204 - Merry-Go-Round

Fri 23 Aug 2002

We returned to Merry Go Round, and I descended the 3rd partially rigged pitch. The previously sloping shaft turned vertical, requiring two rebelays. These were both rigged too tight, with too long loops in the Fig 8. The bottom is a boulder floor, with a bed of limestone with large bivalves. Up slope led to a narrow rift, which looped around to a chamber, which has eyeholes to the first. The roof of the chamber is a very large boulder. Downslope in the main chamber another rift leads off, which continues into the floor, with a very tight rift.

In 10m the rift closes down, but the rift below looked almost passable, so I told Earl that it was his turn to rig. He set at the rock with a bolting hammer to find all the rock was of very poor quality. He did however find a thread in the ceiling, which he rigged with two slings. After much more hammer, Earl decided the vertical squeeze was now large enough, and he descended a few meters into another chamber. After Earl demonstrated that the return was possible, I followed and bolted a Y-hang for the next pitch, deviating on a large natural a few meters down. The rift continued, then turned into a keyhole passage then phreas with a puddle on the floor. The phreas turned back to rift, which looked a bit awkward, so we surveyed and derigged to the bottom of the 3rd pitch where we ran out of time and left, leaving the drill and various gear at South Circular.