Austria 1996

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!

28/6/96 | Steve and Anthony's journey | Steve and Anthony

Steve & Anthony go to expo with an angular vehicle full of shit and Wookey's latest addition to the expo trailer dynasty, which proved to be much more effective than its predecessor. Apart from nearly running out of petrol at 7am in France and a couple of overheating errors, journey was thankfully uneventful. All the sitting around waiting for the car to cool down cost us a beer however...

1/7/96 | Looking for 161d | Steve and Anthony

After sitting around at Top Camp for a bit waiting for the weather to clear up, it became clear it wasn't going to so we went entrance hunting. Walked back along the path to the Toll Road and picked up the 201 by the shepherd's huts and followed this to the Hochklapf Sattel.

First of all we found a cave below the ridge at the low point on the top camp path shortly before we picked up the 201. It doesn't go anywhere - just 15m or so of 4m wide stooping passage which closes down.

Walked on the 201 past 32 and arrows indicating a route to 41 and 115. Also found a cave numbered 88 immediately adjacent to the path. It looks like an obvious no goer so is clearly the cave in need of denumbering rather than Lärchenschacht. Slightly further along the 201 is an arrow indicating the route to 87 opposite a marking [Triangle with dot in centre] 5 in the path - presumably a fixed survey station.

Beyond Hochklapf after the path from Alt Aussee joins, Scarface is clearly visible. There is a white band running down the cliff face with a prominent boulder pile half way up - this is the level of the entrance. We tried back tracking down the 201 to a little way before the path from Alt Aussee joins and attempted to climb over the spur between us and 161d - not a good idea, much Bunde bashing. A better route would be to walk to the southern end of the Augstwies see, then walk round the spur and up a prominent SW trending gully (big enough to be marked on the map). From the top of this gully it is possible to zig zag up the hill to the right level by means of some Bunde bashing and a few climbs, none of which are too desperate, and walk along to the entrance. This is the best route found so far but it is a long way. It took us 2½ hours from top camp. Even allowing for a certain amount of pratting around it's not going to be much less than 2 hours, and that on a cool day with very little gear.

Heading back we first tried to make for a gully to the north which looks like it would provide an easy descent route if we could find a way into it (we didn't). Next we tried scaling the cliffs but quickly gave up when it became obvious that an easy route was not going to present itself. Finally we started off traversing along the same level as the entrance heading south. It doesn't look too far up to the col near 161c here, so a better approach may be to attack it from the top with a bolting kit and some ladders.

There is a very obvious traverse level just below the cliff face which continues until you are approximately west of the junction of the 201 and the Alt Aussee path but considerably higher up. There is a possible site for a couple of tents here - no water supply but completely invisible from more than 10 yards away. At this point we decided to try and head up and over the shoulder of the VSK rather than go down and join the 201. This was a mistake - 2½ hours of Bunde bashing with intermittent showers followed. It was rubbish. Sheltered in an enormous train tunnel entrance, though the plaque labelled "Schwarzmooskogel Eishöhle" gave us a clue that someone had been there before us. We couldn't find the path back immediately, but after a bit more thrashing around we found it and went home.

Incidentally, there's a big hole in the middle of the Eishöhle path which is obviously >10m deep with no markings or bolts evident. I can't believe that something that size in the middle of the path to Eishöhle hasn't been checked out - so what the hell is it??

1/7/96 | Nick, Helen, Gunilla and Matthew go to Expo | Nick, Helen, Gunilla and Matthew

"Buy a car Nick, it'll be lovely" said Steve.
"Buy a car Nick, it'll be really useful and there are this many reasons why it'll be a GOOD THING for you and not just Expo" said Anthony.
"Buy a car you miserable git, it's your turn" said Julian.
"No" said Nick
Nick bought a car.

Three weeks later, having filled the car with flapjack and 2½ people we set off from Cambridge at 4.00am to pick Matthew up from the services at Junction 2 on the M20, or rather, Matthew and his "2 bags and a very small tent". Matthew turns up with his mum and a large estate car full of gear to put into my already full car (just the gear, not his mum). I'm told it was a little cramped in the back seats....

Largely uneventful journey - got an early ferry, appreciated the centre of Luxembourg (twice) and failed to find any cheese in France. Arrived in Austria and Hilda's for 1.00am to find Steve & Anthony supping Gösser, so had to join them.

Cars are ace!


3/7/96 | Looking for a route to 161d from above | Anthony, Gunilla, Matthew and Steve

After faffing about in the morning whilst Helen tried to sort out the rest of her life via Hilde's phone, we set off to top camp about one o'clock. Then we realised we didn't have any hangars, so Anthony went back. A brief(ish) fester at top camp meant we didn't set off for the col until 3.45.

However, even with limited time we managed to strike gold and find a reasonable route. From the spot where the 161a & 161c paths split, a gully can be seen heading down the back of the Vord in the vague direction of 161d. Follow this easily until it peters out.

We then basically followed our noses until it got too hard. Pretty soon we could see the 'scar' in scarface, but it seemed that there was impossible bunde grief between us and prussik-free access to the pushing front.

I dived into the bunde anyway, as I had seen the area from above earlier on and it really didn't look that far.

After about 200yds of pretty serious bunde bashing I popped out somewhere I recognised from our previous route finding effort. A tricky climb and some easy walking led to the entrance.

So basically its a result. Some tedious bunde hacking needs to be done and a couple of handlines should be put on, but a decent path will soon exist. I reckon its about 1¼ from top camp to scarface, walking at a reasonable pace.

3/7/96 | Looking for a way back to England...| Helen + Nick

BECKA: I guessed the 3/7 date for this entry

As we're nearly ready for going to Top Camp to carry stuff Hilda calls me and I get a phonecall from Dad "-you have an interview next week". After much phoning he finds out about another interview, and that he couldn't change my flight home for me. I had to do it myself, in person... nearest office in Vienna. Found a place in Stralzburg. Salzburg actually, I drove (N)

Nick gallently (?) offered to drive me as I was still suffering from a hangover. Drove to Statzburg, parked, wandered around a bit. Found a stall offering guided tours... in English! Hurrah! Nice man said he was also going there, he'd take us... Found the tiny shop in a tiny street. Was told that they could change my flight for 350 AU.s, but no flights on the 9th, only on the 6th July. Sigh! I change my ticket, it gives me an entire 4 days doing things here. 15 hours driving (ish, very-ish) for 4 days on Expo. Ho Hum.

Drove back, found team London at Hilda's. Took them straight up to Top Camp (keeness or what !?!) and did 2 carry-ins. If I'm lucky I'll get 1 caving trip!

5/7/96 | Caving in 161d | Helen + Nick

I get a caving trip! Some faffing and a walk with stupidly heavy rucksacs. All apart from Antony and Nick who obviously carried rucksacs lightly filled with feathers, weighing nothing at all. Or maybe not. Still, it slowed the buggers down and got them out of breath.

Obvious problem with 161d (apart from getting there) is the lack of shade while changing. Luckily there is a howling gale of cold air coming out of the less-than-generous entrance.

Pottered in to Trifurcation to (95/55A) lead which was labled as a pitch, depth not noted. It had a good drop on it (~30m). Rigged off the stunning natural (a large boulder) for the muddy scrabble, then a rebelay, another re -belay, and a nice free-hang. Nick did all that while I stood around getting cold. Then I went down, replaced one rope-protector, added another one on the next rub, but I'd run out by the 3rd rub. Nick's comment "I noticed that but it's ok if you keep left and prussic carefully". Got to the bottom, discovered it was time to go back out. Not very exciting but it is a stonking lead - another pitch going on with a good drop. Rumour has it it may get called 'Interview Blues' or something similar.

TU 5hrs

Previous trip (finding Trifurcation, 1995) / Next Interview Blues trip / Trips same day finding: Puerile Humour & Bottomless Pit of Eternal Chaos / Dave & Becka's route traversing over IVB

4/7/96 |Top Camp carry | Nick, Matthew, Brian, PhilU

> Carried lots of shit up to Top Camp in the heat, whilst Steve and Anthony massacred some bunde with Anthony's Junior Hacksaw. Saw a little adder (the Expo Treasurer?) and a lizard (the Expo Leader?)

2/7/96 | Journey to Expo | Brian & PhilU

Set of from London 3:30am. Folkestone. Chunnel. France. Belgium. Germany. Fly-camp. More Germany. Austria. Base Camp. Top Camp. 50mph. 'Nuff said.


5/7/96 |161d | Matthew, PhilU, Steve

We walked from Top Camp to Scarface. It was a bastard. Got changed and sweated whilst waiting for everyone else. Entered cave and trundled along to Bugger. Tried to climb it. Steve got ¾ way up, left a good sling on a natural thread, and fell off. Swore. Gave up on Bugger, and wandered back to Ring-Piece Junction, and followed a good lead for 150m, which continues after 15m pitch. A few promising leads.

TU 7 ½ hrs

Previous trip (finding Bugger, 1995) / Next trips: Bugger (successful climb) & 150m lead (Puerile Humour Series) / Trips same day finding: Interview Blues & Bottomless Pit of Eternal Chaos

6/7/96 | Pushing Leads off Trifurcation | Nick, Anthony, Brian

(or Silly Bastards go caving in the rain) The caving was lovely, the walk in (55mins) and the walk out (45mins) were done in the pissing rain. Had we set of ½hr later it would have started raining before we left Top Camp and we could have happily jacked. Having slogged up to the col, however, we could only go onwards and upwards.

Nick's caving bit: Continued down 95-55. Added another rope protector (making 3!) to the first pitch, bolted the 6m pitch (lovely Y-hang). A further 10m pitch through the floor (getting narrower - I love rift pitch series!) required another Y-hang and a deviation (no decent naturals when required hence my fifth bolt of the day). At the bottom of this pitch is yet another one, of about 20m, in a much wider shaft, with the sound of water coming from it. More to follow...

There is a continuation of the rift at the top of this pitch series, which is responsible for the draught (there is no draught down the pitches). This can only be reached by a very airy traverse - a job for the drill.

TU 5 ½ hrs

Previous trip / More of this trip / Next trip

5/7/96| Pushing 95-54| Brian & Anthony

Anthony's caving bit: Pushing 95-54 near MINOAN surprise. Placed back up bolt to left of pitch head. Found Stubai Al. crab - last years ? Placed another bolt at pitch head, descended 10m placed rebelay bolt went down to next ledge 7m down couldn't see bottom so tied off rope bag & exited cave
TU 5 ½ hrs

Previous trip (finding Minoan Surprise, 1995) / Next Bottomless Pit trip / Trips same day finding: Puerile Humour & Interview Blues

6/7/96 | Pushing 95-54| Brian & Anthony

BECKA - I added title and people here as unclear what write-up below refers to

Got down to 10m rebelay descended 7m placed another rebelay just below ledge then 60m freehang with deviation off sharp flake on right about 35m down giving nice freehang descent to land on boulder slope at bottom to left is ascending rift up small streamway - not pushed - to right up very loose boulder slope to small col. To left upslope is twisting ascending rift probably part of main shaft so not pushed. Downslope is 3m chimney climb down into rift with loose boulders chocked in rift down looks a bit tight so climb up onto chocks and move along rift. Rift opens out into pitch &plusm; 20m with sound of stream at bottom no gear so exit cave.
TU 5 ½ hrs

Previous trip / More of this trip / Next trip

7/7/96 |PhilB & Ralph's amazing journey! | PhilB, Ralph

BECKA - I guessed the 7/7 date

Planning? Who needs it! I 'phoned Ralph on Wednesday to make arrangements i.e. to meet at Julian's house on Saturday afternoon; Midday Saturday, I arose, packed, and left for Cambridge... 17.30 I arrived, packed the car with Ralph and a load of other shit (sic), and we left for Dover Eastern Docks, stopping only to buy a ferry ticket from the nice man at the P&O booking office. An hour later, we sailed for France, and then decided to look at the map ("Where exactly is Bad Aussee?"). At Calais, we drove until my eyes hurt too much, and then slept for a bit. Then we drove some more, and eventually arrived @ the Potato Hut. So what's the big deal? All credit to Ralph for flawless navigation (just don't mention Luxembourg...), and even more credit to the car for never faltering (thanks, Pete!)

