Expo 2008/KH Planning

From CUCCWiki

There has been talk of revisiting areas of KH this year with a view to ultimately getting a connection with 204 via the stuff that was discovered beyond the end of Razordance in 2007. Without committing to anything I thought it would be a good idea to set up a page discussing logistics of this and how it might potentially work so that people can more easily decide if it's a good idea or not. Edvin.

Please add comments in the categories below (or add categories for what I've forgotten) - this especially applies to any lags old enough to have been down KH before :)


Where in KH

Which part of KH would we be looking at? (As I understand it Midnight in Moscow is closest but has fewer leads left).

Siberia / Midnight in Moscow

Other than the dig at the very bottom, I can't think of much to do in Siberia. The description mentions at least one lead on the way down (but not where I remember there being one), and the lead I can remember on the way down is a body-sized tube not far below SEP. Duncan Collis 05:41, 28 May 2008 (BST)

Well, the leads list largely agrees with my recollection, but there are quite a lot of 'C' leads I'd forgotten about, especially in Fuzzy Logic, where there's also a surprising 'A' lead that apparently hasn't been done. Duncan Collis 02:37, 29 May 2008 (BST)

Documented Leads

All leads marked 'Sib' or 'Fuz' in 161 outstanding QMlist after 1997. [C1997-161-26 A] removed from the list as it was the main way on and was pushed the following year. According to the description there are no leads (other than digs and avens) below this point, which agrees with my memory. Duncan Collis 02:37, 29 May 2008 (BST)

C1997-161-21 B
Sib: Hole below pendule at foot of Vom pitch is given as "undescended" (Wookey reckons it can be seen to choke [I reckon so too, although it's in a very good location for a connection if it went Duncan Collis 02:37, 29 May 2008 (BST)]) [Burblmaze.1]
C1997-161-22 C
Sib: hole in floor 40m past 'Not this Junction' [sep.teama.9]
C1997-161-23 ?
Sib: passage left in 1st right hand branch in Greengables [sep.greengables.2]
C1997-161-24 ?
Sib: passage right in 1st right hand branch in Greengables [sep.greengables.2]
C1997-161-25 V
Sib: 6m climb 2nd right hand passage in Greengables [sep.greengables.2]
C1997-161-28 ?
Sib: crawl left across 18m pitch below Somebody Else's Problem [sep.part2.14]
C1997-161-29 ?
Sib: crawl right across 18m pitch below SEP [sep.part2.14]
C1997-161-30 ?
Sib: passage left in left hand branch past Greengables [sep.teama.13]
C1997-161-31 B
Sib: passage right hand wall 20m before SEP pitch [sep.teama.14]
C1997-161-32 C
Sib: another passage right hand wall 20m before SEP pitch [sep.teama.14]
C1998-161-01 A
Fuz: undescended pitch traversed past before slope to Paradox Rift.
C1998-161-02 X
Fuz: large dripping aven soaring above Paradox Rift
C1998-161-03 C
Fuz: unpushed low wet way from 1st chamber below pitches
C1998-161-04 V
Fuz: probably easily scalable 15m aven to obvious passage and echo in Psycho Street.
C1998-161-05 C
Fuz: steeply ascending tube over calcited pools in Bearbum Passage.
C1998-161-06 C
Fuz: very tight rift towards booming echo beyond crawls in Bearbum Passage.

The Far End

I've never been to The Far End, but it does sound rather good. Check out the description. Strong draughts and several big undescended pitches! Duncan Collis 05:41, 28 May 2008 (BST)

Don't be put off by the name The Far End; it's relatively straightforward caving to get there (certainly much easier than most of the trips in 204 last year), the distance involved is comparable to visiting the furthest leads in Tunnockschacht, and if the 161d entrance is used the deepest point on the way to The Far End is only about 120m down and the depth to the likely connection area of 204 is under 350m. Duncan Collis 10:10, 8 June 2008 (BST)

