The mission to rescue an injured potholer in southern Germany is said to be on the final stretch.
More than 100 emergency workers have been trying to bring the 52-year-old to the surface since Sunday.
The man is trapped more than 1,000 metres below ground after sustaining head injuries during a rock fall.
Rescue teams had initially expected it would take weeks to recover the man from the cave as he could not stand and the ascent involves steep narrow horizontal and vertical shafts.
On Tuesday however local media said the injured man was now responsive and able to stand for short periods of time.