dong Liuchiaokouxiadong - 六尺凹口下洞

Head towards Qikeng from Tianxing. After first shortcut rejoins road, take the immediate uphill continuation of the path.

Entrance Series
The entrance to the cave is an obscure slot among crags. It is strongly draughting, but the draught changes direction according to the outside temperature. A small hole has been drilled in the crag near the entrance as a permanent survey station.
The entrance pitch is initially rather tight, but immediately widens. There is a ledge after 3m and then a further 2m to the floor. Here there are two ways on to the north.
A short climb up leads into a crawl which soon becomes a body sized tube, which passes round a sharp right-hand corner after 10m and then a squeeze through a stal grille. After a further 10m the passage enlarges and there is a traverse round a 3m deep hole, the bottom of which is reached by following the passage beyond the traverse to a small chamber where there are two upstream passages (one too low) and a downstream one, which leads via some damp crawling to the passage below the traverse. Continuing downstream, the passage develops a narrow vadose trench, and gradually enlarges until the main passage is reached just at the start of the Long Leggedy Thing traverse.
Back at the bottom of the entrance pitch, at floor level is a rubble slope down into a crawl, which gradually decreases in height and passes through some puddles until after 10m it emerges into a walking size passage, which after a further 10m reaches the 'Long Leggedy Thing' traverse. Here the alternative route from the entrance enters on the right.
Long Leggedy Thing is a traverse above a narrow vadose trench, which can be followed at several different levels; at the top it is wide and often has large but rather slippery ledges. Lower down the traverse is narrow and occasionally blocked partially by rocks. After 30m is a climb down to floor level, where progress is briefly rather awkward before the passage enlarges for 20m to a large right-hand corner with a fine stalagmite. The next 10m is again rather awkward before enlarging at a junction with an inlet to the right, which has not been pushed. To the left, the passage immediately reaches the head of narrow pitch, The Big Pitch.
The Big Pitch is descended by traversing out for about 5m until the rift widens enough to get down, and is all of 8m deep. A traverse beyond the pitch head reaches a high level passage which has not been explored. At the foot of The Big Pitch, two more small pitches follow immediately, and the way on, Screaming Frogs is initally a 2m wide walking passage. However, after only a few metres, where two passages enter on the left, the way ahead narrows. The passage can be followed either by stooping at floor level, or by climbing up to a wider crawl. Either way, after 10m, a chamber at the base of an aven is reached; care should be taken when entering the chamber to avoid damaging a small cluster of delicate stals on the right wall.
Beyond the aven, the passage runs straight for 45m with a trench in the floor which can easily be traversed over, and an inlet on the left after 30m; beyond the inlet the passage narrows, and progress is made by traversing upwards. The passage abruptly turns through 120 degrees to the right, and the corner can be passed either at ceiling level (with a climb down afterwards) or by crawling through a stal grille lower down. A fine stal column about 3m high gives this section of passage its name, The Cliché. It's possible to get back down to stream level here, but both upstream and downstream become too tight.
The way on is about 4m above the floor, reaching a pitch back down to the stream after a few metres. At ceiling level here there is an unexplored crawl to the left, and also a possible traverse over the pitch (the traverse at the level of the pitch head merely gains the top of the wedged rocks on the other side of the chamber, with no way on).
At the foot of the pitch, the passage is initially 2m wide and walking-height, but soon a choice of several smaller ways on is reached - stream level is the most straightforward. A stooping rift soon turns into a gravelly crawl round a left-hand corner before enlarging briefly. The continuing stoop/crawl passes a hole up on the right after 15m, where there is a dry inlet and a high level passage which is assumed to bypass the remainder of the crawl. The passage enlarges after a few more metres. A short section of walking passage with boulders gives way to rift with a calcited shelf on the left. Climb up here to a chamber with a floor of boulders and flowstone blockage at the far end. A small stream enters high on the left (possibly too tight) and the way on is to climb through the calcite grill, taking care with the poised boulders. The easiest way through the grill is to follow the right hand side at first and then cross over to the left and climb down the mound of shattered rock. Here the passage splits into two levels.
The upper level continues with an inlet entering from high on the right. After 20m there is a hole down on the left which connects to the lower level. A small inlet (unexplored) enters on the far side of the pit, while a traverse along the right gains a narrow continuation which has not been pushed to a conculsion.
The lower level is best reached by doubling back from the mound of shattered rock and climbing down 2m into passage with the continuation of the stream from before. Upstream ends in the bottom part of the flowstone blockage, while downstream is 3m high, 3m wide comfortable walking passage with the occasional traverse around pools. After 20m the passage opens out and the upper level can be seen coming in from above.
Along the passage a clamber over (or under) boulders leads to a cliff of calcite, boulders, and mud. The way down is via Combined Tactics Climb, an overhung 2m climb in the streamway, or through a wet squeeze a few metres back from the climb. The head of the climb pinches in, making it difficult even with a handline. It would be best rigged with a ladder and long sling belayed to nearby stals.
The climb lands in a 7m wide chamber where an inlet enters from passage high on the left (a few bolts or a daring climber needed). To the right the stream flows into a low crawl that ends in a choke. Straight ahead climb up and over breakdown to a clean washed circle of limestone with a loose climb of mud and rocks on the far side. At the top of the climb there are 2 ways on: To the right and down is a low, pretty crawl (unsurveyed) which connects to the streamway. The better option is ahead, where a stoop followed by a short section of keyhole passage regains to the streamway beyond the worst of the low bits. The streamway continues for 15m as a crawl/stoop with a network of higher, unpushed crawls on the left hand side. WARNING: this section of streamway is the only flood risk thus far encountered in the cave. Efforts should be made to find a bypass.
The crawl in the streamway ends at The 260, a 2.6m pitch. The pitch overhangs and the rock is not good for bolting; however there is a large nose of rock a few metres back on the right hand side. A rope protector is needed on the edge, and the stream runs down the rope and makes things generally unpleasant. It is likely that a crawl on the left a few metres before the pitch will provide a bypass.
Below the pitch, a climb up on the left leads to a junction where a crawl to the left probably bypasses the pitch is unexplored. Just beyond the climb, also on the left, is a crawl at roof level, also unexplored. Continuing downstream past a fragile rock bridge, the stream enters a small chamber with a large boulder above where the stream exits. The way on is beneath the boulder, but climbing onto the boulder there are unexplored passages to the left and to the right (above the way on).
Crawling beneath the boulder, the passage is stooping height for a few metres before enlarging at a junction. To the right is a climb up to two unexplored passages, while left continues as stooping or walking height, gradually increasing in size until it suddenly emerges into a 10m wide, 6m high passage, Change of Scale.
[EML, DRJC 2003]

