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Beyond the Deep: Deadly Descent into the World's Most Treacherous Cave
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Beyond the Deep: Deadly Descent into the World's Most Treacherous Cave

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  403 ratings  ·  37 reviews
The Huautla Caves system in Mexico has long been the Holy Grail of cavers. Fighting floods, cave-ins and Mazatec Indians who believe the caves are holy, caving teams have competed every year to be the first to prove the cave's depth. No-one has gone further than Bill Stone, the world's foremost caver, whose 20-year obsession nearly ended in disaster. ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 30th 2010 by Little, Brown & Company (first published June 2003)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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Jason Morrison
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you enjoyed any of the more popular books on Everest, this is a must read!

I so thoroughly enjoyed reading this one. Much like the world of mountaineering, caving has its own language and lifestyle. I found this equally fascinating as I did when reading Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer.

What truly amazed me about this book was picturing the explorers seeing all of these sights for the very first time, before any other human. The knowledge it took to explore as deep as they did and make to get as f
Jan 25, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
“Wow! Would you look at that!” Barbara said, standing atop one of the truck-boulders. A towering stalagmite thrust up into the blackness, like a citadel guarding the gates of beyond. Its height made it a useful landmark in the massive chamber, which was 140 meters wide and more than thirty meters high. (p. 231, nookbook)

That is why I love to read these kinds of books. There's the thrill, the adrenaline rush. And I have just learned that cavers have their own cliche. Why do they continue searchin
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a non-fiction extreme story of extreme "Caver" Bill Stones descent into the Mexican cave, Huautla. The story is a breath-taking, emotional, and exciting tale of the world of these incredibly athletic divers and explorers. It makes "Into Thin Air" seem like a walk in the Park since these guys don't know what lays ahead - and it's done with limited vision. Is it a new route beyond the known? Is it death? Any small mistake can be extremely dangerous -- which often happens. Will they perseve ...more
I enjoyed reading this book (the cover grabbed my attention, more than anything else). It moved at a fast pace; it was honest about sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly about the different team members (including the leader, Bill Stone). (I actually felt that Bill Stone was "presented 'worse'" (or came across worse) in Blind Descent than in this book.) It was interesting reading about the different character dynamics amongst the various team members.

(view spoiler)
Fate's Lady
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I tend to go down rabbit holes in my reading patterns, so after reading "Into the Planet" pretty much at random, I picked up this "also recommended". Whereas with the other book I felt invited into the intimate experience of a woman's life in diving, this book felt dry, academic, and frankly kind of self-aggrandizing. Stone (who writes about himself in the third person, presumably to make the work feel more objective than it is) is the leader of a dive team pushing his divers, cavers, and friend ...more
Galactic Hero
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The book recounts a 1994 expedition into the Huautla cave system in Oaxaca, Mexico. It was lead by coauthor, caveman extraordinaire, and fascinating character of whom I'd never heard before, Bill Stone. While I've since learned that this expedition was one of several that Bill Stone has lead in that region over the years, 1994 was particularly eventful as it marked the first use there of his rebreather diving system, which allowed Stone to cross a previously unexploreable sump. (view spoiler) ...more
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A gritty retelling of the 1994 descent into one of the most dangerous flooded caves on Earth. Led by Bill Stone, the large cast is hard to follow at times, but also helps establish the scale of logistics, equipment, and training involved with teams searching for undiscovered cave "booty." Maps and personal journals help immerse the reader in the risks, suffering, euphoria, and interpersonal conflict. Those who like this book may also enjoy Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place o ...more
Gary Detrick
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it
***1/2. I enjoy the reading of the adventurous and unexplored areas our our earth. A more dangerous mission and very hard working type of adventure than I originally thought, I will leave this type of exploration to the "professionals". While I would love to take a quick trek into the Cave of Crystals (look up and view the amazing images!) in Mexico, I don't have any desire to search underground for the deepest cave system in our Earth. I'll take my chances with a visit to the Antarctica or nort ...more
Oct 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked the book and all the details on their exploration of the cave system. Unfortunately the maps were always shown in the beginning of a chapter and were full of spoilers. I would have chosen to add more maps and show them after it was explained in text.
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nice read. Would have been better if the drawings came after the chapters. Often they contained spoilers. The drawings would show progress made and places where they ran in to trouble like "X fell from y and broke z". Other than that it was a nice read. ...more
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: diving
Entertaining and gripping, what more could you want?
OK, it does feel a bit clumsy in places (especially around the dialogue).
Feb 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I read this book on a giant kindle but I don't remember when. ...more
Peter Moran
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Thrilling view of cave digging

I was looking for a good book about real life adventure, and this surely paid off. Hope to read more like this.
Mar 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Apparently I'm on a cave kick right now (after recently reading The Deep Zone and Blind Descent) but I think I'm starting to get burnt out. Beyond the Deep is written by Bill Stone, who was one of the men featured in Blind Descent. His journey through the Huautla cave in Mexico was a large part of Blind Descent, but this is a much more in depth account of that journey.

Bill and his then-girlfriend, Barbara, are leading a team to try and extend the depth of Huautla. Bill believes that it has the p
May 26, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah M.
Mar 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
Why: When Mr. Lefebvre book talked this one last week, it actually terrified me. So I know I have to read it. And I just read the first few pages via the preview available on Amazon and I was pretty terrified, but couldn't look away. Also, my students are right now reading personal narrative writing, so I must as well.

