Expedition Adds Two Miles to Sistema Huautla Cave
The Feat: In April, Bill Steele and Tommy Shifflett led a groundbreaking expedition to Oaxaca, Mexico to explore Sistema Huautla. The cave system was originally discovered in 1965 and is considered the deepest in the Western Hemisphere, plunging 5,069 feet beneath the Earth's surface. After four weeks of exploration, the team expanded the system by 2.2 miles in length, and discovered six new species of cave-adapted animals: three new species of tarantulas, two new species of so-called daddy longlegs, and one new species of scorpion. Steele is convinced the cave goes deeper, and hopes the newly discovered passage will eventually lead the way to a vertical shaft. He'll be back in 2015 to find out.
Previous Record: In April 2103, a British team increased Sistema Huautla's depth by 265 feet.
The Near-Miss Moment: One crew of five cavers, led by John Harman, spent seven straight days underground in a section of the cave system that hadn't been touched since 1977.Back to top