The MSS started a dig to clear a passage 10 years ago and I end up on the trip due to some extra phone calls from Josh pulling for me so I make the short list of diggers. Seven in total.
Lets get into the pictures because it's digging dirt, you know how to do that right?
Javier (in yellow) hikes a narrow slot using climbing skills call "chimney" moves. It's friction climbing in that you use friction to hold yourself in place and not hands and feet. See Josh on the right! That's about the best belly scumming I've ever seen! This crack is vertical, he his not laying on a ledge with his feet hanging. He is holding himself in the air because the slot and his torso are the same size. He worms himself up a few inches at a time with great effort. I follow Josh up the same slot.
Javier is very happy, It was his project, I think, and he's been pushing this lead for years.
Al and I not long after the break through. Everyone is electrified with the accomplishment and a small party goes off in the new passage. The 4 diggers from the far side pass the restriction with ease and explore a room only seen by 5 or 6 people before.
This is Josh squeezing through the last bit. It's muddy, wet and greasy. With the main passage now open, it's possible Josh and I will be the last people to pass this restriction.
Below: Everyone returns to a staging area to change out of the very muddy gear so as to not make a mess of the main passage and the tour route. Note the large formation behind Brian. Looks like a huge cow tongue, right?
Some of the formations on the way to and from the dig site.
A short video to end things. This is Josh cleaning out a bucket used to move earth while Javier uses a pry bar to dig.