234 - a b
Hauchhöhle3/S/W x

Upper horizontal levels

Rigging diagram

The horizontal entrance slopes downhill for about 20m. Just beyond the dripline, on the right, is a sheltered alcove ideal for storing gear; this remains dry even in heavy rain. Continuing downslope past a skylight, there is a crawl on the left leading to the Left Hand Series. At the bottom of the slope there is another, unpushed crawl to the left [C2002-234-01 C] and a wriggle up over rubble into a chamber floored with more loose rock. From this chamber, the obvious way on is a pitch of approximately 15m; there is an unpushed, unpromising crawl above this [C2002-234-07 C]. The pitch may be rigged from an obvious natural backup in the ceiling on the right followed by a spit at the pitchhead, landing on a ledge where a deviation off a spit gives a free hang for the remainder of the pitch. The spit in the large crystalline slab to one side of the pitchhead should be ignored, and pointed out to novices as an example of how not to place bolts!

At the foot of the pitch, in large rift passage, a crawl on the left leads for about 15m before turning left and becoming too tight. Further along, another crawl on the left leads to Underhand Passage, while the main passage continues to a choice of a climb down of around 2m or an ascending traverse round to the left.

The traverse is exposed but easy, and leads to an upwards sloping passage, with an aven above from which daylight emerges; a vocal connection has been established to a nearby surface shaft, which has accordingly been tagged as 234b. The passage continues upwards past some loose boulders to emerge in a small chamber leading down to the right. An awkward wriggle through boulders to the left in the chamber leads to a drop [C2004-234-01 C].

The climb leads to a short slope down, after which ducking under a low arch leads to Doesn't Go Rift, where a choice of ascending traverse levels can be followed via various ledges on the left-hand wall; alternatively it is possible to force through at floor level, but this is difficult. It is advisable to climb down a little before the end of the passage, reaching the level of two prominent wedged boulders, where there are threads in the left-hand wall from which a handline can be rigged for the 3m climb down to the floor of Flashgun Chamber. Alternatively, one may stay high up and descend this as a pitch, but a rope protector is required; this 2006 variant lands rather higher up the sloping floor of the chamber.

Flashgun Chamber is a large rift chamber whose floor slopes upwards steeply to the left; there is an aven above [C2004-234-30 X]. At the bottom of the chamber one can climb back down underneath the rift to the head of a pitch, Foolish Plan. This was descended in 2005 and proved to be blind. Climbing up the sloping floor of the chamber (beware of loose rock) reaches a ledge; turning left there is a short crawl, with a narrow tube in the ceiling and an oxbow on the right. A few metres on there is a T-junction. The passage on the left is a descending body-sized tube, which was explored by Dave Loeffler for several body lengths to a tight bend [C2004-234-35 C]. This must be close to the upper levels of Doesn't Go Rift. The main way on the draughting right-hand passage, Geometers' Crawl; this is not really a crawl, and can be negotiated by stooping. A few metres in is the other end of the aforementioned oxbow, and further along is a passage on the right, the far end of Clifton's Circuit.

At the end of Geometers' Crawl is a T-junction. Left leads to Hades, two interconnecting parallel passages sloping steeply upward. The right-hand passage is too tight; the left fork levels off slightly, at which point there are three possibilities: straight on is too tight; down a hole in the floor is choked; down and to the left through an extremely tight tube leads to a drop, awkward even to throw stones into, which could possibly be passed by someone really small and ambitious [C2004-234-03 C]. Right at the T-junction is a 2m deep hole in the floor, which can either be traversed over or climbed down.

At the bottom of the 2m climb there are two passages to the right and one to the left. The leftwards branch passes over some dry cascades to a climb down, where there are curious golfball-like formations in the ceiling. Crawling on from here the passage gradually becomes impassably tight; more spacious passage is visible through a slot in the floor, but this looks to be difficult to enter to enter [C2004-234-04 C]. The rightwards branches soon unite and lead back into Geometers' Crawl, forming the loop known as Clifton's Circuit.

An intimidating ascending traverse across the hole, You Must Be Joking, soon regains the floor. Climbing into the roof at this point gains access to Dangly Bag Jazz. Straight on is Tacklesack Blues, an awkward section of tight hading rift, with intermittent wider sections where there are holes in the floor - these could possibly be entered but are very tight [C2004-234-11 C]. A stal on the right-hand wall heralds the return to easier passage, where there is a triple junction. Climbing down a hole in the floor (5m handline recommended) leads to a small chamber, with possible crawls left, right and down, all looking tight and awkward [C2004-234-12 C]. Traversing over this hole to the left leads to Measles Inlet. Straight on leads to Stalactite Passage.

