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2000 report

January 2000

* Bois de Waerimont (BDW): 4 days of work. We start digging in a very unstable boulder choke. The dig is named "the Meccano". Another dig is started in a narrow gallery, at the summit of a climb in Salle Mikado. We break our speed record: we progress about 8 centimetres in 3 hours of time in this dig! One week later the dig is closed after a last attempt. In the Meccano, a rather frightening looking iron construction is made by "the mechanics" in order to stabilize the boulder choke.

* Grotte Préhistorique: the nice formations in Salle Brocolli are taped off.

* An attempt to do a closed cave (Cxxxx) failed because the padlock was completely stuck. To save the day we visited Trou du Palan and Mille Pattes. One week later we managed to visit the cave, after having cut trough the padlock with an electric cutting disk (in the presence of the people who manage the cave, of course!).

February 2000

* The "De Bie family" visited Ronsombeux with the kids, who proved their knowledge of SRT-techniques in this vertical cave.

* Grotte Strauss: we had to replace the tapes that protected the formations, because mice had eaten the former ones!

* BDW (3 days of work): working in the Meccano gets more and more difficult, but Paul and Flip slowly work their way trough the boulders. In the Salle Mikado the last artificial climb doesn’t yield any results. Some guys start digging near the "Serpent". In the far reaches of the cave, Réseau du Printemps, another long day ends without any results.

* Trou des Charrues, in fact an underground limestone quarry, is visited. Some nice, recent flowstone.

* Grotte de Ham (Esneux) proved to be a good alternative for the Pré au Tonneau which was flooded.

* Weron-Dellieux: a hard day of work: a trough-trip in the company of 3 SKO-members and one Dutchman, Arend T.

March 2000

* 4 days in the French Doubs department: Gouffre de la Legarde, Gouffre des Ordons (with the kids) and Folaven (where we made a spectacular new route in the 90 metre pitch). Bruyères was flooding and instead the Gouffre de Poudry was visited. A team went to do the Gouffre de la Balme - Puits Bip-bip trough-trip. They had great fun, but the cave was shorter in time than the time it took to drive to it. And since there was still some good snow near Pontarlier, we did some skiing as well.

* BDW (4 days of work): Chris visits the cave with his children. One week later there are 5 teams in the cave, some classic visitors, some digging teams. At the bottom of Puits Mario (extremely muddy) 30 metres of gallery is discovered. Meanwhile, 6th day of work in the Meccano which leads to the discovery of a small room. That same day, Paul looks around a bit in Salle Jos and finds several cave bear fossils.

* Tienne du Moulin: nice, small cave near Eprave is visited.

* A team returns from Béron-Ry. They are very enthusiastic about the cave, but afterwards they realize that they have missed a big part of the cave.

April 2000

* BDW: another two days of "cave bear hunting".

* Vallon des Chantoirs: the Rouge Thiers proved to be extremely wet, the Grandchamps even wetter (in fact, flooded...)

* "THE" Riga: after 15 years of patience we had the opportunity to visit the almost mythical Trou Riga. One hour was enough to see it all... Later that day we visited Grotte Heinrichs and, in the company of the discoverers of the cave, performed some protective work in Salle Annette.

* 10 days of heavy caving in the French "Var" department. In Grotte des Castelettes an ice cold duck (swim-trough passage, 2 meters deep water) proved to be great fun. In the Aven du Cerceuil a very selective squeeze stopped two of us, only Jos and Paul got through and had the pleasure of admiring the beautiful gallery at -155m. Aven de la Ripelle: we searched longer to find the cave than the actual time to explore it. Aven de la Solitude (-200m) was a nice, clean cave. De deepest of the department, Aven de Cyclopibus (-370m) was done in only 9 hours by 4 of us. And finally we visited Grotte des Rampins, with the kids... Between caving we spent some time at the coast, and we also tested our cave-radios and VHF radios that would be used in the summer expedition at Anialarra.

May 2000

* We attended the 3-days "International Explo 2000 "meeting in Arbre. Avalon showed posters, video’s and slides.

* Grotte d’Eprave: just a visit..

