Index Page Back Page Forward Jaskinie - The Caves Page 38

he has founded a society of cave amateurs. As a honorary member of our club he helped us a lot during our stay there. The area of our activity was the vicinity of Bac Son village near Lang Son, north of Hanoi, in the border zone (8 km from the frontier with China). This area is situated at altitude of about 1000 m and it is very scenic. It is covered with a dense jungle. The caves in this area are mostly horizontal, transfluent ones. The second area of our activity was Cao Bang, about 100 km north of Lang Son. Australians and Italians have already worked in the area before us. The explored a cave 260 m deep. Unfortunately, because of a misunderstanding with our guides and the lack of permit from local authorities, we came back to Hanoi. From here we went to the area of the Ha Long Bay. A one week stay on the Cat Ba island was a battle with the jungle in the area abounding in mogotes and poljes. The caves are mostly transfluent ones, up to several

hundred meters long. The Vietnamese are very interested in their adaptation for commercial visits, not ever taking much concern about the surrounding nature. We made survey of six caves with several kilometers of galleries. As a result of our talks with Dr Pham Khang we came to an agreement about the organization of an expedition into the area which interests us the most and which is situated at an altitude of about 2400 m. This area is virtually unexplored and the Vietnamese talk about it with respect. Deep shafts are said to be there. We are planning to go for an expedition to this area in 1998. Because of difficult transport this expedition will have to take a bit longer - 2-3 months. There are prospects of exploring new areas, possibly with very deep caves.

Hang Gio map, click here for bigger one

in Darkness

Marcin Francuz
Speleoklub Warszawski

In Memorial to Krzysztof Guzek
In December 1968 a group led by Bernard Uchmanski climbed out of Wielka Sniezna cave (-585 m), then the deepest in Poland. In those days climbing inside caves served rather exploration purposes. This event commenced a new kind of cave sport: the cave climbing. 20 years later a new Polish speleo generation started to think about this kind of sport. The most active of young Polish cave climbers included: Krzysztof Guzek (), Stefan Stefanski, Tomasz K. Pryjma, Rafat Kardas, Krzysztof Recielski, Marcin Francuz. That group gained climbing experience inside caves in such Polish caves as: Czarna (-110 m), Marmurowa (-150 m), Pod Wanta (-165 m), Mietusia (-263 m).

In January 1992 when our experience in cave climbing was sufficient we decided to climb out of the second deepest Polish cave Sniezna Studnia (-680 m). The team consisted of Krzysztof Guzek, Stefan Stefanski, Tomasz K. Pryjma and Marcin Francuz. We decided to rappel down to the bottom of the cave and then started climbing out without pre-inspection while descending. -nie3na Studnia cave consists of four big shafts (the deepest "Wazeliniarzy shaft" is 200 m deep) and many short pitches. The climbing lasted 216 hours. The most difficult part was encountered in the "Wazeliniarzy shaft" (A2 artificial climbing and V+ free climbing). 36 bolts were used. In the entrance shaft, the ice was 70 degrees steep and the team had to use ice climbing equipment. This achievement in Sniezna Studnia cave became a new Polish record in cave climbing. After the first positive experience in climbing a huge vertical cave our team realized that we had a big chance to start new competition in caving sport. We decided to beat our record and in December 1992 we chose to attack the deepest Polish cave - Wielka Sniezna (754 m). Climbing that cave, though it was 80 meters deeper, lasted only 185 hours. The difficulties amounted to V+, A3, 33 bolts. We were faced in the cave with very hard brittle rock and considerable problems with protection. Coming out of Wielka Sniezna cave using our climbing method was the first unofficial world record in this new sport competition. After first successes in Polish caves we took up the deepest caves of the world. Unfortunately without Krzysztof Guzek, who died on Matterhorn in winter 1993. Up till then it was him, who was the driving force of all our action and the unquestionable leader of our team. The deepest world cave - Reseau Jean Bernard (-1602 m) which we visited in winter 1993 turned out to be uninteresting in the climbing aspect. We did only the first sport descent of the entire cave from the C-37 entrance to the bottom and back (the best time was 54 h). However the expedition to the deepest cave of Americas - Sistema Cheve (February-April 1994) broughtthe expected record achievement. In 200 hours the team consisting of Tomasz K. Pryjma, Oskar Orzechowski, Tomasz Gajda and Marcin Francuz climbed Sistema Cheve from the depth of 1215 m. Technical difficulties were IV, A2, 30 bolts. The major difficulties were faced in Sanknusen shaft (A2) - it was climbing in cascading water. I think that this sport logically continues the traditional way of cave exploration. It allows climbing out of almost any cave using climbing equipment. I hope that similar records will be soon reported from other parts of the world.

Index Page Back Page Forward Jaskinie - The Caves Page 38