Sunday 5 February 2012

Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 1 - Round trip starting in the streamway

On Saturday Night the heavy snow turned to rain and later froze leaving the hill up to Penwyllt covered in a sheet of ice. Our only choice was an OFD trip and to hope that the sun came out and thawed the road so we could escape home at the end of the day. With John taking on responsibilities at the Club as Duty Officer we headed down the hill as two parties of 6 to do the round trip in opposite directions - hoping that we did not meet each over on Bolt Traverse.
Our Group entered the cave and were to follow the stream on the way in. Before we reached The Step we took a detour to Column Passage so the new members could have a look at this fine piece of passage. Dropping back down we headed to The Step and then made our way up the streamway, passing Lowe's Climb to look at Boulder Chamber before returning to Lowe's Climb and making our way up the steep boulder climb into the upper series. Part way up the boulder climb we met Keith and his party on the way back down to the stream. The upper series was completed without incident before we dropped down from Pi Chamber to Bolt Traverse and completed the round trip. Keith's party were met at the end of the Escape Route, after they had had a thorough soaking in the stream and Pluto's Bath. At this point Keith headed out and our group headed to the stream for a soaking on the water slide and a dunking in Pluto's Bath on the way out.
Back at the entrance we thought the trip was over, only to find that the lock on the cave door had broken. The handle spun around and would not release the catch on the gate. With some quick improvisation a knife was produced, the screws on the lock plate removed to reveal the catch that could then be released by hand. A second rescue in the weekend was thus avoided. Somewhat delayed we headed up the hill with the faulty handle and lock plate to be met by Keith, whose dry clothes were locked in my car. He was called a few choice names for breaking the lock, but passed off the blame on a group of students who left the cave after him. The thaw had set in and we were able to head off home after a great weekends caving.

Chloe in the passage near the start of the escape route.

Present: Brendan Marris, Graham Smith, Mark Burkey, Jessica Harding, Chloe Burney and Dominik Mokrzecki

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