122 - , Ufoschacht 3/S =

Entrances

New Entrance

Explorers

Underground Description

The entrance consists of a crack about 20cm high, which was at first cleared as far as a chamber with no exit. The draught which had enabled the entrance to be found now showed the way on. After having unblocked a fissure dubbed Sas, a pitch, Escalier Anti-G, was reached. This is broken in five places. A second pitch, Puits Andromède, broken into three, leads to a short canyon, then to several drops and pitches interspersed with short squeezes. The following pitches can be seen as forming a single 80m shaft, the Puits Ganimède, divided into five and becoming bigger and bigger in depth as well as width. The cave continues by a fault rift two or three metres wide and 40m deep, Puits Trou Noir (The Black Hole). The early pitches are dry, but by this point, at -200m, the shafts are much wetter.

The explorers in 1977 started on the descent of a fine 60m pitch of constant shape, slightly sloping, Puits Zorglub. At the bottom of this is the only chamber of the cave : the Salle Galactique. Here the cave splits into two routes, the active and the fossil.

Active system

Downstream from the chamber a drop leads to a small chamber among boulders, the Love Nest. (No idea who ventured to call it this). Between the boulders a 20m pitch opens, immediately followed by a 25m pitch. In fact, the last 25m of descent drops between the walls of an immense aven to land on a flat gravel floor. A diagonal chimney leads to a trickle of water.

A fissure marks the start of the Méandre Anti-Matière, where one immediately rejoins the underground stream. This has an average flow of two litres per second but quite rapidly increases to 10-15 litres per second in flood. The first part of the meander is straight and interrupted by 3 small pitches and two drops. At the top of the first, in the roof, is the connection with the fossil system. Quickly, the meander becomes less amenable: high and narrow, it is plastered with mud (the anti-matter) which makes progress quite arduous. Three pitches of 5, 14 and 10m punctuate progress. This last, followed by a drop of 3m, gives access to a section of passage blocked by clay. At the end of this, the stream disappears into a fissure with tight impenetrable bends.

The main passage continues ahead as a quite large fossil branch. After some 50m, the draught goes into an earthy hole, the start of a big pitch of 70m in several stages, the Puits du Centaure.

Halfway down, the pitch is rejoined by the stream which is avoided by a parallel fossil shaft. There immediately follows another pitch of 55m, the Puits du Fond des Ages, totally wet and characterised by an elliptical cross-section and constant slope. At the bottom, the water is engulfed by a fissure about three metres long, followed by a tight meander which has not been pushed. This is the deepest point : -565m.

Fossil system

Upstream from the Salle Galactique, a window some metres high gives access to a good-sized passage (3x3m on average), the Méandre des Petits Hommes Verts (the Little Green Men's passage). One comes up against a climb of 3m at the base of which the trickle of water is lost into a meander cut below the fossil passage (see below). After a narrowing and a climb, the passage ends in boulders between which it is still possible to penetrate for a dozen metres.

Back in the meander below the fossil passage: this ends at the Puit de la Comète (discovered by the Gaumais), a 60m pitch, spray-lashed in its lower part by Le Pipi (the wee-wee). At the base of this pitch is the beginning of the Méandre des Mutants. This is a passage for masochists par excellence: low and tight, gear gets caught everywhere. It ends in a series of climbs and a 30m pitch joining the active system.

References

78.2012
(GSAB) Spéalp 1 (June 1977) pp 33-49, Totes Gebirge: Description des principaux gouffres de la zone ouest du massif, Jean Claude Hans & Etienne Degrave
English Translation
En Français
78.2008
(GSAB) Spéalp 2 (1978) pp 14-19, figures, surveys, Gouffre Ovni, Georges Feller
English Translation
En Français

Notes

Description adapted from the references by Andy Waddington. This translation has not been vetted by a fluent french reader, and I'm afraid it shows rather badly in places.

See reference 78-2008 for Geology and Meteorology.