Monday visit toll road, visit plateau in misty wet conditions: no view; no hot sun !
Tuesday David & Ian Brindle rig first section of ramps. 4 new bolts placed. One on short pitch near entrance made redundant as no likes prusikking up this delightful short pitch. Ramp declared open and much improved. Fall off ramp whilst trying to place bolt, give up ! Second wave arrives and takes over rigging ramp.
9 hrs or so
Tuesday was wet again!
A good trip for dropping tackle, though all recovered this year unlike last year's ammo can. The entrance series to 115 hasn't changed much, grotty as ever. We reached the head of the ramp and voices, the Bouncing Brindles were buggering about with bolts. After some discussion we took over and Mike bolted a rather greasy traverse and a greasier abb down to the foot of the Ramp - but out of the big hole which caused so much complaint last year. The seemingly endless piece of Marlow took us half way down the Rift pitches to a rather frighteningly perched half ton boulder. We slung a rope on the next pitch and exitted. A good 8 hr breaking in trip and having dropped a tackle bag, hammer, driver, gloves numerous times and sealing ring we should both have exhausted our golden boot potential.
Next trip/ Previous trip
Having calculated all the tackle to the nearest inch, the rigging in was
bound to be superbly efficient and smooth - WRONG ! The entrance pitch was
easy, then Andy tried to pioneer a new route to Fox's Glacier. Once a safe
route was relocated, life got complicated since Point Five Gully was
completely iced over - exit one 50+m rope meant for lower down. More big ice
formations in Barnsley Methodist Chapel then cock-up no. 2, a 15m rope for a
14m pitch with a 10m belay. A 22m rope didn't quite reach, much to Andy's
annoyance, so exit another 50+m rope meant for lower down. The next rope was
perfect though, and the smooth efficiency started to appear. Rigged right on
down the Opera House and Purple Pit to -210m and dumped remaining tackle
(just one short rope) before muesli crawl. Then up and out to a rainy, dark,
grotty evening. 7 hrs.
Desperate walk back in wet black gravity. Missed pub but beer in car.
~ 7 hrs.
Having been shown where 113 lurks, we surveyed down the gully & along the path to 115. We used two staffs, compass, clino & tape.
We left permanent survey stations outside 113, halfway down the 113 gully, at 87, at 88 and outside 115. 113 is 164m or something above 115. Caused much amusement to local tourists. <---- This ain't caving but it is relevant
Survey at back of book
Another half past six start so we were down in good time. The less said about this trip the better. I couldn't find last year's route in the rift so nearly gave myself a hernia placing a free-hanging bolt of which more anon. Then under the boulders at the top of the inlet pitch which was a fairly trepidating experience. Mucked about with a couple of ladders at the entrance, met wave 2, and then we'd made a pig's ear of it & went out.
Next trip/ Previous trip
Well the sun was shining so wave 2 only reached the cave at half three.
God I hate this strenuous boring entrance series. Down the Ramp, mucho
improved. Incidentally, we passed wave 1 at the Bell Pitch - we we late or
were they early ? Chas had rigged a fine free hanging bolt but it was removed
and the old route taken down to the inlet. After much indecision whether to
go over or under the boulders we bolted out under, and on each successive wet
pitch we traversed out as far as we could, using the rope from the pitch
above as aid, to bolt. This made the changeovers strenuous but the pitches
are dry. At last we dropped down the fine pitch into the Chamber, still as
big as ever, the stream seemed quite high. Andy didn't say much (his first
trip) but I coukd see he was enjoying it really. We dumped rope, food, hexy
burners, sardines etc. and had some tomato & beef soup (yeurgh). Hastened
slowly out. Emerged at about two in the morning. Andy got really pissed off
as his Petzl Stinky needed twice as much carbide as mine despite having a 14
litre jet anstatt the usual 21. 11 hrs.
The furry suit is starting to niff a bit after only two trips.