TTT = 27.4 (Cambridge -> Potato Hut).


PS: 45mpg all the way!


9/7/96 | Attempt to go caving | Nick, Brian, PhilU & Anthony

After two day's festering with 11 belching farting cavers in the potato hut, team keen decided to earn some super hero points by going caving in the snow. It had stopped raining for a full hour and a half when we left base camp, but the suspiciously white hills suggested we were in for some Wintery fun. The 4" of snow which greeted us at the top of the toll road confirmed this, but the intrepid (stupid?) four slithered onwards to top camp, Phil having a particularly fun time in his denim jeans. The weather at top camp made that elsewhere on our journey look tropical - mist, a biting wind with occasional hail showers and more snow. This had contrived to make Steve's and Brian's tents a bit of a funny shape, but an hour's excavation of them and the other tents amazingly revealed no damage to them or their contents. The food bags were similarly unscathed. Then spent an hour and a half sitting around supping tea, eating Tunnocks bars and being glum. Since we managed to get cold in this time, despite there being four people and their cheesy feet sitting in one tent in coats and hats, we decided that staying the night at Top Camp would be crap and cold, especially as the weather forecast on Hurdy Gurdy FM was unpromising. So we went back to base camp and sulked. It was rubbish. Why have I driven 900 miles for weather like Leck Fell in December?

TU Nil. [Some time this expo I'm going to get to write up an actual caving trip (I hope)]

5/7/96 | Drive across Europe (not via Frankfurt) | Dunks, Paul & *Jen

Quite a straightforward journey really, except for there seems to have been some sort of communication fuck-up concerning the route.

Jen (Paul's woman, not a caver) thought we had agreed to do an overnight stop at her mate's house near Frankfurt. Me & Paul thought we had decided to slog straight to expo.

We had got as far as Luxembourg (after a slight lostness-fuck up in Lille), it was ~5:30am, before we discovered our differing plans. After a rather circular discussion of the matter, we came direct to expo, but had to stop a few times to try and phone Frankfurt to say we weren't coming.

Front left-hand indicator stopped working near Stuttgart. Paul had got a spare bulb so we thought we might as well stop and do the trivial fettle.

Of course, to get to the screws holding the indicator unit in place, you have to remove the headlights. In turn, to get to the clips holding the headlight in place, you have to remove the radiator grille...

Things weren't helped by someone having done a bodge at some stage with one of the retaining clips for the headlight making the *#�!!ng thing damn near impossible to put back in place.

Eventually fettled it all. Checked everything was working and set off. About an hour later, the front left-hand indicator stopped working. Bugger that then...

11/7/96 | Surveying big pitch off Minoan Surprise (QM 95-54) | Brian, Nick and Anthony

Finally went caving after 4 days of inaction. First laid some string along the route through Triassic Park - v tedious. Someone else can do the rest. Then bombed off to do a survey of the big pitch - since named "Bottomless Pit of Eternal Chaos" (p81) - and the grotty 50cm wide rift at the bottom - "Hell's Teeth," while Brian put in some spits at the top of the following pitch - "Redemption" (p27). This drops into a ~40m high rift with a stream in the bottom. There are two waterfalls entering - more possible routes entering from above? Continuing downstream (unsurveyed) the canyon narrows to ~1m wide with many jammed boulders. The water then disappears off to the right, but a short squeeze further on regains the stream, which promptly disappears down the rift (~15m, may be two tight to follow). It looks as though the rift can be followed at a higher level, but needs a traverse line.

By now we were all freezing our tits off, so we exited. The big pitch is excellent: A fine pitch, a prince among pitches. Brian certainly thinks so. He carefully got the bottom of the rope caught in his dangly bag, not noticing until he got to the rebelay, 60m off the ground. The cause of his slow prussiking then became apparent, so he went back down to the deviation (35m) replaced it and carried on out, thus doing the pitch 1 ½ times. Those waiting at the bottom were most relieved to see the return of the rope.

Nobody could be bothered to do anything else, so we left.

TU 8 ½ hours

Previous trip / Next trip (derig) / Puerile Humour trip (same day)

12/7/96 | Driving to Austria | AndyC, AndrewA, Juliette + DavidF

It was awful. Austria was too near so we thought we (A+D) would empty Andrew's house to Southampton to make it take longer. So, we bought a tow bar, fitted it went to rent a trailer, not the sort of squiffy half baked thing that comes Austria but a BIG trailer. I left my keys at the trailer 'park'. Took hours to find that out. Got to S'ton eventually. 40 mph on the hills on the M4, the trailer was that big. After getting the trailer unloaded, not helped by it not opening - a bit of wood had slipped onto the roller shutter (I forced Andrew to go caving in it), we turned back to collect wallet on front lawn. Eventually, back to Bristol at 3.00am bed by 3.40 up to make sandwiches at 5.40am. Packing again. We found another Andy in Bristol so we put him in too, with gear on top. S'ton again, then 7oaks then finally Austria after reversing into a french car, reversing on a German motorway and having the greatest time of my life with Andy Cooke & some polystyrene ceiling tiles for friends. I was left wondering one thing do they have a repeating pattern or not.

Diagramatic summary.

[Picture follows]

13/7/96 | Driving to Austria | Tina & Mike TA & Corrosion the Metro

York is too far down Britain by half. Took ages just driving to the channel. Seacat was fun. Thought I'd been clever, thought I'd raided the money tin for all the loose coppers just right + sorted it into a few French + a few German. However, on ordering deux fricondelle, the man at the frite stall shrugged gallickly (?can spell) at my dosh. It was out of date. He asked what other spondulies I had in my possession - Belgium, Luxembourg. I answered him nay + he didn't want German or Austrian or English. Roll on EU's that's what I say. He shrugged, I shrugged, we both shrugged. He gave me the butties. Very nice too. very embarassing.

Getting on fine after that. Stopped for some kip in a nice layby. Even thought of getting the shiny new [Warning Triangle] sign out + putting it behind us. Got woke up by a "helpfull" German or Luxemburgois or foreign bugger with unfortunately good English who kept explaining repeatedly at great length why it was dangerous to kip where we were. We moved. Got worried the car might roll onto us. We know our car. Moved again. Woke up to find a woodlouse crawling on my neck.

Set off again. Last leg. Soon be at Hilda's. Temp gauge a bit dicky. Later on water leaking + steam coming out. Lots of helpful Germans pointing at our car + saying "ganz Wasser" + similar. We had noticed in Pforzheim tankstelle thing. Big brown puddle all over their clean German forecourt. Cooling system sans wasser (sorry, dunno G. for 'without'). Never fear, out with the gaffer tape, clean the rest of the end of the pipe where the leak is, reattach the rubber hose and hey presto, of we go... It was nice to note some Germans smiling that we'd got it going. They'd all been pointing and smirking at our rust before. (TTR 20mins)

...into Austria. Turn off autobahn & temp gauge needle hits the end. Stop pronto, open bonnet - ahha - fixing leak has produced hole in the pipe at the other end. Two attempts to bodge it with (a) gaffer tape (b) cloth & (c) hose clip fail. Out came spare hose (a bit too big 'cos its for Rover*), hacksaw and so forth. Patch it up and off we go... (TTR 1hour) temp gauge hits roof again - into garage forecourt to find original fix has now worked loose.

Steal all the water (??? garage is shut) - even the thermos flask was pressed into action - tighten up leak, nick all the water - yeh - get to Staud'n'wirt and YOU'VE ALL SODDED OFF!


* If necessary, ask an old lag

13/7/96 |Trouble free motoring in the badvan | J Todd & Wookey

BECKA - guessed date as 13/7

The bad van struck again. I negotiated a subsidy from NC Graphics UK Ltd. to carry a Pentium Pro to NC Graphics Deutschland near Munich instead of sending it by courier. NCGD's boss is Dieter Trinkner who was happily painting and decorating the top floor of his parent's-in law's house with his wife ready to move in (NCGD head quarters is in the basement) when team expo arrive with a steaming car, smelling a bit because we've not had a bath in a week in preparation and boot and roof full of shit. You could hear the tone of the neighbourhood drop several octaves. This used to be a nice place with twee little window boxes and BMW's in every driveway, and people who never forgot to pray before their din-dins. It took them ten hours to get rid of us. First they called the German AA because they thought that Nat. Breakdown was an insurance company willing to pay for any old unauthorised car fettling activity, and we persuaded them to cancel that after a bit of hassle as we went through the regular channels. Nat. Breakdown wanted to know which day and what time our ferry back to England was for some reason. Then they began to make contacts with the local garages and give them the wrong phone number. We were always phoning back and getting told no one could find us. The exact problem with the car was that a hole had been worn into the middle of the radiator. It pissed out steam and water pretty quickly. We kept our hosts entertained for hours by telling them tales of all our other car disaster epics across Europe. And after seventeen million phone calls to various Germans, farmers, grandfather blacksmiths, we gave up and told Nat B. to get us towed out. We still hadn't run out of stories. The entire family waved us off and 4 hours later the pissed off young man who had to tow it up the perch pass in 1st gear got us to an empty campsite.

11/7/96 | Pushing Puerile Humour | Ralph, Steve, Matthew

The finds extending N from nr. Ringpiece Junction, having fallen victim to a Gössered-up naming session by Steve, have become the Puerile Humour series. We linked the previous survey into a point in TP, then put a handline round the 2nd pit, 'Amyl Nitrate' named because its discoverers had just been repulsed at Bugger.

Have now found ways up into 2 chambers looking down onto 'Between the Thighs'. Continued under boulders to find 3 QM's at top of 2 steep scrambles on left. Forward is a climb down (good naturals) to a pitch (20m?). A passage continuing over the climb turns right into a big chamber, couldn't see floor, heard running water. Not having enough rope for pitch, we pottered out via Shortage of Walls and Golgotha, but no more pushing got done - Raining outside.

TU 6

Previous (discovery) trip / Bottomless Pit trip (same day) / Next trip deeper into Puerile / Next trip clearing up QMs near start

14/7/96 | Puerile Humour | Lummat + Ralph

Excellent stroll to this series. Pitch '(20m?)' descended 7m on 2 naturals across traverse (NATURALS CITY 1) 3m to top of NC2. On left at top of pitch step up into ascending passage leads to oxbow into NC1 on left and crawl to small chamber on right. NC2 is 7m free climbable descent on naturals. Underneath is short ascending tube leading to black blockage. 5m walk to top of NC3. 7m descent off naturals (would be free climbable xcept hand holds keep falling off). At north end of joint climb leads to bottom of dry inlet - no way up (no QM). Traverse onto ledge above choked pit leads to small entrenched chamber. Mud filled passage ahead (Dig no. 90).

From bottom of NC1 climb down sharp nobby rift leads to top of undescended pitch. Surveyed out.

7 hrs

Previous trip / Next trip

15/7/96 | Puerile Humour cont. | Lummat + Sam

From the bottom of 'Natural City 3' spent 90 minutes removing pivoting chock stone from the head of the rift. Sam squeezed through the tight bit. The rift bells out to land after 17m on choked floor with 2 choked pits (one 3m deep). <Sam's Folly> surveyed to Gd 3 and derigged out.

