Austria 1995

The first part of the log is traditionally taken up by the journey out.
If this is of no interest, here is a link to the caving!

2/7 - 4/7/95

2/7/95 | Journey - THE FIRST E**C OF EXPO | Nick & Anthony

It was on a breezy Sunday morning (2/7/95) that I first set eyes on the heap of tin oxide masquerading as a trailer that I was going to have to tow half the expo to Austria in. The parlous state of the mudguards, the ridiculously small wheels, and the spare tyre (containing no air and even less tread) did not inspire confidence, but with a typical caverish "it'll be alright" attitude we set off anyway. The first rainstorm to hit Cambridge in two months happened while we were packing this trailer of the loads, and the beast of burden (my Lada) which was pretending to tow it. I suppose that should have been an omen that everything was not going to go according to plan.....

(1) Got to Ramsgate without a hitch in time for the earlier ferry. This had been booked solid earlier, but there was now a space for us. "Terrific" we thought. "We'll be in Austria by tea time" we thought....

(2) It's now ~8.30 on Monday morning and we're happily travelling through Belgium. Noted that the car was not pulling very well on hills, but think nothing of it until a Belgian car overtook us honking his horn and gesticulating wildly. Thought he might be pissed off because we'd been overtaking slowly but pulled onto the hard shoulder on the next slip road to check. Discover that the passenger side tyre on the trailer is looking a bit mangled and blown out.

Now, normally all we would have to do is put the spare on... But the spare isn't in much better fettle than the old one. So the next bright idea is the National Breakdown. Decide that Nick will stay with the trailer and Anthony will go and find a public phone rather than use the emergency phone and risk alerting the Belgian police to all the illegal things about our trailer.

(3) Within two minutes of Anthony leaving, two Belgian policemen on motorbikes roll up. Neither speak any English, so Nick spins them a yarn in halting French about how he isn't towing this trailer down the Autoroute with his bare hands and his friend really has gone to fetch help. Maybe they believe him, maybe they don't, but they piss off anyway, so that's OK.

(4) Meanwhile, Anthony finds a phone fairly easily, and rings the freephone number in the handbook. Unfortunately, what he hears is a recorded message in English which doesn't make any sense, and certainly doesn't sound like "Where have you broken down?" Faffs around for ages redialling and trying every combination of extra numbers but has no joy.

Fortunately, there's an alternative number to ring the control centre in France directly. Unfortunately, Anthony doesn't have any Belgian money, so goes back to Nick who is asleep against the trailer. This has taken an hour.

(5) Decide to go and get some Belgian money and attempt to ring National Breakdown in France, so Anthony goes off to a bigger town, gets some money, buys a can of pop with the equivalent of a �2 note and thus gets some Belgian change. He then spends ½hr trying to get a Belgian phone to work, because some NB have kindly told him he needs [illegible] for an extra dialling or something. Having realised that this is total crap, he finally gets connected. Success !

...Almost. Having got connected, Anthony spends all his Belgian change listening to "You have been connected, please hold the line" in six different languages. So its off to another shop to get some more change and try again. EVENTUALLY he gets connected properly and manages to tell the bloke most of the relevant info (Nature of problem, car make, model, engine size, colour, fuel economy, volume of fluid in windscreen washers, owner's shoe size...) before his money runs out again. Note that the vehicle location is not in the preceding list. AAAARGH! off to another shop to get some more change etc. etc... At 11.45 the bloke says a mechanic will appear in 45 minutes. Great. Anthony goes back to join Nick.

(6) Mechanic turns up at 13:10, grins from ear to ear and tells us our tyre is broken. He tootles off to get a replacement and takes away our spare to fix that also. He returns at 14:50, we pay him (with English money) and we're off.

(7) 5 km down the road, Anthony notices that the car isn't pulling very well, somebody overtakes us gesticulating wildly, and a feeling of déjà vu overtakes us.

The same bloody tyre has blown out again, this time there is a 7" gash in it where the rusty prominence that passes for a mudguard has gone through it. Fortunately, this time we have a serviceable spare, so it only takes an hour to change it and beat the crap out of the remnants of the mudguard to ensure there is no repeat performance.

(8) Rest of journey was uneventful. Massive rainstorm in Karlsruhe, and we had to stop near Munich to get some kip. So on Tuesday morning, we carried on to Austria. The car was doing really well on the Pötschen Pass until....

BANG

Dear reader, do you think this noise was from
a) A nearby meteorite impact
or b) Driving over an unexploded shell
or c) the third blowout in 24 hours on the same trailer wheel.....

....At least in Belgium it had been sunny, now it was pissing buckets. We toddled off to the Opel dealer who told us the nearest spare tyre emporium was in Liezen (40 km). We gave up and went to cry on Hilda's shoulder. She arranged for the local garage to collect the trailer, and then provided us with a trailer to get all the shit to base camp. The axle has broken, and is going to cost ÖS3000 (~£200) to fix, so I think the trailer is on its way to the great scrapyard in the sky.

The Moral

If you want a shit trailer to tow to expo, do NOT ask Wookey for a 'shit' trailer, just ask for a simple trailer, and maybe you'll get something vaguely roadworthy.

End of rant.

not quite...

Things to do on the hard shoulder of a Belgian autobahn by Nick

  1. Kick the trailer
  2. Get rained on
  3. Kick the trailer again
  4. Talk to the large Belgian policemen on even larger motorbikes and persuade them that you are not a vagrant with a pet trailer and that you really don't want to be arrested (With hindsight, this may have been the better option).
  5. Examine the bits of tyre, strange lumps of metal, coke cans, used condoms, Tory ministers and babies lyt in the gutter
  6. Attempt to play patience and spend the next ten minutes chasing your playing cards across the Autobahn
  7. Kick the trailer really hard
  8. Laugh at the Germans in their really big car and even bigger caravan who stop on the hard shoulder too. (Unfortunately, they left again in ten minutes, rather than 6 hours)
  9. Fall asleep, then be scared shitless by some bastard Belgian lorry driver who steams past at lots of miles an hour tooting his horn
  10. Grab a random branch from the bushes and pretend to be carving something whilst hacking chunks out willy-nilly
  11. Hope that the policemen don't return. "Yes Ociffer it really has taken 5 hours for my friend to find a phone. Yes, he is English, like me"
  12. Kick the trailer .................

9/7/95? | Journey out | Paul

On arrival at Bad Aussee, Anthony bet me a beer that my journey was worse than his. I lost but see what you think of my 48 hrs of dicing with authority.

(1) My first train was the 14:55 to London. It was direct, cleaner, quieter + simpler than the 14:38 so I carefully watched the 14:38 pull out. Got on the 14:55. Shortly after Doncaster it was ticket time.

'Tickets please' I hold up my pass.
'Oh dear' says Conductor. I look blank.
'Oh dear, oh dear' says conductor.
'What ? You're going to tell me this is restricted', says me
'This train is restricted'. Head falls, heart sinks, no money on me for a fine.
'You know what I'm supposed to do ?' says Conductor.
'What ?'
'Take your pass. Report you and you + your family will lose all travel benefits for 12 months' said the conductor with a degree of glee which gradually increased as he noticed my student i.d. whilst flicking through my wallet.

This was no ordinary fine.

Luckily the conductor was scottish + believed in self-gratification.

He let me off all forms of fine. Who knows why ? My nine lives decreased by one.

