Austria 1989

Webeditors notes: this log has been rendered using the same ink colours as in the original book. Often, this makes it clearer when comments have been added by other writers. We hope you don't think it looks too messy - original logbooks, after all, are messy !
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!

1989-08-04 | TEAM EUROTRAIN | Tanya, Julian, Mark D, Penny

Friday 4th August 1989

Team Eurotrain's journey out got off to a tense and exciting start when Tanya failed to rendezvous with the rest of us at the appointed time at London Victoria to catch the 1pm train to Dover. A very red and flustered Tanya finally jumped aboard the train at about 12.57 - and then the train finally left the station about ten minutes late anyway !

The rest of the journey went remarkably smoothly. A tip worth noting is that it is definately worth spending the extra money to book couchettes for an overnight journey. Mark and I did so, and arrived in Austria relatively fresh and rested (they even take your passport and ticket off you so that you're not disturbed in the night), whereas Tanya and Julian, who went for the much cheaper option of seats, arrived looking very tired after a disturbed and uncomfortable night bedded down with some Inter-railers !

Arriving at Salzburg station, we got onto a train for Attnang-Pucheim almost immediately, and at Attnang Pucheim our connecting train to Bad Aussee was already in the station.

The last stage of the journey was a very hot walk to Hilders, where we proceeded to eat, drink, swim etc. (we arrived mid-afternoon). Chris & Becka were already on the plateau (they'd left a note & Chris's startling purple tent - once seen never forgotten !) Mark D & Julian valiantly volunteered to walk down to town for some beer, where (luckily) they met Adam plus car to ferry them back up the hill.

1989-08-04 | TEAM AVENGER | Becka Lawson, Chris Densham

Car having been bought in panic, we travelled across the unavoidable parts of Europe sans ownership documents, green cards, etc., ate bread, brie and wine, then trogged round a few classic German towns visiting Becka's cousins + lots of tourists (Pinkelsbühl is as sweet as it sounds). Got lost on way to Austria, so went to Jugoslavia instead. Paid £17 for lacking greed card - thoughts of cheap food, booze & sexBKA - but, shock, horror - campsites were £3-4 a night ! Campsites full of horrendous English touroids so, after a night sans tent in a forest with lots of creepy noises, we found a place called 'Logarskie Dolina' in Slovenia where campsites were with toilets but without people to collect money (another site got washed out as soon as we arrived - involving pissed off Dutch people in several feet of water, a happy English couple (us!) getting a free night on the floor of the Gastina over the road & some distressed children (also on floor of Gastina & one on top of the pool table !) whose 'mama' is downstairs enjoying a very prolonged session of beers.) Anyway, trogged around hills of Yugo, Becka carried the rucksack, Chris moaned about his knees but took photos & all & sundry enjoyed bonfire back at camp. Dragged heels back to Austria (Friday night) & lugged tackle up (Sat.) to 161 which was unfortunately still there (albeit somewhat smaller than memory sed). Avenger clunked around right hand bends back to base camp & beer (Sat night).

Becka's bit - Enthusiastically arrived a full 24 hours before anybody else & worried we might be a week early, whilst buying in booze & being well-pampered by Hilde. Collected stuff we'd dumped on Hilde the week earlier, & managed 6 functioning light sources between the two of us. Scared off a good 10 other campers all by ourselves ! Got back Sat night, after a day on the plateau & found a heap (no kidding) of brain-dead CUCC + empty crate (after 3 hours solid drinking !) of beer - no tents up, no food left, just a pillaged wreck of bottles ! Left to Hilde's, with Paul Ibberson & crony from LUSS, who'd had a memorable fortnight getting v wet & snowed on - ha, ha ! Lots of tackle-hauling & caving Sat & Sun. Pissed down (+ hail) Sun, ah, fond memories of ol'Osterreich. X

1989-08-04 | the red rusty Renault | Adam, René

Being the first to leave UK a lot happened between there & now - so briefness is required. Roughly. Drove to Cambs Thu 20th. Collect food at Dan's. Eat courtesy of Becks & hit the road to Dover. Get there ~ midnight, time enough to catch earlier ferry, having picked up a seaman hitcher (who slagged off P&O as being dead unsafe). Filled up with petrol, but since a queue behind, drove off a bit to sort out papers/tickets. However forget lights & drive towards a policeman guarding a place where noone (but I did) stop. Was duely chastised for "driving without illumination at this time of night". On to France. Take wrong road. Goes fine, though a bit dodgy mapreading with one person. Near accidennt in Belgium. Try to sleep past Lux but too hot. Weather too hot for German Hills, car regularly overheats. Get flat tyre just past Karlesruhe (but don't notice until completely kanackerd as so much rear load !) Just make it to Pforzheim before tyre place shuts. Hence to LEchtal. Two days good walking tho' very humid & sweat gallons. Sleep in car as nowhere to pitch. Get benighted first night due to late setoff (to avoid thunderstorm) & over-ambition late in the day. Sadly, only time I forgot Petzl !

Onto Erwald/Meiminger Kette. Short walk day travelled. One day fester because hips murder. Went to climb Zugspitze & got early start to do long roundtrip. Get most of way up. Get charged 5 Schillings "für the making of the vey". Sign says path closed because Steinschlag (rocks falling) ignore as already climbed ~ 4½ thousand feet. Get shouted at & find that there are men working above deliberately lobbing rocks & if they had seen me & stopped work to avoid killing me there was a 10,000 Schilling fine !

Pissed off & stormed down, drove a bit & decided to do another hill higher than I had got to (fit of pique). Regretted it as by the end of the day I had managed ~ 20 miles & nearly 10,000 feet. Bugger.

Thence to Stubaital. Drive round very steep hills late at night completely lost after being stung for a £2.50 toll for motorway S of Innsbruck. Brilliant limestone in Stubaital; completely brilliant. Managed to get to over 10,000' for first time ever. Unable to take full advantage of the Stubai Alps as not hutting but day walking.

By this time cannot be bothered looking for tent pitch as have spent ~ week in car.
Mark (D) has just winged about my verbosity so I shall be brief as originally promised.
Move to Zillertal.
Rains lots.
Put the car into skid on a wooden bridge on corner.
Go to Venediger gruppe. Felbertauern tunnel £9.00 toll (Bastards)!!
Snows a lot
Cannot get far because snow ~2000m too deep to follow path.
Move to Glockner gruppe to find low level route.
However this has ~ 1 foot snow at 1900m so give in (this was near Kals on gross glockner).
Next day beautiful blue sky so decide to go up grossglockner. Set off. Forget camera. Return. Set off again & realise forgot map !
Bugger. Back down.

Get to ~1000' from top after easy glacier traverse. Meet English & ask whether top safe. (looked steep & icey). They say OK, but must have assumed that I had crampons as a 45° snow field with ice just under really shitted me up (as ~ 2000' drops!) Everyone else was roped, crampons & ice axes (at least I had an ice axe).

I have NEVER ever been so scared in my life. I almost cried !

Quickly down. Next day short photo-walk & then to Hilders (meeting Mark & Julian in Bad Aussee with beer).

Average rain/day: 2 times
Total feet climbed: 65,000
Joints hurted !
Time here (15 days) Adam.

1989-08-06 | Team slow and reliable (sometimes!) in Rover | Mike, Tina, Mark F

[exact date unknown]

Trailer was visible with the sun in the right place - well the shadow was anyway. It was unnerving driving around a corner and getting the passenger to stick their head out to see if it was still there after a bump. Rover was leaking lots but then we got used to it and realised that driving faster didn't necessarily increase the temperature. We also got used to finding stopping places with water supplies. Well when you get to 32 something's always a bit wrong.

Good tapes - "bat out of hell" -> lovely to put the foot down.

Even got a good ½ nights sleep in a car park. Made really good time. But we thought we got to Hila's at 10pm. actually we'd adjusted the watches the wrong way so it was midnight. Damn no schnapps ! Oh well off to bed and a cuddle. Next morning tent a bit damp. Late on moving the tent hopefully will be better. Oh and by the way I came here for sunshine -> why IS IT RAINING !

1989-08-07 | small trip | Julian, Chris, Becka

Down 161 & surveyed as far as 1 station beyond lower bolt on 2nd pitch. Back out !

T/U 3 ½ hours

Previous trip/ Next trip

1989-08-07 | 161 | Adam, Mark D

Down 161 rigged 1st pitch & new second pitch. Not very efficient, hope we "warm up" a bit as time goes on.

T/U 4 hours

Previous trip (last year)/Next trip

1989-08-08 | Bypass searching trip | Tina+Bill+Mike R

(a) First tried skull pitch via the eye holes at the bottom. Loose and chossy (so what's new!). Landed on boulders, two small ways on, both blocked.


