Hallucination Aven, and some of the Witsun series
Thursday, 23 August 2007
After 5 weeks not caving or doing any real excise due to being in China until four days ago, on a slimming programme. I’m markedly smaller in the shoulder than my last visit. So having arranged to meet Mike B in Gaping Gill Main Chamber at one pm, I arrived about two, due to folks descending Bar and tourists in South East Passage.
On arriving in the Main Chamber I was some what tired and a bit knackered. Then after a short rest, wed agreed on India chamber and may be Hallucination Aven with the outside possiblity of the bottom connection with Car Pot in the Whitsun Series.
Part way along South Passage I pointed out to Mike he was going the wrong way as he seemed to object to the thought of doing Long Henslers, so I naturally thought hed already done it, but NO! That settled it. Long Henslers to the Henslers Master cave was followed with me having a number of short rests.
Once in the Master Cave a saunter to the Blowhole saw Mike passing it in a strange fashion, then on to Far Country proper. Southgate was passed and the First Cross System passed using the sandy crawl on the right. Then we set off along Eastern Way past Surveyors Junction to India Divide. Right lead us to a low and mud crawl to India Chamber. The middle part of this passage is rather squalid as when youre pushing the bag head of you, youre also pushing an ever increasing pile of liquid mud ahead as well. Once in India Chamber the way on wasnt obvious. First we tried a calcited hole at the bottom of the chamber. Then I tried a route in the upper left corner of the chamber, down a steep mud and boulder slope under blocks but didnt fancy the position of the rather large rock so declared it not to the way.
After hunting round the chamber again I suggested Mike have a look where I had looked, after kicking a few rocks out of the way he went round a corner and was stood in a chamber. So I grabbed the tackle bag (to rig the pitch that is meant to follow) and followed. In the chamber there were signs of a recent collapse but no pitch. There was an aven above our heads. In the floor there was a rather tiny hole that I could stick my head and shoulder through to look amongst the mass of rocks below us and see bits of timber in amongst the sand and boulders; suggesting it was a collapsed dig.
After carefully exiting the SRT gear was left at India Divide and Clay Cavern followed. We went via the Orifice to Eastgate Passage then up the Spiral Aven to the Penny Arcade and thus to Bree Junction. More neoprene was applied with the expectation of finding the ducks sumped. A bit chilly (I was whilst Mike was toasty in 8.5mm of neoprene) we arrived at the first duck and were pleasantly surprised that there was a whole 1inch and ½ of air space so I went first having done them before (last time we had to dive this first duck) then the air space improves in the next two ducks. We quickly arrived at the bottom of Hallucination Aven.
With help from Mike I quickly removed my neopfleece and replaced my oversuit. Mike kindly placed my neofleece in his wet suit rather than dumping it in the rather cold water. I then climbed to the top to the aven attached the rope and started by removing my helmet and placing it in the bottom of the next aven. After several attempts facing the left wall I tried facing the right. With both arms in front of me and my legs wedged in the rift I used the rope, sling and rusty ladder to get purchase to push. Then the shoulders jammed this was expected as i’d got this far before. After loosing some weight in China and using my left hand it was possible to coax my right shoulder through by pulling on my right arm. Finally it popped through and I knew Id cracked it. There followed a rather concerning moment as I pulled the rest of my body through the hole and couldnt get my right arm down again. An uncomfortable crunching click forced it back into a usable state. Onwards and up wards. The next aven was a 5m climb up slight slippery walls to a tiny inlet the size of your head and totally impassable.
Mike then climbed the aven to have a look at the hole. Once he was down, shivering violently I eased my way out again. Detached the rope (belayed to an orange sling over a tiny flake in the right just through the hole) and climbed down. Then a quick change again and we were heading out.
Pork Pies at Bree Junction fortified us for, we went out via the Penny Acade, used the sandy crawl at the top of Clay Cavern and then Sahara Passage thus reducing markedly the amount of passage repeated and since Mike had suggested an exit via Dihedral, Mud Henslers was followed. Picking up our SRT gear at India Divide.
Once at the far end of Mud Hensers it was most apparent that I was flagging badly with sore knees and shoulders and general lack of cave condition. Right lead us through far East Passage then the muddy mess of the Font was passed and on to our final goal, visiting the Inlet that probably connects to the 2 last pitches in Car Pot. Not likely to be an easy dig but would provide a challenging route. The passage seems similar in nature and the draft is right.
Then Mike led the way quickly up out of Dihedral with me very slowly following behind, unfortunately the flood lighting was turned off just as I reached the first rebelay. I finally reached the surface at 10.30pm. Washed the gear in the stream, had a coffee and headed home to Leeds.
All in all an excellent day out and more than makes up for 5 weeks non caving.
LUSS 3 pg 10 India Chamber-gaping gill.
Mention is made of a 20 foot pitch leading down to an aven, thus the pitch has not collapsed it just doesn’t need any tackle.
Friday, 31 August 2007