Interview #10 – Fabio Bollini, Italy

“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 when I was a teenager, near my house there is a little cave, this was the first experience. Few years after, I started to go out of my Territory, to Explore the near regions. Subsequently, the experience in Krubera.

Actually i follow several projects in deep caves.

I follow strategies aspects, deep camps organization mainly, but also others aspects about exploration.

How you started dealing with speleology and why are you still doing it? 

The history is very interesting. When I was 10 years old, my parents brought me to visit a very famous touristic cave in Italy, Frasassi Cave. When we finished the visit, in the way back to our car, we saw some cavers who were returning from exploration. They were very dirty and muddy! And this image remained impressed in my mind, and it was at that moment, I decided that I wanted to live that way.

Now I am 48 years old and from that moment I never stopped.

To which club/organization you feel you belong? Tell us something more about this group of people or organization, something about the main drive behind your activities and projects. 

In the past, during the years I was part of various groups, but wars between people often arose, so I decided for long time to remain out of groups. Actually, me and my wife are part of a young Group, born few years ago. This group (Gruppo speleologico Tivano) is in the north Italy: whit this group we follow only a little part of our projects. The rest of project we follow in many part of Italy.

I follow my projects with many people Who comes for various groups and associations: everyone want to participate and add his contribute to the projects is welcome, I like to involve anyone who wants to help. Recently I invited people from Spain, Russia and Hungary.

We heard about your explorations in ‘W Le Donne’. Can you tell us more about this cave specifically, the region and how you chose to dedicate your energy there? Share with us more details as depth, length, level of complexity, a brief exploration history,  major breakthroughs and potential. 

What about other favourite regions, caves or areas of interest? 

My favourite region in Italy is Tuscany. That’s why I spent my youth exploring those areas…

Which is your most memorable international expedition and why? 

My most memorable expedition was in Krubera Cave, in 2015???

I lived an extraordinary experience, going to the bottom of the cave, I learned a lot from the Russians caving method.

What are your plans on current and future projects? 

My future project will be in August 2021, Abkhazia expedition, for searching new caves.

What is your approach toward attracting new speleologists in terms of preparation and training (examples, duration and accents of training, etc.)?  

In these last years, I have developed a particular method, mainly aimed at speleologists who already had experience, and want to perfectionate some aspect about organization, long permanence, psychological adaptation and little strategies.

Sometimes happened that a single person follow me in some experiences, and grow his level at the same time.

If you have experience with incidents in caves, would you share this with us, so other speleologists can learn from your experience? What would be your advice in case of such incidents? 

About 5 years ago, i had a very bad experience in W le Donne, and I wasn’t the only one to experience it. I was at a depth of 1000 m, when I started to feel bad, I had a fever and it was increasing, so i decided to come out of the cave. When i was on a depth of 400m, i felt very bad! In that zone, there was a small tent in poor condition. I tried to sleep a few time, but the conditions was very bad and wet. I decided to go out but the Fever was increasing dangerously… very painstakingly I managed to reach the exit, I risked passing out several times while climbing the rope. But the greatest danger awaited me outside. My Fever was very high (near 39 degrees) and outside was very cold, with high snow and fog. Luckily two climbers passed by at that time, and can helped me to one back to go down the mountain.

After this experience, I understood the importance to have base camp at various depth for Emergency.

What have you learned through dealing with speleology? 

From speleology I learned many more things than I could imagine. I have found real friends, I understand the importance of having reliable people next to you.

Going deeper gave me a clearer view of everything. Helped me to face the difficulties of life with a different spirit.

Would you like to share something more with us? 

Yes, I would like to share with you future exploration !

Kolkina dupka, Ponor, Bulgaria – 19.09-26.09

For the period 19th to 26th of September 2020 a team of 7 speleologists explored Kolkina dupka.

More about Kolkina you can find here

The team had 6 overnights in camp II (-456m).

For the this period the following results were achieved:

  • Water sampling – hydrogeological research is now taking place in Kolkina. Its main objective is to establish eventual connection between Koкlina and the nearby cave Katsite (2560m, -205m) 
  • Geological research – Sediment samples are collected from nine different sites from main rivers channels. They will be examined with full set of sedimentary analysis
  • Communication – between camp II and the occasional flash camp III, there is now a cable, which is making it an official 3rd camp
  • Technical climbing – many vertical passages were climbed and checked 
  • Survey – a total of 575 m were surveyed 

Kolkina’s length now is 16 130m.  

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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