* Trou de l’Eglise: we guided two novices around, unfortunately one of them quickly expressed the desire to get back to the surface asap...

* BDW (1 day): Mark and Jos continued in a difficult dig at the end of Galerie Teva. Paul and Rudi surveyed the new bit at the foot of Puits Mario and nearly got themselves killed in a boulder collapse in Salle de l’Adrenaline.

* Hohière: a quick visit, in shorts and T-shirt. Then some prospective work near Petit-Somme where we found Grotte de Borlon (a known cave). In this cave, after a couple of hours of digging, a new gallery was found. One week later we finished the exploration and surveyed it (30 metres).

* Trou de la Louve: also a quick visit, in this once pretty cave but now completely devastated.

* Herman and Erwin prospected near Dinant.

* Grotte des Emotions: collection of some rock samples for the Belgian geological service

* Avalon organized an info-evening about caving. One new member was recruited: Frank.

* Another day of prospecting, between Hotton and Morville, without much result.

June 2000

* Again another 4-day stay in the French Doubs. This time we stayed in St. Hyppolithe and the weather was exceptionally good. First we visited the Chateau de la Roche (underground river with lots of formations). Then the spectacular Gouffre de Bruyères (-160m) which can only be visited in dry weather. We also bottomed one of the deepest caves, Gouffre de Montaigu (-390m), essentially for testing our radio-equipment. The cave-radio had no problem with the depth, -500m must be possible. Finally we visited Grotte de la Tuilerie, which was very muddy and not very interesting...

* Grotte d’Eprave: some members (Jos & Flip) did the cave with their children.

* Bois de Waerimont (1 day): marathon trip (+10hrs) by Jos and Paul who discovered ... 10 metres of extra passages near Gallery Teva...

* Trou de l’Eglise: 4 novices were guided around.

* Bretaye: First day of shooting of the new video by Rik Martens of SC Krypta "The Way of the Water".

Since this is "our" cave, club member Rudi participated in the making of this movie. We also made some modifications near the cave-entrance, in order to raise the water-level in the cave.

* Mario and Marjan went to Wales where they visited Ogof Draenen.

* Grotte des Emotions: the dry weather permitted us to continue our dig near the terminal sump.

* Beron-Ry: another visit, and this time the team went to the very end of the cave (and back).

July 2000

* Trou d’Haquin: 6 novices were guided around, one of them joined the club. One week later, another similar trip in the same cave with 4 novices, followed by a visit to Trou de l’Eglise the next day.

* Dinant two days of digging in an unnamed cave. No success...

* The VHF-radios were thoroughly tested by Mario and Flip, near Namur.

* Bois de Waerimont (2 days): another day of "taping off" formations in the Puzzle and Salle Pourrie. The job is nearly OK now. Paul & Annette also visited the cave with their kids.

* Abime de Lesves: SRT-practise for new member Frank R. One day later, visit to Laide Fosse.

* Trou Bernard: problematic trip because of Annemie falling down a 5 metre pitch. She had a back-injury but managed to get out of the cave, "with a little help from her friends".

* Trou Weron: classic visit.

August 2000

For the fourth year in a row, we spend the whole month exploring in the Spanish Pyrenees. We continued our work in the Anialarra mountains, helped by a lot of friends from other clubs (Technico, Styx, FFS, Speleo NL). In the Anialarra System, we discovered a new part (300 m in length) near the bottom of the cave at a depth of -650m. These new galleries offer good possibilities to get passed the enormous boulder choke in which the cave ends now. We also continued re-surveying the cave; actually we now have re-surveyed about 60% of the 10 km long cave-system. At the surface, our prospections also continued and we found several new caves, however none of them deeper dan -100m.

September 2000

* Trou Ozer: despite a 6-page long description, 5 telephone calls and 4 hours of searching, our team didn’t succeed in finding the entrance of the cave! However, one week later, some other members found the cave within 3 minutes and visited it in 2 hours!

* Chantoir de Kin: pleasant trip. We re-discovered an interesting blowhole.

* BDW (2 days): a couple of classic trips.

* Trou du Palan: photo-session at a depth of -600m!