Next trip/ Previous trip
The first big trip - jeez were we knackered ! Full of beans, literally, Pete made a jet assisted walk in. Surprisingly efficient trip in with tackle bags. The Ramp is different but no easier. Some entertaining rigging on the Inlet Pitches. And then Purgatory, what can one say, it goes on and on and on. We rigged the Pre-sump Pitch, then the Post-sump Bypass Pitch. On into the stream, considering the quantity of rain there was pleasingly low water. We rigged the first three streamway pitches, 7m slopping + damp, 5m, new bolt to make the next 40m pitch drier. Carried on down a rather wet climb with grotty memories of last year, we decided it needed a rope and that we'd turn around before we got cold. Going back Purgatory was longer and destroyed a tackle bag and a boiler suit. Soup in the main chamber provided just enough body heat to combat the chill acquired waiting to brew it ! From then a sleepy exit was made, both of us nodding off at strategic points on the entrance pitches, and on the Stogerweg on the way back.
Time 14 hrs.
Next trip/ Previous trip
The usual early start got us underground by ~1pm with only mild wittering on the entrance rebelay. Things went rather more smoothly than on Tuesday, rerigging Point Five Gully with a 36m rope, thus freeing the 53m rope for Sprucy Wind. Further success on the 14m pitch led us on to the Opera House where Mike found a missing bolt. Purple Pit was as magnificent as ever (Mike didn't appreciate the Bowers rebelay). Muesli Crawl was located and Sprucy Wind rigged... The squeeze at the pitch head gave Andy some trouble but the main trouble was the Union of Bullshitting Spastic Speleologists rope protector of which more later... Pitches rigged with minimal slack (one with tension between the bolts, much to Mike's chagrin - but the rope only just reached the next rebelay anyway). At least one bolt on the next section wasn't located, leaving a ~35m section with a couple of rubs :- must fix this next time. Needless to say - the rope was too short on the wet part and Andy had a brief spell of pitch rigging by braille and ended with a knot to pass at the final ledge. Then.... the bottom.
The chamber at the pitch bottom quickly became littered with bolts, hangers and solid rubber trussing gear as yopur intrepid speleos prepared to face ... THE SQUEEZE. Urgh ! Gnnuk ! Pop ! Into the Crematorium and the near silence of a dry chamber. Tripping over drystone walls as they went, the heroes, now over a thousand feet below the black hell of Schwarzmooskogel in the remote Austrian Alps .. What ? Oh, sorry - facts only. We looked briefly at some climbs and then shinned down into the narrow rift found by Tony's carbide lamp in 1980. More thrutching noises, grunts, groans and sundry curses accompanied desperate slow, woofta-ripping progress along a crawling rift over a four inch stream slot among muddy, sharp crumbly rock. This led for ages down tiny hading climbs to a micro-stream. More awkward climbs with lobbing lumps of rock dropped to Andy's limit of 1980 - the promising ongoing passage was huge ! after removing stones it was almost 4" (10cm) wide with a half-body-sized cavity beyond. We extended it about 2ft (60cm) horizontally and even less depth. SO much for top entrances to Stellerweg ! Turning round and getting out took less than an hour or so, only slightly shredded. I don't think Mike really appreciated being taken down here at all.
So ... OUT ! Re-assuringly steady progress up the pitches interrupted only by the crappy UBSS protector falling down the rope and landing on Andy. Don't they have croc clips in Bristol ? Sardines at Muesli Crawl galvanised the team to upward progress at almost exactly the same speed as before, slowing as the boulders became oppressive at the Opera House. Not far to go now chaps ! Just the thrutchy boulder and the loose scree and the glassy ice slope and the endless upward slogging entrance pitch and the bolt and the blasted bouncy bunde blocking bludering blacked-out bleary-eyed (insert a plural word meaning cavers but beginning with 'B'), from their rightful place on the outside skin of the sphere we laughingly call the earth, or something. End Delirium.
We walked back in the dark and missed the pub.
A leisurely start saw us underground by 3 O'Clock. The memory has faded by now but we rigged the last three year's pitches. The next is a pleasant 10m pitch and shortly afterwards a slightly bigger pitch we didn't go down. At the time we thought it might be a climb but it definitely isn't.
We took some food and a stove down to the sump bypass and had a brew of disgusting soup in the Big Chamber on the way out.
Oh and we put backup bolts on some of the other streamway pitches. Out at 5.20 in the dawn light. Andy kept falling asleep on the walk back.
Next trip/ Previous trip
Well, Dave and Ian were going to explore the phreatic maze at the bottom of 41 .... but we'd been outdrinking the local cavers in Bad Mitterndorf last night and the first expedition Huey & Ralph by Dave meant that he jacked at the carpark.
