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J2 2013 Personnel

Kristen Anderson, USA
Kristen Anderson started caving when she was in college in small, tight Massachusetts and upstate New York caves. Since then she has moved to the DC area and is currently involved in the West Virginia Germany Valley exploration projects. This will be Kristen's first expedition and she is very excited. Outside of caving she also enjoys hiking, kayaking, and trying new things. Kristen works as a spacecraft test engineer.

Mark Bell, USA
At 14 years old, Mark started caving with the Escrabosa Grotto, which is the Tucson, Arizona local caving group. From 1992 to 2004 he participated in surveying, conservation, and just fun-orientated caving trips. He then moved to Durango, Colorado to do some caving in that area for one year. He then proceeded to continue caving throughout the state of Colorado, up until the present. He has sometimes been affiliated with other caving groups within Colorado, primarily The Southern Colorado Mountain Grotto. Also in the late 90's he made one trip to the Guadalupe Mountains in New Mexico on conservation trips to the caves in that area. Then in the last four years, he made it to México twice. In 2011 he participated in Proyecto Cerro Rabon and in 2009 he participated in Proyecto Sierra Mazateca (Aki Mabis). He was fortunate to get a realization and appreciation for vertical surveying through rebelay systems in Sistema Nogochi Akemabis/Santito!

Mark works in construction, primarily in masonry, and also as an HVAC technician and installer. In his free time he is also an avid rock and ice climber.

Kasia Biernacka, Poland
Kasia Biernacka is an expeditionary caver and cave photographer and her underground pictures have won many cave photography contests around the world. She used to work for one of the biggest publishing houses in Poland as picture editor and she currently studies filming at Warsaw Film School in Poland. Kasia has been discovering caves for 12 years. She participated in many expeditions to caves deeper than 1000m. She loves México, where she studied, so she speaks good Spanish. Kasia has been exploring Sierra Juarez cave systems with Bill Stone and USDCT since 2001. She's the mother of 6-year-old Zuzia.

Tim Bilezikian, USA
Tim began caving in 2008. In 2009 he discovered project caving in the Hellhole system in West Virginia and hasn't looked back since. Monthly caving trips there have fueled his appetite for exploration. He is excited to be going to J2 to assist with this epic expedition. Besides caving, Tim participates in a variety of sports year round and enjoys spending time with church friends and family. He (usually) loves working at the manufacturing plant that he helped start up in 2005.

James Brown, USA
James Brown is one of the world's foremost sump divers. In the late 1980s he migrated from wreck diving to exploring tight side-mount underwater tunnels in New York state with open circuit SCUBA. In 1990, James became the defacto lead test diver for the Cis-Lunar series of rebreathers and he has logged hundreds of hours on five generations of closed-circuit diving equipment, including the transition to the Poseidon Mk6. He was a participant on the dive team during the 1994 National Geographic Society expedition to San Agustín, Huautla, and is a major character in the book Beyond the Deep. He was a lead diving member of the 1999 Wakulla 2 Expedition which created the world's first 3D cave map. In 2006, he conducted the first solo exploration of Sump 2 in J2 and was the discoverer of Sump 3. In 2009, he was a member of the support dive team that initially set up Camp 4 in J2. He is a member of the 2013 J2 lead diving team.

Marcin Chorzewski, Poland
Marcin started caving in 2008 with Warsaw Speleoclub. Since then he has visited many caves in the Tatra mountains and other regions around Europe. Inspired by stories from "big caves" he has dreamed about joining a project like the J2 Expedition. For a living he runs his own rope access business. Privately he is a husband and father of three year old Basia.

Matt Covington, USA
Matt grew up caving in Arkansas, and first became interested in expedition caving as a teenager while reading the account of the 1994 USDCT caving expedition to Huautla in National Geographic. Since beginning college, he has spent about one month out of every year on caving expeditions including expeditions to Alaska, Sumatra, Peru, México, France, Slovenia, Croatia, and Lechuguilla. Matt participated in all of the previous J2 expeditions, was one of the few lucky team members to camp and explore beyond the sump in 2009, and co-led the 2010 expedition that connected Last Bash and J2, discovering the route that will be used to haul diving gear for the 2013 expedition.

