January news

A Quick Break

Observant customers who have been searching the shop calendar will have noticed that the first full outing of the year is not until the last weekend in January, down on Mendip. This is not due to laziness, or a fear of bad weather!

"We're not on Leck Fell now, Toto..."
“We’re not on Leck Fell now, Toto…”

Once more, I’m off to Slovenia with the Cavex club. This is a bunch of Czechs, Russians, Poles, Slovenes, and other generally tough characters who I met back in ’05 in Voronia, and who occasionally let me go caving with them. The area that we’re working is Monte Kanin, which had some of the best potential to provide the world’s deepest cave (1800m+) until the Arabika Massif started going seriously.

Once again, the plan is to examine a couple of caves at 2000m+ altitude, one of which was last looked at in early ’08. This cave, Skalarjevo Brezno, is about 990m deep at the moment (perhaps a little more), and still has a lot to look at, both at 500m and at depth. Underground, it is quite pleasant…dry, at least, as all the water is held at snow at this time of year. Three narrow meanders, but otherwise quite big and vertical, as you can see…

150m, *not* to be done on new unwashed 9mm...
150m, *not* to be done on new unwashed 9mm…

In ’08 we were camping on the surface, which was less fun as it put down about a metre of snow each day, the temperature was around -20C, and it blew a gale for days on end. Only the social life of the snow cave kept us sane and relatively normal…

Ministry of Silly Hats...me on the left, Sergio Garcia Dils de la Vega (very hard, very knowledgeable, very Spanish) on the right
Ministry of Silly Hats…me on the left, Sergio Garcia Dils de la Vega (very hard, very knowledgeable, very Spanish) on the right

But this year we should be in the winter room of the alpine hut nearby, so it should be *relatively* plush. We’ll see. A lot of time should be spent camping underground, aiming to make the connection with the very extensive Italian system of Mala Bocca; this would be pretty big, and pretty deep – but still, caves have a way of not doing what you expect, as we all know!

Not taking much new kit to play with this time; the usual ‘dry’ caving gear of Traff and Butron clothing, plus my beloved Amazonia harness. Getting a little tatty now, so this may be its last outing… I don’t usually use ‘personal’ bags, but will probably take a new little item that Beast have made for me as a food / battery / general ‘wanted on voyage’ bag. Let you know how it fares…

In the meantime, the website will be running pretty much as usual. Ursula will be at the other end of the computer if you use the info@starlessriver.com address, and she’ll be happy to answer all but the most gear – fetishist questions, as well as send goodies to you as normal. If you prefer to talk, mail her with your number and she’ll get back to you…

In the meantime, I wish you all an excellent and adventurous start to the year; and I look forward to seeing at least some of you in the Spring. For now –

Happy caving!

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