Richard Stanton

Richard Stanton In cave diving there are two different styles; technical divers who dive in flooded caves but rarely leave the water and cavers who dive but treat the flooded section as a barrier to finding further dry cave. Rick Stanton is a rarity in that he is at the top of both disciplines. Time and again he has exhibited a knack for pushing beyond the limits at which others believed the cave to have ended. In the last 13 years, Rick has been involved in more technical cave diving using rebreathers, (often in duel configuration) for long penetration and greater depth. He has concentrated on the long deep siphons of Northern Europe, mainly in the Lot region of SW France, but also in the other major French, Spanish and Italian caves where he specializes in combining caving techniques with long and often deep multiple sump systems, transporting large amounts of diving equipment through the dry sections of the cave in the pursuit of exploration. Typical have been his dives at the popular site of Emergence de Ressel in southern France. This river bed cave was thoroughly explored in 1990 by the extraordinary Swiss solo cave diver Olivier Isler, who reached a dry cave section. Unable to remove his triple-circuit rebreather system unaided, Olivier swam back, declaring that he thought it unlikely the 2km long, 80m deep sump would ever be passed. using open-circuit equipment. Nine years later, Stanton and diving partner Jason Mallinson made an epic five-hour inward dive followed by a six-hour outward dive, all using open-circuit equipment. In the process, he explored hundreds of metres of dry cave passages to a further sump. This led to a three year project involving dives totalling over 4000m in five sumps & spending two days in the system. Rick returned to this cave earlier this year & added a further 800m of new line. In 2004 when six British soldiers were trapped in a Mexican cave by flood water, Rick Stanton was one of two divers flown out by the British Government to accomplish the rescue. His quiet and confident nature made him the ideal diver for such a task; persuading one of the cavers who was scared of water to make a 180m dive out of the cave! Constantly making and adapting equipment especially for the cave environment, Rick believed that small, lightweight rebreathers offered a way of furthering exploration at many sites. He has developed and manufactured two CCR units, most recently a unique side mount, fully closed circuit rebreather which has been instrumental in his achieving the British cave diving depth record of 90m in challenging circumstances at Wookey Hole, Somerset, the birth place of UK cave diving. Here he pushed on through gravel squeezes previously considered to be impassable at depths in excess of 70m. When Rick says something is impassable you can bet it probably is! Most recently he has been part of a team exploring the Pozo Azul system in N Spain where last year they broke the cave diving penetration record with a series of 3 dives totaling 8.8km. This team returned again in 2011 & surpassed their own limits.

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