The Lost World (Lumea Pierdutâ)
| Twin-pothole (Avenul Gemânata), August 1999.
Black-pothole (Avenul Negru), August 1999.
| Porcika-pothole (Avenul Bortig), August 1999.
Hamlet-cave (Pestera Câput), August 2000.
| Zapogye-cave (Pestera Zâpodie) August 2000.
Black-cave (Pestera Negrâ)
Barsa-icecave (Ghetarul Barsa) August 2000.
|Zgurestyi-icecave (Ghetarul Zgurãsti) August 2000.|
How to get to the caves of the Lost World
The Northern road: We turn left at the branching and pass by a building, (from which we can reach the entrance of the Pestera Caput in about a minute), then after walking a further 1.5 kilometres, the yellow cross trail crosses the road. Identifying this point is made easy by the yellow Padis word painted on a pine-tree on the left. Here on the right side of the road we can find a spring abounding in water; from this point on we have to follow the yellow cross up to the right on a steep path . The path starts to narrow, and loses from its steepness soon. It branches to two after a kilometre, and there we have to turn to the right. We soon reach a small glide, in the middle of which a board fixed on a tree shows the direction towards the Covered- and the Pioneer-pothole to the left. For reaching the Avenul Gemanata and the Avenul Negru we have to turn to the right again. On the narrow path taking us through a thick forest, we reach the pit of the Avenul Gemanata in about 1-2 minutes.
The Southern road: We turn right at the branching, the road is gradually ascending by the side of the stream, and then after 2.5 km it widens and ends. From this point we follow the wide path up to the left, which is a bit steep, and after a while branches to two. Here we have to keep to the left. In about 750 m from the road on the right handside a wide sinkhole is visible, opposite to this there is a narrow path, the identification of which is made easier by the yellow arrows painted on rocks on the ground. We walk through a thickening forest following the winding path, and finally reach the Black-pothole's enormous sinkhole. Getting back to the road from the small path and walking a further 50 meters, we reach another small path on the left, in another 700-800 meters we are at the Twin-pothole.
When reaching the stream, the SRT equipments can be put aside. The upcoming parts of the cave consist of two riverbeds, a short dry section which connects them and some short side-branches. When the water-level is not risen there are only a few parts where we have to step into a water reaching higher than the top of our boots, the water is usually shallow; we can climb over the deeper parts easily.
Following the flow of the stream from the pit, we have to climb over some shorter trunks, which are stuck in the tunnel. After this the passage widens, and this is the point where the dry crack taking us to the other stream branches out to the left. At first it is practical to follow the present stream, since here our feet will stay dry. The bed slightly slopes, the passage gets narrower, and then gets wide again as we arrive to the High-hall. Here we can only see the ceiling by using really strong lamps. We can follow the stream further without any difficulty, then after a small climb downwards the shrinking passage ends suddenly in a wide siphon. Here we turn back towards the pit through which we entered, but in the room preceding it we go into the crack on the right, which starts to ascend quite steeply. After a few minutes we get to a small room, where we can get some drinking water from the small pond on the left. Here the rumbling sound of the stream cannot be heard anymore. The passage seems to go further horizontally, then starts to slope and then reaches the riverbed of the Avenul Negru’s stream in the Confluence-hall.
Before going further, it is recommended to climb into a tight side branch of about 10 ms length on the left. At first we follow the stream on our left; the passage of which is ascending relatively steeply. After 40-50 ms a spectacular, dry passage branches out to the left, which is about 50 m long. A bit further ahead on the right side of the passage a pit towers above us, which is easy to climb up to, but its top is not visible from even the height of 10 m. As we follow the stream, the passage narrows into a meander. Climbing over the water is quite easy here as well, but there are a few risky parts. Calcification is strong, thus we meet many white tufathic surfaces, which make a bed for the dark debris. At parts some lime silt is also present. The passage starts to ascend very steeply, and we reach a waterfall, which we can only pass through by getting wet from top to toe and there is only a short part of the passage still to be visited. Thus we get back to the Confluence-hall and go to the other direction. Here the water even at drier periods might reach up to our knees and due to the width of the passage, we can only avoid getting wet by climbing on one wall, which is not too easy at parts and surely is slow, thus it might be worth it to put those feet in the water. The width of the passage is various; it broadens to a hall and then gets narrow again. In one of these halls, there is a high inactive dripstone-cascade on the right. Later the tunnel starts to get narrower and we can climb further on rocks stuck above the stream, then we reach a constriction, which we can overcome by climbing on the left side. The riverbed is tight, a bit higher we can climb more comfortably. A climb slows our pace down, there is a prussic left there, which might help. (It might be worth it to take a short rope since the prussic might be gone.) From here the passage gets wider again, and after a sharp turn to the right a trunk-dam closes the way. The Avenul Negru's pit should not be too far from this point; the debris most probably originates from there. Getting through is not impossible, but extremely dangerous. The giant inactive dripstone-outflow on the left side is also worth to mention.
