6 days under Austria
Saturday, 6 December 2008 – Saturday, 13 December 2008

Excellent 6 day trip into the mighty Hirlatz Cave, located in the Dachstein region of Austria. For those who don’t know, the Hirlatz is a monster 100km system with a vertical range of over 1km. The aim of the trip was to continue climbing an aven located in the far western part of the system, in a place called Sahara. On the previous trip, Phil and Rich had climbed the aven to around 215m (i.e. well over twice the height of Gaping Gill main shaft).

A good days caving saw us at the camp early sunday evening (7th). The next four days involved climbing for Phil and Rich (at times very exciting with plenty of loose rock and a choice of routes) and photography and surveying the shaft for Jeff and myself. On one of the days I went to have a look at some leads close to Sahara with Peter….one being a narrow crawl with an obstruction that was booted out of the way to give a squeeze through into a walking sized section for a whole 3-4m. The others were low wet and muddy crawls which lowered to dead-ends.
We were accompanied by an austrian film crew who wanted to make a film about what is probably the biggest bolt climb of its kind in the world.
On the friday, we set off out at around 8.30am laden with 25kg bags and were back at the entrance by early afternoon.

A successful trip in a very impressive cave (some of the fixed aids need to be seen to be believed), but still more climbing to be done. The next trip may see the shaft exceed 300m!!