Speleo Spiel

Speleo Spiel

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Speleo Spiel
Series Title:
Speleo Spiel
Southern Tasmanian Caverneers
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Subjects / Keywords:
Regional Speleology ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )


General Note:
The Tasmanian Caverneering Club was formed on 13 September 1946. Initially, information was provided to members through a circular, copies of which exist back to November 1947. "Speleo Spiel, Circular of the Tasmanian Caverneering Club" was first published December 1960. Eight issues of this are known, up to May 1962. In April 1964 a "Circular" was again issued and seems to have continued, irregularly, until March 1966. Then in April 1966, a "New Series" of Speleo Spiel commenced, as a monthly newsletter. In December 1996 The Tasmanian Caverneering Club amalgamated with the Southern Caving Society and the Tasmanian Cave and Karst Research Group to form the Southern Tasmanian Caverneers. The combined group agreed to continue to publish "Speleo Spiel" as its bi-monthly newsletter, as continues today (2015). Speleo Spiel is a vehicle for recording the cave and karst-related activities, and particularly the achievements, of the Southern Tasmanian Caverneers. It also carriers technical and scientific reports, reprints, reviews and other information likely to be of interest to members from time to time.
Open Access - Permission by Publisher
Original Version:
No. 386 (Sep-Oct 2011)
General Note:
See Extended description for more information.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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K26-03867 ( USFLDC DOI )
k26.3867 ( USFLDC Handle )
21475 ( karstportal - original NodeID )

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Speleo Spiel – Issue 386, Sept ember–October 2011 – page 1 N ewsletter of the Southern Tasmanian Caverneers Inc PO Box 416 Sand y Ba y, Tasmania 7006 AUSTRALIA ISSN 1832-6307


Speleo Spiel – Issue 386, Sept ember–October 2011 – page 2 CONTENTS Regular Bits Editorial 3 Stuff ‘n Stuff 3 Trip Reports Frankcombes Cave, 25 Sep. 11 Stephen Bunton 3 Cave Hill Calamity, 20 Oct. 11 Alan Jackson 3 JF-583, JF-201 and JF-213?, 30 Oct. 11 Alan Jackson 4 Other Exciting Stuff New Cave Numbers: Rolan Eberhard 6 Florentine Valley and Risbys Basin Ric and Janine Go Caving in Eu rope – Part 2 Janine McKinnon 7 Speleo-Sloth in Tasmania Ric Tunney 9 Surveys Various Surveys 10 STC was formed in December 1996 by the amalgamation of three former southern Tasmanian clubs: the Tasmanian Caverneering Club the Southern Caving Society and the Tasmanian Cave and Karst Research Group STC is the modern variant of the oldest caving club in Australia. This work is STC copyright. Apar t from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission from the publishers and the inclusion of acknowledgement of the source. Speleo Spiel Newsletter of the Southern Tasmanian Caverneers Incorporated PO Box 416, Sandy Bay, Tasmania 7006 http://www.lmrs.com.au/stc ABN: 73-381-060-862 ISSN 1832-6307 The views expressed in the Speleo Spiel are not necessarily the views of the Editor, or of the Southern Tasmanian Caverneers Incorporated. Issue No. 386, Sep. Oct. 2011 STC Office Bearers President: Geoff Wise Ph: 0408 108 984 (m) geoff.p.wise@gmail.com Vice President: Stephen Bunton Ph: (03) 6278 2398 (h) stephenbunton@bigpond.com Secretary: Janine McKinnon Ph: (03) 6243 5415 (h) jmckinnon@tassie.net.au Treasurer: Chris Chad Ph: 0437 125 615 (m) Chris.Chad@hydro.com.au Equipment Officer: Gavin Brett Ph: (03) 6223 1717 (h) gavinbrett@iinet.com.au Librarian: Greg Middleton Ph: (03) 6223 1400 (h) ozspeleo@iinet.net.au Editor: Alan Jackson Ph: 0419 245 418 (m) alan.jackson@lmrs.com.au Search & Rescue Officer: Jane Pulford Ph: 0437 662 599 (m) jlpulford@yahoo.com Webmaster: Alan Jackson Ph: 0419 245 418 (m) alan.jackson@lmrs.com.au Web Site: http://www.lmrs.com.au/stc Front Cover: Thousand Year Egg, Da Keng Wan, Tianxing, China. Photo by Nicholaus Vieira.


