GRUBSTEN WEST-WANDHÖHLE 1625/351 - An Eishöhle near Bad Mitterndorf
+Hans, H's son(Manfred), another one + Günther (Austrians)
Preparation started early for this one : packing rucksacks the afternoon before!?! What, CUCC getting organised? Fortunately we were able to disprove this by having a 21st birthday party the evening and before, and various of us bivvied coz it was nice, despite knowing that the Austrians wanted to meet us in BM at 6.30am. We made it, with Richie's epic driving, 2 mins early.
So here we are at the top of the toll road (another one). Olly improves our organisational record by having no crampons, and the Austrians had no spare set. They did say they might tho'). Hans sez an ice axe is good gear though, so off we walk to the cave.
Plan: 1hr walk to cave, 2hrs cave, 2hrs walk back across the plateau then bier in a caff.
Results: Austrians lots CUCC 1 Where did we lose?
First game: Rucksacks. We had traditional cavers rucksacks with lots of gear. The Austrians rucksacks looked like they would struggle to hold a walkman, let alone full caving gear.
2nd game: Hangover (some of us). Imagine going Sunday caving (albeit with dry gear) at 6am, after a late nite sess at the Hill Inn. You don't, do you? You go to bernies and fester lots and groan and maybe walk round Yorkshire a bit. Not walk up a mountain led by hyper-fit Austrians who say 10km is 1hrs walk easily. With caving gear. On nasty scree slopes with goats throwing rocks at you. "See the hole in the middle of the cliff there? That's it". While changing, my oversuit did a tumbling boulder impression. I didn't really want it to fall all the huge distance down the scree slope. I like grass: it stops things falling.
3rd game: Odd gear. Hans' furry - unpacks from his tiny rucksack along with oodles of ham sandwiches, wurst etc (slavering english had no breakfast) a furry. Imagine camo pattern, 'cept in bright colours. That's it. Hans' son's undersuit - looked like black bubble-wrap? Ho hum
4th Game: We won (what - FESTERING of course). Various light fettling, hangovers, generally being slow.
5th Game - Caving (yes now comes the important bit). U go down the obvious cave, then crawl a tiny bit (austrians are hard, they don't need kneepads. Fran and Richie do, tho'). Out again a few metres later. A through trip! Down another cave, amusing fixed ladder with lots of bolts & wires holding it together. Perhaps a leetle bit over the top. Some rocks, then crampons on for a toddle down a nice ice slope. Watching Olly fun, as Hans walks him down (Ol's foot resting on Hans' etc). Squeeze at bottom of ice would be awful except ice is v. slippy(!). Then some real caving. We wandered round lots of big bouldery passage, being shown all the leads & being out caved in a miserably easy cave. Günter had a trick of being behind one minute, then you see him next in front. OK, he did find the cave. The walls were all light coloured mud, making the big spaces quite bright for a change (cf puffball any [?]). It's a big cave : 10km, 400m deep & we only saw the top bit. Beautiful sail like piece of really blue ice somewhere we saw. Eventually after wandering apparently randomly exeunt cavers. Out, change. Hans showed us (in the cave) a passage which went up, and said "We found the hole in the top by surveying it underground, then walking 350m from the campsite & saying 'Yes it's here'". Why can't CUCC surveying be this good? Anyway, we have to climb horribly steep chossy crap bit of mountain. I scared. At the top, a football pitch sized bit of grass. Flat! Their campsite - amusing camping - they have to carry all their shit up, but a helicopter delivers barrel of beer and cakes.
Walk back across plateau - real Totes Gebirge - grey and white, no bunde for miles but little grey plants feeking [?] around. Shown some big holes & people drool etc. - one is a big hole near the path with a cross/memorial on the other side of the path from the hole so people fall down it on the way to see it.
Vaguely tropical once in the plant level again - clear lake below, beautiful colours, plants with really bright colours all round.
Then to a Gasthof for a yearned-for drink & home.
Summary: don't go caving at 6am with immensely hard Austrians who are really good tourist guides (the day was really interesting despite the fact I felt a complete ouigee) The End
P.S. Richie and Fran stole Aggy and Jerry's shorts on the way out the A's thought this was funny. There seemed no point in nicking Wook's shorts tho.
P.P.S. Guess whose light failed despite it being a club FX2 and whose replacement carbide was shit also?