NEWS OF THE AVALON-TEAM
NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS...
The exploration in the Waerimont goes on. No
sensational discoveries these past weeks, but nevertheless we now have a
length of 4250m. During the last week of December we will make two
final attempts to find the "Réseau 2000" ... wait and see!
Meanwhile we wish you a very happy new year.
We are back from the VVS-Interclub in the Gorges du
Tarn (France). Seven of our members participated in this expedition.
It was a very succesful stay, with good weather and lots of fun. Three deep
caves were done: Aven des Patates -270m; Aven de Banicous -345m; Aven de
la Cheminée -400m. But we also did Baume Layrou, Aven de la Caze,
Aven de la Barelle, Grottes du Cabane de Trevezel, Aven du Valat Negre,
Aven Armand (via the original entrance shaf!), Grotte de la Clujade and
Aven de la Portalerie.
YOU ARE INVITED TO AVALON’S “10
FRIDAY 19/11/1999 in Leuven
Neptune (1988) - Blaireau Mort - Chawresse - Haquin - Bretaye - Weron
- Dellieux - Dury - Eglise -
Lecoq - Strauss - Contrastes - Bernard - Emotions - Loutre - Waerimont
- Poils (1999) etc.
We often said it: the day that all our discoveries (in Belgium only)
add up to 10 kilometers of cave passage, we will give a free drink.
We thought this would be something for the year 2005 or so, but
we didn't have any luck (and YOU have!): we're already there!
So, we have the pleasure of inviting you to our “10 KM DRINK”. This
will take place in the "nerve-centre" of Flemish speleology, the house of
the V.V.S. (Verbond van Vlaamse Speleologen) in Heverlee-Leuven (Broekstraat
23). Just for this occasion, we will change the place into a good
old Belgian "dark brown pub", where many a story will be told....
See you all on Friday evening, November 19, at 20:00 h. Don't
miss this: waiting for our 20 KM DRINK could take quite a while!
ALL KINDS OF STUFF
No real news this month. We participated in
the organisation of the "Speleological Days" in Hotton, where we guided
groups around in the Bois de Waerimont and Bretaye cave, and gave demonstrations
or training in caveradio, surveying, video etc.
We also went for 4 days to France in the Doubs dept.
in the company of Karl Willems (Styx) and Mario Lebbe (De Grotters) to try
to do the 9 km long through-trip of the Verneau. But the weather was too
bad so we did 4 other "classic" caves.
Rik Martens started a video project in the Bretaye
cave, that will probably mobilise some members for the next couple
In the Grotte des Emotions we finally continued our
dig in the "Pig's Hole", our only hope to shunt the final sump of the cave.
We already spent 3 weekends there, still 20 to go we guess...
Finally, we continued in the Bois de Waerimont where
we found some extra 40 m of new passage...
RESEAU DE WAERIMONT: 4000 m!
The past weekend our surveyors passed the 4000 m boundary
(2700m discovered by Avalon) and the cave is still going. The cave enters
the Belgian Top 5 ...
Only 200 meters to go and all our discoveries (in
Belgium only) sum up to 10000 m! As promised; this will be a good excuse
to have a party. We will keep you informed about this.
THE ANIALARRA 99 EXPEDITION: a
* The Pozo Ibarra (AN519), discovered last year, defended
itself very well. Several digging sessions (even 2 days in the snow)
brought us, at a depth of -120m, before a too narrow meander. This was enlarged
over 10 m length (several days work). After the meander, the cave
continued with a modest P7 and then a giant (and wet!) pit, 222 meters deep.
We called the pit “The Extremist” (a tribute to the best guitar CD
ever: "The Extremist" of Joe Satriani). At a depth of -347m we arrived in
a big fossil gallery that was nothing else than the "Fossil canyon" of the
Anialarra System (now 11 km and 711 m deep). We made several surveying and
exploring trips in the system itself, to a depth of 500m. Thanks to
our 2,5 kilometers of surveying (cave+surface) we were able to locate precisely
the entrance of every big cave in the Anialarra lapiaz. We made
at least 12, probably 15 trips in our "Pozo Ibarra", which opens up great
possiblities for future explorations in the Anialarra System. The pitches
are less deep and less flood-prone than those of the Pozo Estella entrance.
* our other dig, the strong draughting AN523 did
not give any results, despite 3 days of work (unstable boulder choke)
* at the end of our stay Paul & Jos briefly explored
a new cave, (AN534 - Pozo del Eclipse) and reached after a series of nice
pitches the depth of -120m, where they were stopped due to a lack of rope
(above a P10). But a fossil meander which started much to their
surprise led to a big room, some 50 m in diameter. To be continued
* Paul found another new cave, (AN536 - Pozo
del Arco) and progressed 50m, untill a boulder in a meander stopped him.
