Zdenko Hochmuth, Miroslav Jurečka

Speleological group in Ružomberok was founded in the autumn of 1964. Later it was integrated into Slovak Spelelogical Society (SSS), within which is operating until nowadays. Speleology in Ružomberok has old and rich history. Known research and archaeological excavations have been performing in near Lisková Cave already in the past century. Some human skeletons were found there. Then, between the world wars, Ján Sladký, a teacher from grammar school in Ružomberok, increased the interest in speleology. Ján Sladký, with some enthusiasts, was exploring not only The Lisková Cave, but also caves in the hill of Čebrať, in Prosiek Valley, Jazierce... In the area of Ružomberok were operating some small local groups and enthusiasts, as for example, O. Hugáň and O. Uhlík from Prosiek or E. Piecka and E. Camber from Lisková.

Easy-accessible Lisková Cave, which is situated near the town of Ružomberok, attracted an interest of young people from Ružomberok. Some of us are still remembering the first steps into the cave only by the candle-light, seeing only mud and bats... Then 27th of October in 1964 we (in this time still attending the grade school) first entered The Lisková Cave. Initial children adventure began to turn into the serious interest. The group increased rapidly, but unfortunately, without having any older or parallel research. The Lisková Cave was not mapped only by our group, but also by employers of the Museum of the Slovak Karst and Geographical institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences (A. Droppa, A. Chovan...).

Easy-accessible Lisková Cave, which is situated near the town of Ružomberok, attracted an interest of young people from Ružomberok. Some of us are still remembering the first steps into the cave only by the candle-light, seeing only mud and bats... Then 27th of October in 1964 we (in this time still attending the grade school) first entered The Lisková Cave. Initial children adventure began to turn into the serious interest. The group increased rapidly, but unfortunately, without having any older or parallel research. The Lisková Cave was not mapped only by our group, but also by employers of the Museum of the Slovak Karst and Geographical institute of Slovak Academy of Sciences (A. Droppa, A. Chovan...).

Vojtech Benický, a well-known pioneer of the Slovak speleology, supported our group and was intrested in our activities. It was his merit, that in the 60's began our co-operation with the Museum of the Slovak Karst, right in the time, when the activity of Slovak Speleological Society increased again. Our group joined SSS in the year 1968. During this year our activity reached the top. We had about 20 members.

In the year 1969 many members left Ružomberok (study, army, job) and the number of members decreased to 8-9 members and this number we have until nowadays. The labour was getting better and better; beside the practical speleological survey began to take an interest in the karst phenomenons documentation. We measured and recorded approximately 200 caves with total length of 5 kilometres in our working area, which is lying in The Low Tatras, Choč Hills, and The Giant Fatra. In the year 1972 we began to operate also in Červené vrchy (The Red Hills) in Western Tatras. 2021 metres of passages were measured in The Lisková Cave. It means that its original length increased two times. In the area of the Giant Fatra we explored som abysses in Meškov (with maximum depth -72 m) and huge karst area of Biela skala (The White Cliff) in the central part of The Giant Fatra (maximum depth was measured in the Morňa Cave -60 m). We also explored travertine caves in The Revúca Valley, caves in The Korbeľka Valley near Ľubochňa, and in The Havranky Cliffs near the same village. In the area of The Low Tatras we observed and recorded Patočiny Caves, The Cave of Čereň above Ludrová and som caves in The Hučiaky Valley, also three caves in the hill of Salatín and the cave in Balné (The Ľupča Valley). In the area of The Choč Hills. Major area belonging to OS Ružomberok is situated in Chočské vrchy (The Choč Hills). Besides some caves in the hill called Mních (The Monk :o) like L-1 or L-4, Smrekov Cave, or some little caves in Prosiecka dolina (The Prosiek Valley).

In Červené Vrchy (The Red Hills) area the group continued in previous researches of MSK, Geographical Institute of SAS and OS Brezno and re-easured some old caves and discoveried a few of new one.

The group activity was always focused on progressive trends in Slovak speleology. The evidence of it is our participation on developing, manufacturing and using plenty of speleological, climbing, measuring equipment and lighting. The group members joined most of the national expedition and took place on almost every abroad actions - Expedition to The Snežná Cave in 1974, Expedition Monte Canin (1976), Gouffe Berger (1979), Sima GESM (1981) or Biokovo (1984).

Beside its own activities, the group is cooperating with few another groups. In the last years, our members took place on surveys of these caves: Záskočie, Starý hrad and Javorinka and laboured together with OS Liptovský Trnovec and Prešov.

In 1985, OS Ružomberok faced up the deficiency of young members, which was caused by the decentralization of nowadays members base.

This situation caused a definite departure of Z. Hochmuth to East Slovakia. In 1991, then leader, authorized J. Šmolla to make some research in karst area of Západne Tatry (The West Tatras), which was the first step for founding a new speleogroup - Červené vrchy (The Red Hills). New people joined OS Ružomberok and they reached a few successes especially in the karst area of Turík, but their activity was focused on the work with Young speleologist circle, which runned for 10 years and brought up some speleologist, which are active until nowadays. In 1994, our activity decreased, because of some personal conflicts and this culminated into founding a new Speleoclub Chočské vrchy (The Choč Hills), within which continued further research, but this activity abrubtly ended. The young generation returned back to OS Ružomberok. In The Lisková Cave we discovered a hundreds meters of new space and actively laboured on its measuring. We discovered some caves in Čebrať. 10th of July, 2002, OS Ružomberok was registered at Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic as a civil syndicate. Another group progress was re-evaluated and special consideration will be for karst protection.

We are hoping, that we will reach this goals in the future and our group will belong to the most active within the Slovak Speleologic Society.

References

  1. Archív OS Ružomberok: Výročné správy OS Ružomberok 1968-1999
  2. Hochmuth Z., 1985: Dvadsať rokov činnosti oblastnej kupiny SSS v Ružomberku, Slovenský kras XXIII - 1985, str. 353-355.

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