Saturday 2 February 2013

Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 2 - Prokofiev Series

The Prokofiev Series had long stood on our to do list. On a previous visit we had arrived at a very tight traverse and not attempted it as we were not sure it was the route and turned back. This was in fact the route in and so we planned our return. With a Peli Case each and a bag of tackle for Mark we arrived in good time at Timo's Table and the start of the route into the Prokofiev series. A tight squeeze in the passage leading to the traverse proved interesting for most of us and then we faced the tight traverse ahead. Keith headed off to try out the traverse, but abandoned his Peli Case near the start as it was going to be too hard to pass carrying gear. With a rest half way across Keith made it to be then followed by Mark. Jessica and myself stayed back as the pair followed the passages to a chamber with the 7m climb up towards 5 Mile Chamber. With no tackle and two of the party at the start of the traverses Mark and Keith decided to return. To get the tackle across the traverse would be too difficult, and so we made our way back to Timo's Table.

Jessica and Mark at Timo's Table.

Jessica at Timo's Table.

Jessica at Timo's Table.

With time on our hands we decided to have a look at an alternative route out of the cave. We knew that from Chasm Passage there was a large shakehole with a route down into Swamp Creek from where we could make our way out through the trade routes, or at least that was our plan. A decision made up on the spur of the moment with no survey and no preparation - What could possibly go wrong...?

We made our way along Chasm Passage and dropped down a fixed rope climb to the top of the Shakehole. Here the rocks are covered in a thick layer of moon milk, making them very slippy and covering all useful hand and foot holds. We climbed down thinking that we would not have to come back this way. The route now turned into a steep climb down loose boulders to drop into a rift passage where we could climb and traverse a route down to the stream at the bottom. This was a most unpleasant muddy slimy and wet stream and after every few metres of progress we were met with a boulder collapse and a tortuous route through to continue the exit. After nearly an hour of this we arrived at a climb up to take us into a chamber on a large bend in the streamway. We could look out from this high vantage point down into a long streamway. It looked impossible to climb down into the streamway beyond and with a wide traverse along muddy ledges as the only option we could see, we decided that we would turn around and make our way out via the standard routes. The climb out of the Shakehole proved a little tricky, and we made our way back to the caving club just on our call out time.

Present: Jessica Harding, Mark Burkey, Keith Edwards, Brendan Marris
with guest appearance from Mr Fcuk Up

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