vrijdag 23 december 2011
Réseau de Frênes: wet en muddy
With all this as background, we (Renaud, Arun and myself - Bram, the poor sod, was ill and had to stay home) embarked on our journey through the passages of this cave on Saturday, December 17th, after having retrieved the key Chez Lucienne. Somehow, we had forgotten the map for this extensive cave. Stupid of us. It was cold at the car park and we were somewhat anxious about water levels: it had been raining and snowing profusely the past couple of days/weeks. As we approached the entrance, a concrete box with a hinged metal door, I remembered having seen video's on Anja's Explositie. As it turns out, her exhibition took place in this particular cave, so that was pretty cool. As I crawled through the entrance, we were welcomed by a beautifully decorated butterfly trying to survive the winter cold. Poor thing.
One of the highlights of the cave became apparent immediately: the metal rungs fixed into the rock at two meters from the entrance forming a ladder into the abyss. The complexity of the cave was also immediately obvious, with various junctions and holes leading to lower caverns. Luckily the combination of Arun and Renaud's memories proved successful in terms of navigation, and we managed to find our way around with relative ease without the use of a map.
I was impressed by the size of the cave as well as the long, low-ceilinged passages between the various rooms. Just before the Galerie des deux Erics (it's easy to report about all these places with the map next to you ;-)), we hit a big issue: water filled up the passage. Renaud offered to soak his suit in order to investigate and dropped down into the water. A few meters onward he told us it was possible and easy to pass, so both Arun and I lowered ourselves into the chilly moisture. Wet for the rest of the trip! After crossing into Salle du Murmure we found the hole in the ground and descended into the lowest level of the cave, the water in the river producing a thunderous noise. Bearing right and ascending, we worked ourselves through a meander and via a traversée we descended once again to the river. After a sharp left we reached the waterfall which was easily scaled. Wet again! A few meters further on we climbed up to a level higher, remaining high by means of the infamous traversées (not for the faint hearted and sufferers of vertigo). A junction was reached, taking us higher to another junction. Turning left would allow us to make a round trip to the entrance via Salle des Français, but we took a right through a number of long, narrow tunnels.
We were looking for Le Tube or Puit de l'Oppo in order to climb to Etroiture Erik so that we could explore the Réseau GSNC, Réseau des Hollandais, Réseau Dynamite and Réseau Jacques Simus. I successfully inched up a slippery and muddy E3 at the place where Renaud and Chris made their thwarted attempt last time and went exploring, possibly finding the etroiture we were looking for in order to continue to the Réseaus, passing by Puit de l'Oppo and ultimately descending through Le Tube. We were all too tired to continue to the upper levels. Next time better and with more of us climbing up to the next level.
So we returned to the main junction and continued onto Salle des Français, enjoying the beautiful formations and pressing on to Salle de Cigogne, Galerie Noire and to the exit.
Tired but satisfied, we exited the cave. To think that we dragged along that (wet) kitzak all the way without using it!
Our final highlight was being invited into Lucienne's home when we returned the key. It is always an honour to meet cave discoverers! And her epic campfire stories added even more colour to our memorable trip! Now we surely need to go back!
donderdag 15 december 2011
Poëzie van mijn botten
Wat waren de bezoektoppers?
Welke vrouw heeft het meeste dieptepunten gescoord?
Welke activiteiten waren echte floppers?
Wie is activiteitverslaafd? Zeg maar Grot-gestoord!
Wie kwam het meest van(onder) de grond?
Wie heeft vooral een grote mond?
Gaan we meer naar Frankrijk dan Vietnam?
Grotten we vaak in de States of zelfs Iran?
Wordt het de Canto of de Manto -
St.-Etienne of St.-Anne?
U hoort het dadelijk!
-hou nog even vol-
in onze Spekul-Pop-Pol
Ik moet stoppen of 't wordt slecht,
want dichten over grotten!
da's pas echt:
"Poëzie van mijn botten"
Björn van Staeyen
n.a.v. de Algemene Vergadering
donderdag 8 december 2011
Spekul in de Pers
Je kan het volledige artikel hier lezen .
woensdag 30 november 2011
en ook een tyroliene over de breedte van het gymnasium :
zondag 20 november 2011
Trou des Furets, een impressie
Het was een grot met veel modder, weinig formaties maar vol uitdaging. Op het einde lag zelfs een dikke metalen staaf van anderhalve meter, maar hoe is die daar geraakt?
De grot kende dus heel wat uitdagingen. Zo was er de nauwe ingang waar je zo goed als op de tast enkele meters schuin naar beneden moest afdalen, veel hindernissen die snel na elkaar kwamen en het befaamde stuk met de ketting die heel wat krachten heeft gekost.
