161h to 161d

Mon 04 Aug 2008

Much confusion about who to go with and when was best, as well as a lot of pressure on Becka to experience a rare instance of Julian being keen on a caving trip. As one of the original 1996 explorers of that part of the cave (purile humour) some bits might jog her memory. The log book suggested that we would encounter a pitch in Dead bat chamber, and we would have to retreat to 161C, go over the surface to 161d to rig it from the high side. As it turned out, the hardest part was the walk down to h with big packs (Becka very cross at Julian's lack of a good route) and the cave passage to 161d. The nearly freeclimbable bounce rift (with lots of loose rock) had a rope on it. We put the 9mm we carried, but the 1994 11mm line looked better than it. From there to Triassic was easy walking,k with a clamber up (lined) in Dead bat chamber up a cascade of bat bones and 2 further fixed line traverses. Triassic was so large it had its own weather system. We visited the pitch to Knossos, and climbed out and sat on the hillside of 161d watching the rain clouds gather. We walked part-way back from 161h in the drizzle in caving gear, then changed when the sun came out. It's a difficult route to optimise. Should this be considered as a way from the Stone Bridge to 161 far north connection to Razor Dance, thus saving the stone bridge from being a liability, the timings are: * Walk Steinbrucken top camp to 161h = 65 minutes (with big rucksack of caving gear and tackle). * 161h to junction of triassic = 55 munutes with tacklesacks. * This junction to Knossos = 10 min Knossos to 161d = 30 mins. Rigging: Bounce rift - 29m rope for p4 down then p4 up - on naturals, needs spits. Rope traverse - 21m rope, protects bold step out of Dead bat chamber. Rope traverse - 10m rope, on naturals over hole in floor. Rope traverse - 10m rope, off single hanger and naturals - needs spit backups (and if so, a longer rope). All currently rigged on 1994 rope. T/U 4hrs