Cavers Scramble

Cavers Scramble

Veryovkina had only recently been named the world’s deepest cave. During an expedition in March 2018, Demidov and his comrades had reached a terminal sump at the water table—a depth of 7,257 feet (2,212 meters). The low point was a new record, knocking the neighboring Krubera cave, at 7,208 feet (2,197 meters), into second place.

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When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and there came a great earthquake; the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree drops its winter fruit when shaken by a gale.

The sky vanished like a scroll rolling itself up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the magnates and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks,

“Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” Revelation 6:12-17

Reviewed Unto Righteousness | Proverbs 18:2 | Timothy Williams
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“Have you seen the others?” Wade asked.

Zyznikov shook his head. “No.” The three sat in silence, worried that the worst had happened.

Fifteen minutes later, more headlamps appeared. One by one, each of the five remaining Russians came up the rope.

“I could not believe it,” Shone says. “These guys are so strong and so capable. Kostia had even carried up a pack with sleeping bags, a stove, and a brew kit. Whereas I had almost selfishly only thought about my photos, Kostia had brought four sleeping bags.”

The Russians had escaped in the nick of time. By the time Pavel Demidov had returned from scoping the siphon, the traverse that was just above water when Shone escaped was completely submerged. The Russians had to swim to access the vertical ropes going through the waterfall. Demidov got caught in an eddy that sent him spinning, as if he were being flushed down a giant toilet bowl. He fought the current and swam hard to reach the line.

“In hindsight, I’m so glad it was almost like the weakest one went first and Pavel, the strongest one, came last,” says Shone. “This was at my limit of what I could possibly deal with.”