Alpine style starts at 0600 hours just don't work for C.U.C.C. so a leisurely start meant we felt vaguely human as we descended the usual boring entrance. Excitement at the wet pitches with a roar of water (it had been raining). We descended hurtling down through the spray footing it from wall to wall to avoid the worst. Vague doubts about the return are dispelled as we soar down into the Big Chamber. Food was dumped (fromk the tacklebag) and we scrambled into the connection. Damn we're lost. Back and forth, eventually we are on a ledge in 41 but 10m above the floor ! Shit ! BAck again and at last we've done it. On into the Dartford Tunnel - this is huge but better things are to come. Turning left to last year's terminus. Excitelment increases - we are in virgin passage - no, still old footprints in the sand ahead. Suddenly an inscription "cucc/UBSS 81" in the mud and ahead a sloping traverse. This was quickly overcome and ahead a stomping passage leads to - what ? A small climb is overcome and we cross a deep rift with a roar of water but ahead the phreatic tube continues. We're almost running now, pinting out features, not listening, the tension is incredible, a feeling of "how long will it last?" Suddenly a junction with a dry Purgatory in the floor and a dead bat. Hardly pausing we push up Rampant Passage, slower now, panting with exertion and excitement, this tube rises a hundred feet in two hundred feet of length. At the top we suddenly emerge into Cologne Cathedral, a silent but huge chamber. A dangerous climb leads to 30m Echo Aven. We return and push down the rift. Ahead the roar of water and suddenly we're hanging out over over an enormous streamway, water cascades down out of sight. We can't go on so we survey grade 2 out in what we've found. A magnificent trip and the sunset on the Trisselwand as we emerged was quite superb. This was continental caving as I'd really imagined it.
Tourist trip same day/ Surveying trip next day/ Next pushing trip/ Previous trip
With three of us strung across the 'bunde' we covered quite a lot of ground, and yet this amounted to probably only 10% of the area we crossed. And caves do appear in the middle of nowhere. The major joint trends are easy to follow but largely unproductive being full of small non-draughting shafts. Valleys are much more promising and consequently full of bunde. Two decent prospects were found.
We had intended to go down the streamway in 115, but all the rain the day before and the swollen becks on the surface at the Bergrestaurant caused us to make a nearly sensible decision. Unfortunately the restaurant was closed and we didn't have the face to go straight back so we tramped to 115, thought some more, and decided to go back to yesterday's finds. The bunde was piss wet, so were we, maybe slightly in the head too.
First to 132, clad in T-shirts + Wetsuit top + jeans, Phil dropped in, squirmy entrance, dug through some stones into a low phreatic tunnel, no draught. Mike tracked the draught, dug out some boulders and revealed masses of phreatic passage, hading ramps and possible big pitches. This is almost certainly another entrance into the top of Stellerweg hohle. There are also a number of ramps upwards, two of which were traced to earthworm size wet holes alluringly near to the surface. There must be potential for a higher entrance to the system. Worth going back to but we're keeping the location secret until 115 is surveyed. The exploration was halted by a shortage of light and sore knees.
131. Just a quick look, another steep ramp, but no horizontal development in the top 30m. Holes in the ramp of tight vadose stream character, with a drop estimated at 80m.
Time ~3 hrs
Next 142 trip/ Previous trip
Phil's first trip down any continental cave - and on his 28th (<-- I don't believe it!) birthday too. Originally we were only going down to test out Tim's SRT gear, wetsuit, enduro suit etc. that had been sitting in 4 City Rd for months. When we were down it seemed a shame not to go on so we continued down to the top of the wettish pitches before the big chamber.
Fine training trip, 5 hours
Pushing trip same day/ Surveying trip next day/ Next pushing trip
Surveying round the Big Chamber & placed a fixed station. V. slow 7 hrs saw a pine marten on the way back not in the cave, fool. ~ 7 hrs
Got down to Main Chamber in 1½ hrs for Dig Bicks, then to sump in 1½ hrs, then added a short rope to the stream "Yet another pitch" before continuing. Rebelayed the Letch Pitch to make it slightly less damp though with a bit more enterprise and penduling through the waterfall a comfortable rebelay may have been managed farther round to the right; but it was too cold for acrobatics. Below 'the Slit', Andy + CHas' last pitch, the stream meandered on to a fairly grotty looking pitch 'Coming Soon' which we rigged and then jacked through coldness and the ever pesent paranoia that the damned stream is out to get us. Met Tim + Pete at foot of Letch pitch and left them with the glory hunt and tales of gathering clouds on the surface. Not too hard on exit, it just takes so long, and Mike had a lot of trouble with his genitalia; endeavouring to return them to a state of prepubescence by the application of a non too comfortable prussik truss.
