Buttered Badger Potholing Club
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Suicide Chamber- Aptly Named

Tom Tom, Mark W, Steve Turnbull, Mark R

Tonight’s trip was all about working out if the dig at the bottom of East Chamber was enough to interest us in a long term project. One that all of our diggers can fit to! ;) In order to do this, we wanted to make sure that this dig wasn’t heading for Suicide Chamber.

None of us had ever been to Suicide before and we had struggled to get a really clear picture of exactly where it was from any existing surveys so we took a survey set with us with the aim of surveying a loop between East Chamber and Suicide Chamber.

Mark and Steve were in first followed by Tom and myself. They rigged to East Chamber whilst Tom and I started surveying at the bottom of the third pitch and followed the in-situ rope down the big slope. There was a bit of miscommunication somewhere because Tom and I ended up waiting at the head of the last pitch while the other two caught up.

Once up the pull through into Pilgrims way we packed away the survey kit again and headed off to find Suicide Chamber. Once there we would turn around and survey back out. We knew from reading descriptions roughly where it was and how to find it- pretty simple really. Up the pull through and bear left. Climb over the coffin shaped boulder and turn right then take the second tube on the right. It was a low crawl in water which soon became a lower crawl in more water. Eventually it became just a low crawl again but there was more water… wet pants- great.

Steve was at the front at this point and shouted back down the line that he was in SC. We all thrutched out of the tight wet tube and assembled in a rather small chamber with boulder floor, boulder left wall and boulder roof. The only solid rock was on the right hand wall as we entered. We didn’t know much about the chamber but we had a vague idea of its size relative to East Chamber and this didn’t make much sense. There had to be more to it.

We had a prod around and after a bit of looking and re- looking we found the way on under a rather precarious looking archway of jammed rocks. It was a feet first, eyes shut and don’t look up job. As we all squeezed down through the boulder ruckle against the solid wall we were followed by various bits of loose rock until we eventually arrived at another small chamber- made mostly out of boulders again but this time with a decent stream of water entering through a 2” hole in the roof. If only we had thought ahead and dropped some dye into the water at the East Chamber dig before coming down we might have confirmed without any doubt that this was the same water just lower down. As it happened we all decided that it was almost certainly the same and moved on into the lowest part of SC. We got to the very limit of any digging activities and I took off my SRT kit to slither down the last few accessible gaps between the boulders. I could see more gaps below me and everything was nice and wide open but there was no way to progress. At this point we were probably 15-20m deeper than the point we entered SC. It’s the most perfect place for a dig in every respect apart from it’s location, the practicalities of getting kit and people there, the misery of being wet through and the aptly named pile of deathy choss that you would be digging under, in and through. Fascinating area though, especially when you stop to look around at the size of East Chamber and consider what may lie beyond.

Given we were all desperate for a pint and now cold and wet, the thought of lying in water filled tubes whilst surveying back out only to miss last orders wasn’t that appealing so we bagged the rest of the survey and retreated to the pub.

An interesting trip and one day I’d like to get that bit of survey done along with a dye trace. Just not this week

Mark R