Depth through thought

OUCC News 26th November 1997

Volume 7, Number 15

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West Brecon Cave Rescue are compiling a database of cavers' knowledge of the several systems we visit, in case support is needed for a major rescue. Critically, Draenen is in their area and I have a number of forms for people to fill in if they reckon they might be available (and useful) in an emergency.

Jultayu 1998 is being recommended for University Recognition by the Expeditions Council.

A.C. Irvine Slides

Last Thursday Alison and I went along to the A.C. Irvine Slide Extravaganza. First there were lots of talks about mountains, and after these warm-up acts came Alison's talk. There were plenty of "ooh"s and ahh"s at the impressive slides, and Alison gave an excellent commentary. Afterwards, as we took full advantage of the free drinks, several of the trustees talked to us, wanting to know more about our exploration. Bizarrely, one man wanted to know about the state of the Draenen second entrance!
Jo Whistler

SRT Practice

Due to popular demand and a drive for more expedition training I have arranged a further SRT practice for this Friday. It will be in New College School Gym (on Saville Road) from 7pm.
Fleur Loveridge

Beer for guide book

James Hooper is still missing his dearly beloved (and much fondled) Northern Caves 3. It went missing at the President's invite and is named inside. A pint of beer in the Marton for its return. Cheers,
James Hooper

New E-mails

The late French President Georges Pompidou said that there were three main roads to ruin: wine, women & High Technology and of these the most surest was High Technology!! Due to a splendidly unpredictable interaction between our Lotus Notes Groupware, our gateways to the internet and use of incomplete e-mail addresses, I mysteriously ended up with an e-mail address that seems to indicate that I am now in Japan. Please ignore the domain address. My correct e-mail address is Jim_Sheppard @, which I sincerely hope is also the one at the head of this missive!! Apologies for any confusion caused.
Regards Jim S


Life on Uranus (or barking fish)

After Lev and I managed to survive the Garman-Lovett-Maurice party-popper-powered chilli-relish firing competitions down in Cardiff Friday before last (yeah, splitters!), a characteristically late start was made on a Saturday Draenen trip. Peter Bolt had it in mind to re-visit Life on Mars, and since I'd never been there I was keen. Besides, it was shorter than any trip into the far South East.

About 4 hours later we finally reached the end of this fantastically weird piece of cave, an otherworldly complex of arches and loops and solution pockets in red dolomitzed limestone. Lovely bobbly mud floor too. The aim was to go to the more southerly choke, but we had a look at the northerly one first. Two minutes poking around and I'd convinced myself that there was a diggable way through. An hour's frantic digging and two crushed pinkies later, Lou crawled into new passage and the choke was passed. Tall rift followed, but the way on proved to be via a dig that Lev and me "got involved" in off to the East near the breakthrough point. Three easy digs later we were into walking passage again.

Not for long of course. Squeezing followed, but eventually we were into a sizeable chamber (well, not exactly St. David's Hall, but big enough to swing a zebrafish). Another followed then back into rift and, eventually, a boulder choke. But, ever optimistic, I was sure we could pass this easily on the next trip.

And that's what Ben, Lou and I did last weekend. After 2 hours of Grade 5 surveying (70 metres), we reached the choke and were soon through. Compass and Clino were instantly dropped, and well forgotten about for the next 8 hours. A tall rift led out of the dolomitized rock and into proper limestone. Things fell about everywhere. Ben got entombed under a large boulder at one point, but eventually we passed an awkward squeeze into yet more muddy rift. Down down down. Mud mud mud. Nice mud, but filling the way on. Dig dig dig. A reasonable draught kept us going in a place now reminiscent of Dweebland at the far end of Daren. By 10.30 pm we were all absolutely shagged, and, though tantalizingly in sight of larger open passage ahead, incapable of pushing further. Out at 2am.
Tim Guilford