The first part of the log is traditionally taken up by the journey out.
If this is of no interest, here is a link to the caving!
1st intrepid explorers left on Thursday 20th, closely followed by those taking more luxurious forms of transport (!) on Friday. The streak lightning team Millers, xxxx and Jenny, arrived at the campsite first (17½ hours after leaving Cambridge, despite xxxxting in incredible storm with spectacular lightning before arriving at Dover, we managed to get an early ferry (thus missing meeting Rover). There were absolutely no momentous events (well, as far as I am aware, as I spent most of the journey in the land of nod).
The S.L. team arrived at about 2.00 and after spending an incredible amount of time pitching our tents, a short walk was taken (the weather being v hot) and then we decided to get 4 people into a two-person dinghy. Much fun was had and the 10-person attempt must soon be made.
The evening was rounded off with a pint and looking at surveys.
PS. A Slow worm crapped on Ian when he picked it up.
PPS. A short while after we had returned to the tents I (Jenny) was awakened by a shadow (of a man !) kneeling down by my tent. When I opened up the zip I saw someone running away - V. suspicious I'm sure. After a couple of minutes a timid voice said 'Are you a caver ?'. The mysterious intruder proved to be Juliette's boyfriend, Stonker.
Team 'Wet Sponge' left Cambridge on Friday at a caving 6 O'Clock (ie. 8 O'Clock). Chris took the wheel after leaving to see how to drive, and managed to get to Dover without getting struck by lightning or even given a breath test. They wouldn't let Jared on the ferry (in case the extra weight made it roll over), so he had to get the ferry to Ostend a few hours later. Got to Zeebrugge without mishap (they closed the doors this time) where Mike drove to Ostend to pick up Jared (his ferry overtook ours). Mike drove a few hours, then Chris slogged out the rest with an occasional prod whenever he threatened to drive off the road. Easy drive (not as if we were going to drive into the back of anything else on the road !) We had a small detour in Germany when we took the wrong autobahn (foreign dignposts !) Got lost driving around looking for petrol and got strange looks from the garage attendant when the land-rover started urinating on his forecourt. No-one stopped us at the customs (too smelly) so hit Bad Aussee, Austria by about 12.30 at night GMT. Arrived to see a mysterious furtive rustling from a green tent at the site (who was groping whom is of course confidential). Since the faster smoothie didn't buy us a crate, we had to go to bed sober.
Grubby hitchers (Andrew and BKA) made it around 12.30 Sunday (3 days of variable going) - Train London -> Dover, ferry 2 minutes later, got amazinbg lift to beyond Köln - unfortunately the Geordie had already been up well over 24 hours, had driven ~14 hours, and was definitely fading by the time we met him. Embarassingly, he even gave us DM10, being as we had no marks. Arrived salubrious service station 3.30 am. Good hitching on Friday - Haydn's Firework music blasting through lorry cabin, two highly hirsute types, furry car-seats and closed car-windows, sauna-style, excessively fast Audi. Had Bournvitas, approached by stick-insect type hitcher, were evilly snotty to him, and he turned out very nice, felt reet bastards. Service station just outside München for the night, nearly trampled by horses, eaten alive by midges. Found ourselves on local dogwalk as emerged next morning. Blissful lake swim, then HELLISH day hitching - did ~15 km. Finally get 5 min lift in open-top Merc (no leg space and v windy, but fun), then sweltered in mid-Munich, getting nowhere. Finally got two buses and a tram, to cross München. Approached by crippled lurching tramp wanting food for his dog. Spoke English too, malheureusement. Andrew collared poor Australian (complete with didgeredoo)(who'd just smashed in a car's door $200 worth, was broke) who took us to a service station. Bad hitching there, tried 'till 9 pm. Camped on filthy, slimy, smelly mat of grass, in traffic island being lulled to sleep by 5000 cars per hour. Watched, in amazement, as put in contact lenses in morning, by audience of 5 gaping gypsies. Finally got amazing lift all the way to campsite car park by V.V. kind Austrian couple (with appropriate slobbering grovels). Devoured half of expedition food (after 4 days of stale bread and sweaty cheese). Juliette arrived, after we'd 'swum' in river (v. necessary). Walked, swum, washed clothes, walk, ate, ate, etc.
