204 - Subsoil

Sat 31 Jul 2004

Becka + Julian set off an hour ahead of the crowd + did some virtuous QM ticking by surveying up the sandy tube at the top of the Subsoil chamber where Gardeners' World / U. C. pitch comes in. The right tube closed down. The left one was small but straightforward and connected in to Earl + my Heavily Soiled survey so ticked off one of the sandy crawl QMs there too (still leaving another crawl QM off from Heavily Soiled to be checked). Back to Subsoil and met others. I went with Frank to continue the Earthenware survey, going straight ahead where Stoneware branched left. After a short while continuing straight ahead, I saw black space up to the right so we surveyed up there (care, nice calcite on left wall, we conservation-taped this route off on the next trip). Into big passage and surveyed left (north). The roof rapidly closed in due to massive collapse of rock from the roof to end in a boulder choke which didn't really draft.

Back to Subsoil and Frank headed out. Earl was still trying to get a better rig into Fat Worm Blows a Sparky (see yesterday). Nial and I continued the survey off FWBAS from Julian + his survey until we'd run out of time + pretty well ticked off all the horizontal leads. The last bit of our survey down a thin rift only needed a handline to protect a climb down and was the deepest part surveyed. [As far as I can tell from the survey this doesn't seem to be true – station 17 of the Fat Worm 2 survey is a good five metres lower.—DL] Where Nial and I started to survey, beyond the dead bat, there was a free-climb (QM B) up to the left which then needed protecting for the final few metres up to an enticing-looking lead. We surveyed a rift to the right. On an alcove on the left in the sandy floor were HUNDREDS of bat bones, as if a whole roost had died there. There are many bat bones throughout Subsoil (washing out of the mud?) but especially concentrated here. Heading down from this point on the 3/8/04 trip I checked this: it continued steeply down boulders to a small chamber with a small wet aven – just about a QM B. This is noted on the first page of the 3/8/04 survey notes from Becka and Nial (pocket 2004#44). Earl then was removed from his rigging and we went home, letting Earl escape first to get the food on.