Depth through thought
OUCC News 17th June 1998
Volume 8, Number 15
|DTT Volume 8 index|
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.
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.
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...
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