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Jager Hohle (Hunters Hohle)

[PROPERLY KNOWN AS WIES - ALM HOBLE]

Jager Hohle discovered by Chris Fry, one of the contingent from the SWCC, was a delight to explore.

Mark Lumley, (Burnley) Rob Riley and I were invited by the SWCC to help rig the second deep & roomy pitch, this turned out to be approx. 180' deep.  This was quickly followed by three more pitches; 40' 50' and 100'.  We ran out of rope at this stage and headed out after 8hrs.  We had reached approx. -800'.

Our second trip two days later, incidentally on my birthday, saw Mark, Burnley Bob and I rigging down to the bottom of the 9th pitch, approx. -950'.  Here the cave development was horizontal and confusing, we retired again as we had little rope and couldn't find the way!.

The next day Malvern Dave, Pete, and Tomma of the NCC discovered the route beyond the 9th and rigged down to the top of the 14th.  The next pushing team; Burnley Bob, Rupert Scorupka and Tim Fogg pushed down to the top of the 18th pitch (with some superb acrobatic rigging on their part).

My penultimate day up on the limestone plateau was spent exploring Jager Hohle with Malvern Dave, Pete and John (Big Nose), pushing down to the top of the 21st pitch.  When we arrived at the bottom of the 14th pitch we had a brew and decided that Malvern Dave and I should rig beyond the 18th pitch and that Pete and Big Nose should follow behind us surveying from the last survey point at the 14th.  This arrangement worked perfectly, Dave and I managing to keep ahead of the survey team bolting where necessary.  I still had reservations about rigging virgin pitches as the first time I had tried this lark was during the previous week down Titan Schacht, Dave told me later that he too had very little experience of rigging virgin pitches, anyway, we managed.

Around the 19th pitch the cave changed character completely.   From the clean washed rift passage we had been descending we came into a lofty passage with the first dry mud banks, the remnants of a flood centuries ago.  We dropped down a 10' pitch and had the pleasure of racing down a big passage to the top of a very big drop.  The wall to our left and in front of us couldn't be seen with our lights and we threw stones down an obviously very deep ramp.  An impressive place.  We had three medium sized ropes left, these we tied together and Pete made a dodgy descent over an unstable wall on the right using an equally dodgy rebelay.  At the bottom Pete raced off and was only held up from further exploration by a 10' pitch.  The landing was -397.8m and Pete had descended a further 70m or so.

Dave and I had been waiting at the top of the 21st for one hour during Pete's descent.  The draught at this point was terrific (outwards) and despite thermal underwear, an Alpinex undersuit, a furry undersuit, an oversuit, balaclava and gloves, we were very cold indeed.  It took ages for us to warm up a again on the way out.  We exited from the cave to a beautiful clear night, I had been down some 15hrs or so and was very knackered.  The journey back up to the Wiesberghaus took me well over an hour, a less exhausted person would complete the distance in 25 mins or so. At 2am at my tent (and in a frost) I passed into a very deep and happy sleep.

ADDENDUM

I understand that only one more pushing trip was made before the cave had to be de-rigged.  The cave was approx. -550m to the top of a hundred or so foot pitch.  The line of the cave is on a fault down the Wies Alm Valley heading straight towards a passage in the Hirlatzhohle 1km distant and just 160m or so below us. Horizontal development has to come soon in very large cave.  We have potentially the deepest through trip in the world (and the longest in Austria if we connect with the Mammuthohle as well).

Steve Milner