Expedition 1985

1985-07-28 | Surface Prospecting | Mike Martin, Mark, Stefan, Chris, Gavin, Brian

Weather calm, wind speed force 0.1, 13° 48' W, 47° 30' N

Mike M, Mark, Stefan, Chris, Gavin + Brian

Got away about midday after a long morning recovering from the all-night drives.

Toll road guy is the same as last year and we are getting some discount to be negotiated from "Die Boss". It'll be free cars and the children's rate for the rest of us. Got to the top to the surprise of the car owners, such little farts in their thrusting pistons. PS. The banana ejaculated all over the car park.

Walked along Stogerweg to beyond 115 and 113 and prospected up and down. Cairn marks climb up to draughting hole which is being dug out, 150 - Bananahöhle if it gets to 150m. So far dug in about 10 feet and it draughts a gale. Further along prospected above existing cairn to a couple of non-draughting holes. Both are at base of 30 ft cliff, one goes up about 6m, no draught, second is tight entrance to undescended pitch (15-20 ft ?). Probably not worth pushing.

Lots less water in streams on way to plateau - hooray.

Phew, what a scorcher.


1985-07-28? | team heroes | Mike Martin, Mark, Gavin, Tina, Stefan

Late the same day ! Team F...ing heroes.

Members - Mike M, Mark, Gavin, Tina, Stef. Time underground 6¾ hours.

Found our way to 142 in the dark. Underground @ 11.45 pm (on the night before Gavin's birthday). Objective - SRT practice for us SRT novices, & looking for connections off Big Chamber. No problems getting there - tho' some "frig-rigging" 'cos our ropes were too short. Mike found something, & Gavin and Mark did some messing around - see later.

Route back taken at some speed - all found the strain of 24 hrs awake & walk back over dawning plateau NOT appreciated !

Out of cave ~ 6.00. Back at car ~ 7.00 (Mon)

Mike M's bit - Explored branch of 142 chamber nearest rest of cave system. Desperate climb up hanging death of loose shattered rock. Approx 50 ft up - ducked under slab approx 40 ft x 5 ft x 15 ft. Intersects cross-rift on more solid rock. Still awkward climbing up to Balcony (higher than pitch takeoff). Passed sandy shelf (Dogger Bank), continue up, then down to Boulder in connection <illegible> 41, 142.

See sketch over - to be compared with survey later. NB - high point may be higher than entrance of 41.

[ scrappy sketch with lots of annotation - to be scanned ]

Upper branch of chamber explored down by Mark & Gavin, a small rift was found at bottom, but tight and no draught. Many spaces through boulder choke. Almost no chance of these leading to an unblocked floor level exit. Possible phreatic level 30 ft up terminal wall - not climbed to. Little chance of worthwhile connection.

NB. Boulder choke loose and dodgy.

Previous trip (last year) / Next trip

1985-07-29 | down 144 | Brian, Mike R, Chris

                                      x  x  x  x  x  x  x
                                    x   FREE   SCHNAPPS   x
                                      x  x  x  x  x  x  x

Brian, Mike R, Chris down 144

Arrived in the car park about midday. Took a leisurely (!) two hours to the vicinity of the cave. Another 1½ hours Bunde-bashing to find the bloody thing. Despite being pretty pissed off by this stage, we decided it was the hole and set off down (about 4.30). Brian went first to rig the first pitch, and do some gardening. I sat at the top of the entrance, and did some more gardening (Oops, sorry Brian). Got down first pitch, decided it wanted a ladder. Rigged and gardened second pitch. Decided it wanted more gardening when Brian nearly took half the pitch-head down with him. Hauled up the ropes and exitted. Looked a bit overcast, so we hurried back - finished the walk at a dead run. Time down 90 mins - total depth 15m !

Previous trip / Next trip

1985-07-29 | BUNDE BASHING BOYS | Stefan


Brian, Stef, Mark went off to carry on "pushing" 150. Stef got bored waiting while Brian was digging and wandered off - he found a hole but after coming back most pleased he couldn't find it but found a draughting hole, (151 ?) and another. 151 (with a light) was a chamber (30 ft high, 10 ft square) with a draughting tight rift going out. Definitely worth a squeeze in kit.

