Objectives for 2019
2018 was an exceptional year of exploration at Cheve by any standards, with nearly 14 kilometers of new cave discovered. Most of that was in very large tunnels (40x40 meters) in the Cueva de la Peña Negra. The Peña Negra ultimately connected to Sistema Cheve in four places, increasing the length of Cheve to 46 kilometers, but there are dozens of leads remaining. It was an extraordinary team effort that involved rigging and survey crews working out of six underground camps spread across the two cave systems.
The new data gained from the Peña Negra indicate the presence of an extensive fossil upper level that is approximately 250 meters above the currently active stream in Cheve. This, and the presence of tunnels trending east towards Sistema J2, suggest a path forward for bypassing the Cheve sumps and continuing exploration towards the resurgence.
The primary objectives in 2019 will be to:
- Continue exploration of the upper portions of the Peña Negra, based from Camp Stan and Camp Kyle (in the Lost in Space chamber and Infinite Borehole, respectively)
- Continue exploration of the Calles de Papalo and Silk Road areas in the Peña Negra, based from Camp Cartman
- Re-investigate the entirety of Cheve between Camp 2 and Camp 3 in search of climbs leading to high level, eastward-trending connector tunnels
- Continue the efforts to pass the Gone-with-the-Wind / Mad-Hatter breakdown below Camp 3 in Cheve
- Continue surface recon efforts north of the Peña Negra
We will thus again be working two very large cave systems at the same time in 2019 and will need a strong team to do so. There will be no diving involved in 2019. The majority of the effort will be rigging, aid climbing, survey, and logistics (transport of equipment and food) to supply the underground camps.
The results of the 2018 Cheve Expedition are detailed in this Executive Summary. (pdf)