Depth through thought

OUCC News 20th October 1993

Volume 4, number 4

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Thanks all those who contributed gear for the novice trip last Sunday. This weekend we may need even more, so if you can help please get a labelled bag of gear to the hut by Friday night.
In this issue is a draft list of e-mail addresses for OUCC members. If anyone can add useful names, correct errors, or fill in the blanks, please let me know.
Plans for Mendip Madness progress.  13 UBCPC cavers are joining us, WUPS have been invited, Tufty sniffed the idea knowingly, and it looks like CUCC will be staying at the Wessex that week end (6/7 November). Anyone who wants to help with logistics should see me or Jim.
Climbers amongst you us will be pleased to hear that Noel Crane returned safely from the Himalayas yesterday, with stories to tell and slides to show...

La Verdelluenga '94

OUCC summer expedition to Spain
For many years OUCC has been travelling to the Picos de Europa undertaking the exploration of the caves of the Ario basin.  One of the most promising areas lies on the upper slopes of La Verdelluenga in the "Top Camp" area. Due to exploration in other areas, Pozu Jultayu (2/7) and Sistema Sierra Forcada (8/11) very little has been done in the area since 1986. This year a thorough reconnaissance trip was based at "Top Camp". It was found that the potential of the area in terms of undescended shafts was still considerable and further, that a series of mild winters had reduced the snow plugs in a large number caves that had been abandoned in the past due to snow blockage.

The broad outline of the plan for the 1994 expedition is to return to this incredibly promising area. In recent years our allocated area has been increased and now covers areas 11 and 13. The reconnaissance of these areas will be our secondary objective. All past expeditions have contained a large training element, our intention here has been to so organise things that relative newcomers to caving can take a full and active part in the expedition, and have as much fun as the old lags. In '94 the large amount of surface work, Shaftbashing, will enable newly acquired SRT skills to be put to excellent use in original exploration.

As yet we don't have a full expedition committee and we haven't settled on dates and the finer points of logistics. We strive to maintain a semblance of a democratic process and to this end there will be a meeting on Wed 3 Nov at 8.00pm in St Hugh's (just before the internationally acclaimed expedition slide show) so come along and make you feelings known about next years expedition.
The Committee (to date)
Jim Ramsden  Expedition Leader
Paul Mann  Treasurer
Gavin Lowe  Expedition Caver

Not A Novice Trip.

Well, as John and James had done a lot of caving before a more challenging introductory trip was organised (OUCC promises value for money, allegedly). So a trip down Longwood/August was quickly organised. The idea proved quite popular and pretty soon we had a couple of legals (Urs and Sarah) a couple of mathmos (John and James) and a couple of spazmos (Jim and Chris). After a few false starts we ended basking in the autumnal sunshine in Longwood while we gave the ICCC boys a head start. The entrance was nice and trickly and at the bottom the exciting rush of water could be heard in the August series. A very wet shower bath gave us all a pretty good soaking then down into the main chamber. We caught up with the ICCC crowd at the top of the second pitch. They let us go first then headed out the cave muttering about the lack of time. After a quick look at the pretties the mathmo's and the spazmo's dropped down a wonderfully splashy ramp into the lower streamway. Urs and Sarah headed out as Sarah was beginning to feel the ill effects of wearing the fully ventilated BownSuit (Ideal for tropical caving) We bimbled on downstream until it degenerated into low wet crawling. John insisted in going to the sump; the rest of us didn't. Upstream we followed the stream into the fossily chambers. An uneventful trip out brought us to the surface at 6.00pm. Back to the MNRC to get changed.

Top tip for those Sunday evening munchies: The Horse and Jockey in Binegar (about 2 miles NE of the MNRC, just follow the main road through the village) does an excellent deep-pan pizza for about a fiver takes about 20-30 min to get them served up but if your not in a rush they're worth it (this was a D Bell recommendation).
Jim Ramsden

Depth by Electronic Mail

This is a message for all you new arrivals, Some of you will have been issued with a university E-Mail address and VAX account. Now's the time to put it to some use. A fair number of OUCC members are on E-Mail (This does not automatically make them TechnoDweebs) and use them to exchange useful information on parties and caving etc. (You can also use it to make witty and incisive contributions to OUCC's premier organ DTT, although that would be a first).  So next week (Maybe this week) DTT will publish the Definitive OUCC.DIS. If you want to be included just drop a line  to  GUILFORD@OX.VAX  (the man responsible for the fine organ that you are currently handling).

Car Thefts in Mendip

As the government continues to incarcerate single mothers and their offspring, thefts from vehicles continues in the Mendips. Currently the line taken by OUCC trips to the worst trouble spot (Charterhouse area) is to change at the MNRC, empty the car completely and obviously (any essentials such as change of clothes can be locked in the cave entrance). This seemed to work on Sunday when we left our cars parked at Longwood, they were left unmolested while a minibus parked a little future down the road at GB was broken into and a couple of rucksacks taken. [Editor adds that Caving clubs on Mendip have started operating stakeouts, which have resulted in a number of arrests by the police (of the thieves that is)]
PC Jim (mind how you go)

Laserquest Challenge?

A challenge has been offered by the Metallurgy Dept. to take on the Cave Club at Laserquest. Run around in the dark with loud music and shoot people. Ten Cavers needed for team - next Wednesday before the meeting. Takers?
Steve Roberts

OUCC E-Mail Addresses

 [deleted as obselete - EP2]

Obituary: Klaus Cramer

German and Austrian cavers are mourning for Klaus J Cramer, born 17 July 1932, who was killed on 9 August 1993 whilst climbing the flank of Akher Chioh, a 7020m peak in the Hindu Kush range, by an ice avalanche released by an earthquake. It was as if Earth itself had shook to call home the geologist who had loved her dearly and who had looked at so many of her hidden corners above and below ground.

The Munich speleological society thus has lost a founding member and chairman (since 1976), the German cave & karst research association a former chairman (1980-93), the Salzburg society and the Austrian association, as well as the European and international speleological unions, a very active member. And many of us now miss a friend and a fellow caver, a trusted comrade, of robust good humour and infinite knowledge.

Undaunted by tight Alpine shafts and meanders, Klaus had been active in cave exploration right up to the present.  He didn't specialise in cave photography, but was held in high esteem by that demanding bunch as a patient "flash slave" and model: at least we retain many good pictures of him! More often, his camera was heard clicking on the surface where he meticulously recorded Man's sins against Nature.

In Society and Association affairs, he was one of the characters that are so sadly lacking in modern politics - a democrat, but with clear-cut aims, never dominating, always persuasive, happy to let others enjoy themselves after their own fashion, but an eloquent (sometimes verbose) defender whenever caves and karst were under some new threat. The same traits guided his journeys to the mountains of the Middle East.  Far from the haughty We-pay-and-we-trek attitude, he mingled and made friends with the local population, wearing their clothes and sharing their food. The climbing expeditions he took part in turned to the neglected 6 and 7km peaks, avoiding the fame and infame of the "8000s club", and made a nearly unprecedented point of carrying every item of rubbish back down from their camps. In a strange but fitting twist of fate, his body (and that of his rope partner Anita Burkhardt-Fendt killed by his side), were the first ever in that part of the world to be retrieved from the glacier at 4300m altitude by a daring Pakistan Army helicopter crew (who didn't hesitate to stretch the chopper's altitude specification), rather than being buried on the spot.

Farewell Klaus --- you'll be with us in our minds when we now go caving without you.