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2019 Sistema Cheve
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2018 Sistema Cheve
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Sistema Cheve 2019 Personnel

Michał Amborski, Poland
Michał's first contact with caves was in the 2000s, but he became really active since 2012. During this time, he participated in the exploration of Tatra caves. In 2016, he reached the bottom of the world - the Dva Kapitan siphon, in Voronya Cave - at a depth of 2140 m. The next two years saw expeditions and exploration in Montenegro, in the Prokletije Mountains, and active club activities. In everyday life: father of two children, manager in a telecommunications company. Nickname: AMBOR.


Kristen Anderson, USA
Kristen Anderson grew up in Northern Indiana where, sadly, there were no caves nearby. When she arrived at college she joined the local grotto and was introduced to the small, tight Massachusetts and upstate New York caves. It was awesome. Since then she has moved to the DC area and is currently involved in the Kimble Pit survey in Germany Valley, West Virginia. This will be Kristen's third expedition and she is very excited. Outside of caving she also enjoys rock climbing, backpacking, and ceramics. Kristen is an aerospace engineer and works on TESS, a satellite which will look for planets outside of our solar system.


Oscar Berrones, México
Oscar Berrones has been a caver for over 30 years. His caving career began while he was in his teens, when he became a member of the Red Cross and ASMAC (Asociación Scout de México Asoc. Civil) in San Luis Potosí, México, near the Sierra de Álvarez. His weekends were spent in vertical caves and deep pits, including Golondrinas, Guaguas and Sótano del Barro. He was one of the founders of APME Club (Asociación Potosina de Montañismo y Espeleología) and has explored over 500 caves in the Sierra de Álvarez alone. Oscar became a full cave diver after he found sumps in some of the caves in the area. He has been a part of cave rescues, led expeditions in the Sierra de Álvarez, and plans to continue his cave and cave diving projects. He lives in Austin, Texas and is a member of the UT Grotto. Oscar has a passion for cave photography, and loves training his 13-year-old daughter to become a caver. He is self employed as a sustainable home builder, and he and his wife dream of retiring on their land in the mountains of San Luis Potosí.


Jure Bevc, Slovenia
As a member of the young generation of the Society for Cave Exploration of Ljubljana, Slovenia, I spend almost every weekend in the deep caves of the Pokljuka plateau, or underneath the Kanin massif. My main passion is exploration, going where none have gone before. A climber by origin, my first rigging was done aid climbing at -600m. I have recently discovered a passion for drawing cave maps, which is how I spend a large chunk of my free time. The main focus of our expeditions in recent years has been the cave P4 on the Kanin massif, where we are working towards making a connection to the valley some 1800 meters below. I studied mathematics and am working as a data scientist. My other passions include climbing and hiking.


Kasia Biernacka, Poland
Kasia Biernacka is an expedition caver and cave photographer based in Poland. Kasia has been exploring deep caves for 16 years, mainly in Spain (Picos de Europa) and in Mexico. She participated in 8 expeditions to Sistema Cheve in the Sierra Juárez, Oaxaca (Cheve, J2 and Cueva de la Mano) and in 3 expeditions to Sistema Huautla in the Sierra Mazateca, Oaxaca (Sótano de San Agustín and La Grieta). You can see her pictures from the caves at kasiabiernacka.com/caves. During the 2013 expedition to J2 Kasia was one of the underground cameramen filming for the Discovery Channel documentary "The Cave". She loves Mexico where she studied and she speaks good Spanish. When Kasia is in Poland, she works for Ladek Mountain Festival as Film Competition Director. Photo by Mikołaj Harasimowicz.


Reilly Blackwell, USA
Reilly Blackwell grew up on a farm in rural Virginia and has enjoyed mud and suffering ever since. She started caving two years ago with the VPI Cave Club, and recently moved to Alabama to work for the National Speleological Society and climb more rope. Reilly has been on expeditions in Montana and Utah and goes project caving all over the southeastern US. She enjoys writing, rock climbing, animal tracking, and playing music when not underground.


Špela Borko, Slovenia
My caving career is short but sweet. I joined the Society for Cave Exploration Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2013 and exploring the unknown immediately became my passion. With over 400 cave trips in five years, I spend most of my free time underground.

