Prime Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth (Audio Download): James Tabor, Don Leslie, Random House Audio: Audible AudiobooksAuthor James Tabor –

This is about the psychological pressures faced by cave explorers The book is only partially about cave exploration a lot of the it focuses on the personalities that lead or organise the teams that explore caves and the problems that they must overcome.The book splits into two pieces one piece is about an American expedition leader and the other is about a Ukranian leader It seems that the author found it easier to write about the American leader than half the book is devoted to him and there seems much background and detail about the expeditions led by him than by the Ukranian It also seems like the American expeditions are naturally dramatic the Ukranian expeditions have fewer casualities and the organiser of them seems to be a much quieter person.The book is a fun read, if a little breathlessly hyperbolic about the lifestyle of a cave explorer The author writes in fine style and creates very well the feeling of claustrophobia and desperation that must be faced by the caving expedition teams There s not a terribly deep moral to the stories in the book and there s not much to take away from the book in an intellectual sense, but the author created sufficient enthusiasm in me that I ended up looking at the autobiography of the American team leader Inspiration to dig deeper no pun intended into the subject matter is an indicator of a good read, I think This Boys Own story of caving is OK if you like simple, straightforward tales of derring do, where men are granite jawed and women lithe and fragrant But the writing is cliched, the drama laid on with a trowel, the pictures are bad, and its repetitive Focussing on the adventure tale means its a missed opportunity to balance that with almost anything else There might be something to be said about, for example, how such caves are formed, their ecologies, their role in our culture But its not said here. We all know what a super cave is, well wrong A supercave is something else, a vast geological monster miles long and many thousands of feet deep Their exploration requires huge, costly expeditions, multiple subterranean camps and weeks spent underground Blind Descent chronicles two teams both aiming for the deepest cave system in the world Bill Stone in Mexico with American money and Alexander Klimchouk with Russian 20 years of exploration reach a finale of sorts in 2004 Bill Stone was looking at a Mexican cave called Cheve limestone and massive chambers , Klimchouk at Krubera in Abkhazia, south eastern Georgia vertical, tight and harsh These were driven men and a few women, all of whom pulled their own weight.Tabor, a writer with National Geographic, describes the work of these two teams They dig, they drill and bolt, they crawl, they live underground for weeks, they sump dive at 6,500 ft with out oxygen, they haul 40 lbs loads in batches of 16 that what it says on the photo 99% of the work supports the 1 % at the sharp end And they die In one passage alone a team laid 120 explosive charges to clear a squeeze for a litter to pass through.The campsites are numbered upwards, so Camp 6 is the very deepest At the end of a month s exploration two people passed through a sump, using re breathers, and did not exit that sump for 6 days Then three days ascent to sunlight There was no one else in the cave system, for the whole of those nine days They were over 5 miles from the entrance and nearly 5,000 feet down Margin of error Tabor is writing for the mass market and his technical descriptions are a little fuzzy Some 40% of the book is taken with his references But the stories are stunning and the descriptions are excellent, the writing carries you deeper The power of obsession is very impressive.A must read book. As a diver but not a caver I thought I d give this book a go I have to say its a great tale of expeditionary Super Caving quite a bit of it left me asking buy why.The story is worthy of 5 stars, but I have to take at least one star off for the terrible prictures so small you cannot see them and the total lack of diagrams maps.A simple map of the two regions, and some pyramid tunnel like drawing of 3 or 4 of the primary caves mentioned, drawn to scale, annotated with dates and depths, would add tremendously to the book Shame really, opportunity missed. The deepest cave on earth was a prize that had remained unclaimed for centuries, long after every other ultimate discovery had been made both poles by , Everest in , the Challenger Deep inInwe even walked on the moon And yet as late as , the earth s deepest cave the supercave remained undiscovered This is the story of the men and women who risked everything to find it, earning their place in history beside the likes of Peary, Amundsen, Hillary, and Armstrong In , two great scientist explorers are attempting to find the bottom of the world Bold, heroic American Bill Stone is committed to the vast Cheve Cave, located in southern Mexico and deadly even by supercave standards On the other side of the globe, legendary Ukrainian explorer Alexander Klimchouk Stone s polar opposite in temperament and style, but every bit his equal in scientific expertise, physical bravery, and sheer determination has targeted Krubera, a freezing nightmare of a supercave in the Republic of Georgia, where underground dangers are compounded by the horrors of separatist war in this former Soviet republic Blind Descent explores both the brightest and darkest aspects of the timeless human urge to discover to be first It is also a thrilling epic about a pursuit that makes even extreme mountaineering and ocean exploration pale by comparison PLEASE NOTE When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio Having been a caver for 39 years reading about people I d heard of in the 80 s 90 s made it a hard at times read but worth finishing.Also the fact they re still pushing these caves in 2018 makes it all relevant. Having been involved in potholing for many years It was interesting but a little disjointed at times it showed a a person who would drive himself very hard and not show care to his team.