2003, August, Fluorite, Summit Cleft, Weisseck
In August 2003 I received number of surprises. It all began with an unexpected visit from Walter Petzelberger. While he was admiring the milky quartzes from my recent find from the Diepalgraben, he casually noted that the group which had been working the Summit Cleft no longer existed. It disbanded due to differences of opinion. The Summit Cleft was now accessible for everyone.
Walter knew of a big not-yet-open pocket in the rearmost area of the Summit Cleft that contained green fluorites. He invited me to open this cavity and together collect the fluorites. Although I was taken by surprise, I eagerly accepted. On Monday, August 25th, the weather was perfect for a Weisseck ascent. We began climbing at 6 A.M. from the Sticklerhütte towards Riedingscharte and then reaching the Weisseck summit via the marked hiking trail. After 2 ½ hours, we reached the summit cross. From there we descended steeply to the entrance from the Summit Cleft. Here we put down our backpacks and prepared to enter the cleft. Much had changed since I was last there in 2001. The old entrance was now completely filled with rubble. We had to climb 7 meters up the rock to get through a small hole into the Summit Cleft.
The original entrance to the large Summit Cleft, approx. 50 meters below the summit cross
The new entrance to the summit cleft in a rock face, about 7 meters higher than the original entrance
After almost 2 years I was once again in this cleft! We crawled through the narrow passage that I knew so well. I was also familiar with the next 10 meters. It was here in October 2001 where we finished our work. Now, I continued into, what was for me, new territory. While crouching, we crawled up a narrow passage with an incline of about 45 degrees. On both sides of this corridor fragments of fluorite were strewn all along the way; these were considered to be of too poor quality to be taken away.
The large cavity at the back area of the Summit Cleft
After a few meters it again got tight: we had to squeeze ourselves up next to a large boulder in order finally to get into a large cavern. In the cavern (also known as “third cavern”), I was able to stand upright and I began trying to comprehend its astounding size. Wow! The cavity was about 7 meters long, 3 meters wide, and up to 2 meters high. Walter grinned when he saw the look on my face.
Walter didn't give me much time to be amazed. He went to the opposite, higher end of the cavity and disappeared into a man-high corridor that I hadn't even noticed. The corridor rose steeply for a moment, turned parallel to the large cavity, and ended after about 6 meters. Walter told me that here in the mountain we were so close to the summit cross that you can sometimes hear people talking from the summit through the cracks in the mountain.
Full plan (2003) of the Summit Cleft. One more cavern had not as yet been discovered (next to cavern B).
At this time, the cavern at entrance M1 was completely filled with rubble.
The rear narrow passage in the 3rd cavern
Here was where we wanted to work. In a thick, upright fluorite vein, I could see through a narrow hole yet another crystallized cavity. The fluorite was easy to work with. The hole to the cavity got bigger and bigger and after a short time Walter was standing in the cavity and handed me the first fluorite specimens. I had never found fluorite so easily! It struck me immediately that this was green fluorite. If you held the pieces in front of the headlamp, they glowed bright green. The green color was new for the Summit Cleft, because so far only purple fluorites in various shades of color had been found here. Unfortunately, water and frost destroyed or damaged many of the fluorites. Still, enough good pieces could be found, ready to be taken away. I carefully packed the good pieces and stowed them in cloth sacks while Walter was busy retrieving yet more. After about 5 hours we finished our work. The way into the open was long and exhausting due to the many heavy cloth bags: I crawled about 2 meters ahead and then Walter handed me all the bags to then place up front. I stowed the bags in this place as best I could. When all the bags were stowed, we moved forward another 2 meters and the procedure started all over again. With a depth of more than 40 meters in the mountain, it is not difficult to imagine how often we had to do this operation. More demanding on the imagination is the fact that we had to crawl in many varied and near-impossible postures. We reached the open air quite exhausted. After a short break, we packed the specimens in the backpacks. The heavy weight made the return ascent up to the summit cross very strenuous. But once there, we then began climbing down, combined with a few breaks, via the hiking trail to the Sticklerhütte and finally walked over the forest road to the Muritzen car park. What joy we felt when we saw our car. On such strenuous tours, the best moment always comes when you reach the car and can get the heavy pack off your back. We drove to Walter's home where we washed and divided the pieces. After a long hiatus, this first tour with Walter proved to be the start of a warm friendship and many tours together over the next few years.
A rarity: The surfaces of the fluorites have a square structure and also show a colored square zone structure just below the surface, 11 x 7 x 5.8 cm
The fluorites found here are predominantly green fluorites. The color changes in the individual pieces from light green to yellow-green, blue-green, and sometimes with violet areas. Worth noting, the fluorites that crystallized increasingly closer to the 3. Cavern, exhibit a corresponding greater blue color. The fluorite cubes reach an edge length of up to 10 cm, with a good, intensive parquet structure on the surfaces and multiple stepped edge growth. The surfaces are etched to a greater or lesser extent depending on the influence of the water, and almost all the pieces have a good gloss. The transparency is excellent! Green fluorite of this type and size was only found in the summit cleft in this one area and remains an absolute rarity from this site!
The most beautiful piece from this find, collection Dr. Alexander Spunda, 19 x 18.5 x 10 cm
Transparent fluorite with an edge length of 10 cm, 18 x 16 x 8 cm
One of my favorite pieces, with a 2nd generation of small reddish fluorites, 21 x 14.5 x 5.8 cm
Fluorite with intensively etched surfaces and interesting zonal patterns, 21 x 21 x 8.5 cm
Four intergrown fluorite cubes with excellent transparency and blue-green zoning, 7 x 6.5 x 3.8 cm
A fluorite with more blue hues from the front of the cavity, 19.3 x 18.5 x 8.3 cm
Intensely etched fluorite with deep etched crevices, the parquetted surface structure is only partially recognizable, 14 x 9 x 7.2 cm