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November 2021 Tuscan Speleological Federation Magazine Editor CHIARA VANNUCCI Editorial staff CHIARA VANNUCCI DAVIDE MARTELLINI DANILO MAGNANI LEONARDO PICCINI NADIA RICCI Translation editors GIOVANNA PARRACINO RITA DE FILIPPO MONICA BOLLANI Translation staff STEFANO BACCI FRANCESCA BOLLANI TERESA LECCHI CRISTIAN LEONARDI CAMILLA MAGNANI Graphic and coordination: LUCA ROSSI The content of the articles bind only the authors, the total or partial reproduction of articles, informations and drawings is allowed in creative commons BY­NC Legal code.

ASSOCIAZIONE SPELEOLOGICA SENESE c/o Franco Rossi, Via di Nottola, 19 Fraz. Stazione ­ 53045 Montepulciano (SI) ass@speleotoscana.it

GRUPPO SPELEOLOGICO MASSA MARITTIMA Via Norma Parenti, 80 ­ 58024 Massa Marittima (GR) www.gsmmspeleo.it info@gsmmspeleo.it

COMMISSIONE SPELEOLOGICA I CAVERNICOLI c/o C.A.I. di Siena Piazza Calabria 25/A ­ 53100 Siena (SI) cavernicoli@gmail.com

GRUPPO SPELEOLOGICO MONTAGNA PISTOIESE Via Villaggio Orlando, 100 ­ 51028 Campo Tizzoro (PT) www.caimaresca.it gsmp_cai@yahoo.it

GRUPPO SPELEOLOGICO L’ORSO: Via G. Marconi, 75 ­ 58034 Castell’Azzara (GR) gsorso@speleotoscana.it

GRUPPO SPELEOLOGICO PISTOIESE CAI Via Antonini, 7 C.P. 1 ­ 51100 Pistoia (PT) www.gruppospeleologicopistoiese.it gspistoiese@speleotoscana.it

GRUPPO SPELEOLOGICO CAI PISA Via Fiorentina, 167 ­ 56121 Pisa (PI) www.speleopisa.it info@speleopisa.it GRUPPO SPELEOLOGICO FIORENTINO CAI Via del Mezzetta, 2 M ­ 50136 Firenze (FI) www.gsfcai.it info@gsfcai.it

Federal Committee President MARCO INNOCENZI Federal Committee Advisor MARCO MAROVELLI SANDRA BASILISCHI NADIA RICCI ROLAND DOJA LUCA ROSSI

Cadastre Commission FABRIZIO FALLANI catasto@speleotoscana.it

GRUPPO SPELEOLOGICO LUCCHESE CAI Cortile Carrara, 18 ­ 55100 Lucca (LU) info@gslucchese.it news@gslucchese.it GRUPPO SPELEOLOGICO MAREMMANO CAI c/o Club Alpino Italiano Via Papa Giovanni XXIII, 13/b ­ 58100 Grosseto (GR) gsm.altervista.org gsmaremmanocai@gmail.com GRUPPO SPELEOLOGICO ARCHEOLOGICO APUANO Via della Posta 8 ­ 54100 Canevara (MS) http://gsaapuano.blogspot.it gsaa@speleotoscana.it

GRUPPO SPELEOLOGICO TORRENTISTICO SPEOLO Via Lucchese Romana, 82 ­ 50054 Fucecchio (FI) www.speolonet.wordpress.com gstspeolo@gmail.com SEZIONE SPELEOSUBACQUEA TOSCANA c/o Carletti Carlo Via V. Bellini, 40 ­ 50144 Firenze (FI) sst@yahoo.com GRUPPO SPELEOLOGICO CAI VALTIBERINO c/o CAI Sansepolcro P.zza G. Garibaldi, 1 ­ 52037 Sansepolcro (AR) cai.sansepolcro@libero.it SPELEO CLUB FIRENZE c/o Stefano Merilli Via Guardavia, 8 ­ 50039 Vicchio (FI) speleoclubfirenze@speleotoscana.it SPELEO CLUB GARFAGNANA CAI Via Vittorio Emanuele 55032 Castelnuovo Garfagnana (LU) www.speleogarfagnana.blogspot.com speleo.garfagnana@alice.it

Editorial Commission CHIARA VANNUCCI redazione@speleotoscana.it

GRUPPO SPELEOLOGICO ARCHEOLOGICO LIVORNESE c/o Museo di Storia Naturale UNIONE SPELEOLOGICA CALENZANO via Roma, 234 ­ 57127 Livorno (LI) Piazza Stazione, 1 ­ 50041 www.speleolivorno.it speleocalenzano@gmail.com gsalivornese@yahoo.it UNIONE SPELEOLOGICA PRATESE GRUPPO SPELEOLOGICO ARCHEOLOGICO VERSILIESE c/o CAI Prato c/o Andrea Balloni Via Banchelli, 11 ­ 59100 PRATO Via Vitale, 191/i ­ 55047 Seravezza (LU) www.spelelogiapratese.it www.gsav.org info@speleologiapratese.it info@gsav.org

Scientific Commission ROLAND DOJA scientifica@speleotoscana.it

GRUPPO SPELEOLOGICO CAI FORTE DEI MARMI Via Michelangelo, 47 p.1 ­ 55042 Forte dei Marmi (LU) speleo@caifortedeimarmi.it

Enviromental Commission ambiente@speleotoscana.it

GRUPPO SPELEOLOGICO ALPINISTICO VALFREDDANA Via Provinciale, Loc. Matteino ­ 55060 San Martino in Freddana (LU) gsavalfreddana@speleotoscana.it

Artificial Cavity Cadastre Commission ODOARDO PAPALINI catastoartificiali@speleotoscana.it

Informatic Commission MARCO MENCHISE informatica@speleotoscana.it Comunication Commission LUCA ROSSI comunicazione@speleotoscana.it

Federal contact: President and FST deputy in CNSS­SSI MARCO INNOCENZI presidente@speleotoscana.it cnss@speleotoscana.it Treasurer SANDRA BASILISCHI tesoriere@speleotoscana.it Secretary NADIA RICCI segretario@speleotoscana.it

Via Roma 230, c/o Natural History Museum of the Mediterranean ­ 57127 Livorno www.speleotoscana.it info@speleotoscana.it federazione.speleologica.toscana@pec.it www.facebook.com/talponline www.facebook.com/FSToscana www.twitter.com/speleotoscana Working mailing list: lista­editoriale@speleotoscana.it – to subscribe mail at: lista­editoriale+subscribe@speleotoscana.it lista­scientifica@speleotoscana.it ­ to subscribe mail at: lista­scientifica+subscribe@speleotoscana.it lista­ambiente@speleotoscana.it ­ to subscribe mail at: lista­ambiente+subscribe@speleotoscana.it lista­informatica@speleotoscana.it ­ to subscribe mail at: lista­informatica+subscribe@speleotoscana.it Tuscan official mailing list: lista­toscana@speleotoscana.it ­ to subscribe mail at: lista­toscana+subscribe@speleotoscana.it Newsletter about FST: fst@speleotoscana.it ­ to subscribe: indications on website www.speleotoscana.it


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Would you like to read the printed italian version of Talp? If you would, you can recive a copy of the original italian printed TALP (2 annual releases), it's enough to make a payment of 15€ per year for printing and shiping costs at: Federazione Speleologica Toscana IBAN: IT83 T076 0102 8000 0001 0770 501 Museo di Storia naturale del Mediterraneo Via Roma 234, 57127 Livorno ITALY Send the receipt and your adress at: comunicazione@speleotoscana.it


The World

...of TalpWorld!

Talp world is a project of the FST communication commission which aims to promote the knowledge and diffusion of Tuscan Speleology in the world. We do not aim to publish a scientific dissemination magazine, but a means of communication between cavers to share knowledge, experiences and give cavers from all over the world the opportunity to learn about the beauties and particularities that the subsoil offers, but not only, those of our land. A project born and raised thanks to the priceless work of volunteer translators, cavers and others, who got involved and offered their free time to translate the articles into English. Cavers from all over the world could give us a great help, able to translate an article, or part of it, or by joining the staff that deals with editing and graphic composition. To propose yourself as translators and / or collaborators, contact the TalpWorld editorial team at comunicazione@speleotoscana.it

Talp world è un progetto della commissione comunicazione FST che si pone l'obiettivo di favorire la conoscenza e la diffusione della Speleologia Toscana nel mondo. Non miriamo a pubblicare una rivista di divulgazione scientifica, bensì un mezzo di comunicazione tra speleologi per condividere conoscenze, esperienze e dare la possibilità a speleo di tutto il mondo di conoscere le bellezze e le particolarità che offre il sottosuolo, ma non solo, della nostra terra. Un progetto nato e cresciuto grazie all’impagabile lavoro di traduttori volontari, speleologi e non, che si sono messi in gioco ed hanno offerto il loro tempo libero per tradurre gli articoli in lingua inglese. Un grande aiuto potrebbero darcelo Speleologi di tutto il mondo in grado di poter tradurre un articolo, o parte di esso, oppure entrando a far parte dello staff che si occupa dell'editing e della composizione grafica. Per proporvi come traduttori e/o collaboratori, contattate la redazione di TalpWorld all'indirizzo comunicazione@speleotoscana.it

FST Comunication commission

FST Commissione comunicazione

Photo Cover Story (Ph. Salvatore "Salvo" Iannelli) The P.40 of the Abyss. During the various exits of the O.R.CO (Operation Relief Corchia) Project. Following an initiative of the Gruppo Speleologico Pistoiese CAI concerning the rigging of the way that from the "Fighiera" entrance reaches the "Gallerie di ­ 250" passing through the "Ludrie" for the interests of the group itself, we decide to take advantage to review those areas and redo the relief with more authentic systems than those that provided the lastone we have available. We also take advantage to take out several bags of garbage left by those who have frequented these areas in the past. Having carried out the work on the way of the "ludrie" we dedicate ourselves to the branch of P. 40 that initially during the explorations of the Gruppo Speleologico Piedmontese gave rise to the discovery of the "Gallerie di ­250" also known as "Great Tunnel of Fighiera". During the O.R.CO exit of 15/02/2021 Close to the base of this pit, we intercept a fracture that as much as it could make anyone want to walk it, leads us to an interesting exploratory limit signed by the GSP on April 17, 1976. From here passing through a highly selective bottleneck we have access to a branch that I personally discover to be unexplored and subsequently, thanks to the rendering of the relif, kindles in us a particular curiosity clearly superior to that which you can have towards any "new branch"

S.I.


Editorial The Federation has always believed in disclosure as the only means for healthy and conscious growth. 32 years ago we began, thanks to lot of tuscan speleos, to publish the first issue of the TALP magazine, the which not only was printed and published with more than 1000 copies per issue but also distributed to all libraries, municipalities and other entities throughout Italy. A few years ago thanks to the Internet and the website we decided to publish the old issues from the first to the 53rd edition, making them accessible to all for free but this still has not been enough for us. Today thanks to Luca Rossi and the communication commission and our translator friends we wanted to overcome even that obstacle that has limited us from effective disclosure beyond the Alps, the language. Here is a TALP completely in English, online, easily usable and full of information and articles that I hope will reach an audience farther and wider than ever before far surpassing our previous distribution. I thank those who believed in this project and those who constantly believe in the new projects of the FST. This first issue collects some articles of the two original TALP issues, the 55th and 56th; we have made a selection to offer you those of more international interest leaving out those of local relevance. The first article we propose talks about the Bombassei, a less than a thousand meters cave recently discovered, located in one of the most beautiful areas of the Apuan Alps, the Panie. Below we will talk about the west Corchia and its 21st entrance. Now the Corchia cave measures 68 km in development but the explorations continue. This cave has always been considered an international cave as it has always seen teams of speleo explorers from all over, Poles, French, English just to name a few. Also in Corchia, the article by Roberto Tronconi will talk about a very special branch, the Lucchesi. Not everyone will know that Carcaraia in the Apuan Alps is in Italy, the area with the highest concentration of caves of a depth of one thousand meters or more, hence the idea of two speleological groups and the CAI to create a path that passes next to their entrances, The CAI1000 path of “less than a thousand” in fact. You will also read about the Hypogeum photo contest organized by the Speleo Photo Contest Association, with a small collection of wonderful photos. O.R.Co project with the activity carried out in 2018, as already mentioned the explorations in Corchia never end, this FST project is dedicated in addition to the new explorations to the survey and documentation of the new branches, everyone can take part in this project, it is enough to have desire and ability to go to the cave. In addition to the explorations, we also wanted to talk to you about the scientific part of caving, the first article talks about the 3D representation not of a cave but of an entire karst area, the second of the hydrographic tracing tests of karst springs in the Apuan Alps. Not only dark, the last articles we have dedicated to canyoning with the description of already known routes and completely new routes. Finally, I would like to remind you that this issue is dedicated to the memory of Antonio "Gnago" Tregnaghi, creator of “Talpina” (little mole), a cute cartoon, which for years has accompanied the last cover of TALP. Happy reading. Marco Innocenzi FST President


The Panie Project Leonardo Piccini (Leo) The Panie's Group (“Pania Della Croce" ­ 1858 m a.s.l., "Pizzo Delle Saette" 1756 m a.s.l., Pania Secca 1703 m a.s.l.), is the southern most mountain range of the metamorphic zone of Apuan alps. Clearly visible from the plain of Lucca and from the mountain ranges of all central Tuscany, from afar it appears as a grey and barren rocky ridge which stands out from the wooded slopes of the lower Garfagnana. Geologically the Panie are part of the so­called " Apuan metamorphic core", a relevant tectonic window where the deeper units of the northern Apennines outcrop. Mainly of carbonatic nature, the karst phenomena occur with significantly developed surficial landforms. Numerous sinkholes are present on the north slopes and in the crest areas too, while some branches are literally riddled fissures and pits up to several metres deep. Instead, in the areas with massive rock you can observe grooves and furrows of various shapes and sizes, then overall are the most beautiful examples of Karren in the Apuan Alps. The caves are not lacking in reality, but these are

mostly vertically developed cavities deep from a few tens of meters up to the 300m of the famous Enrico Revel Abyss (T102­LU). Before the new explorations to the Bombassei Abyss, the deepest cave in the area was the Specchio Magico Abyss (T1283­LU) with a drop just over 400 meters. At the base of the steep southern slopes, just above the Fornovolasco village, the famous "Buca del Vento Di Trimpello" (“Wind Hole of Trimpello'' T19­LU) opens, one of the most visited caves in Italy, whose development exceeds 4 kilometres. The superficial indications of the high development of karst probably explain the fact that this was the first high mountain area of the Apuan Alps to be subject to a real caving research, starting with those described in Brian and Mancini's account of 1913. The studies of Marco Marchetti, a young student of Natural Sciences at the University of Florence, together with other "fathers" of Tuscan caving, including Aldo Berzi (“Antro del Corchia" Explorer), he ventured into the descent of the Revel Abyss and immediately after the Buca Larga (T121­ LU, ­240m): endeavours that for those times are to be considered genuinely extraordinary. Rope ladder with wooden rungs,



military helmet and candle at the head, those intrepid explorers succeeded to get to the bottom of these two chasms. In those years they represented the deepest unique verticals never faced all over the world, moreover with rope ladders, otherwise with a winch how it was in use at that time. Looking back on it, comfortably hung with our super­technical harnesses to spindly ropes of 8­9 mm, this is unbelievable. It is challenging to imagine being in that same place, lit by a dim candle, hanging from arms on very heavy rope ladders, with just a hemp rope tied at the waist to keep you from falling. Just as it is difficult to imagine, those places, which are currently reached in 1­2 hours by car and an hour of comfortable path, in the 1930s required long time travel by train from the “distant” Florence. Probably you continue with a towed cart from horses to Isola Santa and from here with hours and hours of walking up to Vetricia (or Vestricia), passing through Colle di Favilla, accompanied by local people and mules loaded with the material: in fact, another way of caving.


