Robbie Shone

@shonephoto

National Geographic Photographer / Explorer / Innsbruck Committed to creating unique images of exploration from our extreme subterranean world.
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It’s unclear, but approximately 20,000 years ago, cave art reached Russia. In a cave called Shulgan-Tash… read more
Bashkortostan
It’s unclear, but approximately 20,000 years ago, cave art reached Russia. In a cave called Shulgan-Tash in the Ural Mountains, lie Europe's most eastern ancient cave paintings.This winter, we’ll tell the story of exactly how old they are and how they came to be here, by following the work of Russian geologist Yuri Dublyansky and his team from Innsbruck University (@uniinnsbruck).Pictured here, Yuri locates the polychrome composition “Horses and signs” on the southwest wall of Hall of Chaos in Shulgan-Tash (Kapova) cave. Stay tuned for more...#cave #caveart #caveman #art #paintings #ShulganTash #UralMountains #Russia #ancientart | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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I'm busy setting up a photograph of the beautiful cave paintings in Shulgan-Tash. We're combining lights… read more
Bashkortostan
I'm busy setting up a photograph of the beautiful cave paintings in Shulgan-Tash. We're combining lights from three different LED panels, three electric flashguns and headlamps from the scientists. Thanks Yuri for the pic! Its raining cats and dogs on the surface. Better off underground on a day like today. #iphone #ancientart #art #cave #ShulganTash #UralMountains #Russia @3leggedthing | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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We’re here in Shulgan-Tash, Russia, at Europe's most eastern cave containing ancient cave paintings,… read more
Bashkortostan
We’re here in Shulgan-Tash, Russia, at Europe's most eastern cave containing ancient cave paintings, and that is quite a claim given that the majority of the cave art that's been discovered to date lies way over to the west, in the more famous caves of Chauvet and Altamira, in France and Spain. I'm documenting the scientific studies of Dr. Yuri Dublyansky and his work at Innsbruck University on this fascinating subject. For the next week, we'll be based here in the Ural Mountains following Yuri and Vladimir Shirokov (archaeologist) throughout Shulgan-Tash, learning more about the ancient cave paintings. Pictured here, is a self portrait from inside the entrance of Ignatievskaya (cave) in the Serpievka region of the Urals. Looking out over the landscape, rich in gold and copper colours of Fall, I'm wondering what the world must have been like for the artists who inhabited the cave and also looked out from this same portal, approximately 19,000 years ago! #caveart #ancientart #cave #UralMountains | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Deep underground in rural China lies one of the largest natural pits in the world. At over 500m (1650ft)… read more
Wulong
Deep underground in rural China lies one of the largest natural pits in the world. At over 500m (1650ft) deep, Miao Keng in Tian Xing is larger than the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and in complete darkness, proved to be an epic photographic mission.  I am drawn to the challenges of photographing these amazing natural wonders of the underground world. I remember it took us over 2 hours to rappel to the floor of this giant vertical chasm and several days later, after camping inside the cave, a tiring 4 hours to climb back out. I have recently curated a @NatGeo Your Shot assignment entitled ‘EPIC’ -  Today this assignment will be published and after over 12,000 photographs submitted, you will all get to see the editors favourites images. #cave #exploration #adventure #china #underground #natgeoyourshot #expedition #epic @natgeoyourshot | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Hard to believe it’s exactly two years ago we returned home from the top corner of Greenland, after the… read more
Greenland
Hard to believe it’s exactly two years ago we returned home from the top corner of Greenland, after the most amazing experience! Through August 2015, we visited the Arctic Circle to explore, survey, photograph, and sample caves of Northeast Greenland for the purpose of climate-change research. This much-needed record of past climate change is the first of its type from caves of Greenland, and is beginning to contribute significantly to our understanding of long-term climate change in Greenland and the Arctic by covering a time period that is out-of-range of the Greenland ice cores. Out of over 30 expeditions exploring caves all over the world, it ranks as the most significant and rewarding I’ve ever undertaken. For more information about this pioneering climate change project, please follow @negreenland_caves #climatechange #expedition #exploration #stem #womeninscience #GreenlandCaves #Greenland #science | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Only one day left to submit to @natgeoyourshot assignment “EPIC" - This photograph captures a time and… read more
Gunung Mulu National Park
Only one day left to submit to @natgeoyourshot assignment “EPIC" - This photograph captures a time and place that to me has left a lasting memory of being truly epic. In 1980, the year I was born, a team of British cave explorers embarked on a 3 month expedition to Mulu National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia where they discovered Sarawak Chamber, which for many decades was widely regarded as the world’s largest cave chamber.  The chamber is so big, eight Boeing 747 aeroplanes can fit nose to tail across the width of this vast chamber! Hearing about this for the first time left me mesmerised. For me, photographing pitch black spaces is what I live for, I just love the challenge, and this was literally the biggest challenge of all! This picture is a panoramic photograph of five portrait images blended together showing the lower half of Sarawak Chamber. In 2011, I remember setting up my tripod on a massive rock located on the upper slopes of the giant boulder field. It reminded me of an iceberg, just the top was sticking out above a sea of smaller boulders - who knows how deep it went! I started photographing in the morning, beginning on the left side of the image, where mist and wisps of thin cloud lingered. By the evening, when I had worked my way across to the right of the image, the air was crystal clear. It took over eight hours from when I first opened the shutter to when I closed the shutter to capture this image. It was a long time with just a bag of peanuts! I had five assistants with me, and for each photograph I would reposition them. In some cases this took 40 minutes for the assistant to travel from one position to the next. One photographic assistant thought ahead and brought in a book to read in between shots. Once the assistants were in place, the next challenge was to get the lighting to match the previous photograph so that an even blend would be made when stitching together. For this reason, this is one of the hardest photographs I’ve ever had to take. The whole thing was an epic experience, from the huge size of the chamber, to the epic efforts by the team that made this happen. #natgeoyourshot #exploration #epic #adventure #mulunationalpark | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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I am currently curating an assignment with @natgeoyourshot entitled “EPIC," inviting you to use your… read more
Gunung Mulu National Park
I am currently curating an assignment with @natgeoyourshot entitled “EPIC," inviting you to use your photography as a creative canvas to express your understanding of the word ‘ EPIC’ and how it can be portrayed in a single image. This photograph captures a time and place that to me has left a lasting memory of being truly epic.I remember in 2005, when I was part of a team that discovered this huge underground chamber in Whiterock in Sarawak, Malaysia (pictured). We were super excited! Our first thoughts were to shout out loud to hear the echo. It took six seconds for the echo from our initial shout to fade, hit the far wall, then bounce back to us. Even though we couldn’t see anything, we knew immediately from the echo that this was a huge room. It was epic! A few days later, we came back and split up into two teams and surveyed around the perimeter walls. From one side of the chamber, I remember looking down several giant piles of rocks and boulders and in the distance we could just see four tiny figures, our teammates mapping the other side. They were several hundred feet away. We had Shine On You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd playing from some small speakers in the top of one guys backpack. It was surreal and very epic. An extremely proud and emotional memory. Can you spot all four figures in this photograph firing off flashbulbs to illuminate the cave? To submit your photos and stories, go to natgeoyourshot.com or there is a direct link in my bio. Good luck! #natgeoyourshot #epic #cave #adventure #exploration #explore #mulunationalpark #sarawak #borneo #malaysia | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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You know "epic" when you see it—now share it with us. What scenes have made you pause to take in the… read more
Mulu National Park
You know "epic" when you see it—now share it with us. What scenes have made you pause to take in the moment? I am currently curating an assignment with @natgeoyourshot entitled “EPIC," inviting you to use your photography as a creative canvas to express your understanding of the word ‘ EPIC’ and how it can be portrayed in a single image. This photograph captures a time and place that to me has left a lasting memory of being truly epic. For over three days we had been camping deep underground in Mulu National Park, Malaysia exploring the Whiterock cave system, searching for new uncharted galleries. We only had one large flashbulb in the bag, we had one chance to pull off this photograph. We had no idea what the cave looked like. It was pitch black! It's amazing to see the beauty of the underground world lit up for the very first time. To submit your photos and stories, go to natgeoyourshot.com or there is a direct link in my bio. Good luck! #natgeoyourshot #epic #cave #adventure #exploration #explore #mulunationalpark #sarawak #borneo #malaysia | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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I am currently curating an assignment with @natgeoyourshot entitled “EPIC," inviting you to use your… read more
East New Britain Province
I am currently curating an assignment with @natgeoyourshot entitled “EPIC," inviting you to use your photography as a creative canvas to express your understanding of the word ‘ EPIC’ and how it can be portrayed in a single image. This photograph captures a time and place that to me has left a lasting memory of being truly epic.I was on a caving expedition in Papua New Guinea and at this point we had travelled deep underground following a 50ft deep, 2ft wide canyon passage for over 2 miles. We were the first people to ever undertake this arduous and technically challenging journey. Finally after several hours of hard work we burst out into this huge chamber where the noise was so loud from all the rivers and waterfalls that we had to shout to one another to be heard above the roar. Our journey didn't end here though, we swam across the beautiful green Myo lake and climbed up the waterfall to explore never-before-seen passages beyond. Everything about this expedition was epic beyond imagination. Out of over 30 expeditions, it still remains as the most challenging I’ve ever undertaken.To submit your photos and stories, go to natgeoyourshot.com or there is a direct link in my bio. Good luck! #natgeoyourshot #epic #cave #adventure #exploration #explore #NewBritain #PapuaNewGuinea | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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We are here in Grindelwald, Switzerland at the foot of the famous Eiger (pictured), Mönch and Jungfrau… read more
Grindelwald, Switzerland
We are here in Grindelwald, Switzerland at the foot of the famous Eiger (pictured), Mönch and Jungfrau mountains at the beginning of a National Geographic Student Expedition program to the Alps. These peaks have provided countless mountaineers with incredible joy, but at the same time many have perished in such brave and valiant attempts to scale the great north face of the Eiger. If this vast wall of rock could speak, what would it tell us? #iPhone #natgeostudentexpeditions #NGSEAlps2017 #Grindelwald #Switzerland #visitswitzerland #switzerland_vacations | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week… read more
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week camped underground inside arguably the prettiest and most decorated cave ever discovered. For almost twenty years I've dreamed of taking my camera inside Lechuguilla in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Finally, in January/February this year, I got that chance and now I'm excited to share the photographs with you all. During our week-long expedition camped underground in Lechuguilla, I spent most of my time seeing the beauty of the cave through the lens of my camera. However, when not concentrating where the next photograph is coming from, in my mind I often disappear to a quiet place and resort to something I have practiced all my life - sketching. Here is a pen & ink drawing I made in my diary of the Chandelier Ballroom viewed from the end of a marked path, pretty much as close to the giant gypsum formations as possible. #Lechuguilla #lechuguillacave #CarlsbadCaverns #Carlsbad #adventure #expedition #science #jeweloftheunderground #biology #cave #terramater #explore #exploration #art #drawing #sketch #artwork #diary | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week… read more
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week camped underground inside arguably the prettiest and most decorated cave ever discovered. For almost twenty years I've dreamed of taking my camera inside Lechuguilla in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Finally, in January/February this year, I got that chance and now I'm excited to share the photographs with you all.The Chandelier Ballroom in Lechuguilla is an underground chamber that is as iconic and well known to cave explorers around the world as the Royal Albert Hall is to the worlds leading musicians, composers and artists. There is nowhere else in the world that explorers have discovered quite like it! With its giant 6m (20ft) long glittering gypsum chandelier formations hanging down from the ceiling, it feels like you are exploring a cave on another planet. #Lechuguilla #lechuguillacave #CarlsbadCaverns #Carlsbad #adventure #jeweloftheunderground #expedition #science #biology #cave #terramater #explore #exploration #chandelierballroom #gypsum | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week… read more
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week camped underground inside arguably the prettiest and most decorated cave ever discovered. For almost twenty years I've dreamed of taking my camera inside Lechuguilla in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Finally, in January/February this year, I got that chance and now I'm excited to share the photographs with you all.Located in the southwestern branch of Lechuguilla and just around the corner from the Big Sky camp where we were sleeping, lies another beautiful part of the cave. Known as Pearlsian Gulf and named after several nests of pristine white cave pearls (pictured bottom left hand corner), this idyllic paradise is one of the most iconic landmarks in the cave. A small pool of turquoise water surrounded by yellow and white speleothem formations is another sampling site for microbiologist Prof. Hazel Barton (pictured in red). Upon entering the site, we were told to change into clean clothes and wear a brand new pair of non-marking sole pumps to walk around. It was vital we didn’t leave behind any signs of us being there. #Lechuguilla #lechuguillacave #CarlsbadCaverns #Carlsbad #adventure #expedition #science #jeweloftheunderground #biology #microbiology #antibiotics #cave #terramater #explore #exploration | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week… read more