(b) Traversed left past old third pitch to ledge - lobbed rocks down to give 2½ second drop. Bill banged a bolt in and descended over lots of rubs - need four ropeprotectors !! Some ways on at bottom so then Tina went down followed by me. Lands by huge boulder, way on is through hole between dubious looking boulders, to a further pitch. Added another bolt and I went down. Bottom turns into enormous descending rift like above squeeze pitch but narrower. Had a poke down it, then came out. Met Del, Juliette, Tanya + Julian and exited.

T/U 7½ hr

[full page sketch plan and elev]

Survey trip/ Drunk & Stupid discovery/ Tourist trip - all same day
Previous trip/ Next trip in 161/ Next trip to this descending rift

A Blue interlude !

Absence makes the heart grow fonder,
absence makes the wrist grow stronger,
absence makes the prick grow longer. <--- sexist crap.

1989-08-08 | tourists | Tanya + Julian

The Tourists struggled down 1st pitch and established chocolate stockpile, passed Del+Juliette rerigging 2nd pitch, watched Mike+Tina descending down their discovery, pottered down to Mark F + Jeremy, listened in to them throwing rocks, watched them descend into oblivion from a newly-bolted knot, went back saw D&J still re-rigging 2nd pitch, explored some bouldery small passages with an entrance partway up 2nd pitch. When D&J were done we went up and jumped out. (well, prussicked really).

T/U 6 hrs

Survey trip/ Drunk & Stupid discovery/ Search for bypass - all same day
Previous trip/ Next trip in 161

1989-08-08 | small trip | Juliette + Del

Team veggie slop managed 1 bolt and 5 survey points in our stint ! No excuses but rock kept exploding; + worrying about a rub. Surveying is not cold if you're wearing enough layers to look like a 'Michelin (wo)man'. T/U 6 hrs

Search for bypass/ Drunk & Stupid discovery/ Tourist trip - all same day
Previous trip/ Next trip in 161

1989-08-09 | drunk and stupid discovery | Becka, Adam, Chris

Mark F and Jeremy had discovered '100m' of pitches from an extremely unlikely looking hole just before the old 3rd pitch (also unlikely looking). Adam & Becka surveyed from Del & Juliette's point at head of pitch to limit of M & J's discoveries. Their estimate of pitch lengths made up in consistency what they lacked in accuracy, ie. the 40m pitch shrank to barely 20m & the 60m down to 30m. However, 30m v.v. fine. From bottom of 30m, the previous limit, pushed onwards. Vadose canyon - 3m pitch + traverse, 6m pitch, traverse, 8m pitch. Two ways, wet (not done) dry (done) - was 10m down to floor - one way back toward water was looking tight, other way was tighter - a small window was hammered out from rabbit size to almost human size by Bka. Best bet is wet way above 10m or above 30m pitch.

It rained a lot today - motivation from 1st camp as it pissed down at 6.30 a.m. very hard - but after a wet walk to 161 was a dry change. Pitches rigged away from water at least. Trogged back to car park & Hilde's - met Penny, Mark D, Julian, Bill back up.

Food + beer + bed at Hilde's

T/U 10 hrs

Previous trip (Drunk & Stupid discovery) / D&S "deemed too dangerous" / Next Pushing Trip

1989-08-10 | DS survey | Mark D, Julian + Penny

Went down with the intention of carrying on surveying down Mark & Julian's hole, looking at various openings noticed by Chris as we went. Horrified by the rigging of the first pitch down the hole (whatever happened to traverse lines, and surely bolts aren't meant to stick halfway out of the rock ? - and being in a hurry to push down a new route is NO EXCUSE for shoddy & UNSAFE rigging) we decided to leave the task for someone else, and continued surveying down the main route. Surveyed small draughting passage (choked) at top of third pitch, then down third pitch. Took a trip down to look at the squeeze, then out.

T/U 8½ hrs

Main Route rigging / Alternative Shopper / Right Hand Route / Left Hand Route (all same day)
Previous trip / Next D&S Pushing Trip /

1989-08-10 | mellow trip | Tina + Tanya

A laid-back + well mellow trip. After much faffing (guilty as charged) traversed over top of Mike + Tina's pitch. Tina bravely descended to put in another bolt, then decided she needed a driver - spotted by yours truly at top of 2nd pitch by choccy dump! So I summoned all 2 milligrammes of my courage + went + fetched it. Returned, + Tina continued to put in bolt while I sat + shivered + sang appallingly (lovely acoustics, wish I knew the words to the Wild Caver). Bolt was probably fine, but Tina unsure, me cold, both bit cheesed off after total faff round + freezing cold, so exited.

T/U 5 hours

Main Route rigging / D&S aborted / Right Hand Route / Left Hand Route (all same day)
Previous trip / Next Alt. Shopper Pushing Trip /

1989-08-11 | pushing new route | Tanya + Del

[exact date unrecorded.]

Well hard pushing trip down new route (J+M's). Down to bottom chamber, unethically hammered like fxxx 'til Del could squeeze cheese through. This revealed yet more ledges, continuation etc. some cave ! Other way is narrow wet rift, continues also but horrible + drippy. From tape rebelay ledge, tube off to one side goes down + down (climbing + stuff). Finally got rope and hang into the new chamber, loads more cave !!

Relaxed exit.

T/U 8 hours

Right Hand Route / Left Hand Route (both same day)
Previous pushing trip / Last (aborted) D&S trip / Next D&S Pushing Trip /

1989-08-11 | Niflheim Rigging Trip | Mark F + Tina + Mike R

[exact date unrecorded.]

Really rather efficient trip down, mainly 'cos only two bolts had to be added (one at the 45m pitch and one on the bridge in Niflheim). Niflheim is too wet ! On arrival at the bottom I discovered that my spare carbide container was full of spits - then Tina discovered likewise. Mark didn't have any either 'cos he had a large generator. So we left with rather less light than was ideal, with added entertainment when Tina's Croll got jammed solid at a rebelay - I had to 'ab back down and it took both of us to release it.

Time underground 11 hours

Mark's description of the bottom of Niflheim -
Short climb down from boulders at bottom of pitch lands on floor of large rift (not false floor). Both obvious ways on along the rift blocked at floor level - one by sandy slope, other by boulders. Only obvious way on is a 2' diameter horizontal tube with ~3" water flowing down it. Other ways on may be found by climbing above the large boulders blocking rift.

Drunk & Stupid / Right Hand Route (both same day)
Previous trip / Next LHR (Rescue) trip / Next LHR Pushing Trip /

1989-08-11 | R.H.Route | Chris, Juliette, Becka

[exact date unrecorded.]

Down through squeeze, no probs (!) & dragged down 200m. Rigged rest of RH route into Knossos. Jeremy & Juliette surveyed a stretch. I gardened round the main chamber than we all poked through Star Wars to look for ways on. Jeremy found a 2.5-3.5 drop down big shaft, yet to be rigged... V.V.V.HOT going out - Alpinex definitely superfluous. General unfit feelings.

T/U 10½ hrs

Drunk & Stupid / Left Hand Route (both same day)
Previous trip / Next RHR Pushing Trip /

1989-08-12 | guilt survey | Wookey, Julian, Juliette (Joules)

A trip for more surveying guilt ridden nice + short to get down to the fireworks which were going to be tonight but really (since they are tomorrow) we need to work ourselves into fest (iva) (er) mode, underground well-late. down Mark & Jeremy's route - so we resurveyed for 4 hours by accident - so we forgot the hangers, so we put the bolt in the wrong place. A very enjoyable trip.

Why when I close my eyes do I only see [small sketch] could this reflect on my sketching abilities. Oh yes + Julian wears Y hangs - very appropriate. A trip to the local supermarket for some 'breifs' like the ones the carrots come in.

enough said

Right Hand Route(same day)
Previous pushing trip / Next D&S Trip /

1989-08-13 | Bills route | Chris, Del, Becka

[exact date unrecorded, but checking wrt to shopper survexblock it looks like it was the 13th.]

Surveying trip down Mark, Tina & Bill's route over the top of the 3rd pitch (carry on from traverse line). & we finally finished a route! Down to the bottom, v tight rift downstream, Del & I squeezed through (ripping oversuits) but blocked ~4m down. Chris found a 5" pitch (few seconds [?? ??]; opening up a [??]) but we've got enough on our hands already, so detackled, hauled out the rope & replaced rope by braidline on traverse line. Out. V civilized trip into sunlight !

T/U 5 hrs

Previous trip / Next 161 trips: Finding Dreamtime / Pushing D&S

1989-08-12 | PETE L arrive | Dan

but Dan is far too knackered to write anymore so won't !!
(Thank God!!)

