204Steinbrückenhöhle5/S x

No Pain No Gain and the Pleasuredome

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No Pain No Gain

No Pain No Gain is a low tubular crawl branching off 110 Bidet in the Mid-Level Series, which emerges to a mud-floored chamber. (Please try not to disturb the remaining flow patterns in the mud). A crawly mud floored passage leaves the chamber to the right. To the right near the end of the crawl is a bedding plane that continues uphill leading back to 110 Bidet, whilst to the left is a small stone floored pit. There is a 2m climb up from the top of the pit. This has a stalactite formation at the top on the right, and threads on the left where a sling may be attached to assist. The crawl then continues to a junction with two connecting passages to the left leading to 'King Carbide and two connecting passages to the right, which re-emerges on the right at a T junction slightly down the passage. To the left of this T junction, the passage enlarges slightly, and there soon is a chamber that is intersected by a tight rift with flowing water. Downstream is [C2000-204-05 C]. Upstream a key hole passage slopes upwards, to a T-junction with a chamber to the right, and an short, almost flat-out crawl to the left. The chamber, which has an aven [C2000-204-55 X], can be dropped into. A rift at the other end of the chamber leads to a waterfall which feeds the stream that runs through the chamber. Climbing up before the rift gives access to a crawl [C2000-204-06 C]. The flat out crawl, to the left, emerges to a small angular chamber, at the top of which, to the right, is a hole [C2000-204-07 C]. To the left a low passage runs above a 4m drop [C2000-204-08 B]. This then turns right and continues to a fork in the passage. To the left is Insignificant Chamber, and to the right is a smaller chamber with a blind hole in the floor, windows to Insignificant Chamber, and a bedding plane continuing up at 10°, which again connects into Insignificant Chamber.

Insignificant Chamber

Insignificant Chamber, so named because it is probably the most important junction in Steinbrückenhöhle, is a moderate sized chamber which can be entered at floor level from No Pain No Gain.

To the left it turns into a passage. There are a number a interconnecting holes on the right, which drop down into Rhino Rift 2. This passage gets smaller and reaches a junction: on the left is a walking size passage with a small pit in the floor that continues to a large pitch, All Roads, which drops into Pleasuredome. Straight on leads to Drilling Delight, and to the right is a small passage that connects to the Bonsai Crawl. Half way along this small passage there is a small pitch [C2000-204-59 C].

Straight on, upslope from where No Pain No Gain enters, is a bedding plane which splits left to Bonsai Crawl and right to Don't Step.

To the right upon entering Insignificant Chamber one can climb up to a point above the small chamber in No Pain No Gain. Continuing climbing up to the left leads to an aven [C2001-204-2 X] and 5m of horizontal passage, leading to a wet aven [C2001-204-1 X] and a 2m climb down, to where the passage doubles back underneath itself, becoming to tight. From above the small chamber, a small crawl goes off to the right, and a phreatic tube emerges on a wall slightly further along. Going along the small crawl, a small passage goes of to the left [C2001-204-3 C], before emerging in a small chamber. To the right is the phreatic tube seen part way up a wall in Insignificant Chamber. Straight on leads to a crawl at floor level [C2001-204-7 C]. To the left, the passage turns left, with a crawl going to the left at floor level [C2001-204-4 B], and a passage seen going off 3m up the wall [C2001-204-5 C]. Around this corner a pitch is met, with a passage 4m up the wall [C2001-204-6 C].

This pitch, Micturition, was descended into a small chamber at -5m with a small window looking out onto a large chamber. The pitch was then descended via a rebelay after a sloping wall to land in the north-east alcove of Pleasuredome.

Drilling Delight

The first pitch of Drilling Delight is rigged with a back up in the downward sloping floor, with a Y hang from bolts on a vertical part of the ceiling over the pitch. This leads down to a ledge, which required a rebelay off a natural. At the bottom of the pitch, a crawl leads to the left [C2001-204-62 C], a 1m climb up to the right immediately leads to the next pitch. Near the bottom of this pitch, a further small pitch continues downwards. The pitch was descended using the rope from the previous pitch and a rebelay; it continued for a further 9m and ended in a blind pool or a sump, which was not investigated further. A walking passage heads south-east for a short distance, and a squeeze can be gone through to the left, to a small chamber. Straight on a short climb leads to a rift with a too tight slot in the floor to an echoing pitch. To the right is another climb which may need a few bolts for protection. Further investigation through the squeeze revealed that the climb ended in another short ascending aven with a blind roof. This was not surveyed as the climb was not ascended coupled with the reluctance of other members of the team to pass the squeeze.

