This trip was an Arge-organised trip to which CUCC were invited.
Wookey was the only CUCC member able and willing to attend, so he spent
surrounded by Germans, sorry, cementing
There were 16 people, 15 trips and almost 1km surveyed
There was a great deal of chopping and changing of travel arrangements as various people changed plans. I flew to Thilo (Müller)'s house in Stuttgart and was going to go with him to Loser, but Thilo found he had to do three days work so couldn't come till Wednesday which meant I had to go in someone else's car. However the allotted one broke down the day before so I ended up getting taken to a service station somewhere in Germany by Thilo to get a lift from Jens (Freigang). None of this was actually my problem so that was OK :-), but I think Thilo had a rather frazzled few days. On Sat morning Thilo and I took the opportunity to sort out the dataset somewhat in the 115/41 area.
The drive was uneventful, with a bit of German practice, but by the end Jens' English was doing much better than my German. By about midweek almost everyone's English had improved to (or was already at) the point where there was no point me murdering their language and nearly all comms was done in English. Oh well, - I tried.
On Saturday evening we arrived in a miserably foggy, damp, windy, freezing cold Loser carpark with a 10m high snow wall looming out of the murk! Most of the far end of the car park was full of snow and the cavers were huddled miserably in the lee of the Bergrestaurant. There was a rapid jack to the Loserhütte after introductions, apart from MarkM and Flo who had a nice camper van to hide in.
The rest of us ate and drank well and kipped in the warm. Nice, but still a tenner a night; twenty-odd by the time you've had dinner and a couple of beers. Sunday dawned hot and lovely and I had to get my shit together. Having no particular abode was a bit of a problem and my gear rapidly became distributed between the Loserhütte back room, Mark's van and Jens' car, whilst my food was in Fritz and Tobi's car. Less than ideal, but there you go.
On the first day Flo and Jörg did a 20-hour trip into 115 with the Benzinbohrmachine (petrol drill) re-rigging the big shaft out of the water and finding 300m of passage off the big stuff (Zweistromland) at the bottom: Nebudkanezar, which headed right out to the side of the hill - they found dead moths, but no exit. They also pushed Zweistromland a bit following the mental draught but were stopped by a pitch after ~60m.
After putting in the data from this and poring over GPS correction offsets, I got my stuff together on a small patch of carpark that wasn't running with meltwater and we traipsed over over the snow. Loser is very different in May compared to July, and on the whole the going is much easier with most of the holes filled with snow. However the rapid melting means you have to be very careful of big holes (and small holes), and it gets less easy each day as more rock is uncovered.
Much peering at the GPS runes led to working out some co-ordinates, re-referenced at the actual 115 entrance and Jens and Flo finding a new entrance in the right place which draughts but needs digging.
2000.05.28 (Sunday): Fritz Mammel, Wookey, Mark Morgan, Richie Gesserer
Wook's first trip in Stellerweg. Entrance is a 5m snow-tunnel slide which was entertaining. Went along upper ramps to Megaloschlinger then down Warm Dusche Rampe to Neues Glück. Took 1st QM on left, which proved to be 200-odd m of very complicated interconnecting passages, connecting to known cave in 3 places, and having a few more QMs. It's ridiculously easy to find loads of new cave here, 40 minutes from the entrance. CUCC really were a bit slack when we first explored this! Richie (who is 60-something) unfortunately jacked on the way in, feeling he would slow us down (I blame Mark for not waiting for him). Bumped into Goldie's trip towards the end of our trip as they were coming out. 41 has lots of nice easy caving in it if you want some, although I also guarantee you lots of surveying. I also got to try out my new fluorescent lamp which was 'quite good', but resulted in rather too much crap on one helmet (fluorescent, Oldham, carbide, fluorescent electronics and a 6-12V converter box!)
TU 5hrs (Richie 45mins)
From Start of Neues Glück, up ramp on careful traverse past damp ~15m shaft (QMB). Ahead is a 3m wall. Water falls from an aven and down a hole at the foot of the wall. This hole appears to connect back to the shaft just passed. The wall is passed by climbing up under and around a boulder on the right. Here a small hole in the floor goes back to join the other water. Here, and 2m higher, a pair of passages head off (and join after ~4m) connecting to the 'Coffin Level' rift after 10m. The Jade ramp continues steeply until it splits at the top. Left joins back into WDR after 5m. Right closes down to a steeply ascending ~1m diameter tube accessed by a 3m climb. (A choked tube goes off left for 4m at the bottom of this). The tube goes sharp right and then left into a joint-developed passage. 3m along here a stream comes in from above and goes down a small 7m pitch. (QMB). At the end the roof rises and there are several holes through to a damp 3m diameter, 7m deep shaft. This is the same shaft reached at the end of Schnick Schnack Schabernack. Someone could usefully connect the surveys...