1989-08-10 | fools | Jeremy + Juliette

Fools - idiots, who else would set off on a poxy trip in the rain. Yes Jeremy + Juliette (muggins again). The weather forced us down into 161. Raining as I got to the rebelay. Re-rigged pitch 3. Collected a sample of the wonderful bolting rock.

Gained "valuable" experience of bolting (1½ hrs to do ½ a bolt whilst Jeremy rigs entire 4th pitch + puts in bolt) so out + down.

T/U 7 hrs

Alternative Shopper / D&S aborted / Right Hand Route / Left Hand Route (all same day)

1989-08-10 | Rerigging trip | Bill, Adam

Aim to rig 4th pitch & down RH route to Knossos. Realised at start v.short of rope. Bill conned into going down new route to collect rope only to find it was Boris after the Bag had split & he had prusiked all the way from the bottom of the 30m pitch !
Bill not chuffed (even less than usual)
On way down had to rerig 3rd pitch (new one) as Jeremy had failed to leave enough rope before attaching lower down.
Also had to carefully garden - rope already tied on lower down - as stacks of hanging death (well, a pile of loose rocks just where one was likely to thrash about at a rebelay).
Rigged thro' squeeze & it became apparent that very short of rope (due to failure to get a sensible rope from new route)
Met Mark F & Del & cut a ~60m length of their 200m rope. Rigged down to the notorious sandy ramp where put in two spits in RH wall to avoid it then exited.

Time U/G 8 hrs

Main Route rigging / D&S aborted / Alternative Shopper / Left Hand Route (all same day)
Next RHR Trip /

1989-08-11 | Survey trip | Jeremy, Mark D & Adam

[exact date unrecorded.]

A wonderfully efficient trip during which nearly 40 legs done + a new bolt put in 4th pitch to elliminate rub. Amusement by insulting each other. Surveyed from top of 4th pitch to first part of sandy ramp in RH route, so joining Jeremy's earlier survey.

Time U/G 5½ hrs

Previous trip / Next RHR Pushing Trip / Drunk & Stupid trip (same day)

1989-08-10 | rig niflheim | Mark + Del

Intending to rig Niflheim but carrying 200m rope is knackering. Bag popped through squeeze v. easy (!!) and then Adam decided he'd like 50m of it. Slow rigging left us halfway down pitch from Arrow chamber. Fun at squeeze + out.

T/U 8 hrs

Main Route rigging / D&S aborted / Right Hand Route / Alternative Shopper (all same day)
Next LHR Pushing Trip /

1989-08-14 | Drunk and stupid | Mark D, Chris, Becka

Down newly named "Drunken Stupid / Drunk & Stupid" Chris & I surveyed from bottom 30m on, Mark rigged on: unfortunately no spits, but Chris had some (lucky). Rigged 25m pitch followed by further small pitch into chamber. Met large joint between two types of limestone. très interesting. Took form of very thin, long hading rift ½m-1m wide x up to 20m long x ~50m deep to another 2 second drop, left for another day
Good trip

TU 9 hours

Previous trip / Next D&S Pushing Trip / Dreamtime discovery trip (same day)

1989-08-14 | Survey & push from Knossos | Wookey, Mike TA, Adam

Continued survey from 14 bolt of traverse to pitch into Knossos. Area surveyed: down thro' Star Wars, joining onto last years carbide mark at pitch bottom (into Knossos). At bottom of slope out from Star Wars is left & right divide. Rock at junction marked 10 WMA on back. Way left (looking at mark) surveyed round, eventually connected back via the way right (mark 18). Also going right (looking at mark 10) chamber entered was surveyed by radials from points 16 & 20. Point 26 leads to an unsurveyed passage leading to extensive phreatic passage. Point 32 in this passage MUST be joined with 26 (point 32 connects to a side chamber (off chamber containing radials from 16 & 20) via a dodgy climb).

The point 15, found by following the wall round from 10 via 18 leads to the pitch Mike rigged and from 15 on is unsurveyed.

Animals bit
Banged in five bolts - pitch is about 30m to climb down over ledges. Lobbing a rock down gives a 2½-3 second drop. Bolt at top of this but not descended.

[sketch of rigging]

Animal T/U 8½ hrs
Wooks & Adam 9 hrs

Also Beyond pitch 3 poke while others descend - gained passage beyond 3rd pitch(es). Big and descends, eventually fizzles out at some pitches, maybe over L/H route. WARNING: the loose boulders are very loose, and a slip goes down a 30m pitch !!

Previous RHR trip / Next Pushing Trip (Dreamtime) / Drunk & Stupid trip (same day)

1989-08-15| Push-Survey 161 RH Route (12h) | Dan, Tina, Jeremy, Julian

Tourist down to Knossus. Julian & I scrambled around Knossus, generally being very impressed. Went thro' Star Wars & Tina & I began survey thro' bits of Tower Blocks to an inlet (Yapate) & on round to Animal's bit. Met Jeremy & Julian at bottom of this pitch.

At bottom of p11 was this [plan]

Quakingesque passage descended by Jeremy/Julian

Rigged on down 4m over horrible rub point to ~20m free hang into streamway. Last 5m hang in water.

Down in streamway water disappears into rift & traverse carries on.

Out to meet Joe, Planc & MikeT in Knossus. I found squeeze impossible the wrong way round.


Previous trip / Next RHR Pushing Trip (Flapjack)

1989-08-15 | Push 161 beyond Flapjack | Joe, Mike, Peter

Started 4pm, descending to meet previous party coming out at Knossos. Flapjack pitch(es) give nice descent but there are LOTS OF RUBS. Care ! Last belay into wet part very awkward on return - can it be rerigged to left out of water ? Water sinks through boulders to canyon reached a bit further down passage. We rigged this (4m) and followed narrow descending canyon which suddenly drops through squeeze above enormous shaft (could rig from here but not worth it because of water). Back to top of 4m pitch - traverse onwards at this height (small climb over 2m wall) over stream canyon and eventually over huge pitch. CARE ! brittle rock, greasy mud and loose sand. Bat skeleton found at "Bat Corner" (Mind). Traverse continues over another hole to 30m? pitch in narrow rift ending at a superb window over a clear 4 secs (70-80m??) drop. Good take off for a free hang well away from water. Interesting to note that this series trends roughly due west, whereas Knossos is NE of squeeze pitch, so we are returning towards the peak. Long slow trek out to a fine hot sunny welcome at 8AM.

Time underground 16 hours

Previous trip / Next RHR Pushing Trip / Rescue trip (same day)

1989-08-16 | Becka does the squeeze the wrong way round with a broken leg | Wookey, Becka, Chris + Mark D, Adam, Mark F, Julian, Tanya, Joe

... & lots of Austrians.

W, Bec went down to finish off Niflheim but had a slight error at the squeeze. Becka sent me (wooks) down 1st & then proceeded to come through on a C-rig at several thousand miles an hour, nearly getting me on the head but miscalculating slightly and hitting the wall instead thus breaking her leg quite a lot. 'Oh shit' I thought (Becka probably thought something a bit stronger). I parked her on the ledge with her help & we diagnosed a well-broken femur & no other injuries other than scraped knuckles. Her leg was hung on a ladder while I went to get help. Soon found Chris (who went to look after Becka) & then MarkD who leaped into action instantly & dashed off to get pulleys, gear & splints.

Rescue proceeded from here with remarkable efficiency. Animal was despatched downhill & found Joe at camp trying to get brekky & Julian & Tanya on path to cave. He smashed cave to car park record (50 mins) and found Mike Thomas who co-ordinated helicopters & rescue services from Bergrestaurant.

Meanwhile MarkD splinted Becka's leg amidst much blood-curdling screaming & me & Adam rigged pitches with pulleys, jammers & hauling ropes.

With Chris as leg-wallah, really impressive self-help from Becka & mucho prussiking, hauling & man (woman) handling by me, Adam & Mark D we (very) slowly progressed up squeeze pitch, the rift section & the 4th pitch to find that Austrian cave rescue & helicopters (Army & Navy) & doctor had arrived. Mark F, Tanya & Julian pulled her up 3rd pitch where Austrians took over, loaded her into a coffin & took her along boulder ramp & up 2nd pitch by wild traverse line & then (after much faffing with winch) she was pulled up to the surface & choppered to hospital.

Mark D's version of events

Coming down 4th pitch: "Hey Mark we've got a problem: Becka's fallen down the squeeze and broken her leg" says Wookey. "Oh shit" thinks Mark too... Rush back out to collect gear: 1st aid kit, loads of crabs, chest harnesses, jammers etc. nicked off people's gear. Also the frame out of my rucksack to use for splints. Got down to Becka to find her on a very small ledge with the ladder wrapped round her leg (for support). Considerable difficulties splinting her leg because ledge so restricted. Pulled her up to the larger ledge just above with much pain & then retied the splint. Then Adam & I pulled her through the squeeze with Chris positioning her from below. Becka was really brave and helped herself a lot. We all cheered when she got through: we knew then that we would get her out. Slow but steady progress up rift, 4th & 3rd pitch, where we met the Austrians.
These rescue techniques really work!

