Xandar

Xandar

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  • in reply to: Matienzo, Easter 2022 #9835
    Xandar
    Moderator

    Here’s my trip report, I wrote on the ferry and forgot to post it, if anyone is interested.

      Tuesday 12th April

    People: Alex Ritchie
    Weather: Sunny and warm
    Cave: 0098

    Arriving literally an hour ago at 11am, after putting the tent up, I headed into 0098, to see what the end of the Eastern Branch looked like, which was something I had been interested in doing last summer. There was meant to be an unpassed squeeze past a boulder which drafts strongly.
    However, after getting inside by only 50m I reached water, the passage ahead was sumped. Bugger. So, what to do, then? Well, there was a draft, but where was it going, after all there was no airspace. I followed it up a boulder slope to a tight passage with a squeeze on it. The mud here appeared to have a single pair of footprints on it. I ferreted my way up quite some distance between boulders and small chambers now well above the height of the entrance so well above the flood level. Despite this, there was now no evidence of anyone being here. I can’t believe it after only being in Matienzo for just 2 hours, I was already in new passage, 10 minutes walk from the campsite no-less!

    The draft was howling, and I followed it through some awkward, but nicely decorated passages that reached a climb down. I realised part-way down that this was actually a pitch as a rock I dislodged fell quite some distance. I traversed over the top as far as I dared and could see big passage ahead, but I could go no further. I had to come back, to check all of this out. On the way out I had a route around in the boulder choke finding two further pitches down into who knows where.

    At the entrance I happened to look up and what’s this even more passage right at the entrance! The people who explored it over 30 years ago must have been Blind as a Bat, which gave this new bit of passage it’s name.

    Trip time 2.5 hours

    Passage surveyed 0m

      Wednesday 13th April

    People: Andrew Northall, Gracie, Alex Ritchie
    Weather: Overcast but still warm
    Cave: 0098

    Andrew had approached me keen to learn how to survey, and boy did I have a cave for him. We first surveyed the short blind bat passage in the entrance before surveying the existing passage so we could link it in to the new stuff. Andrew was already not impressed with this cave calling it “a bit shit” he had been in Risco the previous day.

    We headed to the new stuff and I must say as surveying goes for a first trip this was a bloody difficult one, as we now had boulder chokes with multiple ways on, mud and small squeezes to boot. They did bloody good! Andrew was grateful for the learning but complained more on how bloody awful the cave was. But I said to him this was all new stuff.

    We got to the pitch and rigged it with many slings reaching large passage. However, this passage turned out to just be the main passage. The good news though is that we were on the other-side of the flooded passage, so we had a flood bypass route at least, which I named “Accy Bypass”. We had a quick look at the continuing passage to confirm this was the main passage before heading back up.

    On the way up a very large 10kg~ rock dislodged missing me by less than a metre. This, now resides in the centre of the passage.
    We then headed to the second pitch that needed looking at, which required severe gardening to even fit down. By this point Andrew had enough and left, he also and accidently took Gracie’s SRT kit out too. This left me to explore and survey at the bottom alone. This had a nice calcite flow and a possible way on up a 3-4m high calcite wall, that will need looking at, but otherwise it closed down.

    Andrew said it was the second most muddiest place he had been, number 1 being Jenga pot.

    Trip time: 6.5 hours

    Passage surveyed: 93m (new) 135m total.

    Thursday 14th April
    Rest day, went for a 6 mile walk near Remales with John and Jen.

      Friday 15th April

    People: Gracie, Alex Ritchie
    Weather: Sunny and warm
    Cave: 0098

    Andy swore to not go back and Gracie had a certificate from Phil that said she did not have to go back, but we still had a pitch to drop!
    Gracie, was actually happy to come along once more despite how bruising it has been to her so far. We only had one more pitch to drop, however this was a bloody awkward pitch head. It consists of a sharp crawl, over jagged rock interspersed by mud, leading directly to the pitch from a tube.
    We tied off to a natural and I went down, Gracie would only follow if it went anywhere (it did not). However, Gracie did a great job surveying that horrible passage leading to the pitch. I took over surveying at the bottom, which was a weird cross rift series, where unfortunately all ways on are either choked or are too small (one could be dug).

