PROYECTO ESPELEOLOGICO SISTEMA HUAUTLA, LA GREITA SURVEY 2016

May 03, 2016



Adam Haydock and Jason Lavender climbing out of the refresher 1500ft. down in the La Grieta conduit of Sistema Huautla, Mexico PHOTO BY: Chris Higgins 

Sistema Huautla is one of the worlds most sought after cave systems, holding strong as the 8th deepest cave system in the world. This system is at the forefront of cave exploration with some of the worlds best cave explorers and scientists seeking to push deeper into the cave with no end in site. Diving and dome climbing have all rendered more going passage and continue to make this system one of the most interesting and beautiful caves to visit in the world.  
a map of Sistema Huautla, Mexico


The 46.9 miles of surveyed passage that Sistema Huautla has given up to the dedicated explorers who venture into the depths is currently the deepest cave in the Western Hemisphere weighing in at around 5169ft. of total vertical extent! Sistema Huautla also has a network of over 20 connected entrances with more added every year as ridge walks and proximity caves are located and connected with survey technology.
A Older map of Sistema Huautla.
 
For decades now, top tier exploration organizations have been pushing and mapping this remote limestone system that is nestled in the mountains of Mexico in the state of Oaxaca and in the towns of Huautla, San Andres, and Plan Carlota surrounded by the Sierra Mazateca.


Mazateca. Huautla, Mexico

 The indigenous Mazatec people have lived here for thousands of years and find the mountains and culture they are accustomed to be an ideal place to live, and after visiting the Sierra, I have to agree.  The flora and the 6500ft. of elevation was a beautiful setting of beauty and serenity as cloud inversions cover thick forest and jungle overgrowth giving the mountain terrain lots of life and vitality within the steep and confined mountain ranges of the Sierra Mazateca.   

Sierra Mazateca, Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
Previous explorations of Sistema Huautla have successfully pushed thousands of feet into the cave where cavers have spent week inside the system climbing and diving new leads with the anticipation to go deeper and push the cave to its end. here are a few stories that document those previous explorations.
 
 
youtube video:
 The week prior to my arrival there was some significant progress with the first ever specimen of a Sloth found in one of the pits near Huautla.  This is the first ever Sloth to be found in Mexico.
 
First ever Sloth Specimen found in Mexico, near Sistema Huautla, Mexico.  PHOTO BY: Chris Higgins.
Also a witch doctor showed up to help heal Jim Smiths ankle which was captured in great detail.
 
Witch Doctor healing Jim Smiths Ankle, PESH 2016, Mexico PHOTO BY: Chris Higgins
 There was also another Expedition that was occurring down in the main resurgence of Huautla where divers were able to survey over 600m of Dry passage beyond the sump with continuing and on going side passages. The Expedition was staged in Santa Ana Mexico and led by Cave Divers Sandy Varin and David Bardi with an objective to push deep into the Resurgence of Sistema Huautla. 
Andreas Klocker pushing the Resurgence of Sistema Huautla 2016.  https://www.facebook.com/CaveDive/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1174256252614604

 
Diving in pairs, Chris and Andreas lined sump one and initially stopped at the waterfall while Sandy and David pushed sump 2 with a horizontal length of 600m and a depth of 55m including a max depth of 65m at a elbow in the passage. After pushing most of the leads they encountered and determining that most of them were duds, they were able to find a clean washed passage under a suspected submerged breakdown pile 30meters underwater that extended for 200m of horizontal length until it gradually ascended into a underground lake which is where they dry passage was encountered and extended for 600meters.
Dry Passage in Sistema Huautla, Mexico https://www.facebook.com/CaveDive/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1174256252614604
 
Zeb, Andreas, Alexandra, Ernie and Chris all apart of this expedition and after I met up with Zeb as he came out of La Grieta from a 9 day survey underground, Zeb mentioned that the dive operation was a success and that there is more to work to be done in the Huautla Resurgence.
Dry Passage beyond the Huautla Resurgence Spring. Not my photo. https://www.facebook.com/CaveDive/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1174256252614604
There will be more diving operations in the coming years that will be involving resurgence and sump passages within Sistema Huautla as well as other systems including Sistema Cheve and possibly the Rio Colorada.
 
