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161 Kaninchenhöhle: Left Hand Route

Cowboy Caver (1995)

5m into the Left Hand Route (from Becka Falls) on the left hand (northwest) wall there is a 3m climb (left rigged) which pops through an eyehole to a walking passage, Cowboy Caver. Left immediately overlooks the squeeze pitch (downclimb possible). Right continues 5m and turns left to overlook a pitch (~8m undescended [C1995-161-04] but probably blocked). The pitch can be passed by climbing the left hand rib and traversing the left hand wall (rigged) which gains a boulder slope on the far side that ends after 10m.

There are many holes in the roof. At the back of the slope you can climb ~5m up in immature inlet until it is rather grim - not pushed to the bitter end [C1995-161-05], but almost certainly pointless. The other holes all appear to go to the same place. The one on the right is the easiest and continuing in this direction leads to a climb down (c3) to a junction. Left ends after 10m walking. Right immediately turns into a pitch (~10m) undescended [C1995-161-03]. Ways on can be seen.

Passage above Garden Party (1990/1991)

At the start of the Left Hand Route, as entered from Becka Falls, is a short length of passage with a 100° right turn, leading very quickly to the normal entry point at Dewdrop Junction. At this corner (from which Garden Party descends), a short passage goes NW. A difficult climb down over boulders leads to a low passage which forks. To the right is a crawl updip for about 15m which gets too tight and very inlety. To the left a crawl goes for about 10m to where a boulder almost blocks the way. Squeezing past this reveals another 5m of passage and a pitch of about 5m with too tight a top, which doesn't look as if it goes anywhere.

Rift Holes near Garden Party (1988)

There is an outstanding 1988 question mark [C1988-161-10] hereabouts, but it seems likely that they drop into another part of the same rift as everything else in this area.

Powerstation (1990)

An impressive pitch series that doesn't seem to go anywhere.

At the corner before Arrow Chamber, there are a couple of fallen blocks and some holes in the floor [C1988-161-09]. The smallest hole, on the outside of the corner, was the way chosen, although they all seem to go into the same rift. This first pitch is 12m down to the stone covered Foulness Ledge.

1990 logbook (28th July) suggests that going further left than Butcher in Arrow Chamber, a route can be followed which comes out 3m below the first rebelay (itself 3m down) on this first Powerstation pitch.

From here is the classic Dounreay pitch, of 37m with a freehanging rebelay at -21m, down to where further vertical descent is in a trench in the floor. This is a 5m pitch, Sizewell A, to a further floor with another trench, about 3m deep. To the left (north) is a rift hole, leading to a 5m pitch, Sizewell B, to a sandy floor. Small tubes lead both north (passable for some way as a small crawl which must be reversed out of) and south, where there is a visual connection only back to the bottom of Sizewell A, the main route. Down the 3m drop in the trench is a floor with a narrow hole in it, and a boulder slope up.

Through the narrow hole is a 9m pitch to a ledge looking out onto a massive shaft. This is a 53m pitch from a wire tether, Dinorwig, with a small rift at the bottom. A 4m pitch under a large boulder leads to a 13m pitch, Some Like It Hot. Across the top of the pitch is a hole. Halfway down this on the left is a dead-end passage. At the bottom are a couple of small ways off, both of which are blocked. The deepest point is at 1539m, or a depth of -248m from 161a.

Up the boulder slope from the 3m drop below Sizewell A leads to a window onto a big space, probably the top of Dinorwig, and a very awkward, tight passage just to the left of the window. This looks out over a couple of holes in the floor, and has not been pushed.

Reading the 1990 logbook can lead to enormous confusion in Powerstation, because names used on the original exploration trip were rationalised and applied to different places by the time of the survey. See the Glossary for details of these changed usages.

Arrow Chamber (1988)

Arrow chamber is about 30m by 15m, and entered from the zig zag Left Hand Route passage. The left end (north east) is the very square Lift Shaft aven, with Pacman Wall on one side (named after its huge array of bisected fossilised bivalves). To the right (south west) are a pair of holes Baker and Candlestick Maker (cf. Butcher on the main route). The far side of these is reached by a (rigged) traverse with few handholds, crossing between them. This led, "after about 20m, to two short undescended pitches" when first found (Del's Bit C1989-161-02).

Pitch-Ramp Series (1993)

In 1993, a 4m pitch at the back of the chamber reached a comfortable passage that forks. The right hand fork soon drops in a 10m pitch at the start of the Pitch-Ramp Series. A traverse across this leads only to a possible alternative descent, and no way on. Below the pitch, a ramp leads to a second pitch of 5m, to a second ramp. The next pitch has a single bolt rebelay, deviated off a rocking boulder, but still required a protector to descend 13m to third ramp. Ascending this, the phreatic tube expires and the trench is too tight for descent. The deepest point is at 1652m, or a depth of -135m from 161a.

Left at the fork is a similar phreatic ramp, without pitches, passable for only a short distance.