Our first steps into exploration were through the Pokljuka plateau (Slovenia), where we explored and mapped a system of caves which is now 620 m deep and among the 10 longest caves in the country. We soon reached deeper and started organizing deep cave expeditions on Kanin mountain (Slovenia). My main focus of research is now in the 1054-m-deep cave P4, where I am coordinating exploration and mapping. I also do the dirty work (i.e. design) of the Slovenian online cave database (www.katasterjam.si). Professionally I am a speleobiologist. For my masters thesis I studied fauna of deep caves, and now I am working on my PhD project on subterranean amphipods in the Subterranean Biology Laboratory, Ljubljana, Slovenia. I have participated in speleobiological research in Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Hercegovina, and Kosovo.


Mehdi Boukhal, Morocco/Canada
Mehdi is a Moroccan-Canadian adventurer who had very modest beginnings in his homeland Morocco as he had absolutely no predisposition to such a lifestyle, except maybe an immeasurable love for exploration and discovery. In the last few years he has occupied several different positions, including cave-guide, musher and medic. He is Co-Founder of the Moroccan Explorers Society, has huge interest in Cave-Rescue techniques and had the opportunity to cave in France, Japan, Tunisia and Palestine and took part in several international expeditions in Morocco, USA, Mexico, Laos, Canada and currently in Chilean Patagonia. When not caving or traveling the world during his off-season, Mehdi is a smokejumper within the BC Wildfire Service.


Caroline Bull, USA
Carrey Bull found cave rescue at an NCRC seminar four years ago through her job as an Austin firefighter, and has been trying to back door her way into being a caver ever since. She looks for any excuse to get underground, and caves in Texas, Virginia, and anywhere else someone will let her sleep on their couch. She has been on expeditions in Mexico and Utah. When she’s not caving, she enjoys going on adventures with her wife, knitting, and cooking.


Adam Byrd, USA
Dr. Byrd started caving in 2003 with the West Virginia University Student Grotto and has since caved extensively across the United States. Most of his recent efforts have been focused on the exploration of the caves of Germany Valley, West Virginia. This is his third expedition to Sistema Cheve with the USDCT, and fourth expedition in México. He enjoys long walks in gypsum sand boreholes and LED-lit cave gruel dinners. He is an avid rock climber, and for the past year has been on a 23-country tour around the world with USDCT member Kristen Anderson.


Matic Di Batista, Slovenia
I have been involved in caving for almost my whole life, since my father was also an active caver, and he still likes to go caving from time to time. In last 10 years I became more involved with serious caving, mostly in Slovenia where I live, and some in France, USA and Mexico. I am a member of the caving club "Društvo za raziskovanje jam Ljubljana".

I like deep, vertical, alpine caves, and this is where I spend most of my spare time - exploring new caves in the mountains around Slovenia. Currently I'm leading and helping with exploration of new alpine caves in Slovenia in areas around Pokljuka and Kanin. In 2011 I helped with a short expedition where we helped a diver (Matt Covington) with transport of diving equipment, to dive in a sump in "Renejevo brezno" cave (-1250 m, Mt. Kanin). Since then, we have organized at least one expedition per year to "Renejevo brezno" or cave "P4", where we work our way towards the valley, exploring new horizontal passages at a depth of 1000 m or more. With this project we aim to explore a near-2000-m-deep cave system and the deepest, dry through trip in the world.

Besides caving I also like mountaineering, climbing and programming. I work as a software developer and also like to develop new apps to automate some of the documentation work we do on caves.


Yvonne Droms, Switzerland
Yvonne Droms started caving in 1967 in Portugal. After moving to the USA, she joined the National Speleological Society in 1985 and has been caving ever since. She is very active in exploration and survey in the extensive cave systems of Virginia and West Virginia. She teamed up with Bill Stone in completing the then-longest bolt-climb in West Virginia by scaling a 306-foot dome in Hellhole. Starting in 2001, she has participated in numerous expeditions to the deep, vertical caves of Mexico: Cheve, Huautla, and J2 in Oaxaca, and in the Purificación area of Tamaulipas/Nuevo León.

Yvonne is a Swiss citizen who grew up in Portugal. She is a retired translator, having worked for Rosetta Stone in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and speaks seven languages. Her two children are mathematicians. Yvonne spends her free time caving and helping with caving publications, and also enjoys hiking, skiing, backpacking and mountain bicycling.