Sandy and David diving the Resurgence of Sistema Huautla, Mexico https://www.facebook.com/CaveDive/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1174256252614604
 
 My Journey started out at around 6am to catch a flight to Mexico city and eventually to Oaxaca. Those two flight took up most of the day and I made it to Hotel Rustica later on that night , tired of being tired and weary from the travelling.
I was travelling solo and my Spanish is not too good, so I had to fumble my way over lost translations and a few hand gestures to find hotel Rustica which worked out pretty well. 
Hotel Rustica, Oaxaca Mexico
 
The following day I checked out of the hotel and headed over to the van bus station that has a bus service to Huautla. Unfortunately the van was not running at 830 am like it was suppose to, so I had to wait until 130pm for the bus to leave, at the bus station!  It was a really boring and trite experience sitting there until 1pm.  The bus service doesn't appear to work at 830am on Sunday...FYI
the bus to Huautla, Mexico
 
 Finally the bus came and we loaded up the bus with bags and produce strapped to the top and packed inside the confined space with marginal air conditioning and partial locals wondering just what hell I am doing. One local asked me in broken English, why I am going to Huautla, and I pulled out a flyer which helped out a lot! Those flyers worked great for travelling.
 
Bus Station to Huautla, Mexico
 
Eventually the bus took off and we left the city of Oaxaca.  The roads started to bend and meander but to my ignorance, the remaining 5 hour trip in the van will consist of hitchhiker pickups and a eager van driver whipping around narrow corkscrew roads that would bend around the desert and switchback up into the Sierra mountains of Mexico.
We picked up one particular hitchhiker that ended displaying a knife to me and explaining that everything is cool and that it was good to meet me.  He even felt compelled to shake my hand, yet I was of a different opinion and was ready for anything at that point but he got off the bus shortly after which cleared the air..so to speak.  We stopped to get something to eat and continued on to the remaining portion of the drive up the sierras to Huautla. weary and a slightly seasick, I get out of the van and walk my way over to Hotel Julia.  I attempt to explain why I am here and if there is a way to get a hold of Bill Steele but my Spanish speaking communication was futile and I ended up getting a room for the night and sleeping it all off until the following morning.   The next day I got lucky and caught a cab with a English speaking cab driver, even a Scarface accent....sweet!.  The Cab driver insisted that he take me to a few places before dropping me off in Plan Carlota which he knew how to get to, so I was compliant as long as it did not cost more and that I actually got to my destination. We went around a few mountains and came up to a gravel road.  To my surprise, he took the road all the way to the waypoint that I had on my GPS and there were a bunch of Gringos everywhere!! man I was happy to see everyone! 
Chris Higgins came down and we talked about what has been going on while I ate some breakfast.  He than explained that they want to check out some leads in the forest, so I packed up my caving gear and we headed out.
Once we left the basecamp we crossed through a schoolyard and headed down a dirt trail which meandered around a few mountain corners and passed a few houses which had a few pairs of eyes staring out the windows with a mysterious optimism sparkling in their eyes as to what we were doing.

Adam Haydock and Jason Lavender in a new 200ft pit near Sistema Huautla, Mexico PHOTO BY: Chris Higgins
 Our trek continued into the jungle trail which took us uphill and over to a vista overlook that gave us a great view of the Mazatec Sierra mountains and a opportunity to explore a new cave.
The Sierra near Sistema Huautla
 
We broke into the forest and down into a sink where there was a entrance to a cave that was scoped out the day before. This time a bolt kit and 300ft of rope were brought on this march to the cave.
Chris Higgins and Jason Lavender getting ready to drop into a pit near Sistema Huautla, Mexcio
 
We could feel air blowing out and sucking in which gave us the impression that this cave might have some significant passage or a possible thru trip.  We could also hear noises inside the cave but we were not sure if that noise was reflective from the surface.
looking out into the forest from a newly discovered pit near Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
 Chris threw a rock down the cave and we could hear it bouncing off the walls for sometime until it made a crash landing at the bottom. The first drop was bolted which was the first of three rebelays Chris set up.
Chris Higgins about to drop into a unknown pit near Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
Chris descended down and set up the remaining two rebelays that took us to the bottom of the cave. We ended up surveying the system which we found it to be right at 60meters (200ft) and ended at the bottom with no going passage
Last rebelay in a newly discovered 200ft pit near Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
We are not sure where the air was coming from but we did find a guapa whip scorpion at the bottom.
Whip Scorpion at the bottom of a new 200ft pit near sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
We took some photos and de rigged the pit to seek out another 50ft. drop just down the trail. This entrance was a bit more open air with vines growing in the entrance and was just outside of a garden that a local farmer had.
Chris Higgins in a new 50ft pit near Plan Carlota, Mexico
 
We quickly bounced this drop and headed back to camp to relax a bit and prepare for a photo trip into the la Grieta entrance of Sistema Huautla.
 
