Sunday 2 December 2018

Bolting in OFD Big chamber

After being rocked gently to sleep by the horrid weather Jess and I awoke refreshed and ready to rumble.
We were designated Duty officer this morning and so begun gently with a cuppa and taking the hut fees.

Once all had paid up we begun the search for the keys to get the SWCC ladder which was surprisingly harder than expected and took almost an hour to track down. Eventually though we had everything we needed. Ladder, rope, climbing gear, drills, spits and of course camera's ready to document caverns measureless!

I should explain that on a previous visit to OFD, Roo used big chamber near the entrance to instruct a group of us how to use the 3D scanner ahead of a couple of planned trips abroad. The result of this was that he had identified a passage that he wanted to investigate and so had contacted us to see if we could help.

Loz had joined us Saturday night for the curry, but after her 40 mile run she wasn't in much of a state to cave and so we only made her carry the 8m ladder up to the entrance rather than anything strenuous!

Soon Bartek and I were making our way through to Big Chamber with a section of ladder each and after a slight mishap where the ladder took a dint after tumbling out of position, we managed to get it up and secured.

Roo went up carefully and popped a bolt in to secure the ladder to before continuing up to take a look in the passage and with a deflated look on his face reported that it didn't go and was blocked with stal :(

Bartek and I made the most of the unusual vantage point and took a couple of photo's before we de-riggged and headed back to the hut for yet another cuppa before heading home.

Let the fun begin!

Big chamber from the inlet

Trip report: Mark Burkey

Present: Paulina, Bartek, Jess, Roo and Mark

Saturday 1 December 2018

Pant Mawr Pot

Having Promised Roo that we would give him a hand on the Sunday with a project in OFD, it meant that we would be in South Wales for the weekend so it made sense to do something local to the SWCC hut on the Saturday.
I had been hoping to get some photo's of Pant Mawr Pot a few weeks before, but plans had changed after our epic in Draenen and so we decided to give Pant Mawr another go.
To our surprise we had such a response that it would mean we would need to split in to two teams.
The walk over in was damp and the mist was thick and if it weren't for Dino's GPS we may have been wandering around the hills for hours. As it was we made good time and the walk didn't feel like long at all.
We decided to get Bartek to rig the pitch in and send down the more experienced first. This would leave myself and Jess to supervise the others down.
I knew Mel hadn't done much SRT, but didn't realise she had only ever practiced at the Mill. She was very nervous as I talked her though the getting onto the head of the pitch. Dino held the tail of the rope at the bottom, just incase, but Mel did fine and was soon as the bottom. Joe had no problems at all and followed and then came Sam.
Before getting to the cave Sam had shown me his setup in a tree outside the club and although unorthodox (Sam is an Arborist and his kit isn't quite as easy to use as the standard SRT kit) it was safe enough.
The key with Sam's set up was not to drop anything as he changed over ropes on the ledge to the free hang. Again there were no problems though and he was soon swinging around whilst Bartek took a couple of Photographs.
With myself and Jess down we stripped off our harness's and begun stomping down the stream. Although I had been there a couple of times before I had always been following either Brendan or Keith and I soon found I hadn't paid much attention.
Our objectives would be The Chapel, The Organ Loft and The Fire Hydrant. We stomped onward through the boulder chokes and down the stream and before we knew it were up to our chests in water and had a sump in front of us!
Not too disheartened as, I was always intending to photograph on the way out, we were a little more careful on the way back.
Roo spotted the Fire Hydrant and I wasn't surprised we missed it on the way in. I remembered it being an impressive jet of water, but although flowing it wasn't nearly as impressive as I recalled.
Next we found the grave yard and spent half an hour poking around for the way on before realising that the passage I swore definitely wasn't the way actually was.
I climbed the awkward climb to The Organ Loft and rigged some slings for the others and tried to get a quick shot of the flowstone, but the chamber was soon filled with stream from the amount of people in the small chamber and so I gave up. At this point we decided to split in to groups with Bartek and his camera leading one and myself and mine leading the other.
Next we went to the Sabre formation and took a photo before heading up to The Chapel to take a couple more.
We heard Bartek's group below us and shouted for him to come this way.
Whilst Bartek photographed in The Chapel the rest of us headed back to the entrance. I had packed walkie talkies in anticipation of a pitch shot and popped up the rope first whilst Jess set up the light below. Roo started up the rope and we played with photos until we heard Bartek's group approach.
Myself, Joe, Mel, Sam and Roo shivered at the top whilst Jess was passed on the message that Bartek wanted to take a pitch shot himself and so would de-rig if we wanted to head off back to the hut.
The wind had picked up and the rain lashed down. The walk back felt significantly longer and visibility was so poor that we wound up missing the track off the tram road and walked down to the club from the other rear field.
Our first group were changed and showered as the others arrived and so we headed off to reserve a table at the Indian where we all re-grouped for a good meal to end another successful day.

Roo on the entrance Pitch

The Sabre

The Chapel

The Chapel

The Organ Loft

Trip Report: Mark Burkey

Present: Paulina, Bartek, Dino, Mel, Sam, Joe, Jess, Roo and Mark