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161 Kaninchenhöhle: Leads from Triassic Park III


Unlike the extensive horizontal passages of Flat France and leads from Triassic Park I and II, leads from the area of Trifurcation and Bugger seem to be predominantly vertical. There is clearly significant faulting in the vicinity of Knossos, though the throw (and even orientation) of this is at present unclear. Interview Blues seems to be formed on two sets of joints, SW-NE at the start (in line with the Knossos - Minoan Surprise - Trifurcation axis), and N-S lower down underneath the E-W section of Triassic Park. Bottomless Pit of Eternal Chaos connects to Interview Blues but extends underneath Knossos. Fine Clean Rock appears to continue the trend of Triassic Park above the climb of Bugger, but Henri's Cat drops below this passage to form the second deepest shaft system in the cave (down to -450m).

The main trunk of Triassic Park changes character abruptly at Trifurcation, shortly beyond which progress is interrupted by a steep climb up which stopped exploration in 1995.

Interview Blues (1996)

"A delightful series of ten pitches intermingled with sections of entertaining rift"
"Whaddya mean this is a bag of shite ? This is the nice bit !"

Turn hard right (NE) at Trifurcation, up a boulder slope to a draughting rift. Ten metres into the rift is a hole in the floor - the main route in Interview Blues. The roped Fear-On Traverse on the right hand side is both technically difficult and very exposed, leading to the Meeting Room pitch.

The first pitch, Gizza Job is 25m, opening into a ~5m diameter shaft after a muddy slope at the top. This drops onto a boulder floor, which immediately drops down the 6m second pitch Degree of Talent in a narrow rift. At the bottom a slot in the floor is traversed over for 3m before the top of the 10m third pitch The Doledrums is reached. This is deviated from a bolt in the left hand wall to reach the floor, which is a ledge.

The 16m fourth pitch, Outright Rejection follows immediately from the ledge at the bottom of the Doledrums. From a Y hang, this is deviated from the far wall (natural thread, long sling required). There is a hole in the side of the shaft which leads to the parallel shaft from Meeting Room pitch (unsurveyed).

survey - 22k gif

State of Independence? (1996)

At the bottom of Outright Rejection there is a chamber with a too-tight rift off to the right. This whole area is called State of Independence?. The way on is over a 2m climb up and down. Here, a slot in the floor (too tight) looks onto the top of the fifth pitch. The way on is to the right, through a narrow crawl into the next chamber. Straight on stops after ~10m, with a hole in the floor (too tight at the bottom). Left and up through a window goes to another chamber. There are three ways on: To the right leads into a connecting route to Bottomless Pit. A traverse across the top of a trench in the floor is a potential lead [C1996-161-01 C], to a boulder slope leading upwards (hard and lots of hanging death).

Down the trench in the floor leads to the top of the fifth pitch Application for Life. This descends 55m in a large shaft (via two rebelays and a rope protector half way down the final section). The Meeting Room route joins in here, with a flow of water. At the bottom, the water disappears through a slot in the floor. A rising rift can be followed, traversing over the slot to a hole.

The hole can then be crawled through into a boulder choked section of the rift, which is followed by a 2.5m climb down (handline useful for going back up), more rift and then the top of the sixth pitch 2.4 Kids (p13) with several large boulders jammed in the rift. After a narrow top and a rebelay 3m down, this opens up into a wider shaft, where the water appears in the corner (the hang is perfectly dry).

The bottom of 2.4 kids is a sloping ledge and the top of a 20m pitch, The Volvo. This is rigged off a bolt in the floor (rope protector), hang bolt 1.5m down and then straight down to the floor (rope protector a third of the way down.) Here the water joins (bottom can be splashy when it rains), but immediately disappears down a slot in the floor.