Upstream Change of Scale continues for 100m over a mound of fallen roof slabs which rises to meet the roof. The stream enters from an impenetrable slot on the western side. On the eastern side there is a bolt climb up to a narrow inlet (unexplored). [QM B]

Change of Scale
Downstream, the passage continues undiminished, passing a large alcove on the left where there is a climb up to another large passage. Some 150m from the junction, a crawling-height inlet enters at ceiling height and shortly thereafter another junction is reached, with a muddy 5m wide fossil passage entering from the left. The fossil passage and the inlet intersect, and the combined passage heads west, initally 5m wide, but soon degenerating to a stoop followed by a climb up into a 4m diameter chamber. In the chamber there is a lead over a wall of infill , but the way on is through a crawl at the bottom which leads to the bottom of an unstable slope up into a larger chamber. Here the stream splits, with most of the water coming from the top of a 5m bolt climb [QM B], while the rest emerges from a low wet crawl. The crawl has been pushed to a small chamber with two trickles from impenetrable holes in the ceiling and an even smaller crawl going off. From the junction with the fossil passage, Change of Scale, the main passage and streamway, continues for 40m to Pig Fat chamber containing a large boulder pile.

Soap Dodger Streamway
The less obvious route is ascending the boulders to the left and then dropping down through a archway into the large boulder-strewn Potatoeschamber with the sound of water. The chamber is obviously fault-controlled, and slickensides are visible on the walls. A bed of purplish rock is visible in many of the boulders in the chamber. From the far end of the chamber a short climb down leads to a small hole rigged with a backup off boulders and a single spit for a 6m hang. This drops into a 6m wide passage with a stream. The passage initially heads just south of east, but soon turns north, another stream entering on the corner and sinking immediately into the Soap Dodger Streamway. The main passage continues to the northwest for 20m to a small boulder chamber where a continuation northeast ends after a further 20m in a faintly draughting choke with passage visible beyond. Back at the start of the Soap Dodger Streamway a three metre climb down gains the floor of a small rift passage which soon lowers to stooping height. After 30m a junction is reached. Left here goes for 15m to a boulder choke, passing an inlet which immediately leads to climbs up to the right. The streamway flows to the right at the junction, almost immediately encountering a second junction where a dry passage to the right leads to an aven and an unpushed dry inlet. The streamway continues to the northeast mostly as low stooping with numerous doglegs. After 70m there is an obscure way on to the right which provides part of the draught Dysentery. The streamway continues beyond the junction with Dysentry, down a 3m climb and futher small cascades, before shrinking to become a body-sized Bathtime Crawl with squeezes and a small duck. Beyond it continues strongly draughting with the stream flowing into a series of committing downhill squeezes [QM C]

Dysentery Passage is the main way on. It begins as a flat-out gritty crawl to a small chamber. From here small muddy phreas descends to a body-sized mud tube with an awkward bend to the right. The passage continues as a series of dog-legs and short climbs down, with tube-shaped fossils visible in several places. The passage gradually enlarges to a narrow walking/stooping rift before finally rejoining the Soap Dodger Streamway (beyond the ducks) in a 10m-diametre chamber at the bottom of another climb down. The way on from here is a 10m pitch into comfortable-sized canyon passage, The Right Kind of Disco.