Its hard to envisage the raw courage of one lone feminist setting out into the raw uncivilised wastes of Europe to get to .... sin city, Salzburg. Actually, wasn't too bad - found someone on the train who'd been to Peterhouse. Of course, ferry'd been deserted by the Townsend Thoresen "Spirit of Commercial Consideration over Public Safety" disaster. Same couldn't be said of train - spent night breathing Japanese feet. Didn't wake up because hadn't slept (sulk). Saw alps rising suddenly and majestically out of plain, blah, blah, poetry etc. Lots of cataracts, forests, precipices and poets standing on hilltops. Out of train onto Postbus (gosh ! isn't Salzburg pretty ?) SPEAKING GERMAN AND BEING UNDERSTOOD. Lots of lakes etc. Changed onto train at Bad Ischl STILL JUST ABOUT COMMUNICATING. Very pretty of course, gosh, wow. Found Bad Aussee and bus immediately (good excuse not to walk) and Gasthof and NO CAVERS. Bloody Hell, sulked in river and talked to local cats, flashed myself at car drivers and eventually ate cold rice pudding. Don't want to cave - am going to lie in river for 3 weeks.
Quick ? Stroll ? Swelter ? to Bunter's Bulge. Ate lunch. Looked at an extensive area in the depression beyond. Very little of note except that the area is very shattered and most shafts are broken. Exception being too tight and presenting an impossible dig !
Found "TC" but not 153, 154 & 155 - will have another look later. Couple of shafts still to be looked at (have to return to collect Jenny's glasses !!)
Very schematic map ! grade 1 ish
down hill area looked at ^ / ----------|------------------------/---------- | | L | | | | ---------------------------------------- | | | /¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯-------________ | | / -------------------\-------------------- | / L__ | | / \ | |/ ---------------------|------------------- X | | /| / | ( | -----------------------/---------------------- \| / | X / | L\___________________________|__________ \ --------- | __---__ \ / Large \ | ( ) Bunter's \__________/ Snow ___\/ ¯¯---¯¯ Bulge ¯--________- "TC" (¯¯¯) Hole ¯¯¯ Doesn't go - Been explored previously
Or a photo of the original sketch!
Early start (11.30 am) and trip to ridge caves. Down Stogerweg to 32 for brief stop and then on to P.2. Hacked up to 113 via several draughting holes which were examined.
Definitive guide to Austria refers to 109 as "hole stepped over on way to 113" it is. This draughts excessively but unfortunately doesn't come to anything significant.
[ Plan ]
[ elevation ]
Then continued up to 113 (P0). and surface surveyed back to P2 via P1. Also looked at 87 which could be felt from the path. Tremendous draught and, contrary to description, probably has got "some point" to bolting into passage following draught. Examining survey, 87 could connect to Big Chamber area of 115 at Futility series passage !
Returned to camp stopping momentarily to see even more chamois and attempt photography.
The end, Mike M
Mike sent Chris on a Bunde-bashing trip (Ah- there's a cave in that hill - recognise that tree anywhere) and after much hardship found a wonderful draughting cave which turned out to be 2 minutes from the path and had the symbol 87 by it - what does this mean ?
Surface time 8½ hours.
No particular climbs and the rift is parallel to a fault in the main rock.
It wasn't 153.
Next. (Look I'm the only one with caving gear today) Found various holes that breezed but were blocked, so with expectant wandering through thick bushes discovered a big entrance that tightened to a very small crawl (lots of scratched until oversuit was donned). Right angle turn, change to stand and change direction. This ran into a different passage heading left-right, right silted up, left a fair hands and knees crawl with virgin mud that again silted up (perhaps diggable, but to what I don't know). Half way back, a draught and squeeze that I couldn't manage but is perhaps possible - soon widens out ... go & see (and its harder coming back through the first crawl).
MEANWHILE back at the surface. David found a nice-looking hole v near the Nipple but it blocked after 20 ft ish (Has been known for many years, Mike M). Becca & Juliette found a _v_ drafty hole at the bottom of a little cliff near big ice-sheet which was well-henried and blocked. (Looked at yesterday by Keith and Mike). Jared crawled into it. David and Juliette found a POTENTIAL SHAFT - seems v. deep with water at bottom between blasted tree and ice sheet. Side of depression.