Touwen hadden we niet nodig, maar aangezien het niet vanzelfsprekend was om op een bepaalde plaats veilig te dalen en klimmen, hing Hans een touw wat ik zeker kon appreciëren. De grot was in lijn waardoor alles wat in de heenweg overwonnen was, ook in de terugweg moest gedaan worden. Ik ben blij dat mijn collega grotters mij van heel wat nuttige tips konden voorzien aangezien mijn ervaring toch wat beperkt is (1grot: Eglise). Zoals ik daarnet al zei, werd de Trou des Furets aanbevolen door de meer ervaren grotters. Op de terugweg was het dus niet onlogisch dat ik al heel wat krachten had opgebruikt, om niet te zeggen ik was kapot. Dit kwam enerzijds omdat we maar met vier waren en het dus goed vooruit ging, en anderzijds omdat ik teveel op mijn armen en benen heb geklauterd en geklommen waardoor ik op het einde de kracht niet meer had om mij op te trekken. Het is dus zeer belangrijk om niet te veel op arm en beenkracht te klimmen of dalen. Gebruik de omgeving zo goed als mogelijk, en eventueel een schouder of hand van een collega grotter.
Ikzelf beveel deze grot zeker aan, zelfs aan grotters zonder veel ervaring. De enige voorwaarde is dan wel dat je geen uitdaging uit de weg mag gaan, zelfverzekerd bent en altijd met een klare blik en op een veilige manier de hindernissen neemt. De Trou des Furets, I did it!
ps: om 1h waren we terug uit de grot. een totaal van vier uur onder de grond!
donderdag 17 november 2011
woensdag 16 november 2011
de mooiste grotten in 3D
donderdag 27 oktober 2011
Ik heb het over de nieuwe generatie Spekuloosjes. Gisteren kregen we bijvoorbeeld bezoek van Sebastian Philips. Die samen met zijn mama Rotana en zijn papa Peter de eerste keer naar de clubavond mocht komen. "Het bloed kruipt waar het niet gaan kan" zegt men wel eens en dat geldt zeker ook voor "in spé-leo's".
Een beetje gedronken en dan in slaap vallen in de knusse club-zetels.
Worden kortelings nog verwacht: de creaties van Nele en Wim alsook Joke en Will.
Aan DDR de dringende oproep om dat Speleo-kruippakje te laten circuleren!
Altijd leuk zo'n bezoekje, maar de pret kon niet op. Nele en Sam melden -niet zonder enige trots- dat ook zij een eerste kindje verwachten. De Spekul-familie blijft dus uitbreiden.
Kwatongen spreken over een oorzakelijk verband tussen deze babyboom en mijn voorzitterschap. Ik kan iedereen echter verzekeren "ik zit er voor niks tussen" ;-)
succes en doe zo voort
vrijdag 21 oktober 2011
blitzactie - Sistema de Alto del Tejuelo
Eind september trokken 4 Spekulozen voor een blitzactie naar Sistema de Alto del Tejuelo. Doel : nabijgelegen CA32 verbinden met de hoofdgrot.
Afspraak met onze spaanse vrienden op zaterdag 1 oktober om 14 uur op te plaats waar we theoretisch dachten te verbinden. Miguel, Tubi en Coves waren aan hun kant (CA32) present, terwijl Walter, Koen2, Katleen en Dirk langs Bernalllan op te plaats van afspraak waren.
We konden mekaar wel horen, zelfs gewoon met mekaar spreken, maar zelfs het Scurion licht raakte niet van de één tot bij de andere groep. Obstakel een laminoir die echt wel extreem smal was, vol blokken, met instabiel plafond.
Zware desobstructiewerken langs beide zijden ..... en zo'n 6 uur later was de verbinding een feit.
meer info vind je op : http://torcadelrioperdido.blogspot.com/
donderdag 13 oktober 2011
de eerste touwtraining van het nieuwe academiejaar
Woensdag 12 oktober , de eerste touwtraining van het nieuwe academiejaar . 19 geinteresserden zijn komen opdagen . Eerst krijgen ze uitleg over het speleomateriaal : gordel afdaler croll, rem , leeflijnen.,...
Eens dat onder de knie, worden de gordels veilig vast gegespt
Daarna is het tijd om af te dalen vanaf het balkon van het gymnasium
En what goes down must come up ... en dat gebeurd al jumarend .
