204 - Loop closures + Cresta Run
Becka + Nial in early to take some BDH + Peli case sponsorship photos, and to derig the pitches into Rhino Rift and take the rope to the end of Swings + Roundabouts. Martin (with Earl as a backup rigger) then went up the rope which Martin had put in the bolts for earlier this Expo (and that Earl had climbed putting in hand-bolts in ?2001 / ?2000) and rigged down the far side and – bingo – found a survey station from Helter Skelter. Meanwhile team survey (Becka, Nial + Stuart) surveyed Trapeze, a climb to a gallery above the main Swings passage and a small chamber below which can be reached by a squeeze at the bottom of the main passage – Nial and I had looked at this on 18th July and Stuart and Earl had independently looked at it on a later trip. [21/7/04 I think.—DL] Then off to the Helter Skelter connection and started surveying this whilst Martin + Earl took the drill to Insignificant Chamber to QM 2000-10A, where they put in a natural back up, Y-hang with spits, bolted deviation to a ledge about 15-20m down then two more spits in rubbish rock to descend to floor of Pleasuredome, maybe 45m down (this needs surveying). Meanwhile Stuart, Nial + Becka had found a thin rift leading off from the pitch which dropped into Helter Skelter + surveyed down this (Cresta Run, as it zig-zagged steeply down) to a small chamber (apparently the boulder choke at the top end of this is very close to the end of Rat Biscuit on the survey – worth trying for a connection some time?). Cresta Run continued steeply down + we finished the survey at a pitch head with possible horizontal leads and a shortish pitch with possibly another chamber beyond. We then derigged the Helter Skelter pitch (but left the up-rope from Swings + Roundabouts – would be horrible to derig anyway) + took the rope to Martin + Earl so they could finish their Pleasuredome pitch. We then did a short survey to link the Insignificant Chamber survey to Julian Todd's climb out of Rhino Rift this year to complete the second large loop closure of the trip. A very productive + varied trip!