This was to be our second attempt to provide a trip into DYO of the North Wales cavers. Yet again the weather foiled our plans and we instead had a trip into Tunnel Cave through Cathedral showcave. A trip up to Christmas Grotto and Steeple Aven proved a poor substitute for DYO.
Keith in Steeple Aven
Keith and Evan (on the boulder) in Steeple Aven
Heather in a phreatic tube near Steeple Aven
The Team: Brendan (report), Heather & Keith + Evan (NWCC)
An 8 hour trip to the first sump and back. This was the first visit to this system by Brendan and myself. I was a cave I had wanted to visit ever since I started caving when on one of my first visits to the WMCEG I heard people talking about it. Heather very kindly arranged it and Alan was our guide. The deal being that I would rig the 80' pitch which I agreed to as it would be more good training for Titan the following week.
Well after waiting for 20 years what was my opinion? It is another Welsh classic, that is one likes mud, crawls, muddy crawls, pitches, muddy pitches, and yet more mud. The mud is of varying consistency but near to the end of the trip it is thick and sticky and clogs ascenders, making the return more than a little sporting. Definitely one for the mud aficionados in the club.
Attended by: Keith (report), Brendan & Heather + Alan (NWCC)
Having found the entrance and then quickly finding the pitch, I rigged the life line off a nice piece of stal, and the ladders off a large flake of flowstone on the left hand wall very near the start of the slope. Now this isn't the best of ladder pitches as it slopes away from you and can't see the bottom, and when you climb down there is a section of about 5 rungs where you can't grip the ladder so you have to be very careful. If I go again I would use SRT - it would be easier. After a quick wade through the canal and a bit of crawling we arrived at a chamber where the survey says 'continue through a dig in the floor' well don't do what we did and go down the slope as it goes nowhere - just go straight on and you will come to what can best be described as a low tight duck, where I got a very wet ear. Just past here is the fallen slab which trust me isn't for larger people. You have to take your helmet off otherwise you can't see anything as your head is sideways. We were through into Ogof Foel Fawr. The exit from here is fairly straight forward and before we knew it we were out. All we had to do now was walk around the hill and retrieve the ladder.
West Brecon CRT rescue practice. Brendan was the casualty! For those who have visited this cave you will appreciate that getting a stretcher through the system is a real challenge. We started at the second corkscrew but abandoned the practice before getting to the first one - this would have been very interesting!
Attended by: Keith (report) & Brendan
Viedo of Pen Eryr trip from 29th Aug: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4o1lawojRsQ