Balcony - Cathedral Chasm

Tue 25 Jul 2017



This was myself and Corin’s first trip underground whilst on expo. Ash took us down Balcony to Cathedral Chasm. He gave myself and Corin a lesson in surveying which was great because he uses a PDA which - so I am told - is a very efficient surveying technique. We surveyed a total of 79 metres!.. In about 2 hours… By the end of this we'd found 1 C lead and 2 B leads, one of which resulted in a grim mendip crawl that only Ash ended up doing and surveying. Michael thinks that the other B lead could connect to Tunnocks… We'll see.

NB: Ash’s alternative account

After the rain prevented caving the day before, the four of us set off to Balcony at long last. Got underground just before midday and soon we reached the bottom of the entrance series. Lydia and Corin had not been into Balcony before so this was a nice introduction to Austrian caving. Successfully remembered the route to the Trident junction turn off. Lydia rigged the intermediate 10m pitch. The bolts had been left in by Luke who had removed a slightly too short rope. I showed the others the bat skeletons just before we got to the rift B lead we had planned to explore. I taught Corin and Lydia how to survey in paperless style so progress was slow but successful. The rift interconnected in a couple of places before heading off in the direction of Tunnocks. Passed an aven - possibly freclimbable QMB - before getting to a 4-way junction with 2 QMBs and a QMC. Pushed one of the QMBs which got smaller and turned into a crawl. Michael called for a ‘Mendip caver’ up front so I pushed a squeeze leading to a more sideways thrutchy crawl. This continued for 30m through a couple of other squeezes before crapping out. I then did a 1-man disto mission to survey it.

Meanwhile Corin and Lydia took some photos. Michael and I caught them up and we then exited the cave. Entrance pitch was a bit drippy and quite cold.