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    The publication date for issue 289 is the 10th of December, meaning subscribers should receive their copies during the week leading up to that date. It is also available from caving suppliers such as Inglesport and Starless River, or from our new website

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Cuckoo Cleaves

bagpuss

New member
Hi all,
I know the situation regarding air quality can vary day to day, but just wondered if anyone had been in Cuckoo Cleaves recently and what the air quality was like? I am the club budgie (ie I seem to get effected sooner than everyone else when it comes to bad air) so interested to know what it's been like on Mendip before committing to a trip! Barely been caving since pre covid so not really aware of what it's been like on Mendip over the summer. Hoping the cooler weather may have made it less of an issue...

Thanks :) 
 

PeteHall

Moderator
bagpuss said:
I know the situation regarding air quality can vary day to day
Possibly one for another thread, but can air quality really vary day to day? I'm no expert, but I'd have thought air quality takes time to shift one way or the other, based on longer term atmospheric conditions and water levels.

As for current air quality in Cuckoo Cleaves, I'm afraid I can't help, but we do currently have a strong outwards draught at our dig in Bos, so perhaps a reasonable assumption that the caves in the area are breathing well at the minute.

 

mikem

Well-known member
There was also a good draught at drunkards this weekend. Somewhere like cuckoo may change after heavy rain, but not on a daily basis - some friends were down there a month ago & survived, but no more recent reports than that (manor farm wasn't great a couple of weeks ago).
 

bagpuss

New member
PeteHall said:
bagpuss said:
I know the situation regarding air quality can vary day to day
Possibly one for another thread, but can air quality really vary day to day? I'm no expert, but I'd have thought air quality takes time to shift one way or the other, based on longer term atmospheric conditions and water levels.

As for current air quality in Cuckoo Cleaves, I'm afraid I can't help, but we do currently have a strong outwards draught at our dig in Bos, so perhaps a reasonable assumption that the caves in the area are breathing well at the minute.

Thanks Pete, poorly worded on my part, I suppose what I really meant was that I understand that it could change between visits, ie it might have been okay when someone visited it one week, then could change if we visited a week or so later, ie would still use our own judgment when caving.
 

mikekushy

Active member
Depends how far you want to go really, most of the bad air sinks to the bottom of the cave.

Looking at the higher galleries should be safe and near the entrance for a quickish escape.

Other than that wait until there's frost.

If you suffer bad then I wouldn't risk it/waste time right now.

Regards.
 

wormster

Member
If yo go during a high atmospheric conditions it tends to be a bit less "Huffy Pugfy" a low barometer pushes the carbon dioxide down to the end. Coming out is interesting to say the least
 

tomferry

Active member
Basically if your going to risk it go on a high pressure day where their is no clouds in the sky and the weather throughout the day you are 100% sure is not going to change , if your in any doubt about this cave it?s probably worth doing a few trial visits and making notes on the weather to learn it?s breathing pattern , how the person who teached me about it ?sinker ? explained it is  imagine in your case cave breaths in on a high pressure day and out on a low pressure day .

Hope this helps
 

wormster

Member
Go search out: "Pink Puffers And Blue Bloaters " somewhere on the net is an Australian Article that is worth reading before you venture underground, knowing how your body reacts to high Co2 concentrations, then you can have a much better trip than going in blind and possibly panic. ABOVE all: Go slowly and carefully take your time to plan how you intend to progress down the passage and an escape strategy should you or ANY member of your party starts getting affected (it takes twice the energy to cajole/drag by the chinstrap anybody out of that cave.) Plus you have to be a fooking racing snake to get to the lake!! I'm a slimfit caver and even I didn't like the look of it!!!!!
 

tomferry

Active member
I am curious as to why no one is mentioning a gas detector in this conversation? Surly it would be best for the person in question just to take one of these so they could pull out at 19.5 or 18.5% o2 depending on how hard their going to press it ?  I agree completely if you don?t own or want to hire one then as soon as a member of the party gets the first issue leave as said above .
 

PeteHall

Moderator
A gas detector is the only way to be sure if you are worried, however they need to be calibrated regularly and also need turning on in fresh air prior to taking into a confined space (cave) in order to be accurate. I'm also fairly sure they don't like getting too wet. Therefore, I don't think they are a practical option for most recreational cavers.

I would certainly be interested to carry one (once in a while), as the first symptom of elevated CO2 is elevated breathing rate and heart rate, which are also a symptom of exercise.

Poor fitness can easily be confused for bad air and a gas detector should clarify which it is. I guess this would be particularly the case after a period of reduced (or no) caving, as your gauge of your own cave fitness may be out of tune. On this basis, perhaps it's better to avoid places know for poor air after a break from caving, as you could equally confuse it the other way, assuming you are out of shape, when actually, you are entering an area of bad air?  :confused:

 

alastairgott

Well-known member
PeteHall said:
bagpuss said:
I know the situation regarding air quality can vary day to day
Possibly one for another thread, but can air quality really vary day to day? I'm no expert, but I'd have thought air quality takes time to shift one way or the other, based on longer term atmospheric conditions and water levels.

As for current air quality in Cuckoo Cleaves, I'm afraid I can't help, but we do currently have a strong outwards draught at our dig in Bos, so perhaps a reasonable assumption that the caves in the area are breathing well at the minute.

Not sure what you mean?!? does air quality change week to week, month to month or is it year to year?  :tease:


Surely the atmoospheric pressure can change drastically within one week? otherwise we wouldn't get gale force winds? in which case day to day could probably be the correct term?
 

PeteHall

Moderator
alastairgott said:
Not sure what you mean?!? does air quality change week to week, month to month or is it year to year?  :tease:


Surely the atmoospheric pressure can change drastically within one week? otherwise we wouldn't get gale force winds? in which case day to day could probably be the correct term?

Air currents can certainly change pretty quickly as atmospheric conditions (or cave conditions - think breakthrough) change, but this is like turning on a tap. Surely it still takes time before the effects of the atmospheric changes manifest themselves in a measurable difference in air quality  :confused:

Edit: I'm thinking that the volume of air in a cave acts as a damper, smoothing out fluctuations in surface conditions
 

PeteHall

Moderator
Cap'n Chris said:
PeteHall said:
As for current air quality in Cuckoo Cleaves, I'm afraid I can't help

Would be interested to know the RN222 level.

Not sure I've seen Radon on the gas detectors I've used, but it's been over 10 years since I last used one for work, so I might have forgotten...
 

ChrisJC

Well-known member
I've got a Crowcon GasPro, with 5 sensors. Radon is not on the list of options.

But to be honest, I have it to hopefully avoid dying at that time. Radon is a longer term hazard, as far as I know the concentration is never high enough to cause suffocation.

Chris.
 

tomferry

Active member
I never heard of radon being on a gas monitor when I did my 4x course and my confined spaces . I think the gas out running you in the mine / cave would depend on many things the levels inside you are encountering how much the weather is changing outside , also a key factor to remember is the air you have already used in the confined space is now replaced with co2 , past 17.5 oxygen it gets really bad  and it?s not to be messed with !
 

wormster

Member
PeteHall said:
A gas detector is the only way to be sure if you are worried, however they need to be calibrated regularly and also need turning on in fresh air prior to taking into a confined space (cave) in order to be accurate. I'm also fairly sure they don't like getting too wet. Therefore, I don't think they are a practical option for most recreational cavers.

How about a cheapo lighter? Burning ok no flame get out!! :tease:
 
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