Su Palu (Disneyland)
Thursday, 19 June 2014

A few days after Su Bentu we were off for our next big tick ‘ Su Palu to Disneyland. Again we used the Beardy cave description text message support service – cheers dude. (Im not sure how we would ever get any caving done without Beardy!) So we drove the really, really, really, really long track down the Friuli valley to the car park at the end. (This took even longer as Noel was driving all the way in second and first gear as the van was having some serious brake issues ‘ no thanks to the really sh*t garage we visited before leaving the UKanyway back to the other rant).

So at the car park we quickly changed (Sam Allshorne outfits for Su Bentu but didnt carry any neoprene this time). To find the cave we kept on the right hand bank of the river (true right) and after about 20mins on the right the path heads up to the cave entrance. There is even an information board with a copy of the survey!

The cave entrance is once again gated, but not locked. Headed in and immediately reached the first pitch. This uses a rope of around 40/45m, but it was rigged at the time so we abandoned our rope at the top of the pitch. The route finding is very easy all the way to camp as the whole way is reflected. So off we stomped on our way to camp. Quite quickly we reached the duck, which was a flat out crawl for about 6m. It looks miserable but it is really quite refreshing, even with the shorts, t-shirt and oversuit combo. The caving is really quite hot! (We did carry some spare thermals with us though in case of emergency). On the other side of the duck we were very surprised to find a line where a number of wetsuits were hanging. We later met a team of Spanish cavers who had been camping. But if youre a UK caver, trust me wetsuits are overkill for the duck!

Following the streamway we reached the short pitch series which was rigged at the time. It is really well rigged, well away from the water, which would be quite serious in wet conditions ‘ it was roaring and there hadnt been any substantial rainfall for at least a couple of weeks. At the bottom after about 10mins we reached the lake where the White Nile and the Blue Nile meet. This was really pretty and we spent some time taking a few pictures.

Just back down the passage before the lake is the route to camp. It is very easy to find camp, but now we needed to get from camp to Disneyland ‘ which is more complicated. Beardy had given us some useful pointers and we had a not-so-detailed survey (which looked complicated!) and compass so on we continued.

So from camp Noel and I made our first error! We climbed up the boulder slope above camp. After scrambling around for a while we decided to actually look at the pointers Beardy had given us, which told us to leave camp at mid-height. (Note to self, when you have helpful pointers, use them!)

So leaving camp at the right place we reached some traverse lines and followed these. Then the route is quite simple as there are cairns pretty much all the way to Morgans Treasury. However there are other cairned routes on the way and it was partly simple because we had a survey with us. Although the survey is not detailed it did give us a good idea of the general direction we were travelling in so that we didnt follow the wrong cairns.

The route through to Morgans Treasury passes through really big impressive passage, of particular note is Lillipoot. Once at Morgans Treasury, there is a climb up through a rift with pretties and then the passage opens up again. The large continuation of the passage heads straight on, but to get to Pozo Oliena (and incidentally Disneyland) we turned into the passage on the left. Here we knew we were to head up pitches, but it was confusing as there were two ropes! The first rope was part way along the passage and the second was right at the end of the passage. We spent some time deliberating over this and then we chose the rope at the very end of the passage (this is the right one as we discovered).

So this is where Noel and I became very confused. After reaching the top of this pitch, we continued on heading up another short pitch, then another. We reached another pitch up that was numbered as 2 and were confused as where was 1? And also there was an arrow heading off on the horizontal level. Again, after much deliberation we followed the arrow on the horizontal level. This headed down some climbs and down a pitch. At the bottom of this pitch I found this was numbered as 1. This was really strange! How did we get to 2 before 1? And immediately after there was another pitch down.
So Noel decided to head down this next pitch first and then, just as he got to the pitch head he exclaimed with some annoyance “Were back at the top of the first pitch we ascended! Rather confused, we retraced our steps to find we had originally headed up pitch 1 but hadnt noticed the marking on the way up. Back at pitch 2 we realised that the arrow we had originally followed was for the way out and just looped back round.

So now realising this we headed up pitch 2. This is then followed by either another small pitch or it is immediately followed by a large pitch with a number of rebelays. (Cant remember now if there was another small pitch, but its easy to follow anyway).

Arriving at the top of this big pitch we reached a large horizontal passage. By this time Noel was convinced we were in the wrong place and should have headed up the other rope we had seen back at the bottom of Pozo Oliena. But we decided to have a look around anyway. But we soon found we were on the right track as demonstrated by the giant carbide writing on the wall – disneland, pointing the way up a short pitch. Hurray! From here Disneyland is easy to find.

A great achievement as we werent really expecting to find the way, but of course we had Beardys directions, so we never should have doubted! Thanks Beardy! It was great. My favourite trip.

Images
Noel at the entrance
Posted by: Holly Bradley
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Posted: 18 September 2014
The lake
Posted by: Holly Bradley
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Posted: 18 September 2014
Very excited to meet Mickey
Posted by: Holly Bradley
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Posted: 18 September 2014
A bit of Disneyland
Posted by: Holly Bradley
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Posted: 18 September 2014
Gi’us a butty!
Posted by: Holly Bradley
Size: 122kb
Width: 600 pixels
Height: 450 pixels
Posted: 18 September 2014