Moonmilk. Bats. Artefacts from 1800s. Still, inexplicably, all the other 15 participants have cancelled this excursion, including one of the guides. Why? Last nights party? Perhaps, the last guy to cancel says he partied too long. Or maybe it is the rain. It has been raining cats and dogs.
But, there is still one guide, Barbara, an Austrian cave scientist from Vienna. And one guest, me. I'm eager to visit my fourth cave on the Eurospeleo trip. I've spent a week here, but decided to have a day off between cave visits, to rest, to dry clothes, to work... but this means that I didn't want to cancel any of my excursions.
Amazingly, the rain stopped as we headed off to the trail. Now we had green, lush forests and good weather.
Did I say trail? Obviously there is no trail. For this cave, we needed to hike up a bit over 200 meters on a steep riverbed. And while the rain had stopped, all stones were wet and slippery. And loose; we had to be careful to not cause a rock fall. And sure enough, we did not cause a rock fall but next to us in the forest we hear rumbling noise. We catch a glimpse of a rock speeding down. I look for the sides of the gully we are on, to find a safe spot in case we are the target of the next rock. Fortunately, there is no more rock fall.
Nixlucke is a small (length: 177 meters) cave on the hills under the Feuerkogel cable car above Ebensee. It has four entrances, although only one is passable. Three medium sized cave rooms open up right from the entrance, the first one being the largest. One of the entrances is at the top this room, providing some light.
In the 1800s Nixlucke was mined for moonmilk, which at the time was believed to have healing powers. The upper parts of the cave have been largely cleaned of moonmilk, but the lower parts still have some.
Getting to the lower parts is not easy for me, however. The other end of the cave forms a pit that one has to descend with rope. Which I had not done before... but it turns out that it wasn't so difficult. We reach the wet bottom of the cave, with fine clay mud and moonmilk covering most surfaces. And then climb up, with the rope being needed only for a part of the ascent.
Overall, very nice small cave, with interesting moonmilk and texture features on the cave walls, and good practice for me. And hiking up to the cave was much needed exercise, even if one had to place steps carefully. I'm very happy that I got to visit this cave.
More information and access instructions Nixlucke can be found from here.
Bat waking up:
Views from the hike:
Setting up rope for the descent:
Tools of the 1800s moonmilk miners:
This article has also been published at TGR. Tämä artikkeli löytyy myös suomeksi Relaasta. See other caving articles at the planetcaver.net site.
Photos (c) 2018 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.