The French Connection

Fri 01 Sep 1989
Penny Reeves

survey to the bottom & finish the route



  • El Presidente Jeremy
  • Julian the Keenest Man on the Expedition
  • Dan the Second Keenest Man on the Expedition
  • Penny the Expedition Treasurer & the least keenest woman on the Trip

Filmed in Glorious Technicolour by an unknown Austrian Photographer.

Set off for the plateau in Jeremy's car remarkably early (for CUCC). Leaping enthusiastically (ha ha) from the car outside the Bergrestaurant we were immediately accosted by a strange man festooned with cameras who requested 'a minute' of our time. The next twenty minutes was spent trooping on and off an empty Bundesbus while the above mentioned photographer did his stuff - apparently we look like four typical Loser walkers! The photos are to be used for advertising the bus service - we are *stars* (autographs given for a small consideration!)

Finally made it to the cave and eventually got underground. Jeremy and Julian zoomed on down D+S to push, and Dan and I started the survey at Wet Nappy Chamber. Approximately twenty survey stations later J+J appeared, demanding that we choose to hear first the 'bad news or the good news'.

The BAD news:- "IT ENDS"

The GOOD news:- "We've connected with the French Cave"


Instant acceleration of survey in order to reach the 'French' cave before we have to go out.

Julian (no-one else would have done it!) had pushed something both obscure and constricted and come upon the end of a very clean unmarked piece of 10mm Edelrid hanging down a pitch. Thought process:
(1) Rope is clean therefore cannot have come from anywhere in 161
(2) Bolts are very good therefore they _cannot_ be CUCC bolts
(3) We have no idea where we are so we can't be anywhere near anywhere else:
THEREFORE this must be the French cave!

The more we thought about it the more reasons we managed to find to convince ourselves that the French Connection was a fact.

A note was left attached to the bottom of the rope, and it was surveyed to, and we set off out.


Back at Base Camp, Dan and I rush to work out the survey data and plot the centre line on the rough survey to see where it goes relevant to salient points elsewhere in the cave.

Circa two hours and much calculator programming later:-

"Right Dan, where's the end of D+S?"
"-7 North & 42 East".
"And where's the current end of the Niflheim survey?"
"Um.... +7 North and 42 East"
"Aren't they sort of rather ... um ... _close_?"

A rush to the log book confirms:- the French Connection is in fact the bottom of Niflheim.

Kaninchenhöhlensystem becomes Kaninchenhöhle once more. We have no second entrance, but we do have one big survey loop.

Oh, well, never mind. I don't know what the French is for "ha ha we've got the highest entrance" anyway.

Time on the bus:- 20 minutes.

Time underground :- 11 hours


Previous trip / Next D&S Trip (photo + derigging)
Same day: The Niflheim trip

"I'm very disappointed with Dan's performance on this expedition"

- Penny

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Survex files on this date:
No wallets files found for this date.
Logbook trips on this date:
    Pitch, pitch, pitch,
    The French Connection
    The 3½ hr extravagance !