• Lost hearing aid in Swildons Hole

    Lost 29/09/2022 very near the entrance, probably the first climb down.

    Please keep an eye out!

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Odin Mine

LarryFatcat

Member
We have a meet planned at Odin next month and been a while since I've been there so a few qs.

Where's it best to park for it now?
Why is it grade V on peakdistrictcaving.info and grade 3-4 in caves of the PD?
Apart from the fixed rope and extra anchors, what are the changes in there?
Other tips?
 

wellyjen

Active member
Parking. Near the road head that's accessible for motor vehicles, at the base of the gorge leading up to the mine was fine for us. Depends on the day and time how crowded that is going to be.
Grade. The lower 3-4 grade is appropriate for the usual tourist trip to the Cartgate and down to Bell Chamber. The higher grade for off piste trips in to the more falling to bits areas of the mine in my opinion. That may, or may not be the reason for the difference between the access web site and what's in CotPD.
Changes. Given that the prior trips were over a decade ago and memory is fickle, I don't remember any other changes now, aside from the rigging and anchors.
Tips. Enjoy!
 

Pete K

Well-known member
Parking on the road before the wide bus turning area is fine (and free). There are usually one or more campervans permanently living there, which I guess adds some security.
Not sure why there is the variation in grade between the sources, but the grade covers the whole mine. Some of the bolted route is straightforward, but there are definitely g4/5 bits in that mine. In this case, I think of the grade less about the challenge in passing through the mine, but more about the risk that the mine poses to explorers if you if you poke it the wrong way or rush through like a heard of elephants. It's not all bad of course, but the shaley ground on the entrance level and the level below are rather crumbly in places and demand care. Obviously the new traverse we bolted was needed after a roof fall took out the passage floor. The only other change that springs to mind is related directly to this. As you enter the stone slabbed level on the way to Chippendale Rift, there is now a large pile of debris (from the new hole above) that requires you to gently slide over it without disturbing the end stone of the passage roof. A bit more traffic will soon wear that muck pile down.
I hope you find that the bolting has improved now. Me and pwhole spent a lot of time in there over the last few years modernising the rigging. If you have any concerns about the state of the fixed 'up' rope please let me and DCA know. It will look rather black by now I imagine, but should still be in good condition as it is relatively new. Any other fixed rope you find on the DCA bolted route has been added since the bolting and should be removed ideally as it is unnecessary.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
I'll be in on Sunday so can feed back a bit more after that. I always felt that the COPD description let the place down somewhat, and the grading really only reflected the 'trade route' to the cartgate end and back. There are several other sections in the mine that require considerably more care - the Amy Gutter connection further west for one, and documented in the most recent Mining History. However, my personal feeling is that none of this should be off-limits, and so I'm trying to check as many other sections as possible to review the access situation (and stability), and determine whether (and how) these areas should be approached for rigging in the future. Can't promise it'll all get resin-bolted, as some sections may not be appropriate for that, but it's all getting looked at.

One area of concern for me is the scaffold-tube belay at the top of the deep pitches - I've been told that this was already in place in the early 1970s, and it looks it. We've used it as a main belay and it works, but it wasn't a comfortable feeling. However, the walls around the pitch head are mostly vein, and determining whether resin anchors would actully work here is tricky - I'm actually wondering whether a like-for-like replacement of the scaffolding rig would be a better solution, cutting out the old with angle grinders. That would be a fun day out for a few people!
 

JonP

Active member
I'll be in on Sunday so can feed back a bit more after that. I always felt that the COPD description let the place down somewhat, and the grading really only reflected the 'trade route' to the cartgate end and back. There are several other sections in the mine that require considerably more care - the Amy Gutter connection further west for one, and documented in the most recent Mining History. However, my personal feeling is that none of this should be off-limits, and so I'm trying to check as many other sections as possible to review the access situation (and stability), and determine whether (and how) these areas should be approached for rigging in the future. Can't promise it'll all get resin-bolted, as some sections may not be appropriate for that, but it's all getting looked at.

