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Dachstein ‘86

Extracts From The Log & General; Report

By 2.8.86, three carloads of Belfryites had arrived in Hallstatt, and were in various stages of inebriation ranging from plain comatose to Commode Hugging Drunk. Blitz, Gonzo, Steve Milner, Trebor, Duncan Frew (The Token Wessex member) Richard Payne walked up the mountain in the afternoon while J-Rat, Bullroarer Gould, Andy Lovell & Snablet sorted out the Seilbahn and stayed in Hallstatt, for a valuable public relations exercise in the Divers Bar and the local caving hut.  Andy Lovell was so impressed with the local Stiegel beer that he deposited his entire evenings intake on the pavement outside the Bar, for further examination and then proceeded to lose his wallet containing all his holiday money.  This first evening set the standard for many happy nights to follow.

Log: 3/8 While Steve, Trebor & Richard worked the winch, Blitz, Duncan & Gonzo went for a walk to look for cave. Found several small draughting holes, one 15m shaft with a cairn beside it, one large entrance with a boulder ruckle and then rediscovered site C.38 which we gardened and estimated to be about 50m - to be descended tomorrow - back to Wiesberghaus, to get drunk on beer & Roberts whiskey.  Mark.

Log: 3/8 Trebor, Steve & Richard went off for acclimatisation walk when the others got back, cave spotting also.  Found numerous plugged snow holes of course, plus a chamber with an ice covered floor and ice stals.  Then found C.57 which seems to have opened up since it was last looked at.  Worth a better look at in the Morgan. Trebor.

We were joined in the evening by Bob Riley of the Burnley C.C. Tomma, Malvern Dave and Pete of the N.C.C. An enjoyable evening was had by all around a bonfire outside the Wiesberghaus with our hosts, Robert & Laura.

Log: 4/8/  Tomma, Pete, J.Rat, Dave (SWCC), Snablet, Bob Riley. Went for a look at C.33.  Cave drops quickly down several short climbs to head of 10m pitch to large chamber and cairn (this was explored to here by S. Mittendorfer in 1961).  Passage beyond here is continuously small and awkward with several climbs.  It was pushed for about 80m to an awkward double bend-still going.  Knocked it on the head here.  If this hole goes it would be a twat to ferry tackle and a cave NOT to be in when it rains.  Tomma.

Log: 4/8 Dave, Pete, Tomma, J.Rat & Snablet.   Had a root round in a dig - Asshohle, after removing some boulders in a loose choke. After a six foot drop, a five foot crawl leading to a cross rift blocked at one end.  Other end unknown.  There is a slight draught, it needs another look with more protection than shorts. Bearing from C.33 is        Dave.

Log: 4/8 Gonzo, Steve, Blitz, Duncan. Back to C.38 with lots of rope, crowbar etc.  Shifted constricting boulder - 8 seconds (with ricochets) to bottom!!  Dropped onto ledge to stick in bolt, awkward - wasted an hour.  Abseiled 5m to next ledge where I rigged a free hang for a 20-25m pitch in large rift. Landed on ledge with much loose debris and snow.  Slope down to head of 25-30m (estimated) pitch.  Because of the falling boulders, I traversed out on left wall for a free hang, stuck in bolt and exited.  Water can be heard at the bottom, pitch is about 50' x 60'.  Mark.

Log 4/8 C.38 contd. Points not mentioned by Mark. Three bloody great Faults intersect where the cave descends, if this is not a sound prospect I'm a Bratwurst!! Steve.

Log: 4/8.  On the way back from C.38 we walked towards Grun Kogel, but continued around at about C.38 height.  Noted several swallets, couple of shafts, one section of amazing canyon passage into a snow plug and two horizontal entrances (1m x 1.5m) one into snow plug with chamber/passage (4m x 5m) leading to very easy dig into cross rift. Could see 4m right and 2m left. Blitz.

Log: 4/8 Trebor & Richard.  Went to look at C.57.  Loads of shafts & collapses along fault parallel to resurgence - all choked.

Log: 4/8 Andy, Tim, Snablet. Noted several holes in massive depression about ½ hour from Wiesberghaus.  One was blowing well, had a short dig in large boulders.  Found 10-15 shafts nearby several of which are over 20m deep but very tight.  Andy.

Log: 4/8 Pleasant dreams about Samantha Fox, ruined by three Yorkshire twats who couldn't hold their beer (Morning Tomma!) have to educate them about how to drink ad infinitum! Mark.

