The return trip would take some good planning, and Whitewalls was booked for the night before so we could make an early start into the cave. A survey was obtained and the route description was copied, Pelicases were stuffed with photographic gear and tackle bags rammed with food and drink. The only thing we could not plan was the weather, and the snow almost put a stop to the trip, with three or four inches covering the top of the mountains. Breakfast was cooked by Rachel at Whitewalls and we tucked in at 7.30 am ready to head to the cave. We changed in the snow and then slithered our way down the hillside to the cave entrance, where after a short spell of deicing we entered at 9.30am. For the next four hours we put our heads down and dealt with the monotony of the cave, the entrance series, Wonderbra Bypass, Lamb & Fox Chamber, Indiana Highway, Megadrive, Elliptic Passage, Midwinter Chambers, Snowball passage and then the endless crawling that leads to the flat out Last Sandwich dig. A sudden change in Character occurs as you enter More Singing & Dancing, one of the largest sections of passage in the cave, yet more boulders to hop across. Soon a rope climb up to the Luck of the Draw is reached and a pleasant walking passage is entered, many fine crystal arrays and formations adorn the floors and wall here as we head towards Medusa's Children. We hardly pause as we reach this fantastically decorated chamber as our quest is to find the Geryon's Lair, much further to the south in the Cantankerous Surveyor's extensions. Progress slowed once reaching Medusa's Children as the passage is lower and the roof floor and walls are covered with a profusion of pure white formations. After some crawling the passage size increases once more and we find ourselves looking up at a calcite covered roof from which hangs the Lightbulb formation.
Keith Edwards in the passage below the Lightbulb Formation
A close up of the Lightbulb Formation
Our quarry is not far away now, all we have to do is negotiate a maze of interconnecting crystal covered passages to find the rocky slope up into the Geryon's Lair.
A closeup of the Geryon Formation
Keith Edwards viewing the Geryon Formation
Rachel Dearden viewing the Geryon Formation
Richard Dearden viewing a cluster of aragonite needles in the same chamber
A close up of the aragonite needles
After an hour of taking photographs and having pork pies and drink, we decide to try and find the Needles in the passages in the extreme end of this system. A few minutes later they are located, although very hard to see as they are so fine and transparent. We spend a few minutes with the difficult task of trying to photograph them.
Keith viewing the Needle formations
A closeup of the Needle formations
All that lay ahead now was the small matter of getting out the cave, there was a vast distance between ourselves and the entrance, and we were already very tired from the trip in. The next six hours were quite painful as we stumbled from rock to rock, and forced our way through the crawls with our tackle bags and boxes. At 10.30pm were were climbing up the scaffold shaft to the entrance, only to find that it had frozen solid and could not be opened. After a good ten minutes a well aimed boot released us from our frozen tomb into the icy atmosphere of Pwll Du at night.