(2) The boat. London in rush hour was no hassle after this. Boat train saw time pass.

Being a tight-arsed git I'd not bothered to book either reclining seats or a cabin for this night journey. A move I reccommend nobody else takes. Quick change of pen before continuing.

After much arsing about, eating, drinking, eyeing up some Irish Girl Guides. I decided it was time for sleep. Find chair but failed miserably to find noddy. Leave seat (+ kick anthony hard) but mark it with book + sweater. Go in search of beer to act as night cap. Return fully beered to find my seat taken with book etc. laid on floor. So it was sleeping on the floor for me that nihgt = no sleep.

At around 5 am some Burnley piss head comes along. Sees the guy sleeping in the middle of the floor just down from me. Starts to tell me loudly how 'F***... unnatural' such an action is.

(3) Amsterdam

Amsterdam is great ! Everybody either asks you for money or tries to sell you drugs. City of porn details of which I'll leave to your imagination !

Anyway, I arrive somewhat exhausted and walk around for 6 hours whilst failing to find either a park or reasonable bench to lie down on/in. Obviously the Dutch believe in neither of these.

So its the station. Find an alcove + lie down. Suddenly wake up with some random dutch being shouted at me by an Amsterdam policeman. Obviously sleeping is not allowed in Amsterdam. So I lean up against the wall. Bolt upright with a deadly engrossing book. 'Wake up' shouts same policeman in English. Right. I move away a bit. Connect a caffeine filter to my nose + hope. 'Night in jail ?' shouts same policeman. After considering this, thinking that I'd certainly win a beer with this tale, I decided that a night in jail ain't so good. Proceed to McDonalds where I spend many guilders before catching train.

(4) The Night train

Fairly nice time apart from random German youth who wanted to play footsie all night.

(5) Train from Salzburg to Attnang P****

It was a kind German conductor who'd clipped my Austria ticket. This, no doubt, took some explaining to the Austrian conductor.

Arrive in Bad Aussee much later (ie. 15 mins) than expected. But got bored so couldn't be arsed to tell you about this bit. . . . !

We should point out at this juncture that Paul lost a beer to Anthony over this journey, on account of it being less ep*c than ours. So there.


9/7/95 | Journey | hugh, Duncan, Mike

Journey of Hugh, Duncan and Mike. It all went according to plan, got bored, arrived at campsite at expected time and got pissed. So nerr !

ner, ner; ner ner ner ! [scribble]

Duncan was 'ere
after some beer !


1995-07-08| Plateau - Prospecting trips | Nick and Paul

Due to the lack of knowledge about Main Entrance and the lack of France (entrance under much snow) some prospecting was done. Behind the Hinter, about 50m further the slope from France there is a prominent limestone ridge. This develops into a shallow gulley with a slanting rift at the bottom. This was followed and several blind shafts & slots (too tight) were found. Descended holes have been marked with a scratched cross (no paint). There is a possible rift system here - lots of the slots draught (sounds like a jet engine) but it all seems too tight. Most promising is hole intoslanting rift with snow alope. Marked with cairn and scratched cross. 235° to Vord 305° to col & 350° to end of next lump along (Its obvious when you're there !). Ended in large snow plug - possible way on under it too tight. May be worth second look if bored & its very warm.

TU nick ½hr Paul 10 mins


8/7/95 | Plateau - Prospecting trip| James & Anthony

Setting off from the snowbound France entrance, we headed round the back of the Hinter. Apart from one blind shaft ~100m N of 161c entrance, and a shaft near the col between Hinter and Nd Augst Eck which we failed to locate on the 9th, we found fuck all. Someone has been here before us. Found 1990/10 and lots of stuff marked +.

The day after we tried our luck on the W side of the Hinter. Apart from one blind shaft (I think), we found fuck all. Strange eh ?


10/7/95 | 161 - Main Entrance | Nick, Mike & Hugh

Proper caving at last !!! Team knowledge (ie. Mike) had arrived the day before and was deemed to be keen. Went down to Dreaming of Limo with its myriad of leads, so rigged main entrance, snot, pitch below squeeze, put a handline on vestibule and then thrutched through Stomping (Don' you just hate cavers with a sense of humour ?) Stomping it is not. Shite is closer to the mark, especially with a tackle sack. Arrived at the pushing front - nice trusty rift leading to a pitch. Hugh put in a bolt, then I had a go. Bang, bang, flake, bang, bang, crumble. Hmm, that'll be shit rock then. All bored and cold so headed out slowly. Emerged to daylight and more hot sunshine. Good stuff.

TU 7 hours

Next Pushing trip


11/7/95 | 161 - Pushing Dreaming of Limo | Nick, Hugh + James

Got down to Dreaming of Limo pretty quickly - 1½ hrs + then started pushing. Hugh put in a second bolt at the head of the 1st pitch - Dental Floss. Slightly tight take off followed by approx 10m drop to a large ledge. 5m drop rigged off natural drops to floor. From here, found another obvious way on which leads to the right to a sloping rift (Tonsils) through a small hole. Pos. way on up to left from here. Rift drops down about 15m to another floor with 3 holes in it. Hole on left leads to really awful way on (Teeth) down rift dropping about 10m through tight chossy rock before opening out + dropping another 15m to floor. The pitch head was rigged off some really dodgy naturals which creaked + moved a lot while Nick was hanging off swearing. After a bit of re-rigging + a rebelay before the rift opened out, the pitch was rigged sort of satisfactorily. By the time we all reached the bottom of this pitch, everyone was knackered so we lobbed a load of rocks down the next pitch, went ooh - this is god + started back up - not as easy as it sounds - it took one hell of a lot of squirming, swearing and carbide relighting to get up Teeth. When we reached the top of our lead we caught up with Paul, Duncan, Mike + Anthony on the way up to the entrance so had to sit around a lot waiting + getting bloody cold. Called the series of pitches we discovered the Oral series. TU 10½ hrs

Previous trip / Next Pushing trip / Other DoL trip (same day)


11/7/95 | 161 - To Dreaming of Limo | Anthony, Mike, Duncan, Paul

This was supposed to be a short pushing trip but due to a small amount of faffing by yours truly this never happened. KH main entrance is a tad airy. This was my observation + my problem.... Having done only 3 not nice SRT trips before it took some faffing to pass the freehanging re-belay. This took the form of:- 'how do I get me short cow's tail off?' Lots of faffing and help eventually taught me how to pass such a thing + the bottom was reached. Off we all traipsed down snot + stomping to just before Dreaming of Limo. Mike went down some passage he rigged. This he said didn't look too promising. I went to sleep. We then all met the others and decided to come out. This was done with out much pace but without hiccup.

TU 8½ hours

Previous trip / Next Pushing trip / Other DoL trip (same day)


12/7/95 | Journey - Hitching | Kate

A note from your leader...

How to travel to expo EASY and free:-

What you need is

1) 3 days with fuck all to do except go to expo
2) be in the Alps already (although you could get here as quick from England)
3) a thumb
4) less than 100 litres of shit per person (tricky, but your friends can take the expo shit in the nice trailer Wookey found.
Ex friends)

Simply stand by the roadside in no hurry to go anywhere (if you're going to expo, this is easy) with your thumb out, glance at the occasional HEDGEHOGS in the undergrowth, and get taken to Hilda's (in 21 lifts as Kate 'super keen hitching superstar Jannossy {How many N's - RANT! [inserted here - Ed]} has just counted).
Note that campsite is fulll of normal people.
Whoops.
Note that beer tally only . . .

