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Rock fall in Rhino Rift

CSCC

New member
We have just received a report of a rock fall on the right-hand route, first pitch in Rhino Rift. The report also says that there is loose rock on the left-hand route. They did not continue with the trip.

We will get this checked out ASAP but in the meantime it might be a good idea to go elsewhere for now.
 

CSCC

New member
Following earlier reports of loose rock in Rhino Rift, Andrew Atkinson, CSCC?s Equipment & Techniques Officer, supported by Sioned Haughton, visited the cave at the request of CCC Ltd on the evening of Monday 17th January.

Andrew rigged the Right-hand route first pitch and reports that no debris could be seen.  From the inlet on the right, he noted maybe a few stones from the stream, however no more than usual for winter floods. Descending to the bottom of the first pitch nothing unusual was seen. The search was concentrating on the fall path from the Right-hand route, as this is where the report had stated the fall had come from.

At the bottom of the first pitch and down to the second, no unusual amounts of debris were seen, again some stones from winter floods, but nothing to cause concern and nothing that couldn?t be dealt with on a standard trip.

No rock abrasions were seen to indicate a fall. Climbing back up from the top of the second pitch to the first, a rock was seen in the gully. On investigation it was found to be loose and, strangely, had a through bolt in it. The bolt was removed and the rock made safe.

On the way up the pitch, now with a clue, Andrew checked the location of the rogue bolts. Where one had been placed, there was a hole matching the rock seen below. The section of wall was made as safe as possible using a small crowbar and hammer. A large section came off and disintegrated as it descended to the second pitch. Andrew believes that the wall now appears stable and that there is little doubt that the fall was caused by the very poor placement of the anchor in a wall that was obviously suspect, and which had been rejected as a suitable location on previous anchor placement trips.

Reports have also been received of a rub point on the Right-hand route. Andrew states that this has been reported previously and that the route as it is now is far better than the previous spit route. It is also a matter of competence; it is possible to rig and pass without a rub given the appropriate skill level. This is a technical route, as a suitable knowledge and skill level is required for anyone attempting this route. If the skill is not adequate and a rub is caused, it is very brief, and is over a rounded edge, not a sharp edge, as has been reported. The route has been checked by at least five skilled and experienced bolting practitioners who have all concluded it is fine, including on one trip where the rope was deliberately rubbed while another person observed.

The suggested placement for an additional anchor to allow a re-belay was rejected as it would have resulted in a very difficult and potentially dangerous swing, and probably would not have stopped a rub. In addition, there is no suitable rock to place such an anchor. This has been dramatically demonstrated as the rogue anchor that was close to the suggested position has cause the above collapse and instability in the wall.
 
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