Depth through thought

OUCC News 22nd February 1995

Volume 5, Number 6

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Last week saw a well attended AGM with some actual voting and a few silly hats. Welcome to the new committee (not that you'll find all the faces new).

The New Committee:
President: Steve Roberts
Chair: Will Jeremy
Secretary: Maarten
Meets secretary: James Hooper
Tackle: Olly
Treasurer: Pauline Rigby
Lamp Post: Chris Vernon
Loris: James Hooper

Boca del Joon '95

As I'm sure everyone knows, for many years OUCC has been travelling to the Picos de Europa, undertaking the exploration of the caves in the Ario basin. The 1994 expedition found two more significant caves in the area of the Conjurtao and Jorcada Blanca systems. Both of these caves, known as C9 (or C3) and F64, were explored to a depth of about 500 meters and only the lack of time prevented further discoveries. Both caves have small streams, but the passage sizes suggest that they are part of a major hydrological system....

The broad outline of the plan for the 1995 expedition is to return to the new Top Camp area to continue the exploration of C9 and F64. We will take all the camping gear to possibly set up a "travelling camp" down C9. We will also continue shaft bashing, prospecting for new caves as well as looking for lower entrances. All past expeditions have contained a large training element, our intention here has been to organise things so that a relative new comer to caving can take a full and active part in the expedition and have as much fun as the old lags. Early rigging trips will allow recently acquired SRT skills to be put to excellent use---a quote from last year--- and let people get used to Deep Caving.

Still interested????? Well Urs (our Treasurer) would like this years members to pay their expedition deposit (which goes on buying rope, gear, etc.) as soon as possible. The cost at the moment is £125 but Dave Lacey (our noble Leader) says it may have to go up a bit for those who pay later. Dates haven't been confirmed yet though we'll probably leave a week earlier this year. ie. end May to mid August. There's an expedition meeting in 8th week, but if you're interested in coming and haven't been before speak to Dave or me or in fact anyone about what it will be like. Whatever happens, we will be GOING DOWN.
 "No More Heroes" Hooper

Ireland '95

Time's ticking away for those who still haven't booked their place on the Ireland trip. You know you want to.....
The Stout Drinker

Cutting Edge

Yes it's true.... my singing and the rescue footage of Tony, filmed down Quaking on New Years Eve will be going on air on Monday 27th February at 9pm. I spoke to the director of Cutting Edge on Thursday evening and it should be a good programme so set your videos. Apparently "Cavemen" will also be shown on the following Friday at 5pm, missing out those naughty caving words (Tony apparently muttered "shithole" for example). Seven rescues are featured and the aim is to show the good work of the CRO, not the "recklessness of caving". As for my singing, I've just signed a form saying that I agreed to the recording and "hereby give all consent for the reproduction, exhibition, transmission, broadcast and exploitation thereof without time limit throughout the universe by all means and media (whether now known or hereafter invented)"!


Our Sunday trip down Swillies can basically be summed up in one word: water. The cave was wetter than I've ever seen it before, and our two novices (Anita and Ruth) certainly got a glimpse of the real excitement and atmosphere of 'proper' caving. None of this pansying around in a pathetic streamway that doesn't even reach the top of your wellies. David took us in a very complicated way at the entrance (totally new to me), avoiding both the awkward climb and the squeeze through the middle of the waterfall. We scuttled in the long dry way, had fun walking under a blinding torrent immediately below the water chamber, and negotiated all the potentially tricky bits without too much trouble. Well done to Anita and Ruth; it wasn't the easiest of novice trips.

Thankfully Anita didn't fancy going through the sump. It was very, very full and brown and scummy, so I had no burning desire to do it either. On the way out, Anita had a slight problem on the ladder. She was climbing up the controversial 'Monaghan rig' (ladder rigged off a piece of stal, above and to the right of the bolt, as you look down the pitch), and somehow got her foot caught in a second ladder (the conventional rig, hanging off the bolt). This meant she was stuck half way up, tired and losing arm strength, under the full force of the water, unable to move up or down, or to communicate with me. Luckily other people were around, and helped out, otherwise I might have had a situation out of my control. So, a useful piece of advice is if there are two ladders hanging at the pitch, remove the one that you don't intend to use before lining novices up or down.

The final bit on the way out, where the 'new' waterfall drops down the 'new' hole in the floor caused me some anxiety, because I didn't know the easy bypass route. I got to the top by holding my breath against the waterfall and squeezing up a vertical hole, right where the water comes down. Later I found out that this is the absolute worst route, because there's a horrendous drop directly below you (which you can't see because of the waterfall) and also because those boulders are potentially unstable. Luckily James came to my rescue and took Anita out the bypass route. Thanks to everyone concerned for a wonderful trip. I think we'll see Anita caving again as soon as her muscles stop aching.
Jenny Vernon

Ogof Draenen

Just to report that two weekends ago James, Chris and me visited Draenen again carrying huge amounts of largely non-functional batteries for the Bosch drill. Nevertheless, James succeeded in nearly drowning himself in the downstream dig off Strawberry way, whilst Chris and I bolted up the waterfall. The wall is all a bit overhanging, but I've reached the ledge level with the stream, and can see into a passage: choked mainly with loose boulders. However, the stream issues from a crawl to the side, and with five more bolts we'll be in. Incidentally, I used just one Bosch battery (and that still going) to bolt up about 40ft using 8mm rawlbolts rather than 13mm sensibles. Works a treat, and might even me a feasible expedition option if we have anything that needs climbing. Unfortunately, this weekend's plans had to be cancelled, but I hope to go back and finish the job soon.
Tim Guilford

Small Ads

For Sale: Copies of "Cave of the Witches Eye" Video. "I was on the edge of my seat" - Barry Norman. A simple tale of adventure and discovery on the 1989 OUCC expedition to Spain. Filmed and edited by Graham Naylor, it stars Harry Moss, Sherry Mayo and Wlodek. Narration by Richard Gregson. Special effects by Steven Speilberg. Since this is family entertainment, the shots of Harry wanking at the entrance and Steve R. crapping into a plastic bag have been edited out. 2 copies available now @ 7.50; more can be produced if needed. Contact Steve Roberts.

Wanted: Video of "Cutting Edge" featuring a stuck Tony and James singing.

Currency with holes If you've got any, Pauline would like to know.

Film Review

Star Trek - Generations On a planet of apparently limited speleological interest, Captain Piccard indulged in DIGGING in what appears to be limestone. Removing a few rocks enabled access (beneath a 30MW force field) to a significant extension containing TriLithium rocket and bomb. Unfortunately the dig has now been destroyed by Laser fire.
Steve Roberts