"Caving has a long history for Petzl. In the 1950s, Fernand Petzl played a very important role in opening numerous caves in the Vercors region of France, designing and producing equipment that enabled him to make these incredible discoveries. In 1955, he was a part of the legendary team that first reached a record breaking -1000 meters at Gouffre Berger.
To retrace his steps, Phil Bence, an active caver and member of Team Petzl, along with Florence Guillot and Guillaume Capgras and in collaboration with their club from France's Ariège region, SSAPO Ariège, asked us to organize a "Team Petzl meeting at the Gouffre Berger.
The goal was to follow the footsteps of Fernand 50 years later. So we formed a "dream team" that included Tony Lamiche, Charlotte Durif, Marion Poitevin, Jérome Meyer, Mélissa Le Nevé, Mickaël Fuselier, Nina Caprez and Daniel Dulac. Guillaume Broust, Bruno Fromento and Serge Caillault were also recruited to shoot photos and video. The trip would be a learning experience for some and a chance for others to take the next step.
Base camp was established from August 1 – 6 at Lans in Vercors. After a long day of technical calibration, a first descent to -500 meters was made with two objectives: to make sure everyone was comfortable underground and to take some amazing photos. With success of this first step, the team's attention would now be focused on the full exploration down to -1122m.
What we got from this amazing adventure, along with the scenery and the incredible experience, is the feeling of walking in the footsteps of the first explorers. But above all was the sharing of ethics and motivations between different disciplines."
Photos of the expedition
The film will be shown at the Rencontres du cinéma de montagne de Grenoble on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 at the Summum. After that it will be available exclusively on the Petzl website. This film provides an opportunity to follow the parallels between the history of the company and the exploration of the magnificent scenery of the underground world.