Speleo Spiel – Issue 386, Sept ember–October 2011 – page 3 Editorial Not much to say, really. Those that went to China had a great time (at least I know I did). Something will get written up about the trip eventually. Nobody caves when I’m away so this Spiel is pretty light on for reports. I hope everyone has a good summer while I’m stuck at home changing nappies … Alan Jackson Stuff ‘n Stuff KUDOS FOR LINDSAY MAIN New Zealand caving contact and friend Lindsay Main has just been made a Life Member of the New Zealand Alpine Club for his contribution to NZ climbing. A profile of him in The Climber describes his many gutsy mountaineering exploits dating from the ‘70s, his development of rockclimbing crags and his training of the younger generation of sport and gym climbers. Although it doesn't detail them, the article does indicate that his most significant contributions lie with his caving exploration. Lindsay is possibly best known to us through the range of gear available to us thro ugh his ‘Aspiring’ brand. Stephen Bunton ERRATA Just a couple of small correcti ons to my article on karst in Europe ( SS 383:18) but mainly with relation to the comparison with caves and limestone deposits in Australia. Oliver Trickett was not really Australia's first cave explorer but probably the first systematic cave surveyor. Unfortunately he did not produce Limestone Deposits of NSW; that was written by Carne and Jones. Unfortunately as I get older things I used to know are no longer as clear in my mind. I need to check my facts rather than rely on misplaced confidence – poor old thing! Stephen Bunton Trip Reports JF-7 Frankcombes Cave – A Bugs Bunton Blitz Stephen Bunton 25 September 2011 Party: Stephen Bunton The good thing about soloing is that you meet a better class of person! Actually you can have a really lame day and take it at your own pace. With all the guns [ Plural? – Ed. ] off in China, I could knock off my own little project without disrupting STC’s hardcore exploration schedule. Last October, the Western Australian biospeleologists mentioned that they would have liked to have sampled in Frankcombe Cave but they ran out of time. I had not been to that cave since prior to CaveMania and thought it was time to refresh the memory as well as test the eyesight again by looking for pseudoscorpions. I found that my GPS fix on the spot to park the car was spot on. The route to the cave is well taped, mostly in red. The Tyenna River was flowing a gusher. The stream that sinks near Frankcombe Cave, and presumably is the one that flows through the cave was quite sizeable also. At the entrance I spent a fa ir bit of time unsuccessfully trying to locate the JF-7 tag although I did find a strange splash of red paint on the ceiling at the right-hand end of the entrance overhang. Perhaps a new tag is in order. I then changed into trog-gear and spen t an hour and a half in the cave. First up I spotted a couple of Goedetrechus beetles, which were good to see, since the sp ecies is classed as vulnerable. Also seen in the cave were: several types of spiders, a land snail, a symphylan and a couple of opiliones. Eventually I encountered a pseudoscorpion and bottled it up. I then returned to the surface an d signed Rolan’s cave usage register before heading home. I stopped at Cashions Creek area on the way home and GPS’d JF-603 because Alan gave me such a hard time about failing to do this last time. The cave is so close to the road that you could use this as a carpark waypoint! I then crossed the river to Cricket Cave JF-578 and retrieved Alan’s drill bit that I left there three months ago. It isn’t so bright and shiny anymore. Also on the way back I noticed that one of the pillars for the Eight Rd gate was now in place! Cave Hill Calamity Alan Jackson 20 October 2011 Party: Stephen Bunton, Alan Jackson I was keen to cave but I hadn’t focused my mind back into JF mode after all the fun of China so I told Bunty he was in charge of the sports plan. He chose Cave Hill; bottoming and surveying of JF-201 Rescue Pot to be precise. Despite my lingering memories of the vegetation on Cave Hill I stupidly went along with it. Our first obstacle was a fallen tree a few hundred metres up Chrisps Road and I hadn’t packed the saw; in China the only track obstacles are herds of cattle, farmers, high speed motorbikes and fallen corn plants, none of which slow progress for long. The majority of branches could be dragged out of the way with th e car and we drove over the remaining medium-sized branch. We planned to access the area via the west (left) branch of Chrisps Rd and use the blue-taped route that Jacko had apparently installed and surveyed in December 2009 (s ee the end of my report in SS 376:8). This ‘survey’ has since proven to be adversely affected by a dud compass (and a few dud operators); yet another enlightening contribution to speleology by Jacko. Jacko’s ‘permanent’ station on the side of the road (CHD1) appears to have been obliterated during recent road works by Forestry. We didn’t find the ‘track’ for the first 100 m of bush-bashing but did find a strange feature of another kind. It was a 500 mm high, 20 mm diameter steel pipe bashed into the ground with a thin aluminium tag wired to it. The tag had the letters A134/1 stamped in it. Jacko


