Look at me, I'm Reinold Messner! Wal equatorial circumnavigation in Mission Reports Posted October 25 · Edited November 3 by king of nowhere Part 5: two giant holes Leaping Mantis encounters the very most difficult passages of the whole voyage, in the form of two huge holes in the ground with very sheer sides. It's hard to appreciate with the game perspective, luckily I managed to get some orbital pictures of the location Spoiler After mount Stegosaurus there is this thin rock ledge I dubbed the knife edge This section has been the slowest progress, taking three months to advance maybe 10% of the way. The problem is, on one hand I already did one fourth of the circumnavigation, which is plenty of time to get tired. On the other hand, I'm nowhere near close to the end, so I can't summon the "just one last bit of effort and then I'm done" motivation. Furthermore, I was beginning my rss kerbalism grand tour, my biggest grand tour so far - which, given that I already have a tendency for extremely ambitious missions, is quite the achievement - and I was super excited about it. I resumed steady progress somewhere along the summer. mount Cratertop, a mountain with a crater on top. It has two twin peaks at almost the same altitude. It probably would have been the tallest mountain on Wal, if an asteroid hadn't intervened here the ravine is steep enough that you can see all the way down to the plains 15 km below In fact, the ravine is so steep that a bit of carelessness when planting the flag led to Bill slipping and falling down to his doom. That ravine was so steep, he could not stop. Dead for planting a flag. What an undignified way to go. Here the mountain crest followed a sort of S shape. I followed it. Maybe going straight would have been even more challenging? I much prefer those narrow ridges with steep walls. For large stretches of the road, the top of the chain was large enough that you wouldn't really appreciate being on top of a mountain. Here you can get a good view. Or at least you could get a good view, if Wal wasn't ugly. It was amid one such stretches of large, flattish mountain tops that I found the first big hole - which I dubbed the Trench. The Trench, seen from the ledge. Between perspective and poor light, you don't really appreciate that there is a 4 km deep hole in front of you The bottom of the Trench is at 13 km altitude. The ledge descends from a 19.8 km tall mountain, but it's already dropped to somewhere short of 17 before the final cliff. So we can call it a 4 km deep hole, keeping in mind that measuring holes is not an exact science. It's been an interesting stretch; mount Cratertop, the thin curving ledge and the Trench are all within 100 km of each other. Afterwards, there isn't much worth noting, and nearly 400 km pass by with barely any screenshot taken. I could have avoided the Trench, going around it. It certainly would have been faster and easier. But then, I could have avoided this whole mission if I was just looking for fast and easy. Moving down the ravine into the Trench. The slope is 60° steep. Those slopes are very dangerous; a small bounce would mean falling tens of meters before touching land again. And then upon landing you'd bounce again, falling more, and gaining more speed every time. Until no amount of roll cages can protect the rover. Easy, you may think; just avoid bouncing. Except the brakes themselves make the rover bump. I learned to always save before descending somewhere like that. By contrast, going uphill is easy. Going out of the Trench, it's significantly less steep. The cosmic alignment is also right for a nice view of Tal Well past the Trench, just another random location with a steep slope Leaping Mantis braving a 60° slope upwards And finally, in front of me opened the 8-km hole. Yes, that's its name. If that's not impressive enough, I don't know what is. It's a nearly cylindrical hole 8 km deep. Though as always, you can't really appreciate the scale Carefully inching down the steep walls of the 8-km hole The hole is so deep, it's got rocks at the bottom! Seems quite a stupid thing to say, but check the previous chapter for the significance of rocks in this voyage Going up, I did something I haven't done anywhere else on this planet: switchbacking! The most impressive feature of the 8-km hole is its eastern cliff, though (which I named the western wall because it looks west, or maybe just because I got confused). It's not strictly the steepest inclination on the planet, as a few ravines are roughly as steep (most impressively mount Thor, which will be shown in a later chapter). But it is the most steep east-west ravine, and the longest, with over 7 km of near vertical climb. To the point that despite Leaping Mantis extreme climbing skills, I actually had to stop going forward in some points, and start switchbacking. Even when I could go forward, the ravine is long enough that I run out of battery many times, and had to stop and recharge. Something else I never needed anywhere else. It took nearly one hour of game time to cross this handful of kilometers. Those two pics show the highest limit of vertical climb Leaping Mantis achieved. The slope is seen on the navisphere as 62 or 63°. The time on the top right shows the second image was taken 3 seconds after the first, and the speed gauge shows increased speed, showing that the rover could accelerate while going upwards a 62° slope. That's its utter limit; accurate use of SAS is necessary to get grip. And those 3.8 m/s are pretty much its top speed in this condition. Battery will lasts maybe two minutes. It's also quite complicated to rest and recharge the battery; even with brakes, the rover tend to slip. I keep complaining that you can't appreciate perspective, so I reloaded back and took some better pictures from the eastern ledge, after climbing the worst part of the west wall (yeah, it's really a confusing name, but it does sound cool) The rover is the white dot in the center of the image The 8-km hole is less than 100 km before the halfway point of the circumnavigation. Biome is still the Boreth mountains, this range encompasses half of the planet while the other two are shorter.