University of Wyoming writer, National Geographic writer and adventurer, Mark Jenkins shares his experiences of exploring the largest cave in the world across Wyoming, including a stop in NOLS’ hometown of Lander.
Teaming up with British spelunkers, Jenkins traveled to Vietnam to complete the first descent of Hang Son Doong. Jenkins describes the cave as massive and pitch black, making it impossible to see anything without a high-powered headlamp. The cave measures over 600 feet high and 400 feet wide with rivers, jungles, and amazing sculptures inside.
One of the most spectacular moments of the trip for Jenkins was finding a beam of light that the team believed was the end of the expedition. When arriving at the opening, they found it to be a dolomite light and were completely amazed by the image.
The biggest challenge of this expedition was traversing the Great Wall of Vietnam inside the cave. Hang Son Doong produced a giant mud wall that the explorers traversed by drilling holes and climbing it over the course of two and a half days.
The adventure that Jenkins is taking Wyoming viewers through his presentation “Vietnam Underground: The Viet Cong, Spelunkers and the Biggest Cave on Earth” induces complete awe. The professional images he shares with the crowd gives them the feeling of being underground as well.
More than 200 Fremont County residents turned out for Jenkins’ appearance at Lander Valley High School last week. NOLS, who recently brought back a caving section at NOLS Southwest, sponsored the event and provided information about scholarships, summer courses, and refreshments.
NOLS is looking forward to bringing the caving courses back into the technical skills offerings. A successful eight-day section in the fall of 2014 opened doors for a 14-day section for the upcoming Fall Semester in the Southwest.