Featured in the 2018 Summer BC Caver:
Participants: Rob Countess, John Lay, Felix Ossig-Bonanno, Peter Curtis, Tim English, Dale Chase, Frank Tuot, Dennis Mitchell
Saturday, 25th Aug
I finished my last day of work. I was lucky enough to have a 5hr!
Got a lift back with Charlene and Ryles, picked up my gear from camp and enjoyed a dinner John had prepared for us.
Sunday, 26 Aug
The next morning we (John and I) packed the truck. I downloaded some maps onto my phone. Did some grocery shopping. Bought some new gumboots (someone pinched mine from work!). John zipped back to grab a chest harness for me.
Headed up island.
We (Tim English and Dale Chase) arrived at the Crossover road in Tim’s small right hand drive pickup, LOADED [Dale’s stuff also packed into the back]. We stop to recce the road. It’s only about 40m long but a formidable barrier to this little truck. We got over it with only a dent to the oil filter. Not a game stopper, but it could have been. This place needs some TLC. BRING MORE ROCKS. Flat rocks. After setting up camp at the Arch corner campsite, we return to the crossover and start loading rocks. Peter Curtis drives up and heads into camp. We’re unloading the first load when we hear voices at the other end. John Lay and Felix are recceing. When they see the rocks we’ve put down they help with 3 more loads. We dig out and remove a couple of the biggest roots. They make it over with only minor scrapes.
Rob was in Glory’Ole with Franck? and ?? They brought in a large Darren Drum for the rescue cache at the end of the crawl and I think they also did a bolt climb up an aven. Rob returned pretty late having to drop ?? at home.
Monday, 27 Aug
* TRIP 1 – Rob, John and Felix Bottom Glory’Ole
The survey on the survey disk is not really legible, luckily Peter had the original publication and Rob had managed to get an idea of the pitches in the cave. The goal of the trip was to get to the bottom avoiding water. We lay out all the gear we’d be taking in, making sure we had enough rope. We had 23 (18+5) bolts with hangers and could steal another three hangers from in the cave to make 26. We brought in John’s hammer drill, a spare battery, some webbing, shelter & place, etc… and another Daren Drum with some more emergency gear to leave at the cache. Lucky me got to haul this in!
I’d never been to Glory’Ole before and was impressed by its sizable entrance. We descended down The Ebony Way. I flying angeled down the pitch at the bottom of which we emerged into the big room(s). Through the Crawlspace ditching the barrel at the other side and we were in nice walking passage (well mostly) for the rest of the trip.
We soon (about 2hrs from the entrance) reached the Cascades (the part where the cave begins to get vertical). Climbing up over some old, giant chock stones we found some old pitons, some more recent bolting, and then a little further on a couple more bolts. We used these last two to descend down into some old stream passage with a sandy bottom (P1 xx 10m). We explored this looking for the best way back into the stream passage; continuing on seemed to lead further away from the stream (I believe Rob has surveyed this), I went as far as a junction the right fork in a calcite plug with nice formations. Back towards the pitch, we ended up continuing straight until we were above the vadose with active stream below and ended up bolting a Y-hang. There was some argument as to whether we should add a redirect to prevent rope rub, or if this would be an ‘insult to the cave’… in the end a redirect went in and we moved on to the next obstacle. (P2/P3 xx 10m -> x 10m).
Just downstream there was a Tarzan swing around a pool, a short drop followed by a much larger pool. The Tarzan swing had actually been one end of a traverse line someone had bolted in… the other end was dangling from a hanger on the far side of the pool… what to do? It was a little too far to jump, but with a little more hight… I stoop up on John’s knee pushing off a small rock ledge. I crouched whilst in the air to avoid a low hanging rock and landed on one knee on the other side of the pool. Sucess! I threw the end over and Rob joined the ropes back together (also put a butterfly on a threadbare section). (x-x)
Some nice stream passage followed but soon sumped, luckily there was a bypass to the left over an obvious dyke. To make sure it was the right way, I rapped down using Rob and John as a meat anchor and continued down to another small pitch and could hear water just beyond. We bolted both these pitches (P4 xx 4m CR, P5 x 3m CR), and used John’s small blow torch to cut and melt the ends (this worked well when the rope was dry and not at all well on the Kevlar rope). We rejoined the main stream at a nice rock column with some pleasant cascades upstream. We glanced up at the “^60+’ Aven” that looked like it had a promising lead about half way up (We returned to explore this on another trip – See Below).
