Welcome to the Planetcaver blog, featuring stories from caves andunderground explorations around the world, from the point of view of a beginner caver.

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Caving images generated by DALL-E
Wow. I've seen DALL-E's pictures from other topics elsewhere previously, but now I tried it myself for caving. And since we just had the pre-Xmas party of our association in the cave, I gave the AI the task of imagining what it would look like. True to its style, the generated images are mixture of amazing with some very disturbing undertones.
Full story
(TGR version)

November 2022, House Arkko, Kauniainen, Finland
Caving (Media)

Caver's club Xmas in a cave
The Finnish caving association, Luolaseura, has a tradition to hold pre-Xmas parties. This time we started it in a warm place ... in the Grottberget cave in Siuntio. And it was surprisingly warm, I guess because the cave entrance is lower than the cave itself. And with a dozen cavers in this small cave, it also heated up quickly. I really liked the old style oil lamps. And the cave dog!
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November 2022, Grottbergetin luola, Siuntio, Finland
Caving (Basic, Rock, Social, Rock-Granite, Morphology-Crystallization)

Vantaa is too tight
We went for a short caving trip in Vantaa... visiting our old friend Kalkkikallion ketunluola. It is still a great small cave, dark and tight. But one of the other caves, Kalkkikallion matalan katon luola (the low roof cave) was even more interesting. I had been there before, and didn't want to go through between the two entrances. Now I tried again... and still didn't want to go through. The cave gets progressively lower between two rock layers, and just before exit it is less than 20 cm... maybe someone else wants to try?
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September 2022, Kalkkikallion kivikatoksen luola, Vantaa, Finland; Kalkkikallion nuotiopaikan luola, Vantaa, Finland; Kalkkikallion matalan katon luola, Vantaa, Finland; Kalkkikallion ketunluola, Vantaa, Finland
Caving (Basic, Morphology-Boulders, Morphology-Crack, Rock, Rock-Gneiss); Caving (Basic, Surveying, Morphology-Karst, Morphology-Crack, Rock, Rock-Gneiss, Rock-Limestone)

Kipontie, what a wonderful Finnish cave!
Why look for limestone caves and stalactites, when in Finland you can find moss-stalactites? And besides stalactites, the Kipontien luola (cave of the scoop road) is an exceptionally nice experience. Most Finnish caves are cracks on a cliff or space under boulders. But Kipontie is a hole in the ground, on a more or less level surface, even if inside you can see that it is made up of cracks and boulders. But it is dark, it is tight, actually make that very tight, and downright claustrophobia inducing hell hole. Just like caves should be!
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(TGR version)

September 2022, Kipontien luola, Orivesi, Finland
Caving (Basic, Surveying, Rock, Rock-Gneiss, Morphology-Boulders, Morphology-Crack)

Continuing my quest for using lidar in newest phones to build 3D models of caves. Here we have a scan of the Schneefleckhöhle, a 160-meter marble cave in the Zillertal mountains in Austria. The cave has been scanned with iPhone 12 Pro and Polycam, using lights and the phone mounted on a Benro selfie stick. Scanned segments were put together in Blender and used for fly-through animation. I can also feed the 3D model to my "Cave Outliner" software that draws a plan view map and cross sections based on the model. Lots to improve in various pieces of software, and scanning an entire complex form is very hard. While all of this is very experimental, bleeding edge technology it is also very exciting, and already offers some stunning views onto a caves.
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(TGR version)

August 2022, Schneefleckhöhle, Hintertux, Zillertal, Austria
Caving (Basic, Surveying, Rock, Rock-Marble, Morphology-Erosion)

Schraubenfallhöhle is a cave, an underground river. It starts from one raging waterfall of the Tuxbach dropping into a wide hole in the ground, and emerges a bit later to start another waterfall. It is located by the end of the Hintertux valley, right by the lowest lift station taking people up to the Hintertux glacier.
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August 2022, Schraubenfallhöhle, Hintertux, Zillertal, Austria; Schraubenfallhöhle kleine Seitenhöhle 1, Hintertux, Zillertal, Austria; Schraubenfallhöhle kleine Seitenhöhle 2, Hintertux, Zillertal, Austria
Caving (Basic, Rock, Rock-Marble, Morphology-Erosion); Caving (Basic, Rock, Rock-Marble, Morphology-Erosion, Surveying)

Jeskyně Postojna -- Czech Edition
Jeskyně Postojna famous, massive cave in Slovenia. We are on our way to a Jeskyně Postojna. But not the one in Slovenia... a smaller one in northern Czech Republic. This cave, Postonja cave, was named after farmers' shouts as they kept shouting for their sheep "wait little one" ("postüj malá"). While the cave is not huge, it was a very nice cave to crawl through. Soft, dry sand at the bottom... smooth, round surfaces, tiny holes to squeeze through. A great exploration, with also countless other smaller caves around in the so called Klokočské Rocks natural park. There must be thousands and thousands of holes here, wondering if everything's been researched and looked into?
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(TGR version)

