Saturday 16 August 2014

Swamped with helictites in Pendulum Passage

When I first joined the club I listened with envy as Keith and Brendan recounted a trip they had taken to a little visited area of a cave which had stunning helictite formations. It was a trip that I've had at the back of my mind ever since.

Chloe met at ours at half seven on Saturday morning and after a straight forward run we were kitted up and heading for the cave by10:30am.

our first objective was a pitch at the end of Swamp Creek which I had not done before. We took the tourist route down Salubrious past the Trident and Judge formations and were soon crab walking down the Swamp Creek Stream.  A short traverse is rigged to the head of the pitch where I descended through the waterfall 40m to the main stream way below. Chloe and Jess followed issuing squeals as the frigid water went down the necks of their suits as they descended.
At the bottom we ditched the SRT kit and headed up stream to the squeeze up through the boulders and in to Pendulum passage.
The route was easy going with the exception of an awkward loose climb down which we had taken a ladder to assist with and my two models were soon shivering for the camera in front of the beautifully decorated walls of straws and helictites.
After spending a good while taking pictures we begun to retrace our route, again pausing for a couple of photographs in the main stream. We had decided to exit via Maypole inlet and de-rig the pitch from the top rather than ascend through the freezing waterfall.
What I assumed would be a fairly short trip had taken several hours with the photographs and we made our call out of 7pm with a whole minute to spare! :)
Delicate Helictites in Pendulum Passage

Chloe admiring the formations

Jess traversing the steam way near the 2nd oxbow

Present: Jess Burkey, Chloe Burney & Mark Burkey

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