Snablet demonstrated the tradition of Morris honking, retching all night to the accompaniment of bells.

Log: 5/8 Wiesberghoh1e. Tomma, Pete, J.Rat, Trebor.  To a cave 4 mins from the Wiesberghaus shown to us by Robert.  A low, muddy, descending crawl led to a choke some 10m in. This was dug and passed by J.Rat, Dave and Trebor - the others going to descend a nearby 10m shaft.  Beyond the choke the passage was walking sized dry phreatic stuff leading to a 14m pitch after about 16m.  From the pitch bottom some 180m of superb, roomy cave ending on the brink of a 15-20m (approx) pitch with large passage visible below and the sound of a stream.  A selection, of F------ great Henries were hurled down the shaft before we retreated, checking the floor for possible ways down en route.  Nothing found but an inlet passage ⅓ way along leading to calcite choke with an echoing sound beyond.  Removed the entrance choke completely using crowbar, scaffold pole and 15 gallons of adrenalin!  J.Rat.

August 5th, saw a return to C.38, now dubbed Titanschacht, due to the enormous (Wimpey home) boulders on the scree above the entrance.  Steve descended the now wet shaft to continue bolting and was nearly zapped by boulders falling from the loose entrance.  He re-emerged as white as the Homepride man.  Duncan then went down only to return equally promptly when the wall he was bolting into proved that Newton was right and collapsed.

Meanwhile, Blitz and Gonzo, went prospecting.  There was an entrance higher up the fault from Titanschacht.  Heading north along the cliffs, we found many holes including one very large pot on a major fault partially snow plugged which was later descended by Howard Limbert and the Yorkshire crew with a 40m entrance shaft to choke.

Log: 5/8 Wiesberghohle. After removing the choke near the entrance with the famous words from J. Rat

"I can't understand what's holding this lot up!"  While standing underneath a fridge sized Henry!  Pete and Dave, then went down the next (23m) pitch leading into tight, immature passage.  7m up the shaft a rift passage leads to fallen blocks and a possible way on, but after ½ hours battering it still would not yield.  About ½ way down the pitch a pendulum led to a shattered passage leading after 20m to a 17m pitch.  Another pitch found after 7m - about 16m (un-descended).  Several passages leading off to old, abandoned passage and tight vertical rifts below the main passage ending in a climb needing rope into passage below.  The Food Snatchers.

Log: 6/8 Titanschacht - Gonzo and Duncan.  Went down together so as not to lob any Herberts on each other.  Gonzo managed the next rebelay using a piton to stay in situ. Reached the bottom of the main shaft - solidly choked.  Returning up about 16m we pendulumed into an alcove where we were joined by Bob Riley. Four ways on, three of which closed down.  The fourth, a narrow rift taking water was followed by Duncan to a point where it became too narrow.

Log: Two days in advance but Snablet probably still honking!  South Wales Caving Club, had a 'family coach load' of about 30 people in Hallstatt and were represented on the mountain by a team of about five cavers including Chris Fry, Jon Young, Andy Dawson and Ow Jones.  They had been prospecting an area down the Barengasse-Herengasse Fault where they had little success until Chris, found a hole that was later to change the direction of the entire expedition.

Log: 6/8 5104.  Open entrance leads to steeply descending rift dropping 32m (approx) over a length of 130m.  Two short crawls give access to a chamber with a large 40m pitch.  Way on open.  Andy.

The hole was next to a group of Jagerhuttes (Hunters Lodges) so the Mendip contingent promptly renamed S104 Jagerhohle (Hunters Hole) much to the disgust of the Welsh lads!!

Log: 7/8 Kurt, Peter Seetoller (Halistatt Club) Burnley Bob, Trebor, J.Rat, Steve, Blitz. Wiesberghohle.  Tourist trip for the Austrians - Peter was impressed, Kurt just took the piss.  Pushed sandy crawl on ledge at bottom of Berghilchschacht to emerge back in Dave and Pete's passage.  J.Rat swung on the rope at the top of Robertschacht to reach a very exposed ledge half of which promptly dropped off.  He chickened out at this point but a large passage can be seen 3m away over the top of the shaft.  Needs bolting or rigid ladder.

Log: 7/8 C.66 Must castrate Blitz.  Mark. While you're about it don't forget a certain small pitches without prussiking kit. Duncan, bastard who abseils down.

