The

Bristol

Exploration Club, The Belfry,

Wells
Road
, Priddy, Nr. Wells, Som.  Telephone: Wells 72126.

The views expressed by contributors to the Belfry Bulletin,
including those of club officers, are not necessarily the views of the
committee of the Bristol Exploration Club or the Editor, unless so stated.  The Editor cannot guarantee that the accuracy
of information contained in the contributed matter, as it cannot normally be
checked in the time at his disposal.

Editor: D.J. Irwin, Townsend Cottage, Priddy, Nr. Wells,

Somerset
.  Telephone: Priddy 369.

Paul Esser Memorial Lecture, 1980

Oliver Lloyd has sent the following notice:

MARTYN FARR on CAVE
DIVING

The lecture is on Wednesday, 13th February, 1980, at 8.15
pm. in the Tyndall Memorial Theatre, Department of Physics,

Tyndall Avenue,
Bristol

8.

Martyn Farr, aged 28, is one of our Ace Cave Divers.  He started cave diving in 1970 and has done
notable dives, extending to their utmost limits such caves as Wookey Hole, P8
in Derbyshire, Dan yr Ogof, Porth yr Ogof, Ogof Afon Hepste and all principal
caves in Co. Fermanagh.

He has written a book about cave diving called ‘The Darkness
Beckons’ which will be published in February 1980.

He is an experienced lecturer with a nice easy style and
lots of beautiful photographs, including underwater shots, which he takes
himself.

As usual admission will be free.  Those coming from a distance may have seats
reserved for them, if they will write and give me the numbers in their party.

Oliver C. Lloyd, M.D., Trustee
Withey House,
Withey Close West,

Bristol,
BS9 3SX

 

Notices

Next month in the B.B. Solutions to the X Word in August BB;
articles by Derek Sanderson; Martin Grass, Trev Hughes and Stu Linsey among
others …..this Xmas issue promises to be a good read….

*****************************************

BELFRY FEES – change of rates

Hut
Fees:
                               Members
50p
       Guests
£1.00

Camping:                                Members
50p
       Guests
£1.00

Day
Fees:
                              Members
25p
       Guests
£.0.50

CLUB OFFICERS FOR THE YEAR 1979/80 as elected at the Annual
General meeting.

Hon. Secretary:

Tim Large

Wells 73960 (work)

Hon. Treasurer:

Sue Tucker

Radstock 35165 (home)

Hut Warden:

Garth Dell

Telford 6013 Ext 326

 

 

(work – ask for Garth)

Hut Engineer:

Nigel Taylor

Wells 72338

Tacklemaster:

John Dukes

Wells 75686 (work)

Caving Secretary:

Martin Grass

Luton 35145

B.B. Editor:

Dave Irwin

Priddy 369

Committee Members

Graham Wilton-Jones

Aylesbury 28270

 

(Committee Chairman)

 

 

Stuart Lindsey

(ex-directory)

 

Non-Committee Posts:

Librarian:


 


 


 

Sales
Officer:


 


 


 

Publications
Editor:

Tony Jarrett
& Chris Batstone.

NB. All
postal deliveries to be sent as usual to D.J. Irwin, Townsend Cottage,
Priddy, Nr. Wells, Somerset.


 

Surveys:
Graham Wilton-Jones

Carbide: Hut
Warden – Garth Dell

Boots: Hut
Warden or Hon. Sec. – Tim Large.


 

To be
announced.

 

More club notes:

Key holders for the tackle store and Library will be listed
in the December B.B.

To ensure that accurate accounts of sales of carbide can be
kept will members please let Garth Dell have as many Marvel tins or similar, as
you can muster.  Members will remember
that this is the way in which we sold carbide in the past.  Each type of container can be weighed and the
amount of your sale recorded in the paying-in book.  Throw away your old bags but keep your tins!

A basic supply of tackle will be kept in the Belfry and the
tackle store which will suffice for general needs.  Members requiring large quantities for away
trips should apply to John Dukes in the first instance.  John is on the telephone or if that is not
convenient then drop him a letter – giving him plenty of warning so that
arrangements for the pick-up can be made. When returning the tackle make sure that it is clean and dry and make
sure that it is returned to John in person. DO NOT LEAVE RETURNED TACKLE IN THE BELFRY OR ELSEWHERE ON SITE.

 

Lifeline

…..a regular column by
our Hon. Secretary Tim Large….

The new Club year begins with 224 members in the Club.  Of those 76 voted in the committee
elections.  The A.G.M. was poorly
attended with only some 40 members being present.

A REMINDER…..SUBS ARE NOW DUE and should be paid by the 31st
December 1978.  To enable the club to
function various projects it would be appreciated if you could all pay your sub
as soon as possible.  The new
subscription rates below:

Full member      £8.00

Joint member     £12.00

Junior member   £6.00

The Committee has three main items to action from the
A.G.M.:

1.                  Fund raising scheme for Belfry Improvements.

2.                  Insurance to cover all members and Cuthbert’s
Leaders when caving.

3.                  Mike Wheadon submitted some criticisms of the
Club Constitution.  A Sub-Committee is to
be formed to consider it.

At the October Committee Meeting the Hut Fees were increased
(the new rates are given on page 1). Over several years much has been said about arrears of Hut Fees by some
people.  I can see no reason why anyone
should be in this position.  You know
what they are, so make sure you have got the money.  Everyone always seems to have enough for
beer, but never for Hut Fees!

The Digging Competition between ourselves and the

Wessex

is being fiercely contested.  In recent
weeks new passage has been found by one or both every weekend.  Pete and Alison Moody are working in
Swildon’s Shatter Series with good results. We are relying on Manor Farm which has recently yielded 70ft of new
passage at the lower end of NHASA Gallery. Also some new passage has been found in Long Chamber Extension,
Cuthbert’s.

The Committee has been approached by the M.R.O. regarding
installation of a radio transmitter/receiver at their depot in the Stone
Belfry.  It is proposed to have a base
station there with remote unit wire to a position by the telephone in the
Belfry.  This was approved by the
Committee.  Included with the equipment
is a mobile radio for car installation and a portable personal unit.  This will greatly improve communication
during rescue work and enable cavers and equipment to be summoned quicker.

ADDRESS CHANGE: Jim Smart, 73 Queen’s Road,
Clifton,

Bristol
.

*****************************************

BCA WINTER MEET in Teacher Training Centre, Wells.  DECEMBER 8th.

Lectures commence at 2.00 with William Stanton on new
information gathered from new bore holes; Chris Hawkes talking on Westbury Quarry; Fred Davies on the epic Cowsh
Aven dig ending with a discussion on recent radio locations at Wookey.  ‘Prew’ will be giving a talk on the equipment
used in Wookey.