Speleo Spiel – Issue 386, Sept ember–October 2011 – page 4 claims to know nothing about it, so it must be some random Forestry-related artefact. We GPS’d it but didn’t photograph it (or anything else that day) as my camera claimed it had a flat battery from the word go. We roughly followed the blue tapes, which stopped somewhere near the spot you scamper up to JF-216. We then followed the gully up to JF-440, climbed up onto the broad saddle and thrashed about in the horizontal for a bit. After a while I reckoned I could hear a creek and see a depression. It turned out I was correct on both accounts. A small, but significant stream (about 1-2 litres per second) tumbled down into a large doline (30 m across) and into a large cave entrance (3 m high by 5 m wide). We weren’t aware of any known caves matching this description in this area. No tag could be found. We trogged up and checked it out. The stream carried on down a steep mobile slope for about 20 m before sumping in a narrow, tall rift. There was evidence of the sump backing up to ~4 m deep during high flow. A 5 m long side passage (on the left on the way in) just back from the sump didn’t go anywhere – just a side aven. On the other side a smaller passage with a 2 m climb dropped down into another small tributary that also sumped. A third passage (on the right, about 8 m in from the entrance) was accessed via a crumbly 3 m climb which was followed down and around a few bends to a dead end (one of which was drafting quite nicely). A very good draft was also felt when standing at the sump. The passage is about 400 mm wide at this point but is around 8 m high. At the top of the rift is a window into what looks like larger passage and the draft was coming from up there. Unfortunately the passage narrows to about 200 mm wide near the top and it would be a very challenging lead to push. We thought it might just be surface air tumbling in as there were a number of daylight holes a little further back along the passage but later inspection of these holes in the floor of the doline above sugge sted that the drafting lead would be located under the small cliffs on the eastern side of the doline. Having not brought the drill or any tags I decided to call the cave Village Idiot in celebration of my rant at the end of SS 383:10-11. It was entered in the GPS as ‘VilIdiot’. We surveyed the cave, leaving some pink tape at station 2 (where we would place a tag) an d station 4. Later research at home led us to consider that the cave may be JF-213 (see the one and only proper reference for this cave in SC 2(3):21) but I’m not really convinced. JF-213 gets a better mention in Rolan’s 1994 Forestry report and appears on his unpublished ‘Z-map’. The map suggests the location is right, but the report suggests he didn’t actually find it to be able to map it accurately. Rolan’s memory of the early ‘90s is as useful as Bunty’s memory of last week. Another reference [ SC 3(1):22] suggests that JF-213 is pretty close to JF-202. Back on task we regained the saddle and put Bunty back in charge of locating Rescue Pot. Unsurprisingly, he failed. Bunty, Ken and Serena had located Rescue Pot two years earlier ( SS 374:9-10) but since Bunty forgets anything that happened more than 15 minutes ago he wasn’t much help. It would also seem that they’d used Ken’s or Bunty’s GPS that day and then not supplied the data so it could be added to the club’s GPS. We need a new criterion in the Trip Leaders list – capable of collecting useful data on a trip and distributing that data in a useful manner to the rest of the club. I can only think of two that would get a tick in that box and one of them just abandoned us. We ended up at JF-364 Tarn Creek Swallet and Bunty was convinced he was at JF-202 for a while desp ite my assurances that he wasn’t. I took him to the drafting hole spotted when I’d been here two years previous (see SS 372:13-14) and Bunty set about digging while I went looking for the JF-364 tag alluded to in the SS 199 trip reports. On the eastern side of the doline, about 10-15 m from the hole Bunty was excavating, I found a nice little entrance that was drafting as well as Bunty’s. I inserted my person and contorted my body to follow the wind but found the inevitable blockage a few metres around the nasty corners. Then all the blocks above me started moving so I carefully extracted myself. I then dropped down a couple of metres and found another small entrance to the same drafting hole and this one had the JF-364 tag above it on the right, just like Albert said it would. Superb. A little scrap of pink tape was placed behind it. Figuring Rescue Pot must be a long way NW of where we were, we set off through the horizontal scrub again. The sound of water lured us in and we found our target (at about 2 pm). Too late to drop and survey it all, we settled for a quick look-see, wandering down to the top of the 28 m pitch. Nice cave but pretty mobile floor – Bunty knelt down for a drink in the entrance and dislodged a cubic metre of gravel and cobbles which slumped down the stream for 6 metres. We couldn’t find a tag. We then headed home via nearby JF-202, which is a truly brilliant entrance. The rain started five minutes from the car – good timing. Someone had cut the remaining treefall branch by the time we left; how nice of them. JF-583, JF-201 and JF-213? Alan Jackson 30 October 2011 Party: Stephen Bunton, Ken Hosking, Alan Jackson I couldn’t bring myself to leave the Village Idiot mess we’d created a little over a week earlier to fester so it was back to Cave Hill to tag it and commence the survey of JF201, which seemed like a pretty cool cave based on our recent traverse to the first pitch. We took the usual route to JF-216 area and then followed the left (western) bank of the dry valley to see what we could find. We found a few small surface karst features and some small dribbles of water flowing over the surface but nothing that could confirm for us that Village Idiot and JF-213 were certainly different entrances. Just beyond the JF-440 area the vegetation took a turn for the worse. We struggled on for a bit but soon lost interest, crossing to the eastern side of the valley and following the ‘traditional’ route to Village Idiot. It was tagged JF-583 – the tag was placed on the left (northern wall) just under the drip line of the entrance, 1.4 m off the floor (and 1.1 m from the roof, as the floor is mobile here and not likely to remain 1.4 m down forever). Next stop was Rescue Pot. We placed a new JF-201 tag here as we can’t find the orig inal one. It is placed on the back (southern) wall down inside the entrance proper – i.e.


