Homecoming - PRN + Derry
With expo now certain to finish at the end of the week the rope needed to come out of Homecoming Hole. It was decided that this could be easily done in two days with the rope removed from this year's extensions ‘Propane Nightmares' on the first day and the entrance pitches to the base of Grommit derigged on the second day. This would still allow time to drop the pitch ‘Strained by Gravity'
We got an early start and were underground by 9:30 and arrived at the pushing front around 11:30. I began to rig down the pitch while Becka and Harry began surveying from where Becka and I had left off
Much of the rock on the pitch was quite poor but judicious use of deviations (3) and a traverse and double bolt rebelay saw me past two ledges and onto the floor ~50m below the previous limit.
The floor was strewn with very large boulders and there were two obvious ways on from the bottom of the pitch. The first was a small phreatic tube on the wall that would have required a short bolt climb to reach. The second was an archway close to floor level on the opposite side, Unfortunately this passage was guarded by a large waterfall that cascaded down from above. A quick duck through resulted in only a minor soaking and revealed a phreatic tube heading off with a spacious streamway below.
I rapidly decided that a traverse and pitch into the streamway would be required so ducked back through the waterfall to retrieve those. Once the pitch was rigged I thought it would be good for Harry to be the first to drop the pitch and ducked back through the waterfall and (now rather soaked) took stock.
There was a route down through the boulders to a more convincing floor and investigation of this route showed that it was possible to reach the ongoing streamway via a slightly drier route and without any rigging.
Feeling rather silly I scooted back to the bottom of the pitch and explained to the surveyors that there was an unnecessary pitch behind that waterfall that now needed to be derigged, Becka and Harry began to survey into the passage while I derigged the unnecessary pitch.
Over the next few hours we surveyed around 300m of lovely passage which began as a proper streamway with a tube in the roof. After a little the stream cut down into a narrow canyon but the tube continued above this canyon with some very impressive decoration in the roof. We eventually reached a junction at around 5pm with two horizontal A leads to the left and a large very dripy pitch to the right.
We dragged everything back to the Second Coming on the way out and arrived back on the surface around 11pm.