This caves blows out a terribly strong and cold draught.
* The first 2 weeks of our 3 week stay were complicated
by stormy weather. We had several underground flood pulses and
one night our camp at an altitude of 2100 m. was partially destroyed by
a small hurricane.
* Frank & Mark, backed up by the Speelmans family,
bottomed a classic cave in 16 hours: the 600m deep Couey-Lodge.
* and finally we prospected the lapiaz a lot and
found at least 5 other caves that could very well surprise us next year!
BOIS DE WAERIMONT: 4000 m
The past weeks we have worked at a terrible pace in
the "Réseau de Printemps", discovered in March. Every weekend at least
2 survey teams left for an 11 hour trip, to measure an average of 100 à
150 m of "new passages". The job is now done for only 80%, but the
Réseau du Printemps is already over 1,5 kilometer long and the total length
of the cave approaches 4000 m. Never before in our caving career
we knew the pleasure of finding week after week, and this over a period
of months, so much virgin passages. This new part of the cave-system
is very complex, offers a lot of variation and everything a caver can dream
of. Right now, we have reached an enormous collapse-zone, baptized
"the Apocalyps", and which is driving the surveyors crazy.
But (there is always a "but"...), all this isn't offered
on a gold plate. We are very far in the cave now, and need at least 2 hours
to get there, by a quite turing and complex way.
It is obvious that our next, maybe utopic goal is
now: up to 5000 m!
BOIS DE WAERIMONT: major breakthrough
The continuous work in the BDW, at a steady pace of
at least once a week (over the past 2 years!) has again paid off! Two weeks
ago (5th of June), Jos, Paul & Chris made a major breakthrough. About
100 m of new galleries were quickly explored. One week later, 5 lucky ones
had another sensational day while discouvering over 400 m of galleries,
chambers and collapse areas. And it isn't finished yet! So, the next
months will again be filled with a lot of surveying and additional explorations.
The biggest problem however is that we need 2 to 2,5 hours to reach this
area in the cave and that during this trip we have to cross several very
decorated zones. This obliges us to "undress" twice (oversuit, boots, helmets
have to be carried in clean spare bags). An average trip takes
9 to 10 hours.
Anyway, this will be a very good year indeed for our
club: already 1 kilometer of "première" and the year isn't half yet.
We have always promised to give a free barrel of beer to our fellow cavers,
the day that our discouveries in Belgium total 10.000 m of galleries.
We thought that this wouldn't happen before the year 2005, but we have a
strong feeling that we might have to keep our promise before the end of
this year! Damned!
BOIS DE WAERIMONT
Over 425 m has already been surveyed in what we have
baptized "Réseau du Printemps", our most recent discovery in this ever growing
cave system. At the moment we are digging again and over the past 4 weekends
we have shifted a truckload of mud... To be continued...
Avalon spent another week in the sunny south of France
and bottomed there the "Trou Souffleur" (-602m); a magnificent cave. The
series of pitches (550 m in total) is amazing (the 113m pitch measures 50
m. in diametre!) and the two kilometres of underground river is just beautiful
(average width 5 metres!).
BOIS DE WAERIMONT: major breakthrough!
After several weeks of hard work (the ultimate try
to find that big continuation that we knew had to exist); we finally made
a big break-through. The past weekends we had the pleasure -again- to run
through hundreds of metres of virgin passages; still waiting to be surveyed.
One things is for sure: it ain't finished yet! The 3000 m barrier
is in reach.
We also would like to outline that only SC Avalon
manages this cave. It is our strong wish that it will be accessible
to all clubs in a near future (under certain conditions), but meanwhile
the exploration is still going on and we ask you to have some more patience.
The cave will be, on demand of the city of Rochefort, classified because
of its scientific intrest.
PIERRE-ST-MARTIN: WANTED A FEW
This summer we will be going (again) to the Anialarra
(PSM, Spain) to explore (so we hope) another -400m cave and with some more
luck, find a nice underground streamway. We still could use
1 or 2 good cavers (vertical experience is a must) who have time between
21/7 and 15/8 to go exploring on one of Europe's finest karstplateaus.
ANIALARRA 1997-98 NOW ON OUR SITE!
As from now, you'll find on our site a couple of pages that are devoted
to our explorations in the Pierre-St-Martin area. You'll find for
instance the report on the discovery and first descent of the Pozo de los
Ninos, with its giant 259m shaft! Click
ANNUAL REPORT 1998: NOW ON THIS SITE!
Avalon is a club without secrets... so elsewhere on this pages you will
find our detailed activity report of 1998; a very busy year indeed! We have
also updated the table with Belgium's longest and deepest caves.