevations were out by 106m (they are higher then previously recorded), attention was then turned to thoroughly prospecting and pushing the area. We then began some reccing far a field and probing into areas that have held our interest for a while. Some of the discoveries ranged from ancient human remains to a caving project that will see some of us return for some of the most serious and potiential dangerous caving of our lives.
We have now shaved off our expedition beards and are dressed in clean clothes (most of us) slowly trickling through the Lima airport to go home to our other lives. We will all carry with us a warm place for Peru caving. Some of us will return to share this place with others. An amazing experience with an amazing group of people, I am hoping I get to meet them on an expedition, or in a cave again.