One area of concern for me is the scaffold-tube belay at the top of the deep pitches - I've been told that this was already in place in the early 1970s, and it looks it. We've used it as a main belay and it works, but it wasn't a comfortable feeling. However, the walls around the pitch head are mostly vein, and determining whether resin anchors would actully work here is tricky - I'm actually wondering whether a like-for-like replacement of the scaffolding rig would be a better solution, cutting out the old with angle grinders. That would be a fun day out for a few people!
How'd you get on?
 

alastairgott

Well-known member
How'd you get on?
I placed an embargo on phil discussing the trip due to my ineptness of derigging. But happy to lift my embargo.

I had to leave a rope in, which I’m planning on pulling out on Sunday. If you spot what looks like a knotted handline near the entrance going into a gaping hole in the floor, don’t descend it! Our ascenders were all playing up, checked my hand ascender last night and noted I’m missing half the complement of teeth! Probably just wear and tear but made worse by the mud.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
Well now that's been cleared up I can post. This trip was to finish off the bolt-climb me and Al started two years ago in the Bell Chamber, beneath the cartgate choke. This section has always intrigued me as it's largely natural, and may be the 'Deep Shaft' managed by Robert Hallom, the mine owner in the 1630s. Twelve years ago, when I first visited, there was a very dodgy handline climb up to a ledge on a scrin, and then a further dangerous scramble up to a high, wide ledge that's passed as you abseil in - but it's impossible to reach from the rope. There's a large bank of layered sediment against one wall, and Odin Old Vein crashes through one side of the chamber - where the final down pitches are, and is presumably how the miners discovered the chamber originally, as the access shaft from Widowers Vein is just too perfectly-judged to have been an accident - they knew what they were driving down to.

From the ledge, a complex of small and muddy pipe-workings can be entered - likely to be very old as there are no shotholes in there - though they may not have needed gunpowder as the mineral is quite soft. Dunno. Anyway, when I visited a few years ago, whilst we were preparing to do the DCA rebolting, I noticed this handline had gone, and so decided to reinstate it. The bolt climb wasn't high, but bloody awkward as it's overhanging, and there's a drop into another blind passage below, so falling would be nasty - anyway, I ran out of bolts as I got to the first ledge, so was unable to go any further on that trip. And then Covid happened. So it's been on hold ever since, and we finally got to go back on Saturday, accompanied by Louse Ranken, who'd never been to Odin before.

The climb up to the first ledge was a doddle this time, and I was able to put some higher bolts in and rig a SRT route and backups up to the (safe) large ledge. At this point we should have taken our harnesses off! The pipe workings are very muddy, being half-full of sediment - again, this means they communicated with the surface at some point during the glacial melt cataclysm, and via a natural passage - somewhere. The pipe workings are a veritable rabbit-warren of interconnected passages and small chambers, very much like Clatterway, with pickwork everywhere - they must have got some decent yields from here, and again, the plethora of tiny pickwork suggests they were taking out large lumps. There's some beautiful snow-white flowstone, which is almost fluorescent, and it has the faintest turqouise tinge - it's really special, but it just runs over the mud, so must be recent - and we were really careful to not get mud on it.

We couldn't find any further way on, but none of this is on the survey, so I'll leave it rigged for a while so it can be done with a Disto. I can't imagine many will be tempted, as it is filthy, but sediment means natural, so it has to be worth further examination. The two phreatic chambers that intersect the cartgate just west of here are also of great significance. Similarly, there are small solution features all over the cartgate roof as you come out of the crosscut - I suspect some of the cartgate chamber is an enlarged natural vein cavity. If anyone does want to visit, please do take off your harness before entering the pipe, as it will become covered in the worst clag imaginable, and we all had great difficulty climbing all the pitches out - plus it'll trash the rope I left in, and it's Gleistein. There's also a very committing hole/crawl on the main ledge itself that was just too tight for me to attempt, but it can be seen to continue.

