Eternal cave draft

The exploration of the cave Jame večnega vetra - 2022-11-25

The exploration of the cave Jame večnega vetra (Eternal Wind Cave) has a long history. The entrance was discovered in 1993 during a field survey by Claudio Bratos. A year later, in winter conditions, Claudio Bratos and Stojan Sancin began to expand the cave. They faced a lot of work in the entrance parts, where they encountered squeezes practically every meter. They spent six afternoons in the entrance section, and the constant draft always showed them the right direction to progress.

fter breaking through the entrance parts, they descended into the Main Passage, which ends southeastward in a collapse chamber, which is undoubtedly connected to the neighboring cave Vraničeva jama, from where the majority of the draft flows. However, the cave does not end with the Main Passage, but continues beneath the terminus of the upper parts in a sequence of short pitches. At the bottom, two passages branch off in a smaller chamber. One descends further into a squeeze and ends in a smaller chamber with numerous possible continuations, while the other, more spacious one, rises into a larger chamber. At the top of the chamber, we enter a shaft, which ends with water at the lowest point of the cave, 119 meters deep.

Main chamber

Claudio and Stojan did not register the cave. They only surveyed the basic polygon, which was ultimately lost among Stojan’s notes. They named the cave Jame večnega vetra (the Eternal Wind Cave) because of the constant draft blowing through it. The air enters through the considerably colder Vraničeva jama and maintains a lower temperature throughout the year than in the Eternal Wind Cave. However, Claudio already suggested the new name Večno pihanje (Eternal Draft), which we also used during the exploration, and over time, it naturally stuck more than the original name.

We first ventured into the cave in January 2016. The conditions were more spring-like than winter-like, so walking through the fairly overgrown terrain was not particularly strenuous. First, we had to find the small entrance, which, according to stories, is located “a few sinkholes ahead of Vraničeva”. After numerous unsuccessful attempts, it finally worked out after about an hour of wandering. It’s only visible up close, but a drilled anchor in the rock above it proves it’s the real entrance.

Getting to know the entrance parts proceeded at a moderate pace, and we found the transition to the Main Passage without complications. We thought we had explored the cave in its entirety. However, despite being a large team, we weren’t paying much attention to every side passage, and thus, we missed the passage leading to the water shaft. According to the stories, we knew we could expect it, but we didn’t know where it was. Nonetheless, during this expedition, we got to know the cave well, took some photos, and determined what else needed to be done.

We planned the next visit during the dry season, and July 2017 seemed like the first suitable date. Once again, we gathered a large team. Among the urgent tasks in the cave was finding the water shaft, photographing the remaining parts, and surveying, for which Jaša and Slavc volunteered. This time, we found the passage to the water shaft without difficulty. We could have found it during the first visit, but no one felt like looking up the passage. We hoped to reach the bottom of the water shaft without water, but unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Perhaps it only disappears during centennial droughts.

We successfully completed the remaining tasks. The photos turned out well, but the survey slightly less so. The surveyors started their measurements in their respective sectors but never got around to combining their measurements. Hence, another expedition was necessary, again during the dry season, as the water shaft continued to bother us.

In March 2022, when it was dry as a bone again, the situation in the water shaft hadn’t changed much. There was still water at the bottom, maybe about 20 cm lower, but not enough to suggest any continuation. We examined the bottom with the continuations, tried to push a bit further, but without technical widening, it won’t work. Well, the main part of the expedition was devoted to surveying, and Patrik and I surveyed the cave to be 435 meters long. It would be appropriate to submit the plan and reports to the cadastre as soon as possible, but as usual, I procrastinated until the end of November. Of course, the cave hasn’t had the last word yet; we’ll just have to put in a little more effort. If the drought were to show its strength and dry up the water shaft, the yield would be even richer.


Copyright Peter Gedei