 


Bristol

Exploration Club – Membership List October 1979

828 Nicolette Abell               Michaelmas
Cottage, Faulkland,

Bath

20 L Bob Bagshaw              

699 Wells Road
,
Knowle,
Bristol,
Avon

392 L Mike Baker                 10
Riverside Walk, Midsomer Norton,
Bath,
Avon

901 Richard Barker               40b

Croxteth Road
,
Liverpool 8

295 Arthur Ball                    

4
Charlotte Street
, Cheadle,

Cheshire

892 Marlon Barlow                93
Norton drive, Norton tower, Halifax,
West Yorkshire

818 Chris Batstone              

8 Prospect Place
,
Bathford,
Bath,
Avon

390 L Joan Bennett              

8 Radnor Road
,
Wesbury-on-Trym,

Bristol

214 L Roy Bennett               

8 Radnor Road
,
Wesbury-on-Trym,

Bristol

860 Glenys Beszant            

14 Westlea Road
,
Warmley, Broxbourne, Herts.


731 Bob Bidmead                 Valley
Way
,

Middle Street, East
Harptree,

Bristol

720 Martin Bishop                Bishops
Cottage, Priddy

364 L Pete Blogg                 

5 Tyrolean Court
,
Cheviot Close, Avenue Rd., Banstead,
Surrey

336 L A. Bonner                   Crags
Farm Close, Little Broughton, Cokermouth,

Cumberland

145 L Sybil Bowden-Lyle      

111

London
Road
, Calne, Wiltshire

883 B. Bowers                     44
Manor way, Bagshot,
Surrey

959 Chris Bradshaw             

9 Colles Road
,
Wells,

Somerset

868 Dany Bradshaw              7
Creswicke,

Bristol

751 L T.A. Brookes              

87 Wyatt Road,

London
, SW2

891 Neil Raynor Brown          25
Lingfield Park, Evesham, Worcs.

687 V. Brown                      

3 Cross Street
,
Kingswood,

Bristol

756 Tessa Burt                    

66 Roundwood Lane
,
Harpendon, Herts

777 Ian Calder                      22
Greenways, Lydney, Gloucestershire

778 Penelope Calder             22
Greenways, Lydney, Gloucestershire

956 Ian Caldwell                   44
Strode Road, Clevedon,
Avon.

955 Jack Calvert                   4
The Hollow, Dilton Marsh, Westbury, Wiltshire.

929 Jane Carson                  Basement
Flat, 8
Worcester terrace,
Clifton,

Bristol
8

902 Martin Cavendar             The
Old Rectory, Westbury-sub-Mendip, Wells,

Somerset

903 Francisca Cavendar        The
Old Rectory, Westbury-sub-Mendip, Wells,

Somerset

785 Paul Christie                  7
The Glen,

London Road
,
Sunninghill,
Ascot, Berks

782 Patricia Christie             7
The Glen,

London Road
,
Sunninghill,
Ascot, Berks

655 Colin Clark                    

186
Cranbrook Road
, Redland,

Bristol

211 L Clare Coase                The
Belfry, 10 Shannon Parade,
Berkeley-Vale,
New South Wales, 2259,

Australia

89 L Alfie Collins                  Lavendar
Cottage, Bishop Sutton, Nr Bristol,

Somerset

377 L D. Cooke-Yarborough   No known
address

862 Bob Cork                       25
The Mead, Stoke St. Michael,

Somerset

585 Tony Corrigan               

139 Stockwood Lane
,
Stockwood,

Bristol

827 Mike Cowlishaw             14
Plovers Down, Olivers Battery,

Winchester

890 Jerry Crick                     Whitestones
farm, Cheddar Cross Roads, Compton Martin, Nr. Bristol

680 Bob Cross                    

42 Baynham Road
,
Knowle,

Bristol

870 Gary Cullen                  
47 Eversfield Road,
Horsham,

Sussex

405 L Frank Darbon             

PO Box 325,
Vernon,
British Columbia,
Canada

423 L Len Dawes                  The
Lodge,

Main Street
,
Minster Matlock, Derbyshire

449 Garth Dell                      AI
5 Printing, HQNI, BFPO 825.

710 Colin Dooley                 

51 Osmaston Road
,
Harbourne,

Birmingham

7

829 Angela Dooley              

51 Osmaston Road
,
Harbourne,

Birmingham

7

164 L Ken Dobbs                 

85 Fox Rd.
, Beacon
Heath,
Exeter,
Devon

830 John Dukes                   Bridge
Farm, Dulcote, Wells,

Somerset

847 Michael Durham            
11 Catherine Place,

Bath

925 Gillian Durrant                14
St. Andrews road, Broadstone,
Dorset

779 Jim Durston                   Hill
View, Old Beat, Maidentown, Nr. Burlescombe, Tiverton,
Devon

322 L Bryan Ellis                 

30 Main Road
,
Westonzoyland, Bridgwater,

Somerset

232 Chris Falshaw               

23 hallam Grange Crescent
,
Sheffield

909 Helen Fielding                175
Bramley lane, Hipperholme,
Halifax,
West Yorkshire

269 L Tom Fletcher              

11 Cow Lane
,
Bramcote,
Nottingham.

894 Phil Ford                      

40
Station Road
,
Greenfield
, Holywell, Clwyd,
North Wales

404 L Albert Francis            

22 Hervey Road
,
Wells,

Somerset

569 Joyce Franklin              

16 Glen Drive
,
Stoke Bishop,

Bristol

469 Pete Franklin                

16 Glen Drive
,
Stoke Bishop,

Bristol

835 Leonard Gee                  15
warren Close,
Denton,

Manchester

265 Stan Gee                      

26 Parsonage Street
,
Heaton Norris,
Stockport.

752 M. Glanville                    Jocelyn
House Mews, 18a High street, Chard

894 Bruce Glocking              213
St. Leonards,

Horsham,
Sussex

647 Dave Glover                   c/o
Leisure,

Green Lane
,
Pamber Green,
Basingstoke, Hampshire

927 Richard Gough              

35
Gladstone Road
, Ashstead,
Surrey

928 Jenny Gough                

35
Gladstone Road
, Ashstead,
Surrey

790 Martin Grass                 

14 Westlea Road
,
Wormley, Broxbourne, Herts

432 L Nigel Hallet                

62 Cranbrook Road,
Bristol

910 Sandra Halliday             

22 Whitcocks Road
,
Hanham,

Bristol

104 L Mervyn Hannam         

14 Inskip Place
, St
Annes,
Lancashire

4 L Dan Hassell                    Hill
House, Moorlynch, Bridgwater,

Somerset

893 Dave Hatherley              

6 Withiel Drive
,
Cannington,
Bridgewater,

Somerset

942 Robin Hayler                  39
Ditching Hill,
Southgate, West

Crawley,
Sussex

935 Lynne Hendy                

10 Silver Street
,
Wells,

Somerset

691 Dudley Herbert              

20 Runswick Road
,
Brislington,

Bristol

917 Robin Hervin                  12

York
Buildings
, Trowbridge, Wiltshire

863 John Hildrick                  Tarngulla,

Old Bristol Road
,
Priddy

952 Robert Hill                     32
Ridings Mead, Chippenham, Wiltshire

773 Rodney

Hobbs
               Rose Cottage, Nailsea

373 Sid Hobbs                     Hokestone
Cottage, Townsend, Priddy

736 Sylvia Hobbs                  Hokestone
Cottage, Townsend, Priddy

905 Paul Hodgson                15
Cromwell Terrace,

Chatham,
Kent

960 Alicia Hodgson               15
Cromwell Terrace,