The exploration campaigns resumed in these areas in 1960, by speleologists of Bologna, which until the end of the 70s led systematic searches, identifying over 200 pits but without finding caves more than 200­300 meters deep. From these searches, of which unfortunately only a fragmented documentation exists, the feeling arose that the intense fracturing of the marble rock pits at the origin of a dense surface crevasses which, by limiting the collection areas of the water infiltration, did not encourage the development of real Abysses. Most cavities show up, in fact, like deep fractures enlarged by corrosion, in particular as a result of the melting of the snow that has fallen into them, wide on the surface but tending to tighten down and therefore almost always occluded by the debris falling into it. To this must be added the action of the glaciers which, especially during the last ice age, had to have dismantled a certain thickness of the epikarst producing large quantities of debris. The idea that Panie could not host great abysses grew over the years. Subsequent speleologists research campaigns in the eastern sector of "Pizzo Delle Saette" (the so­ called Pianiza) led to the discovery of the Giglio Abyss (T1073­LU, ­281m). A mixed group Lucchese­ Piemontese who deserves the credit for the discovery of the Specchio Magico Abyss and of the elusive Bartezzaghi Abyss (not registered), both identified during winter surveys thanks to the firm "hot" air current out. At the beginning of the third millennium, in other Apunan's areas, a dozen thousand­meters caves had been discovered and explored. Here the situation was the same thirty years earlier, with a hundred known caves throughout the area, mostly small distributed on both sides and at least another 200 wells to stack; maximum depth 420 m: in conclusion nothing sensational. The ascertained air currents, high inputs and low inputs, gave hope for significant developments, especially in­depth. Seeing as how the source believed to drain most of the northern area of the Panie is that of Pollaccia, just upstream of the lake of Isola Santa, with therefore a vertical potential of at least 1300 m. The numerous

caves to be surveyed have been at the end stimulus for a systematic review of the entire northern sector of Panie. Considering that the changed climatic conditions of these past decades have significantly reduced the accumulation of snow at the base of the larger this circumstance, it opened the possibility of finding continuations or otherwise to increase the depths of many cavities. Without forgetting that once, many of these pits had been descended using stairs, often makeshift lights, with the possibility to find side windows out of sight or otherwise unreachable by hanging on ladders steel. The most stunning example of the reduction of internal snow and ice accumulations was found at the


Buca Nera (T145­LU), already described by Brian and Mancini in their report of 1913 and a few years later by Marchetti, but then re­explored by Bolognesi cavers in the 1960s, to which they had assigned the new name of Buca del Faggio (registered with the number T1016­ LU). In fact, the Bolognesi did not realize that it was the same cave properly, because of the reduction of the filling of snow, which had brought its depth from forty meters to over 100. In 2015 the situation had changed again and the depth was of 126 meters, that is to say a deepening of over 80 meters in a century, with a loss in volume of ice and snow that is estimated to spans in about 8000 cubic meters. The shaft tightens below and now closes with a plug of ice just waiting to melt completely to detect us the true depth of this impressive chasm, one of the largest surface open shaft of the entire Apuan area. One of the first objectives of this revisiting job was the Luigi Bombassei Abyss (T1013­LU), explored in the early 1960s until 210 m depth. The original relief

shows a considerable accumulation of snow on the bottom, a deposit that was no longer present in 2012, allowing access to a short drop closed by a landslide. During the ascent, however, some windiws were identified, one of which, about 60m of depth, let look out on a deep and wide parallel shaft with noticeable airflow. Here the explorations of the last few years have started, but these I gladly leave to others.


History of exploration Susana Crespo Upper Bombassei In mid­July 1962, a mixed group of cavers from Bologna (A. Babini, G. Badini, A. Carrara, E. and C. D’Arpe, G. Pasini, and S. Trebbi, all members of the local caving group) and from Perugia (G. Lemmi, D. Amorini and F. Salvatori, from their own local caving group) climbed into the Panie mountains in order to re­explore the Revel abyss. On that occasion, the group from Bologna, accompanied by Sodero from Piemonte, also rappelled down the Bombassei abyss. During an 11­hour trip, using cable ladders and acetylene lamps, they climbed down 210 metres, descending 19­, 22­, 130­ and 40­metre pits in sequence. “Noteworthy aspects of this abyss are the significant amounts of snow which can be found at the bottom of each pit, on the terraces between each of them, and the thick layer of ice which covers the walls of the 130­metre pit in the first section …” (E. Prando and D. Sodero, Grotte n° 19, 1962).

The first squeeze at ­530 mt, despite the unblocking work it still remain demanding and selective, however there are also those who manage to pass without too many problems

Beyond the bottlenecks of ­ 530 the rock changes and the morphology shows the signs of a bigger flow of water along a series of short jumps set along shale and yellowish layers


Above: the first part of P.110, at over 600 m depth follows a vertical fracture through some brecciated grey dolomite that did not create any problems in terms of rigging. Below: at ­885 m the stream that runs through the wells of “Bombassei” joins an underground collector which has a flow rate of a few liters per second, in correspondence of a small room with a rocky outcrop small room in the shape of a T­Rex.

Exactly fifty years later, in the summer of 2012, we went back to that forgotten abyss as part of a wider project to review the Panie caves. There was no longer any trace of the snow at the bottom, but there was also no way of getting through the rubble debris. However, we spotted a window about 60 metres below the entrance that was easily accessible with a pendulum. As well as the climate, the techniques and methods of cave exploration had changed since the first descent (e.g. with the introduction of rope techniques, drilling and LED lighting). In October we went back to explore the “new dark”, illuminating the beautiful water­worn walls of a wide pit. After a series of 15/20­metre jumps we arrived at a narrow landslide floor, 160 metres below the entrance, which was the first real floor on a single vertical drop, interrupted only by small ledges, handy for a short rest. Beyond that, the void continued in a 5­6 metre wide ellyptical hole, of which we descended the first 40 metres until we ran out of rope. Winter and snow made it difficult to access the entrance on a rocky terrace overlooking Borra di Canala; therefore, it wasn’t until June 2013 that the explorations resumed, amongst growing enthusiasm and greater participation, with a group made up of explorers from Tuscany, Liguria, France, Bologna, Latvia, Sardinia, Apulia, Argentina and Mexico. After 135 metres of vertical descend, the bottom was obstructed; by now the cave exceeded the depth reached in 1962, but the abyss didn’t stop here: 10 metres above, a lateral crevice led to a vertical rift. From here the abseiling became more complex: many landsides slowed our progress that had until then consisted of lowering metres and metres of rope below our feet, into the convenient void. In the restricted passages, there was a clear downward draught. After a couple of pits, the passage widened, only to narrow again to the point of blocking the passage 400 metres deep on the first pit base worthy of this name. We unsuccessfully tried a couple of climbing ascents, which confirmed what the draught had indicated earlier in


the narrower sections: the way forward was down, through a fissure that sucked in the cave’s air and hid a series of obstacles which, as time passed, we learnt to deal with by giving them light­hearted placenames to remind us of all the difficulties we’d encountered, one being the “Risalita dei salmoni” (Salmons’ leap). Not until the end of 2014 would we manage to reach the darkness of another new shaft. The expectations and enthusiasm were so great that, in the spring of 2015, there were enough people for us to be able to organise two teams in the same weekend. Having overcome the obstacles, we entered a succession of complex spaces, some wide, with numerous water inlets. The first team hardly had time to get used to the size of the new passage before, having descended a couple of pitches, they were brought to a halt by a very narrow squeeze, which they could see was barely passable for the first 4/5 metres, but then narrowed even further, before appearing to widen beyond. The task for the second team would be to evaluate any other possible passage previously overlooked, in order to overcome this new obstacle and evaluate the best way forward. However, the only way was to follow the draught through the squeeze so, between August and October 2015, we moved forward and arrived in a 5­metre­wide chamber. Here, however, the draught rose upward into an impassable aven. The Bombassei abyss ended, or rather, our journey appeared to have to ended here, at a depth of 530 metres. "Lower" Bombassei In early November 2016, a large team of cavers returned to Bombassei to derig the abyss and to remove the kilometres of rope that formed an almost uninterrupted link between the sky outside and the bottom of the cave. The findings from the previous trip in October appeared to indicate that the end of the cave lay at 530 metres below the entrance. In the previous squeezes, the draught had made us hope for a way through; however, here the only airway seemed

to be a narrow aven, far too narrow. But then, just as we were about to leave, a breath of air flowing into a narrow passage below our feet hinted at a possible continuation. Why hadn’t we noticed? Why was the air, which had previously flowed into the aven above, now clearly pointing us towards the passage below? The air circulation in the abyss, during that first exploration, had probably been teetering between its summer and winter cycles, whereas now it clearly flowed downwards. Without the benefit of the draught, we would never have persisted in pushing that confined passage hidden below a shelf of rock. About that time, we were providing the finishing touches to the article for “Speleologia” magazine, talking about a cave “ending” at 530 metres depth. We really should learn to write about caves in such a way as to leave the account open­ended, allowing for the inevitable updates to remind us how insignificant we really are. Rocks, water and air know far more than we humans possibly could, with our fleeting certainties based on our limited knowledge! In June, as soon as the rocks re­emerged from the melting snows, we returned to the bottom of the cave, ready to widen the narrow passage. However, despite 8 long hours of uninterrupted digging, exposed to the cold breath of the cave, under an annoying and insistent drip, we still hadn’t managed to break through. Another session would be necessary to look down onto “lower Bombassei”. After the squeeze there was a crawling passage, then a couple of short drops before we finally reached a wider space again: a descending passage about 3 metres wide. Along the tunnel, which we named “Galleria del Pascolo” (Pasture Tunnel), we came across many traces of our previous trips: after rainfall, an active streamway evidently appears. Below, the cave grew both in depth and complexity: the three windows opening on the same rift, a little beyond the squeezes, created in us expectations of something different from the monotonous vertical cave we had explored so far. Despite the discovery of these


interlinking passages, the cave still didn’t seem very well­developed: a series of cracks gently carved by a rather minimal water flow. During the formation of the Pania mountains, the water table must always have been far lower, explaining why those phreatic tunnels that we would very much have liked to come across were not formed. We followed the draught and rigged hundreds of metres of cave over the next three tough trips, while carrying huge tackle sacks. In early July 2016 we found ourselves 700 m down, on a 2 m shelf, with so much depth still to explore but without a single metre of rope left. Two weeks later we reached 840 m depth, at the base of the Pozzo del Bisonte (Bison Shaft), again unable to proceed, hovering at the top of yet another descent, without any kit left and only one thought in our minds: “What’s happened to the tunnels?” At the end of July, we abseiled into a large pot crossed in the middle by a bridge of rock, and landed on a floor which was wide enough to allow us to unclip our descenders. In tribute to the many females in our group we decided to name this section ‘Pozzo delle Predatrici’ (loosely translated as ‘Pot of the Female Predators’). At its base we came across a streamway flowing at 2 litres/sec. Climbing up, behind a single T­Rex shaped

rock named ‘Segisaurus’, we squeezed into an uninviting damp, twisting passage that we would re­ encounter later on. Following the water downstream we entered a shallow gorge which ended in a small, absolutely still lake. A tight passage above the level of the water led us once again to hope that this was not the final syphon; however, testing it would mean a dip in freezing water, which we decided to postpone until the next trip. The survey indicated a drop of 892 metres. We named this first base “Cruna del Lago” (literally ‘the eye of the lake’, a wordplay on ‘cruna dell’ago’, which translates as ‘eye of the needle’): the cave’s cross­ section up until this point was a vertical segment, almost a kilometre deep, whilst everything on the plan/map of the cave was contained within a 70­metre diameter. The time we spent in the cave started to become increasingly extensive and challenging: on top of the tiring approach up to the cave, we were constantly having to go even deeper inside; the half­ way squeezes, though only short, made us miss the abseils. Explorations of B6 are always done ‘alpine style’ i.e. we get to base camp the night before so we are all set to go the next morning, we reach ‘the summit’, then return back to base camp, without porters or advanced camps!


We are not trying to be superhuman, we have no choice simply because we cannot set up a camp inside the cave: between the small shelves of rock that separate one pit from the other, there is nothing wide enough or suitable for comfortable camping; there is a constant strong draught, and once you get past 530 metres below the entrance there are abundant water inlets. The only relief we get is from the natural exploration process: once the route to the bottom is rigged, we only need to move material internally in order to explore parallel passages and so trips up to the cave entrance become more enjoyable. In September 2016 a team returned to the bottom to take photographs and to check if there is a passage beyond the siphon, but they reach the same conclusion as on the previous trip: a wetsuit is needed to proceed. We postponed the de­rigging but, bringing the unused material back up, we started to consider the various question marks that remained unresolved along the descent. At the base of Bison Pit a window leads to a parallel pot that leads back to the main passage, upstream from the base of the Pot of the Female Predators.

With the arrival of winter and a covering of snow on the Pania mountains, exploration was suspended until July 2017, at which point a team identified a possible continuation along the twisting bottom passage, exactly at the point where a short drop meets a notable water inlet. A short ascent revealed a new system of small voids until we reached a room in which a high aven sucked up much of the draught. Beyond that, the cave widened, the draught weakened and we even came across stretches of ancient tunnels above the main passage. We were finally in the tunnels we had dreamed so much about. A few dozen metres along we came across a little pond, at 920­metres depth, the new bottom. We were not able to proceed beyond this point and therefore in the next trip, as well as taking photos, we assessed every fracture in the rock, every shadow that might reveal new tunnels, dreamed­of sandy paradises and slow­moving streams. Unfortunately, our only way forward at this stage was the high aven of which we could only make out the vertical walls stretching into the darkness. Climbing back up, judging by the cave patterns we’d grown


Just a few meters from the terminal siphon the gorge divides into two levels separated by a slab which was created by old cemented fills.

accustomed to in the Panie mountains and our abyss, could mean re­appearing in the Borra di Canala after hundreds of metres of wet climbing. It was not a gamble we wanted to take, we still had other cards to play along the main route that could lead us back to that very aven, as well as other promising leads in Panie caves. During the same trip we recorded the first window at 840 metres down. We saw a series of parallel pits, but they were all blocked by landslides. In mid­October a small team returned to Bombassei and checked out the window near the ‘Galleria del Pascolo’, which led to a small collapsed chamber. We found ourselves in a place that had very little in common with the rest of the cave: there was mud, a draught indicating a connection with other sections, but no possible way forward. At a depth of 570 metres

a window led into a chamber from which two semi­ active 10­metre pits started, connected at the base and then ended. At 590 metres depth, we swung to a series of drops that, after a horizontal rift, led us to a new vertical section. We guessed that we were being led back towards the main passage, but we were not able to find out immediately due to lack of kit and the drill battery going flat. At this stage there were few questions left to be answered; however, the draught was so obvious, almost too obvious to let us hope that the other windows might lead to something undiscovered. From what we had already seen of these last passages we found something still to look at: we knew that there was very little left for us to explore, but this cave was so close to our hearts that we were willing to try anything. In fact, in the past, this cave had provided pleasant surprises just when we thought we had come to a dead end. The following weekend we returned underground. As we expected, the passage we were following at a depth of 590 metres led back to the main route. A window 800 metres down, which didn’t look very promising, led us, through an ancient twisting passage, to overlook a shaft which in fact reconnected back to the route already explored at 840 metres. We closed another loop between 570 and 630 metres down, and with that decided to end our trip. We didn’t want to de­rig the cave quite yet, because first we wanted to conduct a dye test to confirm our hypothesis that the water in the cave flows out into the Pollaccia spring. Bombassei has proven itself to be a deep ‘needle’ in the mountain, with embroidery here and there around its central axis, a phenomenon of deep karst in an area with few other known examples. Even though the Bombassei chapter, a compelling chapter of explorations conducted by a close­knit team of international cavers, united by passion for the caves of the Apuan Alps and by friendship, is now closed, there remain to be written and lived many pages about wonderful caving on the Panie.