In WDR, 5m after the way off to Jade on the left, is another wide way on to the left. This leads into a high, wide area (not properly surveyed/explored?). At the lower end of this the 'Coffin Level' rift goes off on 040°. And 2m above at the same point is another passage on 070°, Altes Pech. This ascends for 9m to come into a 7m drippy shaft on the joint. There is a continuation opposite that may be accessible (QMB) and it clearly goes at the bottom (QMA). Just before this shaft you can climb up 3m on the left wall. It goes up another few to a small chamber. There are three crappy QMs here (up, left and right). All 'C'.
Coffin level starts over some boulders. You can climb back under these boulders to arrive by a stream in the ceiling, probably where the water comes in from the roof in Jade. The rift descends steeply to where a hole in the floor connects to the roof of Jade, and 3m below the passage from Jade joins. Ahead a c3 up leads into gently descending passage which goes for 20m to a nice dry p10 (QMA), with a continuation opposite which can probably reached with a lined traverse (QMB).
The evening was OK whilst we had dinner, but then it started raining again and most decamped to the Loserhütte again. I got out my bivi bag and kipped under the Bergrestaurant eaves. This proved to be poor cover from the rain and I was rather too hot so had to leave the zip open, which meant the water got in. It wasn't particularly miserable, but it was very handy to be able to dry gear out in the hut - more than one night in a row like that would be rubbish.
Monday In the morning the rain held off enough to have breakfast out the side of Mark's excellently converted-for-camping van. As he's Welsh (and therefore speaks perfect English, and understands sarcasm) and seemed to have a proper attitude to outdoor camping I attached myself to his van for the next couple of days (until he went home).
Jens and Fritz when back to the 'new 115 entrance-to-be' (in the rain, whilst everyone else skived at the Loserhütte) to do a couple more hours very soggy digging, but still didn't get in. A very interesting spot - as a new entrance into the bottom of 115 would avoid the 100m pitch and rather a lot of caving. There is one short surface abseil needed to get to the spot on the surface, despite it being in the very steep area on the side of the Vord.
Monday is the Loser Hut's day off, so we had the key and slacked about there all day, sorting out data and looking at the rain. They were remarkably tolerant of us taking up the place so long as we bought some beer and at least some of us were staying there.
I kept having to borrow clothes and money as I had lost my yellow fleece in someone's car and didn't have any Austrian dosh, and couldn't find my wallet to go and get any Austrian dosh. I didn't have a spare sweatshirt as I had been trying hard to keep the weight of gear down due to flying by plane (I still had ~34Kg and 41 on the way back (wet stuff + donated surveys and journals)). Eventually (Wednesday) I worked out that on the first morning when I was all disorganised having just arrived and people wanted data processing on computers and it had been hot I must have taken my fleece off (containing my wallet) and put it in/on Jörg's van, who had then gone home. A phone call determined that this had been spotted and was under control; the next arrival on pre-expo (Thursday) was bringing it back; it would have fixed itself without me having even worked out what went wrong :-).
Being based at the Loserhütte I found an excellent bivi spot under the front balcony, with a marvelous view of Altaussee, and almost complete shelter from the rain. Some handy logs made a good flat shelf above the nettles - recommended.
Tuesday Finally the rain cleared so we could go caving. I was keen to go to Eishöhle so everyone went there, splitting into two teams.
The first lot (Jens Freigang, Winni Wichmann, Florian Gruner) were supposed to be going down the 50m shaft near the entrance to Schotterland, but instead got distracted by the last big entrance before you get to 40e (70m along from 40e). We thought this was the one that goes in to SVH via the Eisgang (normally blocked by ice), but it turned out not to be. They found about a 50m cave going over Elephantengang and dropping down above Wahnsinschächte but choked. This was duly called Nichts 50.
2000.05.30 (Tuesday). Eishöhle. 6hrs. Uncle Tom Cobbly and all go to Eishöhle for a poke.
Wook, Fritz Mammel, Mark Morgan, Tobi Tränkler. Went in 40e to check out the QM by Kalter Gang entrance A1998-40-05 B.
Summary: Wook abbed down off an ice screw and 'welded-on lump of ice' belay. QM was indeed as described down edge of ice and Kalter Gang is definitely not currently enterable without some digging. Something, presumably water, must have moved crap back in to the hole since the mid-80s. We went in for a look between the clear ice wall (you can see several feet into it in places) and the rock. Crawling though a few boulders gets into a huge high space with a big ice wall at the top and sloping down to a large (in May at least) waterfall at the bottom end coming out of a passage 15-20m up. The area seems to just be a huge boulder choke below the floor level of Schneevulkanhalle with one side being the solid wall of Schneevulkanhalle continuing down. Our geologist (MarkM) siad this was definitely a fault. We spent a while wandering through all the boulders following faint draughts but finding everything choked or too tight, so then we surveyed about 100m and boogied out. I confirmed that SV69 is not the station that the Kalter Gang survey starts at (they are a few metres apart), but forgot that we needed to survey between them - bum).
