CUCC Expo Logbook 2018


Michael Holliday, Mike Butcher, Lydia Leather,
Fisch Gesicht - rerigged entrance

Rerigged the cave entrance, to pendulum pitch and all the way to blitzen boulavard.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Dickon Morris, Tom Crossley,
264 - Balkonhoehle/ 1st rig
T/U: 4 hours

Rigged entrance pitch as far as second deviation but found deviation tat (meant to be in-situe) had been removed along with hanger. Dickon spent 10+ minutes swinging to find bolt but it could not be found. Returned to surface leaving rope and rigging gear at last rigged Y-hang.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Anthony Day, Jon Toft,
Tunnocks - 1st rig
T/U: 5 hours

Rigged Tunnocks to start of Caramel Catharsis (or thereabouts). In the words of Anthony: "Nothing to report, just tell everyone how great it was!"
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Michael Holliday, Mike Butcher, Lydia Leather,
Fisch Gesicht- pushing to liquid luck

Pushed past survey station 14C, found the phreatic tube lead to a small chamber (pissing pot) then continued left to a big pitch. Bolted, Rigged. Michael nearly killed Lydia --> called liquid luck.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Mark Shinwell, Tom Crossley, Becka Lawson,
plateau - Prospecting past Fisch Gesicht, beyond the ski pole line

After the first spit had been set we realised that we'd forgotten the bolts, doh, so the tags for these caves have been hammered into cracks and only cucc-2018-ms01 has a hole drilled.

Becka's phone GPS 33+ 410730 5274320 Alt 1698m Accuracy 4m
[Ed. This GPS fix is actually bang-on the bier tent at basecamp, Description: Rubble slope with snow plug down to a jammed boulder. Wriggle down next to it to a 45° ramp down. This levels off to a tight squeeze down to a small chamber. Around 30m long with no draft.
Sketch: see notes and photo on Becka's phone at 09:30 on 13/7/18
Notes: tag hammered into crack near to placed spit
Photo: Becka's phone at 14:00

cucc-2018-ms02 Blitz Baum Schacht (Lightening Tree Shaft)
Becka's phone GPS 33+ 410635 5283186 Alt 1724m Accuracy 4m (see also Mark's GPS)
Description: Around 30m NNE (say 020) from distinctive, large, dead tree struck by lightning. A 30m+ shaft, rocks rattle for several seconds. Hole ~5m long x 1m wide.
Notes: tag hammered into crack on flat area on long side
Photo: Becka's phone and Mark's phone at 14:56

cucc-2018-ms03 Zufall höhle (Coincidence Cave)
Becka's phone GPS 33+ 410376 5283124 Alt 1714m Accuracy 3m (see also Mark's GPS)
Description: Squeeze through boulders then drop down c2 and along a tall, narrow rift for ~10m to head of ~7m pitch. Weak draft out. This was re-found by Dickon and Jon later the same day and they said there was also a phreatic tube visible from the pitch head.
Notes: tag hammered into above entrance boulders
Photo: Becka's phone and Mark's phone at 16:10

Marks's phone GPS 00409613 5282951 Alt 1680m Accuracy 3m
Description: 10m+ shaft, approx 2m long x 0.5m wide, in a line of similar shafts
Notes: tag hammered into crack
Photo: Mark's phone at 17:00
T/U: 4.0 hours

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Chris Densham, Frank Tully, Todd Rye, Anthony Day,
plateau - Prospecting/visiting known holes near Organhöhle

Hacked out on the cairned path to Organhöhle to look at some holes found on a 2012 prospecting trip, and see whatever we could find:

[Ed.2 moved to a prospecting trip closer to these coordinates, but still doesn't look ike the right trip. Maybe a different year?!] 2018 Philip Withnall Description (talk to Philip W ? to decipher)Coordinates (UTM, OsmAnd+ on Android, Philip’s phone)

[Ed. Should these coordinates not be 33T not 33N ??]
10, no, just a pocket 33N 411932 5283707
11, no, down sloping rift 33N 411940 5283712
12, choked twin shafts 33N 412043 5283693
12, steep scree narrow pitch, needs torch and rope, probably choked 33N 412046 5283663
13, steep rift, floor mostly choked, no draft, need a rope and light, probably choked 33N 412021 5283649
16, deep drippy rift, draft, leg 18m, deeper than that 33N 411954 5283576
16, deep wide rift, 40m+, drippy, promising, 14m disto leg to first ledge 33N 411943 5283565
'CUCC-OK-1 2012' 33N 411898 5283590 [2012-OK-01 is actually 411876, 5283524]
9, need torch 33N 411879 5283658
8, no 33N 411792 5283631
2017-NR-02 33N 411873 5283527 [ Ed. p2017-NR-02 is 411874, 5283528 so this matches]
6, needs rope and spade 33N 411764 5283545
2, probably not 33N 411787 5283480
1 33N 411804 5283452
2017-NR-01 33N 411811 5283442 [p2017-NR-01 is 411811, 5283442 - so correct]
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Chris Densham, Tom Crossley,
Tunnocksschacht/258 - String Theory to Procrastination Rig

In via usual route to head of String Theory. Found Three ropes (~35m, ~45m, ~60m). Used ~45m and ~35m to rig String Theory (Crossley Rigging). Found ~90m left at head of Procrastination. Used ~20m rope (brought in from top camp) to rig traverse and ~90m to rig pitch of Procrastination. (Densham rigging).

Left tub of flapjacks, snickers, 4 curries with bothy bag at base of Procrastination. Also left 90m 9mm rope for Kraken with slings, snap gates, hangers and maillons.

Returned to Top Camp ~5 mins before callout - blame my (Crossley's) slow rigging of String Theory. Brought ~60m rope out of cave.
T/U: 10.0 hours

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Dickon Morris, Jon Toft,
plateau - Prospecting Kleine Wildkogel

Prospected along side of Kleine Wildkogel along South edge heading West.

[Ed. All these are in area 1626 - checked by plotting on map 2023-10-16.]

CUCC 2018 DM01 +
Jon's phone DD 47.69781N 13.81647E
4m climb to cobble floor. Crawl under arch leads to 2m deep hading rift. Choked.

CUCC 2018 DM02 -
Jon's phone DD 47.69756N 13.81331E
8m climb in narrow shaft. 8m climb in wide rift to snow plug. Squeeze past snow plug horizontally 10m leading to small chamber w ice formations. Small window with cobble floor leading to undescended 10m pitch. Rocks rattle at bottom.

CUCC2018 DM03 +
Jon's phone DD 47.69813N 13.80967E
Large open shaft leads to snow plug, undescended. 30m? Continuation unknown.

CUCC2018 DM04 -
Jon's phone DD 47.69714N 13.80618E
Large undescended [explored 2023] open shaft. 25m? Continuation unknown, potential passage on.

CUCC2018 DM05 +
Jon's phone DD 47.69665N 13.80597E
Large open shaft. 10m. Small rift at bottom leads on another inspected 10m drop. Almost certainly chokes.

CUCC2018 DM06 2018-DM-06 -
*THIS CAVE [may be/IS] A DUPLICATE OF CUCC2018 MS03 [ 2018-ms-03 ], which was apparently explored by Becka 2 hrs earlier (or so she says)*
Jon's phone DD 47.69514N 13.80591E
[Ed. This is 30m away from 1626.p2018-ms-03, so probably is NOT the same, pending further location data.] Climb down boulder tickle 5m leads to 2m climb. Rift continues to 4m pitch into chamber, unpushed. Small passage in roof above pitch ledge to left continues 30m through narrow crawl to 4-way intersection. Unexplored further.

CUCC2018 DM07 -
Jon's phone DD 47.69429N 13.80534E
Large open shaft. In, down over snow plug 30m. 2 consecutive pitches. First 5m, 2nd unknown.
[This is Homecoming 1626-359 now]
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Dickon Morris, Jon Toft,
Homecoming - CUCC2018 DM07 (Homecoming Hole) - First push

Headed off to drop DM07 followed by DM06. Started with DM07 as the closer of the two. First pitch/handline 5m down from surface to large hole in ground. Into hole in wall, 1m down and 2m traverse over a drop of 3m leads to top of snow plug that can be followed down 8m to passage. Crawl for 10m leads to first pitch, 5m, closely followed by longer pitch (10m?) into a rather large chamber. The way leading back against the direction of progress quickly chokes. Way on leads to large boulder. A hole on the left side yields a safe continuation (the rope also leads this way) on to the next pitch of another 10m into yet another chamber. From here, an impressive pitch was observed(8m diameter) which a 27m rope was insufficient to descend. Probably 40m deep. Strong draft, predicted by the majority of CUCC to be larger than Tunnocks [citation needed].

Surveyed out of cave, tag left on small shelf right under surface level. Lack of pencils led to ditching of DM06, though this is an interesting cave. DM06 still unexplored.

Jon sprained ankle before cave entrance, the effects of which showed up shortly after arrival to top camp, and which subsided by the next day. Strange stuff which unfortunately led to me being unable to push further the next day. :-(
T/U: 3.0 hours

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Philip Sargent,
plateau - Surface recce for Futility series back door

Cycled and walked to N. end of Altaussee lake to try to look at the Weisse Wand area of likely location of hole from the other side of the valley (Trisselwand side). Failed to get far enough: only 1km away but 500m too low and surrounded by 600m cliffs.

IN FUTURE go to this area via SOUTHERN SIDE of the lake as the N. side has a long section where bicycles are forbidden. MAPS DON'T SHOW THIS.

The N. end of the lake has two restaurants and there is road access via the S. side; and then the track towards the Appelhaus is drivable (and certainly mountain-bikeable) for quite a way. Return trip planned early in the morning on another day.

On return, looked for the site of 1982 base camp. Probably at the Madlemeir landing station for the tourist boat. Photos taken [and posted to Facebook Expo2018 page].

Whole trip (and a glass of most) 4 hours.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Dickon Morris, Todd Rye,
Homecoming - 2nd push in Heimkommen höhle (Homecoming)

Carried 2x 45m ropes and a 80m rope over to Heimkommen. Dickon rerigged the pitch then ran out of rope on, now named Radagast.

Pushed through a small meander to an up pitch (3m). From there is was navigating a large meander, dropping a pitch (5m) and traversing through some boulders. Another pitch (10m) before a climb up and a traverse along the top of Wallace (40m) which landed perfectly on a boulderabove an estimated 50m-100m drop, named Grommit.

Out of rope so we surveyed out.

T/U: 0.0 hours

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Chris Densham,
plateau - Steinbrucken Tarp Topo

[DIAGRAM of tarp rigging in bivvy]
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Michael Holliday, Mike Butcher, Lydia Leather,
Fisch Gesicht - pushing phreatic flies and surveying liquid luck

Surveyed from 14C to 22. Michael bolts, lydia and Mike survey. Mike made a dry stone wall. Mike found Toto chamber.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Becka Lawson,
258 - Rigging Guide Tunnock 258 Hydra, Snake Charmer, Snake Bite, Lower Snake Bite

Snakebite lands in large rift passage with waterfall entering from LHS. Water drains down to Lower Snakebite (this starts with an awkward free climb next to water; themore obvious passage on L of this (as you face downstream) is main Snakebite passage (dry) that connects to Song of the Earth.

Lower Snakebite - Pitch series starts 20m beyond the awkward free climb below Snakebite pitch following water down free climbs

P5 (8m) undescended due to lack of rope.

Numbered station 9 at head of P5 is lower snakebite 9 station. Station 10 is not marked station 8 at boulder is also numbered, same survey

P6 visible from P5
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Philip Sargent,
plateau -Surface walk Stoger Weg/115 (Schnellzughöhle) - actually cucc-ps01-2018

Found the entrance* - but it is 60m away from where the GPS says it should be.

Attempted to get to the location the GPS says it is but it's impenetrable bunde.

Stashed in 115 ent: 1 2-man tent, 2 karrimats, 1 litre water (a bit brown - filled in gents loo at berg restaurant), small bag muesli.

I rigged a smallwater collection poly sheet which may get 2-3 litres if we're lucky.

The walk along the Stoger Weg (201) from the turnoff to the col & top camp is much more rugged than the part closer to the carpark: many granny-stoppers.

Photos taken from turn-off point [from Stoger Weg]: "a barely discernable trod" to cave. This "trod" is much more overgrown thanit was in 1982.

*POSTSCRIPT - on 17th July found a 1981 photo of the entrance which shows that the entrance I found wasn't the main entrance. I had found the upper (smaller) entrance CUCC-PS01-2018 at N 47.66743 E 013.80945 alt. 1547m (WGS84 Garmin Venture Cx) 7
T/U: 4.0 hours

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Michael Holliday, Mike Butcher, Lydia Leather,
Fisch Gesicht -Pushing Urinal and fettling rope/rigging

Mike and Michael did more dry stone walling. More gardening. Followed the free attic opposite liquid luck ledge ti findthe Urinal. Bolted and rigged to an awkward body sized squeezing, thatr smelt of pee, having pissed down B. Boulavard. But possible free attic continuation.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Jon Toft,
Expo - 2018 Expedition: Week 1
Blog Author: jtoft
CUCC 2018 Expedition: Week 1
Once again the H?hlenforcher have travelled from the UK to Bad Aussee with gear, curry, and high expectations. It was all looking a bit bleak when Jim suggested it would be a no-drinking expedition, but when he promptly ended up drinking 7 beers the same night, we knew we were in business. The first week has passed quickly, with both bottom and top camp taking shape.

Frank has put in a heroic effort, here seen adding grommets to a new tarp for the bier tent. 

The weather has been treating us nicely, possibly too nicely. This has made water collection on top of the mountain a bit problematic, but means we get the tans that are otherwise sorely lacking in the caving community.

Gear from last year has been systematically inspected and repaired. Anthony went through all the dry bags, noting that a lot of them seemed to have more than the one hole you would expect, and patched them up accordingly. He claimed that in order to truly repair a dry bag you have to become one with the bag, and demonstrated how to do so.

This year, we have to take two large solar panels and accompanying batteries up the hill. Haydon stepped up to over-engineer cases that would protect these from any nuclear attacks that may be encountered on the way up. Several of us sat around providing some much needed moral support and criticism.

When it comes to over-engineering, one must of course never forget UX testing:

As always, the CUCC expedition is blessed with a great supply of nerds. Phillip Sargent spent an hour trying to convince me that the 4-step version control system couldn?t possibly be easier to use. Today, Mark Shinwell stepped up when the printer was malfunctioning, and solved this by pushing in the paper tray. Some people just aren?t made for the nerding I guess.

Up on top of the mountain the tarps are set up, and curries, noodles, flapjack, gear, soup, more curries, and the all important bog roll.

Leads are already being pushed, with the first few surveys already coming out. Our first major surface find of the year, Homecoming Hole (Heimkommen H?hle) has been pushed down 7 pitches so far, and is still going strong. While this cave was named in anticipation of football coming home, it seems like we?ll have to settle for caving coming home this time around.

The nights end with plenty of drinks and cheer, and continued nerding to slot in the new leads in the database. It's looking like it'll be an exciting year in Austria!
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Becka Lawson, Anthony Day,
258 - Tunnock's Rig

The ambitious plan was to rig Tunnocks as far as camp. This was never on after I misread the log entry from last year and believed the rope for Widow Trankey's was in the cave - it wasn't so we were a rope light. The Number of the Beast rope went down the wrong hole when I threw it down the pitch and got stuck, neccessitating much faffage to retrieve. The rope had also been cut and retied* necessitating a knot pass - this rope should be replaced by the 45m rope currently at the top of String Theory. In the end made it to the top of Inferno. Dumped camp stuff (3x pits + stove) and headed out. [ * Becka: using an EDK (European Death Knot) with 8cm ends - who left it like this last year?! ]
T/U: 11.0 hours

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Chris Densham, Frank Tully, Mark Shinwell,
Surface - Geshwand Alm walk

[from Callout Book - which Chris? Assuming Densham]

To Geshwand Alm, parking further down toll road than usual (and with gravel track going off at start of long straight section) NG59 HUK.

Then across the edge of the plateau on E side of Schossboden/Grüner Bichl valleys. Callout 2200.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Tom Crossley, Mike Butcher, Lydia Leather,
Fisch Gesicht - Pushed to Toto and surveyed free attic frys and Urinal
Tom joined Mike and Lydia, surveyed free attic frys and Urinal, found thgat Urinal has a high cieling (40m). Possible connects to Happy Butterfly above. Surveyed to chamber with boulders in the shape of Africa.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Michael Holliday, Mike Butcher, Tom Crossley, Lydia Leather,
Fisch Gesicht - Found Ulysses

Took photos, Mike and Michael go down to crystal crumble, found stalactites, pretty. Tom bolted coral corner, pretty formations. Traversed round Toto chamber on a false floor to the continuation into conintuation of free attic flys called phreatic becomes meander rift, (bolted) and dind a large opening with left and right junction (very false floor) called odious odium. Taking a right turn along the false floor leads to a vast floor now called Ulysses (after the Frans Ferdinand song Michael was singing). Yet to be dropped due to its very unstable nature. Did some gardening but a lot of work needs doing. Left turn at odium, leads to a true floor, leads to multiple boulder chokes and meander in approximately the direction of Ulysses with short pitches not dropped. More photos on the way out. Michael gets ill. Wees a lot.

lots of pee, very loose, less ice than last year, lots of key-hole passage.

Still to do (by Mike Butcher):

- Drop pitch from entrance chamber to bypass ramp and climb of ice plug pitch = more direct.