Air, water and rock of the Abyss Bombassei Leonardo Piccini (Leo) The entrance to the Luigi Bombassei Abyss is a beautiful open­air shaft, with its steady nest of coral choughs clattering when they come out at night passing close them. In summer you go inside feeling hot after reluctantly dressing upon the sunny marble slabs, which rather invite you to lie down and sunbathe. Going down, the temperature rapidly decrease and in a few minutes you find yourself closing your suit tightly to isolate from the four degrees ambient of the cave. In the height of summer, the outside air gets in condensing down the first pits, from the walls permanently wet even in the dry season; a flow that however is not felt until the minus 65 window, the one that allowed the rebirth of this forgotten abyss. The rock around you is a grey marble, well layered but impure and fractured and therefore devoid of commercial interest. Once down a beautiful shaft full of blades and diaphragms, the rock becomes fairer and wetter, but they are films of water those that flow, apart from a slight dripping that becomes annoying only after a heavy rain or during the melting of the spring snow. Two more shiny and dark pits, grooved by the water, and you get to ­160 metres, on a small terrace that allows you to settle down your climbing harness. Here, except at the end of summer, a rivulet barely allows you to suck a little water by making your lips approach to the cold wall. The following narrow passage is nothing difficult and it had only taken an hour of work to remove some debris that partially obstructed it. Overcome it, the marble lightens and gives you a beautiful shaft, 135 metres deep, with a section elongated, along a fracture with NNE­SSW orientation. The numerous realys allow you to touch the compactness and smoothness of this beautiful marble with yellowish shades, as well as avoid some Well­layered schistose dolomites emerge along the terminal galleries. Note the sands left by the floods on the ledges.

dripping, enough to uncomfortably dampen your shoulders. The air goes down with you, inaudibly. Before the bottom of the shaft, about 300 metres in depth, a pendulum and a traverse allow you to move along the generating fracture and to continue your descent into a sort of vertical rolling mill, just as wide as your shoulders but several meters long in plan. Here the marble is whiter and more compact, but some unstable blades let us thinking of something else and we don't know where the water might have flown . Where the pit narrows you finally feel the powerful breath of Bombassei: an intense, rapid air that once would have made the yellowish acetylene flames roar but now it just makes you tighten the collar of your suit. Other moderate vertical pits, in an uninterrupted succession, eventually take you to a larger room. From one side a dripping is coming, originated by some other range of pits.


One of the short jumps that are encountered along the passage at over 900 m deep. Here emerge levels of dark schists, probably responsible for creating this horizontally developed tract.

Water and air fall together into the underlying shaft, about twenty meters in depth, at the base of which you can finally release yourself from the rope and stretch your legs. Rocks are different, the marble has become yellowish and dark stripes break its continuity. Take a few steps and you are in front of the first real squeeze of the cave, the first one which required to be "tamed", like some of us would say. Once you got off the drop below, here is the first wet passage: there's little to be tamed here, you just have to tighten your collar and quickly go down. The rock, more and more yellowish and rich in magnesium, portends the approach of the dolomite rocks, but it also made the action of water weaker and what appears in front of you is a tight, windy and wet inclined crevasse which has required several, freezing, hours of uncomfortable work.

Now, with a little attention and fluidity of movement, we can move forward without too much damage. And here are, finally, the first dolomite rocks. Here the cave changes its morphology, it becomes more articulated: some breaches, some vents. Water is lost at the bottom, while to follow the air you must swing and go down again until you reach larger, dripping rooms. Here, the drops that didn't get lost in our collars, are finally collected in a small stream which even in summer allows you to fill your bottle and quench your thirst. A couple more short jumps and we're at ­530 metres, facing the "dilemma" bottleneck, where the skepticism of some faced the insistence of the others. The latter eventually won, thanks also to the skill of our squeeze specialists, Laura and Paola, who used their motor skills to adapt to the tight spaces of that narrow passage up to glimpse beyond a larger room. After all, air left no doubts: that was the way. Hours of team work eventually made the tunnel relatively easy, at least for the under70 (in the sense of kilos), but still prohibitive for those over 90. A small room, another tight passage, a new dilemma, and more the air played us a joke, an unexpected u­turn, but fate was already decided. Passed through this shrinkage you finally leave the tenacious horizons of the dolomite rock behind you, descending in what appears to be a gallery with its floor supported by levels of yellowish schists, which conveys all the water towards a series of leaps interspersed with short sections of gorge. Sideways arrivals and diversions peep out, but the air points decisively downwards and protrudes into a large chasm of black streaked dolostone. The water falls accelerating on the side, while the air slows down and takes some leisure wandering around parallel passages. It looks like another cave, but the harness is always the same and begins to annoy. At ­700 metres there's a second wet passage below an intense dripping, but it's only for few meters and here you can pass without too much damage going down then in a room overlooking an articulated well always in the breaches with dolomite clasts.


From above more water comes down and the subsequent pits are crossed by a stream that is now consistent and to be avoided, even when the riverbed is dry, with acrobatics pendulums. The next drop is “Pozzo del Bisonte”, less vertical, carved into the light­ gray and compact dolostone (also called “Grezzoni”) and takes you to ­840 metres on a pit that can be descended or crossed. The air got lost or maybe it keeps away from water and from our ropes. A couple more pits and the water wetting your boots is finally the one from a real, albeit small, collector. A few liters per second when dry, but probably really bubbly during floods. Water that mostly comes from other abysses, other "Bombassei" that drain the sunny plateaus in Pianiza. If upstream the path soon becomes narrow, following confidently the water towards the valley you travel along a short gorge up to a pond that obstructs the passage almost completely. Instead, following the air, which now makes itself felt again, you can climb from the gorge joining a close conduct that shortly bypass the siphon. From here you go along a beautiful tunnel, where the torrent flows freely between stones and small pools. To get out, water must continue to descend along the gorge, carved into dark dolomite rocks rich in calcitic veins and some horizon of black schists as air rises in a high chimney towards some unknown low entrance. A little further the tunnel splits vertically: at the top a channel leads to a narrow drop, below, along the water route, you soon arrive to what is the terminal siphon of this cave, 920 metres in depth and about 645 metres in altitude. From here the water flows into unknown passages, it's not known whether free surface or in submerged conduits, up to re­emerge at one source that might be the “Pollaccia”. Memories and thoughts from the void Francesca Onnis (Fransy) The Luigi Bombassei abyss is quite simple to be described to a friend who has never been there: a vertical shaft close to perfection, a little less than one kilometer in depth. Once you get to the bottom of it

you have the impression of having made a long journey, of having come a long way; instead, after hours of progression, in the end you're still there, you've just changed your point of view. Experts will say that it's a easy cave to descend: it's mostly a rope­made route, therefore it's true. But it's easy also because its tight passages have been enlarged, just enough, so that anyone can overcome them with their sack without too much swearing. It's a simple and safe cave if you go there with an adequate physical training and if you pay attention to your own movements when going up with your bag hanging from the harness, not to remove stones and gravel by rubbing on the few terraces you may meet on the way up. However, it's not so easy to describe what this exploration has meant for each speleologist who took part in it. I think that each of us has lived the experience in a profoundly different way from the other participants. The exploratory group benefited from the presence of expert speleologists, who have been studying this territory for many years and who, with this project, have been able to let the rest of the world, scientific or not, know another side of the Pania: its depths. Others like me who are not a scientist nor an expert speleologist, had the honour of participating in an ambitious and interesting project, which will always be remembered with nostalgic pleasure. The Bombassei, B6 for its friends, was my first challenging cave. One of those cold and wet caves, not too much actually, but just enough to get you soaked to your underwear and put you in hypothermia if you stop for more than five minutes. With a long and mostly uphill approach which, for some odd reason, has the ability to become even longer on the way back. The only comfortable break you can have between the ascent and descent is at the entrance, while admiring the breathtaking view over the Garfagnana area, with the rough furrowed fields of Vetricia and the overhanging walls throwing themselves into the Borra di Canala depths. It was a cave that made me appreciate the time spent alone with myself, in balance on the ropes, to the


rhythm of the song of the moment resonating in my head and keeping me company. It was also a cave that, after going out from one of the highest peaks, exhausted from sleep and with the wrong harness whichhad been sawing my groin, drove me to cry in pain and made me think that would be the last time I would have stepped up in there. Then the following times I came back: I wanted to see what was beyond the bottleneck and the time after I wanted to see that well which seemed to be endless. On some days everything was perfect, on others it was a "perfect" blend of love and hate. I think every mountain, every river, every cave has a story to tell to anyone who can approach with the right sensitivity. The Bombassei tells a million­years­old story that I can barely imagine. I've never been able to fully understand it, but I would listen to it every time while, going up slowly, I was admiring its long white carved wells. After the winter, the B6 team will join again for a final visit to the bottom, Predator's Room (Sala delle Predatrici), where we will try to know the route made by water. It will be another great adventure to live together. After this there will be others. Because the Pania mountain still has so much to tell and we can't help but listen to it.

Memories and thoughts from the void Alessio Augugliaro (Alex) The highest reward for a man's toil is not what he gets for it but what he becomes by it. (J. Ruskins) I no longer remember how many times I found myself in this situation: hanging on a rope in the void, with my legs and arms struggling to climb those 400 metres of ropes left from here to the outside. The abyss that is keeping me company is the Bombassei. Initially it was a large well basically open­air, under the Pizzo delle Saette, in the Pania mountain range, explored by the Bologneses in the 60s with slit nails and stepladders and dedicated to one of their partners, Luigi, who passed away at the age of 33 in 1962, due to the consequences of an accident in the mountains, where another fellow climber, Luigi Zuffa, perished. Many years later, thanks to the intuition of a person who has spent a lot of time on these mountains, this well has been revisited with modern progression techniques, allowing, through a lateral crack, to find beautiful verticals that led to the abyss at an altitude difference of over 900 metres. An abyss where, listening to the tales of the air, we dreamed to meet phreatic tunnels and to explore karstic complexes we could only dream of, currently unreachable. In short, a beautiful story, if only it were easier to reach: the 8.5 kilometres walk and the 600 metres difference in altitude for the approaching are already challenging themselves, before you even get in. Then, the relaxing descent to the bottom, but you know, pumpkins can roll down too! Hours earlier, the “tamed” bottlenecks, from ­400 metres down, had let me imagine all the curses I would have said on my way back, but at that moment it was only important to reach the deepest front, a meander way too narrow for our carcasses, but with all the necessary incentives it could still allow us to pass through. After long and hard hours in the cold, with efforts of all four The different nature and tone of color rock makes this area very suggestive and with a rugged morphology.


components of this adventure, we unfortunately were able to obtain only half of the desired passage. Sometimes certain abysses behave just right like certain women you keep pursuing and don't want to give themselves too soon, just to make the next date more special and make even more precious the treasure they are hiding, letting you go away with a hint of disappointment, but also with the perception of having a good chance of to be able to go further. In the meantime, however, the consequences of a summer storm were thundering towards our retreat, increasing the flow of water inside the cave, not up to a dangerous level, but enough to get us completely wet; we were those unaware spectators who would shortly retrace those tamed bottlenecks and those wells full of dripping. Here I am now, wet like a mop,struggling to reconquer the outside, trying only to move at the pace my legs allow me. In my head I'm listening the song "Set Us Free" by Black Mountain, like a neverending broken record, motivated to be the soundtrack of these moments full of thoughts and feelings. It's a long journey and every metre of rope that runs over the ascenders is felt, but I allow myself the time necessary to recharge my energy between one thrust and another, distracting myself with the sight of long walls of limestone disappearing into the void under my feet. Who knows what Luigi Bombassei would say if he only was there, on this rope, with us. Probably with such pride he would say: “This is my own cave, look what a cave!". If he was alive, he would be a gentleman of over eighty years who might look at the mountains with nostalgia for the past, but I prefer to imagine him like a proud and lively guy who somehow takes us in this long journey through the cave, always smiling. We all conquer the outside just before one in the morning, tired and drowsy, a long way ahead of us to achieve a comfortable shelter for the night. A big full moon smiles at us from above, in a star­studded sky, and illuminates the limestone landscape all around us, definitely breathtaking. Is that maybe the reason why

God created weariness? So that we're given the opportunity to enjoy the miracles around us and that we always take for granted? Who knows ... for sure God created caves so that men and women could have the privilege to dream through the difficulties of a path full of dangers, bad choices and disappointment. He concentrated the essence of life into speleology, to allow man to face himself and his fears, to grow up as an individual, in the continuous self­exploration and that emptiness that fills the caves, but also to make it an occasion for joy and pleasure for the people who walk through them. After all, like all creatures who love to live, we don't need it to be easy, as long as it's worth it... Project "6", speleology in change Michele Pazzini (Miki) After five years of exploration, the Bombassei is at the end. After colouring, only the disarmament. However, all the material that will come out won't have to walk a long way; we already know where to use it, with a construction site open in the abyss of Giglio Island and others goals around the Pania Mountain chain, but whatever happens one chapter is closing. Thinking about the end of this exploration brings a mixture of satisfaction and sadness to me. It was nice to dream of reaching the roots of Pania Mountain; now that we got there and there are no more questions about the survey, the feeling is of being like a child who's carrying a game he used to love but no longer working. I think back to all the friends I've shared this exploration with, to the hours spent digging, thinking about the darkness we would find behind the bend. I remember the euphoria of the tips in which we kept pulling out sacks of rope going deeper and deeper wells. The joy to have finally found the canal at the base of the vertical wells. Ultimately the most precious thing I got left of this adventure are memories and relationships I've created with the people I have had the pleasure and the honour of exploring with. I started learning about caves almost two decades ago. Though compared to


Leo and Marc I'm nothing but a rookie, since then I've known several aspects of the speleology. Small and marginal groups, important groups with a capital “G” where acronyms matter more than individuals. International shipments organized by free initiatives or by successful associations. I got a taste of what the speleology in Tuscany could offer. The other members of the project had similar experiences. This exploration is also the result of the lessons, sometimes disastrous, sometimes very positive, which we learned in those situations. There are so many ways to visit caves and to explore them. Each having its own dignity. Some styles are now anachronistic for dilution of human resources, others aggressive and disrespectful to predecessors. At Bombassei we've tried to make our own way. By creating a team without leaders, with a horizontal tasks subdivision, which is based on respect for the

qualities and strengths of the individuals. We've tried to push the boundaries of speleologist groups and first of all create a group of friends. Being able to reach our targets using this model is for me one of the most positive results of the project. We hope we'll be able to preserve this spirit in the future and that this model can be exported to other parts of the territory, as it already seems to be happening around the Apuan Alps and elsewhere. Have a nice caves!


