Σπηλαιολογικές Αποστολές

Lion 2015

18/8 - Expedition update (18.00 hrs)

News from the "front"... The cave has been rigged to -650m in the down stream direction, the bivouac at -500m is equipped and operational and the phone line is down to -400m (expected to reach the bivouac tomorrow). Last night Boti and Robi overnighted at the bivouac and tonight will also see some of the team overnighting there. Our Slovenian friends are pushing upstream, replacing worn rope in the upstream cascades to allow new passage to be explored. 


16/8 - Expedition update (21.00 hrs)

At basecamp Everything is going like clockwork, as can be seen from the blurry image uploaded to facebook from LO1, our basecamp. Later today we expect the team to have rigged the cave to the collector at -500m. The telephone line is rigged to -170m (it is necessary this year as we are later in the year and if there is rainfall on the surface, we'll need to let the cavers inside know to take cover). Water has been drawn from LO23 to cover the needs of the camp from the next few days, and we expect to be able to set up the bivouac ay -500m tomorrow. Then we can start chasing expedition goals...  


15/8 - Expedition update (12.00 hrs)

The first team to arrive in Crete set off for LO1 at 11.45 today after tidying and sorting materials in the store room at Hosses. The team making the ascent today comprises members from Bulgaria, Croatia, Poland and Greece. The team gathered having arrived by car from Heraklion, by boat from Piraeus and by Plane from Wroclaw! Over the next two days, the second wave will also arrive (Slovenian and Romanian friends), the basecamp will be set up, the rigging of the Lion to -500m will be completed and the bivouac set up ready to receive the first cavers. Then exploration can begin!

Waiting at Piraeus   


13/8 - Expedition update

With 2 days before the expedition begin, it's time to make a small recap. We have managed to gather about 1400lt of water for the 31 participants from 7 countries (11 from Greece, 7 from Bulgaria, 5 from Slovenia, 4 from Croatia, 2 from Romania, 1 from France and 1 from Poland), it's the crowdest of the last years.

Unfortunately, we didn't managed to rig the Lion cave up to -500m before the 15th of August. But the team that has gathered is strong and at no time they will be at -500m.

The organising committee want to express their wishes to all participants to have a great time and without any unhappy situations and continue the Lion exploration.

Update 21/6 - Sponsorship update

SELAS Caving Club has secured sponsorship from the shop CDC - Caving Diving Canyoning to support the enlargement of the bivouac at -500m. The equipment secured are 4 Condor sleeping bags from Polo, with comfort temperature -6C and the possibility for them to be zipped together. So, things are looking toasty for the Bivouac, this year!

 Update 30/5 - 2/6 - First preparatory mission

Eight cavers gathered and went up to LO1 for the long weekend. The snows are still there and give the area an enchanting look, in conjunction with the wild flowers.

At LO23, we noticed that the gour resevoir at -60m was not holding water, meaning that only 50 litres could be drawn before it ran dry. An unsuccessful attempt was made to stop the leak with a plastic bag and some clay.

We went with Kostas up to LO16, a cave mentioned in the original French report on the area from 1982, in which, accrding to the report, water could be found. We started our trek to the cave, which is a little beyond "Scud" about half an hour from LO1, but we could not enter because of the snow plug in the entrance. So, to drown our unhappiness, we set off for the peak of Aghio Pnevma (Holy Spirit). On the way, we discussed the problem and exchanged ideas concerning the solution of our problem. Amongst the many proposals, we decided to place a 250 litre watertank in the gour in LO23 and to divert the incoming water flow into the tank, filling it in this way. We measured the water flow and found it to need 4.2 minutes to produce 1.5 litres, meaning that we would need about 11.5 hours to get 250 litres of clean water which could then be raised to the other tanks at -30m.

So, following this idea, we managed to gather around 550 litres of water.
The Lion was also rigged up to -120m.

The next preparatory expedition is planned for July.


Update 29 May - Sponsors 

The organising committee of the international expedition "Lion 2015" is pleased to announce that the Balkan Speleological Union (B.S.U.) has agreed that the expedition Lion 2015 be considered a Balkan Event and will support our efforts.

We are also very happy to learn that ANEK LINES will once again support the expedition to the Lion as Transportation Sponsor for the members of the expedition.

The first of the sponsorship items from the FSE European Speleological Federation - Fédération Spéléologique Européenne) arrived safe in Athens. The Beal ropes are sponsorship made possible by the Euro Speleo Projects initiative.


