Gouffre Lonne Peyret
Sunday, 5 August 2007 – Wednesday, 8 August 2007

With two classic through trips in the bag, it was time for the 717m deep Lonne Peyret, which proved to be the highlight of the trip for both of us!
Sunday 5th saw myself and Tom rigging the entrance series down to -317m. A major misunderstanding of the description of the route to the entrance saw us wandering around the surface for nearly two hours before finding the entrance. Oops!

Once located, a pleasant 4hr trip saw the pitches rigged with minimal problems except for running out of rigging gear.
We returned on Wednesday 8th to bottom the beast! A greatly reduced walk of 10mins saw us at the entrance for around 10am and soon later underground. The dry and spacious entrance pitches were enjoyed a third time before arriving in the very large Lonne Peyret streamway.

The route down to -500m involves excellent caving in large passages and chambers, which are quite chaotic in places with lots of boulders to negotiate. However, good markers and some in-situ ropes made route finding a relatively easy affair. Although there are some short sections in the streamway, most of the route is above in the large drier passages.

At -500, we changed into wetsuits and so began the best part of the trip. Some short sections of waist-deep wading soon brought us to the only pitch we had to rig. Soon later we arrived in the streamway proper which provided some of the most impressive caving I have ever done, with the river flowing down steeply-dipping ramps interspersed with deep pools, cascades and short lakes. Although swimming was never required, wetsuits are essential as the water is up to neck-deep on tip-toes in places.

Unforunately we were forced back out of the streamway at the grand chaos, where one has to ascend into large, drier and boulder filled passage again. The final section to the bottom is very chaotic and route finding is a bit tricky. In the end we just ended up ignoring the description and following our noses through, over and under the boulders in the streamway until reaching the streamway proper again.

Soon later, this cascaded down into Salle Styx, a massive chamber similar to the Verna with the roof and walls disappearing into blackness. A celebratory snack was had before racing down the boulder slope to the end of the chamber and losing the tacklebags in the progress. The quote of the trip has to be me saying “Remember Tom…….the tacklebags are on top of that large boulder!” Needless to say, we were soon reunited with the bags.

It had taken around 5hrs to traverse around 4km to the bottom at -717m, where one does feel rather remote…..the way out being back the Sam Allshorne way!
After some minor route finding problems in the lower passages we were soon back in the excellent streamway. Good progress was made back to -500m, where we changed back into damp furrys before continuing slowly back to bottom of the entrance pitches. The entrance was now less than 320m away…..vertically, and steady prussiking saw us out into a very misty night for around 11pm, after a 12.5hr trip, feeling well exercised but in very high spirits!!

All that remained was to get changed, grab sleeping gear which was at the entrance just in case we were out later and had to bivvy, and start walking back to Saint Engrace…..roughly 8miles away. Fortunately, we didn’t have to walk too far as Cookie was still up at the bunkhouse and so someone very kindly came to pick us up.

The best caving trip to date!!!! Cheers Tom!!!!!!!!

Comments

An excellent trip indeed. Don’t remember it being as wet as you describe – certainly only had thin long john wetsuit or dry gear.

Andy T

Andy Tharratt

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Images
PSM area
Posted by: Mike Bottomley
Size: 66kb
Width: 551 pixels
Height: 413 pixels
Posted: 13 August 2007
PSM area 2
Posted by: Mike Bottomley
Size: 69kb
Width: 551 pixels
Height: 413 pixels
Posted: 13 August 2007
Me at entrance to Lonne Peyret
Posted by: Mike Bottomley
Size: 95kb
Width: 551 pixels
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Posted: 13 August 2007
Amusing warning sign
Posted by: Mike Bottomley
Size: 63kb
Width: 567 pixels
Height: 565 pixels
Posted: 14 August 2007