On this date, with the exchange of geartape Julia "the bloke" Bradshaw and Dour "the beardy one" Day were in the sanctity of the tattiehut joined in Holy Bondage until the day that one or the other fall apart.
Registrar: Martin Green
Witnessed: Jessica Stirrups
Rope for rigging down to pushing in 204 A => 48 (up), 30, +70 (up) [Last item annnotated 'wrong' in pencil] King Carbide => 50/60 Brians phat shaft => 82+30 Painted Lady => ~30m Puss in bolts + on the prowl traverse => 30+27, rope protector, deviation Fat Cat => 80, (or 25,45,12) may need more for swing off -> log book states "QMA would require swing & prob more rigging to assist swing" Actual ropes => A: 41m, 11mm, chop from 92m King Carbide: chop from 92m 10mm Brians : 92 + 38 11mm Painted Lady => 140m 10mm Puss in bolts => 34 9mm On the prowl => 29 9mm Fat Cat => 140 10mm
Wook & Serena filled the van with lots of food & gear & set off for expo. Remarkably traffic-free trip in the UK & across europe. Realised at dover that we'd failed to bring a map of europe in physical or digital form, so did a quick download + make plan on cheap UK data. Worked very well offline so failed to get lost at all. Had 4hrs kip en-route.
Very hot all the way here until thunderstorms from Reid in Imkreis onwards. Very wet. Got to Bad Aussee having heard that there was a big concert on but traffic had cleared. Main Rd to Grundlesee was closed & we were sent the back way, only to find it was totally packed with drenched pedestrians & vehicles coming the other way. Eventually got to the main rd to find totally stationary traffic. Went nowhere for about half an hour before finally inching down to camp site which was utterly heaving.
Left 5:30pm, arrived 9:30pm.
Martin rigged Fat Cat and explored the wrong way to solution pocket 8m long & 10m high
Dour sat at the top for 3hrs and got quite cold.
Rigged the entrance pitch to 204. Found that the snow was quite low. My spanner made a descent of the 2nd pitch, at which point I went out
Popped down the hole to top of Fat Cat. Jess pointed me towards Emma's alternative hole, using backup of Fat Cat started on a quick pootle downhill. Realised quite quickly I'd been sandbagged into a hand bolting nightmare. No slings so cut end off rope to make one and head down in tight rift.
Ended in rift that opened, placed bolt and headed down. Some minor rubs that probably didn't damage the rope... Found a nice looking natural and destroyed it one hit. Didn't make the mistake a second time and cut end off rope to make a sling, arrived at sharp eyehole looking for deviation - Jess called down from Emma's 'actual' hole 'which was nice'. Lost confidence in rock after dinner-plate fell off, taking most of natural above. Need a 'Y' hang but not with hand bolts. Wish I had not lost drill bit at bivvy.
PS pitch heads back under and appears to connect to Fat Cat pitch.
Went down to fat cat to attempt to rig pitch so we could swing off into "window". Holly placed 3 Hiltis to put us in a nice place for hang to near window. Had Hilti setting issues -> wasn't sure about setting of last one.
When I went down I forgot the hammer so decided it was time to leave. Exited the cave in v. exciting wet conditions as there was a monster storm on the surface - Holly bravely went first, We got soaked but it was passable.
Back to fat cat to set the last hilti & drop down. Dropped pitch to near survey stn 14 of fat cat survey. Saw window on way down that Holly managed to rig rope to -> Just a pocket at horizontal level but climb up with QMA above.
Also dropped pitch below window -> led to scrotty passage which opened up a bit. QMB at end & QMA with V. good draft & possible pitch on left. Nice and dry on way out today :-)
7th of August 2012 on which day we learn that leaving one's spare van key inside the van is not a smart idea ...
Dour could not be swayed by the temptation of a piss-up in town, he was tempted by the dark side, and by Emma-the-keen. So the alarm went off at 6.30am. He jumped out of his pit and stuck his head back into the tent shortly later to say goodbye. Fair enough I suppose, going caving on a caving expedition...
I meanwhile slept off two consecutive seshes and crawled out of my pit at 10:50. To find Dunks, Noel and Frank standing around the cars having a giggle. The giggling increased significantly when I tried the van door. Dour-the-organised, having borrowed my van key first thing, and meaning to give it back when he came over to say goodbye. Instead got a lift up the road and walked all the way to top camp before realising he still had the key in his pocket. DOH.
Not being able to drive the van for a day or so probably wouldn't be the end of the world (after all, this is only the second expo I've been on with my own driving licence), but I gradually worked out that the ever-lengthening list of things left in the van included pills, wallet, walking boots, maps, day rucksack, walking pole etc. Crap. Dour found the van key after Holly and Stuart had set off walking so couldn't send it down the hill with them. Several phone calls later, as I sat trying to plan my day (baring in mind the street party tonight and subsequently written-off tomorrow), remembering more and more useful shit that was locked in our van, a solution was found. But there was much grumbling in certain quarters.
Grand plans for rigging all the way to Fat Cat were scuppered by dint of us spending a while convincing ourselves that we were actually at K Carbide, then adding second bolt to make the rig more suitable for a trade route.
Finally we got started on Brian's Phat Shaft, but the deviation bolt couldn't be found and we decided to come back tomorrow.
A 06.30 start from Base Camp saw Emma and I yomping up to the bivi to go caving (thereby cunningly avoiding the thunderstorm of the previous evening). I paired up with Wookey and we went underground in early afternoon.
The first job was to redo the centreline survey on Brian's Phat Shaft, since the original vintage had rather too many suspicious plumbs for the terrain. The DistoX proved to be a bit tedious, regularly resetting itself into various modes that did not give us the answer we wanted, but it was sorted eventually.
The next job was to look at a traverse at the top of a climb reached the previous day by Holly and Wookey after swinging off part way down Fat Cat. I put in a couple of bolts and got to the other side, which smelt disgustingly of piss. Shortly afterwards Ollie's light was seen shining down the aven at the far end, confirming that we were below one of the holes near the end of the On The Prowl traverse. Later, Ollie shone his light down a different hole and we saw it coming from above the start of the traverse - so it looks like there is not much to be found here.
While this had been going on, we heard excited shouts from Emma and Jess requesting our presence with the drill. We headed down to their lead, via a most entertaining deviation. The passage they had followed was impressively grotty but draughting, eventually opening out into a small bouldery chamber. Wookey's cave radar detected the hole with the draught coming out of it and one bolt later we were into a continuation. This was initially a sandy crawl, but quickly opened out into something of more impressive dimensions, all draughting strongly. Wookey and I surveyed into this while Emma and Jess finished off the survey of the way in, then leapfrogged us and started surveying the new stuff. By the time we had finished our bit they had surveyed around a fairly substantial chamber, full of boulders with black spaces between them. At the north end is a substantial pitch with water coming down that the survey data indicates is probably the final pitch in Kiwi Suit. There is also a pitch lead at the southern end of the chamber, nearest to KH and at a similar altitude. There is a very strong draught in this area, blowing from north to south. There is evidence that the chamber is in part developed along a hading rift with a similar orientation to Razor Dance which is directly below, so I suspect that they may be related to the same feature. Overall, a most promising find.
At this point Emma and Jess headed out whilst Wookey and I tidied up by surveying a side passage to a pitch lead. During this exercise we saw Emma and Jess's lights and realised that we were standing in a window ~8m from the bottom of Fat Cat. This would avoid the need to go through the scrofulous initial access route.
Our final act was to derig the ropes on the climb and traverse from earlier on in the day to complete a most satisfying and effective day's caving. An excellent trip.
Went to investigate a scrothole that Holly had squidged into and pronounced an "A" lead. So, having already been passed by Rob and Olaf we thought we'd have a look...
Sadly some of the rather spectacular popcorn protrubences died a death as we wriggled through the hole, having just scrotted down the previous bit of passage, after christening the perched boulder "Boris". Don't ask why...
Well, a short section of small, popcorn encrusted phreatic pocketing led to a larger phreatic passage ~1.5x2m, with a hole in the floor (QMA), a window and climb down to the right which ended in a mud choke (QMD) and a ceiling inlet with a small stream which dropped down the pitch. A higher cavity could be seen ~3m up this ... QMB.
We carried on along the phreatic passage, which developed a floor trench and ceiling pockets, before dropping down a 2m climb. Howling draft and V.cold.
Mud choked chamber at foot of climb, pitch on R (QMA). Climbed up 3m opposite original passage, above the pitch, into a BIG phreatic chamber (Pussy Riot) with boulders, pitches (QMA,QMB,QMB,QMB,QMB) some further phreas entering ~8m up the wall (QMA).
At this point we decided we needed the wisdom of greater experience to choose our next move, so I ran back to the bottom of Fat Cat, clambering over Boris, and hollered for those well known cave sniffers, Dour and Wookey.
20 mins later, after a pause durig which they finished bolting a traverse and me and Emma sang and cackled and chatted, we headed back to the chamber.
