Depth through thought
OUCC News 1st November 1995
Volume 5, Number 21
|DTT Volume 5 index|
Many thanks to Pauline for editing Depth whilst I was away, but all good things come to an end. Lots of stuff this week, including reports of new finds here and in Australia. Keep the stories flowing.
Three weeks ago I suggested that it might be nice if people paid the Treasurer their membership without her having to badger them. The response was stunning. No one, not even me, had the courtesy to pay up. Come one, do it.
SRT practice will take place this Friday at New College School
gym from 7-9pm. These sessions are invaluable if you're new to
the club and are interested in doing more caving (especially vertical
caving which is fairly common in Yorkshire). Can you let James
know if you're interested in coming or can lend a set of (cleanish)
SRT gear? These events are always a laugh and are followed by
going out for a drink, so bring some beer money and old clothes.
The AC Irvine slide show evening - where everyone who went off
climbing, caving, and mountaineering during the summer gives a
short talk on what they did - will take place at St. Catz on November
16th, a Thursday. (Not on the 17th as I reported last week).
James" Clearly Out of Focus" Hooper.
They seek it here, they seek it there, James and Wlodek seek it
everywhere. Is it with Jim, Dave or S.G.R.? That damned elusive
C9 data.... The guilty point, the innocent stand accused. Can
anyone who has information as to where the 1994 C9 survey information
is (ie. coordinates, L,R,U,D, delta EE etc. and Wlodek's drawings
on A4 graph paper) please, let James know with the utmost urgency.
Clear out your cupboards, search under the bed. Confidentiality
James "Trillby" Hooper.
Then NO permission for O.F.D. Thanks S.W.C.C. Grumble, grumble,
the Meet Sec. frowns. To be fair, O.U.C.C. should be O.K. in the
future if a motion is passed at the next committee meeting. Hmmm
politics to the minimum, speleology to the max., I say.
Oxford on a misty morning, the start of many a weekend. Wandering down the back streets with a back on my back, I was heading not for Wales, or the Dales, but south to Asturias in Northern Spain. The coach rolled its way through the English countryside, arriving at Stanstead in two and a half hours. I've always had a fascination with airports and train stations and this one proved no exception. Watching people coming, going, nervous, excited, lost, vacant, meeting and leaving each other, tears, laughter. I suppose I belonged to the nervous/vacant categories. A futuristic monorail soon drove me to the plane, a DC-9 with about 100 seats. It was half full, mostly with Spaniards, though I managed to get a window seat.
As the plane accelerated down the runway, beams of static electricity jumped from the engine to my window and with a pang of guilt for indulging in superstition I recalled it was Friday the 13th. I was soon calmed with a Spanish lager and moved by the sight of the silver clouds below. I started dreaming of Spain, and expedition, and went over my talk for the following day. At the airport, I was met by a couple who drove me to Oviedo and an unforgettably crazy, caving/cider drinking weekend ensued, details of which could fill several dtt's. I'll stick with the Conference, suffice to say that all cavers are well, cavers and the Spanish are not known to stay on board during a Fiesta.
The Second International Picos Conference had one international member, from OUCC. A large number of Spanish groups gave reports on the last 4 years of exploration. My talk was the last on Saturday. It was billed to start at 7:30 but such is the Spanish way, My Translator and I didn't get going till 10:15. Fortunately it went down very well. (Upstream 2/7, Sierra Forcada, F64 and C9 illustrated with Martin H.'s, Tim's and Paul's slides could hardly fail to be impressive though I think we'll be linked to Trogloditoes for a long while). On Sunday I showed First Light, (made by OUCC in 1967). This was hugely enjoyed by all but especially by a group that is actually named after one of the caves that it was filmed in. They've been exploring it for the last twenty years, have just made a video in it themselves and didn't know that our film existed!! I promised to send them a copy of First Light.
I also renewed links with the SIE who are now pushing a cave
halfway between Cabeza Muxa and Cueva Culiembro. (345m and still
going) This means we'll have to liaise on dye testing. We also
got given a cave. Situated on Gustuteru, ie. directly above C9's
Underground Overdrive, it was pushed in 1981 to over 100m, ending
in a too tight rift. Too tight then equals worth another look.
Unfortunately Lancaster have probably lost there area and if you're
interested in Picos politics speak to James. In a nutshell foreign
expeditions in non-Asturian regions may have trouble, though we
should be OK. Although, I undoubtedly had a good weekend, I was
always conscious. (Error, error) I was always conscious of the
fact that club members had pitched in money for me to be there.
