Depth through thought

OUCC News 16th November 1994

Volume 4, Number 33

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Well done Chair for flying us through the TGM last week (though failing to break the record): not a great deal to report except that its time you all paid your subs so we can afford some new lights. You can read the rest in the Minutes book a year or two's time. Also well done Urs for organising the excellent shambles in Wales this weekend. I'm sure Southerscales will be as good, and some think the caves even better.

Letter from Australia

Dear Tim,
We'd love to play Laserquest against the Zoologists but alas I think we won't be able to make the venue, however if you were to change the venue to the LaserZone in Woden Plaza (ca. 1km away from us) we might be able to join in ! Maybe with the wonders of the internet maybe soon we will be able to!

We've just got back from a "Secret Squirrel Speleo Club" trip to Yarangobilly (ie. we hid the car in the bush hoping the rangers of the National Park Wouldn't see it since we hadn't contemplated 4 weeks earlier that on Monday last we'd get pissed in the local pub and arrange to go caving). We had a good time and did a little digging- we found (maybe) ca. 40 m of new passage. If we're REALLY LUCKY we might be able to get hold of the survey of the cave off of one of the elder club members to confirm our find.

Well the washing in doing and Sherry in cooking, and I've drunk too much wine in the last hour to continue to make anymore sense! Let us know the latest gossip- we do get the gossip via snail-mail, but it takes time! All the Best ,
Mark Bown

A.C. Irvine Talk

In case anyone's forgotten, Alex and I are doing a talk on the '94 expedition for the A.C. Irvine Slide Show tomorrow night (that's Thursday) at 8pm at St Catz. It would be nice if we had a few cavers in the audience. Thanks,
James (the man who can).

Gear For Novices

We'll be short of equipment again this weekend as we have a lot of new OUCC members on their first Southern Scales weekend. If people can bring any spare furries, harnesses etc., I'd be most grateful. Looking forward to seeing you all in the Dales, (I can't wait),
Your Inedible (but tempting) TackleMaster.

Wlodek's Tackle

Does anyone know the whereabouts of a (probably unfeasibly large) red, "McKinley-trekking" tackle bag belonging to Wlodek? If so, please let him (or me) know.
Tim Guilford

Trolling Troglodytes

Following the runaway success of Sherry's OUCC song books (I think most of the club copies have run away at least) now seems an appropriate time to release VERSION II. I hope to include many more old favourites as well as new songs (such as the product of vino-tinto/Mornflake tortured expedition minds). I already have some new contributions, but...


Please search your brains/bookshelves for suitable contributions and send them to me without delay. Many thanks,
Harvey Smith.

Not Another Carno Trip

I didn't go down Carno his weekend. We didn't camp in the Littoral Zone again, nor did we visit Carnophobia or push the limits of exploration. I know there's too much complaining about, and that you can't fight the weather just as you can't fight a cave, BUT, why the hell doesn't it stop raining in South Wales?? I don't want to know about pressure and mountains, I want to see Tumbling Bay again. The amount of times I psych myself up, do my maths all Friday night (only occasionally glancing at the survey above my bed) and pack my backpack just to find its raining, raining, raining. I'm sick of it. I'm going berserk. And I'm not the only one. I shouldn't expect anything, I suppose you might say, but how can you not get hopeful about Carno's rifts, crawls, wet-bits, boulder chokes, muddy passages, sumps,....So please pray for sun.

Frustrated From Oxford.

From chaos to shambles

OFD III & Llanelli Quarry Pot

7.00am, Saturday. My alarm goes off. I struggle with a weak conscience, lose, and reset my alarm for a further 30 minutes sleep. 30 minutes of fitful, stupid sleep, in which I dream about overweight NiCad batteries and sheep floundering in OFD in flood follow. 7.33am, I sit up in bed and look at my watch. It says 7.33 am. Why hasn't my alarm gone off, I think. It is set for midnight. The chaos of a Wales weekend has started.