Wookey immediately walked over the boulders (ignoring the black spaces beneath which we'd found so offputting) straight into a horizontal continuation on the left of the chamber. A 2m climb down, requiring one bolt and a natural was reached. Me and Emma surveyed while this was bolted, and Wookey had a quick scoop ahead (tut tut!).
Small, mud floored, mostly hands and knees or stooping phreatic passage was reached, which after a couple of minutes opened out into a large chamber - Cirque du Soleil.
Me and Emma leapfrogged Dour and Wookey (who were now surveying) and started surveying the chamber. Its V.V. big... amd a big draft... Large pillar in centre, a big drippy pitch to the south (QMA), some holes upslope between the pitch and entrance which we thought we could see the others' lights through (QMA,QMA), and four more pitches, 2 on each side of the chamber (4xQMB).Carried on to far side of chamber past pillar to a steep chossy slope with perched death down into big stomping trunk passage which, as Dour put in, was "Blowing a hooley". This went ~10m to another massive drippy pitch.
Having reached a natural break, we decided to head out, nattering and chattering. Out at 1 am.
Cat Gut: QMB - Inlet in ceiling. ~3m climb to cavity QMA - Pitch in floor under 2 boulders, takes a stream QMD - Mud choked downclimb - small stream sinks Pussy Riot: QMA - Down pitch on R of climb up into chamber ~15m? ~20m? hard to tell... QMB - Hole on left under boulders at top of climb into chamber ~2m to a floor QMB - Pitch on R of chamber, ~20m ? QMB - Pitch on R of exit of chamber QMX - Possible phreatic passage ~8m up wall opposite climb up into chamber Cirque du Soleil: QMB - Pitch on L as enter chamber QMA - Hole in wall up slope on R as enter chamber QMA: hole in wall up slope on R as enter chamber QMA: Big drippy pitch in south side of chamber, drafts strongly in (down pitch) QMB: Pitch on R by wall just before slope down into trunk passage QMB: Pitch on L by slope down into trunk passage QMA: Big drippy pitch at end of trunk passage POSSIBLY FINAL PITCH OF KIWI SUIT
Have we found the legendary phreas at the top of Razordance ????
After Cat and Teresa managed to sponge a set of caving gear each, we set off to rig a bypass to the top of "King Carbide" and take Teresa on her first underground SRT trip. 204A was descended and thread pitch was rigged. Reflective markers were placed on route to 'No Pain No Gain' and on to half way down 'King Carbide' (although the last couple of markers are cairns) such that it could be followed in reverse by flooded-in cavers. On the way out, Cat demonstrated that 204B was free-climbable by the fool-hardy.
Holly was so kind to take us down this year's route via 204a, King Carbide, Brians Phat Shaft and Pussy Prance to Fat Cat. I was a bit slow and had to get used to all this SRT business again, but eventually we were all sat at the top of the Fat Cat pitch and made up a plan. Wookey and Holly wanted to look at a climb up from a ledge most of the way down, and Rob and myself were sent off to some scrotty B-lead at the bottom of the pitch. Or rather at the bottom of a little side-pitch right underneath the ledge, but still quite a way above the real bottom of Fat Cat. The last bit from the ledge to our lead was fairly clean washed white limestone, and after a little deviation, Rob and I climbed up over the boulder named Boris, then through a little squeeze to a small "chamber", where we could almost stand upright. Emma and Holly had left a survey station 7 there, we didn't spot their number 8, though. Also, a small passage that I considered "too tight" went on to an aledged A-lead, but I was only told about this on the way out (I hadn't really paid much attention earlier). Anyway, from the small chamber, a small passage with a little water-filled trench at the bottom was heading back up sharply to the right, and behind some boulders a light-connection to the bottom of the pitch could be made. We ignored that (too tight) and rather went down a bit, then up a slope on the other side to crawl underneath a big boulder. Several holes are going up to the left, but an easier way to their top was found from around the corner at the mud choked end of the passage. We now started climbing up, leaving two holes in the floor behind us. They appeared to join up in a lower level horizontal passage leading further on as a QMB. At our survey station 5, we climbed up through a small window and now made steady vertical progress up a pitch full of rock flakes. After about 5 more metres, we reached a ledge with another mud-choked passage leading off and another window going on further up in a similar climbing manner to another QMB. We put our last survey station 8 on the wall and broke off some more popcorn on the way out. Rob and Wookey decided to put in another bolt at the ledge in Fat Cat, while Holly and I started heading out. When I reached the bottom of Painted Lady, someone suddenly turned on a waterfall coming in from a hole in the ceiling. Rather scary ! Brians Phat Shaft was rather drippy to begin with, quite wet further up, but still nothing but a little tease, compared to the showerbath of King Carbide, the horrors of the upper part of King Carbide, and the floods coming down the entrance pitch. I hate wet caves !
After the rather damp trip the day before, I rather wanted a slack, short one, and decided to visit Tunnocks for a change. Ian and Hannah set off ahead of us and took along some rope for Caramel Catharsis. We followed a while later. We met again after the traverse line down the sloped entrance passages, where we interchanged bags and Ian and Hannah went out again. I rigged the first little traverse before Caramel Catharsis, Rob did the rest of the rigging. Then the route-finding problems started. We got to the cobbly slope and Y-key-key Beach, after a quick detour decided to go left, then took the next passage steeply up to what Rob believed to remember being called Starfish junction. By elimination, we eventually concluded that the passage with the triangular bit of tape was not the one we were looking for, but rather turned rightish. After a while of traversing, we found a little hole, where we unnecessarily built a cairn to remind us of the way out, but as none of the lower level passages seemed to be present in Rob's recollection of a fairly hung-over trip a year ago, we finally decided we were a bit lost again. It took some more trial and error to traverse above the top of the hole, do a stupid climb after a big boulder bypassed by a no less stupid squeeze. Next was a sharp Z-shaped meander, a traverse over some big holes, and finally one more squeeze through a boulder choke. The big passage beyond finally looked like it could go somewhere more interesting, so we now started looking for the p18, that Emma had told us about. We finally found one, but were not quite sure (and it's probably another one). As it was getting late anyway, we decided to leave the 60m rope, hand-bolting and rigging gear behind and went back out of the cave.
Being a bit shattered after my first two expo trips, I wanted to do a short one today. No idea why I came down to Fat Cat again with someone like Becka. Anyway, we showed them the way to the pushing front with Becka racing ahead and waiting impatiently. Andrew followed promptly and attempted to retrieve a bag of rope that Martin had decided to hang off one bolt in the ceiling way out from the usual route down Fat Cat. Waiting at the bottom I suddenly heard a loud "NOOOO!" and something big falling down the pitch. Apparently Andrew had not only retrieved a bag of rope, but also a good chunk of the wall, but all else was fine. Rob now started rebolting and rerigging Fat Cat on the nice white rope instead of the horrible red stuff. In the meantime, Andrew, Becka and I went back through the scrotty squeezes, past survey station 7 and into Cirque du Soleil. We were looking around for a while but didn't find the window back to Fat Cat, that we were told to find so I eventually went back the way we came, told Rob of our plan and blew my whistle. After a few more blows, we finally found Becka emerging from a window a lot further down. Rob was now bolting a traverse down there, while I started retrieving some rope from Wookey's climb up from the ledge. Finally Rob and I went to Cirque du Soleil, watched Andrew bolting a long traverse towards KH connection, then derigged Cat Gut and the old route down Fat Cat and were joined by Becka and Andrew on the way out. While I was given a bit of a head start, Andrew continuously reduced the gap by racing me up the pitches, but finally refused to overtake me at the very last belay up the entrance pitch where he definitely more than caught up with me.
We faffed an unspeakably long time until we finally reached 258 entrance some time after 2 pm. The rigging was deemed not to be up to the exacting CUCC standards (and my lack of height). So Frank spent about 2 hours with the aim of making it idiot proof. SUCCESS! Frank showed me around until we reached Stirfish junction. We turned back and then it was my time to navigate out. SUCCESS. All in all a lovely day =)
Original plan was me, Andrew + Ollie finishing yesterday's traverse while Rob + Holly pushed leads in Cirque de Soleil but Holly discovered a hole in the bottom bobbin of her Stop at the top of Brian's Phat Shaft so she gave up and went out + Rob joined us. Ollie + I started my first ever PDA + DistoX survey - not a great location to practise on, a teetery traverse with Andrew bolting the next traverse, only just in earshot as I bawled out endless questions "How do I calibrate the screen?", "Why are some splays in dotted lines?" etc. There was only one point where I got a "Not now" which was shortly before a huge lump of rock fell off the traverse leaving a brown smear down the rock face. The survey caught up to Andrew just as he got finished and ..... da-narrr..... found the final survey station from last year's KH trip - whoo-hoo, made the connection. Rob then caught up with us + Andrew & I were going to look up the passage but he'd forgotten about the up pitch so I did the bad step traverse without protection for no reason + then was stuck there until Rob got some gear to give me a sling to get back. Then Rob + Andrew rigged a traverse to avoid the up pitch whilst Ollie + I went to the top of Fat Cat + surveyed the traverse - Dog Days - he'd done with Serena + then up the climb that Andrew had shinned up on the way down + left a skanky rope on it. This led to horizontal drafting passage, yippee + a chamber with several A-leads off ... having already had a very fine trip making the connection we decided to leave them for another day. Met Andrew + Rob on return. On Brian's Phat Shaft, Andrew went up first then as Ollie got about halfway a rock came whistling past me. "What was that from?" "Don't think it was me" says Ollie ... then another came down "Shit, the rebelays breaking up". Rob + I cowered as best we could + Ollie said there was only an inch of rock left on the nose the rebelay was on so we decided it was best if he took it out (the one at the bottom of the first long hang). Rob + I then teetered up past some razor sharp edges + the knot pass + the crab got wedged on Rob so the rope got incredibly tight but, hey, we survived.