Various other holes were found to be blocked or found to seem too cold and left. One or two really ought to be revisited I suppose.
Where are they ?!
It rained in the morning, stopped - we went up to the plateau and it rained again. We descended and everyone except MM went down the salt mines.
Evening: Surface time 3 hrs
Ian (team stupid sod !) + Mike M (Team cripple) went in search of the Holy Grail (otherwise known as Jenny's glasses, which had been left at an entrance somewhere on the ridge/ depression beyond the Nipple) 40 mins walk from the car park to Nipple and collected Ian's gear. Light rapidly fading and mist swirled around. Having found all other entrances looked at on Sunday, we failed in our quest. In total darkness we retreated to the footpath (found by chance) and retreated to the car park for a kip whilst waiting for those down 87.
The day before, while walking to 113, we felt a howling draught coming from 87. The survey showed this as fully explored but we felt that they may have overlooked something when they dismissed a couple of passages.
We went underground at 8.45 pm. After a wonderful sledge/abseil down the first pitch, an icy draught met us at the bottom and we put 2 new bolts in while Chris retrieved the rope which he had left at the top.
The second pitch proved to 25m (not 15) due to the snow at the bottom. The draught seemed to disappear somewhere down this pitch, but this may have been due to the cave widening.
The third pitch was about 20m. There may have been a possible way off to one side, landing on a loose slope.
We got to the top of the next pitch, but due to the state of the rope and the hang on the bolts we decided to abort the trip.
We did a little bit of exploring on the way out. Chris thought a passage at the bottom of the first pitch ought to be explored more thoroughly.
We came out at about 2.00 am.
Time underground 5¼ hours. Jenny.
Down to the hading (?) rifts to try and find a lateral connection to Stellerveg (?) [these damned vegetarians get everywhere] - 41 and perhaps recover a stinky and helmet from the bottom of Perilous Ibbeth / Ibeeth Perilous Pitch. Ages to find the actual entrance - yellow marks on night-time rock not altogether visible. Mike A rigged, couldn't find the old bolt so re-anchored to avoid the knife-sharp edges and three frozen cavers soon descended to a snow slope and three foot ice-pool (wet feet for some). Down the rifts, down and down - on a very rough calculation the slope was 90m long (through squeezes and climbs), 90° strike angle (dipping right, angle taken) 25° downward (v approx). Some fabulous, truly so, ice stalagmites and 'tites - forty feet at one stage and enormous ... found abolt hole at the bottom of this rift way - we'd probably come off the main route. Couldn't find any lateral rifts that went anywhere so back to entrance pitch, foot of, and then down a different way - right and down rather than straight on, trying to find Ibbeth Perilous and the Foxes Glacier. Little glaciers and very steep slopes - Andrew went down to see what was there. At bottom of slopes (70 ft down at 45°), hole off to the left and a steep wet slope up (you'd need a handline or sticky boots, grasshopper like, to get up). Another steep slope down, a fair way from the sound of rocks. Animal and Jared found a pitch to the right of the first slope but could see no bolts and felt no urge to descend. Which Andrew did: on second descent of slope, a huge boulder gave way and he went shooting down these 70 foot ridges to get a gashed hand, four stitches, and no more caving. The official version is he fell down while descending the footpath (official for other cavers/tourists etc.) ... Out at 3.30, back at dump at 5.30 (starting underground 10 pm ish)
T/U 6½ ish hours
Moral of the tale - seriously. WATCH OUT FOR LOOSE BOULDERS - nothing's necessarily solid: no-one's ever been down before & frost damage means everything's dodgy. And if you don't believe it, you may well find yourself in plaster up to the elbow, if you're lucky (A's postscript).
Mike (this is getting sillier all the time 'cos of the knees) Martin.
Time underground 4½ hours.
This is a truly impressive entrance. Bit chilly though. Descended to head of last pitch, which was very black. Superb rig, figure of 8 on bight xxxx beautiful freehang. Pitch head very intimidating so only MM descended. There was no sensible way on. Did climb 15m up until xxxx it became silly. A drxxxx cxxx down this. [ was this written in red ? it hasn't photcopied well...] The draught steadily decreases the further down the gxxxxx. Facing down the pitches there are a series of rifts at various levels off to the left - each one takes part of the total draught until almost none is noticeable at the bottom.
