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Saturday, 20 September 2008

We had initially been invited to join a black rose trip but since they were unable to attend they kindly sent us their permit. All went well although some what slow in Stemple Rift with such massively heavy bags. One bag contained the drill all the capping gear except the wrecking bar. The bag was so heavy that Mr C was left guilt ridden but made up for this later. After visiting the final pitch but not descending we sent about enlarging the tiny hole at the that we found on the last trip, after the first pop Simon and Ian set off out with as much of the rubbish as could be shift between the two of them. Simon removed the diving bottle to his living room. Most of the rest of the rubbish is in Shower Bath chamber waiting to be removed.

The problem with capping this hole was that at each stage something else was dropped down it so it came more of a matter of recovering lost items than finding any new passage. After a time with just enough caps for one last hole a last attempt was made to get down. That was the easy part done. There was a short rift to one side that enable me to look into the low half round phreatic tube with a false floor. Then helmet off the stals were smashed through to gain the continuing passage. A stream way could be heard ahead and excitement grew within a few metres this came up short there was no space to turn round. The slippery muddy pitch head*(!) i now found myself at was too small to turn around. Having no rope and no anchors meant that it had to be left in an undescended state, the pitch was between 10 and 15 m deep and large and open. The top was 1-1.5 x 4-5 m wide.

A retreat was called and so a began the reverse manoeuvre to get out. Having reached the squeeze to get back out my unfortunate predicament became apparent. Whilst it had been easy to slide in head first on my front the lack of hand holds and muddy passage prevented backward progress after what seemed a very long time of trying various combination of arm positions. There was a slight feeling to rising panic and how long will it take for Mike to get out and find someone small enough to be able to come and help me (possibly not as bad as James Carlisle recent exploits, but a very lonely feeling none the less). Then ensued a discussion about how to get me the hammer so that could remove the false floor. The thought crossed my mind why can’t Mike come down and help me then Mike said something about back or backwards and so I tried moving forward an rolling over. Then I found the hand holds needed with both arms at my side, I managed to pull myself back to the bottom of the body sized tube. I then had to rest for a while. We then recovered all the bits that had been dropped down the hole including the capping mat and goggles (on the 5th and 2nd hole respectively). Then I stood up, at this point it became very apparent why Mike hadn’t come down the hole, it was too tight. Mike lowered and sling down to me and then physically pulled out the hole as i was unable to do more than little wriggles.

With my sore wrist and shoulder we sat and ate pork pie! Then the slow trip out started with Mike being some what ahead all the way. Stemple rift nearly reduced me to swearing at and kicking the tackle bag. But with three bags (two of which were stupidly heavy) between the two of us it was a total pig. We finally got out after 10 hours underground rather pleased with the find. It having taken about 2 hours to get out, having spent around 5 hours digging. We had a slow trip on the way in and it was noted that most of the cave seemed to have been bolted.
I would request that no one goes and pirates this new pitch, but be warned if you do make sure you are firstly quite thin and secondly have one or may be two people on hand to pull you out the first hole as it is rather tight.


Congrats guys!!!!!!

Mike Bottomley

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Well done! Can’t wait for next update…

Simon Jepps

Monday, 22 September 2008


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