Expo 2009

Becka Lawson, Emma Wilson, Jess Stirrups, Tony Rooke,
204 - Rigging entrance series

Rigged the first pitch of the entrance series, while watched by Becka and Tony. Deviation difficult to find - on the wall back underneath the pitch and a bit to the left (?), quite a long way down. Big gap to the snow slope - rope just long enough to reach the spits. Couldn't work out what was supposed to be happening from then, as didn't match rigging guide (probably due to high snow levels), so went back to the surface. Emma went down to check the rigging, but also couldn't work out where to go next, so left for the next day,

T/U: Jess 1 hr, Emma 0.5 hr

T/U: 0.0 hours

Becka Lawson, Kathryn Hopkins, Emma Wilson, Jess Stirrups, Tony Rooke,
204 - Merry Fucking Christmas

Rigged down 204 A from the bottom of the 1st pitch. Snow levels were high and a large annoying snow plug at the bottom of the 1st pitch blocked the usual route down the 2nd pitch. Had to go down the high snow route through Stitch this. Through wolpertinger way to Merry Fucking Christmas crawl, which is about 30m and was less enjoyable for some. Then rigged down No bits and Hammer and Thong. Becka managed to find a rebelay bolt and so managed to rig a better hang than expected. Then through pussyprance, rigging down and doing some rebolting.

Managed to rig a good floor level traverse line :) Climbed down to previous years pushing front - climb wasn't great and needs bolting and rigging as a pitch. Put in a couple of bolts at the top of undescended pitch but had run out of rope so no pushingg but cave is now rigged down to there (the pitch to replace the climb needs putting in).

[rigging guide]

T/U: 8.5-10 hours

T/U: 8.5 hours

Edvin Deadman, Ian Walker,
161 - Rigging G

Two trips (this and on 23rd) into G in which we managed to get a decent (25min) route from the Bivy to entrance and rigged as far as the bottom of Knossos.

[rigging guide]

Also rerigged and rebolted permanent ropes on Bounce rift.

T/U ?????

T/U: 0.0 hours

Julian Todd, ,
Tourist trip to Mammuthohle - Tourist trip to Mammuthohle

Note: this is the place to take parentals to show them what it looks like underground. Its cold, but the loop they take you round has a lot of steps to warm you up a bit. Get a tourist card from the office and get it cheaper. The cable car leaves from abover Obertrain - about 15 km cycle from Bad A. in forest. There's a rough track that cuts corner from where another show cave has its booth. We didn't go to Eishohle, instead caught the cable car up to top and walked around admiring the view at the 5-fingers and eating our sandwiches. On the way back there was a cat playing with a snake. The snake wasn't having fun.

T/U 0.83 hrs (50 minutes)

T/U: 0.83 hours

Edvin Deadman, Ian Walker, Anthony Day,
161 - Rigging G

2nd of two trips into G in which we managed to get a decent (25min) route from the Bivy to entrance and rigged as far as the bottom of Knossos.

T/U: 0.0 hours

Jess Stirrups, Martin Jahnke,
Tunnockschacht - Stone Monkey

Entered Stone Monkey via Boulder surfer bypass. Snow plug in aven was present but smaller than last year, as was the ice plug in the pitch below (might be worth looking at in a few years), Descended 'The claw' and bolted a traverse across the pitch at the end of Sombrero Passage (2 spits, 1 natural up the ramp; approx 20m of rope needed). Then surveyed a sandy crawl, Ug the caveman, at the bottom of 'the claw' that Jess had looked at in 2008. Low crawl soon widened into walking-height passage. Small aven/rift on left-hand side led to climb into rift (narrow - not entered - QMC). Small trickle comes from rift and flows into the crawl. The floor is muddy/sandy with some nice cauliflower-calcite growing on top of the mud in the middle of the passage. Further on, the passage slopes down and floor is covered in small boulders soon terminates in choke with modest draft. An armlength of passage further on can been seen through the boulders (QM D, possible dig).

After surveying, we returned to pitch at end of Sombrero passage. We crossed the traverse and surveyed the sloping passage above. Floor covered in masses of loose rock. Wide passage soon terminates in multiple avens and small pitches (probably all chocked). These avens will be surveyed later.

Highlight: when setting the anchors for the traverse, the hammer head broke loose abd flew behind Jess down the pitch. Next time we'll take a quality hammer. Hence name for the slope 'comedy of errors'. The next spit I had to set with a stone, inspiring the name for the crawl, 'Ug the caveman'. The survey of Stone monkey indicates that the last survey point of comedy of errors is at 1858 above sea level, 3m higher than the entrance of Tunnocks main shaft. Hence there are still hopes of finding a new entrance somewhere in Stone monkey. Inspection of the avens in Comedy of errors will follow in addition to having a look at surface features above Stone monkey.

T/U 9 hrs

T/U: 9.0 hours

Becka Lawson, Kathryn Hopkins, Emma Wilson,
204 - Pussyprance, Caterwal

Went down 204 and down to Pussyprance. Becka rebolted previous climb down as pitch and rigged 'Catflap pitch'. Kathryn and I bolted pitch QM 08-4A - traverse round the top of pitch then straight hang down (rigging guide will be drawn on a subsequent page). Pitch was ~20m and nicely shaped. At bottom way on to the right led straight to small chamber with no way on. Back at the foot of pitch was was also tight slot with two small windows. Tight slot led to small but less tight winding rift, with widest part approximately half way up. This led to a short drop of a fewe metres that needed rigging. Pitch was fairly small. This was followed shortly by another pitch that was less than 10m, Bolted Y hang and dropped pitch. Passage opened out at pitch anhd pitch was again nicely shaped. After pitch a few metres on was another drop. Hand run out of rope by then. Pitch looked reasonably small but passage appeared to continue afterwards (QM B).

[rigging guide]

T/U 10 hrs

T/U: 10.0 hours

Becka Lawson, Steve Jones,
Tunnocks - Usual Suspects Pitch

Gareth + Becka had got half way down and bolted this previously. Headed down pitch to find Gareth's rebelay - failed - so knot pass again...

Becka found bolt so S clipped to a bolt whilst B hauled up the hangers and rigged rebelay. Then she found the rebelay rubbed, so put knot pass back in! After 2hr clusterfuck, finally bottomed pitch (total about 100m, 70m free hang to ledge then bolt belay, deviation off crap natural). Lands in large chamber (50x35m) with several horizontal leads.

Pushed windiest lead (left at bottom of pitch to popcorn, careful climb up rift, 3m flat out crawl) to junction of mant leads and 1 freshly dead bat. 3m climb up on L to 2 passages off - one un pushed, other step back over c3 - , walking passage goes back over other route and leads to large phreatic chamber/passage. Loads of leads, so headed out.

T/U 8.5 hrs

T/U: 8.5 hours

Ian Walker, Edvin Deadman, Gareth Phillips,
161 - Rigging G

Third trip into 161 to continue rigging. Passed Knossos and rigged Yapate traverse and staircase 36 (both red 9mm) also Strange Downfall (red 9mm) and Strange Upfall (white 11mm to the lip of the pitch and 9mm red thereup). Edvin was foolish enough to trust the insitu rope on strange upfall and so we avoided a detour to Vom pitch :) Then rerigged pipeless entrance pitch/climb and 3m pitch/climb (black sling and white 11mm respectively). Got as far as the Bridge and returned to surface taking full tacklesacks of crap on way.

T/U 8hrs

T/U: 8.0 hours

Emma Wilson, Martin Jahnke,
Tunnockschacht - Stone Monkey

Bolted pitch at end of Sombrero passage, 'The flaming sword of fire'. 2 Spits at start of traverse line, then ~4m down (rope protector required), then another 2 spits in right hand wall (relatively good rock). Crumbly rock below which forced me to set a spit for a deviation on the opposite wall (done by putting a sling over a boulder wedged between 2 walls and pulling in - scary stuff). Descended to bottom with rope being 1.5m too short (29m required). Bottom of pitch covered with boulders and several drips coming down at far side, small chamber was entered which terminated in tight meander (water flowing in) with moderate draft and choked tight rift in 90 degree angle to it (too tight). In the small chamber, rift can be seen below - just about man-sized but window would have to be blasted. Yorkshire A lead, Austria dead end. Nice pitch though [QM D?? Kathryn].

[rigging diagram]

Whilst going through stone monkey squeeze, I found a dead ground beetle (Carabidae) on one of the rocks. Another indication that we are somewhere close to the surface! There is also black soil (humous?) below many of the avens in Stone Monkey - we will see.

[Written later] Second thoughts on the bottom of this pitch: its a dig! Everybody interested would have to hammer his way through a bit of solid rock to get to the rift that can be seen below to enter the tight meander ahead. Maybe it goes.

