Saturday 4 February 2012

Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 2 - Bedding Chambers

With such a great turn out of new members we split into two groups to head into OFD 2 for the first days caving. It was minus five with a strong wind and icy snow starting to fall when we put away the teapots and headed up the hill towards the cave. Deep snow drifts filled the entrance to the cave and after a little moving of the snow we were on our way. This group was exploring the passages around the entrance, and we went no further into the cave than Gnome Passage. Our first objective was to head up to the Mini Columns and explore the labyrinth of passages in that area. With several circuits made we set off to give Mark and Jess a navigational challenge of leading the route to Gnome Passage. Despite taking us down some passages that none of us had ever been down before, we arrived in Gnome Passage before setting off on our next objective, the Bedding Chambers. A climb up a steep calcite slope took us up into the maze of passages that make up the Bedding Chambers, where we spent an hour or so exploring all the routes. Once we thought that we hade covered all route, Keith beckoned us into another passage he had spotted at the top of the calcite slope. We soon followed to find an impressive grotto and a passage beyond that led through a boulder squeeze into a chamber. The chamber was back on route to the Mini Columns and so we decided to split and meet back at the bottom of the calcite slope - our original route into this area. Mark and Jess were left to navigate the second party, which they did successfully, albeit by a slightly longer route that strictly necessary, taking in Gnome Passage on their travels.
Once regrouped, we headed out of the cave to fight our way through the now much deeper snow. Frozen pipes meant no hot showers, but made up for it by thawing out infront of a blazing fire in the long common room.

Another party were overdue on a OFD through trip, and meant that we missed our traditional visit to the pub, instead donning our cold wet gear to prepare for a search. The group was found by Keith, Mark, Jess and Graham as they fought with a an iced-up gate to exit the cave. John on comms relayed the message that they were safe and saved the second party from setting off on a through trip to search for them.

Dominik viewing formations in the Bedding Chambers.

Phil viewing formations in the Bedding Chambers.

Mel viewing formations in the Bedding Chambers.

Present: Keith Edwards, Mark Burkey, Jessica Harding, Dominik Mokrzecki, Mel Wakeman, Philip Lester and Brendan Marris

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