Depth through thought

OUCC News 4th October 1995

Volume 5, Number 17

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So, DTT is starting up again for the new academic year, and, as always, it depends on your support. Articles for inclusion will be only lightly edited (if at all), and should reach me preferably by e-mail ( before 5pm on publication day (Wednesday). Stories of trips past, announcements of trips coming, discoveries, hut, gear and book reviews, news, adverts and opinion are all welcome. Any new ideas, just let me know.

BCRA Southport

OUCC put in a healthy presence at the BCRA last week end. We had a club stand for the first time, which proved a useful meeting place, and made a useful impression I think (all part of the plan to erode the distinction between "university" and "recognised" clubs - at least in our case...). We also raised around £30 for CRO and Draenen Conservation by selling off old Procs. Dave Lacey gave an excellent, and very well attended, talk on this year's expedition (including an experimental demonstration of how to blow yourself up on a pitch). Tim Guilford gave a talk on Draenen discoveries (twice), and the expedition meeting successfully elected a leader for next year: Pauline Rigby. The club also managed to pick up five of the prizes this year, with Best Colour Print and 3rd Best Black and White going to Paul Mann; 2nd Best Colour Print and 3rd Best Slide going to Tim, and Women's SRT Triathlon going to Pauline. Good to know that the expedition leader can pass a rope knot in a hurry... Thanks to everyone who helped out.
Tim G.

Notes on Novice trips

What a summer.... I'll save more exciting reporting for next week but I thought I'd mention a few points before the fun of our next recruitment drive. Can people, once again, please help out by lending gear in labelled plastic bags? And can cavers on trips look after and return lent gear to these bags? Also, make sure you collect a great big fat cheque off novices who haven't paid and make a note of their details (ie. Full name, College, Home Address, Peculiarities, funny strawberry birthmarks etc. etc.).

Read on, read on. I keep adding sentences but it may create more drinking time at the TGM. Swildon's has changed in the last year so leaders of novice trips need to be sure of a safe route through the entrance. Furthermore, as I understand it, the fixed bolt on the "twenty" has now been moved to a different (and drier) hang. This brings me to gear (Oh gear don't you love it) and belts for lifelining. Pretty much all the club's belts are NOT (in my humble opinion) load bearing, so I reckon that belay ropes should be tied directly round novices. And so we move on down cave. (I love Swillies). A trip up Tratman's temple and into the start of the dry ways is much more interesting than Sump One, which is, let's face it, cold, wet, rare in British caving and generally overrated. I'll never forget a novice last year trilled at seeing his first "peligtites," and the look on his face as he saw our world for the first time was totally magic. So can as many people as possible help on trips over the next few weeks to make them as fun as possible and fight off the evil, "What A-levels did you do?" Thanks and bye for now.
James "Butterfingers" Hooper

The President Invites...

A good weekend, and a great mixture of old lags and new lags. Thanks to James and Urs for doing most of the organising, and to Sara and assistants for a superb meal on Saturday night - much needed after (drum roll) Hammer. Tony did excellent dives down Washfold and Hardrawkin, Kitti and Maarten were initiated into the mysteries of rigging, John had lots of fun but had to give it back, many had fun tangling with the three peaks cycle race, and Southerscales, was as ever, voted "best place in the Dales". Roll on next year - definitely a trip to repeat.
Steve Roberts

On being Hammered Twice

Doing a hard cave (for Hammer Pot is definitely a hard cave) twice with an interval of 11 years between gives you a bit of perspective on things like "the way we were". The first time was with the Rose brothers and Richard Gregson. I was the smallest in the team. We did the cave entirely on ladders. I emerged after about 11 hours, utterly knackered, only having the energy to move one limb at a time, with long rests, in the entrance crawl. The second time was with Chris D., Pauline, Harvey and Paul Mann. I was the largest in the party. We had to give most of our ladders to Bill Stead, and use SRT for the lower part of the cave, as the club no longer has enough to do two Yorkshire caves at the same time. I emerged after 8 hours, pretty knackered but not too bad on the whole.

Do not be deceived. I am bigger than I was all those years ago, and instead of jumping up and down on Gregson to force him through, I had to stand on Chris to get me up through the nasty bit by the second pitch. I then had a nasty wobbler when ALL ways on looked utterly unfeasible. Still, even the first time was punctuated by that stunning dialogue: "Where are you, Steve?" "Down here." "Can you get up?" "No." "Can you get down?" "No." "Can you go forwards?" "No." "Can you go backwards?" "No." "Well, what ARE you doing then?" "Just lying here..."

The cave hasn't altered much. No Red Bolts, no P-hangers, in fact only a few artificial belays in the whole place. A pity really, as it badly needs them, even for laddering, let alone SRT. Anybody feeling charitable could spend a happy afternoon down there with a bolt kit. At least the new guide book tells you, correctly, that the way to do "the fearsome object" at the end is to traverse to the right. The old book teasingly had "to the left". Neither book tells you that this leads to a parallel set of rifts that avoid "the fearsome object" altogether, but the bold step across is entertaining, and the last pitch is very fine.

It is, indeed, "still an excellent trip".
Steve Roberts

Lost and Found

Can anyone out there who knows of the where-abouts of William's green carrymat (brought back by the expedition) please let James know. Also, I found a very nice blue Dalesman furry-fleece jacket, that fits me oh so well, at Souther Scales after Presly's Invite. It's got a pair of black gloves in the pockets (which I find a bit small) and is owned by someone who takes those little plastic milk cartons from service stations. If its yours, just ask James for it.

Photographs wanted

Call for photos of cave minerals and speleothems

National Speleological Society Special Publications Committee want to extend a special invitation to cave photographers around the world to submit their speleothem and cave mineral photos for use in the book Cave Minerals of the World.

Authors Carol Hill (U.S.) and Paolo Forti (Italy) are working now on a revised and expanded edition of the book. It will be published by the National Speleological Society. It's scheduled to be released in mid-1997 at the International Congress of Speleology (UIS) in Switzerland.

New edition in full color

In the first edition, most photos were reproduced in black and white. We're planning to print the new edition entirely in color and are actively seeking color photos. We had 144 photos in CMW-1, so we need quite a few new photos. We hope you'll look over your slides with an eye to sending us some of your best mineral and speleothem photos for possible use in CMW-2.

Remember, the authors are not just looking for the most beautiful mineral photos. They also want pictures of unusual or unique subjects as well. They'd also like at least one photo for every type and sub-type of cave mineral and would like to have as many countries as possible represented in the book.

Deadline February 29, 1996

Our photo deadline is February 29, 1996 (it's leap year). Please send slides (or prints) directly to me-rather than to the authors. In Europe, you can send photos to Urs Widmer in Switzerland.

Urs Widmer
Therwilerstrasse 43
CH-4054 Basel
If you have any questions or comments on cave minerals and want to reach the authors directly, here are their Internet addresses: (Carol Hill) (Paolo Forti)

David McClurg