The Right Kind of Disco
Upstream in The Right Kind of Disco the stream re-enters from an aven. Downstream the 5m wide, 20m wide passage occasionally splits with the water going through stooping-height passage with a dry oxbow to the side. The limestone is blue and white, with several scoured slabs in the streamway. After 100m the passage splits for a final time, with the 4m high stream passage to the left leading to the head of an 8m pitch, Spread Legs, while to the right a muddy, high-ceilinged oxbow provides an unpleasant alternative rig point. Spread Legs lands at a shallow pool which drains over a mud and cobble floor, leading immediately to another pitch. The walls here are coated in thick mud and broad muddy ledges extend over the pitch in an ongoing but slightly reckless traverse level. The 10m shaft is divided by a tall curtain of rock about 2m long that allows a dry descent protected from the water that lands in another shallow pool founded in mud and gravel. 10m ahead a third shaft of about 10m depth is encountered. A broad solid ledge on the right isslippy with thick heavy clay mud. Ahead a narrow rift continues with the floor far below. At the base of the pitch the character of the cave changes again as You Lucky Lucky Bastards is encountered.

You Lucky Lucky Bastards
The base of the pitch into You Lucky Lucky Bastards is again falt floored, muddy and circular. Ahead a narrower passage continues in a tall meandering rift. The walls a slick with aqueous mud and friable plates of choss cut across the passage at various heights. the passage is generally widest closest to stream level and although a few potential fossil traverse levels appear, they all close down rapidly. This continues for about 150m until the solid roof lowers to a couple of metres height. The draft here becomes more noticeable and an unexpected slot in the floor bells out into a 25m shaft. Ahead a traverse continues over the now very narrow slot to a corner a few meters beyond.

Ahead from the base of On a Promise a steep mud ramp ascends to a window that looks out into the base of another aven. Meanwhile the stream winds around the flat mud floor disappearing down a 2m wide passage in shale which meanders briefly before heading straight. A few pools are crossed and then a short pitch, On A Promise, is reached that overlooks a large 5-10m wide passage, Riggwelter with a larger stream, almost certainly the main stream first met in Change of Scale. Upstream this has been followed along traverses over several pools to a deeper pool, followed by a climb. Upstream ends in an aven [QM C] and is inline with where the original stream is known to sump. A few metres downstream of the On A Promise a small inlet enters from the top of a 3m climb. Combined tactics required. 15m above the start of the upstream passage a high-level horizontal passage can be seen [QM B].
In the downstream direction the passage is 10m+ wide, with a 2-5m water-worn channel between mud-covered ledges. It descends steadily with a series of small cascades/climbs and a waist-deep wade to the head of a short pitch. Here ledge system widens considerably on the right hand side and it is possible to climb up and traverse round to the east where a deep rift (undescended) [QM A] enters, trending southeast to northwest. Back in the main passage, the short pitch may be bypassed by following the water down a 2m wide, 2 deep hole which is 20m before the pitch. This accesses a lower level of a double decker passage that is very smooth washed like a waterslide. Shortly after the passages reunite a wet 10m pitch, The Lubricator, drops over chossy rock to land in a spray-lashed pool. Beyond the passage is bisected vertically, with an inaccessible high-level continuation. The way on is with the water through a short crawl, taking the left hand branch to the top of a 220m shaft, The Penetrator. Note there is a solid roof immediately above The Penetrator, so presumably the high-level lead does not connect throug.

Blue Balls
From the base of On a Promise, a short climb up to the left leads to horizontal walking passage which is followed shortly by a short pitch down. The pitch may be bypassed by returning to the main Riggwelter streamway and continuing downstream for 50m to a short climb up an inlet. The inlet connects through to the base of the pitch. From here, Blue Balls continues on the same bearing as the original horizontal walking passage. Initially it is a narrow rift a couple of metres high partly blocked by fallen blocks. After about 30m a muddy chamber is reached with evidence of a seasonal water flow. A climb up to a hole reveals a muddy tube continuing straight ahead, but too choked to follow. A second climb up requires bolts and has not been investigated. The final option is a grovel through a dig at floor level. This has been forced into bigger crawling/stooping passage which gradually enlarges until it becomes a 4m wide, 2m high phreas with a mud floor and some nice stal. This passage consistently slopes down at about -10 degrees and follows a fairly reliable bearing close to 345 degrees continuing for about 300m in total. After 100m a small drippy inlet is encountered and the passage breifly closes down before opening out again. A little later a slightly larger inlet enters from the east. It is possible that the left hand roof of the passage here is noticeably higher than the rest of the roof and it may conceal a connection with the nearby Lanmu Cun Cun. After 250m more flowstone is encountered and then the passage begins to shrink to a crawl before a small constriction blocks the way on. The sound of falling water can be heard ahead and the passage has good air.
The blockage has been well hammered to reach a flat out corner followed by a 2m drop. An immature rift beneath a flowstone shell breaks out into a drippy chamber. Following the stream through a short series of low crawls until the floor slopes away into Typhoon pitch in Lanmu Shu.

