The first part of the log is traditionally taken up by the journey out.
If this is of no interest, here is a link to the caving!
Rant #1 Adam's trip here
OR - why do I get psychopath criminals on long hitch hikes in foreign countries.
Left Durham 8 am 24/6 & had merry time hitching to Dover via a turkey processing factory, getting there in 12 hours. 10pm ferry to Ostend as better place to find hitch out of, same price as Calais & only 4 hrs. Thumb out in the port area and "ee-gads" in 5 minutes someone stopped & they were going to Bulgaria via Saltzburg - my lucky number had come up. Except he was a complete psychopath, whose convoluted story unfolded for the next 13 hours of living, waking nightmare. First he wanted money for petrol - OK I thought, a good lift - so what. Apparently he had been radiation sick for 10 days after Chernobyl & I think it must have done him in. Things seemed just a bit odd until 9.30 am, the only things of note being the story of how he spotted the croupier cheating at a casino & 1) got £1000 off the casino to keep it quiet 2) got £2000 off the victim to say how he was being cheated - this led to a private eye & some sugar in a petrol tank - sounded rather undergroundish. It seems this was not unconnected with my driver's flat being cleared out & £2500 being stolen - he claimed he knew who & would kill him. Now I believe the threat. Anyway, 9.30 he stops for a massage & a prostitute, despite claiming to not have enough money for petrol to Bulgaria. 20 minutes after starting again & we were drifting towards the crash barrier at 85 mph (in a 1.2 Lada!) & it seemed appropriate to shake his arm to waken him. So we pulled over for a rest. Next we ran out of petrol in the middle of sodding nowhere, so off I tramped for 1 hour along the hard shoulder until the maniac reappeared, having obtained some petrol through a doctor who had stopped. Now he had said he had been a champion rallye driver for Bulgaria & as time went on it became clear he drove like a C++T. 4 wheel slide into a slip road. Overtaking on the hard shoulder just as it was about to run out, doing the same with inches of space either side - at 80 mph. Slotting into gaps 1.01 car length in size. He would probably have given Chris Sharman (in his driving madness heyday) white knuckles. All this pissed the Germans off a lot & they gestured & horned a bit. His response was to pull out the craft knife, which I had earlier sabotaged in case he used it to rob me, and to pick up a stone off the floor. The culmination of much high speed knobbing about to get in front of one driver who had expressed his displeasure was the propulsion of said stone at the other car. The result was a broken front screen & he (the other car) went into a tree. Clearly if this guy wanted to "do me in" he would.
Eventually we stopped in & on the wrong side of Munich as he wanted to sleep & I escaped, gibbering, never having been so scared for so long. Had to walk through Munich, & dossed for the night in a park. Saturday was shit - it rained all day, all lifts were short and it took 11 hours to get to Hilde's. It is well worth walking from Bad Reichenhall to the border for a lift & not hitching on Sat as all cars full. All in all he demanded £40 and I lost a few weeks from my life so a) hitching can be dangerous to your health b) hitching is not as cheap as staying at home, c) I hope I get a lift from a caver going home - hint !
So, Adam was being organised & said we ought to go caving. We can make it to Knossos in 1 trip can't we. At Top Camp this goes down to the bottom of S'not. Get underground at 4 pm ! Set a precedent we do ! Adam rigged traverse line & [??] better than last year. Then Clive rigs Y-hang, rebelay, goes down looking for deviation. Then goes up & finds rebelay. Then slowly down again "I could do with a deviation here". Marvel of Marvels there is one (off a shit bolt). Eventually down (1 hr to rig !) It was my first one and I bet hundreds of people moan & rerig it etc. etc. rant rant. 2nd pitch. 11mm rope turned to steel hawser. Trying to put it in a clown - eventually hit it with a rock to make the bend small enough. Abbing silly impossible. Shit, push I went with the rope. Crabbed stop off. Push I went some more. Find another deviation. Whee ! (well, almost). Then off crawling a bit, decide we can't find S'not and exit. T/U 3 hrs (I even ran a bit back from T.C. it was so nice) ooh, it was epic.
Previous trip (1992 derig) / Next trips: more rigging in RHR / surveying in entrance area / Pushing in LHR
Much time spent wandering about the plateau looking for caves. Two new (?) ones were found. At the first, Adam decided to abandon the traditional technique of chucking a rock down the hole, and lobbed his rucksack into it instead. Since this contained the rope, a ladder descent was deemed necessary. Adam went down, retrieved the rucksack, and found another pitch which proved to be too long for either the ladders or the rope. Hence a return visit is planned with more rope (>25m) to which end we have marked the route with a cairn (!) The second cave was narrow and sharp and didn't go anywhere.
TU Adam ¾ hr
[Editor's note: "Lost Rucksack Cave" was not found again in 1993, was relocated and better marked in 1995 and finally descended in 1998]
Intended to explore 'Rucksack' Cave (see above), but decided to do a 'tourist' down Ice cave next to 164. Very jolly, very cold - some ice formations, Some dodgy SRT practice occurred, under the excellent leadership of Clive - Mr. Safety himself. In short - we all got cold, Spencer's Stop got bent and no-one died. (Oooh it wasn't epic !)
T/U Nick ¾ hr Clive, Spencer ½ hr
Started rig from S'not, which Clive had failed to locate
[ grade 1 of how to find S'not ]
Had to put a new bolt in at ~-6m (from the large thread at the top) as suspect previous riggers had used a dodgy thread which fell down the pitch with 2 hammer blows. Zoomed to bottom & hence to Chunnel Pitch, which was >7m (as the rigging guide sez) so we had to use a Bungalow/Poxy pitch rope & cut the top off the new 11mm rope for Poxy. Andy was cold & running thin on light (stinky was dead, Zoom was of unknown duration) so left at Bungalow. Easy rigging down into Knossos, noting the new Hilti bolt on the R from the top belay is much better & gives a fine freehang. Poked about in Yapate etc. to familiarise Mike with system. Out from near Flat Battery in just over 1½ hours to find epic thunderclaps etc. Fortunately not too wet. Good trip.