Log: 7/8.  After farting about with C.66 we walked off towards Niederer Ochsenkogel.  I looked for horizontal entrances in the terraces of the eastern face.  There were five or six small passages heading in for about 10 - 15m before becoming too tight.  Then I found an entrance partially obscured by fallen scree.  The passage was 3-4m wide and 10m high. Mark.

The next day this was entered and choked after 20-30m.

Log: 7/8 Walked back to draughting hole and dug until boulders were too big.  Wandered over west and found some holes with snow plugs, one of which nearly collapsed under me.  Abseiled down 7m to snow covered floor in a small chamber with good icicles and way on tight over snow-not followed.

On the way back I found a 30m shaft with snow at the bottom and a possible way on: Andy.  C.66.  After pulling up a few rocks from entrance of a tight shaft: descended 7m to ledge then further 7m to bottom of shaft with narrow rift running off at the bottom. White walled rift ended (too tight) after about 33m.  Pretty Horrible.  Snablet.

Log: 7/8 S104 (Jagerhohle). Continued on from base of 40m pitch up over pile of boulders along short traverse to top of next pitch estimated at 45m. Started rigging difficult pitch head, then driver fell apart and dropped down the hole.  Second shaft is on a large fault, bearing not yet known. Andy.

Log: 7/8 2 Austrians, 1 Yorkie.  Shaft on Grune Kogel.  Ten minutes walk from Titanschacht following cairns.  Entrance in large doline.  Scramble down past snow plug - climbs and pitches to depth approx 40m.  Base of shaft, small alcove with climbs above to passage (not yet climbed).  Large obvious cave leading off in opposite direction, very easy going in large, half round tube for 130m to a draughting dig.  This was pushed through to a small chamber, climb up sandy slope to large squeeze into base of an aven.  Two alternatives into more active part of system with small, un-descended pitch. Bob.

The eight of August, was fairly uneventful as far as caving went.  There was a thunderstorm in the afternoon.  Half the team went down to Hallstatt for a trip in Hirlatzhohle which was unfortunately postponed, the Welsh lads returned to Jagerhohle but left prematurely without rigging the second pitch as the water started to rise. The Wiesberghaus was struck by lightning and so was one of the Welsh crew.  In the end there was nothing for it but to get Steigeled.  We were also joined by 4 M.U.S.S. who had been turfed off the Tennengeberge.  Between us we drank the Weisberghaus dry:

Log: 9.8.86.  5104 Jagerhohle. Duncao, Bob, Gonzo.  Second pitch rigged 40m deep 70% of which the walls are coated thickly with moon milk.  Obvious passage leading off soon becomes tight.  Climb down through boulders to stream, traverse forward to 3rd pitch - 15m (approx) soon followed by 4th pitch (18m) short passage to 5th pitch. Gonzo descended the 5th pitch on the last available rope.  The pitch was 33m.  Unfortunately the rope was only 30m so some acrobatics were needed (using a cowtail) before the descent was completed.  A steep ramp headed off to the top of the 6th pitch.  Meanwhile, Duncan and Chris, started surveying.  Bob.

Log: 10/8 Hirlatzhohle. Kurt, Tim Gould, J. Rat, Andy, Blitz, Richard, 8 SWCC, Tomma, Pete, Dave.  Kurt was 7 mins late but then had to wait 1 hour for BEC/NCC to eat their breakfast.  Superb trip in this huge phreatic system to the end of the old cave, where Dave and Blitz pushed along a grotty, wet passage for 70m to a choke.  A race developed on the way back to the entrance. Everyone very impressed by the huge passage, tons of fine white sand and the incredible howling draught in the small entrance passages.  All this after a superb afternoon/evenings booze up at the Hallstatt Festival where a BEC sticker was employed ABOVE a SWCC flag about 60' up the side of the local church tower - thanks to the local cavers who were demonstrating S.R.T. rescue with the most attractive, sensual, tasty etc. etc. rescue victim on record. Regarding this, there is one place where the BEC actually failed to get!  J. Rat.

Log: 10/8. 5104 Jagerhohle. Burnley Bob, Nigel and Jan M.U.S.S. Re-rigged several pitches, down slope of boulders rigged with line, 13m pitch (6th), climb down to stream.  A few meters of passage then 10m pitch (7th) (Lousy Rigging) into stream.  Short passage with stream disappearing through impenetrable crack on the left. Step up into large canyon passage sloping down steeply with several pools.  Short pitch just ahead.

