Trip report 02/05/24

Jim Thompson, Rob Eavis, Joe Buck, Jon Pemberton, Fabian Ehlers, Chis Hibberts, Dylan Kocher

I was pleased to arrive early on a glorious sunny day for the first time in a while back with TA due to some busy Thursdays. Once the band was all together, we changed in our usual spot where I turned around to a grinning Rob presenting a pack of underwear in purple and pink. Choosing team purple, I unfolded the pants to reveal Awesome stamped on the waistband and two small hand prints on the cheeks. Pleased I did not put them on as I would have shat all over them knowing what was to follow in the coming evening.

Digressing, today’s mission was to rig the pitch to allow the team to drop into the bottom rift safely as the free climb was very somewhat adventurous thus gaining access to the Dig (The Far Right). Once done with some sight cleanup I head into V1. Having last been to V1 when I pushed through into the small entrance chamber, so it was nice to see it pushed successfully hitting a junction leading to a narrow passage that continues gradually down until you're situated on the boulderlike rafters of the V1 rift. With Jon taking some photos and Rob calibrating his Disto myself and Joe go ahead. Arriving on the scene in time to see Jim descend on his newly bolted pitch. Chris watches carefully over him as the rope situates itself into a perfect rub point on a large boulder wedged between the opposing walls. After some back and forth that turns into a passionate response from Jim we agree that once the deviation is bolted, we will blast the boulder to bits.

How many Awesome members does it need to avoid a rub point?

Rob having successfully surveyed up to us is now in the room with Jon, Fab Joe and Chris. Oh, as well as Jim who has come back up off the doomed pitch head. The banter was at an all-time high, probably due to the 7 professional comedians itching to descend to our new material. After a remark to Rob that I “could free climb anything he could” he decides to call my bluff and urges me to head down and clear some space. In hindsight, this was so stupid from the bat as we were in consensus about blowing this rock and sending it down. But of course, I did not think twice and went right ahead. Once positioned below about one and a half meters away from the team above the rock is being drilled. I quickly decided that my spot was somewhat exposed to the blast zone (Directly below it) and moved where the rift bells out making a roofed-off level. Then I heard someone remark after me to which Rob replied, “Don’t worry about Dylan he’ll be fine”. Quickly feeling the pace of events starting to ramp up with the excitement from above growing I was becoming increasingly worried about my “Safe spot”. This was unideal although admittedly exciting. Asking Fabian to let me know when he was going to blow, but it was too late a humongous roar from above smashed through the cave with debris flying in all directions followed by smoke or dust. Something hits my back with reasonable force although not with any real damage just only to my psyche. It was loud as my cohorts will attest to. I am not too ashamed to say that I started yelling not sure what, but I was very worked up. A game of Limestone roulette. looking back at the spot where only moments ago I had decided to move from there was a great chunk taken out of the rock. My right hand moves for stability so I don’t fall down the rift but rests on a piece of the blown-up limestone that was uncomfortably large I’m not sure what effect this would have had if it were me.

Well, it was only half over as Pyrotechnic German wanted to blow it up again as it didn’t get the whole boulder. With my cries not being taken seriously the drilling starts again. This time is worse as my safe spot is not that safe knowing ricocheted rock is able to reach me I wedge my body into the opposing wall and position ass upwards as this is what you are supposed to do in a lightning storm. Fabian listening to my request for a clear heads-up shouts below. Hands pressed against my ears I can only hear the thuds as the hammer strikes down reaching the charge. I decided to pick up the yelling again as the nerves were at a high. And again, an imposing force blasts past with rock hurled down the rift below. With a mental check and a few swear words, I wiggle my toes and realize I am fine. Some proper Cowboy shit.

Descending the V1 rift leads straight on top of the Far Right dig. To the left hits a small free climbable aven Fabian climbs up noting that there is a continuation above although small. To this I come right away jumping in headfirst consisting of a left crawl into a sharp bend to the right. Left again led to an enticing room that seemed to be sizable enough for standing and not an end in sight. I waited for another member to join before committing to the squeeze ahead. Chris comes for a look with Joe not far behind. Once Joe was present, I take my helmet off and pushing through my face brushing past what seemed to be a sheep femur on the way. Through to the other side, I stand up and look around. To the left is another rift running parallel to the previous ending in a wall of sand mud (this is the best description). On the right is a boulder passage heading up. Joe struggles on the push and partakes in some deep inhales. Once a few remarks about how he doesn’t think he can fit Joe joins me in the chamber. Rob follows shortly surveying up to us. With the nod to go ahead and bag the rest, I head up to the right and through a few obstacles leading to a standing dark wet passage that unfortunately circles back on itself and into the first chamber.

Dylan in the Far Left

With some more exploration into the offshoots of the higher-level boulders, we decide to head out whilst completing our newly discovered round trip. With some pictures taken, I squeeze back through the vice obstacles down the aven and out the cave. Joe and I leaving Rob down the rift without his srt kit but once changing at the car we could see a light bobbing along letting us know that the free climb was successful.

All and all another brilliant night with some good honest adventuring with promising nights ahead.

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