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161 Kaninchenhöhle: Drunk & Stupid (1989)

Overview: A Vertical series from Big Sainsbury's, NW of the entrance, that spirals round, first west, then south, then east almost directly under the entrance, continuing east to join Left Hand Route at -255m.

photo in D&S
Pitch head in Drunk and Stupid.

The first large hole in Big Sainsbury's, against the right hand (NE) wall heading away from Automatic Doors, and c50m from that pitch is the start of Drunk & Stupid. The beginning of this route is best rigged on one long length as pitch follows traverse and so on. The entrance hole is an 8m pitch, The Ten to an uninspiring boulder slope, ignored in 1988. A traverse line should be rigged to reach a tube at the bottom leading into a large rift with a 20m hang, The Twenty, to a boulder strewn floor.

From the bottom of the Twenty, a traverse line is required to descend a slippery slope to the head of an excellent 30m pitch, The Thirty, (rope pad for the belay knot). The way on is now clean washed rift with traverse lines and a couple of short hangs.

This rift comes to a 20m pitch, where there are several possibilities. The main route of Drunk & Stupid is reached across the head of the pitch into another passage.

Follow the passage (minding holes in floor) to reach a superb natural belay with natural backup in the roof for Parallel Universe, a 20m pitch (the rock is too rubbish to bolt). Further incredibly sharp, stream-washed passage drops down a couple of 5m climbs/pitches to a Y-hang for YATMP (yet another 20m pitch). Finally the rift is done with one 5m pitch into a 10m x 5m chamber, Wet Nappy Chamber.

The water way becomes too tight, but the continuation is a climb up on the left into a nasty, muddy hading rift, Bacon Slicer, which requires a traverse line to reach a ladder pitch some 15m down. The walls of the rift slope at 65°. The rift is relatively tight and awkward although a reasonably easy route was eventually discovered that involved doubling back to the streamway 15m below the head of the ladder.

A short climb out of the rift leads to a larger section with a trench in the floor. Within 20m the passage closes down into a very loose-looking boulder choke. Beneath this is a short section of narrow rift leading to the head of a 15m pitch, Darkness Dooms. At the bottom, the stream disappears down a 3m trench that slopes steeply downwards for about 15m. A handline is useful here. The trench gradually widens until a sharp right turn where large rift passage is again entered.

After a short section of wider passage, a 2m boulder climb leads to the head of another hading rift. This is much larger than the Bacon Slicer although the walls slope at the same angle of 65°. The boulder climb marks the start of a spectacular climb down a boulder slope with a vertical descent of 18m. The boulder slope ends in:-

Helipad (1989)

This chamber is approximately 10m across and 20m along. Along the left hand wall is a sandy shelf approximately 1.5m above the floor of the chamber. To the right of a waterfall at the far end is a short climb up leading to a section of small, twisting phreatic tubes. These were not surveyed but were explored to the head of an 11m pitch that lands in French Connection Chamber. Left of this are two minor QMs. A traverse to the right is possible here to gain the passage leading back to Dead and Buried.

French Connection Chamber is thus named because the original Drunk and Stupid explorers found a rope here, coming down the far wall - as it was unmarked it was assumed that they had broken into another cave, maybe French (the Groupe Spéléologique de Clerval were working in the area at this time, although we had no contact with them). The next party down Niflheim was surprised to find a note with CUCC's address on attached to the rope. Thus French Connection Pitch and Chamber were born.

This short (9m) pitch from the Left Hand Route is left permanently rigged, so that a party descending Drunk and Stupid may climb it and rig the last 7m of Niflheim to gain access to the horizontal passages at the bottom of Left Hand Route.