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Dachstein Expedition 2016

Like last year, I took part in the international caving expedition to the Dachstein Massive in Austria.
During this expedition, we came closer to connect the plateau with the Hirlatz cave. This connection into the over 100Km long master cave is one of the main goals of the expedition

expedition team

Exploration

Besides the main object, the What have you Got Pot (from now on WUG) we concentrated on the Eishöhle am Grünberg (from now on 111). We pushed this ice-plugged pitch and went prospecting for new caves in this area.

Main Object

The exploration in WUG goes now on for 9 years. Whereas there were great findings in the beginning of exploring, the amount of new passages were dropping down over the last years.
This was mainly because of the passage known as Ferloren Hope, a nasty Nutella squeeze at the bottom of the cave.
And Last year we changed all the ropes in the vertical part of the cave, which obviously didn’t help finding new stuff.

A trip down Ferloren Hope

Jean Paul Sounier and I went to a pushing trip into Ferloren Hope. During our 14h trip (camp to camp) we managed to push an ongoing passage and surveyed it as well as the Ferloren Hope. This brought the cave to an depth of over -800m.

Resurveying the cave pitch

Tom Foord and his team continued the resurveying project started in 2015. During their trips they managed to not only resurvey a great part of the cave, but also found new passages during their work. The gained data will help us to understand the complex, horizontal system better. This will help us to find more passages by understanding the cave.

the Breakthrough

With aerial survey and smoke flares in the Chutney Chambers we finally understand where the big draft in there disappears. A closer look into that section revealed a new, ongoing passage through a bolder choke. It leads through a decent back into a big phreatic tunnel which could not be explored to its end.
In next year’s expedition we’re certain to find new passages here.

other Targets

Amongst others, we concentrated to push the 111 ice-shaft and got it to a depth of over 60m. Apart from that we concentrated on prospecting the area for new caves and dropped a lot of small blind pitches.

The thing with the pictures

You will find a certain lack of cave pictures in this article. This is not because the photographer was lazy, but because I was busy exploring and pushing.

Exploring or Photographing

Theoretically it is possible to make pictures during pushing trips. new route But once you’re in miserable areas like the Ferloren Hope, it is next to impossible. The 2°C cold cave wind, the wetness and the mingling mud is highly demanding like it is. And once you do some rigging yourself, making pictures is next to impossible.
A small team has to bring down heavy equipment like a drill, metalwork and ropes. You can’t ask to carry an extra 6Kg of photo equipment in such a setup.
This is why you won’t find a lot of caving pictures in this article.

Prospects

Despite or precisely of this ‘photo-free trips’, the expedition was a great success:
The long-awaited breakthrough in WUG was made. We explored and surveyed the Ferloren Hope and its continuation and many new caves were dropped.
Without any doubt, the next expedition 2017 will lead to great new findings!



Thanks to the
Dachstein summer expedition team 2016

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