- Investigate meander at end of windy tube (?c)

- Possible alternate route opposite pendulum pitch (?c)

- B. Boulavard rope needs changing (40m)

- Leads in Benign Bubble Baby Bypass needs looking into

- Drop 15m at far end of B. Boulavard

- Piss Pot resurveyed

- Survey bottom of liquid luck

- survey after Toto

- Toto traverse line

T/U: 0.0 hours

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Luke Stangroom, George Breley, Becka Lawson,
Balkon - Cathedral Kazam - Wild Honeycomb shaft - The Hangman

Spent over an hour trying to calibrate top Camp's collection of distox's (my two, CHECC and ULSA). I won with 0.35 and 0.5. Luke at 0.65 was way off and two Distox's refused to pair with George's PDA. Eventually underground and swiftly to Kathedral Kazam. 2 traverses were still in but short pitch needed rigging. Luke then rigged Wild Honeycomb shaft. Ash has - audaciously - rigged this off naturals last year but it hadn't been surveyed, leaving George and Rachel's Nature Calls surveys at the base floating. George and I followed Luke down surveying, with Luke concerned he'd taken the wrong route, but all was well.

At the base, there's a sort of horizontal level which we rigged a short pitch down (7m) and then what George and Rachel had done as a 13m chimney down which Luke and I declared a pitch. This led to a ledge with a vast, perched boulder next to it. The Hangman.

the pitch had a massive echo and stone rattle. We drilled the pitch head spits but were out of hangers, so headed out.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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George Breley, Becka Lawson,
Balkon - Wild Honeycomb shaft - The Hangman - Hangman's Daughter - Tunnock's Connection

Luke was off-colour so George and I returned to the Hnagman and I rigged down the pitch then we surveyed it to a spacious ledge, from here the shaft continued (offset) but it looked damp and we were keener on the horizontal otions - a window visable part way down The Hangman's Pitch and, from the base, a climb up on the left and a traverse to the right to s vhossy climb.

George went for the latter option, and got up via some shonky bolts, boulder balancing and clambering. The entered what we've called Hangman's daughter. I followed and we surveyed into what initially looked really unpromising: narrow, catchy, little passage.

However, it took a draft. We surveyed a loop round (given that George had scooped it) then got to the only proper lead, a small pitchead topped with mostly nasty perched boulders. George heed kicked quite a few down leaving a small hole. We only had one hanger and I dithered about whether to use the massive flake as a backup but used it in the end. The ~15m pitch led to a small chamber. I climbed to the bottom where a ?c crappy hole led down and then -!!!-

noticed a survey station! WHat the hell? I shouted to George who bombed down, forgetting to bring the Dostox so I had to go up the hideous rubby pitch to fetch it. After some searching, George found another station, 7, and we finished the survey. Then tried to work out where the survey had come from. Som2018-07-19e shreds of an oversuit on a tiny tube 3m above the floor of the chamber gave it away. The draft through had coated it in catchy popcorn. We took our SRT kits and tried to crawl through, but George didn't want to commit to going headfirst (I told him I couldn't be able to fish him out). He couldn't get through feet first so we gave up and headed out, finishing off the survey of the traverse on the way. At the top section of the Hnagman's Pitch 1 realived the rope had got hooked over a hideously sharp flake of rock and crystal. I wailed at George and down [prossiked until I could un-weight the rope and he could free it. Argh.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Becka Lawson,
Balkon - Rigging Guide: Balkon Honeycomb Shaft -> Hangmans Daughter

T/U: 0.0 hours

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Becka Lawson,
Balkon - Rigging Guide: Balkon The Hangman - Prangman

Hangmans's Traverse is not here: redrawn later. See 20/7/2018.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Becka Lawson,
Homecoming - Rigging Guide: Entrance - Wallace and Gromit - Second Coming

Homecoming entrance and first pitch rigging guide:

Radagast rigging guide and handclimb below Radagast (poor natural belay):

Traverse over hole and up the pitch in meander. Probably best left rigged for next year to save hassle on rerigging.

First meander pitch. String around boulder in roof to protect traverse over rammed blocks.

2nd meander pitch.

Rigging guide: Wallace and Gromit

traverse into the second coming

T/U: 0.0 hours

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Adam Aldridge, Nadia Raeburn,
Homecoming - Shallow lead push

We set off from top camp,full of optimism for the day. Nadias's ankle was sore from the previous trip, so we wanted to take the shortest route to the cave to minimise stretch on it. With this in mind we set off along the path which went via fish face.

Arriving at fish face in good time we found another group that were about to go underground.After a chat, we set off for Homecoming with our glasses remaining half-full. Without a GPS we weren't entirely sure how to get there, but with morale high we were confident of bodging the way. I had already got lost going from FGH to HC, surely it couldn't happen again.

Fast forward an hour or so we were standing on the side of a sharpsloping wall of a gully. Looking in two different directions (our tone starting to resemble the internal monologue of a child who's lost their mum in Asda). We both said the same thing, 'I remember going this way'. After trialling the two options we discovered, with sinking morale, that we were both wrong.

My watch produce a nagging beep to signal mid-day; another pin-prick in the already deflating balloon that was my confidence. Our plan of action started to fragment;a staring chicken lost on a plane of fine brown gravel.

'It might be this way' I wouldsay 'no, maybe it's this way'.

Feeling a bit spent wedecided to rest. Over some flapjack crumbs we discussed our plan of action.

Setting off again, our plan A, B and C ready to go. We had at last cometoterms with our situation.

Bags on we walked around the bunde that had provided shelter for our break, a cairn, two, three, the familiar path to Homecoming.

With regards to the cave, we swung into the window at the top of Gromit, bolted the pitch Anthony had startedthe day prior. It lead into two continuations; one horizontal, one vertically down. We crapped out the horizontal and left the other labelled as a QMB. Reason being: it's clean washed, and it looks like it will connect to cave already found below.

T/U: 4.0 hours

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Philip Sargent,
plateau - Solo walking in area of 115 entrances [and CUCC-PS01-2018]

11:00-18:00 up the hill.

Found p115x the main "train tunnel" hole. Did a 200+ averaging GPS reading on p115x, Windloch, and cave 88 on the Stoger Weg.

Carried safety gear from the entrance I found 4 days ago and stashed inside: I also rigged a 2sq.m. poly sheet and black foldable bucket to collect water.

It took 2 trips and lots of bunde bashing to carry the stuff as I only had a small daysack.

Route to p115x in old logbooks has been destroyed by 35y of pine growth.

The new route is:

go along Stoger Weg past Windloch (32) and further past the next cave (marked 88 in faded red paint) in LHS of path. Go [10m] further from there along Stoger Weg and leave path descending limestone karren down to right. Proceed back along foot of karren slope and push aside 3-4 branches of bunde to reach a "path".

Follow along this until you can descend steeply to the left (a few more branches of bunde) to steep "rockery" scramble bank. Make your way with care down this and you should be able to see a truncated pine tree [4m high] on the other side of a small gully. (When seen from the other side, this pine tree has branches in the shape of a figure "4".) Descend and traverse round to the right and climb up to this pine tree across the gully.

Now follow "path" down and to the right across 2 areas of soil/grass/loose stones to eventually reach a big pine tree with a bend in the trunk at ground level and a small cairn on the bend in the trunk. Continue down right through bunde with a little climb until you can see a large dead twisted tree root across a gully. Descend and get to this via via lush grass and flowers on steep slope and loose soil.

At the twisted dead tree root there is an obvious route leading to the right. At this point you are only 13m from p115x but you can't see it as it faces S. and you are approaching from the N. 10m on you pass a large anthill and then 3m further and you're there.

You may see a water collection poly sheet a lot earlier but use this route to get to it. (I did it 3x today and lots of other routes are worse.)

Oh yes, on first visit to CUCC-PS01-2018 this morning I went in: climbing down a 30 degree straight tunnel. Roof is solid rock and floor is blocks and rocks [and relic vadose features]. I counted 1m steps coming out and it's >14m long. Continues deeper but I was in t-shirt and shorts. Slight cold outwards draft. [Photos and GPS tracks and locations recorded.]

T/U: 0.1 hours

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Todd Rye, Tom Crossley, Nadia Raeburn,
Homecoming - Hobnob Hallway
T/U: 7.5 hours

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Nadia Raeburn,
Expo - Arriving to Expo For My Second Expedition
Blog Author: Tinywoman
Arriving to Expo For My Second Expedition

After a 20 hour train journey from Zagreb I arrived to Bad Aussee at 6:50 in the morning. Stepping off the train I was hit by a wave of fresh mountain air. I was excited to be back! As early as it was I assumed base camp would be asleep and started the hour walk to camp. When I arrived people were up and at it and I was greeted with coffee! After a good chat and an exciting update on the leads, I sorted through my things and had a quick nap. Another walk into town to pick up caving gloves, I always manage to forget those, and it was time to go up the hill.

I had been feeling quite fit and was ready for the walk up to top camp. Unfortunately, I was surprised by the struggle of walking across the plateau. At the end of last Expo I was racing across the rugged landscape. But this year I was back to feeling unsteady and laboured as I picked through the uneven rock. A walk that took me 1.5h at the end of last year, took me 2 hours again. The views on the walk had not changed and were as beautiful as ever. Walking at sunset is a must! Feeling a bit worse for ware we arrived at top camp and I was instantly stoked up and signed up for a trip tomorrow.

Morning arrived and we were all set to go survey the horizontal leads in the new cave Homecoming. Considering it had just been found I thought it would be a short trip to ease me into caving. A 2 hour walk later my legs felt like jelly and it seemed I had signed up to more than I bargained for. The cave descended 200m down a massive fault system.  An impressive bit of cave, but much deeper than I had anticipated. Just after we had gotten off the last rope we heard a distant rumbling, this soon sounded closer and closer as the flood pulse moved down the cave. My last expo I had managed to avoid all flooding so this was my first experience of flooding. The sound of the water was impressive and daunting. We decided to carry on surveying and hope the water would go down by the time we were done. Luckily when we were finished the cave sounded the same as when we had entered.

We started the ascent a bit apprehensive of flooding, there had been no rain since the cave had been found, and therefore there was uncertainty as to where the water would come down. Luckily the ropes were all dry and we had nothing to worry about. 200m of prussgiking was more than I wanted and the walk back took it out of me. I think my big mistake was setting off expecting to keep up with cavers who had been on expedition for the last week and a half.  Come next week 200m will seem like a walk in the park! Today however, I needed a rest so a quick walk down to base camp and a few bottles of beer.


T/U: 0.0 hours

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Tom Crossley,
Expo - My First Expo
Blog Author: tcacrossley
My First Expo

Writing this from base camp on the evening of my last night on expo.

Expo has been a new experience for me and I've loved every second, from the comforts and luxuries of base camp to the Swiss Family Robinson style living on the plateau.

I arrived last Monday by plane and train and made my way up the hill and straight in Balkonhoehle on the Tuesday. The walk up was scenic, despite being strenuous, as we were greeted by the local cows.


At top camp, beds were set up. Bellow is a scene of my "bedroom" (for want of a better word) at top camp as well as the view of top camp from the outside.



The next few days were spend learning to rig on caves that had been bolted in years past under the supervision of more experienced cavers (many thanks for your patience, Dickon and Chris).

On my return trip from rigging String Theory in Tunnocksschacht, I discovered my chest jammer (originally bought by my mother in the '80s) had given up the ghost and was slipping by several inches by the time I got out. New jammers were swiftly ordered in and I managed to borrow an interim pair from Becka.

Later on, I went on some trips into Fisch Gesicht to do some surveying. I took the opportunity to try out my new Exotogg thermal layer which kept me extremely cosy, if a little bulkier than usual!


The next day, back to base camp for a shower and refreshment. The day was spent assembling the lints for carrying the new Solar Panels and Car Batteries up the hill (required for charging of drills, lamps, phones etc on top camp's own power grid). Below are images of the testing of the battery carrier. I still have bruises from being one half of a solar panel carrying team...





My next underground experience included some bolting and rigging tuition from Mike Butcher - a very enjoyable experience despite my largely ineffective hammer use... None of my bolts failed and with any luck my traverse line will keep some pretty corral-like calcite formations safe for years to come.


Just beyond the Y-hang I was bolting in the above image was discovered a huge chamber with a railway sized tunnel on the other side. Named Ulysses, it is fittingly large and hard to get through. Very exciting!

My final trip of the expedition was a pushing and surveying trip in Homecoming Hole (newly discovered this expo) where I christened my first cave passage "Kit-Kat Connection" which was discovered while taking a break in Hobnob Hallway.

Back down to base camp now - gear all washed in the river and hung up to dry.



My only wish is that I was staying for longer. I can't wait to come back next year and I will be following the progress of this year's expo with interest. Thanks to all of the expedition for making it possible.

T/U: 0.0 hours

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Philip Withnall, George Breley, Becka Lawson,
Balkon - to Honeycomb -> Hangmans

After acrack of 11:30 start we had a steady descent to the bottom of Hangman's then added a 2nd bolt to give a nice,non-rubby Y-hang downHangmans to the connection we'd found to"fecking tight" in mid-level Tunnocks on Mike and George's last trip. We explored and surveyed the 2 leads there.

The hole in the floor joined the pitch down which I rigged some huge spiky boulders + an overhanging mud floor. We derigged+ George pulled through on the ring hanger at the top of the climb at the end of Hangman's traverse.

George looked at the tube at the top mud slope half way along Hangman's Traverse + asked for a drill so he could put a rope on it but I'd already snaffled the drill to bolt up the mud + boulder slope further along Hangman's Traverse ("Snail Trail") so he had to down climb.

I made slow progress (hence the name) + finally gave up + asked George to do the final climb over a wedged boulder only for him to find an easy thrutch up on the right side. From here we were in narrow, deep rift. I rigged a traverse + short pitch to a horizontal rift.

Philip headed out whilst George & I surveyed horizontally into the draft until the passage narrowed to face-sized. The next day we dropped the Snail Trail pitch series here from the far side of the Snail Trail Traverse. The whole area is cold + drafty but it wasn't clear where the main air comes from. George pulled out Luke's Hilti fromt he RHS final Y-hang on Honeycomb pitch - it only seemed to have set on one side.
T/U: 11.5 hours

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Luke Stangroom, Anthony Day,
Tunnocks -Setting up Camp Kraken (Tunnocks)

The plan was to get all the gear to camp so that we could spend the night there. I rerigged the top half of Number of the Beast with the rope left at Usual Suspects whilst Luke battered his way in with two big bags. Luke then proceeded to rig Infernowhile I bagged up the camping gear.We didn't have enough dry bags for all 3 pits so one was left in a bin bag at the topof Inferno. After a bit of shuffling the rest of the gear made it to Upper Kraken. Luke rigged the Kraken pitch and I followed.

The tent was very damp but not mouldy. There was a bit of slime in the water collection Daren drums. Luke set about drying out the tent using much of our bog roll. I started rigging Tentacle Traverse including putting a couple of extra bolts in the slimy part. Rigging Infernoand Kraken had required more hangers than stated in the rigging guide, mostly due to some of the rebelay bolts having been climbed up. As a result we were a little light on hangers, and I got as far as the little drop before running out.

By 19:30 wehad completed all our jobs. Since it was nowhere near bedtime, we decided to cook up a curry and head out. Apart from horrible jammer slip on the Kraken pitch, Iexited without incident. Luke's footloops snapped on the Kraken pitch, so he had to come back down to replace them with a sling.
T/U: 6.0 hours

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Chris Densham,
plateau - Notes on Cave Radio 'Systeme Nicola'

The top camp (Steinbrucken) set transmits perfectly with the antenna as arranged in both locations.

The camp Kraken set receives perfectly but has a defective microphone contactor, so cannot transmit.

A third (spare) set needs to be taken to Kraken to see if it will transmit and receive.

It needs to be connected to the external battery pack, at camp Kraken. The battery pack needs to be switched on to operate (buttons on battery itself).

The antenna wires need to be connected, and pressing the button on the handset should transmit.I don't know which transmit mode is best (A, B or C)- compare with the set.

[anonymous but presumably Chris D.]]
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Frank Tully, Luke Stangroom, Anthony Day,
Homecoming - shallow level

Having elected not to camp in Tunnocks the night before,Luke and I had a bonus extra day's caving. I wasnotin the moodfor anything too epic after emerging at 2am; a trip to a shallow level in Homecoming sounded like just the job.

Ladened with all out gear we set off following Frank who confidently asserted that he had followed a cairned path back from the cave via Fischgesicht the day before. It rapidly became apparent that these caves were a figment of Frank's imagination, so the stetch beyond Fischgesicht wasnavigated by GPS and involved much bunde bashing.

The cave itself looks like the real deal,and we quickly found ourway to the lead in a pleasant, small phreatic passage. Equipment-wide the trip was a mixture ofancient and modern: Frank and Luke went off surveying in full paperless mode with a DistoX and PDA, whilst I had to hand-bolt a pitch. I even used a clown out of choice rather than necessity. By the time Luke and Frank had finished surveying, I had descended to a ledge with a couple of ways on - later to become 'Snagged & Shagged' when revisited by Nadia and Adam.

Out nice and early, suckered Frank into walking back to Top Camp via the bivi cave on the flank of the Kleine Wildkogel. At a mere 50 mins longer in time than our route to the cave, this would go down as a less-than-successful short-cut.
T/U: 3.5 hours

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George Breley, Becka Lawson,
Balkonhöhle - to Hangmans -> Snailtrail. Rigging below Prangmans

A swift hour's caving with minimal gear got us to yesterday's pushing front. The first 3 hours were spentdropping two pitches (the Snail Trail pitches) + surveying in drafty, awkward rift. They [the pitches?] started the far side of the Snail Trail Traverse. We ran out of rope so left a decent lead continuing across + down with a decent lead continuing across + down with a good draft but it would be hard going, climbing up + rigging up + downin tall, narrow rift.