At head of third pitch a xxxx small tube follows aforementioned rift/fault trending in a straight line with small deviations up and down. Continues to a narrow slot - undescended, also a larger stream passage with gravel floor ~6m below with drip entering (noise). Appears to head straight into the hill and is very reminiscent of the small tube from 142 to bottom of audible connection in 143.
See over for sketch of plan.
[ this sketch is almost completely unintelligible, at least in photocopy]
Went with intention of doing a bit of surveying (maybe) but descended next ramp after Andy's and found only way on was through to bottom of Andy's ramp. Rigged down pitch found last time then farted around swapping ropes over. Becka and Jenny descended first and then wittered about whether it would be possible to prussick up. Mike went down and went past and found a _helmet_ - see Wadder's notes - this was on an ice/rock blockage which was partially dismantled (care taken in case whole lot gave way). Descended about 15' more, view round corner to chamber (probably) but too many rub points to descend and no more hangers. On way up spotted alternative route for next time (see "survey") which will avoid remaining hanging death. Several bolts will be needed.
Mike (I'm slowly getting more crippled) M's bit !
Surface time 11 hrs.
Having got back from previous trip ~ 2 am then writing up findings, I then discovered note on my tent that the others had volunteered me to go with the Austrians to show them our caves (at 9 am):-
Having warned them of my dicky knees he said the walk was easy and not far, so 1 hour later I was hacking up to the peak between V & H Schwarzmooskogel. The others went up to Hinterschwarzmooskogel to the fixed measuring point. Using very flash LASER RANGEFINDER, a permanent station (0/1) was made which gave a view of the plateau. The others moved their equipment to the above point and we went in search of Steinschlagschaft ? We couldn't find it ! Hence left a permanent marker (0/2) on a pavement of rock near one of our cairns and two deep shafts. See over for how to find this point.
[ diagram which shows not how to find it, but how to know when you have found it ]
Then proceeded to make another mark on prominent outcrop of rock near large depression with snow plug and a number of deep shafts. (slightly (~10m) above path marked with cairns).
0/4 is the first survey point of Wolfhöhle. Then off into the plateau. Found 107, 83. If you follow gully up until you can see the peak between V & H Schwarzmooskogel, 0/5 is on a slab of rock above a gully to right. The edge of the gully also has a red paint marker !
Next to 106, which has been renumbered 76. Permanent marker placed on slab above 76A.
The Austrians have reallocated 88 to the Germans who have an extensive cave of over 6 km with several pitches which drops into one of our caves. They don't know which one - we shall have to visit them to discuss.
Left camp at 7.15 am and walked up to 113 in the mist. The entrance was descended without incident. Andy's ramp was descended and Ibbeth Perilous. Ibbeth Perilous was rerigged and new bolts installed to avoid some of the many rub points. At the base of Ibbeth Perilous, the next pitch was rigged and came out into a large chamber with several passages off. These were all blocked except for one. This is a traverse over a large rift which comes out into (Opera House ?) we think, due to the presence of two naf bolts.
An uneventful exit was made with Ian taking some pictures on the entrance pitch. Group sleepy arrived as we were ascending the entrance pitch.
Time underground 6½ hours.
Went down entrance free climb to find short pitch. At the bottom I (Ian) colected bones from small passage blocked after about 2 feet. Most bones were there, including skull, lower jaws, vertebræ, ribs, legs etc. with some brown fur and a hoof which I think is from a small Chamois or Roe Deer. All bones in arm's reach were removed. The Austrians will be given at least the skull and lower jaws.
Time underground ½ hour. Ian
Group sensible left base camp at 12 (a disturbed night due to group insanity leaving in the early hours rather noisily). Walked up to entrance pitch and met others coming up. We descended at 3 pm & Mike & Chris did the first (easy) bit of surveying up to the top of Ibbeth Perilous. Left the two others to do the more entertaining vertical bits, while M C descended to the bottom of the chamber rigged by others. Saw rusted bolts of previous generation sticking out of rock. Chris tried freeclimbing down the side but wimped out over what sounded like pitch at bottom. Many small passages leading off around entire chamber, after investigation, all got too tight or headed back up rift.
