Application for Grant Aid

Submitted on: 27 Aug 2017

Expedition details (GPF2017b-004)

Expedition Name (& Club): Pena Colorada 2018
Destination country: Mexico
Region: Sierra Mazateca (Oaxaca)
Lat: 18.1311 Long: -96.8431 Elevation: 1695 m
MEF funding: none

Leader: Mr Chris Jewell
Total cavers: 15
Cavers ≤25 yrs old: 1
Cavers 25-35 yrs old: 6
UK/nonUK cavers: 7/8
Eligible for grant aid: 0
Alex Pitcher nominations: 0
Expedition dates: 1st Mar 2018 - 30th Apr 2018
Duration (days): 60
Man-days in field: 230 Man-days travelling: 60
Brief Expedition objectives:

List a short summary of the main Expedition objectives.

To mount full scale exploration attempt on sump 7, a sump not dived since 1984 and believed to connect into the main Sistema Huautla drainage. This will include two teams of 4 'push' divers each spending 1 week underground. The teams will us dual rebreathers, multiple scooters and an underwater habitat to provide the greatest chance of success in this historic attempt.
How can the GPF support your Expedition?:

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

Mounting an expedition of this scale and complexity presents many challenges, not least in financing a technical diving operation in a remote part of Mexico. The GPF's support is an essential component in the expedition budget and will assist the UK participants in joining this international team.
This expedition is in the tradition of the previous Mexico trips which have previously received the generous support of GPF.
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.

1) Establish an advance camp in the cave entrance.
2) Re-line, re-rig the route to sump 7
3) Transport exploration and camping equipment for a team of 4 ‘push’ divers to sump 7.
4) Establish camp 2 at the head of sump 7
5) Conduct exploration and surveying dives in sump 7
6) Complete a new centre line survey of the entire cave using modern electronic survey tools.
7) Record the expedition through videography and photography.
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.

1984 - Bill Stone USDCT
1995 - Bill Stone USDCT ("1995 Rio Tuerto Expedition" published in AMCS Newsletter 22 1997)
2001 - Bill Stone USDCT + CDG ("2001 InnerSpace Odyssey Expedition" published in AMCS Newsletter 25 2002)
2013 - UK expedition. (AMCS Bulletin 25 2013)
2014 - PESH expedition (Bill Steele)
2015 - PESH expedition (Bill Steele)
2016 - PESH expedition (Bill Steele)
2016 - Huautla Resurgence Expedition.
2017 - Huautla Resurgence Expedition

Expedition Finances


Travel plans:
Flights from UK, Australia and US to Mexico city, bus to Tehuacan to meet expedition vehicle (a large truck driven down from Texas containing diving and caving supplies). From Tehuacan drive to the mountain village of El Cameron where base camp will be established.

# from UK: 7 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from UK: £5,775 Flights (£750pp) = £5,250
Hotels: (£25pp) = £175
Bus: (£50pp) = £350

# from outside UK: 8 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from outside UK: £8,415 US/Canadian Flights (£350pp x 5) = £2,800
Hotels: (£25pp x 5) = £125
Bus: (£50pp x 5) = £250
Australian flights (£1,200pp x 1) = £1,200
Fuel for 2 trucks from US to Mexico and back = £2,500
Tolls for 2 trucks from US to Mexico and back = £280
Vehicle permits = £400
Insurance = £560
Hotels and subsistence for drivers = £300

Travel total: £14,190 Travel p.p. from UK: £825
Travel p.p. from outside UK: £1,051


Total: £1,974 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £132 Based on last year's expedition we know that it should cost:
Accommodation cost: £312
Food, drink and other supplies: £1000
Local 'permit' costs: £117
Translator and Cook: £545


Total: £2,362 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £157 Oxygen and Helium: £625
Dive Line 5km: £530
Bolts and metal work: £273
Rope: £625
Underground camping kit: £195
Running costs for compressor: £117

Special 1

Total: £468 Comments:
Special 1 p.p.: £31 Vehicle repairs and maintenance (the roads in Mexico are harsh and in the last two years we've incurred serious costs keeping the truck running.
Exped Total: £18,994 Exped cost p.p. travelling from UK: £1,145
Exped cost p.p. travelling from outside UK: £1,371
Mean Exped cost per person: £1,266

Other Funding

Total: £2,000 Comments:
Last year we received NSS funding of $500. We are hopeful of getting a larger amount this year. In addition to this the 2013 expedition was run to deliver a surplus to be used in future projects and money will be released from this account to support this expedition.
Total shortfall: £16,994 Mean shortfall per person: £1,132

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 John Volanthen
Affiliation: friend

Reason: John is a highly experienced cave diver and I believe he is well placed to assess the cave diving merits of the expedition.

Permission obtained?: Yes
Referee 2: Mr Tim Allen
Affiliation: friend

Reason: Tim was part of the 2013 expedition and can judge the abilities of the UK participants in achieving our objectives.

Permission obtained?: Yes

Expedition report author: Chris Jewell