The Penetrator
The Penetrator is a spectacular 220m shaft with 195m section which could be rigged as a freehang. The long axis of the shaft runs roughly northwest-southeast. At the top, The Penetrator is 10m wide southwest-northeast and no wall can be seen to the northwest. It drops 25m to a ledge on the left hand side (southwest). The stream goes down a gully to the right, so the shaft is best rigged by traversing to the far end of the ledge to avoid most of the spray. Immediately below the ledge the rock is chossy and covered with thick glutinous mud which should be gardened thorougly before descent. Below this the rock improves and the shaft cuts through thick bedded limestone. Two rebelays immediately below the ledge are followed by a 60m freehang from which a large rock bridge can be seen on the far side of the shaft, which divides The Penetrator from a parallel shafts. The freehang touches down on a large butress which juts out from the southeast. Water lands on the ledge, most going down a gully to the west. The pitch is rigged down the east side. After FIXME m the shaft is further divided by a second butress running northwest-southeast. The rig continues down a 2-4m wide overhung slot between the two butresses. The base of The Penetrator bells out and has three lobes: the smallest is to the west, while to the south it is 4m wide and ascends steeply over polished boulders, to the north it is 6m diameter and flat-floored.

Big Bang
Downstream of The Penetrator, Big Bang is an extremely high rift 1-3m wide at its base and larger above. The rock of the streamway is sculpted and well polished. The passage continues down in a sporting manner, with a series of traverses, climbs, and wades through pools until a final 2m climb comes to the head of a short pitch Short Strokes. The pitch drops 8m to a 10m section of horizontal passage, followed by a further undescended pitch.
[QM A]

Doubling back to the left in Potatoes follow a small inlet up an initally small passage which gradually enlarges. The water comes out of a low grovel which has not been pushed [QM C]. The passage ends in a slope up to an aven.
Traversing around to the right in Pig Fat follow the streamway down a huge slope of boulders to 10m wide passage which continues for 100m to an area of breakdown. Here a small stream comes out of a passage high on the right hand wall (unexplored) and high on the left there is another unexplored passage (maypole required). The area of breakdown has three distinct streams, one of which is presumably the Change of Scale stream.
The way on is a climb up a mud slope for 2m to a collapsed bedding crawl to the left. After 30m it is flat-out, then pops into a small chamber with another inlet entering from the right; an aven and a mud slope straight ahead; and a hole down to the main stream way on the left. The mud slope bypasses the inital small, scrotty section of the inlet to gain passage which can be followed for 70m to an aven [QM C]. Dropping into the main streamway, a 10m section of low wet passage reaches a partial choke where a hole up into the choke bypasses 5m of grovelling through boulders in the stream, to reach a slot through into a large continuation.
After 20m of 5m wide bouldery passage the stream disappears down a parallel stooping/crawling height passage on the left which has not been followed for its full length. Where the stream sinks there are two high level passages which require maypoling. The main way on kinks briefly to the right and becomes flat mud floored and 10m wide. After 15m an inlet on the right goes for 60m to a pair of avens ,The Stores, where an enormous rat was seen in 2004.
Following the main passage for another 15m comes to a choice of three ways on. To the right: Golden or Green Leaves Inlet takes a good draught and goes for 80m of narrow rift passage to a large aven [QM B]. To the left of centre: an area of gravity-defying breakdown can be followed for 40m to a degenerate crawl [QM C]. Near the beginning and end of this passage it is possible to climb up to the third and main way on. The third way on begins as a slight ascent into 10m-wide boulder-floored passage where a hole on the left connects back to the streamway. This passage may be followed for 150m gradually reducing in size, and passing a small side passage next to a pool of water after 120m. Beyond the passage is a crawl which turns sharp left before breaking out into a 4m wide mud-floored passage with the stream flowing below the floor. Down a hole to the right a short climb reaches the stream. The streamway goes for 40m in gradually smaller passage, starting spacious and ending with a 1m wide crawl to a sump. To the left before the climb down, 5m wide passage goes for 30m to a junction. On the right the streamway flows in small passage which can be followed both upstream and downstream. To the left a smaller muddy passage goes for 15m to rejoin the aforementioned passage near a pool.
[EML, DRJC 2003]
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