Participants: Alessio Augugliaro, Mario Cecchi, Paolo Chiodaroli, Anne Cholin, Marco Corvi, Carlos Crespo, Susana Crespo, Jelena Demidoveca, Marc Faverjon, Samuel Faverjon, Evelin Franceschini, Luca Gioan, Claudia Graziano, Elizabeth Gutierrez, Alessandra Leveratto, Fabio Luisini, Alessandro Maraffa, Giampaolo Mariannelli, Andrea Montolivo, Francesca Onnis, Laura Pala, Claudio Pastore, Michele Pazzini, Leonardo Piccini, Paola Pierinami and Sonia Zucchini. Acknowledgments Explorers would like to thank the Unione Speleologica Pratese and the Gruppo Speleologico Lunense for all the materials made available. Bibliograpphy Brian A., Mancini C. (1913): “Caverne e grotte delle Alpi Apuane”. Bollettino Regia Società Geografica Italiana, ser. V, 2, p. 1032­1051, 1118­1150, 1277­1311. Calandri G. (1986): “Note sul carsismo della Pianiza (Gruppo delle Panie, Alpi Apuane)”. Atti 5° Congresso della Federazione Speleologica Toscana, p. 14­23. Calandri G. (1993): “Pianiza: P56”. Talp, n. 8, p. 29­31. Calandri G. (1990): “Abisso del Giglio: ­281 (Gruppo delle Panie, Alpi Apuane)”. Talp, n. 2, 25­27. Gruppo Speleologico Bolognese (1962): “Osservazioni sull’Abisso “Luigi Bombassei” in Vetricia (A. Apuane)”. Sottoterra, n. 2, 19­21. Marchetti M. (1931): “La Vetricia e l’Abisso Revel nelle Alpi Apuane”. Le Grotte d’Italia, n. 4, p. 145­154. Marchetti M. (1931): “Grotte delle Alpi Apuane”. Le Grotte d’Italia, n. 5, p. 119­137. Marchetti M. (1931): “Contributo allo studio dei fenomeni carsici delle A. Apuane”. Tesi di Laurea inedita, Università degli Studi di Firenze, pp. 281. Prando E., Sodero D. (1962): “Una discesa nell’Abisso Revel”. Grotte, n. 19, p. 11­15. Piccini L. (1989): “Sui risultati della prova di colorazione all’Abisso F. Orsoni ­ Vetricia (Apuane)”. Talp, n. 1, p. 48­ 50. Piccini L. (1996): “Caratteri morfologici ed evoluzione dei fenomeni carsici profondi nelle Alpi Apuane (Toscana ­ Italia)”. “Natura Bresciana” ­ Annuario del Museo Civico Scienze Naturali, Brescia, n. 30 (1994), p. 45­85. Piccini L., Mariannelli G., Faverjon M., Pazzini M. (2016): “Abisso Luigi Bombassei”. Speleologia, n. 74, p. 16­22. Piccini L. (2016): Abisso Luigi Bombassei. Speleologia, n. 75, p. 10­11. Sivelli M., Vianelli M. (1982): “Abissi delle Alpi Apuane”. Società Speleologia Italiana, pp. 233­234


Overlay satellite photo with survey west corchia area (Marco Ménchise).

West Corchia: The stories of old and new galleries, by retracing historical explorations through new entrances on the world of Corchia, which continues to amaze and swallow up different generations of cavers in its holes. Chiara Vannucci and GSAV Translation: Giovanna Parracino The idea of resuming explorations in this area of the karst complex of Mount Corchia takes shape with the birth of the ORCo project, during which the people of Lucca and Versilia deal with revising the reliefs of Becco entrance and the area below as well. What immediately catches the eye is that in the original relief the tunnel of Via Fani extends along the ridge to the west, in the opposite direction to Pania to close

itself with tunnels that fall outside the profile of the mountain. That’s the spark. Antonio is the digging man par excellence and also the construction manager. After several Sundays we spent as goats by walking up and down the Corchia spires, the Sixteenth entrance was discovered, 200 metres of narrow landslide passages that will take us to the Romean well, in the final area of via Fani.


The area was explored by Piccini and other people around the 1980s and it is characterized by this wide meander, just via Fani, which deepens between breakthroughs and overlapping floors of tunnels until it rejoins the tunnels coming from Bukellen, further on with the Gran Sabba and then the Farolfi (Via dello Stealth). Actually, the exploration chances are much wider but due to the distant position of the area with respect to the entrances, the area remained obscure for a long time. The discovery of the nineteenth entrance, by the cousins of the GSLunense, who are combing the entire rear of the team, will definitely open the working season of the exploration area of the west Corchia. It has led to the discovery of 3 new entrances, over 1 km of tunnels and wells, the rig of the new Nineteenth­Farolfi traverse (not yet prepared to be built with double rope) as well as the construction of 990 m high ground that still does not cover all the explored area.

LITTLE OWNERS OF "POZZONI" GROW UP Chiara Vannucci. One more weekend, one more weekend in the darkness of our playground of the rear ... We start in four: me, Nadia, Antonio and Riccardo, in that GSAV, GSL twinning that now characterizes all our adventures of the last few years ... Later, alone (if he finds the way), Alessio will join us too. Our destination, once again, the Meandruneo ... The prologue is always the same, breakfast at Piera's, in a calm, and then up to the draft house in the rear by jeep. We change and always with our speleo biblical times, we are about to enter the nineteenth. Initial bottlenecks, Romean, then up and down between climbs and rope jumps along the approximately kilometer of development of the Meandruneo up to the Curcuma room, our now tried and tested base camp ... By now we take about an hour to arrive here, we know

Meandruneo (David Becheri)


the road by heart, we eat something, we organize the exploration material and we start to descend again ... In the last exit we arrived at the base of a beautiful well of about 30 m that is renamed “Made in China well”, and today we will continue in the narrow meander which opens right on the bottom of the same and which I only walked for a few meters. The Alibabà meander (Antonio's compulsive purchases of Chinese lights are monopolizing our exploratory fantasies) is in front of me, I take the descender off the rope and I'm about to slip into this tight and wet gut. I know that when it is tight, Nadia and I play it, who obviously follows me at a short distance. This is how the classic sequence begins: look for the widest point to pass, move the sack, a stroke of stin, snot, snag the sachet ... but damn, the gut continues to go down and widen, and the air, the air is getting stronger and ... cabbage but under those blades it is dark ... and even ahead I can't light up the walls ...

ooooooplooopppp ... I call the others who are behind me ... and the cave answers me in a loud voice, before the others can do otherwise ... Heart ball, more than it already was: "Guys come, it seems to me that there is something big here !!" In the meantime, I'm looking for a stone, we are in a hole in the rock and there isn't a stone. I go back, I find some, little one, we are all four there, with our ears turned towards the black. We pull ... a second ... taaac ... but how? Not even 10 meters ... It should be pulled further, towards that black you see over there. Antonio raises. One ... three ... eight ... taac tac­tac ... tac­tac­tac ... tac ... tac­tac ... It doesn't stop anymore ... just like our chest ... we begin to look at each other with bright eyes ... in our favorite playground ... fed on adrenaline ... sucked into that darkness that attracts and inspires fear ... Deep black framed by white marble walls ... Discovery of the Meteoric well, a large limestone well which then breaks into a fracture and deepens for about 200 m from its starting point.



40 years later ... a

"Opus Crystallinum" Roberto Tronconi Translation Stefano Bacci Saturday November 3rd, 2018. 11.00 am, at Cinema Senio. I'm very tense, sitting in the front row next to the control room. Here in Speleopolis they do things in a big way, how things must be made! I'm attending “CLOUDS”. This year the international speleology meeting takes place in Casola Valsenio, Ravenna County. The room is large, the imposing screen above an equally important stage. The speeches, very interesting, follow one another with pictures and footage of the explorations that accompany them according to the lineup. I'm worried, I've never done anything like this, at least not at this level of dimensions and professionalism, I

turn around and I take it badly, there are many people, too many! The preceding speech is over and here's a voice from the direction calling me: “Hurry up, get on the stage before people leave the hall! " I have to go, but I really wish I wasn't there. I turn to the room which is completely full, four hundred people, perhaps five hundred, even if from the first rows, as expected, people begin to get up and walk towards the exit. On stage I pick up the microphone and at that very precise moment I see the auditorium lit up in all its size and a thought freezes me: how can i do it! I ... I have to start and then I introduce myself and I start by saying who I am and where I'm from, in the meantime the lights dim in the big

hall, I am the only one in the light on the immense


stage and this comforts me a lot because I can't see that mob anymore so slowly the tension is released, also because I realise that there are many things to talk about. The people who had been standing up continue to walk towards the exit slowly, neatly, and I think to myself: better this way! I talk about myself: I'm a long­time speleologist ... my activity has started in 1975 ... and since then it has been focused in Tuscany, in the Apuane Alps especially on Corchia Mount, my first time with a five­days camp into the Corchia cave. At that time we used to go in using stepladders ... What happened! What's happening! The people who previously got up to walk towards the exit are retracing their steps and go back to their seats, in the meantime the buzz in the room has suddenly stopped in a religious silence. I'm astonished and worried at the same time, I continue my story. But it's clear, of course, the magic word is Corchia, all the Italian Speleology (the one with a capital S) is held in it, it represents the biggest underground system in Italy, of the international relevance with more than 70 kilometers of tunnels and wells in an intricate three­ dimensional maze inside a parallelepiped of limestone rock just 2x1 kilometers in length and a thickness of about 1,500 m (one kilometer and half). A three­ dimensional gruyere and its appellative “THE EMPTY MOUNTAIN" has never been more appropriate. I have to keep telling, I can't stop now, they want to hear the story of explorations of this immense empty space told by someone who has been in there and has been a key figure so I go on and on till I introduce the film "Opus Crystallinum" (from Latin “Crystal Masterpiece”) which is the reason why I'm on stage, I shortly describe it and the story about the exploration of that tiny branch (infinitesimal part of that 70 kilometers underground monster), the Lucchesi Branch, because that's its name, delicate for its nfinite beauty, so precious for its particular naturalistic interest. A paroxysmal swirl of crystals: THE ARAGONITES. A sort of "Sistine Chapel'' of the underground world. In the end, a brief

Movie poster

recommendation about the need to protect these incredible galleries with which Corchia Mount wanted to pay homage to speleology, perhaps as a prize to the tenacity of the many who "worked'' in there, before saying goodbye and wishing everyone to enjoy the movie. And here's an incredibly long applause that let me down to the stage while I go down and beyond, as I walk the side corridor of the hall to take me to the bottom from where I want to attend the show, I want to see better the video resolution and the output of the film projected on a screen of that size. The audience assists silently making no buzz during the projection, while more people keep entering: “How can they find a seat in an already crowded room? " I wonder, and in fact they begin to sit on the floor everywhere, they fill up the corridors, the empty spaces where possible. The film flows and incredibly from the front rows people stand up to take pictures of


the images running on the screen. I wonder: "What are they doing?". While the flashes coming from cameras and mobile phones follow one another in a phantasmagorical whirlwind of lights. Now the credits begin to roll, so I have to get back on stage again for thanks: “How can i do it, I can't pass!" The corridors are full of people sitting on the floor thus I move forward with difficulty overstepping people. While I go up the steps of the stage again the last credit is rolling, lights are switched on again and an incredible applause welcomes me above the stage, from where I greet and thank everyone. That moment is

Lucchesi section

unbelievable to me, I can't fully understand the extent of what's going on. People I don't know, never seen before, evidently knows my name which is linked to the explorations in Fighierà and in Farolfi in the late Seventies. Read in the articles and chronicles or in the stories of much more important characters who told the explorations of forty years ago. Many years, as much as the time spent away from this fascinating world to resume somehow my activity exactly a year ago from where I had left it: on Corchia Mount or better ... inside Corchia Mount!


The “Meno mille” path: a path for a thousand remembrances Sonia Cardini and Gruppo Speleologico Fiorentino CAI Translation Simona Beccone Welcome to the Carcaraia, a charming destination for speleologists and dreamers! This calcareous stage, perfect for many adventures, stands before the beauteous audience of the Pisanino, Tambura, Roccandagia and Horse Mounts. Mansion of the five among Italy’s deepest chasms, it reaches beyond the depth of 1000 metres. Along with this valley winds the “Sentiero dei meno mille” (“Minus 1000 pathway”). Not just a mere route to follow, nor a series of sign directions to gladden the eyes. Not just a pleasant

landscape, nor yet another valley to explore. Instead, this path is a long 60­year journey to enjoy You sense it as soon as you get out of the car, in front of the gallery. The fresh and crisp breeze reminds you that here the air itself is different from the ordinary. It is as if the air, which blows deep into 60 km of uncharted caves, frantically directed along the quarry trail, to drive straight into the deepest recesses of your soul, and conjured up all those ancient stories of exploration and discovery, told by the great explorers


