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161 Kaninchenhöhle: Country for Old Men


The large trunk passage of Country for Old Men was reached by a bolt climb into the roof of Repton II in 2009 leading to Irony of Time. It ultimately leads to a pitch - Mordor - into a further trunk passage at a lower level. This lower level connects to Steinbrückenhöhle via the Far from Support traverses.

Irony of Time (2009/2011)

Irony of time was accessed via a bolt climb from Repton II in 2009; the 18m pitch has been left permanently rigged. At the top, a tall, sandy floored rift passage heads north - Irony of Time - with a significant breeze blowing from the north. A small passage on the left after 50m is choked (possible dig [C2011-161-XX D]) and another 20m on a further passage to the left quickly becomes too tight. The main passage continues for a further 20m to a junction. Straight ahead leads after 7m to a 5m climb up, at the top of which a narrow passage continues with a draught coming from the north [C2011-161-XX B]. The main way on is to turn sharp left at the junction, which also carries a draught towards the point of entry. After a further 20m a junction with Country for Old Men is reached.

Country for Old Men (2011)

Country for Old Men is a phreatic passage that generally trends approximately along a north-south line, sloping gently down to the south with the local dip of the beds. It is mostly approximately 10m wide and carries a noticable draught from north to south.

Heading south from the point of entry from Irony of Time, a sandy floored passage heads south for 25m to a narrowing. Continuing under a rock arch, a passage on the right has a visual connection back to just before the narrowing. Continuing downhill [FIXME: (Alex/Jess) past a passage on the right on the survey - QM?] under another rock arch leads to a 15m pitch on the right [FIXME: (Alex/Jess) I assume this is an undescended QM - what grade?]. The passage continues past the pitch head for a further 15m. [FIXME: (Alex/Jess) Survey implies 2 QMS here, uphill level change to SW, sandy passage downhill to SE].

The passage heads north from Irony of Time in fine style. A passage at ceiling level is presumed to rejoin the main passage after a 15m. Proceeding a further 25m round a double bend, a complex area is reached where the main route on is found by keeping to the left hand wall where a pretty chocolate river is soon reached. To the right, several routes round rock pillars ultimately join together until the inlet for the chocolate river is reached on the right [FIXME: (Becka/Julian) is this a QM?]. Continuing ahead the passage quickly ends, but a side passage to the right heads uphill to a 5m climb up. [FIXME: (Becka/Julian) Is there a QM at the top of this climb?]

The chocolate river should be traversed to the left (care required to avoid kicking sand onto it). After 20m, the chocolate river heads down a pitch to the right [C2011-161-XX B]. A traverse over the top of this pitch leads to Popcorn Passage. Country for Old Men continues left, past an impassable hole on the left with a stream (good for filling water bottles). Immediately beyond the watering a hole, a small draughting passage doubles back on the left - this is Massive for Mendip. Immediately beyond is a slope down to a pitch with a rift passage exiting with water audible [C2011-161-XX B]. The main passage continues north, traversing round a pit on the left with a wet aven above [C2011-161-XX X]; the water exits down a too tight rift at the bottom of the pit. From here, the passage heads uphill to the north past a small hole in the floor [C2011-161-XX B] and a small choked passage on the right [C2011-161-XX D] for 45m until a 10m pitch is reached. A traverse round the right of the pitch is blind. Descending the pitch leads to Sudetenland.

Sudetenland (2011)

The 10m sloping pitch into Sudetenland is formed where the phreatic passage changes level. At the base of the pitch, two tall narrow passages on the left lead to a side passage heading south. A little further on, a further side passage on the right also heads south. The main route continues uphill to the northeast. 50m from the base of the pitch, a floor trench is reached. Continuing to the left here leads, after 15m, to a drop overlooking the continuing passage that would require rigging. The easiest way to proceed is head right down the floor trench after which a 2m climb down is reached (sling or handline useful for the return). Shortly beyond the base of the climb a small passage on the right leads immediately to a pitch with a strong draught [C2011-161-XX A]. The main passage continues for a further 40m to a junction. Right heads uphill and chokes almost immediately. To the left, the passage narrows markedly, and is consequently very cold since it appears to carry most of the draught present throughout Sudetenland and Country for Old Men. After 25m, the head of Mordor pitch is reached which is extremely draughty and extremely cold. All alternative ways on at the head of the pitch appear to be choked.

Popcorn Passage (2011)

[FIXME: description needed - see Becka's logbook entry, 2011-08-10]

Massive for Mendip (2011)

A low area leads off on the left, with a significant draught inwards. Crossing a 2m-deep water-washed hole a stooping soilyy passage is reached which soon opens out into a small soily chamber. A hole down low on the left goes to more dead-end soiliness (and a turd left by Mr Todd). A sharp right turn leads to a high, narrow rift, starting with a slippery 3m climb, then a 4m traverse above a hole continaing a steep sandy slope. Holes go off into the ceiling, and take most of the wind. It is possible to climb part-way up, but not all the way - too vertical and too tight.

Climbing down a couple of metres gets out of the narrow rifty bit into a wide, high passage, 8m high and 3m wide and 20m long. There is an alcove on the right and a slot in the wall which can be climbed up for 10m or so. Ahead the floor rises over boulders and the walls narrow. There are holes in the floor but nothing seems to go. It seems very likely that the passage continues about 10-12m up on the right, above the alcove. The climb does not look difficult but would need rope and some protection. [QM B].

Side passages from Sudetenland (2011)

Near the base of the pitch from Country for Old Men into Sudetenland, there are two side passages - one heading approximately southwest, the other southeast.

The southwest passage is a tall, narrow rift that heads gently downhill to the south with a small draught from south to north. [FIXME: the bit covered by the oldmensouth survey needs describing - see Becka's logbook entry, 2011-08-10]

The southeast passage is a walking sized, sandy floored passage that draughts towards the southeast. A number of crystals (gypsum?) were observed in numerous places in this passage. After 55m a 5m climb up is reached. At the top of the climb, a rift passage heads off to the west [C2011-161-XX B]. To the east is a further climb up, apparently with a passage beyond, that has not been followed [C2011-161-XX B]

5m back from the base of the 5m climb, a narrow passage heads off to the west. A further 5m back is another small passage heading west [FIXME: (Anthony/Becka) choked? QM?], and another 10m back is another passage heading west [C2011-161-XX C]. It seems probable that these passages are all connected. Following the passage closest to the base of the climb proceeds past many crystals and a well preserved dead bat, and quickly degenerates to a crawl. After 10m, a junction with two similarly small passages on the right is reached [C2011-161-XX C] [C2011-161-XX C]. The passage continues in a similar vein, with popcorn encrusted walls in places, for a further 35m before opening out at the head of a pitch, estimated at 7m, at the base of which a larger rift passage is seen continuing to the southeast [C2011-161-XX A]. There is little draught in this area considering the size of the passage.