40 - Eishöhle, checking out passages behind 40A bivvy
Decided to see if we could find any side leads from older parts of Eishöhle, since SVH has been looked at rather thoroughly. Rigged down ramp and over edge. No sign of spits for rebelay so used a 'tector. Steve followed, Mark reached last rebelay before edge and decided he'd rather go in through 40s. Later turned out he'd fled back to base camp instead. The pitch down has a very spacious feel - the edge rapidly retreats as you descend and you're hanging in the middle of a large, long chamber (Altausseer Halle), partly lit by daylight. Steve reached bottom and we started to explore. One way (away from SVH) leads to ramp rigged with blue polyprop rope. (Someone must have bought it in bulk!) We put on some SRT rope instead. At base is a large chamber with an ice floor (Teufelberger Halle). You can get a long way along this by traversing along chossy ledges on the right wall. West up breakdown passage leads to a snow and ice slope with daylight filtering in from above (Schneehalle). This entrance is probably 40b. Steve quickly adjusts to life with crampons and we stomp around checking for ways on. Nothing obvious, apart from a passage which it later turns out leads back to Teufelberger Halle. We return the way we came, cross Teufelberger Halle with crampons, and enter rift at far end. Remove crampons and probe around a bit - looks like there could be several ways on. Retracing our steps to the bottom of the pitch, we descend the breakdown slope to more ice, follow the passage towards SVH, turning back at the rope up towards Grüner Eingang, since we've not met Mark. On the way back up the entrance pitch, we notice a few possible windows in the walls which might make interesting bolting projects.