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(40i)
Lärchenschacht 3/S/T x

Entrances

New Entrance

Explorers

Underground Description

Few details available, since we were for many years unable to obtain a survey. A figure of over 6 km long in 1987 was quoted, but this would appear to include the Eishöhle. Contact was finally made with the French group in 1997 and Denis Motte has sent us a plan on 12 A3 sheets, dated April 1995, which gives the length as 1885m. The following description is made up entirely by looking at the survey, and should not be taken as reliable. It is hoped that we will do better after visiting the cave with a view to finding its connections with Stellerweghöhle (1623/41) and 1623/144.

Open shaft descends 5m to first rigging bolt, then short pitch to snow plug. The way out is to the NE, where the survey shows a couple of (inaccessible ?) question marks and a traverse over a pit. Narrow rift continues past another unexplored small passage to the right, and in 20m opens out into a sizeable chamber. The boulder floor drops away to the north (left) and ahead. Up right is a bouldery antechamber with the base of a ramp up SE. A short passage here chokes.

20m across the boulder slope, it is possible to descend the slope left into the main part of Oberpfälzer Halle, 15m wide and 30m long, now heading west, still descending over boulders. To the right is a 15m rift passage with an inlet. Ahead, the chamber narrows, but large bouldery passage continues with two or three big boulders (over 5m). To SW is a junction marking the start of Jsartal. Up a steep ramp to the right (NW) is unexplored, whilst left, south, goes directly below the entrance in a passage with a slot in the floor. After 25m is a widening and junction. Right curves round to end below an aven. Left goes quickly to another junction. Right soon chokes in boulders, whilst left ends quickly in an undescended rift pitch.

Back at the junction at the start of Jsartal, the main way SW soon traverses a large hole in the floor, then continues as a small canyon until 50m from the start is a junction in small passage. Right pops out immediately into the side of a ramp rising right (north) to a choke. Down ends in a pitch, which is best reached by the small passage left at the junction. This quickly doglegs and comes out over the pitch on the opposite side from the ramp. The pitch (undescended) is seen to be a widening in a deep floor canyon, which continues as Jsartal develops into an 8m wide rocky chamber through which the floor trench meanders.

After a short way, the trench abruptly ends, and a ramp up above it leads to a junction. Left continues up ramp, but not very far. Right traverses the ramp (another down-section soon ends), then heads west past another blind passage on the right, to break out into a larger passage ahead. Left (south) is the way to Geburtstagsgang, whilst right (north) eventually leads to the SchwarzmooskogelEishöhle connection.

Geburtstagsgang

Ascending a low ramp leads past various short side-extensions to Schafott - apparently a breakthrough point in 1986 ? Beyond this, small passage continues SW, with a mudbank on the left, for almost 50m until it widens out and descends a steep slope towards a floor trench. Left here a further ramp ascends east to a choke. The floor trench continues W, then NW, but would seem to be too narrow. Staying on the north side of the trench and heading NW (right from the point of entry) leads through mud and/or shingle deposits in a small zig-zag passage which meets first a small canyon which doesn't go, and then a T-junction over another canyon.

Right ends after ten metres or so, whilst left (west) meets another junction where a further trench comes in from the left (south). This also appears to be too small to follow, but would seem likely to connect with one or both of the trenches seen earlier. Ahead reaches a chamber, with a steep slope down left to yet another trench, but staying high gains the continuation of Geburtstagsgang continuing small with a narrow floor canyon. This now goes NW for 50m, to a T-junction. Right ends almost immediately, whilst left shortly pops out in bigger passage on a ledge overlooking a small stream.

Right in the canyon, 12m away, is bigger passage (Großer Cañon), and the original way to Stellerweghöhle, whilst ahead/left goes west, quickly picking up an inlet from the left and dropping 30m in Ungarn Cañon, a narrow way for 50m, to where exploration ceased. It is not clear, but this may well be a pitch, quite possibly into part of the Stellerweg system.

To Stellerweghöhle

By going right at the start of Ungarn Cañon, large, bouldery passage is soon met at a T-junction. To the right is an alternative route from the entrance via Frankenschnellweg and Großer Cañon. This route was found first, but the survey numbering suggests it was surveyed later and I might deduce that this is not the normal way.

Left in the bigger passage is over boulders, passing a short passage on the left. A hole in the floor of this appears to connect to Ungarn Cañon. Ahead, a slit in the floor is traversed (on the right ?) to reach a pair of large boulders. Up right here ends quickly in an unclimbable sediment wall. Continuing west, the trench reappears (now traversed on left) and soon expands to be a large hole in the floor. It is unclear from the survey how this is crossed, but on the far side, it would appear that a pitch of c 35m is descended, over jammed blocks. Rising steeply to the right (north) from (the foot ?) here is an unascended ramp, which seems likely to connect to unsurveyed passages below Roddick's Dive in 1623/144.