* Bretaye: Rudi, star player in the videomovie, had to bear the cold water and Rik’s improvisation talent one more time (and not the last one!)

October 2000

* The weather Gods sabotaged us. Visiting Grotte des Surdents was impossible because of the Vesdre flooding. As an alternative, we visited Grotte Bebronne ... where we discovered a beautiful decorated little room.

* Chantoir de Kin: one team started digging in the "blowhole" and returned very enthusiastic. The second team, one week later, returned less euphoric: the thing simply ended after 2 meters!

* Three fanatics went to the Anialarra area one more time. Unfortunately, snow and rain made it nearly impossible to work in our zone, situated at an altitude of 2200m. A visit to Arresteliako Ziloa (>50km long) saved the week.

* Trou d’Haquin: we guided 3 novices around.

* Trou des Poils: Jos again motivated some people to continue the dig there. But it really seems hopeless.

* Dinant: last day of work in another dig.

* Abime de Lesves: we participated in a rescue exercise, organized by the Flemish Caving Federation

November 2000

* In Dison we finally managed to visit the Grotte des Surdents, very beautiful but also very narrow! We also visited Grotte de Bellevau and a part of Trou des 2 Copines. In this last cave, badger-shit was piled up everywhere, even in some of the low crawls; so we had to give up our attempt.

* And one week later, we had to cancel a trip in Chantoir de Tricointe because of a fox, that we met at -5m. We then "diverted" to a very old dig of ours, Chantoir Le Pressoir where we also worked in 1987.

The cave was quickly re-opened. We stranded at -5m. A week later, we progressed a couple of meters and reached the top of a narrow pitch. After two more weekends, we got to the bottom of it, where the cave continues, but very narrow.

* In the Chawresse we started digging in the Reseau Persephone. After 3 days of work, we had emptied a low crawl (8 m long). Promising dig, draught!

* A couple of members participated in the VVS-Interclub in the Gorges du Tarn (France). A lot of caves where visited: Clujade, Bramabiau, Baume Layrou, Offraous. But the most spectacular one was the Aven d’Orgnac, where the non-tourist part was visited.

December 2000

* Avalon starts selling wine...

* Mario and Marjan went to visit the Fissures, but afterwards they realized that they had in fact done the Perseverance, located in another quarry.

* And one week later, after having searched in vain for the ... Fissures, Mario and friends made a trip in the Réseau SSD in the Chawresse.

* And again in the Chawresse, the 5th day of digging in Reseau Persephone was the good one: Paul and Marjan dug another 6 meters and then found a new bit, but where stopped after 15 m by a narrow passage. Sound of water and a lot of airflow. Another two weekends were necessary to blast through the obstacle (4 m long). We arrived in something big... it was unfortunately the classic part of the cave. So, a new roundtrip now exists. A week later, we surveyed the whole lot.

* BDW: two classic visits.

* Pressoir: day 5 and 6: another 3 meters were added. In fact, very difficult dig: narrow and wet.

* Trou Weron: we guided 1 person around.

* Trou d’Haquin: we guided a new member, Jan, around.

* Jos participates in a 3-week caving expedition at the exotic isle of Socotra (Yemen)

* 31/12/2000: The last day of the millennium is celebrated together by 10 of our members...


Again, I ask myself: are there really that many weekends in one year? Or are we indeed, as some say, caving maniacs?

In 1999 we essentially worked in the Bois the Waerimont cave. But 2000 was more varied! We visited many "classic" caves and we saw many a beautiful cave in Belgium or the rest of Europe. We started digging in several places, just as in the old days and it was great fun. We didn’t discover kilometers of virgin passages

so far, but nevertheless we had the pleasure of being the very first to explore new parts in the Chawresse, Grotte de Borlon, Trou du Palan, Le Pressoir, Bebronne, Bois de Waerimont and of course in the Anialarra System in Spain.

In 2000 we did serious efforts to find some new members; we held an information-evening and guided several interested people around. Two new members joined the club; for them the adventure is just beginning; but for also it ain’t over yet neither!

Thanks everyone, for the enthusiasm, all the work, and the good atmosphere.

Paul De Bie


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