There is more rising rift at the bottom which quickly leads to a crossroads. Left closes down after 10m. Straight (E) on veers left (N) immediately and a muddy slope is followed into Early Retirement, a small phreatic with a slot in the floor. This is followed for ~30m before a tight S-bend leads to a small muddy chamber (dead bat on floor) then more rift and out onto a pitch [C1996-161-02 A] estimated at 25m deep, and aven. The pitch takes water but could be rigged dry. There is a floor ~10m down, but there is a hole in this.

Right (south) at the crossroads is The Gravy Train - more tight muddy rift with a slot in the floor. After 5m the slot can be descended and followed back underneath for ~10m before getting too tight. The way on is up a steep slope above a hole (too tight) which leads after 20m of scrotty thrutching to the top of the 13m eighth pitch, Mid Life Crisis. This is descended to the floor (though the rift could be traversed along at half height) where the water appears briefly again. More muddy rift leads to the constricted head of a 48m pitch, The End is Nigh? which goes through the slot in the floor, via a deviation a quarter of the way down (off a flake) to a boulder strewn floor. This pitch takes a lot of spray in its lower half.

At the bottom of The End is Nigh?, a short walk across the boulders leads to the top of the 42m tenth pitch Not Yet Baloo, a large shaft ~6m in diameter. A rebelay on the lip gives a hang (1 deviation a little over halfway down) to the floor. A small waterfall emerges 1m to the right of this rebelay making the lower part of the pitch slightly damp.

Too Much to Do - many leads

The chamber at the bottom of Not Yet Baloo, Too Much to Do, is large (~10m across) and has several ways on. The water flows south and then disappears under a boulder choke. A squeeze through the choke can be made then a 1m climb down to the top of a ~5m drop down which the water flows [C1996-161-03 B]. This is the deepest point of the survey, at -451m from 161a, and could be rigged out of the water. The rift continues south for ~60m before becoming too tight.

Northwest across the chamber are two parallel passages leading off, which join after ~10m. The right hand one contains a chamber with a hole in the floor [C1996-161-04 B] and a rising rift across the hole with the sound of water [C1996-161-05 B].

The left passage follows the rift with a slot in the floor. A hole [C1996-161-06 B] is crossed after ~15m (hole not deep (10m) and sounds choked.) The rift is followed (sound of water) and can be gradually descended to the level of the water. Upstream is a waterfall [C1996-161-07 C] of about 4m. Downstream the bottom of the rift can be followed to another waterfall [C1996-161-08 B] (constricted pitch head, can't tell if it can be rigged dry, but best potential for more depth.)

Back in Too Much to Do, in the same corner as the two parallel passages is a muddy crawl heading off south [C1996-161-09 B].

In the east corner of Too Much to Do is another passage, which rises gently. It is initially large (3m across) but quickly narrows to a rift [C1996-161-10 A].

Connection From Interview Blues to Bottomless Pit

Instead of descending Application for Life, turn right (SW) and follow a narrow rift. This rises up and the walls can be scaled (3m climb) into the top to gain a muddy passage which leads into a large shaft. A traverse along the right hand wall leads to a 10m pitch How Far to Tooting? which descends into an alcove. There is a pitch off the ledge (~25m undescended). Looking up:- this point can also be reached by a direct pitch from the large hole in Minoan Surprise (C1995-161-53).

A traverse along the left side leads to another hole (separated from the undescended pitch by a rock curtain but joins via a narrow rift lower down). This is the 35m Spatial Awareness which lands in the same chamber as the bottom of Bottomless Pit of Eternal Chaos - the foot of this pitch being 20m away SW down the 30° slope.

Fear-On Traverse down to Interview Blues

Turning hard right (NE) from Trifurcation to the top of Interview Blues, the strong breeze is felt coming from across the top of Gizza Job, where a passage is visible. A roped (permanently rigged) traverse on the right starts off on an easy but exposed ledge, but becomes increasingly desperate from belay to belay as the wall overhangs. A final lunge round a corner enters the passage.

Immediately beyond the traverse, this passage encounters a further pitch, The Meeting Room. This is the start of an unsurveyed parallel shaft, communicating with Interview Blues via a window in the side of Outright Rejection, and finally joining the main route where the water enters at the foot of Application for Life. Warning: this pitch (left rigged in 1996) was derigged in 1999.