As last year the trips are getting heroically long to place a couple of bolts, and hydrophobia is rife. We definitely need some sustained fair weather, or else we'll all be reduced to surveying trips.
Time 15 hrs
Next pushing trip (following on same day) / Previous pushing trip
Team gastronomique went down with the express intention of blitzing the food dumps; if the cave went a little bit further than last time then it was purely by accident.
Got quickly to main chamber + made do with a couple of Mars Bars. Blatted on down Purgatory + met Phil + Mike at Letch pitch on their way out. Brief pause to unload unruly bowels. Continued to Slit pitch where some rather desperate rope damage was skilfully concealed with a rope protector. Next pitch was Phil + Mike's undescended 8m pitch which landed in a pleasant, gently sloping canal. Sauntered on down, passage looking more + more sump-like every step. Rounded corner to see sump. Sighs of relief could be heard all the way back to the main entrance. Unfortunately.... youthful over-enthusiasm on the part of Plank caused him to plunge into a rather deep dank pool + find a duck with a few inches of air space out under one wall. Trying not to think of upstream bowel movements + ignoring little brown submarines in the pool, our intrepid team swam through more cnal (the final sump can't be far now can it ?) leading to yet another pitch - Orgasm Chasm. Rigged ~ 40 ft to a ledge then 40ft to another ledge. Still couldn't see the bottom. Pretty spray-lashed chamber - very impressive. Came out. Stopped for a brew at sump bypass food dump. Stopped for another at main chamber. Came out pretty slowly. May have had less to do with fatigue than with the weight of Dig Biccies being carried in tummies.
time 16 hrs.
Next pushing trip/ Next trip (surveying)/ Previous trip
. . . . . way out man . . . . .
Phil S & Janet abortive trip to begin survey of the Purgatory. Sensible decision taken at 115 entrance in face of nausea (& headache). Retrat.
Exploration of 132. Found a big chamber and a big pitch. Thrutched around various crawls and lost each other. Sat around waiting for each other for 2 hrs and then went to call out rescue for each other. Fortunately met near entrance. Almost a nasty fiasco.
Doug. | ~ 4 hrs
Next trip/ Previous trip
Second attempt to survey Purgatory. Dave & Chas followed us down - about 1 hr 20 mins to Main Chamber. An hour later we were still there trying to get the clino to be visible - all fogged up. Janet put it in a pocket whilst we chatted to Phil & Pete - then took itn out to discover it was perfectly clear. Surveyed 9 stations down Purgatory when it fogged up again. Philip tried everything - breathing on it, sucking it, licking it - sticking it in armpits etc. whilst Janet painted a mark. Got it visible again and surveyed - with several clino problem breaks - until station 24 when it became completely unmanageable. Painted mark & came out - sane but cold. A quick dash around phreatic passage to Pebble Beach Chamber and the drafty hole to warm up + back to main chamber for sardines (later regretted). Out in 3 hrs 10 minutes - forgetting the notebook in the Main Chamber. The Purgatory has ways of preserving its secrets...
Next pushing trip (same day)/ Next surveying trip/ Previous trip
My old man said "Follow the van..." geddit ? Gertcha !
Well . . . . what can I say ? Preparing for a long trip, Dave put on long johns, wetsuit, furry suit, pullover, cagoule and overalls. Unfortunately he could barely move and had to take off a layer or two at the Ramp. Down the Purgatory was as nasty as ever. Then, past the Confluence and "Yeeeeeeeah !" I've never been as near having an orgasm underground as when I saw the smoked "CUCC 82" in the roof. Suitably encouraged by the easy way out, we pressed on. A pleasant series of pitches lead to the Duck. Yeurgh !! Chas did well to survive in just a furry suit. Then - Orgasm Chasm. Jeez what a shaft ! We put in two bolts and a large freehang 150+ dropped to (no not a floor) a ledge. Another bolt but rope too short. Still no floor. Back (bounce) up (bounce) the Interalp (bounce) which stopped bouncing when it caught and I was prussiking up an iron bar ! Shit. We've now been under 9 hours so exit. Large gonk at sump bypass. At confluence we gratefully climbed up into the phreas. The way to 115 is about half a mile of walking and traversing. Towards the end we were stopping every 50m for a rest. In the Big Chamber, we had a really bad gonk for 25 minutes or so - I began to wonder if we'd make it. Once the prussiking had started it wasn't so bad but it was slow hard progress all the way. The Bell Pitch alone took 15 minutes. Then the crawl out to a painful dawn. In silence we changed and walked back to the Loserhütte. The sight of Mike asleep in his car was very welcome indeed. At long last we could relax, after sixteen and a half hours unbroken struggle with this fierce cave.
