Depth through thought

OUCC News 9th March 1994

Volume 4, Number 17

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Calling all Lemmings: if you were a lemming in past years, please let Joan know when so that she can add your name to the plaque on the new, improved club lemming.

Expedition Update

We've had a fairly rapid response from equipment suppliers, and as a result we can move forward very quickly with the gear order. To date we have been offered the following discounts: 16.5% Bat Products; 20% Bernie's; >20% Lyon; 15-20% Warmbac. So we will be setting a deadline of Wed 2nd week of Trinity term for the gear order. An extensive supply of catalogues and price list will be appearing over the next few weeks, have a look at what's available, and compare prices, also have a word with experienced money spenders, everyone will have their own opinion on every piece of gear so ask around All orders must be accompanied by a cheque (or cash).

More Money Matters
As part of the gear order the expedition will be buying lots of gear, it will start having to spend money, so the expedition account needs your deposits now (Cheques for #125 payable to OUCC La Verdelluenga 94).

As a matter of course everyone must be insured, the policy we are almost certainly going to use is administered via the BCRA, there is a saving for members, and coupled with cheap admission to the BCRA conference, and subscription to Caves and Caving makes joining the BCRA worthwhile. We don't have figures for 94, but for 93 it cost #35 for about 2 weeks, and #66 for the whole expedition.

Getting Funds
So your going to have to spend all this money! what about getting some money into your muddy little hands? Application forms for the A.C. Irvine fund will be available from colleges next term. Everyone eligible should apply, a fairly reasonable amount of money is up for grabs. Gavin has written a "How to apply for ACI funding" and he will be handing these round where applicable. Now's the time to get very pally with your JCR. Most JCR's have travel funds, they are all administered differently, and have different deadlines. So get weaving on your JCR, find out how the fund is run, when's the deadline, and apply. It may be that the deadline is tomorrow, so get moving on it today. The committee can supply help with prospectus's, and help and advice on how to fill in application forms. If the money isn't given to cavers it will be frittered away on the chess club and boaties.
Jim (wearing his money hat)

Over the last few weeks I've been suggesting to people that they give us the addresses of food suppliers who we would like to sponsor us, so far the response has been poor (Non, extremely crap). Now I know that platefuls of mountain air will sustain us for weeks, but we will need a little nutrition, so get down to Tesco's and Sainsbury's and Waitrose and lets be having some ideas for munchies. It is worth bearing in mind that the very large companies e.g. Mars, Sainsbury's etc have all got very extensive sponsorship programs (usually aimed at special interest groups such as disabled) and are extremely unlikely to be forthcoming with the goodies. However, smaller and local companies, family firms etc can be very useful.

Jim (wearing his enflamed chef's hat)

It should be pointed out that we have had one individual make a couple of suggestions, that we try the local breweries, and condom manufacturers, I'll leave you to figure out who that was.

Oh no not Carno!

"Cave men have small capacity for reason, some basic tool-making skills, and the use of a few simple words." With these words in mind we (the flowerpot men, Tim and Gavin) made our way back along THE Adit in search of the great grey- green greasy river Limpopo River. Fortunately the water levels were not too high as Ben got introduced to the unremitting delights of Carno. After sweating through Full Moon Crawl, we traversed along Southern Discomfort until I was actually Thrutching the Void. Warp factor 5. Into the Literal Zone, Cormorant Rift, Sensory Drive. Before long we were standing in the candlelit camp, a sculptured chamber with a smooth mud floor, munching chocolate and drinking fortified things.

Gavin and Ben decided to turn their hands to digging while Tim and I made our way across Tumbling Bay (Thundering Canyon). For me this rift is the most beautiful, eerie and remote place in the cave. I inched my way along the traverse line, 12 ft or so above the deep, black water to the top of a short ladder which led to a streamway (Tony's dive site). The stream was carrying as much water as the Ease Gill system a week ago so there must be more passage the other side of the sump. Hopefully we would find it. After several fear- instilling movements on exploration rigging we stood with our stemples at the base of a rift climb. While I kept warm making four legged mud parakeets, and tried to be encouraging, Tim no rope and all, made his way up the rift, banging in bolts (2) and gritting his teeth. "Please may it go on", I said to myself. In one bold move Tim gained several feet. Damn. He had been there before from above. The air current was just a circulation. After much derigging we made our way back to camp. It was midnight. No luck with the digging either. Oh well.