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week camped underground inside arguably the prettiest and most decorated cave ever discovered. For almost twenty years I've dreamed of taking my camera inside Lechuguilla in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Finally, in January/February this year, I got that chance and now I'm excited to share the photographs with you all.As in previous posts during this story, I have highlighted the beauty and splendour of The Chandelier Ballroom in the heart of Lechuguilla. This photograph is especially special as it shows a collection of gypsum chandeliers that have been little photographed before. These chandeliers are also located within the famous Chandelier Ballroom, but are not easily seen from the main path through the cave. I am very grateful to be given permission to get up close to these and photograph them.#Lechuguilla #lechuguillacave #CarlsbadCaverns #Carlsbad #adventure #expedition #science #jeweloftheunderground #biology #microbiology #antibiotics #cave #terramater #explore #explorationl #jewllery #jewelry #Chandelier #ChandelierBallroom | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week… read more
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week camped underground inside arguably the prettiest and most decorated cave ever discovered. For almost twenty years I've dreamed of taking my camera inside Lechuguilla in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Finally, in January/February this year, I got that chance and now I'm excited to share the photographs with you all.Pictured here is a stalagmite featured in Pearlsian Gulf. The stalagmite has formed over hundreds of thousands of years as drip waters fall to the floor, de-gas carbon dioxide, and deposit calcium carbonate layer by layer. Later on, the chemistry of the drip waters has changed, and instead of calcium carbonate being deposited, it has been dissolved, revealing the internal structure of the stalagmite. The walls of the stalagmite have become so thin that it is possible to shine a light through them.#Lechuguilla #lechuguillacave #CarlsbadCaverns #Carlsbad #adventure #expedition #science #jeweloftheunderground #biology #microbiology #antibiotics #cave #terramater #explore #exploration #stalagmite | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week… read more
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week camped underground inside arguably the prettiest and most decorated cave ever discovered. For almost twenty years I've dreamed of taking my camera inside Lechuguilla in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Finally, in January/February this year, I got that chance and now I'm excited to share the photographs with you all.Located in the southwestern branch of Lechuguilla and just around the corner from the Big Sky camp where we were sleeping, lies another beautiful part of the cave. Known as Pearlsian Gulf and named after several nests of pristine white cave pearls, this idyllic paradise is one of the most iconic landmarks in the cave. A small pool of turquoise water surrounded by yellow and white speleothem formations is another sampling site for microbiologist Prof. Hazel Barton. Upon entering the site, we were told to change into clean clothes and wear a brand new pair of non-marking sole pumps to walk around. It was vital we didn’t leave behind any signs of us being there. Pictured here, Dr. Gina Moseley (@negreenland_caves) admires the cave formations from the back of the room close to the nests of cave pearls.#Lechuguilla #lechuguillacave #CarlsbadCaverns #Carlsbad #adventure #expedition #science #jeweloftheunderground #biology #microbiology #antibiotics #cave #terramater #explore #exploration | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week… read more
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week camped underground inside arguably the prettiest and most decorated cave ever discovered. For almost twenty years I've dreamed of taking my camera inside Lechuguilla in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Finally, in January/February this year, I got that chance and now I'm excited to share the photographs with you all.Lechuguilla is an amazing cave in so many unique ways. It has been sealed off from human and animal interaction for millions of years and remains in exactly the same state as it was when it was first formed. It is a real time machine, taking us back to a world that was very different to the one we live in today. Pictured here taking samples in Lechuguilla, Professor Hazel Barton, who studies cave microbes at the University of Akron, has discovered an ancient bacterium that is resistant to many antibiotics used in human medicine today. There may be many more caves around the world like Lechuguilla, that have not yet been discovered that could also hold clues to combating the resistance to antibiotics. We just need to find them!#Lechuguilla #lechuguillacave #CarlsbadCaverns #Carlsbad #adventure #expedition #science #jeweloftheunderground #biology #microbiology #antibiotics #cave #terramater #explore #exploration | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week… read more
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week camped underground inside arguably the prettiest and most decorated cave ever discovered. For almost twenty years I've dreamed of taking my camera inside Lechuguilla in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Finally, in January/February this year, I got that chance and now I'm excited to share the photographs with you all. During our expedition where we were camped underground in Lechuguilla, we spent two days resurveying and photographing one of the caves most well decorated and well preserved areas. Over the years, minimal access has left Lake Castrovalva as pristine and perfect as it was when it was first discovered. In my diary, I made this sketch of the lake with a team member in an inflatable boat on the lake. The round mammillary formations that surround the lake show how the water level has dropped in recent years. #Lechuguilla #lechuguillacave #CarlsbadCaverns #Carlsbad #adventure #expedition #science #jeweloftheunderground #biology #cave #terramater #explore #exploration #art #drawing #sketch #artwork #diary | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Today is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. How will you celebrate the summer solstice?… read more
Nordkette. Jewel of the Alps
Today is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. How will you celebrate the summer solstice? Pictured, a group of people celebrate Sonnwendfeuer, or midsummer atop the Nordkette mountain near Innsbruck, Austria. Across the Alps at this time of the year, bonfires and torches light up the night in celebration. Happy Solstice one and all! #Tirol #Mountainfire #bergfeuer #lovetirol @visittirol @innsbrucktourism @visitaustria @nordketteinnsbruck @discoveraustria | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week… read more
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week camped underground inside arguably the prettiest and most decorated cave ever discovered. For almost twenty years I've dreamed of taking my camera inside Lechuguilla in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Finally, in January/February this year, I got that chance and now I'm excited to share the photographs with you all.Lechuguilla is such a beautiful and well decorated cave and it’s because of this that access inside the cave is restricted to only worthy scientific, exploration or mapping projects. This is to ensure that the numbers of people traversing through the cave and potentially damaging it further is reduced to a bare minimum. The Land of the Lost (pictured) is a maze of breakdown tunnels and passages veering off in all directions. One of the tasks we had on our agenda during our expedition was to carry out a re-survey of several sections of this area, from which the authority can use to tie in to the overall survey of the cave. The Land of the Lost is another beautiful and highly decorated part of the cave. It is full of white gypsum crystals. We had to be extra careful not to stand on any of them!#Lechuguilla #lechuguillacave #CarlsbadCaverns #Carlsbad #adventure #expedition #science #jeweloftheunderground #biology #cave #terramater #explore #exploration | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week… read more
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week camped underground inside arguably the prettiest and most decorated cave ever discovered. For almost twenty years I've dreamed of taking my camera inside Lechuguilla in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Finally, in January/February this year, I got that chance and now I'm excited to share the photographs with you all.Deep underground in Lechuguilla, there are a number of camps that explorers use as their base. Pictured here is the Big Sky camp, which is located in the southwestern branch of the cave, close to the Voids and Pearlsian Gulf. This was our home for a week in January/February this year. The Carlsbad Caverns National Park authority has strict conservation rules. One of which is that all team members on arriving at a camp, must first spread a sheet of plastic on the sandy floor. All personal belongings have to be placed on top of this sheet. All meals have to eaten on this sheet. Then, at the end of the expedition, the sheet is folded away and taken out of the cave, along with anything brought in from outside. It is extremely important to keep the cave as it was before humans discovered it.#Lechuguilla #lechuguillacave #CarlsbadCaverns #Carlsbad #adventure #expedition #science #jeweloftheunderground #biology #cave #terramater #explore #exploration #camp #basecamp | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week… read more
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week camped underground inside arguably the prettiest and most decorated cave ever discovered. For almost twenty years I've dreamed of taking my camera inside Lechuguilla in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Finally, in January/February this year, I got that chance and now I'm excited to share the photographs with you all.Finally, after over 8 hours of caving, negotiating all the many squeezes, climbs, traverses, rappels, and lakes, we reached the Big Sky camp in Lechuguilla. Located in the southwestern branch of the cave, close to the Voids and Pearlsian Gulf, this was to be our base for the next week. First things first, we boiled up a pan of water on the stove and made a brew for everyone. Pictured here is Dr. Gina Moseley (@NEGreenland_Caves) enjoying a well deserved mug of tea, after reaching this point deep in the cave and having carried in so much weight in her bag.#Lechuguilla #lechuguillacave #CarlsbadCaverns #Carlsbad #adventure #expedition #science #jeweloftheunderground #biology #cave #terramater #explore #exploration #camp #basecamp #petzlgram @petzl_official | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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I'm really honoured that @natgeo have chosen one of my photographs to promote their Explorers Festival… read more
National Geographic Live
I'm really honoured that @natgeo have chosen one of my photographs to promote their Explorers Festival Week. It looks great so big on stage here and I love that James Cameron is sat in front of it too! PS - Thanks @fordcochran for posting this image. You've made my day! ? #natgeofest | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week… read more
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week camped underground inside arguably the prettiest and most decorated cave ever discovered. For almost twenty years I've dreamed of taking my camera inside Lechuguilla in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Finally, in January/February this year, I got that chance and now I'm excited to share the photographs with you all.As we got closer to the Big Sky camp underground in Lechuguilla we had one final short obstacle to overcome. A near vertical rope climb into the passage leading up to the campsite. Due to the heat and the high levels of humidity the journey through the cave to the Big Sky camp was extremely tiring.Pictured here, Dr. Gina Moseley (@negreenland_caves) looks for a good strong foothold to help her up the short rope climb, which we reached after 8 hours of caving. #Lechuguilla #lechuguillacave #CarlsbadCaverns #Carlsbad #adventure #jeweloftheunderground #expedition #science #biology #cave #terramater #explore #exploration #petzlgram @petzl_official | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week… read more
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week camped underground inside arguably the prettiest and most decorated cave ever discovered. For almost twenty years I've dreamed of taking my camera inside Lechuguilla in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Finally, in January/February this year, I got that chance and now I'm excited to share the photographs with you all.Due to the heat and the high levels of humidity underground in Lechuguilla, the journey through the cave to the Big Sky camp was extremely tiring. It was made even more so because we had to carry in all of our food supplies and sleeping equipment for the duration of our week long expedition. Oh, and I had a little photography gear too! The flagged pathway seen here continued to mark out the trail and help minimise the impact and reduce further damage to the cave.#Lechuguilla #lechuguillacave #CarlsbadCaverns #Carlsbad #adventure #jeweloftheunderground #expedition #science #biology #cave #terramater #explore #exploration | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week… read more
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
A few months ago I was invited to join a five-person team of explorers and scientists and spend a week camped underground inside arguably the prettiest and most decorated cave ever discovered. For almost twenty years I've dreamed of taking my camera inside Lechuguilla in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Finally, in January/February this year, I got that chance and now I'm excited to share the photographs with you all.The Chandelier Ballroom in Lechuguilla is an underground chamber that is as iconic and well known to cave explorers around the world as the Royal Albert Hall is to the worlds leading musicians, composers and artists. There is nowhere else in the world that explorers have discovered quite like it! With its giant 6m (20ft) long glittering gypsum chandelier formations hanging down from the ceiling, it feels like you are exploring a cave on another planet. Pictured here at the back of the room and on the left-hand side, leading cave paleoclimatologist Dr. Gina Moseley (@negreenland_caves) admires a cluster of the gypsum formations. She is overwhelmed by the size and amount of brilliant white gypsum chandeliers that lie in front of her.#Lechuguilla #lechuguillacave #CarlsbadCaverns #Carlsbad #adventure #jeweloftheunderground #expedition #science #biology #cave #terramater #explore #exploration #chandelierballroom #gypsum | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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A few months ago I was invited to join a small team of five explorers and scientists and spend a week… read more
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
