Author Topic: Gouffre Berger Trip Planning  (Read 7149 times)

Offline Cumbrian Neil

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Gouffre Berger Trip Planning
« on: July 19, 2007, 09:18:27 pm »
Does anyone have good information on planning, and executing, a trip to the bottom of the Gouffre Berger?

CN
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Offline AndyF

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Re: Gouffre Berger Trip Planning
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2007, 11:23:54 pm »
Does anyone have good information on planning, and executing, a trip to the bottom of the Gouffre Berger?

CN

There is a club journal I've seen that gives excellent advice, including the logisitics of getting to the entrance(!)  Icant remeber which club though (duh!) maybe it was Craven or Bradford? It would be worth hunting it down as I remeber being impreesed by it...
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Offline shotlighter

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Re: Gouffre Berger Trip Planning
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2007, 11:32:04 pm »
Does anyone have good information on planning, and executing, a trip to the bottom of the Gouffre Berger?

CN

There is a club journal I've seen that gives excellent advice, including the logisitics of getting to the entrance(!)  Icant remeber which club though (duh!) maybe it was Craven or Bradford? It would be worth hunting it down as I remeber being impreesed by it...
The Crewes one is good, if a little out of date - OK well 20 od yrs, but the caves still the same :)

Offline SamT

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Re: Gouffre Berger Trip Planning
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2007, 09:01:04 am »

There are different approaches - the trip I was on was a full on expedition stylee - Main camp in Autrans, permenently manned Tent pitched at the entrance with mobile phone contact to base. and a hayphone connection to camp one. Camp one was fully stocked with pits, bivvy bags, cooking gear, carbide, food, hayphone, whistles, bells, etc.
Boat was inflated and attached  to hauling lines at lake Cadoux. (good job too! as the cave flooded whilst we where at camp one)
smaller version at camp two. cave had been rigged by various rigging parties by the time we arrived in france. various teams bottomed it over the week, then I was on de-rigging party set to bottom then derig as far as possible.
However we where thwarted by floods after the canals.
Thumbs up the CSCA, it was an almost military operation  ;)

On the other hand - I know a few people who've just gone and done it very light weight, 4 or 5 people, camp rough at the entrance, just carry personal bivvy kit, and as much rope/hangers as you can humanly carry.

Id say you need to
A: be a member of a club - then apply for a permit.
B: assess how much interest you have.
C: work out how you are goint to afford/attain all the rope/kit needed.
D: make a plan based on the above.

I have some rigging guide/topo stuff if you are interested.

I think South Wales CC are off to do it very soon (along with some SUSS members)

Offline graham

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Re: Gouffre Berger Trip Planning
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2007, 09:32:07 am »
Didn't someone (Rob Parker, possibly) solo it?
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Offline SamT

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Re: Gouffre Berger Trip Planning
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2007, 10:11:13 am »
Didn't someone (Rob Parker, possibly) solo it?

Wow -  did that include carrying - rigging - de-rigging etc etc. Its certainly possible - but only if you very very fit.

Offline rsch

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Re: Gouffre Berger Trip Planning
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2007, 11:03:33 am »
Didn't someone (Rob Parker, possibly) solo it?

From 'Beneath The Mountains' (David Rose and Richard Gregson) :

"Some cavers from Sheffield University told us that one of their number, Steve Worthington, a well-known figure in caving circles, had gone to Xitu in September with the intention of pushing it solo. He had been using the 'cordelette' technique, whereby a complicated system involving a lot of nylon string means that the main rope does not need to be left in place on the pitches, but can be carried on down the cave, to be hauled up in place from the bottom of each shaft using the string on the way out. The net result is that much less gear needs to be carried. Worthington, our informant told us, hadn't got far: from the description, it sounded like no further than the bottom of the entrance series. But I wondered if he intended to try again. He had already been solo to the bottom of the Gouffre Berger in France, the first cave deeper than one kilometre and still a classic."

http://www.oucc.org.uk/btm/elpuritan.htm

Offline SamT

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Re: Gouffre Berger Trip Planning
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2007, 01:03:04 pm »

Cordelette technique always sounds horrifficly committing.

