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Hot NewsNEWS OF THE AVALON-TEAM - 1998



NOVEMBER 1998

28/11/98 - 15 YEARS AVALON: IT WAS A SUCCESS!
About 350 people visited our exposition and filmshow. The reactionExposition and Cafés on both topics were very positive. Especially the second part of the evening, featuring the slide-show "10 years of discoveries in Belgium" and the video "The Exploration" were really appreciated. This last movie was by some people entitled as the "Ultimate caving movie"! It had a lot of action, humour and adventure in it and was really thrilling. We are very happy that everything went fine, because we spend numerous weeks preparing all of this. Saturdaynight, after the show, lot's of people stayed with us having fun and drinking until the morning hours. Sunday it was quite hard to get up early and clean up everything. Glad it's all over, now we can go caving again!

15 YEARS AVALON...
Everything is almost ready for this big event, on Nov. 28th. Almost 250 people have already rerved their entrance tickets, so we're pretty sure that the place will be sold out. Anyway, organising such events is so time-consuming that we hardly had the time to go caving. We'll be glad when it's all over.

VAUCLUSE
We just spent 9 sunny days in the South of France (Vaucluse dept.) where we visited several caves. Biggest was the 640 m deep Aven Autran. Two teams of ours bottomed the cave, that features a few big pitches (P103 and P126) and a VERY long meander (696 m).

OCTOBER 1998

ROCHEFORT
To our surprise we found today during a boring surveying-trip a narrow but interesting hole. After 3 minutes of work Jos and Paul had the pleasure to explore some 75 m of nice and decorated passages. We had to stop in a room, before a narrow crack (very strong draught!). To be continued.

EMOTIONS
Much to our grief we could not work one single day at the terminal sump of the Grotte des Emotions, because of the very wet summer. This part of the cave has been under water most of the time.... Better luck next year.

VIDEO- and SLIDE SHOW: 15 YEARS AVALON
All preparations are nearly finished. On SATURDAY 28 of NOVEMBER, in Hemiksem, you can admire our exposition as from 1500 hr. At 2000 hr. our video-show starts. In short, this is the program:
- The Avalon clip (video)
- Slide-show "10 years of discoveries in Belgium"
- Jamaica: the Hidden Side (video)
- The Exploration (video): don't miss this unique film that features live-images of cavers during the actual discovery of hundreds of meters of beautiful passages!
Click here for a complete program!!!

SEPTEMBER 1998

HOTNEWS SPLIT UP....
This page is being accessed a lot by you all. To speed up the loading of it, all items of 1997 have been put in a separate page. You'll find a link to it at the top and bottom of this page.

FILMING, PHOTOGRAPHING, CAVING...
In December 1998 we will celebrate our 15th anniversary with a video- and slideshow. Right now we are very busy making pictures and filming in several of our discoveries... More news about this unique evening will soon follow.

AUGUST 1998

DE BELGIAN MAILING LIST
The "Union Belge de Speleologie" has made a discussionlist for Belgian cavers. Subscribe and you will be able to exchange messages through E-mail with other Belgian cavers on the list. Very handy if you have something to sell, if you are looking for information, or if you have some great news to tell to the Belgian caving scene. Follow this link for more info: http://www.speleo.be/mailing
 

AVALON IS BACK!

The PSM-team spend 3 busy weeks in the beautiful mountains of the Pierre St. Martin at the French/Spanish border. The exploration of the AN506 (entrance discovered by us last year) was very spectacular. After a P23, P8, P23 a gigantic pitch follows, called the "Monstre" and 258 m deep! Sublime pitch, no platforms, very wide (8 x 20 m), clean and dry. This pitch becomes the second deepest of the area, after na Puits Lepineux), and the biggest vertical drop of the area. At -310 m the pitch splits up in 4 parallel pitches, between 60 and 100 m deep. At -410 it is unfortunately finished. No connection was made with the underground river of Anialarra, however she is really close...

A lot of time was also spend in the "FR1-Trou Vaille que Vaille". This cave was explored in the seventies and also held the potential of connecting to the river of Anialarra, but than at the downstream part of it. Lot's of days were spend enlarging the tight meanders at -340 m. Eventually, this resulted in 50 m of new passage, but not really what we were looking for.

The final week we prospected on the lapiaz and found a "blowhole" with a very strong draught (AN519). After enlarging a meander at -15, it went on and on... But we had the end the exploration at -40, at the head of a pitch, since the end of our holidays had arrived. This cave is situated above the underground river of "Caou Couges "(FR3). Another blowhole was also found, located exactly above the end of Pozo Estella. So, we will know what to do in 1999.