Chatham,
Kent

793 Mike Hogg                     32
Birchley Heath,
Nuneaton, Warks

898 Liz Hollis                       1
Bugle Cottage, Milborne Wick, Nr Sherborne,
Dorset

899 Tony Hollis                    1
Bugle Cottage, Milborne Wick, Nr Sherborne,
Dorset

920 Nick Holstead                Little
Maplecroft,

Bath Road
,
Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire

387 L George Honey             Droppsta,
19044,

Odensala,
Sweden

808 John Hunt                     

35 Congre Road
,
Filton,

Bristol

923 Trevor Hughes                Wardroom,
HMS Bulwark, BFPO Ships,

London

855 Ted Humphreys              Frekes
Cottage, Moorsite, Marnhull, Sturminster Newton, Dorset

363 Maurise Isles                 50
Warman, Stockwood,

Bristol

954 Elaine Isles                    50
Warman, Stockwood,

Bristol

906 Annette Ingleton            

Seymour
Cottage, Hinton
St. Mary, Sturminster Newton, Dorset

73 Angus Innes                    18
David’s Close, Alveston,

Bristol
,
Aven

168 Margaret Innes               18
David’s Close, Alveston,

Bristol
,
Aven

540 L Dave Irwin                   Townsend
Cottage, Townsend, Priddy,

Somerset

922 Tony Jarratt                   Alwyn
Cottage,

Station Road
,
Congressbury,

Bristol

340 Russ Jenkins                 10,
Amberley Close, Downend,

Bristol

51 L A Johnson                   
Warren Cottage,

Station
Rd.
, Flax Bourton,

Bristol

560 L Frank Jones               

103 Wookey Hole Road
,
Wells,

Somerset

285 U. Jones                        Woking
Grange,

Oriental Road
,
Woking,
Surrey

907 Karen Jones                  Room
63, New End Nurses Home, New End Hospital, Hampstead, London NW3

567 L Alan Kennett               9
Hillburn, Henleaze,

Bristol

884 John King                     

4 Nightingale Road,
Langley
Green,

Crawley,
Sussex

316 L Kangy King                 22
Parkfield Rank, Pucklechurch,
Bristol,
Avon

542 L Phil Kingston             
257 Pemona Street,
Invercargill,

New Zealand

413 L R. Kitchen                  Overcombe,
Horrabridge, Yelverton,
Devon

904 Calvin Knight                  Crossways.
Hillesley, Wootton under Edge, Gloucestershire

 John Knops                         IDA Cottage,

235 Englishcombe Lane,
Bath

946 Alex Ragar Knutson      

21
Milford Street
, Southville,

Bristol

874 Dave Lampard                Woodpeckers,

11 Springfield Park Road,
Horsham,
Sussex

667 L Tim Large                   53
Portway, Wells,

Somerset

795 Peter Leigh                    5
Armoured Workshops, BFPO 126, Enkessen

958 Fiona Lewis                   53
Portway,  Wells,

Somerset

930 Stuart Lindsay               5
Laburnum Walk, Keynsham, Bristil

574 L Oliver Lloyd                 Withey
House, Withey Close West, Westbury-on-Trym,

Bristol

58 George Lucy                    Pike
Croft, Long Lane, Tilehurst,

Reading
,
Berks

495 L Val Luckwill               

8 Greenslade Road
,
Sedgeley hill, Dudley, Worcs.

550 L R A MacGregor           12
Douro Close, Baughurst,
Basingstoke, Hants

725 Stuart McManus            33
Welford Avenue, Wells,

Somerset

106 L E.J. Mason                 33
Bradleys Avenue, Henleaze,

Bristol

957 Dave Morrison                27
Maurice Walk,

London

NW1

558 L Tony Meaden              Highcroft,
Westbury, Bradford Abbas, Sherborne, Dorset

963 Clare Merritt                  

9 Pipsmore Road
,
Chippenham, Wiltshire

704 Dave Metcalfe               

10 Troughton Crescent
,
Blackpool, Lancs.

931
Warren Miner-Williams  

5
Somerset Crescent
, Stoke Gifford,

Bristol

308
Keith Murray                  17
Harrington
Gardens,

London
 SW7

936 Dave Nicholls                

2 Hartley Road,
Exeter
,
Devon

852 John Noble                    18
Hope Place,

Tennis Court

Road, Paulton

880 Graham Nye                 

7 Ramsey Road
,
Horsham,
Surrey

938 Kevin O’Neil                   99
Forest Road, Melksham, Wiltshire

624 J. Orr                            8
Wellington Terrace, Winklebury,
Basingstoke, Hants

396 L Mike Palmer              
Laurel Farm, YarleyHill, Yarley, Wells,

Somerset

22 L Les Peters                   

21 Melbury Rd.
,
Knowle
Park,
Bristol
Avon

499 L A. Philpott                 

3 Kings Drive
,
Bishopston,
Bristol,
Avon

961 Mick Phinister               

4 Old Mill Lane,
Inverness,
Scotland

724 Graham Phippen            Rock
Cottage,

Rock Road
,
Wick,

Bristol

944 Steve Plumley                4
Rickford, Lane, Burrington, Nr. Bristol

337 Brian Prewer                  East
View, West Horrington, Wells,

Somerset

622 Colin Priddle                  PO
Box 14048, Wadeville 1422,

South
Africa

481 L John Ransom             

21 Bradley Rd.
,
Patchway,
Bristol,
Avon

452 L Pam Rees                  No
Known Address

343 L A Rich                       

Box 126,
Basham,
Alberta
Canada

940 Chris Richards               11
Highland Close, Worley, Weston-super-Mare,
Avon

672 L R Richards                 

PO Box 141
, Jacobs,

Natal,
South
Africa

945 Steve Robins                 16
Hillcrest, Knowle,

Bristol

921 Pete Rose                     2
The Beacon, Ilminster

918 Richard Round              

131 Middleton Road
,
Banbury, Oxfordshire

932 Theresa Rumble             29
Cotham Road, Cotham,

Bristol

832 Roger Sabido                 15
Concorde drive, Westbury-on-Trym,

Bristol

941 John Sampson               8
Hillcrest, Knowle,

Bristol

240 L Alan Sandall               43
Meadway Ave., Nailsea,
Avon

359 L Carol Sandall              43
Meadway Ave., Nailsea,
Avon

760 Jenny Sandercroft          5
Eastcroft, Henleaze,

Bristol

747 D.R. Sanderson             2
Drake Close, Poulder, Ringwood, Hants.

237 L B. Scott                      Merrymead,

Havestock Road,
Winchester
Hants

78 L R.A. Setterington         

4 Galmington Lane,
Taunton
,

Somerset

213 L R. Setterington           

4 Cavendish Road
,
Chiswick,

London

W4

872 Mark Sherman               Wood
View, Grey Field, High Litton

926 Steve Short                    Flat
6, 68
Upper
Church
road, Weston-super-Mare,
Avon

915 Chris Smart                   15
Timor Close,
Popley
Islands,
Basingstoke,
Hants

911 James Smart                 c/o

72 Winchester Road
,
Brislington,

Bristol

950 Steve Smith                   39
Tintagel Road, Keynsham,

Bristol

951 Roger Smith                  39
Tintagel Road, Keynsham,

Bristol

851 Maurice Stafford             28
Rowan Close, Sonning Common,

Reading
,
Berks.

