Author Topic: Aquamole fixed rigging (split from "Titan access: Ropes for digging team only")  (Read 862 times)

Offline Fulk

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On the subject of leaving caves rigged with ropes, we went to Aquamole Pot today to find that all the pitches were rigged, with a note at the top saying something on the lines of: ‘Do not use these ropes, as they may be removed at any moment; this is not a joke’. If you ask me, the sooner they are removed the better; descending the narrow entrance pitch, rigging our own rope, was a bit of a pain; but my friend who de-rigged said that de-rigging was an absolute ball-ache because the in-situ ropes were constantly tangling with and snagging the tackle bags he was trying to pull up.
(Maybe 'Please do not use these ropes' might have left us feeling a bit less pissed off.)

Offline alastairgott

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Afaik the ropes in aquamole are the diver's own who found aquamole from the bottom and after climbing the avens dug open the cave from beneath. Quite nice of him to create a cave for dry caverns to enjoy.

Sounds like your tripmate were partially derigging the rope and hauling the bags rather than Prussicing shorter distances and packing on the go.

Offline langcliffe

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On the subject of leaving caves rigged with ropes, we went to Aquamole Pot today to find that all the pitches were rigged, with a note at the top saying something on the lines of: ‘Do not use these ropes, as they may be removed at any moment; this is not a joke’. If you ask me, the sooner they are removed the better; descending the narrow entrance pitch, rigging our own rope, was a bit of a pain; but my friend who de-rigged said that de-rigging was an absolute ball-ache because the in-situ ropes were constantly tangling with and snagging the tackle bags he was trying to pull up.
(Maybe 'Please do not use these ropes' might have left us feeling a bit less pissed off.)

I think that the following discussion clarifies the situation:

https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=16961.0

I agree with alastairgott that it seems an inappropriate place to be pulling tackle bags up.

Offline Badlad

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Afaik the ropes in aquamole are the diver's own who found aquamole from the bottom and after climbing the avens dug open the cave from beneath. Quite nice of him to create a cave for dry caverns to enjoy.
....


FYI - the diver who discovered Aquamole from upstream KMC has long since retired from diving and is not the person who has had it rigged for the last twenty years.  Other divers took over exploring the cave further and at least two were involved in climbing the avens and radio locating.  A much larger team opened it up from above.   A different group had spent years digging in Jingling and nearby on the surface trying to make a connection before the climbing took place - they were beaten to it.  Aquamole was far from a solo effort or a credit to one person. 

Offline langcliffe

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FYI - the diver who discovered Aquamole from upstream KMC has long since retired from diving and is not the person who has had it rigged for the last twenty years.  Other divers took over exploring the cave further and at least two were involved in climbing the avens and radio locating.  A much larger team opened it up from above.   A different group had spent years digging in Jingling and nearby on the surface trying to make a connection before the climbing took place - they were beaten to it.  Aquamole was far from a solo effort or a credit to one person.

Wikipedia has a brief history, with the appropriate refrences: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquamole_Pot

Offline alastairgott

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FYI - the diver who discovered Aquamole from upstream KMC has long since retired from diving and is not the person who has had it rigged for the last twenty years.  Other divers took over exploring the cave further and at least two were involved in climbing the avens and radio locating.  A much larger team opened it up from above.   A different group had spent years digging in Jingling and nearby on the surface trying to make a connection before the climbing took place - they were beaten to it.  Aquamole was far from a solo effort or a credit to one person. 

Think I met one of them once, though didn't take note on which one it was. (13/12/2009)
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the perks of the day were seeing the man who dived the cave from the bottom to find it in the first place hence the name Aquamole - Aqua meaning discovered from the bottom and mole digged from beneath. this guy told us two good things 1. that he is a total nutter and free climbed the entrance rift to get to the top, a feat that jonny wanted to achieve too at the end of the day. 2. that when looking down the last pitch if you look behind you or to your left depending on where you are, there is an extra bit to the cave if you can free climb the wall, only one person needs to free climb though as there is a long life on the side so a rope or ladder can be rigged up the approx. 6m climb. this must be done on my inevitable return to this delightful cave when i seek the aquamole fish which eluded me this time.
source: https://yucpc.org.uk/trips/report.php?id=936

it was also one of the many trips which I really enjoyed, (so much so I did it twice in 6 months during my first year of caving).
Thanks to Hayley for the Trip report, (4/7/2009)
Quote
Fun;
I really enjoyed this trip as it’s been ages since I’ve done a stringy cave. The aven is really impressive, and great to descend…though just a little tiring going back up ;) We also saw cave fish in the sump at the bottom, much to Alastair’s delight! I didn’t even mind the faff as I was with a great bunch of people, though I was pretty tired driving home past midnight.
source: https://yucpc.org.uk/trips/report.php?id=837

Offline pwhole

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So if they're not Rupert's ropes, whose are they? And clearly their definition of 'any moment' is rather flexible :)

Offline Badlad

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I don't think anyone said they weren't Rupert's ropes.  Just that he didn't find Aquamole in the first place nor was solely responsible for opening it up to the surface.

