Depth through thought

OUCC News 23rd February 2000

Volume 10, Number 3

DTT Volume 10 index

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It's official... Mendip Madness is happening the weekend after next, on a highly mysterious "Krazy Golf" theme. We'll be leaving Oxford on Friday night, staying Friday night (somewhere indoors, TBA) and partying Saturday night away in Read's Cavern. More details next week, in the meantime it would really help if we had an idea of likely numbers, so can you please let me know if you are (a) definitely coming (b) possibly coming (with degree of probableness). And don't forget your party gear/games/instruments (ooer)/spirit.
Hilary Greaves


There is a web-page for the Cuetzalan expedition which is currently underway, one member of which is our very own Kev Welch. The page is at and is updated daily with diary entries (Kev wrote entries for Feb 9th and 11th). There is even a message board thingie so you can leave him (and John, Nikki and the rest of them) some abuse, if you fancy it.
[link to gratuitous OUCC Cuetzalan horror story]
Lev Bishop

Wales Weekend

Chris and I had unfinished business up in the north end of Draenen. First up was a piece of passage ending in deep water at something which might have been a duck and might have been a sump (see DTT 8.10). It's at the bottom of one of those rare things in draenen - a pitch. Because of these facts Chris, Hils and I had an unusual time going into draenen /in wetsuits/ and carrying /rigging gear/!

The water levels were very low all through the cave and Hils was rather disappointed with the duck into Breadfruit Boulevard, because it wasn't really that nasty at all. (In fact I found it rather pleasant as I'd been overheating somewhat in my wetsuit). The duck/sump at the end turned out to be a duck with about an inch of airspace for a good 4m. It was well out of my depth and I didn't have sufficient buoyancy to float in on my back, so Hils bravely had a go, gingerly floating in with a bit of rope round her wrist so we could pull her back if she got in trouble. Not only did she verify that it sumped at the far end, she actually went underwater for a foot or so to see if it might be only short, but it wasn't and we pulled her back.

Next up was blue crocodile passage (see DTT 8.15), which we'd left at a scary loose boulder choke. This time we'd brought a poking stick with us to try to collapse it. Getting to the limit of exploration turned out to be tricky as it was actually slightly sporting passage, very catchy - not the place for a wetsuit. But eventually we got there. Taking a look at it we decided that the roof really was quite scary, but the floor might be diggable without disturbing the ceiling. I had a go and had great fun shifting about a tonne of rock 5m down the rift by poking at it with my fingers. It's so easy when gravity is on your side... The ceiling still looked a bit unstable, but we could see a sizeable chamber below us and hear dripping water, so Hils climbed down and Chris and I followed. We were in a tall (maybe 20m high) drippy aven with no obvious way on.

Chris squeezed through a window into a small chamber to one side and started moving around some large boulders, trying not to collapse them down into the space he wanted to reach below them. Eventually he decided it was safe (I wasn't convinced - my threshold for loose rocks is quite low) and he disappeared off, shortly returning to say he'd found a way back into St Giles, near to April Fool's choke (which wouldn't have been too surprising if we'd looked at the survey (data are on the website). Hils and I followed to complete the round trip, and then we had the problem that we'd left lots of gear behind us on the assumption that we'd be going back to retrieve it, so that slowed us down a bit. Once we'd sorted the gear out we decided to leave the surveying for another day and scarpered for the pub, where we joined a very active sesh with Tim, Lou, Ben, and co.

A good trip. I wonder if anyone will want to dive the sump (or sumps - there seemed to be another possible sump in the deep water before the end) - it's large passage, just full of static water: could be going anywhere, really...
Lev Bishop

Top Tips

Found the following amongst the Darwin award wannabees. Don't get any ideas for stupid caving games next time you get pissed and there's some Hilti caps lying around...

2ND RUNNER-UP: "Man loses face at party". A man at a West Virginia party (probably related to the man in Arkansas who used the 22 bullet to replace the fuse in his pick-up truck) popped a blasting cap into his mouth and bit down, triggering an explosion that blew off his lips, teeth, and tongue. Jerry Stromyer, 24, of Kincaid, bit the blasting cap as a prank during the party late Tuesday night, said Cpl. M.D. Payne. "Another man had it in an aquarium hooked to a battery and was trying to explode it", said Payne. "It wouldn't go off and this guy said I'll show you how to set it off." "He put it into his mouth and bit down. It blew all his teeth out and his lips and tongue off", Payne said. Stromyer was listed in guarded condition Wednesday with extensive facial injuries, according to a spokesperson at Charleston Area Medical Division. "I just can't imagine anyone doing something like that" Payne said. 
Lev Bishop

Annual Dinner

The dinner was a great success, with much singing and [fill in gap, I can't remember]. Party culprits may be pleased to hear that all my housemates are still talking to me, even the one with the room directly above the basement who got the noisiest serenade... although one is keeping the "NO CAVERS" sign on his door for a while.

If I remember rightly (this is not necessarily the case), awards were awarded as follows:

The Loris - to Lev, for drinking urine
The Lemming - to Rich Gerrish, for taking a 5m plummet 800m underground ...
'and there may be many others but they haven't been disca-vard' (name the song for a possible prize)

Sorry for the patchy report. It was just too much fun.
Hilary Greaves

Lost 'n' Found

Found: one watch, brown plastic strap, Avia-Tec. Left in my room on the weekend of the dinner. I don't mind if no-one claims this, because I lost mine: black Casio.
Hilary Greaves