Mark D

(I was last & missed helicopter ride, sob ! Adam)

(Tanya & Julian waited for 2 hrs at entrance to avoid "too many cooks" in the squeeze syndrome until Wookey shouted up for extras. Helped at 3rd pitch haul up and in Austrian operation. Would have been better if more news had been freely dispatched from the rescue front backwards rather than having to be demanded. Some of the screams were quite disconcerting. T/U 8 hrs)

T/U Wooks, Chris, Mark D, Adam = 10 hrs
& Becka !

Becka's version of events (written much later:-) / Previous Niflheim trip / Next LHR Pushing Trip / Flapjack trip (same day - supplied rescuers)

1989-08-08 | Initial push & discovery of drunk & stupid | Mark.F, Jeremy
Initial intention : to rig down to squeeze
problem : Mike, Tina & Bill in way looking for bypass
solution : Help look for bypass
location : Improbable - obviously choked hole on
right of passage between 2nd & 3rd pitch

As we had nothing else to do we banged in a couple of bolts (typically badly placed as "it won't go") and Mark abbed down. Much to our surprise there was a way on - totally invisible from the top.
So we went down threw a ladder down a quick climb & found a pitch (we described as 40m, later surveyed as 20m - oh well).
Descends to a false floor - three ways off:
Down ~15-20m but below boulders - unexplored, left to a squeeze - Mark looked at, right - I looked at to a beautiful 30 (guessed 60) m pitch.
Banged in some bolts at head of 30m & descended - Mark had look at way on at bottom but time to go out.
- An ace pushing trip - a great route.

T/U 8 hrs

Survey trip/ Alternative Shopper discovery/ Tourist trip - all same day
Previous trip/ Next D&S trip

1989-08-14 | Team Peugeot - get incredibly lost in France, Luxembourg & Germany, not to mention Austria & then go walking in & around Stubai Alps. | Juliette and Del

[exact date unrecorded.]

Thanx for navigation above + beyond (+ through) the call of duty. Drove in convoy with Wook + Ros in Team Escort - destination unknown (anybody seen some scouty types ?).

Technique: drive until one driver starts swerving around as asleep, then stop & swap to slightly less knackered driver.

Technique works fine except navigator gets to stay awake all time (Juliette) & anything faintly resembling a junction or a town caused mass hysteria in the few brain cells left on duty in the sleep laden head.
Result: Took a long time + all drivers asleep for Austrian driving stretch & finding "Solden" ("where?") damn near impossible especially last junction involved some neat juggling of two autobahns & a main road with obscure turn offs the wrong way.

Del drove the last stretch & only ended up facing the Armco once.

1989-08-15 | go down drunk + stupid | Penney, Del, Juliette

Carefully leaving the rope on the surface - they descended. Restart.....

Surveying happened. Down to the pushing front, where are the spits ? Oh no - it is a carbide container, well done Del ! So we sat around for some time until I begin to refill my carbide with spits.

This couple makes - 'two wrongs = right' Del brought carbide thinking it was spits + myself vica versa. So the bolt went in + we went out.

9½ hours

Previous trip / Next D&S Pushing Trip / Flapjack pushing trip (same day)

1989-08-16 | Becka's version of accident | Becka

Off down to do Niflheim. Decided I was feeling even fatter than usual, so would use a C-rig instead of normal Petzl stop rig, as recommended by Wookey, Jeremy etc. Unfortunately, being vastly less competent than J&W, I must have let go of the rope when descender got well jammed in part of the squeeze. Didn't jam for long. Whoosh, horrible flight down, bang on big ledge, splat on smaller beneath. Managed to clip in cowtails to ladder rapidly, so I didn't quite hit the bottom. Scream at Wookey "My legs all wobbly - God it's jelly" Disgusting sight as we flailed helplessly around. Got seated, and with Wookey's help, used ladder to do a leg support. Mark D did an excellent job splinting while I enjoyed myself screaming. Got up the squeeze facing wrong way with remarkably little trouble (Wooks had hammered it a bit) Mark D & Adam were incredibly strong, hauling me up as a near dead weight up the narrow rift, Wookey helping on 3rd pitch (4 people on one belay point at one point). Chris was fantastic, prussiking besides me, & keeping my leg at a 'comfy' angle, & stopping it swinging into the wall. Met Austrians top of 3rd. Was bundled into a tight coffin, man handled to an aerial runway to bottom of entrance pitch, then eventually mechanically winched to top of cave. Also winched into helicopter, man dangling by my side, which was good fun. Rescue took ~8 hours - hospital staff seemed surprised what good shape I was in - normal pulse, blood pressure, temperature etc. Probably due to the excellent rescue, v.smooth & organized + good fortune (good weather, lots of people around, I was on my way in so wasn't tired etc.) Furious with myself for making such a stupid mistake, but otherwise in good spirits. Diagnosis femur broken midway in two places, ~1" apart. Operated on that night, metal splints nailed in, to be removed in a year. Thanks v.much to everyone - CUCC, ExCS, Austrian cavers, the helicopter crew, doctors & hospital staff - not much I can say, but v.grateful & v.sorry for all trouble caused.


Rescuers' version of events / Previous Niflheim trip / Next LHR Pushing Trip / Flapjack trip (same day - supplied rescuers)

1989-08-16 | diving | John Cordingley + Andy Goddard

dived in Altaussee below the "Steinwand", looking for the resurgence. Dived to -42m (135ft) depth, without success - Phil Carried (NOT COMMON)

1989-08-17 | Altausseer See again. | John Cordingley + Andy Goddard

We dived again a bit further up-lake. Andy G went in first, to -30m. Phil Murphy went in next, also to -30m, followed by Mike Thomas, who searched to -27m. John C went in last, reaching -36m and found a dead body. Brought out a right humerus just so you know we're not bullshitting ! Upon surfacing the heavens opened and delivered a terrific storm - hence we all walked back in the thrashing rain in drysuits - quite exhilarating ! - - so where is the sump - - ??




Quote:- Millars to Waddington: "Well, what about you ? At least we're thinking about going underground ... or at least, we've got the equipment, just in case."

1989-08-18 | Altausseer See again. | John Cordingley + Andy Goddard

Altausseer See. After trip to report body to bobbies with Mike T. and Hans we went to the local firemen/lake rescue team. Got a boat ride to dive site ! JohnC dived along with Hubert Gaisberger and Wolfgang Gasperl. Failed to relocate body but found a boot - lost before surfacing. Then a cucc/CDG team drank a barrel of their excellent beer !

1989-08-19 | Altausseer See again. | John Cordingley + Andy Goddard

John C, Hubert + Wolfgang dived again to -36m depth in the rain. JNC went in first and failed to find body again. Did find the boot again however - complete with foot and a sock. Marked position with lead block and line. Continued search for body without success but did find the resurgence at last. it consists of hundreds of tiny blowholes at -36m over a 30m square area of the lake bed. Many of these were blowing up sand like minivolcanoes, which continually rolled back in :- [sketch]

- a strange landscape to cross ! Wolfgang + Hubert dived next - again failed to locate body but it must have been near the lead block - so they will search again when vis. is better. Mike T, Andy + Phil completed the search underwater beneath the Steinwand at -35m without finding any enterable cave. So - there is a lot of water resurging in the lake bed at around -36m depth - but no enterable cave. The body is apparently that of an adult male who was drowned in 1955. His brother still lives in Altaussee. Then we had some more beer ! The most appropriate name for this spring would seem to be "Steinwandquelle". It is almost certainly this spring which accounts for the holes in the ice seen in winter, according to Karl Gaisberger.

"RANCID DEAD PERSON SPRING" WOULD BE A BETTER NAME ! (This comment from Aston "virgins enlightened" Diving Svces.)

1989-08-20 | Goldloch (Resurgence next to Hallstattersee/Kessel) | Phil?

Open for 6 months due to road widening. Karl Gaisberger said it hadn't been dived. G.Zauner (boss of diving school in Hallstatt) also thought this BUT it has. Dived under loose rock to -6m. Lens shaped passage, clean-washed & not that big drops slowly round corners to -10m. Shaft drops down to -24m where white line carried on .... Returned because tables written on photo-copier paper had disintegrated below 24m ! Mike T

1989-08-20 | Kessel | Phil?

Kessel. The first sump (52m long) was passed to a small rift. Phil dekitted and followed the rift to sump 2, the passage would be desperate with diving gear. A new 4mm braid line disappeared into sump 2, obviously someone has been active recently. We searched for a bypass to the dry passage but none found. Later John C found a possible bypass (*). We were asked to "star" in a film on the area being made for German T.V. - we may be unable to find a diveable sump but its certainly a laugh diving in Austria.

