Merry Fucking Christmas and beyond

Sun 03 Aug 2008

We returned to push the pitch in 7/11 Chamber (01-68A) after our last failed attempt to reach the pushing front. The crawl to the pitch was not as bad as we expected (the survey suggested it became narrower after the point we got to last time; in fact, it got a bit wider), though it was still pretty awkward with tacklesacks. We made the mistake of being organised and packing all of our gear the night before. When we arrived at the pitch, we discovered that the drill bits that Nial had carefully packed had been snaffled by team tunnocks, so we couldn't use the drill that we had brought. Fortunately, we had also brought a spit driver, so all was not lost. The first part of the pitch was already bolted. A Y hang at the exit from the crawl leads to a rebelay on the far left wall. The rope rubs pretty badly - a rope protector is needed, and ideally it should be re-rigged. Nial put in two bolts for a rebelay under a large boulder on the far side of the chamber. This gives a clear hang down the pitch to the floor. The pitch is called 'no bits'. We used 62m of rope, and there wasn't much left. [rigging diagram] At the bottom of the pitch, a rift leads off. There is a side passage to the left which becomes too tight after about 10m. The rift can also be descended using a thread and a single bolt to form a Y hang. The pitch is quite tight - you need to wiggle into the widest bit of the rift as you descend. The rift can be followed at various levels, but all ways become too tight. Down, the pitch continues with a Y hang at a ledge. This is followed by 2 deviations from the right wall - one from a very very tiny thread that looks like it should break, and the second from a bolting hammer wedged into a crack. The pitch is now called 'Hammer and thong'. [rigging diagram] At the bottom of the pitch, the rift continues steeply down. We climbed down, though in future it might be better with a rope (we ran out). We placed one bolt in the floor for a handline, but this really needs to be rigged properly by traversing out further along the rift and placing bolts for a Y hang. After a few more climbs down the rift continues as a short pitch (QMA). The rift that starts at the bottom of 'No bits' and continues down to this QM is now called 'Pussyprance'. To the right at the pitch QM is a window into a large phreatic passage (~5m wide). Right down the passage continues for about 25m to two large (parallel?) shafts (QM A) There was a lot of water falling down the pitches, but could be rigged out of the spray down to the right. Left down the phreatic passage from the window from pussyprance slopes down to a very large chamber (20m across?). A rope is needed to descend (25m rope?) QMA. There is another pitch on the left just before the chamber (QMA) (connects to chamber?). The chamber extends out of sight to the left and right. Just after the entrance to the phreatic passage from pussyprance, on the way to the chamber in the left wall, a passage leads off and could be descended downwards (QMB, needs rope) or climbed upwards (QMB). T/U 14hrs