You nail it together with the ear! – Yes. so you don’t miss the ear. I nailed the piton alone, and attached the ear afterwards … Show how you make an 8-knot. Just this rope is … hard like … – a concrete iron bar. And down I go. Next we meet I will show you a triple 8 knot. – Oh, boy, I don’t even know the simple one. No, no, simple 8 is enough for you. Triple 8 is only for cave rescue use. It was just a little too devilish. It is OK that you can unhook the rope … He failed to do this, see, and it costed him his life. It escaped him, and the rope, new and smooth, ran through descender too fast. Yes … If you happen to have luck … So you cleared the rocks down into the cave. You have the knot at the end of the rope? – I always do. You reached the end of rope? – No. A bit further you will get a good shot. Yes. There is still daylight there, isn’t it? Is the cave already equipped? – No. You see ropes? – Yes … Maybe no, my eyesight is not so good lately. I don’t think it is equipped. It shouldn’t be. How fancy you look. Like a ballet dancer, with legs so firmly extended. I admire the cave. It’s been a long time since I was here. Beautiful shaft. … For the first who came down here in 1888, it was tough. Tough. – Very tough. … It’s a good shaft. Back then they did not have all the gear that we now do. Sure. They were lowered down sitting on a cane, attached to the end of the rope. It will be OK, not? – Ok, sure. Nice that you cleared all the rocks down. – Yes. It is clean now. Good work. You just can’t see everything. – Well, it’s because of the vegetables. The greenery hides the rocks, sure. Not much more is to be expected, however. – Sure. What a nice nest is here. – Whose nest? – Blackbird, I suppose. Is it new? – No, last year’s or two years back. Nice place for a nest. – Safe from cats. – From cats and from rain. Nest well made, on a prime place. Clever bird, clever. The wire safeline should be here. – Not anymore, they took it away. I remember. Once I came along, it was here, next time it was gone. What are you talking about? – About the wire, along the trail, which is there no more. I will leave the rope here, as it is. Welcome, I am Borut. – Hi, I’m Krzysiek. Nice to meet you, and thank you. Am I in the movie? – Yes. I would eat a banana, too. Caver’s meal. You are welcome. – I am allergic, I can not. It could be warmer … but it is OK. – It is quite warm. Hello, hello. – Maybe we should clip the carabiner here. – We need to clip it here. – OK. I will need some time here. Stressed? – Me? – You. – A bit stressed, yes. I don’t feel it yet. – You know, it’s like … it’s not like anxiety. It’s more like curiosity. How it’s going to be. OK. Tomek? – Yeah? – Do you have a shunt? Yes, I have, and I will descend with it. Yes! – So make it double… – Yes, I know, I’ll be good, you know. Take it easy, Wacek, we’ll manage. Tomek Kliza, born in 1980. I’m a mechanic, started caving a year ago. Actually, I’m taking a course now. Some people from my family are in this club, so I have some ‘roots’ here. My girlfriend convinced me to try it. The most beautiful cave? This one seems to be interesting. In Poland? Miętusia, perhaps. – Miętusia? – Miętusia, yes. It’s interesting and quite difficult, so it’s OK. Thank you. – So, yeah, we’ll see. Rope free? – Yes, but wait, I’m taking my shunt. – Allright. Oh, I feel it is going out. – Wait, don’t do it, you’re going to rip away my shunt! OK. Listen, please, the stones … even a pebble that falls 100 meters makes a hole in the helmet. That would be a good idea… Rope free? – Free! Filip Kiszło, born in 1993, student. An acquaintance convinced me, a friend was a caver, and I wanted to try something new. For me, Miętusia, the long and strenuous. – Thank you. – Thanks. Michał, from where would your father measure the depth of this cave? As far as I know, he would start at the parking lot. And here we are at the pretty shaft. 200 meters. Here is a step. But you can still fall 200 meters. Now it doesn’t matter, but it will be good on exit. So some 5 seconds of your life would be left. Piotrek Skrudlik, born in 1988, medical student. It was a silly idea; one day I just realized that I want to see how does it look like underground. I joined the grotto, thinking that I will only take the course. I didn’t expect that it will absorb me so much. Cave in Poland or in the world? – In the world. Beke-barlang in Hungary. – Beke-barlang. – That’s right. – Thank you. This sack is a real pain. This is a real cave. Not a small rock shelter behind a stone as we so often have: length 1.8 meters, depth 0.4. This Tyrolean wire is over the shaft? – Well, something like that. Let us descend to the cave. This would be a picture for Jerzy Ganszer. Flowers in a cave. Sebastian Korczyk, born in 1975. First and