There is more to tell on elsewhere in there, but lets deal with this one first - anyone got any ideas on the natural? And anyone know who originally rigged the handline up there? And who took it down? ;)
 
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Brains

Well-known member
I have seen the very bright white flowstone elsewhere and been told it's hydrozincite, basically calcite with zinc. I know zinc has been reported in various places in the Peak and I have found sphalerite in Ball Eye and Snake but that's much further south. I suspect some is present in Odin.
Did you see the polished slickensides showing polished crystals in the cartgate chamber?
 

pwhole

Well-known member
Doh! I forgot. So many things to remember! I'd like to get a rope route up to Jose Hole at some point - we were planning to do that ten years ago when we found the floor collapse.

There is also white flowstone (allophane?) in the outdoor portion of Widowers Vein, and these pipe workings would be more or less beneath that. Interestingly that open stope does have a backfilled lower half - it seems there was a branch passage along that at gorge level. The passage is totally blocked by deliberate backfill about 10m in - as is the left turn at the crosscut off the cartgate on the same vein, though it goes a bit further. I was told once, probably by Jim Rieuwerts, that the name Widowers Vein was given to it by Robert Hallom's wife, who inherited the title when he died. This is before the Bagshaws got involved, around 1700. Also of interest is that the outdoor shot was taken on the spot that John Royse dug his shaft in 1927 that broke into the cartgate, beyond the current blockage, but behind the entrance blockage.

Jon Humble, who worked for English Heritage on Monuments told me more than once that he was willing to take a bulldozer to the front blockage and open up the cartgate to surface again - he was about the only person who could have authorised it, but sadly he died before he could attempt that one.

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Brains

Well-known member
Shame, could have been a really interesting project.
Allophane could be present, but it's paragenesis seems complicated and to preclude alteration of mineral veins. Then again, if it's what you have...
This site is really complex, not just with primary and subsequent mineralisation being so close to the shale margin and the hydrothermal slow cooker, but also the faulting and jointing with all the mining passages through the rake and scrins
 

AR

Well-known member
I have seen the very bright white flowstone elsewhere and been told it's hydrozincite, basically calcite with zinc. I know zinc has been reported in various places in the Peak and I have found sphalerite in Ball Eye and Snake but that's much further south. I suspect some is present in Odin.
Did you see the polished slickensides showing polished crystals in the cartgate chamber?
Entirely possible - there's significant Sphalerite/Smithsonite mineralisation the other side of Castleton village, at Red Seats vein crossing Pindale foot, and there's a confirmed find of Hydrozincite at Netherwater Mine near Bradwell.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
There's always been a milky-white trickle emanating from the choke at the west end of the cartgate - as in, turning right at the T-junction, instead of left to Chippendale Rift. I wonder if that's why it's never been dug - it has always puzzled me, as it's the continuation of the cartgate into the hill, and the roof stemples are shrinking rapidly, indicating it's resuming a solid roof shortly afterwards. It's just a pile of dirt, obviously shoveled in to block the passage, and there's a whopping great hole 20m away that doesn't go anywhere. This is presumably where Benjamin Silliman walked in 1820. I'm all for preserving pretties, but that just looks like my street on Sunday morning.

_IGP2969.jpg
 

Brains

Well-known member
Entirely possible - there's significant Sphalerite/Smithsonite mineralisation the other side of Castleton village, at Red Seats vein crossing Pindale foot, and there's a confirmed find of Hydrozincite at Netherwater Mine near Bradwell.
PDMHS 6-4 on p37 TD Ford has notes on the mineralogy of Odin and states sphalerite and smithsonite can be found on the dumps. However, much material was apparently also brought here for processing...