Next streamway pushing trip/ Bypass pushing trip (same day)/ Trip which left the "CUCC 82"/ Previous streamway pushing trip
Went to Big Chamber to descend pitch with 66m rope, water for Andy's stink found next to rescue Mars Bar. Descended big pitch via ledge 4m down, after much wittering ~35m pitch into huge chamber filled with v. loose boulders, ways on opposite pitch via loose squeeze, not pushed. Ways down under loose boulders in floor probably choked.
Next trip (derigging)/ Previous trip
Aim: to push the streamway found by Ian + Dave beyond the railway tunnel in Stellerweg.
Met Janet + Phil in Big Chamber, then through the connection; route finding being moderately easy - following footprints. Heard Janet + Phil surveying in Purgatory when we were at connection cairn. In Junction Chamber we shot up the big passage and missed the turning left to the railway tunnel. We eventually got to the point where traversing became nasty + realized our mistake; but it should be possible to go much further up here. Down the railway tunnel with various climbs up & down and a jump across the top of the stream canyon; we reached a corner where the traverse ran out; so freeclimbed down ~5m to the stream below, we were amazed to find arrows pointing upwards, smoked onto the wall and then a pitch, nicely rigged: we were in the 115 streamway, we trogged down to the sump just to make sure. We had dropped down at the Confluence. We went back up the "Stellerweg Inlet", which starts off larger than Purgatory, but soon breaks down into inlets; we freeclimbed ~7m pitch, but eventually gave up when it was getting tight. There didn't seem any easy way of getting up into the dry stuff, so we went back to the Confluence and climbed up there. Rigged a traverse with a rope (before this we managed to avoid the jump across the stream by following a parallel ramp on the left). We had a prod around in many of the passages, but they all seem to close down as inlets; so there doesn't seem much prospect for any great extension. Coming back found a phreatic tube/crawl which bypassed the cairn + a small passage with some straws ! Dropped back into the Purgatory to avoid the traverse near 115.
Fine walk back - views of the Dachstein by moonlight ! | Pete.
Streamway pushing trip which left the arrows (same day)/ Surveying trip (same day)/ Next pushing trip (camp)/ Previous Bypass pushing trip
The trip that took four days to start ! Doug & Andy had even got changed outside the entrance for one attempt before jacking. Finally underground at 12.30 on Thursday ... now read on ...
Zapped down to Opera House then started survey from station 1980/S27 at the thread. Keine promble down Purple Pit confirming previous "survey" to 1980/SA0 at the last bolt. Zoomed through muesli crawl to Sprucy Wind where Andy relieved the tension in the rebelay (not without hassle). Then zipped down the rope to the bottom. Thrutched into the Crematorium where Andy started and Doug finished a bolt to protect a daring climb onto the loose muddy sloping ledge. Doug did the daring deed of deadly dangerous desperate daring (Bzzzzz! "repetition"). Onto the ledge and along past a thread (runner) and onto the base of the ramp. Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, this didn't go. Doug reached the base of an unscalable 15m aven and the hoped for streamway bypass was unfound. Retreat, unable to evade the concept which strikes dread into every caver's heart. . .
DERIGGING (Aaagh ! No ! Faint ! Throw up !)
Derigged the whole of Sprucy Wind and the last bit of Purple Pit. Exitted (very slowly with more cursing / unit depth than previously seen this year) with 150m rope + hangers & Co. & Co. Out @ midnight to v. nice moon.
11½ hours (gasp!). A.
Quite a drive to Ramsau am Dachstein, aided by a [?] of beer and snacks. Once there we looked at the walk up, looked at the Seilbahn tariff, looked at the walk again and decided that 150 S would be well spent on a return ticket. The ride is very steep and goes up 1000m in a single span. The path looks appalling from the Seilbahn - very exposed & scree-covered. Besides it's better to save your energy for when you get to the top.