Inauguration day

of the past. Stories that perhaps you listened to from time to time, but which in this place assert themselves with all their majesty, so that you have to act as a tiny insignificant observer of all this relentless natural energy. You can even sense the strength, the stateliness, the fragrance of that fierce passion which grasps only a few among many, in a lifetime. Still, you even fancy of being part, someday, of that fantastic adventure called “Carcaraia”. With a stirred soul, you shiver at the prospect of starting a pathway like this, so imbued of a thousand remembrances. You feel that your journey is about to begin and that you are deeply aware that your aim is not to reach the destination, but to sense that unique passion which we call ‘caving’. There, at the first stop, near the Buca dell’Aria Ghiaccia, you can discern Seghezzi’s voice. She has a somewhat formulaic cadence, with her Brescian accent. Nevertheless, if you lay the ear on the rock, you can still hear her ironically saying: “Junction? No, thanks, we’ll have only Meno mille!” And thus you understand at once the meaning of that meaningless sentence. You can also seize upon the rivalry between the Brescian and the Florentine, during the ’90s, when the former discovered the

way to connect the Aria Ghiaccia to Saragato, while the latter, sardonically, had as their only objective to reach ‘only’ minus 1000 meters deep. The frosty air that visits you carries with it the narration of that ancient rivalry between these great travellers of the depths. They all were discoverers who imagined and then achieved a great goal. Driven by ambition, they give us the lower inlet in the vast complex which includes Aria Ghiaccia, Gigi/Squisio, Saragato and, by recent acquisition, Mani Pulite. Once you’ve reached the Gigi/Squisio, don’t expect to be free from new, pleasant thrills. There you can still hear our Pratese friends who, tiptoe and cautiously, peep into this new game and politely ask to participate in it. At their own time, at their own pace (which reaches across generations), even in their way (“not too much rope, otherwise it’s rotten luck!”), they eventually (almost) succeed in assuaging the mazy convolutions of underground tunnels. Their explorations are a mixture of imagination and sci­fi, every meander has a name, every pit a nickname every hall an epithet. Here is a newly­discovered entrance to the colossal Carcaraia karst complex. Just above it, you’ll find Arbadrix, with its Emilian mates. It assists us for all uses: a little diversion from the great nearby abysses, a starting point for expeditions, a reception point along the path, and why not, a point from which new questions arise. It dwells opposite the magnificent limitlessness of the Saragato: why does it stay alone by itself, without merging into it forever? Continuing uphill, you sense that the Abisso Saragato is waiting for you. A breath before it conjures you up, then it pushes you away, or


maybe not. It always overshadows you with all his hundred stories. These are great significant stories, which tell about fellow adventurers, men and women, heroes who hastened into unimaginable wanderings and unthinkable odysseys to unravel just a tiny part of its measureless grandiosity. The large entrance is the abyss’ card, if you want to see it. The great 200­metre deep pit is its welcome. The Guidotti and Dobrilla traverse, suspended in the void, is instead its defence. A frontier between present and future, will and power, magination and reality. In this marble stage, our Garfagnini mates couldn’t fail to play their part with one more piece of history. The Abisso Chimera is the youngest brother in the group of abysses who grew strong and luxuriant. Despite being located aloof, it has proved to be beyond all expectations, with its 1060 metres deep. Its name fully conveys the imagination of those who have explored it so far. At first no more than a vague thought, then a wish, a dream to fulfil. Its paths lead us toward Italy’s deeper forefather. The fresh air that you sense since the entrance nourishes and rejuvenates you. It bestows upon you the sacred will to become, exceed, fulfil a dream. In other words, to reach a Chimera. The Abisso Roversi stands there, majestic, while it watches over the valley below. Ironic and sarcastic, it also gives itself to those who are strangers to it, are unaware of its history, even do not respect the memory of the explorations of the past and which have unveiled its depths to the world above. It even fails to remember that its 1350 metres have been warmed­up by carbide combustion, whom Guidotti, Malcapi and Dobrilla brought into its depths in the ’90s. Now it prefers the vague descriptions by unaware reporters, such as that concerning the new record of immersion. Nothing new, as usual. How mocking! Again and again! As you didn’t so much as show them your real history. You didn’t even tell them that they were 30 years late. You failed to reveal to them that the waters of your terminal siphon had already got real cave explorers wet. Then, with a lump in the throat, you continue the journey, even if you are


aware that these events are only fleeting moments within a History which had already been published years before. A blurb in an online publication will only impress the unaware minds of superficial readers, unlearned in cave’s matters. While passing through the Forcolaccia Mount, don’t be fooled by the monumental scene of defacement and disfigurement set up by quarrymen over time. You should instead appreciate it as a funeral void surrounding innumerable caves which have disappeared forever, as the crystallised image of the inexplicable exploitation of man over nature, as the remains of man’s plundering over these treasures with the mere purpose of adorning houses and graveyards. If you can’t bear this sight, then pick up the pace, take a few steps further and put it all behind to turn down in the direction of Carcaraia’s second most profound chasm. The Perestroika, on the other side, teaches you how different perceptions and interpretations often lead to violent contrasts and quarrel. It clearly shows you the desire, the respect, the “overestimations” and the friendship paid for a mate who, while being stuck in a hospital bed, ardently longs for the continuation of exploration. Just a few steps to reach great objectives. Just a few moments to reach great experiences. Furthermore, all this to come to the terminal siphon which is set at 1160 metres deep and is still unconnected to the yet nearby Abisso Mani Pulite. However, they are just 120 metres away from the entrances. What is it still brooding over, that prevents it from joining the party, down in the depths of the vast complex of caves? The small entrance of the comfortably­rigged Abisso Mani Pulite welcomes all beginners with all the honours of the house to make them experience their first explorations, up to

where the body allows it. Not an inch more! Its depths tell you about that flower, whom someone left in the junction to the Marcella halls. They also remind you of that famous ‘ring around the rosie’ from which came out the joke “tattatara tatata”, of that bath that Betta made in just a foot of water or, even, of that braided hair which remained fast in the descender in a pit of 1000 metres deep. The abyss can also lead you where the great discoverers of the past joined their experience and expertise to find the union of two worlds eventually. It can also tell you the story of the junction between Mani Pulite­Gigi/Squisio and Saragato while making you fancy on all that is about to be unveiled in the next future. The tour is about to end. Down through the woods you just have to take a little detour first to peep into the entrance of the Capovaro, whose self­secluded smallness will certainly have many stories to tell. Be that as it may, who knows how many more new stories, both private and collective, this path and all these abysses still have in store for us and the next generations. Dear reader, tired of the emotions experienced, with a spirit exhausted but with a heart fully satisfied, your tour has led you exactly where you desired to be at the beginning: to sense, even if only for a brief moment, that irresistible and compelling passion whose name is ‘caving’. Walking time: 5/7 hours Starting level: 1010 mt A.S.L. Maximum altitude reached: 1740 A.S.L. Total positive altitude difference: 840 mt Difficulty: expert hiker Direction: clockwise Strongly discouraged in case of fog, rain, ice or snow.


"Through the loocking glass" Ph. Kasia Biernacka, Marcin Gala (PL), winner SFC 2005

SpeleoFotoContest Paolo Dori Giovanna Parracino What is SpeleoPHotoContest? None of the new speleological levers will be able to answer this question, not because it is difficult to answer, but because already in 2003 and 2004 it was made suggested on speleo.it list, born by chance from an idea of mine that is related to my passion for photography, and about 15 years have passed since then. The idea was born in 2003 when Giovanni Badino wrote me an email asking me to collaborate with the didactic notebook SSI n. 13 "Photographing the dark", when I realized that I actually didn't understand a hint of speleological photography, I gladly accepted, also to learn something more than what little I knew. Then we began to talk even more

about speleo photography, looking at the sacred monsters and trying to steal something from the photos of Meo Vigna, from those of Cesare Mangiagalli, from the pictures of Gianni Dellavalle. Wow, there you had to know how to make the photos, after all the film was of course not like the digital one, where a bad photo you see immediately, delete it, take it again and go. There you had to know. Full stop! But don’t you think that the arrogance of digital photography has changed the cards in the blink of an eye? We, the new generation, almost all with thousands of euros digital cameras, compared to film. Technology is growing by leaps and bounds and it is almost a must to switch to new systems, even if, at


"Riflessi (Reflexes)" Ph. Silvia Sammataro, winner SFC 2006


that time, they were "primitive" and quite expensive, but the discussion that was already established in the speleo list, focuses more and more on digital theme, dampening the charm and suspense of the film, with its expectations and development times. Finally, at the meeting in Frasassi in 2004, we met the friends who later became the backbone of SpeleoFotoContest and, in front of a glass of wine, with the background of the chaos of the speleobar, the idea that I had racked a year earlier on speleo.it, materialized. On January 17 and 18, 2004 we found ourselves in Levigliani, in front of a plate of tagliarini with mushrooms, and we decided the dates of the first Speleofotocontest, the program and the routes in the cave we went to visit the next day. The games opened on the long weekend of April 23­24­25, 2005. It is useless to dwell on how the event went, it can be summed up in one word: very well. There were enrollments from abroad in the exhibition / competition and above all many participants in the photographic laboratory. Speleology n. 51 is witness to the event, what better chance for us the fact that the annual SSI meeting was held on the same days and in the same

place? That also gave us a nice hand and the first edition ended with an international success: the photo that won was “Through the looking glass” by Kasia Biernacka and Marcin Gala of the Speleo Club of Warsaw. The same SSI and FST, partners of the event, were very satisfied with the success of that idea suggested in front of a glass of wine at the Frasassi gathering in 2004. An important role was played by the Queen of the Apuan caves, that is the Antro del Corchia, chosen as the place for the practical photography test. What Speleofotocontest was, afterall? In other words, it was an opportunity for dialogue between speleophotographers or even easier between cave photography enthusiasts and also a photographic competition, whose main purpose was (and still is) to share photographic techniques; therefore not a course but an exchange of techniques, opinions and above all motivation, without "masters'' or so called ones, but FRIEND speleologists who help each other to improve by taking home a beautiful picture of the subsoil. In fact, this is the line that has been maintained for eleven years after the last edition, and I promise you

"Speleologia trasversale (Trasversal speleology)" Ph. Laura Sanna, winner SFC 2007


"Fluido di una grotta" Ph. Francesco De Salve, winner "Piera popular award SFC 2018

that today, 13 years after the first edition, it was so nice to see those people who were among the participants in 2005 while conveying their own photographic experience to the others. The echo was very strong, so much that we replicated ourselves in 2006 in Seravezza, inside the beautiful setting of Palazzo Mediceo; more or less the period was the same, the cave too, but the number of participants has increased exponentially. This time Silvia Sammataro brought home the victory with her photo "Riflessi" that she took in the Sicilian qanat. Needless to say, Speleofotocontest entered even more into Italian speleology, bringing home an award and motivating more and more people to take pictures. We must not overlook that, already after the first edition, Speleofotocontest became an itinerant event,

thanks to the organizers of Imagna 2005 who assigned us our own space (the deconsecrated church) where we managed to make ourselves known by over two thousand speleologists, a large part came to see our films and our projections and above all the winners of the first edition, Kasia and Marcin, together with Cesare Mangiagalli, honored us with their visit by participating in the practical photography test that was held in the Europa cave, made available for the occasion by the boys of Sant'Omobono Terme. Beautiful moments, in which photography and words went together in mutual agreement, fascinating the attendees. Yes, fascinating, because whoever spoke SHARED their knowledge and passed it on to many other people, among whom I can include myself with pride and pleasure. However, it was not easy to make the belief of sharing photographic technique coexist with those subjects that only they knew how to take a picture, posing as the “Marchese del Grillo” in one of his epic lines. Thus, we were able to fill the Medici palace in 2006, thanks to our belief that photography, being the only "concrete" way of documenting the caves, and therefore of protecting them, had to be shared. Finally, the call of the Sardinian Speleological Federation arrived, exact words by Angelo Naseddu “ajò a Iglesias”, referring to the XX Congress of Speleology; an unexpected trip, with an arm of the sea to be overcome with 6 hours by ferry and half Sardinia to cross, but in the end we were there. A beautiful setting, in addition to that of the congress, the one offered by the mines of Santa Barbara and the cave of Su Mannau, which made this 2007 edition unique. The first prize remained on the island, the winning photo was " Transversal Speleology" by Laura Sanna. Three editions, but certainly more than three talks about photography, full of technique, passion and beautiful photos to see. And then ... Then we decided to take a year off, because the efforts had been quite a few during these three years, so the unanimous decision was to suspend work. It was not a year but more than two decades. It must be said that in Sardinia there was the strong support of Marco


"Mirror" Ph. Takeshi Murase (J), winner web award SFC 2018

Ottalevi, President of the Roman Speleologists and founding member of Speleofotocontest, who managed, with the support of Gabriela Pani, to organize all the necessary "theater" for the event to be held in conjunction with the congress. It was not easy but he succeeded, so much so that everything went smoothly, both logistical and technical. During the period of "rest" we began to feel less frequently; after all, we still remember the 2700 emails (phone calls are not counted) exchanged among the members of the committee, a mix of organization and anger just as we speleologists know how to do, but then they served for a unique result and which is still talked about, to 13 years apart. But it wasn't a year, two and a half passed until ... one day ... That day I had the unfortunate idea of calling Marco. He informed me that he had started to fight against an ugly evil; then and there I was incredulous, then my incredulity slowly turned into hope, hope that he could come out unscathed. And in fact, I felt it again some

time later, happy. He was fine, he laughed for the joy of being well and was able to restore my confidence. I told him we'll see each other soon, but it wasn't. I will never forget the phone call from Angelo Naseddu that June 26, 2010, who informed me about what had recently happened. Marco was no longer there. In a moment, memories, images, tears, disbelief pass in front of you, not wanting to accept that a friend with whom you shared some of the most beautiful and significant moments of the 40 years was no longer there. I met Marco by chance, my phone rang and I heard a little voice that made me think "... what does this guy want?". "Hi Paolo, I'm Marco Ottalevi, President of the Roman Speleologists, I wanted to ask you 'if you could accompany us' on the crossing of the Corchia Eolo Serpente, we are at the end of the Luck would have it that just a little while before an email from a couple of German cavers who asked us to accompany them on the crossing arrived at the mailbox of the group to which I belonged, so I took


advantage of the opportunity to join and learn the route, since not even I ever did. And so I was able to accompany Marco and the Roman Speleologists for the crossing, where an indelible friendship was born. Marco immediately embraced the Speleofotocontest initiative and was not a simple pawn, but a standard bearer, who played very well in all the roles in which he fell. He mainly followed the administrative and insurance part, given the direct relationship with SSI, and he couldn't do a photo in the cave, but he liked to commit himself, to be active and with his hilarious character he was able to mediate in all respects and solve problems or the complications that gradually presented themselves before, during and after the works. But that bad, unforgettable day not only did we lose a friend, but Speleofotocontest had lost an irreplaceable point of reference. Over the course of about ten years, there were some attempts to put Speleofotocontest's organizational machine back on its feet, but to no

avail. We were already one less, but moreover the other members of the team had already taken other paths: those who had changed jobs, those who had thrown body and soul into the CNSAS (The National Alpine Cliff and Cave Rescue Corps), those who had become parents and those who no longer wanted to. I was the only one who decided to start over and, last summer, with a round of phone calls, I tested the ground. The first three speakers were recruited. Then, we had a preliminary meeting and from there we started again. The launch pad was the fiftieth anniversary of the Tuscan Speleological Federation, which gave us the space to present the new project, but we needed more, we had to make sure that the echo bounced further still, and we took the opportunity to go in June to Urzulei, on the occasion of the meeting of the Sardinian groups, to introduce the new event. On both these occasions there was no lack of emotion in remembering the deceased friend to whom the 2018 edition was entitled.