Animal leaned on a boulder 4 ft cubed, which rolled off down the passage giving him a nice surprise. Boiled up some meaty soup with dig bix, then some vege stuff for the vegys, just as Becka and Juliette descended (overtaken on way down by Mikes torch). Detackled on the way out. Becka showed her appreciation of Mike's cooking & Marathon bar in a glorious technicolour yawn - the ledge above the iced-in rocks above the pitch to the chamber shall henceforth be known as Marathon Ledge. The ice holding in the rocks had cleared a bit since last time - rather tenuously attached. Got out of cave around 11-30, trudged back & got to camp around 2-30 am.
Chris. T/U 9 hrs
Walk to Braüning col then follow cairns up toward Vd Schwarzmoos kogel - First explored holes near 0/2 which didn't amount to anything (short thru trip) and required no gear - considered too low and close to Wolfhöhle.
Climbed up to area near 0/1 - Shaft ~40m deep explored by Ian and numbered 156. For sketch see survey data at back giving location of cave.
[ misleading diagram referred to 0/2 with no north arrow ]
Tumbling Boulder Hall was first explored by Jared and then by Mike M. The latter fully appreciating the looseness of the rocks ! Consisted of phreatic uplift passage, 3m diameter, ~45°, ~60m.
[ a sketch ]
Met German/French cavers
We have a problem ! Their survey suggests that they have joined at the Big Pitch in Stellerweg. The description of the passages matches. Unfortunately they have surveyed to 113 and their position of this doesn't correspond to ours. Tomorrow we will have to survey from 144 to Schwarzmooskogeleishöhle to their cave 88 and then if time permits to 113 and 152 - some hope !?!!
Surface time 7 hrs.
Time underground Ian ¾ hrs
Jared ¼ hrs
Mike M ¼ hrs - Stopped to graze !
Prospecting area around survey point 0/5 (Austrian). Two caves were found. The cave just above 0/5 survey point, about 20 foot. The other about 100m away slightly up the hill to the left.
157 near survey point.
50 metre shaft with ice plug with way on down between ice and rock. Shaft still going at -50 metres but got too dangerous due to size of slot and loose snow. Bottom could not be seen.
On way out, spotted passage off halfway out, rift like. Went along this to head of pitch of unknown depth. Bolts were spotted and expected to be from Manchester Caving Club. So exit was made.
Keith. Time underground ½ hour.
The other cave had a passage going into the side of the hill. To our left the passage went a short way then a shaft (daylight) was seen, the passage continued but not explored. Straight ahead the passage went about 50 foot to a 30 foot pitch. This was bolted and descended into a large chamber. To the left was another pitch about 30 foot deep, undescended. To the right was a rift, further to the right was another rift with an ice-covered stone floor. There was also another passage next to this which is passed just before you get to the entrance passage - this also looked like it continued. A number was not allocated due to the fact that a car inner tube was found just outside the entrance containing a large quantity of carbide. This is presumed to be from the Manchester University Caving Club. [This is believed to be completely disinformational, Ed.]
Ian. Time underground ½ hour.
Had found entrance previous day while looking for another cave. Donned oversuit over shorts and free climbed entrance shaft. Found amazingly small 'letter-box' slit and squeezed through to find pitch which seemed at least 15m, placed bolt and handed over to Chris and Becka who had changed into full gear.