Documented Leads

All leads marked 'Far' in 161 outstanding QMlist after 1997

C1993-161-01 A
Far: Pitch in Even Further beyond Weasel Pit [FurtCham.5]
C1993-161-02 A
Far: Pitch at end of Scrofulosity [Further.25]
C1993-161-03 A
Far: Pitch at end of East Anglia [Anglia.29]
C1993-161-05 C
Far: Narrow rift pitch (c20m ?, draught) before end of Scrofulosity (needs much hammer) [Further.18]
C1992-161-11 A
Far: Silent Fellow Pitch [Pipeless.1]
C1992-161-12 A
Far: Satan's Sitting Room pitch [3WiseMen.1 (or 2 or 3?)]
C1992-161-13 A
Far: 3 Wise Men pitch before Tinkle Rift [3WiseMen.6]
C1992-161-14 A
Far: Wellie Scraper pitch [FarToFar.6]
C1992-161-19 A
Far: Far too Far - pitch 40m? very wet [FarToFar.15]
C1992-161-21 B
Far: Far too Far - Traverse and pitch in rift to left [FarToFar.15]
C1991-161-22 C
Far: Soil pitch in Leadmine [Leadmine.27]
C1990-161-04 B
Far: Rifts in Hyper-Gamma Spaces
C1990-161-05 C
Far: Endless: Half Shaft (Captive Wedge) inaccessible window [Wedge.8]
C1990-161-07 B
Far: Endless: rift off between Hasta La Vesta and Half Shaft (extremely loose) heading back under Yapate


Which entrance would we use? 161a or 161d


Routefinding My memory of going in 161a is a little hazy, as it was my first expo, but I think there's a bit more routefinding that way (although the entrance itself is perhaps a little easier to find). Duncan Collis 06:34, 28 May 2008 (BST)

Rigging 161a requires considerably more rigging to reach Knossos (where the routes converge): NB These are pitch lengths, not rope lengths.

Pitch Length
Entrance 37m
Automatic Doors 12m
S'not 35m
Garden Party (traverse)
Chunnel 7m
Bungalow 13m
Poxy 7m
Knossos 30m

Clearly more tackle would be consumed and more time would be needed for rigging in and derigging if 'a' were used.

Travel Time A bit counterintuitively, it may actually be faster to go in and out using 'a' - in the 1993 log Wook reports getting down to Knossos in 25 minutes. Not sure about typical times required to climb out. Getting to and from 'a' on the surface (from just about anywhere) takes less time than for 'd'.


Routefinding In 161d there's a bit of piddling around near the entrance, but nothing too confusing.

Rigging Just one ~15 metre pitch needs to be rigged to get to Knossos.

Pitch Length
Minoan Surprise ~15m

My recollection is that this pitch requires a rather longer rope than the pitch length suggests, as the rigging begins at the head of a rubble slope down to a traverse onto the pitch. Duncan Collis 08:37, 1 June 2008 (BST)

The modest tackle requirements and rigging/derigging burden favour 'd' if only a small number of people are interested in trying for the connection.

Travel Time I seem to remember it taking around 3/4 of an hour from 'd', mostly walking along big passage. In and out take about the same length of time, as it's mostly horizontal. You have to take into account the extra time spent getting to the 'd' entrance on the surface.


Would we use the Stone Bridge or the original top camp near KH? Is an underground camp necessary?

Another question: would we need more cairns to mark the routes to the entrance(s) - are there any left over from last year? Edvin

Yes you will need cairns, although probably not as many as are used on the path to 204 - although there are a few places where it's easy to loose the path there are several sections where once you're on the path it's reasonably obvious where to go. Duncan Collis 06:00, 30 May 2008 (BST)

Surface Camp

There are essentially three options:

204 bivvy

Staying at the existing bivvy at 204 would probably be simplest in terms of organisation and call-outs, although it would require extra walking compared with the other options.

Walking to 161a from 204 via the top of the Hint. Schwarzmooskogel is not too bad; there's a pretty easy route the whole way. Not sure if there's a good route from 204 to 161d round the east flank of the HSK.

