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Entry from Steinschlagschacht

At the rock bridge 18m down Plughole Pitch in Steinschlagschacht, ignore further descents and cross the rock bridge. Over a few boulders and through a smallish slot, is a short (5m) pitch.

Oatso Simple

At the foot of the 5m pitch is a fair sized chamber with a large selection of holes in the floor, all of which have audible (and falling rock) connections with the chamber at the bottom of the final Footlights pitch or the adjacent aven. None has been descended - it is conceivable, although perhaps not very likely, that other interesting routes may connect part way down these holes. A muddy slope/climb down leads from the nearest corner of the chamber, which after about 10m or so intersects a rift. Unfortunately the rift itself is too tight to the left and full of mud to the right. Just back from the connection to the rift, high up on the right hand wall of the climb down, is a steep upward mud slope to a small unexplored tube with no draught [C1999-136-xx C].

Back in the chamber, the way on is a lined traverse across large and loose boulders to the opposite corner, where there is a large horizontal tube with a mud floor.

This passage is very cold due to the sizeable gale blowing down it, (which seems to come out the last hole in the floor (end of the traverse), as there is much less wind in the earlier passage). Easy walking for 20m soon degenerates into hading rift with a very irregular floor. The awkward parts are lined. The annoying 3m hole in the floor is rigged as a pitch with a pendulum on and a pendulum off! At this point the floor drops away steeply to the left down ~25m (only partially descended) to the northern tip of the Overshoot. Oatso Simple continues with an easy lined traverse along the right hand wall for 20m then a 30 degree mud/boulder slope beyond to the top of a 7m inclined face. The obvious way on down this 7m pitch reaches Windy Bottom. However the main way on is a climb down on the left (somewhat unobvious) for 3m, then ducking under a low roof to emerge in The OverShoot - the huge passage visible from the traverse above.

Windy Bottom

The 7m pitch to the right lands in a fairly large and pretty chamber with mostly clean walls and a smooth mud floor. Continuing around to the right leads to a 3m pitch into the bottom of a very wet (when raining) aven, Windy Bottom. Above the head of this pitch are cauliflower-like formations. It's also very cold! This aven is enormous - a 10W light is insufficient to see the top. The foot of the aven is around 8m in diameter with the walls rising approximately vertically, clean washed. There are no ways out at the bottom, except for the all too familiar small too-tight slot through which an unfeasible amount of water disappears.

The Overshoot

High ~8-10m wide hading fault/joint-controlled passage going directly SW. There is a taped route along here making much of this description superfluous 'follow the tape to an eyehole into Lost in Space' would suffice for most trips :-)

From the duckunder at the end of Oatso Simple, a large hading rift is entered, with a couple of massive boulders in the middle. NE the passage goes back to the foot of the pitch down from Oatso Simple, but the main way lies to the SW, starting with a 4m 'slippery slope'. 35m on (just before the passage opens out) is a 10m climb up to the left [C1999-136-xx B overshoot.1.9], which also seems to connect (lights shone through) with a similar 8m climb after it opens out, [overshoot.1.11].

The passage widens to about 15m for a bit to create a large, high, open area with a rising pile of boulders ahead. The route on is up by the left hand wall. Behind the biggest rocks on the right hand side at the foot of the boulder pile wall is a B grade question mark [C1999-136-xx, overshoot.2.5] that is likely to just go through interstices in the boulders - but someone needs to check. High on the right wall is an inaccessible passage [C1999-136-xx C (or maybe aven?), overshoot.2.5]

Over the boulder pile, the descent is on the right hand side. The obvious way on ahead on the right hand side dead-ends at the foot of a 4m wall in the passage. To avoid this, climb up a sandy slope left immediately and climb the wall at a cleft by the left hand wall. Just here on the left is the entry to Breeze Through. Easy progress for 20m reaches a 2m climb where a large block interrupts the passage. Going down below it (on the right) leads into Undershoot. About 10m beyond on the left is the climb into Breeze Block. At this point you can also climb down under the big slab that is the passage floor to reach Undershoot again.

