- Summary of exploration
- 2017 Findings and Report
- Data and Surveys
Summary of exploration
This year we returned this year to the "Primadona" entrance of System Migovec.
An initial plan to push as deep as possible was waylanded by finding significant, if slightly shallower, leads. To reach the old deep cave rerigging and rebolting work was done in the "TTT" branch of the cave and this is where one of the pushing fronts, "Hammerhead", was found. Leads were also pushed off and above "Karstaway", the major branch found last year, and many new ways into "Hall of the Mountain King" were found as a result. Finally, various small leads were pushed beneath the "Knot Very Good" chamber eventually resulting in a passage heading directly South into completely blank mountain.
Notably a new surface cave was found and pushed off the Western side of the plateau. Gondolin, about 15m down the cliff, descends approximately 30m before becoming choked. A couple of other long standing digs were conclusively killed as well, S1 and Hare Cave.
2017 Findings and Report
After the successful 2016 expedition, there was an abundance of high quality leads at shallow levels along the Karstaway branch and beneath TTT ; the many question marks we had thus left unchecked became the obvious target of the 2017 expedition. We also expressed the motivation to rig down to the deepest point reached in 2000.
The summer expedition targeted three main fronts: one branch reached by a traverse over the Rokovo Brezno area which, via several pitches con- nected back to the Hall of the Mountain King and the Karstaway series; a branch off the TTTroute, which led to major collapse chambers and still holds promising leads in the far south west of the cave at -500m level; a branch below Smer0, extended over many trips to a blank area of the mountain with tremendous depth potential and a wide open pitch series at the furthest end.
A new surface cave was spotted off a photograph and accessed via a short abseil off the western cliffs. Its leads were exhausted in a day due to its main emph being filled with shattered rock to the ceiling. The closest approach with the Migovec system lie in Monatip, not 100m away. Many similar entrance on the cliff side remain to be thoroughly investigated. All in all, the 2017 Cez rob expedition was a success, with the discovery of more than 1886m of new passage, involving four novices and taking place both in the established cave system as well as new areas of the Migovec plateau. The outlook for 2018 is good, with the likely set-up of a new underground camp in the deep passages of Primadona.
The Electric Dreams series began as a resurvey of the traverse over the Karstaway (P30). A traverse over boulders leads to a high level fossil passage heading to the SW, which ends abruptly at a small pitch (P5). The way on is a N-S trending immature rift with puddles with a gentle slope which leads to a 3 pitch series ( P5, P10, P20). The final pitch is roughly 10m in diameter and littered with boulders. A small trickle of water runs down the north wall and the original explorers’ route enters about halfway down the shaft, leaving open the possibility of bolt climbing to reach a higher level of cave. Opposite the landing of the pitch, a 3m high archway leads to a wide rift in the middle of which drip water pools and disappears through a crack in the floor. Some 10m further another pitch (P17) leads off: this is More like Welding.
More like Welding
More like Welding lands in a high boulder floored chamber with a strong draught. To the SW, a scramble down and up boulder piles leads to a junction: to the right (W), the passage reconnects at the top of Mighty Fine Indeed second pitch. To the left (SW), a boulder slope leads to the start of a P40, the Atrium. At the bottom of this pitch, which is formed by twin avens and has a ‘kidney’ like plan shape, a way through more boulders allows access to a spectacular route through the roof of the Hall of the Mountain King.
Stranglehold is an immature highly sinous rift leading off the floor of the third Electric Dreams pitch. A blind pitch is soon reached, across which it is possible to pendulum, in order to reach the far continuation of the rift. The bottom of the pitch was pronounced ‘dead’ after the investigation of ways through and under large boulders. In the high level rift however several climbs follow, which end at a lower level route into the Atrium.
Entirely my fault
Entirely my Fault are a pair of pitches following closely the stream of Karstaway passage. Two short descents lead to boulder blockage up- and downstream.
The TTT branch
What a Disappointment
Ajdovˇscˇina pitch was revisited with the ob- jective of connecting the What a Coincidence! sur- vey with the old deep route. The confusion about the several ropes spotted by exploring parties in 2016 was cleared up when it emerged the two passages were connected in several places. A first ex- change between the old and new branches occurred towards the end of the 2017 expedition where What a Disappointment! was explored. This is a ca. 15m pitch leading to a too-tight muddy rift.
Hammerhead is the obvious continuation of Déjà Vu pitch. Several hundreds of metres of high rift passage and small pitches in a strongly draughting area lead to a confusing boulder collapse cham- ber. Scrambling over 5m wide blocks leads to a draughting high aven heading in a SW direction, in line with the main trend of the TTT branch. Several drops through boulders were left undescended, while a squeeze past a drip of water leads to short section of sinuous rift and a short pitch (Dogfish). In the modest chamber, another short section of strenuous rift leads to a constricted pitch head, the start of High and Dry. A more spacious pitch follows, landing in a t-shaped chamber situated underneath the Hammerhead boulder collapse. On the far N side of the chamber, a too tight section of rift appears to connect with a parallel, wet aven. On the far W side of the chamber from the pitch landing, an intimidating steep rubble and boulder slope goes up to the roof.
