|40 a - s||Schwarzmooskogel Eishöhle||3/S/T/E x|
As CUCC has not been responsible for the majority of the exploration in Eishöhle, the majority of the information concerning it is stored elsewhere.
This passage leads to the 'old cave' via some difficult sections of steep ice.
The pitch drops down into large passage blocked by the ice wall behind. There is a crawl on the right that doesn't go. The main passage leads 80m SW to a wider area with several ways off. On the left 40m along here a narrow rift can be entered. It can be climbed both up and down but both directions are blocked. About 20m beyond this on the right, a narrow passage [C1999-40-14 A] is the start of Wahnsinnsschächte, a pitch series ending at the 50m Stern der Nacht, finishing at about -200m. This is inferred from incomplete survey data from Lindenmayr/Lorenz.
At the wider section the obvious route crosses ice (more nasty blue polyprop rope). In this area is evidence that the ice levels were much higher in 1938 as the initials 'CZ' are drawn on the wall about 2.5m above the ice. There are two small crawls on the left - which may be 'C' QMs; and one passage high up in the left wall which connects back to Elefantengang after about 8m.
The main way on is a (6m) climb up steep ice to the left. At the top is a steep ramp up to the right [A1999-40-11 C]. Easy passage leads 40m to a 4-way junction, where there is an inscription left by the 1938 cavers, little realising they were about 8m from the surface! Left is the new (1999) Grüner entrance, dug out by ARGE when they smelled the stars. Ahead right chokes quickly, although there is a small connection to the main way on. Right is the way on to the 'old cave'. First you cross a small crushed-ice pool, which is very weird. A small hole links through to the previous bit of passage and there is a narrow slow in the ice which sounds at least 15m deep. This bit of cave is incredibly cold and windy. A small chimney on the left is too tight. After 50m a 4m drop into large passage is reached. It is not free-climbable. A Spit was placed here in 2000 for the descent.
Below the ice climb out of Elefantengang the passage continues (with smaller dimensions) past a hole in the floor to the right [C1999-40-12 C] to where a strong draught blows up but the way is blocked by ice too poor to climb [C1999-40-13 C]. It seems likely that the slot connects to the main route above but the connection may be too tight.
The route follows the wall round in a narrow gap between wall and ice, then through a few boulders into a large space at least 20m high, Express Finish. It is the bottom of a deep canyon, partly infilled by rocks and ice from the south. The upper wall is steep ice, presumably from Schneevulkanhalle above, but perhaps there is passage up there? The ice is about 60-70 degrees and thus could be climbed, but it's a long way off the floor! The floor consists of boulders and descends steeply to the towards the large (in May) waterfall at the end. A 3m climb at the bottom reaches the foot of the waterfall. Progress can be made beyond the canyon at various levels. All of this seems to be scrotting about in the gaps between the ice and boulders against the solid northern wall. No ways on were found in a thorough search. What follows is detail of what was found.
At the top, next to the ice you can climb up and round for about 15m until the ice closes down against the wall.
There are two holes at the foot of the north wall of the canyon, the upper one pleasant, the smaller rather scrotty. These lead to two large levelish spaces, connected by a 2m icy climb (down only!). You can climb up from the top level to the left, and down from the bottom to the left (all choked). At the left end of the lower level is a far too tight blowing hole and a marginally desperate tight canyon, just too small even for Wook (due to a corner - you can physically get in the first metre or so). This has a draught - it's smallness is frustrating! To the right of this a climb down leads to a small (0.8m) icy canyon. After two 2m downclimbs in succession it closes down. At the right hand end of this level you can climb up back to the huge canyon via the scrotty hole, or down into more interstices. The water from the waterfall can be heard through the wall here. There seems to be a draught but after climbing down about 10m through the choke against the wall it is lost.