Gooood Moorrnning Caarrno. Who was the "deep breather"???? I didn't hear him. After doing everything you have to do (1,2,3 & don't forget no.4), Gavin and Ben got ready for some more digging while Tim and I struggled with tackle bags back to Mega Hall. Holy shite filled caverns, was Tim really going to climb that? 30 ft up an overhanging hole in the ceiling led to a possible way on. While I belayed, Tim again made his way up into the darkness, gardening and D.I.Ying as he went. Higher and higher he went until again he reached the top. Again no luck, a large solution pocket.

When the others rejoined us we ate some more chocolate and then made our way out, knackered. For me it was an excellent 30hr trip. I got out tired and happy. Shame about the lack of discoveries, but we tied up several loose ends and in spite of Carno had fun. No problems with the Nicads, Chris. Thanks Tim and Gavin, and everyone who helped set up camp, and oh one last thing, if you want a speedy Pick-a-Pizza, don't choose Banana flavour. Simply Inedible.

Yarangobilly and Wee Jasper

Mark and me actually managed to go caving two weekends in a row! First we had a weekend in Yarrangobilly with the Canberra Speleological Society. CSS has fixed up an old hut there which we stayed in over the weekend. Yarrangobilly is a fine caving area about 2 hrs drive from Canberra with caves reminiscent of S. Wales, although on a smaller scale. The first trip was a through trip in a cave called eagles nest. Apart from the initial pitch the cave was horizontal with just a few climbs. It has some good decorations; nice stal and some crystal pools. After passing through the half way gate (installed to prevent people doing the through trip without permission) we met up with the other CSS party coming the other way on a photo trip. We exchanged keys so we could lock up various gates and soon emerged to a thundery afternoon.

On Sunday we went to Bath House cave, kind of a miniature Swillies. We actually managed to get WET!!! (Quite a challenge in Australian caves). It only took an hour or so to reach the end which was a low damp grovelly dig (the sort of thing Gavin would revel in). Me and Mark stuck out noses into it to the consternation of Neil who said some CSS caver had got stuck in it, though it didn't seem that small. We also poked around in muddy passage in the roof and persuaded Neil to show us the high levels. Jim, one of the CSS cavers found a little hole in the high level passage, Mark gave him a leg up into it and he crawled away while we had a look at the high level streamway (except for Mark who waited by the hole to catch Jim when he popped out). When we got back about 15 min later, Mark was still waiting and Jim still hadn't emerged. He came back five min later describing a crawl to a small chamber with some continuations. We were getting a little cold so we went out. Jim was quite pleased with his 'new bit' but it transpires there is quite a bit to be found at Yarrangobilly for those prepared to put in a little effort, that is provided you can surmount the bureaucratic obstacles. We hope to return to Jim's bit to push it soon - its just a pity its not as simple as throwing your gear in the car, driving to the cave and pushing your lead.

One place in the vicinity where you can go caving without permits is Wee Jasper a small Mendip-like area about 1.5 hrs from Canberra. Last Sunday we went there to do Punchbowl cave. This is a jolly little trip, and despite some initial route-finding difficulties (resulting in Mark returning to the car to get the map) we soon reached Far Chamber which rustles with thousands of bat wings and pongs with thousands of bat turds. A few climbs later saw us to the end of the cave and we turned round to go out. Wee Jasper, despite being a 'highly visited' area (i.e. the level of traffic of Swillies on a wet weekday), still has some leads to be pursued. The problem is that new stuff that is found is often not published due to a 'hush-hush' attitude that prevails, so its hard to know if something has been pushed or not. Even in Wee Jasper there are only 4 caves you can go down without permits. Fossicking in odd holes (of which there are quite a few) is NOT ON unless you are IN THE KNOW. There's odd spots of limestone all over the region with potential for new finds but the nudge-nudge wink-wink attitude is pretty frustrating if you want to poke around them (prob'ly why there's still lots to find). CSS are fairly well connected as far as being IN THE KNOW is concerned (although not that active in actual caving) so maybe we'll get to do some exploring eventually. NUCC the university club are more active cavers but seem to regard exploring new cave as a dubious activity to be regarded with suspicion; When we said we wanted to explore new stuff they suggested going down known cave without looking at the survey!?!?!?!Ho Hum ..Yours, enthused and frustrated at the same time..
Sherry Mayo