Saturday, 8 March 2014

Getting Stuck Into OFD 1.5

This was a trip on the top of our bucket list for some time, but with the exceptionally wet winter the direct route up the streamway had been out of the question for some time, and this weekend was our first opportunity to get into it. A late start due to the A465 being closed and an extreme tea drinking session starting on arrival at SWCC, it was almost noon when we disappeared underground. The water in the streamway was down to near normal levels and we were soon sliding through the boulder choke, the sump making much less noise than the week before. Through the connection we went and then headed up a boulder slope to find a passage that would lead us into OFD 1.5. Soon we had found what was marked on the survey as the tight slot and down we slid, this would be harder on the return. We then dropped down mud cemented boulders into a passage and followed it for quite a distance until it ended in a dig. Consulting the survey we identified the location of the connection with the large passage above and soon Brendan was trying to squeeze through boulders at the top of the mud slope. He had no luck so Mark then took the lead making it through and so the rest followed. We explored the massive passages, and then climbed up a balcony to explore a total maze of passages. At one point Mark located a climb down that will make a much easier route into this series on a future visit. Back in the main passages we followed a large loop through a super loose boulder choke to reach a passage that had been dug through. Passing through the dig we followed a crawl for some distance to reach a beautiful dried crystal pool and a climb down to the top of the Knackeracker pitch. This was just as nice as it sounds and the ladder can only be rigged in the tightest part of the rift so was fun on the way down. At the bottom the passage ends both ways, but is decorated with a fine array of helictites. After a few photos we headed back up the pitch, an altogether more serious undertaking in reverse. After a lot of puffing panting and a little of the heave ho we were all up and then made our way out of the cave.

OFD 1.5
Chloe in OFD 1.5

OFD 1.5
Chloe in OFD 1.5

OFD 1.5
Chloe in OFD 1.5

This was a great area of the cave to explore and will return to complete the final section of this series.

Present: Mark Burkey, Chloe Burney and Brendan Marris

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