Back on topic, here is my entry with a brief tale of a lot
Despite growing up in Somerset and coming from a family with caving connections (my Grandmother's generation were Mendip cavers), I didn't start caving properly until I was at university in Durham. I soon discovered the joy of digging and so when I returned to Mendip and met Andy Sparrow in the pub in Cheddar and he asked what I did on a Wednesday night my fate was sealed.
Andy, with the Cheddar Caving Club had recently connected Bath Swallet to Rod's Pot and had started the project of connecting Rod's on to the next cave in the system, Drunkards Hole. They had initially started digging from Drunkards, but by the time I joined the team, the focus was from the Rod's Pot side.
Wednesday after Wednesday for over three years, we dug and we hauled bag after bag of sloppy mud. As the dig progressed, I acquired some conveyor belt matting from a nearby quarry to help prolong the life of the drag trays and bags, as well as saving considerable effort hauling. I can't calculate the mechanical advantage of this system, but suffice to say, the efficiencies were significant and far outweighed the effort of lugging the stuff in, in the first place.
After a number of trips to said quarry to top up on conveyor belt, I became known as Posh Pete
because I used rubber
If hauling bags along constricted passages wasn't enough, the spoil heap grew too until we were hauling 30 feet (possible exaggeration here, but it was a long way!) to get the bags to the top! Again, no fancy systems to gain a mechanical advantage, a simple 1:1 haul over a pulley above; one caver above and one below. Just try to keep the bags light and try to avoid filling them with too many holes before they get half way up and spill the contents over whoever is unfortunate enough to be at the bottom.
Right when the hauling seemed untenable, a breakthrough provided more stacking space near the end, but after that became full, progress became impossible from the Rod's end. A renewed attempt from the Drunkards side saw more progress and a small extension, with a promising lead. Unfortunately access to the extension is for the thin and fit only, so enthusiasm never really took off at this site...
So if anyone really
likes hauling, there's a project there for the taking