Primož Jakopin, photo diary

Najdena jama Cave
At the Northern Tip of the Dry Land

July 21, 2016, 29 pictures

Most images are approximately 683 x 1024 pixels in size, numbers in front of picture descriptions are serial numbers of the original photo files. Event participants who also contributed (this way or another) to the making of the pictures, and the persons connected to the action: Janez Kanoni - Žan, Janez Ileršič - Ile, Jure Trenz - Trenc, Metod Di Batista, Armin Krivec, Gregor Pintar - Stari, Marjan Baričič, Rok Brajkovič - Brajko, Marko Vogrič - Mare and Branka Hlad, Alenka Terlep - Lenča, Marko Krašovec, France Šušteršič, Tomaž Kranjc - Garmin and Primož Jakopin - Klok.

All pictures photo and copyright (c) Primož Jakopin 2016.

          The purpose of this excursion was widening of the horizons to the question of Lanski vrh and its mysteries, some brainstorming on how to make Najdena jama cave great again. To interconnect the four major attractions of the central area: Najdena jama, Skednena jama, Vranja jama and the elusive Lipertova jama caves. Such reflections inevitably required a departure from the recent routine of excavations in Galacijevka and Radošca / Radoshitza caves.
          One of several questions, drifting in the air for decades, is the problem of the English Tunnel after the syphon (sump) in Desni rov / Right Hand Tunnel. It is the northernmost continuation of the cave, it was explored in July 1972 by members of the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society (UBSS) expedition to Yugoslavia, as guests of JKLM (Jamarski Klub Ljubljana Matica, as DZRJL, author's home caving team, was named at the time - a link to DZRJL web page is missing here as it, strange as it may sound, has no English version). The English Tunnel, probably the most remarkable achievement of UBSS expedition, was never seriously tackled ever since, for 44 years now. Even the jubilee issue of Glas podzemlja / Voice of the Underground, at the 50th anniversary of discovering the major part of Najdena jama cave, devoted exclusively to the cave, lacks any report of this tunnel and its exploration. The cave was of special interest to the British in 1972 as it has, according to the expedition report by Adrian Wilkins and Charles Self, published in UBSS Proceedings volume 13(2) (p. 245 - 283) about 16 syphons, all undived. And where to begin was the question. At Najdena jama the UBSS team was joined by Art and Peg Palmer, caving couple from New York who were on the honeymoon tour, with a minivan. Art was reasonably familiar with the cave already and, when consulted by the UBSS team, suggested that the syphon at the end of Desni rov / Right Hand Tunnel looks the most promising, should be dived first. The 30 m long and 5 m deep syphon was dived through on July 26, 1971 by Robert Churcher. Adrian Wilkins and Julian Walford followed and explored the cave on the other side of the syphon. The trio were the diving part of the expedition, all qualified members of the UBSS Cave Diving Group (Somerset Section). The next day, July 27, the syphon was dived through again and the explored 180 m of new cave surveyed. It ends with an ascent too steep for the divers. The map of the new tunnel is published as Figure 78 on page 261 of the abovementioned publication and can be downloaded from the relevant UBSS web site (kudos to UBSS!), alas as a PDF file (An HTML file with figures as images would make things by an order of magnitude simpler for the reader of these lines, and more usable, as Google index would see and include the whole lot). The syphon was named after Art (Art syphon) as his suggestion lead to its exploration. On July 27 the rest of the cave was also examined and (only) two more syphons estimated as worth of diving.
          As documented in the above report and shown on Figure 77 on page 260 Adrian Wilkins and Julian Walford, after a day of rest, dived upstream into the syphon at the end of Borisov rov / Boris Tunnel (named after Boris Sket, not Boris Johnson) on July 29. After proceeding through an immense submerged hall - they were only able to see the ceiling and the right wall - for 40 m to a large airbell they had to return because both fell victim to acute agoraphobia, or fear of vast empty space. Adrian Wilkins obviously lost interest in Najdena jama while Robert Churcher and Julian Walford made a dive on July 30 into the syphon at the end of Levi rov / Left Hand Tunnel, noticing nice surrounding of the syphon pool. They returned after 40 m due to problems with the safe-line - it kept jamming in flakes of the right wall. Yet at the end of their dive they saw mud banks, a possible sign of open passage nearby.
          According to Figure 78 the Art syphon runs to the north and continues with a 20 x 5 m pool (south-north x west-east). From the pool shore the tunnel continues over a slight slope about 60 m to the east. At 40 m the main continuation (about 7 m wide) moves on in the NW direction, while a lesser branch (5 m wide) forks off for some 20 m to the west and ends with two chimneys (avens), already quite close to the pool. This fact is of importance as the two chimneys could be connected to the composite chimney above Art's syphon in the picture 30997 of the following report.