    Surveying done, and the waterfilled passage now dried we had great fun exploring the rest of the cave, which is a complete mud fest. Exploring most of the passage involved kicking in mud steps, or just slip and sliding. An ice axe and crampons would be recommended gear in this cave! We were unable to reach my original objective in the East passage, as it was not possible to climb the mud. Think high level mud caverns in Mossdale.

    Trip time: 4 hours
    Passage surveyed 27m

      Saturday 16th April

    People: Alex and (John P as surface support)
    Weather: Sunny and warm
    Cave: 0662

    The expedition had a tick list of caves to tick off, one was quite interesting called 1142, described as an unexplored drafting cave. So, in the early afternoon we set off to the cave using the GPS coordinates I typed into my phone. The walk up was difficult, deep gorse and sharp limestone pinnacles, meaning it almost took us 2 hours to get there. What’s worse I was coming down with something, I already had sore throat, and feeling dizzy and was sweating profusely. However, get there we did, well at least I thought we did. However, my GPS or me must have a blip as we had unknowingly at the time arrived instead at 0662 as you might have guessed from the cave number in the title, this was some 50m away. The cave we were looking for did not have a photo so we were not to know we were in the wrong place.

    John sunbathed whilst I surveyed in finding quite a large chamber, and two pitches one 6m deep the other 7m, however I only measured them with the disto and did not throw anything down, I was wildly wrong about the depth estimate of one of them.

    On the way back down the hill I started to feel really unwell, falling over several times and barely managing the final gentle walk uphill along a track to return to the car.

    Trip time: 1.5 hours (underground)
    Passage surveyed: 20m (new) 50m overall.

      Sunday 17th April

    I basically spent the whole day in bed, with a fever and very sore tonsils.

      Monday 18th April

    People: Gracie, Andrew Northwall Alex
    Weather: Overcast, cool and starting to drizzle.
    Cave: 0662

    I was over the fever, so I was not going to let what I assumed to be Tonsillitis stop me caving (I had Covid only 3 weeks ago, so it can’t be that!).
    So, with the illness subsiding and my energy levels returning I decided dropping a short pitch would be an easy afternoon recovery activity. I knew the cave had been partially explored after correctly identifying where I was so we could safely ignore one of the pitches as it had been dropped already.
    As, always we were wildly optimistic and brought more rope than we thought we needed but did not bother with a drill as I knew there were natural rigging at the top of the pitches, because a drill, bolting hammer and spanner are bloody heavy and this cave is located high on a ridge.

    However, things were conspiring against us. Our main issue this afternoon was that the hillside was on fire! On the one-hand, it meant all the gorse had gone, but on the other it meant we had to fight our way past a lot of smoke as well as flames. Two of us were determined a little wildfire was not going to stop us caving. The flames we could avoid (these were only grass fires) but the smoke proved too much for Gracie’s asthma, so she turned back.

    Thankfully once we climbed onto the ridge, the fires seemed to not be able to cross and the wind was blowing the smoke in the other direction. We were also happy the grass on this side was sufficiently wet so it would be unlikely to catch fire. (In-fact the fire never crossed the fence line, specifically which was weird).

    We got into the cave and reached the little pitch found on the last trip, however after Andrew chucked a rock down it turned out not to be little at all, in-fact the rocks seemed to bounce around for about 8 seconds, in some cases! A little deeper than 6m then!

    Andrew descended first and waited for me on a large ledge 10m down, where I took over, descending from here down a fine shaft which was a further 21m deep. Somehow, we got to the bottom of this with just a 32m rope, though I did have to get off 1m off the floor. The next pitch also looked deep but from rock tests, we guessed it was no more than 20m, we had a 22m rope remaining. Finding suitable rigging points was interesting, we eventually found a rock spike about 4m off the floor with an even smaller rock spike just below for the main hang.

    I went down first at Andrew’s insistence as it was my find. Getting onto the pitch was tight, kind of like the slot in Swinsto, but not quite that tight. This drop turned out to be 16m so thankfully the rope reached with 1m to spare this time! This was a big wide spacious rig so again was a fine descent!
    At the bottom was big passage, but all too soon it closed down. There was a way on down a hole in the floor dropping us down another 5m, this led through a rock window into a final aven chamber with no way on at a depth of around 60m. I called this cave Tonsillitis pot and named the pitches based on the symptoms.