Plan Carlota, PESH Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
  Some were a bit more tired than others with what objectives they have been working on but everyone was really welcoming which was comforting after two days of travel through central Mexico.  After an hour to get settled in and meeting some of the other members of the expedition, we secured a car ride up to La Grieta.
Jason and Chris taking a break at basecamp . PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla,
 
 We got a ride up to the la Grieta entrance to Sistema Huautla which was only around a couple hundred feet from the gravel road from where we got dropped off which was really nice.
Adam Haydock dropping into La Grieta. Sistema Huautla, Mexico PHOTO BY: Chris Higgins

 Our objective was to photo document the first 10-15 drops in the cave and continue with the photo documentation of the remaining sections of the cave at another time during the week.
Chris Higgins climbing up the final rebelay in La Grieta. Sistema Huautla, Mexico 
 
 Just about every drop was rigged with 9mm PMI rope and rebelays which included standard loop rebelays ( some with tighter loops than others) to Y hang rebelays, and a few traverse lines to cross exposed areas.
Jason Lavender Descending La Grieta Sistema Huautla. Mexico
 
We dropped down the first pit which was around 150ft. with three rebelay points and there was a dead turkey at the bottom of this pit.  Chris mentioned that the turkey was sacrificed to bless the expedition with good luck and good spirits but the blessings were a bit of a stinker, especially climbing back out at the end of our trips.
Bones at the bottom of the entrance pitch in La Grieta. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
Other bones were found on the entrance drops which might have been recent animals that might have either been Sacrificed or fell into the cave  
At the bottom of the first pitch in La Grieta. The Dead Turkey was less than pleasant especially climbing out of La Grieta. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
We stopped a different intervals until we got down 10-15 raps and took some photos of what we did which turned out to be a lot of fun.
Chris Higgins rapping down a typical drop in the first 10-15 drops in La Grieta. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
The drops were between 20ft. and 40ft. so they were not that deep and the temp inside the cave was around 65 degrees which was a nice temp.  The passages were not that big and there were not many formations but we got to photo some of the drops and a few wolf spiders along the way.
Wolf Spider in La Grieta. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
 Afterwards, we left Chris's camera bag in the cave and headed out to come back for it a few days later when we planned to go deeper into La Grieta.
Chris Higgins taking a photo of Jason Lavender on a Y hang in La Grieta. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
 We walked back to basecamp and had some dinner while talking with Matt, Bill, and Jim about the leads that were being worked on and what we can help accomplish in the few days that I was going to be there. We all discussed that we would go to a high lead in the mountains to see where the cave would trend.
Top entrance to Sinkhole Cave. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
 Matt, Chris, and Jason went to the high lead the previous day to see if the lead would go and left an air blowing passage with signs of foot prints, so we decided we would check out this cave and complete the connection.
Adam Haydock dropping into one of the classic drops in La Grieta. Sistema Huautla, Mexico PHOTO BY: Chris Higgins