Chris descended into unknown - a rift around 6 ft wide or less, went down 60 ft vertically with a break half-way down and ended up on floor where it went on, drafting slightly. Becka came down while I (Chris) plucked up courage for the squeeze - I knocked off some chips and went over boulder down squeeze. It went down another 30 feet and then ended in another squeeze (section Y-Y). Jared and Becka stayed at top squeeze while I rigged bottom squeeze (8 inches wide) and went down it with a little trepidation (my helmet would not fit down it). Becka (& Juliette and Andy at the top) were wingeing and left Jared and me down the cave. Beyond the second squeeze did not go (rather it did, but too narrow, 4 inches wide or so downwards). So tried prussicking up squeeze - got chest through & then MR and chest jammer stuck in rock. Descended with difficulty and tried alternative routes to no avail. So Jared heroically came through top squeezes to come to Chris's help. Chris had taken off his SRT gear (modern-fangled stuff) & Jared, after trying to move a rock, eventually put down his hand & hauled Chris out of the squeeze like a champagne cork (though not so bubbly). Then Jared, having performed his rescue mission, left first - he had some difficulty with the rock at the top squeeze so shoved it out of the way and got through OK. Chris followed and derigged on the way out, having been stuck down beyond the end squeeze for about an hour. Got out of cave about 3 hours after we'd said ½ an hour more, & left back for car-park, expecting either to have set off a rescue, or a bout of drinking down the bar. Got back to Bergrestaurant (only got lost a few times) & found one car waiting for us - full rescue gear ready, & the Rover halfway down run out of petrol. So got back in end with only some wounded pride and dented enthusiasm for caving !
Chris. T/U Becka 3 hrs, Jared and Chris 6 hrs.
Return match with the very cold cave to find MM's legendary passage. Juliette played around rigging - very exciting. Then the fun started. We found a possible passage which we decided looked FAR too nasty - very exposed 60 ft drop. "Can't be that" it was decided. Tried everything else and decided MM was out of his tree. So discretion being the better part of valour, we retreated, dropping a hanger and MR down 3rd pitch. Left it rigged for some other poor suckers.
144 to Larchenhöhle (88) - Problems with condensation on the clino severely delayed progress. Having successfully completed above, then surveyed from 113 (p0) to 88, then back for other things !!!
Time on surface 9 hours.
Met French who said that they hve connected 88 to SWEishöhle. so they now have the highest entrance 1705 (but have found others) and the combined system now has 11 entrances !!
Yet another attack on 87. In about 11, quite rapidly down to 2nd pitch. Keith life-lined Mike over traverse to passage to left. (over 60 ft or so drop). Mike then put bolt in, Keith and Becka crossed. Pleasant sandy crawl over some holes, eventually to biggish rift, with 30 ft climb. Mike freeclimbed (up OK, but getting back down decidedly for headcases only) then put bolt in for a ladder, for we lesser mortals. Continued up. Another thrutching scramble later, Mike and Keith both getting shoulders to stand on, Muggins had a merry time trying to get up. On, until came to a big aven, ~30m up, us at the bottom. Mild expletives - would have to bolt it all to get up. Couple of small passages off, one passage right at top, from which small stream came out, but too high up. Surveyed it going back, not too cold. Becka prussicked out first, and coming up first pitch as Animal, Ian and Juliette were about to start descending to see what we were up to. Left first 2 pitches tackled.
T/U 7 hours.
By the time everyone was up, food bought, & the injured were tended, it was raining. With great reluctance, people were persuaded to go down holes rather than the bar at the first lull in the rainstorm. Andy led us to the cave which we descended at 4pm. Jared went down pitch first, trying not to dislodge the precarious boulders (especially the one providing the backup belay). Pitch only 15 ft - rift led off but not far before it choked, blocked off according to Jared. Jenny found a drafting slot which she dug out, until rocks started falling on her head. Probably carries on, but too suicidal. Chris found a 1985 vintage Mars Bar wrapper under a rock. Detackled, got a little lost on the way back, & got to the Loser Hut to meet the others, about to start rescuing us (again) at 9. Bar closed, so everyone scoffed Chris' gluhwein in the tent instead, just to annoy the German couple in the caravan next door.
Chris. T/U 2 hrs.
3/9/87 - Keith + Ian decided to go to the toboggan run at Strobl and everyone else decided to join them and jack. Time underground relative to speed through 5 ft tunnel.
Went in search of new holes ! Up to col then across pavement to obvious hole in distance - veering left. Found lots of holes but nothing of note. Hacked across to 76 and then up to holes previously located by the Millars. Jared descended, but all choked. Finally went in search for 148 again + found it half buried behind a pile of snow. The route is now prominently marked with cairns.
Carried on poking around on the ridge above the Nipple. Mike found his massively developed chest was a bit big for the rift in the cave which was formerly thought to be 153 so thin-man Chris was sent in and reported a 5m pitch.
