76 - Brave New World

Mon 19 Jul 2004

Went back down 76 with bolting gear with a view to ticking off Olly's lead on the ledge and then rigging on down. I lined Olly up the short but exposed climb, then couldn't see what was happening for ages. Olly got to the end of the rope and assured me it was safe to untie, and then went off exploring. I sat on a ledge with my light off (in case Olly's passage came back to the shaft). Ages later, and just as I was getting worried, Olly returned. I convinced him that seeing as he was there it was worth bolting and then surveying. So whilst he bolted the climb I prussiked out for the survey kit.

45 minutes later I was back at the climb to find Olly had dropped my spanner after putting in the backup. I passed him up a maillon and he tightened the Y-hang bolts and I came up. The crawling passage led on past two sharp corners (Pool Sink fashion) and a passage off on the right to a pitch. We carried on, and after the odd lower bit some more passages branched off at a drafty spot: two more tube type things, one high on the left and one on the right, then a narrow (~50cm) crack on the left that appears after a few metres to lead to a snow slope. (Looking at the locations, we suspect this might be part of 99.) Continuing along the passage + past another low bit I suddenly emerged in the top of a big vadose passage, several metres high and going in both directions!

Upstream led to a choke, so we surveyed out from here, passing another couple of passages on the way. We had a quick look downstream, but didn't survey. Soon an aven joined and the passage increased in size and became looser. In front a pitch dropped down and the passage seemed to continue above. To the left another couple of passages left! Amazed and and pleased at our finds we continued to survey out, getting very annoyed with the crappy compass. After 35 legs we eventually tied the survey in with the previous one, and could leave the cave!