A continuation WNW from this point would appear to be part of the streamway below the Big Pitch in Stellerweghöhle. This in turn suggests that the 35m or so descent must be in the lower part of this shaft, and the ramp seen to the right starts some way above the foot of the pitch.

Frankenschnellweg and the way to the Eishöhle

From the junction at the west of Jsartal, large passage heads north for a short way to a T-junction. Right encounters two floor trenches, the right hand of which soon widens to a 3m deep blind pit. Across this is 25m of rising passage to a choke. Left soon swings round and heads north again, passong another short, blind ascending way on the left. A short section of floor trench is traversed and a short way beyond is Brotzeitplatz, where a large cross-rift goes a short distance left and right.

Ahead is Frankenschnellweg, a rifty passage with rounded roof, heading north with an initial floor trench. Thirty metres or so from Brotzeitplatz another cross-rift is met, this time at an angle. This is the start of a slightly mazey area. To the right is narrow for 30m to the edge of a wide shaft, Regenschacht, 4m deep. By traversing right on the near edge, a small passage is gained which circles all the way round to the far side, then ends in a small aven.

Ahead in Frankenschnellweg, another cross-rift is encountered less than 20m ahead. Right turns sharply back and connects to the Regenschacht passage about halfway along. Left is too narrow to follow, but lines up with another section of rift in the mazey area. Continuing north in Frankenschnellweg, the boulder floor changes and a steep slope down leads to the lip of a canyon at Puits du Sable. Directly opposite is a short blind ramp up. Right is the way to Grand Galerie, described below, whilst left is the start of Großer Cañon.

Großer Cañon

This is the deep rift reached at the end of Frankenschnellweg, but it is not clear that this is the best way to get to it. Back at the start of the mazey area, the way left (SW) is boulder-floored rift which continues for twenty metres or so until a junction. Ahead chokes, but two ways right soon unite. The left way looks harder - a traverse over a trench, whilst the right way is boulder floored. Beyond the reunion is narrower, with a slot in the floor, and zig-zagging roughly NW, though clearly interrupted by a number of SW-NE joints. One of these can be followed for ten or fifteen metres, where it becomes too narrow, but lined up with a cross-rift in Frankenschnellweg.

After this joint, the next junction is effectively an oxbow on the left, where a bat was found during exploration. Ahead soon reaches the top of the Großer Cañon, some 40m downstream from the point reached in Frankenschnellweg. A descent to the bottom at this point is a 30m pitch. Directly across from the point of entry is a ramp up, with various sediment banks, leading to Sophienhalle. To the right goes back towards the Puits du Sable and Grand Galerie - see below.

To the left, Großer Cañon heads SW in a classic meander, or traversing rift. Give or take a couple of zags, this is straight for almost 100m, at which point it is interrupted by a bouldery chamber of about 10m diameter. Beyond, Großer Cañon continues S then SW again, getting wider. Boulders hide the trench, and the passage curves west. To the left is the way in via Geburtstagsgang and on to Ungarn Cañon. Ahead is the main way into Stellerweg, described above. It is not clear whether the stream below Großer Cañon goes on this way, or joins Ungarn Cañon.

Grande Galerie

Upstream in Großer Cañon, most easily reached by the Puits du Sable, ascending passage heads east, and soon develops into a very wide passage with a deep canyon floor. It looks as if this passage is done at the level of the bottom of the canyon, which leads up, passing an inlet on the right, to a large pool at the foot of Puits Madonna. This is ascended to reach a similar level to the point of entry above Puits du Sable. The continuation enlarges into Grande Galerie, soon attaining impressive dimensions of 15m wide by 20m high. Question marks mark apparently inaccessible passages, two on the right and one on the left.

Beyond a couple of impressive boulders, a climb up leads to a smaller continuation. To the right is a hole in the floor with passage beyond, but left is a ramp up which soon rejoins the passage beyond the hole. The way gets bigger again, in passage first explored from Schwarzmooskogeleishöhle, until after 50m, it ends at the foot of a thirty metre pitch from the other cave.

Sophienhalle

On the NW side of Großer Cañon, directly opposite the entry via the mazey area, or 40m downstream from the entry via Puits du Sable, is a ramp up NNW. Right and left are walls of sediment, but the main way suddenly turns right, though still ascending steeply. The ramp eases and becomes more bouldery, now heading NE, suddenly to end at a widening above a deep undescended pit. A climb up on the right of this reaches the top of the far wall, in a large N-S collapse chamber, Sophienhalle. This shows clear bedding in the walls, and appears to have formed by spalling. Over the boulder floor, another steep wall precedes a ramp down to a choke. Dotted lines suggest a northward continuation, though whether this is above or below the ramp is unclear.

References

Information from Groupe Spéléologique de Clerval - Baume les Dames

Survex File

smk-system.svx 3d file