161

Thu 07 Jul 1994

Pushing trip through tight squeeze off Gnome passage (off Dreamtime). Only person to have got through previously was Wookey. Andrew and Sean were supposed to go down France with Anthony, but he jacked due to so-called "bad weather". Andy A went through first and started putting in a bolt at the top of small pitch at end of squeeze - divested of all SRT gear and with rope tied to foot. Sounds of hammering transmitted through rock and curses through air. Andrew D followed with Andy A's gear - almost broke left knee trying to get round sharp bend but after consultation with Sean turned onto back and got through somehow. Sean tried to get through, got stuck, reversed, tried again, got through. Ralph decided he couldn't make it, so he and Mike returned to surface, and Helen joined us. Andrew D put in first ever spit at top of next pitch - 25m, with much help from Andy A. It was a pretty shit spit, but nevertheless decided to trust it. Andrew D's SRT gear at far end of squeeze since no-one had brought it through, so abseiled down to ledge on Andy A's descender, and was stranded there as Andy A came down and rigged a deviation to the bottom. The two Andys came back up and Sean and Helen went for a stomp at the bottom - found another pitch with 4 second or 2 x 3 second drop time - to be pushed on Saturday, then we all came out - squeeze was even worse coming back. Got out about 11.30. Sean and Andrew D got lost on way back to top camp. First new bit of cave of Expo !

[Helen continues]

Well he's missed a few interesting bits: Sean originally got stuck in the squeeze. Because he was pushing his helmet and light, these got left in the squeeze... He did eventually make it after working out that his back wouldn't go round a 90° bend (in squeeze) on the inside. I followed, managing to light my carbide tube (rescued by Sean) on the way, followed by lighting my hair....

The pitch and stuff is all as Andy D2 says, well, except for the comedy rigging.... I'm not commenting on the bolting, just the knot pass 2 metres from the top of the 25m pitch, then a deviation that takes a bit of swinging to get to. The know pass would have been ok, except my foot loop was too long and I had to re-tie them hanging from the rope... The squeeze on the way back was .... interesting. I got a tad stuck but not for too long, lit my hair again (getting stuck with your hands trapped and your head in your carbide light isn't too clever !). Anyway, much faffing later we got out. walking back in the dark was ok (Andy A didn't get lost), we saw some lights up above us.... Sean and Andy D2 lost on the plateau. Anyway, we all got back ok by about 1 am. Sean at this point decided to go back to base camp... Ho Hum. (H. 12 ^)

[Ralph adds]

Having heard Sean getting stuck, and judging our comparitive height and sizes, I decided it would have been a bit tight for me, so with a large dose of common sense, Mike TA and I decided to leave those already through to push on, whilst we went out. We got out of the cave at 21.15 and were cooking a vesta by 22.15 at top camp. A nice first expo trip, but a pity it wasn't a bit bigger.

T.U. 9 hrs

<center>save MTA & Ralph TU 7 hrs</center>