Speleo Spiel – Issue 386, Sept ember–October 2011 – page 5 clamber down the logs and shite in the entrance until you’re actually inside the cave (roof over your head), turn left to face down the steeply descending passage and the tag will be on your right 1.1 m off the ground (mobile again) and 4.2 m from the ceiling (disto reading). We surveyed down to the first (28 m) pitch. We backed the rigging up to two big natural flakes in the little circular chamber about 7 m back from the pitch head. I then affected a Y-belay between a sp ike on the left and freshlyplaced bolt on the right. The bolt is a stainless steel 8 mm through bolt which should essentially last forever. Bunty ended up out over the pitch head selecting a survey station so we let him go down first. About 5 m down he realised he had forgotten his pack, but this didn’t seem to be a problem – I would take it down for him. The problem arose when he discovered he was out of rope and still 5 m off the floor … it would seem we had used more rope in the back up anchor than I had thought. No worries, Bunty had a short piece of rope with him … ah, but his ascenders were in his pack. Doh! I lowered his gear to him on another rope and we sorted it all out in the end. Bunty was suitably hard on himself for being so silly that I didn’t need to berate him further. Bunty later suggested we name this pitch Toni Kurz Pitch "Ich kann nicht mehr". The passage from the entrance to the pitch is north-south aligned, downhill to the south. At the bottom of the pitch the much larger passage you land in is also aligned northsouth, but downhill is now north. A short distance down, a junction is reached with two blocked ascending passages (north and east) while the western passage leads back to the water that sank a short distance from the entrance. After a short climb down (in which Ken nearly dislodged a 1 m3 boulder disguising itself as a step) a T-intersection is met. We didn’t end up looking at the straight-on option, instead opting for the right hand turn back to the water and a short pitch. I climbed down the first ~7 m bit and decided the second 5 m bit looked a tad too exposed. I climbed back up and set about rigging a rope. I placed two new bolts in a Y-hang over the pitch head. I under-drilled the first one (these stainless bolts are longer than the normal ones I use and I had engaged autopilot) and the drill went flat on the second one, so it was as under-drilled as the first bolt. Both bolts had a good 60 mm of steel in the hole once they were tightened up so they’re fine – they just look a little bad due to the amount of thread sticking out of the rock. We were looking to be short of rope for the second drop but Bunty saved the day when he produced his length of 7 mm cord that he always carries with him. A tape on a nice natural above the drop allowed us to get down without any rubs – rubs on 7 mm don’t work! We weren’t expecting the cave to go much further than this but to our surprise it just went on and on in a very sporty nature – lots of climbs in a small wet passage that trended NW. We surveyed on, tying in one side inlet but ignoring two other side passages before the water sank under boulders and the way on was up the boulders through a tight window into a small chamber. On the wall of this chamber was a bit of graffiti with two arrows, “SCS” and the word “out” written under one of the arrows. We’d stayed longer than expected by this stage so we decided to call the survey quits and head for home. Having left my flagging tape and texta back at the pitch (so confident was I that the cave would soon be over) I couldn’t leave a very good final station to relocate next time so we surveyed to the point of the ‘out’ arrow on the SCS graffiti. Beyond this point the cave opened up into a much bigger chamber with numerous leads and drafts. We headed out, derigging all but the three hangers. At the top of the bottom pitch Ken was hopping around like mad taking his clothes off – nature was calling. Bunty also managed to throw his mandarin down the pitch the moment I had derigged it. I christened the pitch Shitting Mandarins. The only other hiccup on the way out was when I got the rope caught up in my feet which resulted in Ken having a little difficulty finding the rope for his ascent. Ken approaches the top of the 28 m Toni Kurz Pitch. The survey data says we got to just over 100 m deep and 230 m long. The end of the surv ey must be located pretty close to directly under nearby JF-202, which is interesting. Bunty and Ken seemed keen for heading straight home but I convinced them, Madphil-style, to take a slightly circuitous route down the dry valley below JF-202 in the hope of finding JF-213. About 70 m down the valley from 202 we located a small stream sinking in a large doline, disappearing into a small hole under a cliff (just like the description in SC 2(3):21). We cleared a few acres of moss off the cliff looking for a tag but were unsuccessful. I am 99% confident that it is JF-213, which put our minds to rest about the status of Village Idiot. I later discovered Arthur was in possession of a pile of early SCS trip reports and after reading the relevant ones of these I’m even more confident that we have correc tly identified JF-213 and that Village Idiot is new. The walk out was horrendous. I hate Cave Hill vegetation. I think we’ll abandon the west ern approach to this area now and reinstate the old track from the east via JF-364. This will allow easy access to the digs in JF-364 too. A. Jackson


