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"A PERSON THAT SAVED AT LEAST ONE LIFE WAS NOT BORN FOR NOTHING"

CAVES OF JURA


The numerous caves of Jura are a reminder of the great forces of nature that shaped its karst landscape.

 

Among hundreds of caves in Jura there are ones that stretch horizontally and ones that are in form of vertical shafts. Among chambers and mysterious forks of the underground corridors we can find sudden twists from vertical into horizontal as well as passages so narrow that a person can hardly fit (and sometimes cannot). What is more, this magical, well-decorated world is characterised by total silence, constant darkness, humidity dripping from walls and ceilings as well as invariable temperature of 5/8 degrees. It is definitely a unique world, worth exploring.

 

Still, one should remember that speleology (or to be more precise cave exploration) is something one needs to learn. It is well known that to safely explore a vertical shaft one need to skilfully descend on a mountaineering rope, however, the level of difficulty only rises if one has to use this wet and muddy rope to climb back. The same goes for narrow passages, crossing which without practical skills can be impossible, as one can get stuck inside.

 

If you are planning a cave exploration remember about the following rules:

  1. Gather as much information about the cave you are about to explore as possible, especially on its topography, so that you will not be surprised inside.
  2. Always take two sources of light with you, in case one fails.
  3. Never go exploring on your own as in case of accident no one will be able to help you.
  4. If you are entering a cave from the heat of 40 degrees, remember that the temperature inside is invariable and similar to the one in your fridge at home, so it is easy to get a cold.
  5. Remember that electromagnetic waves cannot penetrate solid rock, so your telephone will not work, even if you wanted to call mountain rescue for help.
  6. If you are going to explore a vertical cave make sure you know how to use the mountaineering equipment (you can learn that in many mountaineering schools). Attempts to explore caves on your own and without training can lead to a tragic end.
  7. Do not enter caves in autumn and winter. That is a time of hibernation – winter sleep of bats who are the inhabitants of caves. Let them sleep peacefully.
  8. Do not destroy dripstones to take them away. A beautiful stalactite or stalagmite in day light will become just a normal greyish stone.
  9. Leave NOTHING behind. No one cleans caves so if every visitor leaved a small package, a bottle or can, in a few years a cave would become a waste dump.
  10. If you meet other explorers in a popular cave wait patiently outside until they leave.  Pushing your way through narrow corridors would feel like in a big city’s market – a place that you want to forget in a silence and darkness of caves.

 

All the best,

Piotr van der Coghen