T/U: 0.0 hours

Becka Lawson, Kathryn Hopkins, Jess Stirrups,
204 - Pussy Prance, CatFlap, Cat Walk

Went down 204A and Pussy Prance. Finished rigging pitch below Pussy Prance - Catflap Pitch (QM08-1A). Dropped into a small chamber with three ways on. Swung into passage 2/3 of the way down pitch, back underneath the start of catwalk where we had come from - mud floored phreatic passage which ended in a short (9m) rope protected climb of a large natural thread. Left went to a pitch and large aven, we went right along smaller passage which ended in a window into another pitch (QMA) popcorn all over the walls and floor with a dead bat on the floor half way along. 2 leads on the right joined up with the passage continuing past a small waterfall on the left to another pitch (QMA). A lead on the right quickly split, with left becoming too small and right looping back into the same bit of passage, though was also too small. On later inspection the pitch by the handline was thought to connect to the bottom of the wet pitch in the right hand chamber from pussy prance - confirmed by survey on 26/7/09.

QMS ticked off: 08-1A and 01-70B (blind trench down which Jess's dangly bag fell).

QMs found:

B - on the right out of chamber at bottom of cat flap pitch

B - up a climb on the right out of chamber at bottom of cat flap appears to be continuation of surveyed passage

B - straight ahead out of chamber bottom of catflap

A - pitch to the left after handline climb. Wet. 30m?

A - pitch at end of passage from the right of handline climb. 6m?

B - tube at same level as previous passage (continuation) across above pitch - mud filed?

C - floor trench + stream in passage on from handline climb - p4?

C - small tube in left wall of passage off from the right of previous passage - small waterfall enters passage from here.

D - left branch of final bit of passage

C - pitch at end of branch of final passage - p10?

B - left hand branch of passage off to right of ?? bit of passage

T/U: 0.0 hours

Noel Snape, Holly Bradley, Steve Jones,
Tunnocks - rope

Strolled up hill. Warm. ???Got caving hats??? Heard rumours of Tunnocks rope - took in 100m + re-rigged - this gets you easily to snow slope, need 20m of rope for bottom bit. More fettling then N+H huddled in bothy while S rigged Caramel Catharsis. Home for tea and medals.

T/U: 0.0 hours

Becka Lawson, Kathryn Hopkins, Jess Stirrups, Gareth Phillips, Jess Hatchett,
204 - Pussyprance

My first trip to Steinbrückenhöhle. Went down 3 entrance pitches including 1 pitch over a snowplug - need to skirt around this to the left. I was confused by the solid cliff of snow which initially faces you. The final entrance pitch is a monster pitch, it's massive. Very exciting to descend. A short walk after this is Merry Fucking Christmas, a miserable crawl which freaked me out quite a bit but is mercifully short. Jess S and Gareth were kind and reassuring about it and it's actually fine after the first time because you now what's coming.

Below Merry Fucking Christmas are several other pitches - 204 is a fairly vertical cave, and we descended to approx 230m overall. One of the pitches is a second massive monster pitch, free-hanging really deep and awesome. Another is a much hyped tricky squeeze which is ot nearly as bad as I expected (either up or down) 2 more pitches to the pushing front, bored now alcohol time, byebye.

T/U 9.5-12 hrs

Kathryn continues...

Emma, Becka and I started bolting 08-3A while waiting for the others to descend. This pitch (Painted Lady) descends for about 20m to a chamber with a window into another chamber 3 possible QMs:

QMA - large deep pitch

QMB - possibly choked shallower pitch

QMA - possible continuation on the other side of pitch (partly pushed this trip)


Emma and I started bolting the traverse around the pitch to the possibel continuation. Turned out to be more difficult than expected as much of the wall was covered in mud. We put in 3 bolts + 2 naturals pretty much straight up - next trip should be able to traverse sideways and put bolts into good rock. We could see Becka's light when she was surveying in chamber at bottom of climb.

Careth continues...

Rigged traverse line across to the top of pitch with Jess H. Rigged off boulder and natural column across ledge on the left (facing down the pitch). Stared putting a bolt in at the end of the ledge with a view to bolting the pitch head just round the corner. Below the ledge the pitch drops steeply for a few metres before sloping down for about another ten. An alternative pitch head could be rigged on the opposite wall.

Becka continues...

Jess S and I surveyed chamber at bottom of cat flap. Saw Emma and Kathryn's light indirectly via a window towards painted lady - 5m pitch between there, probalbe blind, QMC. Also QMC in roof tube there. Opposite pitch a rift with steeply descneding floor trench ends in a short pitch again not too promising - QMB

T/U: 9.5 hours

Anthony Day, Ian Walker, Ollie Stevens, Edvin Deadman,
161 - 161G

Went tot he far end. Ian + Ollie hing back to sort out some rigging on the way to their lead (more on that later). Dour and I headed straiht to the Bridge - the previous stopping point from the day before. Got there 2-3 hours after going underground. First obstacle was to rerig Satan's Sitting Room traverse. This is a tensioned bugger with no floor, roof, walls and initiall yonly a 19 year old rope to prevent plummetting. Hence wibble number 1.

We rerigged this and preceeded to the bottom of the 3 Wise Men climb (via an unprotected step which now has a rope on it - Wibble number 2). Our goal was to drop Satan's Sitting Room pitch (C1992-191-12) - wibbles 3-26. We slowly drill bolted our way down the seemingly bottomless abyss. Glad I packed my cast iron underpants.

Eventually about 50m down we established that there was a bottom; two large pits separated by a 10m high rock wall. Looking through the hole in the wall into the other pit we could see a window into the continuation. The lead was still going.

The pitch was a bit less terrifying once we knew what was at the bottom so we hot footed it back to the entrance to prepare our excuses for jacking the next day.

Ian writes...

Bolted a deviation on Kossos pitch and a second bolt on the top hang of strange downfall (now a y-hang). At the Bridge we descneded the pit which turned out to be rubble blocked 10m down.

T/U 10.5hrs

T/U: 10.5 hours

Mike Richardson, Noel Snape, Holly Bradley, Steve Jones,
161 - bolts

Took a while finding G. Took longer finding way on...

So M+H headed to D whilst N+S headed to the pitch just below the entrance. Put bolts in - then realised hangers were at Top Camp.

Stomped aorund on surface for a bitm fund M+H

Cairned route from D to G - 30 mins, then headed back.

T/U: 0.0 hours

Mike Richardson, Ian Walker,
161 - Silent Fellow

Trip into Silent Fellow Chamber to investigate QM at bottom of slope.


T/U: 0.0 hours

Martin Jahnke, Gareth Phillips, Becka Lawson,
Tunnocks - Stone Monkey

Walked up hill AM so a late start. Martin shoed us where Stone Monkey goes - up, up and up, surely we should see daylight? Pleasantly large and generally drafty passage. Over a traverse at the end to two pitches. Martin had a quick look down the one at the far end and Gareth checked the one on the left, both seemed to continues so we surveyed to the pitch heads and down a free climb before the traverse and eft it rigged as not enough time or rope to rig the pitches properly.

T/U: 0.0 hours

Becka Lawson, Gareth Phillips, Martin Jahnke,
258 - Stone Monkey

Back to Comedy of Errors, early in the morning after walking up to the plateau to find out more about the avens and pitches at its end. Two passages, one crawl and a small phreatic tube are drafting in but are too small to enter. A small climb down on the left side appears to end blind but in fact a short crawl would lead to a small chamber and a further crawl can be seen ahead - this chamber has not been entered yet - C lead. Near the highest point of the passage, a small hole can be entered. I rigged the pitch head from a natural and descended through jammed boulders to the bottom of a roomy meander (P8). At the right hand end a small meander was entered (climb down) which lead to a small tube in the floor with a stream in it. I took off my SRT kit and entered to find a medium sized pitch below, 1.5m of crawling away. The pitchhead was difficult to enter and to be bolted so it was deemed "too technical to rig" - we're coming back to this!

In the meantime Gareth had rigged a large pitch behind a climb on the left hand side from the naturals in the roof. He descended and found two leads at the bottom. This pitch is called Racoon festival.

We finally inspected the hole in the floor of Sombrero Passage that we normally traverse around (C3). Becka found a climb down and entered a chamber 5m below the passage which she surveyed with Gareth. The chamber has a drafting horizontal B lead in the far end.

T/U 8 hrs

T/U: 8.0 hours

Frank Tully, Martin Jahnke,
Tunnocks - Surface Features

Comedy of Errors appears to be above the level on the Tunnock's entrance shaft, giving continued ??? to the hope that we will be able to find a new entrance to the cave. I got location data for the different avens in Stone Monkey relative to the entrance from survex and we tried to locate surface features with the help of a GPS. It didn't work. Very frustrating.

Instead we started to come across numerous untagged entrances northeast of Tunnocks and started cave hunting on a ??? sunny day. Frank entered a small passage at the side of the hill and climbed down 5m. After some digging he forced himself through mud and gravel into a small non-drafting chamber - the ways on were choked. Frank emerged covered in mud - but he wouldn't have fitted through with an oversuit :) The cave was surveyed and called Afenjagdhöhle - Hunting Monkeys Cave.

