Going Underground! Incredible pictures of adventures dwarfed by nature as they discover previously unexplored caves
Adventurers have gone deep underground to discover previously unexplored caves in these incredible pictures.
The awe-inspiring snaps show the cavers dwarfed by the huge series natural rock chambers in the Leye – Fengshan Geopark, China.
Belgian photographer Francois-Xavier De Ruydts, 33, captured the team of explorers as they trekked through the deep wonderground in January 2014.
The seven climbers were invited by the park to investigate some of the harder to reach pits and passages.
In 10 days of exploration they managed to discover and map 10km of cave networks and rappel into 35 new pits.
The park is facing a battle against cave pillagers who cut off stalactites, stalagmites, cave pearls to sell at local markets for decoration.
Now officials are hoping that the new information and incredible pictures will help turn the caves into tourist attractions to provide nearby residents with an alternative revenue from the caves and stop the vandalism.
Francois-Xavier said: “I love exploring and caving is all about exploration so when I was given the opportunity to join this trip I jumped at it.
“It’s one of the last places on earth where you can still set foot where no human has ever been. It’s an amazing feeling and the caves are just beautiful and intriguing.
“I have been taking cave photos since I started my career four years ago. I was looking for a niche, something that other photographers don’t do.
“I thought caving was ideal because it is a photographer’s worst nightmare: it is pitch black, muddy, wet, dirty, it takes you hours or sometimes days to get to where you want to shoot!”