This cave was discovered towards the end of expedition, on the 29th of July. Richard and William had gone to dig in the Valley of Dry Bones, a valley containing many draughting boulder ruckles on the side of Jultayu and well-placed for a potential lower entrance to 2/7, when they stumbled across this entrance. They returned to Ario "to get the essential ingredients of a 1991 Picos push - SRT gear, hammer, crowbars, Tim."
The trio rigged down the first pitch into a fine, airy chamber, from which a narrow rift continued. Tim was inserted, armed with a hammer, and pushed around a series of vicious right-angled bends, the corner shop. He was rewarded with a 10 metre pitch.
The next day, Tim and Jenny returned and rigged the pitch, Los Miserables, and followed the rift beyond to another pitch. William and Tony rigged this the following day, jamming chock stones into the top of the rift and using them as belays. This dropped into a hading rift which they free-climbed down for 30 m; and the bottom of the passage seemed to continue as a flat-out crawl.
Further exploration was not possible because of lack of time. The end of the cave lies 300 m above Postman Pat and 250 m off line (bearing 150 degrees) and so this cave looks a very promising candidate for the much sought-after lower entrance to 2/7.
Contents, Summary, Rigging
The entrance is situated halfway up a pile of boulders in an area of shakeholes about 40 m to the right of the Trea path and about 150 m before the path starts descending steeply. The entrance is marked by a poorly visible cairn.
An unstable 3 m climb leads to a draughting squeeze followed by a further 2 m climb round unstable boulders on to a perched boulder floor. A traverse over a 10 m pit (traverse line useful) leads to the first pitch - a small loose hole leading immediately into a fine 20 m shaft, with an inlet rift part way down. This drops into a large boulder floored chamber. The chamber has a unstable boulder-climb at the far end; the way on is a descending rift to the left. This quickly leads to a small chamber from which Corner Shop Rift leads off. This is the archetypal "not tight, just awkward" rift, and is followed round a series of sharp bends at ceiling level. The first bend is by far the sharpest most awkward; it is somewhat easier on the way up. Enter feet first and drop down low into the rift to pop up round the corner head first at the widest point; continue up into the roofed beyond, gradually becoming more horizontal. Each subsequent corner must be negotiated with the stomach on the inside of the bend, with the legs down in the narrow part of the rift where appropriate. After a few bends, the rift becomes bigger and leads to an unstable, two metre wide, boulder-floored passage with a number of side passages leading off. Down a couple of short steps, the head of the second pitch, Los Miserables, is reached. At this point, a one metre wide passage leads off to the right to a boulder-filled chamber with a climb and a narrow, unpushed lead. This is probably the old route followed by the stream and is worth pushing. Just before the pitch, a roof level passage leads through a smooth rift (the Worm Hole) to a loose climb down to a cleft overlooking the pitch from the far side.
The main way on follows the water down the pitch to a small, cold, drippy, boulder-chamber. From here, a straight, smooth rift, Yorkshire Rift, leads to the next pitch. This is belayed to 2 dodgy chock stones and has a very constricted pitch-head. A fine abseil past sharp, marbled rock leads to a ledge, from where two rifty climbs lead off. The upper one leads down sharply at an angle of about 60° and soon rejoins the water. A series of fine climbs down a tube 1-1.5 m in diameter leads to a reversal of direction and more climbs through a suit-ripping squeeze. A final 10 m climb leads to a small chamber with a horizontal grovel leading off, where the stream sinks into a 1 cm wide crack. A flat-out crawl with silt on the floor appears to continue beyond this point.
Contents, Summary, Description
Pitch Rope Rigging P25 35m Traverse climb across pit; bolt and spike Y-hang with rope protection. Los Miserables (P10) 15m Natural backup; bolt belay. Chockstone Pitch (P20) 30m Bolt backup; Y-hang off two chockstones (replace with stemple); natural deviations (replace with bolt). Route 66 (C30) Currently unrigged, but handline would be useful.
Contents, Summary, Description