There was more scalloped vadose with several dykes cutting trough the passage creating numerous shallow pools of water. Exploring some high leads at the next drop, I soon found a bypass up high to the right, that then crossed over the passage via some chock stones. Climbing down and swinging around next to the waterfall, a tube led to some more tighter sections and a downclimb that enabled us to bypass the 25′ (7.6m) pitch marked on the original survey!
Just around the corner we found ourselves above the largest pitch yet! Some depths were yelled out; I guessed 22-23m… Rob pulled out a Disto to check… I was a little supprised when he read out a reading of about 22.5m! What a fluke! (This was the 75′ (23m) drop marked on the original survey). John bolted in a traverse line followed by an equalised three anchor hang in the roof (P6 xx-x-xxx 23m). To reach the hang you had to shuffle out onto a musical finger of rock that looked like it might drop at any moment. As I threaded my stop, gear from my harness clanked on it, making it vibrate beneath me. The Beal Spelium rope we used was very bouncy and I wasn’t a fan. Reading up on it later I found that whilst designed for caving, it was described as “semi-static”. Stress on the ‘semi’!
The next bit of vadose was fantastic! it threaded its way through banded marble with a shallow stream creating a glassy surface along its base… it was short lived and soon we were at another deep pool. There was a short climb (1.5m) followed by a deep pool that we weren’t too keen on wading. I just managed to stem across up high in the passage and was able to put in a bolt on the far side (xx-x-x CL). A large room followed. You could traverse the slick rock just above the water, but again a traverse line was put in for ease of travel. We were working well as a team Rob and I putting in the bolts on either end simultaneously whilst John always seemed to have the next tool we both needed ready to pass across. Another short pitch or climbdown (x 3m CR), followed by a ~5m drop into a deep pool (P7 x 5m CR). Hugging the right wall you could just get the rope up and over a horn. We were nearing the end of the cave we climbed down a couple of metres (later a handline bolted) and peered down at a wide pool below, I figured I’d give it a crack and descended trying to trend left where the water was shallower, but with nothing to redirect the rope it wasn’t going to work. I tried swinging, but was too high. I descended further till my feet were just above the water and began running along the wall building up a swing, each time the waterfall spraying me more and more. With one final swing I pushed off the wall letting rope fly through my descender and managed to land in the one shallow spot in the pool, only a small amount of water entering one boot. A bag was lowered along the rope to me and I put in a bolt for the tyrolean conscious of the final pitch to the terminal(?) sump through the hole beside me (P8 x-x-x 3m+5m). We were getting excited; the end of the cave was just below. Would the water be low enough so that we could extend the cave? There were two holes down to the sump, the larger being the most obvious and where all the water ran. Rob and I voted for the smaller hole behind this one that would keep us dry. John rigged the final pitch and I got to do the honors (P9 xx 10m CL). It didn’t look good. There was a deep pool of water at the bottom with no air gap. We were soon all perched on a small ledge at the edge of the water desperately trying to find the passage the draft that couldn’t in any way be created by the 10m waterfall beside us… There was some discussion about free diving the sump – Rob even half convinced me he had a pair of goggles. But in the end everyone felt like we were a long way from the entrance, and that we wouldn’t really be able to see anything anyway. So back up we went. On the otherside of the tyrolean there was again talk about some high vadose possibly being a lead, but again I wasn’t in a spot to take a good look at it. Maybe another time!
Did a small trip up the moonmilk river to check out the pretties.
Despite I lightened packs, it was still a slog out of the cave. We got back to the vehicle at about 0330 and once reaching camp I had some chips, drank a can of condensed milk and crashed.