Returned to the chamber Ollie + I surveyed yesterday + surveyed the horizontal A-leads which all ended up looping round to each other or at big pitch heads. There was also a fine-looking high level phreatic passage which Andrew tried to climb into from two different directions but the rock was cream cheese. Though he made it up to the right level he couldn't find any decent rock to rig off so he decided it was too dodgy so we rigged the pitch nearest to the chamber instead. This led to a huge breakdown chamber thing with a monster boulder in it, piles of steep loose rock + crazed angle boulders all over so I struggled to survey it + we left it with two QMA's which were sort of passages but unclear if there's much in the way of a proper floor there. Oh yes, waited for 90 min or so on the way down with Rob whilst Wookey rerigged the rebelay on Brian's Phat Shaft, struggling with the super tight rope + then Andrew fettled lots of the rigging in the lower sections.
Early morning negotiation with Julian who was driving to expo meant I was given the all clear for a last day of caving + I really wanted to see the new connection stuff. We took Emma's camera to get some shots of the traverses for Anthony's conference talk on Sat + took other shots later on. Headed off down the huge drafting passage to the climb that Wookey + Rob had stopped at on their trip 2 days ago. Rob shinned up this then rigged it + then he rigged the short pitch down to Holey Low whilst Andrew + I shivered in the howling gale. Finally we got to our lead, Blown Away, marked as 300m to Eislufthoehle on Julian's mini-survey. The last survey station was at the start of a straightforward traverse that Andrew waltzed across whilst Rob + I started the survey then Andrew took over the DistoX as Rob had shaky hands + we rattled down 150m or so of lovely phreatic passage with a strong draft until, BUM, all the air disappeared up a poxy aven. This left a pitch drafting out which Rob freeclimbed to the head of but we called it a day + derigged the traverse. Andrew put bolts in for the up-climb on Holey Low on the return + also bolts for the tiny traverse on the far side of Mordor. Then plodded on out, a good end to 5 days caving!
Having got a little bored of the 204 trip into 161 we decided on a trip to the P18? in MotP. Following a couple of failed trips, Rob & Olaf had kindly left 60m of rope at the pushing front - which made this trip even more appealing
Off down Tunnocks entrance, Caramel Catharsis, Starfish Junction & Flying high. Once you reach the traverse in Flying high, which is quite soon, keep on traversing. You may be tempted to drop down when you come across a large-ish hole. However this is wrong!! Carry on traversing over this for the correct way to MotP. If you drop down, you are sitting in a small chamber with 3 passages leading off.
Carrying along the passage (traversing) you eventually reach the end of the traverse (passing a nice stal) which opens up & you slide down to the floor. Then comes the interesting climb up & over then through boulders. On the second part of the climb - the through the boulders part - watch out for one of the boulders which appears to be held up by small pebbles wedged between said boulder and the walls.
Having reached the higher level, continue onwards to the very end of the passage (don't be tempted to crawl through the small hole through boulders on the right). At the end of the passage, there is a sneakily hidden RH elbow bend & the passage continues. Then is reached the evil bouldery climb of doom. Basically this is a climb down onto a ledge above a pitch. Climb is ~2.5m & the ledge has lots of loose boulders. After I stood on a large, sturdy looking boulder, which then began sliding on the gravel that it was perched on, towards the pitch - I demanded a traverse line - to the relief of Jess & Emma. Finding two hanady naturals we rigged a friendly traverse line with the "shitty red rope" and cut this off the 39m that we had carried in.
From here, carry along the obvious passage - which becomes a slide through boulders. In this boulder choke, turn right up the obvious climb out. I would not recommend attempting to squeeze through the small hole on the left - it's a bit tight! This opens up into a small chamber with a junction, Taking right goes to 39 steps. However, we turned left (down slope) to MotP. The bottom of this slope becomes another short slide through boulders into a stooping passage with a muddy floor. A short climb up and down into another junction. To reach the p18? turn right up the slope & then climb down into the obvious rift. At the bottom head back under the rift, through the smallish hole to the top of the P18? Hooray!
We reached the pushing front and & I was deemed 'bolting queen' whilst Emma & Jess took photos for Antony's looming conference presentation.
The top of the P18? is very nice - hardly any loose boulders, walls close together. Unfortunately it was a bit uncomfortable for hand bolting - but you can't have everything. We used a lovely large pillar/natural for the start of the rigging (on the R heading into the cave) and I placed a bolt on each wall to create a Y-hang straight down the pitch. I headed down the pitch to land in a small-medium sized chamber with a bouldery floor. Unfortunately a rebelay was needed on the P18?, now called 'Hooray for Boobies' (as a result of the girlie team). This meant that gentle prussicking would be needed on the 'shitty red rope' (The 60m still sat in the bag at the top). So only Emma ventured on down to join me. With Jess getting cold at the top, Emma & I had a quick look around before heading back up & out of the cave. We made a pact, after squeezing into a connecting chamber, and through a short rift, that we would still return to survey, even if the lead didn't go anywhere. Thankfully, the rift opened out into a clean washed, Yorkshire-like passage way, with an ~3m pitch. Back out we went, excited for our trip the following day.
(Short squeeze at base of pitch ~2m long known as the Outer Flap).
Back to Hooray for Boobies, to fix the rigging, survey & push. This time with a drill - HOORAY! Becca & Emma headed down the pitch and began surveying while I swapped the red rope for a pre-cut 40m CUCC rope that isn't allowed to be cut. As the 60m is UBSS rope & also not for cutting, we decided it would be better to save the red stuff for smaller pitches. After getting in a tangle & then detangling myself (thankfuly the 40m was white), I headed on down the pitch, placing a rebelay ~8(?)m from the floor.
At the top of the next mini-pitch (~3 or 4m), I attempted to quickly place a couple of bolts and some rigging down, so that Emma & Becca could head onwards to continue surveying & keep warm. I then placed another bolt at the start of the rigging. Once complete, I quickly headed through the cave to join Becca & Emma. The cave closes down to a tall narrow rift - The Inner Flap. I loved it, however, Emma & Becca weren't convinced & after 20 legs, were now bored. I was elected to carry on through the rift - for 1 minute only - just 1 minute, to see if the passage either died or opened up. Unfortunately it did neither! The rift became narrower, but clearly still easily passable, if caving on your side. Knowing that this wasn't going to convince the girls, we headed back out. Now I just need to convince one of the lads to join me on my next trip there. Noel probably . . . . . .
Large natural pillar on R
Two bolts at head of pitch on either side (on each wall) of pitch.
Rebelay bolt on obvious 'bulge' on LH wall ~8m from floor.
Decided to have a quick look in 101 to see what it did. Much as described in 1977, pitches all free climbable. Just after 101 and 101a join there is a tight pitch lead to the right into a canyon - we didn't descend. Followed to near the end in 1977 - gets quite small, but continues. Another small tube leads off to right - Olly went for a short way down this and it continues.
Got out survey kit, discovered the disto battery was flat. Didn't survey... passage is roughly SSW and descending slightly. Walked back via looking for 99-OB-01 which we found. Easy to locate if you assume Schoenberg bearing is for 2 peaks further east, and Zinken is a different peak.
Lesson learnt - check disto batteries.
I was still feeling full of cold so we went to have a poke at the dig at the end of 82's top level. Olly successfully dug and got more passage, but sadly it didn't go very far - I suspect it is too near the surface. While I sat on the surface and coughed, Olly had a look at 85, and concluded that there is still a lead.
Went back into 82 and surveyed the new bit.
Olly rigged and bolted down 157. We went down the parallel rift and concluded the bolts of unknown origin spotted in 1987 are not in 107. Cave doesn't continue. We surveyed out, via a brief warm up on the surface. On redescending Olly realised his rack was still underground. Oops! Fortunately I could rescue it for him! We didn't descend the main shaft as it was quite full of snow. There is also another parallel rift we didn't visit.
Lesson learnt: don't prussic out leaving your rack behind.
This cave is right by the path to 204 ~ opposite 157. One day this cave would have had a long section of big passage heading for 107, but is today missing much of it's roof. Off this main 'passage' are several short sections of cave heading off. Sadly they all either get too small, end, or are choked with rocks. Surveyed most of it - will go back and finish off later.
(The cave name is because we saw a pair of gemse twice on the way).
Went into 83, put some new bolts in, but rigged as a pushing rig, assuming we'd only spend a day here. Got into the big rift but needed more rope than expected due to re-belays and an almost non-existent snow pile.