Sonia Dudziak, Poland
Sonia began her adventure with caves in 2015. Annually she participates in expeditions to Prokletije, Montenegro with her caving club. She has explored caves in Sardinia and in the Austrian Alps - Tennengebirge. Her biggest cave experience was the 2018 Sistema Cheve Expedition, during which she spent a total of 25 days underground. For three years she has taken part in the Polish caving techniques championship with pretty good results, still on the podium. Throughout the year she explores caves of the Tatra Mountains and constantly improves her rope skills.


Irina Eftimie, Romania
I started caving in 2006 in my home country, Romania. That year I participated in some small recreational caving trips and did my first rappel. By the end of the year I was part of a photography documentation trip in one of the biggest caves in Romania. That just got me hooked on the underground world and I have been caving ever since. After participating in Romania's most alpine vertical cave expedition, I couldn't get enough. When I moved to the US in 2014, in search of continuing my underground adventures, I joined the Philadelphia Grotto and the NSS. I have been involved in several explorations since, especially in the depths of Germany Valley, WV, but sometimes I get to travel around the country too with the goal of discovering more virgin passage.


Mike Frazier, USA
Mike Frazier enlisted into the world of organized caving in 1990. Since then Mike has coordinated the exploration and mapping of the Hurricane Cave system in Colorado which is currently the deepest known granite cave system in the world. Mike has participated in around 30 caving expeditions which have included trips led by American, Swiss, British, Canadian, and joint Mexican/Austrailian teams. During these trips he has assisted in the exploration of many of México's 1000m deep caves. He has also caved in Guatemala, Belize, Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Switzerland. Mike is currently a co-leader of the Proyecto Cerro Rabon as well as the Proyecto Sierra Mazateca.

Mike's education was obtained primarily in the alleyways and deep and dark recesses of the earth. He is currently owner/tree surgeon for Frazier Tree and Shrub Inc.

He also knows Bart Hogan, who can order McMaster Carr from anywhere.


Marcin Gala, Poland
Marcin Gala has been a caver for 22 years. He participated in exploration expeditions to Austria, México, Papua New Guinea, Puerto Rico and Spain. He's fascinated by cave photography and cave diving. Usually he goes for expeditions with Kasia Biernacka and their daughter, Zuzia. They have been exploring in Sierra Juarez with Bill Stone since 2001. Marcin works as a rope access technician on the Norwegian Sea.


Matthew Garrett, USA
Matthew started caving in 2003, where he avidly took to exploration throughout TAG and Virginia. In 2009, he left for a three-week expedition in China, and, since the caving was so good, stayed for three years. While China is known for large passage, he still managed to chase his true passion of pulling survey tape through absurdly small passages, then watching his teammates get stuck while trying to follow. Despite his reputation for not returning from expedition in time, and for only discovering very tight passage, he keeps getting permitted to pass through customs, and invited on other expeditions. He now lives in California, where he suffers from a dearth of local caves, so instead keeps busy above ground in the ridges of the High Sierra and the walls of Yosemite.


Claire Gougeon, Canada
Claire Gougeon's first caving trip was over 11 years ago, and she immediately fell in love with the mysterious, ancient, hidden world. Within two months, she was spending every weekend with the team attempting to connect two significant caves in the Canadian Rockies. When they succeeded several years later, Heavy Breather broke the depth record in both Canada and the United States! Approximately a year ago, the same usual suspects broke their own record with Bisaro Anima in the same region.

Claire participates in several caving expeditions a year (not to mention local weekend trips), and is very passionate about discovery and exploration of new caves, whether or not their dimensions happen to draw media attention. She works part-time as a cave guide in Canmore, Alberta, and is a Registered Nurse.


Bogdan Guzik, Poland
Bogdan started his caving journey in 2008. During the last 10 years he has participated in exploration expeditions in the Tatra Mountains, Austrian Alps - Hoher Göll, Tien Shan - Kyrgyzstan. He was also twice (2014 and 2016) in Krubera-Voronya Cave in Abkhazia and twice reached the deepest dry point of the cave - Game Over at -2080 m.