"Mondi paralleli (Parallel worlds)" Ph. Andrea Massagli, 3rd place SFC 2018


"Gocce di vita (Life's drops)" Ph. Rossano Cagnoni, 2nd place SFC 2018

Another small step, still a long way up but this time it gets serious: at the end of August we registered the cultural association Speleofotocontest, which allowed us to obtain a better result in the management of the organization, and from there we began to advertise the event. We were rather hesitant about the dates, given the proximity to the Casola 2018 rally, but the choice fell back on the weekend of November 23/24/25, because the national meeting would have been an excellent springboard. And so it was, in Casola our Speleofotocontest banner stood out, until, three weeks later, that long­awaited day arrived where we began to set up the exhibition / competition. We are thrilled, because after such a long time we certainly did not imagine a massive participation of speleophotographers. Some already known, some unknown, but everyone good and all beautiful photos. We hang them with a random method, so as not to create "author sectors'', thus trying to mix the papers so that we do not create style pages, but a mishmash

where every photo and every style is different from the other, and so on. Even if, in the eyes of speleophotographers, each photographer has his own particular style, which makes him recognizable to a trained eye. Friday starts off rather blandly unfortunately due to bad weather that annoys considerably but, between a break and another, the dances finally start and after my short introduction on what SpeleoFotoContest is, Serena Vincenti, the councillor responsible for culture of the City of Stazzema speaks to then leave space for Marco Paris, Daniele Sighel of Speleoclick, who talk to us about “Image composition and use of electronic flashes”. Followed by Alessio Miorandi, also from Speleoclick, with “Post production and image management with Lightroom”. After the lunch break it is the turn of Silvia Arrica, who came from Sardinia for the occasion, with the lesson "Photography and Publishing". Sandro Sedran, founder of the S­Team group will continue, speaking with the Speleo­Photo­


“Climbing out of stream passage pot” Ph. William Nix,w SFC 2018

Team on "How to work best within a speleo­video­ photographic team"; Tony Cosentino, Genoa Underground Research Center, who talks about “Speleo Videomaker” and then concludes the cycle of lessons with Guglielmo Esposito, president of the Italian Stereoscopic Society SSI­3D. In the meantime, the teams are preparing for the next day's exit in the Antro del Corchia, a cave that has always been well suited for SpeleoFotoContest, allowing for a diversity of routes and themes suitable for all photographers. Saturday morning ... RAIN FOR A CHANGE! But recklessly we manage to enter the cave. Unfortunately, due to an unforeseen moment, I am unable to join the teams, but I still manage to take a tour on the tourist route, which I had not done for several years and I meet the various teams at work. The branches affected were the wettest ones, given the abundant rainfall at the time. The waterfall of the branch of the Romans was nothing short of spectacular, while the branch of the Marino Vianello

river was in full swing: all shows to be photographed. In the evening, as usual we went all to refresh at Vallechiara, thus closing the day of practical testing. Sunday is award time. The boys, tired after filling up the tank in the previous two days, are punctual and present. The “Piera” prize is drawn first, that is the prize of the popular jury, named after the “mother of the Speleologists”, also nominated an honorary speleologist even though she has never been in the cave. The speleological world still mourns for the untimely death of this person who has been a milestone for generations of speleologists. We wanted to remember and honor her in this way, dedicating an award to her. The Award was won by Francesco De Salve with his photo entitled "Fluido di grotta". The photo was donated to Ivano Gonnella, son of Piera, and it is still on display at Vallechiara di Levigliani. Not least was the web award. Truly a race to the last click was held between two talented photographers: Takeshi Murase from Japan and none


other than a regular at SpeleoFotoContest: Rossano Cagnoni, who has been present at all editions and did not win the web award by a whisker . In the end, Takeshi takes home the first prize with his “Mirror”. He gets to the heart of the awards, and now he gets really serious. The jury, mainly composed of the SpeleoFotoContest Organizing Committee, chose the winning photos not only on the basis of personal taste and the emotions and sensations that the photos convey, but also on the basis of the technique, the lights, the subject and the construction. In third place, they wanted to award the prize to Andrea Massagli with the photo entitled "Parallel World". And here an old acquaintance reappears on the square (or rather on the cave), a style well known to me which also

"Gocce di vita (Life's drops)" Ph. Rossano Cagnoni, 2nd place SFC 2018

impressed the public and the participant as well.. Unmistakable, both for the style and for the subject, of which I deliberately do not reveal the location for protection, but that many of you who are reading this reportage will surely know, Rossano Cagnoni takes home the second prize, smoothing out the absolute victory for a few votes, with his photo "Drops of life". We have finally come to first place; a photo that, in my humble opinion, struck for its simplicity and for the difficulty of its realization, but because it had something more: that photo calls you, it shows you the cave in one of its hardest aspects, a B / W of a particular beauty. We can say that once again SpeleoFotoContest was an international event, as the overall victory went across the border, or rather across


the Channel, to be precise in England. William Nix with “Climbing out of stream passage pot” takes home the first prize of the fourth edition of SpeleoFotoContest. Who do we have to thank for making this edition of SpeleoFotoContest possible? By custom, I start with the institutional part: first of all the Municipality of Stazzema and the councillor Serena Vincenti who, in addition to sponsoring the event, granted us the use of the Palazzo della Cultura in Cardoso; still on the subject of patronage and also sponsors, another big thank you goes to the Italian Speleological Society and the Tuscan Speleological Federation which, in the person of the president, also attended the final phase of this edition. The technical sponsors and financiers follow: Viessmann; Plastic Panaro, who contributed with some beautiful watertight cases; Argolamp, with its beautiful headlamp; Buranchetto, who offered technical material; Steinberg, with the caving bags and, finally, Ollo Store. A big thank you to Corchia Park, which provided the transport of the participants and made the entrance and the tourist route available for the third time in the history of SpeleoFotoContest. I also gladly mention the community of Cardoso, represented by Diego Pieruccioni, for the logistical support provided since the start of the organization. A dutiful and sincere thanks goes to the speakers, who came from all parts of Italy: Silvia Arrica, Marco Paris, Daniele Sighel, Alessio Miorandi, Sandro Sedran, Antonio Cosentino and last but not least Guglielmo Esposito. Have I said everything? No, I haven’t. It is necessary to make a clarification: the late Giovanni Badino participated in all the editions

of SpeleoFotoContest, saw its birth and honored us with his participation in the second edition by unveiling the "Cueva de los Cristales", better known as Naica, to the public of SpeleoFotoContest, in the setting of the Medici palace of Seravezza in April 2006. Reconnecting with the person to whom this edition was dedicated: Marco would have been proud to see us together again, moments of emotion were not lacking during the presentation and the award ceremony and I am convinced that he would have been also there to carry on the ranks of SpeleoFotoContest. But there is something new: now SpeleoFotoContest is not just a photo contest and a speleological­themed workshop; today it has become a cultural association for which I invite all those who want to share the passion for underground photography to join; there are many projects in the pipeline and everyone's help is needed. Thanks again to the members of the Organizing Committee: Sandra Basilischi, Anna Maria Pardini, Romina Barbensi, Luca “Nedo” Rossi and finally me, Paolo Dori. We look forward to seeing you at the next edition and, why not ... even earlier.


O.R.CO. Project 2018 Salvatore Iannelli. Translation: Teresa Lecchi

After multiple attempts in the organization, toward the end of spring 2018, finally we succeeded to find an agreement and several people to make an exit of the ORCO project. As many already know, the purpose of the project is to update the relief of the karst complex of Corchia, returning to revisit areas where in the past the relief had not been done or where the old reliefs had some mistakes, obviously also exploring and detecting any new branches. So, the ORCO project starts again, now also known as “Corchia 2.0”, with a tip of two days (2­3 June 2018) and a team of 7 people. We chose the area of Fighiera(called back­Corchia), in which all the subsequent exits were carried out and where certainly, considering the vastness of the labyrinths from which it is characterized, we will have for a long time.



Branch to Minosse

The entrance used is the 19th, from which along the comfortable galleries of “Via Fani'' (right horn) can be reached in the heart of our area of interest (left horn). During the peak of June 2nd, a temporary cam was made nearby of the stronghold 61, along the main gallery which leads to Meinz room. We have operated before in the Derzu gallery, where, in my opinion, an enlargement was completed in order to access a new small branch and giving us indescribable emotions and a lot of desire and useful energy for the following outputs. Then, in “Pozzo dell’Asino” (“Donkey well”)’s area, locating an excellent point where in subsequent releases, we set up the final base camp. Returning to the outside world from the tip of the 2­3 June, I immediately thought of dedicating myself in particular way to the project and organization of the following outputs (9 more until the end of 2018)

Chef Marc Faverjon ­ Base camp


From Quadrivio to OM

Phreatic section

Ffom quadrivio to OM

Asino Pit


Conglomerate branch

in which I had the pleasure of collaborating with many speleologists coming mainly from Tuscany and Liguria. In the various tips many other areas have already been reviewed, also finding new branches currently still to be explored, moreover the base camp has been optimized, divided into 3 tents capable to guest 12 people, also having a source of water from the dripping, collected in a tank with a capacity of over 70 litres. After completing the base camp we first dedicated ourselves to the area of the “Minosse”, a tangle of small pipelines that develops at about 1350 meters above sea level , to the east of the pipeline that leads from the stronghold 61 to the “Pozzo dell’Asino”, whose relief was very incomplete. From the “Minosse'' through the LSD tunnel, we came up two parallel wells, one of which led us to intercept a beautiful and

deep circular pit, known as “Black Magic”, entering about ­60 meters from the first trunk with another 130 meters downstream. At the same time, we dedicated ourselves to the Onishi gallery, a branch that has a significant flow of air which opens to the west from the gallery base camp, a few meters from our tents. Here we first dedicated ourselves to the more distant parts, finding new short branches with remarkable air flow and which will be reviewed with attention, and then checking the various breakthroughs until we get to the G. branch. We checked the various branches of the crossroads (west area of “Pozzo dell’Asino”) up to the “Nodo dell’OM” (“Node of OM2) and the “Ramo del Puma” (“Puma branch”), even here we realized to be in a maze of galleries not irrelevant and with the possibility of continuing. Afterwards, there we moved to the “Ramo dei Ciliegi”


"Becco" entrance


Above: Dripping water suplying at Base Camp Under: Base Camp location


(Branch of cherry trees”), another branch traversed by a strong current of air, and continuing along the main tunnel in the east direction from stronghold 61, where we are currently committed. Finally, as a last seen area and where our work is actually concentrated we have descended the “Ramo Finis Africae” (the firs left branch of Onishi tunnel) in which we are proceeding with the intention of finding a tunnels plan at an altitude of 1150­1100 meters above sea level. Until today, we have brought home about 3.5 km of relief, of which almost a km of undetected parts before and a few hundred meters of new branches, with great satisfaction. The work to be done is still a big deal, in different areas and on different sides, and now that we finally have detailed relief we are able to understand better which are the areas with the greatest exploratory prospects in which to concentrate efforts with the intent and hope to find new areas. We will certainly see some beautiful ones…

From "Quadrivio" to OM

P30 Finis africæ



Rio Leviglianese from "Images" Talp 55


Under the skirts of the Apuan Alps. Danilo Magnani. Translation: Teresa Lecchi

A history book is enough to amaze half an hour. Fabrizio de André This article is useless It is an absolutely useless article if not intend to turn on a computer and use the files that have been produced. Like all clever ideas, this one is born during those winter evenings that you do not quite know what to do, so instead of dusting forward to the fireplace you start collecting material scattered around the world inside the net. Then you move on to break the boxes to friends, then you turn to the simple acquaintances to end up talking to perfect strangers who disturb them at unlikely hours to ask them for data, news, drawings. The idea is simple: collect the data of the surveys of a certain karst area and thanks to the software that are available today, put them all together to see the effect it does. The main problem is that most of the caves, provided there is a land registry survey, no longer have the numerical data taken during the relevant campaigns. So, you must arm yourself with patience and (try to) get that data from plant and section. The aim of this report is to put together a whole series of observations with due concern for accuracy. Let me explain: the entrances of the caves are placed on the coordinates that are in the Regional Land Registry of the Caves of Tuscany: http://www.speleotoscana.it/ therefore subject to all possible positioning errors during the recovery of coordinates for stacking. recent campaigns to reposition the entrances coordinated by the Land Registry Commission of the Tuscan

Speleological Federation has not remedied quite a few errors and inaccuracies. Thanks to the wide spread of GPS today everything is much easier. Again, in relation to the accuracy of the findings, it should be borne in mind that the quality of the data taken in the cave waste countryside is extremely variable. We could consider the obvious and never entirely remedial reading errors or consider the harmful influences of metals on the magnetic instruments with which we detect, finally we should also consider the concrete important capabilities of the individual subjects. But regardless of the quality of the reliefs, we still must thank these people who produced and sent something to the land registry because of several caves there is not even a sign; at least, I did not find it. Maybe he has been forgotten for years in the dusty drawer of private jealousies or in the never­filled well of forgetfulness. I think it is right to point out that the polygonal drawings of the plant and section are even more subject to interpretation especially when the authors of the surveys have perhaps decided to "stretch" a few sections to make everything more readable ... So, the work we present is subject to multiple cases of errors. Put simply, the plants of the caves are "more or less" where they are placed on paper. 3D representations serve to "give an idea" of how voids move in our Apuans. They do not need to dig an artifice gallery to go and intercept this or that branch... (sic). The karst area that was first examined is that belonging to the source of the Buca di Renara (T/MS


2D map

228). The choice of borders was rather arbitrary; you tried to give him a semblance of logic, of what "might be. " But spiteful as Speleology is, it will certainly disprove us by narrowing or enlarging the area whose caves adhere, in a water sense, to the Renara Spring. Suggestions are accepted. In the current state of knowledge, there is only one way to know with certainty where the waters that run through a certain cave emerge: to enter into the hypogeum water course a non­toxic substance that is possible and then detect by monitoring the various springs until (at least) one of these emergencies is positive to the tracer released into the cave. Of all the cavities included in our work, only the Buca di Monte Pelato (465 T/LU) has been traced, certifying that those waters rise right in Renara. On the website of the Tuscan Speleological Federation, you can consult the archive of tracking carried out over the years (http://www.speleotoscana.it/category/commissionesci entifica/colorazioni/), as far as we are concerned in

this article, this is the link for the card relating to the Buca di Monte Pelato: http://www.speleotoscana.it/2015/0 8/31/ bucamontepelato1975/. So apart from the siphon on the current bottom of the Monte Pelato Complex that we know with certainty to grab a Renara, the rest are only assumptions (or hopes ...). The map base used for the overview is that of Webmapp, which seems to us to be easier to read than other cards. Of course, we thank Webmapp for the use (Map © webmapp.it). For the Tuscan caves on the net is located at this address: http:// alpi­apuane­ grotte.webmapp.it/. The file produced is a "classic" internal/external superposition, with the plants of the caves on the sutface and with the caves highlighted of which I could not find a complete relief (plant and section). The numerical data of the reliefs, which were kindly mandates or obtained from the drawings themselves, are used to produce 3D views. The program used to manage and assemble the amount of data is Csurvey http://www. csurvey.it/site/, a software created by Federico Cendron, that I am not going to finish never to thank you for all the support and solutions you have provided me with. Csurvey it is freely downloadable, to manage the data taken in the cave and draw the reliefs I strongly suggest its use. There are several 3D­based programs available on the network; as far as we are concerned, we started by generating type *.lox files via Csurvey that can be opened with LOCH, a 3D display program that is located within the Therion package, which is also freely downloadable (https://therion.speleo.sk/) and usable. So, to have fun (?) with the 3D view you are obliged to download and install the Therion software.


Loch screen with geological map

Another heartfelt thanks goes to Marco Mènchise who has found the solution for the lazy or for those who do not have so much desire to dismantle with computers: this viewer does not need any installation, it is enough

Geological caveview

a browser to surf the internet and of course a (good) network connection. It also works on smartphones. It is Caveview (© Angus Sawyer, 2017) and this below is an example of a screen.


