Tepui 2009

The expedition, held in February 2009, had the goal to expand the cognitive framework of the karstic phenomenon in the quartz limestone of Venezuela, in particular regarding the hydrogeological, speleogenic and biospeleological point of view.
Specific target were the eastern offshoots of the vast Chiamanta Tepui, a range covering an area of nearly 1200 km2, topographically divided in several minor peaks, including Akopàn and Churì. Here, during a pre-expedition held in January 2008, we spotted several important cave entrances, some characterized by impressive resurgences on the walls.
The main problem we had to deal with was arriving to the cavities, which open on the high walls of the Akopàn Tepui, tackling challenging descents of almost 200 meters. It was essential using the helicopter to reach the top of the mountain, transporting one small autonomous team at a time.
During the expedition we collected an impressive photo and video documentation. For the first time in a speleological expedition we used the Inmarsat satellite system by Intermatica. This equipment allowed us to update, daily and in real time, a news page. Among the main explorative results, we explored the Akopàn-Dal Cin-Maripak system, with a 3,5 km development on huge active galleries.
During the expedition, the Venezuelan helicopter pilot Raul Arias spotted a large entrance in the highest plateaus of the Auyan Tepui. The cave was called Cueva Guacamaya and was explored a few weeks later by Arias, two Italian speleologists and a Venezuelan speleologist, Freddy Vergara.

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