Primož Jakopin, photo diary

Boybuloq 2021
To Boybuloq

August 7, 2021, 21 pictures

          Most images are approximately 683 x 1024 pixels in size, numbers in front of the picture descriptions are serial numbers of the original photo files. Full names of the most visible persons, depicted or mentioned in the pictures: Arnauld Malard, Vadim Loginov, Valentin Gordienko, Larisa Pozdnjakova, Mitja Mršek, Artëm Šabaršin, Alexandre Honiat and Pauline Georges.
          The page, text and photos copyright (c) Primož Jakopin - Klok 2021.


At the Base camp


50001. Arnauld, departing to Boybuloq, a high-key photo ...     

50002. ... and with a bittersweet smile. He faced a tough mission.


50008. Vadim, Valentin and Larisa also departed to Boybuloq, with much lighter task than to connect the cave to Višnevskij.



50010. Dry apricots soaking for a more pleasant meal.



Boybuloq entrance


50020. Klok was supposed to accompany the party of four, destined to make the survey of the upper cave parts in the New branch of the cave, explored in 2016, part of the way, and return to the Base camp. But as we progressed along the northeastern side of the second canyon downhill to the lowest, third crossing point, nobody objected his presence. So, little by little, Klok thought we are half way to the cave, first the third canyon showed below our feet and just a few minutes later we were at the cave.
The entrance in the southwestern side of the canyon bed is not particularly noticeable. Shepherds fenced its upper part by stones so that sheep and goats would not squeeze themselves in the mud to be in the cool shadow from the hot sun.



50030. View from above the entrance uphill the canyon



50028. From the entrance, upper center of the photo, a tiny stream trickles ...



50023. ... down between the rocks. The large rock on the right ...



50022. ... here seen in a wider setting (extreme right), Hodja-Gur-Gur-Ata ridge is on the horizon, was not always there. A few years ago the expedition camp was in the canyon bed, just below the cave. One of the senior participants warned the youngs: If you hear the sound of an electric train ("električka") approaching, don't hesitate, leave all behind and run out of the canyon. A few days later the story came true, everybody ran away as this rock roared downhill and stopped in the middle of the camp. Luckily nobody got in its way.



50021. Here an unpleasant surprise followed - Mitja (in the picture) went to collect the two caving suits, of him and Artëm which he hid in the bush agter the previous, preparatory excursion to Boybuloq, so that they would not have to carry them back to the Base camp and to the cave again. The suits were no longer there.



50027. Several options were discussed, none of them particularly attractive. There was a situation like this before, and it was resolved with the help of Sadik, in a few days. Klok joined the expedition with several possible tasks in mind, suited for his capabilities, one of them was to make a proper photo of Boybuloq entrance from the inside out. He proposed that if, before eventual departure from the cave, we make at least this picture, something will be accomplished. In 10 minutes or so, with the help of his gloves (in the picture), and Alex for bigger stones, they managed to remove the stones from the upper part of the entrance and stash them nearby (to the left).



50024. Alex lent him his caving suit and the helmet, Mitja his rubber boots (they were also hidden but remained in the bush) and he pushed himself inside the entrance as much as he could. One leg in the mud, his behind and head with the helmet firmly pressed against the wall, and the entrance just fit in the frame. Phone camera's HDR function took care that the shadows of the ceiling and the sunlit exterior of the entrance were both within visible exposure.



50025. Here Alex, Pauline, Artëm and Mitja joined in for a merrier shot.



50029. The grim reality resurfaced again. What now? Klok suggested that instead of embarking on some more realistic (pessimists are supposed to be people who know more) option, we look at the situation from the more open, optimistic stance. Maybe the suits were not stolen, but taken away, to be kept in some safer place. 20 meters below the cave a trail crossed the canyon. And at the southwestern side of the crossing (left if looking downhill) he noticed what at first sight seemed to be a bed of flowers, but actually was a colorful shepherd's coat (turned inside side out), depicted here. Klok argued that no shepherd would be so silly as to leave his coat behind without purpose and that this coat was supposed to tell us something, ...