A few months ago I was invited to join a small team of five explorers and scientists and spend a week camped underground inside arguably the prettiest and most decorated cave ever discovered. For almost twenty years I've dreamed of taking my camera inside Lechuguilla in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Finally, in January/February this year, I got that chance and now I'm excited to share the photographs with you all.Lechuguilla is known as the jewel of the underground. Inside its vast network of tunnels, there are thousands and thousands of beautiful crystal formations that create such a fascinating wonderland. Pictured here, an aragonite bush grows approximately 30cm (12 inches) out from one of the walls in The Lebarge Borehole. #Lechuguilla #lechuguillacave #CarlsbadCaverns #Carlsbad #adventure #expedition #science #jeweloftheunderground #biology #cave #terramater #explore #exploration #aragonite | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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A few months ago I was invited to join a small team of five explorers and scientists and spend a week… read more
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
A few months ago I was invited to join a small team of five explorers and scientists and spend a week camped underground inside arguably the prettiest and most decorated cave ever discovered. For almost twenty years I've dreamed of taking my camera inside Lechuguilla in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Finally, in January/February this year, I got that chance and now I'm excited to share the photographs with you all.Lechuguilla is truly an exceptional cave. In fact, I'd go as far to say, it's other-worldly! It's beauty is of another kind and not like any other cave I've seen before.Pictured here is one of the most spectacular tunnels inside the cave. The Lebarge Borehole lies about 4 hours of general caving from the entrance. Cave explorer Garrett Jorgensen adds scale whilst admiring the size and shape of the giant borehole with walls coated in pristine white gypsum. To minimise impact and reduce further damage to the cave, a pathway of orange flagging tape marks the route through.#Lechuguilla #lechuguillacave #CarlsbadCaverns #Carlsbad #adventure #expedition #science #biology #cave #terramater #explore #exploration #jeweloftheunderground | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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A few months ago I was invited to join a small team of five explorers and scientists and spend a week… read more
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
A few months ago I was invited to join a small team of five explorers and scientists and spend a week camped underground inside arguably the prettiest and most decorated cave ever discovered. For almost twenty years I've dreamed of taking my camera inside Lechuguilla in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. Finally, in January/February this year, I got that chance and now I'm excited to share the photographs with you all.Over the next week or so, I will share a photograph a day describing the story of this amazing and very special expedition that was led by leading micro-biologist, Professor Hazel Barton. Pictured here is the iconic Chandelier Ballroom. The huge gypsum formations are the most beautiful and pristine white crystal formations I have ever seen in any cave I have visited. It was a real 'goosebump' moment. I kept on pinching myself to see if I was dreaming! #Lechuguilla #lechuguillacave #CarlsbadCaverns #Carlsbad #adventure #expedition #science #biology #cave #terramater #explore #exploration #chandelierballroom #gypsum #jeweloftheunderground | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Ever wondered what it's like to help me out on a cave photography shoot? Here is some behind-the-scenes… read more
Planinska Jama, Planina
Ever wondered what it's like to help me out on a cave photography shoot? Here is some behind-the-scenes footage from my assistant Dr. Gina Moseley (@negreenland_caves) in Planinska Jama,  Slovenia.  Gina writes... 'For this photograph, Katarina (in the film) and I were stationed on two small rock islands in the middle of the river. Robbie was a few hundred meters down the passage photographing the guys in the boat and so was communicating with us down the radio (turn on the sound to hear instructions). My job was to back-light Katarina and light up this section of the cave using large one-use-only magnesium wire flash bulbs. (In case you are wondering, electric flashes are not powerful enough for this job.) Caves are completely pitch black, with no natural light, so all lights have to be brought in and positioned perfectly. After getting all the lighting correct and people in the right position, not to mention the boat that was always drifting, it took on average 1-2 hours to complete one photograph. The end result was definitely worth it' #rivercave #iphone #cave #slovenianrivercaves @natgeoadventure | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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We're here in Slovenia documenting the famous river caves in the birth place of the study of caves and… read more
Križ, Sežana
We're here in Slovenia documenting the famous river caves in the birth place of the study of caves and the home of karst for an upcoming story for @natgeoadventure. These spent magnesium flashbulbs were used to help us illuminate some of the giant tunnels that are so big and so dark they require a lot of light! ?#rivercave #cave #slovenianrivercaves @natgeoadventure | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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The Monte Corona (Crown Mountain) lava tube system on the Spanish Canary island of Lanzarote is one of… read more
Monte Corona
The Monte Corona (Crown Mountain) lava tube system on the Spanish Canary island of Lanzarote is one of the world’s classic lava tubes. This lava tube was formed during the eruptions of Monte Corona volcano some 3,000 - 4,500 years ago. Pictured here is one of the largest and continuously linear sections of the tube. Explorers add scale and help illuminate the tunnel as it disappears into the distance. Clambering over these giant lava rocks that are strewn all over the floor, make it very difficult to explore and accurately survey the lava tube. #Lanzarote #lavatube #MonteCorona #cave #lava #tunnel #exploration #volcano #canaryislands #vulcandelacorona #adventure | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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The Monte Corona (Crown Mountain) lava tube system on the Spanish Canary island of Lanzarote is one of… read more
Monte Corona
The Monte Corona (Crown Mountain) lava tube system on the Spanish Canary island of Lanzarote is one of the world’s classic lava tubes. This lava tube was formed during the eruptions of Monte Corona volcano some 3,000 - 4,500 years ago. Pictured here, a cave explorer wades through one of the many long lakes deep inside Cueva Los Lagos lava tube. Although surface temperatures are stiflingly hot on this Canary island, the water is icy cold and comes as quite a shock. #Lanzarote #lavatube #MonteCorona #cave #lava #tunnel #exploration #volcano #canaryislands #vulcandelacorona #adventure | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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The Monte Corona (Crown Mountain) lava tube system on the Spanish Canary island of Lanzarote is one of… read more
Monte Corona
The Monte Corona (Crown Mountain) lava tube system on the Spanish Canary island of Lanzarote is one of the world’s classic lava tubes. This lava tube was formed during the eruptions of Monte Corona volcano some 3,000 - 4,500 years ago. Pictured here, a team of Italian cartographers survey the lava tube using a high precision 3D laser scanner. Such a high level of accuracy means that each drip of solidified lava that can be seen in the roof of this tube will be individually scanned and projected into the final 3D map. #lanzarote #lavatube #MonteCorona #cave #lava #tunnel #exploration #volcano #canaryislands #vulcandelacorona #adventure | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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The Monte Corona (Crown Mountain) lava tube system on the Spanish Canary island of Lanzarote is one of… read more
Monte Corona
The Monte Corona (Crown Mountain) lava tube system on the Spanish Canary island of Lanzarote is one of the world’s classic lava tubes. This lava tube was formed during the eruptions of Monte Corona volcano some 3,000 - 4,500 years ago. Pictured here, an explorer walks by one of the lava tubes classic features running along the lefthand side of the tunnel. Known as a bench, it's effectively a 'tide-mark' left when the lava surface was slightly higher. Where the lava touched the wall it cooled and formed a semi-solid lining that can be anything from an inch to a foot or more thick. When the level dropped, the solidified lining remained to form a bench. #lanzarote #lavatube #MonteCorona #cave #lava #tunnel #exploration #volcano #canaryislands #vulcandelacorona #adventure | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Lanzarote is the easternmost island of the Spanish Canary Islands. It’s volcanic origin was born through… read more
Monte Corona
Lanzarote is the easternmost island of the Spanish Canary Islands. It’s volcanic origin was born through fiery eruptions that saw its greatest recorded activity between 1730 and 1736. A couple of months ago, I paid the island a visit to document several of the many lava tubes and volcanic formations as part of a wider story. Pictured here, at 609m (1998ft) above sea level is the crater rim of an extinct volcano known as Monte Corona. Around 4000 years ago, it’s eruption covered most of the northeast part of the island with lava flows forming several of the great lava tubes we explored and documented during our visit to Lanzarote. #volcano #lavatube #lanzarote #canaryislands #vulcandelacorona | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Where no light exits, traversing through a cave can often be a bit of a challenge. That’s why cave explorers… read more
Spannagelhöhle
Where no light exits, traversing through a cave can often be a bit of a challenge. That’s why cave explorers try to make it as simple and straightforward as possible so that they can spend as much time carrying out the scientific studies and mapping the newly discovered world. This photograph shows a team of cave explorers and scientists negotiating a cave beneath the Hintertux glacier in Austria called Spannagelhöhle. #spannagelhöhle #adventure #cave #Spannagel #Hintertux #caving #Tirol #Austria @hintertuxergletscher @visitaustria @visittirol | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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We had a great day yesterday up on the Hintertux glacier making photographs and video of a new traverse… read more
Spannagelhöhle
We had a great day yesterday up on the Hintertux glacier making photographs and video of a new traverse inside Spannagelhöhle that includes a long 20m (60ft) ladder and a via ferrata around the upper wall of this chamber, pictured. #spannagelhöhle #adventure #cave #Spannagel #Hintertux #caving #Tirol #Austria @hintertuxergletscher @visitaustria @visittirol | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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In January 2016, an international caving expedition travelled to the island of New Britain in Papua New… read more
East New Britain Province
In January 2016, an international caving expedition travelled to the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea. The goal? To find and explore this area's last remaining unexplored mega-doline, called The Black Hole, which was identified from aerial observations.Following the team’s success discovering several moderate caves in and around the area of the base camp and in relative close proximity of The Black Hole, time on the expedition was running out. Almost every new cave began vertical in nature and ate up much of the team’s rope supplies in small pitches throughout the entrance series, making it difficult to continue exploration deeper underground. For this reason, many of the caves were left on going and without a known end. For me, it was time to leave the group a week early and make my way down off the plateau through the rainforest and back to Tolel village and begin my adjustment into civilisation. I spent one night in a small wooden hut in Tolel and made this quick pen and ink drawing in my diary before leaving. As I left the village, I remember looking back, beyond the plantations and banana trees high up in the jungle, wondering what the team will discover in the days to come. Another very memorable experience in a part of the world few ever see and truly appreciate. Thanks to all the team!The expedition was sponsored by Petzl, the leading manufacturer of equipment for outdoor sport enthusiasts and professionals, whose roots were founded deep underground in the then deepest cave in the world - The Gouffre Berger. For a more detailed account of this awesome expedition, please download the eBook from the link in my bio. #adventure #exploration #cave #caver #explorer #NewBritain #PapuaNewGuinea #PNG @petzl_official #petzlgram #accesstheinaccessible #blackhole #expedition #drawing #art #sketch #artwork | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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In January 2016, an international caving expedition travelled to the island of New Britain in Papua New… read more
East New Britain Province
In January 2016, an international caving expedition travelled to the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea. The goal? To find and explore this area's last remaining unexplored mega-doline, called The Black Hole, which was identified from aerial observations.With renewed vigour the team eagerly went in search of caves and discovered this one (pictured) named Gouffre Christian Rigaldie, which at 700m (2200ft) deep was the largest and deepest cave the team discovered on this 2016 expedition. It was found really close to base camp, within less than an hours hike. Interestingly, the beautiful formations in this cave were made of gypsum, making it quite unique amongst the more common calcite formations. The expedition was sponsored by Petzl, the leading manufacturer of equipment for outdoor sport enthusiasts and professionals, whose roots were founded deep underground in the then deepest cave in the world - The Gouffre Berger. For a more detailed account of this awesome expedition, please download the eBook from the link in my bio. #adventure #exploration #cave #caver #explorer #NewBritain #PapuaNewGuinea #PNG @petzl_official #petzlgram #accesstheinaccessible #blackhole #expedition | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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In January 2016, an international caving expedition travelled to the island of New Britain in Papua New… read more
East New Britain Province
In January 2016, an international caving expedition travelled to the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea. The goal? To find and explore this area's last remaining unexplored mega-doline, called The Black Hole, which was identified from aerial observations. Unfortunately The Black Hole did not go anywhere, so the team refocused their efforts. My last post shows an extremely beautiful cave that was discovered during this time. Although it wasn’t very long, it proved to the team that this area certainly had caves that were waiting to be discovered. Pictured here, is legendary Australian cave explorer Al Warild after finding this cave and hiking back through the wet and noisy jungle late at night, following the days evening rain storm. You can see the excitement in his face, as he recounted the details of what had been found to the rest of the team. What would the next days bring?The expedition was sponsored by Petzl, the leading manufacturer of equipment for outdoor sport enthusiasts and professionals, whose roots were founded deep underground in the then deepest cave in the world - The Gouffre Berger. For a more detailed account of this awesome expedition, please download the eBook from the link in my bio. #adventure #exploration #cave #caver #explorer #NewBritain #PapuaNewGuinea #PNG @petzl_official #petzlgram #accesstheinaccessible #blackhole #expedition | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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In January 2016, an international caving expedition travelled to the island of New Britain in Papua New… read more
