258 - Pitch at 39 steps
After realising that there wasn't enough gear to go around, I abandoned my trip to the pitch at the end of Inner Flap & joined Andrew on his pushing trip to the pitch at 39 Steps (Antony's previous trip). At the pushing front I handed Andrew the drill, as I would be having drilling fun when I would drop the pitch in I.F. (although sadly this was not to be the case - but there's always next year!) I was very happy at this decision as the pitch turned out to be chossy & what rock there was, was cracked. After much hammering of rock, Andrew managed to rig the pitch with a free-hanging rebelay. As Andrew progressed to the ledge (~15-20m down?) I would hear shocked exclamations followed by loud bangs as Andrew gardened the pitch. At the ledge Andrew realised that we were a few metres short of rope! AGH! (My 42m rope was actually 32m - my fantastic maths!) Fortunatey I knew of a short bit of rope that had been placed on the way in for a traverse line that wasn't entirely necessary, so as I went to retrieve it, Andrew placed some more bolts & rigging.
When I returned, we began surveying & headed to the bottom of the pitch. At the ledge there is an aven in which water trickles in. Here Andrew had placed a rebelay Y-hang and we added the extra rope - so a fun hanging knot by-pass had been added ~4m from the floor! So including Antony's rigging from previous trip, rigging topo as follows:
At the bottom a narrow passage that soon opened into a large chamber was found & surveyed. This contained a rather steep boulder slope, of various sized boulders. I opted to go first - my attempt at being brave, but was followed by girlie squeals as I tried very daintily to climb the slope. I was followed quickly by Andrew, who stomped up, throwing boulders down vigourously. I need more practice! The large chamber contained 2 high avens, of which water came in from one of them, and two windows higher up in the chamber. One, in the northern part of the chamber, looked rather promising given that it looked relatively easy to climb. However, we were out of rope, so Andrew looked longingly at the climb for a couple of minutes & then we headed out.