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Extreme testing – Rawlplug products in cave exploration!

7 min
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In the heart of the Maganik mountains, a group of speleologists chose Rawlplug’s products to accompany them in a trial of challenges. As an official partner of the expedition, we were honoured to provide the equipment that withstood harsh conditions of exploration and contributed to its completion!

Such opportunities do not happen frequently. Our products have already gone through numerous demanding tests – either on or even off the ground. The perfect example would be the application of Rawlplug’s DIN 7984 bolts in the construction of the Curiosity rover under the Mars Science Laboratory programme, contributing to the exploration and research of the planet Mars. This was another opportunity to test our solutions in a rather unique environment, inaccessible to most of the world, hidden hundreds of metres underground in Montenegro.

Members of caving clubs from different parts of Poland (we have specifically identified which at the end) independently selected their gear to take an active part in this unusual event, showing that Rawlplug’s equipment proves an indispensable companion to every explorer, even in the most demanding conditions. Our power tools, accessories, and mechanical anchors played crucial roles in the organisation of the expedition, not only providing secure mounting of the climbing equipment, but also ensuring solid reinforcement and comprehensive protection of terrain. You will find more details of the products used further on in this material.

Thanks to the written and oral reports of the cavers who participated in the trek, representing clubs affiliated with the Polish Mountaineering Association, we can also reveal some of the expedition details to you. As its official partner, we are more than willing to do so. So get your snacks ready and put your tools away, if only for a while, because there is a lot to read about!

Rawlplug sponsorem wyprawy Grotołazów

Mysterious cave

The expedition began in the enchanting village of Poljana. Twenty brave cavers, assisted by a support team, set off into the unknown, only to encounter the first obstacles almost immediately. However, no technical problems (muffler failure and punctured tire) could stop the team for good, as they had a much greater challenge ahead: Zoran Jama. The mysterious cave became the expedition’s main target.

Interesting fact!

Zoran Jama owes its unofficial name to the host of the area – a man named Zoran, who showed the cave complex to a speleological team back in 2008. In the world of cave exploration, it is fairly common for newly discovered sites to be named after the people who played a key role in their discovery or were somehow associated with them. Collaboration with the locals is an invaluable part of many scientific and exploratory expeditions, since their knowledge of a given area can lead to important discoveries.

The challenges they encountered were not only very diverse, but also fascinating, in a way. Three connected wells, the deepest falling as much as 50 metres down, led to an underwater obstacle – a siphon, which required the explorers to display both courage and skill. In spite of all, the determination of the younger team members pushed them even deeper, to a place where two new bypasses were found. What they had discovered at a depth of more than 700 metres made the Zoran Jama cave to become known as even larger, now boasting an impressive new length of 1,070 meters.

Must-know fact!

In caving terminology, the term siphon refers to a passage completely filled with water which a diver must traverse. It often links different parts of a cave system, and can be difficult to pass on account of the need for highly specialised diving equipment and training. Wells, on the other hand, are vertical cave formations which require rope descents to cover. 

Rawlplug sponsorem wyprawy Grotołazów

M13 and an unknown cave! 

That is absolutely not where the adventures ended. Cave M13, being the exploration team’s next target, revealed its beauty to the cavers. Great depths, tight meanders, and corridors with watercourses proved that the area hid many yet undiscovered opportunities. 

Rawlplug sponsorem wyprawy Grotołazów

The expedition ended with a surprise – cave M201. Similarly to the M13, it has unique features and is a separate object of study. It attracted the team’s attention with its snow well. However, they came across natural limits to further exploration, formed by a crevice between rock and ice, which at the same time opened up more space for research and speculation as to what might be hidden in its depths.

The Maganik 2023 expedition marked a milestone in our explorations last year, revealing Montenegro as a place of fabulous landscapes which, at the same time, can surprise you with their harshness and unpredictable climate. It was in light of these challenging conditions that we decided to set our sights on working with an acclaimed Polish company, which came to our great satisfaction. We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for the support which proved crucial to the safety and success of our expedition!

Michał Górski

Member of the Board of the Wrocław Caving Section

Rawlplug sponsorem wyprawy Grotołazów

What to bring for caving? Rawlplug, of course!

The key to the success of the caving enthusiasts was not only their expertise and determination, but also professional gear that had to stand up to extreme conditions. The cavers themselves chose the tools they took with them on the expedition, completely aware that there was no room for error in the harsh underground environment, since any mistake could simply cost too much.

Their list of the most essential items included two R-PRH18-XL2 cordless rotary hammers, compatible with the Rawlplug 18V battery system. With the compact design and lightweight built, they prevent fatigue during prolonged work, while their rubberised and ergonomically shaped handle is there for more secure grip and comfortable use, which makes them an ideal choice for this kind of scientific expedition. The R-BAT-188001 batteries with the highest available capacity provided the cave explorers with reliability and long-lasting performance under harsh conditions. 

Another crucial item of their equipment, which definitely deserved special attention, was the R-HPTIIA4 stainless steel throughbolt, supplied in 400 pieces of size 08085/20 and 100 pieces of size 08105/40. These high-end anchors were designed specifically to provide maximum strength and reliability in the most demanding environments. This clearly includes underground caves!

The R-HPTII bolt’s unique design, which enables drilling and fixing directly through the fixture, has contributed a lot to the simplicity of the installation process, making it less labour intensive. The depth markers prove very helpful when setting the anchor in the hole, ensuring optimised embedment without the risk of contact with elements such as rebars. This is an invaluable advantage of our throughbolts, which comes particularly handy when working in the field, where every move must be accurate and safety considered the utmost priority. 

Thanks to their anti-corrosion coating, they are dedicated to use in environments of a high corrosivity class (from C1 to C5), which makes them ideally suited for expeditions such as cave exploration. The durability and safety they provide in areas where traditional anchoring methods may fail is a perfect testament to the technological advancement of our products!

Cave exploration is not only a passion, but also a scientific field that requires precision. Our products have undergone a real-life test in use, proving their strength and reliability. Supporting young scientists and aficionados, not only do we provide them with top-notch equipment, but we also engage in the pursuit of our corporate social responsibility goals by helping local scientific organisations. This clearly emphasises our contribution to the development of science and passion for exploring the unknown, evidencing our readiness to tackle even the most demanding tasks!

Marcin Gorzała

Business Development Manager

Rawlplug sponsorem wyprawy Grotołazów

Nothing that is difficult is alien to us! 

Our contribution to the organisation of the caving expedition is a reason for great satisfaction. We are impatiently looking forward to receiving feedback on our equipment, put to the test in the harshest of conditions in underground caves. It is in moments like these that we obtain a lot of valuable information helping us to continuously improve our offering. They also give us an opportunity to foster science and passion for exploration. 

The great Maganik 2023 expedition was attended by members of several caving clubs, including:

  • Wrocław Caving Section,
  • Academic Caving Club affiliated with the AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow,
  • Speleoclub Wrocław, and 
  • Sopot Caving Club.

We would like to thank the entire of team of cavers for their trust and choice of our solutions. We are happy to have contributed to the success of this expedition, and we are enthusiastically looking forward to new challenges, enabling our products to prove their worth again in real-life trials!

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