After finishing dual undergraduate degrees in physics and philosophy in 2002 at the University of Arkansas, Matt moved out to California for graduate school. In 2008 he finished his PhD in theoretical astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. However, after 10 years of schooling in physics, he saw the light and decided to pursue his true passion as a career. He spent the last four years as a postdoctoral fellow researching caves, and during the last two years he lived and worked in Slovenia, studying and exploring the caves of the classical karst. This fall he started work as an assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arkansas.

Alexander Deryuga, Russia
Alexander works in the sphere of information technologies, but for the last ten years spends most of his free time on various outdoor activities. Those include but are not limited to trekking and mountaneering trips, caving, ski tours and rafting. He is an active member of Novosibirsk Outdoor Club and Novosibirsk Diggers Caving Team. Alexander has participated in numerous sport and exploration trips to caves in the Siberia region. Alexander is also a PADI certified advanced open water diver and has logged dives to wrecks in the waters of Egypt and the Philippines.

Matic Di Batista, Slovenia
Matic has been involved in caving almost his whole life, since his father was also an active caver (and he still likes to go caving from time to time). In the last six years he has become more involved with serious caving, mostly in Slovenia where he lives, and some in France. He is a member of the caving club "Društvo za raziskovanje jam Ljubljana".

Matic likes deep vertical alpine caves, and this is where he spends most of his spare time - exploring new caves in mountains around Slovenia. Currently he is leading and helping with exploration of two new alpine caves in Slovenia. In 2011 he was also a part of a short expedition where they helped diver Matt Covington with transport of diving equipment, to dive in a sump in "Renejevo brezno" cave (-1250m, Mt. Kanin).

Besides caving he also likes mountaineering, climbing and photography, including cave photography. And right now he is finishing his BCs thesis in computer science.

Yvonne Droms, Switzerland
Yvonne Droms started caving in 1967 in Portugal. After moving to the USA, she joined the National Speleological Society in 1985 and has been caving in the Virginia and West Virginia area ever since. She is very active in exploration and survey in the extensive cave systems of Virginia and West Virginia. She teamed up with Bill Stone in completing the longest bolt-climb in West Virginia by scaling a 306-foot dome in Hellhole. Starting in 2001, she has participated in numerous expeditions to the deep, vertical caves of México: Cheve, Río Iglesia (Huautla), and J2 in Oaxaca, and in the Purificación area of Tamaulipas/Nuevo León.

Yvonne is a Swiss citizen who grew up in Portugal. She is a translator and works for Rosetta Stone in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Her two children are mathematicians. Yvonne spends her free time caving and helping with caving publications, and also enjoys hiking, skiing, backpacking and mountain bicycling.

Nico Escamilla, México
Nico Escamilla is a rancher from Nuevo Leon, México. Before signing up to be a member of the dive team on this year's expedition he has spent his time exploring caves in the Mexican state of Coahuila looking for endangered bat species on a field assignment with BCI, in Nuevo Leon, in the Purificacion area of Tamaulipas, as well as the southern state of Guerrero and diving caves in Cozumel Island.

Tomek Fiedorowicz, Poland
Tomek has been caving for 21 years and training young cavers for 11. For four years he has been the head of the Warsaw Caving Society. He has had the opportunity to cave and discover new caves all over the world (Poland - Tatra; Austria - Lamprechtshofen; Papua New Guinea - Nakanai; México - Sistema Cheve, J2, and Cerro Rabon; Switzerland - Windgaellen). It seems that every discovery he has made so far was done just by chance.

Tomek has 16 years experience running his own business, and 10 years experience being an HR professional. He has a four-year-old daughter as well as a two-month-old daughter, and leaving them for a couple of weeks seems to be the biggest challenge of the whole expedition for him.

Andreas Forsberg, Sweden
Andreas is a geologist by profession. His caving career started about 20 years ago while participating in his first mountain meeting in northern Sweden arranged annually by SSF (Swedish Speleological Society). He was hooked for life. For 10 years he has devoted much of his spare time underground, and on the ground to find that big go, mostly in the Caledonian mountains of Sweden and Norway, but also in the Alps, Great Britain, and Borneo.

