Two visits in Albania in 2011
This year the hunger for Albanian mountains got us earlier than normal. We couldn’t resist and we decided to go in June. Four friends answered immediately for my proposal to go to Valbony, so we packed quickly and we moved. The plan was simple – we go to explore a new area looking for caves. This new area is Maja Gjarperit, located east of Ceremit village, precisely speaking the upper plateau, which we have observed from the other side of the valley for three years.
The plateau is accessible by car so we are in good moods while driving. Our mood soon changed as spring floods had destroyed the roads in Valbony, including the road to Maja Gjarperit. We left the car in the valley and hiked to the top of the plateau.
The area is completely new to the eyes of spelunkers. We spent five painstaking days exploring the area. Our hunch was correct about this area and we discovered a couple of promising new caves. One we named AVLC17. It was the one where we were able to reach a measured depth of 60m. The grotto continues but we have run out of time and will have to finish our exploration and measurement activity on our next visit. This cave is promising and we will come back here next year to continue what we have started. The area is huge and very promising for other discoveries.
In August we continued the exploration of the cave Shpella Sportive, which we started last year. With a larger team of 7 people, we reached the Valbony valley on the 14th of August and after one day for preparation and establishment of the schedule for porter work, we hiked the mountains. We have moved the camp closer to a lake in the central part of Ljugue Bolcit because it is only a half hour hike to the cave entrance. The camp site doesn’t have any shade so the cool inside of the cave is a welcome relief from the sun. After rigging the part of the cave we already know we start our exploration. During six days of exploration we discover two side passages measuring respectively -47,5 m and – 132,7 m), and the third passage, at present our main corridor, reaches a depth of -264,3 m. The Sphella Sportive Cave currently measures 683,1 m in length. We expect that result to change significantly as we noticed side wells and corridors in many places. In the so-called base days we conducted a thorough surface exploration of the area. We found some promising new spots where we would expect to find additional caves. As the activity in Shpella Sportive has captured our attention completely this year, there was not enough time for further exploration of the AVL81 Cave, from which the opening “ blow” is even greater than from the Shpella Sportive Cave.
We will come back to Albania twice next year; in June to Maja Gjarperit and in August to Shpella Sportive. We encourage committed volunteers who are eager to help us in the exploration to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .