Tunnocks - Derigging and pushing Champagne on Ice

Tue 12 Jul 2016

Set off with the intention of derigging traverse beyond Arctic Angle and pushing Nat's lead ("What would your Mother say") before finally derigging the Champagne on Ice pitch series and derig traverse beyond Arctic Angle and WWYMS. Off to a flying start I forgot both drill batteries, only realising at the bottom of Champagne on Ice. Subsequently, myself and Becka went to replace slings on Andrew's traverse past Arctic Angle with rope cut from excess length of the existing rope and salvaged a couple of hangers from the traverse. At ~14.30 we went to meet Nat to see if progress had been made on his bolt-less bolt climb. WWYMS is easily found by bearing left at the 1st junction after the P5 (probably longer than 5m). The way after this is cairned at major junctions and involves a traverse around a large ~30m hole. We discovered that Nat had bravely/foolishly allready reached the top of the climb some 6/7m above the traverse previously rigged on another trip. The new rigging differed in that it comprised completely of extremely sketchy naturals with not a bolt or reliable belay in sight by virtue of my forgetting to bring drill batteries. We tentatively followed Nat to the top of the traverse/deathtrap - see below for updated rigging diagram.


From the top of the climb, following the draft/draught? leads to a 2/3m climb down, continuing emerges into large hading rift and good "A" lead requiring rope to continue further. The only other alternative passage atop the climb leads to a large aven (very drippy at far end) with stream descending 10-15m through hole in the floor (?c).

On the descent, after having surveyed as far as possible, Becka knocked a fairly integral natural belay off the wall with suprisingly little effort. As a result the rigging was modified to allow me and Nat to get down "safely", see below.


To avoid monumentous clusterfuck this was left rigged but using the rope to ascend beyond the bolted traverse should be done so with EXTREME CAUTION or not at all due to the nature of the naturals it is backed up to. Rather cold and glad to be alive we began the return journey, derigging the traverse and P5 on the way. Upon arriving at the bottom of Champagne on Ice pitches (~19.00) Nat reported hearing a flood pulse. At the bottom of the 15m hang we encountered a waterfall not previously reported that rendered the pitch impassable without getting soaked. We waited ~5 hours in bothy at a ledge below for water to ease. Eventually prussicked out when flow was weaker but still involved swinging under very drippy section. Higher up was still a bit drippy but not too unpleasant. Everyone out of the cave by 03.30. Several empty tacklesacks were left below the wet section and one full sack. Drill was brought out with some hangers.

Nathanael should not be allowed to rig unsupervised in the future.

09:00 +1