40 - Eishöhle - 'Connect to 136' trip

Thu 23 Jul 1998

Proper trip to try and find route from Eishöhle to 136/KH. Took loads of rope, hangers, ice screws etc.

Decided to try ice slope (NE end) down first as these were much easier, safer than the 5m ice climb up to passage on the NW side of chamber, which is closer to 136.

Put in a couple of ice screws and Julian belayed wook down. This is part already surveyed by VfHO. Chokes in rock and ice to SE, showing that 2nd pitch doesn't connect. At bottom (N) end there is a draughting (out) dig! somone has dug it a bit already. Large rock makes it too small even for wook with SRT gear off, but very interesting. We decide to come back if we can't find anything better.

Move 20m over to next pitch. The Wook descends. Ice quickly peters out and short (5m) pitch in canyon stops progress. Strong draught (out). Exciting! Others come down and Julian bolts pitch. He descends & kicks dodgy-looking ice-column - it comes crashing down - good call!

At bottom is a scrotty rift/tube. Julian goes down, grumbling, and then declares next bit 'too small', but maybe a Wookey would fit. The ferret was duly despatched, after removing gear. 'Fairly crap' but not really too bad. Beyond there are marks to show that one person has been here before, but no evidence that they had descended the pitch at the end. Bolting kit and rope were passed through the tight bit & pitch rigged. About 8m to floor. Tiny rift crawl that looked rubbish so re-ascended & pulled over rock-bridge to larger passage - real passage you can run around in! Looked both ways (choked to R, goes to L) until it opened into really big 'Triassic-type' passage. Went back for the others.

It soon became clear that Julian was too fat (too long actually, and hindered by his huge plastic boots). After much ranting & swearing Phil came through (with SRT gear!) and Julian had another go, but failed.

Wook and Phil went off and explored passage both ways for 30m or so until the traverse became too hairy.

Went back for bolting stuff etc. Julian eventually had to take off everything apart from his oversuit! to get through & finally arrived at foot of pitch in cloud of ranting and expletives :-)

Julian Bolted traverse whilst Wook & Phil surveyed the rest. Eventually (after 5 bolts) the hard traverse was passed to reach a point where large passage seemed mud-filled and canyon took over. Ran out of 50m rope at this point so went home via long survey out.

Rift in floor is obvious route on, also QMs at other end of trunk - staircase 36 -style climb up required to obvious continuation, where draught may go? Also obscure rift in floor, and eyehole up wall.

Eventually connected back to SVH survey & pissed off out to huge thunderstorm at entrance. Returned trying to catch our Midnight call-out which we missed by about 15mins, but no-one seemed to be worrying about it too much.

{No-one at TopCamp had the slightest idea of where Eishöhle was, so there didn't seem much point worrying! DC}