The Niflheim Abortion (All of it Jeremy's fault)
Plan: Nip down RH route, make a rope collection, check out Over the Rainbow, camp down Niflheim, sleep, spend next day poking around passages at base having a brew up every single hour, camp & sleep again. come out, pop down Drunk & Stupid to show how hard we are and come out in the evening reluctantly just in time to make the call out.
What happened in fact: Down flapjack late in the day, derigged pitches below, dumped Boris for MarkD to deal with and pulled rest of rope up flapjack (helping with Dan's surveying separate passage across-pitch link-up), had brew up at old underground camp and exited Knossuss.
[sketch of OTR chanber]
A = Over the Rainbow
B = Descent drop to underneath Over the Rainbow
C = pillar, D = OTR bypass
E = free climbable drop from which you can see person at the bottom of B
F = Pot of Gold
Jeremy descended B, Julian saw him from E. Animal discovered F. Pot of Gold immediately entered phreatic swiss cheese labyrinth half clogged with soil. Somewhere (take left turn soon after entering) there is a pitch into a chamber all of whose exits drop into a rift. The way on, downwards, was extensively looked at and was promising enough - to Animal and Jeremy - to make us forget Niflheim and set up camp in nice sandy passage 3 mins up LH route. The night was cold enough to freeze an elephant alive. (Julian hadn't worked out how much clothing it was necessary to wear _inside_ the sleeping bag). The crapper was up a loose, noisy scree slope at back. Put a change of plan note at bottom of squeeze pitch. Water supply from a secluded pool a little down RH route.
In morning we found 3:05 note left by Dave's team on their exit. (Notes left by other teams are wonderful). David paid us a visit, then Keith, Ian, Mark and none of them got any coffee out of us because we were running short of meths.
Pot of Gold swiss cheese (route through) surveyed, pitch bolted and rift descended, freeclimb false floor to false floor to bottom, followed through tight bit to head of 25m pitch While Animal bolted this, J&J investigated sound of noisy streamway, and located it. And found it unfollowable. Julian discovered several clean-stone-floored long phreatic snake holes, which would have been tight if the snake had just swallowed a pig. These came out in derelict falling-to-bits chambers which connected to other side of pitch being bolted. Pitch went nowhere fast. Surveyed it all except derelict chambers and snake holes.
Went back to camp and it now had a breeze which blew candles out and clothes against the ceiling. A drip appeared in the upper passages near crapper. Deduction: weather was crap. Woke up in morning feeling just as fucked as when we had hit the pit. Very cold everywhere. Jeremy's guts were soiled so we went straight out. And the weather was crap.
Conclusion: Camping underground is crap. Unless the facilities are exceptionally good and as nice as in a tent on a campsite, you don't get rested and might as well not have gone to sleep. Could do better.
Previous trip / The actual Niflheim trip
Same day: Surveying Olympus etc. / Photo trip / D&S
Team Sweat: Ian (still in wooley), Keith, Tanya, Julian, Del, Juliette, Mark F, Wookey, Animal
Got the Potato Hut to over 40° on the thermometer. Animal sweats the most and wrung out his skids.
Tanya went in the river !!
T/S (sweating) ~30 mins