Depth through thought

OUCC News 17th June 1998

Volume 8, Number 15

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Expedition finances were given a boost today by the news that OUEC are giving us £310 from the top-up fund.  I also hear that A.C.Irvine interviews produced some helpful results for some expeditioners.

After discovering this weekend that the Chelsea G5 surveyors have been surveying Prisoners of War hot one the explorers' heels, I telephoned Arthur Millett to discuss their intentions and our intended programme of diligent conservation taping in advance of post-exploration traffic.  I thought DTT readers would like to know that Arthur was extremely positive about the conservation work and assured me that the G5 surveyors had no intention of entering unpushed passage.  This, he said, had always been their policy.  He explained that the one small passage that had been pushed off Blue Blood Streamway had been a mistake, and I accept that explanation.  It is good to know that the G5ers have undertaken to stand by the unwritten cavers' ethic that original explorers be should be given a cushion period whilst exploration is active after a breakthough.  This will surely make early and thorough conservation taping of the area more likely since open leads can safely be left for subsequent trips.  I have offered to provide the G5ers with our G2 data of the area to help them in their own surveying task.

Fleur's Corner

Those of you who had the pleasure of seeing Fleur sprawled along the pavement outside Club Latino's at 3am this morning will appreciate why there is no Secretary's news in DTT today.  Still, thanks for the party Fleur.  I'm sure loads of people will be off to Yorkshire this weekend to cath up on the gossip and help win the Varsity match (even if rumours of an imminent walkover are true).  Also, SRT training....

SRT Training

There are plans afoot to do some unusual SRT things in the Dales this weekend, though it depends on interest and timing. Basically it will be playing around with some advanced rescue and hauling techniques. Tony and Gavin are happy to demonstrate how to get it right. Our options are Friday evening (van will arrive too late from Oxford) or Saturday evening (depending on trip completion). We can either try to hire the Inglesport Wall for the evening or go up to somewhere like Sell Gill Holes. Any interest out there?
E-mail JC at <>

Blue Crocodile Passage

Some weeks ago (Editors fault - I lost the file...) Gavin, Seedy and I went to finish off the high level leads that were left in Pixie Mead. The two most promising leads were at the upstream end. One, a uphill sloping mud dig was quickly passed to gain a surprisingly awkward tight piece of keyhole passage sloping upward at 45 degrees. I think I made it further than the other two, but found myself unable to make progress without a significant risk of diving into the rift head first, so we gave up on that one. The other lead was a rift with a couple of bits of wall in it and this was quickly reengeneered by Gavin, to give a few metres of passage ending at an upwards choke none of us fancied digging.

So much for our great leads.  After that we had a look at some other bits and pieces in Flag, and after a slight squeeze I found myself in new passage. This lead to about 50m of passage containing a small (10cm) blue crocodile in a niche on the wall - hence the name of the discovery. I didn't look at the furthest point, but from what Gavin and Chris were saying it sounded pretty scary, with the roof of hanging death - so we left it to stabilise and surveyed our way out.
Lev Bishop

Two Spanish Avens

Last Weekend (13/14th June) Lev, Lou and Tim atttempted an early start down Draenen by arriving at the Lamb and Fox on Saturday evening, only to be thwarted by a lock-in with live Irish music.  Oh well, it was never really on anyway.  But 10.15am and the team were underground and unwell.  Three and a half hours of caving cured Lou's hangover, but Lev seemed worse.  So we left him at the old camp in Destiny Inlet to, well, get cold and sit on his own in the dark (expedition medical officer, me).

With just two in the team it looked like we wouldn't get round to finding very much, but we were still excited about the open leads and the digs that lay ahead.  What we found almost immediately, however, were a string of fresh Grade 5 survey stations made by Arthur Millett, John Stevens, Mike Reid and Paul Stacey.  Not exactly an uplifting moment to discover that others have been into passage that you discovered and surveyed just 6 days previously.  Still, it appeared that effort had been made not to enter very far into virgin passage, excepting one lead off the Blue Blood streamway which, I understand, was entered by mistake.

So Lou and I decided not to push any of the open leads but instead to conservation tape much of what had been left from the previous two trips.  Some experimental taping (using nylon line) was done at the downstream end of BB streamway which is much less obtrusive than the standard zebra tape.  Time will tell its effectiveness.  Then we spent two hours digging a low crawl filled with thixotropic mud eventually to break up into two beautiful avens, linked by a rift and made of orange limestone.  They reminded me so much of Spain.

An attempt to climb the avens was postponed by imminent movements of large sections of wall, so next time I'll take a tape or two.  Surprisingly, the way out was efficient and we made it to the ub with one minute to closing time.  Phew.  3 pints later...
Tim Guilford

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