Stuff is bundled into a rucksack. Too much stuff. Far too much stuff. So much stuff, in fact, that when I attempt to get on my bike, I fall off. I have to walk, so I'm ten minutes late at the hut for the 8.00am start. The hut is full of wet, sleepy, disgruntled cavers. Nothing is being organised, no one knows what to do. I attempt sprightliness. "So, what's going on this weekend?". "No caves booked, no key for the WSG hut, no van, no Urs..." Outside, the rain spates. 8.30am I ring Urs, and, it seems, wake her. She's on her way, apparently, and, yes, we do have OFD booked. Things look up, but the shambolic scene is already set. Jim isn't well, and people are bottling out left, right and centre.

9.00am, Urs arrives, and she's not well. No one is, in fact. Someone makes the sensible suggestion that we adjourn for breakfast at the St. Giles' Cafe. We are short of lights, so I drive to Jericho and get a car charger to charge a half-dud FX2, then to the Cafe. By this time Tony has turned up, with sweets, and people are happier. 9.40am, there is a move to go. But more gear has to picked up, and I have to drive via Sara's house to pick up another light. 10.15am, I leave Kidlington, and take a stupid route to the A40. Two and a half hours late, the Fiasco finally heads for Wales.

Team Fiasco stops in Crickhowell to pick up a spare (well, essential) bulb, and arrives at Penwyllt at about 2pm. It's raining. Trips are organised, but there aren't enough lights, and Tony and Urs have forgotten their helmets. Well, you would, wouldn't you. Its a shambles. But barely 3 hours late, the door to top entrance creaks open, and we're in, on our way to OFD 3. The Gnomes glisten, Poached Egg Climb puzzles, and Bowhani Junction bamboozles. Of course, yet more absolutely essential fixed aid has been removed by SWCC from the various climbs in the Chasm, making death-defying unaided leads obligatory, in the name of safety (or was it beaurocracy?). But we reach the Crevasse and things are going swimmingly. We reach The Shambles, and its like we are home. All my talk of difficult and dangerous traverses perched on muddy ledges a hundred feet above the screaming void failed to put off Will, Kitty, Marten, and Pauline (newcomers to the traversing scene), and with no hint of fear or trouble they all flit across several difficult and dangerous traverses. Pauline's leg's are too short to do one of the traverses, so she flies instead. Tony on the other hand is disappointed because things aren't difficult and dangerous enough, but even his spirits lift when we reach the roaring top streamway and hoot downstream through great pools and whooshing marble corners.

The route out is uneventful, excepting a minor quarrel over who'll carry the tacklebag, and we emerge to a pleasant night high on a Welsh hillside five hours later. Back at the WSG Urs and Pauline provide everyone with orgasms. Lots of them. Big fluffy ones with cream on top. Tony gets stuck in ladder. Hangovers loom, and Sunday morning is a characteristically anarchic slow start. People have forgotten to charge their lights. Its raining. Its a shambles. But Urs does it again, and somehow trips are organised, and soon I'm halfway to Llanelli Quarry. But Marten has forgotten something, and we have to turn round and go back. He gets locked in the hut.

Somehow we (Kitty, Marten, Pauline) make it to Llanelli Quarry and straight to the pot, hidden under an wrecked car. I feel sympathetic. The tight entrance rift in beautiful milky limestone presents few problems, and soon we are rigging a fine wet 75ft pitch (Wlodek feet) from a dodgy scaffold and plunging into the boulder choke breakthrough at the bottom. A short crawl, and wow! A nice, sparkling streamway gives way upstream to a beautifully decorated streamway and eventually a superbly beautifully decorated streamway with picturesque waterfalls and multi- coloured gravelly beaches. Then, a nasty looking duck. No thanks, why spoil the fun. I take a detour up a 100 ft aven climb to find an interesting, not terribly well looked-at high level bit (does anyone have a survey?), but soon we are downstream and the character of the cave has changed into an increasingly Yorkshire-like meandering tight, wet rift. Its lovely, and the route-finding is fun, but its getting hard and people are getting tired, and the dodgy FX2 is threatening to sleep. I'll be back: does anyone fancy carrying some cameras?

A bit of pulling and pushing is needed in the entrance rift, but Kitty and Marten have managed splendidly in their first grade 4/5 experience and we emerge to rain. We change, break Jim's car in three places, and have Pizza. An excellent shambles. Did anyone else have fun?
Tim Guilford