søndag 1. juni 2014

CME Expedition 21

Location: Skien, Norway.
Members: 001, 003, 004, 006.
Type: Emergency Tunnel.
Status: Active.

Sometimes we go looking for places that for all logical reasons must exist. It's like you know they're right by, but you just can't seem to figure out it's exact location. Like other things in life, all of a sudden they turn up right under your nose and had been there all along..just waiting, teasing..luring you in.

This was to be one of those places. As mentioned in early reports there is a train tunnel running underneath parts of Skien city centre. We had already discovered at least one, quite possibly two entrances connecting to the main tunnel from surface level. When building tunnels today, it is required to have emergency exits every now and then, throughout the tunnel, but when the Skien Tunnel was built, safety was almost unheard of, or at least not taken into much consideration. But still, I knew there had to be at least one more, considering the length they had to travel to transport the rubble and rocks if they were to exit through the portals at each end. The more logical thing would be to drill holes through the sides of the tunnel to shorten the distance needed to get rid of the stone they brought out.

Either way..one day while out strolling through my neighborhood I for some reason took a closer look at one of the gardens that were "too large" to match the house...turned out that the "missing entrance/exit" had been there all along, in someone's garden (!), right underneath my nose, litteraly 600 ft. from where I live.

Imagine having this beauty in your back yard!
I popped over the fence to have a closer look, and as you can see in the above picture..the gates inside were wide open. Lady luck had struck again! I naturally called up the other cavies and a few of them were quite eager to go exploring indeed. Flashlights were gathered, cameras brought out and into the darkness we delved.

Caveman 004 leading the way.

We swung left around the corner in the far end of the picture above and were met with 50/50 exitement/ disappointment. The steel door in front of us could either be locked or could turn out to unveil something similar to what we experienced in Expedition 10 . Unfortunately this door was locked real tight with no sign of budging. The disappointment could be felt amongst us all.

Here, but no further.
On the bright side of things..atleast now we knew where it was. On our way back out..004, managed to step in some foul smelling dog shit that haunted us for a long time. When we get to august, and have our 1st. year celebration..he is a clear candidate for the shit of the year award! Ahh man, that was some nasty shit..just writing about it gives me nausea.

Do not despair for lack of pictures from behind the door..I managed to figure out that this place was to be permanently sealed, so time was of the essence. I sent a formal request to the head honcho of the norwegian state owned railway maintenance something something, along with their property management office. The result being that, long story short, we were granted access for documenting this emergency exit before it is sealed of and gone forever. But I'll leave that report for another day...  

-Caveman 001-

søndag 20. april 2014

CME Expedition 20

Location: Oslo, Norway.
Members: 001.
Type: Subway.
Status: Active / In Use.

Oslo T-Bane

Back at it! As mentioned before, we aren't fans of giving away exact locations because of the obvious negative implications it might have. Since last we have come to experience this the hard way and tightened the circle of trust even further. Having shared info with people who really should know better and then finding travel descriptions in local media that even my grandmother would have been able to follow isn't cool. It leads to tightening of security, over-anxious parents demanding "death traps" being sealed off, and industry checking up on possible entrances. Fortunately we haven't given away all our secrets, so we'll still be able to get in.

Enough moral ranting on our behalf..but last words of advice to aspiring explorers..five minutes of personal fame in exchange for closing of top notch locations forever is not the way to play!

Let's Get Down To Business
Let's get down to business now. For those of you who are up and about, the location of this one shouldn't be much of a secret. I'm talking about a subway or t-bane station in downtown Oslo. Up until 1992 this station was end of the line for both the eastern and western lines. In 1992 the first trains could pass through this station and lines were extended. There is a lot more to this station than at first meets the eye. Before being rebuilt to serve as a "through" station, eastbound trains used to go in a loop around the station on the return trip. There is also a loop below the main lines that connect the outermost platforms. There are also a lot of other rumors about this place that I can't and won't get into here, but you can read up on the stories yourself.

Doors Leading Off To..?

More Passages.
What I can say though is that this station can also serve as a gigantic bomb shelter should the need arise. Blast proof doors are passed every day by thousands of commuters. They can be found several places throughout the station and can also be seen at the ends of all platforms.

King Size Blast Proof Doors
Blast Proof Doors At Platforms
This station is served by all six lines and sees a lot of traffic during the day. Snooping around places like this in this day and age makes people suspicious, so I didn't hang around for too long after noticing people looking at me while taking pictures. Regarding rumors, there are all sorts..from weird streetlevel-connections to sewer connectins, hatches in the floor, and from disused construction passages, to passageways leading off to various government institutions.

 I'll leave you with a few pictures of something I hadn't noticed on previous visits. Looks rather interesting.

