Application for Grant Aid

Submitted on: 29 Feb 2016

Expedition details (GPF2016a-006)

Expedition Name (& Club): Durmitor 2016 (York University Cave and Pothole Club)
Destination country: Montenegro
Region: Durmitor Massif
Lat: 43.1437 Long: 19.0356 Elevation: 2000 m
MEF funding: none

Leader: Mr Mark Sims
Total cavers: 15
Cavers ≤25 yrs old: 9
Cavers 25-35 yrs old: 6
UK/nonUK cavers: 15/0
Eligible for grant aid: 0
Alex Pitcher nominations: 2
Expedition dates: 13th Jul 2016 - 31st Jul 2016
Duration (days): 19
Man-days in field: 195 Man-days travelling: 30
Brief Expedition objectives:

List a short summary of the main Expedition objectives.

On our last visit to Durmitor in 2014, the team reached a sump in our best lead, Bunda Jama, at -622 m. The main aim of this expedition is to support a dive (or two!) into this sump by Tony Seddon. This will be the first time anyone has dived in any cave on Durmitor. The hydrology of the area is very complex and this dive has the potential to answer many unknowns.

Secondary objectives will include further prospecting and revisiting entrances on the mountain as well as investigating some of the resurgences in the Tara Canyon.
How can the GPF support your Expedition?:

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

Water from the Durmitor Massif, rising to over 2000 m above sea level, is known to resurge at the Tara Canyon, which drops to just 500 m above sea level, representing a significant depth potential. The Belgrade caving club, ASAK, have been very active in the region,and YUCPC first joined them in '04-'10 before visiting a different area in the north of Durmitor since 2011. The 2016 trip will again be organised with ASAK and will be primarily focussed on supporting Tony Seddon to dive the sump in Bunda Jama, which will represent the first cave dive to take place on Durmitor. The hydrology of the region is complex, with water resurging seasonally in different locations, and we hope we may clarify this. We hope that several young members will join our expedition, gaining a first taste of an alpine expedition, and anticipate that the bulk of any grant money obtained will fund the transportation of the diving equipment to Durmitor and contribute to the gear required for re-rigging the cave.
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.

As stated in the previous section, our primary objective is to support the diving of the Bunda Jama sump. We hope that a few people will travel out earlier than the main group to set up base camp, followed by the main team arriving for a two week expedition. The intention is to rig the cave within the first 3 days, have the cave rigged for a maximum of 4 days, before derigging which is likely to take a further 3 days, giving 10 days down Bunda Jama. These estimates are realistic based on timings from 2014, and give a couple of days of leeway. While the cave is rigged we intend to look for leads in the large section of cave above the sump, which was the focus of little attention in 2014 due to the sump only being reached on the last pushing trip of the expedition and we are optimistic that the cave may well yield further dry cave passage. Unfortunately, despite keeping it in mind last year, no good spots were found for an underground camp in Bunda Jama. However, as a minimum a bivvy spot is required near the bottom for Tony, so we will set up a small bivvy at the most suitable place we could find just above the last pitch, but we won't intend for people to routinely sleep there!

Our secondary objectives are to revisit other entrances found on previous trips, including Braon Prst Jama located close to Bunda Jama, which was left at an open pitch in 2014. Additionally there are many other entrances located and recorded in previous years that have good potential for discoveries. Satellite images of an area further north than we have previously prospected also show large snow plugs, indicating significant potential for cave entrances.

There is also the possibility that a few people may come and spend part of the time based on the mountain and part of the time visiting the Tara canyon to recce resurgences.
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.

YUCPC has run seven expeditions to Durmitor since 2004, the last four of which have been based in the more remote northern region of the massif, which had never been prospected prior to 2011. In the first three YUCPC expeditions to Durmitor, new discoveries were limited, but we joined ASAK and other groups in resurveying the deepest cave on Durmitor (JVB, 775 m deep), but the trips to the northern area have resulted in several kilometres of new cave being explored, including YF1 (-305 m) and Bunda Jama (-622 m).

We have aimed to produce full write-ups of each of our trips to the region, available online at .

Expedition Finances


Travel plans:
Travel by air from Stansted to Podgorica.
Either local bus or taxi from Podgorica to Zabljak.
Walk up to camp.

With the addition this year of diving equipment, there is a question of transporting it all to Zabljak, and it is likely that one or two people will need to make alternative transport arrangements to achieve this. It might be that someone will need to drive from the UK to Zabljak, or we could hire/borrow some kit from our contacts in Belgrade (Serbia) or elsewhere, meaning someone will need to travel there to collect it. These options are still being assessed.

# from UK: 15 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from UK: £5,450 Transport to Airport: £70 pp (return train ticket)
Flight to Podgorica: £165 pp
Baggage costs: £100 pp (£50 each way for 30 kg)
Taxi to Zabljak: 135 euros per 4-person taxi

# from outside UK: 0 Travel costs breakdown (for personnel leaving from the UK):
Total costs from outside UK: £0 If any ASAK members join us they will either drive or get the bus (~20 Euros) directly from Belgrade.

Travel total: £5,450 Travel p.p. from UK: £363
Travel p.p. from outside UK: £0


Total: £660 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £44 Autocamp (campsite near Zabljak for gear storage): £60
Food (based on previous years’ costs): £40pp


Total: £500 Comments:
Subsistence p.p.: £33 Drill (second hand) ~£100
Rope - 200 m of 9 mm = £210
Rope - 100 m of 8 mm = £110
Hangers (a selection of around 20) ~ £50
Sling tape - 20 m ~£30

Special 1

Total: £500 Comments:
Special 1 p.p.: £33 It is likely that we will need to hire diving cylinders from somwhere in Serbia/Croatia/Montenegro and transport these to Zabljak. We are still exploring options but at present our best guess is as follows:

Cylinder & weight hire per day ~£20, 10 day hire ~£200
Car hire for 10 days ~£300
Exped Total: £7,110 Exped cost p.p. travelling from UK: £473
Exped cost p.p. travelling from outside UK: £0
Mean Exped cost per person: £474

Other Funding

Total: £0 Comments:
We will approach mornflake again for sponsorship of granola, which they have provided for all of our previous expeditions.
Total shortfall: £7,110 Mean shortfall per person: £474

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: Mr Matt Ewles
Affiliation: YUCPC member and YCC chair

Reason: Long standing member of YUCPC who knows most of the people going on the expedition, and briefly joined the 2010 Durmitor expedition. N.B. may not be contactable all day by phone, but will be at the Eurospeleo meeting!

Permission obtained?: Yes
Referee 2: Ms Laura Bennett
Affiliation: YUCPC and YCC member

Reason: Long standing member of YUCPC who was on the Durmitor expeditions in 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2014, and is therefore familiar with the people, the area, and this year's specific objectives.

Permission obtained?: Yes

Expedition report author: Mark Sims