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161 Kaninchenhöhle: beyond Carrefour

YAPATE Inlet / Chicken Flied Nice - deep routes

Flapjack (1989)

Turning SSW (away from YAPATE) at Carrefour leads past a window into Waterfall Chamber to the lip of Flapjack. The far side can also be reached from Olympus.

   A pitch in Flapjack/Flapjack II

This large pitch initially leads straight down 30m in a wide shaft to a series of ledges. Dropping a further 29m pitch, to the NW, enters a rift passage. To the left (SW), from a ledge, is a tight rift going off 10m to Flapjack II. To the right (NE) is a large and more obvious way down steps to a 28m wet pitch.

At the bottom of the wet pitch, the water goes down an 8m rift but this is crossed over using a traverse line, continuing over a 2m climb into a small sandy chamber, Bat Corner. A route carefully avoiding the bat skeleton on the floor leads to a traverse along a 1m wide rift. A 25m narrow rift pitch can now be descended, dropping out into a big shaft, with the water falling down the opposite end of it.

This lovely freehang, Bat Droppings, is 36m long and lands in the active stream at the bottom. This cuts down quickly until it disappears into a very tight rift, The Beehive (not to be confused with Beehive beyond Repton :-).

Five metres off the floor the rift is wide enough for cavers until a very tight pitch descends 8m to a small chamber where all the water goes through a 0.5m diameter hole in the floor. Passing through this leads to a very wet, steeply descending rift and 15m along at the end of this is a ridiculously wet 32m pitch to a vertical sump, which is at least a couple of metres deep. The Bottom at -498m (though for ages the 'traditional' figure was -499.85m) !

survey - 20k gif

Flapjack II (1990)

At the back of the rather convenient ledge near the bottom of the second (29m) section of Flapjack Pitch, a narrow rift leads off via two small pitches of 7m and 7m to a small chamber with water entering in one corner. The continuation of the rift, No, You Go First, is more complex with different levels (guide string remains) and an awkward last right hand corner. Rift leads to the top of an 8m pitch into a larger chamber.

The character of the cave changes as the chamber opens into a 100m pitch, Too Much, Too Soon. Traverse to right and up to reach a Y-hang. The first 42m hang free, and a big ledge is reached at 6570m, followed by a further ledge 10m down. From here a final rebelay gives a 2025m hang down the last section.

The lower part of the pitch is in 5m diameter phreatic riser to land on a squelchy muddy floor, Splatdown. Opposite the landing point is a small tube leading to a 3m climb. A 6m climb follows down to a small chamber from which an impenetrable fissure drops 8 to 10m to water.

Second bottoming party at Splatdown in 1990 (MSD photo).

Flat Battery (1990)

Flat Battery series consists of a succession of pitches from ledge to ledge down to a complex phreatic level where the way on is blocked by sand.

30m back from the 'end' of YAPATE Inlet (at Gob on You), is a sandy slope up to a straight rift forking off on the right. This apparently ends quickly in a narrowing climb, but ducking under the right hand wall, down a slope and over a boulder which 'obviously' blocks the passage, leads to a small chamber. There is a floor-level dead-end flat-out crawl ahead, a steep passage up (the way on) to the left and a tiny roof tube, Short Circuit, which also connects to the way on but is impassable.

The passage comes out at a double pitch head (two holes leading to the same place). Above is more shaft, the top of which can be reached by a climb back in YAPATE, and an audible connection to the approach rift.

Down the damp 25m Oldham Pitch is a stream rift to a 6m pitch, PP3, with a tight takeoff. At the foot of this is a hole down (into which the water disappears off left) and a squeeze along a rift to the right. Through the hole is a 3½m climb, Never Ready, to a damp view along a tootight rift.

The first squeeze is 'AA' (Double A) and 1m beyond it is another, 'AAA' (Triple A), which is great fun, especially with tackle, as it is angled down to the head of NiFe, a 13m pitch.

The rift becomes much bigger beyond NiFe and across the ledge is a 13m pitch, Jackpot, leading via another ledge to Fifty Francis' Phreatic Freehang, a stunning 40m free pitch. At the foot of this is a 2m climb up to the continuation, which can be seen through a hole, Maud's Window, in a rock arch, The Mathematical Bridge, at the foot of a further 3m climb down from where FFPF lands.