Na de training komen we samen in het clubhuis waar voor het weekend de praktische afspraken worden gemaakt voor de eerste grottocht : De St- Anne in Tilff
Moest jij ook interesse hebben kan je altijd langskomen op woensdagen tussen 20 en 22 u in het Gymnasium van het sportkot te Leuven . Meer info en contactadressen op www.spekul.be
donderdag 15 september 2011
donderdag 1 september 2011
Stem Jeita in de nieuwe wereldwonderen
Jeita Grotto is a compound of crystallized caves in Lebanon located 20 km north of Beirut in the Valley of Nahr al-Kalb (Dog River). This grotto is made up of two limestone caves, upper galleries and a lower cave through which a 6230 m long river runs. Geologically, the caves provide a tunnel or escape route for the underground river. In this cave and galleries, the action of water in the limestone has created cathedral-like vaults full of various sizes, colors and shapes of stalactites and stalagmites, majestic curtains and fantastic rock formations. The total length of the cave is more than 9000 m and there is one among the biggest stalactites in the world hanging 8,20 m. The grotto accommodates a huge hall with a distance of 108 m from the ceiling till the water level.
stemmen kan hier: http://www.new7wonders.com/vote-2
donderdag 25 augustus 2011
Ronsombeux, a memorable nice evening.
We meet at the church of Villers-Sainte-Gertrude around 19.30u. After driving to the river (closest to the cave) and organizing ourself Sam and Renaud who were ready the first, did go first to hang the ropes. We knew we would have to search for the entrance but we were confident to find it. After we checked if Leila was put into her belt properly (it was her first roped cave) we took off to find the cave.
The area around the cave entrance was occupied by a lot of scouts people at camp. We went through the forest through high vegetation, we even crossed some barb wire.
After enjoying our time, after some struggle, some sweat later, we joined the cars. Sam remembered the first cave he went into, the Trou Eugene, was close to the place we were. Since we have been warmed up by our previous adventure but still have energy to spend, we agreed on having a look on it. It added some spice to an already memorable evening.
After we had a drink and went back home."
dinsdag 26 juli 2011
Ireland- caving TV stars wanted!
"Hi there, my name is Colin Morrison, i am a cameraman/director from west cork. Myself and my production company business partner are trying to speak to professionals/weekend warriors within the speleological circles in order to gain information on the subject. We are in the process of putting together a pitch for a television program to R.T.E. about people that do normal jobs during the week and on weekends they do something out of the ordinary, ie. cave diving/exploring.
If you think you could possibly help me out or point me in the right direction it would be much appreciated.
Thanks a million, hope to hear from you soon. All the best.
Colin Morrison 0870634977."
Posted on July 26th, 2011 at http://www.caving.ie/2011/07/tv-stars-wanted
maandag 25 juli 2011
Night excursion to Sainte Anne- 08.07.2011
We decided to meet on friday evening at Spekul. While we were waiting with Arun for others we discovered toilet in the back, where you can lock person inside:D Then Bram and Hans showed up. While waiting for Renaud guys started climbing a wall above the Spekul doors and try to sit on the highly situated cornice. When Renaud arrived we packed all the stuff into Hans' car and we were ready to leave Leuven.
While it was my first time to visit Sainte Anne, most of them had already been there, so they knew pretty well the locaction of the cave, and our way in. Sainte Anne was considered as an easy cave with no rigging, but with some nice formation, fossils, river inside etc.
We reached our desination when it was still bright. Soon I realized that the cave is situated just next to the busy road, but we already got used to that, so it was not a problem. We dressed up very fast, I couldn't exactly follow. We sent a message with the information about our activity, and we started climbing some hill in order to get into the entrance. Next to it there were some big rocks meant for climbing sport. According to the origin of the cave it was my first grotte in my caving career, I tried many 'trou caves' , where the entrance looks like a sinkhole and the water comes inside, but this time entrance did not look like that, St Anne was a grotto with the big open arch rock entrance.
I cannot recall the UBS gate, or any specific details about the cave. Don't know way, maybe after two months break I lost my ability to create representation about each cave in my head, but also I was quite anxious to enter the cave after so long period. Anyway what I remember is that the cave was pretty wide, not so complicated, sometimes some boulders, sometimes limestones, most of the time you could also choose the upper way on the rocks, or the lower one with the river, if you wanted to get wet. I remember that it was very hot that day even in the cave, so to cool down we were lying/ planking;) on the rocks for a moment. There was also a minute, where I strained my arm muscle a bit, because I was trying to be careful with me knee:D but I received a professional help from strong hands of Arun followed by softer Hans.