Batmere passage is a perfect keyhole shaped offshoot of the TTT branch surveyed during the 2017 expedition. Below the Mandare junction between TTT and Stara Jama ( the ‘Old Cave’). This junction is a complex cross-roads between two major rifts: to the NE is Povezava passage, linking with Sejna Soba. Staying at the very highest level it is possible to spot the start of Mandare on the left handside, by pool of water emptying into a crack in the floor. Staying at mid level, the drip from this watefall collects in another pool, before rushing back towards Mandare. The upstream key- hole passage soon degenerates into a tight rift for a short section. Soon however it opens out at the bottom of Bat pitch in Stara Jama. Confusingly it is possible to double back on oneself and follow the proper ‘Stara Jama’ route back to Mandare, as well as crawl in a muddy tube which later breaks out into a small chamber with an unexplored climb into a higher level of the passage.
Fenestrator is a window a couple of metres off the floor of a pitch below Cattlegrid. The route away from the water goes through a straight rift to a low chamber where several ways are possi- ble: straight ahead leads to Battery Flattery: a 20m pitch followed by a short section of abandoned phreatic passage ending at a clear sump. Down to the left, a squeeze past some boulders leads immediately to another junction. Ahead, an unexplored crawl beckons , while further stooping and crawling ends in a muddy plane, ICCC passage of the year Nominee. Immediately off to the right is a pitch head heralding the start of Plumbers’ Paradise, at the bottom of which is another clear sump. Through a short climb up the southern side of the shaft however, entry is gained to the continuation of the branch. A short roped traverse leads to a very tight pitch head, (P4). The base is again a sump, possibly connected to the one at the bottom of the P20. By keeping high and crawling along a muddy abandoned phreatic tube however, the start of Hallelujah streamway is reached.
Hallelujah streamway is a 100m long stomp to a too low passage where the water disappears. A short climb further upstream leads to a bypass to the low wet route. Finally a pitch (P6) is reached, Sweet Baby Jesus, landing in a chamber of sizeable dimensions. Further south is a junction between a unexplored branch (to the right, larger passage) and a circular abandoned phreatic passage. This has a gentle upwards incline to a sandy sump on the left, and comfortable squeeze on the right handside. The passage enlarges at a chamber.
The continuation is a low, white floored passage with several puddles sloping down to a short pitch Alabaster. This lands in a small chamber at the far side of which it is possible to climb down and double back on oneself. At the near end, a sharp left hand bend constitutes the next challenging pitch head. Dropping 10m into a high rift passage with sediment banks on either side, the next pitch is soon reached: another 13m to a ledge, the limit of exploration in Alabaster.
Death by a 1000 blows
Death 1000 blows is a short section of rift passage found in the M16 entrance series above Brezno Strahov. Several hours of digging and rock removal gained a little distance along the immature rift, adding to the survey length of this part of the cave since the early 2000s.
Galaktika chamber was also revisited for the first time since 2001 in the wake of a rerigging spree in the M16 entrance series. The 100x50x100m chamber was confirmed to be the largest in the system and photographed for posterity. A single lead was found at the bottom of the Galaktika shaft, require some severe rock excavation before further progress is made.
Other surface work
M17 was revisited and photographed this year, with the original way on described in the Hollow Mountain found to be choked in ice. No other leads were found at the bottom of the cave although it may hold some scientific potential as a cryospheric archive of past climate.
Gondolin is found on the west edge of the plateau. To reach the cave, one follows the hiking trail towards Kuk until reaching a deep E-W valley. Down 100m to the West is V08, a hanging valley with large scree cone and several entrances (JJ1, JJ2 ). A roped abseil starts above the steep slope and leads to a rock overhang 10m wide. The high entrance to the cave is located to the top right corner of the rock shelter and reached via pendulum rom the abseil route. A short crawl over sharp cobbles lead to an upwards tube, giving access to a larger space. The first pitch (P7) lands on top of a scree cone with two ways on. Up, leads to the high part of a sinuous rift, choked with boulders. The very top of the passage is a relict phreatic tube in the ceiling. Down, and to the right leads to a con- tinuation of the rift, to the second pitch (P8). This drops to a scree filled alcove and a window onto the third pitch (P13), which is much larger in diameter (6x6m). THe bottom is again a large, steep cone of scree. It is possible to see a parallel, small aven coming in from the N side of the shaft.
S1 was revisited and rerigged this year: the source of the cold draught issuing from the entrance followed upwind to an ascending boulder collapse deemed unsafe to dig. Another lead (a short rift) was investigated, but rock removal was halted due to the irretrievable loss of a lump hammer between boulders.
North of Tolminski Kuk or in Area N, several interesting features were (re) discovered. N07-09 were relocated with confidence and several other snow filled shafts identified within the Kuk-Zeleni Vhr valley.
We now have two promising sections of cave within Primadona which we hope to push in 2018.
- The Fenestrator branch which has very good depth potential, heads towards blank mountain and was left as an ongoing pitch.
- The bottom of Ajdovščina, with the ongoing deep pitch series last visited in 2001.
- The leads from the Hammerhead series, located farther to the SW than any other passage in Primadona.
- The remaining leads of Monatip which were not visited in 2017.
- Various other leads, climbs and pitches located in the shallow Primadona section.
Data and Surveys
The data is all here:
The drawn surveys: