Fishface - Cocoa Channel Bolting Mission

Mon 31 Jul 2023
Ben Chaddock

[Adam E = Adam Erskine-Jones]

On the morning of my first pushing trip deep within Fishgesicht (5 minutes from camp) the nervous energy carried me up and away through the bountiful faff. After triple checking that we had all the equipment for bolting and surveying a rift that apparently continued but was too sketchy without a traverse line, Charlie, Adam EJ and I traipsed across the plateau for even more faff outside the entrance. After a prompt descent we met the camping team who showed us the way to silverback scoop including a stop at the tap and going down a wrong branch. Squeezing through a pitch head to descend 7m into a dusty tight canyon with a tackle sack full of heavy gear, I did wonder what I was doing, but once the drill was out that fell away completely.

6 bolts and a bomber handline later, I was round the corner into a section of cave previously untrodden. Whilst bolting is fun and productive, it takes a hell of a long time with a dull bit, so I was happy when the rift narrowed back up to allow clambering and bridging around the many meanders that presented themselves over the next 15 metres of canyon. During this time, the gardening process was intense, knocking off several flakes larger than dinner plates from the walls around me as I proceeded. Rounding the corner to another belled out section was both a joy and a disappointment as it meant that this had potential but also the decision-making regarding rope and how to descend would mean standing around and feeling cold. Charlie led the charge down and further along the canyon, trusting mine and EJ’s amateur one bolt wonder to squeeze into the next section of canyon, assessing what to do with our meagre supply of rope. All of this took us to 7pm and after terminating an almost entirely horizontal pitch, we decided to take our final leg and prussik out, hoping to make it out before August began.

The prussiking that then was meant to happen was further delayed on meeting the campers once again for a chit chat. After far too long wondering whether the next pitch was the last, we finally emerged into the warm clear night, comfortably into august. Charlie and I lay contemplating existence, and why the hell we bother caving but feeling very accomplished. All that was left to do after the trip was draw up the survey, continue the lead, input to survex, and write a logbook entry with rigging topo. All of that is now complete, see the topo below.

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Survex files on this date:
Wallets on this date:
    2023#52 Mahlstrom ['notes52_elevation03', '2023-ft-02', 'notes52_cave_notes01', 'notes52_survey01…
    2023#62 Claw Crane 2, Coconut Crab Walk ['No uploaded scans or incorrect path to wallet contents']
    2023#71 dentelle de caca ['DantelleDecaca Plan 1-15', 'notes-4', 'notes-1', 'Elevation 1-8', 'notes-3', …
    2023#72 cocoa_channel ['elev72', 'plan72', 'cocoa_channel_numbers', 'cocoa_channel_drawing', 'WRONG S…
    2023#73 Silver Moth ['20230920_121728', 'elev73', 'plan73']
Logbook trips on this date:
    Surface - Prospecting alternative entrances for Maelstrom
    Fishface - Cocoa Channel Bolting Mission