Cambridge Underground 1986-7 pp 9-10

A Bird's Eye View of Austria - 85

by Tina White

The Journey

Team Fiat (Stephan and Chris) won Team Speed (Mike M and Brian), but only by catching an earlier ferry. Stephan tells us he loves his Fiat, even if it has got a small petrol tank. Team momentum (Rover, Mike R, the author and lots of gear) got there a day late with the help of a new fan belt. M.U.S.S.'s car was espied waiting for the ferry, but they missed it trying to find something to deface Rover's decoration with. Tee hee !


Due to not taking the logbooks from the year before, there almost wasn't any. However, the memories from hardened expeditioners of yesteryear proved good enough to guide us instead.

Night trips prevailed this year - there were two types of these. The first was of the accidental variety, owing to CUCC's habit of not being able to get going early. Inevitably a so-called day trip meant traipsing up the mountain at the time of day when most Austrians were scuttling for the cover of the Bergrestaurant. Some expedition members were noticeably worse than others at appearing from their pits before lunch, eg. Gavin "I try to avoid mornings" Andrews. He managed very well. An entry in the logbook reads "P.S. - Gavin got up".

The second type of overnight trips were the planned ones. Given the group's proclivities for lying in in the mornings, it was thought best to leave all that nasty caving to the night time. This worked nicely - the very first proper trip being one of these, to give the SRT novices a practice in 142.

As you will find from the rest of the journal, there was much heroising on this holiday (sorry, expedition). With Das Bananahöhle (after Mike M's yucky car colour) and the connection and other bits and pieces, people generally queued up for the kudos of a hard trip - couldn't resist the contrived alliteration there.

With bright sunshine the first week, there was some caving every day. 152 was found and rigged. 144 was rigged, and thanks to Mark chucking himself down a very dubious looking hole, a connection to Stellerweg was found. Legs were scratched from Bunde bashing trips to find more caves to squeeze our bodies down, but unfortunately 150 and 151 didn't go. Even the author was a real man - so to speak. Caving was most people's main concern, people being too shagged out to do anything but drink bier, eat and sleep the rest of the time. Oh, and Caroline S. visited us for the weekend, so there were two women for two days.

Then the rain set in and the caving lost its attraction somewhat. The rain caused a certain amount of "musical tents" with the author, Mike R, Stephan and a hedgehog all ending up in Chris's nice big waterproof tent. It should be stressed that this wasn't all at once, and the hedgehog wasn't invited.

Still, even the weather couldn't stop Teams Superhero-go-for-it (Mike M, Mark and Chris) going for the connection found earlier and surveying out. They returned "bloody freezing" and clutching a chopped date wrapper (proof). The more sensible ones had a day out as tourists to the Eishöhle.

The next day the rest of us were so bored - no caving for days. We needed a fix. So five went down 144, trampled around and drank some cave solution called "tea".

The weather cleared just as Mike M and Brian zapped off home. The last week was on us so we surveyed the big chamber in 142 and played about with some magnesium tape "acquired" from the Eishöhle. And then everything had to be derigged as it was going home time.

Other things

  1. Whatever anyone says, the author and Chris did not get rescued. There we were, coming down the mountain after some prospecting, perfectly happy, when all them noisy cavers met us on the path and claimed a rescue. (admittedly we were moving very slowly 'cos we'd miscalculated how long it took to get dark and we hadn't any lights). Still, they had to prove themselves real heroes after their hard day out on the Dachstein had turned out to be a tourist route.
  2. The bean (!) caving breakfast became almost compulsory for evryone. This was after horrific stories from the year before and we had lessened the amount so someone mustn't have had their share. Forgetting the beans (if that's possible), Brian must be remembered for stationing himself by the frying pan, unselfishly and beyond the call of duty. Brian and the beans kept us all regular.
  3. Mike R deminstrated why he likes Landrovers, and showed off its four-wheel drive up and down some humps. It was a pity about the dint left in the tarmac after the ground lost an argument with the back hook. However he did let us all have a go with his plaything.
  4. Horseflies were out in force this year. Lounging around in the sun meant a running battle for the selected few who were obviously more tasty. Mark almost found a solution at Grundlsee, but the fly had the last word.

That's all folks, except to say - more women wanted next time.