1 L Harry Stanbury               31
Belvoir Road, St. Andrews,

Bristol

38L Mrs I Stanbury               74
Redcatch, Knowle,

Bristol

840 G. Standring                  71
Vienna Road, Edgeley, Stockport,

Chester

575 L D. Statham                 The
Bungallow, North Barrow, Yeovil,

Somerset

365 L Roger Stenner             18
Stafford Place, Weston super Mare,
Avon

837 Richard Stevenson         Greystones,
Priddy

962 Christine Stewart            15

Ashford Road,
Portsmouth
,
Hants.

865 Paul Stokes                  

32 Manor Way
,
Bagshot,
Surrey

583 Derek Targett                 North
Hall Cottage, Chilcompton

772 Nigel Taylor                   Whidden
Farm, Chilcote, Nr Wells,

Somerset

284 L Allan Thomas              Allens
House, Nine Barrows Lane, Priddy,

Somerset

348 L D Thomas                   Pendant,
Little Birch, Bartlestree,

Hereford

571 L N Thomas                   Holly
Lodge,

Norwich Rd.
,
Salhouse,
Norwich,

Norfolk
.

876 Nick Thorne                   20
Hawkers Lane, Wells,

Somerset

699 Buckett Tilbury               15
Fernie Fields,
High Wycombe, Bucks

700 Anne Tilbury                  15
Fernie Fields,
High Wycombe, Bucks

692 Roger Toms                   18
Hoton Road, Wysemold, Leicester

803 R.S. Toms                     18
Hoton Road, Wysemold, Leicester

80 J.M. Postle Tompsett       11
Lodge Avenue, Great Baddow,
Chelmsford,
Essex

74 L M.J. Dizzie Tompsett    

11 Lodge Avenue
,
Great Baddow,
Chelmsford,
Essex

381 L Daphne Towler            7
Ross Close, Nyetimber,

Bognor Regis,
Sussex

157 L J. Tuck                       3
Crown Rise, Llanfrechfa, Cwmbran, Gwent,

Wales

382 Steve Tuck                    Colles
Close, Wells,

Somerset

768 Tony Tucker                   75
Lower Whitelands, Tynings, Radstock,
Avon

769 Sue Tucker                    75
Lower Whitelands, Tynings, Radstock,
Avon

678 Dave Turner                   Moonrakers,

Brewery Lane
,
Holcombe,

Bath

912 John Turner                    Orchard
Cottage, 92 Church lane, Backwell,
Avon

635 L S. Tuttlebury               28
Beacon Close, Boundstone, Farnham,
Surrey

887 Greg Villis                     The
Oaks,

Round Oak Road
,
Cheddar,

Somerset

175 L D. Waddon                 32
Laxton Close,
Taunton,

Somerset

933 Dianne Walker               8
New Buildings, frome

949 John Watson                

113 Abbey Road
,
Westbury-on-Trym,

Bristol

953 Jim Watson                   c/o
15 Farm Grove, Southfields,
Rugby, Warks.

592 Eddie Welch                 

18 Station Road
,
Filton,

Bristol

397 Mike Wheadon               91
The Oval,

Bath

861 Maureen Wheadon         91 The
Oval,

Bath

553 Bob White                     Cedar
Hall,

Henley Lane
,
Wookey, Wells,

Somerset

878 Ross White                   PO38389Y,
5 Troop, B. Company, 40 Commando Royal Marines,

Northern Ireland
, BFPO 802

939 Wally Wilkinson            

17 Kings Street
,
Melksham, Wiltshire

940 Val Wilkinson               

17 Kings Street
,
Melksham, Wiltshire

934 Colin Williams                Whitestones
Farm, Cheddar Cross Roads,
Compton Martin,

Bristol

885 Claire Williams               Whitestones
Farm, Cheddar Cross Roads,
Compton Martin,

Bristol

916 Jane Wilson                   University
lab of Psychology,

Park Road,
Oxford

559 Barry Wilton                  Valley
View,

27 Venus Lane
,
Clutton,

Bristol

568 Brenda Wilton                Valley
View,

27 Venus Lane
,
Clutton,

Bristol

721 Graham

Wilton
-Jones    

24
Redland Way
, Aylesbury, Bucks

850 Annie
Wilton-Jones        Cwm Dwr,

110 Pierce Avenue
, Olton, Solihul,
West Midlands

813 Ian
Wilton-Jones            Cwm Dwr,

110 Pierce Avenue
, Olton, Solihul,
West Midlands

943 Simon Woodman           Link
Batch, Burrington, Nr Bristol,
Avon

877 Steve Woolven               21
Three Acres,

Horsham,
Sussex

914 Brian Workman              11
Moreland, 11 New
Bath Road, Radstock,

Bath

937 Sue Yea                        Bridge
Farm, Dulcote, Nr. Wells,

Somerset

 

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Dachstein 1979

by Graham Wilton-Jones.

The results of last year’s expedition were published in the
BB, vol.32, no.10, Oct. ’78, no.366, and vol.33, no.2, Feb ’79, no.370.

This year there were'” fourteen of us on the plateau,
including eleven cavers – Throstle, Mervyn and Dave of Valley Caving Club,
Buckett, Ann and Tina, Stu Lindsay, Chris Smart, Big Jim Watson, Andy Sparrow
and friend Dave, Trev Hughes, J-Rat and G. W-J. The main batch of us left

Britain
on July 20th, Trev on his
bike and five of us in Stu’s car, loaded with roof rack and trailer.  In the Autobahn traffic jams we amused
ourselves cadging beer from passing American servicemen, Stu taking a thousand
photographs through the windscreen, and J-Rat, now on the bike, showing off by
simultaneously smoking beer swilling and running over a beautiful pair of
sunglasses.  On the open road I amused
myself by trying to burn out Stu’s gear box – I got it to the clouds of white
smoke stage.  Three days later we were
firmly installed in Der Glocken, field H.Q. of the B.E.C in

Austria
a
small, comfortable hut next to the Wiesberghaus.  The three V.C.C members were already there,
along with an edible dormouse who raided the larder frequently.  Rat and I sensibly ate in the Wiesberghaus.

During the previous five weeks the region had suffered rain
almost every day and the plateau was very wet, but it did mean that there was
much less snow than last year.  Our first
task was to continue the exploration of C19, Maulwurfhohle, below the 10m shaft
discovered last year.  Early on Monday
Thros, Dave and Merv set off to rig down to and re-bolt Dorisschacht, using the
Hilti gear we had acquired from the Himalayan expedition.  To their dismay they found that the threaded
portion of the eyebolts was too long. J-Rat and Big Jim entered the cave a little later but Jim found the
squeeze in Gargantuagang a little difficult to negotiate and backed out, minus
parts of his Enduro suit.  J-Rat went on
to the head of Dorisschacht and. dropped 100′ of ladder – to the bottom.  Things were not starting out too well, it
seemed.

Chris and I rigged a telephone line across 1500m of lapiaz
to C19 entrance, and returned to the hut for some more wire (where did Buzby’s
profits go?) where we met Siegfried Gamsjager. Siegfried is the manager of the Dachstein show cave, an excellent friend
and a useful contact.  He came back with
us into C19 as we rigged more line through the narrow, twisting Gargantuagang
to the head of the first pitch, Platzlschacht.

