Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Marlowe Peck enters the Caves of Naye

Les Grottes de Naye were at one time filled with ice. The entire hollowed-out-limestone mountain called the Rochers de Naye, looming above Montreux on Lac Léman [Lake Geneva] in Switzerland, was a big glacier icebox. Then in about 1895 a know-it-all professor from the University of Lausanne got permission to knock out a thin wall at the base of the cliff, and LO! within 20-odd years, most of the ice went bye-bye and we got a limestone honeycomb. So people started to explore a bit and established a neat but muddy/icy route through the thing, a path that begins at the bottom of the cliffs and winds upward to an opening on a ledge about halfway up the face, from which one then hikes to the top.

This wonderful tourist attraction is not entirely safe, however, because sometimes non-speleological people run into difficulties in the icy passages and, occasionally, die, so in 1990 the cantonal authorities entered into a grand debate about whether to blast the entrances shut so that no one could ever enter into the caves again, or on the other hand merely to delete the caves from all the hiking signs and hiking maps so that only the cognoscenti would ever know enough to go there. And, thanks Bog, that's what they did.

And in 1992 Mlle. Marlowe Peck, age 7, decided that this was a Grotte that had to be experienced at first hand. So she went there with her dad.

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And here she is, suiting up and ready to climb into the cave entrance on the right (see general view at the bottom of this page).

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A bit doubtful at first, but then the fire of determination ignited and onward into the crawly little tunnel. . . .

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The wee-little cross-country ski gloves are not up to the task. We'll be needing better gloves.

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Marlowe proceeds out of the crawly tunnel and into the first chamber, where she could stand up and pose for her Fond Papa's camera.

And then, heading back into the innermost secret recesses of this formerly glaciated mountain. Gulp!!

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And after a very crowded narrow bit, the route starts upward.

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A century-old iron railing

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"Hi Mom!"

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The Explorer with the muddy butt

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Little reflectors nailed to the walls from time to time help to lead the way along.

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Marlowe climbs a bit, and gets her arm tucked the wrong way round the rope.

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Out at the top, and up to the top of the cliff, taking a leisurely lunch under a big red sign warning people not to try to wiggle through the caves without big boots, monster headlamps, and a lot of insurance.

Back at the bottom of the caves, Fond Papa says, "Nice going, Marlowe".

This scene some years earlier shows the lower entrance to the Grottes de Naye (red dot) and exit (green dot), with a walk up the snowfield to the top of the ridge (yellow dot).

[It appears that, since the time of these photos, the authorities have laid on some chains and ladders to create an external route, presumably between the green and red dots. If we go back there soon, we'll return with some updated photos.]

In this scene from 1980, the bottom entrance is hidden behind the scree field at bottom right, the green dot indicates the exit on a small ledge halfway up the cliff, and the orange dot shows the top of the ridge.

Is there really an external route now? Let's go find out.

Grottes de Naye

Marlowe Peck's trip through the caves, 1992

Dr Pirri's trip through the caves, 2003

Highlights of various other trips, 1980-2003


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 29 October 1999, revised 7 April 2008, 7 February 2014.


Marlowe Tyson Peck