Depth through thought

OUCC News 4th December 2003

Volume 13, Number 22

DTT Main Index

OUCC Home Page

Editor: Anette Becher,

Grade 2 Draenen Survey

John Pybus

Recently the Grade2 survey of Draenen has been resurrected by several members of the club (much thanks to pod), and a working set of the data is now freely available from . We hope to keep this up to date as new submissions are made, and to improve the quality over time. We would appreciate being told of any survey data people have which is not already included.

Here's the notice Tim published on the website:

Ogof Draenen Public Grade 2 Survey

Tim Guilford

As of November 2003, OUCC are running an experiment. The aim is to provide public access to a workable mainline survey of Ogof Draenen for use in route planning or exploration. It consists predominantly of G2 data provided by the original explorers, which can be downloaded from here as a .ZIP file and enjoyed using Survex in the comfort of your own home.

We hope that the survey will stimulate past explorers who may be sitting on G2 data (or better) to feel motivated to send us their data for inclusion. We also hope that it will motivate current explorers both to continue surveying finds and to provide us with data (G5 if possible) for their latest finds (when they are comfortable, of course).

We fully appreciate that the "G5 surveyors" have produced a far superior survey of Ogof Draenen, both in terms of data accuracy and completeness. The current G2 does not in any way aim to supersede their survey, but will be provided publicly in the knowledge that access to the superior survey is understandably restricted at the present time.

We are keen to hear cavers' views on the project and, in particular, whether you believe there may be any sections of this survey that should not be included in the public version for reasons of copyright. However, to the best of our knowledge all the data so far included has been cleared by interested parties.

Swildon's 12 update

(from the Wessex Cave Club Journal)

The latest edition of the WCC Journal reports good progress in sump 12 by Phill Short. Progress has been made beyond what was the squeeze at the elbow of the sump, to find the way on blocked by two large rocks. Phill shifted these out of the sump: "Phill ... grabbed it in a bear hug and walked out of the sump to dump it in front of the others, before going back in to get the other". The way on now looks (in zero viz) to be "fairly open".

A Wales Weekend

John Pybus

Some very strange things were happening driving to South Wales on a wet Saturday morning. Not only did the rain, for once, stop just as we crossed the Welsh border but shortly afterwards England managed to beat Australia at some sport or other involving an oval ball.

Despite all this we decided to go caving. After a two hour clusterfuck at the SWCC we'd managed to split into 4 teams all heading into Top Entrance. Some teams got further than others (the Pybus navigational factor made sure that one team in particular got quite a long way but only afterwards found out where it had been), but I think everyone had a good trip. If you ask Lou really nicely she might tell you how to get to the Train Series.

One minor plea to those arranging trips with Novices attending. Please make sure that people have had a stop for lunch / a substantial breakfast before their first trip. Having to cope with the trip up to Top Waterfall can be daunting enough without running out of energy on an empty stomach.

That evening, Chris Sinadinos put in a very strong showing in the WSG squeeze machine. After passing for many rounds while the old and fat amongst us made fools of ourselves with the aid of just 2 planks of wood (and a sleeping bag in Keith's case) he came in as a late entry to beat us all hands down. Not satisfied with this he cranked the machine down further to 6 1/8" (15.5 cm) and proceeded to get through (though at least this made him look like he was struggling a bit). Well done!

It seems like the reawakening of interest in Ogof Draenen is also beginning to reap rewards, with Tim & Keith having some success on Sunday. No doubt, there'll be more on this soon.

OFD1 to Top: A first impression

Chris Fernau

Cavers are a species that are born in underground systems completely sealed from the outside world. They spend their lifetime in a hazardous, cold and wet environment. In order to survive they have to go continuously deeper and deeper into the caves, because otherwise their body temperature would drop beyond critical levels. To keep them moving evolution gave them the illusion of the so called 'way out, and a better life after you have found it. This concept is very similar to what we call 'heaven'. At night they regularly dream of an 'outside world' and 'daylight', but this is a pure illusion and they will find themselves being in caves again and again, continuing to do dangerous climbs, get completely soaked and crawling on their bellies through muddy, tight, low crawling passages ignoring all dangers in their endless struggle to finally find the mysterious so called 'way out'.

(written shortly after completing the OFD1 to Top Entrance traverse as his first ever trip!)