Stu and Trev spent the beginning of this first full day on
the plateau in finding and levelling a place to pitch their tent.  Throughout the expedition, come rain, wind,
storm and tempest, their tent stood firm, and empty!  During their search for a suitable, site they
had been diverted somewhat upon finding three holes – C33, C34 and C35.  The last two were short shafts but the first
went in 63m to a shaft about 10m deep, for which they decided a ladder was
required.  Much was their disappointment
the following day when they descended the shaft to find a chamber with a cairn.  Underneath was a note indicating that one
Siegfried Mittendorfer had explored the cave in 1961.  To cap it all S.M. turned up at the
Weisberghous later in the week with his nine year old daughter, and together
they descended the cave and both free-climbed down the shaft!

Tuesday was met with low cloud initially but this cleared a
little towards the end of the day.  Merv,
J-rat and Jim descended C19 and dropped TTFN shaft, left from last year.  The passage continued, high but not wide, to
a very narrow and damp 6m pitch almost immediately followed by a bigger pitch.  They returned after a nine hour trip to make
their way back across the lapiaz in the dark. This latter became a commonplace occurrence, poor weather keeping us in
the hut until late, and lone trips meaning we came out at midnight or after as
often as not.

We had been lucky to find a good file among the tools at the
Wiesberghaus and were able to cut the bolts shorter, but we then found trouble
removing the spent cones from the bolting tool. Clearly we were going to be beset with troubles.  Chris and I descended Platzlschacht with the
telephone line but I dropped a bag of gear, including precious and fragile
jumars, all the way to the bottom. Thereafter began an inventory of dropped equipment, and it grew
impressively long.

Chris and I came out and joined Stu and Trev in a search
along the base of Niederer Grunberg near the region of an avalanche of huge,
fallen blocks, which we nicknamed the ‘Titans’. Stu climbed about on the cliff face and discovered C36, an enlarging
bedding plane high up in the cliffs, and C37, a 7m snow plugged shaft,
concealed from below by debris.  Down
below we found C38, a deep, angled shaft; C39, a horizontal tunnel in the west
side of the valley and close to C38; C48, a  m. shaft next to a 3m
horizontal hole south of the Titans; and C49, a slope on snow, following the
bedding, 100m north west of the Titans. Towards the end of the expedition Stu returned to C38 for a more
detailed look and found the shaft to be at least 2 m deep and possibly wet.

Last year we had noticed a large hole in though south east
face of the Niederer Grunberg about 100m from the summit and some 250m above
the Schladmingerloch.  We considered the
possibility of abseiling to the hole from the top of the cliff.  We felt that there was every likelihood that
the hole would lead to the top of C19, perhaps into the big aven, Aufartz,
above Platzlschacht.  Early on the
Wednesday, in beautiful weather, we climbed up through Schladmingerloch and on
to the summit of Niederer Grunberg. After admiring and photographing the impressive views, we climbed down
an obvious chute between the two summits and, directed by Thros and Chris we
were on the scree slopes of Ochsen Kogel opposite, we attempted to reach the
hole.  We had tried this communication
using walkie-talkies but found that shouting was clearer – we were 600m apart
and the acoustics would have blown Wig’s mind. Finding a distinct lack of belays, a lot of very sharp rock ideal for
destroying SRT rope and those hanging thereon, and many loose boulders, Stu tried
to sweep us all from the face with one the size of the Belfry stove, causing
incredible echoes around the Schladmingerloch, I chickened out of the
abseil.  Everyone gave sighs of relief
and we headed back to the top.

Stu had found an 8m shaft a little below the summit, C40,
just too narrow to enter because of boulders at the head.  We descended the hill via the north-west
slopes, having to search among the cliffs for a safe route down.  Here we came upon C41, a shaft over 10 m.
deep, and a little bellow this was C42, a series of deep rifts curving in under
the hill  Halfway between here and the
Titans, in the same valley we had been in the previous day, J-Rat found a shaft
blocked with boulders at the top.  Using
another boulder he demolished this obstruction to reveal a deep, widish rift,
C43.  Five other sites had been found or
looked at today; C44 is a 10m long 30O slope under a dead tree (there are not
many of these) in the valley near the Titans. Its small entrance will probably be difficult to locate in the future;
C45, found by Throstle, is a bell shaped 20 m shaft close to the edge of
Herrengasse; half way along the north-west face of Ochsem Kogl a 2m by 1.5m
entrance leads to 15m of passage heading 45O to the cliff face.  This is C46; C47 close is by.  A 5m high by 3m wide entrance leads past a
waterfall to 12m of passage; Trev and Merv had a look at the obvious, large
square alcove in the cliffs of Hoher Grunberg, behind Schladmingerloch, but it
was snow blocked after only 6m.  It was
designated C50.

  On Thursday we were
to meet Siegfried for a trip into the further reaches of the
Dachsteinmammuthohle.  Once again it was
a beautiful day and we set off for the Gjaidalm (ski school and alpine hut)
where we sipped beer or tee-mit-citron while we waited for Merv, who had
mistakenly headed towards the Simonyhutte. There are two cable cars form near the Gjaidalm – the military seilbahn
goes down direct to Obertraun (near Hallsatt lake) while the Dachstein seilbahn
goes via Krippenstein and the Dachstaein show caves (our destination).  Taking time over his tea and not knowing the
geography of the area, Big Jim got split up from us and went to the military
seilbahn.  We would have not worried
unduly only he had the 100 m rope required for a big shaft in the Mammuthohle
(no-one else wanted to carry it).  He
finally arrived in the correct place about an hour late and we set off into the
cave.  Most of the section of the
Mammuthohle that we traversed consisted of large phreatic tunnels (up to 10 m
in diameter) floored with extensive mud fill. Passing through the show cave we followed the draught to the head of
Theseusschacht, for which we used the 100m rope.  We climbed out of the shaft just above the
bottom, into a tube that is more than half filled with a dry and dusty
clay.  Here, on carbide blackened tablets
of clay we found signatures, and occasional artistry, of the famous, the not so
famous and the infamous.  We added our
own and Seigfried wrote his for the nth time – he leaves his mark every time he
passes that way.  We now followed the
Minotaurusgang, the floor of which is completely covered in mud cracks.  At one point the clay rises nearly to the
roof and the wind whips up disturbed dust into one’s face.  Beyond the site of a small bivouac a few, ancient,
dry stalactites and curtains wriggle down the sloping roof of a phreatic loop
and some lumpy stal clings to the walls. Siegfried is of the opinion that many stals may be hidden beneath the
mud.  Finally we reached the ‘Bock
Stalagmit’.  In 1913 Hermann Bock did a
solo trip along Minotaurusgang and discovered a solitary stalagmite in a small
chamber at one extremity.  Choosing this
sole stal, bless his soul, he put his signature and the date at the top – the
vandal!  Back at the base of
Theseusschacht we made our way up an alternative route Edelweissgang. This is
more homely, English passage with easily traversable and climbable rifts,
followed by a long, steeply ascending bedding plane, coated with wet mud and
peppered with 30 m deep holes to trap the unwary.  Retrieving the rope from the top of the shaft
we made our way to the west entrance, just for a look as Sigfried had no key
for the gate there.  At the junction
between the main cave and the west entrance passage there is an ice lake,
overhung by ice drapery.  At the west
entrance itself is an icy draught. Returning and passing underneath a roof of loosely packed pebble fill,
no doubt thinking about becoming a conglomerate, we quickly made our way out to
the East entrance.  Unfortunately the
restaurant had closed two hours previously, but when you are guests of the
manager…. After a good meal, many beers and a slide show we left six hours
after closing time to stay in a hut nearby.