* TRIP 2 – Peter, Tim and Dale go to the Ballpark area.
The Ballpark (a logger term) is the switchback on the road between Arch and Treasure Caves. In the big gully that seems to separate Pellucidar from the other systems, Dale remembers clearly that he saw a shelter cave, a possible entrance, with a frost shatter floor in 1990 or so and he put in his lead bag. We found what Peter figured was the feature I was remembering. Far from frost shatter, the floor was covered in big breakdown. We conducted a ‘scientific search’ for some air draft, but there was no draft. We wrote this off. Either it was a different feature, or Dale’s memory (could it be?) was faulty. Then to Treasure for some pics of the entrance passage. Then down to the Pellucidar parking spot to search for Tim’s wayward Go-pro. Didn’t find it. Back to camp for lunch. Then went to find something on the surface that might be directly over a drafting vertical lead in Resonance. Hmm, 95m due west of the Tunnel Vision entrance and there it wasn’t. Did a big circle search of the area and found 0 sinkholes.
Started raining overnight??
Tuesday, 28 Aug
TRIP 1: Tim English, Felix Ossig-Bonanno, Peter Curtis (R) – GLORY STORY – To the bottom of Resonance
Over the last year or so, some of us hard core, no nonsense types have been working the Glory Ole area and pushing caves, Rob Countess being the driving force. Today Tim’s, Felix’s and Peter’s mission is to descend into the depths of Resonance to survey passage and look for leads. The cave has been previously rigged, thank God. The weather can’t get much drier, so we expect water levels to reflect this, and maybe allow us to get into uncharted territory. Nine rope pitches from 3m to 47 m, and several hours later, we’re standing at stream level. [Some of the ropes were thick with dirt and diameter and Tim and Felix had some troubles using the Petzl Stop. Peter using a rack didn’t have a problem. I taught Tim how to rap on a Munter and wished I’d read up more on the C wrap – I have now!]. We check the upstream sump. It hasn’t moved and looks about the same. Heading downstream, we survey (actually resurvey) parts of the passage that got missed from Rob’s last trip due to higher water levels, and then finally arrive at a duck, which is well beyond and deeper than anyone has been previously. Felix debates whether or not to wade through, as we shout “Go for it, Felix!” So he does, while we take photos. He gets pretty wet, and wades back to tell us there a sump just ten meters beyond with no bypass, although we seem to think we feel a draft… maybe. You know how it is. Heading back upstream Felix, who is now wet anyway, crawls up into a small tube that carries the stream and adds on a few more meters. Tim and Peter take more photos….. It’s time to route now… we’re pretty dry, but Felix is somewhat sodden. On our way up, we pull the lower two ropes; a 20m and 25m, as we are most likely finished with this part of the cave…for now anyway. Now getting closer to the entrance, and near the Resin Chamber, Peter, while on rope, hears rocks crashing somewhere ahead, mingled with Felix’s cries of “rock!”. What’s going on? Turns out Felix, unfamiliar with the route, has climbed up 30+m of rope by mistake into the ceiling of the Resin Chamber, (which is pretty loose), instead of taking the nice horizontal way out. No, no Felix, not that way!
Another 45min. and we’re at the entrance. What time is it? We guess around 10pm, but it’s really 2am; a solid 14hr trip. I think we added about 11m of depth to the cave, and possibly 50m or so to it’s length. At this time of writing, the length of Resonance stands at 4590m, and the depth at 333m. For now…..stay tuned….
[Tim got some good experience on rope! Well done!]
I WASN’T THERE THIS DAY… DID THIS HAPPEN?
Rob, John and Dale did a make and mend session at camp in the morning. Then went to Tunnel Visionary (the dig near the entrance to Tunnel Vision where we took the pillow). Opened up the approach some, but no further advancement. This is a dig that’s small. It would be very awkward to load a drag bag and the spill has to go around a 90 degree corner. Felix and Rob went in and surveyed to as far as possible. Probably a write off.
Then we went to the crossover. We moved more loads of rocks, chopped and pried out roots, Removed the rock that dented Tim’s oil filter. Rob chainsawed the fender bashing stump and etc.