Speleo Spiel – Issue 386, Sept ember–October 2011 – page 6 Other Exciting Stuff New Cave Numbers: Florentine Valley and Risbys Basin Rolan Eberhard JF-456-459 are located within a few hundred metres of each other on Norske Skog land at The Settlement, off What-U-Callit Rd in the Florentine Valley. All are on low limestone ridges within a pine plantation, except JF-459 which is below a break of slope adjacent to the Florentine River. Anyone with an interest in this area should contact John Webb of Norske, who is keen to hook up with cavers who are happy to grovel around in valley-floor caves of modest dimensions. RB-8 is located off Roberts Hill Rd at Risbys Basin. Wombat-sized borehole in JF-456. JF-456: What-U-Callit Cave Three small entrances in line face roughly east. The most southerly one is a circular hole about 1 m in diameter that slopes steeply down dip as a roughly circular tube of similar dimensions. The passage bifurcates at several points and flattens off at a depth of about 5 m, with low crawls leading off and in on e case connecting back higher in the cave, and possibly also to the other entrances (which are only a few metres away along strike). Contains cave spiders and crickets and appears to be frequented by wombats or possums. Estimated length of passage is 18 m. The most southerly entrance was tagged on the left side just inside the overhang. JF-457: Notit Cave The entrance is a 2 m diameter hole about 15 m from a more obvious doline. The initial passage slopes steeply downwards and requires a short handline. At a depth of about 5 m the passage bifurcates. The larger continuation on the right slopes downwards to a further bifurcation, of which the left option is more extensive, comprising a short section of lovely keyhole canyon leading upwards to a 5 m wide chamber. The smaller continuation on the left at the initial bifurcation drops into a low chamber, to tight passages extending for several metres in various directions. Virtually all the floor and much of the walls of this cave are coated with damp clay and/or pastey moonmilk, making it hard to avoid leaving obvious impacts. There are some stalactites and straws. Estimated length of passage is 40 m. The tag was placed on the upper side of the overhang just inside the entrance. We were looking for Tonsil Cave at the time. Keyhole passage in JF-457. Moonmilk-encrusted stalactite in JF-457. R. Eberhard R. Eberhard R. Eberhard