Log: 11/8 Jagerhohle, Snablet, Steve, Gonzo.  Up at 6 o'clock (To avoid forecast evening storm).  Snablet got lost.  Steve and Mark carried on down to Bob’s furthest point of yesterday.  Down sloping canyon to 7m pitch (8th) and along canyon to 13m pitch (9th) into abandoned sump-zone with formations. Dried mud over floor.  Bob arrived and found way on to head of 10th pitch. Complex area at head of the pitch wants looking at. Plenty of room to sit out flash flood between all pitches. Mark.

By now Howard & Debbie Limbert, Tim, Allen, Rupert, Dany and Alan Turner had arrived at the hut and were busy looking for cave and following up previous leads.

Log: 11/8 Jagerhohle. Andy, Jon (SWCC).  Left early to re-rig some of the pitches. With thoughts of thunderstorms and long hold up at 2nd pitch we ended up helping Duncan with surveying to 3rd pitch. Rigging on 2nd pitch needs attention.  Andy.

Log: 11/8 Recce to GruneKogel.  1 hour walk from camp follow good cairn route to large, obvious fault at base of cliffs. Large entrance hole (AI) was descended by 15m pitch to another shaft (20m) which was blocked with snow.  No obvious draught.  200m back along cliff base found two (A2, A3) large depressions. A2 consisted of 20m pitch followed by slope on snow past ice formations to snow chute 35m (approx) deep.  A3 - A small climb down 8m to snow plug.  Climb up on one side led to crawl 10m to 30m pitch followed by 16m pitch to tight passage.  Could see a pitch in front.  At base of 30~ pitch a passage led off to top of 50m (un-descended) pitch. A return trip is planned tomorrow, book early!!  Howard.

Log: 11/8 Blitz, John(Big Nose) and Dave. Wiesberghohle.  Went back down.  Got across the pole above first rope pitch (Robertschacht).  After 2m of horizontal passage it led to a short shaft connecting with Robertschacht.  After a 5m traverse it led to another shaft (13m).  After climbing about 5m this was seen to be too tight.  Dave.

Log: 12/8 Jagerhohle, Trebor, Andy, Tim.  Photographic trip getting good shots of 1st & 2nd pitches.  We met J.Rat and crew, had a smoke and pissed off out. Tim.  After about 4 hrs

Log: 12/8 Jagerhohle. Tomma and Howard, surveyed from top of 3rd pitch to bottom of 9th pausing only for Tomma to honk every 5 mins. J.Rat and Trebor, surveyed from bottom of 9th to within 33m of 10th.  Superb trip with a few exciting moments on both 2nd and 1st pitches. J.Rat nearly lost his top set of teeth! J.Rat.

The incident above was when Tony's maillon decided to part company with one side of his sit harness 40m off the ground.  He was promptly horribly sick over those waiting below.

Log: 12/8 Jagerhohle, Dave, Pete, John (Big Nose).  After fighting our way down amongst everybody we hit some abominable rigging, this is rope we are using, not wire and we are playing with peoples lives.  We picked up various lengths of rope in bags scattered around the place.  After the 10th pitch it started to change character with narrow rift passages leading to a 5m pitch.  After, some narrow rift passages led to some shorter pitches including a 10m pitch with a rebelay to a 16m pitch.  Traversing over the latter led to another shaft reconnecting with the first. Carrying on further led to a huge shaft, going upwards - the light would not reach the top.  The bottom 16m is quite aqueous.  This led to (approx) 10m of narrow rift to an un-descended 3m pitch. Here we were hit by an increase in water and made a hasty retreat.  Some of the pitches were quite wet, but nothing too bad.  This is a superb cave with loads of passage which has not yet been touched~ Hirlatzhohle here we come!  Dave.

Log: 13/8 Jagerhohle. Tim, Allen, Rupert.  Went down, fucked about for 13 hours and came out.  The trip was joined by Bob Riley, between them they pushed the cave down to the top of the seventeenth pitch and surveyed back to the tenth.  Rupert

Log: 13/8 Jagerhohle Gonzo. Solo trip in until I met 2 South Wales lads rigging 2nd pitch.  Headed down with them to head of 9th.  Climbed up in roof to well decorated higher section of rift.  At top of 10th went along phreatic borehole to base of large aven. S.W.C.C. headed out while I went down to help bolt the pitches.  Met Bob, Rupert and Tim on P.13 surveying.  Bolting done, no more rope so I headed out losing carbide base en route. Mark.

