Now this little gem is hidden high above Dent Station. The one person who has been twice has described it as flooding like Mossdale but have three Nemesis chokes one after the other. I don’t disagree much with this the signs of flooding are there and the place is loose in parts. Some might consider it lack in any redeeming features. But it is the an excellent cave a real work out getting to the end and providing new passage to the those willing to return.
So this had been on my list to do for a long time. Noel, Andy W, and Si and Di were all convinced to come and help with the survey which Noel has since beaufully drawn. The end of the cave had been visited by two people prior to this trip. We hadn’t been before so route finding was slow Si and Di set about surveying in with us aiming for the end to and survey the way back out plan to meet in the middle. The Si, Di survey combo was amazing passing through the passage surveying as they went with even speaking. Noel, Andy and I were a little slower not having all the same gadgets. Two furry suits seemed to work Ok but the prospect of doing the wet bits was off putting but Si and Di emerged to save us from this chilling task. So the whole of the known cave was surveyed in one go 990m of it or so.
Si and Di were con/vinced to return not wanting too heavy a trip and from memory a hammer was all that would be needed to push beyond where I had got to before, not quite the end of the survey. So there is a section where the body is immersed in water. A neofleece and extra neoprene were taken. Got to the end again pushed on up a muddy climb round an awkward corner then drop back to the stream. There appeared to be three ways on. The first would require digging the second was low ans wet and the 3rd was really low and wet. Simon was dispatched to the front, much grunting followed and Simon delayed he was having a crack at the dig. the first and second rout were found to connect and didn’t yield the low wet way was pushed and Simon declared he had reached the blockage that had stopped progress on the first two locations. He could also see a way on but it wasn’t possible get through it. I joined him via the very cold wet duck with hammer and chisel. Simon opened the connection that bypassed the low duck and Di was able to join us with as we set about hammering a small triangular hole.
The effort soon worked off the chill but the rock wasn’t yielding with ease. We swapped several times. Simon hitting the chisel while I held it and then sitting with it wedged between his knees and belting the hell out the chisel. I tried then Simon it was not passable. More blows, small chips fell away. Di had a go and passed the squeeze, then disappeared into the distance. Frantic hammering could be heard as Simon and I desperately tried to enlarge the hole. Si squeezed through. I’m not a fatty but I needed just a little more or I’d have to get undressed and that didn’t appeal. Then with another push I was through. We then went on to several metres of passage to a choked chamber with the stream at the floor.
Si attacked the choked streamway to no avail and Di and I looked along a bedding in the roof. It got lower and lower. Then there was a large slipped block that was like a tooth having fallen from it’s socket. To the right of this there was a bedding mostly filled by a block I concluded we’d get no further. But black space could be seen. Di had a go and found the block was just resting on mud. I was pushed forward and reduced slightly in size but would go no further. Si arrived and enlarged the corner to give slightly more working space and finally concluded that it wouldn’t yield or go any further forward. A retreat was sounded.
Andy W and I returned some time later. This time armed with capping gear. Andy is likely to have left with the impression I’d never capped before. The first squeeze should have been one round and been done. But hole was ready then drill bit got a little stuck, it was removed and then the hole needed to be enlarged but then the bit jammed and refused to shift, turns out the cutting bit had disintegrated and was never going to come out. The second hole fired and popped the back off the block not what was hoped for. Then with hammer and jammed drill bit that was in fact now blocking the squeeze was smashed out and at last the rather awkward bit was finally removed.
Then comes a truly awful bit of capping. A single round in a boulder was all that was needed.
Hole 1. Caps jammed at the top of the hole. Result lots of noise no broken rock.
Hole 2. Drilled passed right through boulder. Result hole 3.
Hole 3. Drilled passed right through boulder. Result hole 4.
Hole 4 drilled and loaded, tried to fire results rods jammed. Much faff rods removed and more caps added. Tried to fire, hammer dropped down hammer sized hole directly under right shoulder, hammer lost! Rod hammered with rock, rod jammed again.Too many caps now in this hole to wish to add more. More faff to recover rod. Dropped rock on nose, slightly bloody face. Rod recovered result hole 5!!!!!
Hole 5. Drilled, caps added wanted to ensure enough welly to make it break. Rod inserted and rod bashed with rock and boulder broke. Boulder pushed into passage ahead, in several small pieces.
Squeezed into large wide walking size passage, most unexpectedly, stopped and waited for Andy. Andy was given the honor to march into the unknown. So route finding between blocks and crawl in water lead to a chamber. A block that it looked like it could be squeezed passed eventally stopped him. I passed the block and then the passage lowered. Ending a low crawl needing digging at the far end. Part way along this is cross joint and a black space can be seen above… needs a return visit again with capping gear.