Text and pictures © 2007-2013 Guillaume Dargaud
Last updated on 2012/12/20
"Although love dwells in gorgeous palaces, and sumptuous apartments, more willingly than in miserable and desolate cottages, it cannot be denied but that he sometimes causes his power to be felt in the gloomy recesses of forests, among the most bleak and rugged mountains, and in the dreary caves of a desert." — Giovanni Boccaccio (1313—1375), Decameron, The Third Day, X.
Left: OK, this has very little to do with real caving, an activity I haven't done in years. It's just a great looking tourist cave that allowed me to test my new camera in difficult light conditions. All shots are handheld, some down to a full second of exposure. No flash.
Right: Some of those thin calcite straws are as much as 2m long and would break at a touch.
Left: This particular cave is famous for its needle-thin hordes of stalactites hanging from just about everywhere.
Right: Larger view on various types of stalactites: from the thin needles (they are actually more like drinking straws), to large bulgy ones (right), to strange looking such as the claws of Cthulhu in the middle.
Left: The Choranche cave is a typical tourist cave: easy access path, short walks, but also excellent lighting and exciting view into the underworld, like this classic stalagmite.
Right: Large stalagmite raising from the river.
Left: An isolated set of stalagmites. If you look closely you'll see the trajectory of the water drops bouncing off the rock.
Right: Bookpage-like concretions.
Left: Nice lighting from within the river.
Right: The tourist path is only a short way into the cave which has no less than 30km of tunnels going deep under the Vercors. The main starting point is right here in the Choranche cave at the base of the famous climbing cliff of Presles.
Left: Wall concretions. Pure calcite on the limestone.
Right: Tiny stalactites hanging from the roof of the cave.
Left: Some more hanging rock.
Right: A side of the cave.
Right: The Ture cave near Autrans, an easy and safe initiation cave.
I rarely go caving, but I was motivated to do so by a colleague who wanted to go after work. So after climbing at lunchtime, we went into a cave after dinnertime. After going down 165 meters we popped a beer open at mignight in the deepest and narrowest part of the cave.
Left: The roof of the Ture cave.