204 - Razor Dance

Sun 22 Jul 2007

The previous trip down Razor Dance had returned with tales of a deep pool that they had started traversing around to where they could see into a perpendicular rift with running water audible. Could this be the bottom? The target for this trip was to continue the traverse into the side rift to find out whether the sound of water was a continuation or an inlet.

Set off down at 10:30 with Dunks in the lead. I was therefore surprised (and a little perturbed) to arrive at the pushing front to find no sign of him. I soon heard him thrutching through the rift. It turns out that he had missed the traverse level below Yeast pitch had had thrashed through at stream level to emerge at a ~15-20m pitch with no rope on it - presumably where the water drops in at Pepper Pot.

Before continuing the traverse we opted to try one of the self-heating meals provided by Andrew that the Welsh diggers 'swear by not at'. After following the instructions to the letter and waiting the requisite 15 minutes, it was still stone cold, so we scoffed it anyway.

Duncan then started work on the traverse. Andreas had bolted along a ledge on the right-hand wall (opposite the cross-rift). Duncan elected to take out his last two bolts and bolt on the left-hand wall instead, then he bridged across the (narrower) cross rift. Some time later I followed, hating every minute of it (so I took the opportunity to spit into a pot).

It turns out that the sound of water in the side rift comes from an inlet, and that the deep pool is a sump - so 204 is now 622m deep. A bit disappointing that it didn't go deeper, but at least we've bottomed the bastard.

The inlet is keyhole passage with ~3m round phreatic part elongate along the dip direction, and a trench that is typically 5m deep, trending upwards at 25°. We surveyed up this for ~70m before running out of time. Our last survey station is by a junction where the main route continues for ~40m to a climb which may or may not be climbable, and an inlet rift that is passable for some distance. With that we headed out with the drill and spare metalwork at a sedate pace (set by my), pausing for a food stop at GLAD. Duncan emerged at 04:50, and I got out at 06:20.

Duncan had a suspicion that the inlet contained water from the Midnight in Moscow series. Survex reinforced this suspicion: if you project the inlet up at its current angle for ~100m along and ~25m up, it will hit the bottom of Rasputin in 161 - so hopes are high for a connection, which would be a satisfactory 2nd prize after its failure to go very deep.