The continuation is yet another pitch of 15m with a space off to the right which connects with Ariadne's Aven below. At the bottom of the pitch is a 1m diameter hole onto a final 8m pitch, FX2, to the phreatic level, Electrolyte Level.

To the left of FX2 is a pair of high avens, Ariadne's Aven, with a beautiful pocked and pebbled floor. At the back of the aven is a 4m climb to nothing very exciting. To the right is a 2m sandy climb to a roped traverse around a 10m long by 4m deep hole.

Near the foot of FX2, the passage cuts down below the sand and rock floor. It is easy to climb down into this, but it soon becomes sufficiently tight to require removal of SRT gear. Following this tortuous passage through a small choke leads back out into the main passage at the bottom of the traverse hole. The obvious way on at the bottom of the hole is blocked by a Cheesegrater type formation of a whole lot of holes in a rock barrier.

The Labyrinth. In the right hand wall of the hole is a 1.5m x 0.5m passage. This also soon requires gear removal, being both small and possessed of a couple of athletic bits. After about 30m it crosses an even more ridiculous passage which could possibly be followed if this was Mendip. Beyond this there are several zigzags of slightly uphill flat-out crawling culminating in a nasty duck which can be baled to make it less awful. Beyond it is a fork with a difficult skydive (Quaking-style) 3m climb/pitch to the left into what looks like larger passage [C1990-161-12 C]. This would require some rigging to reascend. There is a probable (faint) audible connection back to the main part of Electrolytic level from here.

Back in the main level, crossing the traverse leads to 30m of pleasant sandy passage about 3m diameter. Halfway along is a small, blind, bellshaped pitch (p4). At the end is a remarkable false mud floor on the right which must be avoided as you will drop 10m if it gives way. A 10m pitch can be rigged from a rock protrusion on the left. This lands in a chamber with steeply sloping sand floor, bisected by an old stream route. Downhill (W) is choked, at the end of the stream route (NE) is a choked p5, and in the top corner (S) is a small crawlway. 4m above this can be seen a large window.

The crawlway leads for 10m to the foot of a crossrift choked with more sand. The rift can be ascended for about 10-15m where it bells out into an Aven. This Aven can also be reached from above (shown by vocal connection).

The window in the sloping sandy chamber can be reached by standing on a very tall person's shoulders and then lasooing a rock (!). Up here the passage curves left and there are two climbs up about 10m (check?) to another chambery bit. Off left is another window back down into the sandy chamber. Ahead is a 15m blind pitch, and to the right is a crawl to the head of the aven/rift vocal connection.

survey - 16k gif

Gob on You / Wish You were here (1990, 1993)

At the 'end' of YAPATE, where progress is barred by a hole in the floor, a dodgy traverse leads to the take off for the 12m Gob on You (after a nasty spit) pitch down a hading rift. Below is a bedding plane going back to the foot of the hole that was climbed over, and another 25m wet pitch, Wish you were here (not me) pitch. At the bottom, the way on is down a tight slot in the floor of the rift. Over the slot the rift continues as The Final Cut for 20m before closing.

Down through the slot is a wide and deep pitch, still containing the water which sinks in the floor just before The Final Cut. However, about 3m down below the slot it is possible to traverse off NW (away from YAPATE) for ~20m past a blind hole to another slot, which gives a 52m dry freehang, called Alexander Technique. Continuing over this second slot, after 5m is a 2.5m climb up, at the top of which a further 4m crawl breaks out in the side of a dripping aven/pitch [C1993-161-04].

The pitch is c 40m so far, but time and novices ran out in the 1995 push, so the continuation remains undescended [C1995-161-74].

At the bottom of Alexander Technique the passage turns back SE, presumably rejoining the wet pitch seen below The Final Cut. This is reached via another slot, then there is about 70m of pitch with several rebelays in the same shaft as Half Shaft. This is where the Gob & Dehydration routes join. At the bottom is a rock bridge. On the HLV side (Left, E) is a rock-choked shaft base. The other (West) side is Captive Wedge.

The Final Cut, Alexander Technique and the crawl to the undescended pitch are all in an obvious 260° bearing rift. Fifty Francis' Phreatic Freehang in FBS is on the same fault, if not actually connected, too.

