Tom Tom, Mark R
29th May 2014
Following what seems like a week of non stop rain we were expecting quite a torrent in the Rowter extensions which is why we were surprised to find water levels lower than they were on Saturday upon arrival at the Fornix.
We had 4 very full tackle bags between us with the sort of stuff in them that 'proper cavers' use... Lead weights, fins, mask, dive computer, two air cylinders, drill, batteries, capping kit, regulators, line reel and so on. It's fortunate that we are becoming well practiced at slipping down through the cave because with all that stuff it could have been hard work.
Apart from transporting all that gear down ready for Jim Lister's dive in the new high level sump on Saturday the plan for the evening was to clear out the passage leading to the sump to make access a bit more sensible. Bob Toogood went through at the weekend wearing his SRT kit and found himself followed by quite a bit of loose rock and needing to remove his harness in order to get out. The new Hilti dream drill was put to work and I'm still amazed by the speed at which it gets capping holed drilled. Several boulders met their noisy end and the passage started to open up. I slid down and Tom manned the top pulling rock out as we went. We were both quite unpleasantly wet within just a few minutes. It's not often that you find yourself crouching under a waterfall in a bothy bag drilling and capping rocks but somehow that's how we ended up, it worked pretty well too. There was a moment without the bothy when Tom complained of not enjoying the sensation of water boarding just as my capping goggles were filling up with a pool of water, it was about then that we realised it was nearly time to leave.
We cleared quite a bit of rock out and can now see the passage sinking down at around 30 degrees is about 2m wide. Quite how promising the sump is I'm not so sure but it's definitely a big bit of cave part full of rock, mud and water.
On the way out I spotted something high up in the south wall of Decisions Decisions , it's probably nothing, just a solution pocket inside an eroded joint but no matter where I positioned myself on the floor or up the first pitch out I couldn't see right into the back of it. I will be taking some bolting kit down on Saturday and if time allows we will try and get up to have a look.
36 hours and we're back.. Not long now and we find out what happens to the surprise sump :)