Notice Anything?
Look Closer
Blast Proof Doors Hidden Behind Panels.

I just love subways!! Always keep eyes open..you never know what you might find!

-Caveman 001-

søndag 23. februar 2014

CME Expedition 19

Location: Oslo, Norway.
Members: 001, 005.
Type: Bunker, WW2.
Status: Abandoned / Sealed.

Waking up early in the morning, on our Oslo based member 005's couch..I rubbed my eyes twice to figure out where I was. Once up and running 005 made us some coffee and breakfast before we headed out for todays mission. Nothing like some eggs & bacon on a sunday morning. (Thanks!)

Either way..we packed a big thermos of coffee along with a king size plate of chocolate and headed on out into the pouring rain. As usual we don't give away detailed locations, but taking the tram downtown, we switched to an eastbound subway line. We were already quite soaked once we got to the right station. But with our spirits still up, we headed out into the wilderness..destined for the once german "Marineoberkommando Norwegen" bunker complex..

Norway was attacked on the morning of april 9th 1940. Norwegian forces were quickly overwhelmed by the might of the german invaders. We had not taken part in any war for at least the preceding 100 years, and we were not prepared by any measure. What followed was a five year long occupation. I could go on, but you can read up on this yourself. Back on track, we had checked out maps and were looking for a bunker complex built east of Oslo, constructed so that the German Naval High Command had somewhere to retreat if Oslo was under attack by allied forces. After roaming around in the bush for a while, we finally spotted some german concrete.

005 Looking For More..
Sometime after the war ended in 1945 the norwegian civil defence took over the structures in the area, and their emblem can still be seen in several places. Unfortunately once they were deemed no longer needed, they weren't just abandoned..they were sealed with concrete, blocking all entrances. But rumor has it that all the bunkers in the area are connected with tunnels through the mountain, with loads of rooms, spread over several stories. There is still a building on top of the hill, but none of us were in the mood for knocking on their door, all soaking wet, dripping with water, asking to see if there was an access throught the basement of the building.

Civil Defence Seal
Though we were disappointed with all the sealed entrances, we carried on in the wet forest to see if we could at least find some smaller close defence positions.

005 Tryin' To Get A Look Inside

Not finding much we decided to go on top of the hill, aiming to get an overview of the area as a whole. Slippery, wet rocks made the terrain difficult, but after a while it leveled out and we reached the top. Both quite cold and dripping with rain we started looking for a place to have some coffee. We soon forgot about the whole coffee once we spotted this little beauty a little distance away.

Top Of The Hill

Walking around the structure in the picture above we couldn't see any entrance. This fact, combined with seeing pipes sticking out on top of it made us suspect that it might have been some sort of platform, with something standing on top..radar maybe? Later we agreed on the likelyhood that this had to be a water reservoir of some sort.

Leaning up against this little mystery of ours, drinking coffee and scanning the area for more, our cold, wet feeling seemed to disappear somewhat. It's amazing what a cup of coffee can do! Before climbing down the mountain, back in the direction we had originaly entered the area, I decided to have a look on top of this thing. Once up there the whole thing presented itself as totaly flat with the exception of the pipes sticking out of it...and of course...the little hatch I had discovered (!) Yelling back down to 005 to come have a look, he didn't believe me at first..seems just a little to perfect to find a rusty old hatch, just after discovering all else is sealed right? I somehow managed to convince him to get his ass up to take a look for himself.

001 & The Hatch
Not expecting much, I got a grip and started pulling..and to my amazement it budged.

Knock Knock..
I can hardly describe how much I cursed myself for not bringing a flashligt from my home city of Skien. But in hindsight, I didn't really expect to find much out here, and draging around big flashlights and lots of exploring gear at a work related conference would only have given me lots of stares. Climbing on down into this structure would have to wait for another day..but you didn't think we would end this expedition without letting you have a peek inside did you? Here you go..

Left For Another Day...
Don't get me wrong..I actually love graffiti, yes, also the illegal sort..but only in certain places. In my humble opinion, this is not an example of it being in the right place. Imagine if each and every single explorer who came on top of this thing could open this hatch and get the feeling that they were the first ones to discover it (?!) Think about it..! The Caveman stance is and will continue to be "Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints."

Ok..I'll stop ranting about it now..and instead leave you with this little picture from further down the hill. The entrance of a bunker showing quite clear signs of alternately being sealed, opened, sealed, opened..etc.

005 Questioning His Agility..

Damn those missing flashlights..Our lesson of the day was clear:

Always carry a flashlight, bring a backup for the flashlight and a backup for the backup, and batteries!!

-Caveman 001-

lørdag 18. januar 2014

CME Expedition 18

Location: Oslo, Norway.
Members: 001.
Type: Various.
Status: Unknown.