Walked down the big rift until we got near the bottom, took the phreatic passage on the left like in 1977. Pitch was lovely 32m of freehang to a big chamber, as expected the route didn't continue, but we could survey out to connect any new stuff too. Sadly the survey pencil was rubbish, and the 2 spares I was carefully carrying were broken. Olly managed to take notes up the pitch and I derigged it. We then headed home, planning to return with a pencil the next day.
Lesson learnt: don't carry broken pencils.
Decided to see if we could drop back into the trunk passage seen in 1987-02 and the top level of 82 somewhere in between, taking the obvious approach of walking between them. This doesn't work well as the terrain is very broken, but we found what is likely to be the skylight entrance to 1987-02, a postcard on balloons from Italy, and a few scrotty tubes to crawl into.
Went back to 83 planning to look at the bolt traverse over the 32m pitch, as this was likely to be a short trip and the last in 83, we didn't re-rig the entrance pitch and we set an 8pm call out.
Olly did a great job bolting over the pitch and on. I took a few photos and eventually followed along. The bolt traverse was great fun. At the end was an ~8m pitch with a slope/climb up the back wall which sadly didn't go. At the top of this short pitch, Olly spotted an alcove on the left, so bolted into that, and climbed up into the roof tube. We realised there was nowhere near enough time to explore, survey and derig by 8pm. So we surveyed out as far as the main chamber and made our 8pm callout by ~15 minutes. Left the cave rigged for 1 final trip.
We had a trip booked in the Appelhaus area to visit some of our neighbouring cave systems. So first we had to contour to it across from Top camp. And as I didn't like the idea of walking back to the Stöger-Steig, I came up with a plan to go around northwards from Topcamp. We followed the path to Tunnocks for a start and then headed off into unknown territory north from there. We crossed some large bowl following a ridge on its western rim. After crossing some snowfields the ridge eventually ended and we got to a large depression with a hole in its northwestern corner (UTM 33T 0411876 528324). Appears to be a relatively deep shaft of approx 25m, but with little to no draught. Anyway, its a cave either on its own right and also its very close to March of the Penguins and Bullethöhle (exploration started [illegible]). We tried to look down the shaft, but some bolting and rope seem to be necessary to get anywhere.
We therefore continued our tour and just a bit further to the north we found the next interesting hole (UTM 33T 0411904 5283600). This one appeared to be a bit of underground passage with a collapsed roof and lots of rubble on the floor. However, the passage appeared to continue towards the south and again the lack of rope stopped us from getting there. Probably only about 5m climb/rope needed. We instead continued walking to the next col and then started heading down one valley further north, where the ski route is marked on some maps. This route took us awfully close to the BS16-BS19 entrances, and we probably also spotted a good bivy site which may have been used during the UBSS expedition. And of course we stumbled across another cave, which must have been described by UBSS somewhere. Entrance is at 33T 0412332 5283988. The entrance is a 2m diameter horizontal passage in the side of the cliffs and Wookey walked inside for a couple of minutes, across some shelf, turning right, and then turning around where the passage got smaller. Again a lack of draught, but quite a bit of cave anyway. Down in the valley we had to struggle a bit with what is not called Bunde, but it was easily possible to reach a real forest, Wildenseealm and eventually Appelhaus
We had to walk to some "Woising Camp" from Appelhaus, which took about 2 hours. Then we got changed and walked another 8 minutes to a little entrance shaft. Following a series of pitches (very steep passages mostly) we eventually reached a horizontal level at 1640m above sea level. We explored that for a while, then went to another pitch going down some more steep passages to the current pushing front of the cave. A strong wind was blowing up this, and probably another horizontal level can be reached with little effort. Given the information from other caves in the area, this horizontal level is expected at 1550m, but as this was mostly a touristy trip, we soon turned around and left the cave. The exit, different from the entrance, was rather spectacular high up in the cliffs at the northern edge of the Totes Gebirge with an impressive view and a nice little via ferrata to get back to the Woising Camp and Appelhaus. Overall the system is a lot smaller than SMK, but appears to be very interesting and it probably has exactly the same development history.
Went back to 83 for our final trip to look at the roof tube beyond the bolt traverse and survey the entrance bit. I got part way along and realised I had left the grease syringes on the surface, Olly wasn't yet on the bolt traverse so kindly popped out to get them.
Got into the roof tube, which is called Thunder Road due to the thunder we heard there on the 10th. I took off my SRT kit and wiggled along the passage which rapidly became more rift like. Olly wasn't keen to follow, so sat with the notebook while I shouted back numbers. The passage went for ~30m trending uphill. Near the end was a short section of walking passage followed by a low crawl. Then a drippy aven on the R and a pitch on the left. I surveyed back from here. I suspect it is near the surface.
Derigged back to entrance chamber and began to survey out. Checked the bottom of the rift and it is, as you would expect chossy and connects with the p32. Then, about 1 survey leg up from the p32 passage Olly spotted a low passage going off under a rock, named Under a Rock, passage gets to a pitch, which we could carefully traversed round. Next was a short section of lovely big phreas, heading up to a choke. There were a few bits of leaves and pine cones - presumably near another entrance. Right from the pitch went less far. Combined tactics got me up a short climb which led up to a choke, again with leaves. I thought I could smell outside.
Surveyed back to entrance chamber, and left the cave.
Went back into Under a Rock and dropped the pitch. The bottom was a tall rift, up didn't go far, the way the water flows rapidly got too narrow. We followed the 3rd way on, up a short climb and down the other side (via a bolt). We scrambled further down and down some more to find ourselves back at the bottom of the p32. Olly was amused at where we were, I was annoyed. But at least our loop closure was good!
Went back to entrance chamber to survey out. Olly spotted a hole thru' some rocks. It drafted so we pulled some rocks out. We couldn't easily make the gap big enough, so tried a meter or so higher up. I managed to get through, and amazingly got under and through a window into another passage underneath Down Under, removed more rocks so Olly could follow me through. Followed the passage past a squeeze and a climb down. Found ourselves above a reasonable sized passage ~5m above. Didn't look climbable down, but I could traverse over. Did this to another 6m drop into the same passage, but excitingly could see a snow plug. We wondered if this was 107. Surveyed out and up to the tag bolt.
Scrambled in 107 on the way back and saw a similar looking snow plug. Down the hill the survey data confirms we connected! Not as impressive as The Connection, but we have made 107 ~9m deeper (by the CUCC way) and ~500m longer.
We assembled outside the Ischlerhutte where we slept the night + marched off at 8.30 sharp. Up the main track ~10min then on a decent path steeply up to a v.short cave (almost an arch) with snow + on up to the main entrance (55c) with a locked gate. We had 2 guides + 8 of us - 4 CUCC, 2 from Arge Grabbenstetten (Stefan + Ilya), one girl from the Appelhaus group + a guy from the Vienna group using carbide - a while since I've seen that. We abseiled down Glitzerdom -> Deikenkarrengang + got to the Wandgang, Halle des Müde Bruden + through Trepfsteingang, were shown Satan's Gang where the Raucherkarhöhle + Feuertalhöhle systems were connected in 2007, Gigantendom + then Langegang to SchachtbrückenHalle with dodgy polypro blue bridge then out again. All at a pleasant dawdly pace. Very jolly. Back to Ischlerhutte + down the boring track route to Blaa Alm (the Nagelstegweg is more direct + more scenic though v.steep)
This was Olaf's idea so I'd got all keen then he dropped out (having had a hard time walking to Appelhaus from Top Camp) so that left me to bully poor Julian into coming along. By the time we'd dropped off Julia at the train station to head home to Norway + braved the Bad Aussee traffic jam a second time as we'd forgotten our toll booth pass it was 11 am before we set off. We split Julian's caving gear between us for the walk to Top Camp + had lunch + I packed my caving gear there then set off up Tunnocks to the saddle then followed the German's cairns - excellent route up slabs. From there we were on our own until we hit the 228 main path up the Schönberg which is ridiculously well marked in red + white. To get there we contoured round east side of the Große Grieskogel + E of the Große Wildkogel. By the time we hit the path Julian was feeling really ill so I shuttled the rucksacks one at a time up to the Schönberg + then at the top I put all the heavy stuff in my bag + left Julian to go to the Ischlerhutte hoping Wookey + Olaf would be there to persuade to fetch Julian's. No such luck so I dumped my bag + left him lying groaning in the path. Eventually he made it down, threw up + went to bed. Oh dear, seem to have broken him. We think he may have had heat stroke though we had plenty of water + it wasn't that hot. Anyway this is an excellent walk if you aren't carrying a full set of caving gear each + highly recommended as a pre-dinner route from Top Camp with stunning views from the Schönberg ridge. Guides were Harald <- Chief geek for Schönberg + Wig (for Ludwig, who's surveyed 47 km in Schönberg).
This trip is recorded earlier, but some details of our bit are not covered, hence this addendum.
