Freesteel Blog » CUCC Expo 2010 first week log

CUCC Expo 2010 first week log

Sunday, August 8th, 2010 at 12:39 pm Written by:

Oh dear. I appear to be on a caving expedition in Austria again. Here’s how it happened.

30 July Becka and I left home at 4pm, got stuck in traffic on Edge Lane and on the M6. Phoned ahead from the M1 to the student in Cambridge with an ETA several hours hence, and then discovered that he was naive enough to go to the tacklestore to wait for us at the due time. We arrived at about nine. Stayed with Wookey overnight, trying to fix up the expo computer, which we took out, along with Chris D and tonnes of rope.

31 July Three hours early for the 1 o’clock ferry. Frank’s car caught one half an hour ahead of us. Drive through the day and night, with a 10pm fill at Sweibrucken where I took over and drove the rest of the way to Bad Aussee (remembering unsigned route through Salzburg from last year). Car does considerably better mileage at my 50mph compared to Chris’s 75mph.

1 August 6am. The campsite was jammed with caravans and RVs. Potato hut was full of snoozing cavers. Becka and I moved into the attic. Woke up at 10 to a completely empty campsite. I festered all day, put up our tent, helped put up the beer (food) tent, while everyone else carried gear to the stone bridge top camp.

2 August There was some shuffling around of toll road tickets, cycling back with the ticket for the third car after it had been left under a rock behind the toll booth by the first car for the second car. By the afternoon the weather was beginning to break. Mark didn’t want to walk up as scheduled, but offered to drive me up. Decided I’d better go as being trapped at base camp for too long does eventually lose its appeal to the extent that one is willing to plan something stupid. Heavy rain storm. Mark was concerned his car would get struck by lightning and was almost unwilling to go all the way to the top car-park. Listened to several podcasts on walk over to take mind off the grimness. Was very lucky to get the last camp-bed as my carry mat is wholly inadequate for sleeping on gravel. Same sleeping spot as usual out front underneath the noisy tarp.

3 August There was a rope shortage, so everyone had to go down the hill in the rain to get some more. I only just got up, so stayed in completely alone, trying to catch up on sleep. Caught a full 20 seconds of sunshine when I realized it had briefly stopped drizzling and that the dripping on the tarp was from the stone bridge. It was pretty lonely.

4 August Becka, me and Neil down Tunnocks to show other party start of dry big pitch, which they were scheduled to rig. The route there was via a ledge on the other side of the 100m Usual Suspects pitch. We then looked at my 10 second rattle ‘A’ lead at the top end of the cave, which crapped out too tight and didn’t even have a draft. Surveyed 8 legs in the other direction up a tight crawl towards Crossword Passage to a drafting short pitch.

5 August Becka, me and Neil down the deep pitch, Stringfellows, which had surprisingly failed to drop into Usual Suspects chamber where we had been trapped for 8 hours last year by a sudden waterfall. Surveyed around new chamber, crossed through a slot under the pitch, rigged another 20 metres down and arrived in Usual Suspects chamber. Our plastic sheeting under the rock was exactly as I had left it. The place looked much smaller than I remembered. The pitch was dripping and completely out of the question. It must have been a drought (until the thunderstorm) for anyone even to consider rigging the rope down it. I had a dump under the same boulder that I had when I first went down (big pitches scare the shit out of me), and tossed rocks to cover it up — accidentally uncovering my earlier pile. The ascent took hours. The rope is already in a filthy state after one day of use.

6 August Persuaded to go on photo trip with Mark. This now written up in the log book. Was counting on him jacking at entrance, but he didn’t, so wound up in cave for third day in a row. Then I had to pose hanging off the edge of the big pitch, which was the last place I ever wanted to be. Got out of the cave too late to walk down in the light (it was misty), so left it till the morning 7 August when it was properly raining. Finished reading “Twilight of Breirious” which I had found in Andrew’s loft and took because I liked the cover. Got to base, showered, then sat in the loft programming a search function into TunnelX to help Martin produce his question mark databases. Cooked egg and chips for Becka for dinner, then had a dunkel weissbier over at Hilde’s

8 August (Today) Some sunshine. Becka left on her own in the morning when it transpired that all her caving buddies had had a big beer session and were nowhere near ready to get up. I’m staying down here for the foreseeable future trying to dry things out.


  • 1. Mike the Animal replies at 10th August 2010, 3:53 pm :

    Even if the weather is crap I’d still like to be there. Still, UF is suddenly looking promising again:)

  • 2. wookey replies at 12th August 2010, 9:57 pm :

    Poor Julian. Made to go to expo in the rain. I did at least use debconf to improve the tunnelx java packaging. Take some mild consolation from the fact that it’s gone rather soggy in the UK too (after months of drought).

  • 3. Mike the Animal replies at 16th August 2010, 7:32 pm :

    Scratch the UF comment 🙁

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