In a thunderstorm, a flood pulse hits this pitch series about two minutes after the inlet from the roof at Trifurcation rises. The draught also comes from across the head of this pitch, and a further airy traverse [C1996-161-11 B] could reach this inlet, which presumably comes from the surface. Notice that the draught is in the opposite direction to that in 161d, so is either driven by a waterfall, or comes from much higher up than these eastern entrances.

Pitches from Minoan Surprise (1996)

Left at Trifurcation is a passage interrupted by a series of pitches. The first [C1995-161-53 A] appears to be a relatively short drop, but in fact turns out to be 55m to land at the foot of How Far to Tooting? in Interview Blues.

The second [C1995-161-54 A] sounds much deeper (4 seconds drop), and is the Bottomless Pit of Eternal Chaos. The third [C1995-161-52] is the shortest and drops directly into Knossos on the Right Hand Route of "old Kaninchenhöhle".

Bottomless Pit of Eternal Chaos (1996)

In the left hand wall of Minoan Surprise (facing southwest towards Knossos) ~15m back from the pitch into Knossos is an eyehole onto a pitch with a 4s drop. This is the 79m Bottomless Pit of Eternal Chaos which is descended via 2 rebelays (after 10m and 17m) then a fine 60m hang (with a slight deviation) to the floor. An aven above is visible from the second rebelay, so the first 20m of the pitch is a sloping window into a larger shaft.

At the foot of the Bottomless Pit is an L-shaped chamber with a sloping boulder floor. Water enters at the downslope end of the chamber. This is where Spatial Awareness from Interview Blues connects. Heading upslope the chamber narrows to a tall rift at a T-junction, at which the way on is to the right Hell's Teeth. Straight ahead is a steeply sloping uphill rift which bends to the left immediately and continues for ~15m to a small chamber. Left here is an eyehole back onto the Bottomless Pit, right leads via a short squeeze to another small chamber with water entering and a too tight rift exiting.

Hell's Teeth is ~20m of tedious rift, mostly 40cm wide and very tall. For the most part the rift is traversed at half height over jammed boulders. 3m in is a c2 into the bottom of the rift (tricky on return) and there is another c2 5m further along back up onto jammed boulders. 7m further on the floor disappears and the traverse must be continued on increasingly tenuous ledges (traverse line required, rigged off a chockstone high in the rift) until the rift reaches a 6m long chamber with water entering on the right.

On the left in the chamber is the head of the 27m Redemption Pitch. At the foot is a 3m wide tall rift with a stream flowing in the bottom. Upstream leads quickly to a ~5m waterfall. Downstream slopes steeply downwards, and another stream enters from the left, also with a 5m high waterfall some 10m back up the side passage.

Following the combined Redemption and inlet water downstream, the rift narrows to ~1m and becomes Corinth Canal, which is very tall (>30m) and has a number of boulders jammed higher up. The water quickly disappears down a too tight hole on the right, but the rift may be followed for a further 20m until it is blocked by sand.

A 1m climb to the right followed by a short squeeze, regains the stream. A 10m hole in the floor is too tight at the bottom, but it is possible to traverse over the top (traverse line required) to gain entry to Yorkshire Holiday, more 40cm wide rift which continues for 20m before being blocked by boulders. There are two junctions on the left, the first of which leads back to the 10m pit at the start of Yorkshire Holiday, the second quickly becomes too tight. This area is directly below Knossos (perhaps 50m below the boulder floor).

Bugger leading to Fine Clean Rock (1996)

Straight on from Triassic Park (north) at Trifurcation, feels like taking a right and becomes very wide. Ahead is a 5m high col interrupting the passage. This can be reached by a climb across broken boulders at floor level, a traverse to the right of this, or most easily by the long slope on the right hand side. A 4m down climb from the col (least scary to right hand side), reaches a big rift pitch to left (Choss Pot) and the foot of a long slope up to [C1995-161-59 A+]. The base of this wall is called Bugger, as the expletive of choice upon the discovery that it was not possible without gear and therefore marked an end to exploration in this direction for 1995.