T/U Mike, Adam 7½ Andy 5
Previous trip / Next trips: Side leads in RHR / Beyond Yapate
This time Nick was being keen. Once more the intrepid team of finding ability (first take a compass bearing, then walk in a random direction anyway, viz.: Juniper Gulf, Juniper Gulf again, the right way out of Salzburg, S'not, Rucksack Cave, the list is seemingly endless) set off, rucksacks lightly loaded with rope coz we were feeling clever this time with the intention of rigging the first 130m of rope down France. At first we thought we'd broken the jinx. Wandered from KH, down and to right and lo and behold: 161c or "Guess what I've found". Change, Nick wanders off with bolts, I'm left to pack 137m of rope into my tackle sack (sigh, forgot to tell people this morning). Ooops - horribly tangled as predicted. Never mind - some later (3.20 pm) off down cave. Nick begins rigging [??] finds devn eventually. Then he bored so I have a go - Nick mysteriously tied his dangly bag round the rope - how silly - and had to go up rerigging as he went to untangle himself. Clive meanwhile on failing carbide, goes slowly down & runs into rub - I want a deviation ! or was it Nick first. Anyway, much faffing and looking later, Clive pissing off out for a piss & carbide change, we get pissed off. Wish we'd had a bolting kit - so much easier ! and I leave to find greedy bastards had eaten all the food and the rest of the world all appearing very drunk !
T/U Clive 4 Nick 4½ ?
Previous trip (1992 France derig) / Next trip
While we were prospecting we found a small cave, no name. It was bottomed with a Zoom in 10 min. 2 entrances, about 10m apart underground or 30m apart above ground 'cos the terrain is ridges & valleys. About 5 mins from Top Camp 90° anticlockwise from Khole. Sketch over ->
We put red crosses (or plusses) on each entrance.
TU - Spencer 10 mins ! Nick - 2 mins. !!!
Please - leave room for more accurate cave location if anyone ever finds it again:
DON'T BOTHER !
Rucksack Cave remains to be found again, so if you fancy wandering around the plateau for several hours talk to Adam or Nick for misdirections.
Second day on expo, walked up to top camp with radio gear, supplies and general caving shit gear. Assembled radio and aerial etc. then headed for entrance to France. Followed previous rigging. Started rigging from 'Roll of the Dice' (inc) for another 140 metres of rope adding in a few missing spits on the way down. Rigging stopped at the top of the pitch above Algeria due to no more rope. Got out of the cave with lors of ranting and headed back to Top Camp, watched interesting bolts of lightning move towards us. Decided to head for car ! From car park down watched heap big storm. Got caught in storm, visibility nil, rain lots, lightning scary. We were all scared ! Arrived safely at base camp, ate slop, and decided being alive was great.
T/U 9 hrs
Previous trip / Next trip
Tourist trip, intended to visit Knossos, but its hard work this caving lark. Bottom of second pitch doesn't look at all like survey. Hading rift pitch at end of passage - worth a look ? Looked at Big Sainsbury's, down S'not, Over t'Rainbow, Bungalow. Ticked off ? above Chunnel Pitch.
Now the comment: It were grim. F'in 2nd + last time I do SRT, especially on naff Wadders gear <- ie. ancient set up. Stinky died. Crashed head. Stinky died again ! Mutter. Grumble. Caving ...
T/U 5 hrs
Previous trip / Next trip (Beyond Yapate)
Go there - a 200m freehang, the Austrians said. Slog uphill, rig off hill, debate about rubs, rebelays (subsequently dealt with by tying a tacklesack to the rope). Eventually Wooks goes down with spare rope cos it thinks it is 20m too short. Bottoms years later. Jumps onto van (pitch free doesn't work !) Julian next - lot of gibbering. Then me. Probably fairly typical reaction "Fuck me I'm a long way up & scared". Then tackle sack 'tector falls down rope. Watch it land 200m later, oops. Carry on. Abseil slowly, stop getting very hot. How to uncrab a stop mid descent - use chest jammer to hold rope (from "stop"go'to'stop") and 2 hands to take crab out of stop. More descent. More heat. More bounce. Why does it still look like I'm only half way down. More. I'm scared. Think about rope melting. Still abseiling slowly. Think about rubs. Abseil non bouncily (or try to). Wave at Germans. SWEAR loudly. God I'm scared. Abseil some more. "How far to the bottom" Still feels like halfway up. Hands knackered from gripping rope. Stop hot. Ledge - take some weight off rope - mistake - feed several metres of rope through stop without moving then fell. Please don't bounce this much. Scared. Abseil and this is the last bit isn't it. Abseil. Land. GROUND ! I'm safe. Legs numb, forgot how to walk on scree slope. Say hello to ground party - walk around a while. Tell tourists a rope will soon fall on their heads. Have a random conversation with them coz their English is about as good as my German. Rope falls. Whish noisy - very impressive fall. Tanglepack. Home. The others say they were scared too. The end love Clive.
T/U none, T/abs ~ 15 min each
Rigged from Yapate as far as Final Cut & it looked smaller than I recalled. Traverse over hole into continuation of hading rift (which goes up where). Struggled to put 2 bolts in - drill just fitted in narrow rift. MTS went down first, demonstrating that there wasn't much space in the slot for gear or lard. Only 2m down traversed off into dry bit away from wet pitch. 20m (ish) along in direction of Burble found another slightly wider slot, which turned out to be a superb 45m freehang, dry pitch. Continuing along rift above pitch is an unclimbed 2m, up pitch, which might lead to an alternative descent. At bottom of 45m pitch the passage turns back to break into the avoided wet pitch again via another not overly large slot.
We had no rope left so made an honourable exit to meet Wook & Tess on the entrance pitch. Just made Top camp before a huge storm.
T/U 9 hrs.
