Expo 2006: mission statement

In the summer of 2006, Cambridge University Caving Club is off to Austria for the 30th time on its annual summer expedition. As ever, there are many promising unexplored cave areas remaining, less major side passages to be ticked, and uncountably many caves waiting to be found. This document introduces the major work areas and the current state of exploration, and lists several specific projects on which it is hoped effort will be expended. Note that numbers given by cave names are those of the Austrian Kataster for our area.


For thirty years CUCC has worked on exploring the Loser plateau, a vast expanse of limestone riddled with caves in the Totes Gebirge area of the Austrian Alps, roughly 80km ESE of Salzburg. Over this time CUCC has explored such notable caves as Kaninchenhöhle (161), Stellerweghöhle (41) and Schwarzmooskogel Eishöhle (40), caves now connected to form a system 56km long and over a kilometre deep; more than half of this length was contributed by CUCC.

More recently, exploration of Steinbrückenhöhle (204) has been the main focus of expedition work. Since 1999 it has yielded 11.7km of passage and is over 500m deep. It is anticipated that it will eventually connect to the Schwarzmooskogelhöhlensystem. Along the line between Steinbrückenhöhle and Kaninchenhöhle lies Hauchhöhle (234), the scene of significant exploration in 2004 and 2005; its length is now 619m, and there are still leads to be investigated.

Eislufthöhle (76) was found on the second ever CUCC expedition to the area in 1977, when the explorers got to -150m with the way on wide open. They pushed again in 1978, then in 1979 finally reached a sump at approximately -506m. They derigged and nobody returned for a quarter of a century, until we took another look in 2004. A previously unknown horizontal level "Brave New World" was discovered at about -50m and the previously unpushed "Keg Series" pushed to a bypassable sump at -186m. We also reexplored the original deep series to the Tap Room. In 2005 we explored further in "Brave New World", found another route down to the "Keg Series" sump, established a visual connection from a nearby cave (99). We also reexplored the original deep series to around -190m. The cave now has a surveyed length of 1777m (making it the third longest cave system CUCC has explored in Austria!) There's also at least 300 vertical metres which haven't been resurveyed yet.



Surface and shallow work near Steinbrückenhöhle bivvy


Underground work:

Potential surface and shallow work near 76:

Odds 'n' Sods