July 2022, Jeskyně Postojna, Mírová pod Kozákovem, Czech Republic; Jeskyně Postojna první boční jeskyně, Mírová pod Kozákovem, Czech Republic; Jeskyně Postojna druhá boční jeskyně, Mírová pod Kozákovem, Czech Republic
Caving (Rock, Basic, Surveying, Rock-Sandstone)

Grafenloch and Rossstall cave maps
I visited these caves last year, but now have software to produce a map of them.
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(TGR version)

July 2022, Grafenloch, Oberaudorf, Germany; Rossstall, Oberaudorf, Germany
Caving (Surveying)

Summer meetup at the Cave Association
I visited the summer meeting, with my loaner dog... did not have time for the actual cave visits. Well, I've been to the area caves already. But they might have found some smaller ones from the forests, and be bitten by mosquitoes :-) But the rest of it was a lot of fun, sauna, swim, eat!
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July 2022, Ilvesjoki Caving Association Headquarters, Ilvesjoki, Finland
Caving (Social, Research)

Jabba the Hutt makes an appearance in a Philadelphia cave!
Crystal Caves here, there, everywhere! I had an uncanny feeling that I've been before to a Crystal Cave, but hey, everybody's entitled to have a crystal cave, no? And this everybody isn't just anybody, it is somebody. Jabba the Hutt, to be precise!
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July 2022, Crystal Cave, Richmond, Pennsylvania, USA
Caving (Basic, Morphology-Karst, Rock, Rock-Limestone)

Lost River Caverns
On my work trip to Philadelphia, I also managed to visit the Lost River Caverns, an hour and half from the city. What a wonderful display of colors and cave forms!
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July 2022, Lost River Caverns, Hellertown, Pennsylvania, USA
Caving (Basic, Rock, Rock-Limestone, Morphology-Karst, )

Sutro Baths Tunnels
The Sutro Baths were luxurious swimming pools on the San Francisco seafront, in an almost all glass building, built in the 1890s. Complete with salt and freshwater pools, slides, and 30 swinging rings, and a springboard. It was served by two rail lines, one of these being the Sutro Railroad, another creation of Adolph Sutro, a famous engineer and industrialist and mayor of San Francisco! In the 1900s the facility fell into disrepair and it burned down in 1966. Today only ruins remain, including the pool basins, a settling pool, and tunnels.
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(TGR version)

May 2022, Sutro Baths, San Francisco, USA
Urban-Exploration (Ruins, Tunnels); Caving (Basic, Man-Made)

Maanala - Manala
Went to the Amos Rex art installation today, on the topic of subterranean matters... with friends from the Finnish Caving Association. Only that it wasn't just about subterranean, it was underground things but also hell, evilness, and devilish matters. It took a while for me to understand this, because I of course associate underground things as interesting and fun, not as dark hellish situations.
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May 2022, Amos Rex, Helsinki, Finland
Caving (None, Media, Social)

Moaning Caverns adventure tour
Moaning Caverns is a limestone-marble solutional cave in Vallecito, California. It is about 200 kilometers east of San Francisco, on the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The main show cave attraction is the 165-feet high massive hole, but the cave extends further down in smaller passages under the big room, getting to a depth of 410 feet or 120 meters. An adventure tour explores some of these parts, which is why I was here. But there are other interesting aspects of the cave as well -- at the bottom of the main room there's a large pile of animal and human bones, presumably from whoever fell down to their fate here.
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(TGR version)

May 2022, Moaning Caverns, Vallecito, California, USA
Caving (Basic, Rock, Surveying, Rock-Limestone, Morphology-Karst)

Zagrebenje bunker maze
Croatian islands have had a military past. During World War II when Tito held his headquarters on the island of Vis. After the war, Vis was turned into a defense bastion, and only opened for foreigners as late as in 1989. Today we toured a maze of tunnels on the Zagrebenje mountains on the southeast corner of the island, connecting a number gun positions.
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April 2022, Zagrebenje gun positions, Milna, Vis, Croatia
Urban-Exploration (Bunkers, Military); Caving (Man-Made)

Laitamaa - Sidecountry - mini-cavelets
I needed some exercise, so went for a snowshoe walk with Jarmo. On his suggestion we ended up going to Laitamaa, an area of Kirkkonummi where we've previously seen many small caves.
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April 2022, Kakarpuron pikkukolo, Kirkkonummi, Finland; Kakarpuron lippaluolanen, Kirkkonummi, Finland; Kakaraukion lippaluolanen, Kirkkonummi, Finland; Kakaraukion pikkukolo, Kirkkonummi, Finland
Snowshoeing (Basic); Caving (Rock, Basic, Surveying, Rock-Granite, Morphology-Boulders, Morphology-Crack)

This is the 2th set of articles. The previous sets were set 1. The next set is set 3

The Planetcaver articles appeared originally in the Blogspot Planetskier series, at TGR posts, or at the Relaa website. See also the articles about skiing, urban exploration, climbing, cycling, flying, swimming, and saunas.