Dave Fearon, Mike Richardson, Del Robinson & Wookey
The description that follows is of the 1990 discoveries. A complete description of the cave up until 1990 may be found in the 1990 Journal.
Descend the third pitch to the col below the upper rebelays, between the pitches to Death's Door and Alternative Shopper. Cross the col and climb the boulders to the back wall, then traverse left to gain a large passage, the start of Dreamtime. A traverse line should be used as some boulders are loose.
The passage descends over boulders and a trench in the floor, with a holes on the right leading into a blind rift, Bullshit Alley. The main passage eventually closes off, but a narrow passage to the right descends to Eyehole Pitch. A hole to the left descends a 20m pitch to an excessively tight rift, which would be near impossible to rig without a power drill. Ahead, Eyehole pitch is a 4m drop into a chamber, with a window back to the 20m pitch. Ahead, climb over or through a rock bridge and down an elliptical tube to enter a bedding plane.
To the left, the bedding plane leads left to a short pitch to the bottom of the 20m pitch, and right to Gnome Passage, a small winding passage which forks just after a stal boss. The right hand fork eventually closes down, the left hand leads to a drafting choke through which black space can be seen. This might be worth further attention.
Back at the bedding plane, ahead enters a rift via a handline climb. Traverse over a hold in the floor, and continue until the rift drops right into a pit. Climbing the far side of the pit gains a short passage to Dreaming Pitch. The descends to a short horizontal section, and then Hinge Pitch. Hinge Pitch drops about 10m to become tight, but about 5m down, a ledge can be gained on the right. Climb over a notch and down into a larger passage.
This passage is about 50m long, over a hole which should preferably be provided with a hand line. This hole has not been descended. At the end of the passage, just before Stinky Pool, climb up to the right into a cross passage, leading to the top of Hole in the Roof Pitch. This descends for 30m via a ledge and rebelay to land on boulders. To the left is a blind pit, to the right a climb down and short section of passage to join the Right Hand route, a few metres above Bungalow Pitch.
A 5m climb up the left wall at the top of Bungalow Pitch leads into a 4m diameter passage which runs for 20m and then looks out over Boulder Alley. There is also a hole on the right overlooking Poxy Pitch. Traversing out from the hole (needs a rope) across some very friable rock leads to the shaft part way down the Alley.
Just to the right of the OTR bypass at the same level is a small passage. 10m along this is a choice of: straight on; a 2m climb down; or a larger passage on the right which doubles back to a 4m pitch into OTR. Straight on leads to a 3m wide, 2m deep hole in the floor. It is possible but difficult to traverse over it and it is easier to go down the climb and along a lower passage which comes out into this hole, and then climb up the far side. Beyond this the passage veers left and then wiggles back into the main RH Route passage via a choice of routes and sandy climbs down.
In the Chunnel, 10m before the 3m climb down into OTR there is a small mud-floored passage going off in the right hand wall. This can be followed past a junction on the right with a tiny passage leading back into the Chunnel 10m further along, to a 12m pitch into a 3m wide by 20m high rift. This pitch lands on a boulder 6m above the actual floor. Steep climbs can be followed downwards to the lowest point where a further 8m pitch which is just free-climbable gets down to the choked floor.
Going uphill from the pitch for 30m leads to a 19m pitch which is also choked. There is a small 15m long passage in the left wall and a 6m climb up the right hand wall 10m back from the pitch leads into a passage which quickly comes back into the Chunnel directly above the OTR climb.
At the end of Yapate Inlet just beyond a roped traverse over a hole is a 7m pitch up 'Staircase 36'. The first ascent was achieved by climbing up the less vertical wall 5m to the left (above Gob on You) and then traversing right along a sloping, muddy ledge. As this was non-trivial, the pitch has been left rigged (1990).
At the top of the pitch is a big phreatic passage ('Chicken Flied Nice'), similar to Yapate but with only a shallow floor trench. After a sharp left-right zig-zag a sandy 2m slope up on the left leads to a T-junction with a rift parallel to CFN.
To the left it is very narrow and after 20m looks out over Gob on You.
To the right the rift is much bigger (about 4m by 6m). walking over a few boulders brings you to the foot of a 3m pitch up to the rest of the rift and a 3m climb down over blocks into a young, active stream passage. A couple of 2 to 3m climbs back up are possible upstream along this before it gets too tight.