Speleo Spiel – Issue 386, Sept ember–October 2011 – page 7 JF-458: Tonsil Cave The entrance is about 1.5 m wide by 1 m high and slopes steeply down. The cave was explored by Adrian Slee and John Webb in July 2011 (description with map to be published in forthcoming Forest Practices News ?). Reportedly contains about 100 m of passage. The tag is located at mid-height just in side entrance on the left side. The name derives from a rock pendant at the entrance, which the first explorers considered to have anatomical parallels. Entrance to JF-458. JF-459: Nameless Spring A substantial stream discharges from openings between limestone boulders, close to the Florentine River on the eastern side. Sharples (2009) provides the following description: ‘a significant outflow stream (flow >2 litres per second when observed in May 2007) emerging from a cave having multiple entrances 0.5 – 1.0m wide and at least 5m enterable passage (the cave looks potentially explorable but awkward, and was not entered)’. The discharge in September 2011 was an order of magnitude or more above that indicated by Chris, and it was unclear whether or not it would be possible to explore upstream at water level. Based on Chris’ description, exploration is likely to be most productive under drier conditions. This is a significant feature, being th e only large spring known in this part of the Florentine Valley. The source of the water is unconfirmed, although potential candidate streamsinks are known east of here. The tag was placed low down on a mossy vertical face overlooking the main opening where the stream emerges, about 2 m above water level at the time. The spring was found by Chris Sharples in 2007 and referred to by him in a report to Norske Skog as ‘SF162’ (Sharples 2009). Chris subsequently suggested the oxymoronic name given here. RB-8: Purgatory Pot The entrance is a 2 m diameter funnel-like shaft in a poorly developed gully on a steep slope. The cave descends rapidly as a series of closelyspaced pitches, culminating in a short section of horizontal passage carrying a trickle of a stream. Estimated total depth is 100 m. An exceptionally muddy cave, Purgatory Pot was explored by Nathan Duhig and Rolan Eberhard in November 2006. The entrance had been found somewhat earlier by John Webb, who sought advice from the Forest Practices Authority on the implications for forest operations in the area. The tag was placed just below the lip on a small vertical face overlooking the hole on its higher (north-western?) side. References Sharples, C., 2009; Karst Features & Hydrology of the Settlement Block, Florentine Valley: Explanatory Report and Data Dictionary Report to Norske Skog. Ric and Janine go C aving in Europe – Part 2 Janine McKinnon France Nico(las Baudier) had been trying to convince us to visit his prospective in-laws, in his home town of Nice, and go caving with them, from the moment he heard we were going to Europe. It wasn’t in our plans, we didn’t think we wanted to change our plans, they may not want us to visit ... He finally convinced us we would be welcome, and the clincher was that Michel Siffre (if you don’t know, “google” him) was a member of his club, so a visit to Nice became our last week in Europe. Trip 1. Salamandrum Once we were settled in to Britt and Renee’s place on the Friday night we discussed plans for Saturday’s caving. Or they discussed, we just nodded as we knew nothing about the local caves. Once they had determined that we liked ropes, didn’t mind mud (OK, we lied a bit) and wanted to go deep, if possible, then the venue was chosen. Salamandrum is a cave they have been exploring (frequently alone, they have trouble getting active cavers there too) for several years. It is a multi-pitch, almost totally vertical cave to the streamway level (with a few craw ly bits). There is then 2 km of small, crawly stream passage leading on from the final 60 m pitch, before it terminates. Rather like many of our caves in the Florentine, except this had a lot more mud. The cave is permanently rigged, so the mud on the ropes just keeps building up, and up, and up ... until they finally have such trouble ascending that they de-rig and wash them. Unfortunately for us they hadn’t, quite, reached that point of frustration just yet. But I am getting ahead of myself. Gearing up at the entrance. R. Eberhard J. McKinnon


