Sunday, 1 June 2014

OFD1 a trip to the Annex

An earlier attempt to reach the Annex had failed with both Mark and Brendan being unable to squeeze down the tight tube from Crystal Pool Chamber. An alternative route via a pitch down into The Canyon was planned and so the five of us headed into the cave with rope and an SRT kit with the aim of exploring this area of the cave. We headed straight to the Waterfall Series and were soon in Crystal Pool Chamber and climbed up into the passage leading to the pitch down into the Canyon. Our 20m rope was rigged to the natural threads and soon Mark was heading down the three stage pitch, most of which could be free-climbed with care. The rope was just long enough and one by one we dropped down into the impressive Canyon passage. We followed it in both directions, taking photos of the fantastic calcite flows in one section.

The Canyon OFD1
Clive and Jess in The Canyon

We then climbed up into a side passage that linked to The Annex where we admired the black gour pools and formations in the chamber, before our attention turned to the connecting crawl to Crystal Pool Chamber. Loz took the lead and after a little persuasion was through, Clive then followed with little trouble. With two through Brendan followed but not with the same ease, and had to have Mark remove a drink sachet from his sleeve pocket so he could push into the tightest section of the tube, with Mark pushing and Clive pulling Brendan was through too. Mark and Jess had seen enough and then decided to retrace their steps and de-rig the pitch.

The Annex OFD1
Jess viewing the black gours in The Annex

The Annex OFD1
Mark in The Annex

The Annex OFD1
Loz in The Annex

We then headed out taking in a circuit of the main passages in the Waterfall Series as we went, plenty more leads to explore in this area of the cave.

Present: Mark Burkey, Jess Burkey, Clive Westlake, Loz Appleby and Brendan Marris

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