17th European Cave Rescue Meeting – First Circular

Introduction

The 17th European Cave Rescue Meeting is going to take place in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina from September 19th till 22nd 2024.

Pre-Meeting from September 18th till 19th 2023.

This meeting is organized by the Association of Mountain Rescue Service in Bosnia and Herzegovina (GSSuBiH) on behalf of the European Cave Rescue Association (ECRA).

During the Pre-Meeting you can enjoy caving, cave diving and visits to tourist destinations; we are preparing several interesting locations.

More information will be available soon. Please also visit our website www.caverescue.eu for last minute changes or send us an email on info@caverescue.eu in case of any question.

Please note the date for ECRA meeting in your diary!

We look forward to meeting you in Mostar.

The Organizing Committee

Table of Contents

Time Schedule

PROGRAM

Technical workshop

The program is being worked on.

Medical workshop

The program is being worked on.

Cave diving exercise

The program is being worked on.

Passage enlargement workshop

The program is being worked on.

General Assembly

The program is not available yet.

VENUE

Student center, Mostar

Amphitheater “Sokrat“ at Faculty in Philosophy

Mostar

Mostar is located at the place that naturally connects the Adriatic coast and the Bosnian hinterland. The city is characterised by a charming combination of karst topography and an abundance of watercourses. Various historical moments have left their mark on the city, shaping Mostar in a way that has won the affection of visitors from New Zealand to Canada and from Chile to Japan.

Mostar lies on the river Neretva and is the fifth largest city in the country. Mostar was named after the bridge keepers (mostari) who guarded the Stari Most (Old Bridge) over the Neretva during the Ottoman era.

The Old Bridge is undoubtedly the highlight of a visit to Mostar. Stroll across it, take selfies with it and enjoy the view of the old town from the bridge. Mostar has more to offer than just a beautiful, fairytale bridge. The stone streets of the old town are almost as charming as the bridge itself

In the last ten years, Mostar has been included in most tourist itineraries. It would be difficult to find a reputable tour operator that covers the Balkans and does not offer Mostar in its travel programme. Mostar is located halfway between Sarajevo (BiH), Dubrovnik and Split (Croatia). Only 130 km and about 2h – 2h 15min easy and comfortable drive will bring you to Mostar from any of these frequently visited and very popular destinations.

Figure 7 – Location of Mostar
Figure 7 – Location of Mostar

There are numerous places in the surroundings of Mostar that are suitable for various types of outdoor activities. Regardless of the level of athleticism and physical fitness, the nature of offer offers something for everyone.

On Fortica Hill, a part of Velež Mountain, there is an adventure park that offers such diverse activities as ziplining, climbing, abseiling (rappelling), via ferrata, mountain biking and mountain safari.

In the mountains of Velež, Čvrsnica, Čabulja and Prenj, there are numerous hiking trails with different levels of difficulty. For those who prefer an easy hike, the Hum hill or Mostarska bijela are great options.

Meeting Location: Student Center, Mostar

The student center in Mostar is the most modern student center in the region. The center has 179 student rooms, each of which has internet and cable connection, heating and hot water as well as a private bathroom. There is a Wi-Fi network in all common areas. The center has a large room where meals are served.

The Sokrat amphitheater has about 140-150 seats and lectures are offered throughout the day.

Exercise area: Prosječenica cave, Vrelo Bune, Crno vrelo and Crno oko

The Prosječenica Cave is 347 meters long and 42 meters deep. The first 166 meters of the cave are easily accessible and until recently this was the only known part. After 166 meters of the cave channel, there is a narrowing of 4 meters, followed by a continuation of the channel with an average width of 4-5 meters, a height of 3-5 meters and a length of 181 meters. The constriction is difficult to pass and only possible for cavers of smaller stature. However, to protect the cave and the bats living in it and to prevent the cave decoration from breaking off, it is not advisable to widen the constriction. Even after the narrowing, the cave is richly decorated with numerous stalactites, stalagmites, ointments and lakes. Near the end of the cave there is a mural stalagnate. This is followed by a high and spacious hall from which no further passage could be observed. The only way to continue the exploration is to technically climb the high chimney at the end of the cave.

The Buna Spring is a natural and architectural ensemble at the source of the Buna River near Blagaj, southeast of Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is a strong karst spring that emerges from a huge karst cavern under a high vertical cliff. This region is characterised by the diversity of its surface and underground hydrography. The Buna spring is one of the largest springs in Europe, producing approximately 30 m3/s of extremely cold and clean water.

The Black Eye Cave is located in the village of Grabovica, north of Mostar. A completely new canal was found, which ends after about 200 meters in a dry gallery with a 4 meter high waterfall, at the top of which is a small lake. From this lake, the canal leads further into the depths, so further research is planned.

The cave of the Black Spring is located in Lake Salakovac. Today, the entrance to the cave itself lies at a depth of 8-10 meters, depending on the height of the lake. The fall into the shaft itself is at an angle of 40˚ to 45˚, and the view is unreal. The opening through which the blue of the lake breaks through is monitored and traced to a depth of 25 meters. The depth of the black spring is about 80 meters.