    Trip time: 4.5 hours
    Passage surveyed: 67m

      Tuesday 19th April

    People: Gracie, Andrew Northwall, Pete Smith and Alex
    Weather: Overcast, rain.
    Cave: 0027 (top ent to 0025)

    A tourist trip led by Pete Smith, we went through some awesome passage as far as the climb up from the lower series which is about half way along the through trip.

    On the way out I wanted to take a quick look at a major inlet passage (Marvo). Pete then told me that the waterfall halfway along had not been entered by anyone. I could see it seemed to go on so I decided that it should be my next objective! The question was, how the heck was I meant to get up there. It’s only 4 or 5 m above the floor but climbing direct was impossible as all the “rock” was actually clay and fell off as soon as you even looked at it. This needed a plan of an attack, I carefully looked around and formed a plan to return.

    Trip time: 3.5 hours
    Passage surveyed: 0m

      Wednesday 20th April

    People: Patrick Warren, Alex
    Weather: Overcast and light rain, heavy rain on exit
    Cave: 0027 (top ent to 0025)

    My plan to tackle the waterfall obstacle, was to bolt up diagonally along the right-hand wall, as although the distance was about 5m across and 2m up, it was a far better prospect than the left wall which was very friable.

    I had a quick crash course from Jim Lister the night before, but I was still nervous about this kind of bolting (I haver never bolted a free-hanging traverse before). Nevertheless, I made good progress before I let Patrick take over who is a dab-hand at this kind of thing at least compared to me. My time was not wasted though as I used to tie in the new passage we were sure to find with the nearest likely survey station a major kern at a junction of passages 50m back.
    When I returned Patrick was done and had rigged a y-hang. As it was my trip he kindly suggested that I should go first into the new passage. It was a bloody awkward pitch to get off without protection, I should have brought the drill with me. Nevertheless, I made it into the new passage and found a good belay to rig a traverse from. We then spent some time just removing the original bolt traverse and re-rigging the pitch properly before we started exploring.

    Immediately the passage opened up somewhat to walking size, but then seemed to quickly diminish to a squalid crawl, which neither of us particularly wanted to survey. Thankfully a slope to the right bypassed this. We re-joined the stream in high rift passage which continued for some distance. Then, the water sumped at an 8m high avon chamber, but again there was a way on that went around this, along a narrow but high rift. Climbing up as it looked bigger we found this very loose, but nicely decorated. After about 40m of this we re-joined the stream in larger rift passage, high above. The passage was now 8m high, and we were near the top. A traverse led over a hole, it was very wide and had a significant fall risk, so we decided to leave it here, with big open passage still going on ahead.

    We both found it an enjoyable trip.

    Trip time: 6.5 hours
    Passage surveyed: 101m

      Thursday 21st April

    Enforced rest day as no one to really cave with, went for a wander around Riva, sorted out surveys etc.

      Friday 22nd April

    People: John Proctor, Alex
    Weather: Overcast, dry
    Cave: 0027 (top ent to 0025)

    I was considering doing it solo, however John was feeling sorry for me and volunteered to help surveying the new passage. He was not minding the trip that much until it came to getting off the awkward pitch-head into the new passage. He even went as far as saying “Caving is some kind of mental illness” or words to that effect. So that’s what I called the passage “Mental illness inlet”.

    Anyway, we soon got to the traverse that John crossed easily, I found a narrower bit even higher up (scary as F, but doable) and we continued the exploration. We followed the rift at about 4m up before finding an easier way down to the stream. From here the passage increased in size dramatically, to being about 3m across and 10m high, we were in something big. We passed under an aven 14m high and the large passage continued, but with a lower roof. A slope up, then suddenly it ended! We were staring at a wall of rocks and tree roots, which was not surprising as the passage found yesterday looked to be heading to the surface. Maybe a dig here would make a new entrance, it’s very close.

    Near the end there were a few smaller passages leading off but all of them seemed to choke after a few survey legs. The exception was the passage with the water in it as this continued as a narrow 1m high rift, but it was getting exceedingly tight and is currently partially blocked by a rock at present so has not been pushed further. The water is also getting very close to the surface.

    Overall, this passage was a good find, my best find on the expedition I think, not a Mistle toe, but still.