IN a depression at the foldline northeast of Tunnocks, several snowfields can be found in late summer. In that area I spotted an entrance between boulders that had just been freed by the thaw. We entered and found a pitch head (covered in frost shattered loose rock). Rigging from two trusty naturals (oh dear!) I could see a large chamber with ice plug below. This was called Schneehuhnhöhle (Snow Partridge Cave) after a bird we saw nearby that day, and as a reference to the snowfields. The cave was verified later.

We continued our investigations and came across a number of places that deserve further investigation. Finally we entered a cave in the slopes of the hill which was quite drafty and ended in a boulder slope. This cave might terminate somewhere close to Tunnock's but we will need a surface survey to determine it's exact position. This cave has the skeleton of a medium sized mammal in it but without its scull [evil laughter]... hence Kopflose-Gemse-höhle (Headless Gemse Cave). A very successful trip. Seeing Frank diging out caves made me think that some of the terminal chokes in Tunnock's might not be that terminal afterall.

T/U 3 hrs

T/U: 3.0 hours

Frank Tully, Gareth Phillips, Noel Snape, Martin Jahnke,
258 - Marconian Empire

We've extended Tunnocks was off the current survey print-time for a new name for the area past Sombrero Passage in Stone Monkey, the end point in 2008. It's Marconian Empire.

We returned to descend the pitches at the end of Comedy of Errors. Noel and I agreed that leaving the pitch undescended for technical readons was against the ULSA spirit and were determined to bold "Too Technical to Rig" pitch. Noel rigged and bolted the small pitch above (10m reop just about did the job) and squeezed through to the pitch head where Gareth could see him from a side passage of Yorkshire Forward. So we went down that pitch instead. Gareth and Frank had started surveying Racoon Festival and we bolted a continuation of the pitch down. At the bottom, a short horizontal passage lead to a pitch head that I started to bolt. A large (not to say huge) boulder is hanging over the head of the pitch. During bolting I spotted a horizontal passage on the far sied of the pitch and drilled a traverse as well. We descended the pitch but the bottom is completely choked: "Drill Baby Drill" is hopefully th last time we have to refer to Sarah Palin!

The horizontal passage yonder started as a mud-floored phreas that quickly deterioratted into a narrow crawl filled with sheltered rock. I wedged myself without SRT kit through a final squeeze and found the way on to be choked rift on the right hand side; a small trickly entered the passage from straight on but the way on is solidly blocked; this is called "Emperor Xenus" to continue the Marconian Empire theme. The start of that passage has calcite cauliflower at very early stages of development (crusts of yellow-brownish calcite on boulders and walls). Excellent trip! Too Technical to Rig was left undescended for a later trip.

T/U 9hrs

[rigging diagram]

T/U: 9.0 hours

Frank Tully, Gareth Phillips, Martin Jahnke,
Schneehuhnhöhle, Alfenjagdhöhle - Schneehuhnhöhle, Alfenjagdhöhle

Off to our usual early start (after sitting out the rain) we were joined by Gareth who had just returned from KAninchenhöhle. Gareth and Frank started to survey Kopflose-Gemse-höhle and connect the surveys on the surface while I bolted Schneehuhnhöhle. Trusting out naturals I set a deviation and a rebelay below in very shattered rock, hoping that it lasts for one trip At the bottom several small streams and trickles enter a very large chamber with a thin rock roof and an ice plug in the bottom. The only way on is at the end of a boulder slop at the lowest point of the chamber. A tiny 40x50cm window down mud led to a small chamber with no way on. My new enthusiasm for digging led me to excavate boulders at the far wall and quickly another chamber could be crawled into with two ways on: one to the left which is a collapsed aven (dead end) and what looks like a horizontal passage ahead (not entered). I then (5:30) remembered that we had a 6pm callout so Frank rushed off and cancelled it just in time (5:57). Huh! We'll be back to survey this. And the crawls below are drafting inwards! Maybe to Tunnocks?


T/U 3 hrs

T/U: 3.0 hours

Steve Jones, Julian Todd,
161 - Nostalgia Trip to Satan's Sitting Room

After not getting woken up with a mug of tea in bed, Julian disobyed orders and went to 161 to check out the ??? of surveys being transcribed into tunnel from original 1990s notes. Walk to G harder with pack on. Pitch down easy. Crappy crawling to 5-ways, then investigated multiple routes to F-entrance that would avoid bounce rift. Loads of QMs on theis route no one is interested in. Last 50m at entrance extremely crap and shingly. Then went back and found completely loopy route too flat out and dirty. Pothole passage is easier. Chamber with Between the Thighs needs looking at again to work out how the bridge bit figures in drawing. Before Steve fell asleep, we moved on to Knossos, got lost in Tower Blocks, worked way through ancient history - Yapate. Did the Stranges. Repton drawing not as bad as expected. Corrected some lines on the map (need an area fill to represent flat out crawl). Found a carbide pig in Pipeless (no one seems surprised this has pasted for 15 years without any moisture ingress to gassify and blow off the snoopy loop seals), which Steve carted out. Met the others at the Bridge before Satan's Sitting Room, took photos, got behind Anthony's party, verified Lead Mine was still there, didn't find way in Endless, got out pretty slowly to sunset at F.

T/U 8hrs

T/U: 8.0 hours

Gareth Phillips, Becka Lawson,
258 - Usual Suspects

Despite an actue shortage of rope due to unusually high levels of caving keenness, I managed to snaffle a 60m rope and a drill , plus Tunnock's hadn't yet fallen prey to "we need to derig and 258 isn't on the missions statement" so I arm-twisted Gareth into heading for the big pitch that we'd somehow avoided descending in the past 2 years. Re-rigged entrance rigging (again) on the way down and then used our 60m to rerig caramel catharsis which freed up two 44m ropes for pushing. Used Frank's two spits from 2008 to put in traverse line down to the ledge which is drippy but spacious then 2 naturals to the two pitchhead spits. It all looked deep and scary so I graciously allowed/forced Gareth to head down - and down. Surprisingly iy hung free so he tied the 2 44m ropes together and finally got to a ledge of wedged vulder about 75m down. We were still 30m above the deck and out of rope but since we had the drill we put in a backup and 2 pirchhead spits for the next hand down to the chamber. Both the spits I set (on the left hand wall) cracked the rock which makes 4/5 I have drilled being duff, hmph. Probably a combination of shite rock and me not blowing enough dust out of the holes. With only one 30m tape we couldn't survey the pitch but it was looking really good so we left it partly rigged and carefully prussiked out. We took out the lower 44m rope and Gareth drilled a rebelay spit just belwo ledge. Exit to levely sunset.


T/U: 0.0 hours

Mike Richardson, Holly Bradley, Ian Walker,
161 - Silent Fellow

Trip back to the Silent Fellow QM to continue exploration of the pitch beneath. Mike and Holly went off to snoop around in SF whilst leaving the shaft to me. Rigged a 60m rope from last trip's bolt and a rebelay from small spike at floor level. Dropped down shaft to find many recent scars from all the loose rocks we'd been humping down. The sloper to the pitch head is composed of sand and boulders and isn't very stable. The subsequent hours dangling below these confidene saping bad boys lead to the naming of the shaft - Solid Rock. A minor rub necessitated a rebelay or deviation, found by large wondow into a parallel shaft at -15m (sling thred). Shaft bottom is rubble blocks, with large perched (?) boulders overlooking a continuation of the shaft (further 10m drop?) just under one wall. Had enough of cacking my pants on my lonesome and returned to SF. Derigged the 60 and got Mike to measure with a tape: shaft is 32m lip to floor. Parallel shaft wan't as deep or as high but was clean and had a small gully in the solid rock floor which lead away under the far wall.

Mike and Holly found something too...

Holly and Mike looked at the small passage underneath the climb to Mostly Mud. Took rope and tapes and bolting kit. Opened spits spot: wrong types of anchors :( Holly went back and Ian gave us one spit. Rigged rope via taped thread at end of passage at start of descent; Mike demo'd bolting, then demo'd what not to do by realising we had no hangers. Returned to Silent Fellow and Holly went back to Satan's Sitting Room to get some Mike tested Steve's bothy - excellent gear. Then decided that time was getting on so surveyed from carbide mark on r/h wall thoguh to tape thread (last station is pendant just beyond thread). Then back to Silent Fellow to meet Ian coming back up.

T/U 10.5 hrs

T/U: 10.5 hours

Emma Wilson, Kathryn Hopkins,
204 - Pussy in Bolts

We thought we'd have a super-efficient trip having packed all of our gear the previous evening. Unfortunately I realised my battery pack was almost completely discharged when I got to Wolpertinger and so prussiked back out to get another one...

We eventually reached Painted Lady and out traverse was known as Puss in Bolts and contiunued to traverse around the side of a large chamber. We put in another 8 bolts and reached the possible continuation on the south side - was getting late by this point and it was clear that at least another bolt was needed so we surveyed what we had done and headed out. The traverse is 30m long inttal (although the second half is mainly walking on a sloping ledge and doesn't have many bolts). See later for rigging guide - we plan to leave at least the first part permanently rigged.

