Depth through thought
OUCC News 20th April 1994
Volume 4, Number 19
|DTT Volume 4 index|
Welcome back all, after a veritable SpeleoEaster. Trips to Vercors, Yorkshire, Daren, Southern Spain, Mexico... No doubt we'll be hearing about some of the highlights over the next few issues (hint hint). Exploration is the theme for this issue (which should have appeared last week, but my printer broke down), with 4 reports from around the world. Jim recounts our trip to Southern Spain, where several new caves were found, pushed, even surveyed and three interesting leads were left (one an undescended pitch, rare for this area). We're up to 7 OUCC logged discoveries in the Gualchos region now. Pivo continues his exploration diary from the last issue. Sherry gives us her exploration news from Wee Jasper down under, and Pauline recounts what it's like to carry Gavin's big one exploring down Swildon's.
If Gavin tells you he's got a small one don't believe him. On Sunday (several weeks ago now, sorry! Ed) Dave and I lugged Gavin's 2 foot long crowbar down Swildon's. Actually Dave did most of the lugging because I was having a bout of incompetence. We took the crowbar to Candy's Calamity which is near Shatter Pot. There's a climb which is rather more difficult on the return followed by quite a lot of thrutchy crawly stuff at the end of which.., a dig! Dave went first on this bit. He made noises and passed a few rocks to me. And because there was no escape he couldn't resist making a few noxious odours. I got cold so we managed to exchange places. Somehow I used the 2 foot long crowbar in a passage less than a foot high to lever off a lump of rock. Immediately I got into my 70/5 digging mode and enthusiastically filled a bucket with rubble. Then I noticed that everything remaining was rock solid so I swapped places with Dave again. No progress was made. Before leaving I took off my helmet to wriggle as far forward as I could to try and see what lay beyond but it wasn't inspiring. WARNING: this place is squalid and will not quickly repay any efforts. I get the feeling that it is someone else's abandoned dig. I will take the hint from them.
On the way out I had a look at the inlet leading off from the bottom of the Water Chute
(that's the bottom of the old 40). I was forced to crawl flat out in the water at first,
then on hands and knees up a slope and by and by to a standing up bit. It continued much
smaller, but I returned because Dave was busily building a wall to block me in. It goes
quite far. Has anyone else looked up there?
Oxford was getting me down, I had to get away, to the country, somewhere sunny. Well Guilford was "resting" so we needed no further excuse to head out to Gualchos in Southern Spain. Getting the key proved more awkward. One of the Guilford clan has ten copies, but she left them in Winchester, and brought two bananas and some Slippery Elm. I ate the bananas.
"You're eating bananas. Why haven't I got any bananas?"
We were met in Malaga by Pete, he had managed to hire the worlds smallest, and least sporty looking Lancia imaginable. we were off. It was about midnight when we reached Gualchos. so it was up to the roof with a bottle of rioja. Monday we attacked Corner Cave with a pathetically small hammer, then adjourned for a picnic followed by a stroll around the civil war trenches. Pete was now well off the leash
"I demand totty, we must have the finest totty known to humanity"
"One of us will have to stay alert and keep an eye on Pete, He's so Mauve"
We were back in Gualchos and on the roof at beer O'clock sharp. Monday, and time to get some serious tools, we picked up Desmond the Destroyer (Pts400), Chirpy Chisel, and the Awesome Black Nun, the most useful purchase turned out to be the elfin Blue Nun. Then to the beach for a picnic with climbing.
"Timothy dear, why are you wearing plastic bags on your feet?"
"Because I forgot my rock boots"
After scrabbling around on the rocks for a couple of hours we returned to the beach, something was amiss.
"That mad witch and her half-wit son have left, they've taken the booze and my fags."
They returned an hour or so later, and we back on the roof, watching the swallows by beer O'clock precisely. With improved tooling and renewed vigour we were quickly into Corner Cave, we lost the draught into a bouldery loose chamber but a parallel rift looks promising (alright for you to say, Jim, but you weren't the one hoiking boulders out of the choke at arms length with the nun: ed).