Holly & Emma had got up to shelf off Fat Cat as part of the great 'find KH' exercise and needed someone to shin up a climb. Apparently bottom was loose & would probably need a bolt. Holly considered this a handy opportunity to watch how bolting up climbs is done. In fact, although the move off the ground was tricky, no bolts were needed & Wook shinned easily to near the top. It would have been trivial but for the pile of boulders perched on the edge which comprised all the holds. Attempting to use them might bring the lot crashing down so a couple of bolts were now put in to enable climbing gingerly past. There was passage at the top (!) a climb up to another pitch & a traverse. Holly came up & put in her first 2 drill bolts to make a nice rig, then we surveyed the new bit. Couldn't go further due to lack of rope, but 15m disto shot across traverse deserved a return. Hometime by now, Holly & Olaf exited whilst Wook showed Rob how to put in a bolt to remove Fat Cat rub. Sudden noise of water at 8:30 pm told us it had thunderstormed, and we duly got rather wet on Brians PS, and despite spending 1 hr 45 shifting rocks in the pleasure dome in the hope that levels would reduce, still got wet on 1st half & soaked on 2nd half of King Carbide. Yuk! Tried to wedge a rock in spout of lower half & nearly got stuck upside down in hole whilst last in cave. Out @ 12:30
Went down to the connection to turn the 'exploratory' rigging into something suitable for mere mortals. Took drill + 3batteries + hand bolting kit & left over nasty red ropes. Spent some hours re-doing the 1st traverse to go higher along line of shelf. Rob did all the bolting & seemed to enjoy himself. Added 3 or 4 there, another on up-bit to remove rub & Y-hang the end. Only possible by replacing 27m white rope with red as we went. Then put rope on climb and 2 more bolts in 2nd traverse. Went to the bad step which was already bolted & put in climb line & traverse line over bridge + step. All this took quite some time so it was getting late & our enthusiasm somewhat dimmed, but we should at least take a look-see having got here. Headed on down March of the ents, noting that most of the wind came in from the 50m pitch QM - Interesting spot. Carried on to rivendell & the stables and rigged little climb round the corner on a couple of dodgy naturals. Didn't have enough rope to do it properly (or the enthusiasm).
Wandered along a bit and took a look down QM [fill in] which had a fine breeze at the top. Very silly sloping 'pitch'. Our 27m rope got us down past one traverse level to overlook more rift, but still at least 6m to the floor & not shinnable. So surveyed out, teaching Rob distoX usage. Seemed to be no draught at the bottom, so the wind presumably comes from across the top somewhere. We called it soilathon.
Took a look further down l[blank-for-name] shinning round various things and poking one hole (goes to a pitch). Eventually got to a dead-end at Mad Dogs and marvelled at the very hard-looking C5 into the roof which the survey claimed was the way on. As it was after midnight & we were knackered (especially Rob) we were glad of excuse to go home & slowly came out, regretting hoiking 3 batts down here, and taking about 5hrs to exit @5am. (It is quite a long way). Curry felt well-deserved.
FAR FROM SUPPORT - 2 TRAVERSES:
Rigging from Far from Support to March of the Ents
LIST OF ROPES LEFT - Far From Support double traverse - Rivendale traverse - Mad Dogs pitch - Puss in Boots traverse (+ pitch at end of it) - Cat Flap Pitches (left rigged in 2009)
Over the pitch at the north end of the cave was an A lead. So for a more relaxing day, thought we would have a look and possibly add some length to the system if we could connect it on. Interesting start to the cave with a flat out crawl where every time you moved forward the rocks pushed you into the ceiling. Traverse first pit and got to end where Duncan traversed over and put in a hand-spit. Lead was so good it had already been scooped, but did our duty and surveyed it adding about 40m on to what had been scooped. Although it had not been scooped, nail varnish was found on wall, but looks like the data was lost.....
Cave pre-rigged. Descended entrance, King Carbide, Brian's Phat Shaft uneventfully and proceeded to Dog Days near top of Fat Cat to examine possible leads and survey with distoX + PDA. Dog Days contains many steep, unstable sandy slopes and a boulder choke with some unstable parts. A quick search of the boulder choke revealed no worthwhile leads - StuW found a narrow rift and what was thought to be a pitch but turned out to be the chamber floor. Andrew found an area with scary unstable boulders. The area was then surveyed, as was another area at the other end of the chamber which contained ground that turned white when walked on. StuW operated the disto but sometimes had trouble with shaking arms. Disto ran out of power half way through and was recalibrated by Andrew. A section of cave was surveyed yielding some leads. Cave was then exited with Andrew rebolting a Y hang on the traverse before Dog Days (Fat Cat?) and Stuw finding some slack and moving it along to make the Y hang descendable. StuW got exhausted during the exit and became slow at prussiking, (due to equipment config and strength) leaving Andrew to take cover in the bothy bag below Fat Cat. StuW's route finding was bad - cave exited by Andrew followed by StuW (somewhat later) at around 10 pm. Mike TA took photos then exited prior to Fat Cat traverse.
A team of 10 led by Gottfried met at 8.15. It's a 40 min steep slog up from the carpark at the Simony Denkmal above Hallstatt to the entrance on a small footpath next to a fresh landslide then up a 4m ladder into the gated entrance with a gale coming out of it. Gottfried said it was even stronger in the winter - the whole cave drafted more than any I've known I think. The first section to the Zul??nger is common to all trips - there are 5 entrances to the Hirlatz system but the others have sumps or are difficult to access. Q. slow going with a large group up lots of aluminium ladders + then down until a final ladder to a major junction where we went left to the Alter Teil whilst the main W and E sections of the system are off to the right. Left soon brought us to a stream rift + a traverse left then up more ladders + past 2 campsites to Bachschwinde where a few of us traversed along the final narrow Streamway until it got crawly. Met the 2 other groups as we returned and then 3 of us headed towards Nordriften which was fun rifty streamway. Mark took some shots of the traverse + I wasn't allowed to go on further excursions as Mark had had enough so out to the sunshine. Our trips were the first in there since February, amazing. A fine trip - several kilometres of huge borehole.
Went for a stroll over the back of the Hohes AugstEck ridge in search of Organhöhle, the cave found by UBSS in 1989/90. We didn't find it, though it looks as though Wookey & Olaf found something that closely matches the description on the following day. We spent a while looking around where the GPS says BS17 should be, until Duncan noticed that the UBSS map placed BS17 almost due east of the summit of the Hohes AugstEck, which was significantly further south - so we tried our luck in that area. The cave that Wookey and Olaf found is actually much closer to the GPS point.
Although we didn't find BS17, we did find several entrances, all of which have been documented on the expo computer. The most interesting of these are:
All these caves are at a similar altitude to each other and (most likely) Organhöhle, so there appears to be something interesting going on here - well worth a return.
I tagged onto Holly and Rob's trip to Tunnocks - the first time I've been in this cave. The shallow levels are certainly most civilized. Followed Holly and Rob's heels to the pushing front at the Inner Flap (or whichever part of the vulva it is named after). Rob went on ahead and declared that the rift was passable for sufficiently far to warrant a survey. Since this was clearly a two-man job, I was dispatched to a pitch level in 39 steps. Navigated there without much difficulty, apart from one moderately tricky climb that I had to do twice after kicking the tacklesack down on the first attempt. I spent a while convincing myself that I was in the right place, and thought I had been sold a dud since the pitch didn't look all that promising from the top. There are two holes here that go to the same place, so I dropped the first one on a couple of naturals to find a black space ~4m down that was quite breezy, at which point I felt much happier. It looked like the continuing pitch would be hard to rig from here, so I put in a couple of handbolts to descend the other hole. By this point I had pretty much run out of gear, so Holly and Rob's reappearance was timely. Apparently they had surveyed ~40m of rift passage leading to a pitch. With that, I followed Holly and Rob's heels out again.
Headed down 204 and into 161 via the new connection - a fine piece of work by Andrew. Our target was a pitch lead heading west from March of the Ents with a howling draught coming out of it. Rob wielded the drill with occasional helpful advice from yours truly. It took a while to find some decent rock so by the time Rob had rigged the pitch head I was freezing, so went for a quick tourist to Mordor - all very impressive. When I returned, Rob was rigging a rebelay from where he descended to the floor. The pitch is a fine circular shaft, about 5m round, but unfortunately the way on at the bottom is rather uninspiring immature rift. We surveyed into this for a bit until we got to an arbitrary point where the rift got a bit narrower and packed it in. The rift continues but there is no draught - QMB. With that we surveyed out and derigged. There is a possible continuation across the pitch head that could be reached by an easy traverse (2-3 bolts) but it is not obvious if there really is any passage there (QMB). It appears that the considerable draught comes down some aven above the pitch.
At this point we packed up the drill and most of the gear that had been stashed at this relatively inaccessible location to make a tacklebag each to lug out. I made exceptionally heavy weather of the prussik out, not helped by having left my foot jammer behind at the top of the new pitch.
Went back to 83 for the actual final trip. I retrieved the rigging gear while Olly sketched the entrance chamber. I derigged and swung across to look at side tubes. One near the top generated another ~15m of passage.
Went to 148 and rigged in the first 4 pitches (i.e. to just before deep space). I'd forgotten how cold and drafty 148 is.