We then deriggedall of SNail Trail+ wentto the tube above the mud slope on the main Hangman's Traverse. George strolled up the steep mud slope to the tube + put in a bolt for mefor a handline up then abandoned me with 2 bags and a loose rope to worm my way along a little tube until it opened out.

We surveyed then dropped a ? p15m + dropped thenext, deeper hole. At the top level + down the pitch were amazing large beds of ginger crystals (see George's photos) at all crazy angles. The pitch turned into a biggy so it was lucky that I'd brought all 3 ropes along.Finding a clean hang among the sharp spikes,slopy walls + shit rock proved toomuch of a challenge for George :-).

We surveyed downwhilst George was rigging until we hit a big ledge where we'd run out of rope. There were huge boulders so we had fun crashing them down (though one monster he videoed headed the wrong way when I pushed it + I thought I was going to crush him) + I gotnearly 50m distoXshot further down so we're still well off the bottom.

Tired ont eh survey on the way out. Took 90 min from bottom of Hangman's to get out.

Pitch below Prangman's (rigged 19/7) [6]

Hangman's Traverse ( redrawn from 17/7/18)
and Snail Trail Traverse (20m after Snail Trail climb)

[10] Mongol Ralley Pitch - rigging guide - 1 of 3.

[See continuing Mongol Rally rigging guide]

T/U: 11.5 hours

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Adam Aldridge, Nadia Raeburn,
Homecoming - Snagged and Shagged (shallow levels) & Rigging Guide

Rigging Guide: Snagged and Shagged

First section, Second section

3rd section:

T/U: 6.0 hours

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Philip Withnall, Lydia Leather, Anthony Day,
Fischgesicht - Surveying near Ulysses

An opportunity presented itself to visit the "other" new cave and - despite feeling a bit broken - I opted to give it a go. This proved to be a good decision.: Fischgesicht is one of the more pleasant caves I hve been to in Austria. The rig is mostly excellent: high bolts and tight traverse lines prevail. I would have beemn inclined to stick in an extra bolt at the heat of the Blitner Boulevard pitch to protect the step over the massive void, but that is a merequibble.

Headed in to a running commentary from Lydia about what everything was called that went in one ear and out the other. Eventually made it to Ulysses and left Michael bolting his way across the void under Luke's supervision. Our job was to clear some fo the surveying backlog. It would be unfair to identify the perpetrator of this unfortunate state of affairs so he will henceforce be referred to as Bik Mutcher.

Having said that Fischgesicht is a nice cave, the bit we eventually got to survey falls some way short of this standard.. There was a strong draght, but mostly emerging from the sort of boulder choke you don't want your head to be anywhere near. After connecting the survey in, we elected to head out to give ourselves the option of walking down the hill. This meant we didn't get to survey to the alleged active stalagtite seen in photos the previous day, which means that I remain convinced that that it is actually an inflatable formation procured from Blackpool Pleasure Beach,or some suitable Photoshop wizardry.
T/U: 8.0 hours

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Todd Rye,
Expo - First Timer on Tour
Blog Author: Samouse1
First Timer on Tour
I arrived in Bad Aussee, bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready for an adventure, and boy did I get one. Soon I found myself on top of a rather large hill, eating noodles and curry. Food of the Gods. I decided to join the new project of the expedition, Heimkommen Hoehle, as it looked promising, and I was looking forward to a good push.

Heimkommen Hoehle, Second push

The three small pitches in the entrance had already been pushed by Dickon and Jon, but a 30m pitch, soon to be christened Radagast, was waiting for us, and so down we went. a small wormway and an up pitch took us into Definitely Not A Dachstein Meander, which was a puzzle to get through. Small pitch after small pitch, until.... A 40m drop in the meander landed us nicely on a boulder. Below us, at least a 50m shaft. These two I decided should be called Wallace and Gromit, as they were cracking pitches. But alas, we were out of rope, so out we surveyed.

Heimkommen Hoehle, Fourth push
Much to our dismay, the third push dropped down Gromit, and went further down, reporting back that it didn't go anywhere. Dickon and I decided to have one last look at it, and if we couldn't find a way on, derig, and abandon Heimkommen. down we went, dropping the rather impressive Gromit shaft, and landing at the bottom. We noticed a ledge a short way up and decided it was worth a look. Dickon traversed it, bolting as he went. He rounded a corner as i sang to spur him on. Suddenly all I could hear was maniacal laughter and whooping. We had found a continuation! And it was horizontal! Immediately naming it the Second Coming of Homecoming Cave, we realized that we didn't have any survey equipment with us, so the push would have to wait.

Heimkommen Hoehle, Fifth Push
A strong team of Crossley, Nadia and I went down, ready to push along a phreatic tube, which would be named Hobnob Hallway, for the crumbly sand that was in it. Plenty of flapjack was had, and surveying was done. Up until we thought it got too treacherous to continue, as it sounded like there was a pitch ahead (there wasn't). While we were having a break, I noticed a small hole, and my exploratory instincts kicked in. I pushed into it, and found it connected to a point that the other team pushing that day had already explored. So we surveyed it, and Crossley named it Kit Kat Connection. I was very proud of him. Out we went, to come back another day.

Heimkommen Hoehle, Seventh push
Myself and Adam descended to push more along Hobnob, setting the bolts fully as we went (a story for another time). we pushed along, and found a small chamber, called Phil Lyns Concert Hall. A B lead led off the far end, but Adam spotted a phreatic tube in the wall. We crawled in, and were confident it would go. we forged ahead, climbing a rather awkward climb, and rounding a corner, only to find it blocked. Oh well. We were on the way back out when I spotted that the rift in the floor wasn't that deep in places. In we went, and found our way to a junction of a keyhole passage, drafting well. One for another day.

Heimkommen Hoehle, Eighth push
Frank and I pushed along the keyhole passage, going through the phreatic upper part of what would come to be known as Papsi Pessage (no copyright problems here), until it came to a t junction at a canyon. We decided to leave it there, and look at some of the other leads. One, Dead Fly passage, led to another junction with two A leads. Then we explored some body sized phreatic tubes that were fun to survey, but had some nice stals in. all in all a good final trip.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the two weeks I've spent out here in the Todesgebirge, and the company around me has been the most pleasant I could have imagined. I look forward to spending more time here next year. Good luck to all pushes yet to come this year, particularly in Heimkommen.

T/U: 0.0 hours

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Becka Lawson,
Expo - A series of short notes on things that could go wrong
Blog Author: Becka
A series of short notes on things that could go wrong.

Part 1.

You don't want to find this below you.


If you do, you shouldn't just pass it and descend the 20m to the next rebelay.

Not familiar with the EDK? Look it up. Really. I insist*.

Whilst I'm on the theme: knots in the ends of ropes. We can at least all agree on that one, yes? YES?

Here's an example that failed the visual inspection. Arguably, the fault lay with the puppy that was forcing an old dog to learn a fresh trick.


Part 2 will cover keeping anchors in the rock.

No further parts are planned but we're only 1/3 through the expedition.

*Though to be fair the top hit on Google is in it's defence.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Chris Densham, Lydia Leather, Anthony Day,
Tunnocks - Camping Trip

Day 1

A leisurely start saw the intrepid team heading in with rather more gear than had been anticipated. Dumped one of the new brew kits into the dry bit below Procrastination, then picked up a pit at the top of Inferno which necessitated some re-packing. Arrived at camp where Chris proceeded to set up the radio, placing one end of the antenna in the water hole and the other end in a convenient mud bank at the downhill end of Kraken chamber. Meanwhile, I completed the rig of Tentacle Traverse and Octopussy.

Reunited, we headed on towards Beckoning Silence.Teekering(?) up the parallel ramp from the bottom of Octopussy was entertaining due to some over-enthusiastic derigging that had left it ropeless - we had a spare length of rope that was installed. Arriving at the climbup into Beckoning Silence, we found the same rig as had been put on two years ago when an equipment location error had rendered putting bolts in impossible. On this occasion we had a drill, three batteries, plenty of hangers.. and no drill bits, so the problem remained unsolved.

At this point Chris returned to camp to set up the radio for our prearranged call to top camp. Lydia rigged the remaining pitches to get us to the pushing front, which was the wrong side of a tedious muddy tube, but looked very promising, draghting strongly.

Arriving back at camp we discovered that Chris could hear top camp perfectly on the radio -so the antennae were a success. However the handset that had been working perfectly during the surface test was now incapable of transmitting, so we achieved one-way communication.

Day 2

Fortified by a breakfast of noddles and custard with flapjack crumbs (highly recommended) we headed back to Beckoning Silence. This time we had distributed three drill bits between us, which proved to be a good move since Chris's drill bit was later found in camp about 1.5m from its storage spot having failed to make it into his pocket in any meaningful sense.

Some extra bolts were put in on the top-climb and also on the last drop. before the pushing front. Then on into new territory, which proved to be substantially vertical. Everyone got a turn with the drill whilst th eothers cowered from the howling draught in a bothy bag.

Rigging proved tricky due to shit rock, but eventually we found ourselves at the bottom of drops of 6, 17 and 12m sliding down a thrid drop with nothing more in the way of rope, hangers or enthusiasm. Surveyed out and headed back to camp arriving at ~23:00

Ultimately, a little unrewarding in terms of passage in the book, but we had definitely run out of gear. The lead is good (very good in fact, draughting and out on a limb) and is all set up for the next team (bolts placed for the next descent). Pitch is called "Radio Silence" in keeping with the "silence" theme and our technological mishaps.

Day 3

Prussicked out. The only inceident of note occurred in the camp before setting off. In the interests of documenting camp life, Chris was trying to compose a photograph comprising myself,nthe stooling stool, (complete with bag), a Daren drum prominently labelled "Poo" atop which was perched a bog roll with the visage of Donald Trump. Im the process, Chris nearly performed a backward-somersault into the ladies pissoire. Fortunately his un-helmeted head was unharmed and the shot was duly obtained [and is posted on the blog - ed.]

T/U: 56 hours

Rigging in Beckoning Silence/Radio Silence
All rope lengths estimated

T/U: 0.0 hours

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Philip Withnall, Typhon King,
2018-ad-02 - Prospecting and checking out the new bivi cave (Garlic Cave 2018-ad-02)

Typhon and I went for a walk to find and assess the new bivi cave which Anthony found earlier this expo. We walked via Fischgesicht (FGH) and Homecoming (HC) and spent some time cairning the path from FGH to HC. It needs reflectors to be added to the cairns soon.

It takes ~30 minutes to walk to FGH and then another ~30 to get to HC. From HC, walk northeast past the rope and through a break in the bunde. Follow this around to the left and aim for some slabs. Once on the slabs you should see green/white stripes of spray paint which mark the hunter's path. Follow this north, up the hill, for about 30 minutes until you reach a 1.5m high obvious boulder near a lone pine tree and the plateau levels off a bit. Garlic Cave (GC) is in the large depression ~20m in front of you. A GPS tracklog is available containing our prospecting route for the day in /loser/gpx/2018 . A waypoint marking 2018-ad-02 (GC) is in essentials.gpx. 2019-ad-03 [surely 2018-ad-03 not 2019, editor] is a small hole in the side of the depression ~10m NW of GC which could potentially be used for storage. Photos of both have been uploaded to expofiles/photos/2018/PhilipWithnall.

Sketch survey of GC (grade 2, total bullshit):

[annotations on sketch transcribed below]
[] 6m climb up dripping chimney to rift with sump(?). WOuld need 2x2m tarp for water collection.

[] Head height tunnel, sunlight at N. end.

[] Meandering aven, open at N end, chokled with boulders at S. Dripping 3x6m water tarp (min.) needed for catching water.

[A] Sleeping area? 4m high. Easily accomodates 8with minimal digging required to flatten floor.

[B] 1.5m high scrot hole. Storage? Or sleeping for 4 troglodytes if dry.

[C] Cooking area or communal area. 6m high. Could do with a terrace - half a day's work. Space to bolt a stove to the wall.

[D] Drippy end of the cave. Probably best for water collection? Lowest floor. Aven to N. probably too hard to tarp.for sleeping but should be OK to tarp for water collection.

Overall, bivi cave is a little smaller thn the stone bridgein floor area but much roomier in height. Needs some floor landscaping but not as much as the stone bridge! Water collection is not a problem even on a sunny day (still dripping) - leaves some question of how wet the cave gets when it rains and how permeable thewhole of the roof is. Most of it looks dry but some walls are damp.

Lovely views of the ridge and slabs. Would suit an owner looking to invest in redecoration. On the market for 3 packs of noodles, a bottle of port and a jerrycan of water.

Typhon named it Garlic Cave because the entrance smelled of garlic.

[Editorial addition from GPS positions in survey data] 2018-ad-02 is

47.698686 lat., 13.807960 long.

or in more usual terms:
 47 deg. 41.921 min. N 
013 deg. 48.478 min. E

Grade 2 survey

Small crawly tunnel 10m NW of GARLIC CAVE [1626-2018-ad-03] 10m up a 45° boulder ramp.
Entrance is 3m below lip of the depression. Philip has some photos on his camera . Entrance is waypointed as 'bin cave' in Philip's phone.

Cave is stooping passage on 12m toa small open chamber with bunde at its top. A flat out crawl is visible for a further ~6m to sunlight.

Could be used for extra storage for Garlic Cave.

Now numbered 2018-ad-03 and in essentials.gpx.

Not physically tagged yet.

LES TRES DENTS Grade 2 survey
[1626-2018-pw-01 from 2918#17 scans]

3 holes in a rift aligned E-W, immediately NNW of an obvious knobble of bunde (20m x 20m round). There is a lone pine tree 20m east of that.

Each hole ~20m deep, pebble bounces a few timesafter hitting the bottom - may be a hading passage accessible from the rubble pile. Significant snow block in eastmost hole. All 3 holes look to connect.

Small cliff on surface
Pine tree and marked path to east.

Only available as a waypoint in the prospecting GPX file. Not physically tagged or dropped yet.


2x1m shaft with 3s drop when rocks bounced off E wall. Shaft is at S end of a 30x40m depression with cliff tiers on N side. Photos on Philip's camera GPS. Waypoint on Philip's phone.

Shaft is just N of a 10x5m knobble of bunde.

{ We came back on 2018-07-25 with Frank Tully and dropped this.See next page for updated notes and elevation. It craps out. Cave left untagged. Waypoint in prospecting GPX file. }


10m horizontal rift. dripping with 90° 'L'-bend 7m in, then dead end after a further 2.5m. Stoopy loose ceiling. Photos on Philips camera. GPS on Philip's phone.

Entrance in the East wall of a large depression (which has 2018-th-02 [Ed. this must be 2018-tk-02 for Typhon King] at its south end), roughly 10m deep. 100m N-S, 10-30m E-W.

{ After discussion with Elaine, the german name for this cave is Verliessmeinenkompassbeideranderenhöhle höhle. Note the duplicated höhle is necessary. Waypoint in prospecting GPX file. Photos uploaded to expofiles/photos/PhilipWithnall. }

[Ed - added later, map of these cave locations to make things clearer:
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Nadia Raeburn, Frank Tully, Max Weiser,
Homecoming - Hobnob Hallway

We walked to Homecoming through Fishface cairning the route with Haydon, Jon, Ruairidh, Phil (U or W) and Typhon filling in the gaps. Making it a fully cairned route. Went down the hobnob hallway added a handline over the false floor using a thread. Should be made into a traverse with a bolt on the other side of the false floor. We put a handline on the sand slope using a thread at the top.

We carried on down the rift to the first junction on a boulder. The left has not been explored yet. We went right past the water downa tight rift. It opened into a pitch 13m. We turned around there. On the way back Frank saw a lead behind the wet bit. Way out took longer than anticipated.
T/U: 7.0 hours

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George Breley, Adam Aldridge, Olly Hall, Becka Lawson,
Balkon - toHangman's->Hangngman + Window in Hangman's -> Myopia
No free drills at top camp but Adam and I managed to snaffle the only hand bolting kit (there were two a week ago but...). We split at the head of Hangmans, Adam +1 put in a hand bolt each, courtesy of a pre-naturaldeviation, managed to swing in the big window visible from the rebelay down Hangmans.

We then had >100m of 5m wide phreas drafting strongly in in our face with lots of bat droppings. Towards the end it ramped up steeply then came to a large drippy pitch. A loose looking trove(?) on the right wall would lead lead to the obvious continuation of the phreas but we had no more rope so we headed to the top of Hangmans where we met the others.

George had rigged a 50m rope from the ledge we got to ont he last trip but had reached a freehang of of ~40m that he didn't have rope for. (+ there was apparently a 5s free drop there too). Olly and he surveyed out, met us, then the four of us had a jolly to the snow slope beyond Ice Lock aven. George walked up past Andrew's belay point to the base of the aven where he couldn't safely continue but there was soil and a strong draft so there's hope of an entrance not far above & we should check the LIDAR.
T/U: 10.0 hours

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Frank Tully, Typhon King, Max Weiser, Philip Withnall,
2018-ad-02 - More prospecting and bivi cave fettling (Garlic Cave 2018-ad-02)

Another trip to the bivi cave (Garlic cave 2018-ad-02) to landscape it and install some mod-cons. We put a cut-up survival bag in a poond to collect water from drips. Should collect 10-15l, very slowly.