Ahead, the route climbs steeply up a large boulder pile/run-in (there is a possible QM at he top of an exposed 5m climb on the left), until the roof is reached as it levels off. 15m of stooping progress leads to the stunning eyehole view into Lost in Space. The eyehole is called Bull's Eye. You can climb through boulders up to the left here, which leads to a bridge dropping into a small chamber with a further small chamber immediately connected. In this area, there are several airy avens above, but no obvious way on at floor level.

The Undershoot

Climbing under one of the boulders in The Overshoot reaches an awkward, sloping 10m pitch, reminiscent of Bungalow (2 bolts on right, one rebelay bolt on boulder on left at -4m). At the foot is a largely flat area with rocks sloping up to the left wall. There are some nice mud formations here. To the right (across the mud) is a crack in the wall (from which a tiny dribble issues) and a slope up to a window into an active wet inlet. The water falls from the usual tight streamway above and goes down a crack in the floor.

Ahead, (SW) there is a deep hole through boulders hidden behind a block on the right hand side [C1999-136-W2 B]. At the end, the passage is choked although 5m more progress can be made via a slot in the floor below. This is probably all part of the same huge run-in you climb over above in the Overshoot to reach the top of Lost in Space.

Breeze Block

A 7m climb up the left hand wall of The Overshoot just opposite the start of the Undershoot leads into a narrow crossrift with a strong breeze coming out of it. Some of the draught appears to come out of a narrow, largely inaccessible, slot in the roof. 12m along the crossrift another rift parallel to The Overshoot is reached. A 13m pitch descends here. (Huge thread back in cross-rift, Bolt right hand side). Climbing up steeply to the left (NE) reaches apparently continuing passage totally blocked by glacial infill. Downwards the passage narrows and continues through a 'point crawl' to where the rift goes straight down, now only 0.5m wide. The first few metres are easily freeclimbable, but in fact this is the top of a 32m pitch, which jigs back under the way you came 10m down (bolt rebelay) for a nice 22m hang in wide rift. Breeze Through comes out 10m off the floor at the NE end of of this rift, although no-one has actually passed from one to the other - it probably needs a pitch rigging from the Breeze Through end.

At the bottom you can go about 10m Northish over a sand-pile to where an occasional (maybe now defunct?) stream disappears down a crack. The rest of Breeze Through is the other way. A c3 leads through a narrow point to the next 'section' of rift, also connected by a window 10m above. A very small inlet (too tight after 5m) comes in on the NW wall here. Next is a difficult c4 up onto a large boulder (the nose of a pile). The rift widens considerably into a sizeable chamber, Breeze Block Central, with a pair of very high avens going off (30m+, one main, wide, one and a parallel narrow one (~2m)). The floor is boulders sloping up to the SW, with a 'sand bar' dividing it into 2 halves. There are 3 ways out. A narrow rift in the top left hand corner, another rift at the top of the sand bar, and a window lower in the right hand corner, behind the sand bar. The second two of these lead to the same place. The narrow aven can also only be seen from near the middle 'sandbar' exit.

The narrow rift exit is a tricky 6m climb down (stick near the roof for the lower half) to look out into the foot of another large, wet aven with a very flat floor (silty pool and some rocks). The draught comes from here. Another tricky c4 round a column and down to the right gains the floor. The stream here disappears down typical person-sized immature streamway (explored for half a body length :-) ) The water and draught comes in ~30m above.

Back in Breeze Block Central the eyehole exit looks out on a 15m pitch (bolt in roof and another on far side of flake opposite). The middle Breeze Block Central rift comes in 4m higher on the left and the rift continues up to the right - possibly climbable. This may then become the narrow rift visible from Breeze Block Central, but it's hard to tell. At the foot of the pitch it is choked.

Lost in Space I: The main chamber


A very large chamber developed on the same fault/joint as the Overshoot. At the top it is possible to see the 4m or so of choss still in the 'gap'. It contains 3 huge holes in the floor, several smaller pitches and the main way on is over the top of the boulder pile which forms its southern end.