Traverse across top of 'NC1' leads to high passage to T-junction after 5m. To left leads to ascending mud floored inlet. No way on.

To right leads through cyclopentyl arch to wall overlooking large pitch with sound of water (QM). Following wall to right a boltable climb (~3m) [Comment "->up to roof tube" inserted by Sam] immediately on right leads to wide stooping passage (QM). Continuing, a gently descending passage leads to a pitch. This does not appear to join the larger one (QM).

From the T-junction, turn right + immediately on the left a 4m diameter abandoned phreatic tube ascends steeply. Immediately entering this a tight pitch descends (QM). Continuing up enters <Lummats Folly>, a large aven. Climbing up the left hand side leads to a short narrow vertical tube avoiding a bold climb. On the opposite side of a slope an opening can be seen (QM). Continuing upwards leads to an opening in the left hand corner shortly to close down to a flat out gently ascending crawl over mud. This breaks out at a T-junction into standing passage. To the left the passage opens into a shaft (QM). On the opposite side of the shaft the passage continues (QM - but not easily accessible).

To the left at the T junction a too narrow rift drops down to the entrance to the crawl. Continuing up a mud slope leads to a small chamber in the roof at the apex. The mud slopes steeply down to a pitch (?) maybe back into the aven (?) (QM).

Surveyed out.

TU 6 hrs

Previous trip / Next trip

13/7/96 | BPEC | Nick, Matthew, Brian

Having conned Matthew into coming down the "Bottomless Pit of Eternal Chaos" ('But I didn't want to do a big pitch !') we rerigged "Redemption" with a longer rope to avoid the tedium of the knot pass 2m off the floor. Pottered along the rift and streamway (Corinth Canal), across an airy traverse and into more rift (Yorkshire Holiday) which was suitably narrow and scrotty. Then it ended in a boulder choke so we surveyed out and derigged, with the rope getting caught on BPEC, causing lots of swearing, ranting and down-prussiking. Exited in the dark, but at least it wasn't raining.

TU 8 ½ hrs

Previous trip / Ascent of Bugger (same day)

14/7/96 | 'Interview Blues' | Nick, Brian, Anthony

Returned to 95-55 (the 4th way on at Trifurcation) to continue down the rift pitch series. Brian went on ahead to bolt the fourth pitch, whilst me & Anthony surveyed in. The 3 rope 'tectors and scrotty top of the 1st pitch ('Gizza Job') were not appreciated by all. The second ('Degree of Talent') and third ('The Doledrums') were in the usual tight rift so beloved of all KH cavers. The 4th pitch gave onto some horizontal cave (shock, horror). A couple of largish chambers lead to more rift, with a pitch (2 secs) at one end and a climb up to the right to an aven and pitch (1 - 1 1/2 secs). By this time we were cold, so pottered out.

TU 6hrs

Previous trip / Next trip /

15/7/96 | Question mark extermination trip | JulianH, Mike TA

A pitch somewhere or other - took about two hours rigging pitch, squeezing in, wittering, squeezing out again, wittering again, hammering, squeezing back in etc etc you get the general drift. So decide its a bit tightish, so leave it to Wookey or some other nutter and head off to another ?
(a) (cont.)
about three minutes later Julian sees a rope hanging out of slot in ceiling "What's this" (or words to that effect)... "oh shit" (or words to that effect) OK you've guessed it so
bolted traverse at Ginger Crunch. Julian went round to obvious passage which was full of obvious mud. Bollocks.
Derigged & came out.

T/U 6hrs

13/7/96 | Trip to climb pitch in bugger | Juliet, AndyC, AndrewA, DavidF

BECKA - logbook said "(actually 13th, Ed.)" so have changed date from 11/7 to 13/7

Trip to climb pitch in bugger. Took Juliette & Andy on their first trip in K.H. Our first trip in 161d. AndrewA told me I was climbing up bugger, so, off we went. Trundle, trundle, crappy walking route, nice cave, but not very much. Pitch was quite shit. I threw rocks on Andy A as hard as I could, with very little success. Although there were still rocks left by the top I had run out of excuses to throw rocks, so I put in some bolts instead. Somewhat disappointing passage at the top; no extensive phreatic development horizontally. A nice pitch though, with excellent boom. Wobbling death rock near top. Smaller pitches & some crap leads.

T/U 6 hours

Previous trip (failing to climb up at Bugger) / Next trip (surveying) / Final trip in BPoEC (same day)

14/7/96| Surveying in bugger | Juliet, AndrewA, DavidF

Trip to survey the bit that we went to find yesterday. I got to go up the nasty climbing bit (except I had the advantage of a rope and stuff). Isn't surveying fun! I sat around with a tape measure doing whatever it is that you do for a few hours. Can't really remember what it was like except there was a big hole that kept cropping up. Had a look down a bit of passage that seemed to join the big hole. Side bits that had lots of other side bits that we couldn't see if they went anywhere. Got cold, went out.

T.U. 6 ½ hours

Previous trip (climbing Fine Clean Rock) / Next trip (down big hole)

15/7/96 | In bugger again | DavidF, Andy C

Went same place as above threw another 86m rope down. AndyCs bollocks froze off came out

TU 6hours

Previous trip / Next trip

15/7/96 | Prospecting | Nick, Brian, Tina

Pottered to 161d so Tina could dump her gear and to admire (?) the expanses of naked flesh getting changed at the entrance. Then pottered back, having a look in various holes and chopping some more bunde.

Found Ski-Pole Höhle (see survey book) but nothing much more. Holes that have been looked at and don't go but aren't worthy of a number have been marked with a X of stones, at the entrance or in an obvious place.

On your way back from 161d: just after the 10m stretch of 'gardened bunde' there is a cliff face. 3m up this is a hole which chokes rapidly.

: just before the narrow gorge is a rift running along 031/211 - this has many holes - mostly too tight or choked, and includes Ski Pole Hohle at its top end (this has been marked and given no 96/01)

: before the 1st climb/traverse is a large depression on R of path. This has 2 large boulders + snow plug. Under the boulders is ~10m crawl on bearing 242. This draughts but gets too tight. The rift/fault leading off from this point on both sides of the path (242deg & 50deg) was investigated. Lots of holes - mostly too tight or choked or snowplugged.

16/7/96 | More along the Purile Series. | Sam, Brian

Started by rigging pitch on other side of 'wall' noted by lummat & Sam on 15/7/96. Sling from top of wall to multi sling deviation in opposite wall - pitch ~=10m lands on side of chamber (Dead bats chamber) Climb down mud slope to climb 1m (dead bat found on mud slope) bottom of chamber funnels into pitch ~=12m 'The JOKER' which was rigged at the end of the trip and led to an impassable (5") descending rift. To the right (facing out from initial pitch was an ascending rift probably linking to the rift seen from the tube on right at the top of the pitch. Opposite side of the chamber from the pitch in was another ascending rift up cleanwashed rock - leading to an aven. Heading upslope to the left is a white mud floored tube 3m wide 1.5m high (many bat droppings evident). This soon leads to a semi funnel shaped mud slope above a round shaft ~=8m to floor - large aven above (may be bottom of shaft noted by Sam/Lummat - left at T-junction at top of Lummat folly ?) Traversing carefully to right leads to a blind pocket in the wall. Traversing straignt on leads to a continuation of horizontal tube - continuing traverse round the aven leads to a mud col where a second aven ascends.

[Sketch of stuff found on this trip inserted here]

Main passage continues to junction - straight on leads to drippy aven on right then to end where aven comes in to right and squeeze left (no utility belt required) opens out to two pitches down ~=10m may continue (?). Turning right at main junction, through passage with fine (for K'Hole) stal in roof -> passage bears left with wall traverse LHS avoiding mud river cross 'river' at limestone outcrop 'penguin falls' to RHS - comes out in chamber 'Fiveways Chamber' left leads to climb up mud slope to window over pitch and traverse to 2nd pitch. both (??'s). 2nd left (english roundabout style) leads to successively smaller passages (not all pushed), 3rd left appears to go upslope and close down, 4th is the other end of the penguin slides avoidance route, down a mud slope to 1.5x1.5m passage - pops out down climb (1.5m) to passage below penguin slides. Against RH wall (going in) at the junction is a small slot in the floor - rock drobbed accidentally down it - went a long way (2s +) - call it 'Sylvester Cobble Pot' (?).

TU 6 ½ hrs

Previous trip / Next trip

15/7/96 | Surface wanderings looking for lost caves | Wook + Steve

Set off to find 159 near Topcamp. (Higher) = TC95 A few hours wandering about produced an apparently new cave (see below :-), 2 '+'-marked caves & 90, marked as 'last seen 1977' in the prospecting guide (although Gill found it in '91 or '92).

Drew 'new' cave, & did area map, + bearings & GPS, same for '+' caves & 90. Went back to Topcamp (Lower) = TC96 for a cuppa & collected Steve = ladders.

Surveyed the '+' caves & 90 to TC95 & descended 90 to check it out (others were climbable). Finally went to new cave to descend it & found it to have obvious '91' painted on wall. (I had spent 1hr there drawing it in loving detail & failed entirely to spot number.)

It now has an empty bolt ready for tag, as does 90, & lower '+' cave.

On return to TC we finally found the unmarked 158, but I recognise it from 1988 so I'm pretty sure it is the right one. Bolt hole placed, GPS + bearings + sketch.

Summary: located 90, 91, 158 + two '+' caves.
All have bearings & GPS fix. 90 & '+' caves have surface survey. 90, 91, 158 & '+' caves have spit.
90 & '+' caves were descended.
90, 91 & + caves

15/7/96 | Surveyed the connection from Shortage of Walls to Rich Tea | Gill & Anthony

Surveyed the connection from Shortage of Walls to Rich Tea found by Julian H & Gill the previous day. This proceeds via a rubble slope in the SW corner of SOW to a short muddy crawl and a chossy climb into a largish chamber (35x15m, 10m high) which it is believed is also visible from Salt Lake City. A 10m pitch and a 25m pitch [Insert: "(Tea Pot) or Off the Mark"] shortly follow which drops into the corner of Rich Tea. None of this is yet named. All pretty efficient, except for Mr Cocky Bastard who claimed he knew where the survey station in Rich Tea was completely failing to find it. Exited and derigged to the sound of Mike and Julian cobbing lots of crap into Rich Tea from 20m above our heads.

TU 6 hours

Previous (connection discovery) trip / Mike & Julian's Trip

14/7/96 | Get Bored On The Surface | Matthew, Sam + Steve

Me & Matthew surveyed Vd1 -> 161d. It was boring, the clino was foggy even though it was sunny, and the tape broke & had to be fettled. But it needed doing and we did it. Sam carryed his gear and scrotted down some small holes, and also found himself a draughty dig. Silly sod.

TU 0hrs

13/7/96 | Pushing 95/31a | Dunks, PhilB, PhilU, Gunilla

Easy traverse round small drop leads to chamber with an obvious route off up a mud slope. This leads to a reasonably large space with a slope down to a small pitch. Backed up from crumbly boulder then put in a star spit. Attempts to put in spit for rebelay fucked up due to utter choss. Got pissed off. Pissed off.