Most of the glacier is flat, mushy snow without crevasses. We took a walk up the Hoher Gjaidstein 2,7 hundred and something. Fine view of the Trisselwand and of Hoher Dachstein from the top. It looks quite easy to get up Hoher Dachstein so this must be done next time.
Doug and Andy W went to play on the bergschrund & Andy D and Chas found a snowslope to learn braking and glissading on. Standing glissade is really fun. We rushed back, missed a bahn by one minute and had to wait for the last one down - by this time the weather had really come down and the lightning was flashing. We met a real alpinist and his son, draped round with sitharnesses, chest harnesses, pegs, nuts, etriers, crampons, enormous coils of rope, u.s.w., u.s.w. A very good day out.
P.S. the altitude (or something) made us fart like drains. We think methane comes out of solution at low pressures.
No caving was done. Went to the fireworks at Hallstatt and spent the day
searching Bad Aussee for gas.
Why walk further than Waddington's tent ?
Tim and Phil nearly went underground, but fitness doubts in training and intense precipitation caused a sensible decision to be made. Instead, tackle for a camp was assembled and carried up to 115.
Did anyone cave ? No. I think not. The three day cycle strikes with a vengeance: it certainly can't be the sunshine that keeps us above ground.
Somebody write in this space. So as I can have a clean page for the next write up.
[ someone has obligingly written "Balls" diagonally in large letters to fill the space, Ed. ]
We went in with Paddy and Dave as Sherpas to ferry four tackle bags and a 50m rope to the phreas above the Stellerweg - Purgatory confluence. A camp was established on a moderately flat sandy patch in a side passage with very little draught. Shitting facilities, upwind, in an abandoned vadose groove. Water at the Confluence, a ten minute round trip.
After Rams Bras + Dig Bix we went on a pushing trip. Rerigged ORgasm Chasm, same bolts so enterprisingly installed by Chas + Dave, different rope. Both had lots of fun shuffling ropes and knots and rebelays suspended 200' up the gaping hole. The big pitch ~150', is really great to descend but a nerve wracking slog up, listening for twangs and rubs. Orgasm Chasm finally rigged with a 3m descending traverse line, two ~12m pitches, a 7m, 45mm, round a col, 15m. At the floor of the Chasm, the water runs down a rift in one corner, followed round to a black slit hole. On the opposite side of the Chasm to the final rope, an archway leads into a semi-abandoned passage, with a 6m pitch and then the same black slit as above. Put a bolt on this but didn't descend, sounds about 100' deep - could this be the end ? Don't miss next week's exiting episode. The return trip was dogged by light problems. Four boxes of wet matches, two dud cigarette lighters, a self destructing leaky ammo can led to several anxious moments. Good advert for Timex watches, still running after a 60' drop and two hours immersed in water - not so Casio watches.
Back to camp at 2am, dry clothes, warm pits, soup, spag bol, egg noodles, dig bix, cigarettes and a comfortable kip till midday. Nice not to be woken by the sun, or to know that it had pissed with rain all night. Just as above ground the worst part of camping is getting out of a warm pit into the cold air and then into cold damp caving gear. A grade IV Yorkshire change.
On our way back to the surface we were rather pissed off not to meet the next wave of campers, bar amp followers. A little trickle of rain had frightened them away, they sat in BAr fischer and auctioned off our cassette tapes, hash, etc. Good to have friends. Exit from camp only took 3½ hours, including further extensive stops to get carbides going, Phil having prussiked up his own prussik sling in the dark ! Emerged to daylight, Mike and Andy to meet us, veg curry, beer and the munchies.
CUCC first underground camp.
Deepest CUCC trip ? But how deep.
Time underground 31 hrs.
Next (abortive) pushing trip (camp) / Surveying trip (same day)/ Next useful pushing trip (camp) / Previous pushing trip
A 'gentle' introduction to the system for Andy - whose light was in his car (oops). Down on Chas's light (Thanks Chas) but with no water - at first. Pete and Andy soon had hands cold enough to grab water and make ice cubes, but we refrained and carried on surveying and surveying and surveying and surveying and surveying and s u r v e y i n g a n d s u r v e y a w n. Met Paddy and Dave coming the other way in their sherpa trip, so added them to the survey party leaving Andy to sketch only. This didn't help as his light ran out of water. Anyway, we stopped at the top of the Ramp. Relief for Andy also meant light for Andy, but a nasty burnt urea smell for all concerned. Thrashed out - 6 hrs ? What is this ? A short trip ?!! Unheard of !.