Trade route

From the eyehole entry, Bull's Eye, descend steeply, keeping near the RH wall by following the taped path heading down and to the right of the eyehole. This avoids the shit slope leading ~30m into a deep hole directly ahead of the eyehole. Towards the foot of this slope you can get near the edge of the pair of large oval (6m x 10m) holes on the L [C1999-136-xx B,lostinspace.1.3; C1999-136-xx B, lostinspace.1.4]. The first hole has a small stream falling from the roof some 20m above. The holes are surrounded by sloping choss so it is difficult to see what is at the bottom.

The way on following the taped path heads downslope through boulders and reaches a 'soil col'. To the left are large blocks with a hole between them, descending 10-20m, possibly just into the bottom of the boulders. [C1999-136-xx B, lostinspace.1.5]. Beyond that, in the far wall of the chamber, is a funnelling rectangular pitch, 3m x 2m of maybe 15m [C1999-136-xx B, lostinspace.1.6].

Beyond the soil col, the floor and roof both descend with the hade at about 30 degrees to the bottom of the chamber. Ahead to the SW is a huge complex boulder pile.

The best way on (to avoid traipsing to the bottom where the taped route ends, then climbing back up out again), is to cross the chamber to the far wall by walking along the top of a soil ridge which leads off left from a boulder on the taped route with the slope down to the base of the chamber on the right (the taped route goes down this slope) and a pitch on the left. At the end of the soil ridge, traverse mainly along and a little up around some large boulders to go between two large boulders along the wall of the chamber (about the third pair of boulders you come to as you traverse) to reach a small 'chamber' entirely made up of large wedged boulders. [If you start going between tight or loose boulders or you are high off the floor you are wrong! There is a straightforward, stable and quite roomy route through, with no need for climbing]. Now see Lost in Space II.

Lower half/Original route

The original route descended the soil slope (taped) as far as the toe of one of the largest boulders, then climbed upslope to the left behind this, then over some more rocks (passing the Pit of Damnation below to the right) to a point where another 14m long block forms a 4m high wall ahead with an obvious walk-in hole underneath. From here the way on is upslope and through this hole into the 'chamber' of wedged boulders described above. You can also climb steeply down to the right to reach the lower 'lobe' of Lost in Space heading 30m on to the SW.

From the foot of the soil slope, the huge Pit of Damnation (surrounded by hanging death on soil) opens up on the left. You can walk round to the right of it to reach a 4m climb up clean-washed boulders towards the sound of water. There is a small damp pitch on the R here [C1999-136-xx B, lostinspace.1.8], and just beyond you realise you are now on jammed boulders over a big wet rift - almost certainly the same rift reached via Pit of Damnation.

The lower lobe parallels 'Lost in Space II' above, for ~30m until it apparently chokes. In fact, a horrible 4m chossy climb behind you leads into the middle of the Lost in Space boulder pile, overlooking the huge pitch/space inside the pile. Traversing to the right and more climbing comes out at the top of the pile in Lost In Space II.

The Lost in Space boulder pile

The routes through the 'boulder pile' to Lost in Space II are many and varied - the original explorers spent hours shouting "where are you?" and "how did you get there?" at each other from various points within and around it. There is the one easy walking route that comes out on the top, described above (via two different approaches) and in 'Lost in Space II', below, and another that involves a bit of a squeeze. There are several that involve traversing past horrible sloping drops. Some of the 'boulders' jammed in the passage are so huge that roomy chambers and deep pitches are formed beneath and between them, the most obvious being a pitch about 20m deep and 10m wide, accessible from several points in the pile, leading to a boulder-walled chamber with no draft and no obvious way on. It is possible to reach the far end of Lost in Space II avoiding the upclimb altogether by dint of devious and chossy climbs, both at this top level, and from below.