Descending the roped ice slope leads to a small chamber and a high rift leads off. A 5m mixed ice/rock pitch (10m rope) descends to a narrow slot. Leave your crampons here. Sliding through the slot you reach a wider bit, which is a respite before Plastic Hell. This is a tight 3m rift section, very difficult to negotiate for tall people in plastic boots (hence the name). A very strong draught blows through this whole section. 5m beyond this a 9m pitch. The bottom is a dead-end rift. You need to swing over a rock bridge half-way down to reach the way on.
This is a comfortable passage going off left and right. To the right chokes in sand after 15m. There is a visible connection to the bottom of the dead-end rift low on the right. To the left the passage ascends gently for 20m to come out in large trunk passage, extending ahead (east) and to the left (north). This is Cardboard Heaven.
Ahead in Cardboard Heaven leads up over and around huge boulders past a 3m aven hidden in an undercut to the left. The passage at ground level gets much smaller (2m high instead of 8m) and then chokes at a conglomerate run-in. A continuation of the main passage can be seen 5m up the end wall where it changes size [C1998-40-01 A]. There is also an eyehole about 3m up the wall on the right [C1998-40-02 B]. A narrow rift in the floor on the right hand side chokes.
Going left in Cardboard Heaven leads after 10m to the start of a dodgy traverse in 'keyhole' passage on a very large scale. Bolts are rigged to make it safe. Going down here is [C1998-40-03 A]. Rounding the corner reaches another large hole, which is passed by a protected traverse on slabs to the right [C1998-40-04 A]. These two QMs may well connect below. A ledge along the right hand wall reaches solid ground. It's not clear if the passage is choked here or just kinks and has a lot of sand on the floor. Ducking under the left hand wall reaches the top of a pitch. A continuation [C1998-40-05 B] can be seen 8m across the other side, but the traverse looks difficult.
Descending here is a 30m split pitch of 15m and 15m. The rift at the bottom is too tight, and the draught seems to have gone.
An interesting series off Schneevulkanhalle, with some tortuous small passage of a highly 'Mendip' nature, including tight bends, squeezes, ridiculous climbs, insane bolt traverses, and bizarre hading rift. This connects a selection of rifts and pitches which are largely blocked at the bottom. The passages trend steeply up between the pitches. There is an awful lot of 'varied caving' in the 400m of passage found so far. The end (bottom of Eiscream) is the point closest to Kaninchenhöhle (Breeze block area of Chile) which makes it a very interesting spot.
About 10m up the left edge of the funnel-shaped rubble/ice slope at the western edge of SVH is a narrow rift. (You can leave your crampons at the foot of the rubble slope). A stiff breeze emerges from this passage, Deviant Alternative (Named as we found it avoiding the ice-climb QMs a few metres further round the wall in SVH). It goes downhill for a few metres before reaching a very narrow and rather awkward 180 degree bend, leading to another 7m of unhelpfully small wiggly passage. At least the wind stops you overheating :-).
At the end there is a hole in the floor, which is made awkward by the chockstone in the middle of it. The way on to Up, up and away is the narrow, steeply ascending passage on the right.
Climbing 3m down the hole reaches a pair of windows into a large, wide rift and the sound of water. Most of the draught comes from here. A 15m pitch (dubious thread by chockstone above and bolt right hand wall), lands on large boulders in the bottom of the rift. From the top of the pitch a passage can be seen on the far side of the rift - it would be very hard to get to [C1999-40-01 C]. From the foot of the pitch you can climb up or down the rift. Up is a c4 round a protruding boulder to the foot of a small waterfall and pool which soaks away into the rubble floor. Down is a c6 to the top of another 15m pitch (Bolt high on left hand wall, knotted sling deviation from right hand wall at -1m). This is classic descending stream rift.
There is a traverse level halfway down the pitch, and it is possible, with much scrabbling, to climb round a corner into a narrow section (on rope) where more dodgy traversing (sling belay here) and a climb up then down gets to a 'chamber' where you can stand and tie off the rope. This seems to be where the draught goes. Several small passages go off here. In the SW corner a steeply ascending tube goes about 8m (over an awkward rock) to look back out into the rift opposite the pitch head. Another even smaller passage (take off SRT gear) ascends the bedding 3m to a point where the draught comes in from a desperately tight steep slot on the left and it gets too tight above. I'm not even going to give it a QM, although it may be humanly possible!