Corey Hackley, USA
Corey began caving heavily at the tender age of 12, in the oft overlooked caves of Western Maryland. In the years since, he has been involved in a number of fruitful caving projects in the United States, primarily in West Virginia and Maryland. In 2013, Corey began traveling to Mexico annually to assist with the exploration of the deep caves of Oaxaca, Mexico. Most recently, he participated in the extremely successful 2018 Peña Negra/Cheve expedition, enjoying a role in the discovery of untold miles of enigmatic borehole.

Corey lives in the mountains of Northern West Virginia, where he indulges in midnight ridgewalks, in search of the next project. He works in the aerospace industry.


Joanna Haremza, Poland
Joanna has been actively caving for 10 years. Since 2016 she has been a member of the Caving Committee of the Polish Mountaineering Association and for two years she has been head of the Poznań Caving Society. During past years Asia focused her attention mostly on cave exploration in Montenegro - Prokletije Mountains and caving activity all over Europe (Poland - Tatra Mountains, Czech Republic - Czech Moravia, Italy - Sardinia Supremonte, Albania - Prokletije Mountains, Austria - the Alps). Personal record (so far :)) is Voronya-Krubera Cave - Game Over at -2018m. In everyday life: mom and architect.


Witold Hoffmann, Poland
After leaving his scientific career in chemistry and biotechnology, Witek followed his overhead diving passion and moved to Sardinia in 2013, becoming a full-time cave diving guide and instructor. After a 7-month-long season underwater, he usually spends the winter in Poland exploring flooded uranium mines, caving and diving in the Tatra mountains.

During his years in Sardinia he explored multiple underwater and dry caves, focusing on Bel Torrente cave where he participated in multisump explorations in 2014, 2015 and in 2016. In 2017 he spent 13 days beyond sump 1 in sistema Cheve.

Passionate about cave photography and videography, enjoying climbing, sailing, traveling and increasing the world's entropy!


Josh Hydeman, USA
Josh Hydeman is a cave photographer and explorer. His photos have been published by National Geographic, Outside Magazine, Red Bull, Outdoor Photographer, Mountain Life, etc. He received first prize in the NSS Photo Salon in 2016. When he is not underground you can find him in his cabin in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon.


Jake Kandl, USA
Jake is a world traveling adventure seeker. From humble beginnings hitchhiking and train hopping to recently living a hunting and gathering lifestyle on tiny islands in the South Pacific, he has been roaming the world in search of the exceptional. Jake currently works for the US National Science Foundation in Antarctica undertaking logistical coordination and scientific support. He is experienced in outdoor survival and enjoys high altitude trekking, geocaching, and exploring the unknown.


Jerica Koren, Slovenia
Growing up in a country where karst exploration and its science have such a long-standing tradition, I’ve been fond of caves ever since I can remember. Classical Karst field trips were my favorites and I don’t really know why it took me so long to start exploring the unknown underground by myself, as a caver. Ten years ago I took my first step into a cave by the light of my and my colleagues’ torches alone, and since then, my attraction to the unknown has only gotten stronger. Five years ago I stepped up my caving activity and today, as a member of "Šalek Valley Caving Club Topolšica", I mostly explore the caves in the Savinja Alps region in northern Slovenia, on the Kanin massif (cave Macola), and abroad (Shpella e Zeze, the longest cave in Albania). As a member of the Slovenian Cave Rescue Service I also work and practice in other caves all around Slovenia and its vicinity.

Professionally, I work as a lawyer, and it can be simply put that my idol is Édouard A. Martel (the father of modern speleology, a world pioneer of cave exploration, study, and documentation) who has been described by Derek C. Ford (another karst expert) as a "lawyer by profession but a caver and geographer by all his heart".


Kuba Kujawski, Poland
I love caves because I love to be in the mountains. I enjoy challenges, adventure and above all, working in an amazing, reliable team of caving partners! I also like to get tired, but after it all, enjoy the mutual success. Caves have fascinated me since 2012. Most often I work in the Polish Tatra Mountains, Hoher Göll and Voronya, where after diving the siphons we reached Dva Kapitana at -2140 m.