* JNC found a window on left leading to pot down to -10m and a continuing bedding. Line ends at -10m.

1989-08-20 | 161 - 20/8-21/8 RH push via Flapjack pitches | Planc, Mark D, Adam

20/8->21/8 RH push (via Flapjack pitches)

Planned to go & continue pushing after those who had intended to go down on 20th. However, the underground campers were later & slower than expected & we met them ~4.30 with most people still above Knossos. Comtemplated going straight out & returning day after but discussion with Jeremy -> continuation to pushing front as Jeremy thought most folks would want an early night (& would only reach the push front at ~7.20, hardly a day trip). So we continued. At bottom Joe & Juliette still wanted to go to front. We went down while they set up camp & Planc rigged the 4 sec drop after Bat Corner as a free hang (after it took us ages to untangle Boris in the rift!) Prob ~60m deep fine pitch. At bottom stream sourced from roof & quickly disappeared into apparently impenetrable rift - Bugger.

However, a short rift traverse lead to a passable descent off naturals through a complex multi-level rift. At bottom only way on thro' a rather damp hole. Planc rigged dry bolt. Mark D froze bollocks off rigging a spit with the stream entering a hole in his oversuit. This provided a short broken pitch to a tight rift above a circular shaft (est as 120m by dropping a stone but turned out to be ~50m - misled because water at bottom). Pitch piss wet. Dark black sump at bottom with a small ledge nr. water. Adam lost SRT bag at top on way out (cord broke). Knot in bottom to aid rough survey if necessary.

Stopped on way out at camp as we lost our hexa burner, teabags etc. in my SRT bag.

Time out ~5 hrs including brew stop. Est depth nearly 600m at sump. Out for sunrise, beautiful.

T/U 15 hrs

Previous trip / Next RHR Pushing Trip / Camping/Surveying trip (same day)

1989-08-21 | Wolfgangsee | Mike T and John C

Mike T and John C dived beneath the big wall called Falkenwand to look for a big cave entrance at -19m. Searched ¼ mile section of underwater verticalness thoroughly betwee surface and -25m by going along at different depths. Very enjoyable "BSAC-style" dive !

1989-08-21 | D&S | Dan. Penny, Julian, Mark F

Uneventful trip down to front - nasty rebelay rerigged to a traverse then lined climb down streamway. At the front, Dan climbed down a tight point in rift to discover he was standing on a small lump of rock above a 2 s drop - rigged rope to pull him out then descended pitch. Series of short free climbs following streamway (~25m down) drops into chamber across the rift (~15m x 5m x 10m high). Ways on:- climb to hole in chamber
- pitch following water off way down to chamber.

Note - was intended to survey on this trip but Julian dropped the tape down pitch almost hitting Dan.

T/U 11 hrs

1989-08-22 | Drunk & Stupid re-rigging + (pushing) | Tanya, Chris D, Julian

Down cave late as usual + shortage of carbide for Chris. Gathered all ropes and ladders we could find on the way and draged them down with ourselves. Put ladders here and there in rift beyond wet nappy chamber, added in extra belay into last large pitch and handlines in freeclimbable approx 45° streamway and in the mud chamber. Tanya set forth back at entrance of mud chamber, Chriss rigged small pitch down the water way at side of mud chamber * and followed water until passage became too tight +. Discovered way on: a hole 15' up on far side of mud chamber. Tanya had an epic at the head of pitch where Chris had added in extra belay (the rock is rotten ! there are no footholds. Important: get above traverse line or you are in for some quite hectic thrutching.) Chris leapfrogged ahead and passed slack on entrance rope through all the rebelays from the bottom to the base of 20 metre pitch by which time it was getting late and his teeth were worn out. Tanya and I took it slow on the way out. Very tedious.

T/U 12 hrs

* 3 naturals out of 3 belays ! Shame about the lack of tapes / time to push / number of rubs etc. !

+ only 10" wide - could easily be pushed given sufficient stupidity

Previous trip / Next D&S Trip

1989-08-21 | C.D.G. (Northern) GOLDLOCH | Phil and Mike

Phil dived along the line found by Mike to -36m. The line changed from white to yellow at -24m. As I had no line reel to continue descending so I surveyed on the way out. A then dived and layed line to -50m but is too pissed to write about it.

We then went to Kessel to star in a German T.V. extravaganza. Alien camera hogged while I pushed on incredibly tight J.N.C. find - had to do it for the audience. We watched the film in the cameramans dormobile - excellent laugh.

1989-08-22 | GOLDLOCH | Alien, Phil

Alien pushed it to -65m, Phil reached -6 before his gear died - bastard luck. We then went to tell Gerhard Zauner who was so impressed he bought us beer and had Alien signing a survey. Every time he mentioned -65m he crossed himself. Alien + C.D.G. + Mark (chef) now have hero status. Suddenly Zauner decided we were O.K. so he gave us a huge amount of info on the local risings. Mark was impressed by the S.S. memorabilia.

1989-08-20 | Animal's bit | MikeTA, Del

Disposed of Tina at the station, drove up to the plateau, went down RH route to join the underground camping group. Nearly failed to find the camp but fortunately bumped into Del + Wookey coming out fo their obscure bit. Camp was pretty good. Slept to about 8.30 and then faffed for 3 hours before 'going' caving.....

Del + Animal

Poking down Wookey's bit:

(a) Very tight muddy inlet on l/hand side gets like Quaking so gave up.

(b) followed route to new pitch but spotted lights below, turned out to be the other side of the flapjack shaft (could spy the blue rope protector).

(c) Back to end of main bit of passageway, joint effort to put one bolt in at pitch but ran out of rope.

Decided to come out early, but kept on catching up with Juliette and Joe so it took 4 hours from the camp to the surface (on full tummies 'cos we had some grub first).

Animal - T/U 24 hours 1989-08-20 | Team Camping 20-21st Wook's bit | Wook, Jez & Dave, Del, Joe, Juliette

Team camping trip being organised for a change with gear lists etc. which is fine but results in us being a little slow. Under ground by 12.30. 6 people & 8 bags produces hyper-slow progress & so caught up by team hard (Mark D, Adam & Planc) while Juliette had epics at Knossos pitch head while Joe threw rocks at her in an attempt to help!

Arrived at camp at 6.30ish, brewed up & split into teams. Wook & Del went to survey off Tower Blocks (OLYMPUS series). Jez taught Dave to bolt & went to rerig flapjack. Joe & Juliette went down to help rig 70m (laugh) pitch.

All finished between 11 & 12. Had tea & a fairly warm night. I tried a bivvy bag & was rewarded with a v. soggy sleeping bag (surprise! surprise!)

Next day me, Jez & Dave went to survey bottom after team hard returned at 3 am to tell us of sump (waking all but me). Animal & Del see above, Joe & Juliette went to rig pitch at end of inlet, bolted it but found insufficient string.

Survey team made it to bottom (well only Wooks was stupid enough to go down ridiculously soggy last sump pitch!) Came out in 4 hrs 20 mins including some derigging - all hyper knackered.

TU 31 hrs Wook, Jez & Dave, Del, Joe, Juliette

Previous trip / Next RHR Pushing Trip / Flapjack bottoming trip (same day)

1989-08-23 | daytime | Mike Thomas, Pete Lancaster, Jeremy Rodgers, Adam Cooper, Juliette Kelly, Del Robinson, Joe Lenartowitz, Andy Waddington

Waddington's Beer to caving ratio becomes finite !

Schwarzmooskogeleishöhle. (New entrance)

Left camp in the pre-dawn light and set off on the epic walk-in. Ages to get to Kataster 28 - hang a left here. Beautiful sunrise as we hacked up the German's path-to-the-bivouac-cave. Snow already softening as we passed Bunter's Bulge. Got to the German bivouac before midday, and eventually caught the French photographic party near the entrance at 2pm after a sweaty 9 hour walk-in. Investigation of the walk-in entrance suggested a height of 13" and a width of about 2 feet - draughting out at 0°C strong enough to snap off Sequoia gigantea trees at three miles. Both Jeremy and Waddington wittered furiously over the 6km flat-out entrance crawl, but couldn't turn round owing to the ice-axes being in the way. Soon found an expiring Frenchman in the way who needed escorting out, so we put our crampons on and ignored him. Within hours, Planc and Thomas were down the 50m overhanging ice-pitch on a few feet of knotted Blue-water while Jeremy was hung up on a loop of effete pink climbing rope - he asked for a knot in the end and it soon got jammed. Waddington spent an hour or so trying to get 11mm stiff Blue-water into a 9mm sticht plate before conceding defeat and changing to a figure-eight. Soon released Jeremy but ran out of arm-strength pushing the iron-bar-like Blue-water through the figure 8. Swapped to the pink python and lobbed into the BIGGEST chamber we've seen for some time. Also full of ice ! Soon blinded by French flash bulbs the size of your head and in severe risk of melting the whole shebang. Found Planc 30 metres up the first ice-stalagmite hanging from one ice-tool but he soon fell off with a huge crash of broken ice. As the rest of the party descended, all the formations filled with front-point scars and the French shouted more and more frantically for lights to be turned out. Flashes fired (well two out of three) and everyone went blind for five minutes. People who valued their eyesight started exitting as the strobe-rate got near epilepsy-inducing frequency. Couldn't resist what is probably (log book confirmation) C.U.C.C.'s first ever ice-screw rebelay. Escorted French near-corpse to entrance and then waited for rest to appear. All out after a couple of years caving time to find that only a couple of hours had passed on the surface.

