136 - More aven climbed planned - Footlights extension instead

Thu 22 Jul 1999

Having been back to base camp to charge the drill battery, the plan was to go back to the aven and do some more bolting. Brian had the idea of going to Footlights with the plan of trying to have a look at the top of the aven up which we were climbing. So off we set, with the now mandatory bag of rope planned to rig the bottom section of Footlights.

Anyway, about <sup>2</sup>/<sub>3</sub> of the way down Footlights, just by the last rebelay bolt, I spotted a hole in the wall up a pile of rubble. On closer inspection this turned out to be a short pitch into a chamber with about 4 QMs. All plans to continue aven climbing were abandoned as we'd just found a going lead where the survey said there were none.

So we did some dodgy rigging off hollow sounding threads and loose boulders and got into first chamber. The first hole on the right appeared to go but subsequently ended up in a large but choked rift. About halfway down this climb there's a climb up to a roof tube which is probably a grade-C QM.

Back in the chamber we traversed over two or three holes in the floor to reach a rift with a muddy floor on the opposite side. This rift goes and goes. There's a hole in the floor to traverse over (on dodgy naturals) followed by another chamber. This second chamber has a big rift-like hole in the floor and a ramp down on the right. We went down the ramp (boulders + mud) to reach the head of a short (9m) pitch into another chamber. Very nice bit of cave just here. At the far end of chamber is a hole (p10?) into a _very_ rainy chamber with a _big_ echo. Can't see around corner so no idea where it goes.

Spent 3 hrs getting cold surveying, then left. Pouring rain and typical plateau low cloud all the way to top camp. Yuk