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Extreme Caving: The Search for the Basement of the World

Everyone knows that Mt. Everest is the roof of the world. But where is the deepest cave? A team of Ukrainian cave explorers has broken the record for the deepest trip ever into the bowels of our planet. They descended two kilometers below the surface.

The spot at which Yuri Kasjan and his team entered history is wet, cramped and cold. The cavern, deep inside the Arabika Massif located in the former Soviet state of Georgia, is barely ten meters (33 feet) wide by ten meters high. Fine sand covers the ground on which the adventurers stand — above their heads, more than two kilometers of limestone press down upon them.

“Gra Skinchylas” — or “game over” — is what the Ukrainian speleologists have named the vault and from there, the only direction they can go is up. But they have already reached their goal: The explorers are exactly 2,080 meters below the entrance to the Krubera Cave in the Abakhazian Ortobalagang Valley — a new world record. They are the first people ever to have climbed more than two kilometers deep into a cave. … More

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