Climbing is one of his other interests, so he is quite biased to SRT intense caves, and with the introduction of 36v powered hammer drills, he finds aid-climbing underground to actually be great fun.

Other interests and useful skills include diving (no hard core cave diving), rock removal (digging), and photography.

Donna Renee Frazier, USA
MudDonna began her caving career as a humble tour guide at Cave of the Winds in Manitou Springs, Colorado. After meeting Mike Frazier on a dig project her life has been on the rocks. She's been underground in several states including Hawaii. While caving in México, she assisted on the survey team during the Sistema Tres Amigos expedition in 2008. In 2009, she added Guatemala and Belize caves. MudDonna and Mike married in a cave where they exchanged rock hammers instead of rings. She studies Spanish, Mazatec, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, French, Polish, and others and knows just enough of each to make a complete fool of herself when she attempts to speak. This does not stop her from doing so. She's won awards for her cave-related art at the NSS conventions. She was awarded a plastic crown for best caver costume at the 2011 convention. MudDonna and six other cave women were badly beaten by Mike Frazier in the NSS Ramen Noodle Wrestling Match that same year, but she doesn't like to talk about it.

Mike Frazier, USA
Mike Frazier enlisted into the world of organized caving in 1990. Since then Mike has coordinated the exploration and mapping of the Hurricane Cave system in Colorado which is currently the deepest known granite cave system in the world. Mike has participated in around 30 caving expeditions which have included trips led by American, Swiss, British, Canadian, and joint Mexican/Austrailian teams. During these trips he has assisted in the exploration of many of México's 1000m deep caves. He has also caved in Guatemala, Belize, Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Switzerland. Mike is currently a co-leader of the Proyecto Cerro Rabon as well as the Proyecto Sierra Mazateca.

Mike's education was obtained primarily in the alleyways and deep and dark recesses of the earth. He is currently owner/tree surgeon for Frazier Tree and Shrub Inc.

He also knows Bart Hogan, who can order McMaster Carr from anywhere.

Daniel Furudahl, Sweden
Daniel started caving in 2008 and is a member of the Swedish Speleological Society. He has mostly caved in Sweden where he took part in several expeditions to search and explore new caves in the Scandinavian mountain range. He has also spent some time caving in New Zealand, France, Spain and Czech Republic. When not caving Daniel enjoys climbing and scuba diving.

Marcin Gala, Poland
Marcin Gala has been a caver for 22 years. He participated in exploration expeditions to Austria, México, Papua New Guinea, Puerto Rico and Spain. He's fascinated by cave photography and cave diving. Usually he goes for expeditions with Kasia Biernacka and their daughter, Zuzia. They have been exploring in Sierra Juarez with Bill Stone since 2001. Marcin works as a rope access technician on the Norwegian Sea.

Dominic "Honzo" Graczyk, Poland
Honzo has been a caver in Speleoklub Warszawski since 2005. More than just a caver, he is also a cave diver, and one of the leaders of the Polish Cave Divers Group. Honzo participated in many exploration expeditions especially on the Balkans, but also in other parts of Europe, Caucassus, and Puerto Rico. He is a physiotherapist, and manager of the Rehabilitation Division in Medical Clinic IBIS, Warsaw. His PhD is about the physiology of disabled divers, which he is still working on.

Nikki Green, USA
Nikki started caving at University of Maryland with the Terrapin Trail Club. She fell in love with caving by leading beginner/intermediate trips for members of the outdoors clubs and grottoes she was active in. She now spends all of her free time participating in the exploration and survey of caves in Pendleton and Tucker Counties, West Virginia. When not caving, Nikki works as a server and enjoys hiking, backpacking, and rock climbing, as time allows.

Corey Hackley, USA
Corey began caving in the small caves of western Maryland during early childhood. By age 10, he had begun to take an interest in actively discovering and documenting new caves. Most of his caving activity has been focused in Maryland, West Virginia, and Massachusetts, where he has been involved in the documentation or discovery of over 100 new caves, although he has visited caves in most every Appalachian state. In 2011, Corey co-discovered a deep and challenging cave system in Western Maryland, which has been pushed to a length of roughly two miles and a depth in excess of 400 feet. This is both Maryland's first multi-mile cave system, and the deepest cave currently known and publicized in the northeastern United States.

