Klic Globin 2018 – Call of The Deep

An Imperial College Caving Club expedition to Tolminski Migovec in the Julian Alps, NW Slovenia.

Introduction

The main achievements of the expedition were exploration of the TTT and Hallelujah branches of Primadona and the breakthrough in Coincidence Cave. Setting up an underground camp at the bottom of TTT pitch, connected to the surface with a functional Cave-Link text messaging system, allowed for exploration of the deeper branches of the cave system below the old Slovene route (Pivnica). The Hallelujah branch was also further extended to the south, gaining 800 m of new passage and bringing the branch below -600 m.

Aims and objectives

  • To teach novices how to rig, bolt and survey cave passages
  • Setting up of underground camp under TTT pitch in Primadona cave
  • Re-rigging and resurvey of deep cave to -721 m pushing front (Donji Milanovac)
  • Pushing of deep leads from that location
  • Extension of ongoing pitch series (Hallelujah-Alabaster branch)
  • Surface exploration of western cliff

Notable Expedition findings

Surface Exploration Coincidence Cave

2 of our Novices, Ben and Nik infront of Coincidence Cave after a day’s digging (© Dr Jack Hare)

The draughty tube immediately inside the entrance of Coincidence Cave was dug out by a team of dedicated ICCC physicists over the course of two days before a major breakthrough led to the discovery of a deep, but narrow pitch, Hell’s Teeth. All in all, about 93 m of passage were surveyed in Coincidence Cave. Subsequent JSPDT led digging actions have extended the narrow rift at the working end of the cave by about 20 m, making this one of the primary candidates for a lower entrance to the Migovec System.

Exploration in Monatip

Cloaca Maxima

A branching in the high levels of Cloaca Maxima lead to the discovery and survey of 98 m of new draughty crawlway, named Aleksandrija, heading towards the surface. Also, two consecutive pitches (Well Hung: 17 m, 30 m) were descended and found to drop into a large rift chamber, Rat Rift, below which there is reconnection with the lower Montip Rift. 158 m of new passage surveyed and another round trip added to the system. The 50 m pitch at the end of Cloaca Maxima was descended and confirmed as another route into Alcatraz chamber, which was then resurveyed with a DistoX to confirm its rank as second biggest in the Migovec System.

Exploration in Primadona

Galerija/Karstaway/Electric Dreams

A short wriggle past a constriction in the Dysentry crawl revealed about 180 m of hard-earned passage due north of the Hall of the Mountain King, with question marks at every level. Odessy is now a bolted traverse over Electric Dreams passage, which provides easier access to the top of the nearest large pitch, within accessible reach of some of yet unexplored windows discovered in 2017.

TTT Branch

The Manger - Our camp in Primadona (© Dr Jack Hare)?
The Manger – Our camp in Primadona (© Dr Jack Hare)?

We set up an underground camp, “The Manger”, at the Déjà Vu junction between the pitches of TTT and Ajdovš?ina, to enable the exploration of the original deep branch. Shortly below Pivnica, two newly discovered pitch series (Lost in a Dream, Snakebite) rejoined at the Penny Falls streamway, continuing with a short series of small drops in deep pools to a low-ceiling meander (Tiger Tiger). This short section of strenuous passage breaks out as Deeper than Most(40 m long, 12 m wide, 70 m rift) with the impressive 60 m Klic Globin pitch. At the bottom of the shaft, a scramble over boulders leads to a little network of abandoned phreatic passage, with ample mud, small wall crystals, breakdown and chilling draught. One ~30 m promising aven was left unclimbed. To the west, a series of drops in a rift passage finally leads to the Chocolate River, another abandoned phreatic tunnel of modest dimensions which ends at a mud constriction (not yet dug). To the south, Klic Globin passage continues straight for about 200 m to The Aqueduct, where it connects with an active stream under the boulder floored rift. The north of Klic Globin rift, a window 5 m above the floor through which water drips and the stream were left as open leads for the 2019 expedition.

Hallelujah Branch

The most anticipated lead from 2017 did not disappoint. The Alabaster pitch (5 m, wide open) led to Purgatory and Bath, a succession of small pitches with wide, white sandy floors and scalloped walls. Another higher lead from Sweet Baby Jesus (Holy Moley) reconnected with the `upstream’ Alabaster aven, now the preferred route down. Beyond Bath, the drops grow bigger (P25, P30), with in between sections of wide, abandoned meander and occasional stagnant pools. A 20m pitch at the end drops into Canticle for Migovec, passing below -600 m for the first time in this section of Primadona. Continuing in tall horizontal passage 100m leads to the 30m pitch at the start of Testify!, with more such meandering passage headed south for ca. 300 m ending in an undescended 30m pitch. Over 800m surveyed in Hallelujah in 2018.

Prospects

Alcatraz Chamber (© Tanguy Racine)

Monatip

Aleksandrija is a sub-horizontal crawl finishing at a larger chamber, with an open continuation. It is located one hour from the cave entrance, at the level of NCB and the Monatip connection passages. Other potential leads in the vicinity include Rat rift, near the reconnection with the main Monatip rift.

Primadona

A 30 m drop at the end of Testify! awaits descent but its remoteness from either camp or surface may require another camp to effectively explore, if it continues to go. The deepest point reached by the Slovenes in Donji Milanovac is still going lead. At the bottom of a large shaft, a short horizontal section drops on a meander of modest dimensions taking significant draught. In the Klic Globin rift, there remains many question marks to be ticked off, including a wide window heading north, an active stream passage and the open southern continuation of the Aqueduct rift. With so many deep leads, underground camping will continue in Primadona in 2019.

Conclusion

The exploration in summer 2018 of Primadona was successful. Despite a relatively young group, our experience was balanced well and we introduced 9 people to exploratory alpine caving, with all but 1 reaching the underground camp. Over the course of the expedition, the Hallelujah branch was pushed past -600 m, the overall deepest point(The Aqueduct) is now -770 m. There was also a promising breakthrough closer to the surface in Coincidence Cave, potentially a lower entrance to System Migovec. 2.6 km of new cave was surveyed on the mountain bringing the Migovec system to a total length of 41.9 km, making it the longest cave in former Yugoslavia.

Text: Arun Paul
Photos: Jack Hare and Tanguy Racine

Download: Summary Expedition Report / Full Expedition Report

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