The Noel's Cave journal n°3


n° 3 - June 1998


You are taking possession of a new copy of A.R.S.P.A.N.'s journal, with which we wish to keep in touch with you.

But where is the numero 2 ?

Simply, since the first journal, we wrote a complete article about Noël's pot hole which was brought out in the journal SPELUNCA (Caving French Federation's official journal) and it is on its own a whole journal. Concerning it, we have a copy for anyone who wishes one. You will be told below how to get it.

This journal also deals with :

    Noël pot hole's frequenting, thanks to the last statistics given by the visit sheet.

    the cave's situation, 5 years after A.R.S.P.A.N. was set up.

    the association's projects and our thoughts about protection.

    without forgetting, naturally, the column "Noël father's accounts".

We remind you that this journal is distributed to every A.R.S.P.A.N.'s member to the clubs or cavers who left their address on a visit's sheet.

But don't hesitate to show it to anyone interested in it.

At last, we wish you a nice caving year 1998 and many "first", we are sure, you will protect with all your heart, as we try to do with Noël pot hole.





Many comments on the sheets show that people were surprised to see horizontal hangers at the pitches entry.

The reason is simple : in this way the karabiner presses on the rock face, and the anchor knot is moved aside and avoid the rubbing, without changing the global resistance.

    Here is the address of the association again :

Mairie de Bidon
07700 BIDON
tél : 04.75.xx.xx.xx

    Sending conditions for Spélunca n° 66 :

To have the numero special "Noël pot hole", please send your address and 50 FF by cheque to A.R.S.P.A.N.



Each year, we visit the pot hole to check the cave system and provide maintenance and improvement in protection matters.

So for All Saints' Day 97, we made some marking alterations in the main passage (big gours' protection). We can conclude that, in spite of some minor damages, the cave system remainded the same...

In a near future, we plan to improve the signposting, replacing the present information by new notices with colors :

GREEN > Information

ORANGE > Be careful !

RED > Forbidden ! !

Moreever, another worry is how to protect the bats' skeletons...

... your ideas would be welcome...




    Incident in Noël :

A caving rescue was actived during Easter 98 week-end to come back up, an exhausted caver from the lower part of the pitch.

The evacuation was successful (pendulum's technical).

More fear than harm !!!

However it would be good to remind people that the attractive side of the cave must not conceal the difficulties at the entry pitch.

A minimum physical condition is recommended...

    Read in press :

a training period to make cavers more aware of protection took place in Spring in Noël pot hole. ( Ardèche gorges' journal n° 6 )

Noël pot hole's description and discovery translated in Dutch.
( Pierk / Dutch Cavers )



Essonne's festival : Villejuif November 1997

A stand allowed to meet the Ile de France's cavers after the article was published in Spelunca and some years after the beginning of the association.

Interesting contacts with F.F.S. and the cavers...

We noted a changing in people's way of thinking. It seemed that they felt more concerned with protection than in 1993 when we participated in Yerres festival.

The cavers want to speak, ask for statistics and are avid to share their experiences.


The visit sheet is going to be reviewed soon to delimit better our association's impact.



This year we broke in the statistics. Here are our inquiry's new results about Noël pot hole's frequenting. It concerns the visit sheet from March 91 to August 97.

We worked with 269 sheets.

Here are the results :

    average number of cavers by visit : 5 , 4

    number of visit sheets a year :

    reason for visiting :


The average number of groups increases lightly from 4,7 to 5,4 ; but many teams make little groups.
From this point of view, nothing particular to notice.

The time spent underground (8 h 40) corresponds to a medium between :
- those who do the bottom "classic" visit ( ~ 6 h ).
- those who do shots ( 12 à 15 h ).
- those who visit the intermediary passage ( ~ 4 h ).

For the group's origin, the facts become clearer, we find again the following distribution :

- 1/4 from Rhône-Alpes area

- 1/4 from Ile de France (Paris) area

- 1/4 from the south of the France (PACA, Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénées)

It's important to note that foreigner cavers are 11 % from the visitors.
For anecdote, we had the visit of a Czech caving club and a Russian caving club.
Noël pot hole takes a European dimension...

Mainly people visit the pot hole to walk inside and take photos, wich are often sent us (photos or video-tapes).

Nota : an increasing of "geological" visits, it would be interesting to have these studies' results, or
even to be initiated to this discipline.

Another new thing, the inspection / marking checking / cave state visits is set up.

For the marking, all the visitors say that it's globally well balanced.

Some improvements are however possible in some sensitive zones.

All cavers agree that, in spite of some minor damages, the pot hole is kept in good condition and that they enjoy coming back...

However, they are cautious about the efficacy in the lenght of time and doubt that such an action perpetuates...

In protection matter, nothing is established.............................................

....................... let's hope that each of us will snowball...........................

............................................................ without causing an avalanche !!!

Thanks to you all



YOUR REMARKS from the visit sheets

"Noël pot hole stays a magnificient hole , it's also an example of protection , allowing any caver to be able to visit it.  Many thanks to the association."

"The marking was appreciated by all. We were pleasantly surprised by the cave's cleanliness, in spite of its frequenting. The method to look for the key / to open the door / to fill in a report allow to make cavers more responsible. Added to this method, the marking and the information's panels in the hole, the whole allows a pot hole's clever and justified protection"

"At first,the marking seems a constraint then, as we discover things it seems useful and becomes essential to preserve these marvels. Finally, it's very well adapted and we will come again..."



The association operate thanks to its benefactor and donator members generosity.

To be able to finance our next works (signposting panels with colors, marking, sending,...), be a benefactor member :

send your donations to A.R.S.P.A.N.

A.R.S.P.A.N. - CCP : LYON 8 496 12 P

Thanks for your generosity.


Download journal n°3 (pdf in french)

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