Next trip (surveying)

16/7/96 | Surveying 95/31 (or "Anthony's attempt on the title fuckwit of the week") | Duncan, Gunilla & Anthony

It all started so well when I refound my missing penknife which had been sitting in my cag. pocket for 2 months. I then only narrowly avoided failing to take the tape measure underground, but made up for this by leaving my stop on the surface, so had to pinch one from the guillotine. An efficient survey followed which added 150m to the length of the cave, as yet unnamed (idle gits). Derigged and went to look at a QM at Ring Piece junction accompanied by lots of slogging up and down Triassic Park to fetch/return misplaced bolting kits and ropes. The rumoured horizontal passage failed to materialise and became a ~30m pitch instead. By the time I returned with the rope this had become anything up to a 90m pitch with a big booming sound at the bottom. I think it's more likely that there is an initial pitch of ~30m with maybe another one beyond. Duncan placed a fine spit in Camembert like rock, by which time I'd had enough so exited. Left my penknife at entrance.

TU 6 ½ hours.

Previous trip to 95/31 / Next trip to the pitch / Next trip to Dr. Snuggles

17/7/96 | Qmark extermination trip | Tina, Mike TA

Went to Regurgitation without getting lost! Rigged pitch at back off huge ish boulder. Went down. Rift goes for a few metres each way and blocks. Lots of hanging death, called it "Billeous Attack". Out and had a poke at possible lead in Staud'n'wirt Palace. Lots of hanging death (again)!

T/U 6hours

Previous Regurgitation trip (1995) / Next Staud'nwirt Palace trip

18/7/96 | Touristing + picking up gear | Gill, PhilB

Cold morning, didn't feel like going caving at all, but SRT gear is at Shortage of Walls and I have to go get it... Phil tries to enthuse me... tea is drunk... Finally at 11.30 we set off for cave. At cave meet AndyA + JulianH + ChrisD fully clothed (they set off 1 hour before...) Anyway, getting keener now. Get kitted up. Phil now less than keen. Breeze down looking at sundry holes. Hole on left in Critters End before Salt Lake City ends in huge aven. Has pitch (undescended) + climb up to eyehole which leads to Salt Lake City. Touristed to Staudn'wirt Palace - looked at some holes in floor which had chossy ceilings held together with mud. Crawled up some blind crawls. Bombed back to Guillotine - me all enthusiastic by now, Phil wants out. Met Anthony + Steve -> loads of light -> ooh, what's over there? I looked at some holes on left after Guillotine. One small pitch. Bit further on, on left is wide high (~2m) rocky slopey inlet (~5m from blue string) to chamber with 2 entrances to big pitch 3s drop (~40m) Didn't rig it. Someone should look - shaft is ~4m across - leads on other side, could be traversed.

Anyway, we only came to collect our gear so its out. We love 161d - thanks to whoever found it.

T.U. 1 ½ hrs.

17/7/96 | Puerile Humour | Lummat, PhilB, Juliette, ChrisD, Gill

Sam + Brians tales of storming horizontal passage with 5 ways on + 2 pitches... 5 go in to survey what they found + explore more. Re-rigged 2 traverse lines on the way to economise rope lengths, de-rigged The Joker; derigged pitch into "dead bat chamber" and replaced with a handline in bypass to the right.

Phil, Juliet + Lummat surveyed on from here while Gill + Chris explored left + right from main junction, mostly R to 5 way chamber. Then swapped surveying: Gill, Chris, Lummat.

Total 44 legs! Surveyed a loop. Many QMs in the loop. Chris also rigged the 2nd pitch at the end of the main way on. Still going.

Cold + near call out time so exited.

T.U. ~8hrs

[Sketch of 5 ways area included]

Previous trip / Next trip

17/7/96 | Surveying in Henri's Cat - 161d | AndrewA, DavidF, Becka, JulianT

I avoided other trip to avoid some surveying. And I don't like heights. Walked down with ten other people. In the cave my stinky gave the feeblest of flames and caught fire around the base whenever I lit it off someone elses light. The drill battery short circuited and smoked. Dave hand bolted and rigged loose chossy pitch into Knossos. The ceiling + wall there looked no different to the floor in large boulders at odd angles defying gravity. We wandered around, went up and then to Bugger (?) for Dave's big pitch. The lights at the bottom were really small when I swung out onto the rope. It was horrible. I got sore hips from my harness just from the abseil. Then a bastard deviation you had to prussik your way towards. Meanwhile they (D&A) rigged another 60m pitch with full complement of rub points (one for every hang) and down a last drop onto a white shelf above a 3.5 second drop. It was attractive, but a bit too deep. Oh dear I had the survey book and Becca was surveying. D&A cleared off to reset our callout date. And Becca sweet-talked (more like kick-in-the-kneecaps-talked) me into continuing to survey when I was cold, wet and petrified by the immensity of the shaft down which I had to look while writing with a pencil and note pad neither of which had a string attached. I can't rememeber anything of the next hour or so. Then we got back. The notes are a ball of mud with some paper in it. Why do I always do what Becca tells me to?


Previous trip / Next trip (bottom pitch and survey)


Started by surveying by-pass to <Penguin Falls>. From <5-Ways> climbed up mud slope to left. At large pitch traversed to passage on the right and started surveying along <Shaft Mine Passage> (<Pothole Passage> bears left at start). Surveyed passed pitch on left to end of passage where left hand bend leads to 6m pitch dropping into choss filled shaft. Across shaft on same level wide phreatic continues. At bottom of shaft in far right corner a narrow winding fissure continues.

We returned to the earlier shaft in <Shaft Mine Passage> descending from the left hand side (looking from the passage) on naturals. From the 1st ledge a thread in the window to the far right gains a free hang passed the second ledge to the shaft floor. A too tight fissure meanders from the base. Climbing up a 2m drop leads to a too tight mud inlet on the left and a descending hading rift forward. This can be descended for 5m to where rift closes down and is partially blocked with mud. Rocks rattle downwards for 5 seconds. Descent may be possible, but would be tight + horrible.

From the top of <Pot Hole Passage> continuing forward leads to a hole which leads back to the far left hand passage in <5-ways> via annoyingly low passages. To the right of this hole a vadose passage leads upstream to branched inlets.

Bearing right at the top of <Pot Hole Passage> leads immediately to a blind pit. To the left of this is a hading phreatic passage, closing rapidly down to a small roof passage (QM).

Surveying continued into <Completely Loopy> which eventually comes out at the '3rd' exit from <5-ways>. This starts as a traverse across the 'blind pit' to the lower level passage. This breaks into two levels. The upper one is a calcited passage; the lower a mud floored passage. At the bottom a wide, low, mud-floored inlet enters with a draught. This is too low but mud could be removed (!) to gain access to higher passage seen beyond. This inlet drops down a tight pitch with a long rattle. Sam says he can get down (QM). Surveying ended here. The way to <5-ways> is back in the main passage at high level over mud.

8 hrs.

Previous trip / Next trip

17/7/96 | Interview Blues | Nick & Paul

Took Paul on his first trip down a typical KH scrotty rift pitch series. Started surveying from where Anthony, Brian & myself had got bored/cold last time, at the top of the 4th pitch "Outright Rejection". Crawled around "State of Independence?" at the bottom and then pushed one of the two holes found previously. Brian had chucked rocks down this & Anthony had sagely pronounced it to be a 25m pitch. Three bolts and two 28m ropes later I was 40m lower and still 5m off the floor with no rope left. Sigh! So we turned round and prussiked out. Dumped string gear, admired the howling gale coming across the top of the 1st pitch (when Interview Blues has finished I'll... !) and then pottered out. Thanks to whoever finished putting the string out. Tedious job isn't it?

TU 7 ½ hrs

Previous trip / Next trip

18/7/96 | Interview Blues | Nick & Brian

2/3 of team Silly Bastards returned, and this time with a longer rope. Bottomed the pitch and found my 'piece de resistance' - scrotty, narrow rift (of course) but covered in gloop - gloop on the floor, on the boulder, gloop running down the walls. Luvverly. So we thrutched through 30m of this before we found the next pitch - another narrow rift pitch (has anyone spotted the common theme yet?) Started bolting a Y-hang, then remembered that the hangars were at the top of the last pitch. Instead of calling me all the names under the sun, Brian cheerfully went back for them (all 5 of them!) whilst I finished putting the spits in. Brian returned, and I promptly threw a hangar down the pitch, before rigging it and descending the standard 3m before deciding that a rebelay was necessary. Surprisingly, this gave a ~12m hang to the floor, where we could walk 2m to the next pitch head. Started putting a spit in the wall, which promptly shattered, so we put one in the floor instead. We had now run out of hangars and warmth so prussiked out. Decided to rerig the 1st pitch (Gizza Job), so Brian put a spit in whilst hanging in mid air, thus eliminating a scrofulous get-off and the need for 3 rope tectors. (My excuse is that the pitch head is wider than 1m, therefore I just can't cope with it)

Nick The Rift God

TU 7 ½ hrs

Previous trip / Next trip

18/7/96 | Finishing Henri's Cat | DavidF, Becka

Took 200m of rope to finish Henri's Cat which predestined the trip to an early finish. So down we went, I dropped a bolt driver down the pitch, so dodgy fat deviation was the order of the day. Got to the bottom no way out.

[Sketch rigging guide follows]

T/U 8 hours

'Dave & Becka went fishing - they caught 4 fish 7 blobs and 3 triangles'

Previous trip (halfway down Henri's Cat) [ this trip surveyed and derigged, so no next trip ]

17/7/96 | 161d | PhilU, Matthew, AndyC

Matthew & Andy went to Bugger in a failed attempt to retrieve Matthew's crab. I marked out a path to Trifurcation with low-level-tripping- people-over-string (TM), continuing the work done up to just past ring-piece junction. We went to Genital Wart in the Puerile Humour series - it is free climbable, and has two rifts at the bottom; the first rapidly becomes too tight, and the other leads to a 4s pitch. The continuation over Genital Wart does not go. Next we went to the new stuff beyond Between the Thighs, got bored, and came out.

TU 6hrs

Previous trip (when Genital Wart found) / Next trip

18/7/96 | Push/Survey QM 95-34 (rift by Ring Piece Junction) | Duncan, Gunilla, Steve and Anthony

Returned to the pitch that Duncan started bolting 2 days earlier. Steve and Anthony surveyed in whilst Duncan put more bolts in. There are 3 parallel rift passages leading from Ring Piece Junction with a perpendicular rift at the end which the pitch drops down. Duncan put in a lovely Y-hang and we bombed on down what turned out to be a p27. Whilst trying to survey it the tape measure snapped. This incident, plus the proximity to Ring Piece Junction, led to it being named "Tapeworm." The landing is on a rock bridge with a small chamber and a further pitch, probably of similar length. However, the first descent of this pitch was made by the head of the bolting hammer Duncan was using to dress the rock, so "Hammeroids" will have to wait for another day....

TU 6hrs

Previous trip / Next trip

18/7/96| Pitch in Genital wart | Phil U, Andy C

Trip to investigate "4s" pitch in genital wart. Rift to be called "a bad case of herpes" due to the walls being covered in brown spots everywhere (mud). Went down first few m of pitch - very awkward pitch head, to large ledge. Put in two bolts for Y-hang, Phil descended pitch ~30m to rub-point. Andy put in rebelay bolt & bottomed pitch ~50m. Floor is covered in sharp & fragile crystals. A large rift continues horizontally ~15m, and a smaller tube goes down ~10m with a further 1-2s rattle, out of sight. Got tired, cold & hung-up passing y-hang re-belay. Further delays due to failing lights meant that we didn't leave the cave until ~11pm (1 hour past callout time). Staggered back, half in darkness, to be met by Anthony & Sam, the rescue advance party, about 15mins walk from top camp. Arrived back, very knackered, 12.30 (30 mins after callout deadline).

TU 8 ½ hours.