(pause to turn Floyd tape over)

. . . note that beer tally only goes up to a hundred.
Whoops.
Note that potato hut contains no cavers (must be caving, ho ho!)

And then, and then it happened. A fridge. I couldn't believe it. Was is possible? Cold Gösser in the potato hut? I tentatively opened the door, hoping, praying, and YES! the light came on and I was confronted with row upon row of bottles.

So here I sit, with the 'Shine On' intro in the background, a cold Gösser in front of me to aid my assault on Anthony & Nick's lead in the beer tally, bullshitting merrily into the book before me.

It's expo

Kate's Handy Hitching Hints:

1) In Italy standing on the side of a motorway by a toll in front of an Italian Mamma + her daughter in a nice clean car, it's OK to have a random snog because there's no way they would give you smeggy gits a lift anyway....until they give you a 200km lift!! (with only slight ranting for not speaking Italian - they speak perfect English). :. Italians are romantics really.
Later, when hitching got crap we considered demonstrative shagging on the hard shoulder but suspected this might not work in Austria.

2) Don't wear Steve's utterly foul T shirt (specially in Austria). Continuous stream of lifts after he took it off.
(It seems to be OK when I wear it though)

3) Look at the map before refusing lifts to towns you think are the wrong way (whoops)

4) If you really hate long squidgy slimey things don't go hitching with Steve. (I am referring to the side of an Italian Motorway infested with millions of nasty orange huge slimey slugs. I refused to sleep on the grass + bivvied on a nice comfortable (honest) not at all slopey bit of road - like concrete in front of a padlocked gate, in fear of being run over in the middle of the night). I hate slugs.


13/7/95 | 161 - Pushing Oral Series | Nick, Duncan, Anthony

The Prince of Darkness Strikes Again! Except this time I scuppered myself. Decided to be keen and went down whilst the others were calibrating and faffing. Charged down to Vestabule where my electric light decided to fail with a carbide messily poissing water out of the rivet hole I turned round and charghed back out. Got to the bottom of the entrance pitch to find Duncan getting changed Prussiked back out, pinched Paul's zoom and Hugh's generator. Take Two. Battle down to D.O.L. with tackle sack (about which I shall not rant). Anthony declared the naturals at the top of Teeth to be sound, so I descended and started putting a back-up bolt in for the next pitch. (The much bullshitted about bypass for Teeth had not appeared suprisingly). Duncan and Anthony enjoyed Teeth, then with 3 shit spits "Don't worry Anthony, the back-up is sound". Chortle. We descended into the next chamber. Lots of scrotting around, rift too small. More quality expo rigging followed, then I went down Arsehole, which ended after 15m. End of Oral Series. Team Survey had caught us up by then, so we kindly let them survey our finds and we went out (slowly) Actually found some clean white stals down there, so if anyone fancies a return trip ......

TU Dunc, Anthony 9½
Nick 10½

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13/7/95 | 161 - Survey & Derig Oral Series | Mike, James, Paul

Went down; surveyed; met pushers; finished survey; derigged back to DOL; shagged; came out. OK, so it took a bit longer 'cos Paul took quite a long time to come out. This trip was an EPIC (note: Extended Period In Cave). If you want a better write up then browbeat someone else

TU Paul, James 14
Mike 12½

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EXPO '96

On account that Wookey now has a fuck-off big trailer we suggest that Expo 95 has an

* * *
EXPO TUMBLE DRIER
* * *

Almost certainly ace gear, yeh?! :-)
16/7/95 | 161 - Pushing Dreaming of Limo | Nick, James, Dave C

Went down to d-o-l with no problems where Nick proceeded to bolt the wet pitch - Splattery. Dave decided at this point that he was too tired to be caving + started going out. I came across him wandering around the south end of D-O-L totally lost. I .·. had to show him all the way to Vestabule - bloody endless scrotting through Stomping. Nick + I proceeded to push the rift below Stomping which proved to be dead - just a loop ending back at the top of Splattery. We then started surveying but a huge rush of water misted the compass. We .·. pushed a really tight passage off Stomping + went out.

TU Nick + James 8h Dave: 4½h

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17/7/95 | 161 - DOL (Again) | Nick, James, Dave C

This time DOL would be finished, surveyed and derigged, no messing, no problems. Plan was to survey Splattery and Limo's Revenge, (James' tight passage off Stomping), push and survey the last hole in the south of DOL and be out before bedtime. I whizzed down and decided to look down Mike's hole, Gnasher, we he had declared "unlikely to go anywhere". Needless to say it did, after some appalling rigging, into the rift with at least 2 more pitches. DOL refuses to die. Then we went to Splattery, after Dave had finally arrived, swearing blind he had got into DOL without doing the climb up (?!). Some faff, and Splattery was finished. Quick look at the hole in the S of DOL confirmed it needed a bolt or 12 rope-tectors. Off to Limo's Revenge. Devotion to duty or sheer stupidity - lets survey a grim, scrotty tight & twisty rift passage which goes nowhere !? This we did. Scout provided a lengthy diversion by getting stuck for 20 minutes. Eventually freed, James & I finished surveying and we left, to the sound of DOL laughing.

TU 10 hrs

Previous trip / Next trip / France trip (same day)


18/7/95 | 161 - Rigging to Gob | Nick, James & Mike

Mike had arrived the night before and was prepared to guide me down to the end of YAPATE, where hopefully I would recognise the scene of my joyous experience of 2 years ago. Surprisingly enough, this was exactly what we did. After some faff leaving the bolts at Over the Rainbow, and finding that some of the boulder slope down to Knossos had disappeared, we arrived at the top of Gob on You, with attendant shit spit. Here Mike generously let me go first. Faffed for ages trying to work out how Adam had rigged Wish You Were Here - In the end Mike put in a bolt, and I went down. Then through the slot at the top of Final Cut. Here Mike took Old Man's Perogative and went back up to put another bolt in. James was stupid enough to follow me. Found the pushing front, which looks quite promising. Then we buggered off out, with dying lights & flooded leaking carbides. Two hours from bottom of Knossos. We're not hard. (Just wanted to get back to Base Camp)

TU Nick 7½
James & Mike 8

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17/7/95 | 161 - Rigging (?) France | Julian H, Steve, Kate, Dave J, Paul

Having eventually found France, Julian was keen to rig it + take half of expo down it. The aim was that Julian + Steve would rig to Sultans of Swing + then do some pushing. Kate + myself would explore holes in the floor of Algeria whilst Dave would attach himself to whichever parts he felt like. After much surface faffing in which 4 tackle sacks of rope were packed it was down into France. Carbide failure, Dave getting caught on a tight hanging rebelay, Julian leaving hangers at the bottom of Roll of the Dice whilst trying to rig Toothless made this into a fairly crap trip. As we'd chosen an early call out time, Dave, Kate + myself came out with Steve + Julian trying to go to Algeria. Rope didn't reach ! The only good things about this trip was that Julian found several leads* near the surface + it was still daylight when we got out.

TU Kate, Dave, Paul 5½ hrs
Steve, Julian 7 hrs (?)

