Mon 05 Aug 2013

In the hunt for a new entrance to Tunnocks we headed to the area of plateau above the ‘snow + leaves’ bit of Tunnocks (near Starfish Junction). A days prospecting 2 days before had identified a number of holes in the area of which Matt had already dropped a couple. Of these it was deemed Antsinpantsschacht was the most promising lead.

The first pitch had previously been dropped by Matt –> a lovely y-hang off two naturals straight down to a snow and ice bridge 30m down. Becka & I had headed off to AinP ahead of the others to rerig the entrance (the rope had been removed after the prospecting but the slings had been left in place) I re-rigged this pitch feeling a little precarious as I wasn’t wearing my oversuit or helmet! (It was a fine hot day so less clothes was needed here).

Becka then headed down to the ice bridge with crowbar in hand (or stuffed down the side of her harness). The ice bridge was a very large but thin block of ice which we had to climb under in order to proceed further into the cave. We weren’t sure how stable this was and it would definitely hurt if it collapsed on you! So Becka spent a good 15 mins giving it a bash with the crowbar. It didn’t break so we hoped that meant it was OK as we swapped places and I headed under the snow bridge with drill, rope and all the other bits and pieces for vertical cave exploration.

The way on was through a hole in the ice in a corner of the cave. This was tube like with one half made of ice and the other half being the cave wall. Unfortunately this is where I realised that perhaps this wasn’t going to be a great entrance alternative – the hole in the ice was the consequence of water running down the wall of the pitch and therefore I suspect that during a thunderstorm this tube becomes impassable. But as we were already here we carried on regardless (plus it was lovely + sunny with no fear of rain). So I set up a Y-hang + headed on down through the tube. This was rather chilly as I was basically now inside the ice with a constant stream of water flowing down into my wellies! A rebelay was needed a few metres down + then the pitch widened out. About halfway down a horizontal snow tube appeared on the left(?) which appears to provide a parallel pitch through the ice. As this was the drier option I chose to continue with the route through here. As I was putting in the Y-hang to drop the pitch becka arrived to hang out on the snow. By this point my feet were very cold and I was very happy when I got to move my feet from the ice to rock. I then headed down to the floor – which ended on a bouldery floor with no further way on. We were blocked in by the ice. By this point I was pretty cold and so was Becka from sitting on snow. We had a quick discussion regarding surveying as Matt had come down to join us too. Due to logistics Becka + I surveyed out + sent Matt out with our bags. This has to be the coldest survey ever! By the time I was heading up the entrance pitch my feet were so numb I couldn’t concentrate on anything other than the burning sunshine awaiting us outside. Once we were out + the survey was complete we lay in the sunshine drying out and reflecting on what a shame it was that there is still no way through.
Rigging Guide

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Survex files on this date:
Wallets on this date:
    2013#05 252 ropeless ['cave017', 'cave016']
    2013#09 [] ['cave029', 'cave028']
    2013#11 ants in your pants ['cave038', 'cave037', 'cave039', 'cave036']
    2013#15 wonderland ['cave050']
    2013#17 [] ['cave052']
Logbook trips on this date:
    107 Wonderland
    Bullet 2nd Hohle