Pushing near Fat Cat

Tue 07 Aug 2012

A 06.30 start from Base Camp saw Emma and I yomping up to the bivi to go caving (thereby cunningly avoiding the thunderstorm of the previous evening). I paired up with Wookey and we went underground in early afternoon.

The first job was to redo the centreline survey on Brian's Phat Shaft, since the original vintage had rather too many suspicious plumbs for the terrain. The DistoX proved to be a bit tedious, regularly resetting itself into various modes that did not give us the answer we wanted, but it was sorted eventually.

The next job was to look at a traverse at the top of a climb reached the previous day by Holly and Wookey after swinging off part way down Fat Cat. I put in a couple of bolts and got to the other side, which smelt disgustingly of piss. Shortly afterwards Ollie's light was seen shining down the aven at the far end, confirming that we were below one of the holes near the end of the On The Prowl traverse. Later, Ollie shone his light down a different hole and we saw it coming from above the start of the traverse - so it looks like there is not much to be found here.

While this had been going on, we heard excited shouts from Emma and Jess requesting our presence with the drill. We headed down to their lead, via a most entertaining deviation. The passage they had followed was impressively grotty but draughting, eventually opening out into a small bouldery chamber. Wookey's cave radar detected the hole with the draught coming out of it and one bolt later we were into a continuation. This was initially a sandy crawl, but quickly opened out into something of more impressive dimensions, all draughting strongly. Wookey and I surveyed into this while Emma and Jess finished off the survey of the way in, then leapfrogged us and started surveying the new stuff. By the time we had finished our bit they had surveyed around a fairly substantial chamber, full of boulders with black spaces between them. At the north end is a substantial pitch with water coming down that the survey data indicates is probably the final pitch in Kiwi Suit. There is also a pitch lead at the southern end of the chamber, nearest to KH and at a similar altitude. There is a very strong draught in this area, blowing from north to south. There is evidence that the chamber is in part developed along a hading rift with a similar orientation to Razor Dance which is directly below, so I suspect that they may be related to the same feature. Overall, a most promising find.

At this point Emma and Jess headed out whilst Wookey and I tidied up by surveying a side passage to a pitch lead. During this exercise we saw Emma and Jess's lights and realised that we were standing in a window ~8m from the bottom of Fat Cat. This would avoid the need to go through the scrofulous initial access route.

Our final act was to derig the ropes on the climb and traverse from earlier on in the day to complete a most satisfying and effective day's caving. An excellent trip.

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Survex files on this date:
Wallets on this date:
    2012#04 ['plan3', 'notes3', 'plan1', 'notes4', 'plan2', 'notes1', 'notes2']
    2012#07 Pussy Riot []
    2012#09 ['notes3', 'notes1', 'notes2']
    2012#12 doppleganger hole ['notes1', 'notes2']
Logbook trips on this date:
    Journey - Wook comes out in the Wookmobile
    Pushing near Fat Cat
    Pushing Fat Cat -> Pussy Riot -> Cirque du Soleil
    Tunnocks - Looking for the Penguins
    2012-70 Doppel Gemse Höhle