* Part way down "toothless" there is a hole in the wall leading to two pitches. One of these has a 5 second (1 bounce) drop !! Both are undescended (currently) and are definitely worth pushing. Julian

Previous trip / Next trip / Dreaming of Limo trip (same day)


20/7/95 | 161 - DOL (Yet Again) | Nick & Paul

In a pre-dinner burst of enthusiasm, we got up at 5.00 am to go caving. We were underground at 8.30 (it would have been 8.00 if Paul hadn't deliberately strung himself up on the entrance pitch forcing me to take the tackle bastard off him). Pottered down to Stomping & the hole leading into the chamber off Gnasher. Did some gardening & produced a fine free hang (25-30m ?) Then bolted the small pitch below and thrutched into the rift. Another pitch, with jammed boulders in the rift. Having started to rig off these, one of them moved. Gibber. Rapid change of plan. Lets put a bolt in the wall then. This done, a 10m pitch was descended, with yet another one leading from it. DOL lives on. We shall return.

TU Nick 6½
Paul 7

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18/7/95 | 161 - More rigging in France | Steve, Julian H, Kate, Dave C, Dave J

Actually managed to rig into Algeria ! Steve + Julian (well Steve mostly) hung for ages on rope in wetness putting in bolts down to the ledge in Sultans of Swing. I started putting in bolts to go down a hole in Algeria then Dave + Dave arrived so I cunningly taught them to put in bolts (with my vast experience) + we rigged short pitch into a chamber with a big wet pitch + a small rifty thing (which probably floods lots) with a pitch at the end. I started thinking about rigging this while Dave + Dave went out but Julian thought it was too scary so I didn't bother. Might rig possible alternative way into the bottom of the same rift soon. Maybe.
P.S. Dave t'other got strung up again on the way in.

TU ~9h

Steve rigged to first ledge of Sultans and then dropped bolt driver onto the ledge. Having retrieved this he then didn't feel like prussiking back up to finish putting in the spit, so I put in two in the wetness. It was crap. After hammering in the second, I was still cold and so was Steve. So we jacked !

Julian H

Previous trip / Next trip / Gob rigging trip (same day)


20/7/95 | 161 - inadvertantly go caving. (Down France) | Mike TA, Anthony & Duncan

This is a story of unfortunate mishaps.

After accidentally setting their alarm clock for 5am, the aforementioned found themselves going caving at 8am. A series of unforseen mishaps saw them arrive at a question mark in Rich T chamber. This consisted of a chossy 12' climb, which was erroneously interpreted as a chance for Duncan to practice his bolting skills, and thus a spit became placed. Duncan & Mike then endured ½hr each of shitting their pants on a 35° bank of choss, only to find that it didn't go anywhere. This at least reduced the possibility of the grave error of them returning to survey this bit of cave occurring. The possé then exit, trying to avoid the obvious pitfalls of inadvertantly becoming drunk that evening at the expo dinner.

T/U 7 hrs

Previous trip / Next trip / Dreaming of Limo trip (same day)


21/7/95? | 161 - Hobnob passage - Pushing 94-65 | Duncan, Kate

After small amount of faffing over bolting kit (which we had left at surface, and so we had to get one of from down Sultan's.) we thwacked a couple of bolts in to make a reasonable Y- hang down the rift. Kate went down first - from above the pitch looked pretty good, and reports from below were favourable too, so I followed. The rift led into a train tunnel-sort of passage. This initially appeared to be a good lead, but exploration proved this not to be the case - to the west, the passage went for perhaps 30 metres before closing down, but had a small, water washed vadose lead on the right (with sound of water), - to the east, the passage was filled almost to the roof with a large mud bank, being followable for perhaps 30 metres.

The lead to the west is worth a second look for small people since it sounds as if it goes somewhere significant.

TU Kate 7
Dunk 8 hours

Previous trip / Next trip / Second write-up (this trip) / Sultans of Swing trip (same day) / Dreaming of Limo trip (same day)


22/7/95 | Main entrance, pushing hole off Stomping | Nick & Anthony

Plan was to push pitch found by Nick & Paul on dinner day which Nick thought was probably not a goer, and then survey out... Except by the time I arrived, Nick had found another ~20m pitch. This quickly led (via some typical expo rigging) to another ~20m pitch rigged off a stonking natural. This in turn led to an eyehole onto a 20m pitch into a largish chamber. A narrow rift off joins a rift at right angles to it with a stream in the bottom. Upstream leads to a small chamber with a desperate looking 8m climb up a waterfall, downstream leads to a genuinely pretty bit beyond which the rift gets too tight. There is another tube which doubles back on the original entrance rift and continues for some distance (30m ?) until became too tight for us to push today. If there are any remaining leads down here, they're all pretty grim, and this is definitely not the place to be in a thunderstorm.

Happy with our day's work, we pissed off out. On the second pitch on the way out, there was a serious case of BELOW. Twice. Yours truly only got hit once though, as he cowered at the bottom. Shortly after, there was a reassuring call of "It's OK now.... Part of the natural we rigged the pitch off fell off." Apparently Nick got to within 5m of the pitch head when bits of it started raining on him. By the time I made it to the top of the pitch (prussiking very carefully), Nick was hanging onto the natural apparently holding it in place. Next time we intend to twat it with a hammer until we're sure it's safe & put another bolt in.

Thereafter, we exited without incident, apart from me having a miserable time at three of the tight bits. I suppose we'll have to survey it now (hooray...)

T/U 10 hrs

Previous trip / Next trip / France trips (same day): Piss Pot / Sultans of Swing


21/7/95 | 161 - France | Dave C + Dave J

The primary intention of this trip was that Julian & Steve would continue Sultans of Swing with the stonking bolt driller & battery pack - unfortunately minus drill bit. Julian in caving gear for 1/2 hour in searing heat before this was discovered. Ha Ha! So me & Scout went on our own, with another fine intention of bolting and rigging Kate's new pitch. This objective was soon turned on its head after the f*****g screw of the f*****g bolt driver dropped off down the pitch with only managing 3/4 of the first spit! So we then had a small look round, found an interesting looking streamway beyond the boulders to the left of the pitch we didn't bolt. That's about it, so we buggered off out, tedious prussik out with my harness rubbing in an uncomfortable place. Wot a waste of a trip!

T/U 6 hrs

Previous trip / Next trips: Piss Pot / Sultans of Swing


1995-07-23 | Journey to Austria | Wook & Andy

Pretty straightforward journey. Got 6pm ferry on Saturday ie not 4.30 in the morning as usual. This means you get empty roads all the way till next morning around about Stuttgart.

Went to visit the Grabstatten cavers in their hut near Ulm. They gave us a map of Schwabenschacht, and Thilo Mu:ller said that the guy from the Nurnberg cavers had sent Mike Martin stuff about Stellerweg & Eishohle about 7 years ago (when it was all finished). Did this ever arrive? If so where did it go?

After brekky & 2 cups strong coffee drove rest of way to Hilda's with little incident.


