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Drew Bristow: “It was truly a great feeling to step where no human had been before, especially after a 450m abseil down to the bottom of the crater. […] To hear and feel molten rock exploding less than 30m away from you is pretty mind-blowing.”
Image by James Reynolds - Earth Uncut Productions
Helicopter pilot Phil Cotter moving climbing gear.
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"We always tried to climb next to each other to limit the possibility of rock fall on top of each other." In the image, 2 km of climbing rope.
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“On the descent we had tried to fit rope protectors on the sharp edges but the constant wind kept lifting our ropes.”
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Drew: “The bigger issue is the Sulphur Dioxide that is present; this burns your throat and lungs and necessitates the use of gas masks for a lot of the time.”
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Going down the crater…
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“It looks purely magnificent at night. One evening [we] witness the crater with no gases and the lava lake appeared to glow white hot for maybe 20 seconds. This was something none of us had ever heard of and will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
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"We clipped the ascenders on and turned them on and slowly started ascending up the rope. Looking behind us was a seething roaring mass of molten rock. I think we spent quite a while just sitting there watching..."
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Into the heart of a volcano: first descent to the bottom of Marum Volcano

Posted: Oct 19, 2012 01:30 pm EDT

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(Correne Coetzer) They abseiled 450m down to the bottom of the crater of Marum Volcano; the sound and the vibration are something that is hard to describe, says Drew Bristow, “to hear and feel molten rock exploding less than 30m away from you is pretty mind-blowing.” In 2011 Bristow and his climbing partner, Johno Smith, become the first people to descend to the bottom of Marum Volcano, Ambrym Island, Vanuatu. It is amazing that it is not hot at all down there, Drew says to ExplorersWeb, “due to the cold air...

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