Previous trip / Next trip
to Gob on You then some pushing. Got to the entrance and Adam and I found our furries wetter than when we had left them to dry - see Hugh's account of epic thunderstorm.
After a rather grim Yorkshire-style change we bounced on down to Yapate, Gob on you and nice big pitch which is so far nameless. By this time Nick had given up on his carbide which hummed but produced no flame. Adam started bolting from the narrow slot at the bottom of nameless pitch and continued to do so for the next 2 hrs (yawn, shiver). The route down rejoined the water from Gob on You and was mainly on lovely 9mm rope (gibber). We found the bottom 120m down this pitch and at a total depth of 480m. Footprints were found at the bottom and a couple of spits were found on the way out - it turned out that we had joined the bottom of Dehydration. We had planned to survey on the way out but compass and clino had misted up so this will have to be done later - any takers ? I thought I could find my way out so let Adam zoom off out. By the time Mike and I had returned to Yapate he was somewhat tired and my electric backup was giving up - my carbide having already run out.
By the time we got to the top of Knossos I had no light at all so we had a serious carbide fettle. I was left with a carbide that just worked and Nick with a dodgy FX5 due to the top of the Oldham box being ripped off in the slot at the bottom of Gob on You. We slowly prussiked out.
T/U Adam 10 hrs Mike 12½ hrs Nick 13 hrs
It was fucking x
epicx I nearly died
Previous trip / Next trip (Far Too Far) / Derigging Gob
Fuck all happened. Noone went caving. Somebody went shopping, Ali's birthday so we threw him in the river. Seemed the proper thing to do. I am pissed in case you haven't noticed. Lots of beer. No caving. A good day. Adam was a hard bastard and went walking for miles and miles. My writing is almost as crap as Clive's and I am pissed. We had a treat tonight. Celebration. No bean slop. Sausages and chicken. A good day, too much meat and beer.
This is probably all illegible. Basically we got pissed. Ali & MTS
sharked and failed. So what. Your local pissed bastard.
Nick the alcy
AAAAARGHH !!!!! [this last written diagonally across an entire page, Ed.]
General plan was for me to continue rigging to the pushing front from Frogs Legs onwards whilst Pete and Ali looked down side hole with apparently water at the bottom. Much faffing at entrance then Pete rerigged some of entrance pitches so that boulder slope below Roll of the Dice was less epic. Rerigged top of Frogs Legs as big 'Y-hang' to make get-off easier then Ali lobbed a rock down their pitch. It took about 4 seconds to reach the bottom ! We decided this must go into Algeria and therefore continued there via original route. This hypothesis needs checking sometime. I rigged the big pitch into Algeria initially with 39m rope - more than a little bit too short. Then tried new 200m rope - rebelay at the top of the chamber is absolutely stunning ! Eventually rigged down to the pushing front then Pete and Ali went down scrotty hole with water to find more pitch (~50m or so). I looked at hole in corner of chamber below "Orient Express"; rigged and found crap small hole and tight rift. Crap small hole was below very unstable sandy roof and unlikely to go anywhere .·. not pushed. Tight rift was tried without danglies but was defintely too tight. Throwing rocks suggested either deep pool (or sump ?) beyond - definitely much larger than the few metres of rift. Eventually gave up and went to find Pete and Ali. Pete placed crap spit then everyone too cold/tired/pissed off and started heading out. On the way out Ali knocked a fucking enormous rock off "Orient Express" which crashed and crashed down towards Pete and I on pitch below. Fortunately rock stopped before pitch otherwise 2 very dead cavers ! Many rocks knocked off on the way out in various places. To quote previous year's log book entry, KH is "Fucking cold, fucking loose and very, very brown." Rope below Orient Express definitely needs checking before descending because of rock fall ! Whole of France requires lots of care to avoid killing people !
T/U 11½ hours
Previous trip / Next trip
Drive of the mad yobbos commenced after jury rigging CB into Wadders van; two cars up toll road at a mad dash. Stamped on jury wire and blew fuse just as top camp called rescue off, but had sent four heroic rescuers ahead on path before reestablishing communication. Clive selflessly stayed up at the radio shouting "All clear at Top Camp" until we finally got sorted and replied from a sensible place. Came home. What heroes ! T/U nil.
For information: mobile radio is crap from usual parking place but works fine from Kehre 13 (first right hand hairpin on way down). Probably OK from edge of car park too. Couldn't raise top camp, but heard them from ~½ way up toll road.
[there follows a grade 1 elevation "New bit of France (below Orient Express)" connected to the previous write-up by a long arrow and labelled "Danger - done when pissed, no survey" ]
Very slow. So much faffing we did not enter till 1.30pm. Plonder down to Yapate (trying to explain route to Lummat so he can explore the cave without us from now on because he's keen). Lummat picks ammo box drill battery and its hinges come off and everything apart from the lid thumped down Staircase 39 after he prussiked up it. Box was a bit mangled and I couldn't get the batteries to work on the drill so we abandoned it. We froze in Chicken Flied Nice while Wook rigged next pitch and 4 ring bolts and lots of knitting at rebelay for the tyrolean. Abbed down, prussiked up fixed rope at other side, then constructed the tyrolean with 1 SRT rope and 2 climbing rope backups. Lummat and I were slightly concerned by the fact that this was now our only way back. On to the nonsense in Satan's Sitting Room with Wook pointing out all these undescended pitches on either side of the route. The place looks vicious. We put in a few more traverse lines. We faffed a lot in the walking passage beyond until it was suddenly 11:15 pm and I was dog tired and sick of sucking on fudge having missed about 4 meals now. Wook explored some horizontal passage at the farthest far end. Was too tired to get scared on tyrolean back. Not entirely convinced of its effectiveness in shortening the trip. Can we rename Boulder Alley as Shit Alley now ? It was dawn when we got out.
T/U 16 hours !
