Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The "Boom Boom" Plan - Cueva Vientos in San German

Photos cannot show what this little adventure was like! Tim and Sherly were visiting from Florida for a weekend and wanted to do a vertical cave. Last weekend most of our little group spent a long day together at Cueva Larga where they discussed the "Boom Boom" Plan. I was not along on that trip. The plan was to find the "Boom Boom" entrance of Sistema Vientos and drop the 200 plus foot (no specifics known) drop into the cave and then wander for a while going out a different exit. Jeff and I had been here three times before (twice with Tom) and know that it is a confusing cave. The most confusing part on this trip though was finding the entrance! Tim, Sherly, Julie, Franklin, Jeff, Tom and I met at 9 and it was roughly 3 1/2 hours after that that we found the hole and got it rigged to the right place! Tom had gone down the hole some 7 or 8 years prior but finding a small opening in a big jungle is a difficult task even with GPS coordinates which is something we did not have. There was a fair amount of wandering and many openings were found but we couldn't be sure which was "Boom Boom." A rope was tied off and Julie said she'd take a look. She was gone forever and came up very tired after reaching the end of the 150 foot rope, tying off another 100 foot rope, getting to the bottom and having it be a pit that didn't go anywhere! She came back up (not easy), reported back and believed maybe she taken the wrong place at the fork. She went the large route (which is always the better idea). Tim then went down to check out the other route and he was tasked with rerouting the rope down the other pit. We could hear a faint yell to send someone else down. Down we went. We frogged it sending a person to the changeover ledge (where the second rope was tied off). That person got off the first rope and waited there for the next person, then got on the second rope and another person was sent down the first. It was the only way we could know only one person would be on the rope at a time. It was a long, contorted way down!
This is where the first rope ends and the second begins (down that little hole).
Jeff is coming down the second rope here. The second drop was maybe 70 feet? Whatever it was seemed a lot shorter than the first one that descended into darkness and whispered out for us to go to the darkness. Where we came into the cave was near a large bat room we did not want to disturb so there was a lot of waiting in a small, warm area for everyone to get down. It took a lot of time. Sherly took my photo as I explored an area I recognized.
Franklin and Julie came down last. We explored a few pits and upper passages (can't really call them passages because the cave is like swiss cheese). Sherly is coming through the "luge" which is a small steep tunnel you really can slip and shoot out of (just beware the pit at the bottom you can rocket into). There were LOTS of bats around including the "suicidal bats" which is the actual name of one of the bat rooms. This bat has a baby under its wing.

Tom and Sherly waiting for others to arrive. Sherly trying to climb to an upper area - us short people needed a rope to do it. This boa was near our exit point. Since we left at almost dark the bats were gathering for their nightly exit and the boa was probably getting into position for fine dining. Bats were attaching to us, falling on the ground (we gave them a lift) - there was no way to avoid them and we tried to get through them as quickly and quietly as possible.
One by one we ascended up yet another rope (100 foot) to get out after only an hour in the cave. That is when more adventure started - in the dark we had to find the other entrance and haul a couple hundred feet of rope out of the hole and pick up machetes etc then hike the rest of the way to the cars! It was a successful day. We did the longest drop we have done. I used a full sized rack and didn't exactly glide as I wanted but didn't have to bounce and feed line through it like usual. Julie however had a hard time with the Petzl Stop but made it down ok. So the mystery of entrance "Bam Bam" is solved and makes for an exciting entrance to an amazing cave that we will most likely visit again!

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