Log: Where is it now HEE! HEE!  Anon.

Log: 13/8 Andy's mega through trip.  Carried Trebor from the Wiesberghaus to the Glacken in a comatose state and placed him gently on the floor.  He had drunk 1¼ bottles of Johnny Walker!  Andy.

The day was also noted for an amusing remark from a German tourist - 'You are cave inspectors, Ja?'  J.Rat's pearl of wisdom on comparing the local brands of cigarette  "Having a hobby is better than smoking a Johnny!"

Log: 14/8 Steve, Dave, Pete and John.   'Kin excellent trip.  15 hours and absolutely shagged out.  Went down approximately 20 pitches to the head of a mega passage/pitch/fault bearing N.W. straight towards the Hirlatzhohle.  Pete descended this on several ropes tied together but the rigging is awful and needs to be done properly.  Hirlatzhohle here we come!  A hell of a trip to finish a superb holiday - me thinks I'll be back next year…pity, I missed the farewell piss-up.  Steve.

The majority of the Mendip crew headed for home to dry out on the fifteenth, leaving seven of the Yorkshire team with Dany and Alan.  We were all well satisfied with a superb Holiday and Caving Expedition behind us but were sorry to leave the cave twenty pitches down with a connection to Hirlatzhohle looking imminent.  The bottom zone of the cave was looking very similar to Hirlatz and we estimated that we were down about 600m.  The cave seemed to be heading towards a high, prominent inlet on the Hirlatz survey.

Log 15/8.  Looked for new caves in the depressions higher up from Jagerhohle.  One hole was draughting quite strongly but was too small to get in because boulders blocked the way.  Inside I could see it got larger.  Alan.

Stardate: 15/8.  Dear Brethren, the holy one, Kurt and Peter, have arrived at our humble abode.  The great one has ordained that he and other Ostriches will not permit the name Jagerhohle and it must be called Wies Alm Schacht.  You will obey my commands!  Or you will be exterminated.  Your most humble servant, Pete.

P.S.  Vy hass ze zurveyed length not been put on ze survey, instead off ze plan length~ Ziss vill not do!  Vy you not do it??

Dany, Howard, Bob. Went down to continue survey and bring more gear down Wiesberghohle.  Survey started at top of 20th pitch, down boulder rift and through huge boulder choke for streamway continuation.  Finished at head of (approx) 80m pitch where Tim, Rupert and Bob were rigging.  Exited after 17 hours trip total depth for last survey station 483.Sm.  It's now heading towards one of the high points of Hirlatzhohle (approx) 100m difference in height 1km away.

Rupert, Tim and Bullit Bob. Last pushing trip.  Re-rigged 21st pitch with single rope and took the rest on down.  Steep descent through boulder choke (50m) lead back to stream.

Water disappeared into tight rift but over top, phreatic passage led to 80m pitch which required devious rigging with 2 deviations and 3 rebelays.  Top part was in wide rift but bottom part opened out into large circular shaft.  At the bottom the stream entered an immature streamway but a climb up boulders gained a large phreatic tunnel with a crazed mud floor.  (Something for the S.W.C.C. to tape off next year).  This passage led for several hundred feet to a squeeze then opened out again just so pitch (un-descended).  The depth must now be between 550m - 580m. Prospects look excellent.

De-rigging The Bastard. Pete, Nose and Jordy, de-rigged all kit to 15th Pitch.

Large team then went in at various times and de-rigged to 1st pitch and took several bags out. Next day, everyone brought bags out and de-tackled to Seilbahn hut.  Job done.

Two flood pulses went down on the mega de-rigging trip but no real problems caused.  Several people quite cold due to hanging about and Dave drew short straw to de-tackle the bottom of 5th pitch very wet when rope isn't tied off!!

With the cave left below 550m we'll have to go back next year.  Realistically, we should put a camp down in the region of the 22nd pitch. We're going to need a lot of 9mm rope for the lower pitches of the cave because tackle ferrying can be awkward between the 9th and 15th pitches so we shall need sponsorship.

The furthest point reached is only 150 metres above Hirlatzhohle with about a kilometre to go along the fault.  A connection will give us a cave with a depth of 1100m putting it amongst the deepest in the world.  We will also have one of the deepest through trips in the world.  Anyone interested?

Mark Lumley.

Surveys in the next B.B.