Previous trip / Next trip
We planned a six hour trip to look at a question mark beyond Arrow Chamber. Some chance. Neither of us knew the cave, but we managed to find the chamber fairly easily. We rigged a lunatic traverse with no handholds across the two huge holes in the chamber, and reached the undescended pitch via a five metre pitch at the back of Arrow, into a comfortable passage that forks. We took the right hand fork, and rigged a twenty metre pitch into an Alpine pitch-ramp system which quite excited Lummat ! Bolted the twenty metre pitch at the top of the ramp and decided that it was time to return. We reached the entrance pitch at 10 pm, top camp at 2 am. Hmm..
Well, it was like this: I began to feel ill at the top of S'not, and by the time I was prussiking up the entrance pitch, I had lost all strength. I got strung up on the last rebelay, hung around for over an hour and spent about twenty minutes of that hour chundering down the pitch. Eventually, Lummat managed to drag me up. Two hours of aimless wandering along the plateau (vainly following 251° compass bearing) followed, accompanied by lots more chundering, falling into inconveniently placed holes and mad charging through colonies of bunde bushes, and top camp was reached, only about five hours later than we had planned. Top camp was finally found by following through the heavy mist JulianS's, Hugh's and Anthony's zooms, as they hurried around Top camp preparing for a rescue trip down Khöle. Base camp were also getting into action. By the time we had reached Top Camp, Wookey and Wadders had almost reached the top of the toll road. They were saved a trek to top camp thanks to a hastily cobbled together CB in the Wadmobile, three zoom batteries attached together in series and lots of quick thinking on Hugh's part (which I hope someone will get around to ranting about soon, in some more detail)
That was Saturday in Top Camp. Sunday was spent in Pete's tent, all five of us in our pits (me, Lummat, JulianS, Anthony, Hugh) watching the weather doing its act - rain sleet, mist, drizzle, hail, and, of course, over an inch of snow ! Add to this a) no car at the Berg Restaurant and b) no radio contact with Base Camp, and you have the makings of a productive and fun-filled day !
Go caving, they said. It's fun, they said. Expo is ace, they said.
THEY WERE WRONG !!!
TU - 10 hours
Previous trip (rigging in) / Next trip / Entrance area trip (same day)
Wandered down. Some surveying was done. Got bored and found a passageway which led back to Big Sainsbury's. Re-"found" Skull pitch - oh, and pushed horrible - upward sloping rift but it dead-ended. Threw rocks down pitch at end and they went down for miles.
T/U 4½ hrs
Previous trip (rigging in) / Next trip / Left Hand Route trip (same day)
Descended 161 to Arrow Chamber and to top of 2nd pitch in Pitch-Ramp Series. Descended pitch to second ramp. Single bolt rebelay, deviated by rocking boulder still required & protector to descend to 3rd ramp. Ascending ramp led to too tight a trench and expiry of phreatic tube.
Returned to Left-hand fork from Arrow Chamber. Found pitch-ramp series without pitches. Phreatic tube passable for a short distance.
[grade 1 sketch]
Returned to top of Pitch-Ramp Series. Traversed across top of pitch to possible continuation of phreatic. Didn't go anywhere - dropped back into vertical.
[full page grade 1 sketch of Pitch-Ramp Series]
T/U 5½ hrs
Previous trip / Next trip
We came, we surveyed & we derigged. Nothing too epic happened, the worst being breaking a (measuring) tape whilst trying to plumb a pitch. The 48m rope was found to be on a 52m pitch, which suggests -!. (previously thought to be 45m) It was cold & wet & dark & took ages, but we had a good time until we came out & it was raining.
Postscript - the survey loop with the bottom of Half Shaft was < 0.1% :-)
The 52m pitch is called 'Alexander Technique'. The climb reached after traversing over the top of Alexander Technique was done & a few metres further along the rift, the small passage broke into the side of an aven (drippy). From the survey, this is nowhere near anything already known and should be done.
TU 11 hours
Previous trip / Next RHR trip / Left Hand Route trip & Entrance area trip (same day)
("Chunder Pitch Series")
Two trips were planned on 14/7, one by Julian S, Anthony and Hugh to look at lead off Big Sainsbury's and one by L, N and DG down to Arrow Chamber. Ours almost didn't happen because there was not a single working clino in Top Camp. We took a clouded one up to the cave in the hope that it might clear up. It didn't. So, after much faffing and discussion, J,A,H and N went down to push while L and DG went Bunde bashing. Having found a promising hole we went back to the cave mouth to get Zooms etc. and found the clino clear. Yes, we are going caving we said ! We finally set off 2 hours late, Nick joined at the bottom of Big Sainsbury and we went and surveyed, regularly stopping to shout at the blasted cloudy clino. DG managed to get stuck climbing up through a nice tight squeeze. Hmm... Got out and it was wet and horrible (Rained all next day at Top Camp. What a surprise. Lummat is the Rain God).
TU Nick 8½ hrs David G + Lummat 7½ hrs
Previous trip / Next LHR trip / Right Hand Route trip & Entrance area trip (same day)
T/U 6 hrs
Previous trip / Next ITB trip / Left Hand Route trip & Gob derig trip (same day)
Managed to walk to the cave before the inevitable thunderstorm struck, which it did just as I was putting on Solid Rubber Trussing gear. First - try out photo gear in Big Sainsbury's. Difficult solo isn't it ? Slave flash seems to have disappointing range. Then on down S'not looking for subjects. Another couple at Chunnel pitch, then decided that a tripod and ammo can tied together really were too awkward to carry, so dumped the kit and headed on down. Crap takeoff to Bungalow Pitch, chaps, even if it is improved... Almost failed to find Boulder Alley .... almost wished I had. Knossos is a fine pitch - would be excellent on ladders (both as a climb and for photography). Some random wandering in Tower Hamlets before finding Waterfall Chamber and Carrefour. Then YAPATE. Wow ! nice passage in Austria - almost unheard of ... Staircase 36 nice pitch - looks an awful climb ! And so to Chicken Flied Nice - now this really is nice passage. Poke head into Strange Downfall, then the aven in Burble. Start geologising.