Juliette found 140 again and a huge well-hidden entrance (thoughts of fame) but it turned out to be 138. Chris and Becka went down a hole Mike found...
Twas a snow slope going down a rift at around 60°-70°. Chris went down first & traversed across, about 30m down, to look at a pitch (nearly filled with ice). Then carried on 10m down to bottom of snow slope, where the rift was - yes, you've guessed it - boulder choked. Becka came down & tried pulling rocks out since rift did carry on, but one rock was jammed making it to tight, & there was no sign of a draught. Becka fought her way up the snow slope first, while Chris had a poke at the pitch at the 30m level. He descended 10 ft down the 30ft hole beside the vertical ice/snow, but the rope was slicing like a cheesewire through a large chunk above him, & the pitch appeared choked at the bottom, so he prussicked out before the half-ton of snow could fall on him.
T/U about 2 hrs (Becka & Chris)
Back at Chris's hole - it goes: pushed on down 12m climb to pitches of ~15m and ~20m followed by as yet undescended pitch of about 20m. Got sodden with sweat on the way up, and caught by thunderstorm on the way back.
"Descend entrance rift for about 5m at 45° to cross-rift. Right blocks after about 2m. Left descends for further 2m. Enter squeeze on right, about 2m long to 12m free climb down steep tube. At the bottom, from a small chamber, way on is left to pitch of 15m to large ledge, then 20m to jammed boulders in shaft."
T/U 3 hrs
"On the plateau discovered by its draught, but not really pushed", the guidebook says. and then the hole was lost for two years, rediscovered yesterday by MM etc... Awkward crawl over boulders 5m to a freeclimbable little pitch after a boulder squeeze. Reaches a phreatic tube: right silts up in boulders; left goes slowly along + down over snow & big big rocks to reach a huge chamber (is it perhaps 82 ?) + pitch of, say, 20m. Down through the boulders for 10ft to reach lower in the pitch, very loose boulder slope with worrying angles toward the drop... Along that for another drop, 10ft pitch to a rift with pitch on left. Right the roof comes down, big boulders, a little ice chamber with frozen streamway. A squeezish down to a narrow rift of 5m (?) down to what looks like an earthy passage - perhaps a bypass for the big pitch, perhaps another bit... Looks interesting, this draughting entrance and chambers...
T/U 2 hrs
Jared put bolt in, backup bolt from 2nd nearby shaft that MM etc. put in yesterday. Down, say 30m, to ledge, down another say 15m. Rather blocked here, draughting a little. Hole, which I excavated rather a lot, looked maybe squeezable. Stuck a bolt in (v. badly, lovely 3mm sticking out, despite taking hours over it) not time to really squeeze through (only one tight bit to get through). Looked like there was another 15 or 20m to bottom of pitch, q-few boulders at bottom. V. possibly blocked but worth looking at, still rigged. T/U 2½ hrs
Also, I got struck by lightning on the way down in a huge thunderstorm. Not nice, went purple.
It was going to be Chris, Juliette, Mike R, but ¾ the way up the Panoramastrasse, Juliette realised that she had left her rucksack so that was that. Zipped down the two pitches rigged yesterday and bolted the next 20m pitch which landed on a huge boulder in a rather large chamber. Way on appeared to be down a narrow rift which had Chris worried but then Becka found a climb down into a lower part of the chamber. This was descended with a ladder. Then rigged another rift pitch which Becka and Mike descended but became too tight with water going down narrow slot. However, found an alternative way over a climb: bolted and half-descended to ledge with view into large wet canyon.
Main chamber slopes up for ~25m over loose choss.
T/U 7 hrs.
Andy arrived at entrance to find his light had failed due to being left on pilot all night. Quickly reached the boulder slope which Andy had rigged yesterday considering we were carrying so much. Andy placed bolt at head of 15m pitch while Jared explored upper level - finding second pitch which was later found to connect with bottom of first lot of ice caves. Low crawl half filled with icy water was not explored.
