204 - Subway (again, again)

Wed 10 Aug 2005

This was to be the first derigging trip down Gaffered so we knew it would be a long one. I derigged Hippocratic Oath on the way down so we could take that rope out with us, then we went to the pitch next to the upslope traverse that we'd had fun with at the end of the 2005-08-08 trip. Andrew + Nial put in spits midway down the pitch (Pig's Ear Pitch) - the top was rigged off the huge rock column and then a roof deviation. We surveyed down + got into large (but mostly loose-boulder-filled) steeply descending passage.

Some good long legs led us to a muddy pitch head with some of the worst rock any of us had had the displeasure of trying to rig - like chalk with a thin coating of peanut brittle stuck on. Andrew + I managed to get two so-so spits well back from the edge but then Andrew had half a dozen or more attempts at getting a main hang spit in. He eventually got one that didn't totally crater or fall off but he didn't sound at all happy about it. We surveyed down (Dog's Dinner Pitch) to a small boulder-floored chamber then Nial put in two more spits (again in rubbish rock) to drop a final rather attractive pitch (Dog's Bollocks Pitch) to get to ... a sump! At over 500m depth! Well, that's what Andrew + Nial reckoned. To me it looked like a shallow pool with a tiny alcove above it. I tried to have a celebratory peein it but was disturbed by, first, the quicksand at the edge that kept eating my wellies and, second, Nial dropping rocks at me as he ascended.

We left at 5ish (after our customary 9am start) + I think the other two were ready to derig + head out but I persuaded them to look at a steeply sloping up tube in the main passage below Pig's Ear Pitch. This went up (including two successive >50° clino legs) in an almost-too-steep-to-climb way then choked - but just before this point a passage doubled back on itself and headed steeply downward. We kept on surveying though time was ticking on as the legs were long + it was frustrating not to come to a definite end (we expected a pitch or to link back to the main passage). Nial eventually decided to call it a day when it looked like it was closing down - but a quick peek beyond here showed it still to keep going in walking sized passage so that's somewhere that needs returning to.

We derigged except for the short traverse line, then Andrew took the 90m out to Turnstile Chamber then swapped that for the drill + headed out. I derigged all the small pitches up to the third of the Four Pitches of the Apocalypse [*] then Nial and I took out all that rope plus the 60m at the bottom of Gardener's World. We headed out tired + slowly, the ascent enlivened by Nial kicking more rocks on me down Tape Worm pitch as I tried to suck water out of the 2mm deep puddle at its base. (I got badly dehydrated on this trip - as usual I'd taken no water with me + I had to steal some of Nial's as I started to feel pretty parched heading out.) Stats: we surveyed 349m (vertical range 96m), put in 7 hand bolts (+ endless other attempts) to drop 3 pitches derigged about 10 pitches + took out 2 bags of rope and the drill. Too much!

[*] After two dry days on the surface this was now not very damp at all so it responds quite fast to rain.

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Survex files on this date:
Wallets on this date:
    2005#06 99 part 2 ['notes1']
    2005#28 scribbles ['notes2', 'notes1']
    2005#40 ['notes2', 'notes1', 'notes3', 'elev', 'plan']
    2005#43 surface 161e to 161g via 161h ['notes2', 'notes1']
Logbook trips on this date:
    234 - Hauchhöhle again
    Loser Plateau - More useful surface stuff
    204 - Subway (again, again)
    76 - Brave New World (BNW) - Loopy