Amphitheatre – Surveying Frozen Unknown
We went back to continue exploring Amphitheatre. Since we were now pushing decently underground, we kitted up and then headed in. Adjusted the initial traverse line rigging slightly.
I started bolting the second pitch, hugging the left-hand wall to avoid the steadily dripping water at the near end of the pitch. Unfortunately the slope of the wall was not ideal and a couple of re-belays were required to avoid rope rub. This was about as good as we would get so dropped down the remaining 25m or so onto a large snow and ice pile. To one side this dropped steeply down to a wet puddle, joined by the drips from the near end of the pitch, with no continuation. Travelling along the chamber down the snow slope became increasingly treacherous, climbing down large appliance-sized ice boulders. Carefully tip-toeing under an iceberg wedged 10m up in the ceiling the continuation became more like a boulder choke, but made of ice. This became steep enough that rope would be required, but with the treacherous conditions, and nothing to rig off other than ice anyway, I retreated.
We both then surveyed the extent of the cave and de-rigged on the way out. Janis de-rigging for the ‘learning experience’. Unfortunately, cave killed until a future year with very low snow perhaps. There was no evidence of a draft at the bottom so not particularly promising.