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    The publication date for issue 289 is the 10th of December, meaning subscribers should receive their copies during the week leading up to that date. It is also available from caving suppliers such as Inglesport and Starless River, or from our new website

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Dachstein Exped '15

Joel Corrigan

New member
So the 2015 Exped came to an end after 3 weeks of alternate stunning & grim weather with 30 attendees from the UK, Germany, Austria, Italy and France. WUG Pot was (almost) totally re-rigged (we ran out of new rope a couple of pitches before the big tunnels); Tom Foord & others did a sterling job or re-surveying down to camp (his survey should be out soon); Axel Hack took some stunning pics as usual; a crack team of old gits pushed the end of the cave down another pitch (the Forlorn Hope has given way to the Breach as the new limit at -850m depth). I have to admit that the further reaches of this cave are absolutely brutal: we had an 18 hour trip from the underground camp during which time Axel got hypothermic, Jean-paul Sounier was reminded how much he prefers tropical explorations, and I regretted having a memory bad enough that I'd blot out the misery from the '12 exped. In it's own right the Forlorn Hope area of the cave is as bad as anything I've explored, and there really are some true monsters in my past....

Aside from the horrors of the depths we had a fairly painless few weeks considering the general lack of experience on the mountain. Most of the youngsters got into the swing of prospecting for new caves, lots of them achieved personal bests in terms of depth, duration etc, and we have a potential new/alternative project for next year. As regards Wot-You-Got Pot, I feel as if we need to shift our focus elsewhere in the cave as I'm not convinced that we made the right decision in going for depth. Subject to consultation with the other oldies I think that we should concentrate on re-investigating some of the bigger tunnels & check out some of the higher level leads that we've ignored. After all, it's 6km long and 850m deep so it stands to reason that the next phase of exploration needn't be shitty little tubes full of mud!!!

This year marked the end of an era on the Dachstein as Richard Gruber is leaving the Wiesberghaus after 6 years of managing what is a second home for some of us. Not only has he been a great manager he's also been a great friend to me and the expedition. During our last evening a face from the past appeared in the form of Erich, the manager from about eleven years ago & someone I never expected to see again; a really bizarre twist of fate that he should visit at that time. Never have I been more depressed to leave & it was heart-wrenching to say goodbye to two such iconic characters for the last time; I wish them all the best that life has to offer. If Richard's replacement is a fraction of the person that he is then our lifelong obsession has a chance of survival.

And the future? We didn't make the connection to the Hirlatz which is something of a disappointment after 17 years of effort; that means that we still have to persevere as it's a magnificent project.  We'll be going to the Hirlatz in late February (sign up now if you're interested https://www.facebook.com/groups/hirlatz/?fref=ts or Hirlatz Caving Expeditions on Facebook) & another summer on the mountain (probably last two weeks of August/first two weeks of September '16.  If I said I was excited then my nose will extend by about a metre!!

Huge, huge thanks this year to the sponsors of the expedition who helped us out in big ways or small.
Jim Leigh gave us a massive amount of rope (800m or so which has a street value of more than a grand).
Brian Jopling donated one of his awesome cave rescue stretchers which again is as valuable as coke!!!
Removu UK/http://www.removu.co.uk (indirectly via Marcus Hill) gave me a funky little gadget to go with the Gopro.
www.testo.co.uk gave us an anemometer, a device that measures wind speed, temperature, humidity etc so it could prove vital in locating elusive tunnels etc..
Tradebe Waste Management for letting me steal a load of chemical barrels.
Spanset/Pete Ward/Tania Rose Esteban etc for the 300m of rope we won via the UK Caving forum.
Georg B?umler for managing to find us all sorts of things, ranging from barrels to maillons.
VEREIN F?R H?HLENKUNDE HALLSTATT-OBERTRAUN (my caving club in Austria) for donating maillons, hangers, stainless steel bolts etc to the project.
If I've forgotten anyone then I'll make up for it....