258 - Suicidal Vampire

Wed 22 Aug 2012
Noel Snape

As all three of us needed to head down the hill, we opted for a quick de-rig of all the leads in the North end of Tunnocks. Holly's Inner Flap & the climb/pitch at the end of Penguin Acrobatics - now called Suicidal Vampire as we are close to the surface here & are looking for daylight. This name soon turned out to be doubly-apt!!!

To save time & be efficient we decided to detackle on two fronts, with Holly heading to de-rig Inner Flap, & Becka & myself heading to pull-through derig the S.V. bolt climb, after surveying it. Up the climb, all the leads were surveyed in 4 legs, with neither of us opting to head further up the horribly loose boulder slope above towards what appeared to be the underside of a massive choke.

Once surveyed, we pulled through, Becka abseiling on the single ring hanger first (slightly nervous moment).

After this, we could hear Holly on the P.A. pitch having finished her own de-rig. Becka headed down the terrible boulder slope to the foot of the pitch where a dislodged stone fell & hit her arm. Fortunately this turned out to be none too serious and the exit continued. After Becka's call of "rope free" I started to head down the slope to the pitch. And here is where disaster struck.

Walking carefully down the slope, a small stone rolled past me. This seemed okay until more stones started rolling, & then the slope under my feet started sliding. This was one of those "million thoughsts in one second" moments where time seems to slow down. I first tried to brace against the wall of the rift the boulder slope runs into, in order to stop the movement under my feet, but it soon became apparent that large things were becoming undercut & starting to move above me. Then the whole slope seemed to turn fluid. I managed to step off the moving part onto a single boulder that wasn't moving yet. The point I had just been stood on went roaring down the slope with lots of giant boulders following. I ran as quickly up the remaining still boulders as possible, as these too started moving. The whole slope had now turned into a giant un-stable overhang of death, with me at the top. The crashing & booming ended & the others were shouting down to see if I was OK. Okay, but not safe yet as a further collapse took a large part of the floor in a side passage where I again narrowly avoided getting pulled in as everything around started sliding.

It took a while for the massive adrenaline rush to subside, where I shakily returned to what used to be the slope to see how I could escape. The slope was now an overhanging loose wall, with small bits constantly dropping out. A new problem was that if I didn't get out soon, any further collapse would block the way out, so I grit my teetch & quickly scampered down an edge of the "wall", ran to the rift & jumped/thrutched high up the rift to escape further collapse. Phew. Then a shaky exit leaving me feeling rather exhausted after the adrenaline come down.

DO NOT RETURN HERE. The boulders are now incredibly dangerous, & we ticked all the leads.

Survex files on this date:
Wallets on this date:
    2012#39 ['notes', 'elevation', 'plan']
Logbook trips on this date:
    258 - Suicidal Vampire
    Eishöhle Tourist Trip