Went to 148 with 100+m of rope, hangers and a drill. Tweaked the rigging on the way in to add a bolt on pitch 2 -> clowns are a poor hanger choice for free hanging rebelays! Also changed natural backups and things. Olly rigged down deep space (and hated using a stop more than hating using a rack). After much swinging about with too much gear he gave up looking for the deviation and came back up. I had a go and managed to find it eventually - a sling on a nose of rock behind you. Must be more than 5 years since I last rigged but I mostly remembered what to do. Except I was slow and failed to find the next few bolts. Safely got to the asteroid belt and found more bolts. Olly came down too and we rigged on to the pushing front. Olly found the missing bolts on the way out.
The pitch heads are nasty and tight, but things look better deeper down. Got out surprisingly fast (1hr 40) despite bimbling.
Olly's Dad was arriving today, so we planned a short trip, then go down the hill. Did some more survey in 2012-70, but still a little bit left. Walked to Loser Hutte, hitched to Alaussee, Bus to Bad Aussee, walked to base camp. Realised it is easier not to go down the hill!
The efficient 9 am early start deteriorated to an 11am sit in Bad Aussee bridge traffic jam. We were so late that Dave and Sarah had time to meet Becka on their mid morning shop, hear that we were canyoning, go back and get their wetsuits and catch us up at the start. The finest canyon in the area. Water all the way. Everything can be jumped unless you are a wuss. Filmed most of it by shakey helmet cam until the "waterproof" box steamed up. People with crap wetsuits that are about 30 years old and as stiff and ill fitting as car tyres (Wook + Tess) got cold. 3 cars went out, and 2 came back (Martin and Olly left expo).
After having taken a day off caving and run out of caves, Becka ordered me to follow her up to top camp, denying me my post canyon relaxing beer and chips. At least I had chips. It was total blackout when we arrived at empty top camp. Faffed and squabbled for long enough in the morning for Noel + Holly to arrive, which proved we could have walked up in the morning. We talked them into following us down to the same pushing front for camping, though Noel is one of the Tunnocks warriors and has never been in 204 or 161 and isn't interested. We gave them the maps. My god it's a long way down. Reminded me of that insane trip down Razor dance I once did in 2007. The Pussy Prance area is all traverses and holes. Team Zeus seemed to have no trouble exploring here day after day when it was being pushed. I am used to being outdone by girlies. After doing what has been disclosed to is known as a 'Julian', we went down some slimy pitches in Dog Days to check out a B-lead before pulling up the rope. I left my warm things in the tacklesack at the top and terminated the surveying when I got too cold in the drafty passages. Back at Pussy Prance, H and N had turned up. Fat Cat head to airy traverses and finally the connection to KH. Romped all the way down to the end, pointing out leads left and right, to the end station 30m away from Chicken Flied Nice. It didn't look appealing (bolt up boulders up to passage above) when there were so many other leads to do. Noel + H took the first B-lead on the left going out, and Becka and I took the two A-leads on the right of the Runnel Stone, which joined and headed on North and in several different ways. Decided to move out as a group at 7 pm. Although the route in is in many ways more direct than going all the way through 161H and all that, it doesn't feel easier. Out at 2 am.
It was too hot to make my escape to base camp in the morning, so somehow it seemed like the agreed idea to explore on the surface and give people a rest so they could take Becka caving the next day. Maybe we could find a cave entrance and sit in it. MotP is in an isolated mound of limestone higher than the entrance, and there must be a way into it from the surface. This area is paydirt. I quickly found a cave entrance on the edge, which drafted on account of the hole it came out of 12m away. I still have the cuts and scratches from the through trip no one will ever do again because it is now tagged to show the next person who finds it that they did not discover it. Poked around a snow plug. Found some deeper holes that rattle a long time to the east of the area, encouraged Noel to check out another hole with SRT rigged from the hole drilled for the tag, and then surveyed Bat Shit Cave (all 4 legs). A lot of holes here. Very tantalising.
Antony has already written a short piece regarding this trip, but going to add some additional detail regarding the Inner Flap push. After Antony had a peak at the lead, he declared that this was a two-man survey job & headed off to the 39 steps to rig the pitch there. After ~3-4 hours of surveying winding narrow rift - we eventually reached what I was hoping would happen ~> the rift opens out and a void below can be seen. Sending Rob ahead with his bright light, he lit up the pitch below - where we could see a puddle at the bottom. Rob also thought he could see a window part way down the pitch. Lowering the tape measure down, the bottom of the pitch was not reached after 20m! Poop !
Now what letter lead is this ? If it was me I would label this as a QMA! I believe there's a faint draft, although Rob wasn't convinced (maybe it was wishful thinking on my part). However, having seen some piccies of the Razor Dance pitches, it seems quite likely that there will be another rift at the bottom - so lets go for a QMB lead (and don't forget the potential window!)
After realising that there wasn't enough gear to go around, I abandoned my trip to the pitch at the end of Inner Flap & joined Andrew on his pushing trip to the pitch at 39 Steps (Antony's previous trip). At the pushing front I handed Andrew the drill, as I would be having drilling fun when I would drop the pitch in I.F. (although sadly this was not to be the case - but there's always next year!) I was very happy at this decision as the pitch turned out to be chossy & what rock there was, was cracked. After much hammering of rock, Andrew managed to rig the pitch with a free-hanging rebelay. As Andrew progressed to the ledge (~15-20m down?) I would hear shocked exclamations followed by loud bangs as Andrew gardened the pitch. At the ledge Andrew realised that we were a few metres short of rope! AGH! (My 42m rope was actually 32m - my fantastic maths!) Fortunatey I knew of a short bit of rope that had been placed on the way in for a traverse line that wasn't entirely necessary, so as I went to retrieve it, Andrew placed some more bolts & rigging.
When I returned, we began surveying & headed to the bottom of the pitch. At the ledge there is an aven in which water trickles in. Here Andrew had placed a rebelay Y-hang and we added the extra rope - so a fun hanging knot by-pass had been added ~4m from the floor! So including Antony's rigging from previous trip, rigging topo as follows:
At the bottom a narrow passage that soon opened into a large chamber was found & surveyed. This contained a rather steep boulder slope, of various sized boulders. I opted to go first - my attempt at being brave, but was followed by girlie squeals as I tried very daintily to climb the slope. I was followed quickly by Andrew, who stomped up, throwing boulders down vigourously. I need more practice! The large chamber contained 2 high avens, of which water came in from one of them, and two windows higher up in the chamber. One, in the northern part of the chamber, looked rather promising given that it looked relatively easy to climb. However, we were out of rope, so Andrew looked longingly at the climb for a couple of minutes & then we headed out.
It was Rob's last caving trip, so off we headed to the chamber that Andrew & I had surveyed the previous day. The aim was to climb up the 'easy' climb to the window up the northern end of the chamber. The climb ended up not being as easy as expected & an hour later Noel was finally at the top, with two very cold cavers at the bottom. Noel rigged a pitch down & Rob & I went up to have a peak. As this was to be a short caving trip (as we were to walk down the hill that evening) we had a very quick look. I declared it a death trapped - another slope of death boulders. Rob had a quick peak up slope - which he stated was choked - hurrah. A small tube at the head of the pitch lead to a soil-filled tube-dig. With limited time we abandoned surveying & the derig for another time.
As all three of us needed to head down the hill, we opted for a quick de-rig of all the leads in the North end of Tunnocks. Holly's Inner Flap & the climb/pitch at the end of Penguin Acrobatics - now called Suicidal Vampire as we are close to the surface here & are looking for daylight. This name soon turned out to be doubly-apt!!!
To save time & be efficient we decided to detackle on two fronts, with Holly heading to de-rig Inner Flap, & Becka & myself heading to pull-through derig the S.V. bolt climb, after surveying it. Up the climb, all the leads were surveyed in 4 legs, with neither of us opting to head further up the horribly loose boulder slope above towards what appeared to be the underside of a massive choke.
Once surveyed, we pulled through, Becka abseiling on the single ring hanger first (slightly nervous moment).
After this, we could hear Holly on the P.A. pitch having finished her own de-rig. Becka headed down the terrible boulder slope to the foot of the pitch where a dislodged stone fell & hit her arm. Fortunately this turned out to be none too serious and the exit continued. After Becka's call of "rope free" I started to head down the slope to the pitch. And here is where disaster struck.
Walking carefully down the slope, a small stone rolled past me. This seemed okay until more stones started rolling, & then the slope under my feet started sliding. This was one of those "million thoughsts in one second" moments where time seems to slow down. I first tried to brace against the wall of the rift the boulder slope runs into, in order to stop the movement under my feet, but it soon became apparent that large things were becoming undercut & starting to move above me. Then the whole slope seemed to turn fluid. I managed to step off the moving part onto a single boulder that wasn't moving yet. The point I had just been stood on went roaring down the slope with lots of giant boulders following. I ran as quickly up the remaining still boulders as possible, as these too started moving. The whole slope had now turned into a giant un-stable overhang of death, with me at the top. The crashing & booming ended & the others were shouting down to see if I was OK. Okay, but not safe yet as a further collapse took a large part of the floor in a side passage where I again narrowly avoided getting pulled in as everything around started sliding.