East New Britain Province
In January 2016, an international caving expedition travelled to the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea. The goal? To find and explore this area's last remaining unexplored mega-doline, called The Black Hole, which was identified from aerial observations. Following the team’s disappointment at discovering The Black Hole was only a blind pit with no way through to the river cave beneath, they turned their attention to other features they had noted from the aerial photographs, maps, and walking the trail to The Black Hole. They began with following a surface stream in a deep channel through the rainforest, which suddenly plunged underground and into a giant vertical pit, approximately 5m wide x 80m deep. This led into a beautifully decorated, horizontal gallery (pictured) that was full of white calcite and stalactites covering the ceiling and walls. Unfortunately there was no way beyond this beautiful chamber and no way down and into the main river cave below. The expedition was sponsored by Petzl, the leading manufacturer of equipment for outdoor sport enthusiasts and professionals, whose roots were founded deep underground in the then deepest cave in the world - The Gouffre Berger. For a more detailed account of this awesome expedition, please download the eBook from the link in my bio. #adventure #exploration #cave #caver #explorer #NewBritain #PapuaNewGuinea #PNG @petzl_official #petzlgram #accesstheinaccessible #blackhole #expedition | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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In January 2016, an international caving expedition travelled to the island of New Britain in Papua New… read more
East New Britain Province
In January 2016, an international caving expedition travelled to the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea. The goal? To find and explore this area's last remaining unexplored mega-doline, called The Black Hole, which was identified from aerial observations. In this photo, upon returning to the team's base camp high on a plateau in the middle of the Papuan rainforest, the Black Hole team shared their disappointment with the rest of the group. The main objective of this expedition, the last remaining mega-doline of the Nakanai Mountains proved to be a blind pit with no way through to the river cave beneath. The team had to refocus on the many other smaller objectives that this unexplored area offered with renewed hope. An old English cave explorer once said “Caves be where you find em” - so true.Stay tuned for more from this fascinating story as the team try to unlock yet another secret of Papua New Guineas hidden underworld.The expedition was sponsored by Petzl, the leading manufacturer of equipment for outdoor sport enthusiasts and professionals, whose roots were founded deep underground in the then deepest cave in the world - The Gouffre Berger. For a more detailed account of this awesome expedition, please download the eBook from the link in my bio. #adventure #exploration #cave #caver #explorer #NewBritain #PapuaNewGuinea #PNG @petzl_official #petzlgram #accesstheinaccessible #blackhole #expedition | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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The King of The Nakanai - In January 2016, an international caving expedition travelled to the island… read more
East New Britain Province
The King of The Nakanai - In January 2016, an international caving expedition travelled to the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea. The goal? To find and explore the areas last remaining unexplored mega-doline identified from aerial observations. On Thursday 28th January 2016, with food supplies running low, Jean-Paul Sounier sent six Papuans back to Tolel village. Only three now remained. After sharpening their machetes, they set off from camp at a determined pace with the four of us in tow. On a bearing of 270’ they cut their way through the thick forest. Devastated by the cyclone in 1997, this area of the Nakanai Mountains over 1200m elevation, was hit the worst. Now a reduced canopy with increased sunlight allowing more and more different types of plants to grow on the jungle floor, including bamboo, required a herculean path-clearing effort by the three Papuans. The ground rose gradually, with occasional streambeds that needed crossing. Despite not wearing any shoes, the barefooted Papuans chose to walk straight up the steep mud slopes either side of the streambeds.  In spite of wearing the very latest hiking boots, the four of us couldn’t keep on our feet and the local Papuans found it highly amusing watching us slip and slide back down the slopes. Although Jean-Paul Sounier (pictured) used his GPS to keep on point, the Papuans seemed to have a sixth sense and took us straight to the Black Hole. Stay tuned for more from this fascinating story as the team try to unlock yet another secret of Papua New Guineas hidden underworld.The expedition was sponsored by Petzl, the leading manufacturer of equipment for outdoor sport enthusiasts and professionals, whose roots were founded deep underground in the then deepest cave in the world - The Gouffre Berger. For a more detailed account of this awesome expedition, please download the eBook from the link in my bio. #adventure #exploration #cave #caver #explorer #NewBritain #PapuaNewGuinea #PNG @petzl_official #petzlgram #accesstheinaccessible #blackhole #expedition | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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In January 2016, an international caving expedition travelled to the island of New Britain in Papua New… read more
East New Britain Province
In January 2016, an international caving expedition travelled to the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea. The goal? To find and explore the areas last remaining unexplored mega-doline identified from aerial observations. The following morning after sleeping out in the rainforest the Papuans picked the best route through the dense vegetation around the countless dolines, fallen trees and bamboo thickets and up onto the high plateau. The team made steady progress thanks to Herman’s (pictured) efficient machete work as well as his navigational skills. By mid afternoon, the team reached a point approximately an hour or so away from the estimated location of the Black Hole. At this point they began looking for a suitable place to establish base camp. For this, the site had to be close enough to Tolel to allow the porters to make the trip on foot in less than seven hours, but not too far from the Black Hole. The site had to be large enough to set up the teams big communal shelter, nine hammocks and several small huts to house almost three dozen porters and finish this construction before the late afternoon rains arrive.Stay tuned for more from this fascinating story as the team try to unlock yet another secret of Papua New Guineas hidden underworld.The expedition was sponsored by Petzl, the leading manufacturer of equipment for outdoor sport enthusiasts and professionals, whose roots were founded deep underground in the then deepest cave in the world - The Gouffre Berger. For a more detailed account of this awesome expedition, please download the eBook from the link in my bio. #adventure #exploration #cave #caver #explorer #NewBritain #PapuaNewGuinea #PNG @petzl_official #petzlgram #accesstheinaccessible #blackhole #expedition | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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In January 2016, an international caving expedition travelled to the island of New Britain in Papua New… read more
East New Britain Province
In January 2016, an international caving expedition travelled to the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea. The goal? To find and explore the area's last remaining unexplored mega-doline identified from aerial observations. It was decided to split into two teams. Four people would remain in Tolel to explore the caves familiar to the Papuans, which are located in the vicinity of the village, whilst the other four people would hike up to the plateau to look for a good site for the base camp and also locate the mysterious Black Hole. With the support of a small group of Papuans to help break trail, the team headed up into the rainforest on a reconnaissance mission, slipping and sliding on the steep wet ground. The beginning of the trail took the team down into the Wunung gorge and then up the other side. It was soon apparent that they were not going to reach their objective in one single day, so they were forced to bivi out in the forest part way up to the plateau. The Papuans took little time to construct their shelter (pictured). For the rest of us, we strung up hammocks to keep us off the jungle floor. Speaking from experience, in 2006 I once suffered a horrendous night, when I slept out on the jungle floor on the other side of the Nakanai. I got no sleep. I was eaten alive by hundreds of creepy crawlies! Stay tuned for more from this fascinating story as the team try to unlock yet another secret of Papua New Guineas hidden underworld.The expedition was sponsored by Petzl, the leading manufacturer of equipment for outdoor sport enthusiasts and professionals, whose roots were founded deep underground in the then deepest cave in the world - The Gouffre Berger. For a more detailed account of this awesome expedition, please download the eBook from the link in my bio. #adventure #exploration #cave #caver #explorer #NewBritain #PapuaNewGuinea #PNG @petzl_official #petzlgram #accesstheinaccessible #blackhole #expedition | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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In January 2016, an international caving expedition travelled to the island of New Britain in Papua New… read more
Palmalmal, East New Britain, Papua New Guinea
In January 2016, an international caving expedition travelled to the island of New Britain in Papua New Guinea. The goal? To find and explore the areas last remaining unexplored mega-doline identified from aerial observations. The journey up into the Nakanai Mountains was relatively straightforward, especially for these four guys, who have all been to the Nakanai before. Jean-Paul Sounier (red t-shirt) has been on thirteen expeditions exploring the caves of the Nakanai. He has dedicated his entire 30-year long caving career to this tiny island, home to the largest and most wild and ferocious river caves in the world. In caving circles, he is known as ‘The King of the Nakanai’. This is the last remaining cave feature he has not yet been to. Pictured here, the team studies maps and aerial photographs to try and pin point exactly where the mega-doline, the big black hole is and their proposed route up to it. From these maps, they learn that they will have to spend several days following a GPS point, cutting a trail through the dense jungle and camping at several points along the way. From these maps and aerial photographs they also spot other surface features along the line from the black hole to the big resurgence of water on the coast. Could there be a giant river cave in this area that has not yet been discovered…? Stay tuned for more from this fascinating story as the team try to unlock yet another secret of Papua New Guineas hidden underworld.The expedition was sponsored by Petzl, the leading manufacturer of equipment for outdoor sport enthusiasts and professionals, whose roots were founded deep underground in the then deepest cave in the world - The Gouffre Berger. For a more detailed account of this awesome expedition, please download the eBook from the link in my bio. #adventure #exploration #cave #caver #explorer #NewBritain #PapuaNewGuinea #PNG @petzl_official #petzlgram #accesstheinaccessible #blackhole #expedition | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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In the early hours of the morning on the 22nd January 2016, a small team of elite cave explorers from… read more
East New Britain Province
In the early hours of the morning on the 22nd January 2016, a small team of elite cave explorers from France, Spain and Australia embarked on a twelve-hour boat ride around the coast of East New Britain, from its capital Kokopo, to Palmalmal, in Jacquinot Bay. Led by highly experienced French explorer Jean-Paul Sounier, the team chartered two small boats carrying themselves, their caving equipment and their food supplies for four weeks away from civilisation, camped deep in the Papuan rainforest.Their objective, to locate and explore the last remaining unexplored mega-doline of the Nakanai Mountains. A doline or sinkhole is a collapsed cave feature that breaks the surface. Typically these mega-dolines that are found in the Nakanai, such as Nare, Ora, Minye and Kavakuna, are gateways to the underground world and the only sign of what amazing caves run through this heavily forested island.Stay tuned for more from this fascinating story as the team try to unlock yet another secret of Papua New Guineas hidden underworld. The expedition was sponsored by Petzl, the leading manufacturer of equipment for outdoor sport enthusiasts and professionals, whose roots were founded deep underground in the then deepest cave in the world - The Gouffre Berger. For a more detailed account of this awesome expedition, please download the eBook from the link in my bio. #adventure #exploration #cave #caver #explorer #NewBritain #PapuaNewGuinea #PNG @petzl_official #petzlgram #blackhole #accesstheinaccessible #expedition | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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In 1988, French cave explorer Jean-Paul Sounier took an interesting helicopter reconnaissance flight… read more
East New Britain Province
In 1988, French cave explorer Jean-Paul Sounier took an interesting helicopter reconnaissance flight over an area of the Nakanai Mountains in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea. The pilot told him that on a previous flight he had looked down into a huge black hole, an unexplored sinkhole and one of the Nakanai’s many ‘mega-dolines’. Later during the flight they discovered a large volume of water resurging from a cave along the coast. Could this be the downstream end of the mysterious black hole the pilot had spotted during his flight? The following years were spent exploring other objectives that this vast karst landscape contains, Muruk, Ora, Mageni, and Wowo. The mysterious ghost river slowly faded from his memory… until, the summer of 2014, and after an expedition to another karst area in New Britain, he began looking for a worthy objective to take him back to the Nakanai Mountains. After studying aerial photos he noticed, on a plateau along the left bank of Wunung Gorge, a black and white mark indicating a surface sinkhole. Could this be the very chasm that the helicopter pilot from 1988 spotted? Venturing to a plateau that has never been explored and mapping its underground passageways, what an enticing proposition! Over the next week I will publish a photograph a day telling this fascinating story of the teams journey to explore the last remaining mega-doline of the Nakanai Mountains and their quest to unlock yet another secret of Papua New Guineas hidden underworld.The expedition was sponsored by Petzl, the leading manufacturer of equipment for outdoor sport enthusiasts and professionals, whose roots were founded deep underground in the then deepest cave in the world - The Gouffre Berger. For a more detailed account of this awesome expedition, please download the eBook from the link in my bio. #adventure #exploration #cave #caver #explorer #NewBritain #PapuaNewGuinea #PNG @petzl_official #petzlgram #blackhole #accesstheinaccessible #expedition | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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I am truly honoured to be awarded the Best Storyteller 2017 award by the International Adventure and… read more
