Migovec 1994

Summer Expedition 1994

In the summer of 1994, 23 members of the Imperial College Caving Club (ICCC) with 2 members of the Caving section of the Tolmin Alpine Club (JSPDT) spent 3-6 weeks exploring and extending caves on the Migovec Plateau. The high plateau area (1800-2000m) meant that exploration had to be made from a bivouac on the plateau itself.

Previous Exploration

The known caves of the area were explored by the Tolmin Caving Club (JSPDT) during the period 1975-89. Since then the club has not been active on Migovec as it doesn't have the manpower for a high level camp, also the club has turned its attention to the resurgence cave Mala Boka which is being pushed up towards the Kanin Plateau.

17 caves were surveyed and logged in this time named M1-M17. Only a handful of these M caves are really worth noting and it is difficult to understand why holes such as M11 (a 6m deep hole!) were noted as the plateau has many similar or deeper examples which were not noted; unfortunately the original explorers were not around to tell us this. A significant amount of time was spent on the expedition, actually locating and marking (with spray paint) and working out coordinates of the M caves. The two major caves of the area were M16 (-547m) and M2(-350m) [Depth figures are quoted as they were in 1994].

Camping

Because of the difficulty in accessing the plateau (2-3 hour walk from the nearest road) it was necessary to have a bivvy on the plateau with a low level base camp. Our base camp for the entire expedition consisted of 5 rooms in a house, in Tolminski Ravne a small village (population 40) which we rented from an elderly couple. There was also a barn for gear storage. The house was ideally situated at the beginning of the path used to climb to the Migovec plateau (alt 1900m).

The bivvy consisted of a shallow depression with a rock bridge. There was no surface water on the plateau other than during the occasional violent electrical storms and so snow was collected each morning from the deeper shafts in the vicinity and left to melt in the heat of the day. Cooking was done using petrol or meths stoves. There is no camping permitted in the Triglav national park, but we were able to negotiate with a park warden for limited permission.

Caves Discovered

Three systems were discovered and surveyed on the expedition --- M18 (Torn T-shirt Cave), M19 (B.S. Pot) and White shiver Pot. Additionally M17 cave was extended from -50m to 97m and two horizontal extensions were made in M16 cave.

Torn T-shirt cave (M18)

was essentially a rift cave with a number of ways on --- not all of which have been fully explored. The cave has a tight entrance which leads to an 8m climb and then a 25m pitch. At the head of this pitch there is a way on which leads to 40m of rift and becomes too tight. At the foot of the pitch a climb over boulders and a false floor leads to a further 6m climb and a 6m pitch to a chamber, at this point the cave becomes a tight rift which goes on for a further 100m until it became too tight. A trip to the end and back took approximately 5 hours. The cave appears to take a significant amount of water (as was discovered during a storm) and was thought to have good potential for further exploration. This potential was borne out in 1995.

Bullshit Cave (M19)

is a tight extremely loose cave situated on the north of the plateau at the foot of Tolminski Kuk. (alt 1850m). The entrance is a massive shakehole of 20m diameter located 20m from M17. The shakehole is plugged with snow at -30m. Progress can be made by squeezing between the ice plug and rock wall and following the passage down. The cave was pushed to -75m at which point the walls became so unstable that further progress was impossible without shoring.

White Shiver Pot

is an impressive predominantly vertical cave situated in a small plateau to the north west of the peak Vrh nad Škrbino' directly between the peak and the saddleŠkrbina'. The cave entrance is a shaft of some 15m diameter. A 40m free hanging pitch drops you to the snow plug. The way on continues through the snow where it has been melted by dripping water. The next 5-10m are in the ice. A short slope and another 10m pitch leads to the head of a massive snow pile which partially fills the final chamber. The chamber is 60m in diameter and 20m high. It is decorated with ice flows, frozen waterfalls and icicles. Total depth 99m.

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