Sorry about the delay in DTT 4.2. DTT 4.3 will also be a bit late, because
the editor is off to Spain (yes, again) for a couple of weeks. Anyway,
this issue brings you up-to-date on this year's Spanish finds, and carries
tales of renewed OUCC activity in Carno. BCRA looms, so its time to think
fast about next year's expedition committee. If anyone has stories of caving
over the summer (come on you foreign correspondents!), please send them
in on e-mail.
We also need to start planning next term's events. That means volunteers
for the Freshers' Fair, and the interminable trips to Sump One and back.
If you have any ideas for caves to do later in the term, tell the Secretary
(Jenny Vernon). And don't forget: Mendip Madness promises to be a
wacky multi-club, fancy-dress bonanza with foolhardy quantities of fireworks
Top Camp Campaign
The plan was to check out some of the undescended entrances that have
been found by Gerhard and co over the last few years. However, we seemed
to spend more time looking at new caves. The biggest find was F57, which
is basically a huge tunnel heading into the mountain, about 5m wide and
20m high, descending at 45 degrees for 160m, and with a huge draught. Until
it stopped. However there are plenty of leads up high, or maybe under the
snow. We also pushed F41 down a series of pitches to a depth of 80m, with
another pitch beyond. A few other caves (F54, F14, F5,...) were bottomed.
A number of new entrances, some of them looking very promising, were also
Despite the bottom of Sistema Sierra Forcada being found, a number
of leads elsewhere in the system were pushed. Steve P and Rob pushed the
rift above Big Wind to the top of a pitch: this may connect back near The
Unwell; the survey should tell. I dug the dry sump at the SW end of the
big stuff with a number of partners; we made about 6m progress, and it
looks like it is starting to rise towards a surface ahead. This lead is
interesting as the big stuff is part of a different system to the entrance
series / Rio Enfermos series, and is heading into blank mountain.
The squeeze at the end of Optimisto was bypassed, but the passage soon
led to a sump.
Xitu was rigged down to the Teresa Series, and the Hungarians found
(but refused to survey) about a hundred metres of passage leading off one
of William's Bits. Unfortunately this also sumped.
So, a very successful and enjoyable expedition, with a number of leads
closed off, and a number of new leads found. The consensus among those
people there at the end of expedition was that next year we should en masse
to Top Camp, and continue pushing the leads there.
Dear DTT, I was gratified to see that 8/11 went to Mohandi. If you look
at the 92 Ario and Base Camp logs you will see that my dowsing maps predicted
just this and I also found Pozu Mohandi (your new 26/11) in 1992. Now who
says that dowsing doesn't work? If you look at the former maps, you will
see that I also predict that following the spring line, and its sink in
the bowl of Mohandi, that the caves continue down to Vega Maior, and eventually
resurge at Fl Hoyo La Madre: quite a system, if it's true. So, dowsing
confirmed by exploration.
Yellow Bag Cave goes to -580m
Tim Nicholls returned to the central massif this year with 6 Belgian
cavers to look at the caves found over the last 2 years by various OUCC
folk (Mark B, Sherry, Katya, Tony, Dave Hetherington and Kath Force). They
met up with a Spanish team also in the same area who pushed Cueva del Joe
90 while Tim and friends pushed Yellow Bag Cave. This cave had been noted
by LUSS some years previously who we think halted at a blind pitch. Me
and Mark found an alternative route at the end of last years trip which
continued in a rift with a howling gale blowing through it. Tim's team
pushed the cave to 580m depth, and it is still going! The Spanish team
in Joe 90 didn't fare so well and only found a small amount of new cave.
I'm sure Tim will be keen to return next year, and I know he'd like
some OUCC cavers to come too (work prevented us going this year). Tim said
that Yellow bag cave had a 130m pitch down a perfect 10m diameter tube
and some very impressive galleries, and a big draught at the end. Mark
is currently kicking himself that he didn't go out this year! !
Back to Carno
500m of really Gullible Passage...
Sunday morning, as the sun dragged itself over the mountains of South
Wales Jim Chris D and Gavin got geared up and sorted out for another trip
into Carno. This was to be the third camping trip to Saturday the 13th
and our intentions were to carry in more emergency supplies, and get on
with some digging. We also went in with photographic gear as Charles had
asked for some pics to illustrate his talk at BCRA next week.
A 4.5 hour trip brought us to the camp and a welcome cup of tea and
relief from the tackle bags. After a couple of brews and some soup we set
off to have a look at No-Ways choke. Gavin made pretty rapid progress into
the left hand route while I looked into the right hand side. Further forward
progress was prevented by the large interlocked boulders in the floor.
I scrapped at this infernal jigsaw for a while then decided that the whole
lot would have to come out. No-Ways is an ideal dig for three people at
the moment. One can dig on the left while a second digger can work on the
right, the third party can then help stack boulders on the right or take
a break. By 8pm we had had enough, so me and Chris had a last tidy up while
Gavin went off to cook a scrummy meal of Soup, Nut Cutlets and Mash (no
angel delight). We drank the whisky then went to bed. Up at 8 am and a
photo trip through Sensory Drive, Saturday the 13th, Tumbling Bay and back
to NoWays. We continued to dig the chokes and finally got the right hand
choke free of the offending boulders ready for forward progress to resume.
The left hand route is now about two body lengths long and progressing.
We finished work at 2, had lunch and were out at 7.30 to be eaten by gnats.
Fans of Swildon's and Vodka Eventing will be sorry to hear that the MNRC
Station was broken in to recently. Money was stolen, and locked doors were
Don't forget that BCRA conference is in Bristol this year, on l0th-12th
September. If you haven't been before, you should give it a go. There are
usually a good number of excellent talks, a stomp (a Bristol Cajun Rock
band called K-Passa), competitions, videos, photo salon,
and workshops. Not to mention the chance to hobnob with famous cavers,
and generally pose about. Its also where OUCC has an annual meeting to
decide the fate of next year's expedition. So, if you plan to get involved,
or have an opinion about next year's expedition leadership and organisation,
getting talking to people, and go to the BCRA.