Depth through thought
OUCC News 24th May 1995
Volume 5, Number 13
|DTT Volume 5 index|
After our first successful rescue practice last year (Sara survived), we are holding another this weekend on the Mendip. It is fun, it is energetic, and its very very enlightening. Please come, especially if you plan to go on expedition
As soon as I have enough people for the minibus I will try to book some
accommodation, so the earlier you let me know.........
Will Jeremy, Keble
YORKSHIRE weekend £27 [transport £8.00 each way] NEW YEAR Yorkshire £6 per day plus transport WALES weekend £16.50 one night, £21.00 two nights [transport £5.00 each way] MENDIP weekend £14.00 one night, £18.00 two nights [transport £4.00 each way] (MNRC members save 1.25 /night in hut fees). MENDIP DAY £8 NOVICE TRIP £15 (includes year's membership @£7) MEMBERSHIP Full members £25 New members £7 Country members £10
To complete the seven sets of gear we needed one more oversuit, which could be found at Chris' house. The van wouldn't restart but Chris competently reverse bump started it on his driveway. Driving along the A40 just outside Oxford we noticed that something was seriously amiss with the van. The windscreen wipers could barely make it across the windscreen and there were no indicators. Not much electrics of any kind in fact. The first turning took us directly to Steve's house where a faulty alternator was diagnosed. Being Saturday we couldn't get another. Everyone left in Chris' car, except me, I got left behind, trying to get an MOT for my car so I could follow, with half an hour to go before the garages closed for the weekend. I didn't get one, so ... by this point the caving weekend from hell had gathered enough momentum to roll on without me. I had my own personal, private hell, spending twelve hours a day with the shambolic accounts as the alternative.
The Brunel lot had left on the Friday night quite late and were already in Wales. They got a warm welcome: "Oy take your van and fuck off back where you came from!" when reversing their minibus, which has a beeper, at 3am. Despite having no caving gear for them, and you need proper gear for OFD since you're not supposed to take novices down there, they cajoled Chris into taking them caving on Sunday after all, professing to have enough gear, meaning lights and fluorescent waterproofs which isn't enough gear. Chris took the first four to OFD before wisely deciding that taking obvious novices down the cave wasn't a good idea, so he took them back again. To salvage the day, the Brunel lot went back to Brunel via Birmingham for a curry.
Meanwhile Will and Anita went to Top Entrance. They didn't want an SWCC 5 o'clock call out so had to take the key up, unlock the entrance and take the key back. Chris and Katinka went in OFD 1 with Martin Hicks and Gareth, who apparently is a very experienced caver, but a bit large. He flatly refused to go through a squeeze, and after much discussion was left to go back on his own. Between 4 o'clock and five o'clock they were all lost in the Cwm dwr boulder choke. As they did have an SWCC maintained call out, stress levels, which were already quite high for Chris, due to a Hungarian misunderstanding about cooking dinner, started to go up and up. At 6 o'clock they made it out and pelted down the hill to find the SWCC all calmly drinking tea.
There it should have ended, but on Monday morning I found a note from Tim
in my pigeon hole. He'd been writing it at 8 am on Sunday, just as he was
leaving for Wales. He was wondering whether to wake me so that I could go
too, but decided I might not appreciate it!!! Arrgh. The near miss tipped
me over the edge ...
The cave was found in 1988 with a very tight entrance zone by the group called Z from Nagyvarad. They didn't do much exploration till 1993 when Gemanata and some of his friends went through a squeeze and they found new passages. Since then another entrance was found which is much more comfortable than the older. There are no squeezes and, you know, it is very important when you have to carry your huge tummy and tackle bag. The entrance of the cave is in the valley called Valea Rea which means Bad Valley. This valley is near the plateau Padis that is a very famous and nice place of the Bihar mountains.
We left Budapest on 31 March, Friday in the afternoon. First of all we went to Gemanata's parents who live in Biharpuspoki which is a small village near the border and belongs to Romania. At the checkpoint the stupid Romanian soldier printed a stamp onto my passport with the date of 31 MAY. Just a small difference... We spent the next day at home, talking to Gemanata's parents and visiting his friends.
We left in the early morning on Sunday and drove nearly two hours. On the mountains there was still a lot of snow, so we drove on the serpentine road as far as we could and then left the car there and started to walk. We were walking for six hours between the mountains till we arrived at the entrance. The snow was very deep but fortunately its top was frozen so we could go. On the way I saw something which looked like a bad hut but Gemanata told me it was a tower... The last part of the route was so disgusting. you have to traverse on the side of the mountain and the snow was softer. This way took more than 2 hours. Finally we were at the entrance. We rested, packed our tackle bags and ate some food before we entered the cave.
We entered the cave around 4pm. The entrance is a small muddy hole but after that there are a lot of wonder... The first part, fossil meanders and pitches lead to the stream. There aren't formations but the shape of the passages is nice without formations, too. When we arrived at the stream we had a rest. While teawater was being heated Kati led me to the first sump. On the way there she showed me some beautiful gypsum formations, "flowers" and "needles". After the rest we went along the stream and we saw a lot of different formations: gypsum, dripstones and helictites. Luckily there wasn't much water only I got wet because I fell down. We arrived at the bivouac five hours later than we entered the cave and were able to have dinner and then we said: GOODNIGHT!
Next day, after having breakfast (rather lunch) we went to a huge chamber
above the bivouac. Gemanata tried to climb up in a rift but unfortunately
he didn't find anything so went on. We didn't go far but we went through a
small but nice chamber. It was full of dripstones, various colours and
formations. After this beautiful area there is a chamber and after it there
is a small maze. We wanted to push new passages but unfortunately we found
only discovered passages so we surveyed this part. One of these parts is
called "Meandrul Idiot". I think I don't have to translate this Romanian
name but I don't understand why it is its name. A tight passage covered by
pop-corns and dripstones led us to the main passage where we finished our
survey and turned back. Oh, warm food and sleeping bag!!