Offline Pitlamp

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Just one little aside; if it wasn't for the efforts of the person who probably owns the ropes which others have found inconvienient, there wouldn't be an Aquamole Pot to visit anyway.  ;)

Offline Mark

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Not being picky, but shouldn't this be in the Yorkshire section


Moved to Dales section
« Last Edit: November 16, 2021, 03:02:01 pm by paul, Reason: Added comment about moving Topic »

Offline topcat

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I don't have a problem with the fixed ropes, but do wonder if the rusting mailions are not good for the s/s P hangers?

Perhaps we should crowd fund some S/S fixings for this cave?

Maybe we should collectively fund the rope too? The fixed rope is clearly a permanent feature.  So, make it permanent for everyone?

I don't know how to crowd fund, but I have enjoyed the cave so many times that I'd bung £25 in if someone sets it up.....

Offline rm128

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I have a certain degree of sympathy for Fulk. I was in Aquamole a few weeks ago (rigging and derigging) and the fixed ropes do get in the way a bit, particularly on the somewhat constricted entrance pitch(es). Was it an insurmountable problem? No. A less experienced member of the party got a bit hung up at one point, but there was no real issue. Perhaps you could even log it as a useful exercise in self-rescue in a relatively benign location. But it all just seems to be making things that little bit more difficult than they need to be. Where would opinion fall should this extra difficulty lead to an accident and subsequent rescue?

Don't get me wrong. I have massive respect for anyone (Rupert or otherwise) who puts in the (obviously huge) effort required to dive into, climb, locate and open such a dry entrance for the rest of us mere mortals to enjoy. I certainly don't begrudge a bit of limited-term fixed rigging while active explorations are ongoing. But has this really been the case for the last 20 years? If so, fair enough. Otherwise, is it really such an effort to rig before before a period of active exploration and derig after?

I have to say, the fixed ropes looked in pretty good condition, so I would have been happy to use them (but didn't). Suppose I was to use the fixed ropes, leaving a note to that effect at the top. Would that be enough to delay the derigging "at any moment" until I was out?

Offline langcliffe

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But has this really been the case for the last 20 years? If so, fair enough.

Yes - I have been chased up the pitches more than once in the past 20 years by Rupert seemingly unencumbered by the bottles around his waist. I understand that the diving is such that the sump doesn't come into condition that often. I believe that he's well beyond Bull Pot, but Pitlamp will know more than me.

Offline marysboy

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wonder if the rusting mailions are not good for the s/s P hangers?
my understanding is that the maillons will rust in preference to the stainless, providing galvanic protection to the stainless hangers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathodic_protection#Galvanic
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_series

it is the same mechanism which zinc galvanising protects the steel maillons (initially). i understand aluminium alloys act in the same way (eg alloy hangers protect spits). anyone able to confirm?

Offline marysboy

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the ropes aren't permanent, they will fail, be replaced, or be removed at the end of the project.  :-\

'community funding' the tat will not reduce the impact. i do not want more and more uninspected junk in our caves.

Offline Pitlamp

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But has this really been the case for the last 20 years? If so, fair enough.

Yes - I have been chased up the pitches more than once in the past 20 years by Rupert seemingly unencumbered by the bottles around his waist. I understand that the diving is such that the sump doesn't come into condition that often. I believe that he's well beyond Bull Pot, but Pitlamp will know more than me.

The present limit is around a thousand metres in from the Aquamole dive base, way up valley from Bull Pot. It's still not that common for folk to do kilometre long dives in the Dales and when they do it's usually in resurgences, not "fond de gouffre". The project has had many setbacks as every time it floods the lines get buried, so the process of sorting the lines has to start again - and again - and again. Each dive requires set up trips and gear removal afterwards and a number of dives is required each time to regain the end. Rupert has devoted over 20 years to this project (quietly but determinedly) despite so many setbacks. He often does all the carrying himself. It's been a pretty heroic effort in my opinion - and I really hope that one day he gets the reward he's worked so hard for.

Offline rm128

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Thanks for the update Pitlamp/Lancliffe. Wow, that sounds like one hell of an effort. I, for one, will not complain about the fixed ropes in Aquamole again. As has already been said, let’s hope the effort pays off one day.

Offline Ian Ball

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wonder if the rusting mailions are not good for the s/s P hangers?
my understanding is that the maillons will rust in preference to the stainless, providing galvanic protection to the stainless hangers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathodic_protection#Galvanic
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_series

it is the same mechanism which zinc galvanising protects the steel maillons (initially). i understand aluminium alloys act in the same way (eg alloy hangers protect spits). anyone able to confirm?

Hopefully Bob will be along in a while :-)

Wouldn't the galvanic reaction between two stainless compounds be so small that it would be negligible in the time scales we're looking at?

My usual expectation of avoiding stainless is that it is 3 times more expensive.

Offline adep

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I was down there last weekend, rigging and de rigging, they got in the way a bit, but not to any great degree, nor did they cause much of a problem

 

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