maandag 3 juni 2019

Ted the caver

"The dog began exploring as soon as we let her off the rope. She was in hog heaven, sniffing and darting about around our feet. She would run from one person to the other as we made our way back to the work site. At the point the cave splits into four passages the dog seemed to run out of juice. She just stuck right by either B or me. That seemed kind of odd. As we progressed further into the cave she would only stay by B. She seemed edgy. Like she saw something she didn't like. As we approached the short drop-off before the hole, she stopped and would only come further after we coaxed her. The hair on her back stood on end. Finally, as we got to within 20 feet of the hole she began to whimper, and hide behind B. Her tail was between her legs and she was cowering down on the ground. Strange! I have seen her square off with dogs twice her size, but now she acted as if Satan himself was lurking in the darkness."......

Hierbij het waargebeurde verhaal van Ted the Caver..

woensdag 13 maart 2019

2 februari verbonden we Escalones aan Bernallan, beide grotten van Sistema Alto del Tejuelo.

Filmpje van de connectie :

zaterdag 9 februari 2019

Werken aan de zolder

De werken aan de zolder schieten goed op. Vandaag hebben Piet, Bram en Koen de muren afgewerkt met OSB en het ingangsluik veilig gemaakt. Driewerf hoera voor het resultaat! 35 m² OSB, 100 meter planken en 800 schroeven hebben we verwerkt!

kaders maken

en nog kaders maken...

schroeven draaien



Recup van Dirk zijn venster 

Van dat werken krijgt ne mens honger! (en dorst he)

zaterdag 5 januari 2019

Doorsteek Galerie des Sources - rediscovered

Many, many years ago, when an active little caving group, consisting of Bram, Arun, Ewa, Renaud and myself, found ourselves asking more experienced members for fresh caving ideas at one of Spekul's club evenings, Koen and Kathleen sarcastically suggested the doorsteek of the Galerie des Sources. We understood that the sarcasm implied the trip was either too advanced or too challenging to attempt, so we chose not to take the suggestion seriously. Given the idea came from Koen and Kathleen, the same people who had suggested Trou des Furets (an excellent, but sporty cave) or who like to talk about the doorsteek Wéron-Dellieux, this made us extra wary ;-).

But, somehow, the suggestion remained lodged in my brain somewhere, and so many years later, it seemed like a good time to try to find it. I had talked to Koen and Kathleen about it at Spekul's 50th anniversary and at a Spekul BBQ, but neither of them seemed to remember any real details about how we could find the entrance to the throughway. All they gave me was: when you find the little cave at the bottom of the hill, it is somewhere to the right in a hole in the ceiling. There should be a rope there which you can use to clamber up.

So a few weeks ago, Leonie and I embarked on an epic journey to try to find this infamous doorsteek. In case we would not find it, we had a plan B ready, taking the key and some rope and carabiners with us to do some classic caving. We started by exploring the small cave at the bottom of the steep path that leads to the classic entrance. I knew the entrance to the throughway was there, and I remembered that during earlier visits, people went in to have a look around, but I had never actually gone inside. The small cave is actually not that small, and we did find a hole in the ceiling to the right, but there certainly was no rope to climb up on. Climbing in opposé was not possible either, so, somewhat disillusioned, we decided to abort the attempt.

Time for Plan B. Leonie had not visited Galerie de Sources properly before, so a classic trip was not a bad idea. Besides, there was a pit I had always wanted to explore and with time on our hands and a bag full of gear, this was the perfect opportunity. Breathless from the climb to the entrance, we found our way down the shaft: through the éboulis into the the first room, down into the room decorated with red paint, and further down into the muddy and slippery gallery one level lower; then, coming out, taking a left at the junction, descending through the hole in the floor and taking a left through the meander. At this point you arrive at a slippery and muddy slope to the left that drops into a pit. Alternatively, there is a small climb through a hole to the right, which leads to the broche where the climb starts up to the ledge where the horizontal passage starts towards a siphon. Bram and Heide know this place well :-)

I wanted to explore that pit at the end of the slippery slope to the left. I rigged a rope at the above mentioned broche and created a fraction using the only (shitty) spit I found and lowered myself into the pit, Leonie following close behind. Theoretically, it would be possibly to climb it up and down in oppose, although it would be challenging. At the bottom of this pit, you can explore in two directions. Turning to the right, we were both intrigued by  the end of a black electrical extension cord lying there. Leonie suggested we should collect it (people leaving their rubbish around nowadays), but it also sparked our interest to follow it, hoping it would lead us to little known, gorgeous, well-decorated rooms (!). Of course it did not. It just went on and on until it passed through an extremely narrow horizontal opening where we felt a strong draft of cold air, indicating a nearby exit. At this point we realized that we might have accidentally come across the doorsteek from the inside! What a shame that the horizontal opening was so… narrow. Leonie finally took off her helmet and gear and crawled through, but I did not feel very comfortable about it, so we returned the way we had come. Coming out of the cave, we explored the hillside to see if we could spot the black cable somewhere, but no such luck. We decided to call it a day. Still, the fresh memories of the narrow opening and that significant cold draft kept returning to our minds as we were changing and driving back...we promised each other to give it another try soon.