It follows the wall round in a narrow gap between wall and ice, then through a few boulders into a large space at least 20m high, Express Finish. It is the bottom of a deep canyon, partly infilled by rocks and ice from the south. The upper wall is steep ice, presumably from Schneevulkanhalle above, but perhaps there is passage up there? The ice is about 60-70 degrees and thus could be climbed, but it's a long way off the floor! The floor consists of boulders and descends steeply to the towards the large (in may) waterfall at the end. A 3m climb at the bottom reaches the foot of the waterfall. Progress can be made beyond the canyon at various levels. All of this seems to be scrotting about in the gaps between the ice and boulders against the solid northern wall. No ways on were found in a thorough search. At the top, next to the ice you can climb up and round for about 15m until the ice closes down against the wall.
There are two holes at the foot of the north wall, the upper one pleasant, the smaller rather scrotty. These lead to two large levelish spaces, connected by a 2m icy climb (down only!). You can climb up from the top level to the left, and down from the bottom to the left (all choked). At the left end of the lower level is a far too tight blowing hole and a marginally desperate tight canyon, just too small even for Wook (due to a corner - you can physically get in the first metre or so). This has a draught - its smallness is frustrating! To the right of this a climb down leads to a small (0.8m) icy canyon. After two 2m downclimbs in succession it closes down. At the right hand end of this level you can climb up back to the huge canyon via the scrotty hole, or down into more interstices. The water from the waterfall can be heard through the wall here. There seems to be a draught but after climbing down about 10m through the choke against the wall it is lost.
Wednesday Wednesday was another slack day. Almost everyone jacked as it was raining again. Me, Tobi and Fritz went into town to get money and buy sweeties, ask about expo mobile phones, visit Toplitzsee (Tobi's uncle was the Jewish printer who did the Nazi's forged-note printing, so he was interested to see the place and read the history). Cooked tea in a handy Autrian bus-stop. These Germans don't really seem to do tea at every available opportunity - very odd!
Thursday Wook got to take a couple of volunteers to see the joys of Persistence of Vision - by far the closest point of approach between Eishöhle and Kaninchenhöhle, found last year, but a bit of an Atkinson/Wook special. On the whole they thought it was hard work, the bolt traverse was really rather scary and the 'expo rigging' was pretty poor too. Tobi promised that 'he would like it tomorrow, once he had got out'.
2000.06.01 Wookey, Fritz Mammel, Tobi Tränkler. 7hrs (Tobi & Fritz, 6.5 Wook). Looked at low passage in Schneevulkanhalle - but the 1-2 inch deep pool of icy water and the very low roof, and no draught, meant that we left it for another trip - it looked fairly horrid.
Went into Persistence of Vision and rigged the pitches with Arge rope and hangers. Stole a couple from the rigging en-route in order to be able to continue but by the time we got part way down the pitches (1st rope ran out) we only had half an our before exit-time. Tobi and Fritz waited (somewhat concerned by the rigging and the thought of returning through the crappy rifts and epic traverses), but I was determined to have a look having come this far. Got to the bottom and thrashed about in the annoying rift at the end. Determined that it does go, without hammering (it's plenty wide enough), but the pitch-head access is world-class annoying. You need to go down 1m, and across 1m to get onto the rope. With my 3-light arrangement my hat was far too awkward. Bolting it will be tedious, but a reasonable rig should be possible. My light wouldn't reach the bottom of the pitch below, but then it was only doing about 15m with my hammerited reflector. Pissed off out, with a short faff to put rigging back and fettled Hooked on Classics to be slightly less shit. Out at 8.15pm, walked back in 1hr 4mins, not quite needing a zoom - perfect timing.
Friday Much narging and emailing between me and Thilo and Franz Lindenmayr, one of the stalwarts of the 1980's Eishöhle work, and peering through old write-ups and survey data meant that we had managed to 'explore' a couple of QMs just sitting at the computer. One of the most significant of these was a 50m pitch very close to the entrance (before Schneevulkanhalle) which led into big passage, apparently with an A-grade QM at one end. We resolved to go and check this out and get a proper survey done.