We then did some terracing to make two sleeping platforms for ~6 people. There is plenty of scope for doing furhter terracing to add ~4 more sleeping places. We installed a tarp over the terrace so it should stay reasonably dry - but we haven't tested it in wet weather.

We left a shovel there for future landscaping. The idea is that a group could spend a couple of days there sleeping and intensively prospecting, before deciding whether to expand the bivi cave accommodation. If so, the water collection system and supplies from Organhöhle could then be moved over.

Once that was done, we had a bit of time left to prospect. Frank dropped 2018-pw-02 (see previous page) and killed it off. Survey:

6m deep, 3m wide rift, no discernible draft.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Olly Hall, Luke Stangroom, Nadia Raeburn,
2014-MS-14 - Driven East

Due to a missing spit driver we went East to look for it. We found it quite quickly at 2018-MS-06. We carried down after to 2014-MS-14 to dig out the blowing sandy dig.

It was very easy and took 4 minutes of swimming through the sand to get through. The passage carried on for another ~70m where it choked with rocks.We surveyed out.

On the way back it seemed the draft was going down the choss floor right before the constriction. No noticeable draft after the constriction.

We reurned via the triangle big entrance that can be seen for miles away only to find we weren't the first ones there.
T/U: 3.0 hours

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Philip Withnall,
base camp - Festering at base camp

Festered and nerded at basecamp. Made various improvements to the GPX system, added syntax highlighting for survex files, thought some more about QM lists, and cleaned up various hg issues for people down here.

Before heading down on the 26th, I replaced the tag on Bad Forecast with a permanent one (1623/277) and took a look at 2010#04's snow levels. Didn't drop it, but put some photos in expofiles/photos/PhilipWithnall/ for comparison for someone who knows that hole.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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George Breley, Becka Lawson,
Balkon - to Hangman's-> Myopia + Mongol Rally
We got a fresh 200m + split it between us + headed to the traverse at the end of Myopia first as the drill was at the top of Hangman. George bolted a rather elegant traverse along a ledge (extra bolt midway would be good) and the passage beyond cpntinued large for all of ~30m until it came to another big pitch with, again, passage continuing beyond.

We then headed down Mongol Rally to where Olly & George had got to yesterday, switched the ropes so they were used more effectively then George swung around in free space for quite some time trying the swing enough the skyhook to a wall (?).. then repeated the exercise 30m lower. Finally he got to a large obvious ledge - the Pitstop - where we could wander around + with other passage visible in the shaft at that level.

George finally made it down to a large ledge + I tried to bolt the final ~10m hang but I dropped the Hiltis down the pitch so I went down + passed them up to George to finish the job. He was too droopy (?) to survey so we headed out from Floodland at the top of Mongol Rally after a brief scurry around 2h45 out.

13.5 min up the entrance pitch for me versus 10min then 8min for George other times... but I suspect some SRT shortcuts were involved. A rainstorm started just as we were about to set off so we sheltered for 20min then stomped in the dry to topcamp + 5min after we arrived it deluged so we jammily missed being flooded in Balkon.
T/U: 12 hours

[See previous Mongol Rally rigging guide (part 1)]

MONGOL RALLY - Part 2 of 3 - rigging guide

Total rope for Mongol Rally = 23+40+40+22+100+65 = 300m (290m) approx.

[12] Pitch to enter Myopia from the top of Hangmans

[13] Myopia traverse

[14] Littleboy pitch

[moved from later in logbook:]

MONGOL RALLY - rigging guide - Part 2

[15] Suction cup pitch in Grand Prix,beyond Littleboy pitch rigged on 3/8/18

[16] Scum of the earth pitch below radio silence rigged on 4/8/18

MONGOL RALLY - rigging guide - Part 3

[17] Traverse above Horrible Pitch (Luke & Rachel)

[18] Horrible Pitch level of Indy Rally, 8+9 Aug.rigged George & Becka

[19] Horrible rift Part II - from horrible pitch Part I - climb down large muddy passage to corkscrewing around,to obvious pitch head.

[NB rigging moved back here from later in logbook as it belongs here]

T/U: 0.0 hours

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George Breley, Becka Lawson, Luke Stangroom, Olly Hall,
Balkon - to Mongol Rally

I found my second descent of Balkony to be easier than the first. Becka and Luke headed down aghead of George and I to Pitstop to survey that aven while George and I surveyed the rest of Mongol Rally, starting at the ledge we ahd previously bolted and surveyed to.

We stopped at Pitstop so I could eat a Fitness bread and cheese while George said how terrible Fitness bread was. We then went and met Luke and a cold Becka before heading down, agreeing to head back at 5 or 6pm.

I continued marking stations for George to the bottom of the Mongol Rally. We then surveyed bottom and George pointed out where Becka had stopped him and called him evil on their last trip. Beyond this point was a large aven. The only way on we could find was alonga large phreatic, mud-filled passage (still mostly walking). We found a bat which surprised George who thought we'd left the bat level. We turned round when a sketchy mud slope/pitch which required a rope.

Met Luke and Becka at Pitstop for the journey out.
T/U: 10.5 hours

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George Breley, Becka Lawson,
Balkon - Hangman's-> Grand Prix + Tunnocks Connection to Antlermuza!

My last chance of being underground for a few days so I was even keener than usual.It took 1h20min to get to the bottom of Mongol Rally.

George rigged Littleboy pitch which dropped us into a round chamber where we started he survey + we headed off into 20m wide phreas once we'd spotted the moushole leading off. Implausibly there werenomoreobstacles for hundreds of metres whilst George's brain frazzled trying to keep up with the boulder drawing + my splays.

Eventually we got to a thin rift that blowed a gale where, after some furtling, we foundan easy climb down... and a survey cairn! We found two other old stations (one numbered) so surveyed between them whilst George got moody because his cave had been absorbed.

We headed back to Littleboy pitch to tie in the survey but spotted a side lead just before the chamber and ran through some fast,staight, long legs there until we got to a wet pitch. We were oh so close to a kilometer in the book/PDA so, rather than wrapping up at 6pm when we made the connection, a 8.30pm colem(?) we tied int he survey we tidied up the area at the final ledge of Mongol Rally tomake it 100m (albeit with a dodgy, cheeky leg or two).

On the way out we drank at the pool on Piystop as I was losing it with dehydration - it's dry, dry, dry in Floodland (of course). It took 2.5h out and we were on the surface at 01.30 to a full moon.
T/U: 15.5 hours

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Philip Sargent,
basecamp - network nerding

Tested Wookey's TP-link 200 Mbps HomePlug devices between potato hut & mains socket above the washing machine in the gents' toilet at the Gasthof. It works: the 2nd green light lights up indicating communications OK.

Previously had tested between potato hut mains and socket in potato hut loft - also worked.

To do: repeat test with a laptop at each end (needs ethernet socket in laptop) to test actual useable bandwidth.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Luke Stangroom, Nadia Raeburn, Olly Hall, Max Weiser,
plateau - Surface

We setoff with Nadia and Olly to practice surveying and exploring two nat-explored bits in Fisch Gesicht entrance.

Luke and I were trying to do a bolt climb up a 6m pitch.

The climb was free-climbed by Luke and rigged fromt he top by Luke due collaspsing foothold during bolting.

The bolt climb crapped out after 20m.

After that we had a look fajelleux(?) with the others at a potential dig in Fisch Gesicht which also crapped out after a few metres.

T/U: 2.0 hours

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Typhon King, Adelaide Diesbach,
FGH - "shat myself"

At thebottom of FGH had an ~80m pitch that needed bolting, and the idea of it appealed to Typhon and I. After looking for someone more experienced in vain,we decided that our previous bolting experiences (4 bolts between the two of us - as well as surveying experience - I had seen M. Holliday do one survey) was enough. We headed to the cave under the disapproving stares of Nadia and Luke.

We swiftly made out way to the bottom, where we struggled to find some good rock to set a Y-hang; Typhon had to climb down a rift to find somewhere suitable, while I sang every song I knew & tried to fight off the creeping cold.

Typhon got too tired (and needed to pee) to bolt a rebelay, so the 80m rope had to be descended on a single Y-hang. I shat myself (not actually, I hear it's a figure of speech in your language) a little while descending due to the h_i_c_c(?) b_o_u_n_c_e of the rope, but Typhon's grin and general mentality of not giving a fuck reassured me greatly.

The enthusiasm of dropping my very first pitch lifted my sprit up, we wandered around the chamber & found 3 leads;

We left the cave very pleased with all the new leads.

PS we didn't survey because we forgot the notebook up the pitch OK bye.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Philip Sargent,
plateau -Surface prospecting along "lookfutile.svx" route

Using Garmin eTrex Venture Cx GPS (WGS84)

"lookfutile.svx" was surveyed by Chas and Planc in 1983 following the discovery of the futility series in 1982.

This entry includes recent emails which don't otherwise have a good place to record.

[Discovered a photo on the website of Planc doing this survey.]

Much bunde going directly down from the p115x entrance. Don't do that,go back along the route to Stoger Weg and go down gully at the tree with the small cairn on it (see 115 route 18th July 2018).

Generally failed to find lookfutile.svx waypoints (not even the last one with all the red paint). Something odd with GPS mismatch - needs nerding to resolve.

Found ent. * (doesn't go) obvious above grassy slope. It is up a 2m climb in a cliff. This is wpt A11 in gpslog: N 47.66629 E013.81128 alt.1407m. This was looked at by Chas & Planc in 1983 and doesn't go: "big phreatic entrance further east up the valley" from the 1983 logbook entry 1983-07-27.

Many photos of this area in photo archive 2018/PhilipSargent.

Survey station lookfutile.23 is apparently in open air due east of cliff top (which extends N-S).

Water collection system at 115works well: decanted 3.5 litres of rainwater into bottles. About 6 litres now stashed in 115, plus a karrimat and one-man does of flapjack and another dose ofmuesli.; also large orange plastic survival bag. All other gear removed.

Walked back to Löser Hutte where I managed to catch the sunset drinking crowd and got a lift back to Staudnwirt at ~21:00. Lots of big open cliffs, no bunde, grass and camping areas.

Recent emails from very old lags on this:
On 18 July 2018 at 19:46, Charles Butcher  wrote:


    Thank you. I’m sorry you had trouble finding it. Even the traditional route to the main entrance is quite a slog, 
    and if you don’t remember it – I certainly couldn’t – you could be in for a real epic. As you probably found. 
    I hope the server repairs went well.

    Thanks also for the GPS data in your previous message, and to Andy and everyone else who has worked to 
    preserve this stuff. I’m astonished that we still have good records of all those muddy survey pages 
    from so long ago. And to see it all connect with Google mapping is really impressive.

    Safe trip home


On Sun, 1 Jul 2018, 10:31 Andy Waddington,  wrote:

    Sometime before sending, Philip Sargent typed (and on Sunday 2018-07-01 at 08:46:16 sent):

    > Any comments on the 115 entrances?

    I really can't remember any of this without reading the stuff on the website - but that stuff is available to
    everyone (unreliable memory is exactly why this stuff was all put there - but in the early days, which would
    cover the 115 period, we naively thought we would remember everything, that the same people would be
    going back, and that we didn't need to write everything down - though actual surveys were properly recorded).

    Where survey data was corrected for fridge north, that should be recorded in the survey notes. That was such
    a bizarre correction that I don't think it would ever have been done without explaining it. The Futility series survey
    had two compasses, Suunto 422903 and Chas' Silva 15T. Had there been a major discrepancy between them, I
    think they would have noticed. The bearings seem to be the same in the Survex dataset as in the notebook.
    ie. the first leg is 8.08 m on 320 at -11.5. That's from the dataset extracted from CVS in 2001 (which is the oldest
    I can find in a quick search here). I don't think corrections to fridge north would have been made more recently
    than that... 075 to Trisselberg cross is the same as the notes, and even if the 115 entrance wasn't located
    precisely, that ought to be enough to show if the error was more than the odd degree or two.

    Not sure if the scans of this notebook are on the site.
    Notes are a bit muddy, with no passage walls recorded.

    Did Arge not resurvey any of this ?


Philip Sargent (Gmail) 
to Charles, andrew, mary5waddington


[and Mary, please pass on to Andy as I don’t think any email works for him these days],

Update, as promised.

Through the miracle that is survex, and the diligent curation of data* over decades by 
Wadders and Wookey, I have recovered the survey points from your surface walk with Pete 
on 27 July 1983 and attach as a GPX file in modern WGS84 coordinates. You can plot this 
on top of a GoogleMaps photo using 
(or select “OSM (TF Landscape)” in the drop-down on the map to see contours).

I will be re-tracing this slog and looking for more entrances in a week or so. 
A bit lower than you went looks promising from the geology.

I also attach the Futility series surveyed by us on 26 July 1983 (futility.svx)
and as resurveyed by Germans on 8th August 1999 (nutzlos.svx). But this is less 
useful as GPX on Google maps as it is inside the hill of course and you would need 
to use Survex/Aven itself to see it. They also seemed to have found another entrance 
in 2000 which drops eventually into the phreatic stuff which they called the 
Nebukad series (Nebukadnezar) and is now p115b (ent.) in the survey data.

I hope a find a cold draft coming out of rocks at least, even if I can’t dig it out.

* is an online 
look at the version control system used for cave data on Loser these days.

From: Philip Sargent (Gmail) 
Sent: 21 June 2018 17:28
To: 'Charles Butcher'
Cc: andrew@pennine; 'Wookey'
Subject: RE: Aha - futility series entrance search...

Unbelievably, that surface survey you and Pete did (“lookfutile”) is a standard part of the SMK dataset.

I can see that your final survey position was 11.7m above the drafting hole in Futility 
(contrary to Andy’s notes in the file below), and 157m away horizontally. Maybe some 
fridge-north corrections have been done since then.

You were also spot-on the line where the bedding plane of 115 intersects the hillside. 
So going downhill from there, maintaining a heading of 118 degrees (if possible) would 
track further down that bedding plane. As I remember, the survey legs may have been 
ascending, but the passage roof was coming down to the sandy floor. So the draft 
connection  (“Utility Entrance” ?) would be lower down.

From: Charles Butcher 
Sent: 16 June 2018 23:11
To: Philip Sargent
Cc: andrew@pennine
Subject: Re: Aha - futility series entrance search...

Thanks Philip. When you told me about your plan the other day it brought back memories of 
thrashing around on the hillside, but I couldn’t remember what we were looking for.

I do remember that it was harder work than being underground. I suppose a Laplander pocket saw 
would be frowned on in the Naturschutzgebiet, but useful all the same.

I assume those coordinates are relative to the entrance, or to whatever else we used as a 
main datum. So if you have an accurate GPS fix for that datum, wouldn't it be quite easy 
to locate the hole Pete and I made? Not that that is likely to be much use, since it’s 
probably the one place we know there isn’t an entrance…

Anyway, good luck and keep us posted!


You wrote:
stumbled on this: /years/1983/log.htm
1983-07-27 | Surface survey and Prospecting below 115. | Chas, Pete
The aim was to find the end of the Futility Series popping out of the hillside below 115. 
We surface surveyed down to a permanent station, marked with bolt hole and lots of red paint: P1983/1. 
This was almost directly below 115 and on the edge of the big trees. 
It was at E77.2, N-237.3, H -195.8, whereas the end of the Futility Series was at G30: E 139.7, N -54.2, H-187.8. 
So we were (!) at the right place, but the cave end was 180m into the hillside. 
We had a good look round but didn't find any signs of caves there.
So we looked at a big phreatic entrance further east (up the valley) and ~50m higher.
This was looked at in 1982, but a bit of proddling released lots of boulders + we were able to 
follow up a narrowing bedding plane at ~60°, for 10m until it got too loose/small. 
Very difficult descent on scree to the end of the Altausseer See + then the Schniderwirt for Weizen Bier. 
and Wookey thinks some Germans had a look around there too in later years
Unfortunately we use WGS84 GPS lat./long. these days so I’m not sure I’ll be able to find this 
35-year old red paint.
I’m hoping to use better geology and modern surveying to find where the bedding plane intersects 
the surface this year. I’m going out for 4-5 weeks.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Nadia Raeburn,
Expo - Midterm Report
Blog Author: Tinywoman
Midterm Report
Three weeks in and three weeks left. We are all filtering down the hill to clean up for the annual dinner and refresh for the second half of the expedition. Here's what's happened so far...

Homecoming Hole
The new cave of the year has been a smashing success. Found early in the expedition, Homecoming has been an excellent training ground for many of our expedition newbies. Over time the cave has been pushed below 200m which includes a 60m pitch, no easy feat for a tired caver. Up steam is a large rift traverse being pursued by Haydon and Jon primarily. Down stream there are many tight rifts left to be explored.

Two teams gearing up to push leads in Homecoming

Fisch Gesicht
A promising lead from last year is still going strong. We have dropped this below 200m as well. It has reached an exciting pitch called Ulysses. Attempts have been made to Traverse around to find an appropriate place to drop the pitch, however the other side of the shaft is no more appealing. This is creating and interesting challenge for our cavers.


Surveying in Fisch Gesicht

We had our first camping trip down Tunnocks this week. Chris, Antony and Lydia pursued leads down Beckoning Silence with much success; running out of rope, hangers and stoke all at the same time. Another aim of the camp trip was to test out our cave radio systems. Top camp was very disappointed with the failure of the system. Mean while the campers had a good laugh as they were able to hear top camps attempts to contact them but a fault in their microphone prevented them from responding. This lead them to name the continuation of Beckoning Silence, Radio Silence. Plans to fix the microphone fault are in the works and will hopefully soon have a fully functioning radio system! Further trips into camp have been prevented by a lack of hangers and maillons! Too much success! New ones have been bought and exploration will continue.