A much recommended tourist trip if you can get a helicopter ride to the entrance - brilliant formations no doubt better earlier in the season.

A remarkable, near light-speed walk back in only an hour and a half, for the loss of about 37 litres of sweat each (much less than on the walk-in!)

TU ~2½ hours

Andy Waddington (first trip with CUCC for ~ 3 years)

Next CUCC trip here (1990)

Another quote. Waddington in the kartoffelhütte. "I don't care, as long as I'm on page three first !"

1989-08-23 | TEACHING PEOPLE TO DIVE IN GRUNDLSEE | MikeTA, MarkD, MarkF, Julian

Phil instructed while Alien slobbed. After rescuing a surf board sail, took Mark (chef) for a flipper, Animal followed by Mark F (who found a pike and a vase) and was followed by Julian. Tanya peeed on the surf board. Mark (chef) managed to burst an eardrum after reaching -6m depth - serves him right for having such shit ears.

Quote from Del to Juliette (before the dinner) "You can be pleasantly stuffed tonight..."

Quote from Adam "I had a week humping sods"
[OK - so it was about archæology...]

01-54 Friday 25th - It was a good dinner and I've just got warmed up to serious drinking - but every bastard else has pissed off to bed ! Anti-social pillocks - how can a piss-artist keep his average up with no support ? hmmmmmph ! A.

1989-08-23 | Team Divbrain | Wook, Chris & Dave the hand

go on an overnighter for 1st trip down Niflheim since it was rigged. (on 11th Aug - 12 days ago !!)

Set off at 8.30 (just as it went dark). Dave the hand carried tacklebag with all the bits of gear we could scrounge/find - 1 ladder from camp, braidline from surface, another ladder & more braidline from top of pitch 3 & (shock, horror!) one SRT rope from bottom of squeeze, a whole 15m ! Zoomed down to bottom of seriously damp Niflheim in 2 hrs with no injuries other than a seriously wet wellie.

Looked around at bottom to discover that, contrary to public opinion, it was totally all down here; found lots of passage, 3 pitches, a couple of crawls and a silted-up sump - ideal campsite crapper.

[a great deal of sketching of Ragnarok]

After poking around a bit went down 4m ladder pitch to left of passage & found stream canyon beyond 12m (maybe less) to floor. 17m pitch under rocks in main pasage looked more promising so went down there instead. Dave then bolted next (11m pitch) & he & Chris investigated squalid bits at bottom whilst I went back, nicked the Niflheim rope & bolted down into chanber on oter side of bridge. Promising looking pitch beyond so I started bolting it. Was v. bored when Dave came back saying their route was crap & could they have some rope back to get out with ?

I derigged sufficiently to chuck rope back down, & Dave went to continue bolting whilst me & Chris tried to survey passage - unfortunately had total instrument failure (except the tape - that was OK) so just did sketch and bearings overleaf.

Eventually descended last 6m pitch at 6.30 am to find it went into 'too tight' rift. Now v. bored, cold & tired so exited.

On way out I noticed other way on (p3) & checked that but it was crap as hell ! hmpf.

Out in 2¼ hrs (me & Dave) & 2¾ (Chris)

Chris had the shits all trip and crapped at bottom of 4th (now named 'LOOSE BOWELS') & in 'THE BLACK LAGOON'.

Dave fell asleep at camp 1 & Chris fell asleep on drive back !

Ha, successfully tired him out (Dave) !

TU 13/½ hrs

Previous trip / Last attempted LHR trip (rescue) / Next trip

1989-08-24 | Prospecting | Adam, Planc

Prospecting on the West side of the Hinter Schwarzmooskogel.

(1) Descended 15m shaft which we painted no 165 - in a fault line on W.side of H.SMK

Bearings: Cross on Schonberg331°
Brauning Nase226°

(2) Found another shaft in same fault line, but further north in area of bare limestone. This already had a bolt in the entrance, which we didn't notice until Adam had descended the rope & found the pitch to be deeper than 35m. This is not an area looked at by CUCC before, so may well be the pirates seen camping near the Augsteck, or possibly the Germans.

Bearings: Cross on Schonberg322°
Brauning Nase222°

1989-08-26 | R.H.Route again | Dan wookey Adam Chris

After a day of recovery from dinner & general festering with the Hohlenrettung people some keenies drove up & camped on plateau (inc. Wookey). Team less keen went up in morning from Hildes (0800!) & met up with Wookey at camp. Mill around, go to cave, mill around a bit more, & finally underground 1.00, 1.30 in afternoon. Chris spent ages fiddling with lights etc., & let team 'mega-mug' - (Animal, Jeremy, etc.) overtake & derig Flapjack etc. & as a result missed out on the hot tea at the camp. Dan & Wookey surveyed Olympus, conveniently meeting team 'de-frig' (Animal Jeremy etc.) as they came up Flap-jack thus getting a closure loop. (oh-dear) Chris & Adam (meanwhile) rigged down pitch Del had started on, off Olympus. Chris almost put in 2nd attempt at a bolt 15ft down on large ledge (beneath bolt) before 3 cracks appeared in rock & a lump fell out beneath bolt hole. Adam spurned backup belay (small, highly mobile stone) at head of pitch & used a bigger (& therefore more reliable) rock as back up before descending & putting in a more successful spit underneath Chris's & descending ensuing 20 ft pitch. A stream canyon continued. The rock split around Adam's next bolt too (to show he's not immune) so Chris free climbed down to a rabbit sized continuation of the stream & disappointment. So went out, noticing rock around bolt at head of pitch also split ho ho. ie. for this short section 5 attempts at bolting: 1: shattered at beginning, 3: rock split around, 1: OK. Not very good !

Adam & Chris said 'Hi' to Dan & Wookey doing the real work of surveying along the gorgeous passage off Olympus joining up with Flapjack from derrière. Chris helped/hindered survey, while Adam put in bolt (after several attempts) at head of pitch over on other side of passage beyond campsite of Knossos (& got v. bored). Survey of stuff above complete, an Uncle Ben's rice meal was consumed before Dan & Wookey went off to look at the bits around 'Over the Rainbow' & Adam & Chris went to look at pitch Adam had just put a bolt in. C went down & put bolt at head of 40m* pitch below, then A went down it (after having a false start down without 29m rope to continue to bottom of pitch, knot being required in centre). A. reported 5m pitch down continuing stream passage below. Time was now 3 a.m. so a fatigued retreat was beat back to surface around 6-6.30 a.m. According to Dan + Wookey about their sojourn at 'Over the Rainbow' - it went.

T/U 17 hours <- Chris 17½ (rest) (because Chris' light a bit iffy & fell to bits)

* Of course, 40m is subject to usual 100% bullshit factor. In this case bullshit particularly gross since no knot change for 29m rope so prob. 25m at most. - Ah well !

Previous trip / Next Trip / Same day: Photo trip LH & RH routes / D&S / Flapjack derigging & Co.

1989-08-27| Photo trip | Mark F, Kieth, Ian

Entered cave around 11 am. Went down left hand route to camp where Animal, Jeremy, Julian were still in bed. Photoed formations and Arrow chamber, sloping passage. Then left for R.H. route photos out from Tower Blocks where there was a sudden increase in water in seconds at about 4.15 pm. Photos in Tower Blocks, Star Wars, Knossos, Frozen Stream etc. Came out to photo Bungalow pitch, Squeeze pitch and second pitch. Exited around 10.30 pm

Time underground 11½ hours

Same day: Surveying Olympus etc. / D&S / Flapjack derigging & Co.