We can try to get back to the entrance pit, (finding the way to the dry connecting passage is easier by the stone doll built there) facing the flow of the stream, but the water is deep and climbing above the stream is difficult. The passage ends in a siphon in 50-60 m, this is where the water of the Confluence-hall reappears.
How to get to the Porcika-pothole
In most of the caves of Padis there is an extensive danger of flooding to be feared, the most shocking proofs for this can be detected in the Hamlet-cave. The entrence to the cave leads a wide stream inside the heart of the limestone-mass. On the left side the riverbed consists of smooth bare rock, which suggests that occasionally there is a huge amount of water descending down in it. The stream enters the cave with a cascading waterfall, but by using the roundabout passage our feet can stay dry. The first room and the following passage both contain an enormous amount of bolts down till the bottom of the pit, the ropes can be secured by everyone according to own needs and the amount of water present, thus the exact coordinates of the bolts will not be a matter of further description. The opening rein can be secured on the huge rock on top of the slope on the right handside of the waterfalls. A horizontal passage starts from this point to our left, which takes us behind the waterfalls by skirting a huge rock. Walking along the passage we get to the next room, where 8 meters below we can see the flow of the stream. Bolts can be found on our right behind an edge on the rock. After a few short horizontal sections on the rope we can relax in a water-carved cauldron. The room below us grows narrow, but we can proceed further on horizontal sections above the next waterfall. By climbing a further 5-6 meters ahead, we will get so far from the waterfall that in case of low water output we can descend from this point to the bottom of the shaft, but can also choose the other way, which leads further straight ahead on the opposite wall, and thus we will descend only at the end of the crack, which is a safe way even when the water is high up.
The shaft is about 30 meters deep and the bottom of the riverbed with its pebbles and deposits is rarely visible to our eye. On most days throughout the year the ground is covered by a contiguous lake. On those days going further into the cave is either absolutely impossible or even if it is possible, it is extremely dangerous. The heavy tree-trunks can be moved by the flowing water at any time, and in the steam and noise of the stream both the distance of vision and that of hearing are much shortened. With much luck in times of long drought or lasting frost– the passages may be totally dried out, and at these times the furthest point of the cave is easily accessible within 15-20 minutes. The width and height of the passage is quite significant all throughout the way. The ground of the chambers, which follow each other, is covered with pebbles and rocks, while in narrow passages, in curves the stucked deposits and branches form twig-dams, which consist not only of brushwood, but of tree-trunks 10-20-30 cms in width. Their stability is various, but by taking good care of our steps, we can pass these in safety. These dams are regularly rearranged by the floods, thus we cannot hope for the less stable constructions to have fallen down throughout the years and only the stable ones to have remained. Both in the sidewalls and ceiling stuck beams can be observed, which unambiguously refer to the possibility of water filling out the whole diameter of the passages. The wide, winding corridor is cascading into the depth, in many chambers sidepassages can be seen, the water of which covers the bigger rocks of the main tunnel with smoother and smaller pebbles and sand. The corridors connecting the chambers form sifon-like forms on three parts of the cave, where the riverbed is a few meters higher than normally. Finally we reach the end of the cave, where a sifon can be found, on its bank signs of subsiding can be observed. It is probable, that in times of even longer draught the waterlevel of this lake may fall as much, that there would be free passing to the inner sides of the cave.