Geology and geomorphology

The oldest rocks outcropping at or near the surface date from the Paleozoic era and the geological history of the region from the Precambrian is still poorly known. Complex assemblages of flysch, ophiolite, mélange and igneous plutons together with thick sedimentary units are a characteristic feature of the Dinaric Alps, also known as the Dinarides, which characterise much of the country’s landscape.

The first extensive research in Bosnia was carried out in the 1880s by Austrian and Croatian geologists, who published maps in the 1910s. During the Yugoslavian period after the Second World War, extensive mining led to further exploration. French geologists took a leading role in research from the late 1960s until the 1970s. Bosnia and Herzegovina has a long mining tradition dating back over 2000 years to Illyrian and Roman times. In particular, metals are mined from the Palaeozoic-Triassic nappe, which was formed during the Caledonian orogeny, the Hercynian orogeny and the Triassic. The rocks from the early Paleozoic contain metapelite and metapsammite as well as low quality hematite and magnetite. Siderite-ankerite deposits from The Carboniferous period, which are rich in iron, are traditionally mined in the Ljubija mines.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is largely mountainous. The Dinaric Alps dominate the western border with Croatia and numerous mountain ranges, including the Kozara, Vlašic, Plješevica, Grmeč, Cincar and Raduša, generally cross the country in a northwest-southeast direction. The highest peak, reaching 2,386 metres, is Maglić near the border with Montenegro. To the south and southwest is the Karst, a region of dry limestone plateaus containing caves, potholes and underground drains.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is known for its numerous caves and mines. Only in the vicinity of Mostar there is a whole series of pits, and one of the deepest is hidden there, Mala Dželalija. It was found that the depth of Mala Dželalija is 468 m, with an entrance height of 380 m, which makes it the second deepest pit in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Near Mostar there is a famous cave, Vjetrenica. It is the largest cave in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is part of the Dinaric Alps mountain range, which is known for its karstic and speleological features. The cave is located in the Popovo field in Ravno, Eastern Herzegovina. Vjetrenica is the richest cave in the world in terms of underground biodiversity: of the more than two hundred different species recorded in it, almost a hundred are troglophilic, a large number of them are closely endemic, 15 are stenoendemic and about 37 were discovered and described in Vjetrenica for the first time.

Dahna is also one of the famous caves in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Dahna Cave is located above the village of Omerovići, in the western part of the Duvno field. It has a small entrance (1x1m), hidden in a hornbeam forest, under a rock overgrown with moss. Beyond the entrance is a larger hall that is 20 m long, 6 to 7 m wide and 1 to 4 m high. From there, the path leads to a narrow, low channel, which has a very damp floor and is also covered with small stones. The total length of the cave channels is 1100 m.

Nevidna voda is the deepest cave explored to date in the Dinaric Massif and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is located 2 kilometers from the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Croatia. The cave has two entrances that form the lowest part of the karst valley and are located about 1,200 meters above sea level. The research ended at a depth of -653 meters, where there is a lake deeper than 20 meters, consisting of two parts: the first with an elliptical surface of 40×15 meters and the second with a curved surface of 30×12 meters. The lakes are connected by a smaller, approximately 4 m long passage at water level and by a large 15×20 m opening in the ceiling of the last hall, so that the wall between them forms a natural bridge. The temperature of the lake is 8 °C. Submerged whitefish have been discovered in the lake, which indicates that the water in the lake comes from a depression on the edge of Livanjsko polje.

Hydrology

The most important rivers are the Sava, a tributary of the Danube, which forms the northern border with Croatia; the Bosna, the Vrbas and the Una, which flow northwards and flow into the Sava; the Drina, which flows northwards, forms part of the eastern border with Serbia and is also a tributary of the Sava; and the Neretva, which flows from the south-east but takes a sharp south-westerly course in the Karst region, flows through Croatia and flows into the Adriatic. Most of the rivers in the Karst region flow underground. Numerous glacial lakes dot the landscape. Bosnia and Herzegovina is also rich in natural springs, many of which are tapped for bottled mineral water or for the popular thermal baths.

Climate

Although Bosnia and Herzegovina is close to the Mediterranean, it is largely cut off from its climatic influences by the Dinaric Alps. The weather in the Bosnian region is similar to that of the southern Austrian highlands — generally mild, but it can get bitterly cold in winter. Herzegovina is more similar to the Croatian region of Dalmatia, where it can be oppressively hot in summer. In Mostar, which lies on the Neretva River, the coldest month is January with an average of 6 °C (42 °F) and the warmest month is July with an average of 26 °C (78 °F). Mostar has a relatively dry season from June to September. The rest of the year is humid, with the heaviest rainfall between October and January.

PARTICIPATION FEE

The participation fee is 60 EUR and must be paid when the participant checks in.

We also offer the option of paying the registration fee in Convertible Marks. The amount of the fee depends on the current exchange rate from BAM to EUR.