Last year a lead was found that had been walked past for 5 years! A small crawl leads to an open chamber which was being pushed at the end of last year. Becka and George (with a rotating cast of helpers) have been putting in the hours this year to extend this further. First ones to leave in the morning and the last ones back. They dropped a pitch, Hangman, through a tight squeeze and into surveyed passage. A quick trip down the hill showed that they had connected in to Tunnocks! Dropping further down Hangman lead to a 200m pitch series, Mongol Rally. 50m from the floor is a swing into a window, The Pit Stop. From The Pit Stop horizontal blowing phreatic passage slopes down pushed ~500m and still going. At the floor of the Mongol Rally more phreatic tubes where found ~20m in diameter! Becka and George managed a whole kilometre of surveying in a day! They popped out on a window to a large camber, climbed down and found that it had been surveyed. Another connection. Putting the data in to survex showed that they were just above camp Kraken. A potential new way into camp. Many exciting things going on in Balcony. 

The top of Mongol Rally

Looking to the Future
Our overarching aim is to connect our Schwarzmooskogel system to the Sch?neberg system to the north west. Homecoming and Fisch Gesicht are heading in the right direction, one step closer to our goal. looking forward we would like to pursue a connection from the existing system to these two caves. With Homecoming an hour and a half walk away from top camp we are working on setting up a satellite camp in the west to minimise the commute.

The new bivy cave. The floor has been flattened out and terraced to accommodate 6 cavers.

This year we have had an influx of student cavers from many different universities. We will have 14 cavers on their first expedition from 6 universities, Cambridge, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham. We are working on developing our newer cavers with surveying and bolting as well as general caving skills to pass down knowledge and experience to continue to develop our expedition as well as student caving in the UK.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Paul Fox,
base camp - expo laptop

mq extension enabled on mercurial by Paul Fox.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Michael Sargent,
Surface - Cycling up toll road

[from Callout Book ]

Cycling to the top of the toll road. Depart 0730, Callout 1600.
1h20 up, 12:55 down. [phone number redacted]
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Paul Fox,
Surface - Walk around Grundlsee

[from Callout Book ]

Walk around Grundlsee ~ 18km. Clockwise direction. Expected back~1730-1800.
[phone number redacted]
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Philip Sargent,
base camp - "Receipt for expo members of VfHO for 2018"

from Robert Seebacher
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Philip Sargent,
plateau - Solo walking in Stumern Alm area
Attempt to reach Futility Series mythical potential entrance from below. Cycled to N.end of Altaussee lake (S.route). This took 1 hour from base camp.

Saw entrance in hillside 30m higher and about 1km on Loser side which might be a wet-weather resurgence.

Track up is very cyclable to a (locked) hut [Stumern Alm, 813m] where it stops & there is a steeply ascending rough path (signposted to Appelhaus) up the Trisselwand side of the valley. I parked bike.

I decided to go directly up the Loser side: "Oh Yes", I thought, "10-15 minutes and I'll be past those trees and into the clear grass/rock/scree area". 1 hour later I was in a rock shelter [wpt C05 in gpslog N 47.660271646 E013.804951357 942m], still in the trees, and I could now see that the track I should have been on was much higher, and I also had no easy safe way on up this side of the valley. The dry rock shelter is completely hidden by trees until you are close to it.

The geology is very promising though - at the hut the big face [Pfenningofen] is well-bedded with a couple of useful-looking faults.

I had got to within 600m horizontally of where I wanted to be to look for entrance, but also 600m too low.

Aborted cycle ride home in Bad Aussee for emergency ice cream.


PS Nettles! Flies !! aarghhh !!! PPS The better way to do this approach would be to take a jeep up the correct track (the one that says "No Bicycles") all the way to the road head at Oberwasser Alm at 1353m, and then traverse round to the right area above the tree line but below the bunde line.

Departed base camp 06:35, returned 13:05
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Cat Hulse, Paul Fox, Michael Sargent, Adam Henry, Adelaide Diesbach,
FGH - Liquid Luck onwards

We started the trip to Fischgesicht with 3 other people (Cat, Cat's Husband, Paul), but they decided to turn back before Liquid Luck because Paul was being slow.

Michael & I made it to the pushing front and bolted the small pitch at the front of the 45 degree slope (the hole in the wall was a dead end, see previous report). We climbed down the slope, squeezed through boulders to the right and landed on a small, round passage leading off to the right, with sand covering the ground.

I followed the passage to a bend and saw that it continued - and it got bigger! I screamed with excitement; Michael was pretty fucking pleased with our discovery. Since we didn't have any surveying gear (Cat realised her disto wasn't calibrated as we were getting changed) we decided to scoop the fuck out of it (or rather, I ran off ahead screaming while Michael was trying to convince me to leave some for the surveyors).

The passage alternated between large phreatics and large rifts, branching off several times. We covered maybe around 200m before we decided to turn around; the passage continued. We had a little time before out turn-around time, so Michael started to bolt the huge pitch that is parallel to Rubble Rumble until we got bored and decided to go back to camp early, giving us enough time to brag about our findings to whoever was still awake.
T/U: 8.0 hours

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Ryan Boultbee, Alex Stirling, Manfred Wuits, Wookey,
Tunnocks - testing to Balkonhöhle Connection - Part One
The initial stage of the trip was navigated quickly and easily by Wookey - having previously surveyed up to starfish junction and being well-acquainted with the system. Beyond the junction we relied on a pixelated survey, some detailed notes, and hand-drawn survey, all of which Wookey had nerded at base camp.

Our journey to March of the Penguins was somewhat "exploratory" as weattempted tofind the correct passage forward. The trip was halted at an unnamed pitch.

Unknown to us at the time the journey across the pitch required a traverse. We had mistakenly rigged the pitch for a descent. Having run out of time we started our return journey with the hope of returning.

Additionally the trip allowed the team to resurvey 6 legs which may have been contributing to the survey error in that branch(?).
T/U: 10.0 hours

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Manfred Wuits, Typhon King, Adelaide Diesbach,
FGH - Lead after Rubble Rumble

Followed the lead after Rubble Rumble, surveyed for 6 hours, 60+ survey legs total. Good trip.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Haydon Saunders, Jon Toft,
Homecoming - Lizard King

A series of 4 trips bolting the Lizard King which is a rift with a strong draft in Homecoming Hole (CUCC-2018-DM07). Reached by doing traverse 10m over floor of Gromit, and taking right/(straight ahead) (not left) at the first junction.

A series of more or less exciting traverses lead to a phreatic maze with a large phreatic tube over a major rift around it. We bolted against the draft, using a 50m rope for the first section, ending on a small ledge (3m pitch). A further (more exciting) traverse along the top of the rift continues to the right until a sudden end after 15 min.

A 40m (?) pitch (1 dev, 2 rebelays) drops into a large muddy rift. From a ledge, a 4-bolt traverse pushed the continuation against the draft,into a further (larger) rift that would require bolting.

Further leads in the opposite direction or further down the rift (BIG RIFT!). Alternatively the opposite direction of the phreatic tube from the Lizard King. Lots of bolting, were were very cold. Haydon says he was a 2 on a 1-10 scale where 1 is frozen solid.I was also very cold. In other words, an altogether excellent pushing front with a brilliant windchill effect.
T/U: 5.0 hours

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Cat Hulse, Adam Henry, Michael Sargent,
FGH - survey

Set off for Fischgesicht, to survey the shaft scooped on the 1st (See Adelaide 01/08/2018). Surveyed down the 3m rope we put in, and took a right at the crossroads just at the bottom of the scree slope (crossroads at point 5).

Took the left turning we first came to (point 8) and followed nice vedose dry passage until it came into much largber phreas (point 22). Followed left past where a rift came into the floor of the phreas, which we called Bird Arrow rift, because ofa peculiar rock marking. We left Bird Arrow rift for Adelaide & co (02/08/2018), and continued down the phreas.

The walking surface lowered down to the level of the water in the rift, where there was a pool, then climbed back out again. Traversed over the top of a pitch that followed the rift with the water, and the phreas continued upward. Eventually, the large phreas continued up into the ceiling, and the low level route passes through some small boulder choke into a sandy tube. The high phreas would be accessible with a traverse line for a climb up that is too exposed on its own.
T/U: 5.0 hours

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Nadia, Becka,
Balkon - to Pitstop (off Mongol Rally)
T/U: 10 hours

Down to Pitstop + started with the RH lead (pitstop 2) lead at the start. Over the big boulder quickly led to a big pitch which we assumed was Mongol Rally though George disagreed so it would be worth trying to find out where it went. Next went left at the water inlet then left at the T-junction + surveyed some easy, long legs (pitstop 3) which ended in a drafting pitch which is a good lead.

Third we went to the N end of Pitstop (pitstop_4) & it turned out you didn't need to rig it as a pitch, you could crawl down on the right. This led to a drippy chamber with avens. The only lead was the pitch on the left, drafting but smalland the sound of water. Finally I put in 3 bolts for the traverse over the far side of Pitstop whilst Nadia set off out.

[Images here in logbook have been moved to "Balkon - to Hangman's-> Myopia + Mongol Rally" where they belong several pages earlier ]
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Ryan Boultbee, Ruairidh MacLeod, Wookey,
Tunnocks - testing to Balkonhöhle Connection - Part Two

Having been confused by the pitch that required to be raversed rather than descended, another (?) consulting other cavers, we returned the next day. The journey into the system was quickeras the route had now been rehearsed by the group. As the traverse was being re-rigged additional re-surveying was completed.

After pushing forward it was found that we did not have enough rope to to complete the pitch down into Icecock (even after de-rigging the traverse line).Unfortunately no cave description for this route existed, as such, the amount of rope required was unknown. Future trips should attempt to generate such notes for the interest of future trips.

Once again wew ran out of time, and this timerope. However the trip still provided additional survey results with accompanying elevations (sections).

On the return journey Ruairidh rigged the traverse line with 5 slings hooked one to another (in the interest of speed), however it was debated if this was in fact quicker.

A future trip would require more rope (greater than a 13m and 22m).
T/U: 10.0 hours

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Philip Sargent,
plateau - "Lookfutile3"

Walking and scrambling on the hillside/cliff below the main entrance to 115 (Schnellzughöhle) to try to find an entrance to the Futily Series (again).

Up at 6am with Luke and Rachel, hitched back to Bad Aussee at the end of the day and Wookey collected me from there.

On the mountain I finally got tot he right area where it was possible to explore and make progress: several limestone cliffs and benches - all below bunde level - with dappled shade of beeches and pine trees, lots of artfully arranged rocks & short grass & wild flowers.

Found several dripping slots but no sensible entrances in this area. I don't trust the altitudes (and sometimes the positions) from my GPS in this area - which on average is tipped 30 degrees from the vertical - i.e. it's really all just a broken cliff. Several game and hunters' tracks. Lots of rillen karren clambering.

After climbing up a little cliff - easy enough but something I didn't fancy reversing - I found myself in tick bunde. After a bit I tried going underneath the bunde and found myself looking at a tiny entrance which was giving a slight draft [N 47.66729 E013.80959 alt.1526m using my Garmin eTrex Venture Cx]. It is almost possible to get into it but it is only 15m east of cucc-ps01-2018. NB it's not the choked pit, it's 5m east of the choked pit, over the edge of a bunde-bedecked ledge.

I went into cucc-ps01-2018 for 6 minutes to get 20m in (it descends due west (270 M) at 30 degrees from the horizontal) vadose relic with lots of boulders. I got to a big rock I couldn't quite be sure of climbing back up. Needs surveying and tagging.

Removed water-collection poly-sheet from 115 ent. Now only has 9 litres of water and some flapjack & museli in it.
T/U: 0.1 hours

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Cat Hulse, Adam Henry, Michael Sargent,
FGH - 3rd time

Returning to Fischgesicht for the 3rd time, quickly descended to the pushing front. Began by surveying large chamber leading to pitch. Rock fall down the pitch timed to 3.8 seconds.

Then set off to see which routes Adelaide, Typhon, and Manfred had surveyed the previous day. After following all their routes, we spotted a couple of ~100m linking passages had not been surveyed, so cleaned up all that. Continued to Eldritch Eyeholes chamber and knocked off a few leads to ends.

Similar story for Coconut Chamber, where 1 lead was surveyed back round to link to previous passage, 2 other A leads were also joined together 15m beyond the chamber (rift + small hole in wall). Small passage/rift ends as water falls from roof aven. Draft continues to come from small passage soon leads to rift which would require protection! Outcome of trip was a lot of tidying up work, consolidated into a few good leads. Time in 10:40, time out 20:40
T/U: 10.0 hours

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Max Weiser, Luke Stangroom, Jacob Pulaho,
Balkon - Pitstop

Arrived at Pitstop to find George who was in the group in front to have finished bolting the traverse around to the other side. Passage was large walking passage with nice mud formations in floor. Passage ends at a pitch with a dodgy bridge. Half way-ish between the traverse and pitch was a flatout crawl on right. Crawl was unpleasant and sharp (I forgot kneepads!!) and was sloped upwards. Passage (including crawl unitil become too tight) was surveyed.

Pitch wasn't dropped.

We then head back to Pitstop and then attempt to bolt a rift but then the floor fell beath and scared me and we decided to call it a day.
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Philip Sargent,
base camp - Expo T-shirts arrived at Gasthof

2x S,
3x XL,
4x L,
lots of M (some male, some female, no distinction in label)
T/U: 0 hours
T/U: 0.0 hours

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George Breley, Adam Aldridge, Becka Lawson,
Balkon - to Grand Prix -> Camp Kraken -> Radio Silence + Scum of the Earth + Octopus Garden ->derig)

[Goal]: Derig Octopussy & Tentacle Traverse + camp to top of Kraken then derig out of Tunnocks to bottom of Number of the Beast.

Caved 12:00-22:00 on 3rd, 11:00-23:45 on 4th, 10:00-19:30 on 5th, setting off from top of Kraken ~15:00 after ferrying camp to the top of it in 5 prussics.

"This is not a 3-man derig" was Geroge's plaintive assessment. We'll see.

Day 1 in Balkon, George finished off the traverse opposite Pitstop, disappointing Luke who'd bombed down to do it. We then continued to the bottom of Mongol Rally + George put a couple more bolts in the Floodland pitch that he, Jacob+ Olly had started int he previous tripbut it looked like a major job so he derigged and we went down Grand Prix past Littleboy to the "à cheval" ridge and dropped Suction Cup pitch (rigging topo on previous page). This led to a rather confusing slopy area which we clambered up steeply until it ended in an aven. We lost George for some stressful minutes - he'd dropped down a steep, muddy phreatic tube + struggled to return. We then packed up + left the 53m rope + some hangers as own own bags still seemed full + I thought we had a long way to go but in fact we were in camp Kraken in under an hour.

Day 2 We took our long rope +14m rope to the muddy, drafty end of Radio Silence where the previous (Anthony/Chris/Hydra) camping trip had got to + unenthusiastically started to rig (George) and to shiver (Becka + Adam). After some time (we cracked and got into the bothy) George shouted that he was past the worst of the drips (we're haviung a drought, itwould probably be nasty in the rain) + we should come down.

I was really in the mood to jack it off - it was sharp, wet cold and vertical - but George perked up after spotting what loooked like a floor down a c2 gwt(?) after the end of Scum of the Earth. We'd finished the long rope so put the 14m on the final drop end - hurrah - it first revealed a floor and we were in a big complex chamber.

We set off surveying , trying to cheer up a chilly Adam. There were lovely marked - and nippled - and streaked - mud slopes and a proper stream with sandy then muddy banks leading to a small sump. Just before, on the mud bank, I spotted a tiny seedling - "there's a sprout!"

"A what?" We all stared at it, bathing it with light for the first time in its hopeless life, then surveyed the upper sections + finally, down the boulder slope, we got into the upstream canyon. We followed this to a c2 then ate & I suggested it was time to head home but I was overruled by George ripping up the c2 +roving about a beuatiful pool. We followed and there was, indeed, a gorgeous green and blue poollike a weird eye. We took photos then surveyed further until the passage narrowed to a tall rift.

I pursuaded a reluctant George that it was really time to go. We then headed out with George derigging Scum of Earth (big swing on the second rebelay) then me derigging Radio Silence + Beckoning Silence then back to camp with George getting the short straw of derigging Tentacle Traverse which was apparently a struggle given his stature. Worryingly no water had collected duringt he day but I worked out a system using a bin bag tocollect and funnel drips in to the Daren drum + that worked well.

Day 3

"Are we going to do this?" We started with relays up Kraken as we had only 4 tackle sacks. George first with a monster rope bag + drill then me with another monster rope bag + hangers then Adam with another monster rope bag + a bag with the gear we needed to take out of camp including a full to bursting shit drum - George was the last to dump and he grumbled that he'd been set up as he had to squish in the final bag.

At this point we realised that we hadn't nearly enough tackle sacks so Large Marge made an appearance - the massive orange survival bag filled with 3x sleeping bags and 3x Alpinexes and 4x karrimats. George was skeptical + I was racked with the giggles (she was nearly as tall as he was but considerably fatter) but in fact he shot up Kraken with her, leaving me to regret letting him off taking a normal tackle sack as well. That left me to bring up the rest of the camp in two tackle sacks, aDaren drum, + some claptrap, derigging en route. At the top we sorted the pile of gear whilst Adam headed up + out of Tunnocks.

