plateau - Eiskelle - Surface Prospecting
[date variously as 1st July or 11th July, but must have been 7th August. - editor]
We aimed to re-locate several caves that had been recored in 2004/5/6 and were within 300m of Top Camp. How hard can it be???
Well, 8 hours later, lost and dehydrated, we managed to get back to Top Camp just 20 minutes before our callout!
Entering the coordinates into the GPS and walking in a direct heading was met repeatedly by either thick bunde or sheer cliffs going up or down! While we were lost we found several new caves, which we duly recorded and surveyed. They are very close to the path to Tunnocks, so we suspect they were either ignored or not recorded when first explored. We left the big pitch for another time and surveyed the small free-climbable hole. Then we got lost again looking for 2004-18.
Finally we located it and 2004-16 and -17.
The next day we returned to 2004-18 with Wookey and descended it. Luckily the spits were in place so we just had to chuck a rope down and a rope protector. A huge snow cone met us half way down on a ledge we could walk around. Paul drilled two holes and installed 2 hiltis and rigged the way down. We climbed down the ice slope (with rope) and landed on the boulder floor at the base of the snow cone. My first ice climbing experience - and I hope my last! We got hypotherimc while rigging the cave (Eiskeller - Ice House) and we got heat exhaustion while on the plateau. Lovely day at expo! Wookey was very helpful while we located 2004-18 (on an easy path not far from Top Camp) and again while rigging the cave - always great to have an experienced oldie on the team!