204 - Subway again

Mon 08 Aug 2005

Off to the holes with the sound of water that we'd got to on our last trip (2005-08-06). Andrew + I put in pitch head bolts by hand then Andrew took down Anthony's drill to finish the rig whilst Nial + I surveyed down. Descended to a largish chamber but it fizzled down to a small damp drippy hole - not exactly the master streamway I'd been expecting. From here a scrawny rift led off that Andrew hadn't thought mcuh of (narrow + sharp) but I went a bit further + found a pitch so Nial + I kept on surveying down whilst Andrew jerry-rigged the pitch using my retired sling round a thread. Rather nice 15m pitch down but the only way on was through a squeeze. Andrew took off his string gear and got through + reported more of the same thin rift so we called it a day + derigged. We then showed [shoved?] Andrew down the left pitch at Nial + my traverse of 2005-08-06. Didn't go; no surprises there. We'd pretty well ticked off the leads beyond the traverse so we derigged it + went upslope where Nial + Martin had surveyed on 2005-08-01. Andrew climbed the short traverse + put in a traverse line + we surveyed up walking size but steep (up + down) passage to a pitch + to a rift. Time to call it a day.

As I set off back over the short traverse I wibbled a bit at the bold step around a rock nose + started to garden it. Watching me, Andrew decided the belay on the rock nose looked loose, so I came back + he kicked it + it wobbled ... unfortunately we'd left both our handbolting kits + the drill on the far side of the traverse. Andrew climbed back over the top including a couple of what looked like exposed moves on desperately shoddy rock. Safely over, he passed the drill back to Nial who put in a spit for a higher level traverse so us two could escape. As I came back over I gave the original route belay a gentle boot + it plummeted down the pitch. Heading up the third of the Four Pitches of the Apocalypse we realised it must be raining up top as it was horribly wet. I was up first. As Andrew started up there was loud swearing - the lower deviation had snapped. This had been rigged using the crap thin green string + without using a mini-maillon so the string had just been cut by the hanger. Andrew got away with some bruising + a fat lip, but it could have been much worse as he ended up hitting th efar side of the shaft + under the worst of the downpour. Poor Nial also had a hard time as he had to prusik up slowly + gently in the wet until he got past the rub point. Having got soaked at least I didn't overheat on the long prusik out.

[Barely legible paragraph scribbled in bottom margin]Note: The only properly wet pitch in the whole of the trip is the third of the Four Pitches of the Apocalypse - though the first of these pitches is also quite damp, expecially with the current rubbish too-tight rig which means you get stuck in the worst of the water trying to get off rope.

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Survex files on this date:
Wallets on this date:
    2005#35 ['notes4', 'notes2', 'notes6', 'notes1', 'notes3', 'notes7', 'notes5']
Logbook trips on this date:
    Loser Plateau - Walking back
    204 - Subway again