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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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!
Full story
(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.
Full story
(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?
Full story
(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.
Full story
(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!
Full story

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!
Full story

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.
Full story

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.
Full story
(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.
Full story

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)

Helsingin Sanomat published 3D cave models!
The main newspaper in Finland, Helsingin Sanomat, published a story from visiting three caves in the Helsinki region with Harri-Pekka Pietikäinen, the author of a recent caving book.
Full story

April 2022, Torholan luola, Lohja, Finland; Grottbergetin luola, Siuntio, Finland; Högberget, Kirkkonummi, Finland
Caving (Surveying, Basic, Rock, Media)

Running into an unexpected cave during travels? Very nice. To a show cave that was opened in 1646? Even nicer! We were on our way to visit the ski hills in the Harz region in Germany when there was a sign for a show cave -- the Baumannshöhle. Upon returning from skiing, we were able to visit the cave as well, just before it closed.
Full story
(TGR version)

March 2022, Baumannshöhle, Harz, Germany
Caving (Basic, Rock, Morphology-Karst, Rock-Limestone)

Cyclop's Cave
I had an opportunity to visit Cyprus this week, and, of course, there were also some caves. The Cyclop's Cave is on the south-east end of the island, a nice 23 m x 24 m cave with a sand floor and a thin rock cover above. Right on the beach, with great sunset views. But this is also likely not the "real" Cyclop's cave from the historic tales, that is in Greece.
Full story
(TGR version)

February 2022, Cyclop's Cave, Paralimni, Cyprus
Caving (Basic, Rock, Surveying)

This is the 4th set of articles. The previous sets were set 1, set 2, and set 3. The next sets are set 5, set 6, set 7, set 8, set 9, set 10, set 11, set 12, set 13, set 14, set 15, set 16, set 17, set 18, set 19, set 20, set 21, and set 22.

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.