The Jamaica-team spend 3 weeks on this magnificent tropical island. No spectacular discoveries were made; but a lot of exploration and prospection took place in the horizontal karst of Portland Ridge, and also in another karstarea nearby (pitches up to 100m deep). Some minor discoveries were made in Pottoo Hole and Jackson Bay Cave. The dense vegetation seemed to be a major problem for exploring or searching new caves ..I
 

JULY 1998

Don't expect any Hot News now... A part of our club just left for a 3-week caving expedition in JAMAICA, while the othet will soon leave for another 3-week expedition in the Pierre-St-Martin area (Spain). There, we will continue the exploration of the "AN506-Pozo de los Ninos" that we discovered last year. We hope to connect it at a depth of +/- 450 to 500 m with the Anialarra-system. Come back for more news at the end of August, please.

AVALON WEBSITE:
Guy & Paul joined hands and finally translated our annual activity report of 1997 in English.  Click here if you want to read what we did over these past years!

JUNE 1998

SRT TRAINING
Thanks to one of our members (Mark Michiels), we now have the possibility to do S.R.T training in an old factory.  The height is 20 m (free drop, no walls!) and we rigged it with 5 parallel ropes. Twice a week, we go there to train our prusiking skills, since we will have to cope with numerous pitches during the 1998 "Pierre-Saint-Martin/Anialarra Expedition".

ROCHEFORT
An agreement has been made between  SC Avalon and SC Persephone, concerning the Grotte du Bois de Waerimont. As from 1/1/98; the control and further explorations in this cave will be done by SC Avalon alone.  Meanwhile, the weekly explorations continue ...

GROTTE DES EMOTIONS
The first preparations have been made for our mega-dig at the sump of this cave. 350 m of electric cable will be pulled, so that we can use an electric hammer and other heavy machines.  The practical arrangements aren't completely worked out yet.  The dig is extremely muddy and wet, and is located in a part of the caves that floods every couple of days.   Only yesterday, a team stranded only 15 m from the sump, due to the high water.    So, we're praying for a hot and long summer!

MAY 1998

No real news to report. We are still continuing in our digs, but at low gear, since we are busy with the training and preparations for the Pierre-St-Martin expedition and the Jamaica expedition.
Recently we spend another 3 days in France (Doubs dept.) where we did 4 vertical caves, that add up to some 750 metres of depth.  Just to exercise our SRT-techniques again.

APRIL 1998

PARTY... GREAT!!
Our 6th party turned out to be a big success:  lot's of beer, lot's of people dancing like crazy, and I who had (again) a good excuse to turn those great 70ties and 80ties records real LOUD!  We thank our dear audience for their presence and enthusiasm: see you next year!

350 METRES REACHED WITH OUR WIRELESS CAVE-PHONE !
Actually, we are experimenting with a totally different type of antenna. Instead of a loop, two wires (ordinary 0,75 mm2 electrical wire) are used (both underground and at the surface) that are tended in opposite directions. At their ends they are fixed to a small steel pin that is driven in the soil of the cave and surface. The longer the wires, the deeper one can communicate! These antenna's are a LOT lighter and smaller than the bulky loop-antennas.
We recently tested this system in a French cave and were able to establish an incredibly crystal-clear communication (clearer than a GSM-handphone!) at a depth of 350 metres!
We used wires that were only 17 metres long. The conditions were ideal, since the cave was large and had a muddy soil. What a great feeling to hear Herman say that the sun was shining, and that he was lying in the soft grass listening to the birds... while we were still a long way from home!
French cavers also have build John Hey's cave-radio and they recently reached depth's of well over 600 m in the Dent des Crolles, using 80 metre-wires.

Its is clear that these new antennas give enormous possibilities for the exploration of deep-cave-systems. Establishing vocal communication with a team or underground camp, 500 m deep, is now only a matter of minutes. Cavers will be held alert of changing weather-conditions, will be able to report any problems or progress, or will just simply be comforted by the voice of their teammates at the surface...
We will surely use this cave-radio during our Pierre-St-Martin 1998 expedition. The depth between the surface and the underground rivers averages 450 metres, so that should give too much problems. We'll let you know!
Meanwhile, the web-pages about this device are finally translated in English.  Click here to go to our "Technical Pages" where you'll find of description of this (and other) devices that Avalon-members build.
 