Having to be in Oslo from Monday to Wednesday to attend a conference, I decided to head in a few days earlier to visit my good friend Caveman 005. On my way to his place I got a few pictures of sites and things that could prove interesting. Just sharing a few of them to give you an idea of how our eyes are at work when we're out and about.


Power Distribution Or More?
What's Beneath?
-Caveman 001-

mandag 13. januar 2014

CME Expedition 17

Location: Skien, Norway.
Members: 001, 002, 003, 007.
Type: Ironmine.
Status: Abandoned.

The last stop in the forests west of Skien was the old Langgangen Mine. (Lang = Long). Indeed this mine is narrow and stretches for quite a distance running north-south. During the 1960's the nearby satellite town of Gulset was developed and the local government decided to fill in several of the mines in this area. Langangen was one of these mines, but it is still clearly visible. A lot of the infill has sunk further down into the depths of the mine, so the outlines of it can easily be found.

While we were trotting along the path leading to the mine, some of the cavemen were eating handfulls of wildberries found in the underbrush, while I lead the way, crisscrossing the path, rummaging around the small bushes. I was looking for the site of a small cross carved in the bedrock, located a little north of the mine itself. I am far from certain, but I speculate that crosses like these were made for either measuring the extent of the mines, but again, this is only speculation. Just when the rest of the Cavemen were starting to wonder if this cross was just a product of my own imagination, I found the right spot. I knew it was here, because I had seen it myself some 20 years ago, but now it was covered by earth and moss. It was quite satisfactory to find this and uncover it once again, so that people can see it. It makes me think about how easily history and sites can be forgotten and overgrown.

The Cross
Moving along down to the mine itself, we could clearly see where it had been, due the infill that had sunk into the shafts over the years. But still, narrow passages into the mines below could be seen every now and then.

Still Visible
  In an early report I wrote about the need to keep a sharp eye open and pay close attention to where one steps when walking off the paths in this area. I'll give you a few photo examples. During the hundreds of years these mines have been abandoned, trees have fallen inn, along with debris, that in turn has had moss growing on it for decades, maybe centuries. This results in a lot of pits and shafts that aren't clearly visible. Stepping into one could give you a wet experience, or possibly a dangerous fall into the depths below.

Moss Covered Pits
Still other places deep in these forests, there are shafts only 3 feet wide, but deeper than one would like to fall. When walking along in the bush, looking straight ahead, many of these aren't visible until you're a few steps away. In the picture below we came walking in from the right hand side, and while keeping an eye out for them, this one still took us by surprise. Had we been equipped with proper ropes and safety gear this would have been a nice one to explore. Maybe we'll be back one day..

A Stretch Of Mineshaft

This had been a nice trip to a few of the hundreds of mines in the area. We'll definitely be back to more of these at a later date, but for now, I was off to Oslo.. So keep posted.

-Caveman 001-

lørdag 4. januar 2014

CME Expedition 16

Location: Skien, Norway.
Members: 001, 002, 003, 007.
Type: Ironmine.
Status: Abandoned.

Still out in the forests west of Skien city, we decided to check out what is said to be the biggest of the old iron mines out here, the Breigangen mine. They started mining this particular site sometine during the 1600's.

Rumors have it that this mine has a depth of about 67 meters (220 feet). The lower parts of the mine are filled with water, but coming close to the fenced in areas of the shafts you can still get a good impression of the size of this thing. While here we were talking about, making guesses as to how long time has gone by since anyone last explored the accessible parts of this mine. Who knows? Well, enough talk, let's see some pictures already..

Mine Shaft Fenced In
Most Of The Mine Is Subsurface
Another Portal Into The Dimension Of Darkness
002 Looking For Rocks Containing Iron Ore

Hopefully well be back here one day equipped with good climbing gear and the proper knowledge on how to explore this type of site safely. If we do, we'll be sure to take some pictures for you to see.

-Caveman 001-

lørdag 16. november 2013

CME Expedition 15

Location: Skien, Norway.
Members: 001, 002, 003, 007.
Type: Ironmine.
Status: Abandoned.

As described in Expedition 11, Norway has a lot of natural resources that other nations have been more than willing to exploit. Let's take a journey back in time...to the year 1538. Norway is under danish rule, and will continue to be so until we get our constiution in 1814, after which we enter into a union with Sweden for almost a hundred years. But either way, back on track..the year is 1538 and the danish king Christian III orders a mining expert from Saxony to travel to the area of Skien to prospect for iron. The german mining expert's name is Hans Glaser. He has loads of experience from mining in eastern Germany. After poking around in the hills west of Skien he sends a letter to the danish king saying something along the lines of "God has shown us mercy by placing an abundance of iron ore in Skien, in plenty and wide locations."