The following day we headed out early with Tommy, Bill, Frank and our group of whom included, Chris, Jason, and myself. One party went to Wind cave to push some leads that might connect to Sistema Huautla and our group headed over to our high lead with a bolt kit to see if we could connect right into Sistema Huautla.
Surveying the high point to Sinkhole Cave. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
 Our lead was right near Huautla so if the passage kept going, we would have made a significant contribution to the expedition!!! We hiked along the ridge which had farm fields and other caves including a system that was over 800ft deep in vertical extent!
San Andres Mexico. TAG shaft is at the bottom. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
Unfortunately we were not able to get access to that cave to take photos but this lead we were pushing was really important, so we rigged high to this entrance pit which was a sloping 65-70 degree angle to a 30ft. drop that had a bunch of tin roofing parts at the bottom, giving this place its name, "Tin Roof Pit".
Entrance drop in Sinkhole Cave. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
We passed a Rebelay and made it to the bottom. There were other side leads to check out but we ended up going through the main route which was a karst window to a 30ft drop with some formations at the bottom.
a window that may have been blasted out to drop deeper into Sinkhole Cave. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
Than the popcorn water slot started. This was rather annoying as we had to push our way through lots of grabby popcorn for a couple hundred feet in a slot canyon made for a hobbit to walk through.
Typical tight passage in Sinkhole Cave, sistema Huautla. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
It wasn't too bad but rather more of a nuisance than anything. Eventually we made it to the TAG team room where the group previously turned around.
Jason Lavender coming out of the popcorn squeeze in Sinkhole Cave. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
 I added a "u" for Utah so now it reads "TAG team U" since I showed up!! Woohoo.
TAG room in Sinkhole Cave PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
Chris set up some bolts and we dropped a 30 ft drop which was tiered to another 20ft drop with passage that kept getting bigger.
 
Chris Higgins drilling bolts into the wall. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
The strata in the rock started to change with some dark blues and reds to go along with the color themed limestone cream colors. The passage continued down and we came up to a drop that was around 150ft!!!
Chris Higgins on the remaining rope looking down into the connection to Sistema Huautla PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla. Mexico
 
 The water was trickling over and the rooms below looked pretty large with continuing slot canyon passage and more cave.
A drop in Sinkhole Cave. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
 I looked back and discovered two rusty steel bolts in the ground and a survey marker that read "18". This cave must have been surveyed at one point but we did not see any bolts or evidence of any rigging anywhere else other than some foot prints back a ways where the tag room was.
Survey marker number 18 in Sinkhole Cave. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
This was mysterious to us as to how the bolts and survey marker got to where it is in the cave.  Maybe someone rapped down from a slot in the ceiling or climbed the 100ft pit?
Bolts drilled into the rock in sinkhole cave. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
We ended up surveying the cave, we took photos of the system a bit and started to head back to the entrance to check out some side leads that turned out to be nothing more than dome rooms.
Tin roof pit entrance to sinkhole cave. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
Back at basecamp, we plotted all of the data and found out that the cave has indeed been surveyed back in 1981 and was called "sinkhole cave".noooo!!!
Jason Lavender sketching in sinkhole cave. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
 We were hoping to have contributed more cave passage and to have been able to connect a high entrance to Sistema Huautla but it has already been done and is a known system which has been reconfirmed.  We were a bit confused as to why this did not come up previously when the cave was checked but now we can say without a doubt that it connects and it is complete.
Chris Higgins climbing out of a typical drop in Sinkhole cave.  PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
We did, however, add an additional 6 meters of vertical extent to the high side of Sistema Huautla so that was a nice accomplishment that we found to be significant.
 San Andres with the TAG shaft at the bottom of the pic. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
We got to sleep in a heavy wind storm which I ended up rolling up my tent and throwing it in the shelter where everyone else was sleeping. My tent was bending sideways and slapping my face while I was sleeping so that was not going to work! I brought my sleeping pad out and layed it on the floor next to Chris to got a few hours of sleep.
PESH basecamp, Plan Carlota, Mexico

 A half hour later we could hear a bunch of cheering and shouting in the kitchen so we came down to see what the fuss was all about and it was the push team coming out of the cave after 9 days being underground!  To my surprise they looked quite energetic and in good spirits which was a delight. We sat around the table for a bit to hear about their discovery and survey  which appeared to have rendered over 2 km of new passage that kept going up! After multiple bolt climbs and an attempt at a dive that was called off due to lack of equipment, the team was able to extend Sistema Huautla!!! Congrats to the push team! I headed back up to get some sleep but a few blinks of the eye later, it was 7 am.  We planned to go deep into La Grieta with the hope of getting down to the refresher and beyond and today is the day.
Jason Lavender descending the first drop in La Grieta. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
 Chris and Jason were battled a bit more than I was so we took it slow and steady down to a depth that would take us deeper than any cave could take us in the United States. We made our way to the entrance and swiftly past the drops that we took photos at before and worked our way to where Chris left his bag. Everything was still there.   Now before we left for deeper depths and the green pastures of La Grieta, I asked the push team if there was anything we should take out of the cave. I was told we should leave everything in the cave and not to worry about it, but later I found out that a team went in there and hauled everything out, wwwwhhoooaa!!. We continued down a few more drops until we got to a series of 8 to 10 rebelays that dropped about 20ft. on a 45 to a 65 degree angle. They all had standing ledges on them but we started to notice how the passage was staring to get larger and more interesting. We got to the bottom of this drop and I could smell a rotting fruit smell which I thought was hootch at first until we got closer and could see the mold growing on the fruit in the corner. Next we came up to the 200.
Jason Lavender at the top of the 200 in La Grieta, Sistema Huautla, Mexico PHOTO BY: Chris Higgins


