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Sơn Đoòng cave ladder system to be stopped

Update: May, 25/2017 - 07:00
Stalactites at a section of Sơn Đoòng Cave. Photo credit Howard Limbert
Viet Nam News

QUẢNG BÌNH — The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has asked authorities in central Quảng Bình Province to stop installation of a ladder system in the local Sơn Đoòng Cave.

The ladder system is meant to protect stalactites inside the cave from trekkers.

In a document issued on Wednesday, the ministry expressed its concern that the installation of the ladders would affect the cave’s geographical structure. It also demanded a detailed report from the province People’s Committee on the project.

A ladder system is being installed inside the world largest cave, Sơn Đoòng, aimed at preserving recently-formed stalactites from trekkers. With these ladders, visitors inside the cave can trek on the new route – walking from the exit to the entrance instead of the normal entrance-exit route.

This would reduce time trekkers spent in the cave, which meant less human impact on the grotto.

There are two ladders being installed – one is 65m and the other is 25m.

According to Howard Limbert, the cave expert in the team of the British Cave Research Association that helped discovered the cave, the 65m ladder will be installed permanently with nails. It requires 23 nails, of which, eight will be installed while 15 others were hammered by the British association’s explorers in 2010 during their exploration trip, he said.

The 25m ladder is a single ladder that does not require nails and is removable.

Notably, the nails will be hammered to the karst surface and will not impact the stalactites.

Earlier, Limbert and Oxalis, the sole tour provider insider the cave, proposed the installation, following which the proposal was passed by authorities at the Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park on the technical side and the province’s authorities on administration management.

Sơn Đoòng is a world famous destination and thousands of visitors queue up to get an opportunity to trek inside the cave. However, sustainable policies allow a maximum of only 270 visitors per year. — VNS

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