136 - Footlights Traverse

Sun 10 Aug 1997
Anthony Day

Finally got underground after a week nursing an injured knee (more through boredom than any improvement to the injury). Attempted to replace my main beam bulb with the Julian Haines lighthouse bulb and in doing so snapped the connector to the main beam - mutter. So rather than take an FX5 down just for the pilot, I caved with my zoom and its dodgy connector as back up for my Austrian sand grade carbide - not an auspicious start.

Bumbled down to the theatre box and Chris continued on the Footlights Traverse complete with homemade grappling hook - a crowbar lashed to a 1½m yellow pole. Unfortunately, since being taken underground, the string by which the crowbar was attached had got wet, stretched and was thus no use. So the yellow pole was abandoned, and I watched as Chris teetered across a chossy and airy traverse, banged in a couple of bolts and found ... no cave whatever. So Chris continued down the wall and found an eyehole into a chossy little passage, banged another bolt into its camembert-like walls, and I followed him, only shitting myself once on the traverse. The passage leads to a loose, uninspiring looking pitch head, which opens out into a decent shaft with aven above, which lands on a rock bridge (ie. a jammed boulder) with more pitch beyond. This whole area is gloop coated and falling apart - very KH like - and there is a significant draught coming _up_ the continuing pitch. This is quite a good lead, but we had run out of rope.

Rather than survey out, I pootled out at this point whilst Chris drilled some more bolts to improve the rig. Not surveying was probably a good thing since it took an astonishingly long time to get out, not helped by an ailing leg and too much beer at basecamp the week before. Also, the big loose flake at the top of the big pitch is no longer a problem as Phil kicked most of it off. The remnants of it came whistling past my ear as I hung on the rebelay below the ledge we wait on before ascending the big pitch, causing me to gibber quite a lot, especially as I could smell freshly fractured rock on the ledge. Phil also neglected to call pitch free, so I spent quite a while at the bottom before making a cautious ascent (the rope looks OK). I then gardened the rest of the rubbish at the pitchhead in the general direction of Brian's head to ensure no repeat performance.

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_Haines Miracle Carbide Cure_

As the glorious expo leader departed, he bequeathed me a few of his precious items, namely 3 lumps of large carbide (all the expo stuff from the Austrians is tiny bitty stuff). This was gratefully (and gullibly) received, and used on the above 136 trip.

And so it was, Footlights Traverse now being bolted, Anthony headed out with the spare carbide & I started out lugging the drill + battery. That's strange, I thought, my light's going a bit dim. Fettle. The bitty stuff all gone, but Haines lump was sat there just as it went in. Magic - everlasting carbide ! Complete with calcite veins ... hmmm, chortle, most amusing. Dark thoughts cast in the Haines direction on the dim prusik out.


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No survex files found for this date.
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Logbook trips on this date:
    136 - Footlights Traverse
    136 - Tirolia via Elin Algor