Pege 3 SPBLBO SPIa 278 A New Year.. New Discoveries.. New EntMiasm?! June/July, 1m OPTION "D" incl-a everything the package deals offer except bed and breakfast ie it is aimed at those organising their own acccnmnodation in Lamceston. PACXRGE DEAL "C" includes a aerviced camp-aite for your tent or caiqpeman at Glenara; the cost for the duration of the conference is $160 per person. PACKAGE DEAL "B" includes hoetel accdtion at "Glenara"; $180 per psraon. PACKAGE DfWl "A" includes accommodation at the "Abel Tawaen Mor Inn"; $220 psr peraon Non-participating partners are Cheaper ( ie their mgistration is cheaper! ) ; day ticket8 are also available for the conference. Expressions of interest in presenting a paper or conducting a workehop are Frwitad end should be sent to the ormisers as soon as possible. A few application forme are available at TCC laeetiaga, or contact the ~~ &B follous: TAS TROG 1993 C/Northern Caverneers Inc., F0 Box 315 Launceston 7250 Phone: 003 341885 or 003 444486 or 003 342518 Ye% folks, the Auatralian Speleological Federation Inc. does still exist. It irr out of it8 doldrums and is replete with a new constitution nh well in place, activu vibrant executive and wen cheap membership! Many people work very hard on a voluntary basis to eneure that ASF prospers and impraree. However, the ~~1 membership (both club8 and individuals) contributes the met without them, ASP wouldn't exist! TOC is an Associate Heiihr: the club re~sivee one cow of the quarterly journal Australian Caver and ha^ the full support of the ASF in all isauee. We do not however have a vote at Council meetings. Corporate Membership elahbles a club to vote the number of votes ie dependant on the membership of the club concerned. However, YW can become an Individual Member by paying the very meagre fee of $13.50. The benefits to you include the delivery of the very profsdslonally produced Australian Cwer four times psr year the AC has an active editor, ia a worthy publication and improving with every issue. The ASF is an active body mch of its function unfortunately occurs "behind the acenea", but without the ASF, caving( in Australia would not be aa easy as it preeently ie. Joining information: Send $13.50 to ASF Treasurer PD Box 888 Kew Victoria 3101 and YOU will receive the next iesue of Australian Caver, a~ well aa beable to be proud of the fact that you an helping Australian caving and speleology. I& it nap!
SPEW SPIEL 276 June/July 1992 A New Year ... New Discoveries ... New Enthusiasm?! In years gone N, TCC had a reputation for "maximum impact everythin&". Thing8 haroa changed minimal impact everything ia the preferred option them days. The -@ is bound to provoke considerable debate amongst some / mmy cavera, but ae a starter, PUSS1 recently published an ideas liet for minimal hpact caving. It is reproduced below (without the permission of FUSS1 but I am aure they won't mind! ) Go slow look where you are placing yourself Fallow the same path stick to marked paths or t-ed area8 Small groups Take a map and uae it Armchair caving enjoy other caver's photographs Forget the heroguard and the kneepads Remove fomign material from the cave Through trip are preferred to in-out tripe Wash cave gear between tripe and between caves Cave with an aim in mind Can you justify the trip? Can you justify the damage you will do? What is damage? Be aware of what others are doing Use the back of your hand for leaning againet things Urinate and defecate before going underground Think: cave first desires second. The list above may not be particularly good, but being aware of the ppblerma is blf the battle. Think about it letters to the editor welcors. Following Rolan's article in the April Spiel, the following wtee am from lay experiences of the original explorations. JK In the original exploration in 1971, we descended the 1% pitch mentiond by Rolan that ends up in the main streamway and then returned to the head of the pitah. Here we found a bypass by climbing up the wall for several mtma arad thrsn ledhri4i dDwn a narrow rift on the downstree side. This led to a ledge which overlooked tbe streamway between the 25m and 30m waterfalls. Before this pitch could be descended to the stream, the Flattener route was discovered and the pitch was never ~~~nded. r)narraRdslf Directly below the second pitch is a chance of an extenaion. On the original exploration, the slot through to the third pitch waa discovered while the continuation downwards was being explored and all eubsequent attention was directed down the main mute. 1-a Pot At the foot of the vertical section, the stream sinks into talue. On the original exploration, I descended through the talus to a short dry pitch aeainst a solid wall. While rigging a ladder in a confined space, several large blocks mwed and I retreated to change my trousers. At this point. the route through to the horizontal passages wae discovered and the talue route was neglected. The rap aubaequently indicated that the stream sink trended away from the horizontal pa~sa8. Peter Shaw
