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Caving in Búri, Leitahraun

Pictures are at the bottom...

19 November, 2011

For my birthday this year, Kata got me a guided caving trip to one of the bigger more adventurous caves in the area, Búri. I'd wanted to go here for a while, as did some friends of mine, but at least the way we'd read the map in the local caving guide, or at least, the way I'd read it, the cave started with the 17m pit down the lavafall, then continued in for about a kilometer, crossing the famous ice pillars.

Actually, you just walk in like any other regular lava tube around here, and after about a kilometer, you reach the lava fall descending further into the earth. Although the guide company originally rappeled down the lava fall, where the cave continues for another 50m or so, they found, understandably, that it was far too complicated, risky and strenous for any joe off the street. So although I could have just gone out here myself, I got to go on a trip.

Which is good. Guides have much bigger lights than I do, and Búri is quite a big cave. It has a lot of really big sections, though the first 700m or so are just breakdown, with very little in the way of decoration. There's some nice colour changes, with some lovely oranges and reds, but it's really just a great big breakdown tube.

However, the end does make it worthwhile. It clears out to become almost perfectly flat floored, with some beautiful flow marks on the walls, at different heights, with different flow patterns. It gets tighter and smaller, almost perfectly rectangular, before suddenly just dropping down into the pit. It's beautiful, just curving gently into the darkness. Unfortunately, we weren't going down, and like many waterfalls in the world, the view from the top isn't always that great.

I'd been a bit concerned about my own general fitness, and that the trip was allegedly 8 hours, so I had lots of food, extra clothes in case we had to wait on anyone, lots of water, and left the tripod at home. Turns out we were only in the cave for just under three hours, and I totally could have brought my tripod. Another time :) Apparently our group was actually in good shape. (or, not bad shape)

Oh, no ice pictures. There was no ice. Apparently spring and even summer are better times to see ice. By late autumn, and after a very warm November, the ice is just about gone.

Another great day out! to see ice.

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