Road washouts meant that Scott, with cave legend Kieran McKay, would fly into the cave entrance. Obie had hoped for a flight too!
After the travel and travails of the Northern spring, Scott had a relatively quiet winter in NZ. Once again he worked the Audi Quattro NZ Winter Games, a key stepping stone for winter athletes to qualify for the Sochi Olympics in Russia in 2014. The production crew spent hours every day in cloying fog and the organizers of the event had to be commended for well-run competitions despite the foul weather. Much of the mild winter, Scott was dad – holding the fort while Anna was guiding and frequently stepping up as (unpaid) photographer for her weekly ski columns.
In October, the family travelled to NW Nelson for Scott to scout the Stormy Pots cave system in preparation for a harrowing shoot which would involve a week underground looking to link what would become the Southern Hemisphere’s longest cave system. Scott then headed to Hawaii to film the Hawaii Ironman, went home to Utah for 2 days then returned to NZ for the cave shoot. Red Bull media sent a production crew from Germany and used the services of Making Movies, a NZ-based Production company.
Descriptions of travelling through the cave can bring on slight nausea: the ambient temperature hovers at 5-7C, it’s rubbly, muddy and dank and you sleep in 40 year old sleeping bags, left from early cave explorers. Scott, with his equipment, would squeeze through 12 inch (30cm) gaps – including squeezes that involved ducking underwater! The craziest section appears to be the “hinckle horn honking holes” – a narrow area where wind is funnelled through the cave at such velocity that it causes unearthly whistling and honking as cavers force their heads through the gaps. The link was found using paraffin and dye but even the most soft-boned caver cannot yet get through the fissure.
Never one to miss adventure, Scott arrived in LAX right after the TSA shooting, spent hours parked on the tarmac and a long day negotiating airport lines, finally arriving home at 2am after 40 or so hours of travel.
Good to hear you’re doing well and living the “usual” life of work and play. It must have been amazing to hear the Hinckle horn honking holes.
Best to you, Shawn O.