I don't remember where we stopped in the cave considering it as the end of the cave...but I know that we went back the same way. In one place guys decided to try some oppose between the rocks which would lead them to pool with the water. I did not try that, so I landed at the top of the rocks where I could see them at the bottom next to the water. It was my first time to see such a big and deep pool in the cave. The view was great, you could also see the reflex of the rocks from above. Really pleasant impressions, but no ropes needed, so also no gear which means no sjakos, no camera and no pictures this time;)
To enjoy it even more, Bram and Hans decided to try some swimming in the pool conected with diving below some rock, where the rope was set to guide you. First try- Bram, he got into the water he dive, but then he came up and decided to leave the water as it was really cold. He felt even some pain in more sensitive parts of man's body;) Next one, bold Hans. He tried same as Bram, but no result, the rope couldn't have been found. Not feeling cold, he tried from the other side of the rock, if he could reach the rope, and yes, it was successful, he did it, he dove and appeared on the other side of rocks. But straight after he surfeced the water, he said his leg got stuck somewhere between the rocks, the moment which most of people know only from the movies or stories. I got really nervous sitting there above, but it was just a short while after which he released himself.
There was also one place on our way back, where you could swim too, so Renuad and Hans did it ( you can see how it looked like here: http://vimeo.com/9385781, posted by Dennis Verbruggen on Vimeo), then actual run to the exit begun. I was staying with Bram, I was quite careful and slow, I haven't even noticed when others outrun us. We all made it safe and sound to the exit. So high five for us!!! We were happy to wear some dry clothes after all and to celebrated the evening with some beers and chips, thanks to Arun. The time to drive home came. Bram as usually was sleeping in the car, Arun for the first time also tried. About 2am we reached Leuven, said goodbye and went in our own's way. Hand and Renaud still had to drive more to reach their places. Next day we exchanged some few emails to check if everyone is fine with no injuries or allergies after bath in the river which collects all (polluted) water from the "Chawresse-valley", according to Avalon website. Thanks Guys for a great time!
And I have to say it's really good feeling to be back in harness!
Herbeumont (13.05) and Abime de Bemount (14.05) - my ideal weekend
Hans came up with idea: let's have something more than caving, so an adventurous walk in Herbeumont was planned on one day, then the night at Bram's parents' second house, and caving on the other day. The debate about which cave to explore was open. All of us had some suggestions, and when the consensus was made (Trou Ozer), a problem arose: the cave we chose was apparently quite tricky for our limited experience. So much for that idea. Many a new idea were put forward, perhaps even too many, but finally it was decided: Abîme de Beaumont. Renaud checked the rigging requirements so that all equipment could be collected: a lot of ropes, carabiners etc. One of the rope was so long (50m?) that boys had to try twice before successfully packing it in the kitsack!
Renaud couldn't make it for the walk on Friday and even Arun was still uncertain due to project work, but we decided to meet on Friday, May the 13th at 11am at Bram’s place. Arun turned up, which was good news. We packed the car with our things, consisting largely of alcohol drinks, and headed off. We arrived at Herbeumont before 2pm, quickly packed our packs and were ready to leave. Hans prepared the route using his survey map (1cm=250m), and also gave a lesson about small spider-like animals that live in the forest, named ticks, and which have a love affair with skin, especially with the most tucked away parts of the body. After attaching themselves they suck the blood from their hosts and can transmit harmful disease. Now we could really began our adventures walk!
First some climbing in a really brisk tempo, then some parts of going down to cross the viaduct where we saw the local river Semois. A good spot for a bungee, but we didn't have any elastic and the viaduct was fenced off. Bram tried to crawl beneath the fence. Arun tried to climb it from above. We stopped few times to take some pictures at viewpoints. To make it more adventurous Hans guided us steeply downhill to and through an old railway tunnel of about 1100m in length.
The next adventure was crossing the Semois. We saw many tadpoles and dragonflies at the river and took pictures before crossing the river in case we lost our cameras on the way. We took off our shoes and rolled up our trousers, dipping our feet into the water. Surprisingly it wasn’t so cold. The current of the water was readily detectable. Many stones/boulders covered with some seaweeds were making more fun to cross the stream. We all made it safe to the other side.
We stuck to the embankment which was tricky clambering in some sections and then turned to climb straight up the hill at a certain point. It was steep and a pretty demanding climb. I was about to die at the top, even my cheeks were pulsating from the heart in my throat but of course for Hans and Bram’s fitness condition that was nothing. After almost no recuperation they wanted to do some jogging. Why not, yep, we tried! Arriving at the last viewpoint, Hans explained geocaching to us, and after a few moments Bram found a geocache container filled with things like toys and trinkets as well as a small notebook where we logged our discovery.