Corey is deeply interested in the interaction of structural geology with hydrology in karst aquifers, and in how this interaction is expressed in cave morphology. He works as a geologic interpreter, electrician, and general handyman at Crystal Grottoes Caverns of Maryland, where he is presently engaged in developing a hydraulic system for removing clay fills from cave passages. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy.

Mikolaj Harasimowicz, Poland
Mikolaj has been a member of Warsaw Speleoclub since 2007. He did a lot of caving in the Tatra Mountains, was a member of a cave exploration group in New Zeland, and took part in cave rescue training organized by French Cave Rescue Service, SSF.

John Harman, USA
John Harman started caving 12 years ago in West Virginia. He has since been heavily involved in the exploration of the Hellhole System, a nearly 40 mile long technically challenging cave in Germany Valley, West Virginia. John participated in a 2009 expedition to the Purificación region of México and frequently works on other caving projects in the eastern US. John enjoys technical rope work, digging and aid climbing. John works as an electrical engineer and his above ground hobbies include designing custom electronics, backpacking and climbing.

Abigail Hohn, USA

Niklas Konstenius, Sweden
Niklas has several years of experience in expedition caving, mostly in alpine caves north of the arctic circle. Since 2008 he has been involved in organizing yearly expeditions to a remote karst area on the Norway-Sweden border where several new caves have been found and explored.

Niklas lives in a small town with his wife and two teenagers and works as a software engineer for the the Swedish mapping, cadastral and land registration authority. When not caving he enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking and cross country skiing.

Dmitry Kraev, Russia
Dmitry Kraev started caving in 1995 as a member of the Novosibirsk State University caving club. Since then he has been exploring caves as a member of the Novosibirsk Diggers Caving Team, mostly in Khakassia, the Krasnoyarsky region, and the Altay Mountains. Last summer Dmitry participated in an international caving expedition, "Call of the Abyss," to the Caucuses with the Ukrainian Speleological Association. The deepest one Dmitry visited is the Krubera (Voronja) cave, where he reached the sump at -1410 m. Outside of caving he also enjoys skiing, cycling and kayaking.

Mark Minton, USA
Mark Minton has over forty years caving experience in most of the major cave regions of the United States and México. He also participated in three paleontological expeditions (1992-94) to the caves of Madagascar, which visited that country's deepest and longest caves. He has been a leader and/or member of many expeditions to the deepest caves in the Western Hemisphere, including five caves over 1000 meters deep, one of which he discovered. Mark has received several flag awards and exploration grants from the Explorers Club and has had over 115 articles published in various caving journals and the Explorers Journal. He continues to be very active in original exploration in West Virginia and México. Mark is the Director of Sponsored Research for the USDCT.

When not caving, Mark worked as an organic chemist for 30 years and is recently retired. He lives in Virginia with team member Yvonne Droms.

Rolland Moore, USA
Rolland began surveying Virginia caves in 1996 with the Rockbridge County Cave Survey. He has since continued to survey and explore caves in 14 different US States. He has been published as a co-author in "Sinkholes and the Engineering and Environmental Impacts of Karst" (2003) a geotechnical special publication of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Rolland also completed a Survey of Microbial Diversity using DNA analysis techniques at Wind Cave. The findings were presented at the 2003 National Cave and Karst Management Symposium in Gainesville, Florida.

Since 2010 Rolland has focused much of his efforts surveying in Fisher Ridge and Roppel Cave in Kentucky, as well as participating in the Proyecto Sierra Mazateca.

Tom Morris, USA
Tom Morris is a native of north Florida spring country and the first cave he entered was underwater. Fifty years later he is still diving. Tom was a team member on the US Deep Caving Team's 1987 Wakulla Springs Expedition where Bill Stone took his Cis-Lunar MK-1 on its maiden voyage. In 1994 Tom joined Bill and his teammates for the San Agustín Expedition in México.