 

In the morning most people wanted to visit the ice
cave.  This done we made our way back up
to the plateau, taking care not to lose Jim near the military seilbahn
again.  In Barengass (Bear Alloy) Stu and
I had a look at some of the more obvious holes. Emerging from one I noticed some others that could not be seen from the
valley pathway below.  Climbing up an
obvious gully I found one entrance, but it seemed a little narrow.  Traversing round a ledge in the cliff, some
25m above the valley floor, I found two more entrances, and asked Stu to bring
up a torch for them.  One, running
parallel with the cliff, became rather narrow after a short distance, but the
other, Stu observed, had a draught strong enough to blow dust out of the
entrance.  It was designated C51 and the
name is Barengassewindschacht. Collecting some gear from the Weisberghaus, only half an hour away, we
returned with Trev and Jim.  The entrance
was rather low but the floor was only loose rocks and boulders.  I kicked down some of the smaller ones into
the shaft below and then the other three descended the first 6m shaft.  Two ways down followed, joining via a
chamber.  Trev descended a further 8m to
find a short climb down to the head of another 8m shaft.  On the way out, knowing what a passion Trev
has for breaking things, I persuaded him to push the remaining huge boulders
down the first shaft.  He was reluctant
to do this as they formed the floor on which he lay.  I told him to come out and I would do it.  Actually I had no intention of doing it – I’m
not that stupid – but it did the trick. A few Hughesian blows and down plunged half a ton of floor, accompanied
by screams.

Silence.

“Are you all right,
Trev?”

Silence.

“Trev?”

“Yeeeusss”, replied
with a mixture of tremble, whisper and wail.

“Well push the others down
then.”

Two more tons and one hell of a din were accompanied by
banshee howling.  Trevor does not like
boulders.  He received no sympathy or
concern over this time.  We all retreated
to the Weisberghaus for well deserved refreshment.

Saturday dawned wet, with more rain after a night of rain
and storms.  Added to yesterday’s showers
the plateau was very wet once again. Occasional rumbles of thunder could have easily put us all off caving
for the day and sent us scuttling inside for numerous beers and peach cakes but
we foolishly steeled ourselves against the elements.  The first group set off into C19 to push the
next pitch.  They were followed around
midday by another group, whose intention was to re-bolt Dorisschacht, again,
but once more they were dogged by bolting tool trouble – the cones could not be
removed once used.  Several rungs slipped
on the 100 foot ladder being used on part of Dorisschacht just to add to our
difficulties.  Chris and I rigged the telephone
and line down to the head of the as yet un-named pitch in Many Meetings.  Meanwhile the pushers had found the next
pitch, Valley Schacht, to be 1 m to a ledge followed by an 18m drop into a,
big, winding rift.  They began to make
their way out.  Stu was the first of the
expedition to reach the surface, just as a big thunderstorm was brewing.  J-Rat ‘phoned Chris at the entrance at the
same moment as the lightning struck.  Stu
thought there was an avalanche off the big overhang of Grunberg and flattened
himself against the cliff.  There was a
flash and an instantaneous explosion. Chris and J-Rat, the latter deep underground, were both knocked
unconscious.  Thros and I, fettling my
carbide at the top of Platzlschacht, saw and heard an explosion beneath our
feet (the wire was above our heads) and assumed it to have been a carbide
explosion.  We were somewhat surprised at
the echoing rumbles from the passages below. Throstle’s hand was scorched. Dave, halfway up the rope on Dorisschacht, saw an enormous flash below
him but heard no explosion.  Merv at the
bottom saw and heard nothing.  Trev, on
the ladder below J-Rat and Jim, a little further into the cave, saw and heard
nothing but reached the top to find J-Rat in a heap asking what happened and
saying, “I know you but I don’t know your names.”  Chris and J-Rat’s telephone hands were numb
for several days afterwards and their ears stung for a long time.  Exit was made successfully, the un-named
pitch was christened Blitzschaeht, and Chris was thereafter known as Herr Blitz
at the Weisbergerhaus.  Although we had
telephone communication from Blitzschacht to the entrance immediately after the
incident we never again managed from the Weisbergerhaus to the cave.  When the wire was being cleared from the
plateau later Merv discovered a melted and broken section only 300m from the
Weisbergerhaus.  Well, Buzby.  How do you avoid that?

The next day was really beautiful, the way it should be
after a storm, and we lazed the morning away, sorting and mending gear,
refreshing ourselves in the way the B.E C. knows best, and even having a midday
meal in the Wissbergerhaus.  In the
afternoon Throstle wandered aimlessly and chased Gemsen (chamois) J-Rat
continued to read his book, and Merv and Dave ascended both Niederer and
Mittlerer Ochsen Kogel, finding a cave near the summit of one of them.  They returned via the Simonyhutte.  The rest of us went over to
Barengassewindschscht where we found the first pitch to be an easy free climb
now.  We laddered down the second pitch,
neither entrance of which had been obstructed by all the boulders thrown down,
and I rigged and descended the third pitch. 10m along a narrow rift I came to a small hole at the top of a wide, 27m
pitch.  The rift continued, narrow and
low, for a further 5m to curve round to the right to the head of a pitch,
possibly part of the 27m.  Jim and Trev
prepared for the rigging of the 27m shaft while I made my way out.  Part way down the valley side from the
entrance of C51, I had a closer look at an entrance noted previously.  A large boulder blocked the entrance but by
removing the scree from around and underneath it I was able to push it to the
bottom.  The cave, C52, sloped downwards
at 45O but unfortunately it was filled with boulders after only 4m.  Hopes of another entrance to C51 were dashed
though no doubt it could be dug at the point where the draught comes up through
the boulders. We searched further along the cliffs of Barengasse, but found
nothing else of note.

BARRENGASSENWINDSCHACHT (C51) 1543/6

Extended elevation. Sketch Survey BEC 1979     Scale
1:1000

 

The Valley lads went down to Hallstatt on Monday morning,
partly to replenish essential supplies – the dormouse had consumed more than
its fair share, even having tried human being, until human being tried it!  Their other job was to meet and direct
Buckett and family.  Meanwhile, on the
hill the rest of us were off into C19 again. Jim and J-Rat went to the big rift at the bottom, Bang Gang.  The climbed up to reach a phreatic bore tube
some 30m above the floor.  After 100m,
this ended at a pitch, Eric Schacht, which was free climbable to within 6m of
the floor.  There was no sign of the
stream which had started at TTFN Schacht. At stream level the passage soon became rather narrow so they traversing
along the middle level.  The sound of the
stream seemed to disappear after about 30m suggesting either that the rift was
closed or blocked below, or that the stream had turned into another course,
away from Gang Bang.  Up above, Trev and
I put in a bolt at the head of the Valley Schacht, solving the problem of
removing spent cones by heating the end over a carbide flame.  We returned to Gang bang with Jim later,
following the middle level, finding several wider spots in the traverse below
us, but decided that tackle was required to descend these.  This would hopefully bypass the narrow
section in the streamway.  On the way out
we measured, by constant estimation, both the length and the amount of descent
of

Belfry Avenue
.  The length was reckoned to be 150m and the
total drop from the bottom of Blitzschacht to the top of the little chock stone
ladder above TTFN was 50m.