T/U 13.5hrs

T/U: 13.5 hours

Edvin Deadman, Noel Snape, Anthony Day,
161 - Satan's Sitter surveying

Since Edvin and I had built up a surveying backlog after our previous trip to the pitch off Satan's Sitting Room (26th), the plan was that we would survey the pith whilst Noel bolted the drop at the end. However, on arrival at Satan's Sitting Room it transpired that Noel had not hand bolted before so the was a change of plan whereby Edvin went to bolt whilst Noel and I surveyed in. Surveying was slow and cold but otherwise not too bad with pony and disto. Meanwhile Edvin placed a bolt at the rock bridge found last trip in order to go down the other side of it to the continuation we had seen. Two bolts later Edvin was at the bottom of a further 5m drop with a uninviting tight rift exiting. Noel investigated and declared that it would be passable with a bit of hammering - QMC at best. Nobody fancied this, so we deriged and left the rope at Satan's Sitting Room before heading out.

[rigging diagram]

T/U 8.5 hrs

T/U: 8.5 hours

Edvin Deadman, Anthony Day,
161 - Push/survey Dire Straits

Went to the lead left by Edvin and Ian the previous day which was obviously going to carry on for miles down an endless pitch series. We were armed with a drill, two batteries, 100m of rope and plenty f anchors...at least we would have had if I had not left the pot of Hiltis in my rucksack on the surface. Hence actually had only 5 Hilti anchors - but we had plenty of spits so we reasoned we should be able to make plenty of progress. Arrived at the front wheree two further drops were visible. I wielded the drill to place a bolt for the next drop of 5m. When I came to set it I discovered that the attachment tape on the hammer had snapped. Fortunately the hammer hadn't disappeared down the pitch - it was sitting on the ledge next to me.

On arrival at the next drop, I ignored the lovely flat surface on either side of the rift at just the right height for a y-hang in favour of an ankle height rebelay in rubbish rock thus saving one Hilti for the continuing pitch series.

Ultimately such frugality proved unneseccary since at the bottom of the next 5m drop a narrow rift was reached. We trutched along for 20m to a small widening where the continuin rift needs hammering for further progress - QMC at best, and there is no discernible draught.

Having killed off our star lead, we surveyed out. Edvin heroically derigged up to Silent Fellow and we dumped most of the rope at Satan's Sitting Room. This was a moderately ??? trip which is obviously too much for my creaking body as my back has been knackered ever since.

T/U 10hrs

[rigging diagram]

T/U: 10.0 hours

Edvin Deadman, Ian Walker,
161 - Silent Fellow

Further trip to what is now Solid rock precipitated by availability of drill more thatn desire to cave. I myself was perilously close to bimbling the day away after yesterday's nerve-wracking dangling sesh.

Turns out we make a well matched pair and with only a Li-Ion drill to hold us back ("Are you sure there's a drill in this bag?") we got to Silent Fellow ins 1hr 45min. Had a quick snack and tackle sorting then got to work. Edvin went to put a spit in Satan's Sitting room pitch (deviation to avoid mild rub point, 4m below rebelay) and left me to face Solid Rock on my own. But this time with a drill...

Put in a Hilti anchor in SF (above pit at bottom of chamber) to double the belay which had been simply thread round boulder in slope. Rigging the 60m rope over the 30m already there continued past the previous bolts and slig spike thread. Reaching the large window a small swing aloows a stance on the sill. A rebelay bolt was put in just on far side for hanf into parapel shaft (used a short AS hanger and a maillon to avoid rub, but a twis and 3 maillons may suffice in the future). Shaft clean and sound, solid rock walls and floor, much unlike Solid Rock itself. Investigated the floor gully and met a couple of short drops (4ft?) on right. Dry rift oxbow on left was rigged for y-hang (Hilti sleeves in opposing walls). Short chamberer where ways meet is followed by second rift pitch . Didn't have any rope left to returned to SF to fetch Edvin and 30m rope. Lone exploration until this point lead to the parallel shaft and subsequent rift acquiring the name Private Investigations continuing the Dire Straits theme.

With Edvin in tow, rigged down 2 more shortish (10m?) pitches in a very tasty clean-washed Yorkshire-esque streamway pitch series of small/medium chambers with gully/rift exits. After running out of rope and depleting the drill battery we exited surveying back to the tie-in with SF as we went. Could see two more pitches, so the lead was still going.

Exited in manner similar to entry. Swift and efficient. Had a jubilatory cup-a-soup each on Anthony's meths stove in Pipeless before heading out proper.

T/U 10hrs

T/U: 10.0 hours

Wookey travels to Expo - Wookey travels to Expo

Debconf 9 was immediately before expo so I got tran all the way from Carceras in Extramdura to Expo. This should be a 1.5 day train journey except that ......at this point logbook transcribed decides Wookeys writing is illegible! To cut a long story short it took him 37.5 hrs to do the journey!

T/U: 0.0 hours

Emma Wilson, Kathryn Hopkins, Jess Stirrups,
204 - Pus in bolts

Finally got to see the traverse Emma and Kathryn had bolted - they ought to be given medals - bolting over the top of a bottomless chasm with the floor sliding our from under their feet! Got to the end of the traverse line to find that the possible continuation did go after all - wide passage to a large chamber on a traverse line all the time. Kathryn bolted the short 8m pitch to the chamber "floor" (probably just a load of wedged boulders, as there were holes in it all over the place, al about the same depth). Scrambled up to the side of the chamber where there was a relatively short pitch then went along the continuation og the passage which was mud floored with rock pinnacles. Got to another pitch, then noticed a squeeze through into a side passage which looped back into the same pitch. While Kathryn put a bilt in the top of the pitch, me and Emma went back though the chamber and surveyed a passage under the boulders in the previous bit of passage - dead ended at a load of strongly drafting slots which looked like they would become pitches - a possible good lead, if you're very thin! By this time Kathryn had finished putting the bolt in and we all went back out.

QMs found

Passage between traverse and chamber:

QMC - tight slots turning into pitches at end of passage in floor

QMC - possible steeply sloping small tube in r wall just before slope down to chamber

QMB - climb/steeply sloping narrow rifty tube in left wall where traverse line goes over large boulder over floor trench.


QMB - hole in floor below rigged 8m pitch

QMA - large wide rifty pitch and possible horizontal continuation up boulder slope on opposite side of chamber to traverse line (survey station 6)

QMA - pitch in alcove inr wall of chamber further in

QMB - hole in floor between boulders at foot of r side of block

QMB - hole in floor between r wall and survey station 5 which is strongly drafting - just before stone floor turns to mud.

Next bit of passage:

QMC - hole in floor by r wall level with last small rock pinnacle (survey station 7)

QMA - extensive (wide) pitch at end of passage, r hand passage drops back into it. Best descended from main passage, but down slot r of large pinnacle (survey station 8).

T/U: 0.0 hours

Mike Richardson, Anthony Day,
161 - Push and survey near Iceland Chamber

In search of a slack trip we went to look at the pitch near Iceland Chamber (bolted on a previous trip). This didn't look especially promising, but since we traverse over the top of it every time we go in 161G, it seemed remiss not to take a look. Sure enough the pitch leads into a rift which is impenetrable - so with the QM duly ticked off we surveyed out.

Next stop was Frozen Turkey, a pitch that was partially descended in 1999. This was the scene of my first attempt at drill bolting and all the anchors were atrocious - all far too deep (in my defence I believe I was using Hiltis without flanges to stop them going straight to the back of the hole, or so I would like to claim). When I got to the first rebelay bolt to find an exceptionally cratered specimen I had no chance of getting a hanger onto, I decided I'd had enough and we pottered out.

T/U 3.5 hrs

T/U: 3.5 hours

Jess Stirrups, Kathryn Hopkins, Emma Wilson,
204 - Snow Leopard

Went to end of catwalk to pitch previously bolted by Tony and Jess but not dropped due to rope being too short. Jess rigged down pitch now called Snow Leopard. Jess found multiple signs of life at the bottom of the pitch, strange as pitch was blind - signs of life included golden hanger, pencil and footprints. Turned out that we had dropped into the bottom of Brian's Phat Shaft. All descended pitch and a way up derigged pitch. Also derigged bottom section of catflap. Took rope to On the Prowl where Kathryn put in extra y-hang bolt and then descended to the ledge. I then put in rebelay bolt after ledge - rope (44m) didn't reach floor :( and more rigging was going to be needed to get to the bottom without rubs. We descended 7m below ledge to get better look at what was happening. Pitch turned very very airy as it dropped into a giant chamber. 44m rope was only long enough for the shaft and 10m tied on end reached the floor. However would need more rope for the extra bolts required.

[rigging diagram]

T/U: 0.0 hours

Becka Lawson, Ollie Stevens, Steve Jones,
Tunnocks - Usual Suspects

S+B headed straight down. Surveyed several loops in complex phreas between chamber + main big passage; meanwhile Ollie "tame dangle-fairy" gave the pitch a few sling rebelays and new bolts.

O joined us; B then found a much safer route to main drag (up climb as per 28/7 trip, thgouh flat out section then up rift to R).

