Depth through thought
OUCC News, 3rd July 2002
Volume 12, Number 5
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Editor: Anette Becher, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear all, (I hope) DTT will resume its services intermittently (until I have figured it all out), with the intention to progress to weekly publication come the beginning of Michaelmas in autumn. Meanwhile, if you are exploring, touristing or just gossiping and have access to e-mail - get writing!
Some NEWS to start with (no guarantee for accuracy):
After my first trip into Gritstone Sink between Christmas and New Year and the subsequent pelvis bending breakthrough that followed I was to say the least, a little bit hooked. The draft was confusing but most definitely present and Boggarts and Trapdoor were not very far away and had both been very successful digs.
By the time I returned to Gritstone, the pitch I had descended had been written off as the way on, being far too choked at the bottom. Paul Windle however had climbed up above the head of the pitch and located a tight slot into a parallel shaft which offered more promise. The belay for this pitch is best not looked at or given too much thought. The tiny pebble of a chockstone is completely hidden by the sling looped over it so that it appears you are abseiling on a piece of tape wedged into a vertical crack...
Part way down this pitch were two small draughting slots and after much deliberation, myself and Pete Hall set about capping the larger out of the two. Progress was quick and soon lumps of rock were being chucked into the large blind hole in the floor that constituted the continuation of the main pitch. With the floor of=A0the pitch=A0rising rapidly I felt the floor of my bowels moving in the opposite direction. I still couldn't shake off the lingering shits that had blighted my otherwise joyful return from Africa and it seemed my handful of precave shitstoppers had been in vain.
What followed was one of the most unpleasant underground experiences I have had to endure but luckily for Pete my waste lacked any kind of consistency and fortunately washed itself away into impenetrable fissures...
At the days end the way on looked like it would yield results with one more trip, but Pete disappeared off to find 37km of cave in China, and I went to Mexico to kill whatever it was that lived in my small intestine with several large doses of Mezcal...
Several months later we were back and Hilary Greaves came along to join the party and learn the ancient art of "Whack 'n' Bang". Progress was fast to start with but as we neared the pitch head the going became more tricky and we started counting the number of caps we had left and working out how many more holes we could drill with the battery. Our luck changed wildly however as our work hit an obvious weakness in the rock and huge slabs began falling off the walls and dropping down the pitch. The way on was open!
Above the pitch, a large Anvil of Damocles clung to the ceiling and defied all attempts to make it fall. Eventually deciding that it probably wouldn't fall of it's own accord if it couldn't be persuaded, we lowered the most expendable member of the party into the unknown:-)
When Hils reached the bottom of what turned out to be a 20ft pitch she related the sad facts that the way on looked gash. Six feet of tight rift with no obvious widening to aim for and only the slightest of drafts. The nature of the cave at this point was one of divide and conquer. The way on divided and became smaller and we went home conquered. We derigged the cave back to the foot of the entrance pitch deciding that a return was unlikely but not impossible.
Work continues elsewhere in the Dales at a number of other less than promising locations, each vying to be the squalid and miserable key to the three counties system...
Unfortunately I think Hils had an alternative reason for coming along and I think she may have plans to return to an old and infamous Oxford dig not far from The Hunters with new technology... If anyone is up for a return to Dallimore's then let us know.