March 30, 2005
MOUTH MAZE CAVE
Main Entrance: WGS84 - 18 18' 29.1" N, 77 34' 27.0" W, +/- 5m
Lighthole Entrance: WGS84 - 18 18' 31.6" N, 77 34' 31.8" W, +/- 10m
Field notes: D. K. ROGGY
Cavers: R. S. Stewart, I. C. Conolley, D. Roggy, E. Slack
Time in: 15:00 EST, Time out: 18:30 EST
THREAT VULNERABILITY: Medium
We found our way to the entrance of Mouth Maze. It was a large jumble
of bamboo and other items that had floated on the river and remained
on the surface when the river sank down into the cave. I scrambled around
on the mass of wood and pulled some things out of the way, until I found
the entrance. Placing a long, fairly fresh length of bamboo down into
the entrance, I used it to assist me in scrambling down the boulders
at the entrance.
We came into a very large chamber strewn with boulders and debris that
provided us with 3 options for which way to go. We proceeded forward,
pretty much due west as I remember it. After about 100m we came to a
collapse that had at least 2 light holes in it. Stefan scrambled up
and out and obtained a GPS position.
After that we backtracked a bit and took a passage to the south. We
went for some while on this path, encountering logs every now and then.
Eventually we came to a rough, eroded channel that was perhaps 10-15
feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. It looked really difficult, and much different
from what we'd been walking through. I noticed no silt accumulated in
it and the walls glistened with moisture. We decided not to take this
passage, turned left, slid through a muddy crawl, then emerged in another
stream passage that was fairly open and promising.
Stefan started getting worried about whether he was having symptoms
of breathing too much CO2, or some other gases. When he asked us how
we felt I wasn't sure if I was dehydrated or what, but felt a mild headache.
We'd been going for some time inside this labyrinthine cave, and although
we'd been flagging all along, I was feeling like we'd gone for such
a long time that I'd rather just turn back. When I informed the group
that the time was 1645, that decided it. We turned back, leaving behind
one flag at our farthest point. I labeled it "JCO, 30 Mar, 2005".
Perhaps someday in the future we will come across it again.