There was a moderate-sized expedition's worth of gear left there - at least 400m of rope, over 100 hangers, drill, hand-bolting kit, slings, tent, sleeping + cooking gear etc.

Adam had the bag own(?) kit then I went and George derigged. I pursuaded him we should take 3 tackle sacks between us onthe derig. Mistake. I broke George. He ended up at the top of Window Twankey's with a fulltackle sack and most of Big Bertha full of disgustingly muddy rope _ got, erm, cross.

By then I'd dumped my bag at the bottom of Procrastination + I'd headed back down to fetch another bag but when I met Adam at the top of Number of the Beast he said I needed to be nice to George so I took Adam's bag & G+A went bag-free then we stopped order(?) and let George escape. Less burdened, we slogged out.I gave the bag to Adam on the entrance pitch then was nearly humiliated as, on a flapjack high, he powered up + nearly caught me up. George was sunbathing on the surface + led us on a forced march back to camp which was ... deserted. [This trip also desribed in UK Caving blog] text below by Adam Aldridge: This will be a summary of the last Kraken camp of 2018, and maybe ever.

The trip was partaken by George, Becka, and myself (Adam). We went underground in Balcony on Friday the 3rd of August around mid day and surfaced from Tunnocks around 8pm on Sunday.

Following a generous helping of faff resulting in an irate Becka we set of towards Balcony with optimism. This would be my first ever underground camp trip, so there was a pinch of excited apprehension in my mood.

After the necessary commute in balcony we made it to the Mongol Rally, this 200m shaft, sloping slightly from the vertical, was by far the biggest i've ever seen. The decent, seemingly endless, is mostly experienced with blackness above and below. After a short journey from the base of The Mongol Rally feeling suitably far from home, we started work at the pushing front. Day one was finished with around 250m surveyed; George had dropped a pitch which led into large airy passages. Throughout the day George had been commenting on invasive smells. Most of these instances were a result of Becka taking out her pet mouldy cheese. I quietly found this rather amusing.

George and I awoke after a night at camp to find Becka doing lots of productive things, she had checked the radio (unfortunately without success) and was well on the way to making breakfast. Led by Becka's enthusiasm, day two was begun with less faff than the previous. We set of along Tentacle Traverse and down Octo Pussy towards the front. I was feeling remarkably weary on this second day. There was point, as George and Becka shot off, where I was nearly defeated by a section of upward sloping mud.

An arduous (for me) and increasingly muddy commute later, we reached the pushing front: a muddy wet pitch, great! Feeling a touch despondent at this point, we pushed on; George started bolting the pitch while Becka and I waited at the top. Waiting very quickly got cold so in an attempt to alleviate this situation we started jumping about. The nature of this was quite comical, it was a fusion between a Zumba class routine and the irregular movements of telly tubies who have just been exited by the sun baby. To our surprise and elation, the muddy gryke of a lead dropped into a dry spacious expanse with multiple ways on. We began surveying down a railway tunnel passage sloping slightly down. This, to our bewilderment, led to a gentle meandering river banked by sloped volumes of mud. All of a sudden, Becka became exited, George and I rushed over, she had found a sprout in the mud! A surreal occurrence at ~700m below. The sapling drank in our light deeply as we admired it's lone perseverance.

A few pictures later, we moved on, only to find a sump. This would have been annoying if not for the alternative upstream continuation.

Half an hour or so up this lead, much to my relief, we stopped on a muddy bank for a lunch break. The only way on was a 3m climb into a relic inlet. Becka argued that we should turn back as it was getting late (a sensible idea to be fair). Despite Becka's standpoint, George and I were up for going on. With Irate protest from Becka, George began the climb. Out of sight, George began talking in awe of an interesting blue lake. With more protesting from Becka, I climbed up as well. The pool in question was like something out of a sci fi film, Its colour and complexity was preternatural. I could explain it to you by a picture able to convey more than words.

With rekindled enthusiasm for exploration we continued deeper into a truly surreal environment, the vast relic stream passage was littered with artefacts of its past; here and there, pools of immaculate water lay undisturbed for presumably quite a while; marbled fractal mud formations encrusted the lower surfaces; bizarre spiky rock formations en-habited the walls, formed by a vigorous torrent, long forgotten.

With over 400m on the PDA, we returned to camp. The commute seemed friendlier, for me at least, with a sense of accomplishment under the belt.

Waking up for the second time in absence of sunlight, the task for the 'day' was to de-rig and prusik out. The camp was packed up and raised to the top of Kraken in five caries up the pitch (one by me two each by George and Becka). George competed a particularly obscene carry: a huge orange survival bag tied at the top with cord, he looked like a surreal speleo version of Santa Claus.

Once camp was sorted, we began the long ascent to the surface. Becka and I set of with some bags of rope while the machine that is George began to de-rig the pitches.

This was my first trip to Kraken camp, but it might also be the last. However as one good thing comes to an end, the next is on the horizon: with the persistent efforts of this year (especially by George and Becka) a new region of Balkony has proved promising, and so, the camp will be reformed there with new opportunities awaiting.

« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 08:58:29 am by adam74aldridge »
T/U: 55.0 hours

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Rachel Turnbull, Luke Stangroom, Nadia Raeburn,
Homecoming - derig

[from Callout book]

Callout 8am on the 5th.)
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Alex Stirling, Ruairidh MacLeod, Jacob Pulaho,
Homecoming - derig team 2

[from Callout book]

Callout 8am on the 5th.)
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Max Weiser,
topcamp - derig bivvy cave

[from Callout book]

Callout 10pm
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Jacob Pulaho, Ruairidh MacLeod,
Homecoming - shallow leads

[from Callout book]

Callout 10pm
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Rachel Turnbull,
Expo - Final Homecoming Stint
Blog Author: RTurnbull
It?s coming home: Final Homecoming Stint

Homecoming is a cave found this year, approximately 90 minutes walk from our bivouac on the Loser plateau that has just gone and gone! Unfortunately, it has sunk lots of resrouces and plans have been formulated to set up a satellite bivi in the future, where our expedition aims will consolidate underground efforts.

The derig
Despite our best efforts, we arrived at Homecoming to begin the derig, a cave we had little information about, but that did not extend much further than a junction, 200m down. Luke raced ahead and left Nadia and I remarking at the cave?s remarkable features; howling icy draught, deep free hanging pitches and long, low hanging traverse lines over rift passages.

Having entered the cave, thinking we were going to derig 200m of pitches, we found shit tons of rope after where we had expected to start, perhaps twice as much rope as we expected. Luke began the derig, Nadia ferrying tackle bags and myself ?processing rope? and packing bags. After an ambitious few hours, moving 200m of rope, we arrived at our preconceived start point. Here we plotted our PAELLA: Pulling A Extremely Long Length Altogether.

None of the 3 of us had ever ?paella?ed rope before but we knew we were not going to be able to prussik it all out, easily. We sent Luke up first with the rope tied to him and all the metalwork, ~35 handers+malloins and the emergency kit. Nadia and I derided the traverse to the big 120m pitch. With each bolt ~5m apart and no handholds to speak of, we questioned our sanity, but pushed through. Luke was much faster than our derigging effort and pulled our rope chain up 80m to the ledge, prussiked the tackle sack up 40m and came back down to meet Nadia on the ledge again. After a bit of discussion as to how to pull rope up two pitches at the same time they figured it out. Luke prussiked up the 40 and created a new pile as Nadia pulled the ropes I was derigging up. Very smooth.


At the top of the 40m our chain was over 300m long and we were entering rift passage. Luckily the timing was right and we were met by Ruairidh, Jacob and Alex, who supported the transportation through a climbing rift, by acting as human-deviations getting the chain ~60m through twists and turns to the next pitch head.  The rest of the trip was smooth sailing with only a few rocks being dropped and one hanger escaping out of a hole in the bottom of the tackle sack. The final length that lay piled outside the cave entrance was over 500m and bigger than the average caver. An estimated 70 hangers and maillons plus deviation crabs were also brought out. Cavers returned to camp for 2am.

Man hours: 66

T/U: 0.0 hours

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Wookey, Paul Fox, Natalie Uomini,
plateau - Eiskelle - Surface Prospecting

[date variously as 1st July or 11th July, but must have been 7th August. - editor]

We aimed to re-locate several caves that had been recored in 2004/5/6 and were within 300m of Top Camp. How hard can it be???

Well, 8 hours later, lost and dehydrated, we managed to get back to Top Camp just 20 minutes before our callout!

Entering the coordinates into the GPS and walking in a direct heading was met repeatedly by either thick bunde or sheer cliffs going up or down! While we were lost we found several new caves, which we duly recorded and surveyed. They are very close to the path to Tunnocks, so we suspect they were either ignored or not recorded when first explored. We left the big pitch for another time and surveyed the small free-climbable hole. Then we got lost again looking for 2004-18.

Finally we located it and 2004-16 and -17.

The next day we returned to 2004-18 with Wookey and descended it. Luckily the spits were in place so we just had to chuck a rope down and a rope protector. A huge snow cone met us half way down on a ledge we could walk around. Paul drilled two holes and installed 2 hiltis and rigged the way down. We climbed down the ice slope (with rope) and landed on the boulder floor at the base of the snow cone. My first ice climbing experience - and I hope my last! We got hypotherimc while rigging the cave (Eiskeller - Ice House) and we got heat exhaustion while on the plateau. Lovely day at expo! Wookey was very helpful while we located 2004-18 (on an easy path not far from Top Camp) and again while rigging the cave - always great to have an experienced oldie on the team!
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Cat Hulse,
Surface - rope carry from Homecoming

[from Callout book]

Callout 10pm
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Ryan Boultbee, Adam Aldridge, Wookey,
FGH - try to connect to HB

[Wook:] Went over to Fishface to see if we could connect it to Happy Butterfly. Looked in right direction but didn't find anything very interesting - a bit of [squiggle] [squiggle] [squiggle] [squiggle] to known stuff.

[Ryan takes over writeup:] There was a hunting [?] [squiggle] potential lead, after some rambling to decide to [squiggle] a 'fishermans hole' on route to a rift choke ahead (there we had [squiggle] [squiggle] dear bits). The hole that we were interested in appeared to have been previously dropped - a hanger and bolt we insitu, even if slightly rusted. We dropped the pitch (20m?) into a large rift with a distinctive largesquare boulder wedged in the passage. Ryan [squiggle] the lead to the left; a rigt heading down which choked out, however when surveyed by Wook [squiggle] [squiggle] survey stations were found. Nevertheless they re-surveyed the passage.

The second pitch was drilled and better to drop a new pitch, again about 20m down to a false floor in the rift. After descending Wookey declared Ryan's gardening (the removal of loose and potentially dangerous rock) as [squiggle] and proceeded, assisted by Adam, to kick down the loose rock-garden.

At the bottom of the pitch we found leads in both directions, however decided to push down the rift (following the airflow). A traverse line was rigged across a ropey section of false floor which dropped down onto a larger pitch. Another test conducted by Adam measured the rockfall from topto [squiggle] impact as 2.1st~20m a distance we could not reach with the rope we had. We used the left-over rope to assist in rigging a Y-hang and setting bolts, however, did not push the mystery pitch. We left the pitches rigged. Afte Wookey [squiggle] the survey [squiggle] conducted throughout the trip to [squiggle] if the new passage connected (potentially) to the existing system or could be pointing in a new direction.

All in allthe trip was a [squiggle] learning experience for both Adam and Ryan to both survey technique, rigging, bolting and most importantly gardening!
T/U: ? hours

[Mongol Rally rigging guide here (Becka's handwriting?, in the written logbook moved back to this location in this online version]
T/U: 0.0 hours

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Ryan Boultbee, Wookey, Max Weiser,
Tunnocks - Resurvey trip down Tunnocks - 1


We did a trip down Tunnocks to do a resurvey and a connection to "Balcony". We resurvey part in March of the Penguins in Balcony and the pitch dumped into the Frozen North. Also surveyed a new passage there that just looped around.
T/U: 15.0 hours

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Ryan Boultbee, Wookey, Max Weiser,
Tunnocks - Resurvey trip down Tunnocks - 2


[Editor note: very bad handwriting indeed. Please try harder Max. This is almost useless. The scanned original text is in expofiles/writeups/2018/logbook.pdf if you want to try deciphering it yourself.]

3rd attempt on the penguin fellatio resurvey.Took another 50mof rope & 6mm hangers after not having enough gear last time. And a Monday callout so we had enough time.

Got to the far end with all the shit to realise that we only had 6 hangers due to taking others out last time! Doh! Another failure was just too much so Wook decided to go all the wy back down March of the Penguins, [sqiggle], High & [squiggle] to steal hangers out of the Usual Suspects traverse rigging. Solo speed carry was [squiggle] fun and he took 25 mins there, 20 mins derigging and 30 minutes back.

Max & Ryan got v.cold waiting. Max rigged the pitch whilst Wook and Ryan re-did Pengun Fellatio. Pitch survey [?] was a pain and it wasn't possible to see [squiggle] [squiggle] each other so we [squiggle] a [sqiggle] at top & bottom.

Max did great job of rigging where Wook couldn't reach. Down in Icecockwe joined up survey and went for a look round. Ryan found a scrotty bit not on the survey & got explorationfever so took off SRT [squiggle] to shove himself through & make a loop. So then we had to survey it. Ryan learned a bit about surveying. Decided we couldn't get to the dodgy leg in Frozen North without wire [?] so headed out. Max derigged. Then rerigged MOTP from [squiggle] 32 back to chmaber above spiral around. Rebelay [?] existing points is very time consuming. After a while we couldn't find the [squiggle] & made up out on [squiggle] linking to [squiggle] we could find. Finally staggered out, including the [squiggle][squiggle][squiggle] by 2am.

* Looked up snow slope in Frozen North. Max got up to where there were no more foot[squiggle] ~10m up. Quite [squiggle]. There must be an entrance somewhere.
T/U: 10.0 hours

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Paul Fox, Natalie Uomini,
plateau - Top Camp - Surface Prospecting - Old & New Caves - 8.5 hours
T/U: 25 mins

Bunda filling the plateau
Bunda filling the plateau - click for bigger picture

New cave 2018-NTU-01
Paul had prepared a list of some caves found in 2004 which were within 300m of Top Camp. In the blazing heat of morning, Nat and Paul set off with packs full of SRT kits, 50m rope, hangers, drill, bolting kit, oversuits, helmets and lights. First we went the wrong way and ended up meandering through bunda above top camp. Finally we set a bearing towards one of the caves in question, and this took us on a scramble parallel to (east of, uphill from) the path to Tunnocks. We bumbled onto a small cave entrance which we named 2018-NTU-01 located in a gully filled with wild chives.

2018-ntu-01 neil_view_west - click for bigger picture
The entrance is below a large fixed boulder with the tag on its SW side.

2018-ntu-01 tag arrows - click for bigger picture
I (Nat) squeezed down through some dodgy loose boulders at the entrance, but could not get further down safely. I could see beyond the boulder choke that there was a vertical shaft, smooth-sided, which we measured by Disto as 2.7m deep, probably landing onto a gravel floor as judged by the sound of throwing rocks down. This vertical shaft appears to turn a corner into a rift heading South-West (downslope).

No noticeable draft, but it was hard to get my head right in. The shaft is definitely big enough for a person to stand in comfortably. With a bit of tidying up the big loose boulders inside the entrance, one could get into the shaft and see where the rift goes.

2018-ntu-01 looking down shaft and rift
click for bigger picture

Data from Nat's GPS (Garmin Oregon 650):
1834m, N47°41.518, E13°49.298
UTM UPS: 33T 0411579, 5282737
GPS accuracy not noted for this point, but the other points this day had 3m accuracy.
This cave was tagged by Nat & Neil a few days later on Aug. 13.
To reach this cave easily from Top Camp, just follow the Tunnocks path until the cave marked on GPS as "1623.p2001-02", then turn right (uphill) and go up a small chive & boulder-filled gully until you see the big boulder with the tag on it.

Rift hole to descend
Several meters downhill from 2018-NTU-01, in passing we waypointed on the GPS a "rift hole to descend", which looked like a promising hole that is nowhere near any already-catalogued waypoints. 1846m, UTM: 33T 0411511, 5282847. (no photo)

We finally rejoined the path to Tunnocks (which we should have used all along) and after a while, we waypointed on the GPS another hole that's most likely the same as catalogued 1623.p2002-07.


2018-pf-01 paul drilling tag: view northeast
click for bigger picture
Arriving at the Big Cairn (GPS coords UTM: 33T 0411542, 5282881) which is on the Tunnocks path, we followed the 2005 instructions and veered left on an alleged heading towards the fabled caves 2004-18, 17, and 16 (unfortunately the instructions proved impossible to follow; see our updated writeup for the best approach to 2004-18). Directly off the Tunnocks path we got distracted as we came upon 3 shafts which were not on the GPS catalogue: we named them 2018-PF-01 (which we tagged; see our survey of the same day), 2018-PF-02 (which we tagged the next day with Wookey; undescended), and 2018-PF-03 (which Paul tagged some days later).

2018-pf-03 and pf-02 arrows
click for bigger picture
2018-PF-01 Tag: 1857m, UTM: 33T 0411526, 5282885
2018-PF-02: 1859m, UTM: 33T 0411540, 5282900
2018-PF-03: 1858m, UTM: 33T 0411530, 5282893
GPS with 3m accuracy for all.

2018-PF-01 is a 2m-diameter shaft with an easy climb down to a mossy slope. We surveyed it [see Paul's excellent digital survey].

