161 - You know where

Tue 30 Jul 1996
Nick Proctor

Having run out of friends (mugs, idiots, people open to bribery, blackmail, corruption etc) and team 136 having jacked horrendously, the penultimate, do or die, this is it, take it or leave it, everything must go trip down Interview Blues had a cast of 2. The plan was to push, find the bottom, survey out and then derig until the number of tackle sacks got too silly. So we knew we were in for a shit time. We were not wrong.

We took down a long rope for the 10th, an extra rope for when we found the 11th pitch, and another bit of rope, just in case. After having an attack of conjunctivitis (sore eyes!) the last trip, I was caving in glasses rather than contact lenses. This was grim, as vision hampered by a shit carbide was further shafter by gloop-coated glasses. To add to the fun, my carbide had developed a fine extra peril-sensitive feature. Whenever I looked down, the clicker fell onto the jet, thus extinguishing the flame and preventing me from seeing any possible danger beneath me.

Off we set, merrily abseiling and scrotting in turns (Quick description of Interview Blues: Abseil, abseil, abseil, abseil, scrot, abseil, scrot, abseil, abseil, scrot, abseil, scrot, abseil) which took us to the bottom of the ninth, or rather Brian to the top of the tenth, and me 15m from the bottom of the ninth, where I thrashed around trying to do a knot pass, which was conveniently situated in the damp bit of the pitch. As my lumps of mud which passed for gear turned to slime, my glasses clouded over, the tackle sack became 5 times heavier and my jammers completely refused to down-prussik, it could be said I was not having fun. Indeed, the odd swear word may have passed my lips. Eventually enough mud had been washed off, so I could complete the change-over and get to the bottom. Brian was merrily rigging the 10th pitch. I followed him down. Suddenly it was all large - big shaft, big chamber at the bottom. Help! Where's the rift? Got to the bottom and dashed down the first scrotty rift I could find, and sure enough found Brian coming back saying it got too tight. So we surveyed back to the chamber, finding a really awful way down, under a boulder pile, with lots of water and a 5m drop, on the way, and then finding the two stomping leads we had ignored completely on the way in. The first quickly became a rift traverse with water in the bottom. After some exciting thrutching we got down to the water. Upstream is a 3m climb with a waterfall. Downstream is another waterfall in a tight bit of rift - to rig it would require crawling in the water. Back to the chamber, and the next lead - another large passageway which soon becomes scrotty rift, but definitely still goes. Another corner of the chamber produced another lead, a rising rift with the sound of water down it, and yet another corner had a muddy crawl going off it. With all this cave, we just didn't know what to do, so we ran away.

We surveyed out to the top of the ninth, gaining tackle sacks and being good boys and greasing the bolts (so we can go back next year.) After that it becomes hazy - tacklesacks, prussiking very slowly, sore balls, scrotty rift - the usual. We got to the bottom of the fifth with two tacklesacks each and gave up, since the fifth pitch is ~50m. So we dumped a tackle sack each and pottered up some more pitches. Brian abandoned his friend at the top of the fourth. I managed to get mine back to Trifurcation. Staggered out very slowly. It was 2-30am and it was misty and raining. Lovely trip.

Brian - "Memorable"

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