Mark's bored wandering found a couple of holes that proved choked, a big 50 ft pitch with snow at the bottom (probably choked) and a 30 ft shaft that I swore draughted up - worth another trip.

The area (above the 150 marker, about the same distance beyond '88' as Windloch to '88' along Stogerweg) is well covered with many ravines/rifts about 100m up from path (distance along ground). Very promising, dozens of holes, some MUST go.

150 was cleared by Brian after 1½ hrs digging. The rift beyond was too small to follow. F--K.

1985-07-29 | Meanwhile, back at 144 | Chris and Mike R

All very efficient so we got away rather late and then went shopping 'cos Chris had forgotten his wellies (what's new). Zapped from car park to the cave in about one hour. Wasted most of an hour removing choss and a large piece of hanging death. After that it got rather slow because of dubious anchors - so we put in a few more dubious anchors of our own. Finally reached the 50 cm triangular slot, and decided that bier and scoff were more interesting, so exitted a.s.a.p. to discover that it was raining. Got very wet on the walk back.

Underground ~ 6 hrs.

(Short write up so I can go to bed !)

Previous trip / Next trip

1985-07-30 | 142 Tuesday - see new book | Mike Martin, Gavin, Tina

[slight hiatus ?]

Team 142

Down 142 again - this time surveying. Out with the compass and clino-thingy that you can almost read the numbers of ! Pity about my light going dim and spending most of the time on pilot light. Heard a really loud gush that sounded like a huge waterfall and ended up being a rather fast drip that had increased a bit when it rained on top. Took quite a lot of "Hero pose" piccies. A good trip ~ 8 hrs underground.

Team Mike M, Gavin, Tina.

Previous trip / Next trip

1985-07-31 | Rest day for some | Gavin

Wednesday 31 July

Rest day for some - Nothing happened - It rained.

Wrote the following song !! [ song in file "Song" ]

P.S. Gavin woke up !!

1985-08-01 | 144 | Brian, Mark, Stefan

Up at 7.00 am, down at 10.00 am. Slow descent due to inexperience of myself and Mark. Brian replaced naff bolt. Mark put in one of his own at triangular slot. I put in another bolt at triangular slot (dropping and losing spanner). Next pitches quickly rigged to bottom at mud wall level. Quick break for food - Mark went exploring (see later) and made bid for "Golden Boot". Brian had a quick look at phreatic level - strongly draughting downward passage to left leads to streamway and later water features - includes stalactite - "frig-rig" pitch to streamway. This leads to ramp. Needs another trip to determine if this passage goes. Started slow ascent - again due to us SRT novices, but speeded up noticeably towards end.

Came out ~ 8.30. Dark before reached car park. Heavy rain, difficult drive. Arrived back ~ 10.20.

Time underground ~ 10½ hrs.

144 phreatic extension - someone sketch please.

Previous trip / Next trip

1985-08-02 | 144 [a title line missing ] | Mike R, Tina

[anon entry and no people named - guessing at Mike & Tina by elimination - ed.]

Followed the phreatic team - got underground at 12.40. Caught the others in 3 hours, followed them down to the "Yellow Brick Road" (path across chamber above Mud Wall pitch). We had a look in a few of the tubes leading up, but nothing went. Then Mark Roddick spotted a draughting hole in the floor (unpleasantly tight, a bit NE of the hole leading to the Mud Wall pitch). Mark managed to fall down it, and by sheer luck hit the floor (and bounced) after only ten feet.

This proved to be a bypass to the Mud Wall traverse. We then carried on SW, through boulder-strewn chambers, to a chamber which had a ramp going down SE at 45°, and a climb up continuing SW.

Mike went 20m down the ramp, I worked on the climb. After we'd put in two bolts, ripped off a natural belay, and fallen twice, we got up, and about 10m on and 6m up we came to an aven with an exposed free climb up, and a hole in the floor leading to a pitch 1m in diameter, at the bottom of which a stream could be heard. Since we'd run out of energy and tackle, we

[ photocopy runs out before the write up did ]

Time down 11 hours.

Previous trip / Next trip

1985-08-01 | Surface prospecting etc. | Tina, Gavin and Mike Martin

150, 151. Both looked at again by MM. Conclusions : the same.

NB 151. - see grade 1 survey below.