24/7/95 | Main Entrance, Pushing 'Doubting Thomas' Series & Surveying | Nick & Anthony

Managed to drag Anthony back down to Stomping, with the intention to survey in (& derig) to the bottom of the bits we had pushed 2 days before. I dashed down & derigged a rope I'd thrown down another hole in Dreaming of Limo, then we set off. Usual surveying - ie a pile of shite in lovely tight rifts & sloping pitches, with some wonderful 'plumbs'. Anthony attempted to jack by having a shit carbide & throwing the pencil away; unfortunately he had a spare (pencil, not carbide). Got down to the scene of much entertainment last trip - the 'stonking' natural. Couldn't be arsed to put another bolt in, so we hit the natural a bit. Crunble. Found another natural. Hit that one. Shatter. Eventually decided that the first one was now sound, so off we went. Got down to the bottom. Surveyed some more shitty rift & then the pencil ran out of lead. Grade 1 survey here we come. Pottered out & derigged. 2 tacklesacks through Stomping is shit. In a fit of keenness we derigged the climb up into Stomping & the handline into Vestabule, so no-one need go there ever again. Anthony's light died at the top of Snot, but that's another rant...

TU 12 hrs

Previous trip / Trips in France


1995-07-25 | Journey out| AndyW

AndyW arrives after an incident-free 1138 mile solo drive taking 24 hours and 2 minutes. Had enough of big trucks on Bavarian hills and tick done the back roads of Dachau so decided to miss out Munich & Salzburg entirely. Hence did Mannheim-Heilbronn-Nürnberg-Passau and into Austria from north. Some thrutchy driving Reid-Vöklabruck-Gmunden-Bad Ischl and back onto auto-pilot to Hilde's. T/U a couple of minutes in tunnels...


22/7/95 | 161 - France | Steve, JulianH, Duncan, Kate

Plan was to push, survey, derig Sultan's of Swing (on the assumption that we'd get to the bottom) [me and Steve] whilst Kate and Duncan pushed hole in Hob Nob which Scout and Dave had comprehensively failed to do the previous day. No fuck-ups this time - Steve and I descended with drill, big battery and drill bit that I'd returned to base camp for the previous day.

For those who are not aware, drill bolting is the dogs bollocks. I placed 6 bolts (including an awkward ledge traverse over an awful lot of not alot) in around 3 hours. Then the shaft ran out. Why is it that a shaft of 50m+ depth and about 6-7m diameter just stops in a pile of rubble with two poxy sumps about 1/2m in diameter? So as predicted we surveyed and derigged.

Met Duncan in Algeria who said Kate had already left because we were an hour or so overdue. Not sure what Kate + Duncan actually did, but Duncan's light was by now pathetic, so it seemed like a good time for a hasty exit.

T/U 8 hours (Julian & Steve)

Previous trip / Next trip / Piss Pot trip (same day. also see below) / Dreaming of Limo trip (same day)


22/7/95 | 161 - Hole in floor in Hob Nob Passage (Piss Pot) | Kate & Duncan

Put 2 bolts in - tedium, then went down rift which is a bit tight at the top. Dropped into a train tunnel - hoorah! But unfortunately goes like British Rail on a strike day ie not (well about 50m each way) Only lead is a small light water washed rift with the sound of rushing water at the end but it was too small for me. Back out again with comedy 'tector placements, deviation off lumps of mud, random lumps of mud trying to hit Dunc & eventually ignoring rubs altogether - quality rigging.

TU 7h

* Dunc has already written this up. Whoops. *

Previous trip / Next trip / Duncan's write-up (this trip) / Sultans of Swing trip (same day) / Dreaming of Limo trip (same day)


23/7/95 | 161 - France - Black Suspender | JulianH, Dave C

Holes in floor of Algeria Dave (other), Kate
Rift in floor nr Hobnob passage AndyA, Steve
(Piss Pot)

I only know what I did and a bit about other things, so other people will have to fill in the gaps. I left the surface and headed for Black Suspender. On arrival at the ledge part way down Sultans of Swing it occurred to me to have a proper look at the hole in the wall. After traversing over the top of the lower bits of Sultans and climbing over a pile of choss I eventually found a hole through to what appear to be a ledge surrounding a pitch. Since this was a bit awkward and I was on my own, I noted this and decided to look again next time - it was probably only a higher bit of Sultans anyway.

After collecting rope, drill, battery, hangers and all the other shit I headed for Black Suspender. Where the hell is Dave [Scout], I thought? So I put in some bolts [easy bolting with drill] and some more bolts and eventually Dave arrived. Eventually got along the left hand wall of the pitch, out to a flake from which there appeared to be a good hang. Weeeeee.... all the way to the bottom. Oh what a surprise this one doesn't go either. At that point AndyA turned up, so Scout headed off to fins Kate & co., with the drill shit, whilst Andy and I surveyed and derigged Black Suspender.

Having done that it was time to go and have another look at the most southerly point of KH, just below Rocky Horror. It appeared from the survey that there ought to be a continuation of Mississippi running through the boulder choke. So Andy and I went to have a look again at this bit which had previously been declared "finished."

Within 2 minutes of arrival a further 10m or so of upward sloping boulder slope had been found the other side of a mud bank. This definitely didn't go but should have been on the survey. A quick dig in the mud at floor level found a passagette which again appeared impenetrable due to a large boulder. Then a smallish hole was found near to the "ceiling" of the choke from which an appreciable draught was eminating, so Andy and I dug some of the mud/gravel/rocks out for about 10 minutes, until it was large enough for Andy to fit through. It looked promising, so a bit more digging followed until I fitted through.

The other side of the hole was fucking grim. Hanging death all around. We were basically at the bottom of an enormous pile of choss. Choss for ceiling. Choss for wall. Choss for floor. After climbing up in the choke for a bit, it was clearly crap and very unstable, so the deal was that I would exit and wait for 10 minutes, whilst Andy explored further to hopefully find the end, after which I'd get the rescue if he hadn't appeared.

30 seconds later, after I'd re-emerged from the hole... BOOM! Oh bollocks I thought! "Andy... Andy!" No reply. Oh well, I'm buggered if I'm going back for a look, I thought. So I sat around for the full 10 minutes before Andy re-appeared. Oh jolly good, now we can go away I thought. "It goes," said Andy. "Oh shit", I said. We both agreed we should quit while we were up and so made a less than hasty exit, now covered from head to foot in thick brown gluppy KH mud. Hole to be named "Death's Door II", climb inside choke "Stairway to Hell."

Previous France Trips: Sultans / Piss Pot
Next trips: Regurgitation / Stairway to Hell & Triassic Park

23/7/95 | 161 - France | Dave J, Kate's

Waited ages for Dave (he was having a shit on the surface.) Got bored, + went down hole in floor. Went down rift off chamber + found rope which Dave + Dave had randomly left down there (rant) + brought it out since the larger pitch looked more promising. Went out again to Algeria. Eventually Dave arrived. I faffed lots trying to get a decent hang, then started bolting. Dave finished the bolt while I went to find Steve + Andy to get some survey gear. No survey gear but I found a useful Steve who agreed that it would be ok to rig off 1 bolt, a big boulder & a 'tector. Found a spit near bottom of pitch which is probably twin tubs. Also found a ?previously unknown scrotty connection to an adjacent wettish shaft bottom.

Previous France Trips: Sultans / Piss Pot
Next trips: Regurgitation / Stairway to Hell & Triassic Park

23/7/96 | 161 - France | Andy A, Steve

We surveyed the passage which Kate & Dunc found earlier. A nice passage which looks like it ought to go a long way but unfortunately doesn't. I pushed the tight rift at the end a short way (but further than the puddle) then decided it was too tight, but someone keen and with no string kit could go and have another look some time.
TUJulian 10 hours
Scout 9
Dave 8
Kate 8
AndyA 10 1/2
Steve 9

Previous France Trips: Sultans / Piss Pot
Next trips: Regurgitation / Stairway to Hell & Triassic Park


26/7/95 | 161 - France | AndyA, JulianH, Wookey

2 days after the first trip to Death's Door II / Stairway to Hell it was clear that we were imagining the appalling level of squalor that lay beyond and so it was time for a second attempt. This time the intention was to push/survey the new lead.