Equipment earmarked for 161 could of course be carried directly to the entrance from the car park. Duncan Collis 01:30, 29 May 2008 (BST)

Another advantage of staying at the 204 bivvy: people would have a choice of whether to do KH or Tunnocks/Hauchhohle. For example if I was going down KH I might want to alternate longer trips in KH with shorter trips in Tunnockschacht. Edvin

In practice alternating trips like that are unlikely to happen much unless you really enjoy carrying all your caving kit back and forth across the Hinter, or make an arrangement with someone the same size as you to share kit. Duncan Collis 06:08, 3 June 2008 (BST)

Top camp

Setting up camp at the old Top Camp near the col would slightly shorten the walk to the cave and greatly shorten the walk from the car park. However, it would make for more complicated call-out arrangements.

Gear could be stashed at Top Camp initially and then gradually moved to 204 or 161 as needed; actually that's true whichever camp is used for 161. Duncan Collis 01:30, 29 May 2008 (BST)]

Bivvy near 161

It's long been suggested that it might be possible to bivvy or camp near 161d or 161a, although nobody has yet tried it. If a suitable site can be found, this option would minimise the amount of time wasted walking between camp and cave. Call-out arrangements would be more complicated than using the 204 bivvy, and possibly more complicated than using Top Camp if the new bivvy site doesn't have mobile coverage. Duncan Collis 01:30, 29 May 2008 (BST)

Right by the entrance of 161d there is mobile coverage (better reception than the 76 bivvy in fact). I dont know about nearer 161a though. JennyB 01:25, 4 June 2008 (BST)

Underground Camp

An underground camp shouldn't be necessary to push for the connection. Getting to the leads in KH oughtn't to be too time consuming, and there's 'only' a little over 200m to drop to make the connection. However, if the connection is made with pushing time left on expo, it may be worth considering setting up a camp in the horizontal stuff at the bottom to facilitate thorough exploration. Whether this is worth doing will depend on several things, including:

  • How difficult the way in from 161 turns out to be
  • How much pushing time is left on expo
  • How many leads are left at the bottom after the first non-camping pushing trip
  • How many people are interested
  • What resources are available for camping

Duncan Collis 06:46, 28 May 2008 (BST)


How much rope is required and do we have enough for this?

As well as ropes required to reach Knossos from either 161a or 161d (see above), the following pitches will need to be rigged to reach the first good lead at The Far End (undescended pitch beneath The Bridge):

Pitch Length Rope Length Hardware Status
YAPATE traverse 8m Left rigged 1994?
Staircase 36 10m 20m 3 Hangers Left rigged 1998
Strange Downfall[1] 23m 22m 3 Hangers Not left rigged
Strange Upfall[1] 18m 45m 4 hangers Left rigged 1992?
Strange Acrossfall[2] 32m 4 hangers Not left rigged
Burble climb[3] Tape for shortarses
Vom[3] 37m 3 bolts, 2 slings Not left rigged
Pipeless 3m

Info for this table from Mainline to Far North description, Mainline to Siberia description and Fixed Aids in CUCC Caves, plus a little from my own memory. Duncan Collis 07:21, 28 May 2008 (BST)

Note that [1],[2] and [3] are alternatives - only one of them needs to be rigged, although [3] will need to be rigged temporarily in order to rig [1] or [2]

It would be a very good idea to install stainless steel anchors and maillons on the up-pitches at Staircase 36 and strange Upfall. Frank has offered to donate suitable hanger/anchor assemblies for this purpose. These should be installed very carefully by somebody who isn't a muppet - they're expensive anchors and should last for well beyond our lifetimes, so don't invite Mr. Cockup on the trip.

Keenness Levels

So who from this year's expo is keen on coming down KH? This will ultimately determine whether it's worth pursuing this year or waiting until next year. I'm guessing we need at least 6-7 people? Edvin

Even if you don't manage to assemble a team that wants to push for the connection, it would be well worth a couple of people going in (via 161d) and going on a recce trip to The Far End to get a first-hand idea of the difficulty level and how good some of the leads look. It would also be a good opportunity to install that stainless. You would then be 'primed' for a push in 2009. Duncan Collis 01:18, 14 June 2008 (BST)

1. Edvin
2. ?
3. ?