The main rift continues above the pitch for another 25m past a high aven on the left to rejoin CFN at a sandy bank.
The CFN phreatic continues up dip past this junction to a 90° right bend. In the outside wall of this corner is a narrow inlet ('Burble') which goes for 20m to a small chamber with a little stream on the right and a 3m climb on the far side. This leads to a dead straight passage which has been crab-walked for about 60m to an undescended pitch and possible traverse.
Back in CFN the passage changes at the 90° corner; the floor trench cuts down and widens to a high stream rift which opens onto a big space, possibly a partially collapsed shaft. A 23m pitch lands on boulders, where climbing down the boulders to the left reaches a small rift which is fairly full of stones at this point. The rift may be followed in either direction.
Turning right and traversing over two 3m deep holes leads to a right turn and a 4m climb down to a chockstone plus another 5m climb down to a boulder choke. Descents can be made in various places along this rift for up to about 20m, but all routes seem to choke. This area, including the big chamber is 'Hyper Gamma Spaces'.
Turning left in the rift immediately gives a very loose 3m climb down to a widening of the rift. This is the start of 'Endless', a steeply descending (35° to 40°) 140m long rift, only 5m high at this end but a good 40m high at the other. From here there is a crawl ahead and to the left, and two climbs down to the right.
The small crawl goes for some 30m before getting too tight.
The first climb is about 3m to a pitch aligned with the rift.
The second climb (of 7m) is the way on. Beneath its foot is a further 3m climb down leading to a rift pitch (probably the same as the one reached from the above). These pitches have not been descended.
Continuing down Endless leads to various amusing climbs and a junction to the left after 60m.
A stoop leads through to an angled chamber with a roof tube 7m up the right hand wall which winds somewhat before emerging back in Endless some 15m above the floor (not climbable at this point).
20m further on is a 2m climb up and a 5m climb down followed by a couple of loose climbs (beware) leading to Hasta La Vesta - a horrible pile of boulders calling itself a pitch head.
Just before this there is a hard 5m climb down into a sand-filled dead end.
About 10m down the appalling HLV pitch a pendulum to the right above two big holes can be made (the wall is very loose).
From here an ascending rift passage can be followed to an unascended (as most of it fell off when it was attempted) climb. This rift may well be the one continuing beyond Fifty Francis's Phreatic Freehang in Flat Battery as voices have been heard in the area.
Of the two holes, only the right hand one has been descended, although they may connect about 30m down. After a rebelay, Captive Wedge opens out and there is a drippy section then another rebelay far out to the left after a big ledge. From the floor a climb up to the left gives access to a passage containing increasingly awkward climbs. An obvious hole leads to a large shaft with a sloping wall. There is a window in the opposite wall. The obvious way on from the bottom of the shaft becomes too tight. There are several mud choked passages radiating from the bottom of the pitch.
This consists of a long series of pitches from ledge to ledge down to a complex phreatic level where the way on is blocked by sand.
30m back from the end of Yapate Inlet is a sandy slope up to the a straight rift forking off on the right. This apparently ends quickly in a narrowing climb but ducking under the right wall, down a slope and over a boulder which 'obviously' blocks the passage, leads to a small chamber. There is a floor-level dead-end flat out crawl ahead, a steep passage up (the way on) to the left and a tiny roof tube ('Short Circuit') which also connects to the way on but which is impassable.
The passage comes out at a double pitch head (two holes leading to the same place). Above is more shaft, the top of which can be reached by a climb back in Yapate, and an audible connection to the approach rift.
Down the 25m Oldham pitch is a stream rift to a 6m pitch. At the foot of this is a hole down and a squeeze along a rift to the right.
Through the hole is 3m climb down to a damp view along a too tight rift.
The first squeeze is 'AA' ('Double A') and 1m beyond it is another ('AAA' or 'Triple A') which is great fun, especially with tackle, as it is angled down to the head of 'Jackpot', an 8m pitch.
The rift becomes much bigger beyond Jackpot and across the ledge is a 13m pitch 'NiFe' leading via another ledge to Fifty Francis's Phreatic Freehang, a stunning 40m free pitch. At the foot of this is a 2m climb up to the continuation, which can be seen through a hole ('Maud's Window') in a rock arch ('The Mathematical Bridge') at the foot of a further 3m climb down from where FFPF lands.