foremost, I’m an interpreter. My caving began when I met the famous Polish caver, Jerzy Ganszer, and after a few meetings I decided to try, start the course, without any hopes of continuation. Later it turned out that I’ve been to 2-3 caves, and I stayed. It’s hard to say which cave is best, each is different, I have 2 favourites so far. Ptasia Studnia, because of its fancy shapes, such a surprise to many, and Mylna, because I went there with my son Mikolaj and wife Ines. Wacek where are you pushing? Well … here I have a crack. I will give way. Are you holding? – OK, go, go. Well, OK. Sebastian, here is a jump down, right? – Michał, can I go first? I’m Michał Ganszer, born in 1995, high school student. I have been to caves all my life, my father is the famous caver that Sebastian mentioned. I’ve started the course as early as I could, at 16, and it brought me here. The most beautiful Polish cave is Czarna. I’ve only visited show caves abroad and Škocjanske jame were just great. Name and family name, year of birth and occupation. Adam Donczew, born in 1994, a student. – Of what? – Of life … For how long have I been caving? Half a year. I started caving because I think one should try everything in life. Best cave? Czarna, in Poland. – Czarna. – Yeah, Czarna. – Thank you. I’m Krzysiek Handzlik, born in 1981, I’m a physiotherapist but I work in a construction company. I was always interested in everything connected with the mountains. And as caves are an inseparable part of mountains, I had to meet them somehow. Everything is curious here, nature, animals, geological formations that you can see in caves. These are the last places away from civilisation, where you can admire untouched nature. Best cave? Hard to say, each has something specific. I believe there’s no such thing as ‘the most beautiful cave’. Each cave has something surprising. Cave I like most is the cave I’ve not yet been to – and probably will never get there, but it is the most beautiful cave for me – Lechuguilla, New Mexico. Thank you, and good luck! – Thanks. Rope free! Rope free. Piotrek Smoczyński, born in 1992. I’m nephew of this famous caver, Jurek Ganszer. I’m a management student. I did many things in the mountains, using ropes, too. Suddenly I realized that I want something more. As my cousin and my uncle, I joined the caving course. So far it’s Czarna, but Miętusia was the most exciting, we had many adventures there. But Czarna is the most beautiful. Rope free! Is the rope still busy? – Free! – Is it? – Right now. Oh f…ing shunt! Who is above us? – Krzysztof … and Ganszer’s family. And now, ‘Litwo, Ojczyzno moja’, as far as you know it. ‘Lithuania, my country! You are as good health. How much one should prize you, he only can tell who has lost you. Your beauty and splendour I view and describe here today, for I long after you. Holy Virgin who shelters our bright Częstochowa and shines in Ostra Brama! You, who yet watch over The castled Nowogródek’s folk faithful and mild; as You once had returned me to health, a sick child, When by my weeping mother into Your care given, I by miracle opened a dead eye to heaven …’ I can’t remeber what’s next… – Bravo! – Thanks. Oh, knot. What? – Here? – Yes, here. Would Petzl simple do over this sharp threshold? – Yes, but further stretch to the knot is easy. Here is an old via ferrata. I am listening. – This is still from 19th century. Why do I get tired? I am standing here like on a solid floor. It will be a battle. Rope free. – Free? – Yes. It was long ago I descended with a croll … I mean shunt. – We went through entire Miętusia without shunt. Me and Michał … he descended from a balcony on a rope when he was 5. Which Michał? – Ganszer Jr. – You live together? – Yes, in the same building. I remember my first rope climbing. His father hanged us 2 m down from the stairs. 2 m was a lot for us, for such small kids. My name is Kasia Szczerba, born in 1976. I’m a graphic designer. I’ve been hiking since childhood, with my parents, later on my own. I met a person who told me that mountains are also beautiful inside, and so my caving began. Each cave is a surprise: one satisfies you when you overcome technical difficulties, another can amaze you with its formations and beauty. In Tatra Mountains it is Śnieżna Studnia, And in Polish Jura there’s a tiny cave, Maurycego, still in its pure form. its bottom is covered with sand, has pearl white formations and is lovely, though small. Thank you, and good luck. – Thanks a lot. You have it secured? – Yes. – Krzysiek, you are free to go. – OK, thank you. Oh there begins the interesting part. Here you have a good place to rest. – A ledge. And a rapelling point is here. Careful! Attention! Watch your step, there are rocks below the leaves. When you go below the wall