In the other end of the chamber (NE) there are two possible climbs into roof tubes. The furthest one ascends about 5m to a 'space' but is blocked by large rocks. A second (even more obscure, and harder to climb into) tube ascends nearby to reach the same space. Both tubes have a strong draught going in. Beyond is another rift, more or less parallel to Delaying Tactics, and climbing up in it reaches a point where you can look down 10m to the pitch head bolt. The wind here suggests more passage, but we've tried ridiculously hard to find it...it may just lead to interstices in the floor of SVH (it must be quite close).
At the bottom of the 15m pitch is flat rocky floor for 10m widening out to 3m wide (still draughting strongly). Then a c4 down and rocky slope leads into the end chamber (6 x 3 x 7m high). There is no draught here and no ways on.
Ascending the steep, rifty passage for 4m leads to a squeeze over a boulder into a spacious chamber. At the left hand edge is access back into the top of the Delaying Tactics rift. Ahead an exposed 5m climb gets back into narrow rift. The way on is a very exposed 5m climb straight up, although you can also traverse forward to the end of the rift, just above the farthest point that can be reached from below. These two climbs are now bypassed by an 11m pitch (left rigged, in 1999) up the sloping right hand wall of the chamber to a window.
At the top a lined 2m climb leads to a passage, And away. The main Delaying Tactics rift also continues ahead for about 12m (including a bad step) to a wet vertical choke where the water seen below comes in. 'And away' is a narrow ascending walking passage with a very strong outward draught. It emerges after about 40m on a rock bridge between two sizeable pitches.
Both pitches from the bridge reach the same place. Only the right hand one has been descended (backup bolt at start of Hooked on Classics traverse; pitch head left hand wall; crap deviation -6m). A couple of metres below the deviation a rift enters which leads to the foot of the pitch above which Hooked on Classics traverses. At the foot of the 24m pitch is a wide (4m) rift. 11m along is a hole in the floor, which can be descended by a difficult 4m climb, or traversed round on the right to continuing rift. Climbing up to the left is where the pitch the other side of the bridge above comes in. At the bottom of the hole, going back SW is a tiny draughting hole [C1999-40-02 C]. Correctly thrown rocks rattle a long way down behind it. Fifteen minutes of hammering didn't make it big enough - Hilti caps are needed. On the other side of the hole the continuing rift can be entered at two different levels.
At all three levels the rift continues about 10m before becoming about 8cm wide. A strong draught goes into this crack! This section is called Radio 3 because it was crap.
Most of the draught at the rock bridge comes from a window across the Radio 3 pitch. This is reached by a 5-bolt tension traverse. (Originally done by climbing up the far wall from 5m down the pitch). The window immediately looks out over another pitch, which connects back into Radio 3 10m below. This is passed by an ascending 5-bolt tension traverse along the left hand wall, which reaches a steeply ascending phreatic passage, Angle of Dangle. The traverse finishes at a large thread.
This traverse is called Hooked on Classic, due to the extensive use of a skyhook, which made it possible. It was left rigged with a static rope in 1999.
Despite ascending at more than 40 degrees, the passage beyond can be ascended with no gear. The passage is strongly joint-controlled, and hades at 35-40 degrees throughout. There is a general shortage of proper 'floor' anywhere. The climb up the initial section is about 18m in total. After about 11m there is a hole in the floor where the canyon separates from the phreatic section. This has not been descended [C1999-40-03 B]. The climb is a bit harder after this (handline recomended), until the angle eases for a few metres. This section feels like a tilted bedding. The way on is to go low on the left though a narrow bit (a window higher on the left is a harder option). Ahead the passage quickly becomes entirely vertical and has not been climbed [C1999-40-04 C]. After the narrowing, the passage returns to steeply ascending and hading rift which gets increasingly awkward. First a 2m climb, then several points where you can go over or under rock bridges. Progress is generally easiest at the bottom, in the muddy bit. At the end of the rift a strenuous 3m climb reaches a new traverse level where you go back over the route (East), to a bit of floor. A hole ahead is a tight pitch back down into the rift below. A 4m climb here reaches more rift going back West. There is a strong draught all along this section.