This is where the cave really started to change. This is a drop that went down about 50 ft. to a free hanging rebelay that dropped 75 feet down to a series of rebelay stations for the remainder of the overall pitch.
Adam Haydock in La Grieta, Sistema Huautla, Mexico PHOTO BY: Chris Higgins

 We got some photos here and continued down to the bottom of the drop.  I wish we got shots of the tiered rebelay stations so next time I am going to get that accomplished. Once we were at the bottom, we encountered a climb up and another drop which took us to a horizontal passage with blowing air! This is where things started to get interesting.
Adam Haydock traversing a passage in La Grieta Sistema Huautla, Mexico PHOTO BY: Chris Higgins

The team continued down this passage of mostly walking body length trunk passage until we started to hit some water. The passage felt a few degrees cooler than where we were but I am assuming that is because the air was blowing in this canyon passage pretty good and the water we had to get into got a bit deep at times, cooling us off a bit.  


Jason Lavender in La Grieta. Sistema Huautla, Mexico PHOTO BY: Chris Higgins
 The strata started to change from a traditional cream colored brown tinted limestone to more of a dark blue gray marbled limestone!
Adam Haydock and Jason Lavender in La Grieta, Sistema Huautla, Mexico PHOTO BY: Chris Higgins

 It was really interesting to see as the rock was polished from drainage and sculpted with fangs of obelisk stone standing tall in the middle of passages for us to climb over and around. 
Chris Higgins climbing out of a pothole in La Grieta. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
The canyon walls were heavily fluted with geometrical precision at times for the water to make its way down into the depths of Sistema Huautla. The passages reminded me of slot canyons like the ones we have in Utah and at other times, the passage started to remind me of Puerto Rico caving in Los Chorros and Cueva Zumbo.
 
Jason Lavender in a cream sculped passage in La Grieta. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
 
 There were times where we had to cross a traverse line or even rap into potholes and climb out of them which was a freaking blast!!!! I love that kind of caving.
Typical Slot Canyon passage in the marbled section to camp 1.5 in La Grieta. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
After over an hour of doing this we came to some high ledge traverses and dropped into some deep water and fairly tight restrictions which cooled us off a bit more and washed off our gear.  Continuing on we finally popped into camp 1.5!! woohoo, we made it!
 
Chris Higgins coming out of the marbled slot in La Grieta. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico 
 
Up to this point, I believe we passed a few small formation rooms but there were not many formations to begin with and nothing tremendously big that we saw to photo. 
Adam Haydock moving through a restriction in La Grieta. Sistema Huautla, Mexico PHOTO BY: Chris Higgins
 
 Camp 1.5 had some supplies stored here and ropes which we figured would be left in the cave for next year. We took a quick break here and followed the blowing air down a passage and down a few raps until we could start to hear some significant water raging downhill, this quickly took us to a climb and a traverse over some rock which led us to the refresher!
 
Adam Haydock in the Refresher at the 1500ft mark in La Grieta conduit of Sistema Huautla, Mexico Photo By: Chris Higgins
 
 The Refresher was tiered with a few pot holes and a rebelay over the top of the falls that dropped down 30ft. to the bottom.  This was our turning point in the cave.

Jason Lavender pushing through La Grieta, Sistema Huautla, Mexico PHOTO BY: Chris Higgins


We took a few photos us climbing up and out of the refresher and started to make our way back, taking photos while going through everything we just came from.