Hans Glaser goes about making major plans for developing Skien into a mining town. This is said to be the earliest know comprehensive plan for developing industry in Norway. This was never to materialize though. Based on experience from Saxony, Hans Glaser had expected the ores to widen as they mined further down into the mountain. They didn't..they were widest near the surface and narrowed as one descended.

The nearby ironworks of Fossum were established, and in 1543 Glaser reports that the first mine is up and running and iron production at Fossum has commenced. This first mine, the "Glaser Mine" (It probably didn't have this name in 1543.) is the oldest ironmine that can be dated in Norway. The Glaser mine was only the first mine of many in this area, and Fossum ironworks stopped production as late as 1867 after more than 300 years of producing canons, ovens and so forth. Unfortunately most of Fossum ironworks is gone today. The Castle of the owners (quite spectacular), along with the gunpowder house remain to this day. There is an estimated 400-600 mines of various size in the hills west of Skien, most of them not secured by fences, and anyone traveling to this area is advised to stick to the paths and to show caution to where one steps if going of road.  (The Cavemen experienced this when traveling through the wilderness, but we were prepared and cautious and therefore avoided falling into the abyss on several occations.)

The Glaser Mine was an obvious destination for the Cavemen!!

We set out early one saturday morning. I hop on into the cavemobile, and with exploration music blaring out of the speakers to set the mood, I head for 003's hideout. Soon after, 007 was picked up for his first expedition and we were off. 002 was supposed to meet us on site with his girlfriend, but after a distress call we ended up picking up him aswell. All four of us packed into my little Toyota Yaris, we were ready for action, until 002 decided he couldn't go anywhere without his dose of morning coffee. A few take away coffee's later we're back on road and find the designated parking. We gear up and head off into the bush. After 20 minutes of walking we are met by the first warning signs..we're getting close.

Dangerous Open Mines
We kept on walking, headed for the minetunnel that goes straight into the hill we were approaching. Soon enough we get there and have a little break before heading into the darkness. I pull out a small bag of candles and 003 looks at me like I've just proclaimed being fond of other men. I laugh him off, considering 007 and I have both put children into the world! Either way, I was hoping to get some cool shots inside the mine, turning off the flash and only using the light from the candles. I head off into the mine with the first candle lit and place it where I see fit. The rest of the guys quickly follow, grabb candles and place them as we venture further into the darkness.

Near The Entrance. An Airshaft Provides Daylight.
In The Halls Of The Mountain King

It was an awesome feeling walking through this miningtunnel thinking about the primitive methods of mining they had in the 16th century.

Belly Of The Beast
After walking and placing candles for about 40 meters (120 ft.) we hit the end, there had been a cave-in here at some point in time and the tunnel was blocked. We went back out for some fresh air and warmth. By now 003 had realised what I was trying to achieve with the candles, as it now dawned on him that we could traverse the whole thing without flashlights, only guided by the candles. It gave a special feeling that in no terms can be transcribed to text or photo. I tried to get the shots I mentioned earlier, but unfortunately i'm not that much of a photographer. ( Maybe one day.) I'll throw along a few anyway, just to give you an idea.

Caveman 002

Guided By The Lights

After a few journeys back and forth taking pictures, I told the guys about an access point across the hill that lead down into a cave containing a small lake. They needed no convincing and so we were off. Once there my camera was bugging out, so I got no good pictures from the inside but i'll throw in a shot of the entrance itself.

The Other Side Of The Mountain

We entered the cracks in the picture above and found ourselves in a cavern with a small lake. There were side entrances back into the mine we had previously explored, but we were cut off by collapses and water. Caveman 007 was all eager and began planning absailing into the cut off sections from above, and so the rest of us had to calm him down...you've got to applaude his dedication though, but one thing at a time right. That being said, it's an interesting thought..people may not have been down there, in the closed off sections for hundreds of years..would be nice if the Cavemen were amongst the first to really map this thing in a proper way.

One Of Many Holes Into The Deep Below, Scattered Along Hill

On our way back across the hill, 007 was creeping on all four into every nook and cranny looking for ways into the mine. Some were fenced off, leading a long way down judging by the small rocks we threw in, others were small entrances not really leading into the mine itself, being blocked by cave-ins. 003 had one hell of slide down a slope, getting a few bruises, but nothing a Caveman can't handle right?! He's now a nominee for injury award during the Cavemen Awards 2014. (Until I came home and found out I had a bug stuck to my thigh...a bug known to carry the disease Borrelia, making you insane.) So in the words of 003: "During the spring of 2014, if you start climbing walls in bunkers, trying to convince the rest of us that you're Spiderman, you deserve that award by a mile."

-Caveman 001-