148 - Marilyn Munroe Hole

Sun 06 Sep 1987
Jared West

Andy arrived at entrance to find his light had failed due to being left on pilot all night. Quickly reached the boulder slope which Andy had rigged yesterday considering we were carrying so much. Andy placed bolt at head of 15m pitch while Jared explored upper level - finding second pitch which was later found to connect with bottom of first lot of ice caves. Low crawl half filled with icy water was not explored.

14m rope was just long enough for the pitch, hanging 1 ft from the ground. Landed on the floor of a truly magnificent chamber - 20m high, with 3 ways leading off. Facing away from pitch, Andy explored righthand rift. This led to a wonderful flat-out crawl which seemed to be hewn from pure ice rather than rock and decorated with unbelievable ice curtains & stals. Emerging from this, he was confronted by the Ice Castle - a stalagmite ice formation. Then he returned to the main chamber - the way on straightforwards was a 3m climb which was rigged with braidline - Jared descended, followed a huge phreatic passage around a 90° bend and was confronted with a solid wall of boulders. Attempting to enter a hole in the boulder wall, his hand was struck by a large boulder which unexpectedly tried to roll - yet another warning to those who boldly go etc. Having temporarily lost his bottle, he returned to the main chamber. Both then tried way on number 3 - this went steeply upwards and became tight - Andy ascended past a large loose boulder & thought it would be safer to try to push it down. It wedged in the rift though, making his return difficult. Further progress was halted by a steep ice climb.

Both returned to way on no. 1 and pushed it to its limit - this turned out to be only a few metres past the Ice Castle. Then both tried no. 2 again - Andy ascended the phreatic ptube over the boulders only to find the way blocked.

After discussing the possibility of an after life, Jared reentered the boulder-choke only to find the way on too tight - however the passage was still drafting and a large chamber was visible through a small hole. With this, both retreated, leaving behind them a packet of crushed Digbics & two tins of Mackerel fillets, some soup, a stove, & a badly dented saucepan for the survey trip.

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    148 - Marilyn Munroe Hole