Lost in Space II: The continuation

Go down and up to the far side of the small 'chamber' entirely made up of large wedged boulders reached by whatever means from Lost in Space I. Duck under the boulder roof, and you emerge into a large passageway (almost as large as the Overshoot) with a solid roof and walls but a wedged boulder floor. This is the SW end of Lost in Space. The way on to the deeper areas of Chile is up a short (around 4m) and awkward sloping climb over a large, steeply inclined boulder (a short rope with two slings was left rigged; various attempts at improving this rig failed). Before the 3m up-climb, at the NE end of the top of the rock pile is a damp-sounding pitch in LH wall [C1999-136-xx B]. After the up-climb, climb down between two boulders (care the undescended drop on the left; [C1999-136-xx C, lostinspace.2.6] and follow the large passage until it abruptly ends, around 25m after the up-climb. There are two ways on from this point.

The Left Route

From the end of the large passage, a small drop of around 4m in the far left corner (rigged off a spit on the end wall of the main passage and a deviation off the left wall) leads to a 3m wide walking passage which turns left (the hole high in the left wall just before the corner rejoins the passage around the corner, though there is a possibility of a further passage leading off from it. [C1999-136-xx C] and shortly reaches a large, draughting, steeply sloping aven. A further short drop (around 4m, with a natural backup and at least 2 pitch-head spits) lands on a wedged boulder. It is possible to descend further here by squeezing between these boulders but it is easier and safer to follow the route described here, which goes to the same point. The rope from the pitch can be used to rig a traverse line (not essential) for the horizontal traverse ahead on the right for about 5m (use the natural on the right wall).

The best route is then to use the left hole above waist height to descend. This is more constricted but less exposed than the route down the ramp straight ahead. Again, a handline is nice but not necessary. More naturals are available at the 'bridge' at the bottom of the left ramp (around 5m down). Straight ahead of the bridge and at the same level, a small and very muddy inlet comes in from around 4m up the wall. This is likely to be choked but the steep and slippy mud banks meant that it was not checked [C1999-136-xx C]. To the right of the bridge, a window looks into a deep shaft. This is the same shaft as is bottomed by continuing down the ramp, by descending to the left from the bridge (using a rope rigged off naturals) and then taking the left tube (steeply sloping, a rope is very useful). [The right drop at the base of the ramp leads down to a small chamber which is choked]. The left tube goes to the base of a large shaft which is roomy, clean-washed, sharp and wet. Some tight and unpromising rifts lead off right at the bottom [C1999-136-xx C].

Lost in Space III: Andy's pitch to Steady Aim pitch

From the right wall of Lost in Space II, around 3m before it ends, a short, 10m pitch is rigged from two pitch-head spits followed by a rebelay spit and then a deviation spit [logbook sketch shows two pitch-head spits, then a 5m drop to a rebelay, passing an unused bolt partway. Comments suggest using the bolt partway, then using the next bolt as a deviation. A further drop is guesstimated at 20m]. This lands on a steeply sloping, bouldered floor in a reasonably large chamber. Head down the slope of the chamber. [About halfway down, a traverse up and to the left leads to a small, short section of walking passage on the left and then a pitch. This was not descended but was Grade 1 surveyed and almost certainly links in to the shafts at the bottom of the Left Route]. Towards the bottom of the chamber is a large boulder (survey station on top). Go to the left of it and to the bottom of the chamber. Here, a 30m pitch, Steady Aim, is rigged off a boulder natural and two pitch-head spits followed by a drilled deviation [bolted deviation shown in log sketch] around 5m down. This lands in a high passage heading left. This is narrower than the preceding Lost in Space passage - around 5m.

Ahead, on the far wall, water drops down between the boulders with a possible way on. Heading left down the passage, which has a wedged boulder floor, the passage drops quite steeply and soon comes to a large boulder wedged around 4m above the passage floor. Climb down to the floor by bridging down by the left wall, just back from the edge of this final wedged boulder (carbide arrow on the wall) then doubling back under yourself (care, loose rocks) to emerge by another carbide arrow pointing the way back up. The climb is not tight but the upper part is awkward and airy with tackle and the lower part is loose. The passage continues, dropping down, then the main way follows down around the left corner.

