In 2011 I moved to the United Arab Emirates and I joined a group of cave explorers. After several weeks of training, we traveled to Oman's Eastern Hajar Mountains, some 150 kilometers south of the capital, Muscat. There, we set out to descend into the Majlis al-Jinn (Den of the Spirits), one of the largest cave chambers in the world. This is not a cave to walk or crawl into: Access is only from two entrances, both on the ceiling. The floor lies 158 meters below. These entrances were discovered in 1983 by US hydrogeologist W. Don Davison, Jr., who was working for Oman's Public Authority for Water Resources, and his wife, Cherty S. Jones.

We harnessed up and lowered our rope. For a descent of this length, we used an industrial-grade rope, which was stiffer–less bouncy–and thicker than the ropes usually used for climbing and caving. We began lowering ourselves down, one by one, by hand and slowly enough to avoid rope rub. I went second.

Once at the bottom, I photographed many in the group as each descended. At one point, as the sun was nearing its midday peak, a sliver of light cut into the shaft. I shot this frame as one of my teammates lined up with it perfectly. It only lasted a brief moment.

-Christopher Pike
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