Page 5 CFEUO SPIEL 276 A New Year ... New Disxveries ... Lew Enthusiasm?! June/July, 1992 A few of our members have caved in Europe. Among them is Frank Salt, an ex British caver now living on the NW Coast. Below is an article by Frank of a moat important trip in the developnent of European caving. Thanks to Frank for prtting pen to paper and sending the article in to us. Most inspiring stuff! MPlDRY MNE THE 1962 BERGRR EXPgDITION This year marks the 30th anniversary of the successful British Berger Expedition of B62. Prior to this, the Gouffre Berger a major vertical cave system on the Sonnin Plateau in the Pyrenees in SW France had only wer been bottomed once before by the French organised International Expedition of 1956. To record the occasion some of the original 38 members of the British expedition will be r7tracing their steps to the canre for a reunion. Nostalgia aside, the cave still remains a classic even if it is no longer the deepest in the world. Because of this a few facts on the original British expedition are worth remembering. The roots of the original expedition lie in youthful arrogance and tragedy. Up until the late 1950's British cavers had always regarded themselves poor seconds to their French counterparts. That'the French were infinitely better was reflected in the caving literature of the day, which of course was 80% French. The first cracks appeared in this edifice in 1959 during a cave rescue in England. bing the weekend before Easter a young caver called Neil Hosa became trapped in a tight vertical tube in Peak Cavern. Derbyshire. The scene of the accident produced a logistical nightmare being nearly 3km from the surface. in an exceedingly tight location and the wrong end of a muddy sump. The attempts at rescue were protracted and unsuccessful. They were also disrupted by the arrival of French caving expert, in the form of Jo Berger, flown over to show the English how to do it. He was borne into the cave by a mass of newsmen and Police officers, like a talieman, to cure the problem. However it quickly became apparent to those having to work with him that he had no magic to offer, in fact if anything he was a liability tothe party. I Gas amongst a number of aggressive and spotty faced young cavers who assisted him out of the cave. In giving his thanks afterwards he casually said "If you colpc to France, look me up I'll organise a trip for you.". Waving realised that the gods had feet of clay a few of us jumped at the idea and the Combined Clubs Speleo Expedition of 1960 came into being. This was a small group of about 10 people from three southern clubs who in Septeinber 1960 attempted to descend the Berger to the original French Camp One at -500m. Initially a series of heavy storms produced impossible water conditions in the cave. (I can remember coming up one pitch and being greeted by a 60h wwll of water rolling down the passage towards me. We both arrived at the head of the pitch at the same time. . ) In addition, towards the end of the expedition. the sudden early arrival of snow resulted in our having to abandon the cave and our camp. The expedition had failed, we had only ~ade it down to the river gallery (-2401~) but it was the conditions, not the cave which had beaten us.
SFELEO ::PIE: L 72 Page 6 June/July 1992 A New Year ... New Discsveries ... New Enthusiasm" In 1961 planning got underway for the 1962 expedition. This consisted of 38 members drawn from clubs all over England. This was necessary not for the manpower ht to call upon the combined tackle stores of the clubs involved. Requests were mde to various Trusts and companies for food, money and equipment with fair success. If I remember rightly the cost to each member was only 225 with a later reimbursement of E15 after articles were sold to the press. One of the unsuccessful attempts for support was the Royal Geographical Society. This body didn't actually give money but if one had its bleesing the number of companies that would help greatly increased. I still recall sitting in front of the grants committee and being told that 'caving had little place in the quest for gec saphical howledge' and that they had no wish to be associated with such a foolhardy project. Obviously they also believed that world depth rgcorda were the sole property of the French. The expedition got underuay in August 1962. An advance garty arrived at the cave two weeks prior to the main group. In this first two wka an almost holiday atmosphere filled the camp and the cave with apslls underground being interspsrssd with parties, good food and sessions lying arouud in the sun. Despite this, the cave was laddered down to -700m. Camp One wae~ established at -500m and nearly a ton of food and equipment stockpiled throughout the cave. With the arrival of the main party, the cave was laddered to the bottom with two parties viaiting the final sump. For the first time this wae examined below water leveI (mask 3nd snorkel only) and the bads for future diving expeditions ~de. To make the most of the cave. a time and motion study was made with parties fitting onto a kind of critical path. This enabled us to make maximum use of the underground facilities at the two camps. As one party climbed out of their sleeping bags another would climb into them, thus saving on the amount of gear in the cave. Camp One in fact was only set up to accommodate 8 people but for a period of 5 days at the peak of the expedition handled 3 times that number with parties seldom meeting each other. Not