The participation fee includes accommodation, breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the ECRA meeting.

Drinks are at your own expense.

ONLINE REGISTRATION

Not yet available.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE

The official language of the European Cave Rescue Meeting and Pre-Meeting is English.

Simultaneous translation into other languages will not be available.

PRESENTATIONS

All presentations and documents should be written in English.

The email for sending your presentations is info@caverescue.eu.

For the smooth running of the meeting, we kindly ask that you send us your presentations no later than one week before the start of the meeting.

EXERCISES

Usually, no special equipment is needed for the exercise during the meeting. If necessary, it will be announced in advance. Required equipment for excursions will be specified in Pre-Meeting section.

VISA

No visa is required from citizens of the European countries.
Visitors from other countries should contact their Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

LETTER OF INVITATION

If needed, the participants can request a Letter of Invitation by e-mail to:
helpdesk@caverescue.eu.

SECURITY WARNINGS

No specific warnings for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Public safety in Bosnia and Herzegovina is very high.

CURRENCY

Convertible Marks …. BAM

EURO 1 = 1,95 BAM (January 19th, 2024)

ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE

All variations are possible for arrival – own car, bus, train, plane.

By Plane

Mostar Airport
International airport about 8,7 km away from Student Center, Mostar.

Sarajevo Airport
International airport about 121 km away from Mostar.

Tuzla Airport
International airport about 219 km away from Mostar.

Split Airport
International airport about 180 km away from Mostar.

By Bus        

There are regular bus lines from Sarajevo/Tuzla/Split to Mostar:
Flix bus: https://www.flixbus.ba

By Train      

There is line from Sarajevo to Mostar every day on 07:15 am and 04:46 pm.

PICKUP SERVICE

We will provide transfer to the meeting location from:

  • Mostar bus station
  • Mostar train station
  • Mostar Airport

ACCOMMODATION

Provided by the organisers: (included in the participation fee)

MEAL AND DRINKS

Participants will eat in the restaurant in the same building where they sleep.

Also “Speleo Bar” will be available during afternoon and evening.

PRE-MEETING

The program is being worked on.

The excursions can only be booked by conference participants.

ORGANISING COMMITTEE, CONTACTS

Local Organizing Committee

e-mail: ecragssubih@gmail.com
Phone: +387 63 11 22 33

Bruno GRGIĆ
Head of the Local Organizing Committee
President of GSSuBiH, BiH
e-mail: gssubih20@gmail.com

Žana MARIJANOVIĆ
Member of the Local Organizing Committee
Head of Cave Rescue Working Group, BiH

Mihovil ČULJAK
Member of the Local Organizing Committee
Head of Cave Rescue Working Group, BiH

Mirela STOJIĆ
Member of the Local Organizing Committee
Secretary of the Association of Mountain Rescue Services

Dinko NOVOSEL
President of ECRA
Hrvatska Gorska Služba Spašavanja / HGSS, Croatia
e-mail: president@caverescue.eus
Phone: +385 91 517 94 31

Werner ZAGLER
Vice President of ECRA
Höhlenrettungsverbund Deutschland / HRVD, Germany
e-mail: vice-president@caverescue.eu
Phone: +49 151 750 41 557, +49 89 856 1328 (landline)

Kurt DENNSTEDT
General Secretary of ECRA
Österreichische Höhlenrettung / ÖHR, Austria
e-mail: general-secretary@caverescue.eu
Phone: +43 680 230 00 25

Giuseppe CONTI
Chairperson of the Technical Commission
Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico / CNSAS, Italy
e-mail: technical-commission@caverescue.eu

Denes Akos NAGY
Chairperson of the Medical Commission
Hungarian Cave Rescue Service / HCRS, Hungary
e-mail: medical-commission@caverescue.eu

Katrin HABEGGER
Vice Chairperson of the Medical Commission
Speleo Scours Swiss / SSS, Switzerland
e-mail: medical-commission@caverescue.eu

Robert ANZIC
Chairperson of the Cave-diving Commission
Jamarska Reševalna Služba Slovenije / JRS, Slovenia
e-mail: cavediving-commission@caverescue.eu

Werner ZAGLER
Chairperson of the Passage Enlargement Commission
Höhlenrettungsverbund Deutschland / HRVD, Germany
e-mail: pec@caverescue.eu

Antoniya VLAYKOVA
Responsible for ECRA web visibility
Cave Rescue Bulgaria / CRB, Bulgaria

PARTNERS

In progress.

FIGURES AND PHOTOS BY

  • Municipality of Mostar
  • Google Maps
  • Mihovil Čuljak
  • Mirela Stojić
  • Nermin Ribić
  • Balkan Cave Summit
  • Martin Strmiska
  • Speleological society Herceg
  • Speleological society Mijatovi Dvori
  • Blagaj climbing
  • Camp Sutjeska
  • Adventure park Peć Mlini

Mirela STOJIĆ, Editorial Office of the Local Organizing Committee
Kurt DENNSTEDT, General Secretary of ECRA

February 14th, 2024