Jamarska šola 2017 – Rope technique in Rakov Škocjan

Jamarstvo (caving) is very cool activity itself, but what makes it even more fascinating is the diversity of places where we go for the trainings. Although the Rakov Škocjan is not exactly the cave, but it was an ideal place to train the ascending and descending techniques on a rope, while enjoying the warm spring day. Besides the technical features of the place the surrounding landscape was worth coming itself – the canyon with a creek, that once was a cave. In the places, where the ceiling collapsed not completely, two natural bridges were created. Leaving the peaceful meadow, the river flows through this place, which used to be a cave long time ago, until it hides again in the other cave a little bit further downstream. It was a little bit weird to see the remains of stalactites on the wall in the daylight, with trees behind your back, but it is said this is the destiny of all the caves. With time passing they move closer to the surface until “open” completely to the sunlight.

The good thing about the cave is that normally it is so dark that you don’t really see how high it is. Here on the top of 20-metres cliff it was always a kind of battle with myself to start actual descend – the worst moment was when you still have a solid ground under your feet, but should have let it go, and to hang on the rope, hoping that all the sophisticated devices would do their job well. Double check if the rope goes the right way in the stop descender – and here it is the next sidrišče (a station you can anchor yourself to – Slovenian is great in finding its own words for everything, which turns out sometimes to be easier to remember than their English equivalents). So let’s switch the rope, double check again and go further down. On my second descend I found myself oversecured trying to go through the knot – I used everything I had, except the long “popkovina” – the side effect of the security lessons. The fun part starts when you are lacking just a few centimetres of rope to re-attach yourself and should start everything from the beginning. But every mistake is the best lesson for the next time.

The training day is over when it is dark already. In the torch light the experienced JKŽ members take the ropes off from the wall and we are coming back to Ljubljana with a slight, rather pleasant soreness in the muscles as a reminder that Jama pod Gavgami is waiting us next week.

Student Yana


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