all the parties were dedicated to the bottming of the cave. A large balcony had previously been noted above Camp One which it was believed may have lead to a dry upper network (later called the Pegasus Bridge). The expedition had brought with it enough steel scaffolding pipe and clamps to make a 12 metre DMW~ to pin access to this area. We also had a number of heavy batteries and lamps to provide lighting for a hrt cine film whilst one team of eight was totally dedicated to photography and remained based at Camp One for five days. All these activities took place each with its own party and with almost military precision. With so much equipaent underground its removal required almost as much effort M its placing. Realising the problems of team motivation in the final stages we de~lod the 'Gourmet Drive'. This saw the quality and quantity of food incream the deeper one went into the cave. Thus one could be in the sun on the eurfaca and eat only Canplan (an invalid diet food), or go underground to get the gear out and eat -11. The system worked well but did cause some resentment with the parties imld. In all the expedition was a fantastic success having achieved all of its many aim. For two weeks the actions of the expedition were covered daily by the prere, radio and TV sqrvices of both France and the UK. With the success of the underground partiee the visitor level at the camp increased with the big names of Fmnch aaving turning up by the hour, waving bottles of wine and celebrating with the hglieh cavers. (They even gave me honorary membership of the Spelea Group of the 8'-
Alpine Club). British cavers were suddenly the flavour of the year and our eenss,of inferiority had gone forever. With the main party on its nay home, four of LW remained on the Sonnin Plateau for a couple of days. Round the camp fire and over a bottle of wine, we planned our next expedition. We had a report from a BP exploration team in New Guinea. It referred to vaet 8rem of limestone and vanishing rivers. Nothing would ever be the same again .... In late 1963 1 sat once again before the grants committee of the Royal Geographical Society. This time I explained a proposal to run a 4 month / 16 person caving expedition to the Star Mountains in New Guinea. Their reaction was openly hostile with the expedition described as a wild daydream by those seafed rouxd the table. The remark made was that it would be 50 yeare before New Guinea had opened up enough to permit such a trip. Tuo years later the Australian Star Mountains Expedition, which was a direct offshoot of these day dreams, arrived in New Guinea. The seeds from the Sonnin Plateau had germinated. Frank Salt This was an acclimatisation dive in preparation for a push in Sump 11. I dove SI (220m long, 18m deep) with twin back mounted tanks but breathed off a stage bottle mounted pn my chest. I carried out some line work on the way through so the dive took 28 minutes. In the airapace ("For Your 3yes Only") I dumped the stage bottle and commenced the dive in Sump I1 with full twins. I made my way down to 21 IQ&depth where the line ended beyond here the line had been cut and was trailing along the ceiling. I pulled the loose end in and rent~ved it. On the way back out X found the line nearly cut through in one spot I had to swim back and forth betrebelays a few timed in order to loosen enough line to tie-off the nick. I did svme more line re-arrangement further on and ended up with about 5 metree of slack line which I slowly worked towards the surface. Thia was tedious work given the poor visibility and danger of entanglement. I had breathed fully two thirds of the air in one tank (one third being kept in reserve), ao switched regulators to breath the last third in the other tank (which was two thirds full). As I did thie the regulator began to free-flow vigorously but try as I might I couldn't clear it. I attempted to turn off the valve but couldn't reach back enough behind my head.. I kept breathing off my reserve third whilst making my way out. I had been mdexwatslr for nearly an hour now and the cold water was affecting my dexterity and ability to think clearly. I was still trying to manipulate the loop of loose line but then I got cramp in both legs at once! The situation was getting serious I was beginning to feel "task loaded", a-hd by the crashing noise of air escaping uncontrollably from one of my tanks. I released the loop line and made for the surface. All this had happened in Just a
Page 9 SPELEO SPIEL 276 A New Year ... New Discoveries ... New Enthusiasm?! June/July, 1992 Nick's tapes which finish at a mall outcrop of limestone with a few very -11 holes. The tapes were surveyed and we explored above and below the tags line. On the next trip, we headed west from the end of Nick's tapes, laying W own line of orange and then light blue tapes. After four hundred metres, we came acrose an outcrop of good looking limestone with several dolines Bnd holes in it, including a long attractive rift. We continued the tape line westwards for several hundrctd metres until we reached the major creek which is marked on the map a kilolestre tleet of Western Creek. This creek continues all the way dawn to the D'btrecaetgaux. He followed the creek down for two hundred metres and then