1989-08-26| Surveying Nifleheim | David H, Del, Juliette

Surveying Niflheim

Went down to junction below squeeze ahead of another party (or maybe I'm thinking of yesterday's trip down D+S ahead of above trip - too much caving - can't think straight). Started survey at junction and exploring various routes off passageway to Arrow chamber. One off first sharp RH bend (going straight on) appears to be going - yes I know - not helpful - shut up Dave ! Del disappeared down the rift for a while - "its very deep". Juliette was fast realising her artistic skills, when we came to the origin of Niflheim's "wet" bit. Ah! this is why Del's been dragging a plastic bucket down with him (I didn't want to ask - I thought it was the answer to Chris' squits - keep your cave clean; you've heard of the 'pooper scooper' well we've got the 'bucket carry outer' !) Del descended below the water while Juliette put the bucket in position to collect the water to keep darling Del dry - a pity she didn't tell him when it was full. Instead, what was a sprinkle of water became a collected torrent as a whole 30 seconds worth of Niflheim water was deposited on Del's head ! I had a short go at doing the note taking as far as the start of Niflheim and then we had to come out to make the call-out time.

25 points surveyed, the LH route was longer than we'd thought (or I'd remembered) but a pretty good trip !

Time underground 8 hrs.

Previous trip / Next LHR Trip / Olympus surveying trip (started same day)

1989-08-27| Squeeze bypass| David H, Juliette, Del

Squeeze bypass, down Drunk + Stupid (possibly ?)

Gratuitous trip by Dave H thru squeeze to check happy campers + where's our rope, eh? Oh there isn't any. So Del + Dave wait at 4th pitch while photo trip goes thru. Then down D+S. Ju got off 2nd pitch (20m) halfway down, to find way off with 5m pitch. At bottom of 20m, Dave moved slack in rope around while Del + Juliette rigged down hole in floor - No go Joe (there is a bollard dropped down there, oops sorry!). Down 30m pitch and finally Dave manages Indian Rope Trick to ledge (at +7m). You work out how he did it? Juliette wormed her way up rift (bearing 030°) from bottom of 30m v.tight, climbs. Anyway, Dave the cordless bolter sets off down rift (bearing 190°), 15m pitch to a ledge and carries on.... Oh yes, there is a hammer down there, dropped by nameless woman ! Voice connection from New rift to D+S, no lights so far. Quick out but soaked by afternoon thunderstorm filtering through, so exit to dry change (ooh luvly).

T/U 9 hrs

Previous trip / Next D&S Trip
Same day: Surveying Olympus etc. / Photo trip / Flapjack derigging & Co.

1989-08-26 | The Niflheim Abortion (All of it Jeremy's fault) | Jeremy, Mike R, Julian

Plan: Nip down RH route, make a rope collection, check out Over the Rainbow, camp down Niflheim, sleep, spend next day poking around passages at base having a brew up every single hour, camp & sleep again. come out, pop down Drunk & Stupid to show how hard we are and come out in the evening reluctantly just in time to make the call out.

What happened in fact: Down flapjack late in the day, derigged pitches below, dumped Boris for MarkD to deal with and pulled rest of rope up flapjack (helping with Dan's surveying separate passage across-pitch link-up), had brew up at old underground camp and exited Knossuss.

[sketch of OTR chanber]

A = Over the Rainbow
B = Descent drop to underneath Over the Rainbow
C = pillar, D = OTR bypass
E = free climbable drop from which you can see person at the bottom of B
F = Pot of Gold

Jeremy descended B, Julian saw him from E. Animal discovered F. Pot of Gold immediately entered phreatic swiss cheese labyrinth half clogged with soil. Somewhere (take left turn soon after entering) there is a pitch into a chamber all of whose exits drop into a rift. The way on, downwards, was extensively looked at and was promising enough - to Animal and Jeremy - to make us forget Niflheim and set up camp in nice sandy passage 3 mins up LH route. The night was cold enough to freeze an elephant alive. (Julian hadn't worked out how much clothing it was necessary to wear inside the sleeping bag). The crapper was up a loose, noisy scree slope at back. Put a change of plan note at bottom of squeeze pitch. Water supply from a secluded pool a little down RH route.

In morning we found 3:05 note left by Dave's team on their exit. (Notes left by other teams are wonderful). David paid us a visit, then Keith, Ian, Mark and none of them got any coffee out of us because we were running short of meths.

Pot of Gold swiss cheese (route through) surveyed, pitch bolted and rift descended, freeclimb false floor to false floor to bottom, followed through tight bit to head of 25m pitch While Animal bolted this, J&J investigated sound of noisy streamway, and located it. And found it unfollowable. Julian discovered several clean-stone-floored long phreatic snake holes, which would have been tight if the snake had just swallowed a pig. These came out in derelict falling-to-bits chambers which connected to other side of pitch being bolted. Pitch went nowhere fast. Surveyed it all except derelict chambers and snake holes.

Went back to camp and it now had a breeze which blew candles out and clothes against the ceiling. A drip appeared in the upper passages near crapper. Deduction: weather was crap. Woke up in morning feeling just as fucked as when we had hit the pit. Very cold everywhere. Jeremy's guts were soiled so we went straight out. And the weather was crap.

T/U 47 hrs 59 minutes

Conclusion: Camping underground is crap. Unless the facilities are exceptionally good and as nice as in a tent on a campsite, you don't get rested and might as well not have gone to sleep. Could do better.

Previous trip / The actual Niflheim trip
Same day: Surveying Olympus etc. / Photo trip / D&S

Team Sweat: Ian (still in wooley), Keith, Tanya, Julian, Del, Juliette, Mark F, Wookey, Animal
Got the Potato Hut to over 40° on the thermometer. Animal sweats the most and wrung out his skids.
Tanya went in the river !!
T/S (sweating) ~30 mins

1989-09-01 | Pitch, pitch, pitch, | Dave, Chris, Tanya, Juliette

drip - rain, pour } - WET. Pitch, pitch
bolt / survey Prussic add infinitum

An overnighter. We started fantasising about morning emergences to bright blue skies before we even went in. Zipped downwards, Chris removing even more aluminium from the rack. (Why is it so fascinating + satisfying watching those grooves form ?)

At the Black Lagoon, we avoided the gurgling sump monster - (thumper) and began work. Tanya and Dave braved the ice to survey. Chris and I began bolting - down the end of Wookey's little yummy pipe. Loads of naturals everywhere. Rigged 30m + 20m down 2 pitches from end of pipe but did not reach so out with the Millars hundred. Juliette, anxious to begin knitting socks, knitted rope instead in the crawling pipe. Dave (the cordless drill) now takes over from Chris (natural man) and begins tapping.

Tanya + Chris finish the survey and begin tandem prussicing out of the big wet pitch (both enjoy this lots).

Oh yes ! The mystery note. On arriving at the bottom of Niflheim Dave + Tanya discover a 'cryptic clue'

[sketch of location of note]

"CUCC 1/9/89 Kaninchenhöhle
Dan Mace <address>"

but why ? we know this.

Many suggestions were made. "Dan changed his mind and came down Niflheim, went down pitch X + discovered evidence of French sabotage"
"Dan needed to alert us, but the only bit of paper available is this naff bit" - wrong as today's date.

So French sabotage all the way. Dan + co. discovered a 'mysterious' rope at the bottom of D and S. Obviously French.

So we finally have a connection. Discovered by all above ground, the D.S. lot by studying the survey, the Niflheim lot by Chris's intuition having been told Dan's French sabotage story.

We all met up at the squeeze. I was perplexed, standing at the bottom.

Chris above, Dave below, Tanya between. Deep powerful grunt (assumed to be Dave's feminine gasp in rhythmic sessions).

"Push with your head on her hip" says Chris, Grunt, ahhh...

Was it twins - Dave is a vet, he should know (Dab hand with hauling lambs from sheep (elbow deep)).

The great moment came, Tanya had done a handstand above the pitch !

Dave declares that 'he prefers sheep'. I never knew about these Welsh origins - And anyway, Tanya's hair is fluffier than any sheep. Poor taste, I don't know !

Those fantasies of blue skies must have brought the clouds. But never mind. Austrian old ladies gave chocolate in exchange for tea. Chris - the undernourished look works again (cream cakes and now chocolate) Maybe they feel the need to mother him ?

6 pm - 10 am

16 hours

Previous trip / Next LHR Trip (derigging)
Same day: The D&S trip

1989-09-01 | The French Connection | Dan, Jeremy, Julian, Penny

survey to the bottom & finish the route



Filmed in Glorious Technicolour by an unknown Austrian Photographer.

Set off for the plateau in Jeremy's car remarkably early (for CUCC). Leaping enthusiastically (ha ha) from the car outside the Bergrestaurant we were immediately accosted by a strange man festooned with cameras who requested 'a minute' of our time. The next twenty minutes was spent trooping on and off an empty Bundesbus while the above mentioned photographer did his stuff - apparently we look like four typical Loser walkers! The photos are to be used for advertising the bus service - we are *stars* (autographs given for a small consideration!)

