Application for Grant Aid

Submitted on: 26 Feb 2014


Expedition details (GPF2014a-003)

Expedition Name (& Club): Krubera 2014 (not club specific)
Destination country: Georgia
Region: Abkhazia
Lat: 43.2728 Long: 41.1060 Elevation: m
MEF funding: none

Leader: Mr Martin Hoff
Total cavers: 2
Cavers ≤25 yrs old: 0
Cavers 25-35 yrs old: 0
UK/nonUK cavers: 2/0
Eligible for grant aid: 0
Alex Pitcher nominations: 0
Expedition dates: 2nd Aug 2014 - 28th Aug 2014
Duration (days): 27
Man-days in field: 23 Man-days travelling: 4
Brief Expedition objectives:

List a short summary of the main Expedition objectives.

Join up with party from the Ukrainian Speleological Association, the original explorers of the cave to contribute to further exploration, record-making and study of the deepest cave in the world. To reach the deepest naturally occurring point on the globe which is accessible from the land surface would be the ultimate aim but that is not guaranteed. Any travel into the deeper reaches of the cave will be something that very few British cavers have managed since its discovery.
How can the GPF support your Expedition?:

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

Krubera is significantly deeper than Ghar Parau itself is, which is a good start. Making connections and forming relationships with cavers from other nations is a worthy aim, both in terms of cross-learning techniques and expeditionary operations from each other and in understanding a little of how life goes elsewhere on the increasingly crowded planet we all share. Joining up with an established set of expedition arrangements makes this trip possible where doing it between ourselves as an exclusively British group would simply not be possible. Despite the reliance on communal kit shared with the UkrSA group and other visitors, travelling this far is hardly a cheap exercise, with additional requirements like a visa to transit through Russia. The highly abrasive nature of this cave makes it particularly hard on gear and its distant location makes it crucial to carry enough auxiliary and replacement items as will be required when there is no way to replace worn and damaged items locally.
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.

To reach the deepest naturally occurring point on the globe which is accessible from the land surface would be the ultimate aim but that can obviously not be guaranteed: any travel into the deeper reaches of the cave will be something that very few British cavers have managed since its discovery.

In 2013, Andy Chapman reached the camp at -1640m - his primary objective is to progress below this point and pursue such digging projects as may be identified in the deeper areas.

The primary objective of Martin Hoff is to make a start on the first detailed set of photographs of the cave within British caving. With only half a dozen or so British cavers having visited the cave to date, it is not surprising that British caving does not have much photographic material from the place but its global significance means we probably should.
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.

In 2013 Andy Chapman reached the camp at -1640m after 10 days underground with members of the Ukrainiain Speleo Association, who have worked on this project alongside the Cavex team over the past three decades.

Expedition Finances

Travel

Travel plans:
Fly from Manchester to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Moscow, Moscow to Sochi.
Bus from Sochi to Abkhazia.
Truck to surface camp in Caucaus Mountains
Taxi back from surface camp.
Bus/taxi from Abkhazia to Sochi


# from UK: 2 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from UK: £1,280 Flights (approx) £900 (2 x £450)
Bus/taxi £80 (2 x £40)
Truck/taxi £100 (2 x £50)
Russia double transit visa £200 (2 X £100)

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

Travel total: £1,280 Travel p.p. from UK: £640
Travel p.p. from outside UK: £0

Subsistence

Total: £600 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £300 Expedition fees £15 per day

Gear

Total: £1,288 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £644 this is expedition gear in that it will be bought new for the expedition and will mostly be damaged beyond being usable by expedition end
2 drysuits £400
2 Petzl stops £160
4 top bobbins £64
4 Crolls £152
4 Basics £152
4 dry bags £40
2 oversuits £200
2 large tackle bags £70
first aid supplies £50
Exped Total: £3,168 Exped cost p.p. travelling from UK: £1,584
Exped cost p.p. travelling from outside UK: £0
Mean Exped cost per person: £1,584

Other Funding

Total: £0 Comments:
Applications for funding from Sport Wales (MH only) and South Wales Caving Club and Red Rose Cave and Pothole Club also pending.
Total shortfall: £3,168 Mean shortfall per person: £1,584

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: Ms Fleur Loveridge
Affiliation: Oxford Uni Cave Club

Reason: Knowing both of us from, among other places, the 2012 Pozu del Xitu expedition which established a world depth record for a through-trip involving diving, Fleur is familiar with how the two of us operate on expeditions which are based some way from t

Permission obtained?: Yes
Referee 2: Mr Dave Rose
Affiliation: Oxford Uni Cave Club

Reason: Dave has caved down to -900m with the pair of us in Pozu del Xitu, the cave about which he (part-)wrote Beneath The Mountains. This makes Dave the person most directly qualified to comment on the abilities of the two of us to travel deep into caves and return in safety. As an expedition caver who (part-)wrote one of the enduring expedition books in British caving, Dave is highly capable of understanding what it takes to make deep caving trips work and our suitability for taking on such an enterprise.

Permission obtained?: Yes

Expedition report author: Martin Hoff