|Laos 2011 Expedition to Oudomxay
Cross road of China, Vietnam and
Expedition 13. - 29. January 2011
The 2011 expedition consisted of a small team of 6 speleologists and
targeted again the Tham Chom Ong System (Oudomxay Province) as well as a
previously untouched new area: Sayabouli Province, which borders
Thailand. The investigations were again made in co-operation with the
German Development Service (DED) and the local Provincial Tourism
Finally, after 3 years of exploration, the
Tham Chom Ong System was finished off by descending a 12 m and another
25 m deep vertical drop leading to the discovery of an intermediate cave
level approximately 1.3 km in length, which connects to already known
passage. The TCO System has now a new length of 17.1 km.
Its ranking as the 3rd longest cave of Laos and the 10th longest cave of
SE Asia remains unchanged.
Furthermore several smaller caves near
Chom Ong village were surveyed, not much exceeding 200 m in length each.
All together, about 2.5 km of new cave passage was mapped in Oudomxay
during the 2011 expedition in 4 caves.
The first systematic speleological
exploration ever took place in the area of Ban Keo and Ban Nathang,
about 40 km south of Sayabouli town. An ecotourism project with homestay
accomodation is being conducted in the small village of Ban Keo, which
served as a base for the 2011 expedition. Within only 5 days about 8.5
km of new passages were mapped in 12 new caves. Furthermore, several new
karst resurgences and sinkholes were visited, providing good additional
potential for another expedition in 2012 to the same area. The longest
cave mapped was Tham Nam Lot - a through cave with an underground stream
and a long fossil extension. The cave is about 3.6 km long. Tham Pha
Khoun Houy was finished off with a total length of 1,922 m. Tham Phafah
was found to be 1.3 km long and features a rare "cave ring" on
the floor of one chamber.