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And we end the year in beauty!  In the Chawresse our 6 days of work have l led to the direct connection between the Réseau Persephone and the Classic Réseau

So, in the future, when arriving at the foot of Puits Dany (P14) in the Classic Réseau, you walk over the sharp rockflakes, and then, instead of going straight forward towards the big gallery, you climb up 2 metres on the right wall, where you will find a hole. Slide into it, you'll arrive in a chamber where the new bit starts.  After 30 m. of easy passage you'll find yourself in ... the big room of the Réseau Persephone!

This connection opens up some possiblities: one can now visit the Classic Réseau without any rope, since you can go down the Persephone part without rope.  Or, after having done a Veronika-Chawresse through-trip, you can visit the classic part (and why not, visit the "Rezo B" as well!)

Finally I would like to remind you that we are still busy (since 1997) to re-survey the whole cave.  Some more patience please!

Our dig in an active sinkhole near Profondeville is also promising, we are now at -10 metres, but it stays difficult and wet.


Since several weeks now, the digging fever has struck again!  We are digging in a sinkhole near Profondeville, where we managed to get from -5 tot -10 m.  But this wet, narrow and difficult cave resists very well to our attacks!   We are also digging (again!) in the Chawresse.   We are emptying a nice bedding plane, we can see several meters further and there is a good draught.  The question is: are we heading to a known part of the cave or not.  Revisit this pages often, if you want to know the answer!


Walking around on the snow-covered lapiaz: dangerous!!Our  mini-expedition in the Pyrenees (Anialarra) was bothered by the bad weather.  Only two days of sunny weather permitted us to continue the systematic prospection of the limestone plateau. Then we progressively "snowed in" and one night a storm (with wind speeds up to 140 km/h) nearly blew our tent away.  Midweek we decide to pack our things and go down again...  On friday we visited  Arresteliako Ziloa (alias Trou Souffleur de Larrandaburru).  This beautiful and very varied cave system was discovered in the nineties, near the Gorges de Kakouetta, and has now a total length of well over 50 kilometers! We made an unforgettable trip in a cave that is very diffrent from all the other on the Pierre-St-Martin massif.


You wont believe this, but  hardly back from our 4-week expedition, some fanatics (3 of them) are returning to the Anialarra again, in a couple of weeks.  We will stay there only for a week this time, to finish some surface surveys and to continue the systematic prospection of the lapiaz.  Everyone please cross fingers for good weather!


Right, we're back from our 4 week expedition in the Spanish Anialarra. “We” is in fact the Anialarra Interclub 2000, organized by SC Avalon but with participation of 1 Styx member, 1 Technico, 1 GS Rennes (FFS) and 9 members of Speleo Holland.  We had 3,5 weeks of sunny weather: a record for the PSM!

We had two main goals:

  • 1) try to get past the end of the cave, blocked at -711m by a giant boulder choke.

  • 2) re-surveying as much as possible of the cave system, since the old surveys were hardly usable (in the stream-up part of the cave system, errors of several hundreds of meters!) .  In order to explore and prospect efficiently, we need good surveys.

First we installed our altitude camp (6 person camp) at 2000 m altitude and we carried everything up the mountain (only for the cave already 17 kits) . After rigging Pozo Ibarra (with its 222m pitch) we installed two comfortable underground camps, for two cavers each. One at -500m, for the survey teams, the other one at -600m, for the exploration teams.  During two weeks these camps were intensively used, and we all had a great time there, despite the very cold and rather hostile environment!  Thanks Annette, for preparing us such comfortable camps, thanks to the sponsors that provided the tents:  The Berghut, Northface, Ferrino, Fjalraven...

And the results?

The boulder choke at the end of the cave was so unstable that we did not start digging there. But an artificial climb (21 meters) nearby lead to the discovery of a fossil level.  More than 400 m was explored; one part went in the good direction, with a strong draught but then gradually narrowed.   We couldn't get through, because of a lack of digging equipment, but one day this gallery could very well be the key to the discovery of the rest of the cave!

The survey teams surveyed about  4,3 km of the system.  We now have it surveyed from one entrance (Pozo Ibarra) till the bottom. Last year we already surveyed a good part, so by now we are beginning to have a good idea of what the cave system looks like. And the suspected errors were there, even bigger than we had imagined (the depth of the system decreases from -711m to -640 m)!

After two weeks the underground camps were dismantled and the remaining survey-trips were one-day trips.  In the second part of the expedition we concentrated on surface prospection, exploring new caves and digging.  About 1 kilometer of new caves was surveyed,  the deepest cave being AN534 (-134m). The area however still offers nearly unlimited potential for finding new and important caves.