Bonsai Crawl

Bonsai Crawl is a wide bedding plane. A tall and thin passage to the right goes to Flopsy the Bunny Rabbit's Lair. The main passage continues upwards to a fork. On the left is a stooping-size passage, leading to Swings and Roundabouts. On the right is a walking-size passage with a boulder floor. There is a hole in the right wall that has a couple of small passages leading off [C2000-204-13 C], [C2000-204-14 C]. The passage then emerges into The Colonnade.

Don't Step

[C2003-204-83 B] [C2003-204-84 B] [C2003-204-85 C]

Flopsy the Bunny Rabbit's Lair

The tall thin passage from Bonsai Crawl leads to a chamber with a pitch [C2000-204-52 C]. To the right are two small passages leading to Don't Step. A passage leads off to the left and gets lower, passing some pretties on the floor, then opening out, to a pitch on the left [C2001-204-61 B], with an aven above [C2001-204-60 X]. This pitch can be carefully traversed around without a safety line, the passage emerges at a cross junction at The Colonnade.

'King Carbide

In the Near End series near Kidney Bean a small awkward chamber was found by moving a large boulder and almost crushing Simon Lee in the process. This revealed the head of an 18m pitch, which was rigged with a bolt and a sling around a natural. A narrow rifty pitch was descended with the aid of a deviation about half way down to arrive in a small chamber, 'King Carbide, with multiple ways on. The most obvious way looked out on to a large chamber, Pleasuredome. To the left whilst facing Pleasuredome, a crawl leads to a T junction. Here, the left side leads to a pitch into Pleasuredome. The right leads to another pitch, which presumably also leads to Pleasuredome. This pitch can be traversed around, to a continuing crawl to the right [C2001-204-52 C] and passage that joins to the righthand way out of 'King Carbide. This passage, Scroat, enters a moderately sized chamber, with a rift descending into the floor on the left [C2001-204-50 C], which may provide water for the waterfall into Pleasuredome. Over the rift, to the left is a partially boulder filled passage [C2001-204-51 B], while to the right over the rift, and around the rift to the right, two passages emerge in No Pain No Gain.


The landing at the bottom of Perpetual Motion, the pitch from 'King Carbide, is on an unstable boulder ridge on the floor of a chamber, Pleasuredome, measuring about 10m by 20m. On one side is what looks to be a 3m deep blind trench which has been observed to take a sizable stream in wet weather [C2000-204-66] and on the other the chamber floor slopes away gradually, leading to the head of Brian's Phat Shaft. On the right of the chamber (as one descends the slope) there is a short climb up a large boulder into another slightly larger chamber measuring about 25m by 12m with a fairly level boulder strewn floor. In the far left hand corner after a small climb up was a small passage with a false floor. After 10m crawling, a window was found which looked out on to the head of a 30m pitch which was descended using a deviation in the opposite wall at 3m from the head of the pitch. The pitch was mainly circular at the top, becoming more rifty as it was descended. The base of the pitch landed on a boulder floored chamber with two ways on. The route to the north was a narrow climbing rift passage leading to a choke with no way on and no leads. The route to the south and east is a shorter and wider passage with a dogleg to the left. In the left hand wall about 3m up a short climb is a small body size tube through which water could be heard. [C2000-204-65 B] After derigging the pitch to the pitch-head the top of the pitch was descended after a short distance (4m) to a ledge which was then traversed round to the right to gain a saddle between the pitch previously descended and a large diameter pot. This was descended with difficulty due to the crap nature of the rock. The pitch enters part way down the first pitch of the White Elephant Series after Millennium Dome. The pitch landed on a rubble floor next to a blind pit noted in the White Elephant description and is almost certainly the parallel shaft noted in the exploration of that series.