Tom's profession, biology, and his avocation, diving, was a good match, taking him to México, the Bahamas, and all over Florida in the study of cave-adapted animals. Tom worked for many years with the famed underwater photographer and film-maker Wes Skiles on documentaries highlighting the excitement of underwater cave exploration as well as the developing threats to these beautiful and important environments.

Artur Nowak, Poland
Artur started caving with his home town grotto "Gawra Gorzów" in Poland in 1989. Since then, he has been to caves around the world, including Krubera Cave, the deepest cave in the world, as well as three times with Bill Stone's expeditions. His latest hobby is travelling the globe in search of deep pits with his buddies from "Żagań Grotto".

A custom caving suit maker in Poland, after reading Artur's dimensions, sent him the message: "Redo the measurements, those were taken from a gorilla, not a human." His measurements were correct.

Matija Perne, Slovenia
Matija Perne has been visiting caves since kindergarten. He persuaded his parents to join a caving club together in 1995. Since then, he has been exploring caves as a member of the society for cave exploration, Ljubljana, mostly in Slovenia, mostly during weekends. The deepest one he visited and mapped is Renetovo brezno, where he reached the sump at -1238 m in 2006 and returned there as a part of Matt Covington's diving team in 2011.

He is currently working in numerical modelling of processes in fuel cells, while he also spent a lot of time modelling karst phenomena. He recently obtained his Ph.D. in Karstology.

Hugo Rodríguez, México
Hugo is from San Luis Potosí. He began speleology activities in 2005 in the APME Club (Asociación Potosina de Montañismo y Espeleología). He had the opportunity to collaborate on several projects such as Joya Honda exploration in his home state. In 2009 he supported a 3D mapping project with APME and Norway University in Sótano de Golondrinas, Aquismon community, S.L.P.  In 2010 he joined the E.R.M. (Espeleo Rescate México) for training for cave rescue techniques. For work, Hugo develops projects for health and safety for the automotive industry, and he is currently working for a logistics company. He has practiced music since he was a kid, playing drums and percussion; Hugo is looking for the perfect mix, creating music in caves with natural cave sounds and artificial (synthesizer keys) sounds. In his free time, he likes amateur climbing and trekking, and other outdoor activities.

Yuri Schwartz, Russia
Yuri started caving in 1978 at the age of four with his father, then an active member of the Novosibirsk State University caving club. In 1995 Yuri co-founded Novosibirsk Diggers Caving Team with which he explored numerous caves of the nearby Altay Mountains. In the following fifteen years Yuri has helped with exploration of caves in Switzerland, France, North America, Sweden and Iceland. Yuri is a member of National (USA), Swiss and Swedish Speleological societies. Since 2007, Yuri has been a regular member of USDCT expeditions to explore caves of northeastern Oaxaca, México.

In his other life Yuri holds a PhD in Biology and is interested in epigenetic mechanisms that control gene expression during cell differentiation. Currently he pursues his interests as Assistant Professor at the Department of Molecular Biology of Umeå University, Sweden. Yuri is married and has two daughters.

Phil Short, UK
Phil began caving from a background of other adventure sports at the age of 17, and after learning climbing and rope techniques to progress further in the caves of the Mendip Hills and South Wales of the UK, inevitably progressed towards cave diving. At first cave diving was merely a means of passing short flooded sections to reach further dry cave beyond, but as Phil's diver training and experience progressed the nature of the cave dives that drew him on changed as the dives required grew more complex. Phil joined the British Cave Diving Group (CDG) at first as a non-diving member and then passed through Trainee Diver status to become a Diver Qualified member of the Welsh Section of the CDG and later switched sections to the Somerset Section where he was an Examiner for several years and held a position on the central committee as Technical Officer for a time.