Adam Łada, Poland
Adam started caving in 2012 and since then he has been a member of the Poznań Caving Society. He has explored caves in the Austrian Alps (Hoher Göll) and since 2014, he explores caves in the Prokletije Mountains (Montenegro) annually. A little success that he managed to achieve during this time was exploring the Mining Cave to the terminal siphon, which made it the deepest cave in the whole Prokletije. Adam, along with his friends, reached the dry "bottom of the world" - Game Over (-2080 m) in Voronya-Krubera Cave (Abkhazia), which is his personal depth record. In the meantime, he explores the Tatra caves. Adam spends a lot of time in the mountains. He loves to feel adrenalin and he always is ready to go on a new adventure. He has been treking in Himalaya (Nepal), Tian Shan (Kyrgyzstan), Caucasus and Lesser Caucasus (Georgia, Abkhazia), Alps (France, climbing Mont Blanc), Pyrenees (France, Spain, Andorra), Selvaggio Blu (Sardinia - Italy), Carpathian Mountains (Ukraine, Romania), Rila and Pirin (Bulgaria) and a few more. He also enjoys hiking, backpacking, bicycling, skiing and he captures all of these moments on photo shoots. All of those trips give Adam huge satisfaction and lots of new knowledge about different surroundings around the world.


Sean Lewis, USA
Sean has done a lot of caving where the discoveries have been inversely proportional to hopes and dreams. He is fond of a big cave with a small heart in Hart County, Kentucky, known as Fisher Ridge. Some will know him by this and his fairly forlorn fancies of boreholes and folk-tales of connections. He may also be found in sundry caving projects in the western USA and in Mexico, some of which might be considered a trifle pleasant. He likes poking in the walls of the big ditch with some folks. Also he likes chasing the tails of winds but never actually finding anything in New Mexico. He doesn't always go caving; sometimes he does physics, which is mostly for fun and misguided idealism.


Jon Lillestolen, USA
Jon Lillestolen began caving in Tennessee in the mid-90s and quickly learned to enjoy deep caves. He has participated in expeditions to the US, Mexico, Spain, France and Costa Rica and has helped with the exploration of six 1000-meter-deep caves. He is an avid caver, climber, and cave diver working on cave projects in his home state of Virginia as well as in West Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Kentucky.


Alejandra López-Portillo, México
Alejandra started caving in 2008, as part of the Mountaineering Association of the National Autonomous University of México (UNAM). She's caved in México with national and international groups and is an instructor in the same association. Speleology changed her life and introduced her to a new world full of friends, freedom and love. Alejandra is an educational material writer.


Michał Macioszczyk, Poland
Michał "eMCe" has been a caver for 11 years. He has participated in many exploration expeditions within Europe and elsewhere. For five years in row he was the winner of the Polish caving techniques championship. He actively participates in many national and foreign workshops/trainings as a main coordinator of the Polish Cave Rescue Group (GRJ). He's fascinated not only by exploration but is also starting his adventure with cave diving. He took part twice (2014 and 2016) in expeditions to Krubera-Voronya Cave in Abkhazia and reached the deepest dry point of the cave and the world at that time (Game Over at -2080 m) and as the first Pole he dived into Dva Kapitana siphon (-2140 m). eMCe works as a rope access technician, mostly as a supervisor. During the weekends he also works as a caving instructor.


Cait McCann, USA
Cait first found her way underground while running a nature center and crawling through caves with ten-year-old students in Austin, Texas. Now she works on conservation programs to protect karst habitat and the local aquifer through large-scale ecological restoration on public wildlands. She’s interested in involving diverse communities in science and making cave crickets and pseudoscorpions famous... or at least not feared. Cait volunteers as editor of the Association for Mexican Cave Studies and travels to Mexico as often as she can for caving projects in Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Quintana Roo.


Sonia Meyer, USA
On Sonia Meyer’s first cave trip, she braved the sump in Swildon's Hole with the Oxford University Caving Club. She returned to the US in 2015 after living in China for several years, but never forgot that first caving experience. She found a grotto and it wasn’t long before she fell in love with the caves of West Virginia—spending a great deal of her time project caving at WVACS in Greenbrier County. In preparation to join the PESH 2018 team, Sonia began caving every single weekend, where she honed her skills as a sketcher, and has not stopped since. On her first international deep caving expedition, she reached a new level of dedication to exploration after she spent a week underground pushing leads deep in the Sistema Huautla cave system. She recently moved to California and now travels for domestic cave trips and expeditions.


