plateau - Prospecting, 110 area
After beginning to cairn a route the evening before, myself and Becka decided that despite the sure-to-come rain we wanted to check out the howling draft at No helicopter hole aka 110 again. Due to a shortage of drill batteries that contained charge, we brought a hand bolting kit and a short length of rope. The route taken was convoluted to say the least, and visibility was not optimal, but after an hour or so the cave was found.
I quickly changed into my caving kit and crawled inside the low and chilly entrance. After ~10m, I came to a small constriction which was passed without much trouble. After some ~20m further passage sloping at ~30° and a further small crawl the 8m climb described by the original explorers was reached. I began to down-climb this but then realised that most of the rock was very loose and one wall was entirely made of loose boulders. A retreat was made to get a rope and Rachel. Once attached to the rope, tied round a big boulder, extensive gardening occurred to the point at which the pitch would need to be bolted on the far wall for a safe descent. We then exited the cave and had a very welcome lunch. I was finally able to warm my freezing hands up. This cave is pretty miserable all round, being sharp, cold, drippy and small. This was to be a prevailing theme of caves in the area.
After lunch, we decided to prospect further in the surrounding area to see if other easier entrances to the same system could be found. In total, six prospects within a 100m radius to the east of 110 were explored, none of which had any potential or anything like the draft felt at 110. Myself and Becka then surveyed 110 until the pitch was reached. After this. We began to prospect further west of 110 before the mists came in and a tactical retreat to Top Camp was made.