When: start 10/7/13, end 10/17/13

How: as an ebook on my ipad, purchased through my local independent book seller.

Thoughts: I've been thinking a lot about why people spend all kind
Jul 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
I would say I was so "meh" on this book because I'm not genuinely interested in the subject matter - cave diving - except that I am not at all interested in deep sea diving, either, and yet Shadow Divers was fascinating to me. So I have to believe that this story just wasn't told as well. Even with the diagrams and photos, it was difficult for me to really picture the events as they took place. Sometimes people were referred to by their first names, sometimes by their last names, and it was hard ...more
Jul 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Any book packed with this much adventure and brushes with death automatically deserves 4 stars. It didn't cross the 5-star threshold because I felt the writing was a bit stiff overall. The character introduction was pretty laughable "And then Bob entered the room. Once Bob was seated and cracked a joke, Tom entered the room. Awakened by the chatter, Will then came into the room." Etc, etc...
The author tried to convey each different personality and was marginally successful but not brilliantly so
Oct 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Hautla Cave System in southeastern Mexico. A very exciting book. These people combine mountain climbing skills with deep sea diving to explore underground river systems. It is so exceedingly dangerous. These explorers are truly crazy. They go over 3000 feet below ground and stay there for weeks.

Instead of using oxygen tanks for diving, Bill invented the re-breather. It is a totally efficient closed system that scrubs out the carbon dioxide so you can use it for very long periods of time. The div
Merima Smajic
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
For armchair adventurers like myself ( I have 3 kids, a husband and a mortgage, OK!) this is the perfect escape. The writing, while nothing spectacular nevertheless relays the various emotions of the expedition. There is Dr stone, highly driven and seemingly obsessed with 'cracking' the Hautla Sistema. His Girlfriend Barbara who's positivity is unyielding. The wisecracking duo made up of Kenny and Ian, amateur cavers who lend a hand hauling a tonne of equipment into the cave and various other pe ...more
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Currently my favorite adventure book. One of the authors is female, which is a nice change. Her attitude is of robotic emotionless-ness, though, so I actually preferred the chapters written by the male group leader. Both of the authors are Ph.D.s--one was featured in Spectrum for his rebreater, which is was key for the adventure in this book. Combines several of the aspects of adventurous sports that I think people are crazy to do:
*Climbing steep, tall surfaces
*Climbing wet surfaces
*Exploring co
Josh Stephens
Mar 26, 2011 rated it liked it
An interesting book. Certainly a crazy occupation: deep cave diving. This book was exciting and full of twists and turns. What I didn't like about it was the difficulty of following it at times. The caving culture has a bunch of their own lingo, and this book did a good job making sense of it for the everyday person but at times I found myself going back in the book wondering what something meant. Trying to visualize tunnels, sumps, rebelays, hand cranks, underwater passageways, etc was very har ...more
Nov 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Explorers and outdoorsey types

The writing won't win any literary awards, but I really liked "Beyond the Deep". This story of an expedition exploring one of the final frontiers here on Earth captivated me. Logistics, group dynamics, leadership (and lack thereof), technical jargon, and the realities of life in a cave, etc all combine to form a compelling story.

Particularly interesting is how once again, the attitude team members bring with them has profound effects...
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-research
An interesting read about the exploration of one of the deepest caves on the planet, and one of the most difficult as it includes serious diving.

I enjoyed reading about the preparation required, and all the work involved in the process. It was interesting to see the various personalities, and how each person dealt with things. It was enlightening to see how in the high-stress environment, little differences and attitudes can make such a difference.
Sep 21, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction, abandoned
Couldn't get very far into this book. The first few chapters are all about the characters bickering and about who thinks who's unqualified and who's jealous of whom. I read this kind of book for the exciting adventure parts, not to hear about everyone's personal drama, especially if it isn't even interesting drama.
Several of the reviews on the back of the book compared it favorably to Into Thin Air, but I didn't think the quality of the writing came anywhere close to John Krakauer's.
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
wow. if you love the idea of spelunking and need cured or infected with the bug, this will do the trick, i think, either way. scary scary scary if you are claustrophobia (or even not!) or have a fear of drowning. exciting and thrilling and an edge of your seat read if you can get past all that.
Nov 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While the subject matter is definitely interesting, especially if you like non-fiction adventure, the characters are irritating and the writing mediocre. However, I picked up reading the second half while in Mexico, and the context gave me the fortitude to finish. I am in awe of what they do/did and if you like these kinds of books, it's worth reading. Three stars just not to get your hopes up. ...more
Interesting story but it gets bogged down in a lot of technical jargon. The story also gets confusing because everyone who was there at the time, whether they were a core member or not, gets mentioned by name. It's a lot of people. Also pictures would have been helpful as I had a hard time imagining a lot of what they were describing, especially the scale of everything. ...more
Nov 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Caves are an armchair passion of mine- I have not much interest in actually doing any dare-devil caving. But reading about them is fantastic! This story combines adventure, technology and mystery. It was a very exciting page turner for me.
Aug 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
Meh... amazing people (although Stone comes off like a self-absorbed jerk - and that's from someone who really admires him (people like him are my "rock stars"), amazing story, amazing cave, but just an okay book. I was a little disappointed. ...more
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