Hungerhill Swallet - 17/12/2007

Written by RobEavis.

Report by Jules Barrett
Cavers: Jules Barrett (EPC), Dan Hibberts (EPC), Sam Townsend (EPC)

The aim of this trip was to give some support to the loose rock near the top of the 12m rift climb on the far side of the Bag o' Worms. At the top of the climb is a boulder choke and after a number of trips through this choke by various Eldon members over the previous couple of months we were keen to stabilise the boulders here for the future. One of the most worrying spots was just as you entered the chamber at the top where the route lay underneath two large and one small boulder that seemed poised to fall if disturbed. A large upright slab on the left side (looking down from the top) also seemed to be resting on these and there was some concern that if we moved the three in the middle of the choke this large slab would fall into the hole blocking the exit. A sizeable quantity of scaff bars, clips, planks and other equipment was carried in to join the other stuff that was already in the cave and we transported the kit up to the chamber above the 12m rift climb. After a bit of digging another scaff bar was needed so I went down to the Bag o' Worms to retrieve that. A loud bang shortly after signified some major alterations in progress and it sounded as though things had taken a turn for the worst when Dan and Sam let me know that they had sealed themselves in. At this stage there was nothing I could do except turn my light off and wait. Fortunately we could communicate quite easily by shouting and the amount of rock heading south made me think that spirits were still high. After a quick look up underneath the bottom of the choke I retreated back to the Bag o' Worms whilst Dan and Sam took steps to free themselves. During this period there were some large bangs as sizeable pieces of spar and limestone came down the rift. Another shout from Dan that things weren't going well gave some cause for concern but we weren't expected out until midnight so there was plenty of time for them to dig themselves out. More rock hammered down the rift until eventually a hole big enough to climb through was created and Dan and Sam made their way carefully down out of the choke. The three boulders that we had been climbing underneath on previous trips had been dropped to the floor of the chamber and digging forwards by Dan and Sam into the slope above had essentially created a new wider and easier way in to the chamber. It seemed sensible to give all this some time to settle so we exited back up Deep Space and out of the cave.