76 - Rebelay failure + surface stuff

Sat 30 Jul 2005

We headed into 76 with a heavy tacklesack each, planning to go down the 1970s route, with Ol bolting on down + me rerigging ropes to free up the 93m rope without needing to cut it. So we entered the cave, with Ol in front. Just as I was starting to abseil down Draught Bitter, I heard a Bad Noise, followed by the sound of Olly swearing. My first thought was that I had knocked rocks down, although I was in a freehanging bit of the pitch. Then Olly shouted up that he was OK, but that something in the rigging had "changed" and that he was going to prusik back up to the rock bridge rebelay. Once Olly was safe, I could abseil down, inspecting the rigging en route. It turned out that the middle rebelay was no longer fully attached - that is, the rope was still attached to the hanger, which was still attached to the spit, which was still attached to the rock, but that ~20cm diameter piece of rock wasn't attached to any other rock on the wall of the cave. We calculated that it was a fall factor 1/2 and the hanger above looked fine, as did the rope, though the bit Olly's stop was on was quite elongated. Most importantly, Olly didn't seem to be hurt. Once I had checked the rope was safe for Olly to ascend, we decided to come out, partly to check that Olly really was OK and partly because we had packed the drill at the bottom of the bag, planning to sort stuff out in the Taproom, not hanging in Plugged Shaft. Having safely exited the cave we had somewhat less enthusiasm for going back underground than normal, so we did some surface wandering instead, hoping to find 2004-04. We did not succeed in this, but we did discover several other interesting holes:

  • 2005-97 (Fluted Pot) - a fluted draughting shaft, roughly between 76 and 97, which Olly descended on natural belays + it went for 4m before becoming too tight. UTM WGS84 33 410657E 5281932N 1623m alt. Currently untagged.
  • 2005-98 (Hanger Pot) - this had no visible paint or tag, but a few metres down was an in-situ hanger with traces of orange paint. It was the sort of hanger you do up with an Allen key, not a spanner, and was an old-style Petzl twist. This is a twin shafted pot with snow - too cold + icy to descend further without an oversuit. (Descended by Olly.) UTM WGS84 33 410640E 5281925N 1643m alt. Currently untagged.
  • 2005-99 (Coatless Cave) - promising looking smallish horizontal entrance from a snow-filled shakehole. I (Jenny) went in some way until it got too tight to do alone + without an oversuit. UTM WGS84 33 410613E 5281892N 1629m alt. Currently untagged.

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Survex files on this date:
Wallets on this date:
    2005#15 ['notes4', 'notes2', 'notes6', 'notes1', 'notes3', 'notes5', 'plan', 'extend1',…
    2005#19 ['notes4', 'notes2', 'notes1', 'notes3']
    2005#21 various near 76 ['notes1']
Logbook trips on this date:
    204 - Gaffered - Heavily Soiled
    76 - Rebelay failure + surface stuff