Document remaining wook-caves (wk12, wk11)

Sun 09 Aug 2015



Wook foolishly recorded some entrances whilst wandering in the 1990s, before realising that it's actually rather unhelpful to just note entrances. Most of those have long been explored and catalogued but 3 remain in the dataset: wk4, wk11 and wk12. One of my objectives for this expo was to sort them out. Phil Balister (a caver/geek Wookey knows who was holidaying in Bad Aussee) volunteered to help out as a way of seeing what our area is like. His partner Sandy came along too for a looksee.

The caves are somewhat scattered. wk12 is on the Schwarzmoos Sattel, wk11 is near the top of the Vord and wk4 is down the back of the vord, below Eishöhle. Also the rope and gear was at 107. THe plan was to try and relocate the caves, taking enough gear to actually look in, hopefully having time to visit Eishöhle too and bring some rope down from 107. And to start nice and early to minimise the time in the boiling heat of midday. Needless to say this plan proved to be hopelessly ambitious.

Some research showed that wk12 had in fact been surveyed, photoed and tagged (2005-89) in 2005 on a trip with Dave Loeffler. So that was used as a check that the GPS co-ords matched the real world. It was easily found on the col, along with B4. Both were photoed and a quick sketch of B4 done.

Then we headed over to 107 to fish out a suitable shortish (thin, light) rope, SRT kit, helmet+light, distoX2, hangers, sling. We also had tags, notebook, pencils. We staggered over from 107 with the rest of the rope and a T-sack which didn't strap on anywhere, and left that gear at the end of the plateau 'crack', for collection on the way back if we had time. Sandy decided she had the general idea now, as as her new hip and knackered knees slow her down significantly, headed back to the car park, whilst we slogged up the Vord. The cave was only 650m away according to phone GPS, but it took a good, sweaty, while to get that down to 170m by reaching the peak of the Vord. We signed the book, noting that Wook was last there in 2005, and most visitors come in Feb and March, and thus must ski there.

We headed down the shelves on the SE side of the Vord, and soon found a good schacht. This was between 'p140' and 'gps00.140' so seemed very likely to be 140. We could find no sign of a tag, or rigging for descent. Looks a fine hole - really should be properly rigged and documented. Pressing on we soon got to a large hole below, '155' according to the GPS, and indeed it has '155' written on it in orange paint which has stod the test of time well.

Now we were only 76m from the fabled wk11. Passed a great big rift cave too big to ignore on the left, on shelf below 155, but no sign of tags/paint. Hard to believe given size of it. Pressed on and had to ignore another 12m+ shaft nearby quite hard. Phil couldn't quite cope with the idea of ignoring such good holes, but Wook pointed out that sorting out wk11, but adding another undescended entrance instead would not improve the situation at all. Some more wandering showed no cave at al at the actual GPS location, but the big rift was within 50m, fit the description and was exactly the sort of thing that would be very hard to ignore.

The cave has a steepish slope, mostly snow-covered, going out of sight about 15m down. We GPSed it, then started survey. Phil put in the handbolt whilst wook belayed off a couple of boulders and descended. Turned out to go further than expected. 20m-ish rope wasn't quite long enough, but snow slope leveled out enough to make ginger descent possible. At the bottom it closes down and the open way on is slightly too small for a person, certainly one in shorts+t-shirt, but there is a decent ingoing draught. It looks like a few mins moving rocks and some actualy caving gear might make it passsable.

Solo surveying is possible with a distoX, although still a fag as you have to check lines, mark both ends and then survey. Getting a shot out into the very bright sunshine prooved too hard, so that shot was done downwards on the exit.

It was now 4pm and we had to be back at the carpark by 6pm as Phil+Sandy had a restaurant slot booked. A Tag 'WK11' was hastily prepared (by penknife scratching as we had no stamps) and attached, and we packed up and left ASAP, except of course that we are still lost in the karren, with the nipple visible quite some distance away. (There was clearly no time for a look at Eishöhle or for wk4 - those would have to wait for another day). The going was mostly not too bad but we did get stopped by Bunde and big (15m) drops into holes in a couple of places. Soon saw a couple of rucksacks, which were ARGE ones at 158 (Donner und Blitzen Hohle). This was helpful as we could now track faint bootprints to get ourselves out of there (There was bugger-all cairning). Eventually got to the nipple where the path become a lot easier to follow. Slogged on for some time, eventually getting to the Storgerweg, for a mere 25mins hike back to the carpark. We had 20 mins to spare on deadline, but it was bloody hard work.

Still, objective of making wk11 katasterable achieved, and thinks muchly to Phil for helping carry the crap.