Saturday 24 January 2009

23rd January 2009 - Destination damnation

Easegill again ... but this time it was to be one of the many caves that link into the main drain via miles of small passages and sumps. This trip saw us dropping down another RRPC dry stone walled shaft into the tortuous rift that is called Mistral Hole. Twenty minutes of crawling and manoeuvring around left and right angled bends leads one to Dusty Junction, where a left turn leads to Link Pot and straight on goes towards the HALL of TEN.

Hall of The Ten

In there we dropped down into the Pippikin Streamway and followed a meandering passage back towards the last pitch in Pippikin for a while. Retracing our steps to Hall of Ten we ascended the south slope to a silt balcony and a junction of tunnels. To the left a route descended into the fantastically gloopy mud of the HALL OF THE MOUNTAIN KING where we found an amazing piece of mud art!

We then followed the Wellington Boot Traverse and a scramble up a mud slope to gain the high level passages of GOTHIC SERIES and the HALL OF THE DAMNED with a huge fill of boulders and avens.

Back at the junction the main route continues straight on from the wide chamber as a wide and low passage into the vastness of CROSS HALL where an aven inlet sank in a mass of boulders. At this point we thought we were in Gour Hall (but queried why there were no gour pools!!). We hadn't actually got there so ... we will have to return again! Alistair descended a hole down in the bottom NE corner of the hall which lead through a squeeze to a 7m pitch followed by a 3m climb, then an unstable boulder slope and 4m pitch into a small chamber. It was a bit grim and 'out there' so he came back out!

The return journey was tiring as the passage consists of a lot of flat out crawling through sticky mud but once at Dusty Junction the out trip through the Mistral was quickly over, enticed as we were by the breeze blowing in our faces (that is why it is called the Mistral) and out into a fantastic starry night.

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