In the summer of 2010, Chris Omura joined a team of five cavers trying to find a connection between Heavy Breather and Pachidream, two subterranean systems of passages that twist below the B.C.-Alberta border in the southern Rockies. Finally, the team followed a flow of air gusting into Heavy Breather from a narrow squeeze. Their risk was rewarded when they emerged to find reflective tape placed in Pachidream during an earlier expedition. It was a historic moment in Canadian adventure. Plunging 653 metres below sunlight, the linked cave system is the deepest known in Canada, shattering a previous record (held by Arctomys Cave, also in the Rockies) that had endured for 99 years.
Omura, the youngest member of the team, had been an active scrambler on the ridges and peaks of the Rockies when a touristic expedition into Rat’s Nest Cave near Canmore introduced her to her new passion. “The experience was like no other. I have never felt more relaxed than the way I do while in a cave,” she says. With her name in the record books, Omura is now digging deeper into caving, helping to explore other Rockies caverns that may prove even deeper than the Heavy Breather link-up.