[ scrappy sketch which would seem to be a surface plan, mainly ]

1985-08-01 | 152 | Mike Martin

152 time underground 1½ hrs.

[Another anon. entry. Guessing at Mike Martin ed.]

New cave discovered near 151. Draught a gale. Drops down 8m pitch to snow ledge then down snow slope to 20m depth. Down further 1.5m climb and past ice formation. Turn left down 45° scree, squeeze behind boulder and drop down hole into rift with boulder floor. Reach T junction at chamber with 3 jammed boulders, turn right to 2nd pitch, approx 8m.

1985-08-02 | 152 Push | GAVIN, MARK, STEFAN

[date dubio0us - ed.]

Time down 8 hrs

Day started out wet, so not underground until ~ 5 pm. Took ropes and 2 x bolting kits, anchors etc. & food.

Rigged second pitch on Mike's bolts, approx 3m into small chamber, exit along short rift, widening and back into rift for 3rd pitch. Rigged in drip, back up/traverse line for 1½ m drop just before 4m pitch.

Here enters one into Dump Chamber. To left is blocked tight passage, to right a small exit into large rift, high, 10 ft wide, full of very unstable scree and boulders - Boulder Alley. 30m at 45° brings into chamber, a hole in the boulder choke drops 3m to floor of chamber, climb over boulders ahead and cross a dodgy traverse over a bridge, down onto floor and down very unstable slope to exit, scramble down 2m through boulders in an 'S' shape into rift.

Along a few metres is a 3m pitch, rigged with 2 calcite bolts; small chamber, rift. Exit to right, a few more metres to pitch (3m), down rift, tight-ish. Along rift in same direction, over a drop (2m) and along rift, keyhole shape, stay high (same level as pitch bottom).

2m drop, 3m along is 4m pitch, put wire belay round rock at top of small drop to give handline to pitch head.

Mud floor, phreatic tube leads up, 1½ m diameter, mud floor. Cross undescended rift at right angles, up over top of mud heap, tube

[ two lines (?) missing from bottom and top edges of photocopy ]

keyhole rift, runs into top of pitch - run out of tackle, turned around and left, no hassle except Stef's dump in Dump Chamber really stank.

NB. Boulder Alley and Boulder Chamber should be crossed singly as rocks very unstable & fall spontaneously.

1985-08-02 | Salzburg | Chris, Mike R, Tina

Friday - MM, CS, TW to Salzburg to collect Caroline.

1985-08-03? | 152 Push | Chris & Tina

Got through all the bits the other lot rigged and then to the biggest pitch. A horrid traverse over a ~25m pitch, which was really horrid on the way back up. At the bottom of the pitch was a longish traverse that was awkward but not dangerous. The way we went ended. On the way we saw a few places to squeeze down to the streamway. The couple of draughting passages we found were too tight.

The first few pitches (descended the day before) are lots longer than they reckoned.

1985-08-03? | Surface survey P4 to 152 via 151, 150 | Caroline Smith and Mike Martin, Mark + Brian

Survey Team, Mark + Brian

Went down 152 to re-rig where necessary and survey out. Chris's pitch was examined and found wanting in most things pitches need - like belays. Two bolts put in, one by Brian put in by 6' 4" back contorted into pitch head, Mark's midget frame inserted one in a few minutes - and it was all the way in. Said farewell to Mike and Gavin grunting and groaning in the rift. Surveyed out in five hours plus took a few photos of the formations and some very nice moonmilk in Boulder Chamber. Surveyed in 40 legs. Time in 8 p.m. 4/8, out 6 a.m. 5/8. Time underground 10 hours.


1985-08-04 | Sunday/Monday 4/5 August. 152 push. | Gavin, Mike Martin

Time down 11 hours.

Looked at the bits Chris described and they don't go ! But we did find the way on ! (Over 1st 3m drop as described previously. Follow rift down to pitch with squeeze at top (~25-30m)). Your guess as to what happens next probably is as good as mine due to glow-worm syndrome. NB Rig is silly - Two very useless bolts (but they do take a shock load). Flake halfway down has to be respected !!

