Balkon - Safe and comfortable trip to lipstick Dipstick (pitstop Balkon)
It was a big day for me. The day I was finally putting the last pieces of me back together. Having got to the base of Honeycomb before, I was happy until then. Hangman's followed and felt like a big space. Then the crazy traverse and climb up to the hole towards Mofel Rally. I cannot believe that George freeclimbed that. To begin with Mofel Rally is great - small, short pitches, doesn't feel like a huge shaft. But the last 2 or 3 begin to rally up the exposure, before you swing in to a very much needed pit stop.
After regrouping we headed for the far right hand lead in safe and comfortable (opposite direction to Northern Power House). At the end there was a T junction - both A leads on the surface, we had chosen the right, which we were surprised to find rigged with a rope. Tempers were about to fray, but we descended and discovered that there had been no pushing beyond the end of the tope. Some further fettling showed a steeply descending rift to a small climb. Reuben rigged this and the subsequent descending traverse under my “supervision” while Becka sole surveyed beyond us. She asked me for a sharpie, but I had nothing to mark it with. “I've got some lipstick” called Reuben from down the rift, Becka and I exchanged glances. It turned out to be nail polish, but you now, all women's make-up is the same right?
Coupled with a bizarre incedent where the drill battery fell off the drill to the base of the rift, never to be seen again “Lipstick dipstick passage” was born.
At the base of the descending traverse the passage turned left and levelled out. It meandered to a junction. The draft came from the right hand branch, with the air splitting between where we had come from and the new left hand lead. Following the same as the draft we next came to a pair of pitches (likely the same) with a 3s drop when the stone was well aligned. Over the pitches a descending ramp went up. Just before a divide into a tube way along a lead. We left there and the left hand passage branch for Nat and Pete and went for quick check of other option.
LABELLED DIAGRAM OF ROUTE FOLLOWED PG 20 OF LOGBOOK PDF
On the way out I noticed a draft between lipstick dipstick and the rest of safe and comfortable. Then a small matter of pushing out. I left pitstop at 6.15 pm and was out by 10.30 pm. The first 3 ? up were awful and I was racked with anxiety. But soon settled into the sway of things and just got on with it. By the time of the upper levels I felt like I was home. Five months after coming back to caving I had made it deep(ish) and finally felt like my sense of self was complete again, Hurrah! Very grateful for the support of the others there.