    Trip time: 5 hours
    Surveyed: 107m

      Total found 416m
    in reply to: Scanty Lardos, Sunday 24/4/22 #9830
    Xandar
    Moderator
    in reply to: Matienzo, Easter 2022 #9820
    Xandar
    Moderator

    Lucky sod lol. Add that 1937 to my 401 and in total the BRCC discovered/involved with discovering 2338m out of 2945m!

    in reply to: Penyghent Pot, 19/3/22 #9797
    Xandar
    Moderator

    It is a fantastic trip, but for me I was not enjoying it that much on the way out. Mainly because it was cold and I hate waiting around when cold generally, that and my SRT kit was self destructing itself as my chest strap undid it self, as did my pantin, practically on every pitch until I put knots in them to stop it from happening (does anyone else have to knot their pantin and chest strap, or is that just me?). This stressed me out making the trip out less enjoyable as I felt this faff was possibly holding others up. (Though it turned out this was not the case as we kept catching up to the other group anyway).

    Still it’s good to know I can still do trips like this now I am pushing 40 and was no where near as tired as I thought I would be though the flat out crawl on the way out did tax me somewhat. How long have I got Shaman? 5 years until my body completely self destructs, like my SRT kit?

    I guess I need to do more trips like this to get back into the swing of things really.

    The trip time was 8 hours but without issues and the other group being in the system we prob would have done it in 7.

    in reply to: Newby Moss Excursions (12/03/2022) #9790
    Xandar
    Moderator

    I think According to NC2 and corresponding with the map I think that the last cave we were in is Hurnel Ridge Sink pg 210. Though after the second 9m pitch the description seems to vary quite a bit after the big chamber, it indicates there was a way up over the boulders to more cave, we should have looked up there. The hole in the floor must just not have been dug yet when the book was written as it is described as being 4m deep not 15.

    P.s. it was only grade 2 lol.

    I should add to the report that the dig (the 15m 1 bolt wonder) had quite a bit of stal some quite large growing off the scaff, so it’s either really old or calcite grows very quickly!

    in reply to: Marble sink and pot 15/01/2022 #9734
    Xandar
    Moderator

    Uploaded the vid

    Marble sink

    in reply to: Death’s Head Tue 18 Jan #9732
    Xandar
    Moderator

    Glad to see other people are getting out this year.

    in reply to: Matienzo, Winter 2021 #9700
    Xandar
    Moderator

    Good stuff, very jealous of course!

    in reply to: County pot 11/12/21 – Ignorance is Bliss #9688
    Xandar
    Moderator

    Sorry, Alex. I hate it when we fight.

    Lover’s quarrel, should we kiss and make up, Chriss ;)

    Oh yes I forgot about the SRT Sharman, well remembered.

    in reply to: County pot 11/12/21 – Ignorance is Bliss #9679
    Xandar
    Moderator

    My text just said what yours did but more succinctly lol, you are of course completely taking the piss. Where have I even written like that before, you are thinking of Pete Dale. If it went anywhere I would have followed, but it was a rather pointless squeeze to nowhere.

    Sigh…
    in other clubs you may get a little praise for taking the time to write the full report and attach photo’s, but not this one. I won’t bother next time and just stick to my videos and posting on Facebook.

    in reply to: Coniston Copper Mines, 13/11/21 #9637
    Xandar
    Moderator

    All the bolts (not on the main route) seem to be throgh bolts missinv the nuts making them useful and wobbled a lot

    in reply to: Tubular #9545
    Xandar
    Moderator
    in reply to: Tubular #9533
    Xandar
    Moderator

    You need both arms extended. I fit through it so I’m sure you do.

    True, but then you have nothing to push off and your leg gets stuck in the passage behind you as I found out, prob works better doing that feet first and I think Pete almost managed that approach. I was only able to get through feet first this time and it felt far less scary.

    You also did not fit on our last attempt Sharman, maybe in the past your over suit had fallen apart as normal and made it easier to get through with less width lol.

    P.s. Been editing the video together and you will be glad to know it don’t feature you at all, Chris (Scaife). (As you requested).

    in reply to: Echo Pot #9530
    Xandar
    Moderator

    4 inches air space on this trip was it? Luxury for me! Try 1-2 inches.

    Must have really badly rigged the first pitch last time, as this time it was piss easy.

    in reply to: Notts 2 – With Robbie Phillips #9502
    Xandar
    Moderator

    Not certain I would go that far.

    Anyway here’s his vid:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aObVqGFnwdg

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 260 total)