Update 28 April - First preparatory mission cancelled

We had to cancel the first preparatory mission due to the large amounts of unseasonal snow remaining in the area of Atzinolakkos. Everything is covered with snow! All the caves of interest must be dug out from the snow in order to reach their entrances.
The next 
preparatory mission is planned for 29th of May till 1st of June.

Entrance to LO1 LOC21
Entrance to LO1 Entrance to LOC21 (Lion) Entrance to LO23


Update 22 April – ESP application approved

On 21 April 2015, we were informed that our application to the FSE for support under the EuroSpeleo Projects intiative was approved and designated as “ESP 2015-04”. The e-mail from the FSE Bureau mentions that we will be eligible for all four sponsorship items if the expe is carried out with the participation envisaged in the application. In addition, that "We are looking forward to your event as an important and successful contribution to European and international speleology. You can count on the support of the European Federation to your project."


Update 15 April – ESP application delivered

On 15 April 2015, our application to the FSE for support under the EuroSpeleo Projects intiative was delivered and has been preliminarily registered as “ESP 2015-04”.  


Update 28 March – first preparatory mission dates announced

The first preparatory mission is planned for 1 to 3 May 2015, leaving Athens on the evening boat on 30 April and returning on the evening boat of 3 May.

The major aim of the preparatory mission will be to wash and sterilize the water tanks held in LO23 and to position them firmly ready to receive water. We are unsure what the heavy winter will have done to LO23, so this will be a significant goal. A secondary aim will be to commence the rigging of the Lion itself, although this is expected to be easier than last year as the materials are already to a great extent in the cave.


Initial information / announcement / call for participants

Main expedition dates: 15 August to 30 August 2015


The cavers of SELAS club of Athens together with cavers of other Greek Clubs are organizing a further exploratory expedition to the Cave of the Lion (*) (-1,110m) on Crete, following the success of last year's expedition which was supported by the European Speleological Federation's Eurospeleo Projects (ESP) initiative.

The goal of this year's expedition is to continue exploration of the the underground river at -485m. 

Background reading: 

In 2008 it was a joint French-Greek team which took the cave to -1,110m. icon LEVKA_2008

Expedition report from 2013 expedition:  icon Lion 2013 report for FSE/ESP (7.09 MB 2013-12-21 06:41:06)

Expedition report from 2014 expedition:  icon Lion 2014 report for FSE/ESP (11 MB)


Accessing the camp

The expedition base camp is at an altitude of 1,600m and about 3 minutes from the entrance of the Lion, but it is 3 km from the nearest dirt-road which reaches the Khoses spring at an altitude of 1050m... It follows that there is a corresponding difficulty in transporting equipment (550m climb) and in the past we have used a helicopter to bring in equipment. Access to the camp is by foot on a rough track, in some places steep, starting from the spring at Khoses (35°20'39.77"N, 24° 5'49.20"E WGS84) which is accessible by car on the dirt-track from the village of Melidoni. The camp is established around a horizontal cave of about 50 sq.m. (LO1) which will house the secretariat and camp kitchen. 

An additional difficulty is the absence of easily-accessible drinking water at base-camp (LO1) meaning that all water has to be brought up from LO23 (descent to -60m where there is water to be collected. This constrains the number of possible expedition participants as the quantity of water that this cave can supply is small. 

A further challenge will be arranging for electrical power for the expedition given that everything relies on electrical power more so than in the past: lighting, cameras, disto for survey work, drills, etc. The area is home to many caves with plenty of interest.

Sleeping will be either in LO1 or around it in tents. There are no trees at this altitude meaning that care is necessary to protect tents from both the sun and wind – a second tarpaulin to protect tents is advisable. Meals will be prepared on a communal basis from common materials with a vegetarian option available. Care will be taken to balance the food preparation with the dietary requirements of the cavers participating (high calories, with a correct balance of proteins, sugars and fats).

The camp is just within antenna range of the mobile phone networks of Chania, Crete, although only at a basic 2G level.

English will act as the main language of camp, with Greek being spoken also.


Fundamental objectives:

Α) Safety - Emphasis on prevention and avoidance of any accident during the expedition (explorations matter less: we will not allow any compromise on safety at all times)

Β) Respect – Respect of the caves that we will explore and the environment (no rubbish – no alterations) and respect for each other!



Continuation of the explorations of “Lion” cave (-1110m)

·      The “Lion” is the 2nd deepest cave in Greece (-1110m deep, 3.329 km long) but still has a potential to find new passages – We anticipate that there are many possibilities to increase its length over depth. The goal this year will be to exceed 4km in surveyed length, placing it in the top four longest caves of Greece. 