PS IN VERY SMALL WRITING: The hole below the handline in Amyl Nitrate doesn't go. We know 'cos Andy C dropped a tackle sack down it. He went down to retrieve it, and it doesn't go anywhere. Luv PhilU

Previous trip / Back to main Puerile Humour thread (same day) / Next trip

| Alternative Universe | MIKE+ TINA



What an unobservant group of w*****s. Right next to the gear dump, under an arch, round a hole, under another arch and - hey presto, with a wave of our Magic Jumars - at a conservative estimate, 100m of sod-off large passageway (ALTERNATIVE UNIVERSE) leading to a 7m pit (Bulemic's pit) and a 7m deep rift (Anorexic's Rift). Unfortunately this closes down to about 4" before opening into about 15m more drop. Well, we didn't claim the Earth for it, did we? Oh, and about 50m of side passages, one leading (we think) to Gills hole*

[Survey sketch]

Not surveyed 'cos we hadn't got all the bits & by the time Wookey (who arrived pissed of 'cos of finding footprints in a "new" passage) gave us some it was too late and bier beckoned

T/U 5 hours

*bunch of adolescents as well, eh?

Wookey's tripNext trip

19/7/96 | More in Purile Humour - BATMAN SERIES | SAM & BECKA

Trip to survey left from 'Gotham City junction.' walking/Stooping passage for 30m leads to a bouldery section with aven on left and narrow gully under the boulders which drops down a short pitch on the right, with another aven above. 40m on the passage appears to end with aven on the right which can be partially climbed to give a view to a higher passage. The way on is to the left through a short squeezy rift 'No utility belt required' (Sam took his gear off to go through the first time (16/7/96).) where two shafts lead off on the left. Becka went down the 1st 1 which closed down to an impassable rift. The 2nd is undescended. Looking up, Becka spotted a mud run in, up a 3m climb. Using Becka as a foothold I managed to get to the top where a quick climb up the mud pile led to yet more passage 'WHERE THE WIND BLOWS' - Hooray!! I had a quick ferret round whilst Becka went back to Fiveways to fetch some rope for a handline. This being rigged we rocketed off down the passage which continued almost dead straight past shafts and avens to a large (50m x 15m) chamber with two big shafts off it. The passage at the other end was a very fine phreatic tube - well decorated with a mud floor - trending almost North, except for a small 'kink'. At one point careful crawling was required round a small calcite flower in the floor. Passage ends at a 4m climb which is completely choked but with a draught coming down. The whole of this left hand branch has a draught heading out ie. towards Triassic Park.

Went back to handline climb and surveyed to start of large chamber.

TU 5 ½ hrs

Previous trip / Next trips: Bounce Rift and 161e - Completely Loopy and 161f and Where The Wind Blows continuation

20/7/96 | Interview Blues | Nick, Becka, Anthony

Bolted the seventh and eighth pitches of IB and put in a back-up bolt for the ninth, whilst Anthony and Becka invented a survey from the top of the fifth to the bottom of the seventh pitch. Anthony and Becka did not appear to appreciate the finer elements of my rift and complained about the mud. Becka has a very heavy banana, and I was left needing more volunteers for Interview Blues.

TU 8hrs

Previous trip / Next trip

21/7/96 | IB, where else? | Nick, Brian & Paul

Pottered down, surveyed a leg left over from the day before, which was longer than 16m, which was all Anthony had left after he broke yet another tape measure. Put in a bolt, then got cold and fed up and tired (going with Becka the day before had been too much (and her banana)) so I left, leaving Brian & Paul to put in another bolt before following me out.

TU Nick 6, Paul 8, Brian 9hrs

Previous trip / Next trip in Interview Blues / Dave & Becka's route over Gizza Job

23/7/96 | Blank | JulianH, Pete, Fran

Went for a bit

21/7/96 | 5-Ways area | Sam, Lummat + Craig

Surveyed bits and pieces in the loop between the top of Pot-hole Passage and 5-ways and finished surveying Completely Loopy. Had lunch.

Looked at the passage above Completely Loopy, <Crystal Clear Passage>. This turned out to take an enormous draught, with various parallel interconnecting passages. Ascending passage soon leads to ice formations. A 2m climb up with a deep? pitch below (QM) leads after a short passage to <Spider Man Chamber> with 8 radiating passages. Ascending the main draughting passage leads to a left hand turn, with a tight crawl to the right straight on (QM). The way on to the left is piled with flakes of roof material: passing through here brings down further material <Flaky Passage>. Crossing to the right under a very low arch takes you in sight of day-light, into passage where standing room is possible. This is brief, and a crawl over rocks leads to a squeeze and then a crawl over ice to the entrance <Bat entrance> 161f. Outside we bumped into Anthony + Becka who had just found 161e. After surveying between 161e + 161f we surveyed along the main passage to Completely Loopy.

TU = 8 ½ hrs

Previous trip / Bounce Rift and 161e discovery (same time) / Next trips: More Completely Loopy & Where the Wind Blows

22/7/96 | 5-Ways area | Lummat, Craig, Paul, Ralph + Brian

Surveyed loops at the top of Completely Loopy, and in the lower section of Crystal Clear Passage. Also surveyed the vadose canyon from the top of Pot-hole Passage. Looked at other leads in Crystal Clear Passage. These horizontal leads all close down after 5-10m. A passage at the bottom of the 2m climb to the left leads constrictedly to the top of some shafts - possibly the same ones found at the top of the vadose canyon.

Brian meanwhile looked at the aven prior to Penguin Falls. Easy climbing for 20m without accessible side passages. He then rigged the wide shaft just above + to the left of 5-Ways. There is a further blind pitch at the bottom.

TU 6 ½ hrs

Previous trip / Sam & Becka's trip (same day) / Next trip

22/7/96 | Alternative Universe | Penny, Mike, Tina

Trip to survey Alternative Universe and look down hole at the end. Another 250m surveyed. Hole at the end (on the left) goes down about 4m through boulders, then pops out into side of shaft c.20m deep. Round corner at bottom of shaft (seen by swinging round the corner trying not to think of the single bolt at the top!) is another shaft about the same depth.

[Rough Plan of Alt Universe]

Back near to junction with Triassic Park passage, another hole down in a short side passage rumbles a very long way when you kick a big rock down it - far enough to be worth a look.

TU 6 ½ hrs

Previous trip / Next trip

23/7/96 | Interview Blues | Nick, Helen, Brian

Decided to look at the other lead in Interview Blues (after the fourth pitch) since it would be much nicer than the other lead, would be a shorter trip, and was garaunteed not to have any trees in it. Pottered down, dodging rocks thrown down by Becka & Dave on the traverse across the 1st pitch, whilst Brian returned to the surface to collect the survey book. Helen bolted whilst Brian and myself surveyed along. I was putting in the pitch head bolt when a voice said hello. This was Sam, some 40m above. "Where are you?" "Minoan Surprise" came the reply. We had popped out about 2/3 of the way down the big hole (the one just before Anthony's BPEC, and the connection to knossus).

A 10m pitch, with a rub, of course, leads to a ledge. There is another 25m to the floor (I think its a blind shaft though) but a traverse around the side leads to another large shaft of similar dimensions (probably 6x6m). We (Brian & me) are fairly certain this isn't BPEC, but it must be fairly close (3 parallel shafts?)

Pottered out, shouting at Sam & Dave, who had gone down a pitch after their traverse and were about to go into the fifth pitch of IB. Lots of Brownie Points to Sam for the red & white tape.

TU N+H 8 ½ hrs
Brian ? hrs

Previous trip / Sam, Dave (& Becka)'s trip Next trip

21/7/96 | Bounce Rift - 161d | Anthony + Becka

Begged Sam for a nice easy lead, and he obliged! Off down Puerile Humour, past Five Ways, along Shaft Mine. Got to a 3/5m climb down that Sam + Lummat had clambered (+ surveyed down). We rigged down it on a single boulder.

[Highly schematic depiction of Bounce Rift in here]

An obvious passage continued across the other side of the climb down. We looked at it, some. After a preliminary slither decided to loop the rope over a lump on the climb up. I whimpered my way to the top - easy climb, but the top was a load of chossy rock + mud + the "protection" (loop of rope) was below me, so sod all use. Rigged tail end of rope to another dodgy natural. Off we trundled, whee! Short passage to big section of hading rift. Anthony wanted to do that rather than the lovely walking size phreatic tube, so we trundled up. Rather airy + loose in bits. Poked around at the top - some holes up there, but all seem to close down. Then up the phreatic tube, stomp, stomp. Ended when it choked with cobbles + boulders. Anthony ready to start surveying, but I wanted to have a quick dig. Scrabbled a bit & got a couple of metres pretty easily & a strong draft. Anthony then had a go for a bit, choke now heading uphill quite steeply. I had another go & squeezed into a little chamber - & "DAYLIGHT - WE'VE GOT AN ENTRANCE!!!" Squawk, squawk for another minute or two. Anthony thrashed his way up too & we set off digging the final four metres. Got it quite big & Anthony went for the glory push.... & backed out. Dug some more. "If you can't get through that, Anthony, you're a fat bastard." Anthony backs out again. I slithered up - quite tight then. Wriggled shoulders pushed, then squeezed through & then through another 8" slot in mus - & screamed. Out in the sunlight looking at the shepherd's huts! Spent ten more minutes trying to extract Anthony, finally got him out - hence the Yorkshire Pudding entrance (161E). Then heard a noise - "Hello." Ye Gods! Sam, Lummat & Craig appear just round the corner - they've got an entrance too! We squabble about who got out first then wander over to a big boulder to try to decide where we are. Then, because we're good little boys + girls, we all survey out. Bloody cold surveying the entrance squeeze with the draft from hell & of course the compass has decided to mist up. Try a carbide assist on it - no go. Have to cuddle it inside my furry instead. Survey goes OK until the final sodding leg back over the climb up + down. Compass completely fogged. Anthony's light has wilted to a dismal orange glow. Takes ten minutes to get one compass reading - I take five on top, so we can average it then, just as I'm about to give up it defogs & I get a decent reading. Bog off out at last - Anthony has no carbide or electric. Good trip!

T/U 9 hours.

Previous trip / Completely Loopy and 161f discovery (same time) / Next trips: More Completely Loopy & Where the Wind Blows

22/7/96 | Where the wind blows - 161d | Sam + Becka

Decide to go on a bumbly trip as out late yesterday. Off down Puerile Humour, Batman Series, left at Gotham City Junction, & surveyed "Where the Wind Blows" from where we left off on our last trip (19/7). Got cold surveying in the draft, but at least got some long legs in the phreatic. I had another look at the boulder choke at the end. Drafting well. Choked & loose looking straight up, possibly could dig into horizontal tube, but all pretty chossy & we were COLD. We had been intending dropping the pit in the large chamber, but too chilly so stomped off down Puerile Humour to warm up. Found Brian bolting around Shaft Mine (it didn't go) & then met Lummat et al having great fun in Completely Loopy. The et al was having such fun that Ralph decided to head out to 161F entrance & find his way to 161D on the surface. Sam + I escorted him out - entrance is squirmier than 161E, though no squalid entrance squeeze. Sam + I back in & did more red + white taping of Triassic Park until the roll of tape thankfully ran out.

T/U 8 hours

Note: Sam brought his camera in with the intention of taking some photos, but film ran out at picture 9 of 24 because the camera is crap and forgets how many photos it's taken if the batteries fall out. AARGH!

