Depth through thought

OUCC News 2nd February 1994

Volume 4, Number 12

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Jim's unique ability to mix malicious gossip with factual tidbits has prompted me to start a new column: Pumpenschwingel. Please feel free to contribute to this worthy section whenever you feel the urge to convey only slightly relevant facts, rumours, gossip, or news in a mildy humorous manner. If you want to know the origin of the name, ask your secretary (married name: Jennifer Jaberwocky-Jones), or ponder cabbages.

Also in this issue of Depth, two reports from our foreign correspondents (for those of you unfamiliar with MacSumpool, its JC's peculiar style of humour).

Finally, in my capacity as your new Expedition Medical Officer I think we should discuss the proposal that this year's expedition should be alcohol free.


This week end: Mendip fun, staying MNRC, probably leaving Saturday morning. St. Cuthbert's (beautiful place: one of the nicest touristy caves on Mendip), possibly Wigmore for the hardy.


Gavin has a new work 'phone number: [2]83603

Tim's address from 11th February will be: 31 Wellington Street, Jericho, Oxford


Well after that burst of creativity from the youfs last week its back to the old lags for the usual selection of drab non-caving notices. So off we go

Subtle Subliminal Message; (Je ne pense pas)

Go on Expedition

It will be Good

Nothing new on the expedition admin side, Dr Tim is now the expedition medical officer in charge of drugs and contraception (nearest post to Pleasure Officer we could come up with). The Sports Council were so impressed/appalled with our application that they don't need/want to talk to us. As no-one else wants to be treasurer I'm it for the time being. As we presently have no accountants on the executive team we are in a negative collateral situation. Some unkind soul has suggested that our current position may be due to the large number of accountants on last years trip, but that is a viscous slur and I want to put a end to such talk immediately, so stop it.

On the caving front, the continued precipitation in the Picos de Europa continues to cause further subterranean erosion, The caves are getting deeper all the time!
Jim (your toothsome treasure)

Timely Tips from an old lag...

If you intend going down Thrupe Lane, as I did a week ago last Saturday, don't. The garden at the entrance is now inside the cave (trees and steps included) and a recent alteration in the drainage means that the cave floods very easily with now that the ground is waterlogged (something to do with a demolished railway embankment and all the rain we've had). A Mendip worthy is gradually pulling out bits of tree and keeping an eye on the water level. Go down Eastwater instead. Someone has installed fire hoses through the rift which conveniently catch dropped carbides, zimmer frames etc.
John Single

Greetings From Scotland

Tis a brae nicht nicht th'nicht. Rabbie Burns! Aye! Go home English etc. Scots cavers are spoilt for choice. There's a fair few bonnie wee caves pokin' aboot up north. Assynt, Skye, Schiehallion, Glen Duror, Glenfiddich, Macallan, Highland Park and Whyte and Mackay's. (there are actually caves in Glenfiddich, shame about the whiskey, its nasty). Faced with this breathtaking lucky dip of speleogical delites, we went down to the dales last week, cos the caves are better. For anyone contemplating the joys of M6 traffic in the near future this involved leaving Edinburgh at 7.00 and supping the first pint of Dent in the Martin Arms at 9.20. Its grim up north. The ostentatious reason for hitting the north was a trip down Stream Passage. This is easily found by walking up to Gaping Ghyll and going South East until you drop into the "stream". Alternatively you could take a short cut from Bar Pot and wander aimlessly across the moor in thick mist for a couple of hours. Stream Passage is a wet route into the Gaping Ghyll system, and could be described as a classic Yorkshire pothole, in that it goes along a bit and every now and again (4 times to be precise) goes down rather precipitously. Fortunately we'd read a book by a nice man by the name of Mr. Elliot, so we had a good idea of what to expect. There's a lot of nice men in the Dales. Somebody else, (maybe one of Mr. Elliot's friends) had left hangers all the way down, so we didn't have to think too hard about where to tie the ropes that Mr Elliot's book said we'd need.

At the bottom you have two choices, either you go right in the direction that the arrow points. That'll be another one of those nice men. That way you follow a whole bunch of walking size passageways and eventually end up at the Main Chamber. Pretty boring really. Alternatively you go left, along a suspiciously less well worn passage. Seeing as the last time I was down here I'd gone left and turned back, due to unpleasantly deep mud, left was obviously the best decision. Sure enough the mud was still there, but Scottish cavers are made of sterner (or was it denser) stuff than southern softies from Oxford, so we waded through the waste deep mud, crawled through the tubes of slime, even leapt off the 10ft drop into the poll of mud of indeterminate depth, convincing ourselves that we must be heading for Mud Hall, cos we'd heard of that even though Mr Elliot had neglected to give the route in his book. No pitches apparently. We even admired with inpenetrable boulder choke, which could be described as an obvious conclusion to the trip. Muddy, but happy we returned to the up bit, in the sure knowledge that we'd be rinsed off on the aqueous bits.

The journey home had the added interest of meeting real adventure cavers. Adventurous, cos they were supposed to go down Bar Pot (a sensible route into Gaping Ghyll) but there had been too many sensible cavers choking the entrance, so they decided to chance popping down someone else's ropes, and run round to the bottom of Bar. We wished them luck, told them to try right at the bottom, and derigged. (There was another set of ropes down there, so we were not Messrs. Callous). Wonder what became of them. Maybe they provided some fun for the rescue practise that night. Very nice men in the C.R.O. They rescued us in the Land Rover just outside Ingleborough Show Cave, and got us down to the car park in plenty of time to get back for a few more pints of Dent and a Pizza. Heaven!

Sunday. Waterfall walk. Bugger that caving.
MacSumppool. e s i s @ G

The Failed Expedition

Much more tales from Hungary

The last weekend our group together with other cavers from Budapest decided on to go try to exploring the end sump of seventh deepest cave of Hungary, which called Fekete-barlang (Black Cave). The cave was explored in 1977, nearly 1 km long, it is an active sinkhole. It has a sump at the 137 m level, and the next one is at -151 m. The first one is not really a sump like in Britain, it is a squeeze rift filled with sediment and water usually. The second one is unknown. After the exploration from this we just saw a short communication, but nobody knows it. We decided on to dig through the first one, and try to find the "new" part.

At this weekend it seems to be everybody was bored at home, because on Friday at 11 p.m. more then 20 cavers arrived to the entrance, and went to the cave. The first series is a pit series, and at -70 m has a chamber which is good for bivvy. But not for twenty. But at the surface was -10 C, so there was big enough place. We had big planes: hundreds of cavers here, we can make 3 hours period of work times at the sump, the others climbing some unknown chimneys, and had a rest. After the first team the last was. The sump unfortunately was filled water, as not usually. After it the aims has changed photo trips, absolutely squeeze side parts was the program. At Sunday most of us decided on to find other cave in the area to caving. So the cave keep his secret for the next year, when we has a chance to find the end sump dry.