Phil's caving has lead him to expeditions with the CDG in Mallorca exploring phreatic river caves in the North of the island and Sea invaded formation rich caves on the South coast; with a BBC film team to the Picos de Europa Mountains of Northern Spain; to the Sahara in Egyptian North Africa; and with Russian cave teams to the Ural and Caucasus mountains. Phil's rope techniques developed to be used in a Wessex Caving club expedition to the island of Evia in Greece where 300 meter shafts were passed to reach and pass previously un-dived sumps to explore dry cave beyond. Phil's career led him to become a Cave Diving Instructor for the NSS/CDS and IANTD and a Cave Diving Instructor Trainer for IANTD and led him to be involved with several Cave diving film projects with BBC, HTV, National Geographic and a film team from Finland. Phil has devoted the last five years of his career to training Divers, Instructors and Instructor Trainers in Closed Circuit Rebreather (CCR) technologies and has worked as a consultant and test and development diver for two of the leading CCR manufacturers.

Vickie Siegel, USA
Vickie started caving while working as a ranger at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota. From there she was quickly absorbed into the realm and lifestyle of expedition caving and now lives in Austin, Texas. She has been the Cartography Coordinator for Caves of Tabasco, a project under the NSS, since 2005 and has led 4 multi-week expeditions to the Tabascan karst. Vickie participated in the USDCT's 2006 J2 expedition and the 2007 Rio Iglesia trip. She has also been fortunate to participate in numerous other caving projects and trips further north in México, ranging from Proyecto Espeleogia Purificación in Tamaulipas to Bat Conservation International bat surveys in Chihuahua and Sonora and much more. When caving allows, Vickie works as a robotics technician and logistics manager for Stone Aerospace. Most of that work has focused on NASA's DepthX and ENDURANCE projects, with several months of field work at the Zacatón cenote in Tamaulipas, México and at Lake Bonney in the Taylor Dry Valleys of Antarctica.

Rafał Sieradzki, Poland
Rafał Sieradzki has been caving for three years, and still doesn't really know why he started to do it (most likely it's a kind of mental disease). He has been caving mostly in the Tatra mountains, and also in Switzerland (Windgallen). He is a fan of traveling on bicycle. He also has been a member of a climbing expedition to Afghanistan (in Wakhan Corridor, Small Pamir), where he was working as a camera operator and film editor. He works at his own company as a copywriter and filmmaker.

Jolanta Sikorska, Poland
Jola Sikorska is a member of the Warsaw Speleoklub. She has been caving in the Tatra Mountains. Jola has been doing lot of traveling on bicycle and trekking in such regions as Mongolia, Iran, and Siberia. Jola works as a theater teacher, with adults and children. She also has her own theater group "59 minutes" in Warsaw.

Pawel Skoworodko, Poland
Pawel, Warsaw Grotto, has done a fair amount of caving, starting at the age of 15, including several of Bill Stone's projects. The best thing by far he has discovered while exploring caves are the people that come to expeditions. Many of them have become his friends. Pawel works as an oilfield service hand in offshore Norway.

Pawel knows Mike Frazier, who can climb a big tree and turn it into a pile of firewood before you finish your coffee.

Elliot Stahl, USA
Elliot Stahl started caving in 2004 mainly in the TAG region of the southeastern US, but has also participated in expeditions to Montana and México. He graduated from Indiana University in 2012 with a degree in Geology. When not caving Elliot also enjoys, hiking, nature photography, and herpetology.

Bill Stone, USA
Dr. Stone has been responsible for organizing and participating in the exploration of Sistema Cheve (-1484m), Sistema Huautla (-1475m), Cueva Charco (-1286m) and J2 (-1210m). During the past 35 years Bill has organized and led 51 expeditions. He has spent more than seven years in the field on these projects of which 403 days were logged below ground based from underground camps. The longest single mission was 18 days operating from the -1300 m level of Sistema Huautla. During the course of the 4-1/2 month expedition team members spent 44 days below the -800 m level. In parallel, Dr. Stone has pioneered the development of computer-controlled diving apparatus, diver propulsion vehicles, 3D underwater and dry cave mapping equipment, spacecraft reaction control systems, next-generation laser radar systems for unmanned ground vehicles, and novel re-entry vehicles. In April of 2004 Bill was selected as Principal Investigator to lead the NASA project to develop the Europa lander third stage prototype - the "hydrobot" that will explore the hypothesized subsurface ocean on that Jovian moon and to autonomously search for life. The first prototype, known as DEPTHX (DEep Phreatic THermal eXplorer), was tested in 2007 at the deep Mexican cenote at Zacatón, and the second prototype, ENDURANCE (Environmentally Non-Disturbing Under-ice Robotic ANtarctiC Explorer), spent two field seasons exploring frozen-over Lake Bonney in Antarctica. Bill is the author of the Time-Warner book "Beyond the Deep." He is an expert in cave rescue, subterranean lead climbing, and digital cartography.