14m rope was just long enough for the pitch, hanging 1 ft from the ground. Landed on the floor of a truly magnificent chamber - 20m high, with 3 ways leading off. Facing away from pitch, Andy explored righthand rift. This led to a wonderful flat-out crawl which seemed to be hewn from pure ice rather than rock and decorated with unbelievable ice curtains & stals. Emerging from this, he was confronted by the Ice Castle - a stalagmite ice formation. Then he returned to the main chamber - the way on straightforwards was a 3m climb which was rigged with braidline - Jared descended, followed a huge phreatic passage around a 90° bend and was confronted with a solid wall of boulders. Attempting to enter a hole in the boulder wall, his hand was struck by a large boulder which unexpectedly tried to roll - yet another warning to those who boldly go etc. Having temporarily lost his bottle, he returned to the main chamber. Both then tried way on number 3 - this went steeply upwards and became tight - Andy ascended past a large loose boulder & thought it would be safer to try to push it down. It wedged in the rift though, making his return difficult. Further progress was halted by a steep ice climb.
Both returned to way on no. 1 and pushed it to its limit - this turned out to be only a few metres past the Ice Castle. Then both tried no. 2 again - Andy ascended the phreatic ptube over the boulders only to find the way blocked.
After discussing the possibility of an after life, Jared reentered the boulder-choke only to find the way on too tight - however the passage was still drafting and a large chamber was visible through a small hole. With this, both retreated, leaving behind them a packet of crushed Digbics & two tins of Mackerel fillets, some soup, a stove, & a badly dented saucepan for the survey trip.
All of us in around 2pm. Andrew and Jared as far as bottom of ladder climb below Big Bertha, then surveyed back up to surface, getting very cold. Rest of us started bolted down ledges. Many rebelays later, got to the bttom of a big chamber (or continuation of other chamber) with a boulder-choked floor. Mike had a good nose round, could find no sensible way on, though seems to continue further down, and drafts (q.strongly in places) through boulder chokes - could chuck stones down, but too tight and all v. loose. Chris & Becka descended the final small (~4m) pitch to small pool of water. Looked blind, but _thin_ rift off to right. Hammered it a bit. Becka down (without SRT gear, not too bright) then Chris down (MR jammed, so with SRT, awkward). Rift along ~3m, then Chris abseiled down to small chamber (Becka as a pained belay point !). Rift continued, xxxx width, but did an S-bend in ~3ft, so not physically possible. Also, a diddy hole off, looked like it widened later, but would need blasting - ie. a dead end. Out, getting cold and wet. Soup on way out. Tired trog back
T/U Andrew, Jared 8 hrs
Rest 10 hrs
Finished surveying and detackled 158. Need we say more ? T/U 8½ except Chris 7½
Jared detackled a hole while Juliette and Chris detackled and surveyed (with a naff compass) Marilyn Munroe Hole. Chris took some pictures of ice, then Juliette found an ancient horde of food, but there was no time to (h)eat it. Jared appeared to lug the tackle out.
T/U Juliette & Chris 5½ hrs
Jared 2 hrs
11th Sep Down to the dregs of the expedition - Jared, Animal, Chris.
Hilda invited us to the celebrations of the local potato club - a few merry hours of yodelaaaiiooiiii - hic
12th Sep '87 Detackled campsite and dug the beer-bottle tops out of the mud.
mileage for Rover: Austria 74675, Cam 75615
* Animal wants to say he walked to Nipple and back with gear, went to 87 to detackle and back, then to Marilyn & back with more gear. Wow, what a hero ! T/U ½ hour
The weather started to deteriorate so we made for home.
I now look like a bloody zebra crossing. Burnt leg above and below knee bandage - burn hands, arms, neck and face !
Several beers were consumed and the following items of note were made:
1) Someone in the Austrian club is acquiring our journals before they reach the appropriate person. In future copies should be sent to either:
Sepp Steinberger or Alfred Auer
at their Club: Verein für Höhlenkunde in Obersteier,
A-8983 Bad Mitterndorf.
They want copies of 1985 CU (send 3)
They want copies of Andy Waddington's catalogue (send 3)
Also send 1 copy of above to
Institut für Höhlenkunde,
Messeplatz 1, Stiege 10/1,
It is important that Günther gets copies of everything as soon as it is published.
They want the bones (skull + jaws + teeth only) found in 109, Sepp will call back to collect.
88 will have to be renumbered 87A and 87 to 87B