All links to download the files or to access Caveview are on the website of the Tuscan Speleological Federation on this page:

The purpose of this work is to offer all interested parties the opportunities to play with it, think about it, make conjectures, plan cave outings... For sure it is a job that is born old, which I hope will grow old quickly: every time someone finds another meter of new cave and detects it (we hope!), these data are outdated, become obsolete, however I believe they are and remain a good starting point on which to make reasoning. As previously written, many of the important country books have been lost, or simply not nor have I been able to find them, so the polygonals of the caves were taken from the drawings. Anyone with data to share is welcome but know those numbers will go public. Every help, participation, sharing is welcome. The next chapter will try to group the caves belonging to the Frigido (more or less...): from Sumbra to the Valley of Orto di Donna, passing through Arnetola and Carcaraia, but also the seaside front of Mount Tambura, of Grondilice; not forgetting the complexes of the caves of low altitude near the same source of the Frigido. Short story on the side­lines: The survey of the complex Rocciolo­Golem and the Buca di Renara. Unwise ideas hardly do not generate. complications. The highlight of all the work described above is the Buca Renara so the first thing I need is the relief of the cave and its polygonal. A research in Land Registry and in the bibliography makes me find several drawings but no useful data from which to obtain a polygonal. Although it is a small cavity, it has several intertwined ways, so I convinced myself that drawing a polygon from the designs was more laborious and certainly less fun (?) to go to the cave and remake the relief with the Distox. I also decide to add to the relief the submerged cave sections

detected in several times by various cave divers, a special thanks to Roberto Corsi who gave me useful suggestions and clarifications on the reliefs of the flooded parts. A few meters from the Buca di Renara there are other caves, of limited size and depth but very important for the siphons that have been discovered inside them: the Buca del Rocciolo (229 T/MS) and the Buca di Golem (1450 T/MS). Consciousness requires to make an external polygon between the four entrances of the caves. Although the Rocciolo is a cave that we have been frequenting for years for courses, trips, educational outings, I did not know that its second entrance, the lowest one, had never been stacked. Today it is with the number 2109 T/MS. Again, I am convinced that redoing a polygonal from scratch is less complicated than a work of data recovery from drawings. From Golem’s cave, there is not even a drawing in the land registry. But Adriano Roncioni has the polygonal, together with that of Renara, of Rocciolo and of the outside... basically the detection that I did too. Not bad if the work I did is a duplicate of the one already produced by Adriano, the two polygonals serve us as a verification of the quality of the important data taken: mine with Distox, the others with the "traditional" instrumentation: the discrepancies between the polygonals are therefore minimal therefore of little relevance on the data complex. Although there is already a polygonal but not a design, now I cannot fail to detect the Golem, especially since the Speleological Group of Pistoia and the Speleological Group of Forte dei Marmi have made passable the connection between this cave and the underlying Buca del Rocciolo (their story is published in Talp N. 53).




Acknowledgments I would like to thank a lot of people who have helped me by offering me data and useful suggestions; people that I have certainly bothered even at unlikely hours, but I run the risk of forgetting some, so I tell them to three names only: Adriano Roncioni for polygonals and suggestions, Gianluca Bigoni for corrections and Nadia Ricci for the patience to detect with me. Reliefs consulted Buca di Renara 1926: G. Castellini, C. De Giuli Year unknown: Sub: C. Carletti, V. Cossio, A. Pergolini; disegno: C. Carletti 1979: Gruppo Speleologico Archeologico Versiliese 2000: Sub: R. Corsi Year unknown:Various authors; disegno: L. Piccini Buca del Rocciolo 1962?: N. Ciaranfi, C. De Giuli 1962: Gruppo Speleologico Fiorentino 1985: autori vari; disegno L. Piccini 1996: Sub: F. Baio 1996­97: Gruppo Speleologico Bolognese – Unione Speleologica Bolognese Buca di Golem 1998: A. Roncioni Bibliography AA.VV. ­ Buca di Renara 228 T ­ Atti III Congresso della Federazione Speleologica Toscana – 1977; G. Bigoni – Buca di Renara 228 T – Gruppo Speleologico Archeologico Versiliese pp.12­15 – 1980; G. Bigoni ­ Sistema di Monte Pelato: nuovi sifoni, Renara – Rocciolo pp.18­20 – Ol Bus, N.9 Anno XXI 1996 G. Agolini ­ M. Altissimo, M. Pelato e il Canale di Renara ­ Sottoterra Anno XXXV N.103 luglio ­ dicembre 1996 pp.18­20 L. Benassi – Il Rocciolo ­ Sottoterra Anno XXXV N.103 luglio ­ dicembre 1996 pp.21­25 J. Palumbo, Y. Tomba ­ Rilievo del Cunicolo del Cavo, Rocciolo ­ Sottoterra Anno XXXV N.103 luglio ­ dicembre 1996 pp.25 J. Palumbo ­ La Risorgente di Renara – Sottoterra Anno XXXV N.103 luglio ­ dicembre 1996 pp.26­27 A. Roncioni, G. Bigoni – Golem! ­ Talp N.18 dicembre 1998 pp.40­47 C. Carletti – Esplorazione di alcune sorgenti della Toscana – Talp N.23 (Atti del VII Congresso della Federazione Speleologica Toscana) pp.3­7 – 2001 R. Corsi ­ Il sifone della Buca di Renara – Speleologia N.49 Anno XXIV dicembre 2003 pp.24­25 A. Mezzetti ­ Le alte vie dell’Abisso Astrea ­ Speleologia N.49 Anno XXIV dicembre 2003 pp.14­23 A. Roncioni, M. Lazzoni ­ Ci mancavano solo le bombe! ­ Speleologia N.56 Anno XXVIII ­ giugno 2007 pp.4­5 V. Mantovanelli – Gate 17 – Talp N.53 dicembre 2016 pp.4­8


Springs tracking project Marco Genovesi

Bombassei Abyss Translation Cristian Leonardi Introduction The Luigi Bombassei Abyss (no. Cadastral 1013 LU) is located in the Panie group, more precisely on the small Pianiza plateau, east side of "Pizzo Delle Saette". The entrance opens as one of the many wells in the area, at an altitude of 1565 m. lt has a strongly vertical development, and the current depth reaches ­920 m, during the planimetric development of the entire cave, from the entrance to the collector at the base of the wells is contained within a circumference of only 70 m

The main caves in northern area of Panie's group

in diameter. First explored by the GS Bolognese in 1963 up to an altitude of ­210, in recent times (2016), new explorations have made it possible to achieve the current development depth, making it the deepest cavity of the Panie group. The presence of a small perennial collector near the bottom allowed the realization of a first test of tracing (21 July 2018, using about 2 kg of sodium fluorescein) to check the water delivery point. In particular, determine if the outflow was directed towards the


Turrite Secca valley (Pollaccia di lsola Santa and Fontanaccio sources) or to the southeast in front spring of Fornovolasco. However, the data provided by this first test were not clear indications. In addition to the activated carbon captors, was also used a positioned fluorometer probe directly to the source. However, for various circumstances, recorded only a few values, with low fluorescence values perhaps also due to the general "lean" conditions of the sources in where the test took place. Consequently, a second test was carried out (December 2018) in better water conditions, which finally made it possible to identify without uncertainty that the Pollaccia source is the summary point of the karst aquifer into which the Abisso Bombassei pours its waters.

Table of the monitored sources

Hypogeal outflow of the tracer.


Detail of the operations: For staining were positioned at the sources of the captors in activated charcoal (containing each about 10­15 gr. carbon protected by a plastic mesh), each with its identification code. First, we put white captors to check for the possible presence of natural fluorescence in the water, appearance fundamental for comparing the captors placed at a later date. Then we introduce the tracer. (NB: in this second test, the fluorimetric probe GGUN FL24 has not been positioned for continuous measurement). The complete sequence of these operations has been detailed in a specific shared spreadsheet, referred to in the following is a summary. As tracer was again used, the sodium fluorescein (2 kg) released into the Bombassei abyss on Friday 7 December 2018 at 12 PM. A phase of the analysis

Analysis of the sensors The activated carbon contained in mesh bags of each captor was first washed with water distilled to remove coarse impurities and subsequently dried at low temperature and finally placed in sealed and numbered containers. These were then taken 2 grams of charcoal (digital centesimal balance, accuracy +f ­ 0.03 grams). Moreover, introduced into test tubes glass by adding 6 cc of an eluent solution of alkalized ethyl alcohol with 10% KOH, shaking briefly. Subsequently, the containers were placed in an ultrasonic bath for 2 minutes to facilitate the desorption of the dye, then leaving them to rest for 12 hours. Finally, the eluates, after filtration, were placed in disposable cuvettes for fluorimetry (3.5 ml) and analyzed using a Turner TBS­380 digital fluorometer with the use of narrowband filters of excitation (λ465­ 485) and emission (λ515­575).


Analysis response for each spring


The instrument has been previously calibrated using reference solutions of 1, 10 and 100 ppb fluorescein: within these values, the measurements provided showed an answer sufficiently linear. The reading modes of the fluorimeter (an average of 5 measurements in sequence for each reading) returned very constant values for each sample tested, all of this indication of good functioning. As a "white" reference for measurements, lt was used eluent solution itself. Each measurement reported in the table has been repeatedly compared with that of "White", for which it is believed that the accuracy of the values is reasonably contained within a +/­ 2­ 3%. Evaluation of results The data collected here seem to indicate that the waters circulating in the "Bombassei abyss" have the only delivery point, the Pollaccia cave­source at "Isola Santa", located at an altitude 545 meters m and a planimetric distance of about 2.4 km. The run times of the tracer result relatively short, with a speed of the

order of hundreds of meters f hour, given that already the first sensor S01­C0t I A is the most positive. This data is further confirmed thanks to the fortunate circumstance of an inspection at the source. On the 8 December was carried out. A day after the colouring, when, thanks to the heavy rains of the night (about 38 mm recorded on the rain gauge of Fornovolasco and 64 mm in Campagrina, see graph), almost all the sources of the karst area were in flood: in particular, only Pollaccia showed the water of a suspicious greenish colour. In that water, samples were taken and subsequently analyzed with the same Turner TBS­380 fluorometer. Below are the fluorescence values detected: We can observe how the fluorescence values detected directly in the Pollaccia water are compatible, although inevitably on a smaller scale, with those obtained from the analysis of the captors.They show us how thanks to rainfall, fluorescein has come to the source less than 24 hours and largely spill over a few days, during rainy events


subsequent, although significant, have had only a minimal influence in the mobilization of the tracer residue still left inside the aquifer. NOTE: The analysis showed relatively high fluorescence values for the "white" captors of the "Polla dei Gangheri" and "Polla di Trombacco", values that have been reduced in subsequent sensors. At the moment, it is lt is difficult to determine what this may be due to, whether it is anthropogenic pollution or natural factors: in any case, it seems appropriate to investigate this aspect better, also in anticipation of future

colourations. Another point to underline is the apparent weak positivity of the captor n. l­ of Grotta del Vento: unfortunately, its coal turned out to be of the graiÀ type (and not in cylinders like all the others), and therefore the detected fluorescence value cannot be compared with that of the other sensors. As verified in previous tests (colour of the Farolfi abyss year 2004, TALP n.42), coal in grains is considered more adsorbent, also providing double values compared to that in small cylinders. Hence the impossibility of a comparison.

Grotta del vento Translation: Giovanna Parracino Introduction The Grotta del Vento (Wind Cave) is a well­known Apuan karst cave, located in the south­eastern part of the Panie mountains. The entrance opens at the end of the Trimpello canal, at an altitude of 642 m.s.l. It is a rather complex cavity, explored several times for a current development of about 4,500 m. For a long time it has been equipped for tourist visits, it presents interesting aspects of hypogeal karst, with the coexistence of phreatic and vadose morphologies. There are numerous vertical branches that connect with the most horizontal part, whose main axis is

constituted by a pipeline of metric dimensions developed in the phreatic regime, that ,from a horizontal to semi­vertical trend, actually connects the entrance with the deepest part (hall of the Acheron). Here, a modest stream of water disperses in a siphon that is obstructed by imposing fillings of sand and gravel (about 600m above sea level). During meteoric events of exceptional violence, the cave may be affected by significant rises in the "base" level of the waters until they exit from the entrance (eg flooding event in June 1996). A first tracking test had been done in July 2016 using Tinopal, but due to multiple ,


Tracking in wind cave (Corrado Castelli)


contributors. the outcome remained doubtful: therefore, we decided to repeat it, by using sodium fluorescein, a proven dye and maybe with fewer problems of its use in complex situations (reduced water circulation, presence of massive deposits) as in this case. Once again,the purpose of the test was to ascertain both the water delivery point and the dynamics of the underground circulation in this sector of the Apuan mountains, still little­known. Details of the operations: For the staining, captors of the active carbon were placed at the sources (containing about 10­15 gr. of charcoal protected by a plastic net), each with its own identification code. Before entering the tracer, we also placed "white"captors to verify the presence of natural fluorescence in the water, a fundamental aspect for a comparison with captors placed at a later date. It should be noted that the fluorimetric probe with datalogger (GGUN FL24) for the continuous measurement of the possible passage of fluorescein was also placed at the source of the Fontanaccio. The complete sequence of these operations has been

detailed in a special spreadsheet, of which there is a summary. On Sunday, March 31 at about 12 o'clock the sodium fluorescein was used (2 kg) as tracer and placed at the bottom of the G.d.V. (altitude 606 m.s.l. ) when the flow rate of the stream was about 1 lt/ s. Analysis of the captors The active carbon contained in each captor was first washed with distilled water to remove the coarser impurities, then dried in the oven at low temperature (40° C) and placed in sealed and numbered containers. Then, from each of these, we took 2 grams of coal (digital balance hundredth, accuracy +/­ 0,03 g) and introduced into additional numbered plastic containers, adding 6 cc of an alkaline ethyl alcohol eluent solution with 10% KOH, shaking briefly. Then the containers were placed in the ultrasonic bathroom for 2 minutes, leaving them to rest for 8 hours. The eluates, after filtration, were placed in disposable cells for fluorimetry (3,5 ml) and analysed with a digital fluorimeter TBS­380 Turner, by using some excitation (λ465­485) and emission (λ515­575) band filters.The instrument was previously calibrated by using 1, 10


In the following table the monitored sources:

Sources places in the area


and 100 ppb fluorescein reference solutions: within these values, the measurements showed a sufficiently linear response (see graph of calibration line). The working mode of the instrument (an average of 5 measures in sequence for each reading) has yielded rather constant and repeatable values for each sample examined, this is an indication of a good functioning. As a reference "white" for measurements,

eluates of captors were used before staining. Every measure reported in the table, if considered significant, has been several times compared with the "white" for which it is believed that the accuracy of the values is reasonably contained in a +/­ 5%.The table in the following page summarizes the instrumental answers (after 8 hours) for each source: 1) Small landslide: C02 captor found dry at the pick­up 2) Further analysis (out of 4 samples) negative confirmation, not weak positive as initially reported. 3) C02 Captor dry at sampling 4) C03 Captor missing: not present at pick date 5) C02 Captor dry at sampling Note: the ANALYSIS of captors will be further detailed in a special PROTOCOL in order to ensure a repeatability and comparison of the values obtained with those of the subsequent colors.