Adrian Miguel-Nieto, México
Adrian Miguel-Nieto has been a member of the Association of Hiking and Mountaineering of the National Polytechnic Institute (AEMIPN Spanish acronym) since 2008. Since then, he has been participating as an instructor in speleology courses and workshops. He has also organized explorations in the Mexican states of Oaxaca (Sierra Mixteca), Puebla (Sierra Negra) and Hidalgo (Sierra Hidalguense). He participated in Proyecto Espeleológico Sistema Huautla (PESH) in 2015 and 2016. Adrian works as a biochemistry teacher.


Aria Mildice, USA
Aria began caving in New Mexico two years ago while working as a Park Ranger at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, and has since spent time underground in New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, Texas, Colorado, and Montana, and was most recently even convinced to go into an eastern cave, Fisher Ridge. Aria quickly became interested and involved in many projects throughout the Guadalupe Mountains and mapped 15 caves just this past summer. In the past year, she has spent in-total over 33 days underground in the sauna of Lechuguilla Cave. She has been convinced to push an 8-inch-wide rappel, sketch in borehole covered in breakdown, dig by-hand upside-down, and crawl for 4 hours one-way. She does not enjoy long walks on the beach because of the sand, but does enjoy sketching, climbing ropes that never end, and heavy packs.


Mark Minton, USA
Mark Minton has fifty years caving experience in most of the major cave regions of the United States and México. He also participated in three paleontological expeditions (1992-94) to the caves of Madagascar, which visited that country's deepest and longest caves. He has been a leader and/or member of many expeditions to the deepest caves in the Western Hemisphere, including five caves over 1000 meters deep, one of which he discovered. Mark has received several flag awards and exploration grants from the Explorers Club and has had over 250 articles published in various caving journals and the Explorers Journal. He continues to be very active in original exploration in Virginia, West Virginia and Mexico. Mark is the Director of Sponsored Research for the USDCT.

When not caving, Mark worked as an organic chemist for 30 years and is now retired. He lives in Virginia with team member Yvonne Droms.


Guillaume Pelletier, Canada
Guillaume was a teenager when he started caving in Quebec around 1990. Although the possibilities of being a caver in granite country were limited, Guillaume was thrilled to hear the exploration stories of the surprisingly vibrant caving scene in Quebec. After gaining sufficient experience, he participated in exploration expeditions to México (co-leader of the Mexpé project), Chile, Peru, Austria, Papua New Guinea, China, and India. Former director of the Quebec caving school (ÉQS), he’s also a caving instructor at the ÉQS. Guillaume tries to stay cave fit by being a lead rope access technician in Montreal.


Tommy Polson, USA
Though he would usually prefer the Southwest Virginia and West Virginia horrorholes to which he is accustomed, Tommy Polson will always welcome an opportunity to return to the Sierra Juárez, to remind himself of the glorious opportunity of the underground. When not grovelling in caves, he spends most of his time procrastinating on drafting cave maps, working on his ever-growing collection of broken vehicles, and turning big trees into tiny pieces.


Ewelina Raczyńska, Poland
Ewelina has been a caver for 13 years. She actively participates in many national and foreign workshops/trainings as a member of the Polish Cave Rescue Group (GRJ). She has taken part in many exploration expeditions within Europe and elsewhere. In 2016 she took part in an expedition to Krubera-Voronya Cave in Abkhazia and reached the deepest dry point of the cave and the world at that time (Game Over at -2080 m). Ewelina works as Project Manager in a software development and during the weekends as a caving instructor.


Yuri Schwartz, Russia/Sweden  
Yuri started caving in 1979 at the age of four with his father, then an active member of the Novosibirsk State University caving club. Since then he explored caves in Russia, Abkhazia, Switzerland, France, North America, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Slovenia and Montenegro. From 2007, Yuri has been a regular member of USDCT expeditions to deep caves of north-eastern Oaxaca, México.

In his other life Yuri holds a PhD in Biology and is interested in epigenetic mechanisms that control how our genome is used as we develop from a single cell (zygote) to a complex multicellular organism. Currently he pursues his interests as Associate Professor at the Department of Molecular Biology, Umeå University, Sweden. Yuri is married and has two daughters.


