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Speleotourism in Russia
January 22, 2019 22:22


Speleotourism  (exploration of underground caves)  implies visiting natural or man-made caves and labyrinths. It is attractive due to the variety of their relief, which creates obstacles for passage (wells, narrow gaps, underground rivers, etc.), as well as extreme - unfavorable - physical conditions (high humidity and lack of natural light). This kind of adventure tourism is incredibly popular among young people.

Mind that unknown caves are only for experienced speleotourists. Broken stalactite is restored for hundreds of years, so it is important to treat the underground nature carefully.

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Lagonaki Highlands have the most favorable conditions for speleotourism in Russia. There are numerous caves on almost all plateaus, peaks and ridges of the highlands. There are horizontal multi-kilometer underground galleries, wells, and large mines among the Lagonaki caves. The range of complexity of Lagonaki cavities is from the simplest category-free cavities to the most complex with the fifth category of complexity.

Planned tourists usually visit easily accessible caves. The Big Azish Cave is especially famous among them. Often, tourists visit the Lake Cave, which is located in the rocky wall of the Kamennoye More ridge. The cave is small, only 78 meters. It received its name because of a small lake, which often dries up in summer.

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The Sheep Cave, which is not difficult to visit, is located above the confluence of the rivers Molochnaya and Kurdzhips. The Sheep cave is a preserved fragment of the upper floor of a once large cavity. It has two entrances: one on the side of the karst funnel, and the other on the slope facing Kurdzhips. Previously, the cave served as a pen for sheep.

These caves can be visited independently, without additional preparation. Other cavities require special knowledge and equipment. They are available only to professional cavers.

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Let's mention the largest caves. The greatest number of them is located on the Kamennoye More (Stone Sea) ridge and the Fisht massif. The cave "Absolutnaya (Absolute)" (more than 5 kilometers long and 317 meters deep), has III B category of complexity. This is one of the most beautiful caves of the Caucasus. In addition, it has a solid 160-meter entrance well. The cavity is interesting because it has several tiers, is very rich in sinter formations of all kinds, and has an underground river. In addition, in the layers of clay eroded by an underground river, there are original silicified ammonites - fossil animals of ancient seas.

Another cave of the Stone Sea - "Universitetskaya (University)" - is famous for its powerful underground glacier. In spring and early summer, a large number of ice crystals of various sizes, gathered in “bouquets”, are formed on the ceiling above the glacier. "Universitetskaya" has a small underground river, and a large number of drip formations. Its length is 790 meters, depth is 175 meters, category of difficulty is II A.

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An interesting and challenging cave of the Lagonaki Highlands is the “Soaring Bird”, 517 meters of its vertical wells with ice (+2 degrees) waterfalls, connected by narrow winding horizontal sections of the passages, are rated IV B category of complexity.

The Nagoya-Chuk Ridge has only one large cave - the Golden Key mine, which has reached a depth of 223 meters now.

Search and exploration in the highlands continue. Every year, cavers discover more and more caves. The most promising search areas are the Fisht massif, Pshekha-Su, Kamennoye More, Nagoy-Chuk and Tsitsa gorge.


Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: travel to Russia ecotourism    

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