On the 29th of December, we went for a second try. We brought an extra rope and a few more carabiners just in case we needed them along the unknown way past the narrow opening. Leonie proposed I go first and remove all my gear and push it ahead of me. The étroiture is straight and long, becoming steadily narrower with one critical point, but it is quite passable if you have my build and don't mind not being able to turn your head. Phew. Leonie then pushed the kit bag and her gear ahead of her as far as she could. From the other side of the étroiture I helped pull through the gear and Leonie passed without any issues. Success!! Or so we thought. The passage continued on and on, narrow, narrower, narrowest, the draft disappearing in larger areas and reappearing in the narrow sections. One étroiture followed the next, though not as narrow as the first one, and I spent at least 15 minutes climbing out of a vertical one that lacked both space for your arms and footholds for your feet. Pressing on, just as Leonie was beginning to lose faith in our seemingly endless endeavor, she found herself at the top of the hole we had seen in the ceiling in the small cave at the bottom of the hill!! Now, we just had to use the rope to get down and to pull it through (thank goodness we brought that extra rope and my HMS carabiner). We did a quick refresh on how to descend on double rope and in no time we found ourselves at the bottom, happy to have rediscovered the doorsteek of the Galerie des Sources!!

Lessons learned: the doorsteek should be attempted starting from the classic side. It should be possible to do it with a single 35m rope, pulling it through twice (once at the slippery slope, once directly at the exit). This doorsteek is best attempted by narrow people with open minds and a good dose of experience.

Hans Meyers

maandag 12 november 2018

Herfstcanyoning in Zwitserland

We hebben de smaak te pakken, de smaak van ijskoud water, sneeuw en ijs in Zwitserland. Dit jaar kregen de Alpen eind oktober een stevige vlaag wind en sneeuw over zich heen, waardoor we (Oswald, Raf, Hans, Kevin en ik) in de herfstvakantie wat moesten improviseren om canyons te kunnen doen. De Trümmelbach moesten we noodgedwongen aan ons laten voorbij gaan, maar we hebben toch een paar toppers kunnen afwerken.

Hoogtepunt was de eerder onbekende Radeinbach, v5a5V, 700 hoogtemeters in 65 rappels en stevig wat water. We hebben goed doorgedaan en 6u in de canyon gezeten. Gelukkig konden we nog net een zetellift versieren om de eerste 500 hoogtemeters van de approche te kunnen afsnijden.

De dag voordien was de Panäratobel ook wel geslaagd, maar daar stond eerder weinig water in. De approche daarentegen op een koude noordwand was wel memorabel te noemen :-)



maandag 22 oktober 2018

Nieuwe speleo's

Afgelopen weken waren er een hoop geïnteresseerden op de infomomenten om kennis te maken met de ondergrond. Zowel zaterdag als zondag trokken we naar de Haquin om er een rondje te doen en direct de stevige hoeken en kanten van de grot te tonen.

dinsdag 2 oktober 2018

Vlottentocht 2018

Na een pauze van een jaar of 10 is het er eindelijk nog eens van gekomen: de fameuze vlottentocht!
De opkomst was ietwat beperkt in kwantiteit (alle begin is moeilijk), de kwaliteit daarentegen was onovertroffen: Piet, Daan, Zana (de hond), Laura, Katleen, Koen, Hans, René, Anouk (zijn dochter), Nele en Bram. De meesten kwamen zaterdagavond rond 7 uur aan. Nadat iedereen zijn tentje had opgezet op de kampeerweide aan de Lesse (vlakbij de Gallerie des Sources) was het tijd voor de BBQ. Een gebrek aan chips en nootjes zorgde voor een amusant rondje zwarte pieten en de verkenning van een Dinantse nachtwinkel. Het kampvuur laaide hoog op, wijn en bier vloeiden rijkelijk (’t was toch een traditieweekend, niet?) en tegen dat we gingen slapen stond er een laagje ijs op de tenten.

Tegen 10 uur de volgende morgen was iedereen min of meer fris uit de veren en kon het werk beginnen: pompen, knopen, rehydrateren, … en een wetenschappelijke analyse van de hoogte van het water in de Lesse.

Tegen een uur of 1 konden we er dan invliegen met de traditionele bak bier, opblaaskrokodil en waterpistolen! De zon scheen en het was stevig zweten in de neopreen. Heel lang zou dat zweten niet duren, want een groot deel van de Lessevallei lag in de schaduw.

Door de lage waterstand was er niet veel stroming, dus het ging nogal op het ‘gemakske’. Een vissende ijsvogel konden we daardoor wel mooi bewonderen. Tegen het einde begon het goed fris te worden, gelukkig kwam Pont-a-Lesse in zicht voor we het echt beu waren. Hoedje af voor waterprinses Anouk en de Queen van het vlot: Zana!
Met dank aan Piet en Daan voor de organisatie!

Foto’s: Hans Meyers