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1623/136 Steinschlagschacht: Forbidden Land


Originally explored in 1996 via an extremely loose and unpleasant area of passages from Rocky Horror in Kaninchenhöhle. This was seen as sufficiently dangerous that there were many refusals ever to go back, all subsequently rescinded in the pursuit of new passage trending so promisingly SW towards the Southern Schwarzmosskogelsystem. Fortunately, the area was reached (in 1997) by determined exploration in the 1983 discovery Steinschlagschacht, and is therefore now readily accessible. The passages are here described in the correct direction for future exploration from this route of access.

Elin Algor (1996)

At the far end of the Gods' Traverse in Steinschlagschacht, a hanging rebelay just over the edge of the wall leads, with a wide swing, to a large eyehole on the opposite wall. A short (15m) pitch against the wall on the outside of the hole leads to a large muddy sloping ledge at the back of which is a hole into narrow traversy passage, Elin Algor, first discovered from the other end in 1996.

This soon enlarges and goes NE for 40m enlarging all the way, past an unexplored and unpromising pitch through boulders in the floor on the left [C1996-161-94 C], to a wide junction. Sharp left (back west) is Tirolia Werke, whilst straight on, the main Elin Algor passage followed for another 30m, reducing in size to where the continuation is reached by climbing up awkwardly through boulders to emerge in the floor. This can be bypassed by a pitch up (bolted) and a climb down beyond. Here, a rift can be followed under the main way for c20m, whilst the chossy rift above goes a similar distance to where there is a window (exactly head sized) to a pitch on the right [C1996-161-82 C].

Still heading NE, the rift enlarges and becomes less chossy. Twenty metres on, a 15m passage on the right leads to the foot of an impressive aven. A little further on, the passage opens out to 7m wide and 13m high. An obscure 3m climb up on the left, followed by a traverse is the way into Pump House (the original entry point from 161) bypassing the obvious 6m pitch up. There is an aven in the roof here.

Ahead, easy going for 50m NE leads to a big sand cliff/slope into a large chambery thing. A 10m handline on the right (bolt RH wall) leads down into it. Traversing round to the right at the level of the handline bolt a steep (45°) loose muddy ramp ascends for 20-30m, turning left near the beginning. This ends at a small rift slope, mostly choked with mud and rocks, through which is a pitch of perhaps 20m. The pitch head needs some gardening and a smallish person [C1999-136-nn C].

There are numerous ways off the chambery thing at the bottom of the handline, but it is not clear where the gale goes. To the right, between mudbanks, is the wet foot of a largish pitch. The water goes down an impenetrable crack. A chossy 10m climb up a mud bank on the left leads to a smallish tube at 'floor' level [C1996-161-81 C]. This was looked at in 1997: the tube is only about 4m long, but has 2 right-angle bends making it very difficult for tall people. It emerges into the wall of a big shaft which couldn't be explored owing to lack of tackle [C1997-161-40 A].

There is a 15m diameter, 15m deep undescended pitch on the far side of the large chambery thing [C1996-161-79 A], with probably an aven at the far end.

On the left is a wet area where the water can be followed into a rift for some metres, unfinished [C1996-161-80 C]. Above this, 10m of passage leads to a 4m pitch, bridged by a large rock. traversing the bridge leads to a squalid crawl over mud which gets too small without digging after 10m. Descending the pitch leads to about 80m of small winding draughting passage explored as far as a chossy pitchhead [C1996-161-78 A].

Pump House and Hall of the Mounting Choss (1996)

Above the climb from Elin Algor, a howling gale fills the 6m x 2m phreatic passage, Pump House, leading for 70m to emerge in the Hall of the Mounting Choss, a few metres (climbable) up its SE wall.

Hall of the Mounting Choss is a very long, steep chamber, about 25m wide, 20m high and 80m long (above the rocks!). To the left of the point of emergence from Pump House, is an inaccessible hole (would need bolts) [C1996-161-77 C]. Below this, at floor level, is the way into Whimper Way, leading to 161. Further left, near the lowest (S) side of the chamber is another passage leading 5m to a closed 5m high solution aven. To the right of the point of emergence is another opening which quickly chokes with sand. There is a small, undescended rift pitch in the W corner [C1996-161-76 B]. The various holes in the floor down through boulders have been fairly thoroughly checked and no ways on found.

At the top of the 40m slope there is a big aven in the N corner and a pair of pitches [C1996-161-74 A on the right and C1996-161-75 A on the left]. The left hand hole has been descended and still continues. There is a secondary low point in the NE corner. Climbing down through the floor here leads back to Whimper Way (NE of the entry point). A 15m x 15m x 10m boulder can be passed by an 8m climb on the right. A harder 8m climb is also possible on the left. These gain another 60m of passage over large breakdown to a draughting choke of small rocks coming down from above [C1996-161-71 C]. Just before this on the left wall there is a draughting crawl below an undercut [C1999-136-nn. Above the huge boulder are steeply sloping QMs in the left hand wall [C1996-161-73 B]. Protection is needed for the climb.

Tirolia Werke (1996)

Northwest at the wide junction in Elin Algor (to the right coming from 161, left coming from Steinschlagschacht), Tirolia Werke soon turns west. Climbing down on the right at the start of the passage there is a good carbide fill pool. There is a small stream for the first 15m which then sinks. There is a small passage (to NW) just at the start, which has not been explored [C1996-161-84 C]. An awkward 3m sand climb (short handline) leads into the first spot that shows the passage type round here. It is hading rift, with steep ramps on the right at many points. These have all been climbed to where they are steep enough to need gear/practically vertical, but have not actually stopped. [C1996-161-85 B and C1996-161-86 B], then steeper ramps [C1996-161-87 B and C1996-161-88 B]. The passage continues for 70m to a 3m ladder pitch at an awkward narrow drop in the rift floor. Shortly before this pitch a 3m climb up on the right hand side leads to a largish chamber at the foot of an aven. There is a small tight wet lead in here [97-39 C], and there appears to be a parallel rift here (probably the same as that seen further along Tirolia Werke).

20m beyond this is a small opening low in the left hand wall leading to the Gravel Pit. In the main rift, water can be heard behind the right hand wall, presumably in a parallel rift. Climbing down under boulders before the slipped wall on the right leads to an undescended 5m pitch [C1996-161-91 A]. Traversing around this (long legs only) reaches a second pit [C1996-161-92 A] from which the parallel rift can be seen. There are others scrots under boulders here, back to the bottom of the main rift.

The rift size is severely reduced here as a large section of the right hand wall has slipped down. The next bit can be reached by a narrow rift straight ahead, or airy traversing up the ramp on the right. Beyond this last widening is a choss slope to a very uninviting boulder choke. Probably needs another look, draughty, but not terribly promising [C1996-161-93 C].