Several diversions occurred on the way down. Firstly I returned to have a look at the hole on the ledge at the start of the traverse into Mississippi. After a bit of thrutching it was obvious that I wasn't about to emerge in Sultans of Swing, confirmed by the rope hanging above my head. "Oh bloody hell it's Algeria again". And so I'd found the "walking" route from Algeria to the Mississippi series. Then we continued along Mississippi Mud Pie, to beyond Hob-Nob passage, up a 2m climb to an alternative route into the rift that eventually forms Rich Tea. There is a ledge on the right hand wall, not quite wide enough to stand comfortably on, which it appears may well lead to at least a small-ish chamber with potential ways on. We didn't rig it, but it would be an easy job with the drill - about 1/2 hour.

Next job, Death's Door! All 3 of us carefully climbed up through the boulder choke, carefully avoiding the small perched rock which held up a wall of choss, to emerge unscathed in a largish chamber (approx 8m x 5m x 4m high). This had a muddy climb up about 45deg heading roughly NW at one end. Just as Andy + Wookey had started to explore at the top end of this, there was a rumble from below. A short debate followed as to whether to get out quick before the whole bloody lot fell in, or to explore anyway since we'd now done the worst bit. The latter won and so a short while later Andy and Wookey reappeared having found a few hundred metres of hading rift running roughly NE-SW.

That was considered enough, and all three of us agreed that we weren't going back again. Wookey exited first, to find the crawl part blocked by a largish rock which had fallen whilst we were above. Once shifted exiting was relatively easy. All were very pleased to be back on the right side of the hole. DON'T GO TO DEATH'S DOOR II / STAIRWAY TO HELL. IT IS BLOODY LOOSE AND MAY WELL COLLAPSE. WE'RE NOT GOING BACK - IT IS RUBBISH!

Grade I survey sketch follows.

[Sketch plan & elevation of Stairway to Hell & Forbidden Land]

Since there was all this hading rift above the boulder choke, it seemed likely that it would cross Rocky Horror, since this was only slightly lower and in the right direction. So, we started looked around in the walls. Part way back, at the junction with Fudge Brownie where there is a complex arrangement of shafts/choss/pillars/chamber we found not only an undescended pitch (p15?) but also several small side passages. One of these had what was for me a tight squeeze at the end, but then opened into moderate sized passage.

After a bit more caving Wookey found a short climb up (c.3m) into much larger passage. Following this eventually led to a virtually straight passage with mostly sand/mud floor of width around 10m and height up to 6/7m. After walking along this for about 200m (ish) we came to a wet shaft. Lights filled promptly went out, so it was time to exit. Enormous amount of cave found. No idea how many leads. Guessed roughly E-W direction of main passage on way out. Well worth many more trips.

T/U 8 hours.

Previous trip / Next trip


1995-07-27 | Plateau | AndyW

AndyW carried gear up to Top Camp then moseyed around a little. Repainted numbers on 100 and B8 before paint ran out, drat! Both these numbers were last "refreshed" in 1993. Moral:- Ford 'Signal Orange' retouch paint is crap and fades or chips in c3 years. The original (1976) B8 number is still visible - but obscure. Chatted to Kate and Balazs at Top Camp, then had yet another search for B6, B5, B3... No luck. Cycled down in 11:28 - slow owing to new road surface being greasy and bumpy at the bottom. Rain started just on last bit. Pissing down by Base Camp. T/U nil.


26/7/95 | 161 - Gob, pushing lead over Alexander Technique | Nick & Duncan

Whilst everyone else was enjoying themselves down France, I managed to persuade Duncan that he wanted to come with me to Gob. Pottered down, collecting gear from Over the Rainbow. Duncan was suitably impressed by Knossos & YAPATE. Wish You Were Here was grim (and wet) as usual, then to Final Cut. Bash the tackle sack through & follow it. Then Duncan says 'Nick... I don't think I'll fit through' After 15 minutes of grunting & panting, this is proved to be true. Sigh. Dump the gear and head out. I manage to set fire to my carbide tube getting off Final Cut. Then we gently wandered out.

TU 6 hrs

Previous trip / Next trip


27/7/95 | 161 - Gob (again) | Nick & Dave C

Found a thinner mug to accompany me on my last trip for this Expo. Intention was to push, survey & derig as much of the cave as possible. Whizzed down in under 2 hours. Whopped a bolt in at the top of the next pitch. Down we go. Shit, in the water. Go down further - still in the water. Shit. Get to the bottom (20m and a bit of a climb). Follow the water around a rib & find a narrow pitch head. Chuck a rock down. Wait. Bang, wait, wait, BOOM. Hmm, that'll go then. By this time I'm soaked & very cold, so head back up to Dave. Time to get out & get warm. (This pitch can be rigged out of the water, but a traverse is required. Probably a job for the drill). Back to Final Cut. Dave goes first. Skinny cavers win. Then the tackle sack, with Dave hauling. Of course it gets stuck. 'Let it back down again Dave, & I'll come up and have a go' says I. Dave has by this time taken the tackle sack off the rope, so lets go. Gravity rears its ugly head again & the tackle sack ends up at the bottom of the pitch, some 10m below me. How nice, some extra prussiking to warm me up. Through the slot & its my turn at tackle sack hauling. Some brute force & ignorance later we have success & off we go again, derigging merrily. Slog up to the bottom of Poxy, with 3 tacklesacks and no energy. Carry on out with no tacklesacks and no energy (one made it as far as Snot!) No more caving. Hooray!

TU 8 hrs

Previous trip / Next trip - in 1999 ?


26/7/95 | 161 - France, surveying Regurgitation | Dave C, Anthony, Goulash

Kate was slack again! She farmed off some of her surveying to the "mugs" prepared to do it for her. Abseiled to Mississippi, Anthony forgot the rope for the pitch into regurgitation & so prussiked to Algeria. Spent ages waiting for Anthony to fettle carbide & fix rope. Eventually surveyed "Regurgitation". Well at least part of it until the compass & clino fogged. Pulled rope out of Mohr im Hemd - went the wrong way for a bit. On the surface got changed & saw Julian + co & heard tales of "motorway" cave.

TU 7

Previous France Trips: Black Suspender / Algeria / Piss Pot
Discovery of Triassic Park (same day) / Next Regurgitation trip (1996)


1995-07-25 | 161 - Entrance a | Wook & AndyA

Trundled down, intending to go to check out QM above Bungalow. Got sidetracked:

1) Checked holes in floor where dewdrop meets Left Hand route. Hole closest to dewdrop can be descended 4m to 10-12m pitch. Nearby (larger) hole joins to same spot but connection is nastily[???] small. Probably goes into complicated area of garden party.

2) Walked round corner to rift beyond G.P. traverse. Andy shinned up RH wall into passage above which looks out over squeeze pitch & then goes right (along rift). 5m gets to a pitch - looks choked but not yet checked.

