Wednesday, 1 January 2014

OFD2 - Chasm Passage

The plan was to take Chloe to visit the Columns before heading out on an explore of Top Entrance. Unfortunately spending New Year's Eve on the pop and some people confusing the New Year with the clocks going back we had a late start into the cave. We bumped into the Columns Warden in Cairn Chamber heading out of the cave, we were too late so we turned around and headed to the top of Arete Chamber. Here Brendan's memory of the survey failed and we arrived at the wrong side of Arete to explore a route to Chasm Passage. Blind to this error we headed off up a passage following the Arete stream to climb and squeeze through passage much smaller than that recalled on the survey. A super tight squeeze up and round a corner was ahead, Mark called me through to see if I would like what he saw ahead. Hauling myself through I pulled my back and then arriving at Mark decided that I certainly did not like what was ahead. The stream cascaded down an aven, we were on a calcite ledge half way up and the way on would be a traverse and climb up calcite above the gaping hole. We backtracked to the top of Arete where we consulted the survey. It was immediately clear that we were at the wrong side of Arete so we made or way around and were soon on the planned route. The passage alternated between pleasant, muddy and very wet until a towering mud wall blocked the passage. Mark traversed up to the top, Brendan then climbed it before we looked at the slippy route ahead. It looked viable so all of us came up and we proceeded over a muddy traverse to regain the passage proper. A steeply ascending side passage was explored before heading to a junction where a large boulder balcony overlooked Chasm Passage way below us. We then followed the continuation of the passage which became a nice sandy floored scalloped passage. This then broke out into the side of Chasm Passage where a climb down on muddy footholds took us to the floor. When we looked for the way on we had a little surprise as the passage came out directly over the pitch down into Chasm Passage shakehole. A slip on our climb down would have resulted in very long fall! We then took some photos in the top end of Chasm Passage before heading to the Railway Series above White Arch for some fun climbing up tight muddy tubes on our way out of the cave.

Chasm Passage - Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 2
Jessica Burkey - Chasm Passage - Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 2

Chasm Passage - Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 2
Mark Burkey - Chasm Passage - Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 2

Chasm Passage - Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 2
Chloe Burney - Chasm Passage - Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 2

Chasm Passage - Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 2
Chloe Burney - Chasm Passage - Ogof Ffynnon Ddu 2

An interesting route from Arete to Chasm that has given a little better understanding to the relationship of the passages.

Present: Chloe Burney, Jessica Burkey, Mark Burkey and Brendan Marris

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