GRYKA E MADHE expedition 2008


“GRYKA E MADHE expedition 2008”
26th January-2nd February 2008

After many years of research in the caves of all Balkan countries, Kosovo still remained the last area (or country) where Bulgarians have not been yet to survey caves, springs and other karst phenomena.

Thanks to the relationship and cooperation created between Alexey Zhalov – vice president of Bulgarian federation of Speleology and our Slovak colleague Mr. Jozef Pstoka ( member of the exploration team of “GRYKA E MADHE”), we were very happy to receive invitation to join traditional Slovak winter expedition in the area of the cave. The expedition was planned to be held in January 2008 in the caves’ area near the town of Peje. The invitation was published in the web site of the Bulgarian Federation of Speleology and the team was selected from the cavers who applied. At last, 7 cavers were approved:
Valeri Peltekov- leader, Bulgarian Federation of Speleology
Teodor Kisimov and Alexander Kirilov- caving club “Prista”-Ruse
Konstantin Stoilov, caving club “Akademic”- Sofia
Kiril Stoyankov, caving club “Sofia” – Sofia
Borislav Alexiev, caving club “Vitosha” – Sofia
Boyan Petrov, National Museum of Natural History - Sofia
On 26th of January 2008 we arrived in Peje as it was agreed with the Slovaks. We were kindly met by Fatos Katallozi, Mentor Bojku and Afrim Kelmendi who accommodated all of us (24 cavers) in a private house not far from the downtown.
On 27th of January we all (Slovaks, Bulgarians, local cavers), together with a team from a TV from Prishtina, entered in “GRYKA E MADHE” for a guided walk. Majority of our team went almost to the known end, other went to the middle upper floors of the cave to climb some new chimneys.
On 28th of January, two climbing teams went in different chimneys- T. Kisimov and B. Alexiev in the so-called “Medzhobrodje” and B. Petrov and A. Kirilov in the upper floors at the middle of the cave. After widening of a narrow passage, T. Kisimov discovered 15m of a new vertical gallery with 5m horizontal part. The last reached point is situated at ca. 35m above the last point, which the Slovaks have mapped in previous years. Continuation of the new sections was visible but the team turned back due to shortage of time.

On 29th of January, our team mapped ca. 160m of galleries in the last floor of the middle parts of the cave and climbed a new chimney, which also ended at +35m from the main gallery.
On 30th of January we took a rest day and Fatos guided us to the cave Shpella e Drint të Bardhë near Radovc village. After the walk in the “tourist” floor, we went to village Vrellë where we visited a big karstic spring, which was closed with a concrete wall. In the afternoon we went to village Bogë to see the local ski resort and the surroundings.
On 1st of February our team continued to map in the upper middle sections of the cave by adding 300m of galleries.
On 2nd of February, T. Kisimov, A. Kirilov, K. Stoilov and K. Stoyankov went to the entrance of the cave Shpella e Bozdanit above the village Novo Selo. Exploration and mapping of this cave was planned for the next expeditions in Kosovo.
In summary:
Mapping: 460m of galleries in the upper middle section of GRYKA E MADHE cave ready for the THERION mapping software. The raw data set was added in the original Slovak map of the cave, which allows 2 and 3D viewing.
Biospeleology: B. Petrov collected cave-dwelling invertebrates from the caves GRYKA E MADHE and Shpella e Drint të Bardhë. The material is under study at the moment. List of the collected taxa will be send to all interested parties after its completion.
Bulgarian team expresses its sincere thanks to Fatos Katallozi, Afrim Kelmendi and Mentor Bojku from “Aragonit Speleo Association” (Peje), who provided excellent guidance, logistic support and warm hospitality. We greatly acknowledge the invitation from the Slovak cavers but namely thank Jan Smoll and Josef Psotka who became our contact persons with the Slovak group. We are really looking forward to establish closer contacts with the local cavers and organize joint expeditions for the exploration of the amazing underground world of Kosovo!

Boyan Petrov
Sofia, 6.02.2008"

*Sent by Email, by Alexey Zhalov

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