The Burble aven is on a small fault/joint (looks a little shattered so probably the former)
The tube of the crawl is wholly on the south side of this fault and is formed on the same horizon as CFN which is a massive creamy white limestone just above a layer of more thinly bedded stuff. The bottom of the aven, and the canyon in the floor of Burble and CFN, cut down into two shelly bands.
Chicken Flied Nice has nice scallops indicating fairly slow flow to the north. There are much smaller, ie. higher energy, scallops in the canyon walls - the direction of these near Strange Downfall isn't very clear. The roof scallops in Burble are also smaller, suggesting a faster-flowing tributary to the main palæotrunk of CFN. The Burble aven fault has just about fizzled out before reaching CFN, showing, if at all, as just a tiny parting in the wall. There are pretty much no significant joints in CFN, and this remains true at the 100° bend - so this is apparently not joint-determined. This all changes at Staircase 36...
Staircase 36 is developed on an approx east-west fault with a downthrow of c 1.5m to the south. This is clearly visible in the wall to your right as you face the rock on the climb/abseil. The wall of S36 cuts through both the shelly bands noted above which show up very clearly as the rock is so clean. The same cannot be said of the YAPATE side of Gob on You, which is much muddier. There may well be one/more en echelon faults here, but its not very clear. Adam's write-up puts the main Gob fault/joint on 260°. YAPATE appears to be formed on exactly the same horizon as CFN, but the shelly bands aren't visible because of the mud. I couldn't see them by peering down Flapjack, but this is hardly surprising. All the geology on the way back is harder, due to either collapse or mud or both !
Knossos nice to climb. Bad ascender slip on Poxy, Bungalow, Chunnel and some on S'not. Entrance pitch OK. There are some shell bands on entrance pitch too, but I didn't make careful notes. Very slow out. T/U 6¾ hours. All dry on surface !
PS. CFN is the nicest and most interesting place I've seen underground on expo.
Previous trip / Next RHR trip
We intended to descend one of the holes in Arrow Chamber (either Baker or Candlestickmaker, whichever proved more convenient.) The descent was done via an epic traverse, a spaghetti junction-like tangle of ropes at the pitch-head, and a wonderfully tight hanging rebelay, all of which were rerigged on the way out by Nick to make the pitch more caver-friendly. The holes in the chamber turned out not to be holes at all, but part of a deep elliptical chamber, thirty-ish metres across and about fifteen metres wide, of which much of Arrow Chamber seems to be a rather dubious false floor. We went down thirty metres of what we thought was the floor of the chamber, a large flat debris strewn area with two large holes at either end. A little bit of poking around soon showed up the "floor" to be a lot of rocks kept in place by a lot more rocks - a metre deep false floor precariously suspended thirty metres above what might be the real floor of the chamber. We had neither time nor rope to descend further, so we headed out, connecting the survey of Chunder trip pitch with Arrow Chamber on the way.
It was dry when we got out of the cave ! Something is going horribly right with the weather !
TU 8½ hrs
Previous trip / Next LHR trip
THE END !
Too much caving led to the pushing front from last year - Titfield Thunderbolt. We soon found that my impressions from last time were right and that the new bit of cave I'd found was too wet, too tight & too awful. Julian descended, ignored my shit spit, and found pitch "Attempted Penetration" - about 25m down to v. loose boulder slope "Disintegration". Character of cave now changed from huge chambers, big pitches etc. to classic (ie. awful) rift/water development. After boulder slope, another short pitch - Fat Knot Fruity, due to epic(ish) large knot led to a short pitch to what we thought was a sump - rigged off robust threads, hence "Natural Deception". Unfortunately this gave onto a short boulder slope into an absolutely typical Yorkshire streamway (in 161 ?) - cascades, pools, the works. This terminated in a ~20m pitch crapply rigged on 4 traverse bolts with much rubbing, into a small chamber which appeared to go underneath a fallen boulder. Thankfully the streamway quickly led to an awful tight sump at ~-450m. Much prussiking remained to exit; everyone was too fed up and had no gear to commence the survey.
TU 8½ hrs
Previous trip / Next trip
After a burst of sumping, we were all too keen and went caving again to survey and de-rig up to Algeria. Donning of wet gear was followed by a quick descent to Algeria where Ali & Petel started to survey & Julian started bolting some of the other leads, promising to follow the surveyors shortly. After 3½ hrs we'd surveyed to the streamway, where Julian joined us. Surveying eventually took 4+ hrs, after which I (Petel) pissed off to Titfield Thunderbolt whilst Ali & Julian derigged all the pseudo-Yorkshire bits below. When they turned up I took a tacklesack & went up Orient Express, now measured as a freehanging (well almost) 52.1 metres. I dumped this in Algeria & carried on to the entrance, prussiking the top 200m one footed (.·. slowly) due to blisters and leaving Ali & Julian to derig T.T. & O.E.
After waiting 45 mins at entrance, I was a bit worried, and decided to start for rescue. Fortunately I heard a shout from below so stuck about. At +1hr Julian emerged & I found that derigging O.E. had taken 1½ hrs due to the epic boulder that Ali had dislodged 2 trips ago having landed over the rope; it was too big for 2 cavers to lift, so 50+m of rope had to be pulled underneath it - then remained the task of hauling 150m of rope up O.E. Rope was left at Algeria to be derigged and used in further pushing of leads.
T/U 7½ hrs Petel
8½ hrs Julian H, Ali
Rigging: [ sketch ]
Previous trip / Next trip
Intention was to sort out the '-' signs made by Wookey & co. in the area above the KH system. The first needed 2 ladders + apalling rigging to get to a rocky pit going nowhere. The other entrance from that day (the day before) required an oversuit (essential gear for proper prospecting). A rather snug vertical slot led into a chamber full of rock and gravel avalanches. All the ways on seemed to connect together underneath. I double checked. Then tried to get out and had to send Spencer (who hadn't entered the chamber) up to get the bolting hammer to remove a bit of rock so that I could get out. One final lead was a hole on the ridge near the Hinter. Proper rigging this time with even a lifeline for this 40' hole. Nearly fell through a snowplug at the bottom. Nothing else was down there.