Ahead, the passage rises up steeply. The hole in the left wall is a shallow alcove and the passage high and to the right ends in a mud choke. The way on is an awkward clamber either on the left or ahead, then traverse left (more exposed but more solid than the direct left route). This leads to the bottom of a very steep rift. The lower section is easily free-climbable. There is a spit protecting the crux section and a fixed rope left rigged from a point around 25m up the rift, rigged off two spits. The rift continues up as two roof tubes (probably interconnected), with a strong draught blowing out of the tubes and some lovely white helictites on the left wall. This needs a drill and dynamic rope to push, but is an interesting site [C1999-136-xx B].

The main way on follows the passage down around the left turn as it continues to drop down steeply for a further 20m. At the base of this ramp, the passage closes down considerably, but narrow rift passage can be seen continuing at the base of the ramp. To reach this rift passage, go to the right of the ramp then double back to the left - it is tight, awkward and loose to go straight ahead. It is fairly tight and loose to the right! (An unascended ramp leads off and up to the right from the base of the ramp, with loose boulders perched in it [C1999-136-xx C]). The rift passage is fairly narrow and sharp with loose rocks in it. Initially it continues to drop down. A muddy tube leads off to the left, rapidly becoming very muddy and ends in a squeeze through to a mud sump, difficult to reverse! The main passage soon comes to a T-junction with a largely horizontal passage running to the left and right. There is a strong draught throughout these lower passages.

Runny Bottom

The passage on the right continues to drop down, but now rather gently, with a very strong draught. Small pools of water appear in the floor. After around 30m a small waterfall comes in from an aven on the right, which has been ascended part way (about 6m - nothing obviously of interest). The narrow rift passage continues straight until it becomes blocked by rocks. The blockage is tightly packed sand and gravel. The passage appears to continue over the top of this, say 4m up. At this point a low crawl with 10cm of water in the bottom leads off at the base of the left wall. The crawl goes on quite a distance, gradually becoming less pleasant [C1999-136-xx C]. However, shortly after the crawl starts you can climb up and out to the right, to get back into the rift passage which you have just left, but now on the other side of the infill. This is possibly a traverse which probably needs a rope. There is some draught at this point [C1999-136-xx B].

Carpetworld leading to Totality

The passage on the left is a beautifully shaped phreatic tube, which heads upwards gently. It is easy walking with mud and pebble banks in the floor and a clear draught, though not as strong as in Runny Bottom. The roof fossils are particularly large, protruding and well-formed, hence Carpetworld.

After 30m, the tube opens on a lovely, solid, spacious 30m pitch, Pebble Dash, rigged via a traverse line to a ledge on the far side of the pitch (several bolts) and then two pitch head bolts. This is the last large pitch, and is followed by a series of short, dry pitches which drop down a dry canyon at the base of a high, fairly narrow rift. The first pitch, Utterly Butterly, is around 5m and is rigged off the right wall (only around 3m to the floor down the slot on the left side). Three further pitches follow, first 7m, the second, Shakedown Street, being 5m, tight and awkward, with an unavoidable rope rub. these are rigged on spits backed up to the previous rope. The last of these pitches, of 10m, rigged from a spit and a sling, lands in a medium-sized spray-filled chamber.

A quite tight and sharp rift leads off from the opposite side of the chamber. This is straightforward if negotiated at the right height (not on the floor). The floor eventually drops down and the last pitch, Natural Born Slingers, was rigged from a boulder back-up and a dodgy natural, over a boulder jammed in the rift. This drops a final 5m, to land in attractive walking passage with a stream (small, but definitely a proper, flowing stream - something like Simpsons?) entering from the roof after 10m. The stream passage continues for a further 30m and ends in a dark and sinister sump pool. This was a flooded shaft around 3m diameter, with no obvious passage continuing above the surface. The sump is Totality, at -435m.