DIVER: Cristian CRISTEA
SUPPORT: Chris FOX
CC and CF made plans the evening before to carry diving kit for both to Sump 1 and then CF to go over via the Turf, meet at sump 2, dive through and then CC to see if he could get to Bridge Hall while CF dug the inlet in Goyden 3. The morning of the trip, CF began to have doubts about climbing the Pinnacle climb and the climb after that and over the Turf alone, so a change of plan was made. CF helped carry diving gear to sump 1 and once CC set off he went back out and in via Lesser Stream pot to dig at the exit of Manchester sump 2. CF tried to reopen the old rift that comes out at the base of the First window but did not manage it. He was about to leave when he noticed a small whirlpool in the stream and pulled out a few boulders only to see the river disappear down a hole into Lesser Stream maze. Pleased with his work, to relieve the flooding problem there, CF went back to sump 1 and waited for CC's return.
CC passed with ease sump 1 carrying an extra bag with 10mm rope for sump 2 and extra 3 litre cylinder. This time he bypassed sump 1b by following a low arch on the left hand to a walking size passage. Just before a little waterfall running down in the middle of the passage, CC spotted a big crack in the right hand wall with the view of a sump pool, most likely the start of the sump 1b. CC continued downstream to the start of the sump 2, where he went to check two possible leads in parallel rifts that he spotted on his last trip. Diving the western one first, he reached a T- junction with a phreatic tube going east to west direction. He returned out and dived in the eastern rift which was more spacious, and reached another T junction with the same phreatic tube. He managed to have a quick look around the corner just before the visibility was reduced to zero. The passage was seen to continue straight towards East, not deeper than one metre. Being on his own, CC decided to leave this for another time and returned out of the sump. On a quick inspection in another western rift, CC found the exit of this new phreatic tube, which was also found to cut through the western side of the rift wall and end in the next air-bell rift. One metre north on same rift wall another parallel tube was found to cut the rift wall, but without any further continuation. CC thinks this might be the end of another parallel phreatic tube, which might continue eastwards, opposite to the sump 2 water pool, but with the entrance buried by a gravel slope. Later in the day, after checking the existing survey it was found that this new sump continues towards October passage, so both CF and CC agreed to name it November sump. CC is making plans to return and continue the exploration of this sump. Returning his attention to sump 2, CC relined it with the 10 mm rope provided by CF and removed the old broken one. After swapping with the full cylinder, CC continued downstream to sump 3. On reaching the same tiny airspace in the sump as last time, CC followed the right hand passage instead of the left one. This proved to be the correct route and soon CC surfaced in a big air-bell in a long rift. The only continuation from this point was found by returning few metres and crossing in an eastern rift, again with a decent size air-bell. Same story repeated with this one and third rift, number 4 being the one leading to the sump exit in Bridge Hall. CC observed another eastern rift next to the fourth one, but did not check it. The geometry of the rifts at this end of the sump looked very similar with the rifts in sump 2, indicating that both sumps are crossed by the same fault. On inspecting the Bridge Hall, CC identified two possible continuations in the eastern side of the roof. The first one its of a smaller size with a tiny stream coming out and it looked choked with boulders and flood debris. The second one looked like a big aven which cut through different layers of the ceiling, but all filled with big collapsed boulders. After taking some gopro footage to be analysed later, CC continued to the start of sump 4, still having one cylinder full. This sump was a short one and soon CC surfaced in a long canal with usable airspace. At the end of the canal CC continued in the dry chamber following the stream to the start of sump 5 from where some old broken line was pulled out. Even if CC had still gas and line available, he felt he achieved enough for this trip and decided to turn back.
Some more clips were recorded on way back and all new line was removed for obvious reasons. A pleased CC reunited with CF, after spending nearly 4h behind sump 1. A quick coffee stop at How Stean Gorge and new future trip plans were drawn. CC will like to thank CF for his help and his invaluable knowledge.
A little clip from the trip was uploaded on youtube: