"Z" Caving Club Oradea

Valea Rea Cave

Extention: 16357 m. / Elevation Difference: -382 m.
Exploration, Survey: "Z" Oradea / 1986 - 2014

Entrance of Adrian Sinkhole
Exploration History
The Valea Rea - Cornu Munţilor zone was first approached in 1986 by the Liviu Vălenaş - Adrian Vălenaş team. With the occasion of this trip Adrian Vălenaş discovers the entrance of a sinkhole located at 1300 m altitude, just under the tree line. Avenul Adrian (= Adrian Sinkhole) is barely explored to a squeeze located at -29 m in August 1987 by L. Vălenaş and P. Damm. The rock obstacle is excavated within two weeks by P. Damm, in colaboration with K. Moréh and Gy. Keserü ("Ursus Spelaeus" Târgu Mureş), at which occasion P. Damm passes a series of squeezes and reaches the edge of a shaft that echoes the sounds of a water course.
Due to the difficulties of the passage the exploration advances at a slow pace. The depth of -118 m (net terminus) is only reached in 1990 after some complex endeavours performed by an inter-club team constituted of P. Damm and Z. Kiss ("Z"), R. Pop ("Speotelex" Cluj), H. Corbeanu, Mioara Burcu, R. Daniel, Ruxandra Vâlceleanu and Gabriela Şchiopu ("Labirint" Bucureşti), H. Mitrofan and C. Gagea (Speo.Comp.Paragina).
After several trips dedicated to finding a continuation of the cave, that was finally identified in 1993 by J. Zih, Katalin Perényi and Sz. Szűcs, in the form of a passage suspended above the terminus at -118 m. After a complicated climbing route, spiced up with a number of squeezes the advances stop around the depth of -140 m at the lake of a sump in fact generated by the collector stream of the system. Over the course of three days J. Zih, Katalin Perényi, P. Damm and M. Botez pass through the obstacle and explore over 1 km of subterranean river, reaching the depth of -280 m, the sump in the Sala cu Nisip (=Sandy Hall). Three more trips of exploration follow (J. Zih, Katalin Perényi, Sz. Szűcs, C. Pop, I. Zima), when besides the identification of a fossil level afferent to the collector, in the entrance zone the Labirintul Ascuns (=Hidden Labyrinth) is discovered, which through Prăpăstia Mare (=Big Chasm) and Galeria Pompieri 2 (=Firefighter´s Passage No. 2) insures a much easier access to the depths of the cave. In the month of August of the same year the continuation from the Sala cu Nisip (=Sandy Hall) is discovered by J. Zih and M. Botez, about 300 m of brand new passage. A month later J. Zih and Katalin Perényi re-intercepts the Collector, thus the advances being limited both uphill and downhill by deep sumps. This terminus will prevail until the month of April of 1994, when after a bivouac with numerous participants, C. Pop, Sz. Szűcs and R. Pop reach the Sifonul de la Capătul Lumii (=Sump at the End of the World) at the depth of -305 m. Other successes worth mentioning are the discovery of the Sala Giganţilor (=The Hall of the Giants) (104 x 40 x 30 m) discovered by P. Damm and D. Pitic, and the climbing the +71 m of the Cascada Ventilatorului (=Turbofan Cascade) by J. Zih, Katalin Perényi ("Z") and Simone Re (Speo Club Roma). After a period of discovery relatively "stagnant", in 1996 J. Zih, Katalin Perényi and Sz. Szűcs, succeed to pass beyond the sump at -305 m and reach a new sump situated approximately at -382 m. The continuation of the explorations in the zone called "Dincolo de Capătul Lumii" (=Beyond the End of the World), with the discovery of a fossil labyrinth is done by the same team along with C. Pop, I. Dezső and F. Magyari during an underground camp in October 1997. The actual extension of the Valea Rea Cave is about 18 km, of which 16 km was surveyed under the leadership of P. Damm and J. Zih. The underground cavity represents the largest speleo-mineralogical gallery in Romania. Based on the research done up to date, over 30 minerals were discovered (4 being reported for the first time in the world in speleological environment), among which 23 as constituents of certain speleothems. The cave offers the richest and most variety of gypsum crystals existing in this country.