Balcony - The Kraken Wakes 2

Sat 09 Jul 2016
Anthony Day

[This blog is dated 4 August 2016. /the-kraken-wakes/]

A week or so after the first camp, I got the the opportunity to go down again. The plan was that three of us would stay underground for two nights, giving us two days to explore before exiting on the third day. Things did not go entirely according to plan. The exploration part went reasonably well: although all the leads we explored ultimately closed down, we were quite satisfied with our finds. At 11:00 on the third morning, we prepared to exit. One of my companions got kitted up and wandered off towards the rope… except when he got to where the rope was supposed to be, he couldn’t find it. Kraken is quite a big chamber and it is easy to get disorientated, so we spent quite a while wandering around looking for the rope without any success. Then we looked up, and saw a loop of rope caught up on a ledge at least 40m off the floor – presumably pulled up there by accident by the last member of the previous camping party. There was no way we could reach it. We were comprehensively marooned.

We had left a “call out” (the time at which we were officially overdue) on the surface of 09:00 the following day – so we knew nobody was going to come looking for us until then. Fortunately, we had brought more food with us than we intended to eat, so Camp Kraken was well stocked. We had plenty of battery life for lights and plenty of equipment, so we went off for an additional bonus day of exploration. We found a muddy passage that ultimately closed off, and rigged a pitch which had a couple of promising leads at the bottom. We called the pitch Indian Rope Trick since it appeared that one of our colleagues had achieved mastery of this particular illusion.

We spent an additional night in camp, and around 11:30 the following morning heard the voices of the rescue team heading towards us. The rope was freed and we exited without incident. The guys on the surface were understandably concerned by our non-appearance, and – although they had correctly guessed approximately what had happened – they weren’t taking any chances given how deep we were underground. Consequently two waves of rescuers had been sent in, and the third wave were just heading in when the message came out that we were ok. In addition, the Austrian cave rescue had been alerted and eight of them had turned up at the entrance in a police helicopter (which had gone by the time I got out, so I missed the chance of a lift down the hill).

I want to publicly thank the members of the expedition and the Austrian cave rescue for coming to look for us. We knew we were fine, but they didn’t and the action they took was both timely and appropriate. I always knew that, if I ever did get into a sticky spot underground, my mates have got my back. It’s nice to have that proved.

It turned out that one of the leads at the bottom of Indian Rope Trick was very important indeed. A later camping party went to look at it, and romped off into a master cave with a substantial stream in places. It eventually choked, but not before reaching 903m depth – by some distance the deepest we have ever been in Austria.

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Survex files on this date:
Wallets on this date:
    2016#24 Kipper Cock ['plan-1', 'plan-2', 'notes-1', 'elevation-1', 'elevation-2', 'notes-2']
    2016#25 Indian Rope Trick ['elevation', 'notes-1', 'notes-2', 'plan']
    2016#55 Solidrock ['16-jb-01-2p', '16-jb-01-1p', '16-jb-01-2p_updated', '16-jb-01-2p', '16-jb-01-…
Logbook trips on this date:
    16-JB-01 Hohle der guten Hoffnung
    Annoying resurvey and no Cashback (Pitch is now called Young Love)
    Balcony - The Kraken Wakes 2