It took a while for the massive adrenaline rush to subside, where I shakily returned to what used to be the slope to see how I could escape. The slope was now an overhanging loose wall, with small bits constantly dropping out. A new problem was that if I didn't get out soon, any further collapse would block the way out, so I grit my teetch & quickly scampered down an edge of the "wall", ran to the rift & jumped/thrutched high up the rift to escape further collapse. Phew. Then a shaky exit leaving me feeling rather exhausted after the adrenaline come down.
DO NOT RETURN HERE. The boulders are now incredibly dangerous, & we ticked all the leads.
Uneventful descent down to wee-wee land with some difficulty experienced with the drill in tackle sack blues. Found station 10 on the previous survey and tied in. Stuart B bolted / descended the pitch while Serena / Stuart W surveying behind. Pitch crapped out with C lead near the bottom which Serena could squeeze into. An aven was found above the pitch. Serena spilt half our pot of "Slapper Pink" named nail varnish onto the bottom of the pitch hence the name. Trip out was uneventful.
Uneventful and relatively quick descent to woo woo land, taking sandy passage on right to [blank left to fill in]. Found several leads in boulder choke not on survey and explored one of them. Encountered tight Mendip style muddy/scrotty passage (to Serena's delight) while Stuart B dropped / bolted a nearby pitch with the drill. The passage ended in a 5m(ish) pitch choked with boulders but draughting and a C lead which was half filled with water. Not wanting to get wet due to the temperature we rejoined Stuart B down his pitch (which crapped out) and surveyed it. Stu W went ahead with the drill while StuB / Serena derigged. Stu W got out of the cave just as a storm was starting and ended up ditching the drill (in waterproof bag) half way back to top camp. Stuart B and Serena reported being met with a torrent of water at the last pitch or two and could hear thunder. Stuart B ran back to top camp leaving the rope in the cave entrance. Serena tried to wait out the storm but then decided to move back to camp. Storm was the worst anyone had seen but bivy held up well.
Proceeded down Tunnocks to March of the Penguins and surveyed a small B lead which crapped out after 3 legs, ending in a stream. Serena spotted a climb opposite the lead which was promptly gardened and led to a T junction. Left was choked with rocks and unstable. Right continued and end up being a new lead (or two) QMA/B and a bypass for the boulder choke (next to which we tied the survey back to close our loop). This pasage was named Climb of the Penguins. Trip out was uneventful.
We initially proceeded to explore some QMs in 204 using the d entrance but failed to locate this successfully as we could not find a tag (we later found the entrance we suspected was 204d in fact was). After a detour to 2003-9 where we took a few photos lighting up the impressive water ice with a scurion. After exiting we stumbled across a new undescended shaft which was drafting slightly and had a small entrance which rattled for several seconds when a stone was thrown down. Frank taught StuW how to hand bolt to put the tag on and then descended 2012-JS1 while handbolting. Rob joined us after recovering from his late night trip the day before and StuW, Jess went and did some prospecting, splitting up after a short while. StuW found some interesting areas to return to later and marked on GPS. Jess was injured while climbing across the plateau and blacked out for a few seconds after hurting her head and middle finger (and hands) when a hand hold failed. She made it back to Rob, was walked back to top camp and attended to by first aiders before being walked to hospital by Martin. She had a broken middle finger but was otherwise OK. Meanwhile StuW returned to the top of 2012-JS1, gave Rob the GPS to look at the interesting area and was offered a chance to go down into the cave but declined after hearing it crapped out promptly and was rather wet. Cave was derigged and surveyed using rope lengths afterwards.
Following a prospecting report, Frank, StuW took 70 ish metres of rope and a hand bolting kit to 2011-01 using a GPS borrowed from Rob. The cave was found after taking a long winded route and had some evidence of bolting of unknown origin (Emma and Martin et al who found the cave couldn't remember it being there). The bolts were in odd locations but found to be fairly solid. The cave was descended and two/three more hand bolts were added by Frank before we reached turnaround time and left, leaving the cave rigged and finding an easier route back to to camp. This cave appears to be quite high up, serves as the drainage area for a large area (so can get very wet very quickly) draughts lots and appears to go down quite a long way. Is currently quite far off but could potentially extend Tunnocks further north and the system higher due to the entrance being high (QMA).
After promising results last time we returned with an extra bag of rope (70ish meters again) a drill (together a heavy carry) and an extra person. Martin descended the pitch and began drilling. Frank bolted several more entrances in the surrounding area as there is lots of promising cave in the region. StuW waited at the top and then descended. The drill ran out of power after two holes (it was the rubbish heavy hilti bivy setting one) and we decided to retreat and derig for now due to the weather and feeling cold. We decided that it would be easy to return to as it was not deep and could be done after derigging the deeper cave. A brief shower caused a lot of water to run down the cave while we were in it. On the way back we found a shaft (untagged) on the Tunnocksshaft path which was noted in StuWs GPS
A day's prospecting and tagging in previously noted areas yielded 3 tagged caves. First the shaft on the way to Tunnocks was visited, labeled 20120SW01 with a handbolting kit and found to be 8-10m deep and chossed up at the bottom. It wasn't descended due to lack of rope but this could be done in the future and will only need to be done once, so was worth tagging for this reason. Returning to anoher point on my GPS and bolted it with the tag 2012-SW02. It was then descended via a slippery free climb and eventually ended with a rift and an ice sheet (ice sump?) On the way back I stumbled across a third cave - a shaft with a two second drop from a tennis ball sized/shaped piece of rock. The shaft was (about) wide enough to fit a small car into and I could not see the bottom as it was deep / steep sided. It is likely to be chossed up but remains undescended and is labelled with tag 2012-SW03.
It was my turn to keep Becka company on a trip into 161. Since we had decided we were going to tick off horizontal leads we had no drills or other gear to carry, so zipped down to the Runnel Stone in 3 hrs flat. We then proceeded to work back along the passage ticking off leads as we went.
First stop was an A lead on the south side of the passage. This led almost immediately to a steep slope down covered in sand that leads back into Runnel Stone chamber with a pitch immediately beyond. I had an entertaining time slithering up and down this.
Next, we proved that the adjacent B lead connected to the obvious C lead round the corner before heading to the next B lead that went somewhere, a draughting passage heading uphill to the north. We quickly reached a junction where most of the draught was coming from the right, which quickly led to a pitch presumed to go back into Runnel Stone chamber. The warmer branch headed north for a while, past a small inlet with specks of mud on the wall (hence "Polka Dot Passage") ending at a pitch that the survey places close to the end of Julian and Becka's find from the previous day.
Back in the main passage, we established that a couple of B leads connected to each other before hitting on the next A lead, a substantial draughting passage heading south. This looked most promising, and so it proved. We quickly reached a junction and threw a few legs up the north-going passage which looked as though it was heading back to the main passage (this was confirmed the following day). Then we happily stomped off south in big draughting phreas - the "Lärchen Republic" - past some very nice crystals (of gypsum??). Eventually the phreas turned into a rift where the draught got weaker, which we presumed was because it was going up into the roof. We weren't in the mood for climbing and time was getting on, so we headed out.
Since the last week of expo looked like it was going to be low on manpower, we elected to start the 204 derig while there were still a few people about. First, however, there was some pushing to do. Becka installed some conservation tape in Lärchen Republic whilst Holly and I went to the end to play hunt the draught. The lower level of the rift seemed just as dead as the previous day, so Holly climbed up to the top. This seemed not to go very far apart from to a pitch back into the lower level, and there didn't seem to be any draught, so we elected to try our luck elsewhere. Round the corner is another rift parallel to but not connected to the first. It was my turn to shin up into it, and an easy 6m climb led to a high level rift passage with a draught - much more promising, so we fished out the survey gear.
This area proved to be quite complicated. The obvious route led quickly to a pitch. Back near the start, a short climb on the right led to another rift passage which led to the same pitch at roof level. There may be a continuation on the far side. Whilst surveying this high level passage, I spotted a roof tube doubling back over our point of entry. Becka climbed into this and found another climb up into a roof tube doubling back again to head over the pitch - hence this area is "Spiral Staircase".
The high level continuation proved to be a draughty (hence very cold) ~4m round phreatic tube. Becka kept finding junctions that I felt obliged to sketch in minute detail, much to Becka's annoyance. The main drag is heading towards the end of Blown Away but is quite a bit higher up, which is good news since the air in Blown Away goes up an aven. Eventually the phreatic passage turned into a rifty bit.
The continuing rift carries a draught and has an aven above - overall looks pretty good. The passage is called "Bundestrasse" [note to Olaf or anyone with a German spellchecker: I have spelt this exactly as intended.]
At that point we called it a day and headed out, derigging to the top of Fat Cat. Some of the ropes were left in, including the connection traverse - these are indicated on the rigging topo earlier in this log book. Then a long slog up Brian's Phat Shaft, which is now a muddy horror inducing jammer slip most of the way up. Emerged to fine weather having once again avoided a drenching in King Carbide.