T/U 1 hr J.T.
½ hr Spencer
Finished off Ignore this bit (off 2nd pitch). There was one more pitch before it stopped in a boulder choke. So we surveyed it and prussiked out and we were dead efficient (see TU). The pitch is called Ignorance is Bliss, and so it is.
TU 3½ hrs
Previous trip / Next 161a trip (LHR) / Next RHR trip
Wookey woke up at 10 am, we asked "where's Clive ?" - "Um, err, dunno" was the reply. Last saw him at Knossos. He was out of the cave at 4.30 am and back to Top Camp at 5:30am assuming Clive was just prussiking slowly. But no sign. So Julian S disappeared off to the entrance. Me + Julian H followed once it was found that Clive wasn't at base camp. Clive's gear was at the entrance, so we headed off down. We eventually found Clive prussiking up Poxy. He was generally alright having slept for 1/2 hours, got horrendously lost at Boulder Alley. He may write his own bit later. Well I wanted to see KH, but not really this way. Love + hugs, ALI xx
T.U. = 3½ Clive = 27 hours (counted elsewhere)
Previous trip / Next trip / The Rescuees' trip (same day)
The return to the holes in Arrow Chamber - this time with more rope,
fortitude in our hearts and the hastily acquired knowledge of how to tie two
ropes together. With Hugh looking forward with great delight to his first
knot pass, we went down the hole to the 'ledge' we had reached previously,
pausing only whilst I tried to rerig the deviation and dropped it down the
pitch. Sigh ! Much faffing then ensued. Once we were both safely established
on the ledge we did some bolting to create a fine freehang over yawning
nothingness. ('Gibber' to quote Hugh - and I was going first !) Down I went
- just before the knot pass became inevitable there was a ledge - very
convenient. The bottom of this pitch 'Pointless' was reached 8m below this
ledge. Then we found a scrofulous little crawl leading to another chamber.
'Lets shift some boulders' said Hugh. So he did, opening the passage by,
ooh, all of half a foot. "We can get through now". Faff, faff,
take off SRT gear, grunt, rant, faff, thrutch, swear, curse, apple strudel,
and we're through. Shit - another pitch to rig. Tap, tap, tap for 25 minutes
until bored, rig another bastard rebelay, go down to bottom, which indeed it
was. Hoorah ! So we surveyed and derigged our way out, taking oodles of
rope. Prussiking with two tacklesacks is awful. Almost as crap as caving
itself (satisfied, Anthony ?) More faffing whilst I derigged the traverse -
Hugh waiting patiently whilst I swore at every piece of caving gear in
sight. Eventually finished, dumped the tacklesacks at Dewdrop (?) and came
slowly out. A good trip. The two pitches have been finished, I didn't die
and it wasn't epic. It was also my last caving trip. Hooray ! Oh Joy ! Oh
Rapture ! Now I can go home and do something else other than caving.
Unfortunately Hugh still has 1½ weeks to go. Ha Ha.
Right, ranting over, please take the book away from me, before I get too pissed (see back).
[Nick Pissed Illegible Ranting - from back of logbook. Ed.]
Once upon a time there was a caver. He was fucking hard. Nobody liked him. The Author of this tale got pissed. The caver fell down a pitch and died. The narrator of this tale was pissed and didn't give a toss. This may be given as evidence against me and I dont care. Caving is SHIT especially with hard bastard adam he is so hard. I want him. . But I'll have to make do with weegies and pissed novices. I care not and know not as long as they have powerful zooms - Ooh the things we get up to. Too much beer. Caving? What a shit idea! There are sceptics who think caving is good and a nice idea. Fuck off and die. Caving is shite, especially if you follow Adam down to 480m deep and then try to prussik out again. I'm a weegie and he's a hard bastard. Fuck off. I'm pissed and dont give a fuck.
For my sanity and yours, I shall stop now. If you are a caver, or have understood any of the above I would appreciate it if you would fuck off.
PS I hate caving
PPS I am very pissed
PPS I am extremely pissed
PPPS FUCK OFF
PPPPPS Sad Bastard
AAARGH ! ! !
PPPPPS Julian fuck off and die extremely horribly
TU 12 hrs
What boulder, I only kicked it a bit, honestly, as for as the tackle sacks' mine threw me off the pitch, rant. Nick was very brave, he only ranted most of the way down, and anyway I gave him lots of immoral support and carried two tackle sacks out. As for the squeeze I may never be the same again, something of me was left for prosperity. It was awfull (sp.)
* All relevant rant ends here [can't find the referent * on the photocopy, Ed., or in the book - other Ed.]
End of rant.
Or is it !! Lets hope so !
Look I'm an Engineer, OK !
Whats gramar anyway ? So am I, ignorant git
PS please make the cunning attempt to fill the logbook with complete bullshit ! (Sorry, this is what we should be doing anyway)
Where's my W.P. it can't spell either, hah ! I got to the end of the page, I win, I win, and no you are not going to write here.
Oh no you don't cos I can write small.
so can I hah !
[You can tell this is CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY caving club, can't you ? Ed.]