followed tbe slope bacb mallel to our tape line. At thia level, the scrub was much worse. No more liwstone was discovered. We returned several weeks later with Stuart Nicholae. The first hole we looked at was the rift which is a hundred metree below the taped mute at the lower extrsraity of the outcrop. A 10m hand line was rigged down the initial drop. At the far end of the rift, a bole under a block led to a pitch. After much to-ing and fro-ing looking for a beiay, a rope was rigged and Stuart descended. The rift continued back under the entrance for a further 20m and then closed off. Back up near the tapes, a doline contained a narrow rift with a slight draft but it was too amall to enter. The final hole was in the main doline just above the tapes. A metre wide promising looking passage led to a 5m pitch with a further 5m pitch almost imaadiately below. After rigging a rope, we reached a small chamber with a few formations. The passage continued for a short distance but narrowed. After a short grovel, I emerged in a small chamber. The trickle of a stream disappeared into a narrow rift. Around the first bend in the rift, it became too narrow to follow. We retreated to the surface and then home. After finding such an attractive piece of limeetone, it waer disappointing that both holes closed off so quickly. In both caves, the passages trended southwards. There is no indication whether this outcrop connects with the Marble Hill limestone. Peter Shaw MIE TO THE HXTCH AT RIE TOP.. or CRVIIJG IH 'RIP RWRTPIIAP-. Jrme 1982 PARTY: Karen Mamaith, Guy and Peter Bannink (TBSS) Stuart Nicholas (EC). For the uninitiated, TESS is another of those dreadful acronyms describing the name of a caving group, in this case the Top End Speleological Society. I am sure you know about TCC, although discussion was had re a name change to BESS Bottom End Speleological Society ... The opportunity mee to go north for a week or two, I did! The aim of the expedition was to continue exploration of a karst area some 600h SW of Darwin, known in this article by its Aboriginal name of Jalaman. Normal underground garb for "top end" caving consists very simply of "Volley" (you muet get the correct brand! ) sandshoes, socks, cotton overalls, light weight gloves, helmet and carbide light! Yours truly had to buy some new gear a waterproof suit and fibre pile was definitely not de rigeur for this trip. The other abeolute essential is a small gear bag containing at least a couple of litres of water in wine bladders or whatever. Certainly a different scene to Tasmania. Caving is civilised lunch, ie real food, rather than just a few jelly beans and chewy bare was taken underground. Camping at a rarely used picnic ground is civiliaed aa well no tents, just a sleeping bag and mat and (for our group) a tarpaulin large
5pzLk ;F:E:~ V Page 10 June /July 1992 A tJew Year. . New Discoveries. . New Enthusiasm?! enough for four bods provided the necessary nesting facility. Typical nightly minimum temperakes were a few degrees above zero. Sleeping under the stars with such clear skies and no fear of rain was a rather awesome experience. Cooking waa primarily on Trangia stoves, with some additional capability being provided by a nearby fireplace and Andrew. a visitor for one weekend. His (work) vehicle had everything from folding chairs to a watertank and a fridge! The landscape consisted of extensive tropical tower karst areas and the biology (to my untrained eye) of maay mall but remarkably persistent flies. I understand from Peter Ba.nnink that the biology of the area is most interesting and somewhat unknown. Our trip collected quite a number of specimens for later examination, and in many casr initial description. The daily aim was to be underground before about loam and not re-emerge until after about 5p. Such tactics avoided the heat of the day and the majority of the fliee. Before the evening repast was prepared and eaten, a swim in the nearby water hole was the order of the day and most pleasant it was to! Typical underground temperatures in the area were in the low to mid 20's with a reasonable relative humidity of arcund 50%. One could sit down for hours without shivering quite pkasjnt in fact! Interestingly, the cave meteorology differs quite considerably between various areas in any one cave. Typically, the lower sections and areas more remote from ~ntrances are hotter and more humid. kich discussion took place re -,he possibility of establishing an eiectronic cave meteorology monitoring and data logging system. Such a system is being worked on and may be implemented Gext year. The caves are typically dry during the wlnter the "dry" season but obviously take considerable volumes of water during 'the Wet'. Semi-dry cracked mud floors, gravel banks and pasaage forms attest to that. At several points we did manage to get down to still water the 'water table'. A couple of members of the party managed to get q~iite wet and muddy! l Much of the cave of prime interest that we visited, explored and mapped was large in cross section. In parts the passages were quite surreal huge ancient fig tree roots hang from the roof and disappear into the floor; occasional daylight holes provide illwination of ethereal form. The daylight holes exist In the roof