I am truly honoured to be awarded the Best Storyteller 2017 award by the International Adventure and Exploration Festival in Garda Trentino, Italy. It's a big shock! I hope to see some of you this next weekend in Arco.#outdoor #natgeo #explore #geologist #photo #adventure #Repost @adventureawardsdays with @repostapp・・・#aad17 "Golden beards for Best #Adventurer and Best #Storyteller to underground explorer Francesco Sauro and to great photographer Robbie Shone". | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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In the final photograph from this story, night falls upon the Abyss of Cenote expedition as it draws… read more
Dolomiti
In the final photograph from this story, night falls upon the Abyss of Cenote expedition as it draws to an end. Following a very long day underground, the team re-emerge from the cave having achieved all their scientific and mapping objectives.  It’s time for one final night inside the main communal tent at base camp to celebrate their achievements before the camp gets dismantled and the site on Conturines Spitze (mountain) is left the way it was before. #AbyssOfCenote #science #exploration #research #climatechange #Conturines #SanCassiano #Dolomites #Italy #icecave #cave #expedition #explorer @geomagazin @uniinnsbruck @laventaexploringteam | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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The Abyss of Cenote (cave) in the Italian Dolomites is mainly one large chamber (pictured here) with… read more
Dolomiti
The Abyss of Cenote (cave) in the Italian Dolomites is mainly one large chamber (pictured here) with a narrow shaft that enters from the top containing a 165m deep ice plug. The ‘tongue' of the ice plug can be seen in the top of this picture with a striking black and white appearance in which the folds can clearly be seen.  At the bottom of the cave, 285m below the surface, the floor is covered in a slope of breakdown blocks that have fallen from the roof and walls. These rocks cover another large mass of ice, the thickness of which is unknown. The laser scan of this lower part of the cave was carried out in November 2015 and tied into the scans of the upper part of the cave, which were taken in October/November 2016. The La Venta exploration team will return to this cave in a few years time to repeat the scan and monitor at high resolution the changes in the ice plug and ice floor.#AbyssOfCenote #science #scientist#exploration #research #climatechange #Conturines #SanCassiano #Dolomites #Italy #icecave #cave #expedition #explorer #leica @geomagazin @uniinnsbruck @laventaexploringteam @leicageosystemsag | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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The Abyss of Cenote (cave) at nearly 3,000m in the Italian Dolomites is a unique cave 285 m deep with… read more
Dolomiti
The Abyss of Cenote (cave) at nearly 3,000m in the Italian Dolomites is a unique cave 285 m deep with a large ice plug in its entrance. The ice plug extends down the first 165 m, finishing in a large ‘tongue’ seen here on the right. Up until this point, the route through the cave is down the side and through the middle of the ice plug. At this point when the ice plug finishes, the cave turns into a normal limestone shaft down which one must rappel, mostly free-hanging (i.e., away from the wall in empty space), in a constant shower of water from the melting ice up way above. Pictured here, the scanning team are making their way slowly but surely down the ice tongue, and into the huge void below. It gets more and more epic with every step that's taken. Each step with the crampons cuts into the ice and sends tiny shards of glass-like pieces falling into the blackness below. Tommaso Santagata (left) of the La Venta Exploration team and Farouk Kadded (right) of Leica Geosystems, France, have set up one of Leica’s state-of-the-art 3D laser scanning devices. They have secured it partly to the ice and partly to the rock behind from which they can scan in nearly all directions. From my lofty position a few feet above them, I watched every movement hoping they didn’t drop anything. This team is at the forefront of 3D laser scanning in caves, they’re using really cutting edge stuff in very complex and technically challenging environments to map caves. #AbyssOfCenote #science #scientist #leica #exploration #research #climatechange #Conturines #SanCassiano #Dolomites #Italy #icecave #cave #expedition #explorer #InsideTheGlaciers @geomagazin @uniinnsbruck @laventaexploringteam @leicageosystemsag | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Deep underground and inside the giant ice plug that sits wedged in the upper part of the Abyss of Cenote… read more
Dolomiti
Deep underground and inside the giant ice plug that sits wedged in the upper part of the Abyss of Cenote (cave) like a cork in a bottle, Professor Christoph Spötl from the Innsbruck University Quaternary Research Group and Andreas Treyer scrape the dirty layer away from the surface of the ice before drilling samples of clean ice for stable isotopes and pollen analysis. Only recently has this cave been open to scientists like Christoph to take such important samples. For many decades a lake was present in the depression at the entrance. Then in 1994 some divers hiked up the mountain to take a closer look at the lake only to find that it had disappeared! Subsequent investigation revealed a giant cave 285m deep with a large ice plug in the entrance, that for many years had prevented the wonders that lie beneath from being discovered.#AbyssOfCenote #science #scientist#exploration #research #climatechange #Conturines #SanCassiano #Dolomites #Italy #icecave #cave #expedition #explorer #InsideTheGlaciers @geomagazin @uniinnsbruck @laventaexploringteam | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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The Abyss of Cenote (cave) in the heart of the Italian Dolomites is predominately a vertical cave with… read more
Dolomiti
The Abyss of Cenote (cave) in the heart of the Italian Dolomites is predominately a vertical cave with very few areas of flat ground to stand up on. To get around in such a cave, cavers typically use SRT (single rope technique), which involves abseiling (descending) or prussiking (ascending), down and up one rope. All members of this expedition were very competent at SRT and enjoyed swinging around on the ropes suspended hundreds of feet above the ground. Pictured here, GEO magazine writer Lars Abromeit reaches the top of one of many rope pitches, which is anchored to the rock, though in other parts of the cave ice screws had to be used instead. At nearly 3000m elevation, the first signs of being at altitude start to affect some people, and climbing up 285 m up ropes from the bottom of the cave can be quite tiring. Thankfully it is possible to relax and just back in the harness if a break is needed, which is especially a good thing when doing this wearing crampons. #AbyssOfCenote#exploration #research #climatechange #science #Conturines #SanCassiano #Dolomites #Italy #Leica #leicageosystems #icecave #cave #expedition #explorer #InsideTheGlaciers @geomagazin @uniinnsbruck @laventaexploringteam | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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One of the main objectives of the Abyss of Cenote expedition was to produce a highly precise laser scan… read more
Dolomiti
One of the main objectives of the Abyss of Cenote expedition was to produce a highly precise laser scan survey of the cave. Here, Farouk Kadded (left) of Leica Geosystems, France, and Tommaso Santagata (right) of the La Venta Exploration team are working in the ‘wind tunnel’ in the centre of the ice plug. Up until this point, the route through the cave is largely vertical, on ropes, between the cave wall and the outside of the ice plug. Here, the route turns horizontal for a short distance before resuming its vertical nature. Due to the change in size of the passage here as compared to the much larger chamber at the bottom of the cave, a strong wind blows through this tunnel, which changes direction depending on the temperature at the surface. Combining the already cold temperature of the cave with the strong wind makes working in this part of the cave rather challenging, especially when sat around for extended periods of time working the laser scanner.#AbyssOfCenote#exploration #research #climatechange #science #Conturines #SanCassiano #Dolomites #Italy #Leica #leicageosystems #icecave #cave #expedition #explorer #InsideTheGlaciers @geomagazin @uniinnsbruck @laventaexploringteam @leicageosystemsag | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Just inside the entrance of Abyss of Cenote (cave), Professor Christoph Spötl from the Innsbruck University… read more
Dolomiti
Just inside the entrance of Abyss of Cenote (cave), Professor Christoph Spötl from the Innsbruck University Quaternary Research Group is seen here checking a data logger for environmental monitoring of the cave's meteorology. Assisted by Dr. Gina Moseley (@negreenland_caves) and Andreas Treyer (background), the researchers also replaced pollen traps at different locations and elevations throughout the cave. Unfortunately, after a long rigging trip to the bottom of the cave, it was discovered that one of the loggers had been washed away in floods during the previous year. Still, they were able to collect some useful information from the loggers and traps in order to better understand the flux of airflow (and pollen) through the cave. #AbyssOfCenote#exploration #research #climatechange #science #Conturines #SanCassiano #Dolomites #Italy #landscape #icecave #cave #expedition #explorer  #InsideTheGlaciers @geomagazin @uniinnsbruck @laventaexploringteam | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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When on an expedition I often like to break up the photography by drawing sketches in my diary. To get… read more
Dolomiti
When on an expedition I often like to break up the photography by drawing sketches in my diary. To get away from the battery charging, the digital screens, and get back to the basics of a pen(cil) and paper is really therapeutic, and it reminds me of where I first found my love of art. On The Abyss of Cenote expedition, I made this drawing of the iconic entrance of the cave, the place where the Lake of Two Forks once stood before it drained into the underworld. Here, two cavers are walking up to the entrance with the backdrop of the Dolomites in the distance, whilst another two cavers are already in the sinkhole, working their way along the traverse line, past the top of the ice plug, and into the cave.#AbyssOfCenote#exploration #research #climatechange #science #Conturines #SanCassiano #Dolomites #Italy #landscape #icecave #cave #expedition #explorer #art #drawing #sketch #InsideTheGlaciers @geomagazin @uniinnsbruck @laventaexploringteam | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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I had a great time today leading a cave photography workshop for the Innsbruck Quaternary Research Group.… read more
Freiwillige Feuerwehr St. Gertraudi
I had a great time today leading a cave photography workshop for the Innsbruck Quaternary Research Group. We spent the afternoon underground in Kropfsberghöhle, St. Gertraudi where this photograph was taken as a collective effort by the whole group, after learning a few tips and pointers during the morning session, spent in the classroom where I taught some theory. #cavephotographyworkshop #cave #photographyworkshop #Innsbruck #Austria #visitAustria #photography @uniinnsbruck | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Unfortunately, after a couple of days into the Abyss of Cenote expedition, the weather took a turn for… read more
Dolomiti
Unfortunately, after a couple of days into the Abyss of Cenote expedition, the weather took a turn for the worse and trapped the team members inside their tents, where they sheltered from the cold blizzard that battered the thin nylon fabric between a comfortable world curled up inside warm sleeping bags and a world of hurt outside in the maelstrom. Only occasionally did they brave the elements, running across camp to join others cooped inside the communal tent for meals and discussions mostly about the weather. Thankfully, after a day, the clouds cleared and carried with them the snow storm, which revealed a beautiful fresh landscape with a wind swept skittering of snow that covered all tracks up to the entrance of the cave. The teams' agenda inside the Abyss of Cenote cave was back on track, but with less time a new plan had to be followed. An advance team entered the cave and began surveying the upper parts using Leica’s state-of-the-art 3D laser scanner, whilst a second team follow later on to carry out the scientific investigations of the cave.#AbyssOfCenote#exploration #research #climatechange #science #Conturines #SanCassiano #Dolomites #Italy #landscape #icecave #cave #expedition #explorer  #InsideTheGlaciers @geomagazin @uniinnsbruck @laventaexploringteam | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Day two of the Abyss of Cenote cave expedition - Now that all the top-end Leica Geosystems equipment… read more
Dolomiti
Day two of the Abyss of Cenote cave expedition - Now that all the top-end Leica Geosystems equipment has been prepared and calibrated for surveying the cave, Tommaso Santagata of the La Venta Exploration team prepares himself outside of the comfort of his tent for entering the cave. Eager not to get his feet wet on the snow before entering the sub-zero temperatures of the cave, he stands on some plastic packaging to get changed into his caving clothing. Tommaso is wearing typical clothing for caving in Europe - his attire consists of a fleece onesie (also called a "furry” or “undersuit') for protection against the cold, plus a cordura oversuit for protection against the abrasiveness of the cave. #AbyssOfCenote#exploration #research #climatechange #science #Conturines #SanCassiano #Dolomites #Italy #landscape #icecave #cave #expedition #explorer  #InsideTheGlaciers @geomagazin @uniinnsbruck @laventaexploringteam | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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At the end of day one on the Abyss of Cenote expedition the clouds rolled in over base camp, which was… read more
Dolomiti
At the end of day one on the Abyss of Cenote expedition the clouds rolled in over base camp, which was sheltered in a relatively flat floored bowl beneath the peak of the Conturines Spitze (mountain). Expedition members milled around their tents unpacking bags, sorting out gear for the following day, whilst others cooked a fantastic meal in the large communal orange tent in the foreground. The communal tent was an integral part of the expedition, being a place to offer shelter and warmth to the whole group, a place for charging batteries and laptops, and also a place for socialising and strategising. I spent many hours in here with the expedition team and often lost track of what was going on in the world beyond the thin walls of the tent. #AbyssOfCenote#exploration #research #climatechange #science #Conturines #SanCassiano #Dolomites #Italy #landscape #icecave #cave #expedition #explorer #InsideTheGlaciers @geomagazin @uniinnsbruck @laventaexploringteam | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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On day one of the Abyss of Cenote expedition the advance team set up base camp at nearly 3000m (9800ft)… read more
Dolomiti
