Translated Jeff Matthews
Some time ago in the faraway lost mountains of the Caucusus, in Abkhazia, the ultimate in speleology was attained with what is today still the world record for cave depth: the Krubera karst system (the Wikipedia article in English on the Kubrera cave is here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krubera_Cave). For more than a decade the most intrepid cavers in the world went lower and lower into the chambers. In 2004, for the first time, they reached and passed -2000 meters and then at -2,148 reached a siphon that seemed to be the end of the road. They called that spot “Game Over”. BUT—it wasn't. The Ukranian scuba caver Gennady Samokhin went even further and on August 10 reached -2,197 meters. Even now they insist that the story is not finished, that the grotto still has to have some surprises left, that “...the caves are never over—today's limits are tomorrow's challenges—just wait for the right time and then push ahead.”
Why am I telling you this? Because I like to think that in caving there is no limit to what can happen tomorrow? The answer is simply that I like to dream, and it is in this spirit that I inject the magical term “Game Over” from Kubrera into the news I have just received from much closer to home, Monte Alifano: the grotto that we dreamed of for so many years seems to be at the “Game Over” point. It leads nowhere. That is what we are learned from Geppino e Luciano (two cavers from the Italian Alpine Club) after their inspection.
Click on image to enlarge
That is the way it stands today...but tomorrow, who knows? Maybe others will move ahead, someone somewhere down the road will go beyond the point where we have declared “Game Over.” That's what caving is about—dreaming of even the smallest things, of that which seems impossible.
p.s. I don't know if I shall ever return to that spot, but one thing is certain: it was a great pleasure to explore there the first time and then dream for 25 years and then to return once again with friends new and old. My thanks to all of you.
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