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DEC 1999

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.

NOV 1999

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.

OCT 1999

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!

SEPT 1999

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 of months.
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...

AUG 1999

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 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 next year!

* 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!

JULY 1999

BOIS DE WAERIMONT:  4000 m within reach!
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!

JUNE 1999

BOIS DE WAERIMONT: major breakthrough (again)!
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!

MAY 1999

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...

APRIL 1999

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!).

MARCH 1999

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.

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.   



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 here!


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.

Contacteer/contact us:  SC Avalon vzw
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