Click for the google map of Heliches Artas
The cave is approximately at the dot in the top left corner.

Friday, 12 June 2015

We reached Heliches Artas cave after about 10km on a dirt road through the Valle di Lanaitho, then a 40 minute hike. There are quite a few caves in the area. I didn't realize it until I was putting these pictures together, but the cave is quite near the Tiscali Nuragic site (itself inside a large cave).

Franco was the guide, and we were joined by Ursula and Lutker, from Germany. It's a live cave, at least in portions, with water still infiltrating.

The cave is reached by rappelling down about 7 meters, through a smallish entrance. It has been explored and toured for a long time, so there are smoke scorch marks, and some "clean up" of the floor and broken stalactites and stalagmites. There were a few fixed ropes in the cave, but no technical climbing. There were some very pretty and interesting features, including a near-column that had spread at different water levels, with minature stalagmites inside, and an area where all the stalagmites were bent significantly off vertical, due to significant airflow over many centuries.

All images Copyright © 2015 by Dave Olson unless otherwise noted. Pictures have links to the google map location where they were taken (if the GPS was on).

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40°9'29''N 9°30'26''E Elev: (map)

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Rock cabin used mainly by hunters

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This structure keeps animals out of a water source

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HelichesArtasCave_2015-06-12-114419 thumbnail 40.15829,9.50742 Elev: The entrance to the cave; grill keeps animals out
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Neatly stacked broken stalagmites and stalactites

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A short slab scramble with fixed ropes

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The cave is shallow, so roots hang down from the ceiling in many places

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The "drain". Goes down about 8m, and in winter, water still cascades down it

HelichesArtasCave_2015-06-12-123854.mp4 Movie 14 Seconds (17MB)
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HelichesArtasCave_2015-06-12-124132.mp4 Movie 23 Seconds (28MB)

One of the large rooms in the cave

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One of many helictites

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HelichesArtasCave_2015-06-12-125730.mp4 Movie 62 Seconds (75MB)

Lutker climbing fixed rope inside the cave. It's about a 10 meter scramble

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Beautiful column with two "plates" formed when water was high for long periods at two different levels.

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Upper and lower are separated just enough to have small stalactites and stalagmites inside.

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Close up of the inside of the plates.

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Franco rigged a ladder for us to climb out

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Lutker at the top of the ladder, transitioning to footholds.

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The largish room at the base of the entrance

Heliches-Artas-Cave-dave-exiting.mp4 Movie 153 Seconds (16MB)

Lutker took this movie of me climbing out the entrance. It starts when I got on the ladder, so I'm not visible until about 1 minute 20 seconds.

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Looking down the entrance after we were all out.

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Lutker took this picture (left to right) of me, Ursula, and Franco, before we hiked back to the car. The view is looking west down the valley.

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Description of features in the Valle di Lanaitho

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