P.S. The survey, while short, may be the best bit !
[Webeditor: the results of this particular survey trip may be seen on the site in plan (33k gif, 800x1080) or extended section (23k gif, 1090x700)]
Next surveying trip / Pushing trip (same day - camp) / Previous surveying trip
It rained all night on Monday night but we still went down even though it looked a bit wet. Got u/g at ~12 to be greeted almost immediately by the sound of rushing water in places which are normally dry. Took a long time to get to big chamber owing to failure of Mikes big stinky. Found way through Purgatory Bypass surprisingly easily only went wrong way twice. The water at the Confluence looked rather high but we decided to push on down. Got as far as the 2nd pitch in Orgasm Chasm which we found FULL of water. Andy tested it with his foot and retreated. We reluctantly jacked and had an uneventful trip out apart from meeting Pete + Andy W in streamway (and being later woken up by them) Our only achievement on this trip was removing some rubbish from the camp.
~ 28 hours
Next streamway pushing trip (the bottom) / Surveying trip (same day) / Previous streamway pushing trip
Went down the streamway thought it rather wet but pressed on and surveyed from the 12 foot climb downstream. Met Andy + Mike who'd jacked because of water. Got to the head of the Marlow climb where we decided to turn back because of extreme cold, worries about the water, single bolt rigging, etc. So we surveyed the dry bit from Confluence almost to the Big Chamber, stopping at the camp for a meal. Out not too rapidly.
Next surveying trip / Pushing trip (same day - camp, abortive) / Previous surveying trip
Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit !
As we entered, sun was beating down & promised to hold. This was the last pushing trip cos time was out - derigging would have to start tomorrow. We met Mike & Dobbers at inlet pitches and learnt to our dismay that they had been foiled by water in Orgasm Chasm. This meant that photo gear had to be abandoned at the camp for an all out push. As we entered the streamway the water seemed higher than usual. We pushed quickly on - I was thinking of the wet pitch found by Tim & Phil but knew we'd go on until bolts or rope ran out regardless of time. Duck was not too bad and onto Orgasm Chasm. On the big drop were two ropes - Chas went down the one with no knot on the end but spotted it in time (phew). The pitches became wetter and then the 100'. I vegetated while Chas placed one wet freehanging bolt then down into a cold spray lashed chamber. We rushed into a corner to fettle. Poking among enormous boulders we dropped into the stream again, through a canal and to a 20' pitch. No, it was a free climb and suddenly a sump. Just a rift with a very deep scummy pool. No great thrill, no cheers or handshakes, we traversed over to check for a bypass, but I think we knew this was it and we were getting cold so a slow return to camp was made. A good meal and a King Edward Cigar to celebrate, and a good nights sleep meant a speedy exit the next day. It's very hard to get out of bed when it's dark even at 1pm. We hitched back to camp and revealed all - I think they were all very pleased though cavers aren't prone to outbursts of emotion.
Next trip to bottom / Previous (abortive) pushing trip Previous pushing trip
Just for a change of cave we derigged 113 from Purple Pit to the entrance. Apart from one trip down Lost Johns and a couple down 132, 115 is the only cave both of us had been in in the last twelve months. Sonnenstrahlhohle is a fine pot, great shame its not the entrance to 115. Positively speleoorgasmic entrance. Some pretty hair raising bolts though, even if they are well positioned. In and out in 3½ hours. Then we had to walk back avec beaucoup de tackle; there are far more pleasurable ways of putting your back out than carrying 120m of rope and a rucksack full of caving gear; but such means are not so readily available. Malesh !
We went up Hoher Dachstein. Across the glacier - saw one uncovered crevasse - up a snowslope & then via an incredible number of fixed enormous pegs to the top. Having carried beer up for summit celebrations Chas reached the top, dumped the sack and broke a bottle, flooding several people's gear. Weather got worse & we came down. V. fine walk.
