12th August 2004
Shortly after we had acquired our new base in the Vercors, Henri, the local farmer, told us about a cave on his land, just five minutes away across a field. It was probably our lack of French that had us listening in awe to his description of 2 kilometres of passage and a 60 metre long gallery. The cave had opened up a few years earlier following a prolonged period of rain storms when surface streams had appeared and disappeared dramatically across the Vercors. Scialet de la Jarjatte became our Summer Project 2004 (briefly).
The entrance is a 1 metre diameter rift in solid rock at the bottom of a small collapse. This opens onto a free climbable pitch of about 8 metres. A 1 meter wide descending rift continues, increasing to 2 meters leading to a small chamber. The way on is a low passage containing water, where it is necessary to crawl, which leads to a short, tight narrow meander. The passage then enlarges slightly before a further narrow section, which leads to a small chamber. An initially narrow rift leads to the top of a further descent of two meters. A short section of wider passage leads to a 10 metre wet bedding plane crawl. (A narrow passage on the left at the start of the crawl leads to two climbable avens). The crawl ends at a short descent into the start of a roomy(ish) gallery decorated with some straws. The gallery is no longer than about 6 metres and the way on is a low wet airless tube which can be followed for about 20 metres before a sense of humour failure kicks in.
In all the cave is about 200 metres long and is heading towards damp ground on the hill side just below the cave entrance. The entrance was filled in a year later following the difficult recovery of a cow that had fallen into the entrance….