The continuation is yet another pitch of 15m with a space off to the right which connects with Ariadne's aven below. At the bottom of this pitch is a 1m diameter hole onto a final 8m pitch ('FX2') to the phreatic level ('Electrolyte Level').
To the left of FX2 is a pair of high avens ('Ariadne's Aven') with a beautiful pocked and pebbled floor. At the back of the aven there is a 4m climb up to nothing very exciting.
To the right is a 2m sandy climb to a roped traverse around a 10m long 4m deep hole.
Near the foot of FX2 the passage cuts down below the sand and rock floor. It is easy to climb down into this but it soon becomes sufficiently tight to require removal of SRT gear. Following this tortuous passage through a small choke leads back out into the main passage at the bottom of the traverse hole.
In the right hand wall of the hole is a 1.5m by 0.5m passage. This also soon requires gear removal and is both small and has a couple of athletic bits. After about 30m it crosses an even more ridiculous passage which could possibly be followed if this was Mendip. Beyond this there are several zig-zags of slightly uphill flat-out crawling culminating in a nasty duck which can be baled to make it a bit less awful. Beyond this is a fork with a difficult skydive (Quaking-style) 3m climb/pitch to the left into what looks like larger passage. This would require some rigging to re-ascend.
Right at the fork is a steeply ascending (55°) passage through which at least an audible connection back to the main passage probably exists. It was not followed due to lack of time and enthusiasm, but the sound of bolting was heard.
Beyond the hole the sandy-floored passage continues past a 0.3m diameter hole in the floor. This is a tight 3m pitch down to a sand-choked chamber.
The passage ends in an amazing 8 inch thick false compacted sand floor and a 5m pitch down to a sand slope. This chokes at the bottom, and the top leads into a large chamber with a cracked mud and sand floor. There is a choked 15m pitch in the floor, a small tube to the right and a 4m pitch up the opposite wall.
The tube descends for about 10m to a small rift. A climb up for about 5m is possible before it gets too wide and muddy.
Up the 4m pitch the ascent continues via a short climb and a 3m free-climbable pitch to a boulder-floored chamber. A loose tube leads back down from here to the sandy chamber and there is a 5m pitch down to an impassable rift. Off to the right is a crawl to a T-junction. Left it soon gets too tight. Right leads to a pitch which looks down on the 5m climb up from the small rift mentioned above.
This leads off from -50m down Flapjack at a rather convenient ledge. Back behind the ledge, a narrow rift leads off via two small pitches (7m and 7m) to a small chamber with water entering in one corner. The continuation of the rift ('No, you go first') is more complex with different levels (guide string remains) and an awkward last right hand corner. Rift leads to top of an 8m pitch into a larger chamber.
The character of the cave changes as the chamber opens into a 100m pitch, 'Too Much Too Soon'. Traverse to right and up to reach a Y-hang (42m free-hang). No other ways continue. The pitch lands on a big ledge at -65/70m, and there is a further ledge 10m down. From here a final rebelay gives a 20/25m hang down last section of 5m phreatic riser to land on squelchy muddy floor, 'Splatdown'. Opposite the landing point is a small tube leading to a 3m climb. A 6m climb follows down to a small chamber from which an impenetrable rift drops 8 to 10m to water.
An impressive pitch series that doesn't seem to go anywhere.
At the corner before Arrow Chamber there are a couple of fallen blocks and some holes in the floor. The smallest hole, on the outside of the corner was the way chosen although they all seem to go into the same rift. This first pitch is 7m down to the stone-covered Foulness Ledge. From here is the classic 35m Dounreay pitch down to a ledge.
From here you can continue down a further 5m pitch (Sizewell A) or go through a rift to the left to another 5m rift pitch (Sizewell B). There is a visual connection between the bottom of these two pitches.
There is a further 3m drop from the bottom of Sizewell A to a floor with a narrow hole in it and a boulder slope up to a window onto a big space, probably the top of Dinorwig, and a very awkward, tight passage just to the left of the window. This looks over a couple of holes in the floor and has not been pushed.
Through the narrow hole is a 9m pitch to a ledge looking out onto a massive shaft. This is Dinorwig, a 53m pitch with a small rift at the bottom. A 4m pitch under a large boulder leads to a 13m pitch. Halfway down this on the left is a dead end passage. At the bottom are a couple of small ways off, both of which are blocked.