Beverly Shade, USA
Bev Shade started caving in 1991, in local Texas caves, got into big caves in Mexico in 1992, and was hooked. Over the past 25 years she's caved in the US, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Poland, Germany, Slovenia, and Thailand. She finished her MS in Geology from the University of Minnesota in 2002 studying quartzite caves, and worked as an environmental consultant until changing careers. She finished a BS in Nursing from the University of Texas in 2015, and currently works as a registered nurse on a cardiac/infectious disease unit in Austin. She has a special place in her heart for digging, maps, and mentoring cavers who are excited about learning new skills.


Vickie Siegel, USA
Vickie first began project caving in 2004. In total she has spent more than two years working on expeditions in the US, Mexico, Russia, and Nepal. In parallel, Vickie has spent over ten years working with the field robotics team at Stone Aerospace to design, build, test, and field robots designed to explore Europa-analog environments on Earth. In this way she has participated in three field robotics expeditions to Antarctica and led two field campaigns on the Matanuska Glacier in Alaska.


Bill Stone, USA
Dr. Stone has been responsible for organizing and participating in the exploration of Sistema Cheve (-1484m), Sistema Huautla (-1545m), Cueva Charco (-1286m) and J2 (-1229m). During the past 45 years Bill has organized and led 70 expeditions. He has spent more than 9 years in the field on these projects of which 585 days were logged below ground based from underground camps. The longest single mission was 19-1/2 days operating from the -1200 m level of Sistema J2. He has designed seven generations of rebreathers for diving, including the Poseidon Se7eN that will be used in Cueve Cheve in 2017. Bill is the principal author of the Time-Warner book "Beyond the Deep." He is skilled in cave diving, subterranean lead climbing, cartography, rigging and cave rescue.


Zbyszek Tabaczyński, Poland
Zbyszek Tabaczyński has been caving since the late nineties. His first findings took place in the Tatra Mountains. For the last 22 years he has been actively exploring caves, mostly vertical ones. He has taken part in exploration projects in the Julian Alps, Salzburg Alps, and in the Arabika Massif in the West Caucasus. He has also been involved in an exploration project in the Belic Massif (Prokletije, Montenegro) for the last 12 years.

Zbyszek spends his free time canyoning, mainly in Europe. His favourite winter sport is alpine skiing. He happens to work from time to time. :) He runs his own company, trains people in the mountains and works at heights (industrial and arboristic). His professional life intermingles with his passion for caving, canyoning, mountain climbing and skiing.


David Tirado, México
When I started adventure sports, I didn't know that caving would become so important in my life. With time, and the help of great cavers, I had the opportunity to experience incredible places in the depths. I learned exploration and rigging techniques, and eventually fell in love with caves. As if this weren't enough, I have the great fortune to live in a country with some of the best caves and karst features in the world, México. I have participated in expeditions in Sierra Negra (Puebla), Picos de Europa (Spain), and Sistema Huautla (Oaxaca).


Marjan Vilhar, Slovenia
Marjan Vilhar was born in Slovenia and has been a member of Cave Club Luka Cec since 2005. He started to explore caves in the Slovenian karst region which has had a long history of underground exploration since 1818. After a few years working in the local area he started to get interested in vertical caves. The mountains of Kanin were next on the list; caves like Hudi Vrsic -1100m, Skalar... He took part in several caving expeditions in countries like Montenegro and Albania. (In 2018 the team discovered the longest cave in the country, Zeze Cave at 7 km). He also participated in more distant expeditions in Austalia, New Zealand, Laos, Philippines. A lot of his time is dedicated to the Cave Rescue Service of Slovenia, of which he is a member. Marjan concurrently works as a guide in the famous Postojna Cave.


Doug Warner, USA
Doug Warner has been a caver for 40 years, catching the caving bug as a child in Wyoming in 1978. During this time he has done trips in over a dozen US states as well as a handful of countries, including bottoming Lukina Jama/Trojama in Croatia at about -1400m. He regularly participates in survey and exploration expeditions in Lechuguilla Cave, among others. He has a history of teaching caving techniques informally as well as in semester-long university courses, and was the chair of the 2018 National Speleological Society Convention. Since 2012 he is the sole worldwide distributor (outside Europe) for El Speleo headlamps.

This Cheve expedition is one of the rewards he gave himself for missing out on the many caving opportunities he had to turn down in the 2 years leading up to that convention.

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