Stalactite Passage is a fine stooping-height phreatic passage with a soft mud floor; after a few metres there is a duck under a low section where there are some formations on the right. Shortly beyond this is a choice of a floor-level crawl, or a clamber over a greasy slab, into a chamber on the right. There may be a passage in the roof on the right behind some wedged boulders [C2004-234-13 C]. Immediately beyond is a junction, where a 3m climb leads to the Pie Series, while on the left is an upwards-sloping passage. This soon trifurcates. The leftmost passage leads to a drop [C2004-234-14 C]; this has not been descended but there is a light connection to Cess Pot. The middle and largest passage bends round to the right, where a sequence of small passages branch off to join up with the remaining fork at the head of a loose, chossy pitch of at least ten metres [C2004-234-15 B]; traversing over this leads to Sweet Sight. The main passage continues to a climb up to the left over a large smooth slab, where there is a window into a chamber. There is a possibly free-climbable hole in the floor, Cess Pot [C2004-234-16 B] and there may be passage continuing at the other side of the chamber [C2004-234-17 C]; there is also an aven above [C2004-234-31 X].

Measles Inlet

Measles Inlet begins as a fine phreatic passage, sloping slightly upwards. A few metres in there is a passage entering from the left. A few metres into this there is a rightwards bend, at which point a wriggle down into the floor on the left leads to a tight tube, Dangly Bag Jazz; after an S-bend this emerges in the roof above the top end of You Must Be Joking traverse. The passage continues past a prominent pillar to emerge in Cascade Chamber, an aven chamber with water dripping down several tiers of cascades. One can climb up for some distance but it is loose and rather unappealing [C2004-234-06 C]; decidedly exposed steps lead into two passages to either side [C2004-234-07 B]. There is also a climb down at floor level at the far end of the chamber, which is too tight after around 3m. The water disappears into a hole in the floor, where there is another small chamber, with a crawl leading off to the right in sharp rock [C2004-234-08 C]. The largest way on from Cascade Chamber is an exposed climb up to the right into a continuing rift passage. This soon splits. The left hand passage ends, whilst the right hand passage appears to continue at a down-climb [C2008-234-02 B] The main Measles Inlet passage continues sloping gradually upwards; the left-hand wall is covered in brown mud blobs (hence the passage name). There is a crawl leading off to the right around halfway along [C2004-234-09 C]. After some distance a chamber is reached; the only obvious way on is a crawl at floor level to the left which passes over attractive calcited mud with dessication cracks. This leads, via a rubbly squeeze, into an aven. The passage at the top of the aven soon chokes, however there is another small passage half way up the aven which is difficult to get to without a rope [C2008-234-01 C]

Sweet Sight

Traversing round the left-hand side of the pitch (rope advised; two natural pillars provide ample backup, and there is a thread at the far end). This leads to an ascending ruler-straight phreatic tube, Sweet Sight. After 30m this bends sharply right, and there is a sloping downwards crawl leading off straight ahead. Round the corner is a chamber, Fledermaushalle, with a high dripping aven on the right [C2004-234-36 X]; the floor is amply sprinkled with bat excrement, and a bat skeleton (right) was observed by the discoverers in 2004. Across the chamber, a slot in the floor is too tight, and there is a possibly passable but awkward crawl beyond this [C2004-234-18 C]. Easier going is provided by a passage leading off to the left. A few metres into this is a branch to the left which connects back to the downward-sloping passage at the previous junction. The main passage continues on for a further 40m or so before closing down in a pebble choke [C2004-234-19 Dig]. Midway along this passage is a climb up into an ascending roof tube on the left, Sour Taste, which closes down after a few metres.

Left-Hand Series

The crawl to the left in the entrance passage leads to a drop into a rift, where there are three ways on. To the right closes down; to the left, there are crawls at two levels. The higher-level crawl chokes; the two crawls at the lower level unite, passing two branches to the left [C2002-234-02 C] [C2002-234-03 C] and then reach a junction. To the left chokes; to the right leads to a chamber. This chamber can also be reached by going straight on from the aforementioned junction at the rift.

From this chamber, there are two ways on. A small choss wall surrounds a vertical hole through which it is possible to drop down (tricky on the return) into a small chamber. From here, an awkward squeeze leads into a continuing crawl, which has not been pushed [C2002-234-04 C]. To the left is a crawl over choss which enlarges. After a short distance a tube on the right leads to the head of a pitch (not pushed; probably 15-20m [C2002-234-05 B]) and continues to a choke. Straight ahead leads to an earthen-floored draughting crawl which has been dug, and needs further work to get through [C2002-234-06 Dig]. Shortly before the crawl becomes flat-out, a tube leading up on the right also becomes too tight.

Underhand Passage

The crawl on the left in the main rift shortly after the bottom of the first pitch leads to a small mud-floored chamber, after which a further downward-sloping crawl emerges in a large rift passage parallel to the main route. To the right are a profusion of tubes, one leading down into the floor [C2004-234-26 C], one leading up into the ceiling [C2004-234-25 C], and two at more or less head level [C2004-234-23 B] [C2004-234-24 B]. These have been explored by Pete Clifton, leading to a maze known as the Flatulence Series, but no description is extant. There is also an aven above [C2004-234-33 X], which is presumed to connect to undescended pitch 02-05 in the Left-Hand Series.

To the left, the rift passage continues onwards, sloping gradually downhill, past another aven [C2004-234-34 X]. After around 20m it closes down; a passage to the left leads to a contortion into a narrow immature dry streamway, which draughts somewhat and continues in both directions [C2004-234-27 C] [C2004-234-28 C].