Used some bang. Wasn’t super effective at blasting the granite.
I think it started raining the previous night. Had wet bedding (having ignored Dale’s advice).
Wednesday, 29 August.
Rob’s knee was still hurting, Tim was beat, Peter had appointments, and Dale wanted a pub dinner. That left John and I to peruse a lead in Arch. Rob described some passage to John above Fecal Pot that required a bolt climb. I wish I was there to listen… or maybe not, things turned out okay. We brought the bolting kit -including the John John Bag (C)- and a couple of ropes. It turned out there was already one stashed at Bitch Pitch, but we needed the longer length for Block Pot. I’d only been a very short way into Arch (last year when Rob and I were doing a bolt climb in Tunnel Vision) and I quickly got disorientated in the overlapping maze of passages. We arrived at Window Aven and dropped down into The Lounge to get some more gear – Rob promised bolts… But there was only one to be found! We headed back and continued down the canyon to rap into Fecal Pot to have a look at what our objective was… I hadn’t listened to Rob in the morning, and things weren’t lining up with what John was seeing, combined with the fact we only had three bolts there wasn’t high enthusiasm, and I wasn’t about to talk John into bolting something he didn’t have his heart set on. We had a bite to eat and then headed back up to Window Aven… it was the driest John had ever seen it – just a small trickle coming down where the bypass ropes for Block Pot were dangling down from a hole high on the West wall, a little dropping from up high onto the East side where our curiosity took hold: we climbed up a way onto the slick rock trying to get a better view, and then climbed up further, and further again. It began to get quite steep as I did a tricky traverse up onto the penultimate ledge leading to where we had both spied a possible lead. The last section was a near vertical wall of hard dirt and rocks. About 3m to the top. I climbed down a bit and grabbed a good digging rock from John and began to studiously make small platforms for me to stand on and then began carving more out on the vertical face cleaning the top of the more solid rocks to create handholds. I stashed the rock, tested each of my placements and pushed off… I dropped a knee, got the other foot up and standing I groped around above me with one free hand: nothing. I wasn’t in a good place and it was hard not to panic. Deep breaths Felix. I needed to wedge myself in, and clinging onto the face, slowly lowered a foot making purchase on another dirt wall. My footing held. Taking deep breaths, I took a moment to collect myself, before lowering myself back down. I knew with a few more options for feet and hands I’d be able to wriggle up the last bit… I got John to throw me a short length of rope so I could get back down and began making a bunch of new holds. 15mins later I gave it another crack and was soon at the top peering into a phreatic tube; virgin cave! I gave John an update and crawled into the decorated passage pressing myself hard against one side to avoid breaking some delicate straws. There was maybe 20m of passage before I was peering down into the top of deep vadose with no way on. I think we were above Fecal Pot – roughly where we had been trying to climb to! We decided to try and make a voice connection and John headed back to the top of the pitch. I could hear him easily way below me and we managed to get a weak light connection, it turns out I was at the far end of Fecal Pot, almost above Speakers Gallery!
To get down I created a cairn anchor and used the short rope to assist in lowering me down. We left most of our gear in Window Aven with the plan to return tomorrow to survey and drop in from the top.
When we got back out the others hadn’t yet returned – still enjoying dinner at the pub. I was thankful for the load of washing they through in for me!
We did something memorable in the morning, but I forget what.
In the afternoon we did a beer and ice run to town, did some laundry, had a restaurant supper., etc.
Thursday, 30 Aug.
TRIP 1: Surveying in Tunnel Visionary
We all (Rob, Felix, Dale, and John… Tim headed in later) went into Tunnel Visionary, which is probably the highest part in the Tunnel Vision system. From the entrance, instead of going down, you head right and up into some old vadose. My guess for the naming is for the fact is getting quite close to Resonance, linking two already large systems. We pocked around some choked passage, and then Rob and I surveyed into some small grotty passage. Definitely the dirtiest of the trip. We began by worming our way through some sloppy mud in a shallow dip and then army crawling up a short way to a junction in the now phratic tubes. I squeezed past Rob squeezing sideways up the tight tube coated in moonmilk. Soon I had to remove my helmet, pushing it in front of me. To get the final splays/radials only one arm would fit and I had to remove my glove with my mouth… I hope I don’t have to go back in there again! It seems unlikely anyone will push that further any time soon, so I think I’m safe. On the way out, we helped Dale and John with some passage enlarging they had been working on.