2000.06.02 Wookey, Gaspard Nagorkinos. Schotterland. 4 ¾ hrs. Overlapped with earlier Schotterland trip (Jens, Gunter, Gitte, Alois) who did the mainline survey. We did the climbs and side passages. 50m up the south-going side is a climb up a ramp for about 30m. Cairn at the end shows someone has been there before. It closes down. At the opposite end of the passage everything is thoroughly choked with glacial fill except a hole in the roof out of which comes a spout of water. The nature of this leads to the name Pissen Schacht. Wook shinned up the hole with the aid of a few slings, carefully avoiding (most of) the water. Above is canyon, dry to the west, and wet to the SE. The roof can be shinned up to at various levels but it always choked with rocks - probably the floor of SVH.
Checked out short passage that is 'third leg' from the pitch. Chokes after about 30m. There is a strong draught from a hole in one corner but there it is full of medium-sized rocks. It would be an ace dig in Britain :-). Finally we surveyed the sopping wet pitch (my Oldham filled up - that's how wet it was!), derigged and went out.
Outside I redid the VFHO survey legs at the entrance to work out where their 'SV0' station must have been. It is neither of the other stations used, so we connected them with a leg. From apparent position of SV0 to point in cave that everyone else has used: 1.70m -16 356
Dinner in the Loserhütte) again, on the terrace, watching distant lightning, then back to parkplatz for a bit of schnapps and tea before bed. Thilo slacked around in the sunshine all day, suffering from too much sun the day before (He had spent the day trying to dig his way into Grüner Eingang which was under several metres of snow. A great deal of effort had made a remarkably small hole :-)
2000.06.03 Last trip. Much of team slacked off to the lake for the day, leaving Wook, Jens, Gaspard and Gunter keen. Gaspard wanted to take photos but Wook wanted to survey connection to old Eishöhle, so we ended up with two understaffed teams. Jens 'quick-change' went to check out entrance above where Thilo had been digging for Gruner Eingang. It went about 30m with a 3m pitch before choking. Needs surveying properly.
After that diversion we went in 40e and rigged Elephantengang pitch, taking the better of the bits of blue polyprop rope there with us. Got to the climb up to Grüner Eingang passage and whilst Wook was getting etriers and ice axes ready Jens shinned up the rock corner. I passed him up 3 ice screws and the rope and he finished the climb without even using any crampons, which seemed a bit keen. However this did mean I kept my promise to Tess not to do anything silly :-). Rigged the ancient polyprop from a boulder and went in to havalook. Wook followed wind to Grüner, but it was indeed completely full of snow. Then followed gale through ice-slush pond(!) down smallish canyon to where you could look down 3 or 4m into big passage. Unfortunately it was too overhanging to climb (presumably there was more ice here in 1938 for the original explorers to get up here), and we had no more rope, nor time to go back to Schneevulkanhalle for some even older polyprop. So, we surveyed out getting very cold in the smallest, windiest part. There are a couple of QMs in here (a very narrow shaft and a climbable aven). Nice bit of cave. Wizzed out leaving the Grüner climb rigged, although you need to be careful to keep low at the top or the sling might come off its boulder, and there's no back-up.. (apparently there is a spit up there somewhere).
Took a few photos on the snowslope and left. Total electric failure for Wook on ice-slope - no idea why, but about as well-timed as such an event can be. Entrance crawl even more tedious then usual with a carbide that goes out when you knock it. Slogged back in sunshine with all our shit in 1¼ hrs.
Then drove around Grundlesee in thunderstorm to find others. Passed them in the rain but didn't recognise Thilo's (Heinz's) car so ended up driving to Bad Mittendorf to meet having found new clubhouse by interrogating people in bars. Swapped journals and surveys and info with Robert Seebacher et al, then went for a pizza. Kipped in Vereinsheim and went home on Sunday.
Members: Markus Bölzle, Günther Forstmaier, Jens Freigang, Heinz Frey, Richard Geserer, Flo Gruner, Jörg Haussmann, Gaspard Magarinos, Fritz Mammel, Mark Morgan, Thilo Müller, Alois+Gitte Spötzl, Tobias Tränkle, Winni Wichmann, Wookey
GPS numbers for 115 entrance and end point near possible new entrance
115 entrance possible new entrance in Nutzenlos. If co-ordinates of 115 Eingang are: 5411141 5281638 then co-ords of end pt are 5411588 5281674 (but I don't think either of these are right)
GPS, map, cave co-ordinate conversions, as confirmed for 115 entrance.
GPS (German grid, WGS84) -> Map (Alpenverein) -> Höhle
Easting (10,000GPS -> 35000)
GPS -> +306 -> Map -> -1326 -> Höhle
GPS -> -1020 -> Höhle
Northing (82000GPS -> 81000)
GPS -> -379 -> Map -> +25529 -> Höhle
GPS -> +25150 -> Höhle