Having spoken to a few people back at the club we were aware of two possible routes in to the Annex; one involves a tight downward tube with a squeeze and contortion 4 meters in, the other an 8m ladder pitch. Not knowing exactly how to access the pitch head, and as the way on to Crystal pool chamber involves an awkward climb up a rift which tightens at the top, we decided to leave the ladder at a junction we thought would lead to the pitch head and go and take a look at the Crystal Pool and the squeeze first.
No-one had any problems with the rift and traverse to the chamber and Brendan and I were soon trying to get a shot of the beautiful crystal pool whilst Jess had a squirrel around.
Re-grouping Myself, Brendan and Jess all took a look at the tight tube sloping downward and all opted to go feet first rather than fully commit. We all found the awkward squeeze impossible to do feet first as our suits were gathering around our arm pits and contortion was near impossible to navigate without being able to see the route. None of us were feeling brave enough to commit to trying it head first as backing out would be again almost impossible if we couldn't get through, so we decided to explore the passageways off the chamber and then use the ladder to access the Annex instead.
During our exploration Jess found the alternative ladder pitch which is actually accessed via a climb up to a passage off Crystal Pool chamber itself, as we had left the ladder some way back and were quickly running short on time, the Annex would have to wait for another day.
We popped our heads in to Tiger Aven where some unusual striped white and yellow straws give the area it's name and grabbed a couple of pictures as we made our way out. Having taken the dry traverse route on the way in, we opted for a thorough soaking through the waterfall on exit ;)
An enjoyable amble around bits of the system that were new to us and I look forward to returning to finish off the Waterfall Series soon!
|Jess in the passage way to Gothic Sump|
|Jess in The Railton-Wild Series|
|Unusual scalloped roof passage on the way to Crystal Pool Chamber|
|Jess on the traverse up to Crystal Pool Chamber|
|The Crystal Pool|
Present: Brendan Marris, Mark Burkey & Jess Burkey