Coume (France)

Exciting reports in from our French Eldonite

Round the corner it got bigger :-)

20m more

Closed down :-(

Still it was pretty pretty and I'm sure if they could reach it the Mendipians would put a lot of ribbon on the ceiling.

A Fine Sunday Afternoon prospecting in Coume Ouarnede. 20/09/20

More of a dog walk really than a serious prowl (As I was the only member of "Team Geriatric" present) but it yielded a fine result.

I decided for want of a better idea to follow the line on the surface the Riviere Pyrrhanalphabete inlet that lies some 100 metres below. At the upstream end on the survey it indicates a pitch up estimated to be around 40m that has never been climbed, It has to start somewhere! Sadly nothing significant was found as we followed down the hill however as the line crossed the re-entrant and started to head up the hill towards the Henne Morte I began to give up as the vertical distance between my feet and the inlet beneath was increasing dramatically. In the end I did and began an aimless traverse of the slope. Deep cracks in the karst were tantalising but revealed nowt of interest then true to form as it was decided to head back to the car I spotted a small opening  of about 6 inches in diameter which as I tried to extract a rock collapsed to open up a sizeable hole big enough to poke my head in. I could see about 6m (back to metric) to the floor of a passage which I would estimate to be 10m high by 4m across leading straight into the hillside.

A bit more clearing of small stones, roots and earth exposed a massive lintel that looked as if it had been placed centuries before to block the entrance though probably not as I have never heard of this happening anywhere in the forest.


I cut a couple of stout branches and despatched the lintel into the hole leaving a perfectly adequate opening.

Now I have to wait till the end of the week before I can get back with rope and bolts to make the drop. I can see 20 or more metres to where the passage curves to the left and appears to descend out of sight.

Anyroad even if nothing develops round the corner I have christened the hole Gouffre des Amygdales (Tonsils)




A Bit of a Disappointment

The good prospecting snow never really fell this winter but on one of the few occasions we did get a fall a snow-shoeing explore did reveal a few possible targets. The best was a very obvious feature that must have surely been explored before but under one wall there was a snow melting as a result of a steady flow of warm air. A return a few days later when the snow had cleared revealed a well blocked but obvious dig which a scrape with a ski pole soon confirmed that another trip with some tools was well worth the effort. An hour or so digging on the next visit was all that was needed to enlarge the way in sufficiently for me to enter but not having the confidence to push on alone down an unknown hole in an unfrequented part of the forest meant I would have to return yet again.Two days later I managed to get a cycling mate to come with me and act as surface support.



I entered without any undue difficulty feet first and once inside managed to clear out the entrance more thoroughly, the draught this time was blowing grit into my eyes. A descending tube required a few moments more clearing but the soil and stones rolled easily down to a small chamber below quickly followed by myself. A few metres and yells of excitement I reached a junction with the main passage which must have been a couple of metres high and similarly wide.

To the left a few small steps down led to a damp pitch with a shelf part way down which would be somewhere between 20 and 30 metres. Right the passage continued as a stooping walk and then crawling over several small pots to reach a pitch after about 50m. This area was bone dry. The pitch I guestimated to be again around 30m deep. Having exhausted all I could do without kit I returned to surface and hurried home to get support for a next day return with a couple of the folk I cave with here. Armed with rope, drill and a dozen Petzl pulses the next day saw us back at the dig/new cave. Sylvestre said he knew nothing of the hole and had never been there before and also that no records existed of any other visits. And he has all the records. We entered and their excitement was equal to mine. We decided that the big dry pot was the one to start with. Sylvestre moved in to start the rigging and as he poised with the drill he caught sight of the sleeve of a spit. Then another and another.