Tom Tom, Mark R
21st May 2014
I do like to use a word like 'skipped' or 'popped' to describe what I did first tonight but instead I have to say something like "I swore my way" along the ice cream tube to get the capping gear back from the end. In the meantime TomTom started shifting rocks out of the hole that the water disappears down in Decisions Decisions.
I returned dripping with sweat but having retrieved the necessary bits and capping began. We blasted loads of boulders and excitedly stacked them well out of the way, clearing the rubble slopes back to a stable angle as we went. I was tying to work out if the draught was indeed blowing out of the hole or if it was being pulled down and circulating around the mouth of the hole by the water, we decided it felt like it was draughting out.
After some time and a lot of capping I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to get wet and began pulling rock out of the most open spot against the roof. In a few minutes we had opened up a hole just big enough to worm through and I carefully dropped through the water and into a space the other side. The boulders have run into the piece of cave and left enough room up against the roof to get through- lucky. What wasn't so lucky however was that the tube immediately narrowed and the floor was full of water. The walls and roof were covered in wet silt. It ran for about 6m and ended in what for all appearances seems to be a sump!!?
Whilst the water was clear I could see the undercutting edge of the roof disappear a few inches under water but I kicked up enough silt to make sure that I couldn't investigate any more.
So that was unexpected. Either the draught was entirely water driven and this is always sumped or it does open at times. Or perhaps in amongst the jumble of boulders there is an open bypass. Whatever the explanation we called it a day and returned to the surface a long long way away.
The sump can't really be pumped or siphoned without a massive effort, I think we need to clear more rock out of the hole and see what is what, make sure there isn't another way round it and wait for some dry weather. One think is for sure- it's not sumped all the way from here to Whirlpool Rising, we just need to get past it.
Another few metres to add to the survey I suppose and another question temporarily answered. At least now we can work on some of the bits that need doing like stabilising the choke and boulder slope beneath it and enlarging the pitch head of the Crystal Orechasm ready for bolting the aven and digging at the bottom. I'm looking forward to getting past that sump though one day.