161 - MIDNIGHT IN MOSCOW
Record low enthusiasm and massive faffing at entrance, but eventually we ended up going underground. Potential jack at the guillotine when my carbide completely failed to work. We fettled the tube and bashed it about a lot, and we were just at the point of abandoning the Midnight surveying trip and pottering along to the pitch in Locophobia for an easy trip, when it suddenly burst into a lovely flame, so we muttered a bit and decided we'd better get on with it.
Usual stomp through Triassic, into Knossos, Yapate, 36, Chicken Flied Nice, Burble (first time uphill with no tackle), Vom, Fucking tedious rift, Exhaustion, rift, SEP, loads more crappy pitches.
This all passed uneventfully, and I even managed to do the crappy tight pitch head without cocking it up for the first time. Unfortunately, I left my dangly bag at the top, rant. Luckily there was nothing crucial in it (or so I thought) so I decided to leave it and pick it up on the way out.
So we were being averagely efficient when we started surveying. Compass / Clino behaved itself, and due to much racking our brains on the surface and a short discussion in the cave, we made a pretty quick job of the big pitch. 2 tapes weren't required in the end, the pitch split into a 23 and a 29 at the first deviation. Got the bottom of last pitch, burned through rope (knife was in my dangly bag) and decided to do a bit of pushing before finishing the survey. Took a bit of rope down the cascades (which have dried up, but are still very nice), rigged the last 10 ft pitch off a couple of naturals, and were delighted to find that it stopped. Or almost. It wasn't a sump, but a mud choke, and there was a tiny draught. Dunks dug a little, but said it was too big a job to make progress. Serious digging at -500m was decided to be a bit too keen, so we declared it as being DONE and surveyed out. We were reasonably sure we'd found the deepest point in the cave, and we named the last pitch Rasputin due to its failure to completely die.
We went for a look around in the chamber part way up MIM. It isn't as big as it seemed from the rope, ~20m at its widest, and the possible ways on turned out to be full of mud. There _is_ horizontal development at this level though, so maybe some will be found down Fuzzy Logic.
With the chamber and the bottom both ticked off, we decided to haul the ropes out. This turned out to be a cock-up as the bags jammed 30m up. We swore and faffed and pulled really hard to no avail, so we tied them off and left them until next time. Hopefully I'll be able to ab down with the tackle tied to the end.
After that fuck up, my light failed and my spare cell and carbide were a few pitches above me, so Dunks had to light me for a bit. We did this reasonably efficiently, but it still slowed us down a lot.
Eventually I retrieved my bag, sorted my lights out and we began the long slog out. Dunks had a hard time on SEP when his central MR got twisted the wrong way, so he prussiked quite slowly, but after that we did okay, but we were slow because we were bloody knackered. Finally we got out after 5 am, once again to a clear sky and beautiful sunrise which almost made everything alright.
PS we returned to base camp and found out that KH is now _27m deeper !_
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