kicked off boulders choked in a fissure. An exposed crawl, when cleared from stones, gave way to a series of seven cascades spiralling down for 50 m. After rigging and abseiling they stood at the head of a vast shaft with a stone bridge. However, they had no more rope and they had to go back to the hut.
On hearing the news we had quickly measured the ropes (more than 1150 m) and fell into the trance of exploration. On 30th of July Tomek, Marcin and Robert attained -600 m on a great ledge in the shaft with the stone bridge. Rafal and I surveyed from -300 m to -550 m. 31st July
- a storm in the mountains, so we stayed in the camp and only in the afternoon we went walking over the mountains. 1st August - Jacek and Daniel explored the Wiecznych Kursantow (Enduring Trainees) shaft to its bottom (-650) and a short, clear-washed meander with a stream (17 hours in the cave). Marcin went down to Abtenau to buy food and bring the remaining ropes from the car. Rafal and I were climbing on the northern face of Hochkarfelder Kogel, while Krzysiek and Robert abseiled to the bottom of the shaft discovered a few days ago in Red Spider.
This cave continues in a narrow passage and we will certainly come back there. Now we have to move the whole tackle to P-35. On the evening of the same day Zbyszek and Tomek went to set a bivouac, go to the exploration limit and push on. However, water that suddenly appeared after the night storm in the cascades at -460 made them return. The same happened to Jacek and Daniel. We had met them all at the entrance when going with Rafal for our turn of exploration and we came back to the camp together.
We had done the right thing, as in the afternoon it rained again. We threw a party in the hut. On 3th August the weather was still unfavourable. Zbyszek and Krzysiek came back to Poland for their jobs. The 4th of August we set off for a pushing trip again. The shafts and vast spaces brought about a rapid increase in the explored depth of the cave. I continued with Marcin the survey from -550 and exploration from
-650 to -750 (28 hours in action including a bivouac). We have run out of ropes above a next vast shaft. 5th August Tomek and Rafal (18 hours) abseiled the shaft750 (40 m) and went down over scare to a head of a great shaft at -810 m. 6th August. Jacek and Daniel had rerigged a part of the cave in order to free some ropes and attempted to explore the last shaft. Unfortunately, they had used the unlucky 70m rope from Red Spider and Jacek was dangling at its end without seeing the bottom or having a contact with the walls.
A stone tossed from the head of the shaft was falling down for 9-10 seconds. The other people went down to Abtenau for food and wood. We also said good bye to Robert who had to go back to Poland. We were left only six and the cave was still going on. On 7th August four of us went to explore, while Jacek and Daniel left the cave from the bivouac, after more than 30 hours spent underground.
We took the remaining ropes in hope they will suffice to get to the "thousand" which we were instinctively feeling. At the limit of exploration we found spits placed by the earlier team - the way was open. 140 m down the shaft named Piast, 8 x 23 m in cross-section, then enormous phreatic ramps descending at 30`, a shaft of 11 m and again phreatic tubes with a thick layer of mud. The sediment indicated proximity of the bottom. There it was. The stream, flowing on the bottom of a gully, disappeared suddenly in a sump. This is the lowest known point in P-35. Now what we have to do is to pack the tackle and return. We made deposits, took out the tackle, including the bivouac, and on 9th of August we finished our activity in the mountains.
During the evening in the hut we "computed" the cave, and threw out an international party. The calculations gave -1020,5 m, and after a correction later in Zagan -1011,3 m. P-35 Bleikogelhöhle is technically very easy. This is indicated even by the times shown above. When rigged it may be done to the bottom and up in 15 hours easily (descent of 2 people - some 3 hours).
To rig it we used more than 1100 m of ropes, because P-35 is a system of great shafts and cascades. At -930 in the Piast shaft there is a great ledge of jammed blocks, behind which we could see only darkness. We will surely come back there as this may be a chance for making the cave deeper.
The success is due to: Krzysiek Cygan, Marcin Furtak, Rajmund Kondratowicz-the leader, Tomek Kuznicki, Zbyszek Lapunow, Daniel Oleksy, Robert -Swiatek, Jacek Wisniowski, Rafal Wojcik and to our sponsors HURTPOL, T.U. WARTA and KOMINEX from Zagan.
M. Furtak and R. Kondratowicz (right) near the entrance to Bleikogelhöhle