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Original Entrance Series (1988)

Photo of entrance area (107k) Photo of entrance pitch (64k) Looking up entrance

The position of the main entrance, on a ridge, has protected it from the thermoclastic scree usually found blocking open shaft entrances. The 37m, relatively free-hanging (deviation, rebelay at -12(?)m, one more deviation) pitch reaches a small chamber, The Basement, with four ways on.

Most obvious is the Dungeon Pitch. A stoop under an arch on the left hand (south) side of the chamber leads to the Rabbit Warren Series and the connection to France, 161b and 161c. A third exit is through a 1m diameter hole in the floor on the right. walking around the corner to the west reveals the fourth way on to Big Sainsbury's.

Automatic Doors
from Big Sainsbury's     Automatic Doors from ledge

Two views of the Automatic Doors pitch

The deepest parts of the system are reached through Big Sainsbury's, a very large passage about 100m long and 10m diameter. This is reached by a 12m pitch, Automatic Doors, down to a ledge, or optionally 20m down to the boulder floor. The third way out of the entrance chamber comes out in the wall around from Automatic Doors.

161 Kaninchenhöhle: Big Sainsbury's (1988)

At the foot of the boulder slope below Automatic Doors is a large hole to the left (top of Dungeon Rift) and a crawl right, through boulders, to the S'not/ Dewdrop approach to the deep routes (Left and Right). From the pitch, Big Sainsbury's heads NW, initially uphill over large boulders for 20m to the highest point. Continuing downhill, for 30m, there is a 2m x 4m hole in the floor against the right hand wall. This is the start of Drunk and Stupid, a steeply descending rift which goes down to -200m before connecting with the Left Hand Route at French Connection Pitch.

20m beyond the entrance of Drunk & Stupid is a pair of very high avens with associated pitches. There is a traverse line along the left hand wall which leads via a 5m drop to a col between the two drops. Along this traverse is a passage in the left hand wall which goes for 25m before choking. The first drop is Checkout, the original approach to the deep routes, the second drop is Alternative Shopper. Dreamtime is the continuation of Big Sainsbury's, and is reached via the col.

S'not / Dewdrop (1991)

Discovered in 1991, Dewdrop is by far the fastest approach to the deep routes. Downslope from the ledge at the foot of Automatic Doors leads to an obvious rift/hole. About 4m down the climb into this hole, an unobvious crawl right through boulders leads to the head of S'not Pitch. This is a 35m rift pitch with four rebelays. The pitch lands in a joint-controlled high passage Dewdrop. Following the graded (but loose) stones downhill via a sharp left leads to easy passage. Dewdrop passes the 1989 Left Hand Route campsite and splits after 45m. The Left Hand Route is reached in another 10m at Dewdrop Junction by either way, the left passage having rocks in it, the right passage being a bit smaller.

Dewdrop Junction photo

The Left Hand Route at this point is a keyhole passage, to the right (east) leading further into LHR. The terminology is confusing at this point simply because the original way into the Left and Right Hand Routes came in from the other side at a different point ! To the left (NNW) is a zig-zagging keyhole passage. This shortly leads to a hole in the floor, (Garden Party), with bolts either side for a traverse line. Left Hand Route changes to an inclined rift, passing below the climb up into Cowboy Caver. A traversy climb down leads to a junction, where right leads to the foot of Becka Falls, on the original route from the surface. Straight on is the Right Hand Route.

Checkout to the Squeeze (1988)

The original way to reach the deep routes, now generally bypassed via Dewdrop, or by Dreamtime for the RHR. Checkout is a 10m pitch (rigged to avoid a very unstable boulder slope) leading to a further 26m pitch in an inclined rift, Loose Bowels. The head of this is known as Death's Door. This is followed by a free-climbable rift, Rift Sans Nom.

Squeeze Photo

The foot of Rift Sans Nom reaches a very tight hammered squeeze, The Squeeze (aka Beer Belly Blues), at the top of an 8m pitch, Becka Falls. The rift enlarges below the pitch and merges with another, entering a huge phreatic passage, at -118m from entrance 161a. This gives the two possible ways on, the Left Hand Route to the left (north east), and the Right Hand Route to the right (south west) - named from this junction.