On day one of the Abyss of Cenote expedition the advance team set up base camp at nearly 3000m (9800ft) altitude in the Italian Dolomites. Amongst the members of the La Venta exploration team, it was decided that even for a short expedition lasting only a week, a helicopter was required to transport several cargo nets full of equipment to base camp. Generally, the use of helicopters for transporting cargo (and people) in this National Park is not allowed, hence special permission had to be sought from the authorities. Thankfully, on the first day of our expedition the weather was good, so there were no delays in getting started (in previous years we have had to spend a day or two passing time in a ristorante in the valley bottom waiting for the weather to clear). The flight takes no more than 5 minutes to get the gear from the valley bottom to base camp, but it is well worth it, as the hike up takes 6-8 hours depending on the weather to do the same thing. The cargo nets allow a lot more equipment to be taken though, including a state-of-the-art 3D laser scanner for use in surveying the cave. If you look closely at this net, you can see my blue drum that I use to transport old-style magnesium wire flash bulbs.#AbyssOfCenote#exploration #research #climatechange #science #Conturines #SanCassiano #Dolomites #Italy #landscape #icecave #cave #expedition #explorer #helicopter #InsideTheGlaciers @geomagazin @uniinnsbruck @laventaexploringteam | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Following on from the opening photograph I posted yesterday, allow me to introduce you to Lars Abromeit,… read more
Dolomiti
Following on from the opening photograph I posted yesterday, allow me to introduce you to Lars Abromeit, the writer of the GEO magazine feature titled “Die Untermessung der Unterwelt” (translation: the measurement of the underworld) from which this current photograph series originates. At 2940m (9678ft) a.s.l the cave known as Abyss of Cenote is located in the heart of the mountain called Conturines Spitze in the Italian Dolomites. It is characterised by a rather strange shape, somewhat like a wine bottle, which is narrow at the top and opens up into a huge chamber at the base.  The narrow ‘neck’ of the cave is corked with a huge ice plug that has started to melt in recent years allowing cave explorers to work their way down around its sides, through the middle, and out of the bottom into the rest of the cave,  Here, Lars is returning up through the ice plug after a trip underground with the scientists working in the cave. Many different layers can clearly be seen in the ice above his head, with some parts having a lot of detritus and organic material giving the dirty look, whilst other parts are cleaner and white. At the moment, the reason behind the dirty layers versus clean layers in unknown. Scientists are currently working on its interpretation. #AbyssOfCenote#exploration #research #climatechange #science #Conturines #SanCassiano #Dolomites #Italy #landscape #icecave #cave #expedition #explorer #InsideTheGlaciers @geomagazin @uniinnsbruck @laventaexploringteam | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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The latest issue of GEO magazine features a scientific research expedition that I photographed in November… read more
Dolomiti
The latest issue of GEO magazine features a scientific research expedition that I photographed in November 2016, in a very special cave at 2940m (9678ft) altitude in the Italian Dolomites. For many decades a lake was present in the depression you see here in the photograph. Then in 1994 some divers hiked up the mountain to take a closer look at the lake only to find that it had disappeared! Subsequent investigation revealed a giant cave 285m deep with a large ice plug in the entrance, that for many years had prevented the wonders that lie beneath from being discovered. Pictured here, two explorers return to the surface after a ten-hour trip underground to rig the ropes inside the cave for the remainder of the expedition members. Over the next few days I’ll be posting images from the story of the scientists and the cave explorers as they journey into Abyss of Cenote. #AbyssOfCenote#exploration #research #climatechange #science #Conturines #SanCassiano #Dolomites #Italy #landscape #icecave #cave #expedition #explorer #InsideTheGlaciers @geomagazin @uniinnsbruck @laventaexploringteam | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Words by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott) - We arrived on a grassy ridgetop where fifteen donkeys and a few… read more
Uzbekistan
Words by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott) - We arrived on a grassy ridgetop where fifteen donkeys and a few local men were waiting for us. Hodja Gur Gur Ata, the 21-mile-long cliff that is home to Dark Star, loomed in the hazy sky two days walk to the north. Several of the team vaulted over the truck’s wooden sideboards to greet a middle-aged Tajik named Zhuraev “Sadik” Miraminu, chief of a nearby village called Dehibolo. Zhenya, our expedition’s elder statesman, embraced Sadik warmly—it was obvious they are old friends. In 1987, two Russians were exploring a massive cave system called Boy-Bulok, that lies within a cliff several kilometers to the south of Hodja Gur Gur Ata. Not far from the entrance to the cave, but past a vertical drop that can only be passed with a rope, the cavers found a skeleton. Based on the tattered clothing draped over the old bones, and the home made lamp lying nearby, the Russians assumed they had found the remains of a villager who had fallen into the cave. So they packed up the bones and carried them out of the cave. When they emerged they were engulfed in a raging blizzard. Frozen, staggering through the dark, the Russians found their way to Dehibolo, where fate led them to the home of Sadik’s family. Sadik was a teenage boy at the time, and he was sitting on the floor when the Russian’s pulled the bones and the battered lamp from their caving rucksacks. Sadik’s father, realizing these were the remains of an old friend who had gone missing 16 years ago, was deeply moved. Ever since, the Russians have remained close with Sadik’s family, and Sadik has provided logistical support for their expeditions. Pictured here and perched on the only semi-flat sloping ground for miles, is the teams base camp. All trips underground inside Dark Star began from this camp. From our featured article entitled Into The Deep, that was published inside the March 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine. Photographs by Robbie Shone, text my @m_synnott (Mark Synnott). #DarkStar #underground #BaisunTau #icecave #Uzbekistan #explore #explorer #expedition #cave #exploration | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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I was once told that there is still a staggering 95% of the world's oceans that remain unexplored. That's… read more
Wulong Karst
I was once told that there is still a staggering 95% of the world's oceans that remain unexplored. That's a huge volume of ocean left to examine and make new discoveries. Underground however, nobody knows what percentage of caverns remain unexplored, as we cannot see them from the surface. Pictured above, deep underground in China’s Wulong County, a cave explorer swims into the unknown. #letsexplore #exploration #explorer #expedition #adventure #TEC #China #cave #speleology @the_explorers_club | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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I am currently curating an assignment with @natgeoyourshot called "Facing Your Fears," inviting you to… read more
Wulong Karst
I am currently curating an assignment with @natgeoyourshot called "Facing Your Fears," inviting you to use your photography as a creative canvas to understand and express your fears. To submit your photos and stories, go to natgeoyourshot.com. There are only 6 days left! Following a college art project in which I painted giant oil, acrylic and linseed oil canvases of the view looking down skyscrapers in Manhattan, NYC, I had faced and overcome my fear of heights, enabling me to take photographs like this one deep underground in China in one of the worlds largest vertical pits. At over 1500ft (500m) deep, Miao Keng in Wulong, China is taller than the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Link in my bio #natgeoyourshot | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Great behind the scenes shot of my assistant, Matt Oliphant and I working on the @NatGeo magazine assignment,… read more
Uzbekistan
Great behind the scenes shot of my assistant, Matt Oliphant and I working on the @NatGeo magazine assignment, entitled Into The Deep, from Dark Star (cave) in Uzbekistan. Thanks Boaz Langford for the pic! Great memories from a great expedition, exploring one of the worlds deepest caves at over 3500m (11500ft) above sea level. The Baisun Tau cliff, where the caves are, is very close to the Afghanistan border, and several times we had visits from armed men with fully automatic machine guns and their dogs, who had hiked for two days to check up on us. One time Matt, the writer Mark Synnott (@m_synnott) and I emerged from inside Dark Star only to be told over the PMR walkie talkie radio to stay at the cave and not hike back to camp until the men had left. I used my long 200mm lens to see what they were up to by taking pictures and zooming in on the screen on the back of the camera. However, that day they didn't leave and after several hours of hanging around the cave entrance, we were invited back to camp by Vadim, the team leader. We were strictly told to head straight to our tent, hide away all our camera gear and not speak to the men. They stayed the night and left the following day. A little disconcerting to say the least.#underground #BaisunTau #icecave #Uzbekistan #explore #explorer #expedition #cave #exploration #photographer #DarkStar | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Words by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott) - Every sport has an unsung hero, some quiet badass that operates… read more
Uzbekistan
Words by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott) - Every sport has an unsung hero, some quiet badass that operates under the radar, pushing the boundaries of their chosen field of endeavor without giving a whit if anyone knows about it—or cares. Matt Oliphant, pictured here (unpublished photo), is just such an individual. Matt served as Robbie's photo assistant/rigger/schlepper/safety guy on the Dark Star assignment. And I'm embarrassed that we've made it this far down the road without calling out the massive contribution he made to the overall success of the project. When things got gnarly down in Dark Star, in other words, shortly after I stepped into the mouth of the cave, I turned to Matt and said, “Hey man, can you keep an eye on me, and make sure I get out of this cave alive?” Matt just chuckled and said, “You got it man.” Matt’s not one to boast, but over the course of three weeks we spent together in Uzbekistan, including at least one session sitting on a rock in base camp drinking scotch, he shared enough stories for me to wonder: who the heck is this guy? During one particularly harrowing tale, involving some horrendously deep cave in Mexico, I held up my hand for him to stop. “Wait a second,” I said. “Are you a famous caver?” “No, no, no,” replied Matt. “Nope, that’s not me.” Then he proceeded to rattle off a bunch of names of people that he considers to be the real icons of the sport. The thing is, I could swear I'd heard those same names in many of the stories Matt had been telling me. If you're a caver, you probably already know about Matt. If you're not, let me introduce you to my hero. And, in case you’re wondering: no, I won't be going underground again unless Matt is by my side. #soulbrother #darkstar #myheroFrom our featured article entitled Into The Deep, that was inside the March 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine. Photographs by Robbie Shone, text my @m_synnott (Mark Synnott). #DarkStar #underground #BaisunTau #icecave #Uzbekistan #explore #explorer #expedition #cave #exploration | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Great evening last night at @the_explorers_club annual dinner on Ellis Island in New York. Gina (@negreenland_caves)… read more
Ellis Island New York
Great evening last night at @the_explorers_club annual dinner on Ellis Island in New York. Gina (@negreenland_caves) and I had a wonderful time listening to all the inspiring presentations, especially Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Bertrand Piccard (@solarimpulse) and of course Robert De Niro. Huge thanks to @NatGeo for inviting us both and to TEC for organising such a grand event! A special night! #explorersclub #exploration #ECAD2017 #SirRanulphFiennes | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Words by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott). Inside Dark Star, Tonya Votintseva, A Russian molecular biologist,… read more
Uzbekistan
Words by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott). Inside Dark Star, Tonya Votintseva, A Russian molecular biologist, stops to attach a small white disk to the wall. This data-logger is one of several she will install throughout the cave to record temperature, humidity, CO2, and barometric pressure. She will also collect the data-loggers left from the last expedition and ship them to Dr. Sebastian Breitenbach, a paleoclimatologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. After the expedition, Breitenbach explained how he uses the data collected from Dark Star. “The only paleoclimate data we have from this region comes from tree rings, which only go back a couple hundred years. So we have no clue what was happening with the climate in this part of the world 10,000-20,000 years ago. The isotopes tell us whether the water in Dark Star came from the Atlantic or the Indian Ocean, and this can help us to better understand the history of the Indian monsoon. Ultimately, the goal is to understand how global warming will impact the future availability of water in Central Asia.” The drilling of ice cores in Greenland and the Antarctic are iconic examples of paleoclimate proxies, but these ice cores can only be found in polar regions, whereas speleothems represent a terrestrial archive that can be found virtually anywhere, from the tropics to the high latitudes and everywhere in between. Speleothems also have the potential to be orders of magnitude older than what can found in an ice core—the oldest stalagmite is 293 million years old. For more stories and photos from our feature article Into The Deep, check out the March 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine. Photographs by Robbie Shone, text my @m_synnott (Mark Synnott). #DarkStar #underground #BaisunTau #icecave #Uzbekistan #explore #explorer #expedition #cave #exploration #cavern #painting #art | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Words by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott) - As time runs out on the expedition, most of the hoped-for new passages… read more
Uzbekistan
Words by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott) - As time runs out on the expedition, most of the hoped-for new passages have proved to be dead ends. The team has exited the cave and is preparing for the long journey back to Tashkent, but Zhenya, along with an ambitious young Russian named Lyosha, insist on making one more push to explore Dark Star’s last possible new lead. They’ve been shuffling sideways for hours in a tight meander, and now they’re braced in a knee-butt squeeze-chimney between two icy walls of limestone. “I think we’ve reached the end of the line,” says Lyosha, gesturing to the nine-inch-wide slot in front of him. Experienced cavers know that the limiting factor in a squeeze passage is not your chest or your hips, but your skull. Your rib cage and belly can be compressed, but your head cannot. Handing his helmet to Lyosha, Zhenya slides head first into the icy fissure. Tilting his shoulders back and forth, his temples scraping against the flowstone, he slithers inch by painstaking inch into the squeeze. Thirty minutes later, Zhenya pops through the crack into a borehole the size of a Moscow subway tunnel that reverberates with the roar of a fast-flowing river. Is this the passage that he’s been seeking, the one that will finally make Dark Star the Everest of caves? He desperately wants to keep going, to see where it leads. But alas, the expedition’s time has run out.  Zhenya turns to face the grueling multi-day trip back to the surface, with a smile that lights up his craggy face, because this is exactly how every great caving expedition should end: with a mysterious passage snaking into the unknown, and an adventure that will have to wait for another day. For more stories and photos from our feature article Into The Deep, check out the March 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine. Photographs by Robbie Shone, text my @m_synnott (Mark Synnott). #DarkStar #underground #BaisunTau #icecave #Uzbekistan #explore #explorer #expedition #cave #exploration | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Words by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott) - A wave of anxiety washes over me when I arrive at an intersection… read more