Pointless (1993)

Examination of the two holes in Arrow Chamber shows that they are merely part of a deep elliptical chamber, of which Arrow Chamber itself is only a part, above a rather dubious false floor. Candlestick Maker, ([C1988-161-01], is descended for 15m to a large, flat debris-strewn area with two large holes at either end. This proves to be another metre-thick false floor. Bolts in the wall give a fine freehang, Pointless pitch, for 30m to a ledge, then 7m to the bottom. A scrofulous crawl leads to another chamber from where an awkward squeeze leads to another 9m pitch which proved to be blind at a depth of -173m from 161a (altitude 1613m).

French Connection (1989)

From the ledge 7m above the foot of Niflheim, traversing round to the right leads into a 5m canyon passage which emerges in the wetter part of the Niflheim shaft at the head of French Connection Pitch. The 9m drop (left rigged) leads to French Connection Chamber which can also be reached from the Helipad in Drunk & Stupid. The (Niflheim) water coming down the pitch has cut a small canyon across the chamber floor to a 6m pitch into a rift at the other side. At the foot of this pitch the rift goes 5m round to the left before becoming too tight.

Also in French Connection Chamber there is a hole in the wall about 2m up on the same side as French Connection pitch. This leads through to an aven with a 4m pitch and a 2m climb up into another too-tight rift.

Opposite the French Connection Pitch, reached by a traverse from the unsurveyed Helipad connection is a large phreatic passage about 5m high. This leads to a small sandy chamber. A climb into a rift from the chamber leads to a small section of ever diminishing rift that ends at a pitch, this proved to be the 'other side' of Dead and Buried off Drunk & Stupid.

Ambidextrous (1991)

(This passage is also described from the other end, for those coming from the Triassic Park entrance(s), or the Right Hand Route)

About 25m after the climb up into Ragnarök, there is a boulder slope down to the left. A climb down over boulders leads to a short pitch. This can also be reached by 15m of walking passage coming out 15m further along Ragnarök at a 2m climb. The 6m pitch lands at the foot of a sandy slope. At the top of this passage turn left and after 8m comes out at a col at the top of a deep rift passage. A direct pitch on the right 20m into the passage is avoided by climbing down the left side of the col and doubling back underneath to a permanently rigged pitch of 11m. This section from Ragnarök to the pitch is Time Dilation. At the foot of the pitch there are two ways on: up a sandy passage to the left or down to the right.

The sandy passage goes dead straight on 230°, sloping up dip for 20-30m to a steep rift climb down into a chamber. The continuation can be seen at the top of a 10m pitch [C1991-161-10]. It seems likely that this is close to the foot of the shaft erroneously known as Candlestick Maker pitch on the Left Hand Route.

From the bottom of Time Dilation pitch, the other route involves traversing out for 2m and then a step across into a slot on the right which leads into the continuation of the passage. A small inlet comes in at this step, opposite the pitch. The passage now widens to the size apparent at the top of the pitch and goes for 10m to a squeeze on the left, following the water. A difficult climb on the right here apparently gives access to a dead end ledge, but it has not actually been done to confirm this. Beyond the 2m narrow section is a small chamber where the route almost doubles back. The stream goes off impassably to the right whilst the route is a 2m climb up. At the top is a sharp right (although the rift continues higher up). Here is wider passage and another parallel rift after 10m.

Olympus survey - 21k gif

On the right is about 5m of tight passage, only passable at the top, Pretty Pointless (it had a small stal in it).

To the left is an easy traverse giving a 6m pitch back down to the floor. This can be by-passed by climbing down 5m through boulders just after the corner. 5m beyond this climb, the main passage turns sharp right, but a narrow route can be followed to the left to look out over an 8m diameter hole. A short stream passage (10m before it gets too small) comes in from the left.

The main passage is 5m wide here as it skirts round the hole to another view in from the opposite side. Quite a lot of water comes in from the roof above the hole and a short pitch [C1991-161-06] can be seen at the bottom (5m down). This could be the water from the Powerstation series.

The passage continues large to the right for 20m before closing down somewhat to 1m wide for another 10m to a small chamber. Beyond here is The Wormhole. The passage shrinks to crawling size and then executes a couple of tight bends. Two short climbs down follow, and the passage comes out in Wobbling, off the Right Hand Route.

Hellgrind (1989)

A 1m diameter hole in the right hand wall at the edge of the Black Lagoon is the start of Hellgrind, a tortuous tube going for some distance (with one offshoot that gets too tight), leading to a 12m pitch into a boulder-floored rift. Climbing up the sloping floor and then down the other side leads to a 20m pitch down to a wet passage.

A couple of metres to the left is Thumper the Talking Sump and to the right are a couple of short climbs up to an aven where the sump water comes down.

Trehala (1991)

On the right of the Black Lagoon, 5m from the end, there is an obscure, low (0.3m) passage off, Trehala. This leads after 17m to a large chamber developed on a fault in two sections, about 25 × 10m. It appears to have been filled to a depth of about 5m with conglomerate. This can be determined because it is possible to climb down against the right hand wall to floor level in several places. It seems to be a dead end.