In my current translation project I have the phrase "there appears to be something lying in a heap," referring to a rope ladder which is sitting on the ground at a certain point in an underground tunnel. Rather than being laid out straight along the ground, is it positioned like a pile of leaves.
Google Translate gives me "auf einem Haufen liegen" for "lying in a heap," but this is the same as "lying on a heap," or "lying on a pile," which is not what I am trying to say. The rope ladder is the heap; it is not on top of anything else. I am also not sure about "in einem Haufen liegen" since it is not actually in anything.
I can think of ways to convey the literal meaning such as "haufenartig" or "in Haufenform" but I am not sure this is colloquially normal language. Please advise!