Surveyed passage heading S/E from where large phreas is entered. Traverses onver 1 pitch (QMB) and found another (QMA) to 2 junctions on R. 1st R: 1m passage, no draught: QMA. 2nd R leads to silend black space, long fall, QMA - no draught though. So carried on in main passage. Leads to pitch - could be traverses and has strong draught - QM A.

T/U: 0.0 hours

Becka Lawson, Steve Jones, Julian Todd,
Tunnocks - Going Nowhere fast

After many days of fruitless hacking on troggle, then losing my mp3 player sometime in the process of canoeing across Toplitzsee, and returning to hoards of very beery Austrians moving in on Base Camp like leiderhausen-clad apes with camper vans, I was seriously pissed off enough to go caving.

Team Tunnocks-string (Steve+Becka) had reportedly found some new horizontal levels at the depth of the 'Wheres in 204, causing Becka to bounce down to Base Camp in order to type in her notes, only to find that she had forgotten to pack them in her bag. She had returned to Top Camp and tried phoning them down to me so I could type them into the computer, run the calculations, and find out where they were going in relation to the rest of the cave.

All I could see on the screen was a little knot of loops at the bottom of a 100m pitch, because that's all she had surveyed. Steve complained later about how all they did was survey short loops around phreatic pillars and not actually go anywhere. The wide open leads that were left undone were not part of the numerical data.

Lacking sufficient toll road passes to justify driving up on my own, I was pissed off enough to cycle up the hill (easy after a mental two week Alpine cycling holiday) and walk in to Top Camp without any mp3 audio entertainment to keep my mind from stewing in its own thoughts, just in time to cook for all the returning cavers.

In the morning, Mike TA also showed interest in team string's discoveries, so we were four.

"It's only a hundred metre pitch, same length as the entrance pitch, which you know you can do, and the knot pass is just like a rebelay," said Becka.

Accounting for Becka's legendary reverse bullshit about things she is keen on getting people into, it sounded absolutely horrendous, but as I was still so pissed off with the world in general that this was a moment to do something very scary owing to the terror of falling to one's death not being at the intensity what it normally should be.

At the entrance, Mike and I enjoyed the perfect weather and sunshine while Becka bashed around the bunda looking for the 30m rope that MartinH had secreted under a rock like someone hiding the nice cheese in an unexpected part of the fridge.

There were two knot passes in the entrance pitch, but they were on the snow slope, so were trivial. Steve left his bothy (a silly rolled-up orange plastic sheet that cost him all of five quid) at the bottom of the entrance for people to keep warm under while waiting for others to get out.

Becka launched herself down the 100m Usual Suspects pitch without any issues. Then Mike headed down and hit the knot linking the two bits of rope 25m down, 75m above the floor, and found he couldn't down-prussic with his new product-designed-to-look-more-attractive-in-the-shop-window-though-not-function-as-well-as-the-old-version Petzl chest jammer, freaked out, and came back up. He went off to join the Holly and Noel trip in the next door passage, until his lights failed, and then exited the cave on his own before anything else went wrong, thus breaking any naive design in troggle for relating caving trips to logbook entries with T/Us to what people actually did.

Meanwhile, down at the knot, I was having a hard time due to a total lack of experience with knot passes, my fear of heights inducing hyperventilation and tunnel vision, and Becka shouting up from a great distance below that she was getting mightily bored.

I miraculously reached the ledge 70m down, stepped across it, and descended down the last 30m into the main chamber. Then I had to find a secluded spot under a boulder to deal with the consequences of scaring the crap out of myself for the last 45 minutes.

And so we went forth into the new discoveries.

Becka and I left Steve to rig his traverse with the 30m rope along a wide and drafty passage where the floor was missing and surveyed some mud and bat bone encrusted phreas while squabbling the whole time about whether we should explore the straightest, largest, ongoing passages first, as opposed to painstakingly measuring around every single trivial visible loop to produce numerical data that, if phoned down excitedly to someone at Base Camp, merely renders a little knot of loops at the bottom of a big pitch that don't go anywhere.

Meanwhile, Steve at the traverse changed his direction of attack from the right hand wall to the left hand wall to get to a "4m diameter phreatic passage."

My arse.

He'd actually found one of those Kaninchenhohle-style quiet rifts where all the rock has rotted into rounded boulders coated with black skinned cheesecake slime. A narrow squeeze and climb down under a tall thin col reached a wide slippery pitch edge over a two second drop and ten second rumble. And that was that.

We returned. Becka derigged the traverse rope, and we all went back to our nice proper phreas to survey a couple more legs. I headed off for a slash, and, while I was waiting for the others to arrive, the sound of hidden waterfalls appeared like a radio turned on to loud static. It was exactly 6:30pm.

Uh oh.

I manifested another dump. These states of scaring the crap out of myself are inconvenient.

The pitch now had a foaming river running down it. Becka tried to prussick up it, changed over after about 15m of becoming clean washed, and came down.

Change of plan. We were not going to get out any time soon.

We didn't return to the nice sandy passages we had been exploring because they were too windy. We tried making a place to sit it out at the far end of the pitch chamber in a deep open pit of clean razor sharp rocks. Becka and Steve unwrapped their emergency bivi bags (body-sized clear plastic bags) and pulled them over their heads cutting a hole in the top. I had nothing, of course. It was rubbish. After half an hour it was clear we had to do something else.

Opposite the waterfall there was a small patch of dirt under a perched rock with about 0.5m of clearance where it was not windy. We spread the rope out to sit on and cut apart the two plastic bags to form some kind of an outer wall to drape and hold over ourselves. Boy was it uncomfortable. Our backs were freezing from the gap under the boulder, our knees and feet were cold where they were poking out at the front, and our legs folded at funny angles were constantly getting pins and needles.

We stayed pretty silent the whole time and didn't waste energy with idle chit-chat. Time passed quickly. I wasn't bored at all. Although I hadn't brought useful stuff like my own emergency plastic bag or whistle, I did have a small thermometer which showed that the outside was at 2degC, while our improvized bivi scored an amazing 10degC even in the most miserable spots such as in front of my knees.

It was very difficult to gauge whether the water flow was going up or down. We should have made a better effort to remember exactly what it looked like when Becka first attempted it. It never looked great. Our concerns were whether the water flow was due to a sudden thunderstorm and flood pulse (good), or one of those long Austrian drizzles that can go on for days (very bad). It turned out to be the former. The hailstones at Base Camp were impressive enough for someone to save in the freezer.

We also didn't know the state of the top half of pitch. A 30m prussick up through absolute misery followed by 70m of reasonably dry technical rope-work would be okay, while 100m of nearly freezing waterfall would not mean we weren't going to do it.

We missed our 11pm call-out.

The well-oiled CUCC rescue machine at Top Camp swung into action, supercharged by newly arrived old-lags, and at 2:30am a shout accompanied by a swinging beam of light (Noel's) appeared above ceiling level in line with the waterfall. This showed the top part of the pitch to be in a side-pocket in the chamber so you couldn't see all the way to the floor from the top. We yelled back.

Having verified that we were okay, and confirmed the reason why we had not come out on time, the rescue was called off, and everyone went home. We decided that the top half of the pitch was probably okay enough to send Becka up to check it out. Wookey, at the top, noticed her light and stayed behind with all the now abandoned rescue equipment to make us hot drinks and cheer us up. "Looks like you've lived through this one, Julian" he said to me as I got up, having fluffed up the knot-pass on the way up and became incoherent with rage at the psychopath who put it there.

Steve passed us, having tested out his plastic orange bothy thing with me and confirmed that it would have been bloody nice to have had it downstairs where we had been waiting. I was pretty slow getting out. Far behind me, Wookey heroically dragged almost everything out of the cave including the rescue stretcher and still caught me up at the surface. I walked back to Top Camp in daylight. Almost everyone was asleep. I did nothing the following day, while Becka went caving. The day after it rained continually. Becka went caving again. I cycled down the hill and achieved nothing.

I would like to put on record that I would like a proper canyonning holiday next year before doing any expos to put me in a good enough mood cope with this and keep on caving.

T/U 18 hrs, (Mike TA 3hrs)

T/U: 18.0 hours

Becka Lawson, Julian Todd, Mike Richardson, Steve Jones,
Tunnock's - Usual Suspects

After much faff got to top of US to find Mike heading out owing to knot-pass not-fun times. Julian proceeded to smoothly and cheerfully descend and we allmet at the bottom. We headed to the S/E and S started rigging traverse whilst J+B surveyed up N?W phreas. Traverse leads out into complex chamber area. Several possible leads at floor level need a proper ????. Walking passage on R left as QMA.

Draught comes from passage on L at traverse level so headed over to this. Starts as large tunnel then climb down into rift; thrutch down at end passed by J+B leads to big pitch - QMA, no flat continuation - booo. Alternative to thrutch is 8m climb to col - needs rope for return - QMA.

[rigging diagram]

On way back to pitch the QMA noted on 30/07/09 was now rather noisy. Bum. Remebered that US is nice, clean washed and drippy. Big bum. B went for a look. Looked soggy so we hoped it was a ?????, surveyed a few more leads up NW passages - nice 3m phreas.

