161 - Mordor side passage - Stables

Sun 14 Aug 2011
Julian Todd

I was up at 6 waiting for the sun to rise and dry my homemade fuzzy rubber furry suits, looking for a new day ahead. Ready to get your riding gear on and go down to the yard and stables where all the places are wide open. So all the horses have bolted. There is no use closing the doors now. But you do anyway.

All the way down in Mordor again, beyond Wookey's horrid pitch, Andrew's third eye was twitching at the right hand passage heading South East, and down-wind and away from any chance of consolatory caving glory. With a success-rate like mine you have to learn to deliberately disregard your intuitions and try not in any way distract the cave-finding powers of The Man. We took one of those grade A-leads past a stagnant pool that smelled of piss, and surveyed round 9-legs past a pitch, until we came out of the only other horizontal lead there, killing both in one go. Not exactly something to write in the logbook about. Andrew eyed up that pitch onto a bouldery slope to see if there was a way round. It was cold I suggested we go look at the place Olly had got to on the far North end. For someone who had the lurgy, he'd poked around the broken up chamber at the far end pretty thoroughly, leaving nothing of interest overlooked. I climbed some mud rammed tubes to the right of the pitch and sent many clumps of the stuff down a ramp and off the side. Nothing going. All that was left was to go back to the traverse to boulders in the rubbish looking chamber to the South East. A 3m pitch of 2 naturals got us there and into a passage, which delivered exactly what the doctor ordered. It kept going, in 15m legs through all kinds of varied terrain totally beyond my note taking abilities to capture. There was sand, cheezy rock climbs, pitch by-passes and a rift that completely changed character 2-times for every leg. near the end we seemed to be above a river on a false floor made of broken phreatic columns. Andrew found a little cluster of dead winged insects on a tall stump and declared that this meant there was a close connection to the surface. On reviewing the terrain model that's over 360m away vertically. So this is a mysterious phenomenon. We wrapped up our work at 8 and headed out. I experienced that odd smell of burning rubber again on Knossos pitch, which must have been from me. I got up the entrance pitch second and spent a long time in the cave getting changed whilst Andrew sat in the moonlight until it was suddenly obscured by a storm cloud. We traversed the ground to top camp in a brisk 35mins, buffetted by the freak winds interspersed by thick banks of fog. Ten minutes later the night was torn open for a downpour that lasted until we fell asleep, dreaming that if only Team Zeus had got down there and started clocking about instead of fanying around on Brians Phat Shaft the way forward would have been easy.

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