SELAS goes to Voronya

A description of the participation of SELAS Caving Club, Greece, in the CAVEX missions of 2005 (January & July) to the world's deepest cave, recounted by a non-participant writing from the safety of Athens.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Posting plans

The boys will set off on 3 January. I will not be near a computer until 10 January, although I hope to be in telephone contact with the mission before then.

The earliest I will be able to post news on the mission will be 10 January 2005, and probaly 12 January by the time I have translated into English from Greek.

Have a good new year, and check back for news of the mission.

Special thanks, also to:

The members of the mission would also like to thank:

SELAS, for the support provided as rigging gear.

The Hellenic Federation of Speleology and its president Kostas Zoupis for support in the search for sponsorship.

Special thanks also go to Peter Stavropoulos for the concession of his surveying kit (with laser rangefinder)...

...and our regular benefactor, the doctor Kostas Iatrou for covering the purchase of photographic equipment and consumables for the mission.

A word about our sponsor

The mission has been kindly sponsored by TNT. Without their support, the mission would have been almost impossible to execute.

Info about the SELAS mission

The following information is a translation of the posts on the SELAS forum about the mission to survey the lowest sections of the deepest cave in the world: Voronya-Krubera (-2,080m).

Last October, a new section was discovered in Voronya - Krubera, in the Western Caucasus, in Russia [sic] at an altitude of 2300m. This new section led the Russian and Ukranian cavers to the as yet unattained depth of -2080m, which is not only a world record but a desire of the world caving community for many years. The leader of the Russian mission, D.Provalov invited a three-man team from the Speleological Hellenic Athletic Club to take part in a planned mission aiming to survey the cave from -1440 to -2080.

The invitation came after very positive previous cooperation between Greek and Russian cavers, both within Greece and abroad. The invitation is a great honour for us, not only for the members of the team but for all Greek cavers, given that we are being asked to explore and survey this very large cave. The mission will be manned by 25 people and will take place between 2 and 20 January 2005.

The Greek participants in the expedition will be: K.Adamopoulos, N.Mitsakis and I.Kazais, all three of whom are members of Selas.

A brief history of exploration at Voronya

A brief history of exploration at Voronya was sent to SELAS by e-mail from Oleg Klimchuk, Denis Provalov. SELAS is very fortunate to have the opportunity to take part in the surveying of the cave early in 2005. The text linked to above, is in English.

How the story started

Back in mid November, I go to the club, like every wednesday, and find Ilias talking about helicopters, avalanches and snow in the Caucasus. It all seemed like a perfect re-telling of the mission to Voronya that had made it the deepest in the world, a few years back. It turns out that we had had contact from a Russian team planning to go on down in early 2005. The message from Denis Provalov has been reproduced on the SELAS forum.

From that day on, the three boys going on the mission: Kostas Adamopoulos, Nikos Mitsakis and Ilias Kazais began the preparations for the mission. It was exciting for a relative beginner like myself to be present during the planning and preparations of such a mission.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Going to Voronya...

Voronya (so called on account of the ravens at the entrance) is officially called Krubera and is found in the Arabika Massif of the Caucasus. There are plenty of sites having information in various languages, and I'll get a list of links made up as soon as possible.

Purpose of the blog is to chart the mission being conducted with the participation of three boys from SELAS, the Speleological Hellenic Athletic Club. The plan is to map the recent advances made in the cave, especially from about -1400 to the bottom (currently at -2080).

The participation of SELAS is kindly sponsored by TNT.