Adam Haydock coming out of a rebelayed window in La Grieta Sistema Huautla, Mexico PHOTO BY: Chris Higgins

We made sure to snap a few shots at the restrictions, through some of the marbled sculpted slot canyon passage, and at a few of the drops.
 
Chris Higgins crossing a traverse in La Grieta. PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico

Eventually we made it to some of the climbs and started to head up and out of the cave with a steady pace and with no incidents. The cave was not that challenging which was nice but we did pass around 50 plus re belays which made it a sporting fun trip. 
Adam Haydock in La Grieta Sistema Huautla, Mexico PHOTO BY: Chris Higgins
 
We popped back out on top at around 12 hours and 30 minutes from when we started and hiked back to camp to debrief and eat dinner!
The following day, we woke up to hear that Kate and Antonio dragged out all of the ropes and the gear from the bottom of 1.5 to the surface and hauled everything back to basecamp. That was a significant effort by them but I wish that we knew that they were going to haul all the equipment out.  I would have been more than happy to contribute to that or at least leave it all at the bottom of the first pitch so we could haul it all out, but they toughed it out and made it happen!!! Awesome effort!


PESH. Proyecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla, Mexico
I want to thank Bill Steele for allowing me the opportunity to join the PESH expedition this year and want to recognize the efforts that everyone put into the expeditions objective and side trips that rendered the following results;
  • PESH brochures in Spanish worked well in many ways (thanks to Whole Earth Provision Company!)...
• La Grieta Mexiguilla area fully explored,
mapped, and photgraphed
• La Grieta Camp 3 used and cave explored
north 1.5 km to northernmost point of
Sistema Huautla
• Merican Tubes connected to Refresher
• Hobbit Hole in La Grieta pushed to 150m in
depth and a bunch of cave.
• Six meters of depth added to Sistema
Huautla to bring it to 1560m
• 3.5 km in length added to Sistema Huautla
to make the length 75.5 km (47 miles)
• Two paleontological caves surveyed and
the first complete skull of a Pleistocene
sloth (Megalonyx Jeffersonii) in Mexico
recovered by Ivan Alarcon with INAH, a
Mexican government agency
• Four UNAM graduate biology students
spent a week with us and made many new
insect collections in the caves.
• Cueva Basura mapped
• Big Wind cave explored and mapped.
Three leads remain. If connected in 2017
will add around 24 meters in depth
• Fourteen presentations given to area
school classes about PESH's work, to as
many as 1,000 students
• Precision GPS waypoints recorded for
Sistema Huautla entrances
• A digital picture frame with 243 photos
installed in San Agustin Zaragoza agencia
office
• 25 school children taken caving
• 20 area school teachers taken caving
• Huautla resident and English teacher Alma
Rodriguez was very important to PESH as
chief diplomat and school presentation
translator
• Alma Rodriguez to form "Friends of
Speleologists" group in Huautla
• Nita Tienzo exploration progressed and
looking very good
• Two pits in Plan Carlota valley explored and
mapped
• Had a Mazateco curandero ceremony
performed to get things right with the cave
spirits
• Took 23 strike and dip measurements
between San Andreas and Plan Carlota to
further map the cave strata
• Another expedition with excellent
photography
-Bill Steele

Adam Haydock traversing a passage in La Grieta, Sistema Huautla, Mexico PHOTO BY: Chris Higgins
It was an absolute pleasure to meet all of the participants and create new friendships with some of the best cavers on the planet. The Operation was successful and I am looking forward to coming back next year to continue the push and to be apart of the dive operations.  I also want to thank the cooks for making us our meals (sometimes upon request) and having warm good food ready when we and the other participants came back from the caves. 
The Witch Doctor PESH 2016 Mexico PHOTO BY: Chris Higgins

That was a real morale booster and good for our energy levels.  I really appreciate all of that effort you guys put in!!!  I know Bill was top side for most of the expedition working with the community, giving presentations and building relationships so I want to give recognition to Bill for his community outreach in making PESH successful for the years to come. Everyone was a world class contributor and caver and I hope this can continue for decades as I know there is plenty of "Booty",as what Jim Smith calls it, to explore.
 
 
FLICKR: https://www.flickr.com/photos/exploration-worldwide/albums/72157667754610366
FLICKR: https://www.flickr.com/photos/exploration-worldwide/albums/72157667212408640

week 4 PESH Huautla, Mexico

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