Finally made it to the cave and eventually got underground. Jeremy and Julian zoomed on down D+S to push, and Dan and I started the survey at Wet Nappy Chamber. Approximately twenty survey stations later J+J appeared, demanding that we choose to hear first the 'bad news or the good news'.

The BAD news:- "IT ENDS"

The GOOD news:- "We've connected with the French Cave"


Instant acceleration of survey in order to reach the 'French' cave before we have to go out.

Julian (no-one else would have done it!) had pushed something both obscure and constricted and come upon the end of a very clean unmarked piece of 10mm Edelrid hanging down a pitch. Thought process:
(1) Rope is clean therefore cannot have come from anywhere in 161
(2) Bolts are very good therefore they cannot be CUCC bolts
(3) We have no idea where we are so we can't be anywhere near anywhere else:
THEREFORE this must be the French cave!

The more we thought about it the more reasons we managed to find to convince ourselves that the French Connection was a fact.

A note was left attached to the bottom of the rope, and it was surveyed to, and we set off out.


Back at Base Camp, Dan and I rush to work out the survey data and plot the centre line on the rough survey to see where it goes relevant to salient points elsewhere in the cave.

Circa two hours and much calculator programming later:-

"Right Dan, where's the end of D+S?"
"-7 North & 42 East".
"And where's the current end of the Niflheim survey?"
"Um.... +7 North and 42 East"
"Aren't they sort of rather ... um ... close?"

A rush to the log book confirms:- the French Connection is in fact the bottom of Niflheim.

Kaninchenhöhlensystem becomes Kaninchenhöhle once more. We have no second entrance, but we do have one big survey loop.

Oh, well, never mind. I don't know what the French is for "ha ha we've got the highest entrance" anyway.

Time on the bus:- 20 minutes.

Time underground :- 11 hours


Previous trip / Next D&S Trip (photo + derigging)
Same day: The Niflheim trip

"I'm very disappointed with Dan's performance on this expedition"

- Penny

1989-09-01 | The 3½ hr extravagance ! | David & Wookey

Went up in cars (Chris, Del, Juliette, Jeremy, Adam, Wookey and myself) to discover the 'sprinkling' of snow visible from base camp was, in fact, an enormous amount - 4-6 inches plus drifts ! Jeremy and Adam return to base and we carry on pretending to go caving ! (all but Wookey that is, who really did want to go and collect his trangia + clothes from the camp below Knossus before going home with Del). Even though Wookey was intending to go on his own if no one would come it seemed a pretty good idea for at least one person to go down with him.

After about 45 mins of falling all over the place in the snow drifts (it was in fact a very pretty walk up there!) we got changed + disappeared down the 1st pitch to reemerge 3½ hrs later, Wookey having been all the way down to the camp by Tower Blocks whilst I waited above Knossos. Also rerigged 3/4 pitch to push a large boulder down which was sitting on the rebelay rope to the top of 4th pitch. Pleasant surprise to see Chris and Del and Juliette waiting for us up top.

TU 3½ hrs.

Previous (camping) trip / Next RHR Trip (surveying Wish You Were Here)

1989-09-02 | Rush back | Mike + Tina

[Date uncertain]

Rushed back to Austria. 30 hour train journey and still so keen to be whisked up to the cave.

Leisurely start - underground by 1.30 ! Entertaining rigging the rope across the head of the third pitch. First I lifelined Mike with our climbing rope across a very nasty loose boulder slope. Then we tried to rig a rope straight across. Oh dear rope not quite long enough.

Much deliberation. Eventually I abseil down to 2nd rebelay on 3rd pitch and "brainwave" -> nice ledge to walk around. Well, fairly nice compared with the boulderslope and the possibility of being stuck half way across a rope.

Whee nice big passageway - stomp stomp stomp. Pitch, go down (nice natural, no wasting time bolting anything here). Oh dear, horrible tight rift with another pitch on it (undescended).

Next an eyehole was found halfway down pitch with a little chamber and a freeclimb down. We put the remainder of the rope down as a handline. More passage way at the bottom and nice mud formations on the walls. There are a few holes in the floor, tight but rattle a long way. Also a very deep rift with water going down it (undescended). We walked as far as we could and at the end there's a promising looking pitch. Not very deep (~10m) but it looks like it goes somewhere, there's lots of rattling at the bottom.
Surveyed out.

11 hr trip and it was pissing down when we came out.


Previous trip / Next Trip (derigging) / Dreamtime to RHR connection trip (next year)

1989-09-03 | photo ds | Dave, Paul, Mark D

Drunk & Stupid Photography / Detackle

Down at 3:30 pm. Smooth trip on the way down; lots of photos (1½ rolls) of most of the best bits. Very impressed with final rift into mud floored chamber; spectacular views. Herad some really incredible sounds at the bottom, We presume that it was from "Thumper the talking sump" at the base of Niflheim. It sounded like a selection of tubular bells playing: a really fantastic phenomenon. Really hard wark detackling: by the time we were out of D&S we had 4 bags of rope, 3 ladders & my camera box. Then came most unwelcome findings "Chris has done a Becka and fallen down the squeeze" etc. etc. (read rescue report for details).

TU 12 hours

Previous trip / Next D&S Trip (final derigging)
Same day: RHR derig/survey / LHR derig - abortive and Chris's rescue

1989-09-03? | Six go Detackling A Cave | Juliette, Dave, Mike R, Jeremy Tanya, Tina

[Date uncertain]

(1) Juliette, Dave, Animal - Down Niflheim

Trip to close the survey loops down Niflheim and to detackle it. 'twas wet, and the slithy cavers did gyre and gymbal on the rope. Dave and Juliette tandemed up the main pitch. Mike surprised Juliette by falling down a small hole, light went out but it didn't hurt so I didn't say anything so Juliette thought "Oh no etc. etc.". Met Tina at the squeeze so over to ----

(2) Jeremy, Tanya, Tina

First off the idea was to be a second wave down the cave. Got to cave just as first wave was going down. Dave not even changed. Oh dear, severe misjudgement of time. Oh well lets tackle haul some gear down. Don't forget stopping at camp for a brew, some pilchards and porridge ! Oh well, 5 O'Clock down teh cave's not too late is it ! Tanya gave me + Jeremy the willies by chucking great boulders down and we couldn't hear anything. Eventually Jeremy prussiked part way up to shout "Tanya, you OK?". I met Mike + co. at the squeeze. Me + Mike detackled Dreamtime. Me + Tanya hauled gear up from bottom of 1st pitch to ledge, Mike helping. Jeremy + Tanya did 2nd pitch. Dave + Jeremy last bit ledge to top of entrance. Tanya had a tackle sack fall on her head. Was v. brave. We all gave a cheer as last bit of cave was detackled. Drank beer at 1 O'clock on hillside, got back 2.30 am !

Dave, Juliette, Animal T/U 11 hours
Tina, Tanya, Jeremy ~ 7 hrs

Previous trip (aborted LHR derig) / Previous Dreamtime trip / D&S derig trip (same day) / Next trip (1990 rigging in)

1989-09-04? | finish detackle Tues | Dan & Penny

[Date uncertain]

Finished detackling D&S & hauled all rope and ladders to the surface.

T/U 4½ hours

Previous trip (D&S 1st derig) / LHR/Dreamtime derig trip (same day) / Next trip (1990 rigging in)

1989-09-04? | RH detackle/Rescue trip/Push/Survey | Jeremy, Mark F, Adam

[Date uncertain]

Shot down, Jeremy pulled Adrian & Boris from Flapjack pitches, Mark F waited. I looked at current pushing front to see if obviously going to close off. Didn't ! (rocks fell many bounces down rift 'till banging faint) therefore didn't rig because next year. Surveyed from top of wet pitch ("Wish you were her (not me) pitch"), estimating pitch size. Jeremy returned. Ate food at camp (might as well carry out in stomach). Lugged gear out (loads). Got hit by falling rock on Knossus pitch (lucky near top). Hauled all gear thro' squeeze after noting Dan's note re Chris's fall & swearing insulting a lot.

In process of carrying all gear to bottom of 4th pitch when hear rescue needs more ropes for hauling CD (we had assumed from Dan's note that CD just shaken and able to get out without others hauling him).

Rescue delayed exit into horrid night.

Rescue details must be elsewhere, therefore not repeat.

Time U/G 14 hrs

Details of cave explored in Survey book.

Previous trip / Next Trip (final derigging)
Same day: D&S derig / LHR derig - abortive and Chris's rescue

1989-09-06? | LHR derig - abortive and Chris's rescue | Chris, Dan, Juliette

[Date uncertain]

This trip not written up in base camp logbook.

see published account

Previous trip / Next LHR Trip (successful derigging)
Same day: RHR derig/survey / D&S derig