204 - John Billing's account of Razor Dance derigging trip

Fri 03 Aug 2007



(+ Duncan Collis, Mark Dougherty, Richard Mundy + George North) - which somehow have to fit into this schema

Left basecamp for an 'early start' at (maybe) 10am. (Duncan + Mark had been talking about a R.D. trip the day before...) Got to Stone Bridge early afternoon. JonT was itching for a RD derigging trip - already up there for a few days, wanted a 'decent' trip. Aaron + I pulled on our gear quickly, & then the three of us set off down 204A... Duncan & Mark to follow after a few hours.

My second trip in Austria, first one was with Aaron to do some science stuff in a shallow cave. This RD trip turned out to be quite vertical. Not much horizontal caving, at least to start with. Stopped briefly for my 2pm spit sample. We carried on downwards (later learnt that this was the Kiwi series).

After a couple of hours we hit Razor Dance. Much more horizontal & quite tight. Had a few problems finding the correct level - it's quite a deep vertical rift in a few/most places. Lots of grunting. JonT: 'flow with the rock, not against it'.

Got to final pitch before sump at bottom. Jon + Aaron already down. Just as I was half-way down, Jon shouts for me to start going back up. What the fuck? Shouts that it's getting very wet. Bloody hell, he's got a point, this little RD stream has got a lot wetter. Better had get out. Oops, no chest jammer on central MR (in dangly bag) - have to go right down. Thunderstorm?

Put chest jammer on. Jon volunteers to derig - yes please! Start heading out, followed by Aaron then Jon. Bottom pitches very wet - get quite soaked. After a while, bump into Duncan & Mark. Good to see them. Say they've re-rigged Paster of Muppets pitch 'cause it's a bit damp. Follow Duncan up to top of Pepper Pot. Duncan, Mark & I wait there for an hour (damn cold!) until Aaron & Jon turn up. Given heavy tacklesack full of wet rope, carry on pushing up through RD. Duncan goes on ahead.

Turns out that it's quite a mission to push a tackle sack through tight, vertical rift. Almost leave it a couple of times. Arms tired. Actually, there is a technique to it. Push it ahead and wedge it, then follow.

Got to basic 'camp' (stove + food) called 'God Loves a Drunk' [GLAD in other write-ups] - passed straight through on way down. Hot food, courtesy of Duncan. Richard & George also there! Set off again after a bit, following Jon. Hear him now & then at top of pitches.

Leave tacklesack at bottom of Kiwi Suit next to Jon's. Start up, bloody hard work. See Duncan following at the bottom of pitches. Should have brought more chocolate bars. Find my discarded water bottle on way up - very thirsty, quite welcome! Also a flap-jack cache :)

Eventually got to the surface at 2am. 'Job's a good 'un'. Food then sleep. Won't do that again in a hurry. Appears there was a ~7pm thunderstorm.

Finis.

T/U John+Jon+Aaron 12hrs
Duncan + MarkD: 11hrs