Strange Downfall - Hyper Gamma Spaces - Endless (1990)

Beyond the 90° bend in Chicken Flied Nice, the floor trench cuts down to a stream rift opening onto a big space. The 23m Strange Downfall pitch into a very large aven/collapse chamber lands on boulders. This big space, and the associated small rifts are collectively called Hyper Gamma Spaces, due to the size of the space, and complexity of the rifts.

Halfway up Strange Upfall is a col between Hyper Gamma Spaces and a damp hole of similar depth. Down here there are ways into a set of undescended rifts - probably the top of the Hyper Gamma Spaces rifts.

Climbing down to the lowest point of chamber (West side), reaches a small rift which is fairly full of stones at this point. To the left is Endless, while to the right in this rift leads to the Hyper Gamma Spacesrifts. Traversing over two 3m deep holes leads to a right turn and a 4m climb down to a chockstone plus another 5m climb down to a boulder choke. Descents can be made in various places along this rift, for up to about 20m, but all routes seem to choke.

Dehydration (1990)

Dehydration series (as the term is now used) is a rift series leading to various pitches, not fully explored, and a final choke below Halfshaft, also reachable from Gob On You. In old logbooks (and in the title of the survey above), the term referred to a much larger area of the cave including everything then known beyond Staircase 36. There is some confusion about the exact positions of QMs and pitch demarcations in the HLV/Half Shaft/Captive Wedge series.

Endless (1990)

Immediately left in the rift below Strange Downfall is a very loose 3m climb down to a widening of the rift. Endless starts only 5m high, but the steeply descending (35° to 40°) rift is a good 40m high 140m further on. From here there is a crawl ahead/left which goes 30m before getting too tight. Of two climbs down to the right, the first is about 3m to a pitch aligned with the rift, the second is the way on. Beneath its foot is a further 3m climb down leading to a rift pitch (probably the same as that reached from the first climb). These pitches have not been descended.

Continuing down Endless leads to various amusing climbs and a junction to the left after 60m. A stoop leads through to an angled chamber with a roof tube 7m up the right hand wall which winds somewhat before emerging back in Endless some 15m above the floor (not climbable at this point).

Hasta La Vesta (1990)

20m further on is a 2m climb up and a 5m climb down followed by a couple of loose climbs (beware) leading to Hasta La Vesta, a horrible pile of boulders calling itself a pitch head. This area seems to be where the major joint on which Endless is formed meets the fault responsible for Staircase 36 and a lot of vertical development beneath it.

Just before this is a hard 5m climb down into a sand-filled dead end.

About 10m down the appalling pitch, a pendulum to the left (SE) above two big holes can be made (the wall is very loose). From here an ascending rift passage can be followed to an unascended (as most of it fell off when it was attempted) climb. This rift [C1990-161-07 C] may well be the one continuing beyond Fifty Francis' Phreatic Freehang in Flat Battery, as voices have been heard in the area.

Only the right hand of the two holes, Half Shaft, has been descended, although they appear to connect after a 9m near vertical section to a rebelay. This is followed by 53m 15° off vertical in a rift 7m long by 4m wide, broken by a rock-strewn ledge about half way down. The 60m pitch (70m if you count the loose section from Hasta La Vesta) parallels the 70m pitch below Alexander Technique in Gob. The ropes actually join about 3m above the boulder floor at a rock bridge.

From the floor a climb up to the left leads to a passage containing increasingly awkward climbs. An obvious hole leads to a large shaft with a sloping wall. It is not clear if either of these is the QM originally numbered 90-07, but the descriptions don't seem to match.

Captive Wedge

The other (West) side is the 35m Captive Wedge pitch, in sections of 15m to a bolt rebelay, then another bolt shortly below and a final drop of 16.5m to the boulder floor, mostly in a circular shaft 5m in diameter. Five metres below the lower rebelay and 4m away from the rope is an inaccessible window [C1990-161-05 C].

The foot of the pitch is a shelf about 8m up. Traversing round to the right, and dashing through the small waterfall gains a splashy downclimb to a section of sizeable passage heading north (nearly 90° to the big rift that has just been descended). This can be followed about 15m up a 2m climb to a dead end. At the foot of the downclimb a grovel left through boulders gains a c5 into a small rift where all the water disappears down a hole about 12 cm in diameter.