Application for Grant Aid

Submitted on: 29 Jan 2013

Expedition details (GPF2013a-008)

Expedition Name (& Club): Habe Xue Shan
Destination country: China
Region: Yunnan Province
Lat: 27.3235 Long: 100.1090 Elevation: 0 m
MEF funding: none

Leader: Mr Gavin Lowe
Total cavers: 3
Cavers ≤25 yrs old: 0
Cavers 25-35 yrs old: 0
UK/nonUK cavers: 3/0
Eligible for grant aid: 0
Alex Pitcher nominations: 0
Expedition dates: 24th Aug 2013 - 16th Sep 2013
Duration (days): 23
Man-days in field: 51 Man-days travelling: 18
Brief Expedition objectives:

List a short summary of the main Expedition objectives.

Search for caves on Haba Xue Shan, particularly on the south-east ridge;carry out initial exploration if resources permit.
How can the GPF support your Expedition?:

Please explain the aspects of the trip which make it eligible for Ghar Parau funding.

The Expedition will be based high on Haba Xue Shan, prospecting at an altitude of between 4000 and 5000m.
Detailed description of objectives:

Give a more detailed account of the purpose of the trip, including any particular known caves you intend to visit, specific areas where you will explore for new cave, and scientific experiments you will attempt.

The Expedition's aim is to prospect for caves on the mountain of Haba Xue
Shan in Yunnan Province, China.

The mountain is 5396m high, with glacier above about 5000m. The mountain is
perched above the Jinsha Jiang (Yangtze River), which we believe to be the
likely site of resurgences. The Jinsha Jiang is at an altitude of about
1600m, so this gives the potential for a cave depth of well over 3000m.

In 2010, we were based on the north of the mountain. Here a large slab of
limestone forms the face of the mountain. We spent about two weeks
prospecting in this area, but found only very small caves. However, it was
clear that a lot of water --both rain and snow-melt-- sinks underground.

Subsequent improved satellite images (on Google Earth) suggest that other
parts of the mountain look better. In particular, the south-east ridge looks
promising, and will be our primary goal: our experience is that most caves in
the region are on or near ridges; the limestone appears to be of a different
nature, being lighter coloured.

We will seek to establish a camp on the ridge at 4200m, probably making use of
an intermediate camp at about 3700m to help with acclimatisation. We will
then prospect, both out along the ridge to a subsidiary peak, and up towards
the summit of the mountain.

In addition, there is an area on the north-east flank of the mountain that
looks promising and that we missed in 2010. We will prospect this if time
permits. Finally, we have received a (rather vague) description of a cave a
bit lower down the mountain from this, which we will aim to find.

We currently have three Expedition members committed to the trip, but we are
hoping to attract more. If we do have just three members, we will be
restricted to surface work: our aim will be to find caves to return to in
later years. If we attract more members, then we will aim to explore caves
to about 300m depth. We will also extend the length of the Expedition to four
weeks if enough members are able to stay that long.
Previous work in this area:

Give details of any previous work in this area by your own and other teams. Include references to reports and articles published on the area, and the names of any local cavers or academics with whom you have discussed the Expedition.

There have been several expeditions to the Zhongdian area of Yunnan

- 2001: a small team (including GL) carried out a brief recce on and round
Haba Xue Shan before moving to an area near Kunming.

- 2002: the team (including GL) prospected widely round the area, before
concentrating on the mountains west of Zhongdian.

- 2003: a larger team (including GL) continued prospecting west of Zhongdian,
and found a few small caves.

- 2004: (including GL) continued exploration west of Zhongdian.

- 2005: continued exploration west of Zhongdian.

- 2006: winter prospecting trip to locate high-level entrances.

- 2007: a team (including GL) prospected on a group of mountains north and
slightly east of Haba Xue Shan, finding a few small caves.

- 2009: a team (including GL) prospected on the north flank of Haba Xue
Shan, finding a few small caves.

- 2011: diving expedition in resurgences.

Expedition Finances


Travel plans:
Costs per person: Flights

# from UK: 0 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from UK: £0

# from outside UK: 0 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from outside UK: £0

Travel total: £3,012 Travel p.p. from UK: £0
Travel p.p. from outside UK: £0


Total: £300 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £100 food and accommodation


Total: £0 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £0 gear contribution
Exped Total: £3,762 Exped cost p.p. travelling from UK: £0
Exped cost p.p. travelling from outside UK: £0
Mean Exped cost per person: £1,254

Other Funding

Total: £0 Comments:
Total shortfall: £3,762 Mean shortfall per person: £1,254

Referees and Report

Please give the names, addresses and phone numbers of two suitably qualified people whom the Committee can contact. You should ensure that they are aware of the objectives of your trip, and that you have their permission for the Committee to contact them.

Referee 1: Mr Paul Swire (Beardy)


Permission obtained?: No
Referee 2: Hilary Greaves

Reason: 0

Permission obtained?: No

Expedition report author: Gavin Lowe