Came back to pitch at about 8pm. Still soggy. Wait 30 mins in bivi bahs (S+B) or in cold (J). B attempted pitch. Too soggy. Poo. So made a tent/bivi/hovel in earshot of pitch. Huddle. Periodically check sog factor. Repeat. Miss callout. Repeat more. Get bored. Repeat. Hear noise at top - voice? Start yelling. Lights and voice disappear. Huddle more. Conclude that if someone has got part way down we can get up - so sent B up to test theory. Pitch appears fine if moist.

Meet Wook at pitchhead. With my bothy which I had left at the entrance. Grrr. P;lied with a drink. Head to entrance with Andy A. KAthryn and Emma ply with more tea. Back to bivy. Jess S plies with more tea and curry. Must get resuced more often...

T/U 17-18hrs, Mike 3hrs (see also Julian's write up)

T/U: 17.0 hours

Martin Green, Steve Jones,
Tunnocks - Just for a Laugh

[no content to this trip]

T/U: 0.0 hours

Kathryn Hopkins, Jess Stirrups, Ian Walker, Edvin Deadman, Emma Wilson,
204 - On the Prowl, Catwalk

Went back with another rope to attempt to get to the bottom of the pitch we had run out of rope on last time. Kathryn and Jess S went in ahead, Jess added extra bolt on traverse whilst Kathryn finished rigging pitch. Edvin, Ian and I followed down about an hour later, when we arrived most of the rigging was doen which was good :) Pitch called Fat Cat. Was narrow at top then opened out below first rebelay. Next rebelay was even more airy :S, this dropped to one of the floors of a multi-level floored chamber. Across pitch looked like there was some horizontal level going off but would probably need more rigging to be able to swing into this and enthusiasm failed us. Put in another rebelay from natural and walked down a rope to another floor of chamber, yet another rebelay led to another level with small slot down - B lead, would need more rope, so not explored.

Headed out - on way out rigged bottom section of Cat Flap and the handline pitch in Catwalk so leads could be explored if coming via Brian's Phat Shaft. Left up section of traverse rigged also. Derigged out to bottom of entrance series. Than you to non-zeusians Edvin and Ian for carrying out tacklesacks.

QMs found:

QMC - window out of pitch level with top of 1st wedged boulder above first rebelay

QMA - large phreatic passage entering main pitch, 4m up from last rebelay

QMC - small passage off main pitch level with last rebelay. Hole above drops into it.

QMX - large aven above lowest level of chamber

QMB - slot through floor in lowest level of chamber.

[rigging diagram]

Ian writes...

Having reached the bivy just fter eleven on the morning of the rescue, I met a scene of immobility. Lots of sitting around drinking tea and porridge/noodles etc. Only Edvin was willing to accompany me to KH to retrieve gear - and that only because his caving kit was there too and he'd already committed to a 204 trip. My excuse was a handy three days off at base and nine hours in bed (oblivious to any rescue dramas). Edvin has no such excuse, and our 17 minute trip to KH (and 19 minutes return) was rather indecently speedy.

Back at the bivvy, the zeuses were still prearing to go underground an there was plenty of time for noodles and tea etc. Kathryn and Jess having gone ahead, it was up to Emma to escort Edvin and I from the entrance. The trip was very pleasant and we soon seemed to pass the entrance pitches and snow slopes and be through Merry Fucking Christmas crawl and the slot pitch. Things were going well. Catching up with Jess on the traverses we oaused briefly and took photographs. Getting closer to the front, we heard a distant "rope free" from a distant Kathryn and all assembled at the head of the new pitch (Fat Cat). Jess and Emma were to survey down, which woudl mean I and Edvin woudl descend first.

On a cursory - and alarming - inspection of the rigging I opted to descend last, which placed me in the surveying pair. A more shonky spit I have never seen. Still, the descent went smoothly, if slowly, and soon we were all assembled at the bottom. Finally - chance to have a wee!

A plan was hatched whereby Jess and I would derig back to Pussy Prance, a task which I willingly undertook. Jess went ahead once a sack was filled and I continued to steadily (read "safely") derig across the traverse and up Painted Lady pitch. Interesting games were played involving big first knots and pitch ropes piled out of reach on ledges...

From there on, things moved quickly (due to the stench of Zeus wee). Edvin, Jess and I set off out, leaving Kathryn and Emma to derig. Progress though MFC crawl was rather efficient, with Jess and I meeting Edvin on the far side. I waited for the deriggers whilst the other two continued out. A third passage through MFC and the zeuses were met on the far side. Another (very) efficient passage through MFC was completed with minimal fuss (perhaps excepting Emma's "Don't care, I just want it finished! Don't care, don't care"). More pleasant passage led to the bottom of the entrance pitches and a short prusik out led to the bivy: no walk required :)

So that's it: two men on a Zeus caving trip; new cave explored and surveyed; no big dramas; and an efficient and satisfying derig back to the entrance pitches. All in all: a fine trip in a fine cave. Well done Zeuses!

T/U: 0.0 hours

Noel Snape, Mike Richardson,
Tunnocks - Stomach ULSA

Down Tunnocks to continue Holly and Noel's push down the Stomach. Took down 60m of rope plus drill, arrived at final bolt from previous trip, added y-hand (1 bolt each) and dropped the pitch - some to-inf and fro-ing to get the wider parts of the rift. At the bottom of pitch used natural to descend three c2s (bottom two are free climbable). Rift continues for a few metres until floor drops away again and will need rigging to carry on. Grade A lead.

T/U: 0.0 hours

Wookey, Andrew Atkinson, Becka Lawson,
Tunnocks - Alphabet Soup

Surprising degree of enthusiasm for caving today given that almost everybody stayed up until dawn on the rescue (thanks guys...). I fancied something mellow so we headed off to cross off easy QMs in Tunnocks and improved the survey (took the full print out with us and scrawled on it). Sorted out a mess in Germknodel and surveyed 50m each in QM30C and in QM37B

(34B is a pitch). Return to Usual Suspects to remove the final bits from the rescue and I dragged the srtetcher out as my penance. Saw Andrew's disto-x/PDA combination in action underground for the first time - impressive though probably no faster than trad surveying.

T/U 6 hrs

T/U: 6.0 hours

Kathryn Hopkins, Emma Wilson,
204 - Derigging

Derigged entrance pitches. Was reasonably wet.

T/U 1hr if that

T/U: 1.0 hours

Kathryn Hopkins, Emma Wilson,
204 - Derigging #2

Derigged entrance pitches. Was reasonably wet.

T/U 1hr if that

T/U: 1.0 hours

Holly Bradley, Andrew Atkinson, Becka Lawson,
Tunnocks - Goody Goody

Dragged in a drill and rope to check out more QMs. Checked on the Usual Suspects water level - siilarly damp (still raining). Started with a QMB nearly opposite Naughty Naughty in Dubious Pleasure and hit the jackpot - it startedas a crawly/stoopy passage and gradually got larger and even had crusty stal formations. Traversed over a blind pit and then a larger drippy pitch on the right. At the next pitch the ledge looked too teetery so Andrew put in a traverse line on naturals (needs 20-25m). Then hit an even bigger pitch which Holly and I excitedly lobbed a couple of big rocks down before Andrew screamed stop at us. Spoil sport. "There's a rope". Oops. We'd managed to come to the eyeholes visible level with the main hang ledge in Usual Suspects. Got around to the second eyehole and then hit a short but monster section of phreas - maybe 15m wide with a howling gale coming out. We teetered up a vast pile of rocks semi-stuck together to end up overlooking a giant pitch. Unfortunately in the wet conditions we couldnt' see down as it was filled with a fine mist and the disto-x struggled too. Surveyed 350m - a fine trip. The end section seemed to have way too much cave and too little rock holding it all up.

T/U 9 hrs

T/U: 9.0 hours

Steve Jones, Martin Green,
Tunnocks - Damp Squib

We descended Tunnocks with a Makita drill with the aim of picking up some rope from the start of Stone Monkey. Not knowing the location og the new entrance to Stone Monkey I went around a long loop for 20 minutes to find Steve having already found the bag. We continued onto Just For a Laugh to look at pitches. The first near station justforalaugh.12 looked a little wet and appeared to have audible connection to the pitch near justforalaught2.1 which was considerably drier. I rigged this pitch with a natural thread in the floor as backup, and a y-hang across the rift. Additional passage may be reachable over the top of this pitch ot from a rift a metre of two down. At the bottom a narrow rift to a pitch went off as well as a small window to a parallel clean washed shaft, with a small stream coming in. I tried to rig out og this water with a wide y-hang and a rebelay out from the water. But this was in rain due to an aven further alonf the shaft making it drippy. I descended going down several ledges, that the original stream goes down. At the bottom a rift went off, which quickly becomes too tight, along with some small phreatic passage which also closed down. I retreated now slightly damp to survey out with Steve derigging, taking all the gear back to the bivy (all new bolts were greased).