1985-08-05? | 144 - Food Dump & push for 41 connection. | Mike R, Chris, Stefan

Up early (despite night with Austrian Cavers), but others coming back etc. meant that we didn't reach car park until 12.00 - down at bottom of big pitch ~ 2.00 - dumped food, quick brew of tea. Chris had forgotten furry suit, so did in my overtrousers + sweater.

Down Roddick's Dive (ugh - mud squeeze - bastard coming out) & route followed earlier. Then down ramp lined but not necessary. Tape taken, & compass - approximate metres clocked off. Through large rift - under boulders (Chris did traverse over on way back) - past pitch (Chris descended but draught none - explore only if other route closes) - way on leads to hairy cross over large drop, then on past mud/soil slopes and sharp rock to tall chamber & ~20m pitch - IS THIS 41 ? Only time will tell. Not having time, we came back - further push scheduled for tomorrow.

(On the way back it rained.)

Underground 6½ hours.

Previous trip / Next trip

1985-08-07 | Wednesday - pissed down again. | Mike Martin, Mark, Chris

Team Super-Hero - Go for it (Mike M., Mark, Chris)

We decided to go for the connection 144 - Stellerweg, and survey it (despite the rain, sleet, snow). Got under ~ 2.00 pm cold and wet - it was sleeting/snowing quite hard on top. Reached Yellow Brick Road, had a cup of tea + photo session, shifted the food dump through the Dive to the bottom of the ramp. Decided the best route was the traverse over the pit then looked at the pitch where we stopped before. We were just bolting it when Mike found the bypass, and the next pitch. We decided to go and celebrate this with some soup, then we came back to bolt while Mike explored some ramps. I (wearing waterproofs) explored the tube that the stream went down and found a fine wet bypass (probably dry normally - the whole cave was awash today with streams never seen before - it was also bloody cold - Mike wore his Damart undies, I wore waterproofs and Mark wrapped a space blanket around himself and we were still BLOODY FREEZING). We found a streamway - I went downstream, Mark went upstream. Mark found a dropped date wrapper, and we knew we had a connection. It wasn't where we expected, however, and Mike didn't recognise it. However, we are into Stellerweg (we surveyed out) giving total -972m.

Time down 18 hours.

Previous trip / Last trip

1985-08-08 | Thursday. Light drizzle. 144 pointless trip. | Mike R, Tina, Gavin, Stefan + Brian

Mike R, Tina, Gavin, Stef + Brian - yes, that many and a sure fire recipe for disaster. First Mike forgot his gloves. Arrived at cave, underground 8 pm. Stef and I abbed to Yellow Brick Road then waited an hour for the others. Would have had tea but no stove ! Bastards. All together then M + S zapped off to detackle connection and bring stove. Gavin tried Roddick's Dive, down in 2 minutes, "That idiot should be dead" came out of hole. Gavin wanted to go down and back for experience. The return took him 25 minutes - some photos were taken. Had a look downstream and ramp at foot of 11m pitch. Decided we needed a rope. Meanwhile M + S return so time for tea. Milk and mud sir ? One lump or two ? Gavin played with acetylene and flames to warm us up.

Now party split in two. Gavin and Stef out in drama and style - see later. B M T descended rift about 20m to really shitty layered mud ramp. Very nasty indeed, loose and horrible. Went out on the stopping service, 4½ hours, oh God, lets not talk about it. Just say we got back.

Team 'Freeze', Gavin & Stef set off 1.00 am. I'd just passed the triangular slot when I realised no sign of Gavin. Abseiled back down the pitch and caught up with him. A few helpful hints, and off we went again. I stayed 1/2 pitches ahead until my lamp died, then had to go for it, leaving Gavin to his own devices. Out 4.00 am. Quick dump into the bivvy bag. Gavin out 5.30. Off at 6.00. Back at car at 7.00ish.

Time u/g : Stef 8, BMT 11 hrs, Gavin 9½

Mike's glow-worm is contagious.

Previous trip

1985-08-09? |152 detackle | Stefan, Mark

Down at 2 pm, down to hole in floor above big pitch, ladders down, self line up.

Drip furrow down 4" rift, after 55 ft furrow moves 6 ft sideways, therefore impossible to follow.

Brought out tackle and rubbish left over from last trip (next in log) & detackled, tiring as bags heavy - out for failing light, 8.45.

Time underground 6¾ hours.