the falling rocks can kill. And tell everybody to be careful. Old iron bars protrude from the wall. I am just shoveling the leaves away. – It is not necessary. Just be careful. What is most important, there were no large stones. I’m not photogenic. – Oh, oh. After 10 years these pictures will be … just perfect. My name is Wacław Michalski. I have an office job, I’m an assessor in a real estate agency. And I love training caving course participants. Date of birth? – 1964. Good old vintage year. – Forever young. How I joined the caving army? I’ve read a biographical book about a caver. Walking in Bielsko-Biała, I saw the bulletin board of the Speleo-Club. At that time it was on Wojska Polskiego square, I guess. There were starting a course, and I joined. Joined the famous caver, Ganszer. Nice, nice. I also started caving because of a book. Can I add something? Each cave has something wonderful, but the most beautiful? I don’t have a favourite. It’s difficult to say. I love climbing these Tatra Mountains, I like them very much. Ptasia or Śnieżna, these are great caves. Can I add something? Thank you, our Slovenian friends for your reception. Viva Slovenia! I am a liitle scared. – Yes? – I fear that someone would set off a stone on my head. In case I would be over you. – Sure. Okay, I have to turn the lamp on. … OK. Nice there is so much light here. Yes, but here it ends. In the first hall you see two pillars of light too. Wait, where do I have … I must prepare myself for a descent in the air, I suppose. Up to here we were like on rails, from the next anchor it will all be in the air. Some more anchors? – Yes. 80 meters in the air and later in the first hall maybe another 30. I entangled myself a bit. Just beautiful! Is it free, Krzysiek? – OK. – Rope free? – Not yet, I must unfasten myself first. I’m Zofia Skrudlik, born in 1960, so I’m older than Wacek. I teach Physical Education in a secondary school. Nice. – My caving adventure started quite late, last fall, in 2011. My son talked me into it and I must say that I’m on this course thanks to our instructors, Especially to our training supervisor Wacław Michalski, the man who just descended. The greatest things happened in Miętusia, that’s where we’ve made a camp. But the most beautiful cave … I know many Slovak tourist caves. Most impressive was a cave on the Hungary/Slovakia border. If I remember it’s name correctly it’s Aggtelek on one side and Domica on the other. But it was a tourist trip of course. – Thank you, and good luck! Rope is free but if you do not want to hang in the air wait a little more. How far? – What? – How far to go below you? – 5 meters and 30, 20 or even 40. Watch out for the iron bars! … Brave forerunners must have used this old wiring. Tell me something. Why are here two ropes? One is so worn out. What? – Use the new one. – No, the old one looks so sure-fire (Joking). You unblock the descender, break out and off you go. Rope is free. It is also a nice point for a rest. I’m Maja Jędrzejewska, born in 1979 and I’m a doctor. Radiology is my specialization. How did you start caving? – I started recently, 2 years ago. Friends presented me speleology and caving as an amazing adventure, worth trying. They persuaded me and I’m happy they did. Have you seen many caves? – Actually only Tatra caves and caves in Polish Jura, 2 caves in Slovakia … Interesting ones? – As all have said: every cave is interesting. For the beginners, every cave is a challenge. The nicest things were in Miętusia, the most pleasant caving for me. And this cave here impressed me a lot, the very entrance. We’ll see what’s next. What about other caves out of Poland, where you not been yet. From the photos I suppose there are some beautiful caves in South America. Maybe I’ll go there some day. Thank you and good luck! – Thank you very much. A little rope to the next point. – Do you like it? Oh you’re not yet there. No, but I will be soon. – Do you see how is it? – There’s something I see. Be careful, because there is an old rope. Boys, what kind of heroes had to be the people who climbed down here on wooden ladders. Well? – Psychopaths. Not just psychopaths, loonies. – Nice, nice. – Madmen explorers. The rope that hangs down here in the middle is also nice. Long one in the air? – Yes. – This is Primož rope. It will be for the movie shots. Next rope is free. – OK. What do we have here? … Here, here and here. This is not the end. – No, no. Here it goes down. You have it turned around? – Now. – It may go slightly to the side, or through the middle? Could be. – Okay. Where did you get this toy? – I bought it used, along with croll. We could turn it, do it differently, now you have buckle on the spine. Well, I always had it this way. – Yes. I bought: a croll, ascender, 2 carabiners, a