TRIP 2: Surveying scooped passage in Arch.
John and I then went back into Arch to survey what we/I had scooped the day before. John almost trod on a salamander, possibly even touching its toes, but it seemed unharmed and we placed it in a small pool in the wall. Back down at Window Aven we both took a share of gear, climbed up the death slope, carefully squeezed through the tube without damaging the pretties, and surveying as we went arrived at the top of the vadose where I’d been the day before… we unpacked. No bolt bag. I went back to look at the Window. Not there. A little unhappy at having to climb back down the death slope we tried to work out where it could be… We never took it to The Lounge… it didn’t come out of the cave… could it be at Fecal Pot? surely not. We went back to check just in case… it wasn’t visible from the top. I rapped down and there on a ledge was a bright orange bolting bag – the John John Bag (C). I don’t know how I had missed it when I had ascended. It is clearly visible in one of the photos I took when we were having lunch there!
With little enthusiasm to tackle the death slope again, we packed up and headed out. The salamander was perched on the side of the passage looking at us with hopefull eyes. We put it in my Nalgene Bottle and released it once we were out of the cave.
Went up one of the logging roads leading out of camp to look at some features Peter C had found on a previous visit. Took a wrong turn and found some things we weren’t looking for… leads that Peter had written off. Then we sorted out the way to Thirsty Dog Swallet. This is a promising feature. It had some air draft down. By wriggling down between some big breakdown boulders you could see down to a steep, almost but not quite blocked passage headed steeply down. Even in these dry conditions there was a trickle of water. It would probably be a very big job, but it might be worth it. It’s almost at the level of Arch cave and a couple hundred meters from known passage. I doubtless meets the main drain and comes out Tsultan Rising, but hasn’t been dye traced.
Rob headed home, his knee still playing up. I THINK THIS IS THE RIGHT DAY.
Friday, 31 Aug
In the morning, Peter arrived with Franck and Dennis.
TRIP 1: Virgin passage in Glory’Ole x2!
John, Felix and Franck went into Glory’Ole to climb up the 22′ Aven marked on the original survey. It looked like there was a promising lead. We made good time, John and I making special care that fresh Franck had a heavier pack than ourselves. It wasn’t long before we were at the aven. Whilst John and Franck were bolting, I headed down to the terminal sump to pull some ropes… after crossing the tyrolean just above the terminal sump, I decided to have a look at the passage Rob and John were talking about on the last trip that might lead into higher passage. I skirted around the pool to a 2m climb. I can climb that I thought. It was tricky, but there was a perfect pocket on the right I could jam my whole fist into and up I went. It looked like it went! A 3m climb and I was walking through narrow vadose with a sandy bottom, and on it went. A lot of crawling, down into a muddy room, down and under, up and over, and then there at the bottom of a gravel slope was the stream. Looking up I could see the sump. I think I was the first person ever here! Virgin Cave Fever took hold and it was all I could do to stop myself from running down the beautifully sculpted passage, swinging around pools and with seemingly endless energy stemming over others. I scooped almost 250m when I found myself in a long room sloping downwards. Did it end? It looked like it might sump, but I managed to break free from the spell and headed (more slowly) back to the others. I had good and bad news, the good was obvious, and was all that was asked (the bad was that I hadn’t brought any rope back).