T/U: 0.0 hours

Andrew Atkinson, Becka Lawson,
Tunnocks - Frankly Freezing

Expo dinner day so it had to be a shorty (though we got an 8:30am underground start). After hinting heavily all morning, I managed to persuade Andrew to derig Usual Suspects since we'd lad 4 hours of dry for the first time in forever. He got wet but the rocks we'd lobbed down yesterday had missed the rope. Then did a short survey in Frankly Freezing before it all got a bit chilly. I slogged out with 150m in Big Bertha whilst Andrew skipped along with more rope and the metalware.

T/U 5 hrs

T/U: 5.0 hours

Noel Snape, Steve Jones, Julian Todd,
Canyoning - Disaster boys in the canyon of doom

Noel most keen on canyoning. Steve came too and got the best wetsuit leaving me with the 7 piece homemade. Gave lifts to Martin and Holly and 2 bikes to return via Ischl - Bla Alm canyon (Holly went up Loser too).

Changed at midday. Martin walked to tope with us and was able to translate memorial to youn digger driver on side of track. We found his wrecked digger far below in the middle of the canyon. There's also a prominent plaque at the head of the difficult double pot pitch to two dead canyoners in 2004. The water was not high, but it was fast flowing. Nearly drowned trying to get off inappropriate rack while Noel improvised a cowstails from a pull down cord and let the open tacklesack containing my SRT kit float over the waterfall and float round the swirl pool until the 2 plastic bottles slipped out and it sank without trace. We chained the rope (Noel didn't know how) to help with carrying, and tossed it to a person ahead at jumps until Steve missed his catch an that too sank without trace. Fortunately we didn't need it for rest or trip and got out after 3.5 hrs without our dignity. It was lucky Becka wasn't there.

Ian writes...

3.5hrs to lose a new tacklesack, 2 ropes and a set of prusiking gear! Good going!

T/U: 0.0 hours

Becka Lawson, Ian Walker,
KH - Solid Rock

Team Vertical+Wook and Andrew - see separate write up

Lugged all my kit over to 161G for a fresh assault on KH. Enthusiasm was noticeably lacking this morning from just about everyone but somehow no-one found an excuse big enough to jack. Hmm.

So anyway after two and a half hours of caving in which only I knew the way...

"there's a distinct change in colour here"

"the popcorn bit is handy on the way out"

"I went wrong twice here, where the dead bat is"

...we got to the traverse in Satan's Sitting Room. The old lags (see Wook and Andrew's separate write up) seemed to swallow all my youthful bullshit without complaint! From here, Becka and I descended to Silent Fellow with a 60m rope to see where the continuation of Solid Rock goes. Andrew and Wook began to rerig SSR/3WM traverse.

Having rigged Solid Rock, I realised we had only a few metres spare on the 60m rope to left Becka putting in a hand bolt whilst I went back up to try and persuade the others to let us have some rope. This was an embarrassinf and energy-wasting mistake on my part. Team traverse was mose accomodating and allowed me to take the 100m rope, leaving them with a 30m and a 10m (not enough for the 3WM traverse!) Having paid the rope tax, they decided they wouldn't have much use for the drill so I descended Solid Rock for a second time a considerably heavier caver.

Having gone to all this effort, it turned out that: (a) the continuation of Solid Rock requires only a single bolt to descend (good sneaky thread for a sling backup), and; (b) this continuation closes down to inpenetrable rift after 10 or 15m. Hmm!

We worked out that Becka wouldn't have to come down if we put a temporary station on my knee :- that way we could do one leg down the pitch and have a two-legged survey. Hurrah! So I duly shouted up some LRUD measurements and began to "memorise" the plan and elevation. On the prusik up, I was foolish enough to look closely into a cleft in one wall and discovered that if I took all my extraneous drill, bags, danglies and shit off I could fit through. This is Sorry Andrew rift.

I went a few metres and realised that we ought to survey it so I called Becka down. It continued on and separated at a small inlet a few metres in. The continuation (right) quickly fell away into a deep hole, and a short bold step would reach a window looking into a fine clean streamway chamber. A chamber which looked familiar, as belonging to Private Investigations. Hmm.

We decided to make the most of the (barely used) drill and 100m rope. I bolted across the step and rigged a descent into the chamber to confirm it as that reached on 30/7/09 with Edvin. Edvin's big fat, red blob was easily located (station 1) and all was going swimmingly.

Becka then let out a yelp and a curse, and I looked up to see Andrew's borrowed DistoX come flying down the hole over which I have just traversed. A DistoX connections was confirmed between the bold step and the chamber below the one in which I stood. Hmmm!

A quick rig, descent, pick-up DistoX, ascent, derig ensued. We then buggered off out, knowing that Solid Rock is shit and horrible and that we shouldn't have gone there in the first place.

T/U 10hrs

[rigging diagram]

T/U: 10.0 hours

Andrew Atkinson, Wookey,
KH - 3 Wise Men re-rig and beyond

Ian has covered most of the trip so here's out specific bit. Given only 30m rope plus a tiddly bit to rerig 3WM we left the lower old rope protecting the 8m climb and part re-rigged the traverse-proper. Slightly worrying hanging over a big drop on very aged string, but all was (of course) well.

Decided it needed another bolt to reduce huge rub at edge so put one in then rediscovered 2 holes drilled for better rigging in 1993. In a better place too! Having faffed for at least an hour replacing the rope already and being short of length decided to leave that for another time. Had also by now given the drill away so had no spits of the correct type.

Just about made it to the far side but now entirely free of rope so decided to ???? ?? a good poke about in prep for tomorrow's trip.


We had a proper look round the area immediately beyond 3WM. It's quite complex and really could use a few survey legs sometime.


Climbing out of area at end of 3WM (c5) there is a passage on the right partially fill with sediment. This goes for about 3m to a very tight zig-zag which is (looks like earbass too biscuit???). No draught. Ahead is a slope up to the right which leads to a high chamber. A climb ahead for 4-5m lead to several solution tubes. Part way up you can see across toward the tinkle rift passage. Turning right in the chamber reaches a climb both up and down. Down goes 2-3m where a tight passage looks through into something larger (QMC). This doesn't seem to connect back into main area.

Climbing up is an easy climb up quite high (10m) which comes back into main area at southern end. You can traverse across the shaft and climb into a hole. This goes about 3m to look out into the shaft which 3WM tyroleans across. At this level you can see into more space off the north side of the area (It seems to be mostly space round here).

Next we went all the way to the end of East Anglia, noting that Tinkle Rift pitch had been left rigged (forgotten?). Decided that end of East Anglia looked like most interesting lead because we might be able to go across. This it was time to go home and meet the others at SSR.

A steady return got us out in 2hrs 15ish, and walked back in the light, trying to remember rather complex route.

T/U 9.5 hrs

Oh yeah, and we rigged bounce rift as a tyrolean (wee, put in the bolts).

T/U: 9.5 hours

Becka Lawson, Ian Walker,
KH - Far too Far

Team Vertical again +Wook and Andrew - see separate write up

Clearly not having been put off yesterday, Becka again joined me in a shaft dropping trip in KH. That this trip happened al all is a conundrum, as we hadn't a plan until we all got to SSR! Wookey and Andrew were dead-set on going to the bitter end of East Anglia and suggested that Becka and I drop the great black hole at the end of Far Too Far (a big wet-sounding undescended pitch - C1992-161-19).

Several Hilti's were put in on the way (predrilled in the 90s) and is probably took us an hour to get through 3 wise men and tinkle rift! Wookey and Andrew pointed out our hole and we all marvelled at the echo before they buggered off an left us to it. By "us" I mean "me" as Becka doesn't seem to like dropping great big shafts. So I "took one for the team" and went about bolting the first descent.

What a dream is was too: a large airy majestic shaft: clean washed and with fine sculpted walls. My lamp could just make out something at the bottom: a floor, a puddle, who knows? With sound, clean, rock a 100m rope in the sack and a pair of drill batteries, this was a real pleasure. As I pointed out to Becka at the time, I would happily drive to the Dales to descend a pothole like this on a sport trip. Poor, tireless Becka. I got all enthused again and began ranting about the finery of it all.

Suffice to say the pitch meets a bridge into a parallel shaft. Descending this, the water is met again. At this floor, a gully takes the water round a sharp (90 degree?) bend to the right and into a tall tight rift. A third shaft drops in on the far side, the water of which also flows into the rift. The rift could be pushed but must be a QMC at best. Hmmmm!

T/U 10hrs

[rigging diagram]

T/U: 10.0 hours

Andrew Atkinson, Wookey,
KH - East Anglia, Grimes Graves
(also with Becka and Ian - see other write up)

After leaving Ian and Becka at impressive black space of what was to become So Far Away we dragged sacks of rope to the far end. First a couple of easy (hand!) bolts to get started. Despite not being able to remember when I last put in a hand bolt (4 years ago?) I won the race :) Andrew set off and I went looking for survey stations and checking for QMs. At soily junction passage goes 4m to look down hole. Drauhting out and probably descendable so should be a QMC. Checked out streamway further back and decided too tight without capping. Impressive echo for tiny slot though.