Previous trip / Next trip (RHR)
Went to the end. Wadders seems to have got it mostly right, (Todd too ie. Strange Acrossfall is airy, SSR is MENTAL (Hooray for Aggy)). After leaving Wux at Beehive to play camping, we went and crawled up muddy hole which Wux found earlier (prev. trip) crawled out, met him, set off surveying it. Got bored, exit to Black Velvet for water, food, piss. Carry on scive. Oh, found vocal connection to bit W & MTS were rigging. More survey. Others find us near end. Then all out. Together as far as Knossos. HGS still airy - Lummat preferred to go up & down (he also didn't like the boulder step). (Oh, we did some rigging down a pitch too. It went down & stopped in mud. A traverse may gain continuation of passage far side. Wux found rope later, descended, said 'Why did you leave it ?' as a 9m plumb !) Anyway, there we were watching people going up Knossos. Make it up eventually - q knackered, lots of resting. Then Shit Alley (Todd is right !) Climb following obvious path. Get to top but I carry on up mud path due to lack of eyesight (glassed fogged). Up, airy traverse (Wux did it with rope ! I on sandy cliff. Must be wrong - descend to bottom of mud path. Where am I ? (Completely disorientated, now a bit psyched, cliff) Go down somewhere, see 2 obvious bolts, Oh must be a pitch, go up again, wander a bit more. Where am I ! STOP. Next few hours sitting down hallucinating (heartbeat becomes footsteps, waterfall shifting rocks in distance becomes people on ropes sending loose shit down). Don't go to sleep or I will die. Sit shivering lots, occasionally moving (wait a few hours). Eventually recovered, awake sufficiently to sort myself out. So dam obvious pile of shit rocks. 2 obvious bolts are in fact carbide marks. Until see Knossos rope. Found myself ! Climb out (sigh, its hard work) go past overnight bits. Follow obvious path now, past cairn and see where I went wrong. Get to Poxy. "Hooray I'm on my way again". Start prussiking to hear cavers "Hooray the rescue". Lovely to see them. Talk a bit at top of Poxy, then set on out. Oh - overnight the lid came off my FX5, so I was caving with the battery in dangly bag. After some fudge, Ali held Bungalow rope so prussik faster than normal. Going out, find traverse (Wook's climb) to slit up - anyway, the wire on my FX eventually broke, so in dark. "Julian can you light me" Thank them - they brought a club Oldham. Quick lamp swap. Out some more. Cavers everywhere on S'not (like HGS. One on traverse, 2 on down/up, one at waiting - cavers dotted randomly round cave) Rebelays are good gear. Slowly up 2nd (probably climb up rocks wrong way coz a bit airy again) Stop at bottom of entrance to rest, eat fudge so I can get out. Out in waterfall (slow again) meet Hugh "tea or coffee" to which the answer is milk. Oh well, they tried jolly hard. Wux & Nick also there being helpful. Wot nice people team surface are too. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain. Rain it went. Soaked gear - at least my gear will change from "short glob of mud, long glob of mud, mud with loop of mud on the end, glob of mud with red muddy handle, etc." Change. Walk down (Rain above can be interspersed randomly from here on) slowing down - oops tired then. Put pit in bin bag -> car park. Very tired then - had to stop on the easy bit of the path ! Drive down slowly behind bus - still quite awake - in shreddies. There aren't any bus overtaking places on the way down. Campsite. Jump in river -> clean. Eat ice lolly. Go to bed. Have supper there (Julian, Dave G sorted that out). SLEEP (@ 730 or so !) Wake up to rain. Exit heap at noon when can stand it no more. The expo carries on. My feet hurt. Jack out.
T/U Wux, Lummat, MTS 16½ hrs Clive 27 hrs
Camping works with 2 furrys & hat but have to shiver to keep warm. Ta for rescue (Julian S, Julian H, Ali) surface (Hugh, Nick, Wux)
Previous trip / Next trip / The Rescuers' trip (same day)
MTS & Wook put in some hammock bolts - MTS failed to get into hammock at all - laugh - well nearly. Dropped a bolard down tiny hole - boo.
Went to the end. Found Lummat's pitch rigged - went down to dead end - grrr. Measured & derigged (9m). Didn't give expected ramp up to continuation on far side - it was a pitch. So went to 9m at the end. MTS & then Wook power-drilled down 20m ramp to big chamber. Passage back led to previous 2 QMs. Passage to R draughted in & led to small pitch. Huge passage forward went about 30m to dead end - grr. Tiny rift on L is t.t. Draught at end came out of roof - bugger. Did soil pitch 1st - easier - unsure of depth/difficulty so bolted it - proved pointless - abbed about 3 feet. More windy passages at bottom ------> lots of draught. 1st rift too tight, lots of sandy passages beyond - goes to a tight, dodgy soily bit to big space - & a 10m pitch.
Went to climb: fairly hard, but had threads at all difficult points. Only went 10m to a big space & more pitch.
Previous trip / Next trip
Felt enthusiastic. Went to cave mouth. Lost Enthusiasm. Went home.
TU: David G 10 min (SRT practice at Khöhle entrance.
I was underground, honest)
Julian S \ (looking into a nice (ie. doesn't go anywhere) hole
DCG } 2 min at first snow plug on way to cave)
YOU IDLE BASTARDS
Took camping gear down to Beehive and then went caving to utterly the far end. The SRT (Silly Rope Tech) was fairly exciting. With mental rigging leading to some free climbs that shouldn't have been. The "Three Wise Men" rigging in particular was very ... special. We found that we'd managed to lose the Hilti driver, and so decided to rely on the bolting kit that had been left just between TWM. However, on getting there we decided that the bolt driver was missing, so we were completely without any means of putting spits in. Wux & Petel surveyed some scrotty passages & found a pitch (v. tight) with 3s+ drop, whilst MTS rigged another pitch off naturals. By this time we were all shagged, so returned to campsite at Beehive. Having consumed our vestas, we retired - Wux to his thermarest on the ground, MTS & Petel to their hammocks strung off spits across the passage. Seven hours later we arose, with Wux having had 6 hrs of sleep & MTS & Petel having no sleep after being strapped into hammocks. Veggie meals led to another days caving with MTS & Wux surveying whilst Petel descended new scrotty pitch series, left going due to lack of things to rig off. After that days caving we gave up as it was too awful - mud everywhere and no bolting gear (thats why we jacked, honest). So after a thoroughly awful trip out with too many tacklesacks we emerged into the rain.