John was almost at the top of the pitch when I returned (apparently only a half hour trip). It wasn’t looking promising he said. One more bolt and we’ll call it a day… but then “It goes!”. He unclipped from the belay rope and was gone. A couple of minuted later Franck and I yelled out for him. No reply. Off scooping we figured. We were both getting cold, and happy to see John’s light come bobbing back into sight. “Well, we have a problem. We have two going leads” he said. We looked at the time. It made more sense to survey what was close at hand – Franck needed to get a lift back into town with Peter. We ascended up and began surveying. It was interesting passage running along a bedding plane dipped at about 30deg. A stream had been running along this eroding weaker rock out and dropping down periodically creating parallel passage along this dip with windows into the older fossil passage – hard to sketch. We soon arrived at a really decorated room. Unfortunately John had walked over the pristine flowstone leaving large muddy patches (should have removed boots?). Careful not to damage any stals – there were some long straws with crazy helictites growing from their sides we proceeded finding ourselves in a waterfall room with a couple of leads. We decided to continue surveying the main passage which felt like it was heading away from the main part of Glory’Ole… the interesting thing now was that the passage began to head back down! The waterfall seemed to feed both directions, though we were now in the dominant continuation. I was on point, and was soon above some giant breakdown with a possible void below, I let out a yell and the booming echoes from below sent chills down my spine. I hurried of to break the news! Returning, I scrambled back down dislodging a rock and sent it bouncing down a hole in the breakdown. Boom, Boom, one second, Boom, two seconds, three seconds, four seconds, Boom! It was a long way down. Standing up on one of the chock stones, I shot a Disto splay down as far as I could. I’m not sure if it hit the bottom, landed somewhere on a wall down in a large room, or didn’t even make it down the pitch but it got a measurement of about 26m. Quite a way down. You could rig the first couple of drops and then have a replay to drop the deep pit… that brings me back to the bad news: I hadn’t brought the rope back up. But we didn’t have the bolting gear with us, and it was time to go anyway. We packed up and headed out excited to break the good news – and that it would make our slight lateness okay.
TRIP 2: Peter C, Dennis, Tim, and Dale
We did a recce back to the area we were at on Tuesday, but this time with Frank’s Magic Map. Nothing could go wrong. We went to the same area, theoretically, but this time found a sinkhole right over the end of exploration in a side lead off the top of the Resin Chamber in Resonance. A smallish sink with a flat duff floor, no draft, but we dug at it a couple hours while Tim went off for a recce. We were getting discouraged when Tim showed up again and announced that he’d found a better entrance dig. We went to see it and it looked good. It seemed to be a fossil resurgence (maybe) at the head of a gully. We cleared enough to get down into the first small chamber, which had a soft dirt floor. No draft, but it might respond to a dig on another visit.
Then we went for a look at Sparkling Cave. There’s been some serious work done there since my last visit. It continues down in a pleasant dry dig with some rocks. The dirt is dragged up the slope and fills between the boulders on the floor. There was a slight but noticeable air draft down on this warm day. YES. I’ve spent the whole trip looking for a project to sink my teeth into, and here it is. It’s a fossil swallet headed down, sort of reminiscent of the entrance passage of Resonance. The dirt fill is not tightly cemented, dry and fairly clean. It’s a couple hundred meters from known passage below. We moved some material.
Saturday, 1 Sept.
TRIP 1: Photo Pfaffing in P1
Tim and Felix went to P1 to do some photography. It felt like I’d been putting this off all week! There had been a recent dive trip into P2. They had dived an undived sump in the cave, – a good excuse to get into P2! – and broke into dry virgin passage. They had spent a couple of days brushing the road and trail making it much easier for us to access the cave. It was nice once we broke into the second growth and soon followed a draw up to the resurgence. It reminded me a lot of the entrance to Dark Vadar and it also had some similar showerhead formations. Continuing further upstream however there was some great scalloping and then a super decorated room – further on a sump, and decorated crawl side passage. We spent a lot more time photo pfaffing here.
Back out of the cave, we hiked along to the entrance to P1 to see if we could find Tim’s lost GoPro. No dice.
TRIP 2: Digging in Sparkling
When we returned Dale had hung a pack up in a tree to let us know they were still in Sparkling. We stopped and headed up to check in. I borrowed Tim’s suit (again) and did some digging. There wasn’t really a draft that I could detect, though Dale had done some ‘science’ the day before. Perhaps some of the spoils had dropped down blocking the airflow. I was tired and was soon spent. I went to rest on the surface. Dozed off for a bit and then returned to camp for some well deserved (and needed) lunch.