·     Continue the exploration, to the left of the river (moving upstream against the water flow) at -480m in order to investigate the possibility to connect the Lion with the cave “LOC81” or with "Gourgouthakas" (the deepest cave in Greece at -1,208m with an entrance very close to the Lion). Last year we stopped after exploring 550m at an 8m waterfall.

·     If the participant cavers exceed 30 we will explore some "question-marks" (leads) that are at -750m.

·      Perhaps further expand the bivouac. 

·      Because this would be the third year running and the last time we will organize an exploration in the Lion cave for the next few years, we want to shoot some footage in order to make a short documentary about the exploration of the cave. The cave has been known since the early 1990s and reached -485m when exploration was made by French teams in 2007. In 2008 it was a joint French-Greek team, which pushed the cave to -1,110m. The history of the exploration has to be told.


Expedition funding:

Following the sponsorship from Scurion and Beal through the FSE’s ESP initiative in 2013 and 2015, most of the expedition budget this year will go towards food, insurance and the movements between Chania and Chosses, with some purchases of necessary equipment being covered by SELAS Caving Club, if necessary. All the costs will be covered by the participant clubs, expedition members and some sponsors. In addition to the above, SELAS will be providing rigging equipment and camping support. The expendable materials, food and costs connected with the camp will be contributed by the expedition members. All funds will be collected by expedition treasurer Stelios (Stylianos) Zacharias.


DISCLAIMER: Everyone visiting caves during the Lion 2015 expedition is expected to behave in ways that are safe for him and for all other participants. It is also expected to not damage the caves or the land. The organisers of the expedition may ask participants to exit a cave, to leave the expedition or not to enter a cave, if they are acting in a way that threatens their safety or the safety of others or might damage the cave. Caving endeavours carry risks and dangers that may lead to fatal accidents. By participating in the Lion 2015 expedition you acknowledge these risks and you take responsibility for your own safety. Although the organizers have taken measures to ensure the safety of the team during Lion 2015 they cannot be held accountable for your actions or choices during the expedition.




1. Any team of cavers has to declare to the secretariat its planned time of departure, objective, and planned hour of return, and must come back to declare its exit.

2. In case of an unfavorable weather report, we might be obliged to forbid the descents to the cave beyond -400 m.



·         Enter the cave only if you are in very good health, and experienced in the techniques of alpine caving.

·     Every caver must bring with him a rescue blanket, food, lighting, and means of heating in adequate quantity. Remember that the cave is cold (6 degrees Celsius) and wet.

·         Moving in the cave will be done in groups of 3 or 2 people minimum, in particular when ropes are in use.

·         In every group, some cavers must be able to help a member who may be in trouble on a rope.

·         The moving rhythm of a team, should be the rhythm of the slowest.

·         If you meet a team in trouble, it is essential to give assistance, even if it opposes your own objective.

·         As a matter of courtesy, priority on ropes is given to those who go up (returning from lower parts of the cave)

·        If your objective is the bottom, and if it takes you more than 2 hours to reach Camp 1 (-485m) please abort your trip and turn back

·         The bivouac placed at -485 m is reserved for the teams which go up from the bottom

·         Collect and take with you ALL your waste, and do not write on the walls of the cave.

·         Indicate any defective equipment when you return: it will be quickly replaced.

·      The area used as a campsite should be maintained clean, should not be altered and should be respected by all members.

·         Be aware that electricity is limited.

·         Mobile (cellular network) signal is available at campsite







Lion 2013

Η αποστολή του ΣΕΛΑΣ στο Λιοντάρι το 2013 υποστηρίζεται από την πρωτοβουλία EuroSpeleo Projects της Ευρωπαϊκής Σπηλαιολογικής Ομοσπονδίας

FSE logo 
The SELAS 2013 expedition "Lion 2013" is supported by the EuroSpeleo Projects initiative of the European Speleological Federation.


Anek banner

Η ΑΝΕΚ Lines προσφέρθηκε να βάλει και αυτή το λιθαράκι της στην αποστολή μας ως χορηγός μεταφοράς / ANEK lines is supporting the expedition by sponsoring our travel.

Lion 2014

Η αποστολή του ΣΕΛΑΣ στο Λιοντάρι το 2014 υποστηρίχθηκε από την πρωτοβουλία EuroSpeleo Projects της Ευρωπαϊκής Σπηλαιολογικής Ομοσπονδίας

FSE logo 
The SELAS 2014 expedition "Lion 2014" was supported by the EuroSpeleo Projects initiative of the European Speleological Federation.

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