50032. ... to follow the trail in the direction of the coat. The excursion leader, Artëm, is a wise guy and we all took the short, 5 minute walk to the small saddle (upper center left) where we encountered the shepherd, Jusuf (we found out his name later), about 20, and his herd of sheep and goats. Artëm, after introductory Zdravstvujte! (Hello! in Russian) explained him the situation and asked if Jusuf might know where the suits could be. It turned out that Jusuf's vocabulary of foreign words is as limited as is the Klok's knowledge of Uzbek language, to Zdravstvujte! which he understood and returned. It was all as he started to follow his herd which at the sight of foreigners started to move uphill, to the left of the saddle, at a fast pace. We were left alone at the saddle, just above it on the right there were some stones with shepherd's belongings. There was something red lurking between the other stuff and Mitja's suit was also red. But a few steps to the left offered a clearer view and sharp eyes uncovered a red plastic water container. What next? The shepherd really did not understand Artëm or did he? Klok defended the first possibility and suggested that two of us, Artëm and himself, with Alex's caving suit over the hand, follow the shepherd and show him the suit. Maybe he would see what he have in mind if we do so. Artëm reluctantly agreed and the two of us left. The herd was in the shadow of a large cypress, and the shepherd was nearby. As we approached, Artëm told his name and showed to himself, with a slight bow, and asked the shepherd for his. We learned that he is Jusuf. As he saw the suit he immediately disappeared uphill and very soon returned with both suits, a yellow and a red one, in his hands, and handed them to Artëm. Artëm thanked him: Spasibo! and was about to depart. Klok was not, Jusuf brought the suits we badly needed, not in a few days but now, and a friendly gesture from our side was called for. In the side pocket of his light backpack Klok always carried a spoon (it is always a good time when you need it) and a knife. For some time now it is a ceramic knife, very sharp, with a scabbard. Has a drawback, like all ceramic knives, that it breaks if bent, but for normal use it is excellent. I handed it to Jusuf, he checked the sharpness, showed thumb up fo OK, and gave it back. I returned it and showed it is a gift. We parted happily, everybody was satisfied, Artëm maybe a little less so. The excursion could proceed.
P. S. Sorry for no pictures - when the going gets tough, cameras are inviting trouble.



50031. Pauline in front of the entrance, Alex is just squeezing himself inside. French team used alpine boots, with neoprene socks, for Boybuloq and Višnevskij caves, one of possible solutions, everybody else had rubber boots.





50033. It was interesting at the Boybuloq entrance while the party was getting ready for departure to their survey mission. Two shepherds came by on their donkeys, Bahtiër, Jusuf's elder brother, and Bobomurod, his friend, with two donkeys. They were keen to know more about the cave, especially where the water is to be found in it. Unfortunately the water is quite far and deep in the cave, especially quantities of it - the inflow in the terminal siphon in the New branch, 10 l/s, is close to 600 meters below the entrance. After the party departed Bahtiër collected Jusuf's coat and left join him, while Bobomurod departed to his herd, uphill the canyon. He insisted to show the way back to Klok, who was about to use the lower crossing of the canyon between the Base camp's canyon and Boybuloq's canyon. He gave in to Bobomurod's arguments and they departed uphill riding the donkeys, Bobomurod is well acquainted with donkey riding while Klok did it for the first time after 60 years - the last time he did it was in grandfather's yard, in Leskovec pri Krškem, when Klok was 12. The donkey played a trick on him, the ride went smoothly until they reached the concrete water trough in the middle of the yard. The donkey approached the trough not perpendicularly, as he would like to drink, but in parallel direction, as he would like to pass by. When the donkey passed the center of the trough, he shook his back, quickly and vehemently. Klok was not prepared and fell straight into the water, yet exactly in the middle of the trough, without touching its hard edges. When he got back his composure and climbed out of the trough he could swear that the donkey had a smile on his face. This time the ride went without problems for some 200 meters, over a bushy terrain, where a fall would be unproblematic. Only the donkey, it was a female, disliked to go uphill and without Bobomurod's help Klok could not keep her in the proper direction. After a while they reached a rocky slope, with large stones. Klok showed Bobomurod with gestures that a fall from the donkey could end with a broken head, and dismounted. Bobomurod stopped at a dry tree and broke some branches from it, for firewood, and loaded them onto his donkey. So the party continued uphill walking, until they raeched the upper crossing of the canyon, its cairn is seen in the picture, from below, from the canyon. Here Bobomurod and Klok parted, Bobomurod continued uphill, to his herd, while Klok left ...



50036. ... down the slope, shown here.



50034. The other side of the canyon seemed very steep, too steep so to say ...



50035. ... until a closer view showed that is can be easily climbed. Local people really know all the tips and tricks of their land.



50038. Afternoon sun is disappearing behind the clouds over Hodja-Gur-Gur-Ata mountain ridge, as seen from the Chul-bair slope, near the Base camp, on return.



Related posts:



  Boybuloq 2021 : The grotto at 2880 m above sea level, August 6     Boj-Bulok 2021 : Introduction     Boybuloq 2021 : The water source, August 8 - 10  


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 10, 2021; date of the last change: September 19, 2021.