Hurricane pitch in the berger, solow -

Oh - my nylon twine just snapped 

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Offline damian

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Re: Gouffre Berger Trip Planning
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2007, 04:36:06 pm »
We went for a middle-sized approach when we did it with about 12 cavers who went beyond the entrance series. We left kit mats, food and Blizzard Packs at camp 1 incase anyone needed to stop, but nobody did. From a personal point of view (as leader) I would have liked another couple of cavers as we were a bit pushed for the deeper rigging and derigging trips with the same people doing the deep rigging and derigging with only a few hours between!

I have a number of rigging guides etc if you want them. I found reading the SWCC journal, the Crewe journal and an old CSCA journal useful in planning.

For info we ended up with about 18 sacks of rope I think plus 4 sacks of stuff for Camp 1 and a sack for the boat and line. That'll give you an idea of the man power needed. We used mostly 10mm rope - obviously it would be a lot less with 8mm rope.

Finally, the permit we had officially banned camping at the entrance or the car park. The only thing it did require was a logbook at the entrance. We found one at camp 1 was also very helpful for keeping track of things underground.

Very happy to help further if you'd like. Just PM me.

Offline Cumbrian Neil

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Re: Gouffre Berger Trip Planning
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2007, 06:57:43 pm »
Damian and Sam T - If you could send me any information you have it would be appreciated.  I think I came across a Berger write up online with Sam T mentioned.

I'm looking at a potential trip in 2010.  When's the best time to go in the summer?

CN.
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Offline damian

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Re: Gouffre Berger Trip Planning
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2007, 08:23:14 pm »
Damian and Sam T - If you could send me any information you have it would be appreciated.

See your PMs.

I'm looking at a potential trip in 2010.  When's the best time to go in the summer?


The permits are (currently) for 10 days. We went from 1st-10th August with only one very wet day. I've heard others say this is a good time but you never know with weather, do you?

Offline Cumbrian Neil

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Re: Gouffre Berger Trip Planning
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2007, 01:59:11 am »
We went from 1st-10th August with only one very wet day. I've heard others say this is a good time but you never know with weather, do you?

No... the weather is a little screwed up... I encountered snow last week in the Dolomites while on a Via Ferrata holiday.  Thanks for the info... very much appreciated.

CN.
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Offline paul

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Re: Gouffre Berger Trip Planning
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2007, 12:43:02 pm »
One of the guys on our Orpheus CC trip in 2002 set up a website to help others in the future. You could have a look at this.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2007, 01:10:28 pm by paul »
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Re: Gouffre Berger Trip Planning
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2007, 12:48:07 pm »
We went from 1st-10th August with only one very wet day. I've heard others say this is a good time but you never know with weather, do you?

No... the weather is a little screwed up... I encountered snow last week in the Dolomites while on a Via Ferrata holiday.  Thanks for the info... very much appreciated.

CN.

No... When I was there on the first trip of the year (1992) there was still some snow in the depressions and we had 10" of rain on the 10 days we were there! I think that the 'season' now starts a few weeks later.

The spring feeding the cattle trough approx 100m south of the car park seemed to fluctuate with the rainfall (approx 2 hours after the heavy rain its flow increased, and apparently this 'pulse' was seen another 1-2 hours later in the the main streamway.) But, obvoiusly 10 days was not long enough for me to come up with a good matching of the events.

Offline Cumbrian Neil

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Re: Gouffre Berger Trip Planning
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2007, 07:38:29 pm »
One of the guys on our Orpheus CC trip in 2002 set up a website to help others in the future. You could have a look at this.

Cheers - useful information.  CN.

PS - Do you know Degsy Freeman?
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Offline paul

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Re: Gouffre Berger Trip Planning
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2007, 12:26:40 pm »
One of the guys on our Orpheus CC trip in 2002 set up a website to help others in the future. You could have a look at this.

Cheers - useful information.  CN.

PS - Do you know Degsy Freeman?

Yes - he's still around, but not as often as he used to be (family commitments, etc.).
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Offline Cumbrian Neil

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Re: Gouffre Berger Trip Planning
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2007, 06:33:32 pm »
Don't we all!!  I just spent a week in Italy with him and a few other friends.
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