Depth through thought

OUCC News 1st September 1993

Volume 4, number 2

DTT Volume 4  index

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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 and cider.

Expedition Update

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 found.

Ario Continued
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. 
Gavin Lowe

Successful Dowsing?

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.
John Wilcock

Central Picos

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! ! 
Sherry Mayo

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.
Jim Ramsden

MNRC Break-in

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 smashed.


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.