Team Awesome minus a Rob.
After a hasty pre beer in’t Miners we dashed over to Cussey and quickly kitted up ready to descend. We paused at the bottom of Nomenca Choke so I could take a quick picture whilst climbed down. I told Luke what I thought in regards to digging the tight rift at the bottom of the choke, he dug the floor and we stacked in the choke taking extra care not to touch much, Luke reassured me it looked pretty tight and there was one head sized boulder blocking the hole at floor level. We loosely agreed to start removing the solid walls. Instead of going hell for leather with the drill I picked up the lump hammer and started to hit the walls where it pinched up. To our delight the walls crumbled away with ease and I was soon far enough in the squeeze to kick the boulder blocking the route further forward into the unknown. I pulled back and removed a small flake which pointed straight into the squeeze, once this was removed I removed my big bulky miners kneepads (classic Jon trait) and started to push through. It was snug for sure but not desperate and after some awkward movements for someone who doesn’t bend very easy I was through – Mission accomplished.
I was now through into a continuation of the cross rift beyond the pinch point, about 1m wide, 5m high and 3m long. The draught was howling through a small void between boulders at the far end where I could briefly see through to a floor 3m or so down. I told Luke about the chamber and we stood in silence whilst I chucked a rock through the void – here’s where it got real exciting. The rock boomed and banged followed by a large hollow thud, a brief pause then a further bang! – Bloody hell, We’d only gone a proper broke through without the EAVIS!!
We giggled a little and threw some more rocks into the void, I turned back around and dug the floor out from the squeeze so Luke could now easily pass through. After chucking yet more rocks down the pitch we then made a conscious effort to gain access to the pitch head. The problem was two massive boulders pinched in the rift above the pitch head, we removed some smaller rocks from around them thus blocking ourselves in and started about an hour’s worth of capping resulting in a clear’ish pitch head. I took lead and squeezed through into the head of the pitch, luckily it was plentiful with ledges and with Luke’s blessing of “don’t die!” I traversed over to get a clear glance of the blackness below. At the far end the rift widened and met a cross joint, here the whole place gets wider and I could see it bells out below to a boulder floor some 10m below my feet. Luke followed me through and we both perched and passed one another comfortably above the pitch.
After a quick selfie we started to retreat to the heat on surface clearing the pitch head one last time and pausing to take a few snaps.
Lessons learned… NCA = big breaktrough (huh Rob?)