Uzbekistan
Words by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott) - A wave of anxiety washes over me when I arrive at an intersection of several passages with absolutely no indication which one leads to the Red Lakes. Cavers love to tell you that you can’t get lost in a cave, but actually you can—quite easily, in fact. I choose the least worst option: a tube about the size of an air duct filled with four inches of water. I shove my backpack in and nudge it forward with my head. I hold my torso out of the water by perching on my forearms and toes, inching forward in a gut-crushing plank position. The ceiling lowers until I’m forced to slither on my belly. Suddenly the tube turns almost straight down. It’s so tight that just flexing my muscles keeps me from diving down the shaft. A few minutes later, I fall from the tube into a tall, narrow chamber draped in vertically-ribbed curtains of bloodred flowstone. The passage is filled with red-hued water. I know I have found the Red Lakes when I hear the telltale sound of cave-suits scraping against rock. Yuri appears, then stops to peer into a small hole in the floor. But before he can take another step, Vova pushes him aside, yelling “It’s mine,” as he dives headfirst into the hole like a rat going for a piece of cheese. I burst out laughing at the madness of it: these guys have been underground for nearly a week, and they’re fighting like toddlers over who gets to be first to wedge themselves into a dark, slimy hole that surely leads nowhere good. For more stories and photos from our featured article Into The Deep, check out the March 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine. Photographs by Robbie Shone, text by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott). #underground #BaisunTau #DarkStar #icecave #uzbekistan #explorer #expedition #nationalgeographic #exploration #cave #icecaves #petzlgram @petzl_official | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Three in the bed... Robbie Shone and Matt Oliphant are veteran cavers, but they had never used the Russian… read more
Uzbekistan
Three in the bed... Robbie Shone and Matt Oliphant are veteran cavers, but they had never used the Russian bivouac system: two sleeping bags zipped together for three people. Getting the three of us tucked in for the night would have been comical if it wasn’t so painfully grim. Of course, I ended up with the zipper on my side. Every time anyone moved, the tension pulled the bag open, and I spent most of the night wide awake, my body pressed against the cold wet fabric of the tent. I spent that sleepless night (if it was even night) contemplating how hard pressed I’d be to find a place on planet earth further from my home… unless I were to go deeper into the cave, which, of course, was the plan. In a cave, darkness is absolute and eternal, and the diurnal cycle that rules life above ground is irrelevant. For this reason many cavers don’t wear watches. In Dark Star, the team rested when they were tired, and explored when they weren’t.  It sounds pleasant, but never knowing what time it was left me feeling disoriented and uncomfortable. Should I try to go back to sleep, or is it almost morning? As my bag mates snored way, I thought about something horrible Robbie and Matt had told me about before bedding down. They called it “the rapture of the deep” and described it as a mental breakdown that sometimes afflicts cavers. There was a story, of course— a caver from Texas who simply gave up when he was deep underground. Rescuers spent days dragging him out of the cave, even though the only thing wrong with him was that he had lost his will to live. For more stories and photos from our featured article Into The Deep, check out the March 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine. Photographs by Robbie Shone, text by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott). #underground #BaisunTau #DarkStar #icecave #uzbekistan #explorer #expedition #nationalgeographic #exploration #camping #cave #icecaves #threeinthebed | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Zhenya slapped me on the back good-naturedly and led me toward a brightly-colored, box-shaped tent tied… read more
Uzbekistan
Zhenya slapped me on the back good-naturedly and led me toward a brightly-colored, box-shaped tent tied to the surrounding walls with strings coming off its vertices. The shelter was aglow, with steam pouring from its door. As I lay flat on my back just inside, I looked up into the faces of cackling Russians. For a few seconds I had no idea where I was. “You better go to sleep,” said Tonya. “You’ve been assigned to the other tent.” Robbie, Matt and I grabbed our stuff from the cook tent and shuffled over to a smaller shelter erected atop a jumbled pile of boulders a few feet away. As I unzipped the door and crawled inside, my nose was assaulted by a powerful aroma—body odor and stale cigarette smoke. It was nauseating and claustrophobic in the tent, but we hadn’t eaten all day, so I rooted into a pile of detritus at our feet where Tonya said I might find some food. I dug past a pair of heavily soiled long johns, a dirty sock, a dead power drill battery, some bolts, and a plastic baggie containing several packs of cigarettes. Finally, on the very bottom, I wrapped my hand around a dusty sausage covered in something fuzzy that I hoped was lint. “Five second rule,” I exclaimed, holding it up proudly. After days of eating only what the Russians would give us, mainly thin gruel and Uzbek saltines, I could hardly believe our luck. An entire sausage. Protein we badly needed to fuel our bodies for probing deeper into Dark Star. And there were no Russians on hand to tell us not to eat it. Sometimes, I told myself, as I divided it into three equal chunks with my knife, it is better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission.For more stories and photos from our featured article Into The Deep, check out the March 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine. Photographs by Robbie Shone, text by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott). #underground #BaisunTau #DarkStar #icecave #uzbekistan #explorer #expedition #nationalgeographic #exploration #camping #cave #icecaves | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Friends in Washington DC! Escape the weather and please stop by National Geographic Museum this Thursday… read more
Greenland
Friends in Washington DC! Escape the weather and please stop by National Geographic Museum this Thursday evening to hear Dr. Gina Moseley (leader of the @negreenland_caves project) give a lightning talk about the 2015 Greenland expedition as part of the Earth Explorers evening. #greenland #expedition #explore #exploration #climatechange #science #womeninscience #womeninstem @natgeo @natgeo_live @natgeomuseum | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Unpublished photograph from inside Full Moon Hall, Dark Star from our Into The Deep article in the March… read more
Uzbekistan
Unpublished photograph from inside Full Moon Hall, Dark Star from our Into The Deep article in the March issue of National Geographic magazine. Surface Hoar is the winter equivalent of morning dew; water vapor in the air condenses and freezes when it comes in contact with the cold walls of the cave. I’ve seen tiny feathers of surface hoar on top of snow on cold mornings in the mountains, but I’ve never seen anything like this—some of these ice crystals are two feet long, their surfaces etched with striated geometric patterns. Why this hoar forms inside of Dark Star is one of the cave’s many mysteries. The Russians still don’t understand Dark Star’s ventilation system, but they do know that some entrances inhale and other’s exhale, and that this respiration reverses during high and low pressure. More evidence of what the Russians told me back in camp—that Dark Star is a living, breathing creature.For more stories and photos from our featured article Into The Deep, check out the March 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine or follow the link in my bio to the online version. Photographs by Robbie Shone, text by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott). #underground #BaisunTau #DarkStar #icecave #uzbekistan #explorer #expedition #nationalgeographic #exploration | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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The southeast face of Hodja Gur Gur Ata is located in Uzbekistan’s Surkhandarya province, near the common… read more
Uzbekistan
The southeast face of Hodja Gur Gur Ata is located in Uzbekistan’s Surkhandarya province, near the common border shared by Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The surrounding mountains are called the Baisun-Tau, and the range consists of two main mountain chains, Ketmen’ Chapty and Hodja Gur Gur Ata. The latter, pictured here, stretches unbroken for more than 20 miles. Another similar mountain range called the Surkhan-Tau lies nine mile to the southeast. Both of these ranges, which run for approximately 30 miles in a southwest to northeast orientation, form the southwestern spur of the Gissar Range. The highest summit is Chul’bair (12,506 feet). These mountains present as a series of wedge-shaped plateaus that rise to 12,000 feet, then end precipitously in 800-1200-foot limestone cliffs. It was 30 years ago that Igor Lavrov, a member of Sverdlosk Speleological Club first discovered the opening within Hodja Gur Gur Ata that would lead into Dark Star. On an exploratory expedition in 1984, following a tip from an itinerant shepherd, he and a companion met the schoolmaster of a small Tajik village named Qayroq. The man told them that he had spent years exploring nearby grottoes with homemade torches. “Where can I find these caves?” asked Igor. “There,” said the schoolmaster, pointing to the monolithic limestone wall at the head of the valley. In the years since, the Russians, in association with cavers from several other nations, have explored 22 different entrances in the face of Hodja Gur Gur Ata. Here, I descend a fixed rope to investigate two openings that had never been entered before. Alas, both were plugged with ice, so where they might lead remains a mystery.For more stories and photos from our featured article Into The Deep, check out the March 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine or follow the link in my bio to the online version. Photographs by Robbie Shone, text by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott). #underground #BaisunTau #DarkStar #icecave #uzbekistan #explorer #expedition #nationalgeographic #exploration | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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This photograph ties in nicely with the picture that has just been posted on the @NatGeo Instagram account.… read more
Uzbekistan
This photograph ties in nicely with the picture that has just been posted on the @NatGeo Instagram account. I took this selfie immediately after talking that one looking along the Baisun-Tau cliff at Mark Synnott, who was descending into a giant cave entrance just a little way along the wall. We were both about 1200ft off the floor and although we were deeply concentrating on our rope work, the view was amazing. Mark rappelled along a narrow ridge and against the backdrop of the pale sky, I had a great opportunity to make a photograph for the story.For more stories and photos from our featured article Into The Deep, check out the March 2017 issue of National Geographic Magazine or follow link in my bio to the online version. Photographs by Robbie Shone, text by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott) #underground #exploration #expedition #cave #nationalgeographic #uzbekistan #ice #icecave #DarkStar #BaisunTau #selfie | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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In celebration of #internationalwomensday - Big up to the women in my life and the brains behind the… read more
Mount Benarat
In celebration of #internationalwomensday - Big up to the women in my life and the brains behind the @negreenland_caves project #GinaMoseley currently based at @uniinnsbruck. | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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The Russians haven’t been the only ones exploring Dark Star. @laventaexploringteam a group of hardcore… read more
Uzbekistan
The Russians haven’t been the only ones exploring Dark Star. @laventaexploringteam a group of hardcore cavers from Italy, have been involved since the beginning. British cavers have also made significant contributions, and were the ones who named Dark Star after a satirical sci-fi movie of the 1970s. But exploration of Dark Star has been sporadic; it’s remote, the region is politically unstable, and the cave is vast and highly technical. Many expeditions have simply run out of rope. As soon as I entered the cave, I understood why. After a short scramble down a frost-covered slope, we arrived at the first crux, pictured here—a 100-foot rappel into a pit, followed by a steep climb up a rope fastened to the other side of this shaft. This in turn led us into a vertical three foot wide slot in which we pulled ourselves sideways on mud caked ropes between walls covered in ice. Had I known, as I sat in the mud panting beside the rathole through which these ropes had led me, that all this groveling had only gained about 300 feet—in a cave that has 11 miles of such passageways—I probably would have turned back right then. For more stories and photos from our feature article Into The Deep, check out the March 2017 issue of National Geographic Magazine or follow link in my bio to the online version. Photographs by Robbie Shone, text by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott) #underground #exploration #expedition #cave #nationalgeographic #uzbekistan #ice #icecave #DarkStar #BaisunTau #explorer | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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I duck under an arch of translucent blue ice and enter the Full Moon Hall—the largest chamber yet discovered… read more
Uzbekistan