 

Buckett and Merv were the only two prepared to go down C19
on the Tuesday, the last day of July. Maulwurfhohle was becoming a very wearing trip, much harder than the
Berger, for example, according to J-Rat, in spite of its comparative
shallowness.  Buckett pushed on at
streamway level in Gang Bang and it was still going after 45 to 50m, much in
the style of the entrance passage, Gargantuagang.  Buckett objected to being told that he looked
like a caver of the 1930’s, with his black fibre helmet and his jumper
stretched to around his knees – “But I am a caver of the 30’s” he replied.  (Actually he started caving before Merv was
thought of).

Trev and Stu headed for the top of the Dachstein.  Unlike us last year; they had a rope and were
able to lifeline up the non-existent ‘via ferrata’ and abseil back down.  The top of the mountains were clear early on
but rain showers and mist came along in the late morning, and clouds filled up
the valleys.  This did not clear until
the evening.  Chris and I set off up the
Niederer Ochsen Kogel, finding several holes near the eastern corner.  Just as I reached the summit, getting a brief
glimpse of the Weisbergerhaus far below, the mist shrouded us.  We gave up the idea of going to the schacht,
or schlund, that is marked on the map, and instead turned our attention to some
of the holes nearer at hand.  Close to
the summit of Niederer Ochsen Kogel there is a large depression at the centre
of which there is a snow patch on scree and a couple of deep rifts.  We found another deep, snowy rift on the
traverse route that we made down the south west face.  Crossing the cliffs towards Wildkar Kogel the
obvious, large, dark hole proved to be only a fairly shallow collapse.  Below Wildkar Kogel there were several
holes.  One was a cave at the end of a
large snow field, which I followed down as far as I could without a light.  Nearby were deep shafts with snow at the
bottom, and above those a phreatic tube, almost filled to the roof with
cobbles, C57.  To the east and south of
Wildkar Kogel were many other tunnels, shafts and rifts worthy of further
investigation.

On Wednesday August 1st we left Buckett and family in peace
and headed down to the valley via Herrengasse and the Tiergartenhutte.  Some went to have a quick look at the
Waldbach Ursprung, the big resurgence for the area, and then we crossed over
the bridge over the Wildbach and walked through the forest to the old salt
mines at Salzberg.  The oldest know
Celtic community originated here, 4500 years ago, salt being immensely valuable
in those far off days.  A very rich,
bronze age burial ground has been excavated here.  Hallsatatt is also reckoned to have its
origins in the third millennium B.C.  The
salt mines themselves, which are still worked today, consist of a complex of
adits leading to, via short slopes off to the sides, to large wash out
chambers.  The chambers are filled with
water and the salt gradually dissolves out of the rock.  The brine is then drawn off, the chamber
re-filled with water, and the process starts again.  Highlights of the trip are a slide, as on a
banister, down a special wooden slope which the miners seem to use as a quick
way down, and a ride on an open train, heads brushing the adit shuttering if you
lean too far to one side.  It was too
late to look for the Koppenbrullerhohle show cave afterwards, so we spent the
late afternoon viewing the
village of
Hallststt, and unspoilt Cheddar of the
Alps.  In the
evening we met Hermann and his friend Norbert, who later proved that Austrian
cavers get just as legless and stupid as their British counterparts.  If you hear any rumours of that evening’s
activities, they are probably true. Trevor in particular, excelled himself.

Early on the morning, after the never to be forgotten night
before, we were up, having stayed in an Alpine Club hostel.  The previous afternoon Thros and Trev had
dived off the balcony into the lake for a swim, and they chose to do this again
to waken themselves.  Ere long we were
climbing up the steep slopes of the Achern-Tal, above the Waldbach, to the
entrance of the Hirlatzhohle.  This is
situated at the base of the 1200m high Hirlatz-Wand and has some 9km of
passages.  There are many fixed aids
throughout the cave, including wood and wire ladders in various states of
decrepitude, and wires for traverses.  A
very strong wind howls through the blasted entrance, and makes it very easy to
find one’s way through the entrance series, especially in the labyrinth.  Immediately after the entrance the passage
spirals up a canyon with potholes in the floor, some of then filled with clear
bluish water.  Since one ladder was
damaged we took a lower route through the labyrinth which included a damp
grovel through a bedding plane, one of the few places where we were not able to
stand up.  Eventually we ascended a
widened tectonic joint using a ladder, then down the beautifully shaped,
phreatic, Gothic Passage and further ladders to enter the main system.  At this point it is a huge, boulder floored,
dry streamway.  In one direction we were
shown some superb limestone fluting – the Organ Pipes, but were unable to go
further as a ladder was required for a 60m pitch.  In the other direction we dropped fairly
rapidly down the boulder floor top reach a dark, winding lake with a waterfall
entering one end.  Traversing above the
lake we soon entered wide, sandy chambers and the site of a bivouac, complete
with ancient, rotting bell tent.  From
here we began a long but gentle climb, passing at one stage through the Black
Chamber, where all the yellow-grey sand is covered under a layer of fine
soot.  This is believed to have been
caused by a forest fire on the hill above. Further on the passage was nearly filled to the roof with clay, which
stopped abruptly forming a wall.  A
narrow, vadose rift had been cut through the clay but the sides were too
fragile to allow a safe traverse of the rift. Instead we had to climb up the wall using a fixed ladder.  Finally the clay infilling met the roof, and
a narrow, vadose canyon brought in an inlet from one side.  We had taken four hours to reach this
extremity of the cave, a very good time apparently.  To make the exit we took a mere two hours, but
we left Erica behind.  She is a life
size, and life like, image of Eric’s sister, or mistress, created in the sand
beside the bivouac tent, much to the amazement and amusement of the
Austrians.  We did not see much of Eric
after that.  Dashing down the hill and
round to the Dachstein seilbahn we managed to catch the last cable car back to
the Gjaidalm.  After a meal in the hut
there we made the Weisbergerhaus in about an hour.

Andy and Dave had arrived on the plateau and spent some time
with Buckett looking around Schladmingerloch. Hidden behind a shoulder of rock on the northern slopes of Ochsen Kogel
they found a small rift from which issued a cold draught, strong enough to
chill the air several metres from the entrance. The entrance passage of Andy’s Roaring gale Hole, C55, led, after a short
distance, to a pitch, which was not descended. They also managed to reach the hole in the south east face of Niederer
Grunbereg by traversing around ledges and then doing a short abseil, C60
quickly led to a pitch with a draught. Above it and to the right a small, C19 type rift, designated C61, was
followed for a few metres but was thought to lead into C60.