Finally, after a five year wait it was time to go beyond the Asteroid Belt in Deep Space (148). Got down to the pushing front fairly quickly, and Olly proceeded to rig our 200m of rope down. First pitch was long (as we knew from dropping rocks) ~60m, most rocks had also gone down the next short pitch too. The pitch after that one was also short, and just round the corner. Basically cave is a very high rift with a little trickle of water down the back. Next pitch was longer + spray lashed at base. Next very short pitch wetter still. Then there was a little bit of horizontal to the following (dry) short pitch, and the same again to the next. Olly got to the bottom of that with 4m rope left, 4 hangers and 4 hiltis, and the cave changed to being horizontal. How is that for careful planning and frugal rigging!
Walked/bridged along the rift passage until we hit a boulder choke. I hypothesised that this was the altitude that 107, 97, 82 end at, but actually we were ~40m higher. Olly spotted that the water went under the choke in a little trench. I took off my SRT kit and Olly moved some rocks out. With some effort I managed to wriggle through with the water, under the boulders. Inside the choke I could stand up and cautiously climb up and out the other side! Short passage off to right into another choke (upstream). Downstream to left continued some way, so I went back to get Olly. Olly managed to get through too, and we headed off to explore. Followed downstream, down a climb and to a pitch. Surveyed out from here. Looked at a climb up on the right (going out) which goes up into an aven with black space above - so might be possible to go over the boulder choke. Surveyed back to above the final pitch, then began the long route out. Got out safely and before dawn, what more can you ask for?
Julian + I rolled into basecamp at 8.30 am after driving all night from Cambridge. I tried to sleep but failed so Anthony + I went up the hill getting horribly snarled in Bad Aussee en route (a crane was blocking the bridge, building the replacement bridge). Lunch + underground 2 pm. Down to where Julian + I had left off on the 19th with no rigging gear so we were hoping for horizontal . . . and we lucked out. We started with the easiest-looking lead as I was feeling severely sleep deprived + trippy. This was a drafting phreatic comfortable walking passage which soon hit a junction. We followed the main draft left + soon got to a pitch head with the sound of a substantial stream + what looked like a lot of space though we couldn't see properly from our eyrie.
Back to the junction there was again a draft... hum, we're heading back to where we started said Anthony. His sketch turned out to be spot on - at the next leg I spotted our tacklesack + we emerged from a slot which I'd failed to notice when Julian + I had surveyed it. With time to spare we were then forced to check out the less appealing options - the climb down chossy rocks at the end looked too hazardous without gear + the bottom didn't seem too promising either, so we traversed on a slopy mud ledge to the left to an obvious passage. This soon closed down but the draft came from a more obscure phreatic tube above + at the start of our passage, up an easy free climb. This led along an attractive thick cracked mud floor to ... another large chamber with the sound of much water. We though this might well be the same chamber we'd encountered on our initial survey though when the data went in we were less convinced as the two ends were 43m apart but it is still plausible. Decided to pack up the survey then (fortunately as the derig ended up taking longer than we'd expected) + headed out. Derigged everything in Dog Days (see rigging topo, PTO) + beyond (so including the short traverse + the up-climb which are both q. easy to free climb) + the pitch + traverse before the main Puss in Bolts traverse but we left in Puss in Bolts. Derigged Painted Lady but left in Cat Flap (as its an up pitch). Anthony took all bolts + knots from Brian's Phat Shaft ready for tomorrow + at last I could go to bed.
Julian + I headed to Brian's Phat Shaft with a crowbar + after pulling up + bagging the rope in CUCC's only decent-sized tacklesack, Big Bertha, we tried to lever out the wedged boulder at the pitch head which had gradually looked less + less stable as expo progressed. However, appearances were deceptive + despite black space around most of it it seemed quite well wedge so we left it though it'd be worth another go if the pitch is ever rigged again. Also did some gardening at the head of the final section of the King Carbide pitch which drops into the Pleasure Dome but, again, thre's more loose rock there that really needs to go + it would also probably be better rebolting the pitch head using more solid rock in the ceiling. Julian headed out with Big Bertha + Anthony turned up having retrieved the reflectors left marking the optional route from King Carbide through No Pain No Gain + up Thread Pitch which apparently is tight + awkward. We had 2 tacklesacks but these were CUCC's dainty handbags which are stuffed to the gunnels given even the shortest length of muddy 11mm so we ended up with rope coiled + bursting out the top but eventually it was all out + laid out on the slabs to dry ready for the afternoon carry.
DOG DAYS -> BIG BOULDER CHAMBER RIGGING
From end of Puss in Bolts traverse + just before the start of Fat Cat:
Derigged Tunnocks from Caramel Catharsis, at no great pace, but without incident.
Got up late after yesterdays trip, but needed an early night ready for going to Eishohle the next day, so planned a short trip into 107. Olly placed a bolt backup and then a hang bolt - managed to get a free hang just. Didn't spot the 1978 spit until a later trip - it is a bit higher than ours, but would rub. Entrance shaft bells out, and has several possible leads high up. Landed near the snow plug we could see from 83 (Down Under).
Had an explore, realised the 1978 survey has the wrong angle for the side passages, and that the projected elevation has the plan lengths and vica versa. Area is a little more complex with various tubes going off - all the ones we looked at either ended or connected with the pitch below. We planned to survey but got cold as it was really drafty.
Walked down from our bivi to meet the others at the Stogerweg junction. Walked (slowly) to Eishöhle. It was very hot and took hours, eventually got to the Ice Tunnel entrance which had less ice than Olly remembered. The bolts were almost out of reach! All got down and admired the ice.
On the way back removed the deviation hangs from the old 40A bivi. It took a long time, and we got back to the car as it got dark. Stuart kindly took Terry + Annette back to basecamp, while we walked back to our bivi. Got caught in a big thunderstorm - hail stones nearly 1 cm Ø - fortunately we had helmets on!
Went back to 2012-70 to do some more survey of the shaft near the 204 path. The final 3 leads all got too small sadly. Finished the survey. Huge evening thunderstorm.
Too wet to go to derig 148, so headed back to 107. Surveyed north to a pitch down, then surveyed south, looked at several tubes including one over the pitch. Towards the southern end Olly found a crawl on the left - Sysyphus. I wriggled up it - it was body sized so I had to roll rocks up in front of me to fit through. It widened after a bit but then choked. Back at the main passage Olly spotted a climb + traverse that got us up to the 83 connection so we could connect the surveys. Surveyed out up the pitch.
Still too wet to derig 148, so back in 107 with drill and our remaining rope (17, 12, 11 and 5m long). Started at the short loose drop north of the entrance pitch. Olly rigged down to the stream, upstream led to a boulder choke and downstream led to the 2nd pitch. Went back up the pitch and Olly climbed up the ramp opposite (left permanently rigged). This led to some phreatic stuff, mostly in a fault plane. Rigged down another short drop, then a climb. Short section of horizontal led to another short pitch, so we surveyed out.
Still too wet to derig 148 so back to 107 to look at yesterday's lead and to derig. Olly rigged the 12m rope down the drop. Part way down was a window across into a pitch, presumably the main way on (you could hear water). Scrambled down a bit further until things got a bit steep. Olly rigged the 11 down and across, then the 5m rope. This got us to no gear left, but on a ledge. I traversed across (~ north) until the ledge ran out, fortunately the floor was now close (only 4m away) and I could traverse back underneath and down to the floor. I checked out whether the passage went (it did) and helped Olly down too. Continued along in the same direction we had been traversing, got to a short drop, climbed that then another short one. Ended up in a ~25m high aven with drips coming in. Aven quite big, but pitch on was quite small - couldn't realy get to it without gear, so left it for now and surveyed back to near the end of the traverse. Looked down the lead on the right (heading out) and it led to loads of rifty passage. A few little climbs down got us to a junction, we went left first, got to an aven where up looked to the start of the traverse (from the survey data). Rift continued until it hit a cross rift which we think is higher in the rift of the route used in 1978 to get to the big pitch.
Back at the previous junction, right led under a low muddy/wet crawl into more passage, which led to another cross rift. Right was an inlet that didn't go, left continued, but would probably need something to be rigged first. Surveyed out, derigging as we went.
Finally the weather was dry enough to go in 148 to retrieve our 350m of rope that was there. Hoped we could do it in one trip, but weren't sure how long it would take. Got down to the asteroid belt quickly, and did the survey leg down the big pitch on the way in (Super Nova) in case it would need 2 or 3 legs. The disto + pony managed it in 1 56m leg. Carried on down, and surveyed out while derigging. Things went well except for having more rope than tackle sacks and more tackle sacks than people. Was much quicker than I expected.
Very quick down 157 to see if the snow plug had melted more - especially given the location in 107 we found on the 27th (also, 2 hrs of caving would get us to our magic 100hrs of caving!)
There was still snow, but you could get to the floor. Next to the base of the pitch was an aven-climb with a small rift off (which is v. close to the way down we tried at the start of expo). Sadly no route to 107, so we surveyed and derigged.