An extensive series of horizontal development below France, linking to the major trunk passages around Triassic Park. There is one logical route from France to Triassic Park (and vice versa), but two other routes which also link the two, but need rigging. These routes are described here, under the reasonable assumption that they will be explored from the 161d (Scarface) entrance.
Mississippi is the passage into which Fudge Brownie emerges at two points, when coming from Triassic Park. Originally discovered from France by traversing off the Sultans of Swing pitch in Algeria, this is about 150m of pebble-covered passage leading towards Rocky Horror. The passage meanders from side to side, but trends SSE overall.
Progress is eventually stopped by a pitch, Black Suspender. This has been descended for 18m and a tight, wet, clean washed rift found at the bottom - unexplored. One possible climb up a steep boulder slope remains from part way down this pitch, to be explored. A ledge on the opposite side from Mississippi, and about halfway down, can be reached from Rocky Horror Pitch, and a high, airy traverse to Mississippi is possible, but would never be a "route" as such.
Subsequent exploration and survey has shown that Black Suspender is almost directly below the far NE end of Hall of the Mounting Choss, where some holes in the floor may produce a marginally less lethal route from the Forbidden land back into France.
Mohr im Hemd is on the west side of Mississippi, between the two points of access from Fudge Brownie (turn left from normal route coming from 161d or right when coming from France).
This is a short, narrow, tortuous passage leading after around 40m to a large chamber, Regurgitation, with several avens [94-]. From the point of entry, the chamber extends some way to the right (east) up a slope. There are two unexplored 5m pitches [C1995-161-10 A].
On the opposite wall of the Regurgitation chamber from the point of entry, to the left as you look across, there is an opening in the wall partially filled with a small but steep choss bank about 2m high [C1994-161-68 A]. Climbing the bank reveals a small hole in the wall. Entering the hole is probably best done on one's front, feet first, as the hole drops into a small chamber after a couple of metres. It is possible to exit the hole and traverse to the left (as one emerges feet-first on your front) to reach the floor about 3-4 m below.
Two rifts, several metres high, lead off; the one to the left was not explored. The one to the right leads past a hole which drops steeply (rope needed) probably 10-15m (not explored). Continuing, one arrives at a rift heading to the left. It would be possible to traverse along the top of the rift (not explored). Carefully bridging down several metres leads to another level in the rift where it is easy to stand.
Doubling back on yourself having descended to this point brings one back into Regurgitation chamber via another hole. Traversing straight on, however, leads to a three-way junction over a hole. There is a pitch here of 10-15m to the floor where a stream can be seen. It is possible to bridge down some way without gear by crossing over the hole (not explored to bottom).
Turning left at the junction leads to a narrower traverse. A pitch can be seen through a hole to the left (not explored), thought to connect to the bottom of the pitch at the three-way junction. Continuing the traverse brings one to the lip of another pitch, about 15m, undescended and with a considerable noise of rushing water below.
A small amount of further exploration was carried out in this area,
not yet written up. Perhaps 60m of traversing high in a rift was abandoned
still going when it got rather wide for the degree of exposure involved.
The explorer returned by a different route, emerging from a point previously
determined to have no way on - it is possible that this was one of the 5m
pitches of C1995-161-10.
Mississippi Mud Pie was the original route of discovery of Rich Tea, and is reached from the western end of Mississippi (originally reached via France). It is a muddy passage, slightly ascending, departing NE from Mississippi north of the junction with Fudge Brownie (turn right from normal route) and 20m SE of the mud slope up from Sultans of Swing.
40m of progress leads to a sharp right bend, and the passage continues southeast, still ascending. After 50m is a left turn to a parallel passage, while straight on is a climb up to the highest point. From the highest point, an 8m pitch, Ginger Crunch, is soon encountered. The pitch is best rigged from a lower point which may be found via the parallel passage by traversing over a rift in the floor [C1994-161-64 B]. This leads to a rig point off large dodgy-looking natural flakes on either side of the pitch head. (The right hand flake appeared to be missing on return in 1995).
Descending Ginger Crunch, into a high rift, leads to a boulder slope (descending) into Rich Tea Chamber. At the bottom of the slope is a right turn, to which the name Rich Tea originally applied.
Descending the rift (instead of traversing to Ginger Crunch) leads into Piss Pot, which heads back NW, parallel to Mississippi Mud Pie, to choke just about level with the sharp bend in the latter. At this point there is a tight streamway (both ways) [C1995-161-09 C] from which water can be heard.
From the SW corner of Shortage of Walls, a steeply descending boulder slope proceeds for 15m until the roof lowers. On the left a short crawl leads to a further 10m of sandy walking passage to a 3m climb (handline required) down into Teapot chamber. On the right hand side of this passage is a crawl which bypasses the climb but is constricted. There is an unexplored climb up to the right [C1996-161-16 B].
Teapot chamber is 40m by 10m and 10m high and slopes gently down a boulder slope to the west from the entry point. It is believed that a lead [C1995-161-23] in Salt Lake City looks out over a 9m pitch into the SE corner of this chamber. To the east from the entry point the roof meets the floor in a mud wall. At the bottom of the boulder slope is a large (7m diameter) pitch [C1996-161-17 C] which it is thought will drop into Rich Tea. To the south of this is the way on, a 9m pitch rigged from the top of a large boulder (traverse line optional across the top of the boulder).
