Primož Jakopin, photo diary

Abkhazia, the Reclusive Sleeping Beauty
Berčiljskaja Cave

August 23, 2019, 45 pictures

          Most images are approximately 768 x 1024 pixels in size, numbers in front of the picture descriptions are serial numbers of the original photo files. Most visible event participants who contributed to the making of these pictures (in no particular order, š is pronounced as sh, ž as zh, č as ch, j as y): Julija Timoševskaja, Darja (Daša), Nastja and Marija (Maša) Fedotova, Zinaida (Zina), Evgenij (Ženja) and Anatolij (Tolik) Kasjan, Katerina Medvedeva - Katja, Vitalij (Vitalik) Leonidovič Kosjakin and Elena (Lena) Sergeevna Kosjakina, Igor Magnowski, Leonid Feigin - Lënja (pron. Lonya) and Jurij Mihajlovič Kasjan. The cave Krubera-Voronja is, in further text, referred to only with the second half of the name, as it was called here.

          This page, text and pictures copyright (c) Primož Jakopin - Klok 2019.

Voronja Cave Camp


45253. View of the camp from the rock outcrop above the Ž 13 cave (a shelter and depot for the winter expeditions)



45254. A large truckload of snow in the pit west of the top of the outcrop



45255. A grove of lady's mantle, Alchemilla vulgaris ...



45256. ... here seen in a closer view



45257. Large (about 20 cm long) brown slug with the air breathing hole



Voronja Cave Entrance


45258. Igor descending down the entrance shaft ...



45259. ... here in a closer view



45260. - 45262. Three faces of Igor, at the top of the cave entrance shaft



Voronja Cave Camp


45263. Zina



45264. Leisure time on the plain below the kitchen/dining table open tent: Zina, Vitalik, Katja, Lënja and Julija



45265. Tolik during the potting practice, examining the details of plastic box construction at the same time



To Berčiljskaja Cave


45266. Daša on the trail below the Berčilj ridge. Mountain top is hidden, far left.



45267. Light blue bells



45268. View down the scree slope, western side of Mt. Berčilj. Jurij is still far below (center left) but he is catching up with us very fast.



45270. Daisies?



Korolitovaja / Coral Cave


45269. Jurij with two transport bags on the scree trail. Coral cave entrance is seen immediately to the right of his cap. Lower entrance to Berčiljskaja cave is much smaller, undiscernible from here, 20 m to the right, at the same level. The peak of Mt. Berčilj, 2.495 m above sea level, is just above the top of the picture.



45282. and 45283. Panoramic vertical view of the entrance from the outside, with Daša ...



45278. and 45279. ... with the corresponding view from the inside out



45271. Lënja



45272. Jurij



45273. Lënja is rolling a sizeable stone down towards the cave entrance. Coral cave is at first going upwards but ends with a meander which leads downwards again, and has a strong draft. The cave was left alone until now as it was believed that is too close to Berčiljskaja and so is very likely immediately connected to it. After some additional evaluation, especially considering how loose the rocks are all over Berčiljskaja - to the very bottom at -770 m, it was decided to give Koralitnaja another try. If it would bypass Berčiljskaja it could well provide a much more palatable way of getting deeper into the Berčilj depths.



Berčiljskaja Cave


45297. View northwest across the valley from the entrance ...



45296. ... which is rather small and gives little impression that a very deep and sizeable cave continues from here.



45295. View of the entrance from the inside



45292. The low and narrow though nicely levelled tunnel soon gives way to a small room which bends down into a vertical, rope secured jump. Many have wondered why Daša is dressed in such an unusual suit, which is hiding even the colour and texture of her helmet and is so different from the standard caving dress code. The author agrees with a common opinion that human presence adds to the completeness of a cave scene, as people rarely venture into underground alone, and as it also gives the space an impression of size. But he also firmly believes that it makes little sense to bring colours into the picture which never occur in a cave such as vivid red or blue or violet and which immediately makes human figure an intruding, disturbing element. That she or he should be unobtrusive ...



5173. ... as in this scene of the Little Hall in Mačkovica cave, taken in April 2002, or should give the picture a more natural, gentler human accent as is the case here in the Temple of Najdena jama cave (May 2004). Daša's costume was first used in the caving movie »White Cat Cave« and later on in »Merry Go Round Underground«.



45294. Closer inspection revealed that the vertical section where the rope disappears ...



45289. ... is not very long and that there are good grips ...



45291. ... for both hands and feet.



45287. Daša on top of the hall with a floor of loose scree ...



45288. ... which leads down to the second pit where use of SRT technique would be required.



Return from Berčiljskaja Cave to Voronja Cave Camp


45298. Daša descending the scree trail on the western slope of Mt. Berčilj



45299. A blowhole just above the trail, waiting for the daring explorer.



45300. Forget-me-nots



45301. Slightly larger blue flowers ...



45302. ... and blue-white little bells



45303. Some violet ...



45304. ... and scarlet flowers



Voronja Cave Camp

45306. Western edge of the camp plain with an accent он the meadow ...



45308. ... and on the sky ...



45307. ... with the slowly ...



45309. ... setting sun.



45310. In the evening a power generator runs for a few hours so that various battery-operated appliances can be recharged (top left) and to provide ample illumination in the kitchen tent, including a LED strip on the ceiling. At the table: Ženja, Tolik, Zina, Lena, Jurij, Katja, Nastja, Daša and Vitalik.



Related posts:



  Voronja Cave Entrance, August 22     Entrances of 4 More Caves, Connected to Voronja, August 24  


This page, text and photos by Primož Jakopin, member of the Ljubljana Cave Exploration Society (DZRJL). Send inquiries and comments to primoz jakopin guest arnes si (insert dots and at sign as appropriate). Page initiated on September 15, 2019; date of the last change: September 23, 2019.