Siegfried arrived on the plateau again in the morning and
six of us made our way up into the Schladmingerloch, where we spent some time
watching a herd of chamois.  These
animals seem to feed out on the open screes when there is no-one about, and
also play on the snow, making slides. They are very wary, however, and quickly disappear onto the grassy
ledges of the cliffs with amazing agility. We could do with a few chamois to reach some of the caves.  I put in a bolt at the head of the pitch in
C55, the Gale hole, and Siegfried and I descended it to a depth of about 30m,
passing some massive jammed boulders on the way.  The shaft appears to be a widened section of
a deep, winding rift.  Over the floor of
boulders I squeezed and traversed down a narrow gap to a final choke of gravel
and peat with no sign of the draught.  A
little way up, though, the rift continued, too narrow, running parallel with
the face of Ochsen Kogel.  I climbed straight
upwards for about 10m and came upon a widening of the rift through which most
of the wind came and beyond which I could see an inviting, black space.  Unfortunately the route is very narrow and I
did not like the look of it.  About 8m
below the head of the pitch a passage seems to lead over the top of the black
space, but an unprotected traverse is required to reach it, perhaps requiring a
couple of bolts to negotiate.  Opposite
where the entrance passage opens onto the head of the pitch is yet another
passage, T-shaped and similar in size to the entrance passage that is about 2m
high and varying in width from 30cm to over 1m. In the entrance passage there were some very largo calcite crystals
which had grown in layers that had subsequently broken.  The individual crystals were up to 10cm long
and several had a hole down the centre. Siegfried said that these were very rare, being known at only three
other sites in

Austria
.

J-Rat, meanwhile, had climbed the cliff ledges across to
C60.  A few metres inside he climbed down
the pitch and followed about 50m of narrow passage, gradually descending, and
suddenly emerged on the cliff face again, some 30m lower down and to the
left.  A great disappointment, dashing
our hopes of a higher entrance to C19. In the grassy slope above C60, near the abseil point, a tight bedding
plane entrance, C54, led to a roomy chamber with two ways on but both were
boulder blocked, making the total length about 15m.  Buckett and Andy looked at various holes
below Ochsen Kogel.  One of these, C53,
has a large entrance but the two ways on inside both lead to crawls, one of
them flat out.  There are at least 50m of
passage but no draught in either branch.

On our way back from the Schladmingerloch Andy and I had a
look at C20, a left over from last year. This year the snow was well clear of the entrance, Andy found that it
was possible to squeeze and free climb down, especially with the help of a
rope, while I climbed down the 5m pitch where it was wide enough to require a
desperate straddle.  Another drop led to
the choked bottom of an inclined rift but straight ahead was a fine,
cylindrical, phreatic tube, about 70m in diameter.  After about 10m a large chamber with an aven
was reached, a rift with breakdown leading straight onwards, while below was a
climb down to a short pitch.  Things
looked promising, and it was particularly disappointing to find, later on, that
all ways soon stopped.

Merv and Dave had gone to the top of the Dachstein for the
day, and the remainder of the expedition went to push
Darengassewindschacht.  They descended
the 27m pitch to find what they described as a ‘Swildon’s type streamway
dropping in steps for 16 or 17m to the head of a very large pitch.  The exaggerated claims of stones dropping
free for six seconds (170m) were gradually whittled down to a more reasonable
‘two seconds free followed by several seconds of clattering’, which later
proved to be correct.

We prepared to do C19 the next day but, after a clear early
morning, cloud and mist came up, followed by rain accompanied by occasional
thunder.  The rain continued until three
in the afternoon so we occupied ourselves in the Weisbergerhaus, gradually
become more and more crushed by ill equipped hordes from a church youth club,
who arrived through the chill drizzle in various states of exposure and
exhaustion.  By 1630 the skies had
cleared but C19 was out of the question so Stu, Trev, Thros, Buckett and I went
over to Barengasse and C51.  I put in a
bolt at the head of the next pitch, after many problems and descended, feeding
the 100m rope from the bag as I did so. Having passed several ledges, two of them substantial, without using
rope protectors (very bad practice, but then so is abseiling of one bolt) I asked
Buckett to join me, and I continued down a slope and a further pitch, using 63m
of rope from the bolt.  The rope now hung
over some particularly vicious flakes, some of which had been broken by the
rope.  I felt the rope bag and there
seemed to be little rope left (in fact there was still 37m) and I could not be
sure if the last person to use it had put a knot in the end (as it turned out
they had not).  I was becoming wet and
cold from the constant drip in this pot, and quickly decided to forego the pleasures
of the next, inviting looking pitch and make for the surface.  In short, I chickened out.  We de-tackled the whole system and made exit
in about five and a half hours.

Our final push into C19 began early on Sunday.  As the youth club gathered together for an
outside mass, Merv, J-Rat, Jim and Andy set off to the cave to push beyond the
bottom of Eric Schacht, survey out and begin de-tackling’.  Merv turned back after a short while as he
did not feel up to the trip, so he busied himself clearing telephone line from
the plateau.  The other three reached the
bottom without difficulty and descended Eric Schacht to find a boulder floor
with no sign or sound of the stream. High up on the far side of the phreatic tube could be seen continuing,
but a hairy, exposed and difficult climb or a bolt traverse are the only means
of reaching it.  The rift continues,
tight and awkward.  They decided to
finish exploration at that point and began to survey out along Bang Gang.  Buckett and I set off down the cave in the
afternoon, having said our fond farewells to Trevor, and we all met up at the
top of TTFN Schacht.  We chain ganged the
tackle, enormous amounts of it, along

Belfry
Avenue
, surprising ourselves at the number of
ledges available for stacking the gear. Also, surprisingly, we lost none of it down deep rifts, from which
retrieval would have proved impossible. At Many Meetings the three pushers, very tired, rather dispirited at not
finding an easier route to deep cave, but very relieved about not having to
negotiate the avenue again, made their way out after thirteen hours or so of
particularly gruelling caving.   Buckett
and I stayed to raise the tackle up Dorisschacht and to de-tackle this.  We finally emerged around 2am and made our
way back to the hut across the now very familiar terrain.  Thanks to Stu for cooking us a spag. bol., to
Jim for staying up to keep it hot, and to J-Rat, whose Irish Cream we
half-inched.  Needless to say we did
absolutely nothing on Monday.

Sparrow and Co and the Valley lads had returned home leaving
six of us to remove the remainder of the gear from C19, which we did early on
Tuesday.  The expedition was over.  As I write this, early September, the
temperature at the Weisbergerhaus has dropped to -3OC and the snow is already
down to 300m below the hut.  We have not
achieved what we had expected or hoped for this year, although we still have
good cause to return in 1980. Barengassewindschacht (C51) has better potential for striking an old,
horizontal system of large phreatic tunnels than anything else discovered, and
is the most likely possibility so far of reaching the main drain.  Maulwurfhohle (C19) is most certainly not
played out and a hard, super enthusiastic team including a good climber could
do something with it yet.  Most of the
new sites found were not explored this year due to lack of time, and there are
still some holes left unexplored from last year.  C29, an ice cave, is one of these.  It lies in an ideal position to enter C19
beyond Eric Schacht.

Insofar as we enjoyed ourselves this year the expedition was
a success – we do after all do it for fun, or so I am led to believe.  Much greater success in terns of length or
depth could well be in the offing for next year.

© 2024 Bristol Exploration Club Ltd

registered in England and Wales as a co-operative society under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014, registered no. 4934.

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