Previous trip / Other trip (same day): Brian, Lummat & Co. / Next Puerile Humour trip

23/7/96 | Traverse over Gizza Job pitch | DavidF + Becka

To top of Interview Blues series to do a traverse over the first, Gizza Job pitch. I belayed Dave as he rigged a nice natural then put in 2 bolts & did a bold step or two to get to a rock bridge the far side of the pitch. Dave put in another bolt at the rock bridge. Nick, Helen + Brian headed down the first 4 pitches of Interview Blues. Dave then headed off right into a chamber with a deep rift in the floor. I tootled along the traverse tying knots in it & only wittering a little. Dave is a nutter. To far side of chamber to the head of a beautifully spacious chamber, the antithesis of Nick's scrofulous series. Three incredibly tempting boulders perched at the pitch head, but we'd heard Nick below, so we restrained ourselves. I put in a bolt, Dave put in a very airy pitch head bolt & whizzed down... not very far - in fact to the end of the 23m rope. I went back to the Guillotine to fetch an 88m rope. On the way back, found Craig & Mark McLean so I told them to tag along. Mark slobbered all over the pitch 'cos he'd just rigged down Bugger which was chossy an' 'orrible & didn't go anywhere. Mark was very tempted to rig our pitch but decided he had to go, but we had Sam with us by now, so Sam, Dave + I (Becka) went down. Very free-hanging pitch head rebelay, lovely shaft - 'The meeting room'. Tight rift at bottom. Very squeezy if you headed down, but I then climbed up the other direction & ended up in rift above the lower section which was pretty easy going until... pitch, rift belled out obviously. "Can I throw a rock?" "No" sez Sam. "Yes" sez Dave. "Please can I throw a little rock" "Yes" sez Dave, "Oh, alright then" sez Sam. I throw a little rock. It goes down a satisfyingly long way with lots of bounces. Yelp excitedly. Dave + Sam then take turns throwing rocks. I start heading out, Sam starts to bolt to put a traverse line down the rift - & there are voices. "Who's up at the top?" asks Dave. "No one" I say. Then Helen is spotted above Sam & Dave in rift - & as Sam prussiks up he spots someone else through a window in the shaft. We decide not to derig in case someone wants to survey it (tee-hee!) & exit. Fine sociable caving & we even managed to avoid killing anyone with randomly lobbed boulders.

T/U 7 ½ hours

Interview Blues discovery trip (Gizza Job descent) / Two trips set out to derig: First and Second (both failed to do so)

24/7/96 | Surveying - 161d | Anthony, Phil U + Becka

Becka: 8th day caving on the run for me! (ie. only 1 night at Base Camp = vitamin deprivation!)

NB - pitch a princely 30m - see write up of 18/7

I went with Clive + Pete to look at ladder at top of France first. Down Puerile Humour to survey the pitch PhilU + Andy Cook had rigged last week, called Syphilis, just after the first handline up a mud slope from Greenpeace [Ring Piece? AJD] Junction. Anthony + PhilU surveyed, I went down the pitch - pretty, quite large - (nice Y-hang on it, long enough to have to abseil down one arm!). I put a bolt in to keep warm, for the last bit of the pitch. I'd just finished by the time Anthony + Phil got down. General decision that my bolt wasn't quite as good as a really crappy natural nearby, so I rigged off that instead. I went down another 14m. It finished - there was an eyehole which could be a tightish (or hammered) squeeze into a small chamber another 2m or so down, & what looked like a very tight rift heading off from it. Back up again & derigged it + out. It had pissed down on us as we went in - & then it seriously donnered + blitzened for the change & walk out. Got drenched - mood not helped by seeing Steve & Duncan smugly sheltering in a dry overhang. However everyone got piss wet through running down to the car park, so they only prolonged the time miserably spent trying to avoid getting wet.

T/U 6 hours.

Previous trip / Clive & Pete's trip (same day) / Next Puerile Humour trip

23/7/96 | "Fogies Folly" | ChrisD, Tony, Jeremy and DaveH

Walked up from base and over to the cave, plan was to push some pitches somewhere in Puerile Humour that Chris reckoned hadn't been done. At the guilotine Tony went up the slope to the left and dropped the boulder slope to the right but there was no way on. Me and Jeremy had a look at a passage to the left of the main passage before the guilotine. This ended in a clean washed aven below which was a climb down for about 5m to a further climb reducing in size and infilling with small rocks.

On the way to where Chris wanted to push, just before Puerile Humour we found an interesting looking climb. On later discussion this turns out to be Moth Chamber. From here we dropped a short pitch/handline climb of 6m. From here a draughting crawl led of the top of a pitch. This we rigged using the 58m rope we'd planned to use on Chris's pitch. Jeremy rigged this from a single large pillar, with a deviation to an eyehole. The take off was horribly tight and not helped by the fact that Jeremy had forgotten about gardening the rubble off the top of the pitch.

The pitch bell'd out to a reasonable size just below the pitch head and in total was about 7m deep. The route off from the bottom was a tight hading rift ending in a small blind 4m pitch. Whilst Chris and Jeremy started surveying out of the blind pitch I pointed out to Tony that we'd lost the draught. So whilst I fetched Chris the tape he'd left behind Tony had a look up the unfeasably small tube heading off directly above the pitch. Surprisingly this didn't end in 3 closing down tubes as expected, but was strongly draughting with a roof tube going off. This popped out into a large passage ending in a 45° descending ramp "Wheelchair Access". The chamber at the bottom ended in a 5m pitch, which was bypassed by a climb down and crawl to the left. To the right a crawl emerged at the bottom of the pitch. To the left the crawl emerged into a larger rift. Straight ahead an aven entered from above. The rift continued too small straight ahead, but could be passable after brief use of a lump hammer. A hole in the floor gives access to an undescended pitch of ~20m. Prior to this a crawl under the wall to the left gives access to a parallel rift. The floor (which is false and looks rather unstable) quickly falls away to reveal a clean washed pitch of about 15m (undescended). At this point me and Tony returned for Chris + Jeremy who had finished the first bit of surveying. Chris had a look at top of the clean washed pitch off to the left, decided it was not free climbable. He traversed over the pitch and a second pitch beyond this. The rift ended in a small strongly draughting squeeze requiring the use of a hammer to reach enlarging passage beyond.

Survey from the bottom of the bypassed pitch to the main passage at Moth Chamber. Couldn't find a survey station, so left our own last survey station obviously labelled.

TU 6hrs

Previous trip - finding QM 95-30 / Next trip

23/7/96 | Cave Conservation officer | Sam

Since no-one else was going to do it, I set off down Triassic Park with a view to laying the remaining stretch of red & white stripy tape. This is a bit tedious as a solo job and involved laying tape out from Ringpiece Jct. to Trifurcation walking back whilst collecting the Blue garotte wire and then hours of tedious tying tape to boulders, rocks, calcite nobbles and the like. I found out later that I'd cocked up around Locophobia a) because the string had fallen off b) I'd never been there before c) there were lots of footprints on the bit I ended up marking. Brian dashed by at one point, having left his surveying book on the surface, Juliette dashed by complaining of a 'dribbly period'. Once done I'd planned on meeting up with Dave & Becka who were hammering a traverse above Nick's scrotty rift (Interview Blues). Following the sounds of hammering I walked down Minoan Surprise where I came upon the Knossus rope - so I had a quick wander round Knossus. Whilst coming back I hear voices from a large hole in Minoan Surprise - it's Nick & Helen who'd started at a lead in the 4th pitch of Interview Blues and ended up halfway down this shaft. Moving on I joined Dave (Becka had run back for some more rope) and we continued on as Becka's write up.

TU 7 ½ hrs

Previous trip (start of tape-laying) / Becka's write up

24/7/96 | Photo trip - 161d | SAM, WOOKEY, ANDY A, ANDY W, JULIET M

Freeze our bollocks off (Juliette excepted)
Swear profusely at expensive gear that doesn't work.
Get rained on, and again - oh and again.

That's right it was a photo trip. Waddington was struggling to get to the cave - not because he's a crusty old lag, or because he was carrying a tripod the size of a small planet but because his oversuit didn't bend at the knees. We'd avoided the morning rainstorm waiting for AndyW and Wooks to walk up from Base Camp, (they arrived a bit soggy though) just after we set off several jackers arrived back at top camp with a view to sodding off down the hill out of the rain. Just as we got down to the bottom of the Gully it started raining. This cleared up just long enough to get changed. Off we trundled to take a picture at Bugger. - Wooks dangled around on the rope whilst I tried to look scenic - for a full Hour whilst Andy tried to take 1 picture with 3 cameras 2 flash bulbs 3 electronic flashes and a handful of slave units. Nothing worked.

Moving on to the traverse above Nick's scrotty rift series (ie not far enough to get even remotely warm) we had some slightly more successful shots of Wooks dangling from the traverse line and then moved on to take some pictures down the pitch at the end of the traverse. Wooks abseiled down with a big flash and dangled ½ way down the pitch, Andy & I leant out precariously at the top and - guess what, Wookey's flash didn't go off - so we might have a picture of the top half of the pitch.(*) Heading back with the intention of taking piccies in Purile Humour. We stopped just above Locophobia to take a shot of the good work being done by the cave conservation officer - but once again flash failure thwarted our efforts. AndyA at this point decided it was all too awful and we exited the cave.

TU 5 hrs.

(*) Oh, I've just remembered. Just as Wookey reached the top of the pitch an increase in the dripping on the opposite side of the shaft made itself heard. Mmmm it must be raining on the surface. Almost instantly a loud rumbling started above, closely followed by gallons of water. Mmmmmmm it must be raining LOTS on the surface. Please continue reading from the asterisk above, that is, the 1st asterisk above.

17/7/1996 | Wooks goes to Stellerweg | Wookey

Arge Grabstatten are doing Schwabenschacht, and connected it to some bit of Stellerweg during their previous jolly in April. So I thought I'd have a look & see what it was like, not having been in Schwab or '132' the cave it came out at. A look at the web pages showed that '132' was almost certainly 142 so I printed out some description so we knew where to go.

Staggered up with all my gear after the krauts. Changed under handy tarpaulin, avoiding rain - we should have one of these!

Went down entrance shaft (after remembering how to put on SRT gear - 1st use since last expo.) Then immediately off main route for only about 200m to top of genuine p100, then on to survey small passageway for about 100m. The cairn at the end was assumed to be 1983 vintage, placed by CUCC. Surveying auf Deutsch was fun!

Went out in 142, pausing to go down into the 'Big Chamber.' Ace 30m pitch into huge space. Then miles of squiggly passage led out through 142. Changed numbers at entrance to 142.

T/U 5 hrs

18/7/96 | Surface findings | Wookey, Wadders, JulianT, Ralph

BECKA - Date given as 07/1996 in original version so I have guess date as 18/7 - possibly just an omission from typing in logbook - check?

Went looking for some '+' marked caves that Wook, JulianT & Spencer found in 1994 near summit of Hinter. Found someone elses '+' on the way. Drew it up. Eventually re-found the 2 caves we were looking for & 1 other we had forgotten about. All GPS'd.

Then over the top of the hinter & down on the plateau side. Found 195 & 194 as well as a couple of un-numbered holes.

Passed 76a & connected it to survey station. Surveyed between 164 & 189 using Wadders's cag for tape measure, also checked out position of B11, B8 & 80.

24/07/96 | Dunks and Steve take it in turns to break a hymen | Dunks and Steve

Went to climb in snug. Possible but requires nutter. Me and Dunks decided we had more talent at hitting things with a hammer so we took our ACME "make your own?" kit (i.e. a big hammer) and made a Steve-sized hole in the passage and sent a Steve thru it, whilst Dunk continued hammering to make a Dunk+belt+FX3 sized hole and followed me. Over 100m of fun crawling and we pop out in fresh virgin mud near huge space. Unfortunately find red + white tape and realise we are in fact in MTA's alt. universe. I went back in the hope that Dunks was still hammering (and could therefore rescue our SRT kit) but he was already crawling.

