Thursday 31 January 2008

31st Jan 2008 - Notts II

Phil admiring the main master cave in Notts II

A biting cold wind made us rush into the relative warmth of the cave, although the water in the main stream way was pretty refreshing! We explored one of the recently excavated inlets which took us to some amazingly pristine formations.

Enjoying the rewards of a rather muddy crawl!

The chilling water leading to the upstream sumps was enough to make us turn back, pausing to photograph the big stal of "Vlad the Impaler", and then back up the chaotic scaffolding of the entrance shaft. There is plenty of cave to come back to again, in many places there are ropes leading of into side passages and avens, and I'm sure some good photographic opportunities.
Click here for a full screen slide show.

Click here for a short video sequence showing a variety of passages in the cave

Sunday 27 January 2008

27th Jan 2008 - PB4 TNC(spain)

Sunday saw the Spanish branch of the TNC heading back into Cueva PB4 hoping to find where they got to last week. This week Alistair has brought enough lighting power to see where he was going so it was easy to follow the obvious fault with it's complex levels through boulder chokes into various impressive chambers. All containing majestic formations.

The nature of the cave very reminiscent to Lancaster hole, only drier and warmer. A perfect place for this little fella to hang out for winter

From last weeks furthest point the cave continued like a quality rock route, obvious passages interspersed by cruxy route finding leading on to more caverns full of unique formations. Eventually the way on lead down a rift equipped with a short length of rope with a ( very old and thin) electron ladder tied to the end. Though enticing enough, consensus was to return next week with a rope for further exploration.

We only got lost twice this week on the way out. Still managed to get to the pub for the obligatory dos cervazes and tapas of squid and sardines. No pickled eggs and Canadian ham crisps here.

Saturday 26 January 2008

25th Jan 2008 - Notts Pot BT Route

Only when reading the description in detail as we were about to enter the BT passage did Alistair find out what BT stood for - and it wasn't Bacon and Tomato, or Big Tube. I'm sure you can guess!

Alistair enjoying BT crawl

Although it is not apparently tight by moderns standards (whatever that means) it is just a bit awkward more than anything else. The big problem however was that after hauling all the gear to the top of the main pitch in BT route we found that it was still equipped only with spits (Elliot Bolts).

Elliot Bolt in BT Route - would you trust your life to this?

Apart from the fact that these bolts are 30 years old, rust and stripped, we didn't have any hangers for these. So we made our way back through the BT passage, taking a few photos of the grimmer, grimier side of Dales caving. Short video clip here!

Full Slideshow here

Sunday 20 January 2008

20th Jan 2008 - PB4 Castril (Spain)

At last the Spanish Branch of the TNC is up and running. Comprising of Bruce and Alistair (Hon TNC member). The project is to explore a local Castril cave known by the imaginative name of PB4. PB4 is a system over 3 km long with numerous levels, many still unexplored and undocumented . At present the total number of people who have been to the end of( the known) system is less than 20. Below is the most up to date survey of the system. Note the ? marks at the end !

Our object on this trip was to follow the main way. First though we had to find it. As to true TNC form this took some time. However after much traversing the rocky hillside the entrance was eventually discovered. Our main aim of this first trip was to find the main way on. This lead to the second route finding problem within 30 metres. After much furkling around a narrow slot lead down to a phreatic passage then on to a hading rift terminating in an impressively decorated cavern. From this point there were several ways on. The most obvious way lead into another huge cavern. From here various dead ends forced us to climb a slippery wall into another narrow muddy tube. A straightforward squeeze opened up into another large passage with huge prehistoric formations. Another cavern gave us a number of option for the way on so we decided to leave that till next week. Our estimated distance travelled into the cave was around 300 m.

On the way back we managed the find the down stream sump. Luckily Phil was not there !

Friday 18 January 2008

17th Jan 2008 - County Pot

John on the Poetic Justice pitch

A very wet evening with water pouring of the fells saw us head to the relatively dry venue of County Pot. Showerbath Passage was impressive, as was Spout Hall. John "enjoyed" the struggle up "Poetic Justice" and we turned around at the main trident streamway, a roaring turbulent flow of brown water. Probably safe enough but the photography had taken us a while. The ladders give pictures an extra perspective, perhaps we should use them more!

On exiting the cave we met another couple of cavers on there way in. Apparently they are keen Thursday night cavers to!


Wednesday 2 January 2008

1st Jan 2008 - Costa Blanca Caves

We were invited to explore some seldom visited caves high above Finestrat in the Costa Blanca area of Spain, and ended up exploring some new passage ways with potential for further exploration. The caves were mainly vertical faults, with big formations and lots of flow stone.

The second cave had seen very few if any previous visits and eventually the way on was pushed by Alistair, Javi and Paul who descended a narrow vertical tube between tufa walls to enter a large rubble floored chamber. Approx 40 metres below the surface.