Application for Grant Aid

Submitted on: 26 Feb 2014

Expedition details (GPF2014a-005)

Expedition Name (& Club): Skozi Zrcalo - "Through the Looking Glass" (Imperial College Caving Club)
Destination country: Slovenia
Region: Tolminka National Park
Lat: 46.1511 Long: 13.4549 Elevation: m
MEF funding: none

Leader: Mr Oliver Myerscough
Total cavers: 23
Cavers ≤25 yrs old: 16
Cavers 25-35 yrs old: 4
UK/nonUK cavers: 19/4
Eligible for grant aid: 0
Alex Pitcher nominations: 1
Expedition dates: 11th Jul 2014 - 17th Aug 2014
Duration (days): 38
Man-days in field: 36 Man-days travelling: 2
Brief Expedition objectives:

List a short summary of the main Expedition objectives.

Further exploration and survey at depth in System Migovec via the Vrtnarija entrance by underground camping.
Diving up to two sumps (Watership Down, -897 m; Red Cow, -744 m).
Exploration of new caves from the surface (notably Jailbreak, N9).
How can the GPF support your Expedition?:

Please explain the aspects of the trip which make it eligible for Ghar Parau funding.

As a student led and majority composed expedition, we operate on a \"shoestring\" budget. Any and all external funding is invested in rigging and expedition equipment to further our exploration aims.
Detailed description of objectives:

Give a more detailed account of the purpose of the trip, including any particular known caves you intend to visit, specific areas where you will explore for new cave, and scientific experiments you will attempt.

The 2014 ICCC/JSPDT expedition will mark 20 years of collaboration between ICCC and the JSPDT and 40 years since the JSPDT began exploration on the Migovec plateau. We have had great successes over the years, developing the Sistem Migovec into the longest cave system in Slovenia at 27 km polygon length. Our efforts have been identified by Slovene authorities as a prime example of an effective international cave exploration expedition in Slovenia.

Our primary aim is exploration and survey in the Sistem Migovec.

Underground, our main exploration targets this year remain within the Vrtnarija section of the Sistem Migovec. Three areas which are likely to attract the most attention are Pick your Poison, Cuckoo’s Nest and Slinging in the Rain. These are all conveniently located close the our well established Camp X-Ray (-550 m) which will be our main underground camp.

Pick your Poison is a 60m pitch in a 5 m wide active rift, all explored late in 2013’s expedition. Numerous leads exist in this area, including an undescended shaft parallel to the main pitch and five passages from the bottom.

Slinging in the Rain is at the end of a series of tight rift passages and small chambers. A bolder blocks the only just blocks the passage, with an obvious continuation in sight. Efforts to dig the sandy floor have not helped shift the blockage but a return trip is planned.

Closest to Camp X-Ray is Cuckoo’s Nest, consisting of 300m of winding passage only a few minutes from camp. Leads here include a wet pitch at Hydrophobia and a tight rift at Straightjacket.

We are developing plans for an embedded cave diving expedition within this year’s dry caving expedition. This will run in the middle three weeks, piggybacking of efforts of the main expedition. We aim to minimise extra pressure on the main expedition by forming a dedicated team of two divers and two dry cavers (or two more divers, if suitable candidates are found). They will attempt to dive the sumps at Watership Down and Red Cow from a light camp at Red Cow. To date, no serious attempt has been made to dive in the Sistem Migovec. The embedded expedition will be lead by Jarvist Frost.

On the surface, we will continue efforts to catalogue new caves on the Migovec plateau. Last year saw success in a discovery dubbed “Jailbreak”, now 133 m in length and 29 m deep.

In terms of deliverables from this expedition we intend to:
* fully survey all discoveries, freely distribute survey data
* produce a complete vector drawn cave survey
* register all discoveries & expedition findings and new caves with the Slovene Kataster
* freely distribute photos from the expedition
* incorporate materials from this expedition into a further book publication that will cover exploration on Migovec from 2007--

We have a good track record in running productive caving expeditions to explore deep Alpine targets, and in disseminating expedition results to national and the wider global caving community.
Previous work in this area:

Give details of any previous work in this area by your own and other teams. Include references to reports and articles published on the area, and the names of any local cavers or academics with whom you have discussed the Expedition.

We have run expeditions to this area in: 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 00, 01, 03, 04, 05, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13 and smaller recces in Easter 95, Autumn 06, Winter 09.

Vrtnarija was discovered in 2000, and extended on every expedition since then before being connected into Sistem Migovec in 2012.

Exploration on the Migovec Plateau began in 1974.

Main exploration info 1974--2006 present in The Hollow Mountain (2007, available as free PDF). Additional interim reports, survey data and photographs available on ICCC website.

Expedition Finances


Travel plans:
Advance party flies out (via Ryanair / Trieste) the week before to setup water collection tarpaulins. A nine-seater roof-racked transit minibus will be hired from Imperial College Union, filled with cavers and gear and driven via Calais - Benelux - Germany - Austria - Slovenia (to avoid toll roads) over 24 hrs non-stop.

Additional expedition members fly out. Minibus is used for \'shuttle service\' from Tolmin to Tolminske Ravne (912m) from where gear is portered to Tolminski Migovec (1882m).

# from UK: 21 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from UK: £4,610 -- Minibus --
Minibus Hire: £1500
Fuel: £700
Dover - Calais Ferry Tickets: £160
Total: £2360

-- Flights --
Flights (London - Trieste): £120, return.
Transport between Trieste and Tolmin: £20
Persons Flying: 15
Total: 15 * (120 + 20) = £2250

-- Total --
£2360 + £2250 = £4610

# from outside UK: 1 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from outside UK: £50 1 * fuel, driving from Lausanne to Tolmin: £50

Travel total: £4,660 Travel p.p. from UK: £219
Travel p.p. from outside UK: £50


Total: £2,000 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £91 Food: £2000

Accommodation: Free.

Camping on Migovec is by special permission of the National Park. Expedition base is established in Tolminki Ravne with hospitality from the Skalar family, and in the nearby town, Tolmin, with the use of an expedition member\'s holiday home and hospitality from the local alpine / caving club.


Total: £1,560 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £71 Rope: £500
Rigging Metalwork: £400
Survey Instruments (rolling replacements): £160
Assorted communal equipment / supplies for surface use: £500

Special 1

Total: £120 Comments:
Special 1 p.p.: £5 Underground Camping Supplies, i.e. consumables we must buy each year.
Meths / gas for cooking, replacement thermals for sleeping.
Exped Total: £8,340 Exped cost p.p. travelling from UK: £386
Exped cost p.p. travelling from outside UK: £217
Mean Exped cost per person: £379

Other Funding

Total: £1,300 Comments:
Imperial College Union Travel Grant: £1300
Total shortfall: £7,040 Mean shortfall per person: £320

Referees and Report

Please give the names, addresses and phone numbers of two suitably qualified people whom the Committee can contact. You should ensure that they are aware of the objectives of your trip, and that you have their permission for the Committee to contact them.

Referee 1: Dr Michael Rogerson
Affiliation: Dept. of Geography, University

Reason: Ex ICCC, has performed significant geological analysis of the region.

Permission obtained?: Yes
Referee 2: Dr Mark Evans
Affiliation: Kings College London

Reason: Ex ICCC, one of the originators of the expedition.

Permission obtained?: Yes

Expedition report author: Oliver Myerscough


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