Brian's Phat Shaft

At the bottom of the slope of the first chamber of Pleasure Dome, one can duck under a drippy rock flake, leading to a mobile boulder slope. This heads steeply down to the top of a 100m shaft. The pitch was rigged with a bolt backup at the top of the slope and a Y-Hang at the pitch-head. By a back and foot traverse to the right a small passage can be accessed, Obese, which apparently closes down. The main pitch was descended by a series of rebelays and deviations. The shaft was essentially vertical and oval in cross section belling out for the bottom 30m. Also in the bottom 30m were various galleries with what looked like possible windows into passages although the light used was not strong enough to say whether these were ways on or just alcoves. These need further investigation by possible deviation or pendulum: [C2000-204-73] [C2000-204-74] [C2000-204-75] [C2000-204-76] One of these windows, some 25m above the base of the shaft to the south, leads to Snow Leopard. This route was used to access the Pussy Prance area via Catwalk in 2012.

The shaft ended with a rock strewn floor vaguely oval in cross section with a small streamway at one end which got too tight to pass.

White Elephant Series

The White Elephant Series is a series of rift pitches which has not been pushed to a definite conclusion, but does not appear especially promising, despite carrying a considerable breeze. It was originally accessed via a 3m climb up in the phreatic passage between You're so Veined and Merry Fucking Christmas , and can also be reached from Pleasuredome.

From the head of the 3m climb up, a roof tube leads off. After 8m of crawling, the passage opens out at the head of a 2m climb down by a large boulder. A too-tight rift leads off on the left, but ahead opens out into a large space, the Millennium Dome.

A 20m pitch rigged from a bolt on the left hand wall backed up to the big boulder, with a rebelay and rope protector after 5m, lands on the boulder floor of the Millennium Dome, which is an L-shaped chamber at the base of a large aven, with each arm of the L being 15m long and 5m wide. There do not appear to be any ways through the boulders, but a rift leads off at the western end, quickly arriving at the head of a 10m pitch with a constricted take off, rigged from boulders. An eyehole part way down this pitch appears to lead into a parallel shaft. (This is almost certainly the connection through to Pleasuredome). The pitch lands on a rubble floor with a blind pit. Heading south quickly reaches a loose pitch head, with a rift passage continuing beyond.

The pitch is 28m, rigged from a bolt on the left hand wall and deviations from natural threads after 4m and 12m. The second deviation is by a small rock bridge, where descending either side appears to go to the same place, and an eyehole opposite connects to the continuation of the rift at the top of the pitch. The base of the pitch is an oddly shaped chamber formed from several rifts (about 7m up the pitch, these rifts coalesce to form a single shaft.) North from the base of the rope leads to a 3m climb down into an inlet rift coming from the north which ends in a blank wall 8m from the base of the rope, but the rift continues too-tight heading south beneath the 3m climb. South from the base of the rope is another rift heading downhill which rapidly becomes tight with running water clearly audible [C2000-204-78 C], but not visible beyond. West from the base of the rope leads to junction with a tight rift continuing to the west [C2000-204-79 C], and another inlet rift coming from the north which ends in a blank wall after 5m.

Traversing over the top of the pitch (rope required) and a short descent leads to a continuation of the rift passage. A hole on the left connects to the 28m pitch described earlier. After 5m the rift narrows and a constricted pitch head is reached. The descent of 15m is rigged from a large boulder and leads immediately to a further drop of 7m rigged from a bolt. This shorter drop may be bypassed by an alternative free climb in a narrow slot immediately beyond the pitch head. From the base the tall, narrow rift continues with two short climbs and a slot in the floor which gradually widens to the head of the next pitch after 6m. This is rigged from a Y-hang on either side of the rift, but soon opens out to give a fine descent of 15m landing in a spacious rift at 182m depth from 204b entrance. A narrow slot in the floor develops, which is just large enough to descend, but stones thrown down sound dead [C1999-204-26 B]. It is possible to traverse above the slot for a short way before the rift becomes too tight.

There is a noticeable breeze at the base of this pitch, as there is through much of the series, with air blowing into the cave. From the base of the 7m pitch, there is no roof visible. This area has potential, but there are no easy leads, and some lunatic bolt traverses may be required to try to bypass the tight sections.