The major system of the Vercors is the Gouffre Berger/Fromagere system (depth: -1271
metres, length: 31,190 metres) which ultimately collects all the water from the Sornin
plateau which it delivers to the resurgence at the Cuves de Sassenage. The Berger is world
famous for being the first cave to be explored deeper than 1,000 metres (August 11th
1956) and the local people are justifiably proud, not to mention protective, of this world
The system now has 7 entrances and the most comprehensive survey was included in
Speleo No. 29. The Berger remains one of the "must do classics" for most UK caving
clubs, although access is controlled via a permit system.
Click here for information on access and rigging info:
The following UK clubs have produced excellent guides to the Berger:
Craven Pothole Club (1994)
Bradford Pothole Club (1993)
Crewe Caving and Climbing Club (1983)
Des Marshalls "Caves of the Vercors" also contains loads of useful information.
The following French Publications contain a wealth of information although (naturally)
Speleo Dans le Vercors Tome 1 (contains accurate rigging info)
Speleo No.3, 29
Scialet No.1,3, 5, 8, 9, 17, 18,
Given settled weather, the Berger fully deserves its reputation as a world class cave.
A visit to Salle des Treize includes the descent of a superb series of pitches, the traverse
of the fantastic Starless River, the enormity of the Great Rubble Heap and the beauty of
Salle des Treize (and Salle Germain). Below Balcony Pitch (-650 metres) the cave
becomes much more of a serious undertaking and demands greater caution and technique.
The entire cave becomes dangerous after prolonged rain.