161 - Looking for 161d

Mon 01 Jul 1996
Anthony Day

After sitting around at Top Camp for a bit waiting for the weather to clear up, it became clear it wasn't going to so we went entrance hunting. Walked back along the path to the Toll Road and picked up the 201 by the shepherd's huts and followed this to the Hochklapf Sattel.

First of all we found a cave below the ridge at the low point on the top camp path shortly before we picked up the 201. It doesn't go anywhere - just 15m or so of 4m wide stooping passage which closes down.

Walked on the 201 past 32 and arrows indicating a route to 41 and 115. Also found a cave numbered 88 immediately adjacent to the path. It looks like an obvious no goer so is clearly the cave in need of denumbering rather than Lärchenschacht. Slightly further along the 201 is an arrow indicating the route to 87 opposite a marking [Triangle with dot in centre] 5 in the path - presumably a fixed survey station.

Beyond Hochklapf after the path from Alt Aussee joins, Scarface is clearly visible. There is a white band running down the cliff face with a prominent boulder pile half way up - this is the level of the entrance. We tried back tracking down the 201 to a little way before the path from Alt Aussee joins and attempted to climb over the spur between us and 161d - not a good idea, much Bunde bashing. A better route would be to walk to the southern end of the Augstwies see, then walk round the spur and up a prominent SW trending gully (big enough to be marked on the map). From the top of this gully it is possible to zig zag up the hill to the right level by means of some Bunde bashing and a few climbs, none of which are too desperate, and walk along to the entrance. This is the best route found so far but it is a _long_ way. It took us 2½ hours from top camp. Even allowing for a certain amount of pratting around it's not going to be much less than 2 hours, and that on a cool day with very little gear.

Heading back we first tried to make for a gully to the north which looks like it would provide an easy descent route if we could find a way into it (we didn't). Next we tried scaling the cliffs but quickly gave up when it became obvious that an easy route was not going to present itself. Finally we started off traversing along the same level as the entrance heading south. It doesn't look too far up to the col near 161c here, so a better approach may be to attack it from the top with a bolting kit and some ladders.

There is a very obvious traverse level just below the cliff face which continues until you are approximately west of the junction of the 201 and the Alt Aussee path but considerably higher up. There is a possible site for a couple of tents here - no water supply but completely invisible from more than 10 yards away. At this point we decided to try and head up and over the shoulder of the VSK rather than go down and join the 201. This was a mistake - 2½ hours of Bunde bashing with intermittent showers followed. It was rubbish. Sheltered in an enormous train tunnel entrance, though the plaque labelled "Schwarzmooskogel Eishöhle" gave us a clue that someone had been there before us. We couldn't find the path back immediately, but after a bit more thrashing around we found it and went home.

Incidentally, there's a big hole in the middle of the Eishöhle path which is obviously >10m deep with no markings or bolts evident. I can't believe that something that size in the middle of the path to Eishöhle hasn't been checked out - so what the hell is it??

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Logbook trips on this date:
    161 - Looking for 161d
    travel - Nick, Helen, Gunilla and Matthew go to Expo