Speleo Spiel – Issue 386, Sept ember–October 2011 – page 8 The walk was a short one of 20 minutes or so, mainly flat, and the entrance a small hole with a gate. It was a vertical drop of about 5 m to a small ledge, and then we started on the interesting rigging we had been forewarned about – a series of rebelays offset, and so constituting a downward traverse. There was no difficulty with this, except for the very slippery ropes. The next interesting bit of rigging was the chain rebelay and the only place they coul d find to rig from was the ceiling, hence the long chain to get the rope within reach. It was quite innovative and not particularly difficult to pass. Renee at the chain rebelay. The rest of the 8 pitches we descended were unremarkable; short and straightforward. Then we reached the top of the 50 m pitch, the penultimate pitch. This was a lovely pitch, and I really wanted to go down it, the rope was there (unlike the final 60 m pitch) however Renee and Britt were keen to turn around. I didn’t want to seem pushy, so I agreed. Neither of them had been in the cave for 4 years, since Britt had a hip replacement, so they were being careful with what they undertook. And they didn’t know us, we could have taken 6 months to prusik out for all they knew. It was very understandable caution. Lunch was had and then we started up. The exit was smooth and hassle free. No waiting, no dramas. The entrance traverse was annoying, and very slow, with the very slippery rope. Each move had to be carefully tested and the cams on our jammers pushed up, to get them to grab the rope. I was very impressed with Renee’s fitness and abilities, at 60 years old, but Britt was a marvel; 67 years old, a hip replacement, and moving and prusiking as well as the majority of our active club memb ers. I am in awe. I have a new role model to emulate. I would aspire to her abilities at that age but I think it might be unrealistic. Ze old farts after the trip. Trip 2. 28F. Sleep Patterns Experiment cave. We had met Ric’s boyhood caving hero, Michel Siffre, and now we were going to visit the cave where he organised the first properly planned light-deprivation experiment (as opposed to the cave he did his initial ad-hoc experiment). He had carefully selected the cave for this experiment. It was in an open grassy area (near a ski-field) where the outside base camp could be easily set up. The entrance was 2 minutes walk from the road (and base camp). A short entrance pitch led to a small chamber with two side routes. The left hand passage was an easy scramble for approximately 30 metres to a room of moderate proportions. Here a wooden platform had been build over the mud and one volunteer spent about 4 months living in isolation. The right hand route involved a pitch of 10 m, and after a short passage, another room, similar in dimensions to the first, was reached. Here another volunteer spent the same 4 months in total isolation. His platform was a wooden construction suspended 3 m above the floor by cables. At the far end of this room was a small hole in the solid rock wall just wide enough to fit through (for the big boys, anyway). Apparently this had been very small but “the inmate” had felt a draft and spent much of his waking hours for 4 months chipping away at it with just a hammer! Amazing what you can achieve when you are REALLY bored. This led to another 100 metres of highly decorated cave passage. Renee, Ric and I spent three hours looking around in this cave and getting the history from Renee. It was a really novel and fascinating caving experience. If you are interested in reading more on this experiment, or others Michel has organised, just google him. It is worth the effort.* *Or read his 1964 book Beyond Time about how boring it is to sit in a cave for 63 days ... J. McKinnon J. McKinnon