2018-ntu-02 view west
click for bigger picture
2018-PF-02 is an impressive, open surface shaft about 3.5m diameter and 11.5m deep (as measured by Disto). It looks like it continues horizontally into a rift heading upslope. There is a good spot to drill bolts for rigging where we installed the tag.

2018-PF-03 is an open rift between PF-01 and PF-02 about 5.6m deep, 1.75m wide, 4.6m long (as measured by Disto). Paul climbed down PF-03 and found it was choked at the end nearest (heading towards) the big shaft PF-02. Thus, it dashed all our hopes of finding a free-climbable access to the big shaft.


Afterwards we circled painfully through obstacles of larch and cliffs until we stumbled across another interesting hole, which we named 2018-NTU-02. 1861m, UTM: 33T 0411522, 5282905, GPS with 3m accuracy.
It is a window in the side of a surface shaft filled with grass. Nat climbed down into it using a handline tied with loops, which proved essential.

2018-ntu-02 entrance pitch 4.6m
click for bigger picture
The small shaft is vertical and has a depth of 4.6m (as measured by Disto) and a diameter of about 2 to 3m. A passage extends about 2m horizontally at the base of this small shaft, ending in a rubble choke which is the underside of the large surface shaft. [See scanned sketch in our survey notes.]

click for bigger picture
We drilled and installed a Hilti, but did not have any tags, and we were unable to return to put the tag in later. The tag has been made and is sitting in the Tags tub at top camp.

A big opening in the side of the mountain

Next we headed again for the mythical 2004-18, and reached the south-eastern edge of a huge steep-sided valley: Cubic Valley.

click for bigger picture

click for bigger picture
(Note: the next day we found a much easier way with Wookey, by going from the Tunnocks path round the northern edge of the valley, as recorded in our uploaded GPS track and described in the updated Approach to 2004-18.) Following the southern edge of the cliff, we found a way to climb down into the valley. From the eastern edge of this valley is visible a large opening in the opposite (north side) cliff, which I waypointed from my position. The opening should be investigated, as it seems to be below Tunnocks.

Freezer Hole
In the lowest point of the eastern bowl of Cubic Valley is a small hole in the rubble which emits freezing cold air. We measured the temperature just inside the hole as 9°C, compared to 18°C just outside the hole (in the shade) (- and the temperature in the sun on the plateau that day was about 30°C). This hole is choked with rubble, but it would certainly be an interesting digging project for future Expos.

click for bigger picture

click for bigger picture
2004-18 and Mystery Shafts
Finally, heading westward down Cubic Valley towards the Cube-Shaped Boulder, we reached the fabled cave. The whole section of valley is full of tantalising deep shafts which must be explored! Just beside 2004-18 we found another shaft with a tag marked "AA 1 2017" but there is no recorded survey, no database entry, no information anywhere about it .

Beside this shaft is another shaft with a snow plug and 2 spits well positioned for rigging, but no visible tag nor informations recorded.

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Who could have been there?

2004-16 and 2004-17 and Maybe Hole
As it was getting late and our water bottles were empty and it was very hot, we left our heavy caving gear in a hole and tried to head back to top camp. On the way out of the valley we found the other 2 caves 2004-16 and 2004-17, which we waypointed on the GPS (1878m, N47° 41.594' E13° 49.150' and 1881m, N47° 41.608' E13° 49.150', respectively). Then we struggled on through thick larch and sheer cliffs, passing by a potential hole to explore (UTM: 33T 0411410, 5282786), in our dehydrated and grumpy state, until we saw someone walking on the Fischgesicht path in the distance, which we could eventually reach and thankfully followed back to Top Camp, arriving just 20 minutes before our callout time!

T/U: 0.0 hours

Wookey, Paul Fox, Natalie Uomini,
Eiskeller - Revisiting 2004-18
T/U 2.5 hours
Surveying 2004-18 Eiskeller
The day after our eventful prospecting trip, Nat, Paul, and Wookey returned to 2004-18 to survey it. We recovered our gear left in a hole, and Paul rigged. Feeling hot, I went down in my t-shirt and trousers. But during rigging and surveying I got so cold that I had to ask Wookey to send my bag of layers down the rope. We landed on the snow plug which had blocked further exploration in 2005, and rigged a rebelay from which to climb down the snow plug. Our first ice climbing experience! At the base of the snow plug is a chamber with a side aven and a rubble floor and possibly a tiny gap round the western back end of the snowplug but we did not fancy squeezing into it [see photos]. We decided to name it Eiskeller (Ice House) as it looks just like one.

We surveyed back up the pitch [see our survey and notes in wallet 2018#44] and emerged gratefully into the blazing sunshine, where Wookey had been sunbathing the whole time. Then we took the easy hike back to Top Camp, which we'd found on the way in [see our description in Approach and our GPS track].

Twin Caves
Along the northern edge of the valley approaching 2004-18 we waypointed two shafts with snow inside. UTM: 33T 0411527, 5282982.

Summary: go back to Cubic Valley!!
Given the number of deep shafts in this valley, it's the most exciting place to return to. The Cube-shaped boulder sitting above 2004-18 is an easy landmark to find [see our photos]. The hike to/from Top Camp is so quick & easy that it makes a perfect few days of rigging and surveying for Expo novices or for people who don't want to go deep. According to our GPS track, the hike is 670m and takes 23 minutes. Be sure to wear an oversuit and layers!

T/U: 0.0 hours

Becka, George, adam aldridge,
Expo - the last Kraken camp of 2018
Blog Author: adam74aldridge
This will be a summary of the last Kraken camp of 2018, and maybe ever.
The trip was partaken by George, Becka, and myself (Adam). We went underground in Balcony on Friday the 3rd of August around mid day and surfaced from Tunnocks around 8pm on Sunday.

Following a generous helping of faff resulting in an irate Becka we set of towards Balcony with optimism. This would be my first ever underground camp trip, so there was a pinch of excited apprehension in my mood.
After the necessary commute in balcony we made it to the Mongol Rally, this 200m shaft, sloping slightly from the vertical, was by far the biggest i've ever seen. The decent, seemingly endless, is mostly experienced with blackness above and below.
After a short journey from the base of The Mongol Rally feeling suitably far from home, we started work at the pushing front.
Day one was finished with around 250m surveyed; George had dropped a pitch which led into large airy passages. Throughout the day George had been commenting on invasive smells. Most of these instances were a result of Becka taking out her pet mouldy cheese. I quietly found this rather amusing.
George and I awoke after a night at camp to find Becka doing lots of productive things, she had checked the radio (unfortunately without success) and was well on the way to making breakfast. Led by Becka's enthusiasm, day two was begun with less faff than the previous. We set of along Tentacle Traverse and down Octo Pussy towards the front.
I was feeling remarkably weary on this second day. There was point, as George and Becka shot off, where I was nearly defeated by a section of upward sloping mud.
An arduous (for me) and increasingly muddy commute later, we reached the pushing front: a muddy wet pitch, great! Feeling a touch despondent at this point, we pushed on; George started bolting the pitch while Becka and I waited at the top. Waiting very quickly got cold so in an attempt to alleviate this situation we started jumping about. The nature of this was quite comical, it was a fusion between a Zumba class routine and the irregular movements of telly tubies who have just been exited by the sun baby.
To our surprise and elation, the muddy gryke of a lead dropped into a dry spacious expanse with multiple ways on. We began surveying down a railway tunnel passage sloping slightly down. This, to our bewilderment, led to a gentle meandering river banked by sloped volumes of mud. All of a sudden, Becka became exited, George and I rushed over, she had found a sprout in the mud! A surreal occurrence at ~700m below. The sapling drank in our light deeply as we admired it's lone perseverance.

A few pictures later, we moved on, only to find a sump. This would have been annoying if not for the alternative upstream continuation.
Half an hour or so up this lead, much to my relief, we stopped on a muddy bank for a lunch break. The only way on was a 3m climb into a relic inlet. Becka argued that we should turn back as it was getting late (a sensible idea to be fair). Despite Becka's standpoint, George and I were up for going on. With Irate protest from Becka, George began the climb. Out of sight, George began talking in awe of an interesting blue lake.  With more protesting from Becka, I climbed up as well.
The pool in question was like something out of a sci fi film, Its colour and complexity was preternatural. I could explain it to you by a picture able to convey more than words.

With rekindled enthusiasm for exploration we continued deeper into a truly surreal environment, the vast relic stream passage was littered with artefacts of its past; here and there, pools of immaculate water lay undisturbed for presumably quite a while; marbled fractal mud formations encrusted the lower surfaces; bizarre spiky rock formations en-habited the walls, formed by a vigorous torrent, long forgotten.
With over 400m on the PDA, we returned to camp. The commute seemed friendlier, for me at least, with a sense of accomplishment under the belt.
Waking up for the second time in absence of sunlight, the task for the 'day' was to de-rig and prusik out.
The camp was packed up and raised to the top of Kraken in five caries up the pitch (one by me two each by George and Becka). George competed a particularly obscene carry: a huge orange survival bag tied at the top with cord, he looked like a surreal speleo version of Santa Claus.

Once camp was sorted, we began the long ascent to the surface. Becka and I set of with some bags of rope while the machine that is George began to de-rig the pitches.
This was my first trip to Kraken camp, but it might also be the last. However as one good thing comes to an end, the next is on the horizon: with the persistent efforts of this year (especially by George and Becka) a new region of Balkony has proved promising, and so, the camp will be reformed there with new opportunities awaiting.
T/U: 0.0 hours

Becka Lawson,
Expo - A mature view of Expo
Blog Author: Becka
A mature view of Expo
[from ]
We've already had posts from first timers so, to balance that out, here's my old-timer's perspective on this year's Expo. This summer I did a lot of my caving with George because, at the start of Expo, it was clear that he was lacking direction and, whilst not green (this was his third time out) that he'd benefit from my experience, constructive advice and tactful supervision.

For the avoidance of doubt, and for those of you don't know us, that's utter bollocks. George is a far better caver than me at SRT, rigging, finding and sticking with a project, navigation (not hard), climbing, carrying heavy bags, derigging, patience, surveying, conservation and scooping (yup, it's out there, sue me for defamation if you dare!). Don't be running away with the idea that list is comprehensive though: I have the edge on him at squeezes (despite him being willing to try harder, sleep deprivation (my, don't young people sleep a lot?), I'm far bossier and, though I haven't tested this properly, I reckon I've a greater bloody-minded capacity for enduring misery (I suspect it would take around a week of 10 hour trips in small, cold, wet, muddy, boring caves to break him and you just wouldn't believe how full my diary is right now so that'll have to wait).

Anyway, we (us two, Luke, Olly, Adam, Rachel, Nadia, Jacob, Philip, Wookey and Max) had a series of fine trips including finding what we think is the deepest shaft in the SMK system (Mongol Rally at 200m deep), two connections between Balkonh?hle and Tunnockschact, a sprout and a sump at -720m, many, many bat bones and over 5km of passage including the monster Grand Prix (incidentally, I agree, what's with the names? My carefully crafted puns were all flat-out rejected so we're stuck with a notable chamber called Big Lad - it should have been Raisin' Hell - and both Hangryman Pitch and Hangeryman Pitch are still up for grabs). Also, after 5 weeks of training I've mastered an alternative way to the tie a stopper knot and learnt the industry standard way to tie knots in the end of a rope (thanks, guys, for that fine use of my strictly limited long term memory).

After 220 hours underground this summer with CUCC I've skipped derigging (obviously I'd have loved to have helped out but unfortunately the timing was against me) and I've decamped to spend a week with the local Austrian club (VHO on their Plankamira expedition. This made for quite a culture change - there's only 5 of us and we're all around a half century old. Now, at last, my rigging suggestions are listened to attentively (rather than being firmly squashed) and nobody passes comment about the volume of food I get through (George eats like a grasshopper). I've also escaped the unending put-downs - "if you're going to rig that pitch don't do a half-arsed job of it"; "that wouldn't have happened if you hadn't placed it in a flake"; "you and your slopy shoulders"; and "no, you can't lead us out, you're so bad it's just not funny" and so on. Also, it's relaxing not having to tell everyone what to do :) Best of all, I'm now the fastest prussiker (yeah, yeah, of course it's not a competition).

On the down side VHO are agonisingly slow to get going (how can anyone spend more than 9 hours in a sleeping bag? It's mental torture when you're camping underground and you're too polite to start loudly crinkling plastic bags and accidentally shining your light in people's eyes. Not that that worked anyway, you idle sods). And then, once they're up, there's the coffee to drink then the second coffee then breakfast then herbal tea and a second herbal tea before anything might happen. Hmm, thinking about it, George would have done better here instead of me (his favourite thing: sleeping; his next most favourite thing: sitting around doing nothing).

I did struggle on skills transfer ... this summer I heard someone claim that thru-bolts (as VHO use) have fewer modes of failure than Hiltis (that CUCC uses). Well, not in my hands, I can tell you. Of my dozen none went in easily (I must have been given the wrong diameter drill bit, goddammit) and there was horrible flaking with several, whilst one cracked out altogether with the rock it was in (I blame the Petzl hammer they gave me, it made all the rock sound shit so, since the good-looking rock made the same sound I deduced that all the rock was good. Then it fell apart). Most distressingly, on three of them the sleeve thing split and refused to go into the hole, just rucking up on the outside. Please, can I give up and go home? VHO rigging is typically spare, no Y-hangs unless there's a big swing and no deviations (there wasn't a single sling on the expedition). However, I was so worried about my lousy thru-bolts that my section was backups and Y-hangs all the way.

On the first day we got out in the dark from a new cave with over an hour's walk back to camp and big bags. The other half of the team set off confidently but then, 30 minutes later, he pointed at least 90 degrees off when I asked him to show where he thought camp was. Foolishly I'd not saved it as a waypoint on my phone and he was struggling with a new app on his phone so all we had to go on was the outline of the peaks around us. I persuaded him I knew which one to aim for and, 15 minutes later, hurrah, someone at camp saw us and left their light on so we slogged towards it. But then the light went out and we were reduced to navigating towards the sound of the generator reverberating in the huge rock bowl we were lost in before it was switched off. Then my companion, dressed in the shortest of hip-hugging racing shorts, refused to follow me through some prickly dwarf pine. I'll go round and meet you, he says, then disappeared. So now I'm by myself, three hours walk from anyone bar us few cavers so I shout his name. Eventually he shouts back "Don't cry unless it's an emergency". Then silence. Grrrr. So I hang around looking for his light and eventually spot him beetling off towards camp without a backward glance. I'll be damned if he gets there first so I stumble off and we arrive together. Two hours on Karren karst on a moonless night and I barely glanced up once so I caught just the one shooting star on the best night of the year for the Perseid shower.

Now I'm back down the hill in time to fix my broken tooth (note to self: don't eat rock at underground camp). We (well, the Cambridge University Caring Club, which tickled me) have just been awarded a certificate for our 35 years of service by the Mayor of Bad Aussee, Hilde made us delicious doughnuts to celebrate and I'm signed up for a final top camp carry tomorrow so all's right with the world.


Here's a few photos to brighten up the post and, I stand corrected "whilst not green (this was his third fourth time out)"

A strikingly colourful lake near the sump in Tunnockschacht

What's this? Surely not life on the banks of a starless river?

Yes: a pallid sprout growing in a huge mud bank just before the sump

The sump at -720m at the end of Scum of the Earth in Octopus Garden

All photos by George Breley

T/U: 0.0 hours

Luke Stangroom, George Breley, Rachel Turnbull, Becka Lawson,
Balkon - Camping trip : Balkon

8th, 9th, 10tgh August

Balkon -> top of Kraken, collect camp, move it to Littleboy, ->Push in Indy Races (8th Aug.) then push Horrible Pitch in Indy Races (B+G) + push One Direction (L+R) (9th Aug.) then exit with big bags (10th Aug.)

[Caved 11:00-21:00 on 8th, caved 11:00-20:00 L+R, 11:00-23:00 B+G on 9th, caved 07:00-12:00 L+R, 08:00-11:00 G, 08:00-12:00 B on 10th.]

Day 1

In with food + dumped it below Littleboy pitch which we thought could make a good camp then to the vast dumpof stuff at the top of Kraken. L+G already shuttling gear by the time R+I arrived(we took 2 hour to bottom Mongol Rally)(G took 15' to descend Mongo Rally + they took 2h to the top of Kraken). Large Marge + 5 tacklesacks plus the drill bag + some claptrapwere ferried across the traverse then we slogged them up the climbs to get them into Grand Prix. That broke the back of it. We took one load each to Little Boy (surprisingly Large Marge made it intact all the way) + found a campsite against the wall looking out to the pitch.

R+I made a levelsleeping platform, dragging out the mud + putting in a retaining wall of boulders whilst L+G scoped out water, finding a good source midway down Indy Rally. Needs a scoop (e.g. a mug) but only ~10' to fill a Daren drum. We laid the tent flat as a groundsheet then mats. No draft + we weren't cold at night. We then all headed to the end of Indy Races. Rachel boltedthe draftng traverse but this immediately led to the head of the wet pitch so she + Luke surveyed then derigged it. George started to rig the pitch (Horrible Pitch), grumbling lots about shit rockwhich led to someugly, rubbing drops. We surveyed + then Luke + I fetched (?) the rest of the camp gear from the start of Grand Prix whilst George + Rachel surveyed 2 loops near camp.