T/U 37 hrs (Petel, MTS)
38 hrs (Wux)
More of this trip / Previous trip / Next trip
The other four departed from Top Camp an hour before I did and were still faffing at the entrance. One hour later, Spencer was still not underground. I poked around in an unmarked hole, then thought about going down. Met Spencer before 2nd pitch (there are only two pitches) and waited a bit more. Apparently Anthony fucked up on the Algeria rebelay by clipping around the loop of the rebelay (thus wedging krab over knot) instead of through the loop. He didn't die. Or even fall. The task was to explore the hole in the wall opposite the pitch rope (free climbed, but now had a prussiking rope). On the other side is "Twin Tubs". Two pitches, one next to the other. The closer one (which you have to traverse over) is the "Washer". The other one is the Drier. Julian H rigged Washer on Wook's BCRA prize rope while Anthony and Ali did work on the Drier (more bolts required 'cause of ledges). J.H. asked Spencer if he wanted to go down it or survey (with me). Spencer opted to go down. Julian H surveyed with me. We were fairly efficient. And got around to Washer (after part of Drier). Shouted down to Spencer. "It doesn't go", he said. Ali went down. Came back after a poke around. Very silently. Due to the water. Then we waited for Spencer to come up. It definitely sounded like a Monkey House down there. Groans and cusses. Julian H identified problem as bollocks. This was confirmed. He must have attached the tackle sack to his scrotum instead of central MR. A & A were "cringing" behind a boulder with each wail of pain. J.H. and me surveyed down. An appallingly rigged 5m pitch bolted to a boulder was below this 26m pitch. I went down. It was a standard boulder jam that makes you feel intimidated and unwilling to poke around too much. We got out. Horrible drippy pitch which makes water pool in your oversuit bum and fill your wellies. (Before this, Ali and Anthony discovered that their route merged with this route so J.H. handed them the survey equipment.) I cleared out of the cave early. Too cold. It was raining (it fucking rains all the fucking time. This country has a weather woman, not a weather man, thats why its so crap). I walked back in caving gear with 3m visibility, many backtracks necessary 'cause to lose the path would have been epic. It took over an hour. The others arrived at 3:15 am (I got to Top Camp at 1 am) after shoving in a few bolts in readiness for their next pushing front.
T/U 8 hrs (JT)
13 hrs (the others)
Previous trip / Next trip
"Shitty when wet"
A bright sunny day dawned over base camp so the intrepid explorers raced up to top camp, then sat, festered, ate a vesta, took some photos and eventually trogged over to the cave. Soon ish people began to drift into the entrance. Soon Julian and I were in Algeria. I placed a spit at the top of question mark at the east side of Algeria. Julian went down one of the holes in the floor, unfortunately found more QMs looking a bit like this:
[sketch plan "Drawn by Julian H Aged 3¾"]
This is a highly accurate grade 6C survey of course. He wasn't drunk though.
As I came around the corner to find Julian with the spits there was a sudden change in the noise and water level. Algeria went wet. [There was 2½ inches in 15min at base camp] Once Seb, Hugh and Petel had got to Algeria it was too wet and windy to push so we went back out. Seb was slowish on the way out. I got out ½ hour before Julian H. I was cold so Hugh and I headed back. Julian H waited for 1 hour, made voice contact with Pete, everything was OK so also headed back. The weather was shite. Pete and Seb got lost slightly [an arrow points to this word from the caption "fucking loads"] on the way back and eventually got back to top camp 3 hours after Hugh and I.
TU Ali - 4 hours
Hugh + Julian H - 4½ hours
Pete + Seb - 6 hours
Previous trip / Next trip (derigging)
Because Ali had to get an early lift to Bad Ischl to catch his train, we decided to be ultra efficient and had left base camp by 6.30 am. Stopped for breakfast at top camp and woke them up there. We were underground by 10, and headed straight down to Algeria. Derigging was fun - but not as much fun as hauling the rope out ! Hugh volunteered to bring a full Goldflash out from Algeria - after the first few prussiks he rapidly regretted it ! Meanwhile, we made a slight error on the tacklesack front, and so Julian H and David G ended up taking out overflowing tacklesacks, Julian hauling about one hundred metres of rope out the 1st pitch hand over hand. There was much ranting from all four of us at the cave mouth, but we were appeased by a brilliant blue sky and the arrival of Spencer + Anthony to cart away gear.
TU Petel + Hugh 5½ hrs
David G 6 hrs
Julian H 6½ hrs
Previous trip / Next trip (in 1994)
Hang-gliding in a west wind (crap direction)
I tried 2 flights. First was rubbish - no lift at all. Passing German laughed "ten minutes". Fuck off. Tried again after buying Clive and Seb an ice cream. This time managed to soar below take off on west face close enough to the rock to see my shadow. Most of the time I shared airspace with a helicopter which flipped here and there and once passed by dangling a dead cow by its neck. I reckon this is a good symbol for this expo.
T/above ground 40 mins
Went to Far Too Far to pick up two tacklesacks and drill. God it was awful. Wooks & MTS looked at nasty hole in Tblocks. Didn't go. That drill battery is a little fat bastard ! The two hard bastards each pulled dozens of tacklesacks out through S'not (6 bags between 2 for Gods sake). Wookey drops large rock (it was fuckin huge) about 20 ft onto Julian S (who is a complete wimp and was making fucking heavy going with Geraldine and LFB). It hurt. A lot. I shouted. A lot. Bastard. Wux + MTS prove superhero status by taking the baggies all the way out. I was knackered.
Previous trip / Next trip (final derig)
T/U 8½ hrs
The last derigging trip !
Waited till torrential rain turned to sensible rain (11 am) Fixed 3 ! broken poles on my crap expensive Wild Country tent. Trogged up to cave, went caving - down to Knossos in 25 mins (1 hr 15 from Top Camp !)
Efficient derigging - out after 4 hrs - still bloody raining.
TU 4 hrs
Previous trip / Next trip (rigging in 1994)