Team Petzl Goes Caving in France’s Gouffre Berger

September 26, 2011 / France, Europe
Members of Team Petzl inside Gouffre Berger

Photo by Serge Caillault

This past August Team Petzl climbers and alpinists had the chance to visit France’s Gouffre Berger to try caving.

In 1955, caver Fernand Petzl was a member of the team that first reached the record-breaking 1000 meters depth at Gouffre Berger.

This goal of the expedition was to follow in the footsteps of Fernand 50 years later. A “dream team” was formed that would provide a learning experience for some, and allow others to take their caving to the next level.

A base camp was established between August 1st and 6th at Lans in Vercors. After an initial long day of technical calibration, the first descent to -500 meters (-1,640) was made. The objectives being, to make sure everyone was comfortable underground and to take photos. After a successful first step, the goal was set at full exploration of the cave, down to -1,122 meters (-3,681 feet).

Gouffre Berger Plan

At 1:00 pm August 4, the group headed underground again and quickly descended the part that was already covered. Eight hours later, at 9:00pm, the group had reached the siphon at -1122 meters, and a bottle of wine was opened to celebrate. Soon after the long 12 hour ascension began.

A fitting homage to Fernand and the other first explorers.

Caving: Gouffre Berger, the team follows in the footsteps of Fernand Petzl [Petzl]

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