Belfry Bulletin

Search Our Site

Article Index


Dachstein - Austria 2000 (The Overall Picture)

By Greg Brock

"I Cave Mostly in Somerset you know " Tangent

Our Austrian expedition started the week before in Yorkshire where myself, Mike Alderton and John 'Tangent' Williams arrived at this small wooden hut in Braida Garth, the NCC Hut.  It was here we was going to meet Snablet for the first time and sort out last minute arrangements for Austria.  In the morning, after the usual large quantity of alcohol the night before we headed into Ingleton where we met Snablet in a cafe.  We also bought extra expedition kit from Bernies.

The following week passed quite quickly and before I knew it I was meeting up with Snablet, Annette and Pete Whitaker (WRCPC) at Munich airport.  The travelling to Halstat was amazingly simple but this was helped by the fact Annette could speak German.  Once at Halstat we met up with the others who had driven out and prepared ourselves for the 3 hour walk up to the Wiesberghaus.

"G5 – It’s a classic!............A real fu**ing classic!.............
Not sure if I like it though………..”
Rich Hudson

G5 - Einsturner Hahle (Ice Gymnast Hole) was my first Austrian cave.  The rock was extremely sharp, hard on gear and as the name suggests very cold.  This was to be the place of three weeks worth of continuous pushing & exploration. The first couple of trips were quite easy going but soon turned into 24 hour trips, and when the camp was set up they turned into 3 day trips.  It soon got to the stage where rest days were needed between trips.  On one particular rest day it was decided to do a Dachstein pub crawl, but this turned out to be a bit more adventurous than planned and was summed up by Tangent once back at the Wiesberghaus…….

"Now I need a rest day to recover from my rest day. " Tangent

Eventually last years limit of exploration (explanation) was reached and new cave was starting to be explored, albeit very slowly.  The rift was getting harder to traverse along and in places traverse lines were rigged because of the walls being covered in a horrendously slimy mud.  After pushing trips being hindered by bad weather the higher level fossil stuff was decided to be our only hope of finding a significant amount of passage.

"Only One Can Hold Me - You're our only hope." Rob Garrett

In the remaining week before de-rigging, "only one can hold me" and another passage by High Flyers were looked at but neither were fully pushed.  "Only one can hold me" was seen to continue but realistically who wants to go back and push it?

"Is there a carnival like atmosphere on the glacier" Tangent

Apart from G5 which was where the majority of the expedition's resources and efforts were focused there were other sites to push and other things to do.  The glacier, surrounding cliffs and the other mountain huts provided things to do on rest days from G5.  Some excellent climbing was had not only up by the glacier but also on bolted routes by the Wiesberghaus.  When resources like food and gas ran low there was always the reluctant option of walking back down to Halstat and collecting provisions.

Greg and Mike on the glacier - picture Greg Brock

After this years' exploits in Austria I think G5 has been concluded but there is lots more to push and lots more places to prospect both on top of the mountain and down in the valley near Hirlatz (The main master system).  Lets look forward to next year!!!!

Moving gear through G5

Tim Lamberton in "insane worms" - Greg Brock