Day 2

Luke + Rachel headed to leads in Grand Prix which led nowhere but then they hit paydirt in the QMC on the left in Indy Rally before the water source. This gave 50m crawling then a junction. One way led in good-sized passage back to Grand Prix + the other way was drafting + left-going. George + I returned to Horrible Pitch + George quickly rigged down to a big ledge. This gave a short corkscrewing passage that led back to the conclusion (?) of Horrible Pitch but we were diverted for some time by some smaller tunnels off the horizontal route that I found. This led to some interesting, drafty tubes + possible leads. I put in some lousy bolts + then found the rope too short so, with relief, handed the rigging back to George + I returned to camp to fetch another bag of rope.

George got down to a double ledge by a bridge with water flowing in. Here he ambled up a steep mud slope (er, do you know how far above that last bolt you are?) + put in a bolt (er, youv'e got loads of Hiltis, why not a Y-hang?) + ambled back down the slope, over a sharp rock ridge and dropped inelegantly (i.e. with rubs) to the floor. You could also go directly down from the double ledge to the floor. All of Horrible Pitch is dry despite lots of watery bits nearby.

We ran around at the bottom + George managed to temporarliy strand himself up a climb up a mud bank. Geoge was pretty much surveyed-out by now but he steeled himself for one final slog doing the bottom + then the 2 pitch sections. We left it rigged. We found the otehrs asleep by the time we got back to camp.

Day 3

Rudely awoken at 06:00 when Luke + Rachel got up to head out (I can't complain, I'd spent an hour or two yesterday morning rustling bags and shining my light at them trying to get people going). They had packed the muddiest rope the night before + headed out at 07:00. By then George + I had given up on sleeping so we got up + packed more junk + headed out at 08:15.

George caught the others at the top of Mongol Rally and was out in 3h - yeah, yeah... Luke + Rachel took 5h and I took 4h (I ditched a rope at the top of Hangman's as I seemed to be going at snail's pace and both my jammers + my pantin slipped all the way up - poor technique according to Luke, sigh).

End of my caving for Expo 2018 -221h underground for me :-) Off to Plonkermira [??] with VHO tomorrow to see how things look from the other side of the hill...
This has been transcsribed into ugcamplist.html

T/U: 49 hours

Jacob, George, Olly
Balkonhöhle - to Tunnocks

As well as being my first caving trop of the expo, this was also the first Balkon-Tunnock's through trip made. George changed the hang at the top of Mongol Rally, added a rebelay and fixed another at the bottom of MR. Olly began to bolt the right hand wall of Floodland. He got so far down the pitch but didn't bottom due to time constraints.

The connection between Balkon and Tunnocks is very impressive. Large chamber after large chamber.

The Prusik out was a laugh! It was an introduction and a half to Austrian caving. 10/10 would do it again.
T/U: 0.0 hours

Anthony Day, Becka Lawson,
Surface - Prospecting holes from yesterday

[from Callout book]

Prospecting holes from yesterday near/towards the Brauning Wall

Callout 2100
T/U: 0.0 hours

Chris Densham, Ruairidh MacLeod, Wookey,
258 - String Theory & Usual Suspects

[from Callout book]
'Chris' assumed to be Chris D. as Chris H arrived later in expo?

Callout 2200
T/U: 0.0 hours

Alex Stirling, Jon Toft, Ryan Boultbee,
Fishface - Garden School

[from Callout book]

dep. 0800. J., Ryan & 2 Germans & Alex.
No one here at basecamp [Philip S.] so effective callout will be at top camp.

Callout - at top camp when Luke gets there approx.2100
T/U: 0.0 hours

Philip Sargent,
base camp - "Local contact: Dr. Helmut Kalss"

Helmut Kalss
Hitched a lift down from the carpark with Helmut Kalss who lives in Altausee (we drive past his house every time we go up to the plateau). He is a local and teaches at the agricultural college. He knew about the SMK system but not what we had done - so he gave me a lift to the potato hut and I showed him the posters and aven. (He also has a hat with a feather in it.)
T/U: 0 hours
Ryan, Alex, Jacob
FGH - Finishing Fish Face beyond Gardening School, discovering Private Pineapple Pitch

Accompanied by Pi and Andt (two German cavers).

The trip was to push Fish Face further following a low-level lead in Gardening School. An exchange was agreed with German cavers whereby they would offer us a trip if we offered them a trip (an agreement arranged by Alex and Jacob during the bottom base camp BBQ). The trip also allowed the German's to experience top camp, both who were incredibly impressed by the arrangement, declaring, "You English are mad!" The international caving group encounted a language barrier in the especilly crumbly and loose passages of the Fish Face entrance pitch and traverse. WHile descending Alex had one of the Germans (Pi) shout "stein!", somewhat confussed he looked up to find the German caver was not offering him a beer, insted a number of rocks had been kicked down. A system was then proposed by the Germans to overcome the language barrier. The sylable count of words would indicate the cave command, therefore the language used would be rendered pointless.
Image of the syllable system table

It was also agreed during the trip that signiifciant space woudl be left berween cavers on th epitch/traverse series leading on from another due to the daners of very loose rock and the potential of injury. The gardening school passage was pushed beyond the unnamed and unknown pitch that offered a lead. Originally we believed that a shaft 3/4m down would be best for a rebelay, however on investigation this appeared to be a large boulder wedged between a large rift. Furthermore, the placement of the boulder, nicknamed 'coffin lid', appeared to be only secured by small boulders. The decision was made to drop the Y hang down through a squeezy pitch, although tight, the pitch is easily accessible. The newly found Pirate Pineapple Pitch (PPP) ~50m and decends down further into the rift. Multiple passages can be seen coming of this pitch which may be worth future exploration. The pitch bottoms out in a small chamber ~10m^3. A smaller interesting chamber is to the right, nicknamed 'mud hole', here a variety of interesting geological features are found. ALso at this point a small pool of water has forned. Directly in front of the dropped pitch after a smooth step the rift can be seen to bottom out. However, at this point, we had ran out of rope. An additional 15/20m (unreadble word) have allowed us to reach the bottom. We assume this amy be the bottom as its the collection point for many of the smaller dropped rocks. The rift appears to curve around the corner offering a potential easy lead for those who are willing to push this further.

NB: the pitch was named Pirate Pineapple Pitch due to the consumption of a pineapple by some rugged looking cavers at the bottom of the pitch. The carrying of pineapples to inappropriate places is a tradition upheld by Alex Sterling (sp?) of Nottingham University Caving Club in reference to the Pineapple on Tour (sp?) - a society at Nottingham University which took pineapples up munrows in Scotland. The society was dispelled by the university and folded into other outdoor societies.
T/U: 0.0 hours

Jacob Pulaho,
Eishohle -Schneevulkanhalle Tourist Trip

Accompanied by Pi and Andt (two German cavers).

While drunk and making friends with some Germans, one of them, Andt, gave me a proposition: "You take me caving and I'll take you caving in an ice cave... with a snow volcano." I liked this idea! Despite the cave being less than 1k from top camp, due to Losser's 'I'm going to kill you with every steo you take' nature we had to walk accross the plateau toward Applehaus and then take that path. After negotiating some traverse, beating some bunde and safely avoiding the caver grinding we arrive at some dead larch... and a misty cave entrance! THis was to be our exit point. Pi headed up the hill to start rigging the top entrance while Andt gave me a quick lesson on how to walk with crampons. When crampon school was over, we too head to the top entrance. An oblong entrance of 10m-ish by 4m wide entrance pitch to the top of the snow volcano was probably 40/50m. When on top of volcano, daylight can still be seen. 'Tis quite impressive. When on top of volcano the size of the chamber starts to become apparent. In the distance ice stalls can be seen glistening through the mist. We continue the descent, this time down the side of the snow volcano for ~3-m until we reach the bottom.

Ice is hit.

Rope free.


This chamber would be impressive even without all the ice. We wander around for a bit and I amazingly manage to remain standing I literally cannot stop smiling. Some of the ice pillars were easily 15m high! Eventually, Im forced to live by the call of nature. We exit through what was once called the Elephant Arse - cos there was a formation that like an elephant but has sadly melted since. I emerge from the cave, breathe, appriciate life and then have a piss!
T/U: 0.0 hours

Neil Smith, Natalie Uomini,
plateau - Tagging Surface Trip and Lightning Storm descent

Went 100m NW of top camp to put a tag on a possible cave (located previously on 8-9/08 by Nat and Paul) numbered 2018-NTU-01. We practiced hand bolting to install the tag and picked wild chives.

As water was needed at camp, snow was collected for the bivy. While Ryan efficiently poured 5 tackle sacks of snow into the rain tarp, Nat and Alex and Ruairidh proceeded to practice drilling a Z-rig to try to haul an overfilled bag of snow vertically (see separate write up). While taking 2 ropes each down the mountain, we successfully crosses the plateau in fabulous perfect weather, only to be hit by a sudden bad storm at the col. An hour of super heavy rain and lightening was upon us. We were forced to emergency shelter in our double-bivy baf near a rock.

Several very close lightening strikes (with 0 second gaps) reminded us how quickly the weather can turn against you on the mountain.

Lost 1 and half hrs of time waiting for lightening to subside, so final hour of walk down was in darkness and driving rain and winds.

REMEMBER: Check the weather, kids!!!
T/U: 0.0 hours

Luke Stangroom, Radost Waszkiewicz, Max Weiser, Christopher Holt,
FGH - "FGH Derig"

Derig was going to be a big job. Tonnes of rope still down several holes, and most people had already buggered off, and a fair few of those still around had buggered themselves in some fashion! So we had maybe 6 decent cavers to do maybe 20 bags worth of rope from 3 different entrances in two days. The real hard nuts had done most of Balkonhole on a camp/push/derig the day before, and half of that group were quite deservedly taking a day off. Ruaridh's broken arm had mysteriously 'Got better, honest' until we made him prove it by climbing into the Animal house, so he was out. Fishface/Fischgesicht was the next biggest project, with ~300m depth and vague rumours of a drill left at the bottom for the "unclimbable" leads.

I'd always known it was goin to be a little bit cheeky turning up just for the end of Expo and still hoping to get a chance to push something, but as it turned out I wasn't even the most jammy of the lot! I'd had a couple of days to acclimatise to camp life and reacquaint myself with the hypothermic delights of Alpine caving when Radost finally arrived (Actually, he had been there earlier, but was just showing his Dad around and wasn't caving), making two of us who hadn't pushed anything. So, the priorities for this trip were to be

Anyway, after the standard intrepid hike across the plateau, all looking super-cool if I don't say so myself, we change and Luke and Rad zip down while Max waited for me to get changed. Max and I had already been all the way to Ulysses earlier that week, so he assumed I remembered the way and shot ahead. I have a terrible memory for complex junctions and my light casts a very sharp throw-pattern, so I still got lost a couple of times and found them all taking a leisurely rest at that nice picnic spot, below the free-climb pitchy thing, where left goes to the way on and right to that disgusting traverse across Ulysses (which Max had derigged two days before and left 70m in a pile in case people wanted to bolt leads below).

There was a brief discussion of what we should expect, and we settled on the priorities listed above. Luke declared 4pm(?) to be our turnaround time. He wasn't keen on taking more rope deeper into the cave, but given Rad's and my keenness to push the two of us decided to pack it anyway once Luke and Max went ahead. It was only ten minutes later that the shout was relayed to us "Guys! There's more rope down here anyway! DEFINITELY don't bring that other rope!" I duly returned the bag to its original position and retrieved the survey gear, which I had of course forgotten to put back in the bag.

The lower shaft of Fischgesicht is a truly marvellous black hole - One of those can't-see-the-bottom, can't-see-the-top ones. In stark contrast to the rest of the cave above, it was extremely poorly rigged. Well, I suppose it could have been worse, but even on the way down I was thinking "Should I retie that knot? It really looks like it rubs. No, it's probably just me being a wuss and it's like that for a reason". This was looking at a lop-sided, 2-metre wide Y-hang that required a sort of acrobatic climb down to access. New rope, at least, though it was quite dry and required a lot of patience to avoid glazing. Plenty of time to look around the blackness and ponder the geological mysteries of metamorphosed Carboniferous sediments.

We needn't have brought in a drill battery, as together with the drill there were 3 high-capacity ones already there. Rad informed me that Luke and Max had gone up the slightly more obvious (right turn at both junctions) of the labyrinthine passages in this new horizontal level to check that the dead end really was one - apparently the small climb Max did crapped out very quickly. We met back at a junction, I picked up the survey gear from the previous junction, and we headed off (left at second junction) to check the other end of this slightly-larger passage. Everyone agreed that this was a cracking horizontal level. Very nice walking-sized!

The previous group (whose identity remains to me as nebulous and vague as their cave descriptions) had apparently concluded that "you'll need bolts and rope to push any of the leads". Total bollocks. We did find a quite sketchy looking climb overlooking the virgin passage floor, but there were two different crawling ways to bypass it! After this initial reccy we reconvened and distributed survey gear. I was to get to grips with the CHECC disto, entrusted to me by Luke that morning. Rad wanted to do the drawing. I had forgotten to pack any station-marking stuff, but luckily Luke had some nail varnish in his pocket. We reckonned we had an hour and a half to push, and with no bolting necessary, the excitement of potentially hundreds of metres of 3x3m phreatic tube became evident in everyone's voices.

So, on to the description itself. The phreatic tube trends uphill, with a vadose trench in the bottom taking the water gradually deeper and out of sight and earshot. Where the passage jumps up a dodgy climb, the safer way on is through one of two little holes down and to the left - the leftmost a low crawl, and slightly to the right of that a narrowish slot. After these, a small chamber with boulders on the floor

Crawl. We managed to shoot the lazer straight through a tiny window, avoiding the need to survey the crooked oxbow crawl round the right. Now in another small chamber, but open both forwards/left up a slope, and vertically/right into the big tube, where we were later able to survey the loop (seems to be a near-oxbow of the phreas, which was undercut to make this 3-way big junction with a fourth crawly way that we had just come through). We progressed forwards up the slope, and the 3x3m tube meanders around for m. The floor of the tube is covered with sandy mud that seems to have a darkened crust. Very easy to follow the path established by the first person. About halfway along Luke dropped his nail-varnish, so we resorted to scratching in the mud on the walls. There is a bit of a climb up before a steep slide down a sandy slope. Take care to avoid falling in the hole at the bottom - it looks like a soft landing because of the pile of sand, but I've no idea how you would get out of that chamber - it looks a bit like the whole tube has a false floor in that area. Anyway, the tube continues, eventually changing in profile to more of a tall 2x5m elipse. The noise of the stream can now be heard again - far below, but I suppose cascading more steeply and so making a louder sound. Eventually we reached a sloping-sided hole in the floor, obviously wet at the bottom, QMc, with the same old tube heading up to the right, QMa, and a bottomless traverse on the opposite side of the hole, QMb. All of these will require either bolting of a traverse across the hole or a spiderman-like grip and balls of steel. I would prefer the bolted traverse option.

We still had over half an hour to go, so we returned ot one of the side passages we had noticed earlier. Climbing back up that steep sandy slope was interesting - everyone had a different method; running full pelt, desperate scrambling, chimping up the wall, etc. Rad was about to zoom off when I called him back - "You do know I won't be able to do anything from up here, don't you?" he observed. "Yes, but I don't want to die alone!". Cautiously attempting to disturb the sand as little as possible, I delicately levitated myself to a position of safety.

It was only a couple of legs into the side passage that it started going crazy. A-leads to the left, A and B-leads to the right, leads below - way too much to do any justice to in the time we had left. Clearly the polite thing to do was to leave it for some lucky bastard next year. There's enough down there for two simultaneous survey groups.

Derig - I was to go up the big pitch with one bag of rope, Radost to follow with the drill and batteries, then pass it to me to put in the top of the 70m bag at Ulysses. I was so mentally beasted from prusiking with a palpable twang on every bounce, at least until I passed the rub-point, and then He-Manning it past that rebelay, that I completely forgot about Rad's bag until I was about to go past Ulysses. I backtracked and hauled his bag up the little pitch for him, packed it in the top of the rope bag there, and with two heavy bags proceded up the free-climb. I had a bit of a sense of humour failure at the top, and having overheard Max "so how many bags do you have, Rad?" "At the moment, precisely zero!" I foisted the heavier one back onto him, selfishly thinking that it would be better for the first person to travel light and quick. Even one bag on that traverse was troublesome, and so when at the top of the next pitch I heard Rad swearing his way through with two, I decided to redeem myself and took back one of them.

It was slow progress up the rest of the cave, barely keeping ahead of the deriggers (Luke and Max). At another free-climb I reaslised after >10 minutes of struggling that it was much easier to just throw the bags up and then chimp up after them. At the surface, I debagged and lay looking at the stars for a couple of minutes, before returning to the first pitch to take Rad's bag. He was decidedly less talkative than usual, and had the look of a man who needs a break - "it's just quite a heavy bag for a first trip" - I was inclined to agree. I saw another 3 meteors in the space of 20 seconds before going back to sketch a rudimentary diagram of the entrance traverses and take one bag from Max, and then back again for another. Realistically, it was the easiest bit of the bag carry, but it was hard thinking of Luke and Max doing all that work and not trying to help out.

The decision to leave all the tackle sacks at the entrance was endorsed unanimously. I poured myself a large Schnapps and followed everyone in double-curry dinner and falling asleep immediately.
T/U: 0.0 hours

Christopher Holt, Philip Sargent,
115 - Schnellzughöhle

On the way back from KH entrance, Chris and I detoured to 115 to get 6 litres of water as we were very thirsty. Also took out the museli and flapjack. Left ~4 litres of water and a orange polythene swirl ('survival'?) bag.
T/U 0 mins
T/U: 0.0 hours