The next speleo find was located on a recce trip on the hillside above Gualchos. Near Wildcat Cave Guilford found a choked and draughting pothole filled with rocks. "Here, Cave Here"
He flounced off to look for embrocation while I was left lone to do the grunt work. After a couple of hours, I pulled out most of the rocks, and Guilford returned to help with the rest, a rifty/squeezy/loose drop led to the top of a 8m pitch, we called that a day and left Paint Pot and wandered back to Gualchos, by Beer O'clock, I had had a bath in the joke bath, and was up on the roof watching the swifts in the sunset. The final speleosite was relocated by Johnny, the night before he wasn't sure whether he had dreamt about this cave or whether he had seen it last year while on holiday in Sardinia. The Cave of the Sardinian Dream was quickly located. Guilford and I pushed in various stages, It consisted of two chambers connected by parallel rifts. We ended up surveying with one working light which made the entrance climb fairly entertaining.
Well we eventually had to return to the squalor of Gatwick, stopping off to load up with duty free, and large sombreros. Getting back to a rainsoaked Airport, THE Sterile Promontory.
"I can't find the car...I've got the fear. Give me something for the fear"
I have of late.. "I", Jim Ramsden
Tuesday, 22nd of February: The map of the cave is old and isn't so exact. Younger cavers have got the documentation of the cave from the older cavers. They have to fix the map. Then we had to do it on the third floor. Before arriving to the Hipodrom we could go up to the second floor and we found there the beginning of the "7th of November" passage, which is a long and very big meander. On our way I drunk some water free from a little lake. I took off my helmet while I was drinking ledding it on my knee, so unfortunately my oversuit caught fire. I was got in panic and I pushed my hand onto the fire melted oversuit. Bazmeg... it wasn't a good feeling....
At the end of "7 of November" passage two geological line meet, so it is a very interesting part of the cave. There we could go up to the third floor and we separated into three groups. The two other group went to cartograph and we looked for some new passages. Hosszu was lucky because he had climbed in a thin gorge. After three metres he found a chamber under this short passage. He couldn't climb down and came back. A guy from Miskolc, called Maci and me tried it. He jumped down, but I didn't follow him. He found a new passage but thought it's too tight. We went back. When the groups met, four guys had gone back and they went through this tight passage. When they came back, they didn't say more to us... We went back through the bivouac on the Stone Jungle.
Wednesday, 23rd of February: An important geological line is parallel which the main direction of the cave. Lateral passages of the cave go away to this geological line but all of them end in a mass of mud. At the other part of this line there is a karst area nearly twice as big as the area of Szelek barlangja. This karst areas are covered so we can't an entrance to the cave of this area on the surface.
This day we had to check the end of X-passage. It's a lateral passage with a mud end, too. At the Mixer we went up to a big chamber. From there we climbed up to the Triangle, which is squeeze. We went across well, but a fatter guy had to take off his oversuit. We could hardly find the X-passage, it was an hour search. The passage is big and beautiful, but the end of it is a muddy "wall". We should dig and dig and dig and.......,.and we might find something. Then we couldn't do anything there, because we didn't have equipment to dig and the time was short too. We had eaten our caver food and cleaned our generators and we went back to the bivouac.
Pivo continues his exploration diary in the next issue...
In looking for a little project to occupy ourselves, I noted the start of a little high passage marked on the survey of Dip cave . It was about 20-30 ft above the floor of a main passage and marked with dotted lines. We asked Neil (He Who Knows) if any of the climbs in Dip cave had been done and he said they hadn't so we thought we'd have a look at
Dip cave is about 1.5 hrs from Canberra in the Wee Jasper area and has the twin advantages of not needing permits and proximity to a nice pub - ideal! Last Saturday found me and Mark standing in No. 5 series of dip cave pondering the climb. To me it appeared to be a desperate overhanging affair on rotten calcite. Mark saw a 'promising' traverse line from a high point on one side of the passage. We climbed up and I belayed Mark as he made his way across towards a sloping ledge. The missing top of a prominent stalagmite suggested someone before us had had a go at this too. Mark leaned over to the ledge and decided that it was horridly sloping and composed of rotten calcite. It was too crappy to put a bolt in . We retreated and spent a few minutes shining our lights into the passage from a higher point in the chamber' it appeared to continue at least a short distance. We went to the pub and planned our next assault.
NUCC have a set of scaling poles which we have already arranged to borrow. Next weekend
we shall return and celebrate mayday early with a revival of that archaic caving skill -
maypoling! Watch this space... (see next DTT)