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Dachstein Summer Expedition: now recruiting

Joel Corrigan

New member
It's that time of the year again, folks, when we're recruiting for the Dachstein Expedition to the mountains of Austria.  Initial dates (subject to change) are four weeks from Wed 23rd July-Wed 20th August (some of us are driving to the Vercors afterwards to go to the European Congress which begins the following weekend).  For the last few years we've had about 40 people spread over the month, with experience & ability ranging from clueless youngsters to ragged veterans.  

Accommodation: Whilst we do have the occasional top camp near remote caves this trip is based in a couple of comfortable alpine huts at 1800m altitude (about ?1.50 per night), has central cooking & a bar (the legendary Wiesberghaus).  It's a cheap trip (approx. ?70 contribution to the exped for ropes, hardware, food etc), plus your own travel and a few sneaky extras (beer etc...).

Main Projects: the depth potential is in excess of 2000m but the deepest cave so far explored over the years is 800m deep.  Last year we found a cave that has been pushed to 720m deep already (unheard of in this region) as it's essentially purely vertical (none of the traditional twatty meanders that we're so proud of).  It ends in ongoing pitches at the end of a very large phreatic tunnel.  In addition, we have another site that is 450m deep & a real gem: only for enthusiasts as it's a hard place for hard men (& manly women)....  

Secondary Projects: We're gonna try to get back to Trousafilla which involves a top camp and half a dozen pitches down an 800m high cliff to get to the entrance.  We're also aiming to mount a short camping trip inside the Hirlatz Hole (96km long, 1100m deep) to traverse over the head of a pitch.  The lead isn't too remote & is an opportunity for people to see the master cave of the region.  Also scores of other caves that we've found but not pushed, as well as miles and miles of unexplored mountain range that needs prospecting.  Somewhere beneath us is the mother of all cave systems (i.e, the rest of the Hirlatz that hasn't been found) & it's our intention to find it.      

This really is one of the best cave exploration projects out there, & it's basically open to anyone.  The only real requirement is that people have a sense of humour, as none of us want to spend our holidays in the company of miserable buggers!

As Facebook seems to have taken over the world the main source of information will be at www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=19147429512, which is the site of Dachstein 2008 (if you can't find it).  If you've got some particular aversion to Facebook then send me a message and I'll fill you in (?).

Ian Holmes

Think that Joel might be planning on kidnapping him and giving him a guided tour of some of the esoteric gems of Dachstein caving, but he's planning on wearing ear defenders so he doesn't have to listen to the drivel!  I'll ask him when I see him.