NEWS ABOUT OUR DIGS
Maybe you'll think "more than 2 weeks without any "Hot News... what's happening?"  Well, some thing have sabotaged our past  weekends: the annual meeting of the Federation, a lot of professional work, illness...
But, we also continued our explorations: Jos and Annemie finished the survey in Rochefort (at least, that's what they told us!), and another team worked for the past 2 weekends in a very unstable but very promising dig.
And a small (2-person) team; Herman and Patrick, drove to Yorkshire (UK) for the weekend to participate in a field meet of the C.R.E.G.   Their aim was to test our caveradio's that will be used next summer in the Pierre-Saint-Martin '98 expedition.
 

PARTY!!!
THE 6TH AVALON PARTY IS ON IT'S WAY!  EVERYONE IS INVITED ON FRIDAY, 24th of APRIL 1998, FOR ANOTHER STEAMY, SWEATY, THIRSTY, ... , PARTY IN GOOD AVALON TRADITION.
SOME OF GUESTS CALL THIS THE BEST PARTY OF THE YEAR... SO DON'T MISS IT!
 

MARCH 1998

ROCHEFORT
Since two months we are in the - very boring - phase of surveying everything that we discovered since December '97.  Thank God, this is nearly finished.  These new parts add up to +/- 1050 m (= discovered by SC Avalon together with two Persephone members, Jos & Chris).  If we include the new parts that Jos & Chris (SC Persephone) found last year, +/- 815 m, and the "old, classic" part of the cave (+/- 300 m), we arrive at a total of 2165 m.  It isn't finished yet... there are still lot's of leads to explore, and there is also another cave that we could link to the system.  Two weeks ago, after 3 weeks of digging, we found a new room (Salle Broccolli) that makes the distances between these two caves real small: only 10 meters! To be continued, of course.

WELCOME, visitor nr 1000!
Yesterday 11/3  visitor nr. 1000 visited our site.  Unfortunately, we do not know who he/she was. We would be more than happy to offer him/her  a nice Belgian "Trappist" (=strong beer).
Of course this is the "official" counter that counts only people that come through the "front-door"; only the very first page of our site. If you have visited our site before, you'll probably go straight to a subpage and you will not be counted.
There is also an agreement between Avalon-members not to visit our first page, to avoid  raising our own counter.

FEBRUARY 1998

SURVEY CONVERTORS
We made a few programs that convert SURVEX surveying-files to Compass or Onstation software; both surveying programs that are very good indeed.   Try out the very first beta-version of our convertors and let us know what you think of it or what problems you experienced.  This way, we can make the product even better.  Click here to go to our "convertor-page"!

ROCHEFORT
Again we found another 100 m of new galleries, featuring 3 extreme squeezes and a beautiful chamber, baptized "Salle Zen" by it's discoverers (Rudi & Jos).  This chamber certainly is one of the highlights of the whole cave system.  We also found a new, promising lead, but a very loose boulder needs to be fixed or eliminated first.  The whole cave system now passed the 2000 m.  Up to 3000 m!

WORLD DEPTH RECORD  BEATEN: -1610 m!!
It has nothing to do with Avalon, but is is sensational news!  Our correspondent Koen just mailed me that last weekend, January 22, the world depth record was broken in Gouffre MIROLDA (Haute Savoie).  The Gouffre Jean-Bernard, situated in the same mountains, and 1602 m deep, looses the first place in the  list of  world's deepest caves. Divers of a French/British team passed the final sump (at -1070m; the cave has an ascending branch that surmounts the entrance for some 500 m) and explored a new part (total length 380 m) in which a P20 and R4 permitted to gain additionnal depth. They stopped above a P15 (not descended) and a new sump. The divers stayed 8 hours behind the sump and the team stayed underground for 103 hours!  The deepest point is situated at -1610 m!

ROCHEFORT
The "interclub" Persephone (Jos & Chris) - Avalon prooved to be very productive... The survey of the new series that were discovered 1 month ago is now finished.  This new part measures at least 600 m in length!
Today 1/2/98, after 4 weekends of surveying (boring!) we finally began exploring again and this yielded very quickly in the discovery of another +/- 150 m of new passages.  And is isn't finished yet; there are still several leads to be followed!  The total length of the cave will pass the 2000 m -mark very soon.   Meanwhile we have also been very busy surveying the old, known parts of the cave and we also made two big surface surveys that span the whole hill in which the cave lies.
 

JANUARY 1998
ROCHEFORT
The past weeks we had the pleasure to explore  some important new galleries, together with Jos and Chris (Persephone).  A description of these new parts cannot be given yet.  Just wait...
 

 
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