Having got 10m down pitch onto huge choked boulder Andrew declared large pitch below, 'wet looking' with two incoming streams, so he went across. Turned out no real passage across pitch just climb up corner/slot which looked like it went somewhere. Andrew declared it more 'commiting' so let me do it. I put in a bolt whilst Andrew went back to fetch 60m rope. Climb not as bad as it looked and didgy rocks stayed put long enough to shin up. Rigged pith off mediocre thread, then had a look around. Exciting!

Found area was mostly big choked boulders over space. Long drop below through narrow slot. Threw some rocks - p60ish? Another pitch beyond through small winder, no overhanging death here. Horizontal passage goes back to East Anglia pitch and continues. Also comes out above P55 but entrance blocked by slipped block.


Andrew found another pitch traversing over the top of all this to the right. And then it was time to go home already. Put a second thread on the pitch and left to go out with Becka and Ian. Again back in daylight.

T/U 10hrs

Brought a couple of rings out to rig bounce rift with tyrolean.

T/U: 10.0 hours

Frank Tully, Ian Walker,
Tunnocks - Derig

A trip into Stone Monkey to recover the 30m rope at the far end and to derig out from there. My first visit :- a very interesting place, glad I took the chance to see it! Packed all the derigged gear into the tacklebags, except the entrance pitch (92m) which we paellaed out in one go.

Impressed with: Caramel Catharsis traverse (textbook)

Not impressed with: entrance pitch bolts (triple fishermans on pitches are a bad way to join ropes and poorly dressed knots are difficult to untie) :-(

Carired all the shit back to the bivy in one go, and derigged half the cairn reflectors on the way.

A very enjoyable trip.

T/U 5 hrs

T/U: 5.0 hours

Wookey, Andrew Atkinson, Martin Green, Becka Lawson,
KH - East Anglia

The three of us were still keen for our third KH assault in three days, then Martin piped up that he wanted to come along too since Ian had bailed out to help on the Tunnocks derig. Under Ian's expert tuition we'd pretty much sussed the route finding by now (the walk to the entrance is at least as tricky). Martin mashed his fingers struggling with the 2m pitch before the Bridge - I know its all of 2 prusiks but pretty please can it get a proper rig if/when people return there? Martin wavered about heading straight back but there was a definite lack of enthusiastic volunteers to shperd him out so he was cajoled onwards. "Are we nearly there yet?" An onwards. We finally got to the down pitch (C1993-161-03) then up pitch that Wookey + Andrew had dropped then climbed yesterday. Wookey set off to descend the pitch beyond and dangled on rope for several hours squealing exitedly that drills were excellent gear. He ran out of rope 50m down then he and Martin derigged and surveyed out. Meanwhile Andrew and I started our survey from yesterday's down pitch and up to the head of Wookey's pitch and down a small horizontal passage which eventually mud-filled. The place is stuffed with pitches - the initial down pitch at C1993-161-03 continues large and deep below two huge wedged boulders where we got off to climb up. There's also a pitch to the right of Wookey's over a rok spur, though this might connect to Wookey's. However, spurning these obvious downs Andrew spied a traverse/climb up the rock spur "The Natural Ways", made significantly trickier because he could only use the right side of the arrete as the others were directly below him. After quite some time he shouted he'd got to the top and then I was left babysitting the rope whilst he had a swift scoop to check it was worth me coming up! It was...

The traverse is well-rigged on naturals though a couple of spits at the top would be good. It tops out at a ledge with a pitch beyond that, again, likely connects to Wookey's pitch. However, far more interesting a final step led into wide walking/stooping phreatic passage. We whizzzed a survey up until it was 7pm and time to go home. Back to chivvy MArtin and Wookey out and tyo pack up the mounds of gear and derig what we could. Hard work until Repton where we dumped much of the gear ready for the 11/08/09 trip then poor Martin was flaging so a slow exit in the early hours and finally back to camp at 3am. Fortunately we'd already planned on taking the next day off.

T/U 15hrs.

Wook: pitch notes: "6 Mile Bottom". Initial clean pitch of 11m to sundy shelf. Window into big rift - 10x5m. Bolt in centre of rift. About 12m down shaft on West, wall has a couple of passages. Can take survey onto here before lower rebelay put in - needs bolt to retain rope! Reelay 10m off the floor. Continues in fine form at the bottom - next bit is 14m, then more. Very reminiscent of Gaffered series - QMA.

T/U: 15.0 hours

Becka Lawson, Ian Walker,
KH - East Anglia and derig

Team Horizontal+Wook and Andrew - see separate write up

We had previously decided that our final pushing trip would occur on the Tuesday and the we would attempt a full KH derig to leave Wednesday free for bivy fettling and gear carrying..

Well today was the day.

After a relatively relaxed start (somehow fate seems to have a lot of inertia) we got underground at the KH standard time of 10:30.

First on the agenda was a trip into "Where the Wind Blows" for a furtle about. This is a 300m long phreatic passage trending northish terminating in a draughtinf boulder choke not far from the current pushing limit in East Anglia. A connection would make exploration of teh Far North a much easier task but alas we could see no obvious way through. Possible leads include:

1. Dig the uphill terminal choke (and get a boulder on your head like Andrew). Scary.

2. Bolt upthe aven next door (10m back on the left). Needs a couple of upward wriggles to get there (easy unless you're Andrew) and a 10-15m bolt climb. Vocal connection to the choke. No way of identifying size of passage at the top though.

3. Dig the horizontal boulder choke (next to the uphill choke) for a gorizontal continuation. Draught?

4. Dig a sand (mud crumb?) bank in a side passage much further back. Passage is near the dog leg in main passage. Crawling sized, 4 inches air gap with continuation visible for 4-5m, possibly a small chamber.

5. Climb into roof before dog leg. This area is quite large (Wookey did a 12m climb up to the roof on the left). Reported back that he could see a continuation but would need a rope for further progress. Good lead, as the dog leg marks the end of teh trunk phreas (sinks into floor, mud choked); from here on is a mere 2*1.5m phreas! Note that the Far North Limit is currently below this level though.


After this little detour we got back on track and headed to Repton. Here Becka and I left Andrew and Wookey to play spiderman whilst we headed to last trips limit, to explore the horizontal walking sized phread. And because on the last trip the was had been derigged back to Repton we had to take a tacklesack to get there!

Nevertheless we did get there. Becka gave me a guided tour of the passage beyond East Anglia, and we came to the limit of exploration at a junction. Here I took the notepad and pencil and we made slow progress through a complex and multilevel sloping pocketed phreas. What a great place to first take notes! Seven legs later it was time to head out, for we had said 6pm at Repton when arranging to meed the others. Grade A lead left at the limit: a pitch continuation at the bottom of a rift mud slope :)

On the way back to Andrew's traverse ("The Natural Way") a black rift in the floor gives a genuine 5 second free fall. I spent a good while timing the drops with my stopwatch: of half a dozen stones which didn't touch the rift sides not a single one took less than 5 seconds! :)


I was so preoccupied with the black rift that I completely forgot to have a wee. This duly done (down the black rift naturally), we kitted up to return along the traverse. Becka pointed out that the last belay had a dodgy rock which out to be gardened. Doing this turned the solid thread into a poorly positioned spike (i.e. the rope now pulls up on it). Big bang from the rock though.

Getting back to Repton at one minute to six, we found no sign of the others but for a solitary rope dangling from on up high. Becka went up in search of the others and I went up to the top of the boulder pile to make a cup of soup with Anthony's meths stove. Before I had finished my cup I could hear the others returning and more soup was had until the meths ran out. We spent about an hour (!) drinking soup and packing all the assorted shit into bags.

At this point Becka and I were given a tacklesack each and headed out waiting at the top of Knossos to regroup. Andrew and Wookey performed the derig role between them and we exited between 21:30 and whatever time Wookey got out This must have been some time later as Becka and I got back to the bivy at 11:00 but the others didn't return until 1am.

A great finale to a great expo :)

T/U 11hrs (Wook 13hrs).

T/U: 11.0 hours

Wookey, Andrew Atkinson,
KH - Climbing in Repton
(other half of trip with Becka + Ian)

Andrew spotted intersting hole in roof of repton, 15-18m off deck.

Bedding it is in caused there to be a ledge(ish) from it back to the

highest point of the boulder pile (well about 3m up at that point).

Andrew shinned whilst wookey belayed. First bit straight up wall

proved awkward with heroic move needed onto ledge. Ledge full of KH

mud of course and generally about 30-60cm wide and sloping away. Slow

progress with a lot of muttering round an awkward bulge then good wide

bit till nearly at passage. Narrow bit here with huge runout so 1 more

bolt needed. 7 bolts in total. Seconding was even scarier as all the

pro was just before each tricky bit! Wook had one major wobbly

part way along, but made it after a lot of grumbling.

Naice walking passage about 4m x 1.8m was our reward. We rigged

down-rope 1st then surveyed. Disto D2 was very troublesome - refusing

to measure except one time in 10. Tedious. Surveyed about 100m, until

becka arrived to point out it was hometime. Nice draught, passage

continues. Fine thing to come back to...

T/U: 0.0 hours