Kraken Camp - pushing Song of the Earth (258)
Down to camp
Being the 6th? camping trip to Kraken, we supposedly had a lot of leads to choose from. Getting to camp was easy enough, there being almost twice as much rope as passage length along the way. Eliott, Nathan and George descending using stops were faster than me with my rack, and we went underground at 10.30am and arrived all at Kraken camp by 2.45pm. A brief rest and some noodles and we were set to go pushing.
We went down Octopussy to the gear dump, Elliott bringing up the rear and replacing the 100m line on Octopussy with a 50m one as the lower section was nicer by comparison. At the gear dump we put together a pushing bag with drill, battery, hangers and such, with the new liberated 100m pushing rope. This was taken down as yet unnamed "Luke's Pitch" (Indian Rope Trick).
Coming to the start of SOng of the Earth, we left the drill for whichever team needed it, and split up. Nathan and George took a phreatic tube going upward, and Elliott and I went to find the deep end of Song of the Earth, hoping to push the cave even deeper.
Song of the Earth continued as a large phreatic tube angled downward at apptox 30 degrees, heading almost exactly west. The floor was treacherous boulder choke, covered in a layer of slippery black mud. After about 100m of similar passage, with the occassional rock arch or muddy helictite, it came to a large chamber approx 20m high. The climb down into the chamber was tricky, but when there the black mud dissappeared from the boulders. A depression in the floor looked to be the filled in way on. Skirting around the depression and a large boulder pile showed two passages on the far side. The first was a short way to a solid mud sump that currently marks the lowest point of Tunnocks at -903m, obviously impassable.
The second lead went to a small squeeze with a gravel floor with a howling gale coming through. Not wanting to stop there, we dug the squeeze until it was large enough to pass through (Don't Stop Me Now). this entered another vedose passage now leading upward and north east, obviously a different passage feeding the large chamber. We only followed this a short way because we ran out of time, and headed back to camp.
On the way back, we found another 20m of rope had been tied to the end of the shortened Octopussy rope. Apparantly Nathan and George had found the rope a bit too short, and had spent 40 minutes digging footholds to get up to the rope. We were all back in Kraken camp by 10.30pm.
Intending to get up and do some pushing before heading out, we agreed to get up at 8am. However it turns out we were all very good at faffing about, so no caving got done in the end. It didn't help that Nathan and George crapped out all their leads except ones that needed bolt climbing, so the only viable lead (Don't Stop Me Now) was a 4 hour round trip from camp. Instead we opted to wait around for a bit to see if the next camping group arrived before we would leave. By 1pm noone had arrived (they had intended for a 6am start) so we opted to go out.
Nathan went first,and just went hell for lesthor prussicking out, leaving George behind to also exit the cave alone. Not a clever move since Nathan was supposedly leading the trip. I came third with Elliott close behind, he being faster than me. In the end, we were all up on the surface by 7.30pm, where we found the wether a bit grim and claggy. That was the reason the second camping group hadn't come underground, and indeed lower Procrastination had been a bit drippier than usual.