I duck under an arch of translucent blue ice and enter the Full Moon Hall—the largest chamber yet discovered in Dark Star. It’s 820 feet long and 100 feet tall. The walls are covered in feathers of hoar frost that scintillate like millions of tiny mirrors on a disco ball, scattering the beams from my headlamp around the room. Rationally, I know it’s an illusion, but I’d swear the light is emanating from within the walls, like stars in a crystal-clear night sky. My caving companion, Tonya Votintseva, a 35-year-old Russian microbiologist, explains that the surface hoar covering the walls and ceiling is the winter version of morning dew; water vapor in the air condenses and freezes when it comes in contact with the cold walls of the cave. I’ve seen tiny feathers of surface hoar on top of snow on cold mornings in the mountains, but I’ve never seen anything like this—some of these ice crystals are two feet long, their surfaces etched with striated geometric patterns. Why this hoar forms inside of Dark Star is one of the cave’s many mysteries. The Russians still don’t understand Dark Star’s ventilation system, but they do know that some entrances inhale and other’s exhale, and that this respiration reverses during high and low pressure. More evidence of what the Russians told me back in camp—that Dark Star is a living, breathing creature. Please stay tuned for more photos and stories from our feature article Into The Deep, which you can find in the March 2017 issue of National Geographic Magazine. Photos by Robbie Shone, text by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott) #underground #exploration #expedition #cave #nationalgeographic #uzbekistan #ice #icecave #DarkStar #BaisunTau #underground #explorer | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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The Russians have identified more than 100 cave openings in the 21-mile-long southeast face of Hodja… read more
Uzbekistan
The Russians have identified more than 100 cave openings in the 21-mile-long southeast face of Hodja Gur Gur Ata, but to date, only 22 have been explored. Seven of them lead into the subterranean labyrinth known as Dark Star. Look carefully, and in the top right center of this image you can see one of these entrances. Caving exploration in this isolated corner of Central Asia began in the early 1980s after members of the USSR’s Sverdlosk Speleological Club identified this region’s vast limestone topography from geologic maps. The club had been searching for a place to pursue the Holy Grail of caving—to go deeper into the earth than anyone had gone before—and the Baisun-Tau Mountains, at least on paper, appeared to have all the right ingredients. Mountaineers will never find a peak higher than Everest, but the potential to find new and deeper caves is virtually unlimited. The crux is finding them, and as any caver will tell you: we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about what lies hidden beneath the ground here on earth.Check out the March 2017 edition of National Geographic Magazine  for the full story. Photos by Robbie Shone, text by @m_synnott (Mark Synnott) #underground #exploration #expedition #cave #nationalgeographic #uzbekistan #darkstar | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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"Misha, p-l-e-a-s-e l-i-s-t-e-n c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y,” I say, holding up the old frayed rope to which we… read more
Uzbekistan
"Misha, p-l-e-a-s-e l-i-s-t-e-n c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y,” I say, holding up the old frayed rope to which we are tied. “I don’t want to climb any higher. If you won’t go down with me, I will untie and solo to the bottom.” With his brawny arms crossed over his chest, Misha locks me in an icy stare and mutters something in Russian. We’ve been arguing on this tiny ledge for nearly an hour, which, considering we don’t share a common language, is becoming ridiculous. What’s clear is that he adamantly refuses to bail. Earlier in the day, when we surveyed this 1200-foot cliff from the base, I realized there was no way we could safely climb it with the motley assortment of old Russian caving gear we had scrounged up in camp. I said as much to Misha and thought he had agreed, but somehow he has cajoled me halfway up the cliff. Peering down at the hundreds of feet of crumbling limestone we’ve already scaled, it dawns on me that I’m bluffing—and Misha knows it. My only option is to give in and go for the top. Though Misha is a world-class caver (and more stubborn than the donkeys that carried our gear into these mountains), he has little climbing experience. This leaves the dangerous job of leading the upper headwall to me, but I’m here to go caving not climbing, so I don’t even have sticky-soled rock shoes. When we finally top out late in the day—not far from where this photo was taken—Misha just shrugs and gives me a look as if to say, “See, I told you it was no problem.” And that’s how I accidentally made the first ascent of Hodga Gur Gur Ata, in a remote corner of Uzbekistan—on the very first day of our expedition to Dark Star. I haven’t discussed it with Misha, but I was thinking we could call our route Russian Roulette.Over the next few weeks I'll upload a series of photographs from my first @natgeo magazine story that is out now in the March issue. The captions are by the writer @m_synnott (Mark Synnott). #adventure #exploration #Uzbekistan #underground #cave #science #explorer #abseil #rappel #DarkStar #BaisunTau | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Another great day underground in Devils Hole #2, Nevada supporting American cave diver, Brian Kakuk (@bahamas_underground)… read more
Ash Meadows
Another great day underground in Devils Hole #2, Nevada supporting American cave diver, Brian Kakuk (@bahamas_underground) dive to 95m (310ft) to collect water samples for scientists from @uniinnsbruck and @umnpics as part of an #IMAX documentary called @ancientcaves #underwater #underground #science #cave #speleo #climatechange | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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The view looking straight down the entrance shaft into Devils Hole #2 in Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge,… read more
Ash Meadows
The view looking straight down the entrance shaft into Devils Hole #2 in Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge, Nevada. The cave is 200m (600ft) away from Devils Hole proper, where an endemic species of pupfish live. However fish do not live in DH2, which means that geologists can access the cave for research. Accessing the cave involves negotiating this 60ft vertical entrance pitch. #research #exploration #science #Nevada #scientist #underground  #fieldwork @uniinnsbruck @umnpics | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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We're here in Nevada with scientists from the University of Innsbruck, Austria to drill core samples… read more
Ash Meadows
We're here in Nevada with scientists from the University of Innsbruck, Austria to drill core samples from calcite deposited on the walls of Devils Hole #2 cave in Ash Meadows close to Death Valley. The calcite, known as mammillary calcite, has been depositing out of the water for hundreds of thousands of years. Analysis of the calcite will enable the scientists to construct a record of past changes in the climate in this area. Here, Dr. Yuri Dublyansky drills a core sample underwater using a custom made drilling set-up. #cave #research #exploration #science #scientist #underground #underwater #scuba #fieldwork @uniinnsbruck @umnpics | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Scientists from the University of Innsbruck in Austria work in the lower chamber of Devils Hole #2 cave… read more
Scientists from the University of Innsbruck in Austria work in the lower chamber of Devils Hole #2 cave in Ash Meadows, Nevada. The scientists are attempting to reconstruct past changes in the elevation of the water table in this region, which in previous different climate states has been much higher. Here a diver collects calcite samples from below the water table to work out how far it has dropped in the past, whilst a caver ascends the slope out of the chamber. #climatechange #science #innsbruck #fieldwork #exploration #research #cave @uniinnsbruck @umnpics | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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We're here in Nevada with scientists from the University of Innsbruck, Austria to drill core samples… read more
Ash Meadows
We're here in Nevada with scientists from the University of Innsbruck, Austria to drill core samples from calcite deposited on the walls of Devils Hole #2 cave in Ash Meadows, Nevada. The calcite, known as mammillary calcite, was deposited out of the water at a time when the water table was higher. Dating the age of the calcite will enable the scientists to construct a record of elevation changes in the water table over the last half a million years. #science #scientist #research #climatechange #Nevada #cave #DevilsHole #speleo #fieldwork @uniinnsbruck @umnpics | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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NEW PORTFOLIO on my website!!! If anyone would like to see photographs from our amazing expedition (March… read more
NEW PORTFOLIO on my website!!! If anyone would like to see photographs from our amazing expedition (March 2016) to explore the lost world on top of Tepuis in Venezuela, supported by the world leaders in cave exploration @laventaexploringteam, @theraphosavenezuela and assigned by @geomagazin then please take a look. Link in my bio.Pictured here and all alone, I made a self-portrait admiring a giant monolith of rock sticking up out from a pile of slabs that had fallen from the ceiling above. There are parts of Imawari Yueta, on Auyan Tepui, where breakdown piles like this make it difficult to explore. #exploration #science #Tepui #expedition #cave #caving #biology #Venezuela #Tepui #adventure #AuyanTepui @Rolex | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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During October 2015 and October 2016, I was lucky enough to team up with @laventaexploringteam and @geomagazin… read more
Dolomites, Italy
During October 2015 and October 2016, I was lucky enough to team up with @laventaexploringteam and @geomagazin to document the scientific studies and 3D laser scanning of one of the most epic cave shafts I've ever seen. Spring is coming. The story about the Abyss of El Cenote in the Italian Dolomites will soon be upon us! #exploration #SanCassiano #Dolomites #Italy #IceCave #expedition #cave #science #surveying #leica | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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We're hanging out in Carlsbad, New Mexico with one of the early explorers of Lechuguilla (cave). Pat… read more
Carlsbad, New Mexico
We're hanging out in Carlsbad, New Mexico with one of the early explorers of Lechuguilla (cave). Pat is recounting so many amazing stories from back in the day, when they were trying to map everything they found in a single day. Those were long days. Tomorrow, we will begin an 8-day camping trip inside the cave and hopefully map more undiscovered passages. #caveexplorer #Lechuguilla #cave #Carlsbad #NewMexico #CarlsbadNationalPark #exploration #adventure #JewelOfTheUnderground | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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I'm starting out on a six-week long multiple assignment here in the States. We're travelling to two caves,… read more
I'm starting out on a six-week long multiple assignment here in the States. We're travelling to two caves, Lechuguilla in New Mexico and Devils Hole in Nevada. The first stop is Lechuguilla in Carlsbad National Park, New Mexico. The cave is 138.3 miles (222.6 km) long, making it the seventh longest in the world. However, it offers much more than extreme size. It holds a variety of rare cave formations, including lemon-yellow sulphur deposits, 20 feet high gypsum chandeliers, 15 feet (4.6 m) long soda straw like formations, cave pearls and delicate helictites. It has been on my personal bucket list ever since I first read about it and saw the late Urs Widmer’s beautiful book - Jewel of the Underground.It's been almost five years to the day since I was underground with American speleologist Erin Lynch, who as far as I’m concerned is one of the world’s leading cave explorers. Her 15-year long work exploring China’s cave network is unrivalled by anyone! I can’t wait to catch up with Erin in Lechuguilla, as part of a five person team. This is a picture of Erin Lynch deep underground in one of her favourite caves in China called San Wan Dong. #explore #exploration #adventure #China #cave #underground #waterfall #expedition | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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What a great way to start the year! Profile inside British Airways 'First' magazine for first-class passengers.… read more
What a great way to start the year! Profile inside British Airways 'First' magazine for first-class passengers. Thanks also to the very talented Jessica Kendrew (@jkendrew) for such a beautiful sketch of me. #artist #art #sketch #drawing #pencil #portrait @british_airways #britishairways | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Thanks to everyone who has supported me over the years. These are my top nine photographs on #Instagram… read more
Thanks to everyone who has supported me over the years. These are my top nine photographs on #Instagram for 2016 based on the number of likes. Always interesting to see what works for you guys. Bring on 2017. Happy New Year! #2016bestnine | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Sad to hear that Carreg Plas, our family holiday home on the Lleyn Peninsula in NW Wales is up for sale.… read more
Aberdaron
Sad to hear that Carreg Plas, our family holiday home on the Lleyn Peninsula in NW Wales is up for sale. Such fond memories over so many years of amazing adventures.Watercolor I painted when I was a teenager of the view looking up the drive towards the house. #childhoodmemories #adventure #painting #art #landscape #watercolor #Wales #Aberdaron | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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I'm absolutely honoured to share a few pages with some of the worlds greatest photographers inside the… read more
I'm absolutely honoured to share a few pages with some of the worlds greatest photographers inside the latest book from @NatGeo! If you need a stocking filler, It'll make a neat little Christmas present ?@natgeobook @natgeomuseum #natgeoinspires #natgeobook #natgeomuseum | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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The caves of the Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak, Borneo, contain many beautiful calcite formations… read more
Mulu National Park, Sarawak, Malaysia
The caves of the Gunung Mulu National Park in Sarawak, Borneo, contain many beautiful calcite formations such as stalagmites, stalactites, flowstones and curtains. However, on occasion a cave explorer may stumble upon a formation that is completely unique and rare, such as this ‘pom pom’. Imagine the surprise and awe when this explorer popped his head up through this hole to find this beautiful formation above his head. He was certainly very pleased to see it! #ClearwaterCave #adventure #explorer #Sarawak #Mulu #Malaysia #speleothem #exploration #cave #underground #grotto #Borneo | © instagram.com/shonephoto
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Photo no.2 - This is the second of two back-to-back photographs from the same location. The first is… read more
Gunung Mulu National Park
Photo no.2 - This is the second of two back-to-back photographs from the same location. The first is the pic previous.Clearwater Cave in Gunung Mulu National Park, Malaysia, is currently recorded as the 8th longest cave in the world. This enormous cave system, which has many levels of passages at different elevations, has developed over millions of years. The highest levels are the oldest ones, and have long since been abandoned by the underground river that carved them out. Photographed here is the youngest and lowest level, which is being formed and modified by the present day river level. The large notch that is seen on both the left and right hand side of the passage formed when an impenetrable bed lay at the base of the river, preventing it from cutting downwards and causing the river to cut sideways instead. As the climate changed, so did the input to the cave system, and the impenetrable bed was removed allowing the river to once again cut down into the limestone. #cave #underground #Malaysia #Sarawak #Mulu #explore #explorer #river #adventure #ClearwaterCave #Borneo | © instagram.com/shonephoto