Wook went & chopped spare off end of S'not rope for use on downclimb. This was instead used to protect climb up over pitch into rift continuation. Beyond was a few more metres of passage, choke at accessible level, but with pitch into section below. This passage at 90deg to rift.

[Grade I survey sketch (plan) of section described above - "Cowboy Caver"]

3) Finally got to objective (after chopping rope some more to get out of new bit)

Looked out at huge space above Boulder Alley. Then popped down passage & Wook did traverse across big drop. Very windy. Pretties beyond! Care required to avoid. 10m beyond is climb through window to 18m pitch, at bottom is crap rifty bit to totally huge rift pitch - at least 60m - probably 80, but hard to get a clean rock throw.

T/U 6 ½ hrs

[Grade I survey sketch (plan) of section described above - "Semidetached"]

Next Trip


1995-07-27 | 161 - Surveying Triassic Park & Photos | Wookey, Anthony, Duncan,
AndyA, Scout, Steve

Trundled down to survey all the new stuff & photo it. Andy, Scout & Steve did photos, the rest surveyed. Tedious but effective. Just did main route through. Swapped bodies in Staud'nwirt Palace. Andy, Wook & Scout continued, surveying up huge passages with QMs everywhere.

Finished just past watering hole.

Tight bit is Brownie's Cunt, windy bit is Zombie Slime, big chamber: Staud'nwirt Palace, White passage is Salt Lake City, then the guillotine & finally Triassic Park.

TU 8 ½ (Anthony, Steve, Dunc)
11 ½ (Wook, Andy, Scout)

Previous trip / Next trip


26/7/95 | Plateau - Prospecting nr France | Kate

After a very nice day sitting around not caving (highly recommended), I decided to do something useful (???). Went to France + found the others just emerging. (Balazs was cold but impressed + Andy ranted loudly at Scout). After some time I found the totally unobvious hole James + I had found previously + chucked a ladder down. Then found a fairly rusty spit near the top. I went down the ladder which didn't reach the bottom (bum), swung around lots. Decided it probably doesn't go but I can't be sure. Climbing long ladders clipping cows tails in for safety is tedious + shit. Ropes are much better. Failed to find the cave with a - on which James + I found before. Instead found a draughting horizontal entrance a bit below France which has snow in leading to a pitch in a big rift. Didn't go in - too scary. Didn't draw any pictures either because it was about to get dark.

TU ½


27/7/95 | Plateau - Prospecting on big white patch of limestone below Hinter | Kate, Balazs

Balazs wanted to go prospecting & taking photos. Oh dear what a shame - another excuse not to go caving. It is far away + v. hot. We found some big holes. After putting a ladder down into a shallow rift, we decided to free climb it instead and put the ladder down a grim tight rift where water goes which was shit on a ladder in shorts & doesn't go. Then a huge boulder fell off when Balazs stood on it & they fell ~6 foot into snow. He was just bruised & v lucky. Unsurprisingly he didn't then feel like going into the other hole in that rift. This looked promising so I borrowed his harness rigged the pitch off naturals + went down. Found a spit near the top (again). The rope didn't reach the bottom AGAIN! rant! Looks like it doesn't go though. Interesting moment when my dodgy deviation went PING & a bit of cack came flying down 1 foot from my totally unprotected head. Fortunately the deviation stayed put. After that we found another big hole with a really shit spit in the top. Didn't go down due to lack of decent naturals, bolting gear or bolts. Then we found a draughting horizontal entrance! Unfortunately this also stopped (the draught was due to the fact that it was next to a snow plug). More chucking rocks down holes, then we went back to top camp via France which was hot, shit + took too long. We don't appear to have found another way into the Far End yet, strangely enough.

TU ¾ Kate


28/07/1995 | 161 - Surveying/Pushing Triassic Park etc | Duncan, Steve, Kate

Continued surveying from where the previous day's team left off. Found a dead moth (this is the second dead moth to be found in this part of the cave). Surveyed up to the pushing front, and then pushed and surveyed some more. Cave just keeps going! We eventually called it a day, and left, taking out the drill battery and some rope from the bottom of Algeria.

TU 10 ½

Previous trip / Next trip


29/07/1995? | Plateau | AndyW

AndyW draws the short straw (Ta, Wooks) and has to be ready at 06:30 hrs to show Sepp & Robert a wide variety of entrances which he has never seen before and which they could therefore have found just as easily themselves...

Remarkably (given 00:30 crash) we are off by 06:45 and at Top Camp disturbing Wooks & Andy before eight. Tried to sidle off looking for entrances on my own, but Wook soon despatches Sepp & Robert with his line: "Waddington! Want any Austrians? We seem to have a couple spare over here..." So we start at 164, attaching bolt on metal numbers using Hilti drill Sepp has about his person. Next 189, then 190, 171, 172.... 176, 175 (had to go back a bit to find this one). Photos and video also taken. Found Dropped Rucksack Schacht (lost in 1993) and took appropriate bearings. Then tried to find 177, which is unmarked and has no bolts. Might have found it - but how do you tell? There was a "might be a cairn". So painted "177?" in blue on a loose rock, and left. Repainted number on laser point 0/6 at 76 entrance. Back to Top Camp where we decided to jack for the day - 9 hours in the sun was enough! No-one at Top Camp, trailed back to Hildes.

T/U 5min (in 171 - and I've video to prove it!)

P.S. 190 involved some very dodgy SRT when first explored. Robert TWC took one look, free climbed in, ticked it off, and climbed nonchalantly out again. T/U 90 secs.

[Editor's note: it wasn't the entrance pitch that involved the dodgy SRT, and upon reflection, the author realises that he freeclimbed in and out of the entrance himself in 1977, when the cave had the 1976 number "B9"!]


1995-07-30 | 161 - RH route de-rig + semi-detached survey | Wook & Andy

Logbook Supplement

After we had told 'them students' that they were worrying about de-rigging too much & it would be easy, we felt obliged to go and knock of said de-rigging as a side-dish on surveying our new bits down 'main entrance' (as 161a seems now to be referred to).

Underground by twelve (from base camp). Footled down to semi-detached (bit above bungalow found on our last 161a trip). 1st derigged poxy & bungalow, then spent about 4 hours surveying from top of bungalow, up climb into 'The viewport' & thence down passages of semi-detached to head of huge pitch (later checking on 'puter, suggests that this rift pitch drops in a gap in survey between Olympus & Tower blocks.

Is this really a whole new pitch or just another way down to R.H. route?) That done we derigged back to bungalow. The semi-detached + bungalow + poxy ropes + 2 tacklesacks from gob (one of which was 'fucking heavy') made 3 sacks. 1 more from over the rainbow + chunnel, and another from the rope up to cowboy caver. Having carted

[Interrupted by page of names]
Some names:

1) Climb above L H route at G. party/squeeze = cowboy caver.
2) Left turn where guillotine joins Triassic park = shortage of walls
3) Junction after dark bit in t.p. = Trifurcation
4) chamber between triassic park pt2 & pt3 = locophobia
5) LH at junction near end of triassic pt 3 = minoan surprise

[back to the story]
all this up to the bottom of snot we find another baggy there - Hmmmm - that makes 6, which is about 4 too many. Wookey also got a bit keen and decided to tidy up the co-ax which has been lying around since 1989. The cable drum was a lot the worse for its 6-year sojourn (it was very soggy).