Speleo Spiel – Issue 386, Sept ember–October 2011 – page 9 Speleo-Sloth in Tasmania Ric Tunney This guide has been developed to encourage members to enjoy some of the less active caving in Tasmania. Points can be claimed for the same activity as many times as you wish. Po ints have been carefully awar ded according to the following principles A: level of inactivity B: ease of access C: level of enjoyment Get to it and have fun!? Visiting Junee Resurgence. 10 Parking your car at any caving car park and not leaving it. 5 Googling "carabiner". (We're not insinuating you’re a gear freak though!) 1 Drinking in the Mole Creek pub, but only if you haven't caved that day. 4 Buying a Scurion but not actually using it more than once. (Now you’re a gear freak!) 2 Reading Caves Australia magazine. 1 Going to 10 m from a cave entr ance and not going any closer. 1 Membership of a caving club. 5 Visiting the same cave more than once. 1 Viewing a caving program on television. 7 Reading trip reports in Speleo Spiel but only if you're not one of the attendees. 10 Visiting Mole Creek without staying overnight in the cavers' hut. 2 Getting comfortable in front of a fire with a coffee-table book on international caving 8 Walking through a karst area without going underground or finding an undiscovered cave. 2 Attending an STC Social Meeting without photos of your recent caving trip. 8 Attending an STC Business Meeting and raising an item of business. 6 Planning a caving trip and getting someone else to run it. 5 Eating underground any food which is not cake. 3 Driving to the top of Tim Shea. 4 Going on a guided tour cave tour. 6 Not having your birthday party underground. 4 Staying home to watch the cricket or footy. 1 SOME ACTIVITIES WHICH LOSE YOU POINTS Attending more than two caving trips per year. -2 Entering a cave with a pitch listed in the “Pitch Baggers Guide”. -1 Owning gear which looks used. -3 Caving with Alan Jackson (lose double points if you are actually Alan Jackson). -10 Categories of slothfullness: Disgustingly Active <50 points Member of Sloth Brigade 50-99 Dishonourable Sloth Bagger 100-199 Honourable Sloth Bagger 200-299 Sloth Bagger Extraordinaire 300-499 Sloth Bagger Supreme 500+ (With apologies to "Sloth Baggers Guide to Tasmania" by Peter Zund and Heather Ashcroft.) http://tastracks.webs.com/peakbaggers.htm


Speleo Spiel – Issue 386, Sept ember–October 2011 – page 10 Surveys – Old and New All the following surveys, bar one, are from notes made during a trip to the ‘Smorgasbord’ area in May 2011 – see SS 384:13-14. The odd one out is JF-277 which fits into the “p athetic surveys in pencil or Microsoft Word that never got published” criteria covered in SS 384:27. Note that the JF-277 survey was drawn prior to a small extension being made (see SS 349:11-12) which doesn’t appear on the survey.


Speleo Spiel – Issue 386, Sept ember–October 2011 – page 11


Speleo Spiel – Issue 386, Sept ember–October 2011 – page 12


Speleo Spiel – Issue 386, Sept ember–October 2011 – page 13


Speleo Spiel – Issue 386, Sept ember–October 2011 – page 14


Speleo Spiel – Issue 386, Sept ember–October 2011 – page 15


Speleo Spiel – Issue 386, Sept ember–October 2011 – page 16

The Tasmanian Caverneering Club was formed on 13 September
1946. Initially, information was provided to members through
a circular, copies of which exist back to November 1947.
"Speleo Spiel, Circular of the Tasmanian Caverneering
Club" was first published December 1960. Eight issues of this
are known, up to May 1962. In April 1964 a "Circular" was
again issued and seems to have continued, irregularly, until
March 1966. Then in April 1966, a "New Series" of Speleo
Spiel commenced, as a monthly newsletter.
In December 1996 The Tasmanian Caverneering Club
amalgamated with the Southern Caving Society and the
Tasmanian Cave and Karst Research Group to form the Southern
Tasmanian Caverneers. The combined group agreed to continue
to publish "Speleo Spiel" as its bi-monthly newsletter, as
continues today (2015).
Speleo Spiel is a vehicle for recording the cave and
karst-related activities, and particularly the achievements,
of the Southern Tasmanian Caverneers. It also carriers
technical and scientific reports, reprints, reviews and other
information likely to be of interest to members from time to


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