Depth through thought
OUCC News 27th November 1992
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A lively TGM last week brought us nearly unanimous votes on the new Van Monitor (Ian Barker) and his (in this case) responsibilities (vehicle + accounts) until the AGM. Thanks to all for contributing to the "frank and open" discussions. Apologies to Pauline for not publishing the club accounts this week: electronic cock-up, but I will get them in next week.
Saturday 30th Nov. / Sunday 1st December. Mendip Madness weekend, with an underground treasure hunt for what unknown beauties? By kind invitation of the Rodneys...an underground BBQ in Read's Cavern will follow. Helpers needed to go down on Saturday am, but the van will leave the hut at 1200. Bring sleeping bags, carrymats, drink, and caving gear. I must know numbers to arrange food and flowers...
Wednesday 4th December. Climbing wall/ swimming/ skating trip to Swindon (I think). Tony is organising it, but probably meet hut 6.30.
Reply from Dr Sills, A.C. Irvine Fund
Pauline has had a reply from Dr. Sills, of which this is the nub...
"I understood that there had been some disagreement last year within the Caving Club, and I therefore wrote to all the Trustees to find out the general consensus. We did, of course, know that the Fund's support was administered by the Club and not passed directly to individuals. However I don't think we had realised that the expedition might include quite a few people who would not be eligible individually for Irvine grants, with the result that those for whom the grant was provided could be receiving quite a bit less than we expected. Certainly the majority of Trustees said that they wanted the main priority to be support of eligible undergraduates, with some suggesting that a Club grant might be considered. There is a precedent for this in the Club grant to the OUMC, with the caveat that it is used specifically to support beginners..."
At Dr Sills' suggestion, Pauline will arrange a meeting with Dr Sills and the Fund's Treasurer in advance of their AGM to discuss possibilities. Would anyone like to pass thoughts or suggestions on to Pauline, David or Tim?
2/7 or not 2/7?
There is, at present, a debate going on within the club as to what the aims of next year's expedition should be - the argument centres on the question of whether or not we should rig 2/7.
The cave 2/7, also known as Pozu Jultayu or Pozu del Ojo de la Bruja, has been the main focus of the last five OUCC expeditions; in that time we have made some very exciting discoveries - a vertical shaft 400m deep which leads to a very large streamway, a mile long. In 1989, the present down-stream limit was reached -- a boulder choke known as Choke Egbert. Since then we have been unable to pass the choke, although we have found a lot of passage in that area and there are still a lot of leads to be looked at. The main reason is the remoteness of the pushing front: trips have typically lasted 4 days and have only managed about 8 hours at the sharp end. Everyone now realises that this is not an efficient way to push the cave; if we are to find a way past Egbert, we will need to find an easier way into the system which will allow us to give the leads the full attention they deserve.
At present we know of a number of caves which may lead into the Jultayu system:
I believe that these caves provide more than enough opportunities for the expedition. A plan has been put forward that 2/7 should be rigged in order to explore upstream. I think this is a bad idea for the following reasons:
It is important that everyone planning to come on expedition tells the expedition
committee what they want to do. [David will be handing round a sheet tonight for you to
make comments on. Please hand it back today so that the expedition committee can put their
view in next week's newsletter]. My hope is that most people will decide that they would
rather play a part in pushing the smaller caves, and that the plan to rig 2/7 is
abandoned, freeing resources for the search for a lower entrance. Even if this is not the
case, the more cavers working in the smaller caves, the more successful the expedition is
likely to be.
Huerta del Rey 1992
This year's expedition seems set to get University approval, subject to some modifications to the prospectus. CB radios are being taken seriously this year. Sean is looking into them, so any suggestions to him please. One idea is to put a base station in the van at Los Lagos.
Digging in Frosty passage...
On Friday 22nd November, Tony and I went digging in Frosty Passage in Daren Cilau. An efficient trip down saw us at the dig site within two hours, despite carrying various weapons of destruction (crow bar, hammer, trowel, fork). The boulder which had stopped me and Sean on the previous trip was soon levered out, to reveal more rocks and sand. The largest boulder took some shifting - we even had to widen the passage at one point to get it out. This gave enough room for Tony to kneel up in the dig and attack the choke manically with the crow bar, he made fast progress while I stacked the spoil in a heap strangely reminiscent of a building designed by Dave Bell.
The dig was extended by about two metres, before we decided to call it a day. We need some better way of removing spoil from the dig site (this says something about how fast our progress was -we had expected to just pass it back) as well as some sand bags for stacking it more efficiently. The choke is made out of boulders, up to head-sized, stuck together with sand; it is very similar in character to DADES choke, near the end of the cave and on the same fault line. Progress is made by poking the choke with a crow bar, while cowering out of the way, and then dragging out the sand and rocks.
So, another OUCC dig is up and running. It looks quite promising: it also has a lot of
potential for connecting with open passage heading towards The Restaurant at the End of
the Universe, and intersecting the second streamway. The question is whether we'll break
out into open passage before we run out of space for stacking spoil. As always, more
people are needed to help. This one could go far; there again, it will probably go
No, not the Metro, but a huge complex of passages 60 m below the ancient city. At first
just enjoying stomping down miles of passage away from the traffic above, then amazed as
we popped out into the Catacombs with walls stacked high with skulls from the French
Revolution and before. For about half an hour we kept walking swiftly as if in some vadose
trench cut deep into a striated sandwich of human remains. Six million of them, reburied
when Paris decided it needed its cemeteries for building. I never thought you could get
habituated to such things, but I was literally boned-out when we finally emerged on some
small street a metro stop away. Well recommended.
The van has been primed for repainting. and has a new sprayer on the front: thanks to all who helped last Saturday. It looks like the 13 Bevington road parking site is too difficult (bit like David M. in the Eft). Any thoughts?. Dave Lacey is probably about to provide us with a rare sight: a smile! The hut was also cleared up on Saturday - thanks all.
Where is "the last resort"?