From the foot of this pitch a short boulder slope leads to the top of a 22m pitch. This drops into Rich Tea chamber (originally approached from France) at the northern end of Hobnob Passage.
Rich Tea chamber is a wide section of passage orientated WNW-ESE, with a sharp right bend at the eastern end, and a boulder slope up to the west. A steep mud slope off to the north goes nowhere. Various holes in the floor lead to rifts [C1994-161-63 C], none of which have yet been descended. A difficult climb up to the north was rumoured to be promising [C1994-161-62 A] but apparently proved to be full of mud.
From the bend at the eastern end of Rich Tea, Hobnob Passage heads south, as a mixture of rift and boulder slope.
After 50m, Hobnob passage leads to Digestive Pitch into Biscuit Factory - a chamber. Turning left at Biscuit Factory leads to a short pitch into parallel shafts, Tunnocks caramel wafer, one of which is blind and the other with a 'too tight' rift exiting about 3m above the bottom.
Turning right at Biscuit Factory up a steep interesting climb to the left of a particularly chossy mud wall leads to a boulder slope to a short climb down into Vogon Constructor Ship. To the left (WSW) here is a short muddy passage, Heart of Gold, to a too tight hole through a chossy mud wall.
To the right (WNW) in Vogon Constructor Ship is a superb phreatic tube Infinite Improbability Drive which warps from one side of France to the other, connecting with nothing else on the way. Trending NW then W with an occasional meander, the tube leads for 200m underneath most of Flat France, only to reach a 45m pitch Skeleton in the Cupboard which eventually connects back into Fat Knot Fruity, below Orient Express.
As well as the main ways in from Fudge Brownie and French Revolution, and the two southern exits to Rocky Horror, there are a number of minor leads from the 13m diameter chamber on the main route.
There is a short small passage in the SE wall which goes for about 15m through a squeeze before getting too tight. Just beyond this is another big boulder choke coming out of the ceiling on the left hand side.
The pitch traversed over where French Revolution enters the chamber [C1995-161-14 B], opens out from the small entry hole to a vertical, clean shaft of about 20m depth and 5m diameter. There are two tight rifts at the bottom, and an upward trending rift heading east for c 10m to two avens, one with water.
Southeast (left coming from Triassic Park) at the western three-way junction in Zombie Slime is [C1995-161-16 A], starting as 10m of stooping passage. This briefly splits in two, before rejoining at a 2m climb on the right. Straight on splits in two again, both ways quickly becoming too tight. Up the climb leads to an upward tredning passage with a rift in the floor and a further 3m climb up. Almost immediately is a 5m pitch down followed by a further 3m pitch which becomes very tight. However, the rope on this pitch was seen to be hanging out of the roof of Zombie Slime about 10m back SW from the starting point.
A small passage from the same three-way junction in Zombie Slime [C1995-161-17 C] only goes 10m before becoming too tight and choked with soil.
The chamber in Zombie Slime (15m east of the three-way junction), has two exits apart from the main ways on. North is a dead end after 8m. NW is a tiny inlet crawl [C1995-161-18 B], pushed for 5 minutes to gain one body length - doesn't go.
Immediately above the 5m ladder pitch from Zombie Slime is a flat out crawl to the right [C1995-161-19 B]. This goes downhill for about 5m to a point where you can just see a small space on the right but can't get there. Could be dug, but there is no draught and almost certainly no point.
Also in the chamber above the 5m ladder is a hading exit in the roof. This was climbed in 1996, and went c 45m until it became too scrotty.
A climb to the top of the slope (SSW, on the outside of the bend) [C1995-161-21 B], was pushed in 1996 to a height of 44m. Floor holes in the Staud'nwirt Palace boulder pile [C1995-161-20 B] led into a fissure which led to the same place. There are also five holes in the roof [C1995-161-22 C], one very big, but all apparently very hard to reach.
On the NW side of Salt Lake City, about half way along, is a 2m climb up [C1995-161-23 A] to a window which looks out onto what is believed to be a 9m pitch into the SE corner of Teapot.
The canyon in the floor of the chamber at the SW end of French Revolution (coming from Triassic Park) or the SE end of Fudge Brownie (coming from France) continues SW under the floor of the route towards Rocky Horror [C1995-161-15 B], becoming rapidly too tight, but almost certainly would connect to White Rift.
Just below Rocky Horror Pitch, on the right hand side is a tight-ish rifty bit to a 20m pitch into a very high rift, Rocky Horror Rift, with a somewhat questionable ceiling being entirely the floor of Rocky Horror.
Back under the pitch is White Rift [C1994-161-67 C]. This heads north and splits into two branches after about 15m. Both ways become too tight, the left hand branch is thought to be towards C1995-161-15, and the right hand to C1995-161-14. From the foot of the 20m pitch is another too tight rift, heading west, which is presumed to connect to a similar rift at the foot of Black Suspender.