Went for tourist down alternative universe and we thought that a climb up on the right at the end (short + easy but you would fall down the pitch if you fell) would go if you were a nutter.

We then went to look for more non-existant cave which I thought existed because I got confused after I came out of the crawl.

Then we came out.

TU 5 ½ hrs

PS Changing in Mothshag is OK
(only if it's raining. If you leave gear there it gets cold + shite.)

PSS We missed the rain in both dirns due to hiding nr Sam's dig

PSSS Hammering your own passage is the dogs bollocks

Previous Dr. Snuggles trip / Previous Alternative Universe trip / Next AltUni trip / Next Hymen (surveying) trip


BECKA - logbook said "(actually 19th, Ed.)" so have changed date from 20/7 to 19/7

This time I managed not to break the hammer. Bashed in spits for Y-hang. Got rope to hang free for as far as we could see. Got Paul to heroically volunteer to test my bolting & rigging by making the second ever descent of this pitch (see write up of 18/7 for QM 95-34), which turns out to be jolly big (~45m). Found hammer head at foot of rope. Paul scrotted up a rift to the left for not very far before it became impossible. I weasled through a hole in a mud-bank into a rift to the right, which didn't go either. Couldn't reverse-slither up mud in rift to get out through hole, so I had to dig a slot I could thrutch out through.

TU 7 hours

Previous trip

24/7/96 | Batman Series | Lummat + Chris

Surveyed the large hole just above 5-Ways (2 pitches) and derigged.

We then went round the corner to the left (opposite <Mine Shaft Passage>) and descended Chris's pitch. This descends to a ledge, 6 metres above the blind base of the pitch. Following this 'ledge' back leads to a bold step to a window and then a bold traverse to an ascending phreatic. These bold moves can be avoided by going underneath.

From the top of the short ascending passage a 5m free-climb down leads to too tight hole (even tighter with the large boulder rolled down). Across this a strongly draughting (towards you) passage continues as a crawl over dusty mud. After a z-bend, further crawling leads to a T-junction.

To the right, after a few feet a rift is reached. This was descended (37m rope) off naturals, via a deviation to a ledge and then to the base, from where a very tiny hole leads off. Surveyed up. To the right at the pitch the ascending passage closes down immediately.

Straight across, a short crawl lead to a left hand turn and further crawling to a blind aven. At the turn, to right a passage half filled with mud enters a small chamber. Lummat removed half the mud and gave the pleasure of removing the rest to Chris who first entered this bit (the mud also dammed up a pool of water.) The exit from the chamber was too small.

Back at the T-junction a body sized tube descended gently to the left. This required removal of SRT gear and (so it turned out), a rope attached to the obvious thread at the T-junction so that you can inch your way back out. The short crawl ends at a shallow pit. The passage continues as a vertical squeeze. Going back upon yourself and upwards leads to a blind 7m aven. Continuing, a short drop leads to an awkward squeeze to a pitch. Rigging off naturals and crawling head first out the pitch gives a 7m drop to the base of a typically Picos pitch-ramp. A further 5m drop leads to a second pitch-ramp but the ramp rift is too tight to pass (4 inches thick - could be removed with a lump hammer?) Below an alluring chamber awaits (5m pitch). There is a draught round here somewhere - but do Austrian pitch-ramps go anywhere?!

After carrying out a Grade I survey I detackled the pitch and made my way out of the body sized tube to where Chris was waiting to start the Grade 5 survey back to the Batman Series. We've called this area 'Tipico Asturias.'

TU 9hrs

Previous Puerile Humour trip / Next Trip

24/7/96 | Touristing | Petel & Clive

Clive's birthday trip was a lovely tourist looking at all the big bits of cave which are very nice thank you. Anyway it got rid of the need to go underground for another year.

Oh yes we nearly went off down a pitch but halfway down a bolt we remembered we had no spits so we went home. The end. Love Clive

TU 2.5hrs

18/7/96 | Trying to avoid 'Stairway to Hell' Part 1 | ChrisD, Andrew, JulianH

Chased up the ramp at Staud'n Wirt Palace. Loose chossy climb 1 didn't go. 15m pitch down ended in narrow drafting stream rift (could easily be made to go). Loose chossy climb 2 didn't go either, except for some steeply ascending rifts that ended in choke.

Discovery trip (1995) / Previous trip / Next trip

19/7/96 | 161d | Wookey & Chris

Connected up survey at Knossos. Came back & stuck our noses in a big passage off Triassic - to find it had been discovered an hour before by Mike & Tina. Boo.

Furtled around Zombie Slime (<Trying to avoid Stairway to Hell Pt2>) to no effect. Half climbed aven at drop into Zombie Slime - but had to leave.

Mike'n'Tina's trip

20/7/96 | Avoiding Stairway to Hell Pt3. | JulianH, ChrisD

Really did it this time. Pulled a big rock out of Sam's dig - just lots of loose bits to dig out of strongly drafting rift. Looked around the environs - various choked shafts & sections of small phreas on the Vd Schwarzmooskogel side of the surface chasm on the was to 161d. T/U 15mins

21/7/96 | Stairway to Hell | JulianH, ChrisD

Delaying tactics having failed, we set off for Stairway to Hell. Surveyed to it, took a long look at it, then turned & fled in horror. CJD finished off aven at drop into Zombie Slime - a downward sloping tube briefly raised hopes but rapidly degenerated. Other route went up for a surprisingly long way without reaching daylight.

Previous trip / Next trip

25/7/96 | Forbidden Land | Andrew, Lummat, ChrisD

Better sense having been cast to one side, we passed Stairway to Hell to reach Forbidden Land. The hanging death was the worst I have seen, & the route has nothing to to recommend it. The redeeming feature is the direction of travel & strongly drafting big passage. Turned left at the big chossy junction whereupon the quality suddenly improved. Rigged a ladder barely off a thread, then surveyed off right* in the big passage. Double back right, down the poxy hole, or up to climb an aven? 3 peple, 3 routes. The poxy hole went - soon to a big chamber. Down right, following the stream, or straight ahead? Both ways went - straight ahead was big, ending in the side of a huge rift pitch. Could this be a connection to 136? Following the stream also went, soon to leave it, some occasional crawling along an otherwise sizeable rift heading SW. Ended at a traverse needing rope. Returned to the ladder (previously free climb by A + Wookey) & popped in a bolt to get into the chamber left at the jct* above. Down was choss to a small pitch. But past some lovely conglomerate stals (formed by erosion) was a climb some draughting phreas popping out surprisingly at the head of a 6-7 second rattle. Even more surprisingly we survived the return through Stairway to Hell.

Previous trip / Next trip

26/7/96 | Puerile Humour - 161d | Becka, Sam + Craig

Took 200m rope out from the Guillotine for DaveF then turn off to Where the Wind Blows, off from Cat Woman, L at Gotham Junction in Puerile Humour. Down 3 shafts, 2 rigged on naturals then Sam put a pitch head bolt on Pencil Shaft. None of them went anywhere, all blind! Surveyed them anyway. Sam put some tape on, we had a look for Julian's sling in Staud'n'wirt Palace (but in the wrong spot!) & out in time for the dinner.

T/U 6 hours

Previous Puerile Humour trip / Next Trip (Iceland)

26/7/96 | Interview Blues - 161d | Nick, Brian, Paul, Helen

We went down, we faffed, we bolted an amazing choss pile, we decided the other pitch would be better! We came out.

TU 5 ½ hrs

Previous trip / Next trip

26/7/96 | Tourist - 161d | Mark M, Juliette K, Julian T, *Ally G

We hate caving, especially Ally. We nicked enough gear and went in. Ally's peril sensitive light & cave detecting glasses now smeared with mud stayed dark and got her a little spooked. We went down the main route till we met MarkF and Ally cleared out sharpish. The remainder went looking for Salt Lake City and overshot it because it was so under-whelming. We returned to junction and met ancient Becca caver. Then I walked down from entrance to 201 passage and the walk back was awful.

T/U 1 hour

22/7/96 | Bugger - 161d | Juliette Kelly, Mark M

Trundled along to Bugger admiring Triassic en route. Rigged the pitch and bimbled down, trying to avoid killing each other with falling boulders. Went down thru a boulder choke at the foot of the pitch and found another short pitch.

T/U 7 hours

Next trip

23/7/96 | Choss Pot - 161d | Juliette K, Craig, Mark M

Surveyed our finds in Choss Pot while Ju bolted the last pitch. Didn't go anywhere. Surveyed that too and pissed off out.

T/U 7 hours

Previous trip

22/7/96 | Go to the Forbidden Land | Wook & AndrewA

After Julian H & Chris D wimped at Stairway to Hell, that left it for me & Andy.

Boogied down in optimistic mood, decided that it probably wouldn't fall down, and Julian & Chris were wimps. Surveyed (carefully) through the choke & then out along the 'rift' above. It soon turned out that this was not a rift at all, but a huge chamber & we were wandering about below the boulders making up the floor.

The chamber (Hall of the Mounting Choss) was huge, almost 90m x 30m with a couple of pitches at the top of the slope. A bit more wandering about found a big passage taking a gale & leading to another big passage we were unable to climb down into.

Surveyed it all (300m) anf then found a way down into big cross passage. Wind here was going towards 050 ie back towards KH. Passage this way reaches a choss slope where we stopped, having done enough dodgy stuff to get this far. The other way (210deg) is a long rift. We followed it for about 50m - it was still going. There are also a couple of pitches & avens.

T/U 8hrs

Extra verse as sung in Hilda's or approx:
The pitches in Austria, they're deep and they're big
To get to the bottom, you frig up the rig.
The bolts are in calcite, you know they won't hold
In Hilda's bar, many stories are told (most total bullshit!)
best as I can do - Tina

26/07/96 | Alternative Universe | TINA & MIKE & PENNY

Went to look at holes in Alternative Universe. Penny & Tina looked at first one which didn't go so Penny went out. Mike bolted second (from low point near end of passage - survey pt 6 is on thread belay). Two pitches c26m & c34m to rift which can be entered at bottom and traversed to climb down - wasn't sure I could climb back up but could see water going over further drop (must be about 75m below low point in Altuni.)

Mike 3 ½
Tina 3
Penny 2

[Rough sketch of Alt Uni showing position of pitches]

Previous trip / Next AltUni trip (Magic Jumars, 1997)

28/7/96 | Top Camp carry | DaveH & JulianT

Walked up to top camp to check out my knees. Seemed OK on way up. Was starting to thunder & lightning just as we set off and was looking very dark. Just made it to top camp as it started to rain. There followed a very heavy storm - absolutely tipped it down for ~1hr, including hail stones. After that sun came out and was very nice. Walked down with large amounts of rubbish & spent carbide.

28/07/1996 | To the Forbidden Land again | Wook & AndrewA

Andy showed Wook new bits, then put in a bolt for a ladder. Continued only 30m along rift before it degenerated. Scrotty bit continued to a choke - no obvious way on. We climbed up a bitbut it carried on for miles. There seemed to be a parallel rift full of water, esp when it rains. Went down a pitch in floor for 20m then close[?] to streamway through boulders. Big (40 l/s) stream followed until too small squeeze. Surveyed to head of pitch.

T/U = 7.5hrs

Previous trip / Next trip (from 136 after connection)

28/7/96 | Surveying down the tight bit beyond the hymen | Steve & Dunks

Having hammered out our own bit of cave, we thought we'd best go survey it.

