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Workshop: introduction to caving - Punta Arenas - June 2022

Updated: Nov 26, 2022

From the 3rd to the 5th of June a new module I of the Initiation to Speleology Workshop took place. The novelty was that, this time, it was the first workshop in Magallanes, in the Chilean Patagonia!

And it couldn't be any other way.... On the one hand, because our association, the Asociación Espeleológica de Patagonia, was born from the French association Centre Terre, which has been exploring the Magellan karst since the mid 90s. On the other hand, because the Magellan karst is one of the most extraordinary karsts on the planet, with its "marble glaciers" of the Diego de Almagro island and the Madre de Dios archipelago. For this reason, having been able to hold the workshop in Punta Arenas has a special significance for us.

As in previous editions, we saw all the basic manoeuvres that are taught on the wall in an initiation course, only this time we did it in the pavilion of the Charles Darwin School, in the city of Punta Arenas, hanks to the diligence of Marcelo Noria, who made this workshop possible, and to the excellent predisposition of Patricio Yutronic, the school's director. Being under cover and having three full days of practice allowed us to work in depth with an excellent team.

The team is almost complete.

Photo courtesy of Yuri Salazar

The group that was formed, with six participants from Punta Arenas, two from Rio Tranquilo, one from Puerto Williams and one from Rio Gallegos, is an excellent representation of what we call "Patagonia".

The gym that became a cave

Photo courtesy of Marcelo Noria, Francisco Croxatto, Natalia Morata

The circuits set up by Marcelo and Natalia made it possible to work on all the manoeuvres, adding to them the difficulty of working in the air, as it was the case with the traverse.

Masterfully overcoming the overhead traverse

Photo courtesy of Natalia Morata

The activity had excellent coverage in the region. The morning show "Una mañana en familia" of ITV Patagonia dedicated two slots to us. First, interviewing the organisers of the workshop, Marcelo and Natalia; then, visiting the group in action during the workshop.

"Camera... action!"

This kind of support in dissemination, which is crucial to make caving in Chile better known, is something for which we are deeply grateful.

We are equally grateful for the visit of Carlos Pardo from Grado Zero. Carlos left us a beautiful record of the workshop in pictures.

Photo courtesy of Carlos Pardo.

In appreciation of the space provided by the school, a short talk on caving was given to the third year students of the Charles Darwin School. The large number of questions after the presentation, all of them very interesting, not only made it clear to us that the students had been listening attentively, but also that we might even have aroused their curiosity for the activity, beyond the anecdotal... We'll have to keep track...

Photo courtesy of Marcelo Noria y Carlos Pardo

A "see you soon".

Photo courtesy of Natalia Morata y Marcelo Noria

The organisation of a workshop of this kind requires a lot of planning, anticipation and work, because all the necessary material has to be provided (which is not easy to find in Chile), a good place has to be found and all the circuits have to be installed and uninstalled. But, despite the personal investment of those involved, the success of this first edition in the regions encourages us to continue with even more enthusiasm.

The workshops, like all our activities, are self-financed and unpaid. Therefore, without the support and commitment of people like Marcelo Noria, one of our members who lives in Magallanes, the support of the members of the Club de Montaña d'Agostini and, of course, the unconditional help of private companies like Andes Fueguina, Natmor Ltda and OutChile, none of what we do would be possible.

If you want to collaborate with us or keep up to date with the next calls for any of the workshop modules, you can subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on social networks... or both...

Guide used for the course:

"Manuel technique de Speléologie", 2018, 3ème édition,

This activity supports the International Year of Caves and Karst:

With the support of:

Useful links:

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