Below are three images each about 300mm across showing the cheek of the vein. Sub horizontal slickensides show movement, which has polished through the crystals in the vein. Here the minerals appear to be mainly calcite fluorite and baryte. This exposure is ay about head height in the bottom of the cart gate chamber, on the wall above the phreatic development on the South side. Beautiful
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pwhole

Well-known member
Another pitch recently made accessible again is the old '60 ft pitch' accessed via the low crawl immediately below the final step down from Chippendale Rift into the Cartgate, where the handline and sloping plank are. This opens up almost immediately to standing height, and the veins diverge again there, heading west. Right vein is a free-climbable stope that goes for some way. Straight ahead is a deep drop on the other vein, but turning back on yourself, there's a shaft on the same vein, and I've placed two anchors on concrete screws here for a Y-hang. I didn't have enough left for a backup, and you have to step over a deep hole to get to it, so care needs to be taken. However, there's an old steel belay stake hammered into a drilled hole nearby that must be what the SUSS survey team used in 1973-75 to hang their ladders from, which is adequate. Mark, can you help here? Is that right? The pitch needs a deviation, and a short sling around an in-situ stemple is perfect. This pitch really should be re-done on resin anchors soon, as it's important and relatively stable.

The pitch drops onto a slope, and descending that westwards a short crosscut to the right takes you into a long straight level with water in the floor - I think this is part of Knowlegates Sough. At the far end it's blocked by collapse, but it wasn't when we visited in 2011, and I suspect the floor-collapse in the top level dropped all the way down here, as it's roughly beneath it. There are plenty of stopes and a large panel of pickwork to see here. According to the Peter Lord/SUSS survey, there should be another 125ft pitch right in front of the crosscut, but it's not - we looked hard for this, but it must also be blocked as we couldn't find it.
 
There's always been a milky-white trickle emanating from the choke at the west end of the cartgate - as in, turning right at the T-junction, instead of left to Chippendale Rift. I wonder if that's why it's never been dug - it has always puzzled me, as it's the continuation of the cartgate into the hill, and the roof stemples are shrinking rapidly, indicating it's resuming a solid roof shortly afterwards. It's just a pile of dirt, obviously shoveled in to block the passage, and there's a whopping great hole 20m away that doesn't go anywhere. This is presumably where Benjamin Silliman walked in 1820. I'm all for preserving pretties, but that just looks like my street on Sunday morning.

View attachment 13812
If dug, I'm pretty sure that this would take you into the 'Cartgate' I've accessed previously via the Amy Gutter vein workings. The hade and splitting of the veins makes it hard to be certain though.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
I have mused on this recently, but we're not sure, though I do suspect that cartgate is on Slicken Drift Vein, as it matches the line of the surveyed workings, albeit much, much higher than those - I suspect it might be too high to connect directly - I did get some survey data from Tim R a while ago (in Survex format I think), so it would be good if this could be integrated. I did a 5-page spread of all the best photos from this section of the mine in the last Mining History, but you only get it if you're a PDMHS member sadly. But I do have a shot of the 'other side' of the dig (if that's where it is), and it looked pretty safe. There has been some movement 'upstairs' in the shale-filled stopes though - one 'aven' in shale had completely collapsed on our next visit, and I'd looked up it on the previous one.
 

AR

Well-known member
I did a 5-page spread of all the best photos from this section of the mine in the last Mining History, but you only get it if you're a PDMHS member sadly.
There is usually a small surplus on the print run of Mining History, mostly to account for any new members joining partway through the year but any remaining copies are sold through the Mining Museum.
 

pwhole

Well-known member
Here's the access crawl to the 60ft pitch from the base of Chippendale Rift, and below that is the view from the other side - the (thin!) floor of CR can be seen as the roof of this passage. The pitch-head is just below that and follows.

Chippendale_pano.jpg


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_IGP7654_sm.jpg
 

alastairgott

Well-known member
A warning! any bolts off the main DCA Approved route should be treated with caution, after their trip today a group have informed me that the right hand bolt of one of the Y-hangs of non P hanger anchors is spinning. So should be treated with caution.

As with all exploration rigging, treat with respect, It just goes to show why we install and use Y hangs nowadays!
 
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