The base of the climb, Fine Clean Rock, is reached via a platform, 4m from the V-shaped groove on the side further from Triassic Park. Care is needed on the approach as the climbing requires a long reach, and is exposed to a 40m fall into Choss Pot. The climb itself is about 14 metres total vertical, starting up an inclined slab, past a rebelay, to a deviation from a nose of rock. It is now permanently riggedand has an awkward get-off at the top (loose rock) onto a narrow ledge under an overhang, from where a stomach-traverse leads round the corner into bigger passage.

On standing up, the top of the climb is surrounded by half an amphitheatre of sand and mud. This is a little delicate, and was partly traversed, then big lights were used, but no accessible leads were seen.

The main way on is between a large rock and the wall which eventually becomes the roof. This leads north in a bouldery passage about 2m high that slowly lowers until it breaks out into a chamber made by an ill-defined junction of four or five ways.

survey - 13k gifUp and to the left narrows and comes out in the amphitheatre just above the rock ducked under when leaving Fine Clean Rock. However, this climb is slippery and the route described above is far easier.

Right narrows to a short (5m?) pitch that looks loose and tight, but is undescended [C1996-161-99 C]. Sharp right leads to some small sandy and short dead ends.

The main way continues downhill northwest for a few metres to a split. Left reaches the head of a large shaft, Henri's Cat, almost immediately, whilst right is an ascending passage, Neoprene Chunks. This soon widens on the right, with two undescended pitches in the floor, and two unascended climbs in the continuation north. Left is downhill, and leads SW, past a window on the left into the opposite side of Henri's Cat. This way continues west as a tube below a narrow rift for 20m to a junction. Left is a 2m climb up to reach a further climb (up or down ?) which has not been pushed. Right is a short climb down, again reaching a further unpushed climb. These ends are at a depth of -204m from 161a, and almost directly above Flat Battery Series (off Chicken Flied Nice).

Henri's Cat (1996)

Henri's Cat starts as a 7m diameter shaft, rigged from bolts on the left. Three metres down is a bolt rebelay for a vertical hang of 18m to a further bolt rebelay. This drops 23m to the Mother of All Deviations, which is over 5m from the vertical line of the rope. A further 9m reaches another bolt rebelay for a 10m hang to another deviation, again well off to one side. 17m below this is a floor, Catshit, 80m below the takeoff of the pitch.

A descending passage goes east of north for 17m to the top of another shaft, rigged from a bolt on the far wall. This is 24m to a complicated ledge system, where the pitch jags a couple of metres, before dropping 5m to a deviation a couple of metres across, reached via another ledge. The rope then hangs free for 32m to a wide ledge, from where 5m very off-vertical hits another ledge. Another 5m gains a steeply descending short passage to another pitch rigged from a bolt. This is a 6m drop to a sloping white ledge which in a few metres breaks out into the side of a larger shaft dropping from out of sight. Two bolts here mark the start of a 52m free hang in an enlarging shaft, which is c15m diameter at the bottom. This has a flat floor with no obvious way on. The survey (via a long traverse) shows this point to be about 30m ESE of Flat Battery Series, but at -424m from 161a, whilst the deepest point of Flat Battery is -390m.

Chosspot (1996)

Straight on (north) from Trifurcation at the end of Triassic Park III, over the col and down the 4m climb reaches a big rift pitch to the left, Choss Pot.This is a very chossy pitch (p16) which is sloping in its upper half to a rebelay on a ledge, then more vertical to the bottom. At the foot is a chamber only just big enough to shelter from the crap falling from the pitch above. A smallish gap leads onto a chossy slope, about 30m south to a final 7m pitch down a slightly active small rift which rapidly became too tight. Upstream in the rift was also too tight.