Upon arrival at the parking coordinates, the intrepid adventurer may find themselves in a dark forest (una selva oscura). They must first search out the correct route (la diritta via), and then climb towards the entrance of a deep place (un basso loco) where the sun is silent (il sol tace). Encoded coordinates are given below for all these waypoints (ensure that you click Show Hidden Waypoints). To check that you are on the right path, the coordinates for each waypoint may be checked here: selva oscura, diritta via 1, diritta via 2, basso loco.
Once you are at basso loco, follow the encoded instructions below:
You will be entering a cave that has a drop/chimney shortly after entering. You will have to climb down this chimney on your journey towards the cache; more importantly, you will have to climb up it to get back out again. This can be free-climbed (I have had no climbing training and can manage it in both directions), but you will have to assess your own abilities. At the very least, you are strongly advised to have a length of rope, well anchored at the top, to help in case you need an extra handhold. I used the Climbing Gear attribute to highlight this, but do not personally have any climbing equipment other than a 20m caving rope (longer than necessary here) and a karabiner; but that's not to say that you shouldn't use more equipment if you are able. You should not need rope for the rest of the route, although there are a few challenging climbs and clambers on the way which require some strength and exertion.
You should not attempt this cache alone; furthermore, general experience from both Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate and Earnanæs, þæs wyrmes denn suggests that small groups, where team members can help each other out, are most successful and have most fun. You should let a support contact know where you are going and how long you are going to be. Your support contact should be familiar with how to get in touch with Cave Rescue (999), if you exceed your time, and should know the coordinates of the cave entrance, the size of your group, where you are parking etc. My initial estimate was that a typical visit may involve up to 1 hour underground (i.e. out of phone contact, after roping etc.). However, on the basis of initial feedback, I think that the allowance should be doubled to 2 hours; I was also assuming some leeway in that your contact would not start dialling at one minute past the allowance. Please be careful and look after yourselves.
For this cache, you will need:
- Headtorch (you need both hands free to climb);
- Spare torch and batteries;
- Ultra-violet torch/lamp (even a small keyring size should suffice);
- Up to ~15 metres of rope (the chimney is nowhere near that deep; but, if you tie onto the tree outside the entrance as I have done, this length will give you plenty of rope for the drop);
- A (proper) karabiner is useful;
- Magnetic compass;
- Overalls or old clothes, plus gloves (you will get muddy);
- Wellies or well-treaded boots;
- Knee and elbow pads may reduce bruising the next day!
- Something to drink, as it can be quite a workout;
- And don't forget, there's room for small trades!
If you can pack all this into a very small space, I would try to avoid carrying anything but the smallest of packs. When I transported the cache and various knick-knacks in my usual 20 litre caching rucksack, the climbing en route was much harder going (especially in terms of balance) than when I've travelled more lightly.
Bats: remember that it is illegal to intentionally or recklessly disturb a roosting bat, so please avoid all interaction, including lights and cameras, should you see one.
Residential Geocoin (May 2011)
Amberel kindly custom-made one of his Top Cache geocoins for this cache. It is called Charon's Obol. I have chosen to hide it as a RESIDENTIAL geocoin near to the cache itself. The coin's webpage gives all the details; please read them carefully else you will not find the geocoin! I hope that you will discover it, if you like to see coins and collect icons (as I do).
Residential Geocoin (May 2013)
This listing records the presence of another Residential geocoin, Uno dei Trenta, also created by Amberel. I estimate that this coin lies no more than 50m from Charon's Obol, as the winged beast Geryon flies (if he could bear the light of the surface, of course). But beware, the lure of silver has led to the downfall of many.