The Waterfall Mine

Summer 2021.
While searching for a lost mine that we had read about in the documents, but had not yet found, we came across something quite unusual.

We were moving in the direction of a gorge carved by water, with very steep, steep and well-smoothed walls.
At the bottom of this gorge, a stream ran downstream.

Often those gorges are ideal for looking for mines, as the streams, with their erosive action, reveal the mineralized veins that were later exploited by miners.
Going up the impervious gorge, we suddenly arrive at an area where the stream falls underground, disappearing into a black underground chasm.
You can’t see inside, and trying to lean out involves risks that we don’t want to take today, being poorly equipped as far as research is concerned.
We therefore decide to organize ourselves to return with all the necessary equipment to explore and document this unusual underground void.

Two weeks later, fully equipped, we are back on the path that will take us to where the stream disappears. The team today is made up of Matteo Di Gioia, Davide Cabrino, Manuela Crespi and Marco V.
To document everything, Mattia Nocciola, underwater-naturalist photographer and great friend, is also with us.

In about an hour we arrive at the part of the rock next to the chasm.
We are only about fifty meters from the potential entrance, but for safety reasons, we decide to equip a rope traverse.
In fact, today the weight of the equipment is much higher and we could make some missteps.
We change, put on the harnesses, prepare the anchors and position the rope. All this takes us away an abundant hour.
Now we are finally close to the entrance.

There on the edge of the chasm the noise generated by the water is such that we struggle to communicate with each other.
I get off first.
Fortunately, the stream is channeled on the left side of the almost vertical drop that awaits us, and this allows us to descend by taking only a few sketches, thus avoiding the bulk of the water flow.
Now that I go down it becomes evident that it is not, as I imagined, a natural cavity dug by water, but rather an abandoned mine, the vein of which has been dug up to the surface.
Surprisingly, the descent does not lead me directly to the bottom of the mine, which last time I had estimated to be about thirty meters below, but to an intermediate cliff.
Once there, I put myself in safety and tell Mattia, our photographer, to join me.
In the meantime, I make another anchor, and in about half an hour we are all on the bottom.
Down there, looking towards the entry point, you can see the stream turning into a magnificent waterfall.

We are thrilled with the discovery, and in addition, following the flow of water, we discover the real entrance to the mine and that is the one that once existed.

This outing to discover the unknown has thus led us to discover a unique underground wonder in the Monte Rosa district and in Italy.
National TVs such as Tg5 also talked about this discovery.

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