At the End of Desni rov / Right Hand Tunnel


30974. Not everybody arrived to the scene of action at the same time: Metod, Žan and Mare over an hour earlier than the last: Armin, Brajko and Klok. While Metod did the climbing to the corner of the wall, and Žan secured him on the rope, the others had ample time to reflect on the less known attractions of being a caver: Marjan, Gregor, Armin, Mare and Brajko.



30976. Žan was keeping Metod secure at one end of the rope.



30977. The snack in precious non-muddy real estate: Rio mare tuna in natural sauce, maize bread, apricot and pear jam, diluted aronia juice



30978. Metod climbed to the edge of the wall and is now returning.



30979. Art's syphon, wider view, Žan



30980. Art's syphon, closer view, Brajko



30982. Metod returned and Armin took over the job to ascend into the chimney (aven) on the other side of the wall; front illuminated ...



30983. ... side illuminated ...



30981. ... and up-close, evidently solving a rigging problem.



30984. The hall terrain is a combination of mud and black rocks; with Brajko ...



30989. ... and also in a closer setting.



30987. Chiaro-scuro in fango - mud in all the shades, from deep brown to crystal white; Brajko and Marjan



30988. Armin took his time to explore the southwestern branch of the chimney while the others also had a good time - mud can be quite mind liberating: Marjan, Metod, Gregor, Mare, Žan and Brajko



30991. Waiting below the wall - the chimney and Armin are at the upper center, heading left



30992. Armin above the wall, preparing for ...



30993. ... the descent.



30994. Southwestern side of the chimney is now examined to the end. But Armin, the master climber, one of the very few with diving ambitions, and Metod, member of the Najdena jama golden team from the 60's, are now focussing on the northwestern side. Look, point the spotlight (red piece in Armin's hand) a bit more to the right ...



30996. ... and on the other side of the overhang ...



30995. ... yes, there! ...



30997. ... the rock is all hollow. Will be explored the next time.



Returning Back to Cave Entrance


30998. Armin at a large boulder in Šumeča dvorana hall, just below the traverse from Krastača cave



30999. Piparski rov, the main Najdena jama highway, is mostly ample but gets narrow in places. Yet muddy it is at all times ... Brajko on the crawling trail.



31001. At a flowstone pan; Brajko



31002. The tunnel below the Baldachine is more cozy: at the Maria Theresa bosom; Brajko



Najdena jama Cave Forest Venue


31007. The awning really shows its value, it is a place where you actually feel like home.



31003. Another snack: yogurt, maize bread, peach and dry plum compote



31006. Generations apart, but the same team: Armin and Jure at the table



31005. Jure surprised with another beauty, the oldtimer camera Praktica LLC, again with the Mir 3.5/20 lens.



31004. Mare brought Lenča a bouquet of lavender from the coast hinterland ... and look how delighted she was.



  Radošca / Radoshitza Cave, Day 3, July 14     Vrbica, July 23  

This page and most of the photos by Primož Jakopin; send inquiries and comments to primoz jakopin guest arnes si (insert dots and at sign as appropriate). Page initiated on July 22, 2016; date of counter reset and date of last change: February 25, 2017, July 7, 2020.