I'm certain in my own mind that everyone got value for money,
and Oxford has undoubtedly taken the Conference by storm. (I believe
this to be true so I'll bin all traces of modesty). I'll also
try to write up a short report for "Caves and Caving."
We and I remain indebted to Juan Jose for all the work he's done
for us over the years (I presented him with a copy of Beneath
the Mountains). All I have left now is a blur of memories (and
a new cider stained T-shirt).
At the risk of it sounding boring, Bolty & (not?) the BEC found
yet another 1km in Draenen this Saturday. Apparently it is mostly
in little bits & pieces around the 1km 'Big Country' streamway
they found last weekend. But it is still apparently not quite
as far South as The Last Sandwich and all that, so OUCC still
has some influence in the area...
I, Paul Mann & John Pybus were one of the Oxford trips into
Draenen this weekend. After what seemed like huge amounts of organising,
lots of Oxford turned up at the same place, at roughly the same
time, with a key that worked. We arrived at Fault Chambers (near
the start of Elliptic, in the South East) sans incident, and set
off in search of Big Country, last weekend's big find by Pete
Bolt & co. Well, we didn't find it: plenty of new territory,
& even a streamway, but none of it very big. Clearly the Wessex
stuff. We shouldn't have been surprised, since none of us had been
to the area before. So after crawling around for hours, we gave
up in disgust and ran off to do the round trip instead. Paul let
off some of the Vernon-acquired Very Big Flashbulbs in St David's
Hall en route. It was all-right really.
Swildon's Hole Sunday 22 Oct.
On Sunday eight novices turned up for their first trip down Swildon's, and no one too early because of the clock being changed! Quite quickly all were kitted up although many were missing some bits on their bum. After an uneventful journey to the Hunters Lodge Inn, with only Knobby unable to sit on a seat, we met up with Pauline, James and Bill. It took some time before everyone had lunch, since half the rural population of the Mendips decided to have lunch at the same time. We split up in three groups, James and Knobby taking two novices, Charlie and Tom, on the long round trip. All went well and everone enjoyed themselves getting moderately wet and so on. However, coming out of Barnes Loop Nicole made a rather nasty, scary fall of a couple of feet. Luckily no broken bones, but Pauline and I decided to take her out anyway. It just happened that the third group, led by Bill, Chris and Kitti appeared out of Barnes Loop as well (whereby Justin made an involuntary quick descent at the same spot), so that Pip and Joanne, who were really keen, could continue with them further towards Sump 1.
Us three went out quite well, and Nicole managed to do so mainly under her own steam. Since Charlie and Tom more or less outran James and Knobby (!) they were out before the big group, who were obviously slowed down because they were now with 8 people. This must have caused some confusion within the big group, since they left the ladder in place, to be used by James & Co. This was naturally quite unnecessary, if only that novices who can outrun James and Knobby could bloody well have free-climbed these 20 feet.
Anyway, Kitti and Chris raced down in record time to retrieve
the ladder, and were back before the others were finished changing.
On the way back we had a semi-epic quest for a Pizza place in
Bath, got totally lost in a one-way system (just as well there
are no one-way systems underground!!), raced past our friendly
local guides 3 times ("What are you doing HERE??"),
until we settled for the Bath Charcoal Grill, were Justin and
Tom were introduced to the delights of Donner Kebab. I think most
of us had a great time, and I think we will see some of the novices
back on another trip. Thanks to all the leaders and those providing
gear without bums.
From our Australian correspondents...
Drum cave is a pleasant (though rather short) cave in Bungonia,
one of the most well trodden caving areas in Australia, and a
popular haunt for boy scouts and "adventure" caving
groups. Despite the unpromising locale we've actually managed
to find 300m of new passage in Drum. The new passage was reached
via a 13m bolt climb up to a hole in the roof. The hole led through
to winding low phreatic passage and then (to our surprise) into
big phreatic passage more than 10m wide and high. We did the bolt
climb using HKD internal-wedge bolts and a petrol driven Ryobi
drill, which proved to be a bloody good combination. The passage
closed down to a sump but we still have a lead in a climb which
we hope to look at in March. We can't go back before then because
the cave is closed while all the bats have wild batty sex and
lots of little batty babies.
love Sherry and Mark.
ps It was great to see you all in Spain!