Bristol Exploration Club

The Bristol Exploration Club is one of the "elder clubs" of Mendip. They foster their own reputation for worldwide expeditions by their slogan "The BEC gets everywhere" seen on stickers in the most unlikely places :-). They certainly visited the Totes Gebirge of Austria well before expeditionary caving abroad became commonplace.

From 1965 to 1969, the BEC held expeditions to Austria, in the first couple of years working with the Austrians in Raucherkarhöhle, then later doing much work in the already known cave of Ahnenschacht, on the slopes of Schönberg, in the north of the western massif of the Totes Gebirge. This is now a very major system, but even in 1967, it was a very serious proposition, being remote, and with a very deep entrance shaft, which became epic in the wet, especially when tackled on ladders, as was the way in those days.

The BEC's explorations were reported in a series of articles in their frequent (then monthly) newsletter the Belfry Bulletin, as well as in other more widely available journals. Not all references in this list have CTS numbers, as most are too early, and nobody seems inclined to produce retrospective CTS volumes.

Belfry Bulletin 214, Dachstein/Hirlatz/Raucher/Koppenbrüller/Eisriesenwelt
Belfry Bulletin 222, Raucherkarhöhle
Belfry Bulletin 237 pp 93-97, Ahnenschacht 1967
Belfry Bulletin 239 (Jan 1968) pp 23-26, Scientific work on 1967 trip
Belfry Bulletin 246 (Sep 1968) pp 130-138, Ahnenschacht 1968, Alan Thomas
Belfry Bulletin 249 (Dec 1968) pp 198-204, Drainage development in the Western Totes Gebirge, Mike Luckwill
Cave Research Group of G.B. Newsletter 116 (June 1969) pp 7-9 A brief account of the history of the Ahnenschacht, A.R.Thomas.
Descent 5 (July 1969) pp 31-35, British Team challenges Austria's Ahnenschacht, A.R.Thomas.
Mendip Caving Group Newsletter 77 (August 1969) pp 1-3, Austria 1969, Greg Smith
Belfry Bulletin 259, (Oct 1969) pp 169-170, New Austrian discovery (near Feuertal Ice Cave), Dave Yeandle.
Shepton Mallet Caving Club Newsletter 6(5) (Oct 1969) pp 65-70, Ahnenschacht 1969 ... near Ebensee, Austria, R.D.Craig
Belfry Bulletin 261 (Dec 1969) pp 200-203, Ahnenschacht 1969, A.R.Thomas.
Shepton Mallet Caving Club Journal 4(8) (Dec 1969) pp 15-21, Ahnenschacht 1969 ... near Ebensee, Austria, R.D.Craig