Started at Alt. Uni. end of things. Did a couple of connecting legs, all went well up until beginning of actual crawl. Problem was, it was too narrow to easily pass each other or turn round in, so I set of crawling backwards with compass + clino while Steve followed with tape. There is a ~6 inch wide gap in the floor, where things dropped down it go rattle rattle rattle........ boom bang rattle. This is disconcerting.

Cunningly got eyepiece of clino bunged up with mud after a few legs, and spent half an hour licking it out. Then the compass fogged up. Then my carbide fucked up and the crawl went uphill. Then we said 'FUCK THIS' and went to retrieve our string gear from the other end of the crawl. Then we had the choice between going back through the crawl and going up a pitch (~5m). Couldn't immediately be arsed to do either, so we sat and ate loads of toffee & fudge, and pissed around looking at some holes we hadn't noticed before. None of these went very far so we came back to the bottom of the big aven (Zebedee) in Dr Snuggles. Water was pissing down this so we guessed it must be raining on the surface and therefore not time to come out of the cave, so we bashed a bolt in above a small pitch in our crawl which went nowhere. Then we were bored, cold and pissed off, so we came back out, retrieved our clothes from Mothshag, where we had got changed (it was shit) and fucked off.

TU 8 ½ hours

Previous trip / Next trip to Zebedee (1997)

28/7/96 | 161d | Anthony, Paul, Ralph

Festered at both top-camp and the entrance for a good 2hrs, then reluctantly went underground hoping Anthony's "good" lead would close down after 10 yards. We met Ralph (who came in 161e) the wrong side of a rift without his string gear and then went to Roast Beef, a sub-district of Puerile Humour. After a short crawl we came out in a rift. Ralph climbed up 25m and found some leads which need rigging, Anthony found an impressive ice stal and climbed up the large aven above it which I followed a scrotty looking lead. Fortunately I emerged in a large rift running right-left, one end was nearly blocked by a large ice formation with a large chamber the other side of it. Both passages from there eventually choke but there are good ice pretties. It'd near the surface but we couldn't find another entrance.

"Oh dear" we said "We appear to have found some cave - that'll need surveying!" After 150m however we were freezing and pissed off out of 161e.

TU 6hrs

Previous Puerile Humour trip / Next Trip

28/7/96 | Interview Blues | Nick, Brian, Craig

Looking at the second lead down IB, under Minoan Surprise. Having decided that the 1st hole (the one directly under MS) was too chossy, we were bolting the 2nd hole, which involved a loose traverse. Brian & Craig went down, whilst I rigged off some boulders so I could dangle over the edge of the big hole in MS and produce a 'plumb' for the survey. This was connected into the Triassic Park survey by a leg 'from the end of Nick's hand.' By the time I joined Craig and Brian, Brian had reached the bottom of the pitch, which turned out to be Bottomless Pit of Eternal Chaos (of course). So we surveyed and derigged out. As we got to the bottom of pitch 4, everything went ROAR! It was raining upstairs and all the water was going down Dave & Becka's pitch next door. We had intended to survey and derig this as well, but thought it a bit wet. Brian played cowboy and lassooed a spike to get through the eyehole into D&B's pitch and confirmed that their rope would be a little damp to ascend, hence we went back up IB and left.

TU 8 ½ hrs

Previous trip / Next trip

29/7/96 | IB, where else? | Nick, Brian & Craig

Having eliminated the nicer lead, it was time to go deep again, and we managed to convince Craig to come with us. Brian went ahead to rig the 9th pitch, whilst Craig & I surveyed from the bottom of the 7th. At the crossroads, I decided to have another look at the lead pronounced 'probably too tight' by myself and Becka. A bit of thrutching and I was through into more scrotty rift, a chamber with a very brave (and very dead) bat and another pitch. Hence 'Early Retirement' was named. So we surveyed back to the crossroads, then through the abysmal rift, down the 8th and through more shite rift (1 ½ metre survey legs) to the top of the 9th. Here we met Brian, who had rigged the 9th with a knot pass, bolted the 10th pitch and then discovered it was deep and no way was the 20m rope going to reach. So rather than face another knot pass he came out. Team survey were cold by this time, so we left.

TU Nick 9hrs
Brian & Craig 9 ½ hrs

Previous trip / Next trip

30/7/96 | You know where | Nick and Brian

Having run out of friends (mugs, idiots, people open to bribery, blackmail, corruption etc) and team 136 having jacked horrendously, the penultimate, do or die, this is it, take it or leave it, everything must go trip down Interview Blues had a cast of 2. The plan was to push, find the bottom, survey out and then derig until the number of tackle sacks got too silly. So we knew we were in for a shit time. We were not wrong.

We took down a long rope for the 10th, an extra rope for when we found the 11th pitch, and another bit of rope, just in case. After having an attack of conjunctivitis (sore eyes!) the last trip, I was caving in glasses rather than contact lenses. This was grim, as vision hampered by a shit carbide was further shafter by gloop-coated glasses. To add to the fun, my carbide had developed a fine extra peril-sensitive feature. Whenever I looked down, the clicker fell onto the jet, thus extinguishing the flame and preventing me from seeing any possible danger beneath me.

Off we set, merrily abseiling and scrotting in turns (Quick description of Interview Blues: Abseil, abseil, abseil, abseil, scrot, abseil, scrot, abseil, abseil, scrot, abseil, scrot, abseil) which took us to the bottom of the ninth, or rather Brian to the top of the tenth, and me 15m from the bottom of the ninth, where I thrashed around trying to do a knot pass, which was conveniently situated in the damp bit of the pitch. As my lumps of mud which passed for gear turned to slime, my glasses clouded over, the tackle sack became 5 times heavier and my jammers completely refused to down-prussik, it could be said I was not having fun. Indeed, the odd swear word may have passed my lips. Eventually enough mud had been washed off, so I could complete the change-over and get to the bottom. Brian was merrily rigging the 10th pitch. I followed him down. Suddenly it was all large - big shaft, big chamber at the bottom. Help! Where's the rift? Got to the bottom and dashed down the first scrotty rift I could find, and sure enough found Brian coming back saying it got too tight. So we surveyed back to the chamber, finding a really awful way down, under a boulder pile, with lots of water and a 5m drop, on the way, and then finding the two stomping leads we had ignored completely on the way in. The first quickly became a rift traverse with water in the bottom. After some exciting thrutching we got down to the water. Upstream is a 3m climb with a waterfall. Downstream is another waterfall in a tight bit of rift - to rig it would require crawling in the water. Back to the chamber, and the next lead - another large passageway which soon becomes scrotty rift, but definitely still goes. Another corner of the chamber produced another lead, a rising rift with the sound of water down it, and yet another corner had a muddy crawl going off it. With all this cave, we just didn't know what to do, so we ran away.

We surveyed out to the top of the ninth, gaining tackle sacks and being good boys and greasing the bolts (so we can go back next year.) After that it becomes hazy - tacklesacks, prussiking very slowly, sore balls, scrotty rift - the usual. We got to the bottom of the fifth with two tacklesacks each and gave up, since the fifth pitch is ~50m. So we dumped a tackle sack each and pottered up some more pitches. Brian abandoned his friend at the top of the fourth. I managed to get mine back to Trifurcation. Staggered out very slowly. It was 2-30am and it was misty and raining. Lovely trip.

TU 13 ½ hrs

Brian - "Memorable"

Previous trip / Final derigging trip

31/7/96 | No prizes for guessing where | Nick, Brian, Dunks

Dunk decided to earn superhero points and helped us derig the remaining rope in IB. Dunk hauled, I derigged, Brian ferried tacklesacks. Prussiking with two tacklesacks is shit. Fucked up derigging the top of the 1st pitch, slipped and slammed into the wall. Shaken, but not stirred.

We were going to derig Dave & Becka's pitch, leaving the traverse line in place, but Dunk didn't like the traverse, with its virtual footholds, and I'd had enough so the rope is still there.

Derigged the lovely Knossos pitch and wandered out very slowly.

See you next year!

T/U 6hrs

Previous trip / Next trip - not next year, in fact, 1999 ?

29/7/96 | Rig/survey/Derig 136 | Wookey & Anthony

Despite slightly shoddy weather and the fact that 136 sounds distinctly crap, we rigged in, made the connection to Forbidden Land, and surveyed out derigging as we went arriving back at base camp before breakfast. A casual observer would have thought we'd never left. Unfortunately, we lost the survey notes so it will all have to be done again next year....

31/7/96 | Iceland Survey | Wookey, JulianT, Paul & Anthony

After returning with tales of lots of pretty ice near 161e, there was a queue of people clammering to survey it (not surprising when the other available options were derigging Interview Blues or carrying spent carbide down the hill.) Found 161e at the first attempt (Craig and Paul spent 4 hours wandering round the hill in caving gear the day before without finding it.) Wooks climbed up the aven in Crystal Maze getting about as far as me before deciding it was a bit vertical and giving up. It may be free climbable (though exposed) but definitely needs a rope to get down - worth a look next year as there's a big space at the top and lots of wind going up it. Paul and Anthony then surveyed out from the end of the phreatic which leads out of Iceland chamber whilst Wookey & Julian surveyed in through the bit that's full of ice and blowing a gale (ie fucking freezing.) The wind appears to disappear up the aven at Iceland as well as the aven in Crystal Maze. Hopefully we'll get some pictures of the ice. Also took a picture of surveyors in action (thrilling stuff) before exiting KH for the last time in '96. 12 trips, 10 surveys (7 as picture drawer), 1 bolt pretty much sums up my expo. Obviously I'll have to find somewhere nicer to go next Summer. You'll not catch me down that miserable hole in the ground ever again. And pigs will fly....

TU 6 hrs

Previous trip / Puerile Humour derig (1996 last trip)

31/7/96 | There 'n' back | Clive, DaveH,Craig

BECKA - (of or DaveF/Sam) no date given in entry so I've inserted 31/7

I love driving. Craig left the road a couple of times on the way there due to mistaking slip roads for motorway lanes. Dave F did the same on the way back but it was road works and Jeremy tried to crash in the same spot so he was probably allowed.

Bloody customs at the england end. "Nice dent!" Pulled us over. NO WE HAVE NO DRUGS OR BOMBS NOW CAN WE PLEASE GO TO AUSTRIA IT'S FAR TOO FAR AWAY. "You're indicator's smashed." Fail to tell her it's been that way for over a year now - a bit too much like needling her.

On the way back one of my part worn remoulds gave up. Only had to move two rucksacks to get at the spare! Hoorah.

London was really shit and tedious. Don't ever go there.

The end. Love Clive

Clive 1h20
DaveK Craig) 40m
DaveF Sam )

14/7/96 | Pushing trip connected Shortage of Walls to Rich Tea via the Teapot | JulianH & Gill


TU 7 hours

Next trip

14/7/96 | Pushing trip which found Dr Snuggles etc. | Duncan, PhilB, Gunilla


TU 5 ½

22/7/96 | Pushing leads off Shortage of Walls | Julian H, Fran, PeteL

"Not much happened. Threw a few rocks around, got blisters handbolting and went home. (email from Pete 97/02/13)" TU 2½

26/7/96 | Push/survey pitch at end Fogie's Folly/Wheelchair Access | Jeremy, MarkF, Tony, DaveH

(DaveH's knees gave out on walk over, so did not go u/g. Tony had to jack when hit on head by rock in Slidy Caver - TU presumably minimal. ref. email from Dave 97/02/13)

Previous trip / Next trip

31/7/96 | Derig Alt Uni & Puerile Humour. Connected Fogie's Folly survey to TP | Steve, DaveH

TU Dave 3½-4 hrs, Steve 'a bit longer' (email from Dave 97/02/13)