204 - On the Prowl, Catwalk
Went back with another rope to attempt to get to the bottom of the pitch we had run out of rope on last time. Kathryn and Jess S went in ahead, Jess added extra bolt on traverse whilst Kathryn finished rigging pitch. Edvin, Ian and I followed down about an hour later, when we arrived most of the rigging was doen which was good :) Pitch called Fat Cat. Was narrow at top then opened out below first rebelay. Next rebelay was even more airy :S, this dropped to one of the floors of a multi-level floored chamber. Across pitch looked like there was some horizontal level going off but would probably need more rigging to be able to swing into this and enthusiasm failed us. Put in another rebelay from natural and walked down a rope to another floor of chamber, yet another rebelay led to another level with small slot down - B lead, would need more rope, so not explored.
Headed out - on way out rigged bottom section of Cat Flap and the handline pitch in Catwalk so leads could be explored if coming via Brian's Phat Shaft. Left up section of traverse rigged also. Derigged out to bottom of entrance series. Than you to non-zeusians Edvin and Ian for carrying out tacklesacks.
QMC - window out of pitch level with top of 1st wedged boulder above first rebelay
QMA - large phreatic passage entering main pitch, 4m up from last rebelay
QMC - small passage off main pitch level with last rebelay. Hole above drops into it.
QMX - large aven above lowest level of chamber
QMB - slot through floor in lowest level of chamber.
Having reached the bivy just fter eleven on the morning of the rescue, I met a scene of immobility. Lots of sitting around drinking tea and porridge/noodles etc. Only Edvin was willing to accompany me to KH to retrieve gear - and that only because his caving kit was there too and he'd already committed to a 204 trip. My excuse was a handy three days off at base and nine hours in bed (oblivious to any rescue dramas). Edvin has no such excuse, and our 17 minute trip to KH (and 19 minutes return) was rather indecently speedy.
Back at the bivvy, the zeuses were still prearing to go underground an there was plenty of time for noodles and tea etc. Kathryn and Jess having gone ahead, it was up to Emma to escort Edvin and I from the entrance. The trip was very pleasant and we soon seemed to pass the entrance pitches and snow slopes and be through Merry Fucking Christmas crawl and the slot pitch. Things were going well. Catching up with Jess on the traverses we oaused briefly and took photographs. Getting closer to the front, we heard a distant "rope free" from a distant Kathryn and all assembled at the head of the new pitch (Fat Cat). Jess and Emma were to survey down, which woudl mean I and Edvin woudl descend first.
On a cursory - and alarming - inspection of the rigging I opted to descend last, which placed me in the surveying pair. A more shonky spit I have never seen. Still, the descent went smoothly, if slowly, and soon we were all assembled at the bottom. Finally - chance to have a wee!
A plan was hatched whereby Jess and I would derig back to Pussy Prance, a task which I willingly undertook. Jess went ahead once a sack was filled and I continued to steadily (read "safely") derig across the traverse and up Painted Lady pitch. Interesting games were played involving big first knots and pitch ropes piled out of reach on ledges...
From there on, things moved quickly (due to the stench of Zeus wee). Edvin, Jess and I set off out, leaving Kathryn and Emma to derig. Progress though MFC crawl was rather efficient, with Jess and I meeting Edvin on the far side. I waited for the deriggers whilst the other two continued out. A third passage through MFC and the zeuses were met on the far side. Another (very) efficient passage through MFC was completed with minimal fuss (perhaps excepting Emma's "Don't care, I just want it finished! Don't care, don't care"). More pleasant passage led to the bottom of the entrance pitches and a short prusik out led to the bivy: no walk required :)
So that's it: two men on a Zeus caving trip; new cave explored and surveyed; no big dramas; and an efficient and satisfying derig back to the entrance pitches. All in all: a fine trip in a fine cave. Well done Zeuses!