descender, all for 350 zl. (110 $). Oh yes, man! – I bought used but in perfect condition. Could you introduce yourself? Tomasz Podgórski, born in 1979, I work in science, as a biologist. I’m from Wrocław, but I live and work in Białowieża Forest near the Polish-Belarus border. How did you come to Kačna jama? – I came here with a girl, a friend who is now in the cave. We’ve been in Slovenia for a week now, we did rock-climbing. How long are you in photography? Oh, for many years, mostly photos of nature, landscapes, animals. Your first camera? My first camera was a Russian SLR, Zenit 12XP. Thank you and good luck. – Thank you very much. – Long live biology! To infinity. – To infinity, sure. To infinity at Claudio. Are you fastened? – Wait a little more. It’s just a trick, to get some rest. – Rest is also necessary, isn’t it? Where are you, master of crafts. – Look here. – To see you. – Hurry, last rays of sun … If I could hold the camera more strongly, it would be better. Look, Stojan keeps silent and hides himself! Look at him! Where are you, Stojan! Here I am, see? – Yes. – I see your yellow sack. – Non-shaky hand would be better. At the edge of the precipice we found a continuation. Nice draught, I shall dismount the light to better show the tunnel. See, a tunnel, really. – 10 meters far can be seen, it widens below. It is only earth to dig. – What is the size? At first just 10 by 15 cm, but it opens up. Spider’s web is wiggling well, the tunnel widens left and right and is also higher. 10 meters no problem. – Some digging. – Simple dig, no technicalities. Just pure soil. Pure beauty. – I will cover myself again, to hide the hair, or lack of it. What was lost in time. If compared to me, I can say just Ciao bello. Primož, next time we go to Burja Cave. Some more excercise, and Burja. Just as you say. – Bye. – See you. To the water! At high water we tried to make a picture of this entrance, with someone in a boat. The water, how high? – About so high. We tied the boat to a rope, because otherwise the river would drag it in the cave. Fellow caver, Jozl, was sitting in the boat, just for the picture. I was here, ashore, with camera on a tripod. And just as I was about to take the picture, a log, a tree, a very big one, floating hidden in the water, has hit a rock, lifted itself from the water and crossed the boat from behind, half an inch above friend’s helmet, and disappeared in the water on the other side of the boat. No picture taken, we quickly pulled him ashore. Jozl just didn’t see what was happening. If the log moved 1 cm lower he would be pushed out of the boat and he would drown. Have you understood? – Yes. Imagine: a blind valley and a sinkhole. Here the sinkhole is simply very large. Darn! (F..k!) Mysza? – Yes. – Can you take a picture? – Do you have a camera? I do not. – Anybody there? Sebastian! – Yes. – Can you take a picture? – Sure. Wacek, move to the other side. – Yes, yes. – But the camera can not cover so far. Stand back Zosia, this here could fall down … OK, Wacek, I will move away. … Stay there and light up, not Wacek, just the ceiling and the floor. Some the ceiling, some the floor. – How stupid I am. Lights up, Wacek has to be illuminated. – Cool, cool. I want this, too. Where is Sebastian? – There. – Oh, so you can’t see him but can hear him. No, you should not be seen, just the light. The ceiling, the ceiling. – I will do the floor. Oh, Mister will make a picture of us. … Wacek will be even better. – Wacek madman. I want it hanging. – Like a lemur. Sloth, that is. I just can not hold much longer. – Zosia, give me your hand. But no, I want a hanging picture. – Like a sloth. Sebastian! – Yes. – Will you take a picture of me? – Wait! Let us stop Zosia. No, he has to do it first. I can not hold it for so long. I will move, here is vapor in the air. – OK. Wait, Zosia wants it like a sloth. Hold on! … Wait, I’m coming. – No comment. I have to go down now. – Release the legs, legs first. – Well, but my hands … Jump! – I have my hands crossed. OK. Thank you. – Seba can we ask you for help? – Probably, yes. Only that it is too thick. – Not too thick, very slippery. Piotrek, hang for some more time. … Yeah. Cool. Now, now, wait, I’ll make a picture just as we see it. And here is the big mouth of a cave. Family Feud! (mocking the game show) – What an echo, echo! Let us go down, it is getting uncomfortable. Well, here we have this little cave opening. Wacłav Michalski, chief of caving school. – Welcome to the Slovenian Karst. Oh! Nice place for taking pictures. Careful, it is slippery here. – Careful, slippery. – Careful, the paddle. Sitting? You have to lean forward. – OK. Hold the paddles! Paddle harder. Not this way. Oh, yes. Hey! – Just paddle harder. Go a bit further, rocks are here.