JULY 2000

Our explorations in Belgium are slowed down a bit because of all the preparations for our summer expedition in the Spanish Pyrenees.  Two evenings per week we are training our SRT-techniques in an old warehouse, 20 metres high.

In the mean time another important job has been done in the Bretaye System!  This originally very spectacular river cave had been drying out because of some works in the outside river that were performed by the Belgian government.   We finally found a solution to restore the waterflow in the cave, and since a couple of weeks, the upstream parts of the cave (that have been dry for at least 4 years now) have become acitive again.  


JUNE 2000

Long time, no hear, you might think.  Well, we have been very busy: continuing the work in the Waerimont cave, preparing the Anialarra 2000 expedition, we went to the French Doubs and so on. But I was also busy working on the website; I bought a slide scanner and I have spend many a night scanning slides...  The result are 4 picture galleries, with almost 100 beautiful caving pictures.  Enjoy them, and take your time.  Bookmark the page because you won't be able to see them all in one evening! 

APRIL 2000

Anialarra 2000 Expedition:
you'll find a preview of this expedition here!

We went to the VAR (France) for ten days, where we did al lot of caving.  We also worked on our tan, thanks to the verry sunny weather.

Now we'll spent another 3 days at the European Explo 2000 meeting in Profondeville, en then we will hopefully find the time to continue with our explorations in the BDW-cave.

MARCH 2000

WAERIMONTIt doesn't hurt to be mad....
Not a lot of news, except for the progress in the "Mecano Passage" where, after 5 weekends of kamikaze-digging,  we have now reached a small but stable room.  However, the (visible) contiunuation is again between very loose and unstable boulders...  The two mechanics, Paul and Flip, are confident that they will find a solution for this situation, given some time and some special equipment. 

FEB 2000


Ooh boy... let's hope that this turns out well! (Paul in Passage Mecano)WAERIMONT
Still digging!  The "bravest of the brave" are digging in the far end of the Réseau du Printemps  (the trip alone takes 4 hours), while some others have started a very technical dig, baptized "Passage Mecano" near the entrance of the cave.  In this dig we are trying to follow the draught that flows through a terribly instable boulder choke.  In the meantime, the entire cave length totals 4300 metres.

AVALON thanks the Flemish Caving Federation (VVS)The 10 KM-kitbag
Thanks, guys, for the Petzl kitbag that we received as a gift for our "10 KM-drink" that we celebrated recently.  At your right, you'll see the very last picture of this kitbag in it's original state....

AVALON SITE: new page "Welcome to Avalon"
If you want to see some really ugly faces, go and have a look at our new introduction page  "Welcome to Avalon".

AVALON SITE: surveys have been rescanned
What a luxury: our Internetprovider now offers 30MB of webspace.  This gives me the possibility to put better (but bigger...) scans of the cave-surveys in the site.  In the past they were really ugly.  This job is now nearly finished for "The Belgian Cave Guide" ; the rest will follow in the next days.


JAN 2000

AVALON YEAR BY YEAR...  new at our site
At the celebration of our 15th anniversary, in November 1998, we presented 15 posters featuring for each year, the highlights, soms historical or crazy pictures, or a small survey.  These posters have now been converted to webpages.  Click here! (for the non-Dutch speaking readers: English translation is going on.  Please come back soon.)

I would also like to remind you that "The Belgian Cave Guide" is nearly finished: already 20 out of 25 caves have been done.  And last but not least: the detailed "activity report" 1999 has now been translated in English: click here if you want to find out what we have been doing, month by month, in 1999.

Thanks to everyone for the positive remarks!  One good remark was that the black topbanner is pretty but very ink-consuming when printing out the pages.  I've replaced the banner by another one.  The problems with missing navigation-buttons have been solved, and some big pages have been segmented in smaller subpages (The Technical Pages,  Activity reports.)

A new page was also added: "The Big Ones", a small overview of the big caving trips that Avalon did over the years.  Another page gives a selection of comments that we received from you, dear visitors.  Click here.

As you will have noticed, the entire site has been refreshed.  All pages now have a consistent look and built-in navigation buttons, new logos and banners, a new main page and so on.  The structure has been improved and still will improve (some big pages will be split up in smaller sub-pages shortly).  All this became really necessarry, since this site was growing so big (several hundreds of pages, both in Dutch and English!) that I just couldn't manage it anymore in a manual way .  The site now has been ported to Frontpage 2000.   Unfortunately, some bugs in Frontpage remain (such as no navigation buttons showing up in several sub-level pages) but I'll have a word with my friend Bill one of these days.  I hope you like it, feedback is always welcome.

I also found the time to translate in English the report on our exploration in the Anialarra mountains, last summer.  Read all about the exciting descent of the "Pozo Ibarra" with its 222metre pitch  in our "Anialarra" section. 


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