Photos by caving/climbing photographer Christopher “Cramp” Beauchamp
Even the darkest of nights cannot compare with the absence of light inside a cave. The grueling task of lugging 4,000 pounds of heavy-duty cable and scores of lights took six people three full days slogging through driving rain and mud. Every piece of equipment, food, expensive cameras, computers and audio gear had to be carried — by hand — down the only entrance to the cave: this narrow 30’ vertical metal tube with a crooked re-bar ladder (watch out for that broken third rung.) Then driving rain turned the dirt steps we carefully carved down the gulley to the cave’s entrance into slippery soup and the fields to muck (our vans did get stuck, only the old Soviet jeeps consistently got through.) A single industrial strength generator on the surface was our film’s life support. Below ground, there was the ever-present fear of taking a wrong turn. (Even our seasoned head caver got momentarily lost his first time inside.) We carefully taped up all the passages we could to avoid a chance fatality from getting lost.
Slovakia has some great historic river caves, so we took our caving and safety teams there to shoot adventure scenes, where we soaked and exhausted our story’s protagonist, caver Chris Nicola!