Finally, another 8m of steep progress reaches a point where the rift continues [C1999-40-05 B] and a passage, North Utsira, goes off from the left. It has real floor! and an extremely strong draught.
Immediately at the start of the passage a few rocks cover a deep hole, which doesn't appear to be the rift below [C1999-40-06 B]. After 11m a T-junction is reached. To the right is yet more ascending rift, and two thirds of the draught comes from here. A couple of checks of this direction have not revealed any person-sized ways on - the draught seems to come out of the roof somewhere [C1999-40-07 C].
To the left the rift becomes small phreatic passage, which wiggles for 12m to another T-junction. Left is a smaller draughtless passage that goes a rather tedious 25m to a mud choke. Right has the draught and is stooping passage for ~25m to a very wet window to a pitch on the left. A 7m traverse line here (bolt right hand wall, long (2 slings) thread on far side) passes the window, where the passage degenerates to a crawl for a couple of metres before opening out to the pitch again, but with dry access this time, 7m beyond the first window.
From the window the first pitch of Eiscream (thread back round corner; roof bolt) descends past a steep slope on the right. A hole (probably another pitch) can be seen across the other side of the slope [>C1999-40-08 B]. It is also probably possible to ascend the slope to the right [C1999-40-09 C]. 10m down, a ledge between two further drops can be gained. The way on carries on down to the right. Descending to the left requires an extra deviation. It is a very wet 20m pitch where the water (a sizeable stream) disappears down the usual small slot. It may be possible to descend but it was too wet to see properly!
Descending another 4m from the ledge over a boulder reaches the start of a long stream rift pitch series. Bolt left hand wall and spike deviation at -3m give a 13m pitch. A thread on the right hand side through a window, followed by an epic spike deviation on the left at -5m and another at -13m pass a large block to reach the floor again. Traversing out a little to the widest point gives a 9m hang and a couple more 2m descents/climbs (2 bolts, left and right). At this point the traverse ledges lead all the way out to the roof. The slot is very narrow all the way along but you can get to the pitch head by an awkward move down into the slot then along a metre or so (such fun!). The pitch series can be seen to continue at least another 15m below [C1999-40-10 A].
It is believed that the first 40m of this series was explored by GSCB in the early 80s.
Standing facing the icefall just to the right of the pitch down from Schneevulkanhalle to Elefantengang, moving around the wall to the right (past a drop off the edge of the ice) reaches a gap under the wall. A low wet crawl in icy water, Soggy Bottom, gains a small ice-floored chamber. A rift leads off and up to the right; crampons can be left here. The rift leads to another chamber with a multitude of exits.
Straight ahead is a plane sloping up at about 45 degrees. This appears too tight at the top but it is possible, about a third of the way up, to thrutch across to the left (looking up-slope) to reach another similarly sloping plane. This leads to a small chamber .....
To the right in the chamber is a climb over rocks to a slightly higher level. A steeply-sloping plane goes off to the left..... whilst to the right is a short crawl to a small window into SVH. A sandy-floored crawl/stoop straight ahead leads to a drop onto an ice floor. Here there is a large window looking out into SVH from the top of the icefall between the entrance to the Series and the slope leading to Up, Up and Away.
Crossing the ice with care gains a rift heading upwards to a small chamber. To the right a crawl leads to another window further around SVH. Up and to the left a passage degenerates into an earthen-floored crawl which decreases in size until opening up into a rift chamber. A canyon leads from here and stops abruptly where it intersects a large shaft......