25th Jan - Brendan Sloan & Rob Eavis
With Eldon members dropping around me like flies this week I was grateful to be accompanied by Brendan Sloan from SUSS (future EPC material?). Whilst the air temperature was surprisingly mild, the wind certainly made up for it and we made haste up the hill.
With the pitches rigged we bombed down to Red River in no time, only stopping to complain about how soaked we both were from the wetness of Beza. First job was to take some photos of potential CCCs I’d spotted last time here.
[I've since had these photos looked at by Prof Gina and she's pretty sure they are CCCs. From what i understand, these type of formations are formed when the cave is below freezing during a glacial period. Therefore being found at ~130m below the surface is potentially very revealing, as the permafrost would be deeper than normal. Did a strong air current keep the cave that cold?]
We then returned and squeezed and squirmed our way down Hell, a process which was not nearly as enjoyable as the last trip, this time with a heavy bag. Down Eyes Down and a few more modifications by Brendan got both of us through the squeeze and into the new(ish) chamber. The 10m climb to the roof still looked freeclimable but I was nevertheless glad I was fully kitting up and after a few bolts I had slipped and squashed my way at the top. Unfortunately the way on was fully choked with loose rocks which had Belaying Brendan’s name on so a hasty retreat followed.
Whilst Brendan fought his way back through the squeeze I had a quick look at a passage I spotted heading off at head height. I moved a few loose boulders and feared my way through into another chamber, slightly smaller than the previous. This was less slippy so I climbed up this to the roof but it closed up fully and with no signs of any phreatic development I lost my interest and we headed out. The fighting back out of Hell and the arduous pitches out warmed us up nicely, although not quite like when beasting it out trying to make the pub. On surface gone midnight.