Puffball and Icing Sugar Cave

Tue 09 Jul 1991
Olly Betts

Oh no, I'm getting keen on caving ! Due to rain, no one except me got up (except Mark S who just made a paella breakfast and went back to bed). Then Ian H, Mark M and Julian T came up from base camp. Ian's gear was at 161, but Mark M's was at 182, and Julian's was in his rucksack, so that decided it.

Anyway, we went down to the 3 rope protectors, one of which had exploded in front of me the day before, and put in a bolt to try to remove the rub - failed, unfortunately ! Went on, and Julian put in a bolt on the ledge and then we clambered into the Dark Room, followed slowly by Mark M, cursing his tackle sack in Tarzan's Folly.

The only obvious way on (and probably only possible without aven bolting) is parallel to Tarzan's Folly, and is a rift with several levels, ending at a pitch. We slung a 19m rope down, which was too short, so I added a knot pass, then Julian found a 46m rope in the bottom of the sack, so we rigged the pitch and the next one with it. The upper one we've called "Natural Redundancy", due to the obvious natural 6 inches from the bolt, completely unused. The next pitch is the "Cyclotron" followed by a very wierd rift with tippex pretties, called "Quark, Strangeness and Charm", then scrambling down to a 15-20m pitch into "Cloud Chamber". Julian's watch gave this chamber a depth of 175-200m below the surface. Hurried out to try to catch the last of the daylight and got out in 2½ hours. Walked back in the dark, and then down to base camp to repair my shredded oversuit.

P.S. Don't rant about pushing without surveying, as I went surveying the day before and I'll be back !

_Note_: In a fair rain, Puffball was wettish, but showed no sign of being dangerous ! [but see next trip !]

[2 pages of sketches]

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