How to get to the caves of the Barsa-cirque
After the pit our way continues in a tight, meandering passage, where there is no need for a rope. The ground is still covered with ice for a short while, but after a small downward climb it is succeeded by debris and the temprature rises as well. The characteristic passage width is 20-30 cms, and advancement is made difficult by stuck-in stones and iceblocks. The height of the passage is much bigger than its width all the way through. The meander is relatively steep, with many easy and one quite difficult downward climb. At this latter it is advisable to use a 7-8 meters long clutching rope, which can be rigged inside a hole on the left side. Then the height of the passage lowers, and after getting through an S-shaped tight passage, which is followed by a short crawling part where we can feel a significant draught and thus we get inside a much wider passage, which is significantly warmer, than the previous parts. The entrance passage of the cave is extremely flood endangered up to this section! The tight and crawling passages turn into a sifon even at the minimal amount of water flowing in and also the almost hundred meters long meander can easily be flooded.
From this part on, we can proceed easily on the wide passages of the cave. The stream runs into sifons at some parts, but we can get round these in ox-bows, at other parts we go through enormous chambers. The Clay-chamber (Sala Argilei) is 138 meters deep down, its length is 57, its width is 24, its height is 80 meters. The dripstone and sinter decoration gets richer towards the end of the cave. A passage divided by pools and small waterfalls leads to the pond at the end point situated at the depth of 162 meters, where a 10 meters long clutching rope can be very helpful.
On the steep slope of the "main entrance" we can carefully descend, but at times we must get round tree-trunks and spots of snow. Where the passage widens a bit, we can hide or unnecessary equipment inside niches inside the left wall, but we should be aware of the fact that even tourists dare to descend down to this point. From now on the ground is covered by a continuous sheet of ice, present even in the summer months. We can secure an about 30 meters long clutching rope to the ring on the left side, thus making our safe descent and ascent on the slippery slope. Another chamber follows, where the ground is almost plain, but is still covered by ice. There are short cracks starting out to various directions, we must enter one of them on our left. After a few meters we get to a crossing. To the left the other entrance of the cave can be found, if we enter through this, there is no need for ropes. Turning to the right will take us to the inner parts of the cave. There is no ice in this widening passage, that takes us to a chamber. We have to climb up the opposite wall to a few meters height. The ground in this crack is covered by muddy clay, which is soon changed into a meander out of rock leading to a 6 meters deep pit. After the descent we have to go through the small crack opposite the rope, then by climbing down a bit to the left, we get to a wider passage. We follow the flow of the water. At most parts this tunnel is not wider than a meter. The active waterflow has carved out a 20-30 cms wide bed in its bottom, which crosses the older, inactive bed many times. We get to the first waterfall without any difficulties. The opening rein can be started from a strap tied round the stuck-in stone on the right side, and a bit further ahead there are three bolts to be found above the pit. (Two to the left, one to the right.) To avoid getting wet, do not descend down to the bottom of the pit, but try to find the white dripstone columns about 2 meters above the bottom! Fixing straps on these, we can continue our descent. It is advisable to use more than one of these columns, since the damage done to them by ropes is already visible on the lower ones. This section is covered by a mass of fluid clay, which is quite slippery. We get to a spacy chamber, on the opposite side of which the stream disappears inside a closing crack, thus after a feww meters we have to climb upwards. The upper passage at about 10 meters height – widens out a bit and we soon reach the next pit in which we descend a further 13 meters. Bolts are on the left side, in the upper third of the descent by using an edge of the rock, parallel with the wall of the crack – a deviation has to be made. The descent beside the waterfall leads us to the streambed again. From now on there is no need for ropes, but it is not worth it to leave our harness as well, since the end of the cave is quite near. Following the stream, the way is barricaded by two dripstone cascades. The first can be skirted to its right, but the other forms a tight passage on the other side of which a puddle is awaiting us. Feet first, on our right side is the method to start off here, avoiding the water. On the other side the passage widens out, and we soon get to the last waterfall. By climbing up to about 5-10 meters above the crack we can get back to the stream with dry feet. The water flows through chambers decorated by dripstones. From here we get easily to the pond, which forms the sifon at the end point and can also follow sidebranches on the right side, most of which end in chimneys.
15 - 22 August 1999.:
Juhász Imre (Papp F.)
13 - 19 August 2000.: