Birth of an Expedition

Birth of an Expedition

A major problem which most university caving clubs face is that of continuity of members and experience. Unless there is a strong social bind between the members or a project which will hold the club together then they will tend to have active periods where a number of strong members hold the club together and then lulls when these members leave (usually all at once).

It was during such a lull in 1993 that the ICCC came up with the idea of having a project area somewhere in Europe along the same lines of Oxford UCC (In Picos de Europa, Spain) and Cambridge UCC (in Totes Geberge, Austria). After a sporting trip to the Italian side of Mount Kanin (Monti Canini) in 1991, which included a short trip over the border to Slovenia, members of ICCC became interested in exploration potential of the Julian Alps.

Initially our main interest was on the Slovenian side of Mount Kanin, as this seemed to have obvious potential with a number of deep systems discovered in the last few years (including 3 sub 1000m), however after a broad literature survey it was seen that there are other areas of good potential in the Julian Alps such as Krn, Bohinj and Migovec. Letters were written to all the clubs and authorities dealing with the Julian Alps in order to either find a club who we could explore with or be given an area in which we could explore. One of the rules of the Slovenian caving authorities is that independent exploration by a foreign club is not allowed and the only way to gain access is by working with a local club. As we had no offers of this early in '94 it was decided that three of us would go out to Slovenia, meet local clubs and hopefully come back with a definite plan for the expedition.

The reconnaissance took place at the end of May '94 and proved very successful as we found Andrej Fratnik and Simon Gabescek from the Tolmin Caving Club (JSPDT) who gave us permission to work on the Migovec plateau, as well as maps, surveys and reports and accompanied us to the plateau. Thus we had an area to work in and a definite plan for an expedition in the summer of 1994. In addition to the reconnaissance trip of '94 there has been a one week mountaineering reconnaissance in the February of 1995 looking for blowing holes.

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