as the passages are baslcallv horizontal and very shallow relative to the heavily jointed and eroded surface karst. The vertical range of the cave in question kould be around 40 metres survey calculations will reveal a more precise number and passages occur on about three levels. Vertical linking of the levels is via big pits and small formation linea rifts. Some of the climbs are quite mtereeting. Dust can be a real menace in low passages a dust mask would be useftrl in longer crawls1 The complexity of the cave system has to be seen to be appreciated them is a significant risk of getting lost underground! A number of entrances exist and no doubt there are more to be found, but even when on the surface, one could still be lost and/or not be able to traverse the karst. A short visit to a couple of other caves in the area enabled some further specimen collecting and tagging to be done before we departed. An intriguing (dry) surface streambed was shown to us by the park ranger fifty or more metres of white tufa dams. Although damaged by donkeys, it was still somewhat impressive. Following our work in that area, we packed otlr enormous amo~mt of gear into and onto Peter's long suffering Gemini and headed tc Katherine. The Cutta Cutta cave reserve was next on the list. some twenty odd kilometran south of the town. Underground was a different scene to Jalaman very h~t and biiic?. Temperatures In parts of Cutta Cutta cave wouid have been around 30C wlth relritive humidity ~f something like 90% or more. Sitting still. sweat was rmnilg ~ff my face and body1 A conscious effort was needed to breathe in the remarirably cppressive atmosphere. &finitely not the
Page 11 SPEm SPIEL 278 A New Year ... New Discoveries ... New Enthusiam?! June/July, 1992 place for vigorous exercise. Overheating (hyperthermia) is a major risk for cavem not acclimatised to the conditions. An article in Australian Caver 130 detaila are such an incident. The occasional snake wrapped around a stal or two also adcesd something to the atmosphere of the place! The surface karst area in the Cutta Cutta Cave Reserve haa been developed with tb construction of a "Karst Walk". This takes tourists around some of the other me entrances and karst features to be found in the area. Ghost bats were mm&t and noted in another nearby cave, parts of which have also been "developed" for (rechrced to??) commercial Ixlrposes, albeit with fairly disastrous structural problew at one (now closed) entrance. The unfortunate macho renegade nature of much of the top end population does nothing to contribute to cave conservation, with hitherto priatine stals being desecrated forever by muddy hand prints and breakage. Formation ia mainly dry and dead, so no water action will occur to enable some natural recmry of the damage. During the early sixties a Katherine local attempted to set an underground endurance record in Cutta Cutta. Rather, he merely contributed to the pollution and destruction of this popular cave and brought ridicule on himself after his somewhat controversial effort. Finally a return to Darwin was made. Dinner at an ethnic restaurant, a visit to %he Muem and markets, a party and a very early flight had me back in Hobart only to encounter an air temperature around twenty five degrees lower than that in -in at the time I left! Such is the wonder of nature, I guess. Thanks to Karen Magraith, Guy Bannink and Peter kink for putting up with nte during the trip, and everyone else who helped this aging speleo gain some insight into caving TESS style. I hope my meagre efforts were of value to the expedition. A great deal of enjoyment was had and satisfaction gained when's the next trip?? Stuart Nicholas And now for something completely different: some trip reports which are not exactly current but at the same time not in the "memory lane" category ... IC3 'NBB (JF345) 4pFL11.1911.1 m: Rolan Fberhard, Stuart Nicholas, Glen and Dave (HSS) and Dean Morean. I had planned to go to Ice Tube and prusik out with the mainlanders, but thanltfully Stu and Rolan were coaxed into coming along. A8 I didn't know the route into Growling, this enabled a through trip to be done with their guidance. It looked like a rmshed trip as Rolan had to be home for a dinner party that ni&t and rain waa forecast for late afternoon I wasn't keen to spend yet another night sitting in Necrosis ... The entrance was reached after 45 minutes. It was a large doline as I had pictured in my mind. We soon trogged up and headed into the aptly named Ice Tube. None of the bolts had hangers so Stu's home made disposable hangers came into use. With the exception of one bolt at the top of Fabulous Spangly pitch which had a mall rock jammed in it, they were all useable. Much time was thereby saved as we thought that some new bolts would need to be placed. The trip was done with a 110 metre 8mm rope and a 50 metre 9mm rope for the shorter pitches. The 8mm rope is definitely the way to go in caving as it is so easy to pack and light to carry. It must however be rigged absolutely free with no mb points at all our rope was getting cuts in it just from abseiling. Once at the bottom of IT, Mothers Passage was passed through and turned out to not be a8 BQU& of
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