For the Croatian speleologists the summer is the most active exploration period. In July and August are most of the expeditions and many keen cavers participate in these. Moreover, now is the time for complex and often deep and far, from the surface, explorations. Many of the caves that are still explored are left with all of the rigged equipment, in other words, ropes, carabiners and hangers. These elements of the speleo equipment have limited safety features when it comes to exposure to the conditions that we find underground, especially when equipment is left for long periods, many years and in some cases over a decade. In order to keep the safety at the needed standard, such equipment needs to be constantly observed by the speleologists, during their exploration trips, frequently checked and changed as per required.

High safety standards and constant equipment observation should be responsibility for each speleologist. Often, the speleo clubs organise and provide the needed equipment for the exploration trips and during the expeditions but when needed change of damaged equipment as well.

The Cave Rescue Commission of Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (CRC CMRS) organizes such equipment changes and improvements as one of its proactive actions aiming at incidents’ prevention.

For 2020 the CRC selected the well known among the Croatian cavers region, Crnopac, at South Velebit. Here are developed and still undergoing an active exploration, some of the most complex caves in Croatia, including the longest cave system, Crnopac (length 44 338m, depth -797m).

Reaching the highest entrance of the cave system Crnopac and namely, Oaza, takes almost 2 hours through unfavourable karst conditions. Roughly the same applies for reaching the entrance of cave Muda Labudova (length 6335m, depth -682m).

Both caves have entrance vertical passages of approximately -300m.

In the period 10-12 JUL 2020, a team of the CRC in cooperation and support from the SO Zeljeznicar undertook an equipment check, change and improvement in the caves Muda Labudova and cave system Crnopac, entrance Oaza.

As a result many of the anchor points in Oaza are now changed with stainless belay stations, including some of the ropes there. In Muda Labudova all of the ropes were changed to point at approximately -300m. Some additional work left to be finalised, this will be done during the organised by SO Zeljeznicar, exploration camp, which is about to begin.

The CRC will continue with its preventive actions, aiming at preventing incidents rather than to execute rescue actions. Thanks to all the speleologists who participated and support this initiative.

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Facilitated by
SOV Zeljeznicar

In cooperation with
Croatian Mountaineering Union, Speleo commission

Preventive caverescue activities in Croatia