Monday 1 May 2023

A Caving Slipper


An excerpt from a well-known fashion magazine:

“The first piece in our Emergency Couture Collection is the Caving Slipper from the House of Biela. 

 It was conceived in Dan Yr Ogof; the magnificent show cave of Wales.  A group of cavers had just finished a photo shoot in the ephemeral Cloud Chamber and planned to complete the classic round trip by crossing the Green Canal.  This 100m long watercourse is stunning to look at – and also stunning to cross as it is dangerously cold, and those who try to swim through it risk hypothermia and drowning through exhaustion.  To avoid this cave explorers make use of sleek circular inflatables to help them maintain buoyancy across the canal.  However in this party, one of the cavers became so cold that her left wellington boot slipped off and was lost in the deepest section of the crossing. 

Thankfully, acclaimed designer Bartek Biela was present.  He wasted no time in reclaiming discarded pieces of diving equipment and transformed them into this multi-layered, insulated caving slipper.  It demonstrates a beautiful harmony between functionality, comfort and style, with the delicately sculpted toe piece referencing the crakow – a tribute to House of Biela’s Polish heritage. 

The casualty, Anne Bell, told our reporter “It was a real privilege to be the first to wear this amazing creation.  It was definitely worth losing a welly for.”

Aided by the caving slipper the party were able to make a swift return to the surface, avoiding any need to summon a rescue team.  We hope to see it becoming an essential part of all cave rescue training soon.” 

The Caving Slipper

Cloud Chamber

Flabbergasm and the Crystal Pool

Trip Report: Anne Bell
Photos: Bartek Biela

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