Felix, John, Tim, and Dale went to Sparkling and moved a lot of material.
NOT SURE THIS WAS THIS DAY?? DENNIS AND PETER WHERE NOT THERE.
Dennis, Peter?, Tim and Dale ® (I’m a little fuzzy about the personnel on this day). We still had Frank’s magic map and decided to venture past Thirsty Dog Swallet. There was an unchecked feature to look at and Dale, caving genius that he is, was excited about an alcove in a cliff face. The alcove was a quarry for the road, and the feature was a nothing, but we cleared snowdown willows to make the area more accessible for future recces.
Sunday, 2 Sept.
After some arguing, I convinced John not to bring in bolting gear: We were tired, and the main goal was to simply survey the passage past the old terminal sump. John, Tim and I headed back into Glory’Ole. Tim hadn’t been in before and was thoroughly impressed; he went as far as the first pitch whilst Johhn and I continued past the end to survey the passage I had scooped on the last trip.
Dale was alone in camp as everyone else was somewhere else. So I left a note in camp and went alone to Sparkling Cave, a six minute walk on the road and about 1 ½ minutes on the trail and 2 or 3 minutes in the cave to the end of the dig. I took Tim’s big spud bar and loosened a lot of material. There’s probably 10 or 15 loads of material awaiting the dragbag. I love this dig.
We left Tim and quickly descended to the bottom of the cave. I climbed up, dropped a hand-line and we were soon surveying the passage I had scooped. When we reached the stream passage, John headed to have a better look at the other side of the sump. There was a small air gap below a dyke crossing the passage. He let out a yell. It boomed beyond. There was a big room there. It was tempting to duck under and have a look, but there was surveying to do. John was surprised at how much passage I had scooped. And we began to rush to ensure we got at least to where I had got to last time (Dale was trained to use the Delorem, so we had a hard call-out to meet!). We got to the large room – managing a 20+m leg! – and where soon at the end, confirming my suspicions that it was another terminal(?) sump. Heading back, we climbed up high in the vadose confirming John’s suspicions at upper level passage (I had been skeptical). Phreadic tube led of in both directions. I headed down. Twisting and turning down circular passage of increasing diameter. Just past a small stream coming in from the left I hit another sump. Maybe just downstream of the one in the main streamway? I tried to find where the draft had gone… maybe into the sidestream? I couldn’t be sure, and headed back, getting a little lost in the labyrinth of crossing phreadic tubes and ended up popping out just above the horizontal stick at the entrance to the big room. I climbed down and met John who had followed the passage up to a well marked survey station we had left. We’d surveyed about 270m and extended the depth of Glory’Ole by about 25m!
I acted as meat anchor for the 3m climb. I suggested climbing down and using the original tyrolean, but John wanted to try and cross over from our ledge. We looked for naturals. The one John selected looked a little suspect to me, and I may have voiced my opinion, but in the end it stayed with me as the backup. The rope fully loaded and the anchor held. I was staring at the anchor, and seemed to have some strange connection with it I can’t really explain, but somehow I knew it was going to fail. I brazed myself and a second later the rock broke off. John fell a metre or two landing in the water as the rope tied to me went tight. Keeping the rope loaded, I yelled down to make sure he was okay. I got a reply. Good. The rock had missed him. John thought that maybe it’d got his pack. We rerigged the tyrolean and headed back out.
I could feel my weary body complaining. Perhaps I’d done too much caving? But maybe not. After one rest day, its been 5 more days back to back, albeit somewhat shorter trips to the ones this week!
Monday, 3 Aug.
Peter showed up just as we had finished packing. Good timing as we now had some more room to ferry Dale’s gear back to his vehicle.
The worst part of any long trip. Packed up and left. Bah. But as a reminder that the fun never stops, Peter got us pole sawing overhanging limbs off the crossover for a couple hours in hopes that it would dry up faster. The road goes on forever and the party never ends.