Interview #9 – Teo Barisic, Croatia

“Interview” is caving club “Pod RB” initiative dedicated to discussions with cavers from all around the world. What they share about their life above and under the ground, their caving experience, stories, dreams and future plans you can find in the following lines…

Tell us something about yourself in terms of speleological experience.

I have been dealing with speleology since 1983. Until the war broke, I was caving with one of the most fruitful Croatian speleo clubs and namely the speleology section at The Student Mountaineering Society Velebit. This is where I met my wife and we were exploring caves together. Back then we were using mostly trains and bikes as means of transport. We were some of the people who would dedicate to one cave and weekend after weekend we would go there to explore new galleries. Opposed to the majority, back then, who strived for visiting as many as possible caves and pits. Following this approach we managed to survey over 8km of galleries during more than 30 visits in the cave Toun, which is located in a quarry. 

A year before we got our family we managed to get to China, where during a period of 7 days, we explored around 10 caves and surveyed over 8km of cave galleries. After the birth of our first two children, my wife, Aida, has completely stopped caving. While I still got my 6 to 7 weekends per year dedicated to caving, then I was mostly cave diving. Then the war started and I moved to Sibenik. 

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Interview #8 – Spela Borko, Slovenia

“Interview” is caving club “Pod RB” initiative dedicated to discussions with cavers from all around the world. What they share about their life above and under the ground, their caving experience, stories, dreams and future plans you can find in the following lines…

Tell us something about yourself in terms of speleological experience.

I started caving in 2013. Since then, I spend almost all my free time underground. From the first trip on I am writing a “caving log” and up to date I count more than 500 cave visits. Alpine caves attract me from the start, this is the area where I conduct the most exploration, with several one-week trips per year and multitude of one day trips (Slovenia is small, so we are lucky to be able to go caving whenever we have a free day). I organized several expeditions in deep caves on Kanin. We try to minimize the unnecessary weight on the expeditions so I developed caver-friendly dry food packages for deep caving. I am a “spreadsheet freak” so I collect the exploration data for several cave projects. I take part in data management in our society, make maps, write reports, etc. Caves are present also in my professional life: I am a speleobiologist. I did my master thesis on deep cave fauna and for my PhD thesis I explore the biogeography and evolution of subterranean amphipod genus Niphargus.

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Cave Vihren, Pirin, Bulgaria

About Pirin

Pirin mountain is located in the South West of Bulgaria, here is the second highest peak, Vihren, 2914m. Furthemore, Pirin is featured by many peaks reaching 2800m, narrow ridges and majestic karst area with its main karst ridge. The deepest cave in Pirin, Cave System 9-11, is -407m deep and 2200m long, with its entrance at 2532m. 

One of the most popular starting points for approaching Pirin is the small town of Bansko, which is also a well known ski resort. 

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Interview #7 – Werner Zagler, Germany

“Interview” is caving club “Pod RB” initiative dedicated to discussions with cavers from all around the world. What they share about their life above and under the ground, their caving experience, stories, dreams and future plans you can find in the following lines…

Tell us something about yourself in terms of caving experience. You may also wish to include role in your organization, function, personal features, activities, etc.

I’m a caver for 37 years. I’m exploring horizontal and vertical caves in the northern part of the Alps. In my club ( Verein für Höhlenkunde in München; www.tagfern.de) I’m responsible for collecting all the cave-surveys. I’ll do cave-rescue for over 30 years now. Since 20 years I’m in the mountain-rescue and in the cave-rescue. In ECRA, I’m the coordinator for the „passage enlargement committee“. 

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Muda Labudova, Croatia

About Muda and Crnopac

Further to our interest in Crnopac (South Velebit, Croatia) this summer was dedicated to another exploration there. This time in the cave Muda Labudova (-682m, 6335m*).

Muda Labudova remains not yet connected to the cave system Crnopac, while most certainly is part of it. Its potential is nothing but very promising and it seems like it is only a matter of time for Muda Labudova to become part of Crnopac’s cave system.

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Njemica -863m, Biokovo, Croatia

About Biokovo

Mountain Biokovo is located in the Southern part of Croatia and more specifically in Southern Dalmatia, the starting point for climbing and exploring Biokovo is the seaside town Makarska.
The highest point is St. Jure, 1762m. There is an asphalt road to the very peak of St. Jure, facilitating the cave exploration. Biokovo is formed in limestone rocks with well expressed karst formations. 

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Nedam, North Velebit, Croatia

About Nedam 

Since last year, Nedam is the 4th Croatian cave reaching depth beyond 1000m. Like with the other Croatian caves deeper than 1000m, Nedam is situated in North Velebit and more specifically in the massif of Hajducki kukovi, quite close to Lukina jama and Ljubuska jama. Until June 2020 its known depth was -1021m, the cave survey can be seen here. The cave follows an endless meander with narrow passages and active water flow in the deeper parts. The exploration here continues. 

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Interview #6 – Pavel Demidov, Russia

“Interview” is caving club “Pod RB” initiative dedicated to discussions with cavers from all around the world. What they share about their life above and under the ground, their caving experience, stories, dreams and future plans you can find in the following lines…

Tell us something about yourself in terms of caving experience. You may also wish to include role in your organization, personal features, activities, etc. 

I started caving in the end of 1999. It was caving school of The Perovo caving club, Moscow. And in late Jan 2000 we went to our first expedition to Zabludshikh cave on Alek range, west Caucasus, just above Sochi. So, pretty soon there will be 20 years of my cave story and 20 years of Perovo-speleo team, as soon as most of us met in that particular expedition.

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Interview #5 – Jean Paul Sounier, France

“Interview” is caving club “Pod RB” initiative dedicated to discussions with cavers from all around the world. What they share about their life above and under the ground, their caving experience, stories, dreams and future plans you can find in the following lines…

Tell us something about yourself in terms of caving experience. You may also wish to include role in your organization, function, personal features, activities, etc. 

As I started caving in 1966, the beginning of my caving career was quite slow; exploring caves using ladders was not very efficient. In 1973 we started using ropes and I went to high mountains karsts to explore deep caves. My first job enables me to travel easily and in 1980 I was a member of the national french expedition the Papua New Guinea. This destination became my favorite. As I was travelling a lot for my job, I was at that time joining expeditions. Then from 1995 to now, I got involved in the organization of expeditions. The first I organized was the 1995 cave diving expedition to Papua New Guinea where we reached for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere the depth of 1000 m.

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Interview #4 – Tom Foord, Great Britain

“Interview” is caving club “Pod RB” initiative dedicated to discussions with cavers from all around the world. What they share about their life above and under the ground, their caving experience, stories, dreams and future plans you can find in the following lines…

Tell us something about yourself in terms of caving experience. You may also wish to include role in your organization, function, personal features, activities, etc. 

I’ve been caving for 22 years, mostly in the UK, but also taking part in international expeditions, most significantly to the Dachstein region of Austria. In 2018 I was part of the team that connected the WUG/Schmelzwasserhöhle and Hirlatzhöhle caves, creating he 9th deepest cave in the world. I have been in charge of the surveying project for the Dachstein expedition for a several years. I’ve also been heavily involved in digging projects in South Wales, and made several significant discoveries. I am also a Warden (team leader) on the South & Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team.

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