Joanna "Babi" Szymańska, Poland
Babi has been dreaming about exploring caves since she was a little girl. She has been a member of Warsaw Speleoclub for seven years. She enjoys caving around Europe. Since 2010 she has been organizing expeditions to the Prokletije Mountains in Kosovo with her friends from Warsaw Speleoclub. Babi works as a Montessori Teacher in "Sunflower" Kindergarten in Warsaw. She also conducts workshops for parents and teachers about supporting children in their development.

Victor Ursu, Romania
Victor started caving over 15 years ago in the Carpathian Mountains in his home country, Romania, as part of Speleoteam caving club that he co-founded. Growing up in cave country was just the beginning of his caving career; he discovered, explored, mapped and organized small scale expeditions in the Romanian karst. He is also the founder of Speologie.org, Romania's #1 online cave database and community. Recently he moved to the United States and joined project caves in West Virginia and Virginia. He is full cave diver, and enjoys SRT and digging.

In real life he is a father, has a MS in Automatics and Computer Science, and works for Blink Interactive in New Jersey.

Patrick van den Berg, Netherlands
Patrick has always been interested in the idea of exploration. This lead him to start diving in 2002, and he continued to specialize in the technical aspects of diving. To further expand his exploration capabilities he started caving in 2007 in Belgium as a member of the Dutch speleological society and a year later he started cave diving. After starting out in Belgium, Patrick has been caving in several other European countries and did additional caving courses. Although this will be Patrick's first actual caving expedition, he looks forward to contributing to the expedition team.

In day-to-day life Patrick works as an information security professional. In his limited spare time, when not underground or underwater, he likes to read or play with his legos...

Nicholaus Vieira, Canada
I'm close to being one of the most passionate cavers! I live in my Jeep in the Rocky Mountains (Canadian winters are not that bad), so I can feed my addiction to caves and chocolate milk. An example of what I mean by addicted is I average over 200 days caving per year. I love this activity! Somehow I have been holding down a job working as a cave guide in the Canadian Rockies and on Vancouver Island, which has allowed me to have caved in China, Cuba, México, Peru, USA, and of course at home in the mountains in Canada. I am an avid climber and diver (love those miserable Canadian sumps!), which fits well as I am also the expedition leader for the Raspberry Rising project.

Adam Zuber, USA
Adam Zuber started caving in 2003 with strong support and encouragement from his father Ron Zuber. He has mostly been involved in exploration trips to Mexico and Montana. His first caving trip was to Sotano de los Pinos in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. The hard-core and exploratory nature of caving has always attracted Adam to the sport. Notable expeditions also include Sistema Los Torros where he helped explore and map more than 500 meters of depth in undiscovered cave passage and an Explorers Club Flag Expedition to 3OG in the Bob Marshall Wilderness of Northwest Montana. Living in Seattle, WA he is very active in climbing, ski mountaineering, and mountain biking. Adam owns his own company based in Seattle but also enjoys opportunities to travel for work.

Emily Zuber, USA
Zuber began caving about eight years ago in the alpine wilderness areas of northwestern Montana. A native to Seattle, Washington, she was introduced to caving by her father and brother, Ron and Adam Zuber. Expeditionary caving for her is a family tradition, an extreme sport, a passion and an obsession. Zuber has a particular enthusiasm for the karst areas of Mexico (Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Guerrero, Oaxaca) but has also been caving in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Canada, and most recently in China. She is an aspiring writer and currently lives in the Netherlands while working on a book about youth and exploration. Lately her interests have grown to include long-distance subsistence cycling, and she spent the summer of 2012 cycling 3000 miles through the Rocky Mountains.

Aaron Zumpf, USA

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