Back at the car we set off for Nadrin, Bram's second residence. The place was amazing: 2 floors, one ceiling, almost no walls at all, a lot of beautiful home made decoration. Bram started a fire in the fireplace, we opened champagne brought by Arun, and started preparing our typically Belgian supper: mashed potatoes, sausages and apple mousse. Arun, as a vegetarian, got some a falafel.
Our next adventure: tick inspection. We even checked each other with the help of some spare eyes, small mirror. The victims: Bram, Ewa and Hans. With the help of some tweezers and the fireplace to eradicate the bastards we got rid of most of them. The remainder were killed by the heat of sauna which we took afterwards. That’s the way life should look likeJ. It was Arun's first sauna. Bram and Hans had tried it few times, but probably not so often as me, so it was my turn to show my macho nature there. We took our time in sauna, then drank some few beers sitting at the table enjoying funny, sometimes weird conversation. After 2am we went to bed.
After a short night and a wholesome breakfast, we cleaned up the house left to meet Renaud at the ‘Bim bam boom’ cave. We met at the car park and by 11am we were ready to enter the cave. Renaud had visited this cave some time earlier so he knew where to find the entrance. Bram did the rigging, followed by Hans, then Arun, me and caring Renaud. First thing to be achieved: a narrow 3 m pit, to be fully secured. Using the rope to descend, I learned a new technique: that you can descend using your rem/break since it was tight enough to do opposée. Then some squeezing parts reminding letter ‘S’ including actual entrance to the cave where we need to use UBS key. Another narrow pit of few meters to descend. Next move, the dippiest pit of 35m made with some deviation and fractions to pass. I got thorough explanation how to do it in case I still haven’t learn it;). The sound of taut rope going through the musceton was brining a lot of scenario. After that no more tightness.
We found ourselves in a big room with some great in size and quality rocks and calcite formations. And then came the moment to put on a brave face, moment to climb slipper rocks 8m above without a rope, in order to rig the rope. We had a one freelancer, crazy Hans as a volunteer. He climbed ‘the horse’ with some shaking-tiring moments, then he had some rope-work to do including using a lasso to make a natural hook, making a knot to connect not enough of rope to descend. Placing the rope at this moment was rather difficult. It took appropriate amount of time.
When all of us climbed over the horse back we found each other in the second big room, we moved to the third one, some low rocks to climb and crawling. I was the last one, Bram was in front of me, I was glad all ropes part had finished, now the easy part, stepping on the rock, pulling my body up and one bad movement and my knee was screwed. I was screw too. I was screaming a little bit from the extreme pain I felt in my knee. I couldn’t move it or bend it, it felt like something inside my leg turned into the wrong position. Boys came to rescue me, but they could understand what happened and why I cannot move to make enough space for them to reach me. After a while I felt that my knee came back to the right position. They came to me asking very seriously what happened, if I am ok, or should they call emergency. They asked me to be honest with them. They also told me that if I am able to do it we’re turning back trying to leave the cave. I was really angry, I didn’t want to go back. I wanted to finished the cave. I didn’t want to disappointed them. But I realized quickly that it s was out of the question. Tears flowed around my face.
We started going back, first Renaud responsible to take care of me, than me, Arun, and Bram with Hans who were supposed to tidy up all the caving issues. I felt their glances on my knee. The way back was tiring, I was really afraid to use my left knee. During the last narrow part of the cave I was pulled by Renaud. Arun as one of the biggest boys in our caving team met some difficulties to pass narrow passages, but kind Bram let him to use his shoulder-face as a step.
After 5pm boys came out . They looked quite exhausted and sweaty :D. We changed our clothes very fast and we discussed the possibility to go for the beer/ dinner as was planned before. Renaud knew some nice place in the neighborhood were you can try hardly accessible beers so we went for that. The place was really nice. Each of us ordered a beer and the dish. Clumsy Ewa lost part of her cutlery brought by the waiter at the beginning, there were some gossips that it’s not my best day today and then great Arun was trying to support me so he did the same, throw his cutlery on the floor. Beers and meals were delicious. We had plenty of funny conversations, many moment to laugh, oh I really enjoyed this part of our adventurous day! But as old anonymous quote says: “Everything good ends fast”. At this moment we said goodbye to Renaud and 4 of us left to Leuven enjoying nice sunset with some pink and purple tones. I reached my room about 10pm thanks to Arun who brough me and my busted knee back.
Many thanks for care, Boys<3, I am sure I will get better very soon, so let’s start planning our next cave, right? Alles klar, Herr Kommissar?