So all this shit was duly hauled up the pitches - 2 of the bags were fucking heavy, and the co-ax exploded all over the place. Many hours later we emerge, just in time for our call-out (10.30pm), reasonably shagged from our exertions.

[side note] Note: we didn't have enough time to survey 'cowboy caver'. Grade 1 in logbook will have to do for now!

T/U 10.5hrs


1995-07-31 | 161 - Go to find new entrance | Wook & Andy

The plan was to prod a few of the QMs down T.P, especially on the R.H side, to see if any popped out of the hill.

In our optimism we even told the austrians (sepp & robert, who were up checking entrances with wads) that we were going to find 161d today.

Despite this outrageous cockiness we were surprisingly successful.

Wizzed down to Algeria (underground at 10.30) and left SRT gear. Decided that sultans bypass (found on 'forbidden land' trip) really needs a traverse line as pitch head is very dodgy. Gear should only be left after this when coming in this direction. Stomped up to staudnwirt palace, only finding obscure QM on RH, just above climb out of zombie Slime (QM 95-19).

In staudnwirt we climbed up boulder pile to right. There is a scrotty canyon accessible through very dodgy rocks (does not look terribly promising (95-20), and the climb could be continued upslope with a bit of gear (95-21). Seems likely to access aven in roof.

Big passage off behind 'pt28' boulder chokes disappointingly after about 12m with no draught. The next passage on R, at exit of staudnwirt P. leads about 12m to a good carbide pool (10" deep) but no way on other than up the pitch above the pool (where draught must go). Not an inspiring start, - 2 QMs ticked off! Short climb on LHS in Salt Lake City leads for about 5m to look out over big space - at least 30m long & 10 wide. This p9 is worth doing. (95-23)

Next we followed S.L.C. streamway (and strong draught to R, opposite the guillotine. This leads quickly up to choked dead end 'critters end'. Here we found 3 dead bats (old) & a number of moths - which looked relatively recent. Also a quite large skull (3.5cm long) which may have been a bird. All this suggested surface close by. The draught was strong down a tube above the choke but this was blocked by a rock that would need crowbarring. Andy looked in LH side of choke & found that it went (just). He found a lot of crap, tiny passage, & bit big passage 90% full of rocks. The draught was v. strong & thus easy to follow. We pushed on through this, noting a bigger passage on Left at one point, but it seemed draughtless.

Eventually we ended up at a tiny hole above the passage level which was howling with the wind going through it. (30 mph?). Andy pushed this (nutter - it was tiny) and popped through into more crawling. We ran along bigger passage and a minute later popped out of the hill on a very steep section of mountain, distinguished by the recent rockfall which left a very obvious scar & shortage of Bunde! Hooray! Jubilation!

We took bearings on various spots to allow finding from outside (see survey book). Then went back in to survey. Checking out the bigger passage noted earlier we both found another (easier) route to critters end. This whole complex area was called perseverance after a lot of that produced the goods.

We surveyed out, noting that the rocks either side of dead-ends near 'Battle of the bulge' (the very small & awkward wind tunnel, with a bulge in just the wrong place) looked very similar. A dig there would mean that anyone could fit - was it 1m or 10?

We were finished by 6.30 & decided to 'walk' back to France. The big cliff band above 161d (aka 'scarface') made this pretty exciting. About 20m of this cliff is extremely steep & bunde ridden.

It will be hard to find a safe route. Andy (who crossed into a gully earlier and thus avoided a lot of bunde) got back up (to 161c) in half an hour, thus getting to T.C. just before dark.

T/U 8.5 hrs

Previous trip / Next trip


1995-08-01 | 161 - More 161d & triassic | Andy, wook, Steve

Took Steve in to show him route/entrance & intending to survey another km on end of t.p. [Arranged that team Algeria derig (Anthony, Kate, Duncan) would drop off our SRT gear - still in Algeria - at guillotine].

Tromped down hill from france taking photos for pictorial record. Main gully has many short cliffs & climbs - tedious. When we got to cliff band Andy & steve battled bunde to reverse previous day's ascent route (approx.). Wook tried going to right instead. Wook thrashed through bunde at top of cliff for prob. 100m to right before finally being able to descend via tricky & exposed climb. Not recommended - it was fucking scary & uncomfortable. Andy & steve got onto rising traverses with relative ease but still very dodgy - not what you would call a 'route'.

Big grassy traverse below cliffs is very easy. The gully itself looks OK (?) from bottom but Andy reckons is impossible 15m higher.

On return Andy tried to get into gully as soon as possible on difficult bit - i.e. avoiding climbing cliff direct, but found it extremely difficult with very exposed traverses.

Wookey tried descending to Augstwies see & thus to stogerweg. This was safe but still hard going in various places with short cliffs and an awful lot of thick bunde. The descent took about an hour & was exhausting with pack full of caving gear.

The gully which descends to NE is generally quite passable but it is a long way round and any deviation results in serious bunde grief.

After ascending stogerweg past junction with Altausee path a clear grassy (if steep) route up the hill became visible. It _looks_ as if this gets to the same level as the wide grassy traverse below cliff on the Altaussee side of the col. This looks like very promising route, with 1000m less height gain & very little bunde & hopefully no objective danger - Needs checking out, as otherwise access to 161d could prove very problematic. Surface camp water supplies could still be problematic....

Back to the caving:
We went in, and photo'd the bear(?) skull near the entrance. Then Andy stayed one side of choke whilst steve & I battled the bulge & went to other (steve was suitably impressed by the awfulness). Voices were clear & light could just be seen showing the choke to be short. As the downslope side was at critical angle is was very easy to slide it down. Turns were taken & bigger rocks undermined until they slid downslope. About 1.5 hours quite exciting (and jolly good fun) work here produced a traversable entrance (hurrah!). It will need some traffic to make it pleasant but it's a fuck of an improvement.

Tromped off to far end & started survey from chamber at end of triassic pt2 (locophobia).

Came to t-junc and went right. Only a couple of hundred metres of cave along we came to 'the end' TP obviously continued, but only 15m up in the roof. The climb up is not too hard, but does need gear - 'bugger'.

Went back the other way at the junction and only got about 15m before stopping at 2 deep pitches & a shorter pitch - bugger again. Subsequent computing shows this to be right next to Knossos, so this is called 'Minoan Surprise'.

Back at locophobia we met the others & steve went off to help de-rig. Wook & Andy surveyed down big passage out of locophobia, heading back along T.p. this is children's railway' & probably accounts for 4 or 5 QMs in T.p.

By 6pm we were shagged & zoomed out to play 'find the route' games. (20 mins to surface from here!) 161d entrance was marked.

T/u (Wook & Andy) 6.5hrs

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1/8/95 | 161 - Derigging France | Duncan, Kate, Anthony, Steve

Duncan, Kate & Anthony went down France & first surveyed the bit that Kate and various Daves had pushed in Algeria, connecting the top of Sultans into Algeria in the process. This leads into the bottom of Twin Tubs and has been christened "Daz Automatic". Since Duncan's backup had failed at the surface, he left at this point with a tacklesack full of steel whilst K & A went and fetched Steve. Kate took a tacklesack out, the others derigged. Derigging is shit. Tacklesacks are shit. Pulleys are good gear.

TU Duncan 7.5 hrs, Steve 10.5 hrs, Kate 10 hrs, Anthony 11 hrs

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