Got down to the bottom in about 5 hours, where we ritually peed in the sump and photographed it. Its rather similar to the one in Penyghent, in a rift, and looking as if it goes deep. There is a small passage going up above the sump, but it is full of boulders and we didn't think it was the time to start digging. We surveyed and derigged the two big pitches in 5 hours and managed to take the tackle thru the duck before it all got too much and we left it at the head of the last streamway pitch. 4½ hours, 60 stations and 5 bars of chocolate later we decided we were bored with surveying and jacked in at the head of last year's undescended pitch. We arrived back at camp after 16½ hrs caving and ate a vast amount before we went to bed. We met Chas & Dave at the camp, then Andy + Mike who relieved us of tackle bags at the bottom of the rift pitches. The entry was rather slow due to severe abrasion problems in very sensitive areas. Just managed to see the fireworks as we came out.
Next derigging trip / Previous bottoming trip / Next (survey/sherpa) trip / Previous surveying trip /
Good late start, but not too inefficient down to Ramp. Survey went rather slowly. Like everywhere else in the cave, its a bastard to sketch the ramp. You can tell how slow progress was when two of us had time for 4 (four) pisses and one shit at just one rebelay. Surveying hurriedly (but not too quickly) out of the serious odour zone, we heard Pete & Andy coming up from below. Not wishing to collide part way down a rope, we waited and then carried gear for the deriggers to the entrance. Out in time for an aerial view of the fireworks. Rotten traffic jams in Altaussee.
Next surveying trip (same day and overnight) / Previous surveying trip
After wogging all the beans and tuna, leaving only sardines for the other intrepid speleos, we went quickly down to the camp & met Pete & Andy there. Dismayed to find quite a bit of surveying still to be done, from the free climb above the Pool Pitch down to last year's undescended pitch. This took us over 100 legs of fast surveying to grade 3. We had Dave's Photo gear & photoed the Pool Pitch on the way. Went on down to the duck where Chas bravely volunterred to venture into the icy water, the cold clutching at his vitals, while Dave stood in up to his waist & took several stunning action photos. Then we derigged out as far as the head of the Pool Pitch and left all the tackle there. This involved some tremendous activity with a pulley and jammer courtesy of Brindle haulage Ltd. - Chas's footloops were nearly sawn in half. Back to camp for an ausblaten meal.
Leisurely start on Sunday. We piccied the Dartford Tunnel at length - at least Dave piccied it while unwilling photographer's assistant scurried round in the dark letting off flashguns. We found several bats in the phreas & brought out three, carefully packed in a tin, having photographed one in situ first. This brings the known total of bats to about 5 and makes me wonder whether the phreas does connect to the surface somewhere down the hill.
Photographed the Rift pitches & Bell pitch on the way out & exited to a colossal thunderstorm. The walk back was the most desperate part of the trip & we were grateful to Mike for being in the carpark.
33 hrs Chas <--- the longest ever
Next surveying trip / Next derigging trip survey/Sherpa trip (earlier same day) Previous derig/camping trip
Spent many hours hauling 4 amazingly heavy tackle bags up from top of Lake Pitch to camp, then carried 2 on to Stellerweg chamber where we rigged a rope down the climb. So to bed, only to be woken by Andy & Andy at ~3 in the morning. Next day we derigged to camp, had a bonfire with the rubbish & carried all the gear back to Big Chamber. The inlet pitches were extremely wet indeed. So we left the tackle bags we were carrying at the top of chamber pitch + got ourselves out. But to redeem the situation we brought one of the heavy tackle bags Andy + Andy had left at the last rift pitch.
Final derigging trip survey/Sherpa trip (same overnight) Previous derig/camping trip
Completed surveying of 115 by surveying from bottom of ramp to part way down the connection. Went on to camp sketching as we went. Had a quick meal at camp and started carrying the streamway tackle out. Found them too heavy and left them at various stages on our journey. Came out at 1.30 pm.
~ 18½ hours
Final derigging trip Derigging trip (same overnight) Previous surveying trip
The lowest gear was in the Big Chamber and we derigged from there with no major hitches. Thanks to everyone who carried the gear back from the entrance.
P.S. Chas was walled in with tackle bags at the entrance crawl. The bastards !
Previous derig/camping trip / This was the last CUCC 115 trip to date
We derigged 132 in 1½ hrs, then surface surveyed from the lower to the upper entrance of 41; and took lots + lots of bearings on the Trisselwand.
Next trip (1983)/ Previous trip