Cleaning project in Šimenkovo brezno

Legendary cave above Stična - 2010-11

So the story goes something like this: at home, the washing machine broke, in the garden there are two old ones already lying around. And that motorcycle belonging to the late France is lying, all rusty, in the attic. And all these bins, and containers and all sorts of other things. Where do I put all this stuff? And yesterday, the cow died as well. Can't bury it behind the field, where the pigs and sheep are already resting. And all these skins! Gosh darn it, there are no trash containers, nobody wants to drive the stuff away, well, I'll just carry it to the nearby abyss won't I, nobody will ever know. But they will. There are still enthusiasts who like to rummage through caves and extract a sin or two of the nearby or far-off inhabitants from the most contaminated caves. This time's cleaning action with the ''blessing'' of the Institute for research of the karst took place in Dolenjska, where filling up the caves with all kinds of waste is bordering on mandatory folklore.

In the Šimenkovo brezno, the bottom of the 40 meter level has always been quite diverse. So in the action of 1993, we could breathe in the smell of fresh venison spiced with fresh cow bones and admire the plastic bags of unidentifiable organic content. We assumed that they contained the contains of domestic or even wild animals, who had awaited their bitter end before the fall down to the abyss. Now, they hung helplessly from cracks, where they had, after a deep fall, sadly become lodged.

The abyss in the entrance has another small problem. The rockfall at the bottom flows into a narrow section, which is the only transition to the rest of the cave. Supposedly it had been filled up many years ago, and then extended again by cavers’ hands. Because of that, stuffing yourself between unstable blocks, trash and bones is a fantastic experience, especially because you aren’t sure whether the passage would be transient on the way back.

Later, the boys from the nearby Lavrič hut did a great job due to the extensive research in the cave, as they secured the entrance with a concrete ring and made a massive metal door. Sadly, the zeal of the research was stopped by a diving tragedy – one of the siphons proved to be fatal for Špela Klemen. Cavers set out to the cave only on the anniversaries of the tragedy, when they lit a candle by the first siphon in her memory.

Well, of course the years did their job and the composting process creates miracles. This time there were no animal remains to be seen. Lying around were only bare bones, covered with humus of the best quality and a bunch of diverse junk, which we carried out of the abyss in one day. Actually, a winch, which had been artfully mounted above the entrance to the abyss, carried the trash, while for transport we used special bags, which allow a high capacity.

The pleasure of picking through the rockfall nestled with trash is, of course, a great experience. Among others, we also found two engines, and by the end a human femur. Who awaited his bitter end in the cave is left to decide for the experts, for us the action happily concluded in the late hours of the evening in the Lavrič hut. 50 members of the Caving club Železničar took part, while cavers from other clubs helped as well.

During the shooting of the action I shot from some above- and under-ground level shots, interesting enough for a short movie. Shot with 5Dmk2, lightened with two cheap Seoul P7 LED lights and additional diffusers, sound is from camera…


Copyright Peter Gedei