1985-08-10? | [ title line missing from photocopy ] | Chris, Mike Richardson

[ expoers originally listed as 'Chris?, MikeTA' ]

This will be written up when Chris has finally got Wild Bill Huckup to fuck his horse !

Well, here we are 24 hours later and this is Mike writing it up - Chris is still trying to make ends meet. So we set off to push onwards. Got in efficiently, and zapped down to the bottom of the big pitch.

Picked up f*****g big tackle bag and manoeuvered it to the end of the rift by dint of muscle power and cursing. Were duly horrified by the bolts at the head of Suicide pot. Went down anyway and - What did Chris find ? - an anchor !

Someone has been here before ! So we dragged the bag back up the pitch (it got stuck) and decided to survey back - only I kicked the tape down a hole.

Replanned - we'd take the tackle back. Unfortunately, in a fit of enthusiasm and luck the tape was recovered, so we surveyed it as well. Just like Yorkshire - tight.

Then we went out. Underground 8¼ hours.

Mike the Animal. The following word is included in the journal for completeness : "AARDVARK"

1985-08-11 | Sunday evening 142 - Survey large chamber and play with magnesium ribbon trip. | Gavin, Mike Richardson, Chris, Tina

[ expoers originally listed as 'Team Gavin, Animal, Chris, Tina' ]

Down during the early evening after a good deal of jacking possibility but soon the sunshine was exchanged for the colder delights of 142. It did not take long to reach the pitches and after some belaying practice we were soon down and playing with magnesium ribbon procured from the previous trip to Eishöhle. The main chamber is extremely impressive. A full survey of the chamber was subsequently carried out with a sighting of a bat by Tina and a small amount of exploration in a possible phreatic lead from the chamber which unfortunately blocked. The return to the surface was eventful in that, although Tina and Chris left the others derigging the pitches, they did not reach the surface until ½ hour later !

Time Underground

8 hours Animal + Gavin
8½ hours Chris + Tina
[ another line vapourised ]

Previous trip / Next trip not for 11 years !

1985-08-12? | 152 tackle | MikeR, Tina, Stefan, Mark

[ expoers originally listed as 'Team Animal, Stefan, Mark' ]

Walked up with team "Survey"/"Prospect" who would bring back 152 tackle.

Went swiftly down to bottom and collected a BIG ! bag of tackle and started out.

Stef's light failed and had to go out from big pitch on a dying backup.

I dropped a pulley and crab down one pitch, ab back down, wander, wander, found them and back up. Mike for his part left the pulley on ledge of big pitch, so that gave him a chance of extra prussikking.

That fucking cave is always the wrong temp ! When I survey & am inactive the bastard blows out, a sweating hot detackling trip, it blows hot air in from the bunde.

1985-08-12? | [ another line vapourised ] | Chris + Tina

Left the car park at 9.45

Met some Germans on our way up, who offered us a tourist trip down Schwarzmooskogel ice cave. Probably worth doing next year - you need crampons.

Dumped some gear at the top and went prospecting. Found 153 (dug out some loose boulders in the corner and went through for a look round), then went off to look at Tina's promising area. Found 154 instead. There's a biggish chamber just inside, with daylight entering in two or three places. First way in was climbing down the rift below the survey mark, and I (accidentally) found a different way out. Next we found 155 - a huge snow plug. You can go through a slit in the rock on the RHS, or down the snow plug and across the ice, which slopes down in one corner, possibly down a pitch. The other slot probably drops into the same chamber. This cave may not go, but we couldn't tell without a line. In fact, all three caves need a line to go further.

We then started surveying back, 155 -> 154 no problem, but we'd lost 153. We set out surveying to it anyway, but after about 4 legs realised we were going in the opposite direction. Eventually reached 153, continued on towards the nipple. Made a permanent mark (TC, on slab in gulley) and headed for home because it was getting late. Reached 144 as daylight was starting to go, packed up all the tackle left for us, by which time it was pretty dark, then set off. In 5-10 minutes it was completely dark, so the journey down was slow, accompanied by much swearing (1¼ hours to the traverse) at which point team Dachstein met us (Stef, Mike, Mark). Thank you. Sadly, they'd forgotten to cook our dinner.

[ The rest of the log book is taken up with transcribed survey notes ]