A phase of the analysis



Evaluation of the results The analysis data seem to indicate unequivocally that the waters of the Grotta del Vento have as their point of delivery the great spring of the Polla dei Gangheri, located just under 4 km east of the bottom of the cave. Almost all fluorescein seems to have been intercepted only by the 2.o captor, placed 14 days after the introduction of the tracer: not a short time, but not even too long if you consider the initial

conditions of reduced water flow at the time of staining. Fluorescein has certainly been "accelerated" by rainy events such as those of April 5, 14 and 24 (the latter of 90 mm). However, it is difficult to say on which days, between April 14 and 28, the tracer came out: the impression is that it has passed in a relatively short time, maybe thanks to the conspicuous rain of the day 24.

What is certain is that the following captor, n.3, collected only a small amount of dye, despite further significant rainy events (over 140 mm overall at the Fornovolasco rain station). At this point, a further staining is necessary with the positioning of the fluorimetric probe at the source, in order to obtain a remarkable accuracy about the transit times and the amount returned of the tracer, all very important data

to be able to trace the structure of the karst network that belongs to the Gangheri. I would add a brief note about the Piscero and Tinello sources: the ratio of over 3 times between "white" and maximum fluorescence value could leave the doubt to a (very) weak positivity, but given the values at stake at the moment, I consider the data too uncertain to be validated due to many factors.


Canyoning in Tuscany History of a slow but renteless rebirth Greta Coppini Translation Rita De Filippo The beginning of the practice of canyoning in Tuscany is undeniably linked to a summer pastime of cavers: go and wash the equipment in the gorge! But from the end of the 60s to today things have rather changed, beginning from the equipment and ending with the techniques. Although relatively "poor" in water routes, if compared to the regions that stand on the Alpine arc, Tuscany is still (together with Lombardy and Liguria) one of the three regions with the highest number of CAI titles. Till to­day, in fact, there are 2 National Canyoning Instructors, 7 Instructors and about a dozen Sectionals, as well as several speleological groups that annually organize courses and dedicated outings. It is therefore not the passion that we lack!

And it is precisely driven by this passion that the canyoneers of the region have committed themselves in recent years more than ever to the enhancement of the paths with cleaning and retooling, looking for and also rediscovering new canyons engraved on the slopes of our beloved mountains. The idea of including, in the number 55 of Talp, a special on canyoning, was born just to give voice to these beautiful initiatives which enhance our mountains, but above all they can become a land of fun outings for speleologists "who have to wash their overalls!" on hot summer days. Exploratory canyoning pills: The Pistoia Mountain Speleological Group has descended two paths that they eyed decades ago and then forgotten: the Capriola Canal, which starting from the slopes of the Costa Polita reaches Orzale, in the municipality of Stazzema and the Fosso del Ponte which, starting from the hamlet of Careggine, flows into Lake Vagli. The first is an open and sunny path, not too narrow and not very vertical. The second, on the other hand, is a groove worked between high and very narrow walls, sometimes dark, which opens only at the end, when it flows into the lake. The only flaw: despite the complaints made by AIC in the past, it is still heavily polluted by the town above. At the end of the 2019 season it was finally possible to descend the Acquapendente waterfall above the village of Pruno, also exploring the entire upstream section, known as Canale del Deglio. Rio del ponte


Acquapendente waterfall


The ditch is almost dry or with very little flow, unless you go there after heavy rains.The first stretch develops through the woods and is never too narrow, the final section tightens before opening forming the waterfall amphitheater This, formed by several successive jumps, hardly appreciable from below, exceeds the overall length of 100 meters thus becoming the highest waterfall in the region! Last but not least, the first CAI group of canyoning, the Lucca Canyoning Team, has finally been formed in Lucca. Thanks to the moral and economic support of the section and the Lucchese Speleological Group, it has been possible to purchase useful material for the planning of the next events for 2021: the equipping of a rock gym close to the city center, a test day open to everybody and an introduction course! You can follow their adventures on the Lucca Canyoning Team facebook page.

Rio del ponte

Cadastral References: Canale della Capriola: http://catastoforre.aic­canyoning.it/index/forra/reg/TOSCANA/pro/LU/cod/LU021 Rio del Ponte: http://catastoforre.aic­canyoning.it/index/forra/reg/TOSCANA/pro/LU/cod/LU018 Rio Prunaccio Chiara Vannucci In 2018, thanks to a joint exploration of some Tuscan canyoning guides, another interesting descent was added to our canyoning scene. The Rio Prunaccio, which flows through the woods under the town of Careggine, has a series of interesting verticals that reach up to 30 m of the highest descent, for a total of about 200 m of height difference. The descent, fully equipped with anchors on fix with plate and ring, can be covered in about 3 hours.

Rio Prunaccio


Rio Prunaccio


Exploration in upper Tuscany Michele Pazzini Translation Giovanna Parracino The canyoning activity in Tuscany is constantly growing; local groups, guides and individuals who do activities in the 25 equipped routes and currently listed in the regional land registry are increasing. Nevertheless, with the exception of some events that in recent years have promoted the local gorges such as "Torrentisti in Garfagnana", the gorges of Tuscany are generally little known by those outside the area. The quantity and variety of routes is certainly less than in the regions of the Alpine arch, which are more frequented and dense with equipped canyons.

One reason is to be found in the local geology which sees the extensive presence of carbonate rocks corresponding to the most majestic mountain range in the region. This situation is encouraging speleological interest of the Apuan Alps but means that many of the aesthetically remarkable routes found there, such as the Pianone canal or the Fatonero and Anguillaia ditches (potholes of the Giants) are permanently dry, except that during or immediately after heavy rainfall. The speleologist uniquely associates Tuscany with the Apuan Alps, but for the canyoneer who tries to follow the surface flow of the waters that over millennia have shaped the rock to form deep gorges, there is the Apennines too. Here you will find wild mountains, furrowed by deep tributaries and rich in runoffs. In the northern area of the Tuscan Apennines, in particular, some interesting gorges are already known. An example is the Acquetta stream, a little known but very complete path due to the presence of beautiful verticals and a considerable flow of water that remains abundant throughout the year. Another equipped route in the area, unknown even to the land registry, is the Redivalle. There is no reason why some of the other streams that run through this territory cannot have recessed and vertical sections and therefore deserve to be explored or at least rediscovered. The conditions that make a mountainous area rich in ravines are many and difficult to schematize, the lithology is fundamental but so are the differences in height, the slope gradient and the size of the hydrographic basins.

Torrente Pianone


Torrente Acquetta

Certainly the mountains of Tuscany are, for several of these parameters, disadvantaged compared to the mountains of the Alps, but perhaps, if there are not many torrent routes, it is also because there is still something left to explore. So it is with this belief that, over the last year, with the members of the Alta Portata Canyoning Association and the help of the friends of the Lucca Canyoning Team, we have undertaken a campaign to search for gorges and ravines in upper Tuscany. This area is also strategic for us because it can be quickly reached from our starting point, the province of La SpeziaWe take advantage of the opportunity offered by the release of this issue of Talp dedicated to canyoning to present what we hope is only a preliminary result, with two routes that, while not deserving an intense attendance, may be of interest for the expert canyoneer looking for news. Their

descent, perhaps associated with that of other gorges already known in the area, will allow you to visit a little­known and wild corner of the Tuscan­Emilian Apennines. Between the two proposed streams, we particularly recommend the descent of the Trauri canal, for its beautiful succession of verticals washed down by the flow. The following description describes the most interesting and logical stretch of the route, up to the bridge where the canal crosses the TL (Trekking Lunigiana) path near the ruins of an old mill. The lower part was also explored, another 200m in altitude up to the point where the canal crosses the driveway that climbs to the town of Torsana. The lower still has some pleasant and aesthetic abseils alternating with sections of climbing, but then the obstacles thin out and the slope decreases to a long final walk. We don't think it deserves repetition.


Rigging of C40, Bagnolecchia

The Bagnolecchia, on the other hand, is a route suitable for the collector who does not want to miss even one of the descents in the region from his curriculum. Those wishing to repeat it will appreciate the wild beauty of the context, some suggestive views and some abseils including the terminal C40 The equipment of both courses is currently, according to the reference standard scale, of insufficient level. Both have descents equipped with single anchors, 8mm dowels, non­certified materials and French­style chains. The departures of the handrails are not evident, missing or on natural ones. Some vertical obstacles are not equipped and require you to perform abseils on a tree and unclimb even more than 5m. The rigging bag is a must to have the possibility of integrating the equipment, even more so if in flow conditions higher than 50l / s. The Alta Portata Association plans to review the equipment of the Trauri Canal in the near future to facilitate the descent even for less experienced groups and in conditions of sustained flow. We will publish an update on the gorge cadastre of the Italian Canyoning Association (AIC) as soon as the work is completed.

Rigging of C40, Bagnolecchia


Exploration of higer part of Canale Trauri


Canale Trauri The Canale Trauri is a torrential path with a mainly vertical development, a good continuity and a fair flow of water despite its catchment basin being small. It develops in an aesthetic gorge on the slopes of Monte Alto. The progression is hampered by the presence, at times abundant, of fallen logs in the riverbed. The logs and the reduced depth of the pools do not allow them to overcome vertical obstacles with the diving technique. While not offering recreational opportunities, the unexpectedly wild environment makes the descent worthwhile

Higer drop of Canale Trauri


Access: Exit the A12 at the Aulla tollbooth. Exit the city towards the north, following the signs for the Lagastrello pass. A few km after the town of Licciana Nardi, leave the road that leads to the pass and turn right towards Comano. Reached Comano follow the signs for Torsana. Follow the road to its end and park in the square above the town. The parking space is limited, compact before reaching the country.

Approach: From the car park, follow the CAI 106 path that from Torsana leads to Punta Buffalora. The entrance is marked from the square with a warning sign for an interrupted path for experts. The interruption presents no problems because it remains further upstream of the junction for access to the gorge. The first part of the path is a bit vegetated and abandoned. In 10 minutes you reach a bridge over the Canale Trauri from which it is possible to observe the level. The bridge is also a possible way out in the middle of the descent. From the bridge, to access the starting point of the aided path, continue on the CAI path for about 100m more up to an old fence. Just before that, leave the path for a track on the left that climbs sharply back towards the gorge. The track must be followed carefully, it is not always evident and in some points it is interrupted by fallen trees that must be climbed over. Continue always approaching the gorge and the sequence of higher verticals. A last exposed stretch leads to a large grassy terrace overlooking the stream. Here, in the shade of the trees, you can get dressed and then go down to the shore with a double of 5m on natural. UTM coordinates of the entrance 593078E 4907551N. Descent: With the first abseil you reach the shore and then a 7m equipped slide on the right bank (RD). Shortly after the first vertical sequence, 3m climbing (D3) then a beautiful descent washed down by the 18m flow (C18) equipped with 2 chains on the left bank (RS). From the upper arm it is chained to the next stop in RD from here a C12 allows you to reach a second relay with 2 chains in RD.


There is a third anchor at the top that can help you get out of the hanging tub. From the stop, a C25 followed by a 50m walk leads back to the first bridge crossed during the approach. Go under the bridge to immediately reach a non­trivial D5 in RD. 2 anchorages in the DR with a C4 allow you to chain on a stop in the DR to get off a C15. Then a little shift in plan D3, D4 until you find a belay with 2 anchorages in RS that allow you to get off a C7. Then a D6 leads to a short 2m slide, at the base we find 2 anchorages in the RS at the top. From here you go down, with the same rope, two jumps in succession separated by a small pool (C10) to get to the second bridge that crosses the canal where the route ends.

Return: Just before passing under the second bridge, leave the shore on the left bank. Cross the bridge and continue along the path on the right bank which takes you back to the village in 5 minutes of gentle ascent. The path marked CAI (Sentiero TL Trekking Lunigiana) crosses the beautiful village of Torsana to the small square where we parked.


Canale Bagnolecchia Wild context and some beautiful verticals characterize this Tuscan­Emilian Apennine torrent that plows through the Ronchi Lunghi valley. The lack of continuity, the low sliding and the sinking not always tight make it a path for collectors.

Canale Bagnolecchia between C18 and C8


Access: Exit the A12 at the Aulla tollbooth. From here reach the town of Bagnone. At the end of the town, cross the bridge over the stream of the same name. At the next crossroads, turn right towards Iera. Cross the town and continue to Compione from where the road becomes a dirt road. Having an off­road vehicle or a high car available you can continue further, otherwise you can leave the car at a bend to the left, a few meters from the town, from which a CAI path starts to the right. If you want to take a shuttle, you can also leave a second car here. With the off­road vehicle, continue for 3.9km to leave the car on the lawn at a bend to the left that approaches the valley at an altitude of 1030m.

Approach From the low parking, walk for 10 minutes on the CAI path uphill until you reach a pass where the path reaches a crossroads indicated by a sign. Turn left, following the signs for the Tornini hut, on the path that continues uphill following the ridge. After gaining 160m in altitude, the path intersects the dirt road. Continue on the road for about 500m until the first tight bend on the left where the road approaches the valley. This is the same point where you arrive with the off­road vehicle (high parking). From here you leave the road and continue cutting through the woods slightly downhill for a hundred meters until you reach the bed of the stream. This section of the stream has no gorging and vertical obstacles and you can go down without a wetsuit and equipment following the shore for about 600m. Gradually the valley begins to deepen and the flow becomes more evident. With some climbings you can reach the first aided obstacle. UTM coordinates 584480E 4909224N.


Descent: The route begins with a C7 equipped in RS, handrail on a tree plus 1 artificial point. So a C4 and a C12, both double on a tree. A few tens of meters of walking lead to a D4, then C5 on a tree, D3 and you arrive at a C18 equipped in RS (tree + artificial) followed immediately by a C8 equipped in RD. Another 100m of walking leads to the last sequence with the highest vertical C40 equipped with starting handrail on tree and 2 chains in RS from there you go down to a relay at ­20 in RS, cord on tree. A few more climbs and a hundred meters of walking lead up to a visibly marked CAI path. Return: Exit in RD and follow the path uphill for 5 'until you reach a crossroads at a pass. The junction is the same as described in the approach. On the left you return to Compione in 10 'if you have left the car below. If you have to go up to the high parking, turn right. Go up until you reach the dirt road and then follow it until you find the car.

Second part of C40, last drop.

The explorations were conducted by members of the Alta Portata Canyoning Association with the collaboration of the Lucca Canyoning Team. Thanks to Andrea Venuta of the CAI Sarzana Speleological Group for the information on the Ronchi Lunghi valley Alta Portata was born from a group of canyoning enthusiasts from the province of La Spezia and is proposed as a reference point for canyoners from eastern Liguria and upper Tuscany. The group collaborates with the CAI section of Sarzana and is associated with the AIC. It organizes canyoning courses both under the aegis of the CAI National Canyoning School and the AIC National Canyoning School as well as trips and activities in the environment. For information on the proposed routes or on the group's activities, contact Michele 3200646586 or Camilla 3